Thursday, July 31, 2008

I do believe that I have finished my first semester of graduate school with my dear friend D. Boy, am I exhausted!

She's studying non-profit management. At first, the assignments were quite tough. I mean, really, she had to just hit the ground running with essay questions I had to practically translate for her to even figure out what was being asked. Of course, that meant much Googling on my part to figure out the question well enough to help her understand.

Now, many weeks and essay questions later, D can plow through her assignments with the best of them. Tonight, she just finished her second final research paper. I do admit that my suggestions for her topics were partly motivated by what kind of research I would like to learn. However, both were within her realm of professional development as well. Her two topics were: the impact of the mortgage crisis on affordable housing and the cultural gap of the digital divide. Her research and final draft were stellar. Honestly, sometimes I grow downright jealous over how well she writes.


I do so admire those who can wield a skillful pen...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I have been mightily blessed of late because those dozens and dozens mosquito bites on my legs have been far less burdensome than I could have ever imagined. While I am not out of the woods yet, I have given in to the scratching that sets me on such a vicious cycle in just a few patches. That I have not battled them day after day is a bit uplifting to me.

I have been, however, assaulted by mosquitoes in my house. I forgot that Kashi had come back in from a visit outside and left the back door ajar for several hours. While several days have passed, I feel as if they are breeding inside somehow. How in the world can such a small thing emit such a loud, annoying sound? If they are not whining in my ear, they are flying about my face. Apparantly, I am too slow with my slaps to effect a kill.

Still, I think the former outweighs the latter, don't you?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I had the chance to talk with an assistance superintendent of a local school district for about an hour the other day. I called him about the possibility of hiring a high school catering group for an event. While I have yet to get an answer on whether we will fit into the schedule since school will have just started, I did enjoy a rather engaging conversation that ranged from multicultural literature to financial literacy to study skills/college prep.

For a very long moment, I savored the sweet opportunity to think, to engage, to learn. Oh, my, do I miss it. I was flattered by his request for my resume, offering to see if there was a place for me to perhaps help utilizing my skills...but I do not dare believe that something may come of it. I think, perhaps, I can focus on how much I enjoyed delving into weighty matters for but a moment or two.

Points of Discussion:

Multicultural literature, while much more prevalent when compared to the 80's, still demands attention to authenticity, accuracy, and access.

It is asinine for society to expect young adults and adults to have proficiency in an area that is not systematically taught over a sufficient period of time. From college students who rack up thousands of dollars of credit card debt to adults who end up with overwhelming debt from paycheck loans or risky mortgages, people cannot be expected to demonstrate proficiency in fiscal matters just because they happen to be old enough to earn their own money.

So many of our young people are set up to fail, rather than succeed. They suddenly shift from being told what to do and when to do it--from home to school--without systematic education on the life skills necessary to do so successfully. Young adults need training in planning, time management, note-taking/study techniques, dealing with an adviser, professional development, job benefits options, budgeting, etc. These are not subjects in school; many would argue they are the purview of parents. I disagree. They absolutely should be a part of our education system beginning at least as soon as junior high school. After all, there is such a push for critical-thinking and problem-solving development that the subject matter in those lessons ought to have to some real-world applications.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I managed to not get criticized once today. I am savoring the moment.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I have had my social outing for the month. I created a social story for my nephew. I have celebrated my half-brother's birthday in the absence of his mother. I have washed, dried, folded, and put away 3 loads of laundry. I vacuumed. I changed the filter in my HVAC unit. I backed-up my computer. I ran and emptied the dishwasher. I have run errands. I have done the past two months' filing, I have cleaned up my home office, and I have given feedback on a paper for someone in graduate school.

I need one more day to recover from my weekend.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Oh, my goodness! I am most thoroughly excited!

On September 20th, B and I will be attending a Sugarland concert in Atlantic City!

I have two months to savor the anticipation of this event and dream about what fun we can have whilst there.

Over the next sixty days, I have two upcoming contract jobs and calculated that I need to work 30 hours to both pay for this little jaunt without dipping into anything and still put my set ratio into savings...that or give up Dr. Pepper for the next year!

I kept looking for something in PA near B & G, my most willing chauffeurs, but both options were far away. Then, alas, G pointed out that Atlantic City was but a mere hop, skip, and jump down the road.

Now, here is the part that takes the cake: G gave yet another example of his loving and generous heart when he listened to me plan on how long it would take to get there and then suggested we go up earlier and enjoy a leisurely dinner before the concert! How so very thoughtful of him. I would have just planned for the least amount of time being gone and there he was encouraging me to plan for how we could enjoy the excursion the most.

Now, we tentatively have an event at work planned for either the Wednesday or Thursday before the concert, so I will cross my fingers for Wednesday. We also have a big fundraising drive, so I am not sure how being gone for a long weekend will go over, but I will aim for a Friday to Monday trip so as to not drop dead from exhaustion and excitement and account for any additional drain from emergency Epipen injections.

So, I guess I best get to memorizing the lyrics to the new CD so I can be sure to sing along from beginning to end!

NOTE: This is NOT retail therapy. It falls under my goal of socializing once a month. I promise!

Friday, July 25, 2008

My sister actually called and asked me for help tonight. My, was I surprised...

Her request was for me to make a social story for her son, who has autism. He is going to be flying on a plane for the first time tomorrow, and she is worried about how he will handle a new experience. Apparently, there is a psychological aid called a social story, whereby a story is written for the child telling him what will happen in the new experience, step-by-step, with illustrations.

A friend of my sister lost her father unexpectedly today, so she did not yet have a chance to do a social story for my nephew. Thus, the request for help.

Below is my first attempt at a social story. The cool part is that I also just figured out how to post some of my work as a photo on this blog: first, print it to PDF; then, export it to JPEG.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

B is fairly great at these wonderful discoveries of things that are rather helpful. Case in point: a super dog brush from Wal-Mart.

When I was at her house a few weeks ago, I borrowed her dog brush and was simply stunned at how well it cleaned out Kashi's double coat.

I have to admit that he was looking a bit ragged. Mostly this is because he hates the brush I own and I have not had the energy to fight him on keeping his coat neat. And, to be honest, I just didn't want to upset him when he is aging before my eyes and I am going through such a rough patch myself. Frankly, one of us ought to feel good.

Well, once I saw how effective her tool could be, I applied it most vigorously to my puppydog. Over the course of two applications, I gathered an entire plastic grocery bag of doggy fur. Kashi looked immeasurably better and a bit thinner. I did not get to the area around his chest and neck, because I would have needed to do so indoors where I could remove his harness. Given the amount of doggy fur that did not make it into the bag, littering her lawn most impressively, I assumed B would rather I not take the mess inside.

I finally got a chance to visit two of my local Wal-Mart stores, only to discover that both of them did not carry the miracle doggy brush. I promptly asked B to purchase one for me and send it on its way South.

Kashi is getting a bit ragged again, so I am looking forward to receiving the eventual package.

What makes this brush even more wonderful is the fact that my bedroom has been MUCH cleaner in the past two weeks because he has not shed very much. In fact, the only time he really did shed was while in abject fear at the vet's office.

So, not only does this brush make Kashi more comfortable, more attractive, and more clean, but it also reduces the need for vacuuming in my home.

What more could you want?????????

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I have been holding my entries since the end of June, writing away...but censoring myself. After much introspection and several phone calls and emails from those of you who read here, I gathered my courage and posted them all.

I am not rising to the occasion in battling pain, weakness, and failing cognitive faculties. I am tired. I am exhausted. I am weary. And I am frightened.

Today, for nearly three hours at work, I could barely see. My vision was so very blurred that I could do little but type and hope enough of my thoughts would survive so that I could finish my work later.

I find no joy in this. I find no comfort in the fellowship of suffering.

I feel alone.
I feel scared.
I feel overwhelmed.

I cannot change this. I cannot escape this. In the words of Elisabeth Haydon's character Rhapsody, "Ryle hira. Life is what it is." Eli Stone would tell me, "Live Brave." David would remind me that the days of my life were written before one of them came to pass...and that each of those days are in the palm of my Creator's hand. Luke who add that "with Christ, nothing is impossible."

This I know. My soul doth know it very well.

Knowing...however...does not make it very much easier...just endurable.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Well, I did not win one of the platinum tickets to the great fan package for Sugarland (I did not even know there was a contest). Would you believe I have yet to pop the CD into my computer? I am nervous, in a silly strange sort of way. I admit. I know. I confess that the strangest things hold far too much weight with me these days. Soon. Soon, I shall gather my courage and press play. Soon.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I still felt rather weak from the heat trauma from yesterday, so I went back to sleep this morning and did not awake until 1:50. I felt much better.

Kashi and Fancy made a trip to Dr. ML. Fancy was rather cooperative whilst getting her nails trimmed. I almost wondered if someone had switched birds on me. Kashi, on the otherhand, objected most strongly to the needle biopsy of the growth in his arm pit. For that matter, he did not care for his temperature being taken or his joints being manipulated. He even took offense at the scope against his chest and the one in his ears.

Sadly, he hardly objected to the light shining in his eyes. He is losing his sight.

I am supposed to wash out his ear again for the next two weeks. Reflecting back upon that time last fall, I have decided that perhaps the washing should begin this weekend, when I can allot more time for the battle that will ensue until I once more can assert my Alpha Dog status when it comes to pouring cold liquid down his hear, rubbing the heck out of it, and then mopping up the drainage.

I think I need another nap.

NOTE: I stopped counting the mosquito bites on my legs at 117. I was not even close to finishing. The next few weeks are going to be most uncomfortable.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mowed. Weed whacked. Edged. Pruned.

Puked. Keeled Over. Shivered and trembled and sweated galore.

B salvaged the day by playing Scrabble with me. We each won a game. I felt after such trauma I should have won both. B disagreed. Scrabble does have curative properties even if I lose.

While I cried my way through the yard work, wishing ever so fervently for a life less difficult, I forgot that at least I have a friend who will carve out time from her very, very busy life to give me a fix or two. To say, I love you, but humbling me with her creative intelligence.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I tried the pill.

The first dose was 1/2 of a .25mg Zanax pill. I am not noticing much of a difference. Right now, Kashi is wedged between two plastic containers beneath one of the beds in the basement. Still whimpering.

The rain is a welcome event for the fact that I do not now need to water. It is, however, rather unwelcome for the havoc it wreaks upon my dear puppy-dog.

Friday, July 18, 2008

So, well, I had a bit more retail therapy.

You see, after my indiscretion with Farscape, my bank account was saved by a rather challenging assignment from one of my contract companies. While I had to sub-contract out a few charts in Excel (I am quite envious of how quickly B's husband G managed to whip them together), I still earned just over the amount of those 88 episodes.

At first, I practically balked at the task. While I do have a reputation of being able to pull a miracle out of my back pocket, sometimes this particular client overestimates my abilities to do so. I had just two days to create a draft of a PowerPoint presentation for heads of travel industry companies and visitor bureaus who were exhibiting in an international trade show in Beijing that met three objectives: 1) an overview of Chinese culture; 2) a primer on how to do business in China; and 3) a profile of the Chinese outbound traveler. After much doubt, I managed another miracle.

Instead of being thankful that my retail therapy did not greatly damage my budget, I gave myself another session. [I know I am disappointing those who turn to me for solid fiscal advice.]

There I was, writhing in pain and...yes....feeling sorry for myself...when I thought of a most wonderful, fantastic, terrific idea for G's birthday present. I searched online, set about procuring one, and then basked in my success (I am most fervently hoping he will like it as much as I believe he should).

My little shopping excursion did distract me from the waves of pain, so I thought about getting something else for me. What I chose was something that I have wanted for over 20 years. I asked myself...why am I waiting? Just do it.

It is an antique (were you to visit my home you would understand how well it will fit in to my abode). It is a prime piece of American ingenuity. It is representative of the heart of me.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Take the negative and turn it into positive, right?

This is a photo of the crepe myrtle in front of my home. Now, I pruned it last fall. Remember? I had bags and bags of cut branches. Yet, if you look at it here, I would be hard pressed to disagree with you should you declare it completely overgrown. SIGH.

I am not strong enough to prune it right now. I am just too tired. I sent a photo off to B, knowing that she would laugh and hoping she would hop in the car, drive 167 miles to my home, grab the pruning shears, and take a whack at it. She has VERY firm opinions on how pruned the tree should be. T'was a fantasy.

However, I did come up with a good solution: keep making a fresh flower arrangement for my table until the job is done! Already, the mailman has a better path to the mail box. K will no have her hair entangled in the branches should she try to mow again.

I do have one concern: See that branch over to the right, blocking the address, porch light, and much of the front door? How do I address this section of the tree without lopping it off all together? My brother would hack it off without a second thought. I, on the other hand, believe quite strongly that doing so would leave the tree horribly lop-sided. For one who has bonsais and miniature moss gardens, I am loathe to create such unbalance. Yet...I truly am perplexed about what to do. I do, however, desire not to have my mail delivery cease because the "way in" is permanently blocked...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

7 days!

Just 7 more days until the next Sugarland CD comes out! I wonder if I will find such solace and connection in the new songs as I have enjoyed in the old.

The first release is sort of a silly song, but it has grown on me...perhaps I need to laugh more.

I have tried to find concert I could attend this year. There are 2 in Pennsylvania, but I cannot figure out if either is near B or T. One is in Erie. The other is in Bloomsburg. Of course, I could travel to Oregon or North Dakota or Minnesota...

7 days!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What does quality of life mean?

My cousin D is being confronted daily with this question as it is played out before him in the life of his father, my dear Uncle D.

Cousin D and I have talked muchly over the past few weeks, and I have worked quite earnestly to be a source of support and gentle encouragement to him. I do desire a good death for him.

I wonder, though, if he would be offended by the thought that I, too, think of quality of life when it comes to Kashi.

Oh, how my heart hurts to see him growing old, virtually before my eyes. Hind quarter weakness, dimming vision, a twitching eye, and growing fatigue. Gray hair. Slow gait. Not so bad, eh? However, he also has one more problem growing in intensity: his frayed nerves.

Now, I have well documented his fear of storms, vacuums, flashing lights, loud noises, and the opening tones of Quicken. His response to the first has escalated beyond all belief. My poor puppy-dog is now virtually inconsolable. He whimpers and trembles violently. He runs about looking for a safe place to hide, often squeezing himself in spaces that he cannot then get out of once the storm has passed. And now he has started pooping in his fear. His doctor has given me a prescription for Zanax, but I am worried about trying it. The hepatic shut he has labored against his whole life can make taking medication a precarious choice. Given the alternative, however, I believe that I should try something else.

Silly of me, I know, but as much as I want to help Kashi, I cannot picture myself walking into Target, stepping up to the pharmacy counter, and asking to fill a prescription for my dog.

My goal for tomorrow: get those pills.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I confess to a bit of retail therapy: I now own the series Farscape.

I had no business flinging down the copious amount of greenbacks it took to gain these 88 episodes. I already owned the movie (which I was saving to watch after I got the series), but the series was something for later. Since the first season is no longer in distribution, it is not--I repeat NOT--economical. In a moment of anguish, I set those careful frugal notions aside and hopped on line to discover the least expensive way to acquire this story that captures my interest.

Tonight, I watched the first two episodes.

Now I also confess that it is my hope, having had success with Stargate SG1 and Dr. Who, I might just convince B that she needs to become acquainted with Farscape, too. However, I fear I already have a bit obstacle to overcome: Claudia Black.

She and Ben Browder were actors who starred in Farscape and then also starred in SG1. While the character of Cameron Mitchell was enjoyable, Vala Malduran was a bit irritating to both B and G. Having met Claudia in Farscape, I marveled at the sheer departure in character rather than the less than lovable traits.

In Farscape, she plays this woman who was separated from her parents and raised by the military. At the beginning of the series, she loses her place in the only world she knows--one bound by regiment and rules and superior disdain for all other life form--to land on a ship of escaped convicts. Her character grows and learns and changes, her journey one of the most compelling pieces of the Farscape story. But will B be able to see "the radient" Aeryn Sun or will she only see Vala?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

For the record, I have asked for help, truly asked--practically begged, in fact--four times in the past month. I have been met with silence.

Is the Lord asking me to trust Him alone or is Satan enjoying battering me about?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What I accomplished this day:
  • Slept late
  • Read
  • Watched NASCAR
  • Ignored the lawn
  • Averted my eyes from the laundry
  • Hid from the vacuum

My goal for this evening:
  • Another nap

Friday, July 11, 2008

I learned a new term today: helicopter parents

These are folk who hover closely over their children, stepping in to solve all their problems, run interference with teachers, coaches, and first employers, and manage their social and financial obligations and obstacles. The result of their parenting: children who are incapable of problem-solving, critical-thinking skills, who have little if any sense of self-discipline and social responsibility, who labor beneath an inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement, and who have no concept of consequences.

So, while the helicopter parent would shudder at the notion of letting his/her child "sink or swim," they just might want to take another look at a more hands-off approach to the rearing of their loved ones.

I see the results already. I see younger fellow employees at work who want everything handed to them and who will not take one step beyond the minimum required of them. Colleges across the nation dread dealing with the parents, but I disliked facing the students. Students who did not want to study, who wanted me to take notes on the reading assignments and pass them out, and who wanted to have practice sessions before a test. They wanted to get an A for showing up and at least doing some work.

I oft stand on a soapbox bemoaning the fact that this nation has seemingly embraced medocrity as excellence, failing to see the difference between the two. This notion of helicopter parents does not bode well for my hopes of a generation who eshews the easy sop that is fed them at every turn and strives to learn, to grow, and to change. Children can never learn hunger for excellence if nary a moment passes without them being swaddled and swathed and sated with their every pleasure.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

One of the reasons I worry so about traveling is that I nearly killed Fancy. T'would have been a grievous blow after my diminished mental capacity directly led to Madison's horrible death last Thanksgiving.

Having a place for her cage right near the bed was great because then she could see me at all times while up in the attic. She frankly has not traveled well since Madison died. In short, she does not eat. I put out fresh millet and her favorite seed and fruit pellets and they remain untouched.

After swallowing the huge dollop of great big love that was my bedroom at B's house, I set up Fancy's cage and unpacked all of Kashi's toys. I put out food for Fancy and food and water for Kashi.

Did you catch that? I only put out food for Fancy. I completely forgot to fill her water bowl. I completely forgot to do so. I forgot.

Were I not in the habit of sticking her face in streams of water each time we are near a faucet (I worry that she is not hydrating enough as it is), Fancy could have died in the nearly 3 days she went without water.

I was aghast and bereft upon discovering my horrible neglect of a bird that has been such a great companion for me. Immediately, I was overwhelmed once more. Only this time, it was the belief that I should not be a pet owner. I forget them. I neglect them. I harm them.

Fancy gulped down quite a bit of water as soon as I rather hastily filled her container. I also immediately flung my worry at B even though she was in the bathroom with her husband. I wanted to rage at her because she is my memory. Why didn't you realize I had not filled Fancy's water bowl? But I was not angry at her. I was angry at me. I forget so much.

I start to do something and then I get distracted and forget that I what I was doing. I'm sure you're thinking, That's not so bad. I do the same. But do you? Do you really? Do you leave the stove top gas burning for hours on end? Do you leave the faucet running in the sink only to discover it the next day when you return to that bathroom? Do you leave your back door standing open all night? Do you forget what day of the week it is, again and again and again? Do you leave laundry in the washing machine for a week or more? Or the sprinkler running for not one, but two days? Do you pay the same bill 2 or 3 times? Do you wear just one earring? Do you wear one black shoe and one brown? Do you leave your lunch hanging on the doorknob of the front door? Can you form letters? Can you spell your name? Can you push the proper button on elevators?

I do. I can't.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Having successfully introduced Stargate SG 1 to B, I tried, while with her, to introduce her to Dr. Who.

Just before I left, I saw an episode (really a two-episode arc) that illuminated just why it is that I am so drawn to the show. After all, I must admit that some of the aliens on that show are rather silly. Case in point: the slythine (or however it is spelled).

I do enjoy the writing. Such quick wit is offered at times, reminiscent of the intelligent repartee of Jane Austin, just in a Sci-Fi manner. The actors are all rather accomplished, slipping into oft strange roles with a comfort and ease that lends believability to some rather incredulous story lines. [I find it interesting that British television seems far less obsessed with perfect bodies and perfect make-up and perfect hair than that of its American counterpart...refreshing in a way....]

Then there is David Tennant. I rather like Christopher Eckleson, the actor who played Dr. Who the first season of this current incarnation of the series. I found his exuberence for the inquisitive, intrepid, impulsive human race rather infectious. Yet, when he shifted on a dime to stand before evil and demand the agressor cease and desist, I found that change natural, rather than a departure. So, I was shocked by the regeneration at the end of the first season that allowed David Tennant to step into the role.

However, I must say that I have never looked back in regret for the change. I cannot imagine him in the stories that Christopher played, but I am not sorry that he is now here.

I find Dr. Who's habit of offering the option to cease destruction to the enemy both puzzling and fascinating. In a sense, his greatest weapon is forgiveness. Yet, in his role as a Time Lord, one who can see the whole and breath of time and space as life is and was and will be, Dr. Who is at once the defender and the bystander. He could not save the citizens at Pompeii because it is fact. It was already written. But woe to those who try to change what is, who try to destroy the world that was or is or will be. He is fierce and relentless and absolute. He is these things, yet even to the murderer, to the destroyer of worlds, he will offer the chance to stop, to repent, to be forgiven,and then to be accepted as one who has changed. What is past can be just that: the past.

I had come to appreciate the series, even look forward to it, for those reasons, for the incredible lessons of life and love and acceptance Dr. Who offers. Yet this episode crystalized something else for me.

Dr. Who has lost everything. His world is gone. His family and friends are gone. His entire race no longer exists. Everything he has come from and stands for and represents is but a fading shadow save for him. At 904 years old, he has watched his companions grow old and die. No one he even remotely cares for can remain in his life. His life is marked by grief and sorrow. They are his lifelong companions, coloring his very existance. Yet they do not cripple him. They do not hinder him. Every once in a while, as a viewer, you come face to face with his companions and the knowledge of the truth of his life makes the moment you are watching all the more profound.

In my opinion, if you can look past the silly aliens and the outrageous plots, you will find some of the most intriguing and troubling examinations of life and live and forgiveness and the very essense of what it means to be human.

His loss calls to me as a familiar companion. His world view challenges me. The writing humbles me. Yes, I admit it. I do rather like this show.

The question is...will B get any of that or will she laugh at me for the next 50 years for plucking those DVDs down for her to view?

Monday, July 07, 2008

I am home. Multiple asthma attacks and game losses later (except for Skipbo and Chicken Foot), I am home.

I think--if the wretch MS cells ravaging my brain allow me to--that I shall savor that first moment at the top of the attic stairs for the rest of my life. I shall cherish the glimpse G and B gave me of the magnitude of God's love. I shall treasure the gift of their friendship, made so tangible in that moment, with me always.

However, I am home...and am more convinced than ever, even as I hope for an invite again at Thanksgiving, that I should remain so. It is not fair or right or very loving at all to inflict my illnesses and difficulties and all on other people.

I am refreshed by being with B, but I am exhausted from the strain of the multiple asthma attacks (both on my breathing and my sleeping). I am tired from trying to compensate by the drama of my health by being on my feet too long and washing as many dishes as possible. I am fatigued from my own disappointment at not being able to have a crisis free visit (I know that must sound silly). I am loathe to think of how I shall make it through this week for want of a day or more of sleep. I am loathe to think of how I shall make it through this week with such jumbled thoughts in my mind and heart.
Why must the blessings God showers upon me be accompanied by a battering as well?

Friday, July 04, 2008

Oh, my goodness, can not anything be easy? Seriously, anything at all????

B planned a party for the Fourth that included much game playing, including my beloved Chicken Foot Dominos. How do I respond? Escalating to the need of jamming an Epipen into the thigh. By all rights I should have gone to the ER. [Although B keeps telling me doing so will be a better experience than than which I have had, I am loathe to do so whilst with her.]

It started so innocently enough: G's best friend R's wife N was a bit taken aback at how competitive B and I were when engaged in game playing. I made the comment that she and I were like wild dogs. B, with her ever so quick wit that I love so very dearly, added that we were "ferile." I hooted and hollared and then started coughing then wheezing then gasping.

Is there anything worse than having an asthma attack triggored by hearty laughter? That is my lot in life? Asthama triggored by smoke/smog, cold air, and laughter. That stinks!

I wanted this visit to be peaceful and restful, one marked by my presence being a help, not a hindrance. But, nay, such is not the case. Such will never be the case.

My chest hurts, my breathing is still labored, and the slighted hint of humor is enough to send me spiraling out of control again. I have the six pillows I brought with me, but it will still be a long, long night for me.

Why can I not simply bask in the warmth that is B's home?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

B and G are insane and magnificent and wondrous and humbling and exuberant in their love for me, in the manner in which they display the light and fragrance of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed and know not what to do or say.

As silly as it sounds, I just don't know how to handle their act of kindest and love and support. No one has ever done such a marvelous thing for me.

I was mostly ready for G. Bible study was great. The drive went well even though we did not stop for coffee for G (I couldn't bring myself to ask him directly not to stop so as to limit my discomfort, but he rose above his gender to understand my veiled hints about not stopping).

The only really strange thing was that he did not stumble off to bed as soon as we arrived in the wee hours of the morning, given that he had an early morning meeting at work today. Just a few hours from now he will have to rise, shower, shave, and present himself as lucid and alert after such a very, very long day.

Finally, I understood his hints about seeing that I got settled up in my room and followed them upstairs. I did not realize then that in such a short time, my life would shift, a veil would lift, and I would glimpse the depth of God's love for me.

I arrived at the door to the attic and was greeted by a sign: P's Room. It made me smile. The set of rules for being on stairs that was posted on the wall across from the door made me chuckle...especially the one about not carrying things whilst upon the stairs. After thinking the silly, serious rules were the reasons for their seemingly slight impatience at me making my way to my bedroom. But, alas, I was so very wrong.

Still smiling, I made my wait to the top of the stairs to see that B and G had created a mostly lovely haven for me, my very own bedroom! They had bought a bed! A real, honest-to-goodness bed, lovingly placed right against a vent from the air conditioner. A bed flanked by bedside tables made from a bookshelf and a bench, adorned by fresh flowers from their yard. Three lamps had been placed for best exposure (B had placed her life in a bit of danger to unscrew the light bulb from track lighting that was tied to the only power source in the attic--turn it off and there would be no power). A table was set up for Fancy's cage and for me to ready myself in the morning or type as I am doing now. B and G picked a green kleenex box and a green power strip. I have a chest for my suitcase. I have goodies on my pillow. Everywhere I look, there are thoughtful touches that reflect my tastes and needs. The room practically screams "I love you!" from corner to corner, from ceiling to floor. No where do I need to bend over or sit on the floor. No where do I need for anything.

The work and funding such love must have taken. It is overwhelming. So much so that I am struggling to fall asleep. So much so that I know not how to face B and G in the morning.

How wide and deep is the love of God! 41 years and I can finally understand. I may see but dimly, yet I see!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Have you prayed lately for the folks in the Mid-West? Have you stopped to be grateful that your life and world around you has not been washed away, perhaps forever? I have. I have because a compassionate heart calls for it. I have because they are children of God, my brothers and sisters, those who know it and those who do not. I have because I need something outside my life. I have because prayer is the greatest something a person can do even when she is small and weak and wretched in her own flaws and foibles and worries and fears.