Categories
Christianity/Religion Medical/Technical My Home Social

Patina

I have a confession to make.

On Friday afternoon when our New York Mansion Party fever was at a high pitch, I indicated I must leave the house, which would result of course in my being disconnected from the blogosphere. I designated Helen as CEO in my absence. Using choice words that would guard my impeccable character and preserve my flawless integrity, I told of my need to leave. Although I am unable to recall my exact words, nor do I wish to check the record, I believe I indicated I was leaving for business matters that urgently demanded my attention.

Actually, I went shopping.

Harsh judgments are out of order, for it was not your run-of-the-mill grocery store or mall shopping that finally drew me from the dynamics of my web dance. I'm quite convinced I could have resisted such pull, easily postponing a typical shopping spree until a time when our real estate plans were merely smoldering and not at the hot sizzle of Friday afternoon. No, it was not an ordinary shopping trip that snared me: it was our Mountain Wide Garage Sales.

Within the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California are several communities: the second largest is Crestline. Each Memorial Day weekend, throughout the streets, lanes and roads of our mountain towns, folks set out their wares for our biggest sale of the year. It's phenomenal…and I went…deserting all of you.

I found treasure.

A dirty box held the silver that was clanked in the far reaches of a shaded table. Small talk with the people around me, a question or two, the final price, a thin digging in my wallet, and the pieces were mine. At home, I sudsed and polished. I rubbed at the stains, and from the crevices dug thick tarnish until I produced the glow. The desirable patina of an aged piece of silver was revealed.

While it can be polished to a high shimmer, new silver lacks the burnished luster that comes from years of use, of repeated polishing, of tiny nicks and scratches and bent places on the surface. The patina of fine silver is cherished.

Last afternoon, came to visit elderly friends. Rebecca drove them up the mountain. Opal walks with difficulty, and for a time, we considered visiting only in the restaurant where we had met, but they wanted to see our home, so we helped her tackle the stairs leading to the front door. Both knees and a hip have been replaced and the operations were not as successful as one could wish. At times she uses a walker, but today was a cane, a metal cane on which were painted images of flowers. Her curled hair retains a bit of dark, but mostly runs to grey. The years have moved her face, and although I am not aware of stroke, her mouth has a wry tug. An unevenness marks her. She was assisted to a chair, where she remained as Jerry toured Jim through the house, and as conversation flowed around her. Later Rebecca helped her shuffle into the bath room. Opal is more quiet than in other years, as though she has adjusted to her final cloak

Jim is older than Opal, but in better shape. His skin is mottled and his thinned hair has faded. His eyes twinkle, though, and his laugh rings as before.

Edges of conversation revealed their sorrow and disappointments. Hinted at were imperfections in a child or two, and their financial challenges. Charming and ambitious grandchildren were disclosed and a son who dotes on them and attends their every need.

Brilliantly emanating from our spent friends was their fineness, so that the crippling and distortion of their bodies gave way to the glow of well-lived people. Their long lives of bent places, of nicks and flaws and scratches, of hurt and trouble, of grief and sorrow, has produced the finest of patina.

We helped them down the stairs and into their automobile. Rebecca settled them in and prepared to drive down the mountain, while in the cold air, Jerry and I stood on the deck. We watched them disappear beyond the curve.

I went shopping Friday and found treasured silver. In my living room last evening I touched again the fine patina of well-lived lives.

(Note: My friend's names are changed.)

Tags: friendship, agedness, patina

Categories
Internet Medical/Technical Social

This is Crazy. Failure on Digg: Success on my Blog!

It's the strangest thing, but the item concerning the mansion for sale on EBay has had only 9 diggs.(Donna9970) I posted this story on my site, it has had 225 hits, and has caused me to be designated as one of the fastest growing blogs on WordPress. The developing saga is contained within the comments in the post below. Check it out!

Tags: Digg, Ebay+mansion, internet, failure+on+Digg, fastest+growing+blog, fastest+growing+blog+WordPress


Categories
Children Christianity/Religion Medical/Technical Social

The Lesson of Sonny

Among the most exciting events of my life were the births of my children. To this day, when I hold a new born child I am astounded at such a miracle. The bones in his head are soft, yet, and flexible, made for the moment of his grand entrance; they move and slide so that he may come… And here is the child, finished, complete even to infinitesimal fingernails and downy eyelashes.

Sometimes things go awry. Not all is well and there is sadness in the delivery room. A couple of articles I read earlier today reminded me of Sonny, a child from my early years. The following is taken from my book, Road Tales.

A certain family was associated with our church but never attended any of the services. A special child had been born to them–my parents tenderly referred to him as a "water-head baby." His name was Sonny, and at first, I was mystified when I heard the adults say his mother had never held him, later understanding that the monstrous size of his head made it impossible for anyone to hold him. Mama and Daddy made calls on this family but had determined that we children were not to go. I wanted to, but Mama said, "No. You do not need to go there."

One evening, someone was moving a piano, and several of the men of the church were helping with the job. Daddy followed the truck in our car, and he let Donna and me go with him, while Junior stayed home with Mama. As the driver turned a corner, the truck leaned precariously, and the piano lurched free, crashing into the street. It was a predicament, as can be imagined, and someone had to make telephone calls. We were close to Sonny's house, so Daddy drove there, parked, and got out of the car.

Donna and I got out, too, and followed Daddy into the house. He was so taken up with the piano business that I'm not sure he recalled that we children had never seen Sonny. Anyway, I think it was Mother who was most concerned about the impression this would make on our young minds.

Sonny lay on a bed in the living room–a six-year-old child with perfectly formed torso, arms and legs. From the neck down, he appeared normal. His head was gargantuan, a fifty-inch globe, flattened on the bottom where it lay on the bed, turned sideways to look at us as we gawked at him. His eyes, nose, and mouth were positioned together, and were of normal proportions. His eyes were brown and returned our gaping stare.

My mom was right; it was a stunning blow to a juvenile mind, a rigid vision still etched into my now mature brain. I have seen other hydrocephalic children since then, but none with heads even approaching the massive size of Sonny's. An ugly door opened for me that night, a life-size opening that stretched far down a dark hall where guttering candles flicker and where chilly air blows. I glimpsed dim shadows of the inevitable and had a momentary view of life's corridor of sadness and unpredictability: I grew up a bit that evening.

When we left Sonny's house and went into the unlit night, I believe I had grasped a slight understanding of the treacherous human way and of my own vulnerability.

I was right in my insight, of course, and today I understand even better. A slight aberration in the development of the embryo within my belly, and a "Sonny" comes forth, or a child with a twisted leg, a missing ear, or a muted mouth. At any moment, an imbalance of chemicals in my finely tuned body may change me into a raving maniac. The development of twists and tangles in my brain conceivably could take away memory, then my reasoning processes, and finally my most basic living skills.

Mercy is in order.

Tags: hydrocephalic, hydrocephalic+children, childbirth

Categories
Blogging Children Christianity/Religion Medical/Technical My Home Photography Social Travel Weather/Nature Writing

The Face of This Blog

I surely can’t locate it for you, but somewhere during my extensive reading yesterday, I came across a gentleman’s writing in which he addressed his disappointment at the lack of personal blogs. “Used to be more,” he said, “but now there are few. I like personal blogs,” he continued as he went on to describe his enjoyment of sharing in the day of a blogosphere resident.

When I began writing here at WordPress, I was asked to describe the weblog and tell of its intent and purpose. It was hard for me to find a category that was a perfect fit. Would it be music, travel, social, family, religious, photography, political, bookish, medical, technical? (the technical question was easy: NO 🙂 ) Finally, at least in my mind, I decided I was writing a personal blog. And, now, as a seasoned blogger (I wonder, though, can just over three months of blogging earn the title seasoned blogger?), I am satisfied to call my blog a personal one.

However, I’m not sure yesterday’s writer would agree that my blog is personal, for a fair amount of these pages contains material about God, politics, family, photography, travel, medicine, current events, the sciences and the weather. I plead not guilty, though, of addressing the technical, and think I have spoken little of music and books, except for the Bible.

Since I am unaware of a tight definition of such, I persist, however, that this is a personal blog. I feel safe enough, for I have never heard that Matt of WordPress roves this nebulous sphere, and, in a wily mode, snatches away the page of such writer as would dare hold forth on ideas that reside outside his or her self-designated bailiwick.

Oh, yes, this is a personal blog. It is a blog of me, my ideas, my family, my fellow bloggers who both agree and disagree with me, my politics, my faith, my God, my beautiful grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and Jerry, my husband of 50 years, my 4 accomplished children, my home, my charming town of Crestline, my friends, my joys, my sorrows, my fears and concerns, my insight, my ethics, the lessons I’ve learned, the course corrections I’ve made, my warnings, my teachers, my speaking and traveling and Bible reading, my church, the preachers in my life, my garden, my defense of the Gospel, and my pride in my country, even as I acknowledge its imperfections.

Oh yes, this is a personal blog. For a person is not an empty form, nor a vacant entity. Rather, a person is a being of life, of thoughts, ideals and of mission.

Tags: blog, blogging, personal+blog, WordPress, blogosphere,

Categories
Children Christianity/Religion Social

Our Judeo/Christian Values In Profound Danger

The May 21st post of Issues and Insights is of such concern that I have copied it here in its entirety–as follows:

__________________________

"Education: In our brave new schools, Johnny can't say the pledge, but he can recite the Quran. Yup, the same court that found the phrase "under God" unconstitutional now endorses Islamic catechism in public school.

In a recent federal decision that got surprisingly little press, even from conservative talk radio, California's 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled it's OK to put public-school kids through Muslim role-playing exercises, including:

Reciting aloud Muslim prayers that begin with "In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful . . . ."

Memorizing the Muslim profession of faith: "Allah is the only true God and Muhammad is his messenger."

Chanting "Praise be to Allah" in response to teacher prompts.

Professing as "true" the Muslim belief that "The Holy Quran is God's word."

Giving up candy and TV to demonstrate Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.

Designing prayer rugs, taking an Arabic name and essentially "becoming a Muslim" for two full weeks.

Parents of seventh-graders, who after 9-11 were taught the pro-Islamic lessons as part of California's world history curriculum, sued under the First Amendment ban on religious establishment. They argued, reasonably, that the government was promoting Islam.

But a federal judge appointed by President Clinton told them in so many words to get over it, that the state was merely teaching kids about another "culture."

So the parents appealed. Unfortunately, the most left-wing court in the land got their case. The 9th Circuit, which previously ruled in favor of an atheist who filed suit against the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, upheld the lower court ruling.

The decision is a major victory for the multiculturalists and Islamic apologists in California and across the country who've never met a culture or religion they didn't like — with the exception of Western civilization and Christianity. They are legally in the clear to indoctrinate kids into the "peaceful" and "tolerant" religion of Islam, while continuing to denigrate Judeo-Christian values.

In the California course on world religions, Christianity is not presented equally. It's covered in just two days and doesn't involve kids in any role-playing activities. But kids do get a good dose of skepticism about the Christian faith, including a biting history of its persecution of other peoples. In contrast, Islam gets a pass from critical review. Even jihad is presented as an "internal personal struggle to do one's best to resist temptation," and not holy war.

The ed consultant's name is Susan L. Douglass. No, she's not a Christian scholar. She's a devout Muslim activist on the Saudi government payroll, according to an investigation by Paul Sperry, author of "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington." He found that for years Douglass taught social studies at the Islamic Saudi Academy just outside Washington, D.C. Her husband still teaches there.

So what? By infiltrating our public school system, the Saudis hope to make Islam more widely accepted while converting impressionable American youth to their radical cause. Recall that John Walker Lindh, the "American Taliban," was a product of the California school system. What's next, field trips to Mecca?

This case is critical not just to our culture but our national security. It should be brought before the Supreme Court, which has outlawed prayer in school. Let's see what it says about practicing Islam in class. It will be a good test for the bench's two new conservative justices."
_____________________

Sometimes, I feel as though my beloved United States has become a foreign country; a country whose principles and culture I no longer understand. For our schools to prohibit prayer and the teaching of Judeo/Christian values, and yet have Islam and even Jihad presented in a sterling light is incomprehensible to me.

Post Script: I now remind myself of yesterday's post, and again take pleasure and gather strength from the knowledge of righteous people in this world.

Tags: Judeo/Christian, Judeo/Christian+values, public+schools, Quran, jihad, under+God, 9th+Circuit+Court+of+Appeals, prayer+in+schools, Islam, unconstitutional,

 


Categories
Christianity/Religion Medical/Technical Social

Great Qualities of the Human Race

Yesterday was a delightful day in which I chanced upon several charming and helpful people, and a day in which positive and encouraging stories took up several pages in our newspaper. Because of tension and confusion in our world, and because of our concerns about these issues, it is easy to focus on negative and troublesome situations and give short shrift to beauty and goodness. Such a day as yesterday gently jolts us into a vision correction.

I first saw it in a young man who was in charge of a Sunday school youth group, that, because of housing and personnel challenges, have in one room a group of youngsters of a wide age range. I chanced to go by their meeting area, and despite the evident chaos, he dazzled me with a smile and a reconciled, non-complaining statement: "My helpers had to leave early." Later in the day, I thought of this young husband and father who has made the commitment, despite less-than-perfect surroundings, to spend his Sunday mornings pointing impressionable young people in the right direction.

At the restaurant where Jerry and I had lunch, our waitress was extremely helpful and cheerful. With impeccable service and a sunny smile, she served us.

Jerry and I have spent several days doing Spring clean up in our yards, and are at the place to do additional planting. We had decided on another fruit tree and I needed annuals to plant here and there for color. (We had some help in our Spring preparations: a couple of days ago, Jerry went to Steve's Nursery here in Crestline and hired a young man to move a couple of barrels and to dig up a tree root. He was a wonderful worker and when it was time to pay, Jerry gave him quite a substantial tip.) After lunch yesterday, we went to Home Depot to buy our plants…and again we were blessed with an exceptional young man who assisted us with our selection, helping us decide between an apricot and a plum tree. We settled on a Santa Rosa Plum. Jerry didn't have a cart, so the young man went to get one, lifted in the tree, plunked in a bag of planting medium and the B-1 he had recommended.

In the parking lot, as Jerry attempted to maneuver the plum tree into the back of our Jeep, a young man came by and saw his plight. He left his family standing and came over and gave Jerry a hand as they hoisted in the tree.

The front page of the Riverside Press Enterprise yesterday has a picture of Vevina-Anne Swanson, a Colton second-grader, who, on Sunday was scheduled to play at New York's Carnegie Hall. At 7 years old, she is the youngest of 30 Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition winners.

Parade magazine yesterday had nearly a full page information ad sponsored by Corporate Angel Network. Its headline was: Cancer Patients Fly Free. There followed these words: "A message for cancer patients of all ages. You can fly to recognized treatment centers around the country–absolutely free–in the empty seats on corporate jets."

Another paragraph was directed to owners of corporate jets: "A message for corporations and fractional aircraft owners. Your half-full aircraft is really half-empty. An empty seat on your aircraft, flying on routine business, is a perfect opportunity to give a cancer patient a lift. In both body and spirit."

More information about this service is here.

Yes, Sunday was a good day: my sometimes dim and muddied eyes were refocused, revealing anew the sweet and elevated people with whom I walk.

Tags: cancer, cancer+patient, Riverside+Press+Enterprise, Corporate+Angel+Network, free+airfare, Sunday+school, Home+Depot, nursery, plants, annuals, aircraft, corporate+aircraft, Carnegie+hall, Vevina-Anne+Swanson, Bradshaw+Buono+International+Piano+Competition+winners

Categories
Children Christianity/Religion Social

Matthew Hahn’s Provocative Story That Raises Moral Questions

Matthew Ryan Hahn glared in disbelief at the digital photographs of a man molesting a girl. She was only a year old, maybe 2. The next thing to do would be obvious — call police. But Hahn had been convicted of burglary more than once. And the memory card on which he discovered the photos came from a stolen safe.

____________________________

To decent, thinking people, this account of particular, criminal activities of two men will produce tangled and perhaps ambivalent feelings. It certainly did so in my mind…and in my heart. Go ahead, read the full account, then come back here for some conversation about it.

I’m not sure that I agree that Matthew Hahn is a hero, nor that there is honor among criminals, although, I do believe his actions indicate him to still possess the “milk of human kindness,” and that certainly would indicate a degree of honor. Although a thief of long standing, he still was touched by the plight of that little girl, and turned over incriminating information to the police. However, he did it in a secret way, and did not confess his own wrong doing.

Should this affect his sentencing? Should he now be free because he reported the terrible crime that probably saved that little girl from future abuse? Some have suggested he be placed on probation and required to wear an ankle bracelet. How do you see this?

A powerful lesson is here for mothers and other caregivers of children: NEVER let little girls sleep with unrelated men. It is astonishing that this would be overlooked.

Tags: children, girls, criminals, Matthew+Hahn, child+molester, memory+card, thief

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Christianity/Religion Social

American Noobs Must Know English

A dispute over English being the national language Friday as a broad immigration bill moved toward a final Senate vote next week with one conservative predicting it will never become law.
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It is mind-boggling to me that any American would question the desirability of English being declared the official language of the United States.

This is America. We speak English. We fly the red, white and blue. We sing proudly our national anthem. We fervently add, GOD BLESS AMERICA.

Tags: America, English, official+language, immigration, immigration+bill
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Christianity/Religion Medical/Technical Social

CNN Airs Presidential False Start Live; Network Calls Mistake

CNN aired President Bush false-starting his immigration speech from the Oval Office on Monday night. _______________________

No matter our political leanings, it serves our country poorly to blatantly broadcast President Bush in a confused and demeaning light. A technical fluke, this picture should never have been released, and it is to their credit that no other network did so: Only CNN chose to release the video.

The Old Testament records an occasion when Israel was at war with the Amalekites. At long as their leader, Moses, was able to hold up his hand, Israel prevailed. "But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun." Exodus 17:12

We would do well to hold up the hands of President Bush and to refuse to cast him in a demeaning light. We must pray for him, for all our leaders and for our country. Without question, this is a perilous moment in history–we stand vulnerable and exposed. We are well advised to lay aside party differences and strive for the good of America; indeed for the safety and well-being of the world.

God bless America. Land that I love. Stand beside Her, and guide Her through the night with the light from above.
From the mountains to the prairie. To the oceans white with foam.
God bless America, my home, sweet home. God bless America, my home, sweet home.

Tags: President+Bush, CNN, immigration, speech, oval+office,

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Christianity/Religion Medical/Technical Social

Legless Man Conquers Everest

Double leg amputee reaches Everest summit after one of his limbs snaps in a fall.

__________________
Through the years Jerry and I have been intensely involved in church work, so of course I have worked closely with many people. Their differing reactions to circumstances has never failed to amaze me.

Mark Inglis's story of conquering Mt. Everest, after losing both of his legs to frostbite is an incredible story. It underscores my observation that some people will persevere and subsequently succeed no matter what physical challenges they face. If their car stalls, they will find a ride, if they lose their job, they will find another, if an accident befalls them, they will heal the wound, if they falter and lose their way, they will straighten themselves, grapple for a new handhold…and keep climbing.

Tags: Mark+Inglis, accident, legless, Everest, double+amputee

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