Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Abortion is one of those life decisions I'm glad I never felt the need to make. When I, at 17, found myself pregnant and not yet married, but very much in love with my boyfriend since 8th grade, I had my two favorite dreams come true that year. First, Richard and I married, then 7 1/2 months later, 22 days before my 18th birthday, I gave birth to my first son. 1964 was one of my happiest years.

There are many teenagers who are caught in this dilemma, who do not have the options and advantages I had. Loving babies as much as I do, I have counseled unwed teenage girls to have their babies and allow them to be adopted. As far as I know, all but one did. That girl was a diabetic whose health and life were very much in jeopardy. I supported her decision to abort. I cried with her, prayed with her, and made sure she got her facts straight and took her responsibility as a potential mother more seriously. (Her sex education up to that point had consisted of her mother telling her, "You can't get pregnant, it could kill you." The girl actually thought that because of her diabetes, getting pregnant was a physical impossibility.)

I never felt any regret for my part of that unfortunate situation, rather I felt encouraged that a young woman's life was saved and that she was better informed to deal with her sexuality. The clinic which served her has since been closed. My stint as a volunteer counselor lasted less than a year. Crisis pregnancies were not the only problems we handled. I burned out in about 10 months.

I've never felt so strongly about defending Roe v. Wade that I got out and demonstrated as a Pro-Choicer, but I am glad that we have it. With that ruling, women won the right to control their own bodies. The back alley practitioners with their knitting needles and clothes hangers were replaced with sterile clinics and trained staff.

My beliefs are somewhere between the two extremes. I do not regard all abortions as murders, nor do I regard all abortions as mere medical procedures without moral significance. I believe sexual behavior is a personal matter that should be handled thoughtfully, responsibly, and privately. I believe in better sex education, and I believe that abstinence is one choice among many to be made in private, not as a result of arm-twisting and emotional manipulation. Expecting a girl to make vows to her father to preserve her virginity until he decides it's time is LUDICROUS! This is 21st Century America, for God's sake!

I was behind a car the other day which sported this bumper sticker message: Pro-Faith, Pro-Family, Pro-Choice. Inside the car was a man, a woman, a child dressed like they had been to church. I respect that. Beside them was a car with a Choose Life car tag. I respect that, too. Different people reach different conclusions. It is not my job to judge them.

According to one of my former mother-in-laws, there were many women in the 30's, 40's and 50's, who used the services of the local country doctor to limit the number of children they had. "I missed my period this month, Doc, can you get it started again?" was all it took. What method he used was unclear, but from what she described it sounded like a D&C without much anesthesia. Later, they were fitted with a diaphragm and supplied with condoms. She also told me about the rhythm method, which explained the red x's on the calendar on the back of her bathroom door. My own mother never explained anything to me.

How my grandmother and her sister limited their children to one each, I don't know. I do know their physician brother delivered both of their babies, a degree of familial intimacy I would not have been comfortable with, but obviously they were ok with it.

Research was done in the 1990's which showed some correlation between the Roe v Wade decision in 1973 and the lower crime rate in the 90's. Unwanted children make up a large portion of our prison population, they said. With increased restrictions since then, the crime rate is again on the rise. There may be no link between these two occurrences, but it sounds logical to me.

I do believe that if the same amount of time, money and effort that has been spent on men trying to maintain control of women had been spent on education, empowerment, and respect for women and their rights, abortion would rarely be necessary. Ruth Bader Ginsberg said, "The emphasis must be not on the right to abortion but on the right to privacy and reproductive control." I think she's right.

And I still don't understand how anyone who claims to be Pro-Life can advocate for war or capital punishment. "Bombing for peace makes as much sense as f*****g for virginity," one sign read at last week's Peace Rally in Washington. I agree.

Obviously, these life and death issues are not as black and white as some people would like to believe.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ok, I'll get off the Baptist Fundies, but I could not let that one pass. Painting them all with this wicked brush is totally unfair to some of the more gentle folk. It's no wonder this Delta Dude despises C&C. They've got his number and he knows it. I've read some things on this man's blog that I actually liked and agreed with. I don't mind that our Heavenly Father sees us as spiritual siblings, but he very much resents the fact that he may have to share Heaven with the likes of me. It reminds me of something else I read yesterday:

Bernie Glassman tells a story about a Zen Roshi who filled his zendo with developmentally challenged monks. Some objected, on the ground that such retarded people could never make progress. The Roshi replied, "but to God, we're all retarded."

The same man, a Lutheran pastor, went on to describe his theology:

1. Most of what God is or is up to is a mystery.
2. Take comfort in what your faith has given you to affirm.
3. The core virtue is humility.
4. You'll never know you've attained that core virtue, because if you do, you haven't.
5. You are extremely limited yet extrememly valuable. So is every created being. Recognizing this is the ground of love, a core virtue which can't exist without humility and vice versa.
6. Live, decide, and act according to #5.

I must admit, I've got a long way to go, too. The pilgrims I travel with are a colorful bunch.
When I mentioned a certain blog in my Jan. 24th post, I wondered why its writer named it the way he did. Since then I've figured it out. The man is full of s#%! He railed and ranted against our former President from Georgia, then proceeded to prove him right.

Almost invariably, fundamentalist movements are led by authoritarian males who consider themselves to be superior to others and, within religious groups, have an overwhelming commitment to subjugate women and to dominate their fellow believers.

Although fundamentalists usually believe that the past is better than the present, they retain certain self-benefcial aspects of both their historic religious beliefs and of the modern world.

Fundamentalists draw clear distinctions between themselves, as true believers, and others, convinced that they are right and that anyone who contradicts them is ignorant and possibly evil.

Fundamentalists are militant in fighting against any challenge to their beliefs. They are often angry and sometimes resort to verbal and even physical abuse against those who interfere with the implementation of their agenda.

Fundamentalists tend to make their self-definition increasingly narrow and restricted, to isolate themselves, to demagogue emotional issues, and to view change, cooperation, negotiation and other efforts to resolve differences as signs of weakness.

To summarize, there are three words that characterize this brand of fundamentalism: rigidity, domination and exclusion.

I challenge you to go to his posts for yesterday and tell me I'm wrong. Does he not sound exactly like what the gentleman from Plains was describing?

From former Southern Baptist Jimmy Carter, in Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005), 34-35.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Almost two! Jeremiah Silas "Pip" Borden models one of the new outfits he got for Christmas. Gramma loves and misses The Pipster. Can't wait to see you soon! xoxoxoxoxox

Predicted low temps for tonight make me very thankful for our warm cocoons, with 31 in Tampa, 21 in Makanda, 34 in Folsom, 14 in Boston, 6 in Portland, 19 in NYC, and 32 in Brandon. The only one I worry about is our Portland resident. I pray he is in a warm place. Last I heard, he was in a homeless shelter. Thank God for those who take them in. Have mercy, Lord, on those who are suffering in the cold while we are staying warm.

I had a conversation yesterday with a friend at church about the difficulties in dealing with mentally ill family members. Seems the subject has come up a good bit lately. How to care for loved ones who are mentally and/or emotionally unstable has no easy solution, especially when there are vulnerable children in the home who could be harmed. And that situation has presented itself, at one time or another, to every member of my family.

My father used to get calls from his nephew Charlie, who would ride the bus to Tupelo, then call Uncle Si to come pick him up. Charlie seemed harmless to me, but he was retarded, and Daddy refused to do more than feed him a couple of meals, maybe let him stay overnight on the sofa (there were no extra beds at our house), then put him on the bus back to Jackson. It wasn't that he didn't love Charlie, but he didn't want Charlie to depend on him, like he seemed to want to do. Charlie's parents weren't able to manage him, neither were his sisters, both younger. Charlie had been known to expose himself to the girls, and Daddy didn't want that happening at our house, or any of his other risky behavior.

Charlie eventually found his way to a residential center that was equipped to educate and help him and others in his condition. I've often wondered what became of him. Last I heard, he married another developmentally challenged person and they lived together at the same facility. He would be almost 70 now, if he's still living.

The reason I mention this is that I know certain family members are suffering the anguish of guilt and remorse for not being able to care adequately for these very needy, dependent people. Realizing and admitting our limitations are not easy things to do, but they are necessary if we are to maintain our own sanity and balance. Doing all we can do, then letting go and trusting God to take it from there is as hard for some of us as walking a tightrope between two skyscrapers would be.

Part of doing all we can do is to advocate for them within organizations that have good records in providing for "the least of these." Our government, our churches, our communities all need prompting and prodding at times. Whether it is educating ourselves, joining a fund-raising walk with NAMI supporters, or just donating to their cause, all of us can contribute to improving their lot. Be sure to check out this website. To find the report card for each state, click on Take Action, then Grading the States. Mississippi gets a D. Thank goodness, Maine is a B state.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Our choir sounded so good today that we got applause. That virtually never happens, not in any Episcopal church, and is even frowned on by some. "Too much like the karaoke fans at those other churches," the man behind me groused. We had sung the Magnificat in C by Stanford, one of the prettiest pieces we do. It was a booger to master, but once we did, it sounds glorious. Some of the applause was in appreciation for David being back on the organ, I'm sure. He's really got us all spoiled.

I went to lunch with Betsy after church, just the two of us, to Ruby Tuesday's at Northpark Mall. She wanted to check out the sale at Dillard's afterwards. I showed her the book about Lawhon School that George loaned me on Weds. Her picture is in it with the girls' basketball team, and the Who's Who for her 9th grade year had her listed as Most Intellectual and Richard as Most Handsome. It's no wonder their three children are so smart and beautiful.

Mike met Jon and Trish for lunch at Lone Star. I threatened to beat him if he fell off the wagon, and as far as I can tell, he maintained his sobriety. One of the most loving things he's done in a long time is to give up alcohol. It's made living with him and helping him so much easier. He didn't do it to lighten my load, but it did anyway.

Benji asked me yesterday if I could keep Pip for them next month when he has to be in Atlanta and Karen has a job interview in Memphis. It would be in Memphis, so I told them I would. Maybe we can celebrate February birthdays with them that week-end, rather than making two separate trips. I originally thought that next week-end might be a good time to visit them, since we only have Morning Prayer at church due to the Annual Conference going on in Vicksburg, but making a second trip at the end of the month is more travelling than I want to do. Benji will be 39 on the 6th and Pip will be 2 on the 15th. We'll work out something.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tupelo All Saints will be losing their rector, the Very Rev. Shannon Johnston, who was just elected as the Bishop Coadjutor of Virginia. The news release plus other biographical and theological information can be found here . The announcement is also in the Tupelo Daily Journal.

His wife Ellen was our choirmaster at St. Peters when Mike and I moved our membership from St. Andrews. When Ellen and Shannon married, our choir, combined with the All Saint's choir, sang at their wedding in Tupelo. It was a delightful occasion. He preached at our church last summer when he was being considered as Bishop for Arkansas. Everybody told me he's a good preacher and that I missed a great sermon. I hope Ellen's talents continue to be used; she's an excellent musician.

Virginia has a rich Episcopal legacy. Some of my father's paternal ancestry is rooted there. They celebrate their 400th Anniversary in Virginia this year. I recently read this amusing story regarding them:

At one annual parish meeting, however, things did get out of hand and there was unexpected shouting at one another. A little old lady, God bless her, rose to her feet and banged on the pew with her cane until the place fell silent. Then she said in a very clear voice, "If we cannot behave like Christians let us at least remember we are Virginians." The place broke up in laughter. That settled that. Humor, warmth, love and grace, things which seem to be missing in the current controversies. (borrowed from )

Other news from Tupelo: Kenneth Boyd died. He and Richard were close friends in high school. When I came back to Tupelo from Nashville in 1969, he was the first man to ask me for a date. We went out a few times, but about the only thing we had in common was Richard, not a good thing to build a new relationship on. He was a good dancer, though, and a good photographer; too bad I didn't appreciate those traits at the time. The obit said he died after a long illness. If anyone knows the details, I wish you would share them with me. I wonder if his friend Jim Staggs is still living.

Old Man Winter is bearing down hard in most places where my loved ones live, even Tampa. I hope everybody is staying warm and cozy.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I don't talk to my grandchildren nearly as often as I would like, so it was a real treat to get a phone call from Cooper last night. I still have trouble understanding him and Clay, but that's due mostly to my impaired hearing and cell phones that drop every other word. They passed the baby talk stage years ago. When he suggested that I post the story of his weird day on my blog, I realized there are certain things on my blog that children really don't need to read, especially my grandchildren. I'm trusting their parents to supervise their reading of Gramma's writing.

What tickled me the most about Cooper's story is that he realized that a bad start to a day doesn't have to determine how the rest of the day goes. Cooper has always seemed to have a dark cloud hovering, kinda like Pooh's friend Eeyore, who sees the gloomy side of everything:
"A mostly sunny day to some, can look a lot like partly gray."
But like Eeyore, Cooper is very intelligent and very considerate of others. It would be so much fun to have them living in Rankin County, but the initial appeal of the lot they bought has waned considerably. Last I heard, they were planning to stay in Tampa longer than I thought. Yes, Gramma has a dark cloud hovering over her head, too.

Mary Ann sent a prayer request for her sister and family. They're going through some difficulties with their foster child. It's a sad situation, they need all the prayers and support they can get. Most of my readers are people who pray, so please add Lori's family to your petitions.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Way to go, Cooper!

After his day got off to a rough start, it turned out to be pretty good. He got tripped in P.E. by another kid, hurt his leg, and went to the chiropractor, (who zapped him with a laser?). Then he returned to school, went to piano lessons after school, then baseball practice, where he got 6 hits! Three doubles, two singles, and a triple! He was on his way to Circuit City to buy a new video game with the money he got for his good report card last week - 5 A's and 3 B's (he was on the honor roll), when he called Gramma to tell her about his weird day.

I'm glad you had such a weirdly good day, Coop, and that you called Gramma to tell her about it. Now, get Daddy to make your picture and send it to me, so I can put that on the blog, too. And before you start reading Gramma's blog, you should know it's rated PG 13, so get Mom or Dad to help you. If you want to post a comment, simply sign in (it's free) and start typing. I love hearing from you.
According to our Anglican Cycle of Prayer, this is the day to remember and give thanks for the Apostle Paul's Conversion.

O God, who by the preaching of your apostle Paul have caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world: Grant, we pray, that we, having his wonderful conversion in remembrance, may show ourselves thankful to you by following his holy teaching; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Where would the Christian church be without Paul's influence? I doubt that it would exist. When I was a Baptist, I heard more about Paul than I did about Jesus, one of the first things that caused me to question the priorities of the denomination. Favorite Pauline passages were used by chauvinistic pastors to subdue women and elevate men, and for a while, I bristled whenever his name was mentioned. I still feel ambivalent whenever I hear him being venerated.

Nevertheless, I'm grateful for Paul and his ministry. The church he helped establish was founded on love, love for God, love for others, the Gentiles, especially. His sharing of the Good News in Christ has led to monumental accomplishments and advancements, as well as the persecution and oppression of those deemed "other."

My wrestling with Paul resulted in the blessing I needed, but also with a wound to remind me of that struggle. “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace as we trust in him.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

“Tonight, I have the high privilege and distinct honor to begin a speech with the words ‘Madam Speaker...’"

George Bush never spoke sweeter words to this Democrat's ears. It was a rare moment of clarity and reality before he retreated to his make-believe world of winning unwinnable wars and balancing hopelessly unbalanced budgets without raising taxes. Mrs. Pelosi was extraordinarily gracious to applaud, even standing to applaud a few times, when he offered to provide affordable health care, leave medical decisions to doctors and patients rather than bureaucrats, reduce gasoline consumption and increase alternative fuels. It's not easy to look neutral when empty promises are being lobbed in rapid-fire succession, but she was the embodiment of "poise, dignity, and comity," just as her caucus predicted.

Jim Webb's response to the President's speech was powerful, I thought. He spoke with authority on the futility of Bush's course in Iraq, as only one who has been thru an unwinnable war can speak. I was very impressed by this passionate redhead from Virginia. He even invoked a couple of Republican presidents to support his premise.

My site meter has recorded hits from many strange places, far away places like China, Spain and Germany, foreign-to-me places like Satartia, MS, but last night I identified the visitor from Satartia. He's Jerry Grace, author of the blog SBC Outhouse at Reading his blog reminds me why I felt like a square peg in a round hole all those years I tried to be a good Southern Baptist. My Baptist buddies will enjoy reading his blog, he's an excellent writer. More on this later...

Busy day, many errands, gotta run...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Last night's rest was spoiled by a terrible case of heebie-jeebies. I was very sleepy and went to bed early, but the longer I lay there, the more keyed up I got. Rather than Restless Leg Syndrome, I had Restless Body Syndrome. If I could have escaped my skin, I would have. Since I missed my afternoon nap, and got very little sleep last night, I'm extremely tired today. I drank an extra Diet Dr. Pepper while out with Mike, maybe it was just too much caffeine.

Dr. Tipton was pleased with Mike's improved stats, he's even lost 10 lbs. since his last visit. He wrote new prescriptions for physical and occupational therapy. Our insurance still has not paid for his last round of therapy, not sure what the hold-up is, but we need to get that settled before beginning a new course. Thank goodness for our insurance! In March, he will qualify for Medicare, we've got to get that paperwork done, too. There's never an end to TCB, as Elvis called it.

Mike's disposition has greatly improved since he quit alcohol. He's lost his temper a couple of times, but self-control has been much easier to manage since Mr. Hyde was banished. My satisfaction level with our relationship has risen significantly, too. Greener pastures are not beckoning me like they were. Thank you, Lord.

Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of our Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, has done a documentary for HBO called "Friends of God." It's about the Evangelical Republicans and how they have influenced politics in our nation. According to conservative Republican Joe Scarborough last night, it's a piece of fair and balanced reporting and airs on Jan 25.

The part that intrigued me was that she chose the Rev. Ted Haggard as her tour guide through this red state phenomenom because he seemed more reasonable and moderate than some of the others. That was before his downfall, of course, but he made a point of telling Ms. Pelosi that "evangelical marriages have more sex than non-evangelical marriages. We have a lot of love to give." I wonder if the man who outed him would agree with that. I understand he's borne the brunt of blame in Pastor Ted's failure.

This is the day we Episcopalians remember Phillips Brooks, famous preacher and patriot in the 19th century, best known as author of the Christmas carol "O Little Town of Bethlehem." One of his more famous quotes: Do not pray for easy lives, but pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers, but pray for power equal to your tasks. Then the accomplishing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself and the richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God.

But one of my favorite quotes of his is this:

Orthodoxy is, in the Church, very much what prejudice is in the single mind. It is the premature conceit of certainty. It is the treatment of the imperfect as if it were the perfect.

... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Our grand pooh-bah has assigned me to a girl's trio for the Mardi Gras gala. We're doing "Three Little Maids from School Are We," from The Mikado. I'm having trouble getting excited about it. Maybe after we rehearse, it will gel. Not being an opera fan, I was only vaguely aware of The Mikado story, and not familiar with this song. Thank goodness for Wikipedia! The old lithograph comes from it. Here's the link:
Musical horizons are definitely stretched in this choir. Here's a video of a 1940's version done in Andrews Sisters style:
I've got a couple of urgent business matters to handle. I'll finish this later.
1:30 pm. This is not a good day for blogging. I get one problem solved and another rears its ugly head. Now Mike is insisting I accompany him to his doctor's appointment. Oh well! Mama said there'd be days like this...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Well, I guess I needed this:

Sun is in Aquarius, Moon is going from Aquarius into Pisces. Aha, just when you think you know a lot, you reach a new plateau. Then, of course, you realize you don't know diddlysquat. Drat. Don't take it too hard.

Seems I've been on this plateau before, several times.

Dragging myself to church this morning was not easy, but I was blessed by the Good Lord anyway. Molly preached a good sermon on recognizing Jesus in the people we meet everyday. Over half the choir was there to sing. Phil played the organ in David's absence, much improved over last Sunday's music, I heard, but anyone who dares substitute for David deserves credit, IMO. I would be totally intimidated, kinda like trying to fill in for Jack when she played. No matter what you do, you'll not measure up.

The rain has fallen steadily all day. The radar shows a break in it tonight, then more rain in the morning through tomorrow night. The river below the spillway is already flooding, but there were a few fishermen out there anyway. We ate lunch with Betsy and Richard, who are also frequent patrons of No. 1 China Buffet. She was going home for an afternoon of ballgames, and predicted the Saints would not beat the Bears. Since she was the only sports fan at the table, she couldn't stir up much discussion on the subject, but that has never stopped her from expounding on whatever subject comes to mind.

I'm looking forward to a long nap.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

We had a delicious meal last night; with everybody bringing a dish, it was quite a feast. I cooked Calico Beans, but made the mistake of draining the canned beans before mixing them to bake. Needless to say, it was not the juicy casserole it was supposed to be. Once we got to our host's house, I doctored it with additional ketchup; and much to my surprise, it got rave reviews from several people. Here is the recipe:

1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped bell peppers
8 slices bacon
1 lb. ground sirloin
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tblsp. vinegar
1 can pork and beans, do not drain
1 can lima beans " " "
1 can black beans " " "
Brown bacon in skillet, then saute onions and peppers in bacon grease. Brown the ground beef. Mix all ingredients. Bake at 350* for 1 - 1.5 hrs.

Christine got a truckload of wedding gifts. This is a generous group of people. It's always fun to hear men's reactions at showers, especially after the older women pepper the young woman with advice, and their husbands realize how that advice relates to them. I laughed all the way through the gift-opening. And I was the one the bride handed her camera to to make pictures. Sorry if some of them are a little shaky, but it's hard to hold the camera still when you're laughing so hard.
Mike wore his new hoodie that his friend Jon gave him for his birthday. It was easy to tell who the Monty Python fans were (there were several), and who were not. He has maintained his sobriety for over a month now. I'm so proud of him. The numbers he got from the blood tests this week were so much improved that the nurse called and asked what he was doing differently. He's even lost 5 pounds.
I got an idea last night for a walking cane with a light near the bottom of it. There may already be something out there like that. If so, I'd like to know about it. It would help people like Mike when he's walking in an unfamiliar place that is not well lighted.

Friday, January 19, 2007

We are going to a party tonight, a combination wedding shower and choir party. Our youngest choir member is getting married and will be moving to South Carolina. I will miss her. Christine has sat next to me in the soprano section ever since she started singing with us, one of the few regular contacts I have with a member of that generation. She can do text messaging in her sleep, I'm sure.

Not long ago, one of our altos lamented the prevalence of gray heads in our choir. "When are we going to get some young blood in here?" she asked.

"I don't know, but when we do, I want some of it," I replied, which drew an uproar of laughter from the rest of them. They took that in a way it was not intended, but I always enjoy making folks laugh. We do need to recruit some more young voices.

I saw an old friend from our former church yesterday. She was so excited about their turn-around since the new priest started last fall. "It's everything I always hoped it would be," she said.

"What about the music?" I asked.

"Not as good as St. Philip's," she admitted.

I lost all sudden interest in going back, even for a visit. Not many small Episcopal churches have choirs as good as ours. Betsy told me that last week our choir was down to an ensemble (I was not the only one playing hooky), but it still sounded full and balanced. It's incredible how that happens without fail. I feel very fortunate and blessed to be a part of such a talented group.

Listening to our choir is now possible by clicking on the St. Philip's link in my sidebar. Then go to the Choir page. Several of the Advent and Christmas pieces are linked there. My favorite is Ave Maria by Rachmaninoff. Enjoy!

Results from the colonoscopy were good, no cancer or pre-cancerous condition. I can wait 5 years for a repeat. Yay!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Happy Birthday to my husband Mike! And to Tara's new baby boy born just after midnight. His name is still being discussed, I understand.

Capricorns: Individuals born under this sign are thought to have an ambitious, patient, responsible, stable, trustworthy, shrewd and persistent character; but one which is also prone to coldness, conservatism, rigidity, materialism, and dullness.

Here's hoping our newest Capricorn develops all the positive attributes and none of the negative ones. Unfortunately, it's too late to wish that for the one who turns 57 today. Fortunately, he's lived long enough to have them all, at one time or another. Hugs and kisses to the old goat and the new kid.

According to our church calendar, today begins the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Rather than waste time on my bleak view of this lofty ideal, I'll offer this prayer instead:

Creator of the Universe, who made us different from one another in myriad ways we can see and in more ways we shall never know, yet made us all in your image; fill our hearts with your love and our minds with your wisdom that we may truly become brothers and sisters of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (by Lionel Deimel)

The Doomsday Clock has been set to 5 minutes until the end of the world. When originally started in 1947, it was set at 7 minutes before midnight. It's been moved back and forth depending on the state of the world. The changing climate is being considered now, whereas, nuclear holocaust was the primary factor. Maybe that will give the diverse Christian Community a new sense of urgency to drop the petty squabbles and get on with the important stuff, you know - love the Lord, love your neighbor. "We need not think alike to love alike," said John Wesley, whom the Methodists claim, but who went to his death an Anglican.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

When Barack Obama made his speech at the Democratic convention in '04, I called Mike into the living room to watch. "This is America's first black president," I told him. It was one of those hunches that I felt so strongly I couldn't keep it to myself. From Illinois, the Land of Lincoln, with a fresh face, a refreshing manner, he inspired hope in me that I had not felt in a long time. Judging from his meteoric rise from obscurity to stardom, I was not alone. (Photo: REUTERS/Jason Reed)

Now there are many of us who have The Audacity of Hope, hope that this next generation can take the muck-ups of my generation and turn things around. He doesn't have all the baggage of Hillary, or Edwards, or Kerry, or Gore, and that is to his advantage. I really believe he is electable. When he announced that an exploratory committee had been formed, I felt more than a twinge of excitement. Run, Obama, Run! Join the team!

I've got several errands to run today, so I'm outta here.

I heard this while at Sonic eating a chili cheese wrap for lunch. It immediately resonated with me, so I'll share it. From APM's Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor, a poem by William Stafford, "What's in My Journal?"

Odd things, like a button drawer. Mean
Things, fishhooks, barbs in your hand.
But marbles too. A genius for being agreeable.
Junkyard crucifixes, voluptuous discards.
Space for knickknacks, and for
Alaska. Evidence to hang me, or to beatify.
Clues that lead nowhere, that never connected anyway.
Deliberate obfuscation, the kind that takes genius.
Chasms in character.
Loud omissions.
Mornings that yawn above a new grave.
Pages you know exist but you can't find them.
Someone's terribly inevitable life story, maybe mine.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It's a cool 66* in my office, but Gus is in my lap, Jay-Jay is in a chair next to me, and the portable heater that I borrowed from the nursery at PBC (and never returned) is cranked up to the max. Maybe I won't freeze. A strong North wind blasted me when I took the garbage can to the curb early this morning. Old Man Winter is strutting his stuff.

This poor baby is outgrowing his pants. Pip will be two on Feb. 15. Benji has this picture posted on his Flickr site, and I just couldn't resist snatching it. Their temps are in the teens and twenties, hope they're all staying warm.

I just read an interesting article about former Presidents Carter and Clinton planning to unite all Baptists in America. (Photo from Ron Edmonds of AP, at the Ford funeral)

Now that's an ambitious goal if there ever was one! Not surprisingly, the SBC leaders are suspicious of their motivation. "Just trying to win more votes for the Democrats in '08! A Covenant of Compassion, my foot!" they huff.

However, rallying the more moderate Sou. Baptists to distance themselves from their conservative leaders should be easier now than ever before; after all, they were some of Bush's most vocal supporters at the start of the war in Iraq. Exit polls from the election in November indicate that more and more of the truly conservative Republican members are admitting that they were deceived, and are beginning to question the "wisdom" of their leadership.

What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8) Thank goodness, that principle is still important to most of them. And it's not voodoo ecumenism! To read the article for yourself, it's here and here

Other relevant articles are mentioned in their sidebars.

(Note to LGP: hope this didn't make you cringe too badly.)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Just what I've been waiting for...

Sagittarius: Sun is in Capricorn, Moon is in Sagittarius. Mercury is going into Aquarius. For the next several weeks it will be easier to learn technical subjects. Obviously, this is your cue to finally read the manual.

But which manual? I've ignored so many. Benji votes for the camphone manual, since I have yet to post any pictures from it. According to this, I have a window of several weeks, so look out, you young tekkies! This tortoise may overtake you, yet.

First the rain and then the cold, we knew it was coming. I just hope the ice storms have stopped their march of destruction. Below freezing temps are predicted for tomorrow night, finally some winter coat weather. I was outside in shorts and tank top this week-end.

I got a rare treat this morning when Mike let me sleep late. He went to the doctor's office early for blood work, which requires no food until after the blood is drawn. I slept until 8:15, and that's late at my house! Thanks, Love! Gus and Jay-Jay were perfectly happy to stay in the bed with Mama. It was raining in their bathroom. With a later breakfast, a later lunch, a later everything, I feel as close to normal as I've felt in a long time. Sure wish we could get back to those days when Mike fixed his own breakfast and let me sleep.

Yesterday he saw his daughter for the first time in months. They met at Borders and exchanged Christmas gifts! I wish there were some way to break her out of that bubble she lives in with her mother, but she's ill-prepared for the world that most women her age occupy. Worrying about her produces nothing but sadness and frustration, so most of the time I force my thoughts about her situation to a different subject. Lord, have mercy!

With the story of the two boys in Missouri, I'm reminded of the very different world our children inhabit. It's no wonder Clay and Cooper are so content to stay in the house with their video games. Who knows what danger lurks right outside the door? The gated neighborhood they live in offers some extra protection, but even with that, there is no guarantee. Simply riding their bikes to the neighborhood swimming pool is a risky proposition.

Ricky warned me one time, after they had left me in charge of them for a few days, "Mama, this is not Plantersville." I had allowed them to play unsupervised on their front lawn with sidewalk chalk. I thought it was an over-reaction at the time, but now I'm glad they are so careful. I just hope they don't get totally paranoid like Mike's ex.

I watched a program last night on CNBC about electronic surveillance and how prevalent it is. The implants that were designed to identify lost pets are now being considered for children. It's probably not a bad idea.

Where is my Zoloft?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

There's a new kid on the blogging block, my friend LaRue has caught the bug. Welcome, Friend! Together the two of us probably represent the whole range of diverse views on politics, religion, and other controversial subjects. We share a long history of raising kids (and raising Cain) in Plantersville, so we pretty much know what to expect from the other. This coffee cup used to live at her house, but thanks to my former spouse, came to live at mine. If coffee cups could talk...To her credit, she hasn't written me off as a left-wing radical, and it's Baptists like her who preserve the fondness I feel for most of them.

I love those dear hearts and gentle people, who live in my hometown...

(Except she no longer lives in Plantersville, so in her case, that should be lived in my hometown.) If there are other P'villians who blog, I'd like to know. Well, there are two others that I know about, George, whose Plantersville Connection is linked on my sidebar, and Carolyn, LaRue's neice, who belongs to that younger generation for whom blogging is nothing unusual. I'll add their links, too.

I read an article not long ago about how writing keeps a person mentally alert in their senoir years. An essay a day keeps dementia away, they said. I don't think my blogs quite qualify as essays, but writing them seems to stimulate the old brain cells.

I'm playing hooky from church today. Our Top Cat is away, so many of his mice will play. My energy is still at low ebb. I got a good night's sleep, but would really enjoy going back to bed and pulling the covers over my head. Instead, I'll probably just enjoy a lazy Sunday morning reading the paper and playing Scrabble. How sweet it is!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I had a bad case of insomnia last night, didn't get any sound sleep until after 2 am. I couldn't help but wonder if it was due to the ordeal my body has been through this week. I've been ravenously hungry and thirsty since Thursday. For whatever reason, I just couldn't relax and get comfortable, but tossed and turned til I wore myself out. And I didn't even take a nap yesterday afternoon. Today I'm very tired.

One of the side effects of Zoloft is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. I've had intermittent episodes like last night's, but rarely for 2 nights in a row, or frequent enough for serious concern. Maybe tonight will be better.

My circadian rhythm has been out of kilter ever since Mike's stroke. He's such an early bird and I'm not, but since I became his left hand, we're more or less joined at the hip. When I lived alone, and could work later hours, I did. Even now, my energy does not peak until about 10 or 11 am. If not for my job as his "better half", I'd be up until midnight and sleeping until 8 or 9 the next morning. It's only on those nights when he's away that I can do that.

It's probably the reason these posts are so whiny so often. I'm at the computer earlier than I need to be. If I waited until I'm fully awake, they probably wouldn't have such a complaining tone.

Friday, January 12, 2007

One of my favorite Christmas gifts came from Skip, a book he'd just finished reading and thought I would enjoy, Mysteries of the Middle Ages, The Rise of Feminism, Science, and Art from the Cults of Catholic Europe, by Thomas Cahill. I was initially flattered that he considered me smart enough to digest it, then became enthralled with the beauty of all the artwork included. It's not a book I want to rush through, as every page provides some deep satisfaction aesthetically, as well as intellectually. Rather than suffer through it like I did most of the history courses I've taken, I'm enjoying every minute of it. Thanks, Cuz!

Another Christmas gift I'm enjoying at the moment was from Betsy, a CD by Kenny G, I'm in the Mood for Love, The Most Romantic Melodies of All Time. There is something about a saxophone, especially his, that relaxes me. It's so wistfully mellow. Maybe that's why Clay chose to learn sax over piano, to express his mellow side.

Keith Olberman's scolding of Bush last night on Countdown was rich. For those who missed it, here's the link for the transcript and the video.

One thing I didn't enjoy watching yesterday was the pounding that Condi Rice took for her boss when faced with the hostile members from both parties in the Senate hearing. She did succeed in uniting Democrats and Republicans. Only one committee member was willing to speak in support of the escalation. Aren't they about out of that Kool-Aid?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The colonoscopy revealed one polyp near the appendix. It was removed for biopsy during the test; results expected within a week. Most are benign; let's pray this one is, too. Nice to know the ordeal was not for naught. I just hope that's the end of it. I'm classified as high risk due to my grandmother's colon cancer and the IBS symptoms I've experienced. Subsequent tests will be scheduled every 3 - 5 years, depending on results of this test. Next time, I'll try not to whine so much.

The test itself was a breeze compared to the prep. I watched most of it on the monitor, but didn't feel any pain or discomfort. All the staff were super nice. The doctor, whom I'd not met until test time, looked like he should still be in high school. Am I getting that old?

Mike went with me to drive me home. I ate a bowl of chicken and dumplings soup when I got home and went straight to sleep for a 4 hour nap. I woke up just in time for the real nightmare, THE SPEECH. I wished for more drugs, wake me when it's over. What year is this? 1969?

I hope the American public revolts en masse with public demonstrations, jammed phone lines and email boxes, demands for impeachment, etc. This has gone way too far. As one of my favorite pundits said:

Bush is even incompetent at admitting his own incompetence. It's like an alcoholic admitting he's started drinking again, then announcing he plans to get back on the wagon by drinking even more. You should not get credit for admitting mistakes unless the admission is accompanied by an effort to stop making them. (Arianna Huffington)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Just call me a hypocrite. If I look half as gloomy as I feel, it's scary. I woke up this morning dehydrated and thirsty for water. After consuming about a quart of water, 16 oz. of apple juice and peach jello, I felt somewhat human again. I know now why less than 50% of the people, who have this procedure recommended to them, submit to it. It's torturous, like a really bad case of self-inflicted stomach flu. I've also got a huge headache, so while Mike is at the gym, I'm going back to bed. Your prayers are appreciated. More later...

I went back to bed, but couldn't sleep, so I got up and took the advice of Jesus to wash my face. Like "Wash-Me-All-Over Simon Peter" who wasn't satisfied to have just his feet washed, I took a shower, annointed my head with shampoo, and let the hot water massage my scalp. It helped a little. My dogs are in sympathetic mode, they seem to know I'm not feeling well. The 32 pills I took last night have done their job, my insides should be shiny clean. Taking the pills has to be better than drinking that solution they used to give. I weigh 2.2 lbs less than when I started this, but I would definitely not recommend it for losing weight.

One of my devotional readings this morning had the following quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: Do not be timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. What if they are a little coarse, and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again; you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.

But more encouraging than his words were these - Feel the fear, then let it go. Jump in and do it - whatever it is. If our instincts and path have led us there, it's where we need to be. (Melody Beattie)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Only about 30 hours until I can eat solid food again, yeah! The fast actually started at 6 pm last night, not sure where I got the 24 hour idea. I've never been so thankful for jello, broth and popsicles. Jello has some flavors that are new to me - pineapple and peach, and they are delicious. It's been a long time since I made jello. There were several juices in the store I'd not tried; my favorite is the white grape and peach combo.

I have a new respect for people who fast as a regular part of their spiritual discipline or health routine. With just a few clicks, my online research of fasting led to something else that was new to me - The Esoteric Teachings of Jesus and the Nazarene Essenes. Fascinating stuff, especially the Essene Gospels of Peace, more there than I can easily digest.

Here's the link to their teachings on fasting, an ancient (and effective) remedy for all kinds of ills. Wonder why we don't hear much about it except from our New Age Health Nut friends? I don't think it's because we're "fasting in secret," as Jesus advised. America's health care crisis, especially concerning obesity, attests to that.

"And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

Monday, January 08, 2007

I've called the doctor's office where my procedure is scheduled for Weds. to make sure it's been approved by my insurance. It's an expensive test and not something I want to pay for myself. If it has been approved, I'll go ahead with it. My doctor probably used my complaints about occasional IBS symptoms to justify the test. My bowels have always been affected by emotional distress and sometimes it's just everyday, ordinary stress (TMI, I know), but if there is something else wrong, I need to know.

I've criticised my mother for not taking better care of her health. She had to be critically ill or injured before she would go to a doctor, and never got check-ups. My father probably relied on doctors too much. Somewhere between them is the moderate middle and I'd like to think it's the path I'm on. Surely I can survive on Diet Sprite, Jello, Chicken Bouillon, and Apple Juice for one day, and it might just get rid of those 3 extra pounds I picked up over the holidays. Besides, it always gives me a psychological boost to do something difficult that my sister was afraid to do. Sibling rivalry comes in handy sometimes.

With Dad living until he was 87, and Mom already 88, I've concluded they were made of tough stuff. I would like my quality of life to be better toward the end than theirs has been, and I will do whatever I can to improve those odds.

More than once yesterday I got the message: Be not afraid, I go before you always, come, follow me, and I will give you rest. That song ran through my mind several times during the day, from early until late. Then our Old Testament reading was from Isaiah 43, and included these verses: Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, You are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.

With everything else that was going on around me, my message from On High was definitely encouraging. That same passage goes on to say:

I will bring your offspring from the east,
And gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, 'Give them up!'
And to the south, 'Do not hold them back '
Bring My sons from afar
And My daughters from the ends of the earth...

As much as I would like to believe that Illinois and Florida were the north and south mentioned here, it didn't resonate like the "fear not" verses.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

In a moment of weakness, I let my doctor persuade me to have a colonoscopy. It's scheduled for Weds. afternoon, and I'm dreading it terribly. The 24 hour fasting that has to be done before the test seems as dreadful to me as the test itself. I don't think I've ever gone that long without food, except maybe after my hysterectomy, and I was lost in a morphine fog for that. Why, with no symptoms and no immediate family history of colon cancer, would I think it was a good idea to do what the doctor said? Why couldn't I "just say no," like my sister did when he advised her to do it? I'm seriously considering calling and cancelling the whole thing.

Betsy came to St. Philip's 10:30 service this morning, then joined Mike and me for lunch at our favorite neighborhood Chinese Buffet. After watching President Ford's funerals, she decided she wants to be Episcopalian. (Photo from the Air Force website.)I applaud her decision, and hope she sticks to it. The Inquirers Class that is taught (during Lent?) would be good for her to take, I believe. She's read the Catechism and knows the basics, but the Inquirers Class gives prospects a much better feeling for the local parish and its particular flavor. Since leaving the Baptist Church, she's tried Methodist, Episcopal, and Presbyterian churches, but seems to prefer The Anglican Way. I, of course, think it's a wise choice, and her eldest daughter will probably agree with me.

Our choir has an easy couple of weeks ahead. David uses this time to visit his mother in NC, so for the next two weeks, we have Sunday morning rehearsals only, no Weds. nights. I'm ready for a rest. When he gets back, we will start preparing for the Mardi Gras costume party being planned for Feb 16. Choir members will be the principal entertainers that night. I'm trying to decide which character from which musical I want to be and what kind of costume and singing it will require. Seems I was a flapper in a former life, and I would really enjoy doing that again, but I don't think there were any 60 year old flappers. I'll come up with something, suggestions are welcomed.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

My morning got off to an unfortunate start - Mike nagging me to get up before I wanted to, then ordering breakfast like he was at then demanding a second cup of coffee before I'd even had my first. I had to set a boundary within the first fifteen minutes of my day. He apologized and started acting like a grown man instead of a two-year old. I wish we didn't have to go through this as often as we do, but we do. Is it because the boundaries I set aren't firm enough? He doesn't remember? He's a spoiled, selfish child? Why do we go over and over the same issues?

My malicious imagination has fantasies of rigging his chair with hidden speakers, then speaking to him through a voice distortion device in a deep bass voice that cusses him a blue streak whenever he acts childish. It's a language he understands and obviously prefers, judging from the movies he watches. It would probably scare the poor man to death, he can act like such a wuss sometimes. He doesn't act nearly so childish when Ricky or Benji or Skip are around, so I know he can control it.

I confronted him with that fact the last time he yelled for me. He admitted that if they were here, he would act differently. "Don't be saying or doing anything you wouldn't say or do if they were here," I told him. I don't know why they get more respect than I do, except that they're men. He's afraid of them, I guess, even though none of them has given him any reason to be.

He knows they love me and will not tolerate his abuse of me. I don't think any of them would physically harm him, but he doesn't know that, and it's good that he doesn't. I have a brother and a nephew nearby also, and they can act like mean junkyard dogs, even though they're not. My neighbor Art has told me more than once to come and get him if Mike gets unmanageable. It feels good to have such strong allies in my corner.

He tried to make me feel better about my situation by asking me if I realized how much harder it would be on me if he were one of those stroke patients who was not motivated to work on recovery? "I could be one of those men who was confined to a hospital bed and a wheelchair for the rest of my life," he said smugly.

"And that may be the next chapter in your story," I countered, "so don't be alienating the best care giver you will ever have. Do you realize how much harder your situation would be if I followed my own mother's example of caring for her stroke patient/husband?" I asked him. The "it could be worse" argument was over. We've got too much to be thankful for to waste our time arguing.

Friday, January 05, 2007

It's the 11th day of Christmas and I don't think my Christmas tree will survive another night of Mick's mischief. I probably should have taken the offer of my guests this week to help take it down. Oh well, it will be just part of the reclaiming process I do after company leaves.

Getting my house back to our kind of normalcy helps relieve some of the loneliness I always feel with their departure. Washing sheets, making beds, general tidying and cleaning have a therapeutic element to them that I need. Transitioning back into my comfort zone is always accompanied by a few sighs of relief. It's a totally different experience from those of grandparents whose children and grandchildren live nearby and are part of their daily lives.

Our Epiphany service is being held tonight on the Eve of Epiphany because Tom doesn't like Saturday night services. I can't say I blame him. The Easter Vigil service is always so elaborate that once a year should be enough for anybody. The choir has some beautiful music to sing tonight, then there is the Silent Auction and the Twelfth Night party afterward, which marks the start of Epiphany season, which leads into Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, and then begins Lent. (See Tom's blog for further explanation of our celebrations. )

All the "Feast Days" we celebrate in the Episcopal Church are still a little confusing to this former Baptist raised with many restrictions, especially concerning the frivolity of Mardi Gras. Many Baptists would not appreciate the delicious Wassail we will enjoy at tonight's party, but many former Baptists will. (Thanks to this site for the great picture. )
View Deanne and Kris's wedding pictures at this site. Their gallery key is d&k1202. Some great shots in that collection.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

What horrible weather we're having for Benji and Karen to have to drive in back to Memphis. It's raining hard all the way up I-55. Protect them from danger and bring them to their destination safely, Lord. Give them plenty of rest tonight for the second leg of their trip tomorrow back to Illinois.

I'm missing them terribly already. I can hardly wait until they're living closer and can visit more often. We've agreed to keep Pip in May while Benji and Karen go on a vacation to Mexico, the gift he gave her for her birthday. Well, we're sharing the babysitting with Mamie and Billy, but I can hardly wait. I think he'll be ok. He and I played together a good bit while he was here and he was happy most of the time. It's usually when he's tired and sleepy that he cries for his Da-Da.

We visited with Jack this afternoon, who kept nodding off while we talked to her. She's usually that way after lunch, but it's the earliest we could get over there. Pip entertained himself by pushing Miss Bessie's walker up and down the hall and amusing all the old folks. They always cheer up when they see children, especially a child as cute and friendly as Pip. I saw more smiles on that floor than I've ever seen.

Mama seemed to faintly recognize Benji, after we got her photo album and reminded her who he was. She also told me who Daddy was in a couple of pictures. That Benji named his child Silas to honor his beloved grandfather never seemed to register with her.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Even though Pip was not named for the main character in Dickens' Great Expectations, a lot of people think he is, especially when they learn that Benji and Karen are English teachers. Today we watched the 1946 movie version of this classic tale (Alex Guiness of Star Wars and Dr. Zhivago fame played a supporting role), and I learned that Pip was a kind and honorable person, so I'm ok with the assumption about his name. Actually, it's his nickname; his name is Jeremiah Silas, but they thought he might be a girl, and planned to name her Juliet Penelope, call her Pippi. They used that name when talking to him in utero. Then Pippi turned out to be a Pip and it stuck. Now I can't imagine calling him anything else.

Things have gone much smoother today at our house, now that the garbage disposal is working and the kitchen sink is draining. Gus and Jay-Jay have slept most of the day, which also helped. Gus had to be put in time-out this morning for snatching Pip's Pop-Tart and making him cry. I've spoiled them rotten by sharing whatever I eat with them, so they think everyone should. It's the only time I've heard him cry today. He's usually a very happy little boy. Bella and Phin had to go back to Memphis yesterday and start back to school today. They were not part of the stress that was getting to me. Sweet, well-behaved children are never stressful to this Gramma, and they are two of the best.

Tomorrow we're going to visit Jack. I hope she recognizes Benji. We may have to get her photo album out again like we did when Tara visited. Once she saw the pictures of the child Tara, then she knew who the adult Tara was.

Mary Ann sent some cute pictures made during their Christmas holidays. This one of Clay with their Shelties Maggie and Tucker is one of my favorites. Hard to believe he will be a teenager in June.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Is this just Tuesday? In addition to a house full of the Bo-Go bunch, I've got an irritable husband, and plumbing problems, not the kind of week I wanted. Strange people in and out of the house have both Gus and Jay-Jay on edge, and their barking is about to get on my last nerve. I'm ready for things to settle down around here and return to normal. I'm always reminded, when we have company, of the dull, slow pace we maintain when it's just the two of us.

Neither Ricky nor Benji understand why I am reluctant to cook family meals when they visit. "Why is food always such an issue when we're here?" Benji asked me. We keep such different schedules, though, it's hard to plan a time when everybody can sit down together and eat. By the time Mike and I are ready for lunch, others are just getting up and are wanting breakfast. Mike postponed two meals yesterday to accomodate our guests, but informed me this morning that he didn't want to do that again. Consequently, Benji ate a hamburger for breakfast.

The easiest thing is just to let guests fend for themselves. The food is in the kitchen and they know how to fix it, so it's "every man for himself," except Gramma will fix the kids whatever they want, whenever they want it. The adults are on their own. This little cowboy could ask for anything and I'd try to get it for him. He's quite a little charmer.

Family meals are one of those traditions that is fading away. I've long thought that big meals encourage over-eating, and that it would be healthier if each person would eat several mini-meals, and only when they're hungry. The key is to keep healthy, easy-to-fix food on hand. I've made many suppers of apple slices and peanut butter, and felt totally satisfied, not what we were taught in Home Ec, but a viable alternative.

One of the little mystery gifts I got for Christmas is a pedometer. I'm trying once again to work up to 10,000 steps a day. The only time I ever achieved that is when Mike was in the hospital after his stroke. I did a lot of nervous pacing in addition to the back and forth from parking garage to hospital to garage to home, walk the dog, back to the hospital, there were several days when I racked up 10,000 steps plus.
Jan 2, 2006. This morning's dream had me walking down a country road with Mom and Dad. The setting resembled a road in Makanda that makes a sharp curve before descending steeply downhill. On the outside of this elbow is a small frame building that houses a Baptist church. On the inside of the elbow, across the road is a cemetery. The dreamscape was very similar.

Dad was tiring and wanted to stop in the church to rest, so we did. The church in the dream, however, was a Methodist church. On the inside, it appeared to be designed like an ampitheatre, overlooking a lake. The glass wall behind the pulpit offered a panoramic view of the sun setting over the water. The sunset was colorful and changing as the sun eased below the horizon. (Photo from Sample Pictures on Windows)

Several people in the church were walking around blocking my view of the peaceful scene, so I moved several times trying to get an unobstructed view. They were totally oblivious to the drama of the masterpiece being painted by the Master Artist, busy instead with all the preparation for an evening service. I was annoyed and saddened that they had assembled in this place to worship and were not attuned to the beautiful work God was doing right in front of them. I woke up feeling very agitated.

Monday, January 01, 2007

The new year is up and running, and leaving me behind already. Grandparents should not try to keep up with their children and grandchildren. Their pace is much more energetic than mine. Today they're bowling with their friends, the ones they celebrated with last night. I didn't get much sleep due to fireworks, nervous dogs, partiers coming home late with a crying baby, etc. Today I need a nap.

Benji and Pip came down earlier than the rest for breakfast. After he polished off a bowl of oatmeal, our little mechanic decided to give Lightning McQueen an overhaul.

We ate lunch at Mellow Mushroom, then went to Walmart to exchange the video games I bought for Bella and Phin. My idea of going to Western Sizzlin' for lunch was soundly rejected, so if I want health, wealth, and wisdom in this new year, I'll have to cook my own black-eyed peas, greens and ham for supper. I don't mind, as long as I get a nap first.

Later...After the New Year's Day dinner, which was totally unremarkable (except for the fact that I cooked a whole meal in a kitchen with a stopped up sink), Mike went to bed and the rest of us played Scrabble. I put the dogs to bed with Mike, so it wasn't nearly as chaotic as when they are in the mix. Benji is taking Bella and Phin back to Memphis tomorrow, their school starts Weds.