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Wife, Mother, Bookkeeper, Writer, Friend, Lover of God.
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I’ve been avoiding you, my faithful blog. It’s not your fault. You’ve been with me since February, 2005, through good times, bad times, boring times, and hilarious times. I couldn’t have asked for a better outlet for my thoughts and opinions. But things change, people change. I’ve changed. There are new adventures to be had, huge transitions coming down the road. My life assignment for the last 20 years is rapidly coming to a close. How do I say this without hurting you, my friend? I am moving. Well, not just me, but Harold & Evan also. We’re moving to California next year, back to the land of Evan & my birth as well as home to my parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. I leave you here in cyberspace with a mission. First, encourage parents of children with Down Syndrome. They need help and you hold so many stories of my Evan’s triumphs and struggles and everyday life. Second, give spiritual hope to those who need it. My spiritual life is never perfect but that’s okay. Hopefully struggles that I have shared here will help others find their way to the God of love, the Lord of all, Christ Jesus.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2011 at The Road Not Chosen
Julana, Ev wishes we were there now. Nearly all my family is out there so that makes a big difference. Evan has a friend here who was particularly upset at the news. When I told Ev his friend was upset, Ev replied "Why? I'll make new friends!" Yup. That's my boy. :)
Toggle Commented Jul 18, 2011 on Next Up at The Road Not Chosen
1 reply
Kathy, I cracked up at all the OOOOOO's! Yeah, I think transition blog is where I'm headed. Thanks for the encouragement.
Toggle Commented Jul 17, 2011 on Next Up at The Road Not Chosen
1 reply
I'm thinking about ditching my blog of 7 years and starting fresh. Road Not Chosen never really recovered from my long absence during my son Evan's "Year of Horrible Surgeries". Perhaps I never recovered. Maybe that blog will always be tied in my mind to those events. I do know that it isn't fitting me anymore. Will I keep my url? I think I'll ditch it and try to come up with something new and exciting. After all my big move back to Cali after a 20 year absence is rapidly approaching. I feel like I have chosen a new path. A new blog makes sense to me. First, of course, I'll think about if I should make the change. I'll ditch TypePad and go to WordPress for sure. Then will come the obligatory playing with themes/designs. I may even pony up some money and hire my wonderful friend, to come up with a suitably beautiful theme. Have you ever ditched something old because it didn't represent you any more? Feel free to share. *I am now on Google+ which I find a more secure, less privacy stealing social platform than Facebook. If you’d like an invite just let me... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2011 at The Road Not Chosen
I love summer. Really. I loooove summer with its slower pace, longer evenings, green trees & tall glasses of sweet tea with lemon. I just read a post on summer written by my friend Serenity at Serenity Now about how happy she is to have her kids home with her. That reminded me (of course) about my summer days. When I was a kid in the 60s my summer was very different than my friends. Both of my parents worked full time so my days were overseen by the most wonderful sitter named Betty Bearss. She was from Philadelphia, a fact she reminded me of as she served me a yummy dessert of pineapple & chunks of Philadelphia cream cheese. Betty was an ardent Democrat and adored Hubert Humphrey. (For you young’uns Humphrey was a very popular senator who had a long & fruitful career in D.C. He was an early supporter of civil rights & made a failed run for the presidency.) I think I was the only 8 year old who knew the entire history of the Democratic party! My family did not go to church at that time. I attended a Lutheran school from K thru 8th... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2011 at The Road Not Chosen
My great friend, Dan White*, who has more creativity in his left tooth than I can ever dream of having, has been stirring up a wonderful pot of creative stew. First he challenged our musical friends to write 5 songs in 5 days. He called it 5-in-5 and you can check out the wonderful results here. I was in awe of these people who diligently made songs each day. There are funny songs, romantic songs, songs about loss and about rejoicing. It was wonderful to check in that week to see what new music everyone came up with. Next Dan asked all of us creatives to produce something, well, creative within a week. There was a great response to what Dan called The Mosaic Project. I contributed a trio of haiku poems which you can read there. Just take a leisurely scroll down the other projects until you find mine. Again, I marveled at what we can make when we put our minds to it, or are forced into a deadline! (I always work better under pressure.) Photos, short stories, poetry, songs, and exercise routines are some of the things came out of us this week. I’d like to thank... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2011 at The Road Not Chosen
Have you heard about “revisionist history”? It has been quite the topic of discussion in educational & historical circles for the last decade or so. The term means, in a nutshell, that we “revise” true history to give it the slant that we want in today’s era. An example would be taking a historical event and cleaning it up to be politically correct. This is seen in a lot of the current crop of history & scientific textbooks from grade school through college. As a teacher and a writer I am always intent on giving people the true story, not the cleaned up version. We really need to learn from the mistakes of the past so they are not repeated. If the past is tidied up, there is no lesson to learn is there? The urge to revise history is such a human one. We want things to look better than they actually were or are. Sometimes we even want things to look worse because it makes us look better in the here and now. Have you ever done this with your own past? Sometimes we make our past stories look worse so our “testimony” will sound better. Then again,... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2011 at The Road Not Chosen
Next Saturday the students that Evan graduated from high school with will be graduating from college. We will watch them walk across the stage, holler and clap like crazy for them. Having watched them conquer the mountain that is a college degree I am very proud of who they have become. They are great young adults! Here’s the secret thing that parents of intellectually handicapped kids don’t talk about: the knife that goes through our hearts knowing that our kids won’t make that march across the stage. It is not a knife of jealousy as we learn early on that is a fruitless emotion. It’s just pure parental pain of once more letting go of the dream you had for your baby before he was even born. It is a very well documented fact that parents of special needs children go through the grieving process several times during their lives and I can testify that is true. Each milestone that other kids race past without even thinking about it, is one that my kid may or may not reach. In talking about this I am not looking for sympathy or a pat on the back. (Although loads of dark chocolate... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2011 at The Road Not Chosen
Some in Christendom were very upset last weekend because President Obama didn’t issue some kind of formal acknowledgement of Easter and its importance to Christians. He issued proclamations for several other religious holidays when they came around, so some in our group felt there was evil intent on his part. Really, Christians? We’re going to get upset at that?! I mean there are a LOT of other things to get our dander up about. How about 2 1/2 wars with no end in sight? What about his waffling on almost any issue you can think of? I can pick any number of things to be ticked off at the President about but not issuing an Easter proclamation is not one of them. Why? It is my opinion Christians would be better off acting on the mandate that Christ died & rose for. If we put as much effort into making disciples, really making disciples, as we put into griping about Mr. Obama we wouldn’t need a proclamation. We would be a living proclamation! No one would need reminding about what Easter means because a Christian they know has already told them the Good News and lived it out in front... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2011 at The Road Not Chosen
Reading Facebook this week, I noticed that several young adults I know are about to graduate from the college of their choice. Some have gone to college right out of high school. Some have married & had a kid or two and then went on to get their degree. Either way I am thrilled to see this! In a land not so far away, in a time that seems (thankfully) long ago, in a church that was confused, higher learning was looked down upon. The thought was that one would become contaminated with an ungodly point of view. Much better to spend one’s time working in the church, going to a Bible college and then do something religiously oriented. As a result of this, several years worth of high school graduates did not go to college, floundering in minimum wage jobs, without much direction for their lives really. Fortunately, God did not let that perspective stay & purged it out of the church. The result is several nurses, teachers, musicians, IT specialists, etc. who did not just obtained a degree but did it with excellence, most graduating with honors. None of them absorbed a worldly perspective. They maintained, through many... Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2011 at The Road Not Chosen
I’m having problems with my eyes today. They take turns being out of focus, First the left, and when it gets tired, the right. This is one of my most frustrating fibro symptoms. I spend my days reading, which gets a little rough if your eyes are not behaving. None the less, I just finished C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold which I loved. It was kind of like Narnia for adults. There are three princesses, one very ugly, one very beautiful & one kind of so-so. It’s described as a tale of ”love, faith, and transformation (both good and ill)”. It was so captivating that I was transported to that world while reading. It gave me a lot of food for thought on how we view love as opposed to how God views love. Also, Lewis based this on the Greek story of Cupid & Psyche so I found his reworking very interesting. Now I’m on to a memoir, In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White. Mr. White was a successful publisher who was convicted of bank fraud & check kiting. He was sentenced to one year in prison at Carville, Louisiana. The minimum security... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2011 at The Road Not Chosen
Did you ever read the story of The Little Engine That Could? As he struggles to pull his train up the hill he chants, “I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!” Sure enough, he pulls his load over the hill. Hooray for the Little Engine! I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the Little Engine. Every time there is a hill in front of me, which happens a lot, I chant the “I think I can” mantra and up I go. I come from a long line of “suck it up and get it done!” people. I’ve lived this way for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I ask my Heavenly Father for help, but I don’t always ask if I should be chugging up the hill in the first place. If there is something to be done or a responsibility that is assigned to me, off I go. Yet lately I’ve been reconsidering my approach. For instance, this year from January through March I was insanely overloaded. As a bookkeeper January & February are the busiest time of year for me. Lots of year end duties to do and our... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2011 at The Road Not Chosen
Did you know today is the first day of Lent? What is Lent you may ask? It is the season that marks the 40 days that lead up to Easter. It’s a time to exam our lives to see if we are really living the way God wants us to. Sometimes people give up certain things that they really like to eat or really like to do as a way of reminding themselves to focus on heavenly things and not earthly things. I went to a Lutheran grade school from kindergarten through eighth grade so the Holy Days were something we were taught and observed in school. (My parents were not Christians at the time, didn’t even go to church but I’m glad that they sent me to a school that gave me a foundation that was Christ focused.) Out of all the Holy Days we observed I always liked Advent, the days of preparation for Christ’s birth. The Lutheran’s actually invented Advent in the early 1900s. During Advent we had little calendars in the classrooms that had a little door covering each day. Behind the door was some kind of wonderful item. Everyone fought over who would get to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2011 at The Road Not Chosen
At our house today we find ourselves doing random acts of cleaning. This is not to be confused with deliberate acts. Deliberate acts of cleaning are the weekly chores: laundry, vacuuming, dusting, etc. Random acts can happen at any moment (hence “random”. Duh.) For instance, our dryer has been bugging me for months. It takes longer to dry. In the slot where the lint trap resides, there are chunks of lint that are always just beyond my reach, even though I cleverly use chopsticks to dig down into that slim spot. This morning, egged on by cabin fever perhaps (see picture below), seemed like a good time to have Harold pull out the dryer, check the vent hose & take the front casing off so I could get to those chunks of lint. I have the most patient and persistent husband in the world. He refuses to be conquered by machines. It took some maneuvering in the tiny space that is our laundry room and some Googling to find the manual but finally everything is cleaned out and I am contentedly drying clothes as I write this. While we were doing all this (I participated by handing tools to my... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2011 at The Road Not Chosen
Today was a day of sending, planting, joy and sorrow. Our church sent the Dunn family off to Bread of Life Church in Fresno, California. They will help strengthen that small church as it grows and impacts its city. The game plan for now is that the Dunn’s will come back in a year. But we’re not banking on that. God has a way of changing our plans. As we prayed over them at the end of the service today I though back to the times that Harold & I have been sent out to various places. The first time was in 1986. Our church in Compton, CA sent us off to New Covenant Bible College in St. Louis, MO. I had lived in California all of my 27 years. Harold’s family lived in St. Louis and for him it was a homecoming. For me it was mostly immensely painful but also extremely exciting. The day we were sent off my pastor’s wife told me, “The cloud of God is moving. You better go with it or you’ll be left behind.” I went to the most challenging but fulfilling time of my life. (Up to that point anyway!) Harold &... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2011 at The Road Not Chosen
It started on a very hectic day right before my Christmas vacation. Piles of papers on my desk, year-end duties looming large, endless laundry, etc., etc. Needing a way to relax that did not include a computer or mindless T.V. watching, I thought back to high school. There were these giant posters. Everyone worked on them: my friends, parents, cousins. We loved them! They were a lost relic of the ‘70s I was sure. Then I found this It was exactly what I was looking for! Not as big as my lost relic but small enough to curl up on the couch with. So I started in on it with great joy! I was doing something relaxing, something creative that wasn’t writing. At first Harold thought it was a little…strange. When I bought these he knew I was serious. Coloring is one of the last things I do in the evening. After dinner, after grading, after Evan time, I dig my toys out and joyfully regress! Somehow coloring in the marvelously complicated designs helps me unwind and on some level recharge. What do you do to unwind? Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2011 at The Road Not Chosen
I just came in from spending a few moments standing on our deck. The sun, which has hidden for days, is shining, making the snow look like a diamond blanket. The wind gently blew snow from the tree branches. Everything was silent, save for our wind chime tinkling softly. Being still, looking for squirrels or bunnies who must have been snuggled away in their nests, I didn’t even feel the cold. It’s 19 degrees outside but with the sun beaming down on me it felt warmer. In winter our house gets very stuffy. Being a Californian I long for open windows & doors so a breeze can blow its freshness through, cleansing the rooms. In this Midwestern state I have to look for opportunities to open a door or window, even just for a few moments, so the staleness is swept away. It was a blessing today to be able to do that. I came across this prayer for stillness at the Explorefaith website. Gracious God, I ask you to plant a seed of stillness in my soul. Everything in my life moves ever more quickly, and I am continually expected to fit more things into time that is already... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2011 at The Road Not Chosen
Last week the nation witnessed the horror of the events in Arizona. Politicians on the Left were quick to point out Sarah Palin’s website happened to have a graphic featuring certain politicians with the symbol of crosshairs over their faces. Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Gifford was one of them. So began a national tussle over the effect of violent words in politics. Both sides are equally to blame. The right reminded everyone that the President had once said about fighting his opponent's “If they bring a bat, we bring a gun” etc. With all this talk rumbling about, an interesting thing happened on CNN last night. CNN anchor John King issued an on-air apology to his viewers Tuesday for the terminology guest Andy Shaw of the Better Government Association used during a broadcast of "John King, USA". Shaw used the term, "in the crosshairs" while the pair discussed the mayoral race in Chicago. King apologized saying: "Before we go to break, I want to make a quick point. We were just having a discussion about the Chicago mayoral race just a moment ago. My friend Andy Shaw, who now works for a good government group out there, used the term 'in... Continue reading
Posted Jan 19, 2011 at The Road Not Chosen
If you are the parent or guardian of someone with a permanent disability there is always another form to fill out for something. After Evan was born Harold & I had to quickly learn to navigate the large body of bureaucrats that is the State of California. Since Evan was born with Down Syndrome he was eligible for the state’s MediCal program, which would pay for his physical therapy and medical bills. He could also get funds from Social Security. Harold & I have always been very organized, administrative people. I don’t know how anyone can swim through all the paperwork if they are not. Over the years, we conquered many government agencies and the accompanying paperwork. I can fill out a form in moments with date of birth, place of birth, doctor’s names, hospital names, dates of surgeries, and on ad infinitum. There is a file cabinet in my home office stuffed with paperwork dating back to 1988. It’s part of our life. There is one item, however, that always cuts me. This tiny little knife is on two of the yearly forms that have to be filed. I take a deep, shaky breath while I answer, hoping that... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2011 at The Road Not Chosen
here is what you would find: On grocery shopping: We have 2 grocery stores in town, HyVee and Wal-Mart. While HyVee may be more expensive there are days like today when I’m willing to pay more.Why? Employees that look you in the eye, smile, & ask how you are. Their parking lot rarely has snow on it by some miracle compared to Wal-Mart where you have to push your cart over small mountains of snow. HyVee will actually take you groceries to the car & load them in if you ask. They have great canned music. If you can’t locate something they will literally run to get it for you. On enunciation: I’m quite tired right now due to an abundance of overtime. The result is that as the day wears on my speech gets a bit more garbled. Today’s example was, in trying to tell Debbie I had ordered manila folders, I said “I ordered mewnil, um, munula, I mean, men…” to which Debbie said enthusiastically, “Manila folders!” Ding! Ding! Ding! The secretary wins the deciphering prize. On Jesus Christ: My 11th & 12th graders are currently reading “Under the Overpass: A Journey of Faith on the Streets”. The... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2011 at The Road Not Chosen
I love Kathy Bates character in Fried Green Tomatoes, especially the scene where she bashes in a snotty teenager’s car. Ms. Bates character has been struggling with the realities of middle age. She feels lost, old, and used up. I must say, I can relate! It has been amazing how much my perspective has shifted since passing the 50 year mark.There have been times in the last two years that I have felt that same way. Thankfully, I sought the Lord, walked thru the desert, and am now coming,very recently, into a better place. A few years back the catch phrase was “paradigm shift.” That means a change in a way of thinking. Thomas Kuhn, who coined the phrase, defined it this way: a "series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions", and in those revolutions "one conceptual world view is replaced by another". My worldview has not shifted. God is still at the center of it. What has changed is how I view life and sometimes that does seem like an “intellectually violent revolution”. For instance, in the past I could get caught up in the drama of circumstances, be it someone stealing my parking space or a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2011 at The Road Not Chosen
Those hard girls with the coal smeared eyes They don’t scare me with their dagger throwing sideways glances I know their secret The one we keep stuffed down deeper down deeper locked behind the iron gate of our heart It’s okay honey I know I know Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2011 at The Road Not Chosen
On New Year’s Day, out of the blue, I started thinking about self portraits. Not the artistic ones by, for example, Picasso. Picasso: Self portrait 1972 Copyright Pablo Picasso I was considering the proliferation of pictures of ourselves on places like Facebook. Here is a recent one I took of myself: I don’t usually take pictures of myself. Not because I’m not vain, mostly because I don’t like pictures of myself ever. Wait. That’s vanity. Oh well. We Baby Boomers don’t really get into the self-portrait thing like the current Generation does. I’d like to say it’s because we are too busy cleaning up the environment like we said we would when we were 18. Probably it’s because we’re too busy scraping money together for retirement since Social Security is going to be sucked dry in a couple of months. I am truly curious though why so many of the younger ones seem obsessed with how they look in pictures. A quick tour of the photos on some of my Millennial friend’s Facebook pages reveal themselves in lots of solo poses. I will admit that I admire their courage for posting goofy looking pics. Here’s one of me: (I need... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2011 at The Road Not Chosen
New Year I have such issues with you. Kind of a love/hate relationship in extreme. I love you because you’re fresh and new and full of opportunities. You are a vast expanse of white paper just waiting to be written on. You are like the hills after a perfect snow fall, no tracks or anything that mars your beauty. I hate you because you’re intimidating. You pressure me to be better than I was last year, kinder, wiser, more holy, not as selfish. I rebel against your demands on me. I shrug you off, irritated that you assume I need to change. What’s wrong with the me that is? Am I not enough for you? So what will I do with you? How will I view you on January 1st? Will you be friend or foe? A helpful, kind nudger to be closer to Christ-likeness or a mean scold for not being more like Jesus? Ugh! What tension this is! I think I will bury myself beneath the covers, hiding from both sides of you, New Year, I will procrastinate for days, months, until yet another New Year comes around. No, that is not what I’ll do, though I admit... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2010 at The Road Not Chosen
A Short Testament by Anne Porter Whatever harm I may have done In all my life in all your wide creation If I cannot repair it I beg you to repair it, And then there are all the wounded The poor the deaf the lonely and the old Whom I have roughly dismissed As if I were not one of them. Where I have wronged them by it And cannot make amends I ask you To comfort them to overflowing, And where there are lives I may have withered around me, Or lives of strangers far or near That I've destroyed in blind complicity, And if I cannot find them Or have no way to serve them, Remember them. I beg you to remember them When winter is over And all your unimaginable promises Burst into song on death's bare branches. "A Short Testament" by Anne Porter, from Living Things. © Zoland Books. Reprinted without permission. Continue reading
Posted Dec 29, 2010 at The Road Not Chosen