Archive | February, 2016

Day 20: Leap

29 Feb

(Today is Leap Year, which is pretty cool. So let me try and write a poem about leaping.)

leap

“Leap”

An

uncommon,

unique,

rare,

special,

extra

day.

Maybe I should

sleep,

work?

relax,

overexert?

wonder,

ignore?

this extra time.

Instead,

I think I will…

Leap

into open arms,

into an opportunity,

in faith,

for joy.

 

Day 19: Jesus was a radical

28 Feb

radicallove

I’m reading the book Rediscover Jesus as part of my Lenten season this year, and a certain passage really spoke to me today.

It says:

“Jesus was a radical. He reminds us at every turn that God’s ways are not a slight variation of man’s ways, but that they are in fact radically different. Embrace any one of Jesus’ teachings seriously and some of the people around you are bound to think that you are taking it a little too far. His teachings don’t invite us to the mediocre middle. They invite us to a radical love.

This radical love is at the heart of the Gospel. There are of course spectacular displays, but most of all Jesus invites us to pass this radical love along to others through the daily events of our lives. At every turn Jesus mentors us in this radical love.”

How did Jesus love in a radical way? What did he actually do?

Well, he…

Ate with sinners.

Told people to love, not judge.

Healed the outcasts.

Ministered to his friends.

Ministered to strangers.

Accepted the little children.

Told a thief he would be with Him in paradise.

So, what can I do to model that sort of love?

Maybe, I should…

Speak in love, not in anger.

Be friendly to everyone I encounter in my daily routine.

Work to fight injustice.

Feed the hungry.

Fight for freedom.

Don’t gossip or speak ill of others.

Encourage.

Do random acts of kindness.

Lift up children and youth.

Respect my elders.

Be grateful.

Smile.

Forgive.

 

 

 

Day 18: Today I’m writing lazy

27 Feb

I have no good ideas today to write about.

But, I’ve had some good things in my life lately.

My writing exercise for today, then, will be a lazy list of good things:

  • Being able to go with my daughter to her doctor appointments, and sharing in her joy and  nervousness about Ramsey Cate’s arrival
  • Sydney getting the all-clear from her orthopedic doctor on her sprained ankle
  • Softball
  • College basketball
  • An unbelievably delicious meal of grits, greens, barbecue pork, and onion strips
  • Date night with Gary
  • A good glass of wine
  • Laughter
  • Friends
  • A surprise visit from my college daughter
  • A glimpse of Spring
  • Not having much money, but making it anyway
  • A fabulous church family
  • Staying up late reading
  • Work that is rewarding, and fun
  • Awesome parents
  • Cupcakes
  • The promise of new things

Day 17: Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes

26 Feb

teststrips

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles
In laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life?

Those are some of my favorite lyrics from one of my favorite Broadway songs.

“Seasons of Love” from Rent captures the idea that life is really a series of moments. Moments that, when stretched out from end to end, seem quite long; and yet, when seen individually, seem fleeting and intimate and gone-too-soon.

I thought of these lyrics, recently, when I was looking at the mass of meter test strips that my 11-year-old daughter uses many times, each and every day, to test her blood sugar levels.

On any given day, Sydney may use up anywhere from 8 to 12 of these strips. She pricks her finger, draws blood, and uses the strips to see if her levels are high or low.

That’s a lot of strips over the course of a year. (It’s 3,360 a year if I guess at 10 per day.)

And then there’s the shots of insulin she gives to herself every single day to battle the fact that her Type-1 (or juvenile) diabetes has stripped her pancreas of any natural insulin.

She has to give herself four each day, but on many days she may take 6 or 7.

That’s a lot of syringes and shots. (That adds up to 1,680–if I’m being greedy and saying she only takes 5 a day.)

I often get quite angry when I think about this awful disease and the way it wreaks havoc on Sydney’s body. I get sad when I think how it has changed her life on a daily–minute-ly, hour-ly–basis.

If I look at the numbers–the test trips, the syringes, the bottles of insulin, the doctor visits–I can get overwhelmed.

It just seems so massive, and big, and costly, and piled so, so, so high.

When I look at how Sydney has survived each and every minute, hour, day, week, month, and year since she was diagnosed at 8-years-old, it could all run together and blend into a big, sad story.

But, instead, I like to look at every single moment–Sydney’s own “five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes“–as small joys and victories.

Along with the strips and the syringes are tears and hugs and hurts and smiles. They represent just how incredibly strong she is.

And those small moments create a large picture…a life in perspective, a life with meaning, a life that has taught so much to every single person around her.

The number of test strips will be in the hundreds of thousands by the time she ends her days (unless we can, God willing, find a cure!)…but what a joyous story they will tell.

In the end, her life will not be one of Type-1 diabetes–although that will certainly be part of her story.

How will her life be measured?

By strips and insulin, yes.

But by so, so, so much more.

May it be said the same of you and me, and whatever struggle or cross we bear.

The struggles…the mounds and piles of metaphorical test strips in your life…can be diminished by our

sunsets,

and cups of coffee,

and joy,

and love.

sydneycheer

 

 

 

Day 16: Three dreams

25 Feb

I woke up this morning with a really vivid dream from the  night before in mind.

Which made me think of three dreams that I had at different points in my life.

And yet I remember them, years later, in exact detail.

  1. I’m maybe six-years-old, and I have this dream in recurring fashion. My mother and I are running through a dark metropolis. Tall skyscrapers rise up around us. Shadows linger in every corner. And she and I are running…just running and running and running. We hold hands as we run through the streets, looking over our shoulder at whatever is chasing us. But we never do see who it is.
  2. The year is 1984, and the Summer Olympics are going strong. During the weeks that involved my favorite part of the entire Games–the gymnastics competition–I had a dream that male gymnast Tim Daggett and I were close friends. There was nothing romantic between us, but we were good friends who hung out.  Of all the celebrities to have a dream about, why in the world did I dream about someone so low-profile as him? It was very strange and humorous to me, but any time I would see Daggett years later doing gymnastics commentary on television I swear it was like I knew him. (I heard him covering the Olympics decades later and that dream still came right back to me.)
  3. I had a dream about a year ago that I looked down into my hands and it was full of capped teeth falling out of my mouth. The dream was very short–maybe 30 seconds long–but it was so vivid and strange. I later learned that teeth dreams were some of the most common, and that they meant something. ‘Losing teeth’ dreams relate to loss you’ve experienced, and loss you were fearful of. I had recently experienced two very difficult losses of close friends, so it made total sense.

Why do certain dreams stick with us? How can I remember every detail of a dream from decades ago?

And why do I go weeks without remembering any of my dreams?

I know that dreams are powerful…that they give insight into what’s going on inside my head and subconscious. They truly are some of the most amazing and mysterious things about being a human.

Day 15: ‘Write about something you lost’

24 Feb

Because I’m a little stuck this day, I decided to look online and see if I could find a website that provides random writing prompts.

I found one (actually, I found a whole lot of them) that had first line generators, plot generators, subject generators, and much more.

I picked the subject generator and it gave me this: “Write about something you lost.”

So, here we go…

———————-

I’m not Catholic, but I know that Saint Anthony is the saint of lost things.

I’ve even prayed to him a few times, despite my non-Catholicism. (I think Methodists can get away with things like that.)

You see, I’m a chronic loser.

Not a loser in the sense that I’m bad at things, or a perpetual sad sack, or a dejected last-teammate-picked sort of gal.

I just lose a lot of things.

Cell phones.

Car keys.

Important notes.

Purses.

Pens.

Cell phones (again).

I’ve even lost a daughter once or twice (when they were young, in the clothing racks at department stores).

I recall the time I lost my purse at Disney World. Replacing a debit card made the happiest place on earth a little less happy.

And I one time lost a pair of glasses, never to be found again. Being blind for a week was not very enjoyable.

And I’ll never forget losing that college paper the day before I had to turn it in. (This was, pre-computer-days. Written on a typewriter, thank you very much.)

Plenty of people might say that my pattern of losing things is a sign of my overall disorganization or lack of concern.

They could say that my losing things shows that I don’t value the things I have.

I like to say, though, that it means I have more important things to concern myself with.

Cell phones? Pens? Notes?

In the grand scheme of things, those things aren’t really that important.

They can be replaced.

(Okay. So cell phones and purses–which, usually, also contain drivers licenses and debit cards–take a little bit longer to replace. And daughters? Yeah, daughters are harder to replace too.)

So, yes, I have prayed to Saint Anthony before.

I’ve used this recommended petition:

I come to you with confidence; 
help me in my present need.
I recommend what I have lost to your care, 
in the hope that God will restore it to me, 
if it is His holy Will.

He’s answered swiftly on occasion (“Oh look! How did I not notice the phone charger underneath my pajamas?”), and and at other times the answer took awhile (“Great!  I find my house keys, NOW, after climbing through the window for four days straight”).

But the answer has always come, one way or another.

(Now, should we talk about my lost mind? or my lost loves?

Perhaps those are for another day.)

 

Day 14: My baby’s having a baby

23 Feb

My first baby–the daughter I gave birth to when I was a mere 23-years-old–is now 23-years-old herself.

And having a baby of her own.

McKenna is set to have my first granddaughter–already given the fantabulous name of Ramsey Cate–on March 28 (or sooner, as McKenna’s doctor expects).

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to accompany McKenna on a lot of her doctor visits and prenatal classes and hospital visits and baby-item shopping trips.

Last week I went with her to a “pain medication in delivery” class and a super sweet baby shower thrown by her college and sorority friends.

Just this week I went with her to a doctor appointment and a tour of her hospital’s labor and delivery area.

IMG_0362I feel blessed to get these opportunities to spend time with McKenna as she awaits Ramsey Cate, and to try and give her as much advice as I can.

And, even more blessedly, she seems truly glad to have my input and insight and collaboration.

As I look at McKenna preparing for Ramsey Cate’s birth, I am reminded of the time not so long ago when I prepared for her arrival.

McKenna was a sweet surprise to a couple who wasn’t really planning on starting a family so soon.

I had never even babysat a baby, and I don’t recall ever having changed a diaper before her (although I could be merely blocking that memory out).

I was scared to death of giving  birth.

I was scared to death of being a mother.

And I know that McKenna feels those same things. She’s excited…but it’s also just so overwhelming and (let’s be honest) scary sometimes.

So, what do I say to her?

Well, I say…

Look at us.

Here we are.

I was terrified of holding you and feeding you…and then sending you to kindergarten…and then sending you off to college.

But I did it.

And loved it

so

so

so

much.

You, my first baby, will be a wonderful mother.

(But, also: please have an epidural. You arrived into this world naturally, without medication, and I’ve learned since–with those sisters of yours–that epidurals are a magical thing.)