12.30.2008

Drumroll Please....

BENIGN!!!
I get to keep my hair!


*

In Praise of Feminists

We women could not be what we are, or have what we have, or do what we do, were it not for the Feminists.

Period.


You may not agree with all their positions, (I don't!) but please stop bashing them.

PS
OK, OK. I'm a little cranky. I have read ONE TOO MANY quotes from conservatives who BASH Feminists not recognizing they owe much of their quality of life to those women who were not afraid to be labeled b*y, loud, obnoxious, satanic and angry. Cuz the were pissed - for themselves, their moms, sisters, you and me.

*

12.29.2008

Ferreal

I have in the past posted some funny misspellings from ads, mostly from CraigsList, of which I am an avid fan! It goes along with my love of thrift shops and yard sales. I shake my head in disbelief at some of the posts:

trapalane - the rubbery bouncy thing that your kids like to jump on

Wallmart - doesn't even your 5 yo know how to spell this environmental disaster?

rod iron - as in older patio furniture and railings. What spirit wrought her thus?

Bratt Pit - you know, Angelina's man

12.28.2008

Instructions


Boo got some cold hard stuff from Grandma. It was tucked nicely in one of those special cards for such occasions. We encouraged him to read the message on the card. He opened up the card and read:

"Place money or gift card here."
*

Bubbles



To: Boo
Love, Oma and Daddy

To: Boo
From: Fireman Sam

To: Boo
From: The Goldfish

We celebrated Christmas, Part II, today, when his uncle and troup came from Atlanta via New York. He was like a puppy, running around furniture, so eager to see his Uncle Po.


And!


And!


To open the remaining presents. One from his goldfish. This world has not been separated and catagorized for him yet. It is all magical and anything can happen!


"Oma, did the fish really get me a present?"

"Yes, honey, they tapped on each others' tanks and said 'brrrbub brrrbub what shall we get that little boy?' "

He giggles. That open, free giggle of my child, that bubbles into my soul and effervesces in my belly. I soar, feeling proud that I can make him laugh like that!

"Oma, oma, are you joking? Did the fish really get me a present?"
"No. I did. Because the fish can't drive."
More giggles. Bubbles of joy floating on disbelief.

I like that his world is so magical he's still not sure. How can I crush the magic? How dare I squelch his joy? Why should I break the spell that makes his world so delightful? Because even now, in the first grade, his difference is starting to show. I am proud and stubborn and mama-bear about his difference, and I cannot tolerate seeing him be teased by other children.

Why can't my Precious, my Special Treasure, be left to float on bubbles?

*

12.27.2008

Jook, Congee, Xifan

When a Korean child's tummy aches, she longs for a nice, warm bowl of "Jook." It is truly a treat, made especially when a child is sick. These days, I know you can order it at restaurants and buy instant mix at the grocery, but when I was little, nobody wanted to stand over the hot coal stove, stirring the mixture of rice and water for close to an hour. My mom, well-known in our circles as a great cook, made ours with chicken broth and tender pieces of boiled chicken.
In Korea, it is known as "jook," but in Chinese as tzuok, conzee or xifan. Most east Asian countries have their version, varying only slightly by what is served with it. The basics are the same - rice, cooked on low heat so that it is a watered down, soft porridge. It is therapeutic for its very blandness.

My mother-in-law, raised on a dairy farm in western Pennsylvania, was served buttered toast, sprinkled with sugar and covered with warm milk. I have another friend, raised in the Pennsylvania Dutch culture, who had a similar recipe for a sore tummy.
What is your comfort food?
*

12.26.2008

That Lovin' Feeling

Did you grow up in the days when each kid owned 2 pairs of shoes? if they were lucky? I think I had school shoes, gym shoes and maybe flip-flops, which we used to call "thongs."

Do you remember that feeling when you got new school shoes? Like you wanted to wear them out of the store and for the rest of the day? Did you ever get to wear them to bed?
.
Boo will never be able to relate to the shoes thing, but I think every kid knows the feeling of really, really liking something new that they got and never wanting to let it go.
*

12.25.2008

Where Have You Been All My Life?

I have been on a hunt for years. Years. For the tree topper of my dreams. I had it in my head that I wanted an angel. It is said that an angel can show up anywhere . . . to wrestle with Jacob . . . at the elderly Abraham's tent to announce an improbable pregnancy . . . to young Mary to announce an impossible pregnancy . . .
And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud
in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, r
emembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers."
How did I know I'd find you on the sale rack of Home Depot?
*

12.23.2008

Grateful

I am just getting over a terrible bout of strep throat. I couldn't swallow anything. I was so weak, I could barely sit at the table for lunch. Sit?! I couldn't walk over. Lunch? All I could even think of eating was rice porridge. All I could drink was herbal tea. I alternated between sweating through my clothes and shivering with a heating pad. I would sit on the toilet with a blanket around me! I slept 20 hours a day. I'm finally feeling like a person again. I actually went out today for pre-admission work for my upcoming surgery and got in a little bit of Christmas shopping. But boy, I was sick as a dawg for 3 days. Like a wet rag. Had the stuffin knocked outta me. Add any other cliches you'd like.

This morning, I arose, checked my email while drinking my coffee. Like a real person. As I was taking my long overdue shower, I was so darn GRATEFUL. I was GRATEFUL I had a house. GRATEFUL I had running water. GRATEFUL it was waaaarmmm. Very warm. I was GRATEFUL I had shampoo. And a big cushy towel. Everything felt like Spring. Even the freezing weather was a joy to me.





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12.22.2008

A Treat

Boo's mom has been laying around since Friday. Literally. I've been sleeping about 20 hours a day.

Boo made a house call and made all manner of examination using a tweezer and mirror, even calling upon Fireman Sam. Dr. Boo decided on my treatment:

"Oma, I need to cut off your hiney."

That is the best news I've had in days!

*

12.21.2008

Strep Torture

As a kid, my parents often told us to "cham-uh," or tolerate it. You know, a nice way of saying "suck it up." So it finally dawned on me that maybe I should call the doctor. I mean, I couldn't swallow. Anything. If you get my drift. It never occurred to me that I'd have strep but that's what the doc thought and prescribed me an anti-biotic. Thank God! Until HH brought the stuff home from the pharmacy.




Honestly. I said I can't swallow!

*

12.20.2008

Parting Shot

There's this kid in Boo's class, who, thankfully had his last day of school on Friday. He and his family are moving to Florida. Which is too close, in my opinion.

As an early Christmas present, he slammed Boo in the eye with his lunch box.

*

12.15.2008

15-minute, Fool-proof Dinner

My favorite TV chef is Nigella. But I think she bit the dust. Though fancy dust it is with her millions. I don't think this would be in her repertoire, but every once in awhile I need:

a) a quick dinner
b) a cheap dinner
c) comfort food
d) something everyone will love

or, all of the above. I assume you have those times, too, when you're sick of ordering pizza or Chinese, and you want to serve your family some real food, but you're real tired. So, I am willing to share the family recipe with the world! *sigh*

It seems like a recipe found in a home journal type of magazine from the 70's, but it is honestly, very yummy. I got it from my Scots-Irish mother-in-law, modified just a tad by moi:


Creamed Chicken With Biscuits
Serves 4

Put pop-open type biscuits in the oven. I've even seen them in whole grain.

In a 2-qt sauce pan:
  • Chopped onions - stir fry in olive oil
  • Chopped celery added to above
Add in order:
  • 1 can each Condensed Cream of Chicken & Cream of Celery soup (reduced fat and sodium or "healthy" version) Remember to keep stirring occasionally - it is cream soup
  • 1/2 to 1 can of water
  • 1 cup of frozen baby peas (Optional - nice for color)
  • 1 cup of cut-up pieces of chicken (I usually buy a roasted chicken. See a) above.)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of pimentos, or to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste
Serve over the biscuits.

Ta-dah!!






















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Pink and Red All Over

I decided I wanted red and pink this year. I know, that's supposed to clash, but like anything, if done right, can look good. Anyway, I like it! That blob of pink at the top is supposed to be a bow.




And the answer to your question is : 11 feet.




*

12.14.2008

A La Carte

Boo borrowed a book from his school library about sharks:

"Sharks have killed fewer people in the United States in the past one hundred
years than are killed . . . over a single holiday weekend. And no shark in the world counts people as part of its regular dinner menu."


Boo's response was, "Just lunch?"

*

12.13.2008

Yes No Maybe

I thought the answer would be definitive: Yes or No. Do you ever think that way? You pray about something - whether to do something or not, something to happen or not - and you think God's going to write it in the sky with a great big Yes or No, as if He were a survey.

But it is not to be. He decides in His way, in His own time, for our good.

So, the message I got from the surgeon is that the results are not definitively bad. . . if that seems vague, it's because I can't use the proper terms. I just can't. Yet. However, there are some "abnormal cells" and he can't know for sure until it is excised and biopsied fully.

He decides in His way, in His own time, for our ultimate good, for His glory.

“But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God,
in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me in your saving faithfulness."
- Psalm 69:13


*

12.11.2008

Waiting for the Light

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, theycomfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of theLORD Forever.

~

My son, like most young ones, is afraid of the dark. Our rec room is his play room filled with favorite toys, crafts, DVD player, books and matts. But, he will not go down there when it is dark. If I insist he do it, I can sense his stress level rising and can foresee an overload. So, I go down with him. I hold his hand and chatter pleasantries as we descend the stairs.

I can't say that his fear is totally gone. In fact, his steps as we get deeper into the dark become a tad hesitant. But he continues with me and trusts me to stay with him. And then, at the doorway, he lets go of my hand and shouts, "I'll get the light!"

I am afraid, walking my current darkness, but my Father is holding my hand, every step of the way. I await the day that I will spring forth and say, "I'll get the light!"

*

12.10.2008

Another Real Ad

Bench. Shabby Sheik. $15.

Wondering what an Arab bench looks like.

*

Kickin' My Heels

Nothin' like a new pair of shoes to lift my spirits!!



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12.09.2008

How Green is My Valley

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.


Do you know what I imagined for a shepherd? I imagined a shepherd walking in the lush, green hills, the ocean breeze cooling the sweat off his head. A shout away from his sister, who might run to him with a meal prepared by his mom, some rich stew, perhaps. I got the Middle East mixed up with "Heidi," or St. Francis!

David is talking about his land, not St. Patrick's. His Kingdom, at his death, roughly covered the Sinai peninsula to the south and current day Syria to the north, Jordan and a bit of Iraq. You can see on this map, how little of it is green. The rest, is "wilderness," or desert! The shepherd had to lead his animals through some rocky, rough terrain to find patches of green. What's with the geography lesson?

This is such a rich passage, and the analogies are striking. But here is what struck me Thanksgiving Sunday*, as I was worshipping in New England with my family:

The Shepherd has to lead His sheep through some dry, dusty land, some wilderness, to get to the green pastures. That is the reality of that land. Roughly the southern half of the Kingdom is the Negev! Probably, the more accurate picture is at left.

But surely, He will lead me. During the passage, He might need to take his staff and trip me or jerk my neck around to keep me to Himself. It probably won't feel good. But He will keep me safe. Safe? Children bullying my son? Surgery? The prospect of cancer?

I am in the wilderness, and He will keep me safe. He knows me by my name. I am one little sheep and He will take account of me. He will not let me go.

And then I shall rest in green pastures, for His name's sake.


*Thanks to Pastor O'Leary, of First Presbyterian Church Northshore, Ipswich, MA.

12.08.2008

Mid-evil Night

From my recent posts, you'd think my life has been just peachy-keen these past few days. Well, let me tell you, it has not. You know those big, wooden Medieval catapults? Well, that was me Saturday night, right into the porcelain throne. Fortunately, I got there in time all FOUR times, even if it was crawling on hands and knees.

The Lights post, I had written a week ago and had it scheduled to post. The brag post, I was so sick of laying horizontally, I dragged myself to the computer just to be able to do something, anything else. (I say anything, but you note I didn't drag myself to do any housework!) Sunday, I lay in bed sick as a dawg. SICK as a DAWG I'm tellinya. I must have eaten something bad on Saturday. The only thing I can figure out is the vegetarian wok-fried noodles.

I feel like a human being now, having gotten up at 10:30. Whew. I make it a rule never to get up in the double-digits, but today, all bets are off. So technically, it was coffee time at Noon and lunch should be in a coupla hours. Maybe I'll even get a shower in there and actually make it out of the house.

Today, I am grateful to the big, bad pharmas for inventing Zantac. And Motrin.

Tomorrow, I'll post my Sunday thoughts on The Shepherd.

*

12.07.2008

Proud Mama

Indulge me.

From Fireman Small, by Wong Herbert Yee:

"Come quick!" Mother Rabbit cries,
Holding back the tears in her eyes.
Fireman Small peers in the well
Climbs down to where Litte Bunny fell.
Finds Litte Bynnyt asleep on the ground
Brings her back up, all safe and sound.
Mother Rabbit shouts: "HOORAY"
Fireman Small drives back to the bay.

He pulls into station number nine.
Walks upstairs, one step at a time. Closes the curtains, gets in bed
And pulls the covers over his head.
JING-A-LING-JING the telephone rings.
Bakery's on fire! Can't see a thing.

Quickly out of bed he scoots,
Jumps into his pants and boots.
Ready to go, he slides down the pole
Puts on his helmet and coat below.
Sirens cry, lights flashing by
Fireman Small see smoke in the sky.

video

*

12.06.2008

Bright Lights

My mom had such style. She could take dime-store items and make them look classy.

So, it's Christmas, 1972. Brady Bunch. Laugh-In. Love, American Style. Marcus Welby, MD. Oh my gosh, and The Movie of the Week. You had to sit around aallll week to see a new movie! Polyester photo shirts. Bell bottoms. The first time around - on boys and girls. Hip huggers - but only on the "bad" girls.

Oh, I digress.

We'd just gotten finished with Thanksgiving and here comes another holiday to decipher: this time, Christmas. Are you old enough to remember the big fat Christmas lights? The ones for the tree were about the size of your thumb. (Remember, this is the era of the aluminum tree.) I remember every once in awhile, a too-dry tree with lights left on would start a house fire! The ones for the outside were huge. Like, the size of two thumbs. There weren't those cute white blinking lights or the icicles or the blanket of lights. You could only get them in strings like, ten or twelve feet long, and connect them and hope a bulb didn't blow. To hang them on the eaves, your dad had to get up on a tall ladder and hammer nails in. Then he had to untangle them from last year and risk his life and limb hanging over the ladder to reach the end. A few cuss words were known to hover in the neighborhood air.

What happened in our town, which was 99.44% pure, white christians, was that every house was covered from shingle to sill with these gigundous, multi-colored lights. I remember one year, sitting in the front porch, at my mother's direction, unscrewing all the multi-colored bulbs off the strings of lights, and screwing blue bulbs on. Our white, wood-clapboard bungalow in central Pennsylvania then glowed with strings of blue lights, peaceful - standing out from the garishness of the neighborhood.


I thought my mom was the greatest in the whole world.



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12.04.2008

Please Don't. Please.

Who can know the mind of God? I mean, who can fully know the ways of God Almighty?

And yet.
And yet.

Would He let my little boy, who suffered so many losses, lose again?

*

12.03.2008

Half-Baked

Did the title of my last post strike you as slightly odd? "American Korean." Not "Korean-American." Of course, you know I wrote that intentionally. No hypheNations for me.

What would I call my husband? A Swiss/Scotch-Irish-American? A White-American? What if he were a Swiss immigrant? Would he still be called White-American, with unintentional implications? I'm willing to bet then, that he'd be called Swiss-American, or plain ole Swiss.

Nationality and Heritage are not the same thing.

  • I have a friend, an American now, formerly a Kenyan national, of Muslim Indian heritage.
  • Here's another one. A close friend is American of Korean ethnicity. His wife is a French national, of western European heritage. They live in Brazil. Their children are Brazilian, of Korean and French ancestry.
  • My best friend is American, of African descent.
  • I am an American, of Korean ethnicity.

I never call myself Korean-American, or Asian-American. I am American. I do not need to or want to put a "conditional" on my Americanness, as if my allegiance were half-baked. Such awkward phrases! What do I call myself? Korean. In reference to my ethnicity. Cuz I know that's what you want to know. But. Don't you dare question my nationality.

*

12.02.2008

An American Korean Family Celebrates Thanksgiving

The cooks . . .


family times. . . texting. . .


a tom. . .





candied sweet potatoes, baby onions in cream, sweet-sour salad . . .





corn, oranged string beans. . .








beautiful food . . .


. . . and Scripture reading from the Palm Pilot. As American as lobster.


*




11.29.2008

Behind the Times

There were jingles, buzzes, dings and blips all day long.  

At my brother's house, every outlet had at least two adaptors, like so many black slithery snakes with silver tails.  There are at least two laptops sitting in the dining room and another one floating around the house somewhere else.  There's a couple of Razrs, a Blackberry, a Tilt, and landlines.  My one niece is on FaceBook, then picks up her phone to answer a text, gets back on the computer for a couple of IMs, intermittently answering my questions and talking to her mom.  All without missing a beat.

My other niece was studying for a test, you know, the old fashioned way, with a paper textbook and taking notes in long hand.  She was looking up sneakers on the web, checking out the latest fashion at MetroPark and texting some friends to make arrangements to see "Twilight."  This it not mentioning the "computer" room that has two flat-screen computers that aren't in use anymore because they're "too slow."

Oh, and somewhere in between there, the younger one upstairs called her older sister on the cell, who was texting/googling/talking live downstairs. 

I have to admit that HH and I are still in the 90's technologically speaking.  I just got a flat screen and a dvd player just about two months ago.  It's an interesting view from behind, looking ahead to today.

*

11.26.2008

Why I Love Thanksgiving

I realized this year for the first time how much I love Thanksgiving. What's it got going for it? It is truly all about being together as family, thankful for all that we have in this land of ours. What it doesn't have is the emotional and financial stresses associated with presents.

So, here I am in New England, staying with one of my brothers and his family. It is latish in the evening. We've shared a nice dinner. He and I are now sitting together at the dining room table . . . each of us staring into our own laptop screens.


*

11.25.2008

Gobble the Claw

As I think about driving to New England for Thanksgiving, I realize how much I like this holiday. As an immigrant family, we had to first decipher, then get used to the customs of this land:
  • Jesus rose from the dead, so eat chocolate. And put tacky decorations in your yard.
  • It's Jesus birthday, so kill a tree. And put tacky decorations in your yard.
  • Wear disgusting costumes in October and beg for candy door to door. And put tacky decorations in your yard.
OK, that was meant to be funny. But you can see it from a foreigner's point of view, can't you?

My mother tried her best. She really did. She was a terrific, creative cook and a wonderful host. For Thanksgiving, she made all sorts of wonderful stuffings (dressings) for the turkey. She dutifully adopted the custom of rising early in the morning, and going through all the motions of creating an American holiday for us all.


I remember when I was in college, my older brothers driving long distances to get home. We were laying around talking and one of us, I don't remember who, said, "You know, I don't really like turkey."

*

It was like a dam broke.
"OH MY GOSH! I don't LIKE TURKEY EITHER!!" My poor mom. I think back all these years later and wonder how she felt. Not that we hate it, but you know, it's kinda dry and flavorless, back then before oven bags and learning about deep-frying. So, we always lunged for the dark meat. Then somehow, we came up with the idea of having lobster instead. Fortunately, one of my brothers lived in the Boston area, and for several years after that, we had lobster for Thanksgiving.

So in honor of our family, this is what Boo will wear this Thursday for our Thanksgiving meal.

Of turkey. Cuz, you know, what's Thanksgiving without turkey?


click --->


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11.24.2008

This is a Real Ad

Four Wood Chairs, two Tea cups, a Sucking cup - $30
Date: 2008-11-22, 11:17 PM EST

Four wood chairs for sale, brand new, in very good condition. I ask for
$30 for 4 chairs.
Two sets of tea cups, new in box,never use,ask for $25 for both of them.
A set sucking cup, new in box,never use, ask for $10
I'm thinking "sucking" cup? do they mean a "sippy" cup? what is that? Intrigued, (or nosy) I went to the accompanying photo:


I kid you not.

I have a mind to contact them and spell "S-A-K-E."

You know, that stuff can S-U-C-K the consciousness right outta you.



*

11.23.2008

Easy For You to Say

From Fox Chase Cancer Center website, and other breast cancer sites:

Women who have had a lumpectomy, in which only a segment of the
breast is removed, usually do not need reconstructive surgery.


One of the most sensitive and meaningful areas of my body might become mangled and disfigured. But reconstruction is "not needed." Very sensitive and meaningful of you, O Cancer Center.

*

11.22.2008

Forever Mom

Boo has been having some behavior "issues" lately. OK, he's been bad. Ba-aad to the bone. So I was splainin that he's not 4 anymore; that he's six and a half and should act like it. "Boo, in six months, you'll be seven!"

After a moment's pause, he said "When I'm seven, will you still be my mom?"













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11.21.2008

Festive Friday


I awoke to Boo crying "Oma, it's like Christmas!!!"



*

11.20.2008

Get Off the Phone!


When you have good news, when you have bad news, who is the first person you tell? Your mom? Husband? Best friend? Who do you rely on? I am the first one to get on the phone to "share" with someone. Lately though, I've actually stopped myself. For two minutes. Then I get on the phone.


I've been reminding myself with this (uncredited) little ditty:

"Go to the Throne, not the phone."


*

11.19.2008

Wordless Wednesday by my Fireman




I know this is supposed to be Wordless, but I just want to point out the man on the top of the church - Boo says that's Jesus. :-)
*

11.18.2008

Happiness is a Crime

Apparently it is.

Maybe it's my fault. Maybe I protected him too much. But he's only 6 years old. And he's an Only. Had he siblings, he may have faced these trials earlier. Might he have had name calling and rejection and trickery earlier at home?

He is such a happy child. If you've seen pictures of him on previous posts, you can see it. I am not boasting when I say that his smile radiates.

Somehow, his naivete, his trust, his inner joy seems to bother certain boys in his class. I know Boo's not perfect! He annoys me every day! And I know kids can be cruel. I didn't know they could be this cruel. They not only reject him, but they conspire to reject him as a group. They pretend to befriend him to watch him "fall" for it. And this they find enjoyable.

How do I keep myself from beating up those six year olds??

*

11.17.2008

Good Hair

I have good hair.

It's strong. Shiny. Black. OK, so I have a handful of white hair, but what do you expect at 48?

I have tried to compartmentalize my thoughts, since my recent health news. There's hardly anything more boring than someone going on and on about their health problems. I promise I won't. But I can't help but let potential scenarios float into my consciousness.

If, and I emphasize if, I end up having to go through treatments, I will inevitably lose my hair. And that is how I came to realize how vain I am about my hair. "Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting," God tells us in Proverbs. If I haven't been exactly vain in the classic sense, swinging my hair about like a Breck girl, I certainly have grown attached to my hair and don't want to have to sport a Mr. Clean look! Isn't there a saying that you don't know what you've got til it's gone? (Sing it, Joni!)

I figure, it's always good to rid oneself of vices. So I shall contemplate my newly discovered vanity and try to grow from it.

What's your secret vice?

*

11.16.2008

Veterans

After reading a blog about Veteran's Day, I remembered, in fact, that it was Veteran's Day this past Tuesday.

I totally overlooked it. My son did not have a day off, neither did my husband, and being a Stay at Home, my schedule wasn't affected. I saw no parade. I saw no lines at the Cemetaries. No older men in uniform.

I get an inkling of the fear that must pervade them in battle. As I feel my sadness, I get an inkling of the sadness at their departure from home. I am rightfully ashamed that I overlooked this very important holiday. What is Holloween that we make such a fuss? What is Labor Day to us, really, except to mark the end of summer and the beginning of lower Shore rates??

So here, in my small way, I lift up a prayer to you. I honor you for serving us, doing your duty. I cry for you who came home damaged and never got over it. I honor you.



*

11.15.2008

Song

Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken
- Psalm 55:22 (NAS)
*
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
- Psalm 34:18 (Thanks, Carla.)
*

11.14.2008

U.S.

I was lead by the pretty young tech into a soothingly darkened room. Everyone had been lovely. Efficient, kind and on time.

It was a different town, a different place. Eight years had passed. As I lay down on the gurney next to that machine, I didn't look but saw in my mind the bottle of gel, the computer screen, the little tracking ball and the wand. My heart remembered. That last time, the tech got very quiet as she wanded my belly over and over. She said the ominous words, "I'll call the doctor in." There was no heartbeat. My husband and I sat in the car in the parking lot and cried.

This time, the wand searched further up, but in no less of a meaningful place for me as a woman. The lump had been there for several weeks, but seemed to be getting bigger. The tech stepped out to have the images read and she returned with the doctor in tow.

"Uh oh. I don't think I want to see you," I joked to the kind Radiologist. "Biopsy," he said. "There are benign traits, but we want to be sure," he said. I sat in the car in the parking lot and cried. This time, alone. Suddenly, for the first time, I wanted to wear one of those pink ribbons.

God is still God, but I am, nontheless, Ultra Sad.

*

11.12.2008

My Heart Longs

My heart has been dark these days. Sometimes, I look up from my self-absorbed, comfortable life and, as if the scales have fallen from my eyes, I see pain. I see hatred. I see sadness. And I cannot let it go.

I know of a pastor in this area from the Democratic Republic of Congo. If you haven't heard about the atrocities there, you can read about it here. His family - mom, dad, sibling, friends. . . are trapped. They are afraid of the bullets, afraid of the cholera from the refugee camps.

There are . . . have been death threats on the President-elect.

One of Boo's little friends from Nursery school was diagnosed with leukemia on Friday. It's the "better" kind of leukemia to have. He started chemo right away. This 6 year old boy has an 80% chance. 80%. That's not good enough for his mom and dad. His grandparents. Aunts, uncles, friends.

Hatred snarls, teeth bared, mouth foaming, and roams the earth. Tears brim my eyes and drip into the dark cavity in my chest. I look up to my left, up to the right, the enemies hover the land. I have but two choices: despair or trust. Despair or Trust.

My heart despairs, but the Spirit within me Trusts Him who reigns:

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son,
but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give
us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It
is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than
that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding
for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship
or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
"For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. - from Romans 8

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. - Psalm 143:8

I pray for the people across the sea, across the savanna in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Sudan and Uganda as war and cholera rage. I pray for this country. What kind of a country would assassinate their own president?! I pray for the little boy up the street, his mom, his dad.

I know You are True. . .I need You to be True.
Where else do we turn?

*

11.11.2008

A Calling

I am an architect. But don't ask me about your curtains. I've actually had people ask me to help them pick curtains. OK, maybe because architects are supposed to have good taste? I don't know how to break to them that I dislike curtains.

I digress. (Please hold the 'so what's new' comments!)


The projects I've worked on are "institutional," meaning public schools, hospitals, civic work. I've been a part of some fabulous work. One was featured in our profession's national journal. I spoke about it at a national conference in Atlanta. Others were highly complex, multi-phased internal renovations of hospitals requiring no 'down time.'

They are fascinating to me, but those are not my favorite projects. I have two. One is lovely to look at, one is not; both are beautiful in spirit.

The first is an elementary school located in the quaint town of Brookville in northern Pennsylvania. Originally designed in 1939 by the firm I worked for, it was innovative in its use of steel in combination with wood. It is a lovely neo-Classical structure anchored by a clock tower. Literally, generations walked to that school, first as the high school, then an elementary school. The days of walking to school are all but gone. Most school are mega-schools, supposedly to save on costs. I don't think anyone figured out the social and emotional cost of losing the neighborhood school. This school almost met a similar fate, but the school board changed its mind and we were privileged to be able to convert it to current standards. Today, parents who walked to that school walk their own children there to school. And the clock works.

The second is also an elementary school. It is in the declined post-industrial city of Johnstown. The plan was to abandon this ugly, windowless building in a questionable neighborhood and build a new building elsewhere. There was so much opposition to the new site that the Board was backed into keeping the 1970's building. Although unspoken, everyone knows some ugly whites didn't want some little black children in their neighborhood. We were given this ugly building. We couldn't give them windows, but we gave them all the benefits that other kids in nice neighborhoods have. Because, why shouldn't they?

*

Growth Spurt Much?

Breakfast:
2 bags of instant oatmeal
juice

Morning Snack:
2 breakfast bars
milk

Lunch:
Mac n Cheese with 1 hot dog
1/2 bell pepper
6 baby carrots
1/2 c yogurt with peaches
juice

Afternoon Snack:
1 c. yogurt with strawberries and blueberries
pretzels
8 bites of left-over mushu and rice

Dinner:
Turkey bacon BLT
1 c. peaches with yogurt and honey


This is what Boo ate yesterday. He's 6-1/2.
*

11.07.2008

Black-Wash

Six-year old Boo and I are sharing a bottle of water in the car, on the way home from school.

You moms, I know what you're thinking. And you're right - ewwwwww. Cuz we all know how boys drink from bottles, especially little six-year old boys, right?

I ask for a drink, and when I get the bottle, there are a hundreds of little things floating in it!! YUK! I said "BOO! WHAT in the world is in the water??"

"Black pepper."

Black pepper? And sure enough, the things floating in the water are uniform and black and grey in color. He had one of those fast-food packets of pepper from our last trip through Wendy's. He said,
"I'm doing an expewiment to see if it will dissolve."
I'm not sure whether to be proud of him or totally grossed out.

*

11.05.2008

Keeping Perspective

To use a word, know the definition of it before bantying it about. Or questioning someone's patriotism with it. Like "socialism."

Americans, with our 3 cars, 4 TVs, closetful of comfort, should really get a perspective on what persecution and cruel government are, before accusing either Democrats or Republicans.

Yer really pissin me off.

*

Our God Reigns

God is as much God today as He was yesterday. At 8:00 pm EST and 11:00 pm EST.

"Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are his. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings;" -Daniel 2:20-21

"Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God." -Romans 13:1

"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence." -1 Timothy 2:1-2


*

11.04.2008

A Matter of Choice

It may have been easy for you to decide who to vote for, but not for me. I am still struggling with my decision. Here are two incredible men - either would do our country proud - and I am grateful for that. There have been other presidential elections when I felt it was the "lesser of two evils" kinda choice. There have been years I have cringed to see our president on the world stage.

Obama, whose ideals in many arenas I passionately embrace, a catapaulting symbol. A Christian man, to boot. But who sees abortion as a "choice."
McCain, who is the only Republican I'd ever vote for, who is against abortion. But. Who seems to have withered a bit over the years. I wish he had become president 8 years ago, in his prime. And then his VP "choice," a sad choice.

Do I swallow a bitter pill or throw the baby out with the bath water??

I will head to the polls in an hour, praying all the while, glad that He is in charge of all things.

*

11.02.2008

Big Yearly Sigh

I always breathe a sigh of relief the day after Halloween. No more goblin displays at the stores. No more scary ads and movies on TV. Each year I wonder if this is the year Boo will realize that everybody else does something different. Because, we don't "do" Halloween. Or Santa. No bunnies leave trails of plastic grass and no fairies drop coins on beds.


Kill joy?
Stick in the mud?
Boring?
Dogmatic?

It's just that I think the TRUTH is so much more interesting and fascinating to me than the made-up stuff. This made-up American stuff. That Jesus is victorious over evil even now. That God came down in the form of a baby. That He died on the cross, was laid in the tomb . . . but, but, was He there? NO! He is risen! And when Boo lost his first baby tooth, we talked about how God made our bodies to heal itself and grow newer and bigger.

Isn't that Amazing Grace?


*

Power of Positive Thinking, Part 2

My friend over at Musings of a Housewife wrote a terrific essay about a "God-Attitude," something I've been thinking about, too.

A God-Attitude; different than a good-attitude. And it seems to me this is where Norman Vincent Peale went off course. What a terrific, revolutionary idea to help those struggling on the path of righteousness! To help unburden the old baggage and heal the wounds! But. Jungian, Freudian, whateverarian are NOT Christ-ian. Having a God-Attitude goes to the Source - changed, reborn, new, alive, cleansed. Having a good-attitude is just struggling in the same muck. Don't get me wrong, I believe strongly that therapy can help you find your way. Just as a friend or pastor or mom or dad can help you find your way, a therapist can be a trusted guide, helping you see the lighted path.

Instead of therapy being a tool, therapy became a dilutant of the pure milk. The Power of Positive Thinking lost The Power from The Positive Thinker.