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Showing posts from December, 2016

Faith As A Crutch

One of my sons has taken up atheism with a vengeance. It's a bold and provocative life: claiming God does not exist. That way, you have nothing to live up to. Wild, huh?

He accused me, on Christmas Day, of using faith as a crutch. At first, I was offended. But now: yeah, it's a crutch.

When I was 16, we took a family trip up through Canada and down through New England. One of our stops was the Oratory of St. Joseph in Montreal. In one of the chapels, and lining the hallways, were hundreds, if not thousands, of crutches and canes cast off by infirm visitors who found some form of healing there. It was rather remarkable to see very old crutches along side aluminum ones - clearly, this had been going on for a long time.

When I lost my mom, I was holding it together at the funeral home pretty well until two of my oldest and dearest friends came in. I literally fell into their arms. And I remembered back just a few short years before, when one of those friends lost her husband qui…

Secret Santa!!

Too old for Santa? I think not.

Yes, there are discussions as to whether we should "lie" to kids and tell them that Santa brings them gifts vs. We can't lie to the kids; it's wrong.

There is also the "Christmas is about Jesus" vs. "But Santa is magical!"

You know, we have so few magical and joyful moments, and less and less as we get older. Santa is fun. And the kids usually figure it out, and no one I know was ever scarred for life for believing that Santa brought them and every child everywhere a toy for Christmas.

It's the magic of looking up at the sky on a clear December night, thinking "I'll wait up to see Santa" and later, as you fell asleep at the window, being in your daddy's arms as he carries you to bed.

It's the magic of putting out cookies and milk (or beer, because Santa does like beer) and maybe some carrots for the reindeer, and then checking in the morning to make sure the food was all consumed.

It's…

Be Grateful!

I have this note on my work station: Be Grateful!

I tend to be a bit pessimistic, always waiting for the next calamity to strike. I lose sight of the good things. This little note helps to remind me that God has blessed me abundantly, and continues to do so.

What am I grateful for today?

This amazing rendition of "O Holy Night" by the incomparable Jennifer NettlesSecret Santa (So far, my Santa has gifted me some colorful gel pens, a case of sparking water [which I guzzle by the gallon] and dark chocolates.) What an awesome thing it is for co-workers to make each other's day a bit brighter!Dark-Haired Daughter's Happy Adoption Day. We alway celebrate the day our kids came home. What a blessing!I'm grateful I have a reliable vehicle during these winter months.I'm grateful we found a new place to live that we really, really like If you tend to be a bit gloomy like me, perhaps a gentle (or not-so-gentle) reminder to be grateful is the nudge you need. Be grateful!

A bit of poetry for your soul: Maya Angelou

I'm a bit drained. Work is busy (good!) and we are in the midst of packing and purging.

Part of the packing process feels like an archeological dig: the book one kiddo made in the 5th grade, mementoes from 1st Communions, a forgotten photo from an ordinary day. It is bittersweet. I keep reminding myself that the memories are not in the things.

I thought this poem from Maya Angelou summed things up well.

"Touched by an Angel" 

We, unaccustomed to courage 
exiles from delight 
live coiled in shells of loneliness 
until love leaves its high holy temple 
and comes into our sight 
to liberate us into life. 

Love arrives 
and in its train come ecstasies 
old memories of pleasure 
ancient histories of pain. 
Yet if we are bold, 
love strikes away the chains of fear 
from our souls. 

We are weaned from our timidity 
In the flush of love's light 
we dare be brave 
And suddenly we see 
that love costs all we are 
and will ever be. 
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

Advent Brokenness

It was a lovely May evening, the kind we in Michigan savor like honey. After the brutal cold of winter, flowers blossomed, grass greened, mosquitoes flocked. School was almost done for the year - just the formalities of 8th grade graduation were ahead.

Why not saddle up the horse and go for a ride? Why not, indeed. So my sister and I did. I took Prince out across the road from our house, to romp through the weeds on a path my father mowed for us. The view from horseback on a spring night - well, nearly Heaven.

Until Prince bolted. He spooked. I fell. And my arm broke. Compound fracture.

My dog, a collie, had followed us out. He was not particularly trusting of Prince, as Prince would never allow himself to be herded, and this vexed my collie. My dog, channeling his inner Lassie, ran home without me.

My sister had been in the yard with her boyfriend at the time, Gary, waiting for me to come back. Instead, it was just the dog loping across the road. That didn't seem right, so my si…

Bad Mom

The past year has been one of loss for me and my family. Right now, we are in the midst of losing our house. We are moving in a month - because who wouldn't want to move in the middle of January in Michigan???

I've lived most of this year in physical pain. After rounds of doctor visits (from my family doc to the university hospital), I finally got some answers ... but no solutions. Even the top-rated docs at U of M didn't want to touch the source of my pain.

It was suggested to me that I try for a spinal stimulator. While this seemed like a great idea, it set off weeks of phone calls: pain clinic, doctor, insurance and round and round and round. I'm in the midst of a trial and it looks good, but the permanent implant may be weeks away .... and we are moving.

Then last week, one of my kids dropped a bit of a bombshell. I didn't react very well. It feels like another enormous loss to me. I did a horrible job of trying to make myself understood, and my child reacted …