Thursday, November 29, 2012

Odd correlations

So, I took a little tumble Saturday night, while enjoying an evening walk with my little boy... Had the stitches removed earlier today, and I'm looking forward to some dental work on Monday and Tuesday...

Yeah. Stinks. More details to come at a later date, after I've emerged on the other side of the horror.

Anyway. It reminds me of our car. Let me explain.

Our last automobile purchase was a big, old, green station wagon. We found the machine on craigslist, took it for a spin, and bought it on the spot. It's not perfect, but it's reliable, American-made (hence, less expensive repairs), and we can haul reasonable amounts of stuff in it.

But it was an older woman's car, a widow. She'd bought it when her husband was still alive. They shared it, drove it to nearby locations, did the grocery shopping with it, etc. Then he died, and she kept the car and continued to use it to get around... But it's a big car. Long. Ungainly. She had an incident with the side of the garage. And then, she had another incident. Her kids repaired the first one, but after that, the marks didn't seem to be such a big deal.

When the car came to us, it still sported the dents and dings from the last Missus. We planned to fix them, but we'd bought it right before a trip to the beach; we drove it with dings intact, and began to wonder en route if perhaps our less-than-perfect appearance made other drivers steer clear of us. Did we seem to be reckless? Unconcerned? Because this forest green beast showed such evidence of past run-ins, did people give us a slightly wider berth as they passed?

It seemed that they did. And I know that I am a much more bold driver with a "beater" than I am when my car is flawless.

So we left the dings and dents alone. And then, since we already had the old attempted bumper repair with slightly un-matching paint, had the scratches on the doors, it seemed pointless and unnecessary to keep the wagon washed. I mean, what was the point, really? You could barely tell it was clean anyway. Polished? Pshaw. It just didn't happen. It's not going to. I suppose we've grown fond of the freedom that imperfect (dare I say unattractive?) provides.

Oddly, having a singularly messed up, hideous countenance has had a freeing effect on my efforts to make myself look my best. My ragged, until-recently stitched together face? My bruised skin? The jagged tooth issues? They're sort of like the points of impact on the green car: No makeup is required for now. What's the point? No one will notice because they'll be looking at me surreptitiously, wondering if my husband beats me or whether I stumbled drunkenly into a pole or something. They won't even notice if I skip eye shadow or lip color.

In truth, no one was really looking before. Now, if they're looking, it's only because they can't help themselves and they're morbidly curious. Either way, I'm definitely off the hook.

All the same, I'll hold onto my war paint. This, too, shall pass—and I do still have a husband and son to consider.

Prayers are welcome. Lots of healing prayers. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Wow, life has sped up recently and doesn't show signs of slowing anytime soon. I am trying to find my [figurative] sneakers so I can keep up.

And once again, Thanksgiving is upon us. A lovely holiday, truly. Like any holiday, though, it can become fraught with idealistic expectations and high drama. Will the turkey be perfect? Will everyone make it to Grandma's on time? Will anyone eat too much and feel ill? Will someone make awkward comments about when so-and-so might finally get married and/or have a baby? Will anyone fight in public, or loudly discuss matters that should remain private?

Well, you'll have to see for yourself. We'll all be celebrating in our own little worlds, or choosing not to participate in the over-fed madness. Some folks will not be celebrating at all, and will be alone; I am hoping God puts those people on my heart, because for many folks, that emptiness will be a sad state, and it doesn't have to be that way...

Re: expectations and drama, I'll say only this. In the Bible study I'm taking, we met in our small groups, and were all instructed to take turns telling about the happiest time of our lives. Many of the women in my group mentioned the obvious big days: birth of children, wedding, anniversaries... But one woman who's a cancer survivor mentioned how she's begun to cherish the quiet, un-momentous occasions in her life—those moments when she is subtly aware of contentedness, when she can hear God's still, small voice, when she feels blessed and fully aware of her blessings. Those glimpses are more precious to her now, because they offer views into a deeper happiness that is based on much more than circumstances.

And she is right, I think. I pondered how big, happy moments tend to make me feel uneasy, suspicious—when I experience that state, I immediately begin waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop. In my pre-diabetic sensibility, I suppose that "happy" has begun to feel like a sugar rush to me... A rush that, as we all should know by now, is followed shortly thereafter by a blood sugar crash.

So, like my acquaintance, I'll be seeking the softer, subtler happy. It's unlikely that the upcoming holidays will be perfect, and that's okay. We are, after all, more than our food and families. We are more than what we buy, or what we experience. Our lives are a tapestry, not all bright colors and splashy designs, but tattered sections and dull, sparrow-like shades, too. We need to adjust our vision to see all the moments around us, even the quiet beige ones. To my way of thinking, sugar-rush emotions will never compare to simple delights of this world.

Wishing you a grateful heart that can see blessings,


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Picking up the brush again

Finally, after a hiatus of sorts, I was able to pick up my paint brushes and work on something for an hour or two. It was blissful. This funny little gourd came home with Marcus last week; its green skin had been impaled with eyes, rainbow hair, and various other facial features (craft project for Halloween). I quietly emptied it of its recently added characteristics, and painted it outside in the healing sunshine. It's for sale in my shop on Etsy.

Friday, November 9, 2012

He said it better—so I'll let him

I sat down to try to explain why I've been physically ill since Election Day. I penned a long-winded, hot-headed rant that meandered from one point to another in a huff. Thankfully, I saved it for possible posting on another day, and then I found this fellow's work, which said all I felt but with well-spoken, intelligent candor instead of emotionally driven wrath (that was mine).

So, without further delay, I share with you the wise words of Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, and the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written six books on the U.S. Constitution.


Only in America can a president who inherits a deep recession and whose policies have actually made the effects of that recession worse get re-elected. Only in America can a president who wants the bureaucrats who can’t run the Post Office to micromanage the administration of every American’s health care get re-elected. Only in America can a president who kills Americans overseas who have never been charged or convicted of a crime get re-elected. And only in America can a president who borrowed and spent more than $5 trillion in fewer than four years, plans to repay none of it and promises to borrow another $5 trillion in his second term get re-elected.

What’s going on here?

What is going on is the present-day proof of the truism observed by Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, who rarely agreed on anything in public: When the voters recognize that the public treasury has become a public trough, they will send to Washington not persons who will promote self-reliance and foster an atmosphere of prosperity, but rather those who will give away the most cash and thereby create dependency. This is an attitude that, though present in some localities in the colonial era, was created at the federal level by Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, magnified by FDR, enhanced by LBJ, and eventually joined in by all modern-day Democrats and most contemporary Republicans.

Mitt Romney is one of those Republicans. He is no opponent of federal entitlements, and he basically promised to keep them where they are. Where they are is a cost to taxpayers of about $1.7 trillion a year. Under President Obama, however, the costs have actually increased, and so have the numbers of those who now receive them. Half of the country knows this, and so it has gleefully sent Obama back to office so he can send them more federal cash taken from the other half.

It is fair to say that Obama is the least skilled and least effective American president since Jimmy Carter, but he is far more menacing. His every instinct is toward the central planning of the economy and the federal regulation of private behavior. He has no interest in protecting American government employees in harm’s way in Libya, and he never admits he has been wrong about anything. Though he took an oath to uphold the Constitution, he treats it as a mere guideline, whose grand principles intended to guarantee personal liberty and a diffusion of power can be twisted and compromised to suit his purposes. He rejects the most fundamental of American values -- that our rights come from our Creator, and not from the government. His rejection of that leads him to an expansive view of the federal government, which permits it, and thus him, to right any wrong, to regulate any behavior and to tax any event, whether authorized by the Constitution or not, and to subordinate the individual to the state at every turn.

As a practical matter, we are in for very difficult times during Obama’s second term. ObamaCare is now here to stay; so, no matter who you are or how you pay your medical bills, federal bureaucrats will direct your physicians in their treatment of you, and they will see your medical records. As well, Obama is committed to raising the debt of the federal government to $20 trillion. So, if the Republican-controlled House of Representatives goes along with this, as it did during Obama’s first term, the cost will be close to $1 trillion in interest payments every year. As well, everyone’s taxes will go up on. New Year’s Day, as the Bush-era tax cuts will expire then. The progressive vision of a populace dependent on a central government and a European-style welfare state is now at hand.

Though I argued during the campaign that this election was a Hobson’s choice between big government and bigger government, and that regrettably it addressed how much private wealth the feds should seize and redistribute and how much private behavior they should regulate, rather than whether the Constitution permits them to do so, and though I have argued that we have really one political party whose two branches mirror each other’s wishes for war and power, it is unsettling to find Obama back in the White House for another four years. That sinking feeling comes from the knowledge that he is free from the need to keep an eye on the electorate, and from the terrible thought that he may be the authoritarian we have all known and feared would visit us one day and crush our personal freedoms.


Thanks, Judge. I'm with you. I just wish you weren't so right.

I'd add only this from the book of Daniel, which has brought me hope, peace, and the sincere desire to seek truth even when many around me pursue dust:
The Lord reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Heavy sigh

Well, it's over.

I'll need a little time to come to terms with this.

Please pardon my absence; I'm going to go watch the stock market fall now.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Checking in

Hey, Gang! All three of you!

You might have noticed that it's been a couple of weeks since I was able to write anything on this ol' blog. October, especially late October, was pretty busy here. We finished fall ball, the kid got sick, then I got sick, then I stayed sick, then we did more house projects (while sick), then Hurricane Sandy scared everyone and did some major damage elsewhere, then we met the teacher and had a couple of school events, then we visited with different branches of family, and lastly—I actually had some freelance work.

I feel like I lost an entire month. Gone. Zip. I detest being busy, especially when not healthy.

And now the election is tomorrow.

Regarding the election, people: Please vote. Do NOT believe the news channels, the predictions, the premature counts. Just turn off the idiot box (I think Jack Kerouac called it the great glass eye) and pay no attention to any of those fools. Your vote counts. Do your research, figure out which candidates match your desires for this country, and then go support them.

The past few days have been unusually ugly ones. You might have heard about the horrible incident at our very own beloved Pittsburgh Zoo. Marcus always loved the wild dogs best; they were his favorite animal to visit. I guess we forgot, while admiring their painted beauty and frolicking puppies, that they are still wild animals that hunt and kill.

So, we've been reminded of the fierce, ferocious nature of beasts. And I have been reminded, again, that you simply cannot make anything perfectly, 100% safe for all people. It's impossible.

Thanks for stopping. I hope to resume both a more cheerful and less hectic pace this week... after tomorrow, of course.