Ash Wednesday : Your Work Will Be Rewarded

k2773601For those of us who observe Lent, today is a day that we are asked to be brave and remember that some day we will die. It is Ash Wednesday. We remember that we aren’t perfect, and as Christians, we need to renew our awareness that Jesus offered His life in order that we may stumble into God’s light….but not alone. God doesn’t want us to be afraid of failure – but the relentless pressures of life, even the most basic stuff, sometimes feels just like a black smudge right in the middle of my noodle.

So, sometimes I imagine my worst fears, my greatest burdens – I dredge them up and then close my eyes and imagine that I am in a row boat with Jesus. Some days just the undone heaps of laundry are enough to send me into an anxious flurry of worry. But, the boat image – it always helps.

The President of Saint Ambrose University wrote something interesting in an online Lenten reflection:

“The great Psalm 51 is perhaps the ‘classic’ articulation of our awareness of our sinfulness:

‘Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness…For I acknowledge my offense, and my sin is before me always.’

We know that we are need of forgiveness: from God, from each other, even from ourselves. In God’s dealings with humanity as seen in the Scriptures, we see that God asks us to DO something in order to show a sincerity in our search for forgiveness.

I also found some related quotes, and have been pouring through some photos which, to me, don’t smack of failure one bit.

“Time is the coin of your life.

You spend it.

Don’t let others spend it for you.”

Carl Sandburg

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“Nothing strengthens authority

as much as

silence.”

Leonardo da Vinci

whole wrld

“But as for you,

be strong and

do not give up,

for your work will be rewarded.”

2 Chronicles 15:7

More on Thorton Wilder and Self Appointed Sins

imageI know nothing,

except what everyone knows –

if there when Grace dances,

I should dance. ~ W.H. Auden

(image above from This Quiet Lady by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrations by Anita Lobel)

Spoiler alert #1: This post is initially about sad stuff.
Spoiler alert #2: Life is being particularly good to me right now, so I’m not sitting down in order to write a “dark night of the soul” blog post.

So, here it is.

I have a friend who is dying of brain cancer.

She is a college friend with whom I’ve kept up only a little bit over the years. Originally, our acquaintance was that we shared a best friend and became housemates at the busiest (and best!) part of my favorite. four years. ever.

Without searching messages, I have to guess that it was a year (or less) ago that this common best friend had to notify me that a grim diagnosis had been given to our former housemate. The news really came out of the blue. Her story is similar to others who have been touched by this shocking form of cancer. Our friend had a headache one day, and a few short months later she is now home saying her last goodbyes to her children and adored husband.

So, when I sat down to write last week, and was imagining K.’s children spending their summer break watching her pass on, Thorton Wilder quotes were a kind of obvious (to me anyway) place of comfort and wisdom for me.

It’s safe to assume that if you are an American following or stopping by my little blog you have seen Thorton’s play Our Town. It is a favorite of High School and Community theaters for a reason.

It has the best theater lines, ever.

I mean – ever.

I am biased and my reasons are of course personal, but I mean it.

I would offer to turn this post into a place of debate or discussion, but I hate debate and my opinion is not up for ransom or reason. I’m not a jerk though, so feel free to leave comments as I am on summer break (wiggles in her seat) and have time for lively discussion.

So.

The conversations between Emily and The Stage Manager (the lead characters of the show) contain the safest and best theater words for me because they remind me of the enchanted parts of my childhood.  My father was an actor, director and teacher and I was his shadow. Literally. As in, Dad couldn’t shake me from his side until my brother broke the rules and taught me how to cross the street alone. At this point I started wandering the streets of our little city and making friends my own age.

So, lucky I am indeed to have shared the stage with my father on the weekend that he retired from his favorite stage. Mind you, these are floorboards that he spent the most time on as a student, theatre professional, husband, and father. He turned 80 this year, so I would guess that time span to be something like 50 or 60 years, give or take a summer season elsewhere here and there.

We were part of a medley of theater scenes during a reunion show, and part of our daughter/father “I love you” ‘s were exchanged in the form of my playing Emily and he the Stage Manager in Wilder’s tender “Good-bye Scene.”

But still – had I been raised by a biologist and my best skill set turned out to be bee-keeping, I would still believe that (with due respect to the Shakespeare) Emily’s good-bye is the most relatable “to be or not to be” string of words out there.

All good theater is good because the script is about life, death, love and hate. Most likely, the writer created an entertaining time travel to all four corners of human experience and wrapped the story up with a bow at the end.

Even good existential shows wrap up at the end – it’s just a tricky “un-bow” kind of curtain call.

What makes the pleading questions that Emily asks of the Stage Manager so perfect is that the joy and pain that she describes can’t be contained by cultural and historical context. Of course her character works well for me because I am a white girl having been raised by a mid-western father, so a white picket fence story is what I know and the life I cherish.

But, context aside, in Our Town, when the character Emily is looking at her life, and struggling with having passed on as a very young woman, her self-doubt and guilt is not about whether or not she raised good children or was a faithful wife.

And. Her anger at the Stage Manager is not that she died young.

She is upset because she missed out. She failed to acknowledge grace as often as she could.

 

And, with the help of the Stage Manager, her self-appointed sins are absolved as he explains that:

she did what she could, with what she had, in the time that she had to do it.395895_10150596300328810_837678809_8894478_1239777666_n

 

All of which to say, I am VERY thankful for an open window this morning, time to reflect and am reminded to not try so hard.

An Ignatian approach to Letting my Sons Grow

Photo by Linda Douglas, Ripley Ohio

Photo by Linda Douglas, Ripley Ohio

To those of you who have ever followed the suggestion to take a difficult life transition and pray over it: Have you ever done just that, only to be left with the feeling of being even more exposed and mixed up than when you sat down with your (now luke warm) coffee?

That’s what happened for me just now.
Morgan and Theo gift

Rather than the familiar: “golly gee, thanks God, that was a nice little hug” type of reflection, I ended up with an unwound ball of yarn pile of emotions. I started with an Ignatian reflection by Maryanne Rouse (Creighton University, College of Business) and followed her suggestion to imagine I am a part of the first reading in today’s Catholic Lectionary.

Here is what she wrote:

Can you imagine–40 days of face to face conversation with God? That is the experience of Moses, according to today’s First Reading. We don’t know who was speaking more of the time–God or Moses? The conversation transpired behind a closed tent. What we are told is that at the end of this time, Moses comes out with the “words of the covenant,” the Ten Commandments in hand.

This First Reading cries out to be addressed with Ignatian Contemplation prayer, that is, the form of prayer that Ignatius did not invent, but popularized in the Spiritual Exercises. Imagination is a key tool.

To enter into this form of prayer, you need to set aside thoughts that you are not imaginative, that God cannot speak to you through this tool as God does through other tools, e.g. thought, feelings, senses, to name a few.

First, read the entire text, Exodus 33: 7-11; 34: 5-9. 28. Next place yourself in the scene: What do you see? What can you hear? Smell? Feel? Taste? Maybe not so much to taste in this story, though you may be aware that this entire time, Moses neither ate nor drank anything.

Then rewind the story in your mind after inserting yourself into it. When I have prayed this, I have found myself taking the part of a serving girl, totally left out of the action and not happy… Next step: what might God want to say to me through my place in this story?

I tried imagining myself as several different people – I was Moses, the wife of Moses, a pregnant mom, a too old to be pregnant mom…no matter how I read it though…I was a mom, and my son was going off to try to understand what instructions God was giving him.

Behind my closed eyes, no matter how my imagination sliced and diced the scenes, these plans involved travel for him and none for me. For days on end there would be no communication with my son the pilgrim. By allowing myself to imagine this as the time of Moses and young Joshua (an assistant to Moses) a good old-fashioned pile of letters wasn’t even coming forth.

It was me, a dusty tent, and a bunch of stars with no answers while the rest of the campsite snorted and snored the night away.

This all happened in ten minutes of prayer. Fertile imaginations are not necessarily something to envy if you struggle to let your mind wander.

After making some Eggos for our 11 year old, I went back at the reflection for another five minutes or so. It was like the maddening experience I’m having with one of our computers: we turn it on, it boots up, then boots itself back down…then, brrrzzsssuuuppt beePbEEp…it boots back up in an endless loop without ever actually starting up.

Same images, same tears, same not knowing where my kid is or what Moses is telling him to go off and do with his life.

Internet access denied, quick and easy answers unattainable.

On one hand, I didn’t need 30 minutes of tearful prayer to know that I am having trouble coping with the fact that my son, the one whose personality tends to mimic mine, is looking at colleges that are eight hours away. As in, he is waking up this morning in a hotel with his dad and is right now on campus with energetic and brilliant tour guides. As I sit here and type, a young Jesuit scholar is chirping away about how great life became as soon as he left his weeping mother, and for the first time in his boring life, he discovered the depths of his being and mind in the hallowed halls of the University of ForgetToCallHome.

I’m exaggerating. I could not be more excited for this kid. He is bored. He has been bored in school for a very long time, and I’ve been saying forever that college will be his time to shine and let that intellect of his go hog-wild.

Sunrise on the Ohio River, Ripley Ohio

Sunrise on the Ohio River, Ripley Ohio

So, that’s what I’m up to this morning. If you too are feeling jagged emotions that are about letting go, I’d recommend a beautiful song by Kate Rusby called “Underneath the Stars”.

It is making me feel better able to sit with the unknown. What choice do we have anyway?

I Will Be Seeing Birds this Weekend. You?

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(I found this on Pintrest, not managing to find a link to the artist)

My friend and I are celebrating her birthday today. We’ve just now decided that our party needs to become a weekend long event. Originally, my idea was that we would go for a walk in our respected cities at some point today, July the 19th. I thought we could then report back to each other. Last week I got confused about which Friday of this month is her “real” birthday, and this gave me an extra week to look forward to the event.

Then, while cleaning out and reorganizing our small home office, I found two empty packages that were addressed to my birthday pal 74695_10151704767788810_1935768133_nand one to a common best friend who is a bird watcher as well. I felt terrible. The package intentions were to make three copies of some great music as a token of my regret that our friend’s brother had died very unexpectedly.

Clearly, I never even sent him a card.

So, on my desk was a sealed and ready to mail birthday card that included a cute cow finger puppet and some raspberry flavored dark chocolate. A sad reminder of the mounting grief of each of our adult lives: the music-less and card-less packages are from, I’d guess, a year ago.

moongazinghairillustration.blogspot

(copyright protected image by Kathy Hare, which can be found on Pintrest or at www.moongazinghareillustration.blogspot.com)

The news is good despite my failed condolence effort. Along with the birthday card, I sent quick and goofy birthday party invitations to both friends inviting them to try and do some birdwatching today as a sort of global birthday effort. I spoke with our friend yesterday when he called confused and said, basically: “Kate…what are the two of you up to now?” and, “you are inviting me to do what? when? are you sure that….”1044995_10151704769978810_2086162894_n

It was great. I’d not heard his voice in well over 25 years and the friendship dynamics are the same as when we were teenagers: he is sweet and a bit wary of our complicated and some times outlandish ideas for a fun time, and she and I just go about our merry way and laugh at what a job it can be at to distract him from his tasks at hand.

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For me, sweet memories of being the age of my young adult sons are experiencing now, is condolence enough. I should be so lucky that, despite the gaping hole of time and life which has kept the three of us from a lazy evening together watching a sunset on Lake Erie, cliff swallows will certainly swarm back to their nest holes this evening. Even better, we each remain nature lovers in our respectively hectic households.

While I am not at all positive that any of our three work and family lives will allow more than a brief stroll, or a few moments of window gazing today,

399290_10150673771793810_837678809_9134183_1877237150_n

I have faith that in her wisdom, the Holy Spirit will interrupt our day, and hopefully weekend, with some lovely and surprising bird sightings, and a moment of laughter to preserve the moment. This I believe.

When Truth is Met by Kindness

knittingYesterday I was trying to make it to after school pick up and a very interesting broadcast came on the radio. I only caught a part of it, so I’d like to archive it HERE to be able to listen to or read the full podcast later.

The broadcast was an interview about memory loss.

I wondered if the show would depress me and I considered changing channels. I’m a sucker for a good radio voice and got hooked on the good neuroscience that was being laid out in regular person words.

I dashed into the library to get what I thought was a large print version of The Sun Also Rises by E. Hemingway. To my delight, I’d also accidentally put a hand-held MP3 player on hold that is loaded with the same book. I almost hugged the librarian. I lost my library whisper manners and sort of gushed that she had made my day.

Here’s why:

The truth is this: I found out last week that there is an increased possibility that I have glaucoma. We find out more during this week to come.

In The World According to Mr. Rogers, Fred reminds us that:

“There is no

normal life

that is free of pain.

It’s the very wrestling with our problems that can be the

impetus for our growth.”

If by chance I do have glaucoma, and am healthy enough to live to be elderly, I could therefore end up blind in one or both eyes when I am well into my grandmothering years. At a minimum, I have  a worrisome few years ahead as they come up with a plan to convince my eyes to be a more cooperative duo.

This is quite dramatic and scary news, agreed?BBbGXzPCAAACd-4

I have multiple vision issues, so of course the hope is that I only have unique peepers that will always be a pain.

“Debbie Downer” that I often am, I’ve been trying hard to reframe my thinking and am trying to focus on the good news that the “all that” and inexpensive eyeglass frames I found last week will rock my world.

About the radio interview: still stoked on a successful half an hour of flopping back and forth in a swimming lane at the Y, back to the van I went with my library goodies. I was excited to report my gadget findings to the friend who recommended the Hemingway book.

Thankfully, that library chore gave me exactly twelve minuteslaundry of pretending that having crappy eyesight that may become UltraCrappy, is just a day in the life.

Those of you on the genetically and fervently pessimistic side of my universe should be proud that I reframed my thinking for even that quarter of an hour. Get this though:

I had five more minutes to kill and turned the radio back on, only to hear a man who just last week was diagnosed with some sort of memory affliction. He was crying uncontrollably. He was loving, and intelligent, and, devastated by this reality, even in its infant stage. He was due to find out more about his test results this week, and I am due to find out more about my test results this week. Since the show was live, I find that interesting.The angst he was crying about wasn’t over himself at all; it was guilt.

He was crying because he might miss out on his golden years, but more so because he didn’t want to confuse or harm his young grandchildren if and when he can’t see them any longer in his own mind’s eye.

What a beautiful man, and a three star grandpa to even think of these things despite, and in the midst of his own impending loss.

“Last month a thirteen-year-old boy abducted an eight-year-old girl; and when people asked him why, he said he learned about it on TV.

 

‘Something different to try’ he said. ‘Life’s cheap; what does it matter?’

 

Well, life isn’t cheap.

 

It’s the greatest mystery of any millennium…

But how do we made our goodness attractive?

By doing whatever we can to bring courage to those whose lives move near our own.”

~ Fred Rogers

So, thankfully, kindness and truth met in that fortunate five minutes before I barreled down the city streets to gather my son. The courageous confession of guilt on the radio, even if a projected reality, made me feel less alone in my worries. Even if we work to be the most gracious and diligent patients in the world, there is no way at all to predict how able we will be to manage the impact of our illness on our relationships.

If we can’t predict the illness, how could we possibly predict the impact on our family or our ability to maintain healthy relationships?

sniksjoe25

I really, really value that this sweet man followed his heart and just put his pain and sadness out there for millions of us to hear and feel along with him. My hope is that he is rewarded by good news from his care team, and reassurance from his family that they will not abandon him when the time comes that it is him that needs company, rather than the other way around.

When I woke a few minutes ago, anxious to finish this post, this song came to mind (click here) and I’m hoping that I can have even a portion of the brave attitude that I heard from this gentleman who adores his grandchildren with such intensity.

Prayers for a good week to come for all of us,

Kate

Lucky Girl am I

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Psalm 96:7-10
New International Version (NIV)

7 Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.
9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved.

The next couple of weeks mark a couple of important anniversaries for me. The first one is that today is my mother’s birthday. The other is that our youngest son was born eleven years ago, as of this month.

This youngest son asks frequently which ancestor he is more “like.” He has so many great shoes to fill, so I try to down play the question when I can and apply the “Free to Be You and Me” values that my brother and I were raised by:

(Hedging what I’m really thinking) :

 

“Well, let’s see. When Uncle Mike was your age he would have been complaining just like you did a minute ago about only having a hand full over friends over to play rather than the entire dah – gum neighborhood. Go get dressed, we’ll talk about this later”.

What I often think when this one

behaves, misbehaves, entertains and confounds me is:

“Good Lord this one reminds me so much of mom.”

Here is where I’m coming from: outlandish, outspoken, gregarious to a fault most days, ready to debate to the death if it is an issue they value, and expansive at a minimum. They both are, and were the kind of smart that frustrates a kid because he is, and she was the type of child who stays in constant motion. I don’t mean hyper energy as often as the kind which is about finding a personal dance groove while the rest of the world is saying “line up time.”

As a matter of fact just yesterday after school he was relieved about the ending of another school week and was doing a little shimmy in the front seat of the van and telling me to watch, but not really watch. (“Like it or not mom, I’m a preteen now.”)

Payback for having gained those sort of “watching while not watching” skills with his brothers was that after we got home, out there kind of guy that he is, he called me aside to showed me the exact dance move that he used in gym yesterday. I was impressed actually. He also said that they are currently doing basketball, so I said a quick Hail Mary for his young gym teacher and went back to wandering in circles around unfinished chores.

Just a minute ago, while grabbing some food for same said kid, I got to thinking:

Maybe it’s not that they are so much alike, although they are…

maybe it’s that this youngest son and my favorite mom draw me out of myself in the same way.

 

Both of their high fives tend to be all enthusiasm and not very critical. When they feel successful in getting me out “there,” wherever “there” may be – they tend to have a party of their own in the wings so I get a quick “woo hoo” and off they go.

I like that.

The photo above is of me and our neighbor. Pretty gal isn’t she? Lucky girl was, and still am I. Agreed?

Dear Mrs. Obama: Have They Considered Mr. Lemon?

A6TRRWgCMAAjjpPDear Mrs. Obama,

This message to you has been near the top of my list for months: a most heartfelt thank you for all that, well…all that you are actually. I don’t claim to know you as more than a woman for whom I am fan and follower. Yet, I’m tempted to put in this quick note the same thing that I put in birthday cards to those who mean the most to me:

“Thank you for being born.”

That would be a bit intense though since despite my greatest efforts, we’ve not yet met.

Actually, here’s the truth: I started last fall by taking for granted that you and your family would continue to be the leaders protecting and leading my sons for another term. Like so many others, I watched the debates for the first time ever and during that process I cracked. Rage would not be an exaggeration. Even though it was your husband who was being personally and morally attacked – for some reason, I found myself feeling deeply offended as well. Thankfully I remembered a huge sign that my mother kept in her laundry room which said:

“Living Well is the Best Revenge.”

So, despite my best efforts to keep the home fires burning and volunteer for your family campaign in an official manner, I found myself seeking revenge “Kate Style”: I drove around the Quad Cities being an hour, or day, or a week too late for events but never allowed myself to feel a dollar too short. I prayed and retweet all that I found to be good. I wrote and deleted and lost my thoughts and eye glasses on what felt like an hourly basis…

Don’t get me wrong – I’m no hero. My campaign efforts were nothinganxiety girl compared to those of most of your volunteers and most of all, other than the retweetAthon that a friend pointed me toward, everything I did was in my head.

As a matter of fact, in an effort to support one of your speeches I got lost and ended up in a town called Lost Nation, Iowa. My family is so long and suffering.Thank God, I did find my way to hear you, just days before the election in Iowa City. Did you see me? I was the one who started crying like a sissy girl when you simply opened your mouth to say hello. My mother campaigned for you before you even knew you needed her. Sadly, she died several years ago.

Actually, the tears on my part were that of complete joy.

165977_10151106768050774_429870657_nThe joy was, in part, to be a few feet away from a woman who I admire deeply. More so, tears flowed because you said, word for word, what I was feeling.

After the harrowing experience of dodging winter weather, my completely mismanaged childcare back up plans and getting utterly lost on the road to a very easy to find destination…what could I do but laugh?

I was exhausted from worry and effort by the time you got up on stage and if I’d had to wait too many minutes longer I would have needed to bail yet another event to get home in time for after school pick up.

Shazaam. On came the Earth Wind and Fire music. Shoulders grooved. Water cups were passed. Secret service squeezed in, andA1JU2PeCQAADnFI you came out to say what I’d come to realize in those exact long hours:

If, despite my most heartfelt prayer, Michelle is asked to leave the house, joy will still come in the morning.

Thank you for saying exactly that Mrs. Obama. I heard you say:

“No matter what, we are going to be just fine. On Thursday (after the election), no matter where my family will live next winter, on thursday we will go back to picking up our shoes and putting them away.”

Soon after you said that a mom in the crowd hushed her child who was playing in the front rows and you said:

“No!

Don’t shoosh…Let her go!

We’ve got another party over here!”

So, for now, I’m going to finish this thank you note and ask that, although I think I am certainly at least 24 hours too late with this message,

I would like to recommend that the benediction for the inauguration be given by one of my many favorite pastors: Meadowlark Lemon.

I knew he was a Trotter, and am so pleased to read this week that he is a theologian as well:

“True visions have transformed my time on this earth from

mere existence

to joyful living.

 

As the saying goes, if you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit it.

A worthwhile life

begins with a bold vision.”

~ from Trust Your Next Shot: A Guide to a Life of Joy, by Meadowlark Lemon and Lee Stuart

Thanks again.

With peace,

Kate

@Chris Handles loves my new book as well.

@Chris Handles loves my new book as well.

Holiday Stress? Watch the Roches Perform Handel’s Hallelujah

Our family had a very, very challenged couple of weeks as we awaited Santa. It feels like Jesus came tumbling by way of a King’s Island roller coaster this year.

On my side of the family – no hitches: all three major trans USA move transitions went fine. All systems, go, go go! (Doing the thankful daughter/sister/mom dance in my mind because when I try to do even a mini office chair samba my brain sort of explodes and my hip dislocates a bit).

Why even try to samba? Because my people are happy and that’s the goal:

1. My brother is in proud dad heaven as my niece grabbed the golden ring of what she wants to do with her life, 2. My cousin who survived hurricane Irene on Long Isle and I still love each other more than anyone, 3. My aunt and uncle’s children seem to be doing especially well this year, and,

4. My father?! Holy smokes. When I talked to him on Christmas day he sounded happier than he has, honestly,

since well before my mother died of colon cancer eight years ago.

What favorite daughter of the best dad in the world isn’t trying to reach THAT brass ring? Eh?

John Fugiel troop Douglas McEwan photog.With a little bit of help from my brother and I, his perfectly laid out plan to organize, sell his home and move permanently to Florida is, as he would say: “Finito!” Done.

It worked! The rewards of his hard work to grieve and retire at the same time seem to be that his new neighbor Rose loves him (he killed and threw away the scary dead snake in the road), my cousins went from enjoying to adoring his company (he reminds them of our grandfather), and even dad’s doctors love him it seems. (Aka: He is being compliant to their plans and in return his kidney disease issues are at a standstill for now).

In addition, though his favorite new walking park let him down mightily by closing off a path so they could chase away alligators by draining a pond, his life seems to be moving at his perfecto pace at last. Hell. After two years of weekly poker losses, he says that he’s now even winning some card hands now.

If you’ve ever met my dad even once for ten minutes, you’d agree that his life is now wonderful indeed.

Boo, and YA world! High fives all around the globe.

I imagine that you, whoever you are: stranger or not, I imagine that you are staring at your PhoneComputerTouch screen and thinking, “and this made your 2012 Christmas a disaster because…?”

…there’s more of course.

On my adoring Sleigh Driver’s side of the family, elder care issues

have come home to roost in epic proportion.

If your Christmas celebrations have you feeling like this:

(click the word BESTBEST if you have 5 minutes to watch and hear a righteous cool Handel’s Messiah rendition.Thank you SO much @JamesMartinSJ and @suzzyroche – that tweet share last night has me confused about whether or not this is the best or worst Christmas season I’ve celebrated in my 45 years.)

Or, if you feel a bit guilty that you didn’t have a crappy or complicated holiday season, just google

sudden onset of dementia

and your heart will break just enough to empathize with my favorite husband.

He has a very, very large German family in a lovely rural Appalachian corner of Ohio. We have all helped take care of his grandmother for a couple of years now as she has had some health issues. Despite those efforts, she has suddenly become what I can only describe as a five foot GermanHandful of frustration and occasional cuteness.

She was and will always be the Matriarch of, I exaggerate not, dozens, which if you count the great-great-greats, is probably more like hundreds.

But. She apparently kept us all fooled that it was perfect apple pie that was keeping us in line and clicking our rosaries for the last 100 years. It was actually her mind.

Over the past 20 years she has become blind, deaf, and in the last year or so has developed mobility issues. We’re trying to figure out what she needs most, and my SO not an “expert at geriatric care” opinion is that “Little Grandma” has been suffering from some normal oxygen loss which results in tired thinking issues. In turn, this is creating a sudden onset of dementia that is moving faster than is easy to manage for her two daughters.

I didn’t expect that my mother in law and I would be at her kitchen table trying to figure out if all of a sudden Little Grandma has Alzheimer’s or not.

You’d think since my mother in law is a librarian and I’ve mostly been a teacher or student we could combine our tired noggins and figure that out at least a little bit.

Not so much over just one cup of lukewarm peppermint tea.

For now, my approach is going to be to watch and re-watch that music video of the Roches singing Alleluia that I found on Twitter while finally giving myself a Christmas sixty minutes alone.

A Great Quote, A Creek Photo & a Sentence or Two

“There but for the grace of God, go I.”

 

~ John Bradford

 

Photo by Kevin Lester, Ripley Ohio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*random disclaimer: I don’t do heated political debate, and the above quote, the photo and these couple of thoughts are about missing my Mom. Merci mon ami!

If we could talk by phone or email, my mother and I would be hard at appreciating the contagious effect of Michelle Obama’s sense of joy.

Is joy more hard-earned for this generation of young kids than in the ’70 ‘s when I was playing hopscotch?

Who knows. Joy is important, that’s for sure.