Saturday, June 26, 2010

Little Big Foot: Home Matters

An unexpected Texas snowfall had deposited about an inch of white on the hospital's front law. The sky was grey and scattered snowflakes drifted lazily down. As her brother, Phil, pulled into a parking spot near the entry, Dee Anna, in the back seat, glanced up at her mother, seated on the passenger side of the car, head back against the seat and eyes closed.

"Mom," Phil said, "we're here."

"I know. Do you think I'm sleeping? As if I could sleep!"

"Just letting you know."

Inside, Christmas carols played in the entryway, an odd reminder for all of them that the season was proceeding more or less without them. The hospital gift shop, just to the right of the entrance, was filled with Christmas items and festooned with white lights. A pink-clad volunteer looked up and waved as they went by. "Hello, Bernice! I hear Bud's doing well. Do y'all need anything?" Phil and Dee Anna kept walking as their mother stopped for a moment of conversation with the white-haired volunteer.

"She's edgy today," said Phil. Dee Anna nodded, saying nothing.

Entering their father's room, they found Dr. Martin reviewing their father's chart. Bernice came in a few moments later, lips compressed. Dee Anna kissed her father's forehead and then stood at the window, absently watching the snow flakes drift past.

She smiled, remembering Madeline's voice on her cell phone earlier. Little Big Foot was "snow bound," she'd crowed with excitement, and they had already received more than a foot of snow in the morning hours. More snow was in the forecast. School was closed, and she was hoping to go out to make a snow fort with her friend, Dana, and some other children. Charlie the dog was having a wonderful time being petted and played with over at the Halverson household. The Advent wreath had arrived and looked beautiful. The Whitewaters had company and they'd all come to church. One of the boys was cute. Sunday's preacher was kinda boring. She was okay and was having fun at Dana's house, she had said, but hoping her mom could come home soon so they could do some Christmas shopping. Dee Anna had finally been able to interject a question or two, but it seemed Madeline was doing fine without her.

Now, gazing out at the light snowfall and thinking of home, she suddenly realized, with momentary sadness, that Madeline had not asked about her grandfather, except to wonder how long it would be before Dee Anna took a flight back to Wisconsin. Well, it wasn't like Madeline really knew her grandparents, and that hadn't really been such a bad thing. Maybe now it could change. Could her family's uncharacteristically gentle communication possibly last? That question was chased away by the awareness that she had just thought of Little Big Foot as home. She turned, hearing Dr. Martin clear his throat and begin to speak.

One day before, Tommy and Brenda Halverson had taken an evening walk into the woods around their little house. It was cold and beginning to get late, the flat grey sky getting darker. The snow that would so delight Madeline the next morning had already begun to fall, so they went about their Christmas tree selection quickly. Making their way around a large woodpile at the side of their home, they half walked, half slid down a short embankment and entered the woods, holding hands and laughing as they heard one of the kids yelling from the back door, "Get a really, really, really big one, Dad!"

Tommy had cut down a medium sized tree with a small hatchet he had brought along for that purpose. They had shaken the snow from the branches, but the tree was covered, before the made it up the bank, around the house and up the steps to their back door. "It's really startin' to come down now," Brenda had said, and Tommy had grinned and answered, "That's the way to cut down a tree, ya know? In the snow, just like a Christmas card!" Brenda yelled and the kids laughed at he shook the tree's branches, spraying them with wet snow.

The next morning Tommy had secured the tree into its stand before leaving for the paper mill. Now he was back, stomping his feet as he shook the snow from his blaze orange knitted cap and peeled off his gloves. "Dad's home!" yelled Doug, the youngest of their four children, pulling him into the warm living room where Brenda was opening boxes of ornaments. "They closed up th' mill and let us go home," said Tommy. " Looks to be a really heavy snow and blow." He crossed the room in his stocking feet and kissed his wife, who pushed him playfully and said, "Tommy, stop it! Your mustache is covered with ice!"

Not long after, Tommy had finished his yearly decorating duty of stringing the lights across the floor and checking for burnt-out bulbs. After stringing the lights around the tree he contented himself with directing Brenda from his recliner. Jeremy, the oldest boy, carefully removed the ornaments from squares of Kleenex and passed them to his sister, Lois, who inserted a metal hook. She, in turn, passed them to their mother, who placed them on the tree. Periodically she stepped back to inspect her work. "Not a bad day to be home from school, kiddos," said Tommy from his chair. "Do we need another log in the wood stove?"

Scott, the middle boy came around the corner from the kitchen. He was holding Charlie by the collar. "Hey, Dad, I wish Pastor Dee Anna didn't want this dog. He sure is a good one, though." He came over to his father's chair, "Do you think we could have a dog, huh?" Tommy tousled Scott's blond hair. "Did you ask Santa for one?" he teased.

Brenda stopped and turned with a concerned look on her face. "I hope Pastor Dee Anna's father will be all right. Have you heard anything? It's a shame, her having to leave just as we were getting ready for Advent. "

Jim Johnson woke precisely at six in the morning, wishing that he could sleep in. "Why," he wondered aloud, "does my body think it still has to get up and get to the school? Wonder how long it'll be before I can actually sleep in without feeling guilty?" Lorene was already up, and she came into their bedroom from the hallway. She was wrapped in a terry cloth bathrobe and her grey hair, usually piled on top of her head and sprayed stiff, was pulled back in a thick ponytail.

"I've been up a while. Have you looked outside? It's snowin' to beat th' band out there. The coffee's on. Seems like a good day to make a batch of stew with some of that venison Tommy Halverson gave you last fall."

"There will be no school today," said her husband from long habit. "Guess I won't be heading to Rhinelander to buy your Christmas present today either." After a pause, he said, " I think I'll call Pastor Dee Anna in a bit to see how it's going down south."

Lorene came to the side of the bed and leaned over to kiss the top of Jim's bald head. "Get up, Honey. We have decorating to do." Jim sat up and wrapped his arms around his ample wife. "Or you could come back to bed instead," he said with a grin. "It's cold in here."

Chad lived in a little house just around the corner from North Woods Chapel. He was using his unexpected day off from the mill to prepare for the upcoming holidays. He had tried to go back to sleep after he heard he wouldn't be working, but it hadn't worked. So he'd donned a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt and after making himself a bowl of instant oatmeal, had started dusting the living room. His house was rather bare, but it was neat and organized. He made his way around the room, dusting the small end tables, lamps with bases made of tooled leather, and a picture of a wolf in snowy woods. He ran the vacuum quickly over an oval braided rug and mopped the small kitchen.

Satisfied, he headed to the basement to begin hauling up boxes of Christmas items. After about an hour he had erected a small artificial tree, had it lit, and was arranging his mother's collection of Norwegian trolls in front of the books that lined shelves covering most of one wall. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare stood beside the Little House books. Those had come to him from his mother, as had the hard backed volumes of the Chronicles of Narnia series, bound in several deep colors and with the titles etched in gold on the spines. Chad touched the books gently for a moment as he placed the last troll. "I miss you, Mom," he said quietly, "and you too, Dad." He smiled as he added, "And Dad, I do appreciate your books too." He was referring to several books for the home handy man, a series purchased over several months from The Readers Digest. These stood on the bottom shelf next to a red checked volume of Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.

Next, Chad opened the lid on a boxes of ornaments and removed a handmade snowman with CHAD printed in block letters on the bottom. Third grade, he recalled. He had been so proud of it, wrapping it carefully in tissue paper and bringing it home from school in his backpack, along with a handwritten card for his mother.

Suddenly he realized her felt tired and sat down on a small brown sofa. His thoughts drifted to the day his family had moved into this house. He had been seven or eight years old, maybe about the age of Madeline Hanson. What a long time it seemed since his parents had been gone. Opening his eyes, he looked sadly at the box of ornaments. Almost every one of them had a story. He wished there was someone with whom to share them.
Dennis and Marla Whitewater were cleaning up from their departed company. Marla pulled sheets from the bunk bed in the loft and and piled them in a laundry basket. Uh oh. One of the cousins had left a sweatshirt under the bed. "Good thing everyone got out of here yesterday. If they had stayed one more day they might have had to stay put till this snow ends" she called to her husband. They were alone in the house; their two sons had spent the night at a friends and had called to say they were staying put till they could get their truck out of the driveway.

"I love your sister and her family, Babe, but I must say I'm glad to have you to myself again. Besides," Dennis said, grinning and poking his head around the door of the spare bedroom, broom in one hand and a dustpan in the other, "you know what they say about relatives. Just like fish...they stink after three days." He ducked as a pillow sailed across the room.

Marla laughed, "Just be glad it wasn't both sisters! And with all the relatives you have around here you are the last one to talk!" Then she grew suddenly serious. "Speaking of visits and family, I wonder how it is going with our pastor and her family? Have you heard from her?"
Lee Coats had finished his morning milking and settled things in the barn so as not to have to go back out anytime soon. Now he was paying bills. Or that was what he was supposed to be doing. He was sitting at his computer warming up with a cup of hot coffee, checkbook open and bills spread across the desk. After fifteen minutes he had still not entered his bank password. He was staring out the window as the snow grew more and more intense and the wind increased, making the house creak. The words of an old Barry McGuire song came into his mind:

I walked a mile with pleasure,
She chatted all the way.
Left me none the wiser with all she had to say.
I walked a mile with sorrow,
Never a word said she,
But oh, the things I learned from her,
When sorrow walked with me.

"I don't think I'm learning anything!" He spoke aloud and his voice was angry, surprising him.

"The weather knows how I feel," he thought to himself, dropping his head into his hands. He could hear that Mary had finally gotten up and was in the shower. "What am I going to do about Mary, God?" He felt sorrow rising in his chest like a wave, and he choked back a sob. "God, you know how I love her, and how hard I have tried to be a good husband, to be a loving leader, to help her become the beautiful person I know she is. I've encouraged her to pray, to stick with her devotions, to get more involved, and nothing seems to work. Every December it gets even worse. What more is a Christian husband supposed to do?"

The only answer was the whistle of the wind around the corner of the house and the rattle of the window pane. Lee heard the shower stop, and he lifted his head and typed his password on the keyboard. Might as well get something accomplished. Maybe later he could get Mary to work on Christmas decorating. Or maybe not. Maybe this year they would skip the tree.


"Oh, this is good news!" Dee Anna put an arm around her mother and smiled at her. "Phil and I will get the Christmas tree up tonight, and it will be all set for when Daddy comes home next week." She turned to Phil who was sitting on the foot of their father's bed. "Won't we, Bro?"

"Uh, sure. I guess so. Right now I need to get myself to work." He stood to his feet and moved to the head of the bed. "Dad, I'll make sure things are set for you and Mom." He kissed his mother lightly on the cheek, surprising himself. She smiled faintly and patted his arm. "See you right after work, Dee Anna," he smiled at his sister, "It sure would be nice if you make some spaghetti for tonight."

"Hey," interjected their father from the bed, "I want some spaghetti too!" He frowned. "And how are y'all gonna get the lights to work on that tree? Nobody ever seems to get it right except me."

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Thoughts

Happy Fathers Day!

I remember my father once telling me that as he aged he thought more and more about his long-deceased father, dreamed about him, missed him. How strange it seems today that I am about the age my dad was when he told me this, and I find it to be true for me as well.

My father has been gone for a long time. At the time of his death, more than 20 years ago, he was an active, healthy 72 year-old, teaching the Bible, visiting the sick and involved in life. My sisters and I thought we'd have our father for many more years, but an aneurysm turned him into one of those "healthiest guy in the cemetery" statistics.

Funny, 72 seems even younger these days than it did then.

My father was a bundle of contradictions. He was loving but could be hurtful. He was wise and he was foolish. His uncompromising and sometimes rigid attitude was frustrating, but we always knew where he stood. He was ahead of his time, and he was hopelessly old-fashioned. He once told me, in a surprising conversation, to dream big dreams, but he was distressed that I left the Southern Baptist fold, and even more distressed when he learned I thought women could preach. He was warm and funny and tender hearted, a man who cried easily. He was also a man who would speak up for what was right, or what he thought was right, without fear of consequences. And then he could be dangerously indecisive when it counted most.

He loved God, and he loved his children, and he loved people and he loved life. I miss him.

Here is a poem from Rev Abi, one of the Rev Gal Blog Pals who writes here. I'm using this prayer at the prison chapel today, where many of the men who will be at services will be struggling with memories of absent, abusive, uncaring fathers--and some will be struggling as they face the fact that they themselves were an absent, or abusive or uncaring father.


We today pray for Fathers near and far.
We pray for Fathers alive and Fathers who are dead.
We pray for Fathers who were present with their children and those who were absent.
We pray for new Fathers and old Fathers.
We pray for those who loved well and those who did not love as well.

We pray for Fathers who play(ed) with their children and those who don’t.
We pray for those who take their fathering seriously and those who don’t.
We pray for biological dads and dads who raised us.
We pray for those who don’t get to be dads at all.

We pray for Fathers who were let down by their dads,
We pray for Fathers who were not loved by their fathers.
We pray for Fathers who missed out on the presence of fathers.
We pray for fathers whose fathers did not play with them.

We pray for Fathers who may be caught up in this recession and lost their jobs.
We pray for Fathers who serve in the military in far away places and lands.
We pray for Fathers who may be trapped by addictions.
We pray for Fathers who are serving in prison away from their children.
We pray for Fathers who are all wrapped up in their work too busy for their children.

We pray for our fathers.
We pray for them to have strength, wisdom and courage.
We pray for them to raise their children in the way that they should go.
We pray for them to love, laugh, play and live.
We pray for forgiveness for our fathers, for their shortcomings, their weaknesses, and their abuses.

And God we pray that we may then be able to pray to you Abba Daddy.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Little Big Foot: More Surprises

It had been an amazing few days, Phil thought. Meeting his sister at the airport had been difficult, but a relief. She had seemed genuinely glad to see him, and they had already begun to regain their friendly footing with one another. Then there was the realization that their mother actually loved their father, then her astounding revelation of an side they never dreamed existed, culminated with an unexpected and distressing pregnancy, then the nurse’s phone call and a relived reunion with his father as the family had arrived at the hospital to find him awake and wanting to talk.

Their conversations were necessarily short, of course, but had been uncharacteristically straightforward but gentle. It almost seemed as though something had happened to his father when he was unconscious, Phil mused. He was more serious, but in a good way.

Bud had beckoned his wife to come close and then had cupped her face in his hands. As their parents had both began to weep quietly, Dee Anna and Phil had left the room, glancing at one another in a kind of wonder. Later his father had taken his hand and said, “Son, I am sorry I criticized you so much. I know you are a good man.” To Dee Anna he had said little but had simply enfolded her in a long embrace and stroked her hair. Something, it seemed, was happening.

Phil rose from a vinyl hospital chair, hearing the approaching voices of the children’s choir from First Baptist. He glanced over at his father, who was sleeping, and then he peeked out the door and down the hall. Sarah was leading Christmas the children in singing “Go Tell It on the Mountain.”

Phil had encountered the choir director at an AA meeting. He had been surprised, remembering her as the daughter of a man known as a”hell-fire-and-brimstone preacher.” She had nodded and smiled at him, and after the meeting, they had somehow ended up eating ice cream at the Dairy Queen. Sarah had shared a little of life after she had left home to attend Texas State University, and she had acknowledged that she had heard of his drug problems and his subsequent return to their home town. Her father was now a resident at Shady Acres Convalescent Center, the victim of Alzheimer’s disease, and her mother was enjoying a happy and healthy 70th decade. She had intended, she said, to stay away, but had shrugged as she added, “It’s been all right. I came home to help Mama, and she is the one who’s helping me.”

Sarah looked over and saw him, and she waved as she sang. Shyly, Phil waved back, feeling like a kid caught being sneaky. He chuckled at himself, wondering if this meant he was infatuated. His mother had gone to speak with Dr. Martin, but he wasn’t sure what had happened to Dee Anna.

Deciding to go look for her, he headed to the family lounge, wondering if he had a dollar to spend on a Coke. He was a few steps inside before he realized that his sister was talking intently with the same pretty nurse they had seen before. Hadn’t they gone to school together? He thought he remembered her from choir, a freshman perhaps, when he was a senior.

He backed out of the room and wandered towards the carolers.
Dee Anna and Lupita were reminiscing. Lupita's shift was over and she should have gone home, but she had stayed to talk with her old schoolmate. They had settled into a couple of chairs in the lounge and sipped overpriced soft drinks from the vending machine while they talked of mutual acquaintances, and Dee Anna had wondered who was still in town and who had moved away, who had married, who was still single, who had been a surprising success. After a while they ran out of things to say and grew silent.

After a few moments of sipping their cans of Dr. Pepper, Lupita shifted in her chair, leaning forward with a serious expression as she asked, "So, it is true then, you really are a pastor?" Dee Anna nodded, and Lupita went on, "I always knew you'd be someone special."

"I'm not special," replied Dee Anna, surprised. "Well, no more than anyone else."

"Some are more special than others, Chica!" said Lupita, grinning. "I remember you from grade school, with your red hair and beautiful green eyes. I used to wish I looked like you. And that my mother looked like yours--still so lovely isn't she? Your mother was always good to us."

Dee Anna laughed, "I hated my hair." Then she quietly asked, "And what happened to your mother? Is she living? Is she well? Or..."

Lupita looked surprised as she replied, "Oh my! Y'all don't know? My mother is doing very well. Thank you for asking. She almost died...and then she just started to get better and better and after a while she was her old self, only more alive than I'd ever seen her. She lives with her sister now, and the two of them are enjoying each other, shopping, going to the movies, getting their hair done..." Lupita chuckled, "Well, doing the things they never had time or energy to do when they were younger."

"Oh, I'm so glad to hear that. I know it must have been hard for you when we were seniors and she was ill and you had brothers and sisters at home." Dee Anna paused, wondering if she was getting too personal, but Lupita nodded.

"Yes. It was very hard. I was tired all the time. I pretty much dropped out of everything. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to go to college, but after your mother invited us to church and helped us so much, I..."


Lupita went on, "It made such a difference to us to know that th' folks at your church cared. Your mom came over one day, and I...I was so embarrassed that the place was a mess. And she just shushed me, and she asked where the broom was and I still remember how she put her hands on her hips and looked around and said, 'We are fixin' to get some work done!'"

Lupita's eyes sparkled as she added, "I was amazed at how she got all us kids organized and working, and pretty soon it looked like a different place."

"My mother?"

Lupita looked puzzled, "Sure! Didn't you know?"

"Um," Dee Anna took a deep breath, "Well, no."

"Oh my yes! She got all of us going to Sunday School, and one Sunday when Mother felt better she came too. Everyone welcomed us, and made us feel at home..." She paused, "well, you's changed, but back then we thought maybe they'd expect us to go to Templo Calvario. I mean....well..."

"Yes, I understand" said Dee Anna simply, reaching to touch Lupita's hand. "Are you saying my mother brought y'all to our church?" She was chagrined to hear how easily she was slipping back into the speech patterns she'd deliberately avoided. Still, she had to admit, Lupita's mix of soft Spanish accent and Texas drawl made her feel at ease. Dee Anna went on, "And your mom too?"
"That's what I'm saying, Dee Anna!" Lupita looked surprised, "I mean, I thought y'all knew that."


"Well, she did, and your dad and Pastor Don Ellis, remember him? The two of them organized some of the men to help with some repairs at the house, and, was the beginning of so many good things. The people loved us, and they prayed for my mom, and she went to a different doctor over to th' Lincoln clinic, and she got better. It was Pastor Don who helped me find out about grants and apply for a couple of scholarships and it worked out so that I could go to nursing school. When I got on the Dean's List, your mama and daddy sent me a card with fifty dollars in it!"

Dee Anna stared, speechless, as Lupita went on, "I guess you take after your mother. She is a no-nonsense lady, but then so are you." She added, a little shyly, "I will never, as long as I live, forget the day when that Hutchinson boy from th' edge of town called me...called me a name...and you came flying by me and smacked him! I like to died!" She burst out laughing, then stopped, noticing Dee Anna's open mouth.

"What is it, Dee Anna? Did I say something I shouldn't have?"

Dee Anna reached out and grasped Lupita's hands. "I...oh no. I just...well..." she took a deep breath. "All this is news to me. It's wonderful, of course. It's just that...well...I'm surprised I didn't know about any of it."

Lupita looked surprised. "I just thought you and your mama probably talked all about it, us graduating together and all..."

Dee Anna thought, but did not say, "I didn't talk to Mom much after I left town."

After a moment in which both were silent, Lupita said, "I know it has been a long day for all of y'all, but...if you wouldn't mind...sometime I'd love to hear a little about how you became a pastor. I know you went off to some school, but nothing much after that. I've never seen a woman pastor before, but, oh yes I did heard that you...married a preacher too. And you have a little girl?"

Neither of them had noticed Phil as he entered, and then exited, the room.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Finding Little Big Foot: Spanish People

Chapter Twenty-Five (and it only took me a year and 4 months to write them). Anyone still reading?


Who has a phone that sounds like that anymore? Dee Anna thought, startled. The ringing stifled Phil's laughter and brought sudden silence--as shocking in its way as the laughter had been, except for the phone's jarring summons. For a long moment no one stirred and their expressions stiffened in apprehension. It was Dee Anna who rose and moved to the wall by the back door where a turquoise-hued phone still hung. As Dee Anna lifted the receiver, she felt an odd fracturing in her thoughts. Part of her was cold and still. Another part of her was expectant, almost excited. She also found herself wondering why her mother would redecorate the kitchen yet leave the old phone, rotary dial and all, in place.

It was Nurse Lupita. Dee Anna remembered Lupita as a quiet, pretty girl who did well in school in spite of caring for an ill mother and several younger siblings. She must be working some long hours, Dee Anna thought, remembering that she had been in the hospital the afternoon before. She was glad that the call, whatever it was going to be, was not from a stranger.

In high school Dee Anna, while friendly, had not exactly been close to Lupita. She had refused to engage in the demeaning remarks she sometimes heard and once had slapped a lanky boy who had called their classmate "that beaner bitch." They had both gotten detention. Dee Anna remembered trying to explain to her father why she, for the one and only time in her life, had been required to stay after school. Her father had said little except to pat her on the hand and admonish, "Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek, Dee Anna."

Dee Anna had wondered how that applied to an insult given not to her but to someone else. Wasn't justice important? She didn't ask. She had decided to stay silent and consider herself fortunate that her father had been the one to get the call from the principal. He had not spoken of the incident to Bernice.

Lupita was from "a Spanish family" who lived in an area known simply as "the east side." Her father had died in some farm accident, Dee Anna dimly recalled, when Lupita was about ten years old. Lupita's mother had done laundry, ironing, and housework for many of Bernice's friends. She had become ill--was it some kind of cancer?--and her daughter had dropped out of the Drama Club because she couldn't come to rehearsals. They had been preparing for "Hello Dolly." The rest of the cast had felt sorry for Lupita, who had a lovely voice.

"Spanish" people were considered acceptable in Dee Anna's childhood world, at least somewhat welcome in school and the workplace. "Mexicans" on the other hand, were to be avoided, except when manual labor needed to be done. Mexicans were on the low end of the social scale, just above those with even darker skins who lived in yet another part of town. Both groups attended different churches than the white people.

Dee Anna had accepted all this as normal until about age 14 when she began to be acutely aware of how things were in other places. Once when Bernice had spoken of an electrician as "that Spanish man," Dee Anna had scornfully asked her, "Are there actually Spanish people in these parts?"

Bernice had looked at her as if she'd lost her wits and said, "What are you talking about, Dee Anna? You know very well there are. Aren't you listening? I just told you that the Spanish man who works with your Uncle Chuck will be here tomorrow to replace the wiring on the porch."

"Really, Mother?" Dee Anna had questioned with wide eyes, " From Spain?" Her mother had given her a long, hard look and said nothing.

"They are Mexicans, Mother. Or if you want to get with the times, they are Hispanics."

Bernice had snapped, "Mexicans are field hands" and slammed the door as she left her daughter's room. They never spoke of the subject again.

Remembering, Dee Anna felt an all-too-familiar mixture of frustration and regret. She should have tried to understand her mother. She should have been a better friend to Lupita, whom she had genuinely admired.

She suddenly thought, "What happened to Lupita's mother?"

"Is this Dee Anna?" said the voice on the phone. Dee Anna's thoughts jerked to the present as she ran her hand through her hair. She took a deep breath.

"Yes... Is this Lupita? What is it? Is my father...:?"

"Is your mother awake and all right?"

""Yes. We're all up. Is something wrong?"

""Oh no, Dee Anna."

The voice was unchanged from when it's owner was sixteen, and Dee Anna found that oddly comforting.

"Dr Martin is here. Your father is awake and asking for your mother. Can you come soon?"

Friday, June 04, 2010

The Rev Gal Friday Five: Patience

Trying to get back in the swing of blogging, here is my first Friday Five in a very long time.  It is brief, but it is here.  :-)   It comes from Sally, who is looking over her beautiful garden and pondering patience.  She says,

"Patience is something that sometimes comes easy and sometimes doesn't, in the case of the garden it is easy, I can see the growth and know that waiting will produce good results. With other things patience is more difficult.  Along with looking forward to eating our own veggies, we are also looking forward to seeing four of our children graduate with Bachelors degrees this year, they have worked hard over the three years and stuck at it through some difficult stuff. It would have been easy for them to give up, but they haven't. Persistence often pays off, but we need to be aware that it sometimes turns into sheer pig headedness."

With all that in mind, she offers this Friday Five:

1. Is patience a virtue you possess? If it is then does it come naturally, if not how do you/ did you work at it?

Yes and no. When if comes to people, hoping for improvement, growth, etc. I am very patient.  When it comes to situation...not so much.  I find, oddly enough, that I am less patient the older I get.  I thought it would be the other way around.

2. Being patient with ourselves can be a huge challenge, we are often our own worst critics; is there anything you need to be patient with yourself with at the moment?

About a dozen things.  I have mild cerebral palsy which was caused from being premature.  Many people don't know unless they pay attention, but it does cause me to have vision problems as well as being basically clumsy!  This is getting worse, and causing me concern...and if I fall, as I did recently, even though I (of course) would choose otherwise, I tend to get mad at myself and figure I was just careless.  I need to cut myself slack--but that is true in a lot of ways, not just one.  I don't know why I can be patient with just about everyone but myself.

3. Are you the kind of person who can/ will persist with a difficult task? How much of this is personality related?

Depends on the task.  Math problem?  No way!  Something that I really need to do, yes.  But I can't say it is enjoyable.
4. Can you spot when persistence turns into pig headedness, or do you never get there?

Ha!  I think I am never pig headed.  Seriously.  My husband would say otherwise.

5. Post a song or a poem that chills you out and helps you to re-group, re-focus and carry on? Okay, this is a really bad version of this song, but I used to sing it to my kiddos and I still myself. Not all the verses, just the chorus.

Have patience, have patience,
Don't be in such a hurry
When you get impatient,
You only start to worry.
Remember, remember,
That God is patient too,
And think of all the times when others
Had to wait....for you.

Hmmm...that is about being patient with others.  Where is a song about being patient with ME?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Re-discovering Calling, Re-discovering Gifts, Finding Our Way Again

Click on the post title above to visit one of my favorite bloggers across the pond, Sally of Eternal Echoes. I just had a conversation with a fellow AG minister who was pondering similar things and concluded, "I refuse to live any longer under the bondage that if I just 'do it right' I will have a big church." He was speaking of our own fellowship, but apparently we aren't the only ones pondering this. Wonderfully written, Sally, as always.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Trinity Goes to a Rendezvous Camp

Last weekend we did this --and Trinity came along. Four days away from Mommy and Daddy was a long stretch for a three-year-old, but she had so much fun she did not want to leave. Every Memorial Day weekend, we go to Frontiers Camping Fellowship Family Camp. This one is different than others I've posted about because it is leaders of Royal Rangers (an Assemblies of God boy's group sort of like scouting) and their families. FCF is a group not everyone chooses to join, but those who do are sort of like other rendezvous reenactors I have posted about.

We see friends we sometimes haven't see for a year, have lots of fun, spend time singing and having devotions around a camp fire, and eat too much.

It was great to see you, Tom and Cindy and Bob and Darla and Stew and Debbie, and Gerry and Debbie and Gary and Heather...and so on. Here is Trinity, having a great time.

Mommy made T.'s calico dress, a plains Indian style. Trinity made the "beautiful" beaded necklace and the candy bracelet.

I'm making up my bed, Grandma!

Papa bought me a beautiful new dress. Look at my beautiful skirt. It goes out! Do you like it? (T. likes the word "beautiful.)

I love it too! Thank you, Papa!

Here is another new dress, actually more Civil War period, but...whatever. Well, it didn't exactly go with the pink plastic Disney Princess shoes, but other than that she looked like a doll.

Ewww! That ant is eating that dead catta-piller. Don't step on it!

Back to camp. She refused to change into something cooler.

Dancing with glowy things at night! Blow out the lantern, Papa, so we can see!

Four days of nonstop fun with lots of other children, necklace making, "glowy things" each night, marshmallow roasting, learning new words and new songs and socializing with the entire encampment, and Miss Trinity was exhausted by Monday. This is about 8 a.m. She showed a very plucky side. She insisted on trying everything the big kids did, including bobbing for apples (I did NOT expect her to stick her head in the water), Frisbee tossing, and many other things she couldn't do--but don't tell HER that. I love her confidence. I love this kid. :-)