Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Perhaps I'm a worrier though it's not something I espouse to be. Perhaps it's that every time I turn on the durn news, I hear some more bad news from Mexico. A friend and participant in the course I've just finished co-teaching in Atlanta hails from Mexico City. Her extended family still lives there, and she spoke to me of the dire circumstances her mother described there. Crime concerning illegal drugs, corrupt police, and government has escalated exponentially this year. Gang wars snatch the lives of all ages each day. I've heard dead bodies have been left strewn in the streets to serve as reminders of power and tyranny, and I can't imagine how people raise children in such conditions. Wouldn't this call for a Life is Beautiful style of parenting? Next on queue comes the swine flu raging through the city like some sort of plaque of death over Egypt before the Exodus. Parks, Schools, Universities, restaurants, national monuments, even churches remain deserted like Western ghost towns. Then a 5.6 earthquake jarred the sequestered families and rocked tall buildings yesterday. What gives? What's next? My prayers are with these our neighbors of the United States. May we treat them well as we begin to share in the same suffering.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Last night, a cute radio host asked this great question of some local artists:

"You are stranded on a magical island where there is a record player which only plays three albums. Which three would you take?"

I'll answer in the comments if others will.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Here are some things going on here:
1. I'm enjoying leading Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at the Brown Cup Coffee House. Nothing gets me like kids saying, "When will it be my turn to have Bible study?" or "May I lead prayer service?". Then there was last week when an eleven year old read a scripture, and didn't stop there as usual. He pensively asked the other children, "What words really stood out to you when I read that? What could this mean?"
It was like watching myself.

2. I always get very tired of homeschooling right about now. Trying to soldier on through the I'd-rather-be-gardening-or-pleasure-reading blues.

3. Our other in-school children are winding down or up for finals. Last semester was much more difficult than I hope this one will be. At least Peace doesn't have any wicked teachers tormenting him this time around. Every single one of them this semester are incredibly gifted in education. Tater's teachers have been awesome and working with us as a family as well. Who'd have thunk how lucky we've been?

4. Hoping for a super early bedtime tonight, because all my children are tired and a bit grumpy. Overnight guests, big launch Friday night, early Saturday morning pancake breakfast work, dinner guests, and early church today has done them in.

5. I went to a much more attentive allergist this week for a different and more effective path of treatment. I had additional scratch tests, under the skin tests, blood work, asthma test(negative), and will be going back for a working plan in two weeks with the doctor. I'm trying new foods regularly for which I did not test positive. I keep the epi-pin nearby at all times. It's still hard to cook and serve food. Imagine six weeks now without any dairy or grain- America's entire diet.

6. It's gonna rain here till Thursday. I'm grateful for it considering last year's drought.

Life is good in general. How 'bout for you?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Eyes Have It

"Mom, you know how you told me the eyes are the window to the soul?" my son with adoption issues spouted from the seat behind me in the van last night.

I giggled and replied,"Boodle, it's not like I made that one up. That's an old, old saying."

"I know, but I want you to know the thing with the eyes is working," he answered.

Not very many mothers understand why I suddenly had to hide the tears popping out of my eyes dropping onto my gray sweater. Only moms of children in therapy with attachment disordered kids might have an inkling.

"What do you mean?" I asked trying to keep my voice from cracking with overwhelming emotion.

"You know, when we look into each others eyes for therapy (an attachment technique practiced at home and in therapy). When I feel like being a jerk, and I look in your eyes. I see that you really care. And I really don't want to be a jerk to you anymore," he state as a simple fact.

I can't believe he initiated a conversation like that. I think of it as a little miracle- a miracle which comes few and far between the "Mom, you never let me..." and "Mom,you are so unfair!" Those statements may sound like typical teenager, but I know better. I have other typical teenagers here too. There's much more that I can say are behind his mad words. Fear, mostly, but acted out in so many and unbelievably inappropriate ways.

I read a challenge in a book yesterday that went something like this,"Try to really see everyone you meet today as a real person. The waitress, the cashier, the gas station clerk..." I really get it. Perhaps more deeply because my boy is leading me to be the person I want to be.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I am one of those people.

A few weeks ago I caught onto a controversial conversation begun by Knox County School Board. Deep budgets cuts were calling for radical changes. One proposed change was slated to save $700,000 dollars by running the buses longer, asking some high schools to start at 9:30 and go till 4:30. Yep, my son's was one of those hand full of schools. I really could have rolled with it EXCEPT that it added either more than an hour to my already long drive or my high schooler would have to go kill that time in cafeteria or library every single day. My other son's middle school starts at 8:00 a twenty minute drive away from the high school, and I could not justify wasting all the time and gas in between. Also, it would have effected private and public school sports, because many events start at 5:00 and bus loads of teams wouldn't be able to get to events on time, because school let out late for a few. Also, practice times would conclude at even later times. I've seen football players at Peace's academy who practice till 8:30 every school night of the season- doesn't it stand to reason that they'd head home at 9:30? I considered the amount of kids who don't take the bus who might be forced to, because parents could no longer drop off kids before work. Not to mention the cost of additional supervision of students who had to come earlier due to parent work schedules. Change is not simple or cheap.

The reason that I am one of those people is that I actually wrote all the school board members and expressed my concerns. I got three replies. Two were quick. One member really spent some time reflecting she'd listened well to my thoughts.

Yesterday, I read in the paper that the superintendent tabled the idea of late start times, because government stimulus money came to the rescue. It's quite a relief to our family, and I'm so grateful.

I have no doubt with the economic times to come, schools are in for quite a wild and bumpy ride. I heard on NPR this morning that in LA some schools have cut a third of the teachers and increased class sizes. God help us all.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Blessings

Perhaps you have considered the seed's transformation to wheat. The seed literally must be buried, split apart, before it emerges as a vulnerable sprout from the soil.
"Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it will bear much fruit." How many seeds does that one grain produce? Doesn't the stalk look entirely different from the wheat seed?

Maybe you've also pondered the vast difference in the appearance of Jesus after his burial, side split open and poured out, as He came forth from the grave. His best friends walked down the street with Him chatting and didn't realize it was Him until He had walked on. Had His Transformation been like the wheat which changed altogether as well? What does this Risen Life look like? Is Risen Life offered to us?

May this Easter bring the transformation of Christ to you.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Thankfully, my sweet gastroenterologist made a way for me to eat last night involving an inhaler and medication. Over the course of half an hour last evening, I gorged myself small pieces of angus hamburger, and I got so very full with the added bonus that I didn't stop breathing or choke. Tonight Buck will add onions to my beef, the only vegetable on the list to which I didn't react.

Hauna brought me a tray of fragrant veggie sprouts, and it occurred to me I may not get to eat any of them at all, no matter how gorgeous and delectable they grow in my Peter Rabbit garden. On the bright side, I'll always enjoy the flowers which bloom so lavishly there each year.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

No thanks

I'm processing the disturbing information departed to me this morning. Seriously, can you imagine me saying for the rest of my life when passed a plate, "No, thanks. I'm allergic to food"?

When I was told a few weeks ago, I had eosinophilic esophagitis, I had no idea what would be in store from the medical field for me. I visited an allergist yesterday who told some very interesting stories about Hindu monks (yes, they were really interesting) but didn't acknowledge my four pleas for an elimination diet plan. When the nurse announced a vast many number three reactions from the flaming red and pink checkerboard off my back from the scratch test, I asked, "What exactly is that reactivity scale anyhow?"

She simply replied, "0-4."

"So are you saying that I'm strongly reacting to entire columns and rows of allergens?" I inquired.

"Yep," she answered. When showed the charts of reactions, I realized there's practically nothing I can eat or breathe on planet Earth. Except onions. Now wouldn't that make me a fine human being? Imagine my halitosis...

The doctor proclaimed me to be a "highly allergic person", suggested I get another unreliable and costly test ($1,000 after insurance pays), and mentioned I could see his nurse practitioner in two months.


I left perplexed, but thought I'd take a breather from the Boost and eat some lunch. I relaxed next to my rice and stir fry veggies and savored the flavor of real live food for the first time in three weeks.

Then something happened that I never dreamed or experienced before. I had an anaphylactic reaction after 4 bites. I found myself wheezing, turning red, running to spit out the zucchini, onions, and rice. I hadn't gone on the Boost diet, because I couldn't breathe. I just wanted to have a baseline to start eliminating things my body isn't happy to receive.

I went to my GP today who graciously handed me a prescription for an epi pin and an appointment in 13 days with another allergist. The nurse, he, and I puzzled together that this was the fastest solution to my new predicament. "The allergist told me," shyly smiled the doc, "that people with your condition never eat food again."

"Did you tell them I'm a healthy 43 year old woman who happens to be attached to eating?" I sputtered.

I can't imagine this is the end of the story. Can you?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

How is it that it's snowing in April, and I'm watching my children chase the goats who have gotten out of the fence somehow by their own goaty selves for the first time in six years? Our guard dogs must be going nuts! They worry so for their wayward charges.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

If you happen to live in Knoxville, here is something you might not want to miss.

In memory of our family's friend Zach Weimer, the Weimer family is launching the Z-Foundation on Friday, April 17.

Here's some quotes from the organization's website,

Mission Statement
The Z Foundation will promote and provide service opportunities to families and youth in the Farragut and surrounding communities.

The Foundation will work closely with several local and international organizations to provide them with funding, media and volunteers to successfully strengthen and build their ministry or program.

Vision Statement
Lives will be changed by serving, both the lives of the people providing service and those receiving.

Families and individuals will learn the value of service by working together to help those in need.

There are many expressions of grief and loss. This family is turning theirs into service. I love living among modern day saints.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Sometimes you just have to stop and have a picnic.

I have fifty eleven things to do today, not the least of which include sundry piles of laundry and papers to go through. Then there are the appointments I must make and keep. Life couldn't be more full for me. I feel like the woman twisting and turning to make it through Fat Man's Squeeze at Mammoth Cave, and all the while regretting that I'm not as thin or agile as I used to be. How do I get so utterly consumed when I endeavor to live a simple life?

But it's my 43rd birthday and my daughter made a picnic for Peace and I on the front lawn. Never mind that my entire meal consisted of the fifteenth day of Boost alone while Peace and she feasted on hard boiled eggs, peanut butter, and Boy Scout popcorn leftover from November. She was even willing to pour the energy and vitamin drink into a bowl or cup for me to make it special. Pooh Bear spread a quilt and put out her best flower-shaped green plates and bowls. I was presented with thoughtful cards made collaboratively by my children. I opened lovely presents left on the table for me by my husband. I look forward to a promised dinner date out when my allergy issues are treated. The weather was as pleasant as a Sunday afternoon drive to nowhere in particular in the summer.

It's hard for me to stop doing and just be in the moment prepared by my eight year old child, but what could be more important?