Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lent Redux


If you've been reading my boring musings for a year, you know that I posted a blog about Lent last year.

Lent is my favorite liturgical season. Last year literally changed my life. I know that sounds mellow-dramatic and over stated, but it is the truth. I have a relationship with my mother that I did not have before Lent last year.

So now, what to do this year~ Like I said before, I prefer to take something on, rather than give something up.

In this season of self-examination and prayer, I want to focus my thoughts and prayers on how I may be a source of healing grace for the people in my life.

I plan to accomplish this by focused and intense centering prayer every evening including the lighting of candles. I want to work to create an atmosphere of peace around those I love and around those that I don't love so much~

I have given a lot of thought to tolerance since the presidential election in the USA. I've decided that I HATE the words tolerate and tolerance. I can tolerate a barking dog. I want to pay more attention to respecting and listening to people who are different from me without insisting that they become like me in order to be acceptable and respectable to me.

I repeat the line "respect the dignity of every human being" every time I attend Eucharist, just like all of my fellow Episcopal parishioners. It is part of my Baptismal Covenant. I believe what I am saying when it comes to sexual orientations and gender identities, those of all races and cultures, and those of all classes and abilities.

I fall short in respecting people with traditional Protestant and conservative political beliefs. They are the enemy to my beliefs. I'll never believe like they do, but I want to accept, respect, listen and befriend them just as they are. I have hope that they will do the same.

A note from last year:

I got a couple of private notes about my post last year regarding the quote about women at the end. I said then and I'll say now - the word women, woman can be replaced with men or man without changing the meaning. I used the word woman because I am a woman.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fire and Rain

Our second son has the ability to make us laugh, cry, scream and he scares the living daylights out of us.

On Valentine's Day, he, Tom and Pop decided at the last minute to drive to Mobile to meet me and watch the final game of the Southern Shootout Soccer Tournament. Tom allowed Foster to bring a guest - his friend with whom he has gotten in deep trouble on more than one occasion.

It was pouring rain in Mobile and Foster and his friend were bored. They were banging the metal bleachers, walking in front of all the spectators and generally being a nuisance. They found a playground and asked me if they might go over there and play. PLEASE DO, I told them.

Foster comes back looking like this:

After cleaning blood, applying ice and with a lot of quizzing, we learn that he was jumping from the "bar" to the "wall" and the rain made him fall. His head "went sliding on the concrete and smashed the wall with a wicked crash." "Am I gonna have a Black Eye? Cool." "Mom - it was the RAIN, it wasn't ME."

If that's not enough excitement for one day - we get MORE. Around mid-night we get home from the Mobile tournament. We methodically go from car, to bathroom, to bed like overly tired zombies. On a normal night when we have sleepover company I sleep on the very uncomfortable day bed in the sun room so that I can monitor the goings on of mischievous twelve year olds. On this night I assume everyone is going to bed, dead tired after all the excitement and four hours of driving.

Yeah Right! Around 8:30 a.m. or so we are awakened by banging on our door and Trey screaming -- THE TREE HOUSE IS ON FIRE.

I look out the sliding glass door in our bedroom into the back yard and see 25-30 foot flames shooting straight up the tree and the tree house is totally engulfed in flames.

Every single nerve in my body seizes . . . . "WHERE'S FOSTER AND J___?" I screamed that gut terror scream with tears flowing and my body shaking uncontrollably. I flashed back to 1970 when I watched my home go up in flames with my brother inside. The smell, the crackling sound and heat were all the same. I fell apart.

Pop grabs me and says - THEY ARE IN THE BED ASLEEP, Missy. Everything is going to be OK.

They were in the bed asleep - then WHO? It had to be deliberate because nothing else was on fire.

I call 911 and they tell me to stay on the line because I am the homeowner and I can see the fire, even though they have already gotten many calls. I tell the dispatcher - "It HAD to be set, WHO the hell would do such a thing?" Tom, who is on the other line, walks into the room and quietly whispers to me - please don't say anything else. My next thought is "Oh Shit, you've GOT to be kidding me."

Two fire trucks show up, three police, the fire chief and the police chief. When I see Foster he is crying and saying, "we didn't mean to set it on fire - we were just lighting leaves and stuff. "

They failed to completely extinguish the leaves and other "stuff" that they snuck out at 3 a.m. to light with a candle lighter INSIDE the tree house. The stuff smoldered for five hours until it turned into a tree house inferno.

Foster is on total and complete lock down restrictions until further notice. We took away his cell phone, computer, television, "thug" clothing and he has a long long way to earn our trust again.

Almighty God, heavenly Father, you have blessed us with the joy and care of children: Give us calm strength and patient wisdom as we bring them up, that we may teach them to love whatever is just and true and good, following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
BCP p.829, For the Care of Children

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Rock. My Cheerleader. My Friend.
Lewis Mack Foster
November 1, 1934 - February 10, 2007
I'll love you and miss you forever.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Long Overdue Pot of Miscellany Stew

My friend Pam asked for a "Miscellany Stew" update. I like this fast paced update - it helps me not to get bogged down in details - which reminds me - to the person that asked, "Can you tell any story without going back to when God created Adam and Eve?" - the answer is YES! and here goes~

The extended family front: Mother is doing well as far as recuperating from lung cancer, but fell again and hurt her arm pretty badly. It required a visit to the emergency room - but she is better. Pop is having a few issues, but the biggest headache is how to keep all his girlfriends separated on Valentine's Day. My niece and her new husband bought a new house and their baby is due in April. My nephew got engaged to his long time girlfriend and we're very excited about that. My big brother's business is in the toilet and my little brother is hanging on to his job for dear life - all due to the economy. Tom's brother's family is well - getting ready for Tom's nephew to graduate from high school, and keeping up with his niece's softball schedule.

The boy front: Foster has been sick for almost a week. He had an abscess in a baby molar that we thought was the culprit, but turns out not to be the case. It's a "flu-like" virus. When something slows him down - we ALL pay attention. Trey made the varsity soccer team and is going through the trials of being the new young kid on the block - and the heartbreak of his best buddies being on the other team. He's having to make some tough choices, too. He plays the bass guitar for all the Auburn City School's choirs - (4 I think - not sure) and it is beginning to conflict with his soccer and other activities. He takes all of this overly seriously, and he/we are working through it. He gets his driver's license in 85 days. Both boys' grades are still good.

The Tom front: Tom is still taking golf lessons and practicing a lot. In all of our married life - 20 years - when he has stressful times - he takes up a hobby/skill to help him through. I should learn from that, huh? He has been working what amounts to two jobs since mid-summer or so. It's nice to finally see some of the fruit of his labor. Auburn University, UAB, Siemens Corp. and the State of Alabama are going to announce in the next few weeks that they have established the Siemens/MRI Research Center. That is if I haven't jinx it by announcing it here. Most everyone on campus knows about it, but there is still a lot of work to do before the official announcement is made. It's an amazingly big deal for him - I'm so proud of him I could burst. He deserves this. I can't get used to seeing him in a tie, though, and am over wrought with jealously because he'll have a parking place.

The Melissa front: If you don't know that I finished my Master of Public Administration degree in December, you must live under a rock. I've been shouting it from every roof top. It feels good to finish - it took 6 years. The job that I applied for didn't work out - it was excruciating to go through that interview process and come in second - I'd rather be last. I like the man who got the job, but it's still hard. That means I'm still doing the development work for Rural Studio. Of course I love the Rural Studio, the CADC, the School of Architecture, my colleagues are a hoot, but I'm tired of fighting the same battles for 7 years.

I am machine quilting most everyday. I love that I'm back into it. I plan a real life F2F every week with a person/friend I've neglected during my school. I read some fiction everyday - I feel like Stephanie Plum is a BFF - fun fun mind candy. I've been exercising to video tapes, which is hilarious - I love to laugh at myself. I'm biking some when the weather cooperates - thank you Cindy. I'm planning a 5K in April - thank you Tara. I've lost about 1/2 of the stress weight that I gained the last two years - my strategy is to eat less, move more and not obsess over it. My only "diet requirement" is to weigh myself on Monday mornings - THAT'S IT! I don't have a solid goal, I don't write anything down, I don't weigh any food- just eat less and move more. It feels good not to carry that obsession around with me anymore.

Other Miscellany: My BFF Kim Scarborough's son Will is in Boston at Children's Hospital having brain surgery on Monday. I'm in very close contact with her. She has handled the stress of this and of losing our other BFF in stride. When we lost Cindy, she and I have become so close. I can not wait for this ordeal to be over for her and for Will. I was a mentor for Ben Strickland for his confirmation into the Episcopal Church recently. I learned a lot about the Church, about Ben and about myself. It was a humbling experience. I've enjoyed getting back involved at church, too. I'm not missing school, yet.

OK, so maybe I DID go back to when God created Adam and Eve, but it's been a while~

I hope catch up with my Internet friends more often.