Monday, May 31, 2010

Granddaughter Kayla's Poem - 4th grade

Sunny weather's in the air, and birds are singing too.
Pots of flowers bloom again, purple, pink, and blue.
Rhyming birds from forest layers,
Ice melts in the bright, bright sun.
New sounds come from baby birds.
Great things happen to my world.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A weekend of many things

Yes, many things have happened during this three-day Memorial weekend but rest... nope, not so we noticed! Our children are out of town, together, for the first time in a very long time, and we are on grand-duty. It's been non-stop activity. Our grandchildren do not sit quietly and read books; they get on their bikes and ride over "jumps" that they've constructed in the driveway. They don't sit among a million pieces of legos and create machines; they build huge forts among the trees with branches, ropes, fern fronds for a roof, and chunks of firewood for seating - all of which last for days. They don't walk sedately through their backyard forest; they climb onto the trampoline and bounce up to the sky with flips and other gyrations. These kids have an energy level that is epic, like their dad's, and uncle's, and if I'm going to be honest, like their grandpa and grandma's.

Yeah, we are to blame. My husband and I are very high energy people. We went through all the psych testing before heading overseas and were told that we were - abnormal - with an energy level that was so high that we would be tempted to think others were lazy. We were counseled to realize that we are not normal and that those who seem to run out of steam while we're still going strong, those people are the normal ones. Maybe that's why at this age (pushing the sixth decade soon) he's just become a high school principal and I continue to teach junior high! We still have quite a bit of energy to burn. When two people like us, come together and create children, well, those kids are really high energy. Our sons make us look like we're standing still. The only salvation for our grandchildren is that our sons married very calm women. Sigh... thank heavens!

So three days with these children make for some incredible memories. Oh how I love my grandchildren. One of the lies I believed earlier in my life was that by serving overseas, I would rarely get to spend time with my family. We never imagined moving back to the states but here we are, only a 15-minute drive from our little ones. I thank God daily for this time. I love investing in these kids, letting them see sheer joy on my face when they bound into a room. Playing and praying with them, solving problems creatively, participating in special celebrations. What a blessing for us, and I would dare say, for them. They know that they are loved with a crazy, passionate, unconditional love. Hopefully our love will help them have a glimpse of God's love for them. At least they will never doubt that they are capable of being loved. And we realize that we are also blessed recipients of the holy, innocent, pure love of a child... of four, soon to be five grandchildren. What glory!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Rain, rain... you know the rest

I live in the Evergreen State and it is called this because... it's really green! And it's green because... it rains... and rains... and rains! At least for the past several weeks it has just been all about the rain. Today I was on an all-junior high field trip to a local college for their science carnival. It's a great trip. Last year was so much fun! It was sunny and the kids had such a great time on the campus as well as participating in the workshops. This year the rain changed the entire dynamic of the day. It just wasn't all that much fun. I wore a coat but it wasn't as waterproof as it should have been. I am going to have to invest in a real raincoat! As I stood in the drippy rain, my mind wandered to where I used to live, an island some four thousand plus miles away, where it is now rainy season and people are living in their bed-sheet shelters, in the pouring rain. What misery! One might believe that the tropical weather would make it more bearable. It's a warm rain. No, it really wouldn't help, not at all. It's still wet and when evening comes, it would feel quite cold. Oh God, provide... shelter them under your wings.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Coming to an end!

And not a moment too soon! I don't know about anyone else but this has been a tough year in the classroom! I spoke with the youth pastor of a local church tonight and he said this has been his most difficult year ever in ministry. Society in general has suffered this year. It is a crisis of inflated proportions in some ways. The fear generated by the constant media attention to negative issues continues to undermine people's basic sense of well-being. I know it's been a hard year for many people (totally disregarding Haiti here - that's epic and not even a part of this discussion) but overall most people are doing just fine. However no one feels secure and it's because we are looking in the wrong places for our security. In our rather small school alone, there have been so many divorces this year. Out students are struggling because they don't have a sense of stability. Time to get serious, focus on the essentials, and realize just how blessed we are! That said, there are eleven in-class days left in this school year. I am really on the count-down! Summer!!!! Where are you??? Hurry up!!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

True Friends!

I have always believed that true friendship survives any obstacle. My friendship with M. is proof of that statement. We each come from different parts of the states but worked in the same school in the same third world country, are members of different denominations with different theological positions, had children who loved each other - then didn't, moved the same year to different regions of the country and haven't been together for ten years! And then M. came to my state for a quick trip. We literally picked up our relationship as though we had spent the previous week teaching school together. We share similar feelings about teaching and literature and how to make the two come together in the lives of schoolkids. We like the same foods, well almost, she doesn't like olives and I don't like onions. And we sure can talk together! Her husband asked me if my jaws were sore. He said he figured we had talked non-stop for 48 hours. My husband apologized for not joining in our conversations but said that he had exhausted his quota for words long before we were finished! Our time together was refreshing and fun. It helped renew my spirit - I am just so grateful for true friendship.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Thoroughly Blessed!

I am one of the fortunate few, so very blessed! That became very apparent to me this morning in church. We are visiting the churches where our students worship and this morning were in a Foursquare Church called Living Water. The worship was upbeat and enjoyable; the message was quite good but the blessing part came at the end. The pastor shared words from the Lord for mothers who were experiencing difficult days. He shared particular verses: for the mother who had lost a child, for the one whose child was far from the Lord, for the mother who was estranged from her child, for the mother of a child who was sick with an incurable illness, for the one whose child suffered from one of many acronyms like fasd, rad, adhd, and many others, and even one for the woman who desperately wanted to be a mother but was unable to conceive. As I listened to those verses and prayed silent prayers for those mothers, a deep sense of gratitude filled my heart. I am so blessed for I am the mother of two sons who are whole, healthy, serving the Lord, and love me completely. Today, this mother is thanking God for His abundant blessings!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Never again!

Never again will I take any medical test for granted. Over five years ago, my husband found a small lump on his eyelid. It wouldn't go away so one day I gave him a choice, he could call the ophthalmologist and make an appointment or I would do it for him. It turned out to be a very deadly cancer and while we were fortunate because the tumor grew outward not inward, it meant a terrible surgery that would take his eye and eyelids, nerves, muscle, and tissue - virtually everything in that right orbit. After five years of follow-up, he was released from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas Medical Center and told to go live his life.

So lately, when he was having some recurring tummy trouble with no apparent origin, I started nagging. He finally gave in and went to the doctor. Now he's rather irritated with it all because he thinks we've wasted money for unnecessary medical care; all his tests were normal. I told him to let it go because it was worth every penny to me just to know he is not hydrating enough!

I suppose we will never face any medical procedure without that nagging concern in our minds. Cancer. Once that road has been walked, nothing is quite the same. I still remember how shocked I was at his prior diagnosis. It never entered my mind that this man, who weighs within ten pounds of what he weighed the day we were married almost 37 years ago, who eats right, exercises, is devoted in daily prayer and meditation... that this man would have cancer! But I have this theory. We are children of God who have been called to go. For 25 years that meant working in mission outside the USA. Toward the end of that 25 years, it meant going to an amazing cancer hospital in Houston TX and living our lives as a positive witness for Christ among people who were dying or caring for the dying. We listened to countless stories, comforted many who were suffering, spoke in self-deprecating ways that allowed others to be comfortable around us. My husband's doctor, an amazingly brilliant Iranian woman, commented about my husband's strong faith in her written case report. A cancer hospital is a mission field like no other. For five years we walked with people who were far more needy than my husband and tried to show them Jesus. God calls us to go and we don't always get to choose where we go. But as we go, we need to allow Christ to live through us.

I will admit, I am thankful that séjour is over. Ministering to teenagers in the Christian School setting is challenging enough. But I will never again take any medical testing for granted; nothing is routine - not anymore.