Tuesday, November 29, 2011


This afternoon I was in my Intro to Worship class we were talking about weddings, funerals and rites of passage. We started with funerals. Two chaplains came in to talk to us about being present in the process of dying, the funeral and after the funeral when grief really sets in. We covered a little bit of how to order a funeral and work in non Christian settings. They also covered what hospice was. If you know me well, you know that I didn't learn anything new. I am very familiar with what it is to be the family caring for the dying in hospice. I have done it several times. I have attended many funerals for ones dear to my heart. I even "presided" at my Grandmother's since she held no one religious belief. Surprisingly none of this talk brought up any of my junk from my life experience. I thought I am handling this well.

Then they passed around a book about helping children to process their grief. I flipped through it reading just little blurbs. There was one about 3 children of a man with brain injuries who felt they couldn't do anything to make their dad feel better. Then with some inspiration they learned to take turns rubbing lotion on their dad's paralyzed arm and tell him about their respective days. For some reason this brought me right back to the moment when I first saw my dad after he went into a coma (a little aside as a child I thought it was acoma). I can see it so vividly in my head. All the wires and tubes and my dad helpless in the bed and then he responded to our voices. They thought if he heard our voices he would pull through and he did, I don't know in retrospect if that was the right decision. Especially when you consider he would suffer another ten years before his death. I remember the male nurse, which was unusual in 1988. I was seven years old and I tell you it was like I was transported back there to the smells, sounds and sights. I have known for a long time that this image was burned permanently into my memory. I just haven't "seen" it in a long time.

I became immediately sick to my stomach. My eyes welled up just a little. I got the tears under control quickly and left the room. I called my husband to ask him to meet me after class with pretzels and to pick up some equipment I had just acquired.

It is strange how these things can sometimes catch you in some unexpected moment. I am grateful that I have learned how to handle these moments over the years. Maybe sometime this week I will sneak over to the chapel with my burned in memory and let it all out before God. It is a much more appropriate time than in the middle of class.

Today I am grateful for all the days I have lived, happy and heartbreaking.
May you be blessed with gratitude for what simply is.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Do Grades Matter?

The long and short of it is I got a midterm back with a grade I didn't like. Nor did I understand how it was graded. Basically it was in sections I aced all but one section for which I lost 45 of 50 points. This brought my near A down to a C. I feel like the grading was really inconsistent. On the one hand I passed and I am happy with that. I can do an extra assignment if I want to bring up my grade, I would like to bring up my grade but not the extra work so its in the air. I don't know how to handle the situation which was only amplified when I found out how well my friends did.

I guess in reality I should go talk to the professor so that at the very least I can work on my form for that sort of question come the final exam.

In the end though do grades matter? When I leave here I have the same degree with a C average as I do with an A average. I just really don't like Cs, unless we are talking Hebrew in which case I embrace them, I like As and I have been dealing with Bs. How do I get back to my A days? Do I need to?

All I can say is I am grateful for Cs over Fs. Something I became very familiar with my last go round at seminary.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An Apology

Hello Friends!

I have been terrible about blogging lately. There are pages of blogs on gratitude swimming in my head between deontological ethics, Hebrew active participles and possessive female endings, Prophets Hebrew Bible style, and conversations on baptism that make me wonder why was it so important to me to have Lilia baptized and what is sin anyway. Can you sin if you don't know your action is sinful, apparently Calvin says yes, total depravity. I haven't studied that yet but I will.

It has been pretty crazy times lately and gratitude might be what is keeping me sane.
I am grateful for:
Finding the right Pediatrician.
Living in a community is very helpful and caring.
A roof over my head.
The chance to study.
The nights I get to sleep.
For friends who made us take a night out on our own.
I could go on for ever.

Basically gratitude is keeping me sane in the insanity of my first semester of seminary with a toddler.

Lately every time I sit down to write some sort of complaining or venting comes out. I have learned that this is not the place for that sort of writing. Writing is so therapeutic for me but my experience tells me that in this case keeping the words to myself is a much safer choice. Bear with me until I find words appropriate for this space? Please?

With Gratitude for your loyal reading,

Thursday, November 3, 2011


A few nights ago I drifted off to sleep sad that Lilia would never know our family Christmas Eve celebration how I did as a kid. I don't have a ton of really awesome childhood memories but no matter what our family was going through we always had Christmas Eve. This was the Christmas Holiday as far as I am concerned. Christmas Day was only Santa. We would all gather at my mother's house or sometimes my grandmother's house. There would be a great deal of food and treats and we would eat and graze all afternoon into the late evening. There would usually be singing, laughing and game playing of some sort. A wide variety of family and friends would stop by or spend the whole time with us. Early on in the afternoon we would exchange presents with our family meaning our siblings, grandparents and one cousin. Various well wishing adults would bring little gifts for the youngest kids. I don't know if my words describe it properly. The memories are vivid and feel like home.

Then we started growing up and having our own kids. Which at first worked but then schedules conflicted, people moved away, and people passed away. I started to kind of dread the day, I longed for what it used to be. Although I can easily live with out the presents, I remember the anticipation I had as a child for what my siblings might bring for me. I can remember the twinkling lights on the tree and how the whole house felt warm and was filled with magic and happiness. As adults we lost that sense and I think we lost the magic.

This year for the first time ever in my life our family won't be gathering together teaching the next generation the only tradition I knew growing up. It is not likely we ever will again. That season for my family has passed. I began mourning it almost a year ago knowing the next year would be different. I don't know if it saddens me more to not have that day or to know that Lilia will never know that kind of magic.

I went to Target yesterday and was greeted by a Merry Christmas sign. It brought up all those feelings again and I anticipate feeling them a lot this holiday season. It will be the first time since moving that reality that our lives are different now will really smack us in the face. I walked through the aisles of Christmas stuff filled with sadness and some anticipation. While I mourn the loss of my childhood Christmas I do believe there is warmth that will still come upon us as the days grow shorter and the holiday gets closer.

There is another first this year, for the first time in my 21 year history of being an Aunt, I will not be buying my nieces and nephews gifts. With all that is going on, it's just not in our budget. I sucked it up and sent out a message letting everyone know that we couldn't send gifts this year and to please not send us any. The response for the most part was pretty good there was lots of understanding and relief because some people were feeling the same way. I got one response though, that I think might have been a horrible attempt at humor, made me burst into tears. It felt so insensitive and I was already feeling very sensitive and heartbroken about all of this. So I read it and I burst into tears. In a way those tears were a good thing because they have been needing to come out for awhile. I just wish it didn't have to happen in that way.

Today I am grateful that in these lean times my family has surprised me with how supportive they are.