Monday, February 1, 2016

I'm moving on...

As of February 1, 2016 frequently-unfrequent blog posts by me can be found at

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Time for a change

This blog began in May 2007.  8+ years ago.  Wow.  Some 700+ posts later, it's time for a change.

The blog address refers to a life that I no longer live - I'm not FPresbyterian's Youth Director any longer (fpresyd).  Haven't been for 4 years.  It's time for a change.

My blogging has been irregular but I'm not ready to give it up completely.  Just changing locations.  It's time for a change.

There are several options out there.  I may simply open-wide the private blog I've had for awhile, or I may start over somewhere completely new.  I'll let y'all know when that switch happens, if there is anyone that cares to follow.

Thanks for reading for 8+ years.  It's been a great journey.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A right to life and a right to die

This post was written Thursday, October 22.  I had to let it sit awhile before posting.  

This morning I lay in bed in that half-awake dream state, waiting for my alarm to go off.  I can't tell what time it is by the light coming in my window, these days,  I'm one of the few who actually love the mornings when it is 6am and still dark...but I digress.  After battling with my want to stay asleep and the sounds of life coming up from the valley, I gave in to the knowledge that it was bus-to-work Thursday and I had no wiggle room in my schedule. I rolled over and flipped open my Kindle to check the time.  It was 37 minutes after my alarm was supposed to go off.  I had three minutes to get out the door to make the early bus.  Not happening.

The morning started in a rush.  As I was getting ready and listening to the news, I caught part of a scrolling headline...right to die bill likely to be held up for months...


Memories of June 2014 came flooding back and the moment when I knew we were to leave the hospital and Papa Bear wouldn't be coming with us.  The moment when I leaned over him and said "I don't like this decision but it is your decision to make and I will respect it."  That day Papa Bear made the decision to end his life.  We could have kept him on the machines and hoped and prayed and fought for him to stay alive but it was ultimately his choice...and we all honored that choice.

The tears started to flow.  It wasn't even 7am.

On the bus ride to work I started thinking about my friends D, J and S who are waiting to see if their Dad/Grandpa Hal, after almost two weeks of hoping and praying, will make a rebound.  The ups and downs of the days are eerily familiar.  He is on a ventilator.  There is gunk in his lungs that need to get out.  The question is, is he strong enough...**


I started thinking about modern medicine and science and God and faith and all the things that seem to stand either for or against the right to die bill.  We have come so far, with modern medicine, both for the good and the bad.  We stay alive longer but, do we keep people alive longer than they should be, causing a new set of angst and pain that didn't exist before scientists and doctors figured out a new way of attempting to fight diseases?  Does longevity of life outweigh quality of life?

Do we call it something different when someone is being taken off life support after, in our case, going through treatments in an attempt to save a life, which is why he was one life support to begin with, because it's easier to justify that then when someone doesn't want to wind up there at all, knowing that they have a terminal condition that is untreatable and wants to choose to end their life before the machines and the surgeries and the treatments deteriorate their quality of life?  Why is one right to die justifiable but the other not?

Papa Bear made the choice to end his life.  He chose to fight the leukemia to begin with but he also chose to stop fighting when hope ran out.  If circumstances had been different, if we knew that there was no hope from the beginning, and he wanted to end his life before his quality of life deteriorated, I would have supported that decision.  He had the right to live...he also had the right to die.

It's easy, so easy, to say what is right or what is wrong when you don't have to make this type of decision.  It's another thing altogether to be by the side of the person who is looking down the road, seeing the potholes and road closed signs.  It's easy to judge.  It is far harder to be in the passenger seat, trusting the decisions of the driver.

I woke up 37 minutes late this morning...4 hours in and it's already been a long, emotional day.

**Addendum: Hal was taken off the ventilator and a few days later he passed away surrounded by his family.  I will never again hear the hymn "Holy, Holy, Holy" without thinking of Hal.  Godspeed, Hal.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Pondering change courtesy of The Walking Dead

Somehow I became a fan of the TV show The Walking Dead.  If you know me in real life, you are probably just as surprised as I am. I don't like horror movies and do NOT like to be scared.  Zombies are not my usual fare. I am not ashamed to admit, I watch the show with my finger on the mute button. The zombie moans and sounds of heads being bashed in are too much for me. (Yo Momma would be recounting the story, right about now, of how when I was little I was watching something and got scared, prompting me to cover my ears and say "I don't want to watch, I don't want to watch."  It was the noise that was the problem.)

I got sucked into The Walking Dead by one of AMC's marathons.  I think I originally started somewhere in Season 3.  I got to know the characters after they had been entrenched in this zombie apocalypse for awhile.  They had this zombie thing pretty much under their belts and were dealing with the human conundrum.  I never went back to watch the first seasons, until the latest AMC marathon.   I got sucked in, again, but this time for another reason.  I sat there, looking back to the beginning of the show, amazed at how much changed in such a short time. Not only in the story line but in the characters themselves.  I "met" old-but-new-to-me characters.  I marveled at the differences in the voices of characters.  Really, go listen to Glenn in season one and then go listen to Glenn now...his voice has changed.  I almost didn't recognize Carol.  And Darryl...WOW!  He actually talked, a lot, those first couple of seasons...and his hair was really short.

It's just a TV show but marveling at the differences between season one and season five, I began to think about real-life.  We all go through changes, most are not nearly as extreme as the zombie apocalypse, but many are extreme and really tough to deal with just the same.  I wonder what I would marvel at if I was able watch a movie of my life...or my friends lives...or my family members.

I know that I'm not the same person I was 10 years ago or even a year ago.  I can look at family members and friends around me and say the same thing.  Our circumstances change us.  We adapt and, hopefully, grow with each new situation we find ourselves in.

The last few years have brought about a lot of changes in my life.  Some expected, some unexpected.  There are many I would like to go back and get a do-over on, but one thing is for certain, with each change comes new growth, new vision, new wisdom, new opportunities and a reminder that I have a responsibility to make something out of my life, right now.  I can just sit by and watch the days go by or I can choose to get up, to walk out the door each morning and participate in the life I've been given, changes and all.

Maybe, that's why I've connected so much with The Walking Dead.  These characters have found themselves in a situation where they are forced to adapt to the changes of the world around them, or die.  It's fascinating to see the metamorphosis of the characters as they learn to deal with the situations in front of them and fight to survive, as best they can, accepting the good and the bad inside of themselves.

Sunday night, as exhausted as I was from a super long day, I found myself staying awake, waiting for 9pm and the beginning of a new season of The Walking Dead.  It was gross and awesome and there was more humor amidst the darkness than I had noticed before.  I actually laughed out loud a couple of times...huh, change?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pull up a chair, let's talk

On a Facebook page recently, there was a question - "When you meet God, how will you introduce yourself?"  I believe the question came from a book.  Since I haven't read the book and don't know the context of the question, I took the question at face value.  I was reading through the comments and thinking about my own reaction when I realized "that'll blog".

I believe God will know me when we meet, and I believe I will know God when the time comes, so I don't know that I will introduce myself.  Or, maybe I will say, "God, it's nice to see you face to I have some questions."

I would like to sit and chat with God about those things which perplex me.  I would like to chat with God about all the things we God-followers say God stands for and really hear what God has to say.  I would like to know what God's true stance is on all the hot button topics - and would like the chance to say "A-ha!  I KNEW it!" but that's my ego talking. I would like to chat with God about the big picture, about the hard stuff that I've dealt with, the loss, the hurt, the confusion, the emptiness and the longing.  I would like to chat with God about that verse in Psalms - the desires of your heart one - and then unfold what the desires of my heart really were as opposed to my brain conjured desires.  I have a hard time telling the difference between the two sometimes.

I would like to ask God about the roads I've taken, the choices I've made and where I could have taken a different path.  I'm merely curious at what God would have done differently.

I would like to ask the silly questions:
- Why mosquito's?
- For that matter - black widows - rattlesnakes - scorpions - you get the picture.
- Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
- What was the fruit on the tree of knowledge?

There are tougher questions.  Questions that come up when I am in low spots, when I'm wondering what life is really all about.  Questions that plague me when things happen and people make remarks that fly in the face of my experiences of what is deemed God's nature.  Questions that will remain between me and God.

Yes, I have a lot of questions for God, from the silly to the serious.

I've had people tell me that when I meet God, I won't really want to ask any questions.  To which I silently say, "Thanks for pointing out how ridiculous I seem to you.  I'll stop talking now."  That doesn't stop me from having questions...and from hoping that when we meet, the God I follow would look at me, after my initial approach, and say, "Pull up a chair, let's talk."

Friday, September 11, 2015

I am concerned

I have concerns.  I have a lot of concerns.  I just don't know what to do with them.  Would you like a list?

I am concerned that modern day Christianity is being reduced to a list of do's and don'ts, and who is and isn't acceptable rather sharing the love, grace and peace of Jesus.  Sometimes I think Jesus just doesn't fit into the mold of modern day Christianity at all!

The game seems to be about "winning souls" for heaven.  I don't like that game.  If the whole point in knowing Jesus is going to heaven, why do we then stick around earth for so long?  Why doesn't Jesus just snatch us up the moment we believe?  It bothers me, a lot, that the people I am around seem to focus solely on that one area.  I'm not in the club because I get a "get out of hell free" pass.  That doesn't hold a lot of appeal.  What does have a whole lot of appeal is putting the words of Jesus into action, loving others, helping the poor and needy, being a light - a ray of hope- in the darkness, those things appeal to me.  That's why I'm in "the club".

I am concerned that politicians are too focused on women's bodies and the things that women SHOULDN'T be allowed to be allowed to do with THEIR bodies.  I am really bothered by the movement to restrict women's rights, in general. It concerns me that the work of generations of women, to be treated fairly and equally, seems to be taken for granted.  There's still work to do, ladies!

I am concerned that one portion of the movement to restrict women's rights is focusing on an organization that performs many worthwhile services to women who need health care.  Many more services than the one that is garnering the most attention.

I am concerned that I am plodding through life, just merely existing.  I'm not sure what to do about that one yet.

I am concerned about our nation's fascination with guns and the ideal that guns will "protect" us.

I am concerned that we are so politically polarized as a nation, we can't even listen to each other.

I am concerned about the potential of an El Nino year and the potential rain it will bring to our very dry state.  I foresee many landslides in the winter if the rain comes down, down, down.

I am concerned about the church I attend and the viability for the future.

I am concerned with the amount of time the man with the really awful hair running for President gets on TV and in the news media.  I'm extremely concerned that people are actually taking him seriously.

Switching it up - with all due respect to Papa Bear, I am REALLY grateful he isn't alive during this Presidential election.  He would be going through the roof.  I miss him, a lot, but I don't miss some of those political discussions (and I agreed with him 95% of the time.)

I am concerned...I am concerned...I am concerned.  Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A tale of a purse, a phone and a video

I got a pretty new purse some months ago.  It's quilted with a black and white print. The other day, I was looking at my pretty new purse and thought "it's time to wash this!"  The white was looking a little more yellow in places.  Gross.

So Sunday, I came home from church and a quick stop at G.G's to turn on the water for her dogwood tree (being a dutiful niece following a text from her uncle who was thinking about his mom) and gathered up clothes to wash.  I remembered my yellowing purse and grabbed it, emptying the contents onto the coffee table.  I put everything in the HE washer, hit start and went back out to go back to G.G's house to turn off the water (it had been about 20 minutes total).

As I drove the mile and a half or so, it occurred to me that I didn't have my cell phone with me and my brain began to backtrack.  The last place I remembered having it was when I was sitting in the chair, with my purse.  Hmmm.  I finished what I was doing at G.G's and headed back home.

I arrived at home and searched for my phone.  High and low.  With dawning horror, I called my number, listening for the buzz so I could locate it...and it went straight to voicemail.  CR*P.  I knew where it was.  At that moment I heard the washer slow to switch cycles and I hightailed it to the bathroom.  Opening the washer, I reached in, felt around and found my phone.

And I fell apart.  Not because of the phone.  I could care less about the phone.  It wasn't about the pictures.  Yes, there were some great pics on the phone but they were on a MicroSD card that was more likely to be salvageable.  No, I fell apart because on that phone is a video from December 2013 of Papa Bear and Little Miss P.  It was after dinner one night and she was using the napkin rings and napkins to decorate her Grandpa.  At one point she draped the napkin over his head, placed the gold napkin ring on his ear and proclaimed "He's a pirate!"  She was giggling, he was giggling, sitting patiently and enjoying the moment.  The video is only a minute and 35 seconds long but it's the only thing left where I can hear Papa Bear's laugh and his voice.  Where I can see him move, blinking to adjust the contact lens that was knocked off his eye in the fun, holding onto Little Miss P so she didn't fall off, and in the final seconds, leaning forward and to hug her.  I fell apart fearing that one last connection was lost.

We aren't a family that has done a lot of video recording, nor are we so good with taking photos, though I have plenty of photo's to remind me of good times with Papa Bear.  It's the sound of his voice and his laugh that I so desperately long to hear again.  As I sat pulling apart the phone, drying off everything I could reach, googling how to dry out a phone and MicroSD card, my heart was breaking again.

Yo Momma and I had made plans with some friends, and so after doing what I could to salvage those items, we left home.  I broke down on the car ride to our friends house.  The looming sense of ONE MORE loss just too much to handle.  Yo Momma cried with me as I shared my worries.

I've held myself together over little, silly things these past 15 months.  But this one didn't seem so little or so silly.  This one was tangible.  I can watch that video over and over again and for a minute and a half, I can see and hear Papa Bear again.

As I contemplated my phone that was sitting at home drying out, with the potential only copy of an irreplaceable video trapped inside, a glimmer of hope suddenly pushed it's way to the surface.  When I was putting together the slideshow for Papa Bear's celebration of life party, had I transferred the video from my phone to the laptop?  I patiently waited through the movie and ice cream with my friends (and enjoyed the time) but once we got home, I turned on the laptop and stared at it with the fervor of that lady who starred in the Mervyn's ad's years ago thinking, "Open, open, open."

A few clicks later, I opened a file and breathed fully for the first time in a few hours.  The panic eased as I watched Papa Bear and Little Miss P on the screen, playing, laughing and hugging.  I heard his voice, listened to his laugh and saw Papa Bear again.  I cried and cried and cried.  I hadn't lost that connection after all.

My washed phone is truly dead.  I have a new one.  Phones are easily replaceable.  I've lost most of my contacts but I can get many of those back.  The MicroSD card works.  I've transferred the photos onto a flash drive.  I've backed up the video onto a flash drive and will be putting it on a DVD and Dropbox.  I'm not taking any chances.  All was not lost, and for that I am very grateful.

"He's a pirate!"
 *Sorry, I couldn't fix the photo so please excuse the eye glare.*