Thursday, December 16, 2010

Romans 12:3

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
Ro 12:3

Our son had a temper tantrum today. It wasn't the yelling, thrashing, foaming-at-the-mouth (ok...I exaggerate) meltdown kind of toddler tantrum. It was the passive, pathetic, nobody-cares-I-might-as-well-go-eat-worms, Eeyore kind of teenage tantrum. As he's sought scumble (as used in this fun read-aloud, Savvy) over his feelings, esp during times of disappointment, our maturing young man has overcompensated. His response to disappointment has mutated from highly intense to bitterly despondent. While we applaud his effort (and acknowledge that the latter is quieter)'s not really much of an improvement.


Because it's not truthful.

In YWAM's course titled Relationships, Dean Sherman expounds on Romans 12:3: "We could say it this way: Do not think more highly [or lowly] of yourself than you ought to think..." Sherman explains that thinking more lowly (negatively) of ourselves than we ought to is not humility; rather, it's just negative pride. And it's just as wrong as thinking too highly of ourselves, because it's inaccurate, untrue...a lie. God wills that we would accurately understand the truth of our value as well as everyone else's.

We discussed how this concept could extend to how we express feelings--how extreme, irrational highs and lows tend to be inaccurate, untruthful, and unhelpful--and the tantrum dissolved into rational reflection. Then came a thoughtful, "Mom...I don't know why, but I've just kinda felt mad for a long time now...ever since you left us with Clarks."

"Ya Mom," came our daughter's calm contribution, "I'm not mad, but...I do wish you would've taken us with you. I wish we would've been there when [N] passed away."

If we would have known Wednesday would be N's last day, we would have taken our kids with us to the nursing home. But we didn't. We dropped them off Tuesday night to stay with good friends, thinking that Wednesday dance class was the bright spot in their lives that we could keep stable in the midst of a six-week upheaval in our routine. N was declining rapidly now, right on the verge of coma but still getting nutrition. All family was enroute. Until Tuesday night, N was still waking a few times a night to cry out for help, and didn't want to be left alone. Her needs were temporarily consuming and we weren't our most available to parent. And not being God, we were unsure how long the process of actively dying would take. But if we'd known, we would have brought the kids with us that night.

That was a few weeks ago. Next came the flurry of work--arrangements to be made, funeral to attend, and finances to figure out. Then the activity died down and everyone grew quieter, more contemplative. Long private group Facebook messages ensued between the adults in the family, each of us welcome to offer our two cents' worth. It was a good way for us to all stay connected no matter where we live. Now depression has set in for some, and we gently check in with each other, evaluating where each member of the family is in the grieving process (denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, acceptance) and encouraging as the Lord empowers us. Through all of this, the kids have seemed okay emotionally. But...perhaps I've missed something?

"See, Mom, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it and I'm not blaming anybody--not even God--but I'm just...tired of everybody around me having to be sad. I guess it just makes me mad that the family has to be sad."

From the mouths of babes...

As I pondered this young wisdom, I discerned anger in my own heart. I was mad, too. But I also realized my anger was less innocent. I suddenly recognized it as subconscious anger, subconsciously misdirected at the loved ones who are grieving, especially the ones who have a relationship with God. I'm not angry that they're grieving, but that they're failing to find hope and strength in their faith, that they're NOT taking every thought captive, they're NOT walking in the freedom of Truth, their minds ARE anchored in this world. I haven't really felt judgmental, but...I guess I have been. Perhaps that's why my encouragements have sounded more like commands than compassion, even to my own ears???

I've been guilty of pride, then. Lord, forgive me. Thank You for redirecting my anger toward the true and only culprit--Your enemy, satan. Now by the blood and in the name of Your son, Yeshua (Jesus), please give me Your mind on this matter. Prepare me to wage holy war and be a holy sanctuary for Your sake. I claim Your ground in the lives of our loved ones, and refuse any retaliation from the enemy. Gird, strengthen, and lead us in this fight. Give us Your ears to hear, Your eyes to see. Give us Your love and patience and joy. Be our comfort, our peace, our Answer. Give us an accurate assessment of ourselves, and this matter of death and life. And for those who doubt...Lord, you met Thomas where he was. Please meet each of us where we are, too. Praise You, Lord God Almighty! Amen.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bear Territory

Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there." So he went and did according to the word of the Lord... The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook. And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.

~1 Kings 17:2-7

It's finally snowing today. It's about time for the bears in our area to retire to a cozy cave for the winter. Yesterday we did not even think much about them during our family outing--a grouse hunting trip. Rather, as we moved single file I brought up the rear, and was captured by the sight of our daughter, who, like a whisper of ghostly fog, wafted quickly and silently over, under, and through all manner of obstacles as they lay strung like matchsticks and tangled Christmas lights across our woodland path. What an incredible little waif! And our son, more solid in step and experienced at carrying a shotgun, intrigued me with his already mature skill at barrel! Even without looking he is always aware of where it's at, lacing it through any manner of obstacle without ever pointing it at anything he shouldn't!

Except for the loud call of a raven and occasional sighting of crows, we saw no birds, bagged nothing for our stew pot or grill...

On several levels, food is on my mind a lot these days. For one thing, our diet has been in transition for the past two years, ever since we chose to change our lifestyle in the hope that I could avoid surgery. Now I spend a lot of time educating and re-educating myself--and those in my sphere of influence--about nutrition. And even MORE time preparing even FRESHER meals than before. And then we finally joined the unemployment statistics last week when my husband was laid off for what appears to be an extended period, and with loss of income the challenge of procuring fresh organic or local wild food is even more challenging.

But all of these issues took a backseat to the one that suddenly popped up again this morning, after 17 or so years... Does it bother any other woman on the face of this planet to be absent when another woman provides her husband with a meal??? I remember when my mother used to graciously invite temporary bachelors over to join our family for a meal while their wives were away for a week. It just seemed like friendly hospitality then, like something right out of the Waltons. But for some reason, I am very territorial about Bear Bait's stomach! It's been my concern ever since we first started dating. Even though I liked the woman who was my colleague and his supervisor back then, I felt like scratching her eyes out and stomping on 'em whenever she brought him muffins to start the day!

As Bear Bait left this morning to go spend the day installing his friend's water heater, visions of the woman of that house offering my husband lunch made my stomach churn. He insisted he didn't need to pack a lunch from home because he was too full to care about a midday meal, but I knew she'd talk him into eating so I insisted that he take at least his high quality nutrition shake and a piece of fresh organic fruit or veggies. Thankfully he acquiesced gracefully.

If he's still unemployed in a couple months, perhaps I'll be forced to rethink my position. Perhaps I'll be more willing to farm him out during mealtime, just so he doesn't starve. But for now, Mama Bear retains dominion, scanty though the larder is...

For my hope is in Him. He will provide today, as He did in Elijah's time.

So she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”

And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the LORD God of Israel: “The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.’ ”

So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke by Elijah.

~1 Kings 17:12-16

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ending Well

For almost three years now I've been the primary caretaker for my husband's mother. She's been trying to convalesce with us, contributing to our family and challenging/expanding my knowledge of both allopathic and naturopathic health care. Last week her body took a critical turn and she is now in end-of-life stage.

Blessed, beautiful friends take time to email their condolences. These notes often include compassionate apologies for our suffering. The thing is, God is walking through this with us, and we are not suffering. As we stand by N's ICU bedside and work to comfort her and interpret her needs and wants for the nurses as best we can (she is not a typical patient in that she can barely talk or respond to questions now, so ideally she needs someone who knows her standing by 24/7), it is exhausting and sad, but also somehow satisfying. It is the same feeling that caring for her for the past three years has often produced. There is something "right" about returning the gift of care that someone else has provided for you in the past.

What feels odd to me is the lifting of responsibility. Suddenly, she can never live with us again. Suddenly, I no longer have a 9am deadline to poach an organic egg, double-toast a piece of her favorite English muffin bread, or section half a grapefruit. I feel like a hermit crab, about to shed my exoskeleton.

But the race is not completely over. Today I have to wake my children and head to the hospital. Today is the day we find out what comes next. I hope we will all end well...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

To My Faithful Mountain View Reader

I don't know if you read my blog or just pass through on your way to somewhere else, but if you do actually stop by, I wanted to give you a word of encouragement: please don't give up hope! I have several fresh blogs in mind. It's just that I'm late to make my daughter's lunch and prep for my son's schoolwork...MOST mornings! In another month or so a couple extracurricular activities will conclude and I'll be back...

Thanks for reading! ;~)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Between Waves

Are you kidding? June 28th...?! It's been two whole months since I've sat down to blog???

Do you know how discomfiting it is to read your last blog entry and find most of it completely unfamiliar? ...I said WHAT? ...We really did THAT? I don't even recognize my own voice anymore, let alone the plot!

I take solace in a bit of wisdom from the remade version of Freaky Friday: "If she was doin' it, she wouldn't be writing about it in her journal--she'd be out there doin' it."

That's me. I've been out there "doing" life--just living it rather than writing about it, because I've felt like an arrow shot toward a target I can't see. The journey has been interesting but nothing terribly spectacular, and it's all happened rawther faster than I can even think. Following a school year in which I felt like I was walking on water, I climbed back in the boat and entered a short season (amazingly short!) of catch up and rejuvenation--a season where I felt, spiritually speaking, as though I was "between the waves." I'd just finished an incredible ride, but couldn't yet imagine what was over the next oncoming wave. I had no vision, no direction. And for the time being that was just fine with me. I was tired, and welcomed a time of rest. Despite my best intentions and willful submission to it, though, I'm not sure I took proper advantage of it. It seemed to be gone quite suddenly, like when you wake from a dead-tired sleep and feel as though you haven't really slept at all. And when it was gone I still felt scatter-brained and had only very limited vision.

Perhaps my rest was stolen?

Stolen by storms. Or by expectations. For while I expected storms during the month of June, I also expected them to end by the beginning of July. (While there's surely a metaphorical level to this discussion, I am, at this point, actually speaking of physical storms.) This summer it was storms, storms, storms. Thunderstorm after thunderstorm, tornado after tornado, and rain-pelting wind, wind, wind. July is usually a long, mellow season of beach days and barbecues, but this year it was a staccato of starts and stops laced with extreme environmental violence.

And now it's September, and still the storms continue. Last night I fell asleep to pattering on the roof. This morning I woke to a windy gale, more rain, and temps that direct my thoughts toward hot spiced cider, pumpkin goodies, deer hunting, and even snow. In fact, it just snowed in my home state a few days ago!

Jesus walked on water and calls us to get out of the boat--out of our comfort zone--to walk on it with Him. But He also slept in the the midst of the storm...up, down, and between the waves...

"As they sailed, He fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke Him, saying, 'Master, Master, we're going to drown!' He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm." ~Luke 8:23-24

Lord, please help us to rest with You, and trust You for our vision. And if it's not Your will for the storms outside to subside here as they did for You there, then please help us look above them as we walk in their midst.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Season of Good-bye

It is a homeschooler's life to get behind in housework for a season here and there. Educating gets priority, and sometimes the academics get the highest of all. And sometimes academics just take more focus and time than we expect. Despite my best efforts and intentions, no matter how well organized and well-oiled the machine (that is, our household) is at the beginning of a new set of curriculum, eight or nine months is a long time for a home to run on auto-pilot. So summer is typically a time to catch up and de-clutter (as well as garden, bicycle, read, fish, camp, vacation, and enjoy the sun and water at the lake every livin' afternoon!).

This year some of our "clutter" is unique. For instance, for over a year now we've been living with a cluttered driveway. Now, we have a nice long driveway and what is currently a single car garage (it's big enough to be a double, but there's only one door for vehicles and the second bay is enclosed, a cluttered storage room we've dubbed "The Hell Room") at the end--PLENTY of room for a couple vehicles, and maybe even a boat! But currently have five--yes, I said F-I-V-E!--vehicles, PLUS a boat and another trailer--creatively parked in it! Our driveway ALWAYS looks like there's a party goin' on here! There's a story and a practical reason behind each piece of equipment, yet they seem an ostentatious display and they're definitely an encumbrance. Yesterday the culling began. With a resigned Bear Bait telling me what to say, I posted my first ad ever on Anybody in the market for an '87 Ford F350 Crew Cab 4x4 that's never seen salt? The interior is worn but the truck runs good, and has really low miles, a heavy-duty bumper, and an onboard inverter. The thought of parting with it makes Bear Bait wanna cry, but being hungry makes him grumpy, too...

Another unique thing we've had to declutter this summer is one of our pet tanks. After loving and learning on two painted turtles that hatched in our yard almost two years ago, the turtles (Ping and Pong) suddenly quit eating and began spending inordinate amounts of time trying to swim through the glass walls of their aquarium. We researched and worked on this problem for a couple weeks, even putting crappie minnows in the tank for them to hunt. It was all to no avail. They enjoyed chasing the minnows and stalking them under rocks, but could only grab a tail now and then--crappie minnows were too big and fast, and only appetizing when they were alive. Finally we faced the fact that it was time to let Ping and Pong go. This was heartbreaking for our pet-keepers, as they'd envisioned keeping the turtles until their shells were five inches long before releasing them back to the wild (as mandated by our state Dept of Natural Resources). Ping and Pong were prob'ly up to about 2.5 inches in diameter...halfway there. As hard as it was, though, our brave kids realized the turtles needed to be reintroduced now or they weren't going to make it. In a tearful-but-joyful goodbye ceremony, Ping and Pong seemed to settle quite naturally into our swamp among cattails that gave them excellent cover from predators like birds. The last we saw of them, they were smacking away on fresh something-or-other that we couldn't offer them in captivity. The kids continue to harbor a sneaking little hope that they'll wander back into our yard for a quick visit someday.

Last week we started repainting the exterior of our house, then moved inside when the humidity and rain showed up. We repainted and rearranged our entry/dining area and pantry. This week I'm diving into our daughter's room and finishing the exterior. Hopefully next week Bear Bait will finish our son's new bed and we'll begin using it to declutter his bedroom space (it features custom drawers and shelves for more storage)...while at the same time making room in the garage for a little mechanical work on the boat. By then I should be practiced up, ready to tackle the worst room of all--mine!

I love fresh, clean, decluttered living/working that WORKS for you! And every year the kids are a little older and a little more interested in actively managing the space (in the midst of their academic activities), too. Now here's hoping (and praying) no tornadoes will hit us just when we get finished!

This is out of context, but in light of our build-up of clutter and recent tornado weather, I connect with this portion of scripture today:

" is the season for heavy rain and we are not able to stand outside. Nor is it the work of one or two days..." ~ Ezra 10:13

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I WISH to Write!

I wish to write
.....without pressure of rhyme or meter or cadence,
.....((though, alas, such play continually in my mind!)

I wish to write
.....the taste of melting butter and honey
.....on fresh steaming homemade fruit dumplings...

I wish to write
.....the sound of the sweetest melody
.....perfectly tuned to universal lyrics,

.......... the glory of the panoramic alpine vision
.......... unmarred by man's footprint or even his breath,

............... and the sensation of shrinking into myself
............... as the universe expands, unwinding...

I wish to write
.....the feel of your skin brushing mine
.....and our essence mingling together

And of
.....the pure, clean necessity of time to embrace aloneness
.....with all the weary hot tears and crumpled heaps,
.....melting into quiet reflection, rest, and direction.

I wish to write
.....of my free-spirited passion for life...

Yet even the richest articulation can never really tell it all,
And besides...

.....I have SUCH the writer's cramp! :~O

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Auditory Smorgasbord

It is finished... Homeschool co-op classes, the Rest in Rivendell/Lii campaign, AND hunter's safety! Success reverberates from all three endeavors. A vibrant ornithologic dawn song is also reverberating through my window this morning, wrapping 'round me like a light cocoon in which I can study peacefully...the perfect amount of "noise" to keep an auditory learner from, as my daughter says, "deconcentrating." For a quick, free diagnostic tool to help determine your primary learning style and concise descriptions, strengths, and tips for each, click here

For the rest of this week we will concentrate on our end-of-year dance recital. Five of the numbers have reverberated through our house all year and we've gradually become emotionally attached to even the jazz music. The recital will be a smorgasbord of sound--40 or so songs, some of which will be nice oldies but others will be new and will crash into our senses discourteously. Between dress rehearsal and the performances, we'll hear them all at least three times. The choreography and costumes will be fabulous, and by the end we'll like each song at least a little bit. Then Dance, too, will be finished for the year.

But our home will not be silent. ;~)

Sometimes I long for silence. Then when I get it, it feels like a stagnant black blanket and I grow dizzy and chafe under it. Thank God for sound, for senses. Praise Him for the natural undulations of life, and be glad He sets boundaries on that sea...that fantastic smorgasbord of sensorial input.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Road Unbending

"Fairness does not mean giving everyone the exact same treatment. Fairness means giving everyone the treatment they need."
~ Richard Lavoie, in the PBS F.A.T City Workshop titled
Understanding Learning Disabilities: How Difficult Can This Be?

Lately we've been taking our children driving on Sunday afternoon. Or rather, they've been taking us... We've found some forgotten forest roads where we can safely relinquish the wheel to begin the first steps of practical driving practice. The kids are thrilled. So are we. It's a refreshing alternative to our normal academic studies. And in this endeavor, there is a myriad of challenging lessons available to both student and teacher:
  • How does one adjust the seat? And the mirrors?
  • How does one keep an eye on both the speedometer and the road?
  • How far over on the soft shoulder can one drive without sliding into the ditch?
  • How does one stop a vehicle without giving one's passenger(s) whiplash?
  • Am I really ready to relinquish control and entrust my child with the family vehicle and our lives?
  • Should I grab the wheel to help them make a quick correction or give them one more second to figure it out?
  • Am I insane or realistic to empower them with driving skills at this age?
Our daughter is interesting to teach. She reminds me a lot of me: a self-centered child with a need for speed. She seems to be less rebellious than just completely oblivious to the fact that life includes rules and other people and she cannot always have her way. We've worked and worked to strengthen her will to make healthy choices without breaking her spirit, yet even after all these years she still astounds us. We give her an imperative, and she just wanders off, completely ignoring it, to do whatever she wants until we go after and corral her. Not to mention all the times she tries to change our minds about our plans and decisions... If there ever was an example of someone who thinks the world is her oyster, our daughter is it.

Imagine my loving joy for her, then, when our last driving lesson offered the perfect opportunity to introduce a spiritual object lesson about free will. This week she encountered the fact that the ROAD does not bend to her will! Just because SHE wants to turn doesn't mean it's going to change to accommodate her!


And no, there was no fender-bender or accident of any kind. I grabbed the wheel right away. Repeatedly! ;~)

Such strong questioning and testing of authority...

What potential she has to succeed or fail mightily.

I pray our daughter's will will be thoroughly, rightly strengthened and submitted while the price tags for the lessons are still small.

I'm so thankful she resides in the hands of a loving, all-powerful God...

I think driving will be an important, integral part of our curriculum for awhile...

Who really has the authority in your life?

"Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not fair.' Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair?" --Ezekiel 18:25

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Rules of Diplomacy

I'm compelled to share this excerpt from Shannon Hale's Princess Academy:

When they arrived at the academy, the girls arranged themselves before the steps in a straight line... In the silence of waiting, Miri became aware of the jagged rocks poking through her boot soles... She wanted to hop around or say something funny to relieve the nervous tension, but she was the diplomat and thought she had better appear respectable...

Finally Olano emerged, fists on her hips...

Miri brought to mind the first rule of diplomatic negotiations: State the problem. "We know we are not welcome inside," she said.

Olana blinked. That was not what she had been expecting to hear.

"We left without your permission and violated your authority," said Miri. The second rule: Admit your own error. "That was wrong."

Frid shuffled her feet nervously. Miri knew the girls had not been expecting to concede fault... But she wanted Olana to see that they had listened and learned.

"You kept us from our families, punished us for unfair reasons, and treated us like criminals. That was also wrong. We're here now, willing to forget our mutual offenses and start over. Here are our terms."

Olana blinked rapidly, a sign that her composure had slipped. Miri felt encouraged. She reviewed the other rules: State the error of the other party. Done. Propose specific compromises and end with Invite mutual acceptance. She hoped she was not forgetting anything.

"For each rest day, we will be allowed to return home to our families and attend chapel... When traders come, we will return home for one week to help... Rule breaking may be punished with a missed meal, but no one will be hit, locked in a closet, or grounded from a return home."

Olana clicked her tongue to show that she was not impressed. "I have a steep task to turn twenty mountain girls into presentable ladies. These measures are the only way I can keep you in line."

Miri nodded. "Perhaps they were, but no longer. As part of these new terms, we will vow to focus on our studies, respect your authority, and obey all reasonable rules."

Just one more: Illustrate the negative outcome of refusal and positive of acceptance. "If you don't agree to this, whichever of us [becomes princess] will report your bad behavior and demand that you serve the rest of your days in...a territory that is swampland--smelly, sticky with mud, and poorer than the mountains."

Olana cringed visibly.

"And if you live by these terms and treat us as you would treat noblemen's daughters, whichever one of us is chosen as the princess will commend your teaching and see you get comfortable work..."

"I see..." said Olana.

"We accept these terms and invite you to do the same," said Miri, waiting for Olana to respond. The silence poked at Miri's confidence, and she shifted her feet in the rock debris and tried not to squirm under the weight of Olana's hesitation. "Um, so do you?"

"Do I accept these terms?" Olana pulled long each vowel sound, an effect that had always made Miri cold for what she would do next. "I'll go ponder the matter, and I'll be sure to let you know."


Now before we practice, let's review the rules. ('tho they're really more what you might call...guidelines!)
  1. State the problem.
  2. Admit your own error.
  3. State the error of the other party.
  4. Propose specific compromises.
  5. Invite mutual acceptance.
  6. Illustrate the negative outcome of refusal and positive of acceptance.
But alas, Miri DID forget a rule. Can you guess what it is???

"See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil... I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in [the Promised Land]... I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore, choose life." --Deuteronomy 30:15-19

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


When they're young, children think so much is remarkable. They insistently call our attention to things which we gaze at and think, "WHAT is so amazing about that???"

As parents, much less that happens seems remarkable and worth commenting about to others. Our parents call to check up on us and we think, "Oh Mom--get a life."

Then we become grandparents, and things our children cannot fathom as important are suddenly remarkable again, and we want to be updated and sought for advice.

I am in the middle season--caught in the middle between my children who want focused attention and praise for everything they do, and my mother who wants to know everything they do. I feel like the squished middle part of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

Today I needed a break from my children calling me, so I sent them away to their friends' house. Then my dear friend who just became a grandma cried on my shoulder because her son never calls to update her about her grandchild. And, well...I think I'm beginning to understand my mother better now.

"Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice." ~Proverbs 23:25

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Time to Dance...

It's been four years and nine months since a friend's college-aged son received confirmation that his neuroblastoma (a type of childhood cancer that affects developing nerve cells) was back. Through their journal at the events of Erik Ludwinski's life, struggle, and the family's faith have been beautifully expressed, encouraging thousands. Last week Erik passed into Heaven, and his family continues to share their faith and joy even in the midst of their painful grieving. They exhibit a beautiful example of Ecclesiastes 3:4b:

"There is a time to mourn and a time to dance."

A time to mourn...AND a time to dance...

Some would say it's impossible, or perhaps shameful, to both mourn and dance at the same time. But then others would say it's shameful to spend time crying over something one cannot change. I believe there is no shame in crying when a loved one dies, nor rejoicing when a loved one enters their restful reward, but rather the shame is in not expressing how much we miss our loved ones, or the selfless joy we feel for their gain. Where death is concerned, the two emotions ARE very naturally entwined...don't you think?

That's my "soapbox speech" for today. I mourn with Erik's family, pray for their comfort, and rejoice with them over Erik's fortune. He ran a good race. His funeral this Saturday will be a celebration of the life he lived before us here, as well as the infinitely better life he's recently begun.

On a more personal note, it's been eight weeks since my little left pinky toe rammed (at about Mach 10) into the wall that sticks out in our hallway as I hurried by on my way to dress in warm layers for our son's ice skating b-day party. I was sure I heard it crack, but x-rays eventually confirmed my FM doc's tuning fork diagnosis that it was only a sprained metatarsal. The skin was split open, and despite icing that first night, most of my foot was swollen and green the next morning. So much for ice skating...downhill and x-country skiing...and dance class this winter.

The prescribed treatment was alternating 20-min ice water and tepid epsom salts soaks morning and night, and for pain, liberally applying peppermint essential oil everywhere on the wound except where the skin split. Within a week my gait was almost normal, but I waited two weeks before trying to dance again.

Two weeks wasn't enough...

You know, what really surprised me is that I missed dancing! I mean, it's really not been my forte. I've never done anything like this before, and I've gained SO much more appreciation and respect for what my kids go through and how naturally talented they are now that I know how unnatural dance is for me. (The week before I injured myself, my dance instructor commented on how serious and frustrated I looked in the mirrors all the time, and explained, "It shouldn't be like that. This should be fun for you, too!" To which I replied, "I am having fun [when I'm practicing on my own at home!]...but I usually feel like crying by the end of every class.") But once I couldn't dance, I discovered I almost couldn't NOT dance anymore! I danced all over the kitchen, back and forth from the stove to the table with hot food, making up new turns I haven't been taught or even shown yet...and it WAS so FUN!

I went back to class too early, and in an effort to keep my feet dry I wore shoes that were too tight in the toes, and needless to say, I suffered a big setback. It's been six weeks now since I last reinjured my foot, and just last week it was well enough to endure massage and adjustment. I still can't wear my dance shoes, but was allowed on the floor in stocking feet yesterday. I'm still limited, but it felt SO GOOD to move and stretch, leap and turn again! My foot swelled slightly after class and I had to ice it again last night, but I danced with freedom and joy rather than burden, and that made all the difference.

Praise God! There is, indeed, a time to dance.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On Being Rare

Twelve years ago my nurse calmly but forthrightly expressed the weight of the situation: "We haven't seen one of those in this hospital for as long as I've been here--at least 30 years..."

One year ago my medical doc called to announce: "We haven't seen a test result like this for...a very long time. This needs to be dealt with now!"

One month ago my functional medicine doc paused to think aloud: "Most of my patients just get well..."

Way to fall through the cracks, Lattice!

But then today:

"You've accomplished something worth being proud of. Most of my patients don't get this far. They don't stick with treatment long enough."

I am not most. I fall through the cracks on a regular basis. I am rare. Odd. Weird. Eccentric. Peculiar. Different. Unique. Special.

But then, aren't we all?!

"For you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a mighty nation, a peculiar people, that you should show forth the praises of Him Who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." --1 Peter 2:9

Set apart... S-E-P-A-R-A-T-E-D!

And called... C-A-L-L-E-D!

Into His marvelous Light... Into HIS Light! HIS Truth!

For the purpose of showing forth our praise of Him... WOW!!!

This past year has been a long journey through unknowns with unsure footing, but praise God, I am feeling better! And I'm pretty sure that light I see is the joy that's waiting on the far side of this pain... ;~)