Another equally valid point of view.

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.'”
Erma Bombeck

(Saw this quote on Hanna’s blog, and rather appropriate for this recent vein of conversation–atleast the one in my own head.)

Quotes from people I cannot name. (Sorry, people.)

Two quotes that have caused me to stop and ponder in the past week and a half.

Marriage is not about us. Marriage is about glorifying God. Marriage is about showing God’s relationship to the church here on this earth.” The guy who married Tony’s cousin and his fiance last weekend.

“Our purpose on this earth is not to fulfill or expand ALL of our talents. Our purpose on this earth is to glorify God. Sometimes, we may have to put the very talents He gave us on a shelf for awhile in order to do that.” Some gal on the Christian radio station who has just written a book.

I just love it when someone strips away all of the “Buts. . .” and “Wells. . .” and “Maybes. . .” and cuts to the heart of the matter. This life is not about us. It’s about glorifying God. He gives us tools and talents, gifts and lesson, opportunities and times of rest and all of that is literally heaven on earth when it’s used to glorify Him.

(See also this post from Sarah. And, completely OFF the subject, but I HIGHLY recommend her salsa recipe. Very healthy. I’ve prepared, served, and personally eaten gallons of the stuff.)

(AND here is a link for the artist who did the heart above.)

Fictional Quotations and Real Babies

This next excerpt is from the opening pages of Welcome to the World, Baby Girl by Fannie Flagg. I have already quoted a passage from that book here. This following gem is from a character held within. I give you Aunt Elner in all of her wisdom.

“. . .Poor little old human beings–they’re jerked into this world without having any idea where they came from or what it is they are supposed to do, or how long they have to do it in. Or where they are gonna wind up after that. But bless their hearts, most of them wake up every morning and keep on trying to make some sense out of it. Why, you can’t help but love them, can you? I just wonder why more of them aren’t as crazy as betsy bugs.”

I have always been amazed by this photo. To me it looks like the hands of God holding the seeds of humanity–each of us in our infant state which, thankfully, is how he views us when we are covered with the blood of his son–innocent–pure. He is, personally, why I’m not as crazy as a betsy bug–just crazier than Cooter Brown. I’ve often wondered at the story behind this wonderful picture. Low and behold, here it is. If you click on “Maneesha Today” over in the menu on the right in that link, you can see her photo now.

And can I get an amen for Aunt Elner?

P.S. (Thad just wandered over and asked if the photo was real. I told him yes then said, “What does this look like to you?” Without missing a beat he said, “God.”)

In Absentia

In the absence of me being able to string my own words together to say something worthwhile, I will, over the next few days, borrow from some women who have strung words together in a way that is as delightful as a breeze. The first excerpt is from Tuck Everlasing byNatalie Babbitt

If you’ve only had reason to see the recent film version of this classic book, I encourage you to take an evening to read the novel. It is short. It is wonderful. It is haunting. It is magical. The film did its absolute best to put together a stellar cast that in no way (whatsoever) resembled the characters in the book, though Alexis Bledel has some beautiful blue eyes. And if you enjoy Tuck, then you might also enjoy Eyes of the Amaryllis about which I will say: It is short. It is wonderful. It is haunting. It is magical. The excerpt you are about to read is regarding cows, but the book is not. It’s just that having grown up around a cow or two, I can picture the cows, feel the heat of summer, smell the clover and cow sweat, hear the drone of insects. . .I love the way she wrote about these cows.

From Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

“The road to Treegap had been trod out long before by a herd of cows who were, to say the least, relaxed. It wandered along in curves and easy angles, swayed up and off in a pleasant tangent to the top of a small hill, ambled down again between fringes of bee-hung clover, and then cut sidewise across a meadow. Here its edges blurred. It widened and seemed to pause, suggesting tranquil bovine picnics: slow chewing and thoughtful contemplation of the infinite. And then it went on again and came atlast to the wood. But on reaching the shadow of the first trees, it veered sharply, swung out in a wide arc as if, for the first time, it had reason to think where it was going. . .In the end, however, it was the cows who were responsible for the wood’s isolation, and the cows, through some wisdom they were not wise enough to know they possessed, were very wise indeed.”

Happy June 12th

This is a good day for our family. Seven years ago today this little man showed up.

With him came things like this. . .

. . .and this. . .

. . .and this. . .

. . .and this.

He has slept like this since he was born. I have photos of him in a bassinet doing the same thing with his arms. My Daddy slept this way. You can’t deny DNA–no matter how much my child LOOKS like my husband, my Daddy is in there too.

Thad was unleased upon the world because eight years earlier, I married his Daddy.

And fifteen years hence, I cannot imagine my life without either of them. They think the same way. They pout the same way. Their shoulders droop when they are in despair in the same way. They wear their shoes out in the EXACT SAME PLACE. They have the same eyes, the same early childhood speech impediment, the same quirks, the same ability to squat with their rear end 1/2 an inch off the ground for hours at a time. Just sit down already!!!!!! They both carry their own worlds with them wherever they go. Right now they are in the floor putting together a new Lego set just glad to have tummies full of cake and icecream and to be on the planet. Happy birthday, boy. Happy anniversary, honey.

I love you both.

Melinda

I have a friend named Melinda. A few years back she was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. She was treated for that, but just was never quite the same again. The cancer had evidently spread to her brain. She is in hospice now. Please keep her, her husband, Danny, and especially her children Evan (12) and Caroline (7) in your prayers.

“You must love having the whole summer off.”

As a teacher, I hear this a lot. A. Lot. First of all, the last time I checked, summer ran from June 21st to September 21st, and I most definitely do NOT have that entire time off. Secondly, I have no less than 4 different all-day workshops scheduled over the summer and have received no less than five e-mails regarding school issues since we got out of school a week and a half ago. And last, since we have been “on vacation” I have carted children to and fro from swimming lessons, helped to burn a wongo pile of wood, helped to cut down and move over/cut up/haul off two 50 foot pine trees, attended two house meetings, gone to three doctor appointments, and there is no end in sight. Summer is just the time to do all of the things you can’t do during the school year, and I most certainly DO appreciate having it “off.” I figure it makes up for the rest of the year when I get a 30 minute lunch break, and can’t use the phone or the restroom except during my 45 planning period IF I don’t have a meeting.

That being said, nothing burned up but what was supposed to burn up when we burned the pile of wood. Tony actually started it on his own while I took the kids to swim lessons. Then we went out there in the BLAZING heat and roasted hot dogs on a much SMALLER fire (as the one in the middle of the lot was way too hot to stand near). We ended up spending the night. The children slept in the back of the car with swim noodles as pillows, while Tony and I slept on an air mattress in the bed of the pick-up truck. Tony keeps two filthy pillows and an equally filthy blanket in his truck “just in case.” I normally avoid physical contact with these items, but at 10:00 PM when you are getting ready to sleep in the bed of a truck, beggars can’t be choosers. It did not help the next morning when Tony told me that the holes in the blanket were caused when he covered his gerbil cage with it about 25 years ago and the gerbil pulled parts of it into the cage to chew up for bedding material. He was uncertain as to whether or not it had been washed since then.

In doctor news, the endocronologist to whom I was sent by my internist seems to think that my low calcium, high white count and swelling are unrelated events that sort of all happened simultaneously as I am not in congestive heart failure, kidney failure, or generally at the point of death. He is testing me for every single thing he can and will give me the results on Tuesday. He seems to think that I will need to be “treated” for the low calcium level–and hopefully the white count will have righted itself making that a non-issue. Then my internist can decide how frequently I need to take the Lasix if at all. I had never been to an endocronologist. Mine has no exam room. The little room where they take you to see the dr. has a table and two chairs. The end. No exam table–no medical equipment. Just a place to sit and chat. Evidently your “endocrines” cannot be examined except by the removal of 7 different vials of blood. At least that’s how many they took from me.

In the mean time I had to go to a psychiatrist for a medical consult for some medication I take stemming from premature ventricular contractions brought on by panic/anxiety attacks that began back in 2004. From February to April of that year Daddy had open heart surgery, my mother-in-law had a massive stroke, Victoria had bacterial pneumonia, and I had to find a job and childcare for my then three year old. By May, I was having horrible chest pains that were pretty much non-stop–racing heart–weird heart beats. I was tested extensively, and my dr. concluded that since I tend to not panic, my body did it for me without asking my opinion about it at all. He prescribed an anti-depressant even though I was not technically depressed, but when I have tried to stop taking it, the heart palpitations have returned within a few days. . .my idle is set on high. Not only did it help with the heart palpatations, but it also helped with the horrid black temper that everyone in my family is saddled with–not that I don’t still have my times of losing my temper–it’s just a lot less common. So. . .my gynecologist recommended that I have a medical consult to determine if that is still the best medication to keep my heart from going wonky. It appears that even though I try to “handle” the stress, my body takes it upon itself to “act out” and say, “Enough already.” And I think that is what happened this year with the ankles too.

I have never been to a psychiatrist until now. The one that I went to LOOKED like a psychiatrist and talked very, very softly so as not to frighten me I suppose. I told Sarah to imagine Professor Trelawney from the Harry Potter Movies but without the glasses. . .and she only had on one necklace–not several. She seriously was wearing a SHAWL. After 50 minutes of her asking me questions and me laying it all out there she said, “Um, I’m going to need to see you again.” Guess that speaks for itself. She actually said she wanted to see blood work from the other doctors, but I know that was code for, “Chick, you are some kind of a mess.” Maybe if I wore a shawl and talked very softly I wouldn’t be in this predicament.

In other news, Thad turns 7 on Thursday. And also that is our 15th anniversary. The whole anniversary thing is secondary to Thad turning a year older, but we still try to remember that we got married on that day. Thad is seriously into Indiana Jones. And he’s not seen ANY of the movies, but Lego got in on the action, and he loves him some Legos. . .so he now loves Indiana Jones via the information he’s picked up from Lego.com. Tony has built a box for him like the packing crates of yore that says, “Property of Dr. Jones” on top with the serial number 06122008– for June 12, 2008–on top and “Top Secret” on the front. It has rope handles and a lock with TWO keys–one of which we will keep just in case.

Inside the box he will find a REAL Indiana Jones fedora (for real–not for fake–we sized it to grow with him and got the actual wool felt one–he’ll have to add his own dirt), a khaki canvas shoulder bag (a lady’s purse from Wal-Mart that is brown and brown with a long, brown strap) with a golden “treasure” inside (a fleur de lis from Hobby Lobby spray-painted gold), a REAL whip (from my sister that will remain coiled and tied for decoration upon pain of death until he is as tall as the whip is long–which is 6 feet), and a DK book with everything you ever wanted to know about Indiana Jones.

My mother bought him the toy Indiana Jones whip that won’t actually injure anyone and makes a whip crackin’ noise and plays the Indiana Jones theme song when you press a button. It’s about 10 different kinds of fun.

We did not get him a bomber jacket or a pistol. We figured if you can’t feel like Indy with a hat and a whip and a theme song, you have no imagination.