Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Path

Every step requires
A mystery unfolds
with each stride.
Questions answered
New inquiries formed
As the trek begins anew.
And there on the horizon
A bend
up and over
We've done this before
Let's imagine
And realize

Thank you for writing this for my birthday, Honey!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Has anyone seen my lost Christmas Eve?

The best one-word description of it that I can give you is tradition. My Christmas Eve is full and overflowing with things that I know I can expect. Most of the day is spent preparing for Christmas dinner. A turkey is thawing, cranberry sauce is cooling on the kitchen counter, sweetly spiced pies are just getting placed in a preheated oven, and bread and vegetables are prepared for stuffing. Much later on a simple meal of sandwiches is set out onto the table.

Within an hour of enjoying light fare the piano is opened and Christmas carols are selected to be played and sung. Everyone has a favorite that, of course, we must never neglect to sing. After all, in keeping this tradition, we remind ourselves of why we gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Our Savior’s birth is so significant because He came to seek and to save the lost. So, singing carols must be honored and cherished.

Christmas Eve, to me, is such a sacred time that I have committed to memory even the finer details that are so invaluable. Things like playing games with family, talking about children, and opening a single gift each. These small aspects really do add to the festive atmosphere and lend their own spirit. But, this year, I lost my Christmas Eve.

It began promising enough. I had my list of things I wanted to be sure to do. I didn’t have to worry about cooking a turkey since one had been cooked in advance and simply needed to be reheated. Although I could have made more of an effort to bake pies, I knew that we had plenty already made in our refrigerator. Stuffing is definitely a nice accent to Christmas dinner but, even there, I didn’t concern myself too much over preparing it and the cranberry sauce is a quick fix.

Then the unexpected happened. We were asked by a friend if we had room in our home for them. They weren’t to be overnight guests but I was certain that we could accommodate their presence quite easily. I was going to prepare, like always, I planned to sing, as usual, and we would open gifts on cue.

This was not to be as I soon realized that my Christmas Eve left our house when our guests walked in the door. They came in need of refuge and respite. They were hungry so we fed them the turkey that had been cooked. They were thirsty so we mixed up cocoa for them to drink. And we offered them our attention and sincere care for their needs. But still I missed my Christmas Eve.

As the evening wore on I struggled to retain the traditions that had always meant so much to me. A book of Christmas carols lay open and silent on the piano. A closet full of entertaining games was closed. And a bundle of gifts were unopened. But a new Christmas Eve entered our home where my old one had left. One that I am happy to have found and humbled to say I almost had no room for. And I know that the one that joined us this evening is the one that Jesus wanted us to have all along.

Have a Blessed Christmas!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

An Intensely Festive Christmas

We are critically hooked on this music from Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

I'm just posting these here because I'd rather not have to navigate for them on YouTube.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Really Big KUDOS!

I had the great priviledge of hanging out with Paula, my long-term friend, during the end of September. She's just the kind of woman who inspires, provokes, and coddles me over Szechuan Cashew Chicken (even if she's forking bits off my plate). How we have remained friends over 17 years is a story that we've sworn to never tell, unless a sizable cash and benefits award is involved. If so, please hand over the notebook and pen!

I am extremely proud to say that she has joined the ranks of published authors. True to form, though, she has gone beyond this already considerable feat and has become a publisher as well. Bravo! In September I was her trusty sidekick during a comedy routine/booksigning event where I watched her connect with a broad spectrum of bookstore customers. She is authentic, gutsy, and a blessed lady...who has also overcome the beastly task of setting up her own website...Paula, I knew you could!


Sunday, November 18, 2007

We Were Interviewed! Sort of...

So it was almost a year ago but, still, it made me feel spiritual and sage-like. Shana is from MeetChristians, the site where Bill and I met and courted more than six years ago. Bill was more of an interview coach but we agreed on pretty much everything, and still do. Read for yourself and decide if I'm telling the truth!

Shana: My question if you don`t mind sharing is what the decision making process is in your marriage in different areas and how it has evolved if at all. Examples too.

Glory: This isn’t something we sit down and strategize. We’re both strong communicators by personality so we’re nearly always hashing out decisions. We’re also open to a lot of expert opinion and our favorite resource is Ultimately, our process is 1. Approach the subject, 2. talk it over, 3. pray about it, 4. think it over, then 5. come to an agreement, though 2 to 4 are not always in that order.

For the sake of simplicity, I'm going to go with just three categories of decisions. Obviously there are usually more than that and some decisions straddle two or more categories.

Day-to-day: These include things like meals, leisure, or shopping. We generally talk about what we want, what we’re doing, or just ask, “What do you think?” This area is so fluid, though, that compromises are very common, no ones feelings are hurt if one or the other spouse wasn’t included in the decision, and the results aren’t crucial to family harmony. This is kind of the ad-lib part of our marriage, which makes contentment obtainable.

Family-Specific Issues: These would include finances, discipline, and extra-curricular activities. We do talk about this stuff a bit more seriously since it’s kind of the meat and potatoes of our marriage. This is where Bill’s strong leadership comes into play most often. We had to work a lot of this out in the first year (months even?) of our marriage and Glory had to work very hard at being submitted. It took me awhile to really trust God in doing this but I was glad when we sorted this out early on. We make appropriate adjustments to these things, of course, but the basic ideas are always the same.

Take discipline. I am generally more lenient where Bill is strict. There can be no argument about this, though, or the kids will suffer greatly for our disunity. I had to realize that it was for our children’s best interests to have proper boundaries and structure. Also in finances, I like to spend where he likes to save. Extra-curricular, I like to get out and do a lot of stuff but Bill likes a less busy life-style. It might sound harsh but wives really do have to make the most compromises just because our husbands are to be the leaders in our homes.

Critical Life Events: The deeply impacting nature of these types of decisions MUST have ample time to be prayed over and discussed as much as possible. These are events like church affiliation, family size, and relocation. If there is no agreement about these kinds of decisions there can be no peace or unity in the home.

Shana: How much of this did you have ironed out verses figuring it out as you went along?

Glory: Well, I would say that we could determine just so much prior to marriage. Until we had three children in our home, for example, we thought having four kids was a reasonable number, which it still is. However, I didn’t take into account my post-partum depression, gestational diabetes, or any other risk factors to pregnancy. I was terrified of having a fourth baby but God has used this to heal me in so many ways, and to keep me focused on trusting Him and depending on Him. Bill and I made this a matter for prayer and fasting, last Spring, and we left this in God’s hands.

Another example is discipline of our kids. Elizabeth kept a very messy room and I talked to Bill about this at odd times during our courtship. But when he came to live with my brother and actually saw how it was messy, every day, he took matters into his own hands while I was at school and cleaned her room out…literally. She had her dresser with clothes, her closet with clothes and shoes, and her bed with bedding…that was it. No toys, books, crafts, contraband treats…NOTHING. I was a little shocked but also very relieved that something happened and it set a standard for Elizabeth what her father-to-be would expect of her.

The thing we really learned in advance of our marriage is how we communicated and could reach a decision on things. We agreed on what the truly important issues were and what was more ad-lib stuff of marriage.

Shana: Also, how much harder do you think it was for you to let go of the reigns, especially with being a former single parent up until the wedding day?

Glory: It was pretty excruciating. I was in love with the love of my life and he saw problems in my lifestyle, my financial choices, and my discipline of Elizabeth. It’s tough accepting criticism about things that are ingrained and single parents, for survival’s sake, really have to be rigid and stubborn about a lot of things. It was tough to let Bill crack through my rigidity and take the lead. Over time it wasn’t a matter of “letting”, though, and I learned what godly, biblical, wifely submission is. It’s not even close to what is sometimes portrayed as being a doormat. It is a position of strength and control…self-control. I am the one who maintains and manages the standards that, for the most part, Bill has set and I have agreed with for our family. Trying to usurp him, to me, is more of a weakness that I have no control over myself or our children…and Satan has a heyday in homes where wives don’t submit in a godly biblical manner.

Shana: Was it a gradual thing?

Glory: It was, and it has to be. “Laying down the law” didn’t even come to mind when Bill took the lead. He’s a pretty serious, intense guy, but he’s extremely gentle and loving in his approach. In fact, since I tend to do more of the talking around here, it would be easy to mistake who wears the pants. But anyone who has known us for any length of time beyond a single visit knows that I am happily following my leader. And it helped realizing that Bill would answer to God for all of it. “I wouldn’t be left holding the bag”, so to speak, which was another relief, as a former single parent.

Shana: And were you ever afraid?

Glory: Ya think? Terrified spitless!!! This was real. Bill’s love for God and His Word was real. His love and devotion to me was real. I had only known synthetic gems and fantasy plays but when my diamond came along, I had no idea how to take off the mask and costume and be real with him. He wasn’t so much my knight in shining armor, more like he was my gentle shepherd in rough linen robes. He chose me, stubborn and defiant as I was, and he came ready to lead. I had to get used to him, his voice, and his ways. Doesn’t this sound like Someone else we know? Bill has been my greatest education in becoming a godly woman, following my Shepherd, and always listening for His voice.

Shana: How long have you been married?

Glory: It will be five years on February 4, 2007. I’ve been excited about this milestone, but more excited about the milestones to come.

Shana: How have your emotions, trust, the fear factor etc. changed regarding submission from the courting stage through the first year of marriage until now?

Glory: During our courtship I was oblivious to any emotional responses I might have been experiencing toward submission. It’s all so easy to be flexible and accommodating when the chemistry is surging, the heart is melting, and the brain is taking a hiatus from analyzing anything important. It was after our engagement when Bill was living with my brother and saw me on a daily basis and in my element that I started to get a clue what submitting to Bill was about. I was a single mom, attending University, working at Elizabeth’s daycare, involved in three church ministries, and getting Elizabeth to ballet classes twice a week. Bill saw that and offered his perceptions about my ability to stretch myself as thin as I was, and I didn’t want to admit that I was strung out. I was holding my life with a closed fist and Bill was right there ready to help me let go of whatever I could stand to lose. He even commented, “This isn’t the Bill Show or the Glory Show. It’s the Bill and Glory Show.”

During our first year of marriage I have to admit that my fears were very connected with my distrust. Bill was trustworthy and I needed to realize that but I had spent 8 years in charge of everything. Yet here I was forced to rely wholly on my husband for everything. I wasn’t a legal US resident (at the time) so I couldn’t work and everything belonged to Bill. We lived with his cousin for one month until we moved to this county. But the apartment, the bills, the bank account, the vehicle title and insurance, was all in Bill’s name. It had to be that way and I accepted that. Then Bill lost his job so I needed to rely even more heavily on him to preserve our family. I truly believe God used that first year to purge a lot of selfishness and pride out of me and forge within my character what was necessary for marital unity and harmony. It has become one of the richest things to come out of our first year of marriage, the richest, of course, being Murron, born 18 days after our 1st anniversary!

Now there really isn’t a fear or distrust issue to deal with. I’m so secure with how we’ve developed our relationship. It’s still pretty funny, though, when Bill intrudes into my territory like cooking, furniture arrangement, or housekeeping tasks. I freak out at him, sometimes, but it’s just me being too self-contained in my areas of responsibility. His primary love language is acts of service so I sometimes perceive his assistance as an indication that I didn’t do my job rather than his way of expressing love to me. I’m much better about this than I used to be but it still catches me off guard, sometimes.

Shana: How has Bill's leadership style changed, if at all?

Glory: It hasn’t changed as much as it’s become more rounded and established. I probably had a harder time recognizing Bill’s authority as a leader because he’s not a lording leader, nor is he an authoritarian leader. He doesn’t lead like that in our Bible Studies, either. Those kinds of leaders probably have a lot of followers because they’re very talkative, dynamic, and attractive because they stand out. Bill isn’t like that because he’s more of a communicator, he engages people in discussion, and he doesn’t draw attention to himself. He has a gift of teaching which is a highly influential style of leadership but it’s subtle and easily missed as leadership. I recognize it, though, and love him immensely!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Seriously Plugging

Our ever-capable and enduringly-creative worship pastor put together our church's website:

It's WELL worth a look and might even get to hear me playing keys!



Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Might as well be on a silver platter…

Our daily walk of faith can be so daily, everyday, and ordinary. Weekly schedules are planned, routine, and ritual. Watching the clock becomes watching the calendar until we realize that we woke up and we have to flip the page over, again.

After some time has passed in our right-living and well-doing we begin to question if we are going anywhere. We evaluate our expenditures of time and energy and analyze our effectiveness in getting jobs done. At this point it’s very easy to resort to man’s acknowledgement and recognition to measure of our performance or determine our worth. If a considerable amount of time passes and our inner queries are met with silence it opens us up to discouragement and frustration.

Of course, being honest with ourselves inevitably results in the realization that we really do fall short of the mark. After all, when we know that someone has already gone before us setting the standard for our life, what else do we conclude but that we can never truly measure up? We want to bloom where we are planted or, as Bill likes to say, keep our minds where our backsides sit. But we can’t help but wonder if our interests and abilities are just too foreign to those we associate ourselves with. Perhaps we are in the way of someone else who can do the job better, or we can do our job better somewhere else. Either way, we just have to think we might need a change.

Then change comes, but not as we have predicted or expected. It comes in the form of a blessing. It doesn’t have to be a big blessing, a blessing we have been seeking, or even a blessing that answers any of our questions. But the blessing confirms our place in the body. We are enriched by the blessing and it refreshes in a way that dispels all discouragement and frustrations. And the blessing equips us for the tasks that are ahead of us.

We respond in the most simple and appropriate way: Thank you.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

In fractured metacarpals and in health...

On Tuesday Bill's side job as Superman took a bad turn. After leaping over a tall concrete barricade he landed on his head and shoulder and injured his hand. He was attending a meeting and when he shakily returned to his colleagues he whispered to one of them that he hurt himself and might have minor shock. He got ice on it and called me requesting my assistance as he went to the Urgent Care clinic. I walked in with him, wrote down his information and sat to his right on the bench.

While we waited, our youngest youngster in his car seat, I examined Bill's shoulder and head. Both had minimal abraisons. Then I looked at his hand and it was definitely swelling. I suddenly realized that they would have to cut his wedding ring off if the swelling continued. I tried turning it as Bill gasped and whimpered. A lady who was with her mother offered a small tube of hand lotion to lubricate Bill's finger. It worked and we successfully removed his wedding ring. Bill described the feeling inside his hand as crunching. We were called for more information and our copay which I handled as well. Then I sat on his left - his injured side - and tried to comfort him with an arm around his shoulder. As well-intentioned as it was he uttered a guttural protest to my affectionate gesture and the others waiting laughed. I felt silly and apologized nervously.

When Bill was finally called in he was examined, x-rayed, and examined again. The x-ray confirmed that he had splintered the fourth metacarpal of his left hand. He has an appointment to get a cast on Monday but he has a hand splint and a bottle of vicodin to get him through. In other words, his Superman days are suspended. He stayed home from work Tuesday afternoon but has been to work yesterday and today. However, being forced to alter his duties and slow down is hardly simple or easy.

Once a man of multiple abilities and talents he must do most of his jobs one-handed. Once a man of razor-sharp wit and responsiveness he requires further explanation and simpler queries. Now he is a hand-splinted acetaminophen and hydrocodone-hazed Super-de-dooper-man!

And I will be his extra pair of hands as he opens soda bottles, butters toast or ties his shoes or buttons, zips, and belts his pants. And when evening falls I will be his sofa-buddy as we sit through our ample supply of Twilight Zone episodes. Death Ship is especially tragic in a funny kind of way...


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Beatnik and the Bugs

Remember the post about the bad sun? Well, it gets even more telling...

About a week ago our little girl and I were having a talk about the rain, the clouds, and lighting candles when the day looks dreary. She then disclosed that clouds make her happy.


I asked her why clouds make her happy. To which she replied that she likes clouds and rain. The sun makes her sad. Really, it does. She only likes to play outside when it's cloudy.

For the record this is the same four-year-old girl who likes to wear black. We had to retire one of her favorite outfits awhile back when it became too small. A black turtleneck sweater and black leggings. A couple of Sundays ago she asked to wear a black dress, black tights, and black ankle boots to church. With reluctance she let me pull her long blond hair into a ponytail.

This is also a bug-lover. She is especially delighted with pill bugs. She holds them in her hands and giggles when their little legs tickle her palms. Yesterday we discovered a very intriguing caterpillar - yellow with little black dots and long white whiskers.

So, the other day she was putting together a puzzle that she's put together dozens of times now. She noticed that her little brother was squinting his eyes when the sunlight broke through the clouds and flooded our dining area. Immediately her mood shifted as she sighed.

"The sun is in the way."

I thought it was a brilliant take on the concept of darkness and light. Isn't that what happens when the sun first breaks above the horizon obscuring everything in range of view? Or when driving at night and some idi- um passerby has his high beams on. A little light is better but no light is just asking for trouble. I do expect that she will soon understand the merits of sunlight.

More importantly, though, I hope her spiritual light gets in the way of all the emotional clouds she will encounter throughout her life.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Having doubts

So it appears that if one is a declared believer in God he (or she) is counted as faithless or maybe even a hero for expressing doubts, depending upon who you ask.

Apparantly, letters from Mother Teresa have surfaced from years ago which refer to her lack of faith, or more appropriately, crisis of faith. An article in Newsweek comes to a conclusion that Mother Teresa long stopped believing:

For this, she is hailed as courageous for even expressing her doubts; her difficulty in believing Something she could not see.

But, some are saying, her life full of frustration and faithlessness are qualities that should prevent her from achieving sainthood. The scriptures make it abundantly clear that all who are followers of Jesus are saints, so for that, the Catholic church committee that is deciding this issue can pack sand. Mother Teresa was a saint. And so are all who believe and follow Jesus.

My question: was it still worth it, Teresa?

Only Mother Teresa would know, and, alas, she no longer is here. But considering the countless suffering people who received help and comfort from her obedience, I would say yes.

But I have a difficult time with those who point at this and other related issues as proof in the pudding that what we believe is not true, that we're just wasting our time on foolishness, etc. But faith is just that: faith. One must have faith because there isn't a difinitive tangible answer for all things. Eventually, one has to take the leap. And eventually all roads lead to the an ultimate end, which, in turn, forces us to either accept or reject it. The end question is whether one will believe in Someone who already has proven Himself and has evidence for Himself everywhere we turn.

It doesn't surprise me that Mother Teresa had her doubts. How could one in her position not have doubts while being surrounded by endless suffering and pain, yet being told by her order that she should just suck it up? I only need to look at the many examples of scripture to see that Abraham, Peter, David and countless others had doubts and fears, and even shortcomings, yet were considered heroes of the faith. Even Jesus wanted the cup of indignation to pass from Him as He prayed in the Garden before His arrest, but He submitted to the will of the Father. So if our Lord had fears, then I don't think He's too concerned when we say we're having trouble even believing in what we're doing.

I heard a song lyric from Toby McKeehen recently that really sums up what I want to be like:

"I'm letting go of everything I am.
And I'm holding on to everything you are.
I'm letting go of everything I once was.
I'm all in.
I'm falling into your arms again."

I hope that Mother Teresa eventually felt this way, because, honestly, it's all we've got when everything else seems hopeless and pointless. And considering the alternative, it's everything we need.


Thursday, August 23, 2007


It was a day like any other day.

Last Tuesday afternoon I was inside the house just taking care of business like usual when I heard a plane overhead. Then I heard a blood-curdling scream from our little guy in the backyard. I looked out the back door and saw him run from the back fence toward the house, screaming all the way. What could be the problem? Did he get bit by a spider? Did a squirrel get too close? Did he stick his hand through the fence and get bit by our neighbor's dog? He ran toward me, crying. When I picked him up he buried his face in my chest, And then he looked up at the sky, pointed and blabbered on in his 23-month-old language. I was at first confused, but then I realized: my boy is afraid of planes.

I imagined the Japanese conducting a bomb run on Pearl Harbor. "You afraid they're going to get you, boy?" I asked as I carried him into the house.

I don't know when this started. We have had numerous planes fly over our homes during my son's young life. At our old place out in the country, planes of all sorts would fly pretty low. I don't remember him being afraid when we'd run outside to see the single engine Cessna or bi-plane buzzing the powerlines. We'd even wave and at least once got a wing dip in response. But since moving back to town, where we are closer to a nearby naval station, we get all sorts of very loud aircraft fly overhead. Perhaps that's what's scared him.

But he's not afraid of helicopters. We get plenty of those, too. When one is flying nearby, Ulie waves and yells hello. Even if he hears one from inside the house, he looks up at the ceiling, waves and hollars hello. I bought him a little toy helicopter the other day, which he loves.

At any rate, when a plane flies overhead, and if Ulie is in the backyard, like today, it's like World War II all over again around here.

I think I might have to build a air raid shelter.


Monday, August 20, 2007

A travelin' man, his daughter and getting a little jumpy, perhaps

Our oldest and I just returned Saturday from a quick trip to Northern California, where we ended up after driving a couple of friends going through a rough time. It was a 18-hour trip down beginning Wednesday night, and a 16-hour trip back beginning Friday night. Certainly not a fun trip but one where we all got closer together and to the Lord and learned to lean on Him more, which should be the result of going through any tough time.

Our oldest is becoming quite the prayer warrior, as that was her assignment there in the waiting area outside the courtroom. She said to me a couple of times that she didn't think she was being much help, but I told her that she was doing what God has gifted her to do, and that is pray. And prayer was much needed in that courtroom. It's a sad case all around, but we pray that God's hand will move and the right outcome will be made by the judge.

But the lack of sleep sure has made for some tension here. We got back at about 8:30 a.m., only to scarf down some food, shower and run off to work. While I got some sleep on Saturday night, I still was pretty tired and a little on edge when Sunday came and we headed off to church.

So, there we were in the McDonald's drive thru after dropping off our oldest at a horse barn where she works from time to time. We felt as if we were hit from behind. I watched the van behind us as the driver edged closer to our rear. Wham! It felt like we were hit again. I got out and said loudly, "You hit us twice!" The lady in the van, looked at me bewildered. "I did?" she asked as she peered over the dash. I got out and looked at the bumper. At least five-feet separated us. I then told the lady that it must have been something else and went back to my van. Glory and I then noticed our four-year-old in the back slamming herself back into the seat as hard as she could; just playing around. How I could mistake a 40-pound girl goofing around in the back seat with getting rear-ended is beyond me, but I did. Embarrassed, I got out again and apologized to the lady. She said no problem. I don't think I made a complete fool of myself, but getting out and telling the lady that she just hit me twice was probably a little premature.

Fortunately I got some more sleep this weekend and am ready for whatever comes our way this week. I think I will avoid the drive-thrus, however. I'm finding that I am imagining things right now.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

If I Could Scoot 2,000 Miles

And I have.

This morning my Honda Ruckus topped 2,000 miles on the way to work. 2,000 miles in just 14 months. It's been a lot of fun scooting around this area, to and from work mostly.

The reason for getting the 49cc scooter was to save some money. And it seems I have. I get 100 miles to the gallon. At an average of $3 per gallon over the past year, I have just had to shell out $60 for gas. That's one tankful in the van. The same 2,000 miles in the van would have cost $300. I did have to take the bike in for a tune up this spring. That bill wiped out the $240 savings we've enjoyed, but still, it has paid for itself.

Now that we live in town again, and that I am just three miles from work, there is no reason why I can't drive the Ruckus year-round and save more money, which really helps our budget-minded family.

I have earned the respect of the most grizzled Harley riders who have been impressed by my Honda's fuel efficiency. I appreciate the nods and waves of I get, but I know I'm not in their league...yet. I just wish I could go faster and look a little more menacing. While 42 mph is fun, it doesn't blow my hair back. And I probably would look stupid in leathers on that thing. And a tattoo that reads "Born to be wild," or "Mama" in a heart wouldn't look good on me either.

Perhaps a Harley is in order.



Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Love of my Life

I hope you feel like this, today...on top of the world! Have a wonderful Birthday, Honey!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Happy 14th Birthday!

Our bloomin' sweet daughter:

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Crying out to God

So the bridge collapse in Minnesota last nigth has got us wondering about something.

Ever notice that whenever there is some tragedy (natural disaster, a murder or other crime against a person, or any other horrible event), people cry out to the Lord, or thank the Lord if things aren't as bad as they thought or if they barely escaped, etc?

In short, they invoke the Name of the Lord.

That's fine. That's good.

It makes me more and more certain that people do believe in God and know that He's there somewhere. For those who have experienced loss during these tragedies, I often hear and see in the media quotes to the effect of blaming or at least questioning why GOD allowed this to happen. Some might criticize such complaints, but I have had to rethink this. For me, I am encouraged that they really do know that there is a God and that He is out there somewhere. At least they are one step closer to acknowledging Him directly, which is what God wants.

I take this one step further with those who say there is no God or don't believe in Jesus or any deity for that matter. Why then, when swearing, is the name of God or Jesus invoked? Curious. When one stubs their toe on the living room coffee table, they don't say "Oh BUDDHA!!" No, it usually is a cursing with God's name or Jesus' name in it. Makes me think that in our innermost being we all know that God is out there somewhere, whether we like it or not or whether we want to believe it or not.

And while we don't understand God's ways, I believe He is looking on even those who died in Minneapolis last night. I just pray that He will give comfort to those who lost loved ones in that mess.


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Border Crossings

Going up to B.C. yesterday was a lot of fun. We had the pleasure of taking Glory's sister and niece back across the border so they could fly back to their home today. Our visit, though a short 24 hours, was refreshing. I like being in their presence as they encourage me in my walk with the Lord. I find that I am too serious and regimented. Where's the sweetness of the Lord? In them, I see it, and I want it, too.

Crossing into B.C. was uneventful. The border guard was professional and nice, too.

Coming back into the U.S., well, that's another matter.

I have long thought that my countrymen at the U.S./Canadian border are just a little too serious. The young border enforcement agent who greeted us at the crossing was all business. No smiles. No laughing. Nothing. Not even when he determined that, yes, we were who we said we were, and, yes, these were, in fact, our children, he asked if we were bringing anything into the U.S. The only things we bought were from Tim Hortons, so I responded accordingly.

"Just some Timbits and a cup of coffee," I told him matter-of-factly.

He paused and told us to go on our way.

When we were safely away from the guard, Glory burst out laughing, and suspected that he, despite his demeanor, was laughing, too.

Well, I answered his question, I responded.

That's not what he meant, Glory explained.

We're going back there in a couple of months when Glory heads to Saskatchewan for a week. Perhaps I can bring enough Tim Hortons to even share with the guard when he asks me what I bought in Canada.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Renovations Part II

So we had a conversation with the neighbors yesterday after returning home from church. They filled us in on the goings-on at our humble abode before it was our humble abode. It so happens that the people that were there before the people that were there before us owned not only our house but our neighbors' house, as well. Over time, our neighbors told us, they have had to shell out about $20,000 to get the house up to code. Great. As if money isn't tight enough.

One event that was not entirely welcome for our neighbors was the fate of their doorbell. When using it one day, the wiring caught fire. I'm sure that kind of greeting would be quite traumatizing for a friend coming over for a friendly chat and a shared supper.

"I-I don't know, o-o-officer," Bob stammered to the cop on scene, with the charred ruins behind him. "I just brought over some barbeque for them and rang the doorbell. The house just burst into flames."

"Really? That's what happened?" the cop asked.

"Yeah," Bob replied. "Now what am I going to with these ribs?"

Our neighbors warned us about lots of things, most of which we already knew. The foundation in the king and queen room (old garage) probably isn't up to snuff because it was poured without permits. The wiring is going to have to totally be replaced. They weren't surprised to learn of our need to replace the flooring (with which we are about done replacing in the kitchen.)

It's good to have neighbors that are in the know about things that affect us. Knowing that these neighbors who have seen the inside of our house know the history of how it got that way gives us comfort that if something goes wrong, they likely will be able to let those who handle such things know what happened to us and why.

Now, where's that doorbell?


To add to the original post: the whole conversation started when they asked us if we knew anything about the fence. We didn't but we had noticed how odd and piecemeal it seems to have been built. Turns out they had a deal with the owners of our house that they would split the cost of the fence and build it together. Our neighbor went out and purchased lattice, posts and other fencing supplies and had it sitting in their yeard ready to go. Lo, our neighbors came home one day to find that part of the fence had been built, and badly so. No money was offered, much less given, for the materials used and it was too late to start over. So, we've given our neighbor the green light to tear down, rebuild, put up, or whatever he wants to do to the fence. Just as long as their dog does her business in her owners' yard and not ours, I'm happy!


Wednesday, July 18, 2007


So we had a bunch of friends over last Sunday after church for an open house. It was fun showing the 97-year-old new-to-us house around to explain what we would like to do in the coming years.

And years it will take, too. There's the kitchen floor that needs to be retiled. There's hardwood floor underneath the carpet that Glory and I want to expose and varnish. There's painting, painting, and more painting that needs to be done. There's a stairwell that should be replaced. The list goes on.

We already have started on the kitchen floor by removing the ancient original tile. That job possibly could get done by week's end if we can stay with it. I nearly slit my left wrist last night with the putty scraper I was using to peel the tile off the floor. Fortunately it wasn't that deep but a scar will likely remain.

So all this renovation reminds me of the work God does in our lives. There are layers to peel away exposing a bare foundation that only He can refinish to make beautiful again. Our walls that need spackle and paint remind me that there are dings, scratches and scrapes we get in our lives that He smoothes over with a refreshing whitewash. An old air conditioner awkwardly placed into a hole in an old door remind me that there are glaring things that God gently points out to me that they obviously don't fit and need to be removed. The original windows in our house let out a ton of heat in the winter time, much like a life that's not insulated with the Word when times get tough. And that ugly homemade not-up-to-code electrical job in the garage reminds me that some things in our lives better be removed, and quick, lest we burn the entire house down.

Now if we can just figure out what to do with sap-dripping trees over our driveway. That's getting to be quite nasty and our Volvo is sure to be encased in it before too long.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Feelin' hot, hot, hot!!!

The heat that most of the west has been experiencing the last couple of weeks finally hit us yesterday. Today was the hottest day of the summer with a high of 97 or so. That's really cookin' for this part of the country. Glory and the kids tried their best to keep cool during the day by staying indoors with the curtains and shades drawn.

I hae tried my best playing Superamazing hubby and dad when I got home from work by loading up the family and heading out to somewhere cool. Yesterday it was the land of the never-ending stuff: Costco. Glory and I finally bought a membership to that place and yesterday was payday. What a crazy place: a dumping ground of mostly junk most people don't need, but we managed to find things that we use. Now we will have those things to use until 2013. Murron called Costco "California." Seems to her that the store looked a lot like a Target store Murron and I visited in Sacramento last month. Some memory Murron has!

Today we trekked on over to Target. Funny that despite the heat there were very few people there. Usually the place is packed. Then we headed to Sears. Glory looked for a bug zapper. We were notified by our local department of health that our neighborhood is experiencing a high volume of mosquitoes and that if we're not careful, we're going to die tomorrow from West Nile Virus. We can't have that, so we needed to buy something to protect ourselves. We finally found a good zapper at Fred Meyer. While there, though, Glory and I noticed people buying up air conditioners. We both shook our heads. Glory noticed the same thing at Sears. What a waste of money. Sure, it's been hot the last two days and tomorrow we'll experience the final day of this, but come the weekend and beyond, it will cool down. Beginning next Tuesday we're supposed to start a week of rain. So, in other words, normal Washington weather. Those AC buyers should have put their money to good use buying bug zappers. They're more likely to die from Yellow Fever than from heat stroke. Around here, anyway.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

From Colorado, to California, through Oregon and home to Washington

Bill took Elizabeth on a hike up on Mount Garfield. They ran out of time before getting to the top...just imagine if they made it even higher than this!

Bill and Glory stepped out for this shot in the Rockies...grin.

Murron loved the smell of this gorgeous orange blossom.Another photo of Bill and Glory to add to the Capitol building series!A near sunset view in front of Mount Shasta. The whole gang of six at Crater Lake! Ulie was thrilled to play around on the shoreline and then MacAulay finally got his chance to enjoy the sound of the surf in the safety of Glory's arms.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A 4,000-mile road trip, reunions and a dog named Diesel

The family just returned from a two-week, 4,000+ mile road trip from Washington, through Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, back throough Utah and Nevada, and then on to California, Oregon and back here. What a wonderful time of family, scenery and lots of character building, too.

The purpose of the trip was to see both of Bill's grandmothers in Colorado and California, which we did. We hope that the kids, especially the little ones, remember them.

We also saw lots of friends and other family along the way. It's a privilege knowing so many people across this country. We saw family or friends in every state except Nevada. That gave us something to look forward to each leg of the trip. Those visits were very precious to us. It's a blessing to know that there are some people God has placed in our paths over the years that we can pick up where we left off.

We met a couple in Boise Bill hadn't seen in 15 years. Although we were able to meet them only for an hour and a half over breakfast, the fellowship was sweet.

We also visited with a family who used to belong to our church here in Washington and who now are pastoring a small church in Utah. Though we were very late getting in, they stayed up for us, had beds ready and visited with us until well past midnight. We appreciated their hospitality and understanding that only another large family that has traveled cross country could possess.

We also met our baby's namesake in the Denver area. One of our little guy's middle names means badger. It was great the little badger met the big badger in the mountains of Colorado.

We met Bill's college friends in Denver and their new baby. It was great seeing their lives changed and their family.

We met tons of relatives as well as friends we suprised, in western Colorado. We wanted to meet others but there wasn't time.

In California we met some of Bill's family, some of whom Bill hadn't seen in nearly 30 years. It was interesting watching various family dynamics, and, for Bill, getting reacqainted with some cousins he has very clear childhood memories of. It would be nice to reestablish a permanent connection with them.

We saw Crater Lake. Very nice!

We then met with another of Bill's college friends and his family in Oregon. The visit was much too short, but that's the problem with long road trips.

And what family vacation would be complete without a vehicle disaster? We decided to watch the sunset on the beach at Long Beach, WA. We (Bill) strayed too far off the packed sand and got the van stuck. After trying in vain to dig out, and snapping a climbing rope we had when a passerby came to help, we had to get some real help. Shortly before sunset, a huge moustachioed guy named George and his huge Mastiff Diesel arrived in their huge 4x4 to pull us out. The job took all of 30 seconds and cost us $85. But it was worth it, and we still had time to watch the sun go down, giving the perfect ending to a great trip. We arrived home shortly before 3 a.m.

We came home with a lot of memories, thoughts and ideas for future trips, as well as confirmation that we are where God wants us to be despite wondering at times if He's calling us somewhere else. We do know that we need to visit our friends and family more often. We pray that we will be able to do that as He provides the means to reach those people.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

"Are You Still Pregnant?"

Friday seemed promising but nothing came of it. Bill started feeling very sick on Saturday with chills and fever so we missed church on Sunday because of this. He missed work Monday and Tuesday as well - you have to shackle and chain this guy to the floor to get him to stay put so you know he's got to be feeling rough when he misses work. So, we're looking at this delay in childbirth as God's answer since we wouldn't want to jeopardize this baby's health in any way.

Today would put us a week overdue but we're actually doing very well. I think it's funny that my little baby ticker is stuck at the same comment, now! Bill was feeling well enough to go to work and I'm getting a few things done before baby arrives and we plan our move into our new house. God is so good to us and we're excited to see His plan continuing to unfold in our family.

Oh, and we would never leave anyone in the dark about our baby's birth so just know that, unless something happens, you probably won't hear anything. Our family and church friends know this, too.

Until then, I'll leave you with the title question...and other silly things that fly out of people's mouths when a woman is pregnant and overdue *and some great comebacks I can't wait to try out*:

Them: "Are you still pregnant?"
Me: "What??? NOOoooo!!! I'm not pregnant!!! How rude of you to think that!!!"

Them: "You haven't had this baby yet?"
Me: "Oh, but I did have the baby. It wasn't the right one, though, so we had to return it. It took us forever to find the receipt, too..."

Them: "When are you going to have this baby?"
Me: "Just as soon as people stop scaring him/her into staying put. Babies are very sensitive to their environment, you know."

Them: "Any news on the baby?"
Me: "I keep looking, honestly, but Foxnews and CNN just don't give much coverage to this kind of thing, these days. Jerks!"

Them: "Have you tried castor oil/bumpy drives/walking up and down stairs/straddling curbed sidewalks/spicy food/sex?"
Me: "Yes, and nitroglycerine/bungee jumping/throwing myself down you know where I can find illegal explosives?"

Them: "When are you due?"
Me: "Actually, I'm not. This is really embarassing, for me, but I really just developed an eating disorder because deep down I'm very VERY ANGRY!!!"

Monday, April 23, 2007

Parting the Waters

Everybody keeps telling me I should be resting up. "Everybody" would include my husband, my kids, my midwife, my friends, my neighbors, my grocery checkout lady. Basically, everybody who has even glanced at my very large belly tells me I need to go and rest. Honestly, though, I think they're just tired of looking at me with my full-to-capacity-womb and want to put me out of sight but, of course, not out of mind.

Last night I noticed that I was quite literally waddling, now. I know what genuine waddling looks like, too, because our neighbors have two ducks who hang out together and waddle over lawns and gardens. It looks cute when they do it, but I just look like a very pregnant lady trying to navigate around furniture and between walls and doorways. I have used this to my advantage, and shamelessly so. A couple of Sundays ago I was waiting to fetch myself a cup of coffee, after church, and there were about three men nattering away at the table. Yes, men do indeed natter. They weren't migrating elsewhere anytime soon, either, so I stated, "I'm pregnant and I need coffee." It was like the parting of the Red Sea! What power and authority! Just to make doubly sure, last week I employed the same technique to fetch our kids from their CE classes. And yet again, the waters parted and I passed through, barely needing to waddle and inch!

Bill has discovered that my pregnancy has worked to our advantage in selling our house, as well. At least it would appear that way. We have a couple ready to close the deal and move in, all the while seeing my belly expanding with every visit to our home. They know this birth is imminent so it has seemed that they have been quick and decisive and are not asking us to do much in the way of repairs to this nearly ten year old manufactured home. And we have a house waiting that really appeals to us and will fit into our long-term plans of living in town and raising our children close to their friends. Again, the path is clearing and we are well on our way!

Now, if I just had the same power and authority to part the amniotic waters at will and usher forth this little boy through the canal and into our world. Alas, that task belongs to him and him alone.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bragging Rights

I turned my back on Murron for a few short moments and discovered this:I did not teach her this. No one did. She blesses me so profoundly!


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Home Stretch

First of all, I want to say how much I have appreciated Bill's postings while I have taken my pre-natal mental hiatus. You'll have to trust me on this one; you would not have wanted to read anything I might have posted during this time.

So, take a look at this:

That's my darling little pregnancy ticker which, today, should read that I am 2 weeks away from delivering Craig Boy II. Sounds like some kind of sci-fi warship, huh? Well, that's not too far from his movements, of late. Remember the Alien movies, any of them? That would be my tummy. While I was laying on our little sofa, the other day, Elizabeth placed a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock on my tummy. Craig Boy II started moving around and Elizabeth said, "It looks like a hoverboard!" It did, until I started laughing. Then it looked like the shingles that have flown off our roof during our pacific gale storms. Anyway, the entire family has been entertained by this phenomenon. Even Ulie delights in seeing my tummy and saying, "Baby!" before he proceeds to open a drooling mouth and perform impressive zerberts on his brother's warm dwelling.

So, that's about it, for now. When the waiting game gets really dull and I am deep into obsessing over every pelvis plunge, Braxton-Hicks, hip separation, and abdominal cramp, you might read a new entry or two. Until then, it's all about tummy butter, hot therapeutic baths, and LOTS of good wholesome naps. Those are Bill's orders, anyhow!


Monday, April 02, 2007

Enticements and clean toilets

We have a new soda machine in the hallway of my workplace. It has one of those environmental sensors on it so it will turn itself off if no one has ventured by in a while. The object of such sensors, they say, is to conserve energy. I think it's an insidious way to tempt one into buying something one doesn't need by honing in on one's other senses...or perhaps by scaring the daylights out of the would-be consumer.

The other day while walking down the hall, I became startled when the machine suddenly whirred to life, blinked on and off and on a couple of times, charged the freon in the cooling chamber and beckoned me to buy an icy cold beverage. After I stopped shaking, I found myself hypnotized and started patting my pockets for change. Fortunately I didn't have enough money that day, but I realized to my shame how easy I could give in to corporate suggestion.

Speaking of scary things, we tackled the master bath toilet over the weekend by replacing the wax gasket underneath the bowl. Who knows how long it had been since that pleasant task was completed. It had to have been several years, at least. I had gloves on, and that was enough protection for the job, but I wondered about that guy (you know the one) who has to replace the wax seals underneath the commodes at the public library, the gas stations or even the bus depot in Seattle. If I see that guy, I think I will shake his hand--provided he's wearing gloves--and buy him a nice lunch.

Perhaps the commode creators ought to come up with a sensor device like their soft drink counterparts. The toilet would know when the gasket needed to be replaced and could blink, honk or make some other noises to let you know. That way, if it scared you half to death, you'd already be in the right place.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Butlering, Sushi and a bad sun

This week I have played host to nearly two dozen people taking a training class near here to become car seat technicians. I have wanted to have such a class here for a couple of years and finally it's happened. Instead of teaching, however, I have played butler, and that's been a lot of fun. These folks are getting the best out of me: the best lunches, the best breakfasts, the best service; no call-in pizza for me. They get the best, including my wife's gourmet cooking.

Recently, Glory and I watched "Remains of the Day," in which the dutiful Mr. Stevens serves his employers, all the while trying to be oblvious to their shortcomings, politics and mannerisms. Service is the key, says Stevens. Everything else doesn't matter. Sadly, Stevens realized too late that he missed out on many things in life while blindly serving.

While I have been very busy doing my regular job and these extras that have come my way, I find that I couldn't be a Mr. Stevens. There's just too much happening around me not to notice. My little 17-month old boy recently started saying the name of our goldfish, Sushi. "Sooo-shee," he says very slowly. He also gets excited when he sees bananas on the counter. "Naaa-naaaa," he says while smiling and chuckling. What a sad existence for me if I didn't listen to little voices uttering new words. Mr. Stevens would be annoyed hearing little voices.

Our four-year old, while trying to shield her eyes from the sun, remarked suddenly in the car on the way to church tonight, "the no fun." Glory and I laughed heartedly at that. Mr. Stevens would not have laughed at this. Mr. Stevens probably doesn't see the sun very much.

Then there's our teen, who can talk a mile a minute while covering every topic one can think of. Usually each topic will fold into something about horses, but that's OK. Mr. Stevens would not have children in the house, and would not know much about horses, except that very proper important people ride on them from time to time.

I like to think I have a balanced view of things. I hope that as I get older I don't get so wrapped up with work that I miss out on what's really important -- things that can never be captured and experienced again.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Hide and seek

Most of the people with whom I associate have at least three phone numbers -- work, home and cell. On any given day, one should be able to contact them at their domicile or their place of employment or virtually anywhere else-- the store, on the road, in the bathroom, whereever!

Some of this need to always be at the beck and call of anyone who wants to contact us at anytime, anywhere, is a little annoying, but I guess that's our fault for giving in to demands of being connected and wired to the rest of the societal collective.

I live not too far from a mentality that seems not have given in, and I must take it or leave it.

While trying to get in touch with a colleague who was teaching at a remote training facility in the Cascade mountains, I had a devil of a time trying to track down the phone number. Since this facility is located on property owned by the city of Seattle, I called them. I got put on hold, forever. Then I called another number. No one was there, and the recorded voice stated that all messages would be checked twice a week. I didn't know if one of those checks would have been made on a Thursday, so I hung up. Finally, I called some executive director and ended up with his executive assistant. She didn't know the phone number, and suggested that I call all the numbers I previously tried. When I told her I had had no success, she suggested I call the general store that is about 10 miles from the location of the training facility and, in her words, "see what happens."

The lady at the general store said that, yes, she did have the phone number in question, but it was around there "somewhere." She asked her co-worker for the number. I heard her helpful colleague ask her who it was who wanted to know, and perhaps the caller could call the main training office number in another town. Fortunately, the number was found, and I was in business.

When I finally reached my destination, and before I was able to talk with my co-worker, the lady on the other end said that they don't publish the number. Well, that was helpful.

I think I have gotten used to easy access these days. With a few taps of the keyboard, I usually can track down whatever and whomever I want with relative ease. But if someone doesn't want to be found, it's frustrating.

But, I guess for people who live upriver and up in the mountains, being hard to reach is a skill they seem to have mastered. In one of these upriver towns, though, I know from experience that if they can't be found at home, or at their place of employment or out plowing the fields, they can be found at the local tavern. So, perhaps they aren't trying to hide after all. Perhaps their location just is on a need-to-know basis. And if you ain't from there, and if they don't know you, you don't need to know.


Monday, February 19, 2007

Recycled memories and new hairdos

The last seven days or so seem to have forced me to remember things from my past.

While riding my Honda Ruckus from work last week, the scent of the air took me back to my high school days, when I would walk home at night after working through the dinner rush at the family restaurant. Pockets of cold winter air would meet a breath of warm air on a certain turn of a dirt road leading to my house. It seemed to bring a sense of comfort after a long day of school and work. Last week's experience was no different.

On Friday, at a bowling alley going away function for a co-worker, the oily smell of french fries instantly took me back to 1983, when I spent Christmas break with my mother. Mom managed a pizza joint at the time in this little Wyoming town of about 300 people, if that. I probably hadn't thought of that memory in a decade or more. A guy named Moose, who had an uncanny resemblance to John Denver, befriended me, and taught me how to play pool while my mother baked pizzas in the back.

Then, Saturday, I clicked on the news on CNN and saw that a certain pop star shaved her head bald. I was reminded of Sinead O'Conner. This particular singer isn't anything like ol' Sinead, so I guess baldness is where the similarities end. Oh well. I never got into Sinead's music too much, but I respected her stance as an artist, and one who didn't want to be in the business just to receive awards and accolades.

Tonight, Glory made calzones. While watching her make them, and inhaling their aroma, I was transported back to 1988, when I was a freshman in college. The university had greasy, cheese and sausage-packed calzones for sale in the evening study hours --and they delivered to the dorm rooms! I don't know if I accomplished much while studying, but I sure accomplished packing on 15 pounds that first semester.

It's interesting what sounds, smells and sights will cause us to remember and reflect. Also interesting is what we sometimes pine away for. It would be great to order up some calzones and invite Moose over for a game of Nine Ball at a tavern somewhere. Perhaps afterward, I could walk home, feeling the warm and cool air on my face, while listening to Sinead's "Nothing Compares to You" on the Walkman.

Yeah, that would be great.


Friday, February 09, 2007

Super Mutant Hero Family

I think our family could be one of those super mutant hero families that we watch on screen and try with which to identify. But those celluloid freaks got nothing compared to what we've got going on.

Forget Rubbermade Man, or whatever his name is. Forget Recycled Number 2 Plastic Girl. Forget the Amazing Blow Torch Boy. We've got the Super Mutant Hero Family that puts all to shame.

In our supersecret hidden lair headquarters, our army of six stops crime and even ordinary everyday life with our superhuman arsenal of superhuman strength and superhuman abilities.

Superamazing Juggling Pregant Chef Ladymom: This woman defies imagination with her superhuman ability to manage a plethora of skills, all the while managing the home with feats of agility and grace. Her belly expands by the hour with a Superhuman Baby Boy who wants to leap from the womb more than two months early. She soothes everyone's supertempers with her supertalented fingers on the piano. Possessing a superkeen mind, Superamazing Juggling Pregnant Chef Ladymom is a walking encyclopedia and dictionary that freely dispenses information to The Superamazing Confuser, The Superamazing Organizer Imagination Pixiegirl and the Super Superamazing Devours Everything Yelling Boy.

The Superamazing Everywhereman: Everywhereman is, well, everywhere: at home, at work, at church, at the gym, teaching classes, not teaching classes, paying bills, taking the mutant family to doctors, dentists, midwives, friends, neighbors and everywhere and everyone else. His 1986 Olds is an on-the-road miracle of motoring by being able to take Everywhereman on his and the mutant family's quests for employment, health, recreation and nutrition. Everywhereman also battles ridiculers and scoffers on his Honda Ruckus Superamazing Scooterbike when on quests for fuel savings.

The Superamazing Confuser: Able to blister the cognitive abilities of all in her path, the Superamazing Confuser shreds her opponents by keeping them off balance through a barrage of questions and comments using her patented multi-tiered attention span system formula approach. She is effective in rendering her targets helpless by causing them to wonder what they were asking her in the first place. It is expected that Superamazing Confuser will soon possess superior eluding skills, matching her verbal ability to do the same.

Superamazing Organizer Imagination Pixiegirl: Don't let her petite, doe-like features catch you off guard. Pixiegirl lives in the world of rigid organized imagination. When she asks her hapless victims to play, they play HER way. Forget about playing regular Horsey. Forget about playing the usual game with dogs, cats and bears. No no. There is a certain way all is done, and those in her clutches won't know how -- even if they ask. Oh, and pick up those toys, or she will do it for you. And be sure to keep the night's water glass on her dresser, just so.

Superamazing Devours Everything Yelling Boy: The Boy is a whirlwind of teeth and lungs. No banana is safe. No ear is immune. He specializes in making his presence known and remembered. Often noticed for his pleasant features, The Boy rubs it in with charm, but then asks for payment in food and attention. He also has the ability to amplify his demands by a factor of 10 decibels with each passing minute.

Superhuman Baby Boy: Has not yet arrived, but if his moves in the womb suggest anything, he will put everyone in the Super Mutant Hero Family to the test.


Friday, January 26, 2007

Post Op Blues

Our little girl had her tonsils removed two days ago. We already can tell she's breathing a lot better as her tonsils were very huge and were blocking a part of her airway. It was a long wait to get them removed, but we're grateful now it's all over.

It was a little rough in the morning of her surgery, having arrived at the ENT's office at 7 a.m., and watching our little girl go through what she had to in order to get better. I do hope our other kids don't have to go through anything similar.

When we were leaving the surgeon's office, our girl groggily said to me from the back seat, "I don't want to see a doctor!" I told her that she wouldn't have to again (for that, anyway.)

The good thing about surgeries is the food! On the first day, she enjoyed eating her share of applesauce, ice cream and yogurt. It didn't take too long for her to realize, however , that something wasn't quite right. She was being hustled. It became reality when she saw her brother eating a banana. She wanted one, too. When Glory whipped it up for her in the blender, she cried bitter tears.

"I don't want a banana like that!" she cried. Poor girl.

It's going to be two weeks of pureed food for our little patient, and all of us will be quite happy when this fortnight is over. I promised her I would buy her a double cheeseburger in two weeks. She loves "bubble" cheeseburgers. That seemed to brighten her spirits for a couple of seconds.

I must say one of the hard parts for me is being told by the nasty nurse before the surgery that I couldn't hold my daughter's hand when he gave her the gas and put her to sleep. I know the staff have their reasons, all of them valid, but I was not too pleased being told I had to stay in the post op room while they carried our crying and frightened little girl to the OR. It's like having your kid being ripped from your arms by complete strangers. Someone should look into things like PST for children who have had surgery. I'm sure it's more common than people realize.

But now things are fine. It's just 12 more days of soft foods for our little girl. I hope she can be patient for that bubble cheeseburger.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Memories of cats

It's hard to know sometimes what I like more: my kids being small or being older.

I do like them small, but the disadvantage is that they have little memory. It's always sadened me to think that they would not remember their family members should something happen to any of us.

So when our little girl started relaying stories some time ago, incorporating events that had actually happened, we knew we were at the point that she would remember things important.

Last night while we prepared to go to bed and were ready to pray, our three-year-old mentioned Mona.

Desdemona, our white feline, and Othello, our black cat, were part of our household until last spring when we gave them away to an acqaintance who lives on a farm. Though we liked our cats, we didn't like the fleas they brought with them from the outside. We also didn't like the jealousy that Mona displayed through peeing on everything after our little boy was born. With little kids, the price just became too high to have cats in the house.

So it was a sad day last spring when we dropped off the cats at the farm, or Hell's Outhouse, as we have called it. As soon as I carried him out of the van, Othello spied the farm family's big Saint Bernard charging out of nowhere toward us. Othello leaped from my arms, leaving me resembling a scratching post, and bolted toward a cattle pen. He ended up getting trapped between the gate and the fence. We retreived him and petted him and he calmed down. Too soon afterward, Othello and Mona were left to settle into farm life as we sadly drove away.

The cats have come up in conversation from time to time, so it doesn't surprise me when even our little girl brings them up. But last night was particularly sweet.

We started to pray, and our little girl asked where Mona was. I reminded her that Mona was living at a farm with all sorts of animals. I told her Mona was having lots of fun with the cows, horses, pigs and dogs.

She wanted to be sure that the cats were OK, and asked other questions, like if the cats were warm and if they are being held by someone. I assured her that the cats are being cared for by someone who loved them. That someone is one of our oldest daughter's friends.

"Is she nice to them?" she asked.

Oh yes, she's very nice to them, I told her.

"Is she careful?" she probed further.

I again told her that the cats are in a good place. We then prayed for the cats and for everyone else, too, before going to bed.

Today she asked again about the cats and prayed for them at lunchtime.

The cats played an important part of our kids' lives, so I am sure we will be hearing about Mona and Othello for years to come.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Confessions from a power line underdweller

We live underneath a power line -- a BIG power line -- and I suppose that residing under such a life-sapping monstrosity would result in a lot of things bad for the Haven Five: nervous tics, uncontrolled swearing, groceries already microwaved and ready to eat within seconds of pulling up the driveway, rotting flesh, etc.
Fortunately, nothing of the kind has happened in our almost three years living in Electromagnetic Hell.
That's good.
But I wonder if some of the 20-odd house hunters who have even remotely considered our house their next abode believe that is what's in store for them and their loved ones should they decide to relocate here.
Through the fall and winter we have been treated with compliments on our lovely property: "Nice home," one has said. "I love the layout," said another. "Do you like having the firepit in the backyard?" queried a nice gentleman who likes the odd backyard barbecue. However, four out of five "satisfied" clients who ended up passing on our house have commented that they don't like the power lines. It's frustrating, considering that one can see them from a mile away. It's not like our house conceals the power lines as people drive up, only to shock and surprise the otherwise contented buyers when they scope out the backyard.
"Whoa! You didn't tell me you had power lines out here!"
I really don't know what the big deal is, though. Like us, most of the folks in our neighborhood have families, and so far I haven't seen any of our children sprouting third arms or an extra eyeball or two. Even the pets seem normal to me. That chicken we caught last week didn't smell even slightly broiled. But my sense of smell has been off lately. I could have been mistaken.
Well, anyway, as we enter our fourth month as motivated house sellers, we will continue to put the smile on our collective faces and try our best to convince that one lucky house hunter that this already is his or her home sweet home.
But we may have to steer them into the master bath to have a second or even third look at the huge garden tub they can't live without when they begin asking about that buzzing coming from the backyard.