Posts

Showing posts from 2013

Chemotherapy and Blood Work

Wes went in for some blood work and a meeting with his chemo oncologist today.  Result:  His blood is perfect.  White cells still strong.  He is experiencing very few of the side effects from the chemo so far, has good energy and is still working.

All these things are answered prayers. 

Glory to Thee, O Lord.  Glory to Thee!

Sink or Swim

I am learning through this crisis in my life that is my spouse having cancer to internally slow down.  Think each thought,. Feel each feeling.  Be in each moment.  Wonder each wonder.

It is OK to think, feel, and wonder.  But it's also OK to just BE.  And to focus on the necessary dailyness of being.  Things like coffee and lentil soup and what's for dinner? 

I stare at my pretty wedding rings that are mostly not even "wedding" rings (one was from an anniversary and one was from a Christmas and is CZ)  and I wonder how much longer I will "get" to wear them.  Then I remind myself that I can wear them forever if I want to.  Because LOVE lasts forever, even beyond death. 

I am learning to take care of myself....or continuing to learn this.  I am eating nutritious food.  I am not caring as much about weight loss as I am about keeping up my stamina and health...as little of that as I have. 

I am taking my vitamins. 

I am learning that it is impossible to cry…

Happy Birthday, Wes!

Image
Birthday man turned 44 today!  I made a high protein, low carb cake out of coconut flour and flax meal.  It contained 10 eggs!  And chocolate.  It was sweetened with erythritol and stevia.  One of Wes' medications has evil effects on his blood sugar, so other than a bit of fruit and the occasional portion of prunes, he is avoiding sugar.  The cake was popular with everyone in the family, which was a nice surprise.  And since it is not loaded with sugar and carbs, it will make a nice breakfast!  Here are some pictures: 
Prayers are certainly appreciated.  Right on schedule, Wes is starting to experience some of the side effects from his chemo.  He can't go very long with an empty stomach now, without experiencing an uncomfortable gut clenching sensation.  And the hair loss: That has begun and is progressing.  Please pray that God would grant Wes the ability to keep working through this round of chemotherapy and radiation, which will last until near the end of January. 

Camned Dancer

I picked Wes up from work today to take him to his radiation appointment.  We were chatting.  How was your day?  How was your energy?  Well, I see at least you still have your hair...as I snuck a look at his beard and chuckled.

He paused, a funny look on his face.  "Actually..." and he whipped off the hat I"d knitted during his biopsy surgery.  I pulled the car over, still in the parking lot of the place where he works, so I could take a look.

Sure enough, a couple of bald spots on the side of his head:  one of them as big as my palm. another, about thumb sized.

I joked that at least now we know the pills aren't placebos.  The laughter covered up tears.   I noticed he looked pale, wan, and worn out. 

His hat went right back on, and we ran a couple of errands (filling prescriptions at the pharmacy, checking mail at our P.O. box...nothing earth shatteringly fun). 

After supper I shaved his head with barber clippers.  I've done it hundreds of times before.

But th…

Saturday Update

Image
Eight days of chemo and two weeks of radiation under his belt and Wes is still feeling pretty good.  So far he still has his hair and although we have noticed a slight increase in fatigue, he is still pulling his weight at work.  I'm so grateful that he's working from home as much as he is.

Me, how am I doing?  Horribly.  Seems like my whole day every day is errand after errand and driving driving driving.  My son has missed two activities (Boy scouts and choir practice) this past week, and the girls missed an American Heritage Girls meeting because I was too tired to drive in the evening. And I was also too tired to call and find them a ride. And by too tired, I mean, I could barely hold my body upright by the time I dragged through the door after the radiation treatments around 5 pm each day.

Thank God for the crock pot.

On Wednesday, I bought a car.  I won't go into details about how ridiculous and exhausting the whole process was, but in the end, we got approved for a …

In All Things, Give Thanks

Image
I suppose my readers here would like an update on how Wes is doing...So far, he is doing GREAT.  As a matter of fact, he is running circles around me. His face is puffier though, and his smile tighter...like Larry the Cucumber.  Small differences.  Probably from the steroids. 

He's been receiving radiation for six treatments so far (today is day seven) and chemo every day since last...what was it?  Wednesday or Thursday.  something.

Each day he has energy and no side effects is a gift, and so far, he's been fine.  We do realize that it is cumulative and that the nausea will probably kick in once his stomach lining cells have been destroyed along with his hair follicles and hopefully some of those nasty cancer cells.  We shall see...but each day he is feeling good, we give thanks.

Meanwhile, I am EXHAUSTED and dealing with plenty of fibromyalgia pain from day to day.  I don't have the option of slowing down and resting, since I am the family driver, at least through the e…

Lipstick Courage

At the oncologist's yesterday morning, I observed that you could pick out the caregivers. Most of them seemed to be daughters of elderly mothers or fathers. Some sons. The daughters and sons were my age or older.  All the women were very intentionally dressed up just a bit...just like me. Perhaps it is forced cheer in a stressful and sad place:  Lipstick courage and prayer to bolster the flagging spirit that can too easily descend into that sorrowful place of anticipation. The oncologist office seemed like a very sad place, on the whole. But also full of caring and devotion, love.  I coined the phrase "Lipstick Courage", not to call it false courage, but rather to describe the particular place a caregiver finds herself in.  It's a strange place to be; a prayerful place, an exahusting place, a place of death-to-self.   I know this, and I've only just barely stepped across the threshold.During all my copious weeping last week, and the week before, s…

An Eventful Day...

Image
Yesterday was very eventful.  It was NOT the type of day I imagined when I was stretching and waking up as my alarm clock went off.

It started out normal enough:  I took Maia and Wes to work.

First detour:  I went to the beauty parlor to get a hair cut.  I came away with a wax, cut and COLOR.  And I ADORE how my hair looks now.  The stylist said that I was 15% gray....I'd been thinking of getting a box and doing it myself, but I have consistently had bad results doing that...the boxed color just slides off my gray hairs. 

So I got a new "do" and that took all morning long.  Sorry kids.  Bad mom.  They got their school work done independently, as usual.

Because the salon took for-freaking-ever, I had to run and pick a Maia a few minutes late, grab some lunch and eat it while driving to pick up Wes.  Yes, I AM that driver.  The one eating pie.  While driving.

So, long story short...Wes picked up and dropped off at Cancer center for his first radiation treatment.  Me, home…

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

3 cups gluten free flour blend (I use 1:1 ratio of tapioca starch and rice flour)
2 tsp. salt
6 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. xanthan gum.
1 T. rapid rise yeast

Mix dry ingredients. Add to this:

1 egg
1/4 cup oil (I used sunflower seed oil)
2 or 3 cups warm water 

Stir together, and then beat with a mixer until batter is smooth.  this is pretty much just like my gluten free bread recipe up to this point, just w/ smaller quantities.

When batter is smooth, gently shake in some gluten free instant mashed potato flakes, and mix them in, a little bit at a time.  Do this in small amounts and slowly...don't get the batter too stiff.  Stop adding potato flakes when batter is sticky but not completely stiff.

Add a tiny bit more flour (about half a cup) and mix it in, so the batter is now a dough and forms a ball.

put some flour on your rolling mat/surface and pat this dough out so that it is a large rectangle, less than 1/2 thick.

spread melted butter or oil on the dough and sprinkle liberally with s…

Friends

Image
I had a wonderful time today, visiting with my bestie, Alicia.  She and her girls came over for tea and baked something-or-other and we had a grand ol' time.  Of course we talked about all the important things in life:  kids, our concerns, health stuff, Church stuff, God stuff...all that stuff.  We drank tea.  We used pretty china.  It was so awesome. 

Earlier this morning I was feeling pretty emotional, and I didn't want to go home after I took Maia and Wes to work.  So I hit the thrift store, and I found some tea cup/saucer sets!  (I collect them).  I also found some pants that I was in need of.  So, mission accomplished.

Pink Roses on the tea cup!  That's special to me. 

And I had another wonderful conversation with another friend tonight after I dropped off my son for scouts.  She had her new 12 passenger van to show me, and we talked about the sorts of things people who buy 12 passenger vans talk about:  Health, nutrition, when the baby is coming...you know...good LIF…

Details

Today Wes went to the radiology Oncologist.  I liked the doctor.  He was very informative and explained the procedure and process of what Wes is going to be going through  over the next six and a half weeks.  The most interesting tidbit we learned was the size of Wes' tumor.  Back on September 30 when he had is Aphasia episode, and we took him to the ER thinking it was a stroke, the tumor measured 2.3x2cm.  On November 21st, less than 2 months later, the MRI they did before the biopsy showed that the tumor measured 3.3x3cm.  That is a LOT of growth!  And very rapid growth! 

I think this knowledge really has hit us hard, making it all real, again, on a whole 'nother level.  I shed a few tears, and so did Wes, and so have some of our kids.  Each one of us is showing our sadness and fear in different ways, and I'm trying to encourage us to talk a little bit about the fact that people grieve differently from one another and that there is a wrong way and a right way to grieve. 

An Ordinary Day

Today my fibromyalgia kicked me in the rear, and I stayed home from Church.  Unfortunately that meant the kids stayed home, too.  Wes, feeling great, walked the 1.5 miles to Church. 

But for supper we had a couple come to visit us who live in another state, whom we have been friends with since before we were each married.  (In fact, their wedding was just about three weeks before ours, the same summer).  It was so good to visit!  They are the types of friends who are friends for life, that you just pick up with again where you left off and there's really no "leaving off" even if we have not seen each other in a few years. 

Tomorrow, thankfully, is an ordinary day.  I'll just get up, take Maia to work and then take Wes to work.  After that, I have to go get my blood draw done, so that my doctor can have lab reports on how I'm doing with my various health concerns.  That's what so weird and difficult:  Just because Wes has cancer does not mean I don't stil…

Fundraising

Several people have suggested to us that we start fund raising for Wes' cancer treatments.  To that end, I have set up a gofundme account.  http://www.gofundme.com/5jfxe4

With humility and gratitude.  May God be glorified.

Heartache

Image
I didn't really know that heartache ACTUALLY makes your heart ache.  But I know now.  It does.  I am so sad, and Wes is so stinking positive.  I just want to curl up in a ball under the covers and cry for the rest of my forever.  Meanwhile Wes is busy researching, and figuring out where to go to get a second opinion, learning about treatment options, and being all pro-active.  Of course he is.  He is the most stubborn man alive, and right now, I'm so glad for it.  Knowing him, his stubborn will take him far in this cancer battle.

It is utterly depressing to think of a two year survival time of being a good outcome and outside the norm. 

We made a list of what I need to learn to handle for if/when he dies.  One of the things on the list is to go over to Ratterman's funeral home and make some plans.  Another thing on the list is to talk to a financial advisor.  Another list item is finding out how much social security death benefits will be, and creating a budget. I want to…

A Journey of Tears

On September 30 my husband had an episode where he could not speak.  I thought he was having a stroke, and after checking the symptoms online, I drove him to the ER.  They got him in right quick, and did a CT scan.  Sure enough, something showed up on the CT scan, and they admitted him to the hospital.  All his symptoms had resolved by that point, and so the doctors spent the next three days running many tests on him, trying to figure out why a young healthy thin man would have a stroke.  His arteries and veins were very very clear, with no clogged anything.  It made no sense.

One doctor in  the group had a different opinion.

He is a neurosurgeon, and when he looked at the MRI, he said "Brain Tumor".

So, Wes was sent home with medicine for both:  They put him on blood thinners in case it was a stroke, and they put him on an anti-seizure drug in case it was a brain tumor.

A month later, he had a follow up MRI and a week after that we went to see the doctor to find out the res…

Freedom

I'm done.  This shirt "fast" has been a good thing for the past two and a half weeks, but it's over.  Yes, I know.  I said until the 15th, but I have to stop.

My reasons:

First of all, mission accomplished, for now.  I AM now more grateful and satisfied with what is hanging in my own closet, and that urge to shop shop shop has died down.  I will remember this, and pull back on my wardrobe variety in the future when this issue crops up again for me.  I know it will.

Second of all, I realize my own foolishness.  I put burdens on  myself that neither the Orthodox Church nor God is putting on me, and this is a very heavy load indeed.   I need to learn to submit myself to a little bit of freedom every now and then.  I like rules and I like boundaries, but then I get depressed and go crazy with self imposed nonsense like this.  I am broken.

Thirdly:  I am betwixt and between.  I've lost some weight and most of my skirts from last fall/winter no longer fit m…

Blue Shirt Project Update

Well, I"m about a week or so in to the blue shirt project...it's been a good week.  I wore my blue shirts except for the days when I was sick at home and in my jammies/lounge-wear.  There is a stomach bug making its way through our family. 

But other than that, there's nothing much to say.  I mean, it's JUST CLOTHES....and I sure do like not thinking much about what I'm wearing.  I sure do like not having a yen to hunt for things at the thrift store. 

And I DID actually go to the thrift store today.  Twice.  This morning I had to go to the dentist to get a filling replaced, and they shot me up with so much novocaine that I went to the Goodwill that is next to the dentist office before driving all the way home...so that the medicine would wear off for a bit and I would not be so shaky.  I bought NOTHING. 

It was a proud moment. 

Then, this evening I took Bethany out to get some supplies at the pet store for her Angora Bunny, and afterwards we swung in to the local…

A Quote

"Our seventh struggle is against the demon of self-esteem, a multiform and subtle passion which is not readily perceived even by the person whom it tempts. The provocations of the other passions are more apparent and it is therefore somewhat easier to do battle with them, for the soul recognizes its enemy and can repulse him at once by rebutting him and by prayer. The vice of self-esteem, however, is difficult to fight against, because it has many forms and appears in all our activities - in our way of speaking, in what we say and in our silences, at work, in vigils and fasts, in prayer and reading, in stillness and long-suffering. Through all these it seeks to strike down the soldier of Christ. When it cannot seduce a man with extravagant clothes, it tries to tempt him by means of shabby ones. When it cannot flatter him with honor, it inflates him by causing him to endure what seems to be dishonor. When it cannot persuade him to feel proud of his display of eloque…

The Blue Shirt Project

Image
Remember a few years ago, when I did the brown dress project, where I only wore a brown dress (I had two of them) for a month?  Well, it is time for me to do something similar again.

I am trying to curb my acquisitiveness.  I am like a magpie collecting shiny things when it comes to clothes.  This must stop.  And I am ready to do violence to this passion.

I am going to dress plain.  Or at least plainer than I have been.  Sort of.  I made some blue shirts, in a style that will work for me in the urban context in which I dwell, and this is what I will wear.  The reason I chose to make myself four blue shirts for this project as a collection of random reasons:  Blue is my husband's favorite color, blue is also standing for/reminding me of the Theotokos.  Blue is a pretty good neutral color that looks OK on me.  It is soothing and calming.  I chose to sew them from scratch mostly because I can, but also a little bit to gain an appreciation for how much work goes into clothes.  Every i…

I have been remiss...

Image
in blogging.  For that, I apologize.  You know that old song from 1979 called "Video Killed the Radio Star"?  Well, in my case, facebook killed blogging.  But I want to do better.  I promise. 

Lately most of my mental energy has been going towards day to day survival, working on things for my etsy shop, and building up my health and physical fitness, on top of the usual raising teenagers, feeding people, acquiring food for them, and doing the prayers and Church thing. 

In have started designing and making unique home altar cloths/Pascha basket covers.  I'll be making more, as I can.  I hope they serve the needs of Orthodox people here in America and fill a niche of something that is unique, American, and Orthodox. 

Meanwhile, I'm just as weird as I ever was.  I float along through my days like an intensified Mr. Magoo, forgetting half of what is probably important and feeling blessed that I have not, yet, lost any of my kids or pets or my own head anywhere dire and i…

Update

I have utterly neglected this blog over the past few months.  It's been a good summer for our family.  We've been gardening, and Wes and Maia have been working.  I've been doing a bit of canning, trying to continue taking care of my health and running the usual amounts of errands and cooking the usual meals from scratch.  Life goes along. 

Transfiguration was good, although I forgot to bring a bowl of grapes.  Any evening service that I actually make it to, is good.  It brings me joy. 

I decided to try and sing in the choir a bit, too.  Wes has been for a while, now.  And so going to choir practice on Thursday nights is my new challenge.  Energy. 

Right at the moment I have a headache. 

The Amazing Soup

I made an amazing soup tonight. It's completely lenten, dairy free, gluten free (sorry, not paleo this time)...and it was SOOOOO GOOD. And we had more than half a gallon of leftovers because I made a bit vat of it and it was very filling. Yum.

And then I put it in a jar and went to put it in the fridge...and slipped. And it fell on the floor, and crashed and spilled broken glass and hot soup all over my feet.

My feet are OK. Only three band-aids needed. The soup was hot but not scalding.

I am very sad about not having those leftovers, though.

Here's the recipe:

Chop: 5 or 6 stalks of celery, 1 large onion, and about a cup of carrots. Sautee these in the bottom of the pan with some coconut oil. Add a big dollop of minced garlic (as much as you like, I like a lot).

Peel and cube a 5 pound bag of potatoes. Peel and cube 2 turnips (or a couple extra potatoes). I added the turnips to add variety to the nutrition of the soup.

Add this to the pot, 1/2 T. salt, or…

Mid Lent Update

Well, Lent is going along just fine here at our house. I've discovered that keeping the right balance (as in LOTS) of fruits and vegetables in my diet is making it possible for me to keep the fast for the most part (still the occasional egg or can of tuna). I'm very grateful for this and it is an answered prayer.

Another interesting answer to that prayer I prayed, the "God, help me to fast and help me not to eat so much food" prayer: I got pneumonia. I was really really sick for five days, running a very high fever off and on for five days before I finally made it to the doctor. I was surprised at the pneumonia diagnosis, but that's what it was. So they put me on the type of antibiotics that can kill the plague, or anthrax, gave me a nebulizer and some albuterol, some cough medication pills, and some mucinex, and sent me on my way.

All those things...I needed them. So that basically took a solid two weeks out of my life. I have nothing but gratitude to…

Meatfare Sunday

Image
Today was a good day. This morning we missed Sunday School. Although we knew about daylight saving Spring forward, and all that, our bodies just did not want to cooperate. But that is OK. We made it to Divine Liturgy and that's the most important thing.

Our family did not stay for the Meatfare potluck at coffee hour because Eric stayed home sick and because we have food issues. It's just easier to eat at home. Lunch was just sandwiches. Usually when we get to meatfare Sunday at our house, we are sort of down to the dregs, and so food was basic today: Turkey lunch meat sandwiches for lunch, Pasta with meat sauce for dinner. And Ice cream for dessert. Dairy free ice ceam that is not homemade is meh, but I pretended.

But this afternoon (I'm so thrilled) I actually had energy and I DID STUFF!!!! I did a bit of mending/alterations on a couple of skirts, and I went to Walmart to get some velcro and elastic and the like...and found some fabric on sale for two more …

Pain.

This pain is a prison.
It hems me in.
My body is not free.
Pain is exhausting.
Pain robs me of sleep.
A deep ache in my bones.
Bruises inside my elbows.
Shooting niggles of nerve pain through my side, across my back.
Muscle aches in my shoulders.
Bone aches in my hands and arms.
Tingling in my toes.
Numbness on my feet, crawling up my legs.
Shooting pain in my shoulder that limits its range of motion.

And I’m tired.

Pain feels like a cage.
Am I a canary with clipped wings?
Have I even forgotten how to sing?
Do I have a voice?
Can I still think?

My mind is numb, dealing with pain.
I have thoughts and then I lose them.
But most of the time, I am too dull to think of very much at all.
My body does not work.

But my heart does.
Inside my heart, there is light.
Inside my heart is freedom.
Inside my heart there is joy.

Christ is there.

Heaven is there.
All the Saints are there.
And even when I am too tired from pain to think, or to work…

Here We Go Again

Start with the usual pre-lenten post about anticipation: Menu planning. Recipes. Stack of spiritual books I almost never end up reading. Cutting back on electronic media

Whip up some froth about piety and saintliness.

Add in one's own very sinful human reality. Blend with a half cup of daily grind.

Mix thoroughly.

Allow to simmer for two months.

Lent.

My First Pedicure

Image
I’m such a clod. No, really, I am. A friend invited me to go get a pedicure together, and I thought that would be a good idea. It was lots of fun. But I felt sort of like an elephant in a china shop...or was the a bull? It doesn’t matter.

The first thing I did wrong, is that I wore normal shoes and socks. My friend came out wearing flip flops, which is a logical thing to wear when one is going to get a pedi. It just never occurred to me. I figured they had magical toenail polish drying wands or something.

So, we get to the salon, which was lovely, and in a rather arty part of town, in a refurbished victorian house. Lovely atmosphere. The chairs were big and decently comfortable, with a foot tub attached to the base. It was all very nice. So I picked a color and a foot lotion, and the lady led me to a chair and I rolled up my pants, took off my shoes and socks (of the brown sweaty variety) and sat down. The water was blissfully hot and felt great everywhere except that…

Nothing to Say

I have absolutely nothing to say, but I am going to say this nothing anyway. The decaf coffee is dripping into the pot this morning, and there are almond flour muffins in the oven. It is Thursday. The world outside my window is gray and wet, except oddly enough, there is a fine layer of snow on both our cars. Nowhere else, just the cars. I have a theory about the ground warming up and about cold metal boxes. We’ll go with that, why don’t we?

The cats are wrestling in the hallway, feeling fat and sassy after their morning meal. They look healthy and fine and all things good about cats. They are extremely good looking cats, but we’ve noted to ourselves that although ordinary and cat-ike, they do not seem to be the most intelligent cats we’ve ever met. But that’s OK. We did not hire them for their brains.

People are starting to wake up. I just heard the bathroom door open, and some freshly washed person has emerged. An alarm clock is going off, predicting the arrival upstair…

In the Middle of a Flare

Yesterday I had what I like to call a “pain day”. I was in pain. I blame the perfect combination of the cold front moving in, and the fact that I had a rather strenuous day of grocery shopping at multiple stores behind me the day before. The pain and extreme fatigue actually started on Thursday evening, and went through the night and all day yesterday. Today I am forcing myself to rest and recover, and setting some small goals along the way, so that my whole day is not wasted.

But I still did some good things yesterday. I had an extended chat with someone about special needs elimination diet food issues. It’s always good to connect with a kindred spirit who also has Autism Spectrum kids...someone who understands. I suppose that connection goes both ways. What a blessing.

After lunch I decided to force myself to do something and so I did something fun that brought me pleasure: I got out my pretty china and I set the table and took some pictures of it. I also made tea and …

Virtual Tea Party

Image

Fibro Arms

The mountain of laundry was looming at me. I knew I had to do it, burning arms and all. You see, that is what happens...the burnig arms was one of the first signs to me that I had fibromyalgia, but I did not know it at the time. thought I just has so much laundry to fold that I was getting a good arm workout. I would fold laundry and my arms would burn. Now they always burn when I fold laundry if I’m in a “fibro-flare”.

I had two babies when I first noticed it. I remember mentioning the arm burning thing at a La Leche League meeting. The other moms looked at me like I had two heads when I mentioned that I got lots of exercise from laundry folding. I’m sure they thought I was delusional. Maybe one could define it as such. All I knew is how I felt when I exercised...that’s when your muscles burn, right? That’s how it feels, but instead of lifting weights, you are folding a dish rag. That’s fibro. And instead of dumping the dumb-bells back in their racks and being done wi…

Vignette number 3: Hungry Ghosts

The ghosts are angry tonight. They are angry with me because I told them I would not feed them anymore. The ghosts are dark and they lurk in that place, the vast uncharted territory of my heart. If I were to map it, I’ve always imagined the map would be a wasteland with the label: “Here Be Dragons”. Dragons, ghosts, ghosts of dragons, monsters of the dark...whatever I want to call them, they are my own.

They say that the best way to get rid of an unwanted animal is to stop feeding it. So, I have determined that the ghosts will not get fed. They clamor, creating a fear inside of me...shaking the cage and screaming at me that if I do not feed them, I will be hungry forever. They scream at me, that I don’t deserve to be hungry, and that I should feed them because by feeding them, I am feeding myself.

But they lie to me. The hungry ghosts have been lying to me since I was about thirteen years old. Looking back, I can see things so much more clearly than I did back then. The…

What Do You Want?

Sometimes the process of setting a new goal can shake you up and make you see things more clearly. At least that is what I have been experiencing this past week. I’m taking a writing course, and it is a huge challenge for me. The first thing I realized was that I have been very very bad about setting goals in my adult life. Once I finished graduate school and became a mother, the only goals I had were to fix the next meal, change the next diaper, and...three more times...have the next baby. I’ve been in survival mode and I’ve been pouring my life out for my family and in the process I’ve become a muddle. My one-day-at-a-time existence has allowed eighteen years to slide by, mostly treading the path of least resistance.

Yes, there have been things I’ve learned over the years. I have accomplished some things-most of them domestic. I taught myself to sew with a sewing machine I purchased with wedding gift money. The end result of that effort has been that I’ve made a few weddi…

Vignette 2: On Barriers and Grace

I have always gone through my life with the feeling of being an imposter. It’s a strange thing to describe-even to myself. There’s a sense that I am living inside a silicone cube which I cannot get out of. An odd memory surfaces from my High School days: I was an avid jogger for many years, and that turned me into a cross country runner my junior year of High School. But there was a speed barrier in my running career I could never cross. While I was good at what we called “LSD”-long, slow, distance, I could never get my body to build up enough energy and strength to improve my speed, no matter how many hills I sprinted. It just wasn’t in me, no matter how hard I pushed, no matter how many intervals I ran. The uncrossable barrier dogged my steps. I was slow.

Some of the kids on my cross country team told me that the secret key to their better performance was that they lifted weights at the YMCA. This seemed like a mysterious ritual to me, and I had no idea really, how to pr…

Theophany Song

He became just like me
clothed in humanity
hungry and tired
so close to harm.
God lay as a baby
in frail arms.
O great mystery!

The Holy Spirit
came down like a dove
the voice of the Father said:
This is my Son,
beloved, in whom I'm well pleased.
O great mystery!

He breathed the air I breathe
such his Theophany
touching the water
the air and the land,
fully God yet he's fully man.
O great mystery!

But the whole universe
cannot contain
Him, so all
is forever changed.
His very touch
makes us holy again.
O great mystery!

O great mystery!
God is a trinity,
a humble deity,
and all things made new.

1-6-2005

Baptized in Dirty Water....

Today is Theophany, when the Eastern Church commemorates the baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Jordan River by St. John.

So it is making me remember my own baptism, as it probably should.

I was 12 years old and one night I was lying awake in bed, thinking about life, the universe and everything, and I heard this thought: "You should be baptized. You believe in me, don't you?" For some reason I was scared to tell my parents that I wanted to be baptized, because it seemed like such a BIG THING, and I imagined them giving me the 3rd degree about it, imagined grillings and lectures.

Finally I screwed up my 12 year old courage and told my mom I wanted to be baptized. "Oh, OK. We'll arrange it." That was IT? Where was the lecture and the grilling that I was so afraid of?

Since my dad was a minister, it was easy to find a minister to do the deed. We weren't formally members of the Swiss Reformed Church, so it made more sense to have a ser…

Keeping it Safe

New Year's Resolutions....love 'em? Hate 'em? Do 'em? Avoid 'em?

I've been resolutely avoiding new year's resolutions for the past several years. And in the past, I've always had the typical diet, get in shape, get skinny resolutions that the rest of almost everyone in America has.

This year, I have some new dreams, but I don't know that they are necessarily having anything specifically to do with the new year....they are just things that are bubbling to the surface at this time in my life.

Oh, I wish I could tell you my whole story face to face! I would have so much more to tell. Deeper stuff, more personal stuff...things that should not be said on a blog. You know I'm a mom, and one of the things I've tried pretty hard to do is protect my children's privacy somewhat. So, that means I can't just write about what they are doing and what is going on in their lives and the dumb or silly or cute things they have said.

But …