Archive for April, 2008

And It Keeps On Spinning

I’ve spent a lot of time wandering around in my own head over the past few days. That’s probably a little bit good and a little bit bad. Good when I remember the things that I don’t want to forget, like the way I used to hear him walk through the office and the way he kept trying to get us to name our baby after him.  Great when we found some old emails and pictures and things that otherwise would’ve never been recalled. 

There is a tendency when people die to make them into mightier men than they were in the flesh, but I hope that doesn’t happen.  I hope people don’t try to stip away the grit that makes all of us human.  You know, not to glorify anything that was negative, but to just embrace reality; which is what I’ve been trying to do.   It seems a slippery thing.

There are lessons to be learned through the actual event.  Lessons about home safety and knowing which beeps mean what and not sitting around and waiting for someone else to find out what that sound is at your neighbor’s house.  And there are lessons about the ones who are left behind and how much one life means, even if you don’t know it.  If you’ve ever had a George Bailey moment, standing on a cold bridge in the darkness and wondered, you should know that it would be one of the greatest tragedies of your friend’s lives, to have you ripped out of it.

I wish we could all just stay a while and think about how much we all matter to our little communities of people walking together through this life.  I’d like to think that we would spend a little more time talking and a little less time complaining. I’d like to think that we wouldn’t apologize for our house’s state of being and that no one would judge the tupperware in the floor and the fingerprints on the door.  I’d like to think that we’d pitch in a little more, laugh a lot more and cut each other giant slices of slack.

I had a dream last night where I was screaming at him and telling him to do things and not to do other things and he couldn’t hear me. He just kept going and didn’t stop.  I woke up sweaty and thought for a while about how badly I wished I could have intervened, could have pulled on the emergency brake and watched the train stop.  I was angry that he didn’t hear me.  I was frustrated at my impotency.  And in that moment God spoke quietly and reminded me that I am not the One keeping this ball on its axis. Didn’t fashion these bodies out of dust.  I am not the One who is sustaining life.  But He is.  He is.  He is.

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Loss

Yesterday we received the terrible news of a close friend’s accidental death.  The grief has been washing over us, eroding the sand underneath our feet.

Don Chaffer once wrote “These days, songs of tragedy seem particularly important. The grieved heart needs room to breathe, reel, and fall before rising again.  We have found ways to meet most of our petty cravings (airplanes, broadband internet, drive-thru food), but nothing can replace time and space in the face of loss.  Breathe deep and weep.”

That’s exactly what we’ve been doing. 

That, and taking stock.  There is nothing like this kind of loss to make you look around and wonder if you are making a difference.  We hope we made in difference in our friend’s life.  He once told us that we had and those words ring so loudly now.  He was referencing the way we live, but we hope some of our words mattered too.  Mostly these words…the ones we hope we’ve spoken to you too.

Has anyone ever taken a Bible and shown you how you can KNOW for sure that you’re going to heaven? The Bible contains both Bad News and Good News. The Bad news is something about you. The good news is something about God. Let’s look at the bad news first…

Bad News #1: You are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Sinned means that we have missed the mark. When we lie, hate, lust or gossip, we have missed the standard God has set. Suppose you and I were each trying to throw a rock and try to hit the North Pole. You might throw farther than I, but neither of us would hit it. When the Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short” it means that we have all come short of God’s standard of perfection. In thoughts, words, and deeds, we have not been perfect.

But the Bad News gets worse…

Bad News #2: The penalty for sin is death. Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death.” Suppose you worked for me and I paid you $100. That $100 was your wages. That’s what you earned. The Bible says that by sinning we have earned death. That means we deserve to die and be separated from God forever.

But..since there was no way we could come to God, God came to us. 

Good News #1: Christ died for you. Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Suppose you are in a hospital dying of cancer. I come to you and say, “Let’s take the cancer cells from your body and put them into my body.” If that were possible, What would happen to me? What would happen to you? I would die in your place. I would die instead of you.

The Bible says Christ took the penalty that we deserved for sin, placed it upon Himself, and died in our place. Three days later Christ came back to life to prove that sin and death had been conquered and that His claims to be God were true.

Just as the bad news got worse, the good news gets better.

Good News #2: you can be saved through faith in Christ. Ephesians 2:8,9 says, “For by grace (undeserved favor) you have been saved (delivered from sin’s penalty) through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Faith means trust. What must you trust Christ for? You must depend on Him alone to forgive you and to give you eternal life. Just as you trust an airplane to get you to your destination through no effort of your own, so you must trust Jesus Christ to get you to heaven through no effort of your own. But you may say, I’m religious. I go to church. I don’t steal. I’m a good person. I help the poor. These are all good , but good living, going to church, helping the poor or any other good thing you might do cannot get you to heaven.

You must trust in Jesus Christ alone, and God will give you eternal life as a gift.

Why not believe today? None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.

Wait…I thought I was getting a package from China

In case you have not turned on a radio or television today, the federal gubamint may have already given you some mo’ money…directly into your bank account, if you filed electronically and they gave you a refund.  Of course, after hearing that some money was already deposited, I logged in to the bank’s ever so helpful website to see that our money has not yet arrived.  We don’t need it to survive or anything, I’m just obsessed with checking my bank account online and updating our monthly budget worksheet accordingly.  I am a total nerd.

I’m a little torn about the whole thing.  On the one hand, Uncle Sam (not this one), has been ripping us off for years.  If you had to pay your taxes out of your own pocket every month/year/week or however you get paid, you’d want to jack slap that man into tomorrow, or at least be really mad if he didn’t invite you to his Christmas party.  If we had to feel the burn as individuals every single month, there would be no way to keep us out of voting booths and political rallies.  We’d all give a great big hoot.  Instead we let the companies for which we work take care of most of our taxes and they send it all in for us and we are just happy little peons, thankful for the scraps left behind (yes, I still love hyperbole).  So, in one sense, this money that will be rolling in any time now, is just more of a rebate. The gubbermyth money IS my money, and YOUR money.  Whenever they are going to pay for something, that means WE are paying for it.  So, you know, thanks for giving back Washington!

On the other hand, they already spent everything we gave them…and then some.  And this money that is about to come back isn’t really from us at all.  It’s borrowed money.  Frankly, if there is one thing that really chaps me these days, it’s credit.  I’m tired of it.  I’m tired of people buying things they can’t afford and taking trips they’ll never be able to pay off and driving cars that are sucking them dry.  A friend recently told us about how sometimes when he goes into giant fancy shmancy homes to do his job that they often have no furniture and one time when he was there a guy from the electric company was there to shut off the electricity.  People living beyond their means.  Of course, I shouldn’t fault them so much.  It’s obviously the American way.  The people can’t go where they are not led.

On the radio, the announcers are talking about how most people are planning to pay off debt with the money or use it to make ends meet (which, for the longest time as a child, I thought was Ends Meat.  Some kind of special beef recipe, perhaps).  They are reminding us that the money is supposed to be spent.  That the spending will jump start the economy and that paying down your credit card won’t help do that.  But c’mon, radio people. Don’t worry. Americans aren’t that disciplined.  The psychological impact of getting more dough, will, no doubt, lead them to whip out those little plastic cards and get to swiping in no time.

Hears to everyone who will use the money wisely and not a penny more!  So, gentle readers, what are you planning to do with your sack of cash?

Where I’ve Been

We’ve been busy around here.  In the past two weeks, Gideon has been to the dentist and the emergency room and this week we’ll probably be heading back to the doctor.  I’m just wondering if anybody wants to do the math on how many pairs of jeans that would be.  Gap jeans, by the way, cause I’m picky and white (Seinfeld reference in case you were wondering). 

So, two weeks ago he was playing in the living room and lost his footing, setting his little mouth on a collision course with the table. His sweet little mouth bloody and bleeding and all I could do was offer a washcloth to see if it would stop.  He stopped crying pretty easily and I thought the bleeding had stopped too.  When I got him up from his nap, there was plenty of blood again. Looking into his mouth was met with screams and hot little fists of rage.  I called the dentist.

Of course they wanted to see him.  I don’t know why I bother to think that maybe a phone call to a professional care provider would result in anything else.  Seeing patients is how they get PAID.  Letting their nurse tell people to ride it out for a few more minutes and to take a breath doesn’t make the payments on their Jag, you read me? 

So in we went, through the middle of the pouring rain.  The minute we walked into the office, he stopped bleeding.  My favorite dentist in the whole world (however, not at all attractive, Carole and Molly) came into the little room and Gideon opened his mouth like a pro.  He was poking around in there and my little boy just let him. No screams.  No fighting.  No fear.  UNREAL.  At the end of the time there he got to choose a prize from the special box.  He chose these….

Just a few days later he started running a low grade fever. He got a little snotty.  I figured more teeth were coming and gave him a little Tylenol.  Three days of a little fever and a little snot and I wasn’t worried.  He wasn’t out of sorts, just a little fussy and I cursed those giant teeth slicing through his tough gums and prayed that he would be able to sleep well, but that was falling apart fast.  I spent a couple of nights up with him, helping him to sleep by my rhythmic breathing and the slight rocking in the recliner.  He snuggled and slept.

Saturday we headed to the Red White Game.  It was great…plenty of Bo, plenty of red, plenty of sun and a stop at Chipotle.  Not a bad way to spend a Saturday in April, although it does tend to make one long for September. 

Gideon stayed with Grandma and Poppy while we dreamed.  He went to the park and had a pretty good day.  Every once in a while, he’d start to not feel so well and crawl up into one of their laps and sleep a little.  After a short little nap, he’d wake up refreshed and get back to chasing the dogs. When we got back he was mostly glad to see us, but I’m pretty sure he knows how good he has it over there.  He fell asleep on Grandma when we sat down to eat and I thought it was a little odd.  I could see his little cheeks get rosy as he slept. Watched the little hairs in back curl up as he started to sweat. I didn’t worry, but I thought it was odd.

When he woke up we took his temperature externally and it wasn’t right.  I could tell he was hotter than 101.  We gave him some medication and stuck him in the tub.  In the meantime, we got the internal thermometer (there’s a different name for that one, but I just can’t type it).  Thirty minutes after the meds got to work and immediately out of the bath his temperature was 103.8.  Yikes. Call to the doc. Drive to the emergency care place, where they took his temperature externally and it was 99 (and obviously wrong). 

This was us about to leave to see the doctor….

 

Long story longer one of his eardrums ruptured.  All that infection back behind it finally pushed through that little snare and found it’s way out.  The other one was infected too.  The medicine is, of course, pink. Next time we’re going to have to teach him the sign for ear infection (he should’ve been born with that one, right?…just tug on your ear, Pal.  Just once even.  Ear. Tug. Cry.  See?). 

The sad part is that I think he knows now.  Eight days into a ten day regimine and now he’s tugging on his ears.  Probably not a good sign.  Time to make another call.  Hmm, I wonder if they’ll tell me to come in?

Must Be Spring

On Tuesday, after Gideon had finished his supper, it was such a nice day out that instead of wiping the crumbs off of him onto the floor, I opened up the sliding glass door and shook off all the bits of cracker and goo onto the deck. We weren’t out there for very long, but the door was open the whole time.   It’s cool enough not to worry about the heat and there aren’t many bugs flying about just yet, so no need to worry much about that open door. 

Back inside, we walked to the front door so that we could go get the mail.  We talked to the neighbors on our way to the mailbox and played in the front yard while we waited for Jud to come home.  And then something interrupted our picture perfect five o’clock. 

The flapping of wings.

Not the kind of flapping that helps a bird take flight gracefully, but the kind of frantic, deranged flapping of a bird trapped.  Where was he trapped? IN MY LIVING ROOM.

He must have flown in while we were shaking off crumbs and now he was stuck.  I picked up Gideon, rock still in his hand, unbeknownst to me, and hesitantly made my way back inside to the phone.  First call to my dad whom, I figured, could probably get here faster than Jud.  The call went something like “THERE IS A BIRD IN MY HOUSE!!  ACK!!  COME QUICKLY!!!”  Then I hung up and called Jud.  “WHERE ARE YOU? THERE IS A BIRD IN OUR HOUSE!!! ACK!! COME NOW!!!!” 

Jud was already on his way home and he, ever so gently, reminded me to “Stop Yelling! You’re going to freak that bird out.”  Which, of course, was much too late.  The bird was terrified and I was too.  Gideon, on the other hand thought it was great fun and waved enthusiastically at the hysterical creature who would make the world’s worst pet, especially because when this bird is upset, its bowels loosen and apparently one of it’s tiny sphincter muscles begins to spasm. 

My dad called back just then (then being about the time the bird was perched on my leather sofa, POOPING ITS FEAR OUT) to tell me to open the doors and put bread outside to entice the little birdy away.  I grabbed bread, tore giant pieces of it off and placed them on the back deck.  Just as I turned around the bird ran into the front glass door, head first, wings frantically attempting to push it’s body through said glass. 

Realizing that going toward the glass to open the door would lead to even greater pooping, I quickly ran to the garage and went through it to the front of the house in order to open the door.  But, since the bird didn’t realize that there was a large piece of glass between it and me, it was petrified at the site of me and my baby creeping toward it and flew toward the back of the house, smacking directly into the side of the sliding glass door that was closed.  

Dazed now and staggering around under my kitchen table, the bird collected it’s teeny tiny self and walked out the back door. 

The end.

 POOP!

 

Reminder

So, I randomly put up pictures on our flickr account.  You can see them after you go over to that little right side bar and click on flickr. 

And, just because this post has nothing of real value, here’s the link to vimeo (cause I loaded another one that will blow your mind).

(Seriously, it’s as if he knows that his birthday is soon and he’s all “guess I better show them how smart and grown up I am before they buy some stupid baby rattle instead of those Lawhead novels I want. If I only knew the sign language for Pendragon.”)

Mark It Down

After finishing his bowl of oatmeal and part of my english muffin, he decided to once again explore the kitchen chairs.  I was still sitting at the table, finishing mah cawfy, while his little fists clenched my pant legs. 

And then he let go. 

And took one completely unassisted step toward the other chair.

And he made it.

One step down.  Eleventy billion to go.