Monthly Archives: April 2014

I Am a Certain Thomas

I have Linda Peterson’s book and loved it. But these excerpts testifying to faith in the face of great hardship are particularly powerful. Her book is The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids with Disabilities and Remaining Sane. It’s been available as an E book and now is out in print

Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane Blog

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My life has been blessed with the certainty of God’s existence. My brother was born multiply disabled with Rubella syndrome, (a warning to those who do not believe in immunizations.) He was almost deaf, blind, severely developmentally disabled and had a cleft palate, along with several other physical anomalies. My mom spent the first few months of his life sobbing on her bed. It was a confusing time for me as a child…my mom was not available to me, this new creature in my house mewed like a kitten for hours on end, and my dad did everything he could to not be home. Then, one sunny, warm day, my mom sat in the sun parlor on a rocking chair, rocking Curtis as he cried his kitten cry. Then a miracle happened…she was visited by the Holy Spirit. He/she came right on in, with a brightness that far surpassed the…

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Zombies and Monsters and Black Holes, Oh My!

I’ve never been into the Goth thing, the zombie thing, or the demons thing, probably because I have enough trouble coping with my own inner demons and dark side. I don’t believe anyone has a black soul, but I heard a description once that made me think that I and others might have an inner “black hole” like the ones in space that suck the light out of their surroundings.
The description was: “A bottomless pit of needs and wants.”
I decided that for a considerable number of years that described me perfectly. And since being needy prevents us from being loving, it explained why I had trouble even loving myself, never-the-less others.
Discovering that God was alive and well and loving us all unconditionally, even us “bottomless pits of needs and wants,” helped free me to begin depending on God’s love (grace) instead of other people and circumstances. And that is what fuels the lifelong process of learning to love both ourselves and others unconditionally. Then we each can grow into the unique, imperfect, but more and more loving, person God created us to be.
I am definitely in God’s slow learner group and I may never become as loving as many other people do, but I trust God and the process enough to believe I will reach my personal potential, however limited that may be. And that is all I am called to do.

Passiondeathresurrection: Inseparable

I once heard a priest say, “Passion(suffering), death, and resurrection should all be one word.”
Somehow most of us in America have bought into the delusion that life is just for fun. And any discomfort, never-the-less suffering, starts us looking desperately for escapes.
Unfortunately, escapes can’t protect us from suffering forever, they just make us miss the meaning that can be found by embracing the whole of life.
I have always been a devout coward and have used many escapes over the years.
But finally, I began to realize that the greatest suffering would be to get to the end of my life and realize that I had missed the point.

Autism Awareness: An Ode to our Hadley

An Ode to Hadley…….Who makes life shine for me even on my worst days.

This is Autism awareness month. It helps me remember how far my granddaughter Hadley has come and how much of that is because of her parents. They got her cognitive therapy very early, helped her communicate with sign language and build verbal language on that, and they have given her every chance they could, even now at sixteen driving her across town to a peer Social Group. Her journey has involved all types of therapy, tutoring, meds, hard decisions, time, money, courage, perseverance and love. And every bit of it is visible now in her competence and kindness.
She and I talked today about Autism making language skills take longer to learn, but that she is persevering and getting better and better at reading and speaking and understanding language. We talked about how competent she is at visual learning. She watches people do mechanical and electronic things and seems to be able to do them immediately with confidence. She knows that I am not good at that sort of thing, and she often steps in to save me the struggle. We have a road sign Bingo game she played on the hour trip to my house as part of preparing her to learn to drive. She picks up on the visual signs and their meaning very quickly. She simply doesn’t give up.

Two days this week with Hadley:

Several days this week, I felt really good and managed to get a lot done toward getting our house ready to put on the market. Saturday was not one of my best days, but when my Tylenol kicked in, Hadley and I got the carport and entrance area blown off, hosed off, and spots scrubbed!! I just directed and helped
move stuff and unwind the hung-up hose. Hadley was awesome. I had blown and vacuumed the porch and washed furniture and toys on Friday, so I just poured soapy water on the porch floors and Hadley scrubbed with a push broom. Finally everything dried and we put the furniture back in place. What a difference her help makes! She loves clipping shrubs and I had planned to let her do some today. but I did a little a day or so ago and I’ve got what looks like some spots of poison ivy in among my psoriasis and heat rash!! So we will skip that! Later after dinner, Hadley, energized by tacos, was determined to earn more money. She went back outside to work on something for granddad for another hour. I headed to a hot bath. Couldn’t eat tacos, because I broke one whole side off my upper back tooth, the tooth that anchors my upper front teeth. Oh happy day!!

This morning, Sunday, I was paying for Friday and Saturday with aching muscles, allergies, sinus headache, inner ear dizziness and nausea, the cracked molar, poison ivy on my right inner arm, and a pinky nail torn to the quick…..just some of the joys of being seventy-six.
But in spite of all that, I was amazingly happy, because my heart rejoices in Hadley. She is so kind and helpful, extremely patient, and very self sufficient. She even accepted graciously that I couldn’t take her to the mall like I had promised. How many teenagers with hard earned money in their pocket would be gracious about delaying the gratification of shopping? Never-the-less a teenager who struggles with Autism. She has come so far, fixing her own meals, being careful to put down a mat when eating at my desk, and cleaning up after herself, often even spontaneously hugging me and telling me she loves me.

Thank you God and Tommy and Heather for the gift of Hadley.

An Ordinary Day

clinging to sleep
refusing to rise
to the early beat
of the roofers
eyes half mast
relinquishing
night dreams
reluctantly
while I grab
some coffee
grateful for
the quick brew
computer mouse
finding friends
early risers
on facebook
lots of likes
some laughs
to jump start
the morning
Upper Room’s
new insights
infusing grace
into routines
deep cleaning
muscle work
pain excuses
taking breaks
to cull photos
from our albums
choosing among
our memories
stopping to
gather laundry
and start
today’s wash
more bending
and scrubbing
the bathrooms
finally shine
physical action
frees the mind
triggering
new insights
back to the
computer
long enough
to blog them
fixing lunch
husband fed
dishes done
call a friend
whose surgery
keeps her home
get her list
of groceries
take a break
to sort more
family photos
years of smiles
write some bills
freshen up
fix my hair
get the car
mail the bills
buy groceries
and deliver
homeward bound
with a treat
to celebrate
fifty-five
years together.

The Self-Destruction of Christianity

Martin Luther didn’t plan to start a new religion. He hoped to renew the heart of Christianity. But from the time when the Emperor Constantine made Christianity the state religion, the church had appropriated the power structure of empires and monarchies, claiming the God given right to rule, complete with the assumption of a monopoly on truth. The shepherd’s role was transformed into that of a tyrant with absolute power and no accountability. Christianity’s history quickly became one of violence against dissenters.

Even now, when violence is rejected, the lack of dialogue and openness to growth in our understanding of the gospel has become the root of the ongoing splintering of Christianity, So we continue to waste our time and energy fighting among ourselves.

Few institutional religions have adopted a democratic structure, so they become stagnant through lack of diversity and through power structures devoted to preserving the status quo. As chaotic as democracy is, it gives even the least of its members a voice and the hope of change, so that diverse people with extremely divergent views can remain united without the violence that tyranny provokes.

If humanity is evolving, so will our understanding of our relationship with God and one another. Jesus listened to diverse voices, not only responding to the needs of the outcaste and foreigner, but even allowing them to challenge his assumptions about his mission.

Unfortunately, the power structures with vested interests in institutional religion generally have kept Christianity as the rear-guard of the status quo, rather than as leaders in social change and spiritual growth in unconditional love. We still throw stones at the prophets in the name of God.

The tension between the value and rights of the individual and the good of the community calls for on-going dialogue. We witness the break-down of Christianity over and over as each new call for inclusion of those different from the majority occurs. Institutional Christianity has become about power and preserving the status quo. It is no longer the answer to our human search for meaning. Secularism isn’t destroying Christianity. Christianity is self-destructing.

Fifteen Things Mentally Strong People Do

1. They know when to move on.
2. They use their fear to motivate action.
3. They know failure is part of success.
4. They train their brains to see the good in everything.
5. They’re tenacious with their goals.
6. They start before they’re ready or confident.
7. They don’t take anything personally.
8. They believe in themselves.
9. They don’t try to fit in.
10. They allow themselves to be a beginner.
11. They don’t do things they don’t want to do.
12. They celebrate the success and happiness of others.
13. They don’t need a reason to help people.
14. They are unapologetic about their unique selves.
15. They accept what they can’t change.
…..Shannon Kaiser
from the Blog: Make Believe Boutique