Thursday, October 15, 2015

Little Square

In the mornings while we eat breakfast, we look out our front window and notice the sunrise.  Now don't get me wrong, we don't actually see the sun rise nor do we ever see the sun set.  We live in the middle of the city, and there are buildings and trees all around which limit our views of either horizon.  I should say that we see the colors streaked across the sky so we know the sun is close to either going to bed or getting up.

So in the morning, as we either look out the window or we sit on the porch swing with our coffee, we can see the sky in a square, framed by trees on two sides and the roof of a building at the elementary school across the bottom of the square.  In this square for a time in the morning, the sky is orange/pinkish and if there are clouds, the picture which is painted is amazing.

Although I can be a little unhappy that this is all I get to see, (and in the evening the view of the sunset is even more obstructed), I still get to see what's happening in my square every morning, which draws me to think of Him who upholds the order and functioning of the universe every second of every minute of every hour of every day.   The view of my square is a view of a Creator who invites me each day to trust in Him and to follow His voice, to be still and know that He is God.

I have many concerns this day.  I have much to fret and be anxious about but the square is a gift to me to remind me of Him who is faithful to keep all His promises, and this reminder is all I need.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Heart cries

The first few days of August, I injured my lower back wrestling with a heavy potted plant.  It's a month later and I still have pain - however - there's hope on the horizon as I'm getting a nerve block Friday.  I am so looking forward to this and am trusting that it will work.

But you know, what I have is minor compared to others I know who are suffering greatly.  It is almost overwhelming for me to think of people in my circle who are truly needing an intervention from our God.  I know He knows all, sees all, and works in ways we cannot even imagine to care for us, His children - I know He knows our sorrows.

I am going to be brave and try to put into words something I have not shared with many but if you know me well, you will understand.  I have always been tenderhearted, with a tendency to cry during coffee commercials, movies, TV shows - you name it.  When I tell people goodbye I choke up.  When I look at my friend and she's sharing her heart and I see tears, I'm there.  I've actually gotten to the point where I could not speak at a couple of memorable staffings when talking with parents about their kids.  When I have to deliver hard news to a parent, particularly that my findings are that their child is intellectually disabled (used to be called mentally retarded), I practice for days before ever meeting with them so that I can make it through that difficult conversation and maintain composure.

Today at school a friend needed someone to talk to.  As she shared a very difficult situation with me regarding her family, she apologized for "burdening" me, and I heard myself say to her as I hugged her:  "It's ok, I've got room for you to give it to me".

Tonight, it seems the weight of the world's sorrows are upon me.  My heart is broken for police officers affected by violence and for racial tension which is ever present.  I am sorrowful for those I know who are suffering from cancer, those who have been recently widowed, and those who are living with mental illness.   It is overwhelming.

And then, two days ago, I ran into this you tube video which someone posted on Facebook, of a flash mob singing Every Praise in downtown Birmingham Alabama.  I have viewed it several times.  I have sung it all day at work.  I have listened to it tonight again.  And I STILL cannot make it through without tears.  It for some reason, has resonated deeply within me, teaching me, reminding me, and comforting me that God is our Savior, He's our Healer, and He's our Deliverer.  Every praise, every word of praise, every hallelujah, is to our God.

A lot of the burden I feel is for our world today.  I have no solutions for the mess we're in, and we people living in these United States - we are truly in a mess.  No politician will save us.  No leader who arises will save us.  No government will save us.  Our only hope is to trust in the living God, who brings to power rulers and authorities as He wills and just as easily dismantles them.  What I'm longing for is a wind sweeping over the land, a holy wind, a Spirit of healing, hope, and of conviction - a Spirit who will turn our hearts toward our God so that every praise and every hallelujah is to Him.

I long for the Church to arise, and to boldly proclaim truth with great power.  I long for people to hear that truth, and to hear the voice of  God who loves them so dearly and who wants them to come into His family.  And as much as people would like to blame the Republicans for the mess Kansas is in, and the Democrats for the mess Washington is in, the truth of the matter is that the mess we're in is because we as a nation have strayed far from Truth.  We have not bowed our hearts to Him and thus, we have sinned.  We have proudly and boldly proclaimed error as truth and God as a fairy tale.  We have decided for ourselves what is right and what is wrong, and we are complacent and compromising, putting our trust not in God, but in those who lead us astray.

Every praise is to our God.  Every word of praise is to our God.  Every hallelujah is to our God.

If you believe this, then I challenge you to live it.  Here's a link to the flash mob at 5 Points South in Birmingham.  Copy and paste, or go to You Tube and search for it using that title.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


Three weeks ago last Thursday, I injured my back somehow, someway.  MEC visit, doc office visit, two MRI's, and what do I have - a whole lot of inflammation which needs to get taken care of.  I have not been to work since Monday, August 8.  Sitting, standing, laying down, walking - all of these were painful.   So since Thursday this week, I've been on some higher powered anti inflammatory pills, and a narcotic in an effort to deal with the inflammation so that I can go back to work on Monday.  I'm pretty much a zombie this weekend, and am only writing this because I just took meds and they'll take awhile to kick in.

I'm an active person, so this is a different scenario for me - to just not do anything.  Doctor's orders were strict - no going ANYWHERE, no doing ANYTHING.

After the injury happened, depression soon followed.  It was difficult for me to carry out these orders and not see anyone day in and day out except the two men I live with.

So tonight I'm grateful for two work friends, who took the time to not only come by, but to bring dinner three different nights so that I didn't have to worry about cooking.  It is true what the writer says :  "There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother..."  (Proverbs 18:24).   I think of those who have neither family nor friends to help in times of need and I have come away with a new appreciation for brothers and sisters who live with chronic pain and who are lonely and discouraged. I've been recently convicted that I can do more than what I've been doing to meet needs.  I can do more.  I can do more than put someone's name on a prayer list.  What that "more" looks like, I don't know, but suffering this comparatively mild condition, and dealing with feelings of loneliness and isolation have changed me.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Rare Moments

Have you ever experienced a moment so perfect that you thought to yourself - I really must remember this, this right here, this experience, this perfect time when the world around me is so wonderful I can't believe it?  I'm struggling for words because this happened to me last night.

It was between 9 and about 9:40 in the evening.  The spouse was off work for the holiday and we had completed a busy day.  We ended up on the swing in the backyard and watched the sun set.  The twilight was cool with just a slight breeze.  Fireflies were beginning their evening dance rituals and the neighbors were lighting fireworks.

I sat down first and waited for him to return with a beverage for him and when he came out, he sat right beside me, not on the other end of the swing.  He said, sipping from his bottle, "We got a lot done today".  I agreed and an easy quiet conversation followed - I really can't even remember specifically what we talked about, but that's not really important.

You would think that a man and a woman who have lived together for 39 years might have nothing to say, and sometimes we don't - words are superfluous at times.  But as we sat there together and relaxed, I was reminded again of how perfect he is for me, and how well we fit.  There's no one I'd rather share these intimate moments with than him.  How grateful I am for his steadiness, his faithfulness, and his sharing with me who he is.

I'm blogging about this because even if no one reads this post, I want it recorded for me.  I want to be able to reach back and remember that this specific thing (event or incident sounds way too harsh for this) happened, and how I felt - and, how thankful I am for him.

To quote Garrison Keillor in one of the most favorite books I own "Leaving Home" - he says - "Thank you God for this good life, and forgive us when we don't love it enough."

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Other Side of the Tracks

In this large city I call home, we live close to downtown in an historic neighborhood, characterized by old houses which have been restored, rentals (some kept up and some not), houses in disrepair, and, like ours, houses not exactly in disrepair, but houses that need work to keep them updated. We have lived here many years and know most of our neighbors, it is comfortable and home to us.  Many of our acquaintances, however, would not feel safe here - and don't get me wrong, I don't throw caution to the wind and leave things unlocked, but neither do I fear going outside, walking in my neighborhood (during the day anyway), or sitting on my screened in porch anytime of the day or night.

A couple of evenings ago, I had the occasion to be in a home in the "Oaklawn" neighborhood.  This area is located in the southeast part of my city, and was built shortly after WWII in answer to the aircraft companies needing cheap, fast, affordable housing for its workers.   According to an internet source -

The homes weren't fancy, being built on concrete pads, and followed the same simple design throughout. Some were two bedroom, others were three bedrooms, and a few were small cottage types. The housing was only temporary until the city's economy caught up with Boeing and more homes could be built and sold. The long term plan was to demolish the structures and return the area to its original condition.

However, nothing was demolished, and Oaklawn today, particularly on the south side is cheap, rundown rentals, couches in yards, peeling paint, dogs on chains in the front yards, abandoned vehicles, and about everything you wouldn't want in a neighborhood, particularly in the mid section of this area.  There are homes that have been kept up, but these are not in the majority.  There is a small park for kids which looks like it has recently been built, and there are people who take pride in ownership of their homes, but they are few.

After I left my friend's house, I drove through Oaklawn looking for an address of someone I've known (but I've only been to her house twice).  I normally am not on high alert as I drive through neighborhoods, but this was different.  I saw two guys in a fist fight on the street, and as I kept going, turned down a road that ended up being a circular drive with people out in their yards watching me as I passed by.  Junk piled on curbs, people standing in the street, dogs barking - these things contributed to an extremely uneasy feeling I had and I got out of there, thankfully finding a street which dumped out on 47th street.

I have been thinking about this a lot - what it must be like to be afraid to live in your own home?  What it must be like to not be able to be comfortable in your own environment?  What kids are like who grow up there in poverty and to the sounds of gunfire and the smells of unpicked up trash?  It would be difficult to live each day on "high alert", and very taxing to the body and mind - but people do it every day.  Oaklawn needs help.  I know there is a neighborhood association, and there's a school, and there's a church or two, but somehow I get the feeling that like an ugly boil on your backside, our city leaders would rather not think about it.  I dunno.  I have no answers, only a sudden awareness that in the southeast part of town, families are really struggling.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Late Ramblings

Yep, it's late for me, after 11:00pm.  I'm finding it difficult to unwind and relax so I thought I'd post - in rereading some of my earlier writings, the yawning has already started  :)

The porch renovation is coming along nicely.  The reno team, which includes some unpaid volunteer help is wonderful - however, lest they think they're done, they're going to tackle a new kitchen floor and a repaint in there for me.  That may involve less time but it will be chaotic inside where I live.  I don't do well with chaos, but many times, it's unavoidable in order to reach a goal.

Health issues are looming large for me these days.  They are complicated and frustrating, and I'm not a very patient patient.  My family physician has been my health care provider for 35 years now and knows me well - and knows that I am struggling.  He's taken good care of me all these years and I know he knows what he's doing, but...  it's hard for me to continue to follow the regimen when results are not what we were expecting.

This next week I'm meeting with a nutritionist who I'm hoping will help.  She talked about 103 miles a minute on the phone, so she may be too high energy for me but we'll see.  I've also started back to the Y, and, I'm keeping track of these small steps on my goal sheet.  On August 12, I want to see what I've accomplished.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Life These Days

Good morning.  I've now completed my 9th year working as a school psychologist.  School is out and I've spent the last week decompressing and getting my "summer vacation legs" underneath me.  Because I tend to procrastinate, and because I tend to want to be lazy, and because I need a visual reminder, I have set some goals for summer and am documenting each step I complete so that I can note progress made.  This "progress" is sometimes noted as incremental tiny steps, so this documentation helps me see that hopefully, it really will make a difference.  There are seven major things I want to accomplish during this two months that I'm off so I'm hoping this chart will help.

However, even on summer "vacation", there are students I think about almost every day.  I wonder how life is for them, and if they are safe at home.  As a mandated reporter, I've had my share of calls to DCF (and I'm not going to rant about those issues here), and those kids always are in my heart.  I wish I knew (or maybe I don't) how they are.  Other students I think about bring happy memories - the one second grader who told me he wanted to be a chemist when he grew up - and proceeded to instruct me on protons, neutrons, and electrons.  The little girl who drew me a picture and wrote on it:  "To Mrs. XXXX - the best teacher I ever had!"  The precocious first grader with her hair piled up on top of her head who took my hand as we walked down the hall.  The student from another country just learning English who tried tried tried so hard to get it right.  A 5th grader leaving my school this year who I've watched carefully since 2nd grade- he now is struggling with lots of issues.  O God, bless them and keep them!


Today is cool and cloudy, not quite what you might expect in Kansas on June 1.  The gardens are planted but there's been lots and lots of rain (the second wettest May on record just happened) so some things are not thriving as they should, however, lest anyone think I'm complaining, this rain has been an answer to prayer as far as the drought goes.  It's made a big difference.

We're getting ready to tackle two more remodeling projects - thanks to my very talented sister-in-law - we will be redoing our porch and putting new flooring in and painting our kitchen.   Our old house is a challenge, but there are things about it that we like.  I think we'll probably stay here until we can't stay here anymore, then we'll pass it on to our kids and it will be their problem  :) ,


To close -

"When all is said and done, more is said than done."
-Lou Holtz