Friday, February 29, 2008

Terminal Cuteness

Could this dog POSSIBLY be cuter?!
Oh my. Methinks I need to find a puppy just like this.... (he's a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Keeper

Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat and Mom in a housedress, with a dish-towel in her hands. It was the time in our history when people fixed things. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep. It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that patching, re-fixing, renewing; I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there'd always be more.
But then my mother died, and on that clear Summer night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any more. Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away...never to return.
So... while we have it... it's best we love it... and care for it.... and fix it when it's broken..... and heal it when it's sick. This is true... for marriage, old cars, children with bad report cards, sick cats and dogs with bad hips. And aging parents and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it; because we are worth it.
Some things we keep, like a best friend who moved away or a classmate we grew up with. There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special.... and so, we keep them close. People are made to be loved and things are made to be used; not the other way around.
So give your love to those you care about, and realize that they are "keepers".

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Today's thought (in response to the frequent complaint from non-believers that Christian churches are filled with 'hypocrites'...):

"A Christian Church is more a Hospital for Sinners than it is a Museum for Saints."

We are all a "work-in-progress"..... speaking for myself, I'm frequently disappointed in how dismally slow my progress is. Seems I take two steps forward, then one step back, and sometimes my progress halts altogether. That war with the flesh is serious business indeed.... the older I get, the more I realize that sanctification is a lifelong journey, rather than a destination...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Off The Shelf

Be yourself. And don't ever give up hope.
Enjoy the video. :-)

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Trophy Called Oscar

My precious Viggo didn't win last night, but he sure looked smashing, didn't he?

And who was that adorable young girl he was with? He only has one child that I'm aware of ... Henry, his teenage son with his former wife Christine Cervenka (yes, THAT Christine Cervenka.... of the 80's punk band X...)

Anyway, I propped my eyelids open well past my normal bedtime hoping that the Vigg-Meister would win.



There's always next year.

And there's always my LOTR DVD trilogy to watch.... again, and again, and again... :-)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Roller Disco Heaven

Go on.... turn up the funk music.... you KNOW you want to.

Bop your head with me... let your imagination go back in time to Friday nights, circa 1978/1979. You were the coolest kid at your local roller skating rink.

You were there. So was I. Feathered hair, tight jeans, pom poms on my skates, bopping along.... too cool for school.

Just close your eyes, listen the tunes, and go back in time.

Smiling yet??

Saturday, February 23, 2008

James One

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves. Don't think you're going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.
When down-and-outers get a break, cheer! And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don't ever count on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that's a picture of the "prosperous life." At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.
Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.
Don't let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, "God is trying to trip me up." God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one's way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.
So, my very dear friends, don't get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.
Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God's righteousness doesn't grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don't act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.
Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.
-James 1, "The Message" Bible

Friday, February 22, 2008

What Might Heaven Be Like?

In my small group the other night we touched on the topic of heaven, and what it might be like.
The Bible doesn't really delve much into that topic, other than to refer to it as "paradise", "a mansion with many rooms", "streets paved with gold", etc., but I was curious to get the group members' opinions as to what they thought heaven might be like.

It proved to be an interesting discussion.

I tend to think that heaven is going to be something that is so completely beyond our current comprehension and what we can grasp with our 5 senses and our (relatively feeble) human mind, that it would simply defy our understanding.

After all, look at the magnificent and profoundly intricate creation God has given us in the natural realm that currently surrounds us. And Earth isn't even our "permanent" home.... so why would we expect heaven to be any less wondrous? To the contrary, I think the most magnificent and magestic things Nature has to offer are simply a taste of what awaits us on the other side of Life's Great Curtain.

It makes sense, right? I mean, think about it: who would take the time to furnish a Holiday Inn (where you stay, temporarily) with all sorts of Really Nice Stuff and then have your residence (where you live) decorated with shabby second-hand items? That's silly. You would, of course, save the very best things for your home. Especially for your Forever Home.

Anyway, I think it's fun to mull over what it might be like. I'm looking forward to a very long life here, and then a wonderful forever existence in heaven. Just the thought of being in the presence of almighty God is a heady, amazing thought. It puts a smile on my face and a fire in my heart.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Need a Laugh?

I dare you to watch this and not giggle.... :-)

The Water

It was one of the hottest days of the dry season. We had
not seen rain in almost a month. The crops were dying.
Cows had stopped giving milk. The creeks and streams were
long gone back into the earth. It was a dry season that
would bankrupt several farmers before it was through.

Every day, my husband and his brothers would go about the
arduous process of trying to get water to the fields. Lately
this process had involved taking a truck to the local water
rendering plant and filling it up with water. But severe
rationing had cut everyone off. If we didn't see some rain
soon...we would lose everything.

It was on this day that I learned the true lesson of sharing
and witnessed the only miracle I have seen with my own eyes.
I was in the kitchen making lunch for my husband and his
brothers when I saw my six-year-old son, Billy, walking
toward the woods. He wasn't walking with the usual carefree
abandon of a youth but with a serious purpose. I could only see
his back. He was obviously walking with a great effort
...trying to be as still as possible.

Minutes after he disappeared into the woods, he came running
out again, toward the house. I went back to making sandwiches,
thinking that whatever task he had been doing was completed.
Moments later, however, he was once again walking in that
slow purposeful stride toward the woods.

This activity went on for an hour: walk carefully to the woods,
run back to the house. Finally, I couldn't take it any longer,
and I crept out of the house and followed him on his journey
(being very careful not to be he was obviously doing
important work and didn't need his Mommy checking up on him).

He was cupping both hands in front of him as he walked, being
very careful not to spill the water he held in them...maybe two
or three tablespoons were held in his tiny hands.

I sneaked close as he went into the woods. Branches and thorns
slapped his little face, but he did not try to avoid them.
He had a much higher purpose. As I leaned in to spy on him, I
saw the most amazing site. Several large deer loomed in front
of him.

Billy walked right up to them. I almost screamed for him to get
away. A huge buck with elaborate antlers was dangerously close.
But the buck did not threaten him...he didn't even move as Billy
knelt down. And I saw a tiny fawn lying on the ground,
obviously suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion, lift
its head with great effort to lap up the water cupped in my
beautiful boy's hands.

When the water was gone, Billy jumped up to run back to the
house and I hid behind a tree. I followed him back to the house
to a spigot that we had shut off the water to.

Billy opened it all the way up and a small trickle began to
creep out. He knelt there, letting the drip slowly fill up his
makeshift "cup," as the sun beat down on his little back.

And it became clear to me. The trouble he had gotten into for
playing with the hose the week before. The lecture he had
received about the importance of not wasting water. The reason
he didn't ask me to help him.

It took almost twenty minutes for the drops to fill his hands.
When he stood up and began the trek back, I was there in front
of him. His little eyes just filled with tears.
"I'm not wasting," was all he said.

As he began his walk, I joined him...with a small pot of water
from the kitchen. I let him tend to the fawn. I stayed away.
It was his job.

I stood on the edge of the woods watching the most beautiful
heart I have ever known working so hard to save another life.
As the tears that rolled down my face began to hit the ground,
they were suddenly joined by other drops...and more drops...and

I looked up at the sky. It was as if God, Himself, was weeping
with pride.

Some will probably say that this was all just a huge
coincidence. That miracles don't really exist. That it was
bound to rain sometime. And I can't argue with that.
............I'm not going to try.

All I can say is that the rain that came that day saved our
farm...just like the actions of one little boy saved another.

This is not one of those crazy chain letters...if you don't
forward it to anyone, nothing bad will happen to you.
If you choose to forward it, you won't receive any riches in the

I don't know if anyone will read this...but I had to send it
out. To honor the memory of my beautiful Billy, who was taken
from me much too soon.... But not before showing me the true
face of God, in a little sunburned body.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I love Nyquil

This was me last night. (Just kidding. This is actually some unknown woman I found on the web - if you go to Google/Images and type in "I love Nyquil", this is one of the bizarre options that pops up.)

Anyway, I feel SOOO much better today.
Human, even.

I hope whoever invented Nyquil made a kazillion dollars.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Tim Keller, a Thinking Man's (or Woman's) Pastor

I love it when I stumble upon a pastor who also happens to be an intellectual.... one who loves God, but who also has a heart for community renewal, social justice, and most of all, for skeptics and cynics.

I long have loved the field of apologetics and am really excited about Tim Keller's new book... I'm going to rush out to my local bookstore tomorrow and buy a copy.

I'll include a link to some of Keller's free online sermons from his church, Redeemer Presbyterian, in New York City.

Enjoy, and be thrilled with the fact that our Creator-Father gave each of us a magnificent brain, as well as a completely free will, and the choice of whether or not we'll love and follow him.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

40 Tidbits of Trivia

  1. My favorite food is blueberries. I'm completely obsessed with them and have been known to eat 2 pints at one sitting.
  2. My least favorite foods are beets and pickles.
  3. I am double jointed and can do certain things that would cause most people considerable pain.
  4. I used to be a great swimmer and have won blue ribbons for backstroke and breaststroke.
  5. I lived in the Azores, Portugal for 3 years.
  6. I moved to NYC two weeks after my 18th birthday to become an actress. Philip Seymour Hoffman was one of my classmates in acting school. I knew him well and he was a wonderful, down-to-earth guy; I have enjoyed watching his career blossom and was thrilled when he won the Oscar for "Capote".
  7. My first job was at Dairy Queen in Tucker, Georgia when I was 16 years old.
  8. I love to read and watch movies. However, I think TV is a complete waste of time.
  9. I'm an absolutely abysmal cook. The last meal I prepared for my family resembled Alpo over rice. I thought my kids were going to burst into tears. Luckily my husband is a great cook, so it all works out.
  10. I think Disney World is the single most over-rated attraction in the U.S. I've been twice and was disappointed both times.
  11. There is a height difference of almost a foot and a half between me and my husband (I'm 5'1", he is 6'6").
  12. I have a maggot phobia. Roaches and spiders I can handle, but if I see maggots I scream like a little girl, and run away.
  13. I used to get migraines 3 - 4 times per week. Thankfully there is medication I now take twice a day that prevents them. Two of the weird side effects of this medication are: carbonated drinks taste awful (therefore, I no longer drink beer - it just doesn't taste good now. Bummer) and the second is it gives me "brain fog" and I frequently struggle to organize my thoughts, which is very frustrating. However, both of these side effects are much better than dealing with migraines. I now only get migraines maybe once or twice a month.
  14. One of my best friends is a published author - you can buy her books at any bookstore, or on Amazon.
  15. I finished second in the 6th grade spelling bee.
  16. I am creeped out by clowns. This has nothing to do with Stephen King. I've been scared of clowns since I was a little, little kid.
  17. In 11th grade, I was suspended from school for chronically cutting class. (I was bored.)
  18. I used to climb trees every day as a kid and sit up there for hours, with a book, and read. I loved being alone and reading where no one could bug me.
  19. The house I grew up in had a hidden staircase (behind a bookshelf). It led to a large room over the garage. My friends and I thought this was THE coolest thing ever.
  20. Think & Grow Rich is my 2nd favorite book (the Bible is my favorite). I have read T&GR at least 3 times cover to cover, and have bought many copies for friends and family members. (The Secret is the "poor man's imitation" of T&GR... and is a very inferior rip-off of the ideas espoused in T&GR).
  21. I love getting up early, before the sun is up (and while my family is still asleep). This is the best time to have "alone time" with God, and to watch the sun rise and see a new day unfold.
  22. I have been through 2 hurricanes and 1 tornado. The tornado was, by far, the scariest of these events.
  23. I love to sing. I sing in the shower, in the car, while working, while cleaning, at church, and basically any place I can get away with it. However, I have a very average (at best) singing voice.
  24. In the Myers Briggs personality test, I am an ENFJ.
  25. In the 4th grade, I asked my Mom if I could have my name legally changed to "Bubbles". She said no.
  26. I am a registered Democrat but I am also strongly pro-life.
  27. I am a committed Christian. (I prefer ther term "committed" to "evangelical" as I have yet to stand on a street corner and yell at strangers: "Turn or burn, people!". That's just not the way to win people to Christ, in my humble opinion...)
  28. I have no inherent sense of direction and frequently get lost.
  29. I still know all the words to Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" - it was my favorite song when I was 12.
  30. I wear a size 5 shoe which is all but impossible to find in womens shoe departments. Sometimes I buy sneakers in the kids department. As long as they don't have the Little Mermaid on them, it's OK by me to wear childrens shoes.
  31. My first car was a 1967 VW bug. It cost $700 and was a great car.
  32. Up until I turned 40, I had a memory like a steel trap.
  33. I worked at Spiegel in college and one day took a phone order from Naomi Judd. She was a sweetheart on the phone.
  34. Growing up, I wanted to be a veterinarian and have 6 kids.
  35. I sometimes sleepwalk. This alarms my husband greatly.
  36. My favorite color is blue.
  37. My favorite perfumes are: CK "Be" and D&G "Light Blue"
  38. I have a degree in History, which has proven relatively worthless, except when I play Trivial Pursuit. Then it comes in quite handy.
  39. If I won the lottery, I would make very few changes in my life. I love what I do for a living and I work for myself, so I would continue to work. I've never been attached to "status" things.... so building a big pretentious house or driving a flashy car wouldn't be my cup of tea either. I would probably be a philanthropist and give a lot of money away; I'd also travel a lot with my husband and kids. My life would stay much the same as it is now.
  40. My idea of the perfect afternoon: being on the beach, under a big beach umbrella, and reading a great book.... then dozing off to sleep with the sounds of the ocean in the background and a nice warm breeze blowing over me. That's just a delightful thought.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Natural Cancer Fighters

The below was emailed to me from a friend. The email was entitled "Johns Hopkins Cancer Letter". Being a huge skeptic, I immediately looked it up on Snopes, and, sure enough, there was no affiliation at all between this information and Johns Hopkins.

However, this is a good case for not throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The tips below contain some pretty good advice. Some is "common-sensical" and some are things I've never even thought about.

So, read and learn; discard what you don't need. :-)

  • Every person has cancer cells in the body. These cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after treatment, it just means the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size.
  • Cancer cells occur between 6 to more than 10 times in a person's lifetime
  • When a person's immune system is strong the cancer cells will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying and forming tumors.
  • When a person has cancer it indicates the person has multiple nutritional deficiencies. These could be due to genetic, environmental, food and/or lifestyle factors.
  • To overcome the multiple nutritional deficiencies, changing diet and including supplements will strengthen the immune system.
  • Chemotherapy involves poisoning the rapidly-growing cancer cells, but also destroys rapidly-growing healthy cells in the bone marrow, gastro-intestinal tract, and can cause organ damage to the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs etc.
  • Radiation, while destroying cancer cells, also burns, scars and damages healthy cells, tissues and organs.
  • Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will often reduce tumor size. However prolonged use of chemotherapy and radiation does not result in more tumor destruction.
  • When the body has too much toxic burden from chemotherapy and radiation the immune system is either compromised or destroyed, hence the person can succumb to various kinds of infections and complications.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy. Surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other sites.
  • An effective way to battle cancer is to starve the cancer cells by not feeding it with the foods it needs to multiply.
  • CANCER CELLS FEED ON: a. Sugar is a cancer-feeder. By cutting off sugar it cuts off one important food supply to the cancer cells. Sugar substitutes like NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc are made with Aspartame and it is harmful. A better natural substitute would be honey or molasses in very small amounts . Table salt has a chemical added to make it white in color. A better alternative is Bragg's aminos or sea salt. b. Milk causes the body to produce mucus, especially in the gastro-intestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus. By cutting off milk and substituting with unsweetened soy milk, cancer cells are starved. c. Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment. A meat-based diet is acidic, therefore it is best to eat fish, and chicken rather than beef or pork. Meat also contains livestock antibiotics, growth hormones and parasites, which are all harmful, especially to people with cancer. d. A diet made of 80% fresh vegetables and juice, whole grains, seeds, nuts and fruits helps put the body into an alkaline environment. About 20% can be from cooked food including beans. Fresh vegetable juices provide live enzymes that are easily absorbed and reach down to cellular levels within 15 minutes to nourish and enhance growth of healthy cells. To obtain live enzymes for building healthy cells try and drink fresh vegetable juice (most vegetables including bean sprouts) and eat some raw vegetables 2 or 3 times a day. Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C). e. Avoid coffee, tea, and chocolate, which have high caffeine. Green tea is a better alternative and has cancer-fighting properties. Water- the best water to drink is purified water, or filtered water, to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in tap water. Distilled water is acidic, avoid it.
  • Meat protein is difficult to digest and requires a lot of digestive enzymes. Undigested meat remaining in the intestines become putrified and leads to more toxic buildup.
  • Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By refraining from or eating less meat it frees more enzymes to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the body's killer cells to destroy the cancer cells.
  • Some supplements build up the immune system (IP6, Floressence,Essiac, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, EFAs etc.) to enable the body's own killer cells to destroy cancer cells. Other supplements like vitamin E are known to cause apoptosis, or programmed cell death, the body's normal method of disposing of damaged, unwanted, or unneeded cells.
  • Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor. Anger, unforgiveness and bitterness put the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Learn to have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life.
  • Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment. Exercising daily, and deep breathing help to get more oxygen down to the cellular level. Oxygen therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer cells.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and border and salute each other.
-Rainer Maria Rilke

I define love thus: the will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth.
-M. Scott Peck

The affirmative of affirmatives is love.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

The absolute value of love makes life worthwhile, and so makes man's strange and difficult situation acceptable. Love cannot save life from death; but it can fulfill life's purpose.
-Arnold J. Toynbee

Love is the subtlest force in the world.
-Mahatma Gandhi

Intellect, in its effort to explain Love, got stuck in the mud like a donkey. Love alone could explain love and loving.

Love is the only gold.
-Alfred, Lord Tennyson

There is no remedy for love, but to love more.
-Henry David Thoreau

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Love can be demanding, in fact, more demanding than law. It has its own imperatives - think of a mother, sitting by the bedside of a sick child through the night, impelled only by love. Nothing is too much trouble for love.
-Desmond Tutu

Love knows hidden paths.
-German Proverb

Bringing a child into the world is momentous. It means deciding forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
-Elizabeth Stone

A life without love, without the presence of the beloved, is nothing but a mere magic-lantern show. We draw out slide after slide, swiftly tiring of each, and pushing it back to make haste for the next.
-Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

People need love the most when they deserve it the least.
-Mary Crowley

Love and time are the only two things in this world that cannot be bought, only spent.
-Gary Jennings

Love possesses seven hundred wings, and each one extends from the highest heaven to the lowest earth.

Love is Nature's second sun.
-Geroge Chapman.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


The one, the only: Eddie Van Halen....

Monday, February 11, 2008

Van Halen

Last night my husband and I went to see Van Halen on their 2008 World Tour.

That's right. A couple of 40somethings out and about, trying to recapture their wasted youth. As we were pulling into the parking deck at Philips Arena, it dawned on me how much time had truly passed.... gone were the Camaros and muscle cars from the early 80s, gone were the tight mini skirts and Big Hair. All of a sudden we were surrounded by middle aged people in mini vans and SUV's. Holy cow! We ARE middle aged people in an SUV!

Back to my story: both my husband and I are big VH fans from the 80s but never got a chance to see the band back in the day when David Lee Roth was the singer (we're both VH 'purists'.... neither one of us enjoyed the Van Hagar "chapter".... and we won't even mention the whole Gary Cherone debacle...)

I was a little concerned (given the history of explosive personality clashes between DLR and Eddie Van Halen) that the whole tour might IMPLODE before it ever reached Atlanta, but I was wrong. And I gotta tell you..... the show ROCKED. It was awesome. They played for over 2 hours. High intensity from start to finish. Eddie was at the top of his game; he can STILL make a guitar do superantural things. Neither he nor DLR had an ounce of fat on them (and truly, to do the kind of show they did last night, you'd really have to be in fantastic physical shape.) In fact, the band member who looked the most worn out at the close of the show was the adorable 16 year old Wolfie Van Halen, Eddie and Valerie's son, who is the "new" bass player for the band. (He did a great job.)

The show was awesome. I sang at the top of my lungs, danced, and in my mind was 15 years old all over again.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Building Cathedrals

I'm Invisible.
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.
I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: 'Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?' Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Pick me up around 5:30, please.'
I remember that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book of the cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.' In the days ahead I would read - no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.'And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices youmake every day, even when no one else does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.' At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction . But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime, because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.' As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very pos sible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Whose Choice?

I read the saddest, most tragic story today while I was waiting for my doctor. It was in Vogue, and it was written by a woman who went into premature labor, at 23 weeks.

The article immediately struck a chord with me because my oldest child was born, 11 years ago, at 24 weeks gestation (meaning he was 16 weeks premature). I won't catalog his difficulties in this particular blog, but suffice it to say he had a very long, very difficult "tour" in the NICU. However, he is now a very healthy and happy almost 12 year old. He is smart, funny, sarcastic, gets good grades (except in Math) and loves Spider-Man movies, basketball, and video games. In short, he's a normal 11 year old boy.

Back to the article. The woman who wrote the article detailed how she went into labor at 23 weeks, 10 years ago, in New York, due to an incompetent cervix (so far our stories are practically mirror images of each other). The neonatologist and pediatrician on call at the hospital gave her warnings of what possible pitfalls might befall her premature infant (and yes, some children who are born that premature have severe, lifelong handicaps). Long story short: the mother decided to abort this otherwise healthy baby simply due to the fact that life in the NICU was going to be difficult, and her baby would undoubtedly have struggles.

Do not get me wrong: I am not exclusively blaming the mother in this situation. No, in fact, I find mothers in situations like this are often emotionally maimed after having an abortion and are left, wracked with guilt, to deal with the psychological repercussions of their actions. (In fact, the underlying "tone" of the article seemed to be of trying to convince herself, and her audience, that she did the 'right thing'.)
I am, however, casting blame upon a medical system that says that a life which might have "complications" should be snuffed out before it has even had a chance to begin. I'm also casting (big) blame upon our laws in America that allow late term abortions to happen all the time - for basically any reason - and we wrap it all up in the name of choice. Who the hell gets a choice? Certainly not the baby who is being snuffed. Abortion is not a neat, tidy little procedure. A human being dies - painfully and violently - during an abortion. Then the mother is scarred, emotionally, forever. I think even the most staunchly pro-choice women among us would grapple with feelings of guilt, repressed or not, after an abortion.

Of course, all day I've been thinking of this tiny premature baby, who through no fault of his own was about to be born early, and his mother, the one person on the planet who was supposed to love and protect him decided in fact to have him killed, because she didn't want to deal with the difficulties of the unknown.

I cry as I write this. I mourn that decision; and I mourn the loss of that child.

When will we wake up in our country? We have the blood of over a million babies per year on our hands. We wrap up this horrible practice in a word we Americans all love - CHOICE - and expect that that will sanitize and sanctify it. It doesn't. Not by a long shot.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Company You Keep

It Is Better To Be Alone, Than To Be In The Wrong Company
Tell me who your best friends are, and I will tell you who you are.
If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights.
A mirror reflects a man's face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses. The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate with, whether good or bad. The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity.

An important attribute you'll notice in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative-acting people. As you grow and mature, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to grow; they will want you to stay stagnant. Friends that don't help you climb will want you to crawl. Your friends will stretch your vision, or they will choke your dream. Those that don't increase you will eventually decrease you.

Consider this: it is unwise to receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves will always be the first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don't follow anyone who's not going anywhere. With some people you simply spend an evening; with others you invest it.

Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life. Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships.

Happy moments, Praise God
Difficult moments, Seek God
Quiet moments, Worship God
Painful moments, Trust God
Every moment, Thank God

Choose to rise...Don't settle...and go for your dreams!!!

And most of all let God lead you in everything you do.

"Do not ask God to order your footsteps, if you are not willing to move your feet."

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Barack Obama

Today I did something my grandparents (and every generation before them) would never have conceived of doing. I voted for an African-American for President.

Think about that for a second. A white, southern woman voting for a black, "yankee" man from Chicago for president. 50 years ago this just wouldn't have happened. (To quote Wallace Shawn from "The Princess Bride", it would have been INCONCEIVABLE.)

But today it is happening. And it's happening all over the country.
And I think it's great.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Wisdom from the Elders

Words of wisdom from Mrs. Robbie Bronner, a great grandmother who raised 6 sons, 4 of whom became pastors.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Dangers of Attachment

"A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires - that enter like rivers into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still - can alone achieve peace, and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires." - The Bhagavad Gita

Our country is on the very edge of what I believe will be a serious, protracted recession. Hopefully I'm wrong in that assessment, but I can't help but think that the greed, avarice and general "affluenza" that has plagued our country for the past decade or two is now coming back to haunt us. People became so enamored with their luxury cars, their huge houses, and living WELL above their means and now that the party is over, I think we're in for a collective long, dark season ahead.

Further to that thought, I am reading a great book by Dr. Wayne Dyer, and in the book one of the many things he discusses is the critical importance of a proper sense of detachment, specifically with regards to material possessions. I'll quote him below:

"Most of us in the Western world identify ourselves and our relative degree of success or failure by the quality and quanity of stuff that we accumulate.... When you adopt such a stance you set yourself up for perpetual frustration. What you are really saying is that you are valueless, incomplete, and worthless...."

Strong words, but I believe they ring true. Stuff doesn't equal contentment. Never has; never will.