Posts Tagged ‘Joy



17
Nov
10

today is my birthday

Today is my birthday. For the curious: I am 72 going on 59. Have been through many deep valleys in my time and weathered many storms, even perfect ones like the one at the church that didn’t really want us. Nicks and scratches, bruises and bumps—these are the marks of having risked comfort many times over in order to live an authentic life. I did not acquire this character on my own and it doesn’t come without some anxiety and fear, but it appears to be part of my DNA. I hope I am learning how to carry it more faithfully…more trustfully.

I am a late bloomer in many ways. The first 40 years were preparatory, the following 20 years were rehearsal for the next 10, and those were the refinement for the current now, when the God in me and the me in God enjoy sharing tea together from time to time. I am grateful for this and all the blessings God gives to me. This year I lost an important person—one who called me Mamacita and sometimes, Kimosabe, and made us a family. It was a hard loss. Then God brought a new family to me, complete with two beautiful grandchildren. I did not think I would ever be a grandmother, even a step-grandmother. I didn’t know how much sunshine little kids can bring to a life full of years. Last Sunday my new family came to church with me and then to lunch. The girls made birthday cards for me and we had a lovely time together.

This one is Miss Green’s card. Miss Green has recently turned 9.  Both cards fold in the middle and have little cut-out hinges so they can “stand” on a table (more or less).  Clever Miss Green has included a greeting in Japanese and says that she does not know the greeting in Korean but wishes me a happy birthday…and she likes my drawing. 🙂 Good girl!

Miss Pink’s birthday card (note the coins taped on and the kitty face inside) Miss Pink will turn 6 the day after Thanksgiving. Miss Pink is an ardent admirer of both my art and my cats. Ah, right to my heart. I like your art too…but prefer my cats as they also prefer me. 🙂

These are happy little projects made especially for me. I’m thrilled to have them. Thank you girls. I love you both!!

Thank you readers—for your interest in my writing, experiences, thoughts, opinions….and the art I sometimes add in. Thank you for being there in the forest to hear the tree falling. It does make a sound after all. For many years I didn’t know this.

I have not made many postings lately because I’ve been busy with visual/worship art projects for my little church at the edge of the city. But soon this will be complete and I will have writing time again. I have so much catching up to do both on this blog and on my Drawing Sacred Circles blog. Stay tuned.

But in the meantime, this is me greeting you today.   

06
Oct
10

after accounting for the selves

My late-life crisis is nuancing into the light of day. I am relieved. Having stepped outside myself to see my many selves and all those lives they’ve lived, I see progress and that is reconciling. The windy corner is calming and I see the rainbow…most of the time.

A voice speaks to me:

Your days will be an autumn harvest way before winter sets in.

A place at the table is waiting for you.

Follow the raven. He knows the way.

And in so doing, many blessings came my way this past weekend. On Sunday my oldest granddaughter, Miss Green and I spent a lovely afternoon, doing and being. What a lovely bit of gentle light children can be. I can hardly believe I am saying this. How did I get to be old enough to talk this way? That in itself is a mystery. Apparently an additional self has been added to the collection. I shall have to get used to her so I don’t think I am channeling my mother!

Both of my granddaughters attend a bi-lingual school…not Spanish/English…Japanese/English! How extraordinary! Nothing like this would have been in existence way, way, back when I was a child. I am amazed. They are both half Korean, which is really not a whole lot like Japanese except for being Asian. At any rate, they are learning Japanese and bringing home interesting little examples of their lessons with writing I can only look at and admire. Very pretty.

This is my name is Japanese written by youngest granddaughter, Miss Pink (5-1/2).

And this is BD’s name written by oldest granddaughter, Miss Green (8-1/2).

And this is BD’s characterture of them.

And as for me and oncology…I am still in complete remission and might not need another CT/PET scan until January or even March. What luck! Surely, the hairs of my head are truly counted, even the ones that fall to the sink as I comb through in the morning 🙂

14
Sep
10

children in time 2

I have quite a fine collection of children’s drawings. I find them all quite amazing, from the most artfully talented to the least, children are just true-blue little people who put the world down in color and line, just as they see it,  feel it and experience it—simple and direct. I plan to post little galleries of  their work on this blog from time to time, starting with Miss Bluebird, who is 8 years old now. This is a drawing she did last winter of things that make her happy. While I agree with Miss B about cats and kittens, I am especially fond of the smile (midway down the page and at the right). Now that makes me totally want to smile back and so I am 🙂

And here is Miss B’s self-portrait. This is the girl who is happy because of cats and kittens, flowers, rainbows, books, cookies, songs and…smiles. You can see how her heart is smiling out at us. Thanks, Miss B.

20
Aug
10

thinking of you

Today I found a little drawing by a very talented young girl from the church Big Dawg, Adopted Daughter Bettina and I attended until June, 2009. It was given to Bettina shortly before she died last March. The drawing was of a beautiful horse with a coat of many colors. At the top of the drawing this little girl placed a perky little pink flower with green stem and leaves. At the bottom, beneath the colorfully happy horse she wrote: I’m thinking of you.

This artwork had been amongst a pile of things collecting for months on the table next to my computer desk. Why I saw it today and not yesterday, or the day before, I don’t know. I saw it today—early this morning as I booted up and began my electronic day. Looking at it—its simple beauty took me by surprise as though I hadn’t seen it months ago, when it first came to Bettina’s bedside. She was always so happy to have these gifts from children. From child to child is how it went. I’m thinking of you, it said; and so I am, and do, and did all day long.

I decided to add another posting to her blog, Longing for Light. I called it Hovering, and published the drawing with it. Afterward, I worked again at thinning down her last few belongings…the ones most difficult to deal with. The most difficult thing was reading through the letters she had written…remembering all of the good and all of the painful things that ran through our knowing each other. I made some progress, mostly organizing and separating things for final distribution. There isn’t a lot, just a couple of small boxes, but it was difficult and I thought about her all day long.

I’m thinking of you, Tina…and the sadness returned.

Hovering: Tina promised to hover. She told everyone she would learn to hover. I don’t know if she has learned, or is learning, or maybe flunked 101. I don’t dream about her, don’t have visions, don’t feel her presence…except when my little cat Bella jumps up to sleep with me at night. At that moment I feel Tina…as though Bella brings her to me. I am especially glad when Bella chooses to come right up to my chest, settles down and stretches out there. I say, “Hi, Tina, where have you been?”

So this is Bella…or Tina…or just a pretty orange tabby. You can decide.

14
Aug
10

driving to the dairy queen

Three friends were driving to the Dairy Queen for an ice cream treat, oh so sorely deserved after a hard week at work without play, when suddenly at the crest of the hill they saw a marvelous site in the sky. “Did you ever see anything like that?” one said to the others. No—none had except in calendars and certain religious publications.

“Wow,’ they shouted, ‘wow, let’s get a picture!”

“Stop!’ one of the friends shouted to the driver, ‘Stop here!” The driver could not stop, but pulled in at the closest spot about 200 yards down the road (definitely not on the hill where the sky had been its most spectacular).

“Okay, here then. Take it! Take it before we lose any more of it!”

The shouting one was still shouting excitedly and most impatiently. The one with the camera snapped the shutter and away they all went like the down of a thistle. As they pulled in to the DQ and juggled their purses, “Aha!” they all thought as they confidently posted their orders for this and for that, at 1000 calories each.

“And aren’t we so clever

to have seen such a sight

and captured it now and forever?”

There you are dear friends: Heaven and Earth are full of such glory:  we three friends and, now you with us, too.

(Photo courtesy of Jane B. Halteman)

11
Aug
10

alone together at last

Remember our lovebirds? Here’s where they were last time we peeked into their story.

Four weeks and 11 days later, the newly weds are finally off to their honeymoon cottage. They had a few things to attend to first…like house and home for 2 little squirts and 2 funny cats.

These two little lovely Misses stay with Grandpa and Grandma while Darling and #1 Son (the Captain) go not too far away…just far enough to be alone and in love together.

The cats, Pablo and Toulouse stay home to guard the house, eat, sleep and watch the birds. 🙂

07
Jul
10

a very good day

Five days ago Darling Daughter and #1 son—the Captain—tossed aside their butterflies and wed. The ceremony began as Darling, preceded by Miss Green and Miss Pink, floated down the beautiful 19th century staircase to the sonorous tones of the Pachelbel Canon, and into the waiting arms of—the Captain. It was a perfect day for a wedding and a perfect day to be back in the home and company of Virgil and Joan Vogt of Reba Place Fellowship, where Darling and I began our Christian journey decades ago—a single parent and an only child, at the edge of our rope (so to speak). Who would have thought then that one day Darling would walk down those stairs? I learned recently that as a child she imagined herself being a bride and doing just that! It was paper dolls and dress-ups then. On July 3, 2010 it was for real. Time flies, buttered or not and our journeys take us through many nooks and crannies. This was definitely neither nook nor cranny. It was sunlit tips of sparrow wings and wispy breath, blue skies. It was a very good day to say… I do.

The Captain escorted Darling and the Misses Green and Pink into the living room. The immediate family followed and took their places in a circle of chairs. The pastor spoke a greeting and the candles were lit. It was a mesmerizing experience of hope and love and unity. The scripture was read, the words were spoken, the vows were uttered and voices in song filled the air.

After toasting the bride and groom with champagne and greeting each other, we watched as they walked out the door to the porch, where flower petals had been lovingly strewn by two of Darling’s  dear friends. We threw the ecologically correct birdseed and thanked God for blessings yet to come as they walked down the stairs and toward their car.

Then came the wedding luncheon at the Persian restaurant, Noon-O-Kabab, where the chef served us personally as honored guests, and we all ate more than we should have. But who can refuse a beautiful and most delicious piece of wedding cake? None of us did and I wish I had a piece right now! It was quite a banquet and quite a day. I have a lovely new family of four and an extended family of ten. That makes sixteen…a very good number.

07
Jun
10

subdivision update

June is the month for kids to start summer vacation and adults to formalize commitments. Also the month of June Bugs. Not my favorite creature, but I thought I’d include one for any entomologists who may be reading this blog. Here’s to you.

Now for the real reason for this posting: I am happy to report that my young neighbors… the ones who taught me a valuable lesson (see Graciousness in the Subdivision, April 27) got married this past weekend and they are just beaming with joy and happiness. I’m happy too…for them. I don’t know why we humans rejoice when two people marry. Is it something about finding a life’s partner and traveling together instead of alone? Or is it some inherent need to keep the species going? I’m for the first choice: traveling together instead of alone. That’s the conclusion I’ll go with.

And by the way…my lovely daughter is betrothed and will marry on July 3rd. Since that is only 3 days past June’s end, I will consider this a June wedding event as well. I know for sure that this is all about finding a life’s partner for traveling together. She waited a long time for this prince charming to come along. No frog, no June bug, he! And where did she meet him? In church, during the passing the peace tradition. Something to think about, eh?

15
Dec
09

children in time

I believe children are formed with a particle of God’s DNA embedded deep inside them. And when they are born they have more than physical reasons to cry out. I think it’s the experience of separation from the creator, mother/father God…the first of many separations to come. Happily, they are welcomed by loving persons (usually) who take up the slack and show the way.

Children are amazingly insightful. All we have to do is suspend our own educated understanding to see this. Their drawings, stories, prayers, dreams and hopeful trust in all that is unseen and untouchable, delight and inspire. They are the beginning and we are the end. Alpha and Omega. As a new member of the Omega club, I am blessed by this…blessed and renewed. Like glimmering candles in the dark, the prayers of children and their thoughts about God in particular, can be quite profound in terms of trust and unhindered belief in the mystery of the Divine—a quality I must work backward to achieve. These little prophets and oracles are God’s Grace.

This is what I hope will be the first of many postings in what I am calling children in time. If any of you have any bits of child wisdom and grace you’d like to share, please let me know. In the meantime, we’ll start with a poem written in 2007 by a little boy of  7 for his class assignment, using the acrostic format. His name is Liam Peachey,  now 9 years old, the son of a dear new friend of mine from my new church—the one that welcomes everyone…

Some children write to Santa at Christmas; some children write about Jesus for CHRISTmas.

09
Dec
09

finishing free

This was the day of all days…the big one…the last Rituxan maintenance treatment and I had been alternately looking forward to it and dreading it. Generally speaking, by nightfall, the prior day of these treatments, I turn on auto pilot and sleep-walk to the clinic. Last night was no different except that wintry weather was on its way and could easily cause delay to our 7:00  a.m. appointment in the city. My partner, Big Dawg was raised on a farm and respects weather…I mean respects! So we rose at 4:30 and left the house at 5:20.

The weather hadn’t actually arrived yet, so we were a miserable half hour early, i.e., 6:30 a.m.  The hospital never sleeps, so we could spend the 30 minutes in one of the less than delicious cafes, eating less than delicious morsels of flour, sugar and….and… Must have been something else in those buns, but can’t think what. By 7:00 we were checking in, sitting attentively for our pager to start squawking—the signal that my time had come to enter the portal gates and receive first my blood draw, and then my life-assuring Rituxan. We waited. No squawk was heard. Finally, after about 20 minutes, a technician came out and invited all those souls who would be receiving port-a-cath blood draws to follow her. I have a port-a-cath and I happily followed, thinking that the procedure would be expedited by reason of pager system failure.

No such expedition occurred—at least not for me. The device was clogged and could neither give blood nor receive Rituxan. The draw was done the old-fashioned way and I was sent to the chairs to wait…for what, I wondered? I waited and waited. Finally the technician came out again and beckoned me back to try another approach to unclogging the device. Not working; she asks who is my nurse? Can’t remember her name, so I give her the doctor’s assistant’s name, Ms. SM, and she is paged. Now the real waiting begins. A total of two hours, during which time I begin to slink into cognizance of low-lying fear—apprehensions common to cancer patients, but generally kept under wraps. It’s a bit like unlocking Pandora’s box. Other patients come and go and I am waiting with my uncooperative port, a constant reminder of my dilemma and discomfort. Finally the feeling of not being cared for takes over and I begin to tear up. A flood of cellular memory…times of childhood and beyond when I truly wasn’t cared for. This prompts BD to start the squeaky wheel apparatus. She makes calls to pagers and even speaks to some administration person. I am revived by this, but still the waiting continues.

Finally, the technician comes out and tells us that Ms. SM has been contacted and will page us out in the main waiting room. We trudge off for this area, which by now is overflowing with persons in varying stages of illness. This is discomfiting to me. We wait some more. Then a nurse appears (apparently the pager is not the signifier of choice for me) and asks us to go through the red door. We do and she is no where to be seen. Once again, long story short: we are ushered into a room to wait for Ms. SM. When she arrives, there is no apology or explanation. (This should not be a surprise to anyone reading about my medical experiences.) However, she is all smiles and warmly explains that although a final treatment had been scheduled for today, it isn’t really necessary since I have already had a little more than the two years of protocol treatment. Since Rituxan results are still being gathered world-wide, and since each person responds differently to it as well as to their cancer, I can choose to quit or stay and receive the stuff through a dorsal vein. After verifying with her that she thinks it is six of one half a dozen of the other, learning that my CT scans showed no problem, and my blood work was good, I heartily opted for NO MORE TREATMENT. Yowie, kazowie! I’m through! This means that I won’t have to endure another five or six weeks of recovery—that I can attend holiday parties and  go about my usual business with all my faculties about me.  What joy! I am officially in remission!

I will continue on with quarterly blood work, doctor exams, and periodic (hated) scans, but these will gradually lessen as long as my remission continues. I have follicular, B-cell, non-Hodgkin lymphoma that transformed in 2006 to diffuse, large, B-Cell lymphoma. The latter was wiped out with R-CHOP, the standard of care. I am left with the (indolent)  follicular lymphoma that may very likely cause a ruckus in the future, but I am told that it will not again transform as it did in 2006. Ms. SM outlined the possibilities for the treatment of recurrence. It would not be the R-CHOP and for that I am grateful. (Details of my experience—Dying to Live—can be seen as on my website.) On the other hand, it may never raise it’s disturbing head again…or it may be many years from now when I am older than the old I am now. No one knows what, how or why cancer occurs; how, when or why it recurs. No two persons respond to even the same diagnosis in the same way. Could be called a crap-shoot, I guess. Or is it a weather bell for the new individualized therapies now in the line?

Dr. G popped in to congratulate. He is really a mensch. Never mind the handshake, I had to give him an old fashioned hug.

Epilogue

Last night I asked God to help me be a conduit for my own healing and for BD to be that for me as well. I also asked to BE HEALED and to walk in faith for the healing God has already given and will surely continue to give. I asked this knowing that healing exists on many levels, not just the physical…knowing that healing is a very deep and wondrous thing. Today, I feel I’ve received a gift and a diploma. I am none the worse for wear, and clearly better for the wear. I am thankful and so ready to leave cancer behind. Tomorrow I will make an appointment with the surgeon for the removal of the dysfunctional port-a-cath. Then I will get rid of all the clothes I’ve kept just for port-a-cath infusions. Tonight I will put clean sheets on my bed and spread out my winter weight comforter. I am feeling loved by the Creator and so grateful for his/her Grace.

Grace




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