Thursday, October 30, 2008

The adventures of the last week have left me spinning, dizzy from the fun and learning.

First, I abandoned Buck and took the children to Dyersburg, TN. Never heard of it? I hadn't either until my dear friend Mac moved her family there. We piled our eight children together in her lovely new home on the lake and had a blast. Five of the children are stinky teenaged boys with Wise One as the eleven year old exception. Every time I opened the door to the boy's room to check on them, I gasped for lack of fresh air among the stifling body odor from boys who tromped through the woods and paddled canoes all weekend with little regard to personal hygiene. Mac and I forced a parade of showers a few times. The girls played dolls and led canoe adventures to mysterious islands as well.

We had one expensive fatality. Mac asked Peace to keep his cellphone with him, so we could literally call the mob of young men in for dinner. At some point, Wise One caught Peace off balance in the canoe, and Peace fell into the lake rendering his cell phone useless forevermore.

Mac cooked an awful lot for the masses and let me rest many times over the visit. We held a weenie and s'more roast over a fire in the crisp autumn air. She and her husband grilled a celebratory sabbath meal of shark, swordfish, and steak on our last evening. We shared prayer and communion together.

Mac also helped me pull together a bit of remaining choreography for a dance I prepared for the conference the following weekend. She and I figured out a dance language together some years ago, and it didn't take long to sew up the details I lacked for a lovely presentation.

Our group also visited Reelfoot Lake. It's a lake which was created by an earthquake and the Mississippi River flowing backwards for the first known time in history from the disruption of the tremors into a newly formed indention in the earth. Cool stuff, huh?

Parting was sweet sorrow, but our children demanded we schedule another visit for spring or summer.

We had an evening to at home to get Peace rested for his final cross country meet. That day I spent packing for my conference called "Weaving our Gifts". I enjoyed many workshops, a few lectures, and presented my own workshop as well. Our dance was well received in Sunday worship. Maybe sometime I'll blog about the meaningful information on teenagers I learned.

Buck has gently brought me back to real life with lots of care and nurture for me and our young people. What a gift to have someone keeping us on track and afloat.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Heading out of town today for more than a week with one stop at home for a cross country meet. Hope all of you in bloggy world have a great one.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Last night, Tater found a brand spanking new clutch of eight chicks with a broody hen. She was sitting on six more eggs, and this morning there are three more tiny babies. Doesn't this momma hen know that two days before the fall weather dips down into the 50's at night is not the time to bring new chicks into this world? Buck and Tater put the proud hen, eleven peeping and adorable chicks, and the three remaining smooth eggs into a rather crowded box. Once Buck put the heat lamp on, the babies gravitated right to it. I wonder, since the timing is so off, if this bunch will make it.

Gorgeous photo taken by Tater

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I've wanted to write just the right words about this week's experience. However, nouns, verbs, adjectives, prepositional phrases prove inadequate to convey the amazement I've felt as my son's friend lingered a few days, enough for Tater to say, "Goodbye" and was gone in a flash, like a bright flash of lightening across a black night sky. Yes, Tater was afforded the privilege of touching, smelling, talking to his unconscious friend the day before Zach entered his final rest.

The evening of his death, Zach's parents surprised us all by attending a prayer service given in support of their struggle. When the couple arrived, the children- Zach's friends, swarmed to cling to Sally and Shawn. Sally was 10 kid deep in a sobbing throng in all directions when the director asked for us to pray prayers of comfort for her. After the second sweet prayer, a strong voiced Sally stopped everyone suddenly in their tracks with something like this, "Just so you know, I already have the comfort of the Lord. I am covered with His peace. I know you have been praying for Zach, and prayers maybe did not seem to have the outcome you may have wanted. I know you wanted Zach back. I wanted him so much myself, but we have a good God. And His plan was different. I ask that you, children, not doubt God. I suppose you'll need to question Him because we are still human, but know that He is good. Zach is with Jesus in such a beautiful and better place. Please run to God and not away from Him, because Zach wants you with him one day. So, if we could please pray for these hurting children to be comforted, that is what I'd like us to do now." And as you can imagine, that is precisely what we did. Many children, including two of mine, witnessed the horrible accident. One young person hung on the zip line for several minutes while Zach was taken down from the line beside. Another young man shared his regret for letting Zach have his place in line ahead of him. A camp staff member will have to live with his mistake. Others live in unshared pain. I'll be praying for all concerned for a while to come.

Church staff and volunteers have led the middle and high schoolers through many days of grief together. A grief counselor spoke to parents and youth. I loved that our children's pastor distinguished between feeling and truth in a session with the kids. He called attention to the fact that all feelings are very real, but they may not always be true. The leader had them call out things they had thought and felt but they knew were not God's truth, "God doesn't care. He didn't love Zach. God doesn't protect. God took Zach away. I'm not safe." Then he had then voice true words about God, "Good. Loving. Kind. Compassionate. Safe. Strong." Very powerful.

Instead of a funeral, the family and church held a celebration of Zach's life. They requested no black clothing. Nineteen dozen crisp yellow sunflowers adorned our reception area.

Now it's back to the life of a mother for me and the student roles for my brood. Though I imagine we'll never be the same.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Sometimes the veil between death and life is so very thin like a piece of yellowed tissue paper tossed in the corner of an attic. The young man, Zachary Weimer, has passed through that fragile veil to be in the Arms of God.

No words. Just tears and prayers.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

I find myself fighting tears for the tenth time today. The sun has set, and there has been no peaceful resolution to the day's unsettling news. A friend of Tater's was airlifted from camp after an accident on the zip line. I'm told that though he wore a helmet, his skull is fractured, and he remains unconscious.

Yesterday I faintly remember an irk inside me as I filled out the medical information for the zillionth time for my own sons who are also on the camping trip, "Why do I have to always fill these things out. Nothing ever happens, and I have to round up my insurance numbers for nothing."

Yes, things do happen. We are not guaranteed another breath past this one. Every day, every moment is a gift.

The young man was taken to a hospital which I am intimately acquainted with though it is two solid driving hours away. It's where my Aunt Nell died, my Aunt Francis endured several serious surgeries, and my cousin Nadine was taken after she fell suddenly into her constant vegetative state. I've slept in the same chairs this boy's parents very likely occupy tonight as they pray their son will soon wake. I've eaten too many free dinners hosted by local churches while waiting for news of recovery or progress. I've run the breath holding gauntlet to my car through chain smokers just outside the trauma doors.

It is a mercy that this child has not awakened in one sense- the pain of a fractured skull must be unimaginable. But what his parents wouldn't give for one wink, a stir, one word, a stroke of a single finger. How dare the sun go down before he rouses?

My heart breaks. My soul prays. We want you back whole and soon, friend.

Updates can be found in the journals here if you type in his name: ZacharyWeimer (no spaces).

Quiet Morning

The youth minister at our church lobbied hard for Peace to come to fall camp this weekend and won. Wise One tagged along as well. Tater and Buck scattered early to help a young man in our scout troop with his eagle project. Pooh Bear and her overnight guest much prefer the outdoors, so I'm inside a perfectly quiet house all. by. myself. I hear only the hum of the dryer tumbling my Saturday morning fresh sheets. I head out Friday to teach in Atlanta again, so I've got work to prepare.

I'm praying just now for my dear friend Jo who has been commissioned by her fancy church in Belle Meade to introduce Catechesis of the Good Shepherd to a simple church in Soweto, South Africa for the next two weeks. May her excellent work be received with joy. May her precious heart for children to connect to Jesus be imparted to the South African church. God bless all those with her, including her guide, Desmond Tutu's daughter. Let the work of their hands please God and bless His name.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

This year has taken the Vyne family in unexplored directions.

I haven't found the right words to blog about a particular ongoing struggle with one of our children, Tater. Buck and I continue to lay down our lives on his behalf, and I have to say I'm disappointed with the results for him but not for Buck and I. Tater experiences life differently, through the jaded lens of early pre-adoption trauma which has crippled him emotionally. As a mother, I know that if his perspective doesn't change, he will be one of those people who has to learn the hard way. And I am painfully aware that the hard way will not be pleasant to watch as a mom.

Pooh Bear remains steady and on a good path. We plod through reading one baby step at a time, and she's coming along slowly as she always has. Her love for dance grows with her Thursday class. She thoroughly enjoys an entire day at school on Tuesdays through a friend's home school enrichment program. Pooh has quickly made friends there as she does wherever she goes. Lately, I'm mulling over future navigation of a daughter through the wily road of becoming her own person among a den of challenging girl peers who exercise exclusion. It's in nearly every circle I've encountered as a woman. May God bless Pooh Bear with the kind of centering friendships I've had to get through those tight places.

Wise One exhibits the signs of growing up while still clinging to boyhood amidst teen-aged brothers. His best friend, Peace, has flown off to high school and a whirl of school activity leaving Wise One to forge new relationships. He has three particular buddies he prefers. Wise One has made leaps and bounds in physical and mental development through occupational and visual therapy this year. Many "gaps" I'd been concerned about in learning are now filled in. Just to give you a glimpse into his sweet soul, Buck found five Bibles under his bed this summer. Wise One remains most interested in his incredible relationship with God.

Peace is loving his first year of public high school after seven years of homeschooling. Though he's learning organizational and study skills he'd never been challenged with before, he's doing well in every class. It is a college prep school, and I couldn't be more pleased with the high academic expectations. I'm busting with pride sometimes when Peace talks about standing up for the underdog or putting the g'nosh on trash talk around him. He works very hard on cross country team as well. It's something to juggle a sport and the everyday challenges of homework for the first time. Peace has finally hit the maturity marker of needing to make tough decisions of setting priorities, and he's making good choices.

Buck is hanging in there with the mighty strength of a man. He's been an amazing husband and father.

The whole "keeping a school schedule after seven years of my own time", has kicked my tail. Six a.m. comes all too early. I actually wake up in the night thinking about the support Peace needs for the coming day, "What's Peace going to need to ask from his teachers when he misses school for his meet Friday?" Homeschooling the other three children and needing a nap at 2:00 in the afternoon isn't quite working out the way I hoped. I've found myself in a hard place spiritually with all the activity of doing and not so much time for just being. How can this constant motion please God? Yet He made me a mother with many needs to continually meet. Any advice?

There it is- the Vyne family update.