Sunday, August 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, Randi / Mommie!

We were so happy we were able to celebrate Randi's 26th Birthday in Longview, even if it was
one day early.

This is a very special birthday for Randi....her very first birthday as a Mommie! That, my friend, is not only a BIG deal, it is a HUGE deal. No longer are you just someone else's daughter (kid), or someone's wife or sister or granddaughter; you are someone's Mom, a unique and special relationship unlike any other. You are responsible for all aspects of this little person's life and as overwhelming as it can seem somedays, there is unlimited happiness and satisfaction which comes along with this labor of love.

So, Happy Birtday, Randi. May you have a wonderful first year as a Mom. (You are off to a grand start!)

Josh provided the lovely birthday roses which were really opening up beautifully.

We tried to get Frazier to sing Happy Birthday, but alas he was resting up for later action.

Randi was the center of attention for most of the day, but it is hard to focus when there this little cutie grinning at you. He eventually stole the show.
Happy Birthday, Mom, you're the best...hey, and thanks for the good breakfast...oh yeah...and lunch....and that wonderful dinner.....and oh yeah, that great snack! You really are too good to me!
Caption: Hey Grammy, you crack me up with that camera in my face all the time! Comeon, knock it off, ok?

Grampa Jim got to hold Frazier while Grammy was out throwing bean bags with Dad.
The bean bag toss game that Randi got Josh for his Birthday was a lot of fun. Jim even beat Josh one game and I came pretty close. (Actually, I had to let him win cuz I didn't want to spoil his nice Sunday.)

Can you tell Frazier seems to like his Mom a little....well, I guess I should say A LOT?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Early Morning Concerns

There are a lot of concerns on my mind that I really don't feel like blogging about, but they are on my mind much of the time so here goes.

My sister, Lori, (as many of you know) is having health problems and is taking some heavy duty medications which leave her with pain. It hurts me to think about her in pain. I think about her all the time and pray for her many times throughout my day. There is also a whole list of folks I care for who are literally fighting for their lives dealing with diseases and I pray for them. I pray for those who have lost loved ones. Suffering is all around me and I feel so very helpless much of the time.

Then there is concern over the direction of my country. I see trillions of dollars, most of which we don't even have being spent, and I and most of America feels confused and concerned.

I am concerned about this administration's desire for control over just about everything. The thought of government control health care is especially scary to me in light of my sister's battle. It doesn't comfort me to look around the world and hear how those people with life threatening illnesses are treated. (Those who suffer with ordinary illness might be satisfied, but when you are relatively healthy why wouldn't they be?!) Being reduced to a number is just what happens when you are part of a huge system that is trying to be "fair". The individual seems to get lost in the shuffle.

52% of our population voted for CHANGE and it appears we may get it, but something tells me when it all shakes out those voters are not going to like it. It just reminds me of when I was in Cuba and the folks there shook their heads and told me that they thought the govt was going to solve all their problems, yet 50 years later they now know things are much worse. They were deceived into thinking there was a noble purpose, yet they have nothing now. They feel duped. So I took away an important lesson : "beware govts bearing gifts". They will hold out something you want and when you reach for it the bars will slam closed and next thing you know your life is totally changed and you are wondering what happened. "Don't it always seem to go, you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone..."* Yes, I am very concerned.

Here is something that should raise concern.....our president wants a "national civilian security force", a domestic army if you will, to handle dissidents within our borders. Who are these dissidents? Are they any people...even bloggers like me who disagree with the administration!? I thought the national guard was to address the law inside the border, but it seems they want something closer to them...their own personal army to enforce "their" rule of law. Yet, they will defend tyrants and give them asylum and set terrorists free. I guess their army won't waste time on these folks. Do they need this army to enforce the edicts of the 36 Czars who have been appointed and answer to noone but the President? I am concerned that questions such as these will not be addressed.

As I type there are also those in the present administration working diligently to pass legislation which will silence any media from their opponents.....they call it the "fairness doctrine". SILENCE as a verb now that is a concern. What sorts of governments want to SILENCE those who disagree. To them it is fair to only hear one side of any argument.....their side. The first amendment to our constitution might go up in smoke while many citizens of the country worry more about things like the death of Michael Jackson or what team is headed for the Super Bowl. I am concerned that popular culture trumps any serious conversation concerning the direction our republic is taking. I am concerned what sort of country my children and their children will inherit.

Power grabs like this have happened before in history....way too many times, yet because our memories are so short and we as a nation are not serious students of history, we are are big trouble. Remember George Santayana's quote, " Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it."

So what to I do in the face of all these grave concerns? Well, I am ashamed to say I worry, (sometimes I write to legislators), but I am also proud to say I pray. I pray more now than I have ever prayed. Does it "work", you ask. Sometimes it brings peace, but much of the time it leaves me feeling as if I am knocking at a door that will forever remain closed. Even then I have hope because I know the Lord's attributes of love and mercy and I will not stop because the scripture tells us to keep knocking, keep asking, and to keep seeking the One who created heaven and earth and has the ultimate power. We may not see every concern addressed to our liking on this side of heaven, but I have faith that all things will work together for the good....God's ultimate good. On days when this faith of mine grows weak....well, I pray for faith and in His mercy He continues to answer that prayer.
* lyrics by Joni Mitchell (Big Yellow Taxi)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy Birthday,Josh....aka Daddy!

Josh and Mom Photo by Jim A.

Dad and Frazier Photo by Randi

Today is the 27th anniversary of the day my son, Josh, was born. Each year on this date I hearken back to that momentous day and I recall all that transpired over its course. From the time we got to the hospital at 1:15 AM until 9:02 PM (when Josh finally decided to make his appearance) it was as if time had nearly come to a stand still. Obviously, it did not, but it was probably the first time ever I had gone one whole day without the thought or desire for food. Even though it was a long, and I might add, uncomfortable way to spend a day, it was time very well spent and I like to think of it this way....nothing worth having comes easily. With this axiom in mind, it is no wonder Josh has always been such a joy. I have never felt anything but blessed by this boy who seemed so bent on not entering the world.

So Josh is beginning his 28th turn around this great mandella and it will be his first go around as a Dad. I pray he will have the same joy I have been blessed with all these 27 years along with the deep love which comes with parenting. And even though I have no way of knowing what the future holds, I pray that in 27 years I will be able to witness Josh reflecting on a son who has brought him the same joy and inspired the same admiration he has drawn from me.....and possibly even see Josh experience the wonderful role of grandparent.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Goodbye, Bailey

Bailey loved the snow and sported a different scarf around his neck each time he returned from
the kennel where he was loved by humans and fellow "fur kids". He liked going there and it was a lot like going to camp for him.

Today my parents had no other recourse than to take their lab/chesapeake bay retriever mix, Bailey, to the vet for his final visit. For those of us who love dogs and know there is more going on in their heads than anyone could ever imagine, this final trip is one of the toughest experiences. Coming home to an empty house afterwards ranks right up there. I can't tell you how long Jim and I expected to see our poodle of 16 years standing at the door to greet us after he was long gone. We get so attached and these critters; they truly become one of the family.

I was allergic to Bailey and it was difficult to coexist with him, so I never felt like I got to know him like I have non shedding dogs I can love on. But I did love that sweet boy. A gentler dog I've not known. He didn't have a cantankerous bone in his whole body. Even when he barked at the mailman his tail was wagging. It was his way saying, "howdy" and the mailman knew it and would pet him and chat with him. Gatsby, our granddog a tiny Yorkie-Poo who is afraid of all dogs, was not afraid to walk around Bailey. He sensed there were no surprises with Bailey and he felt safe. Even the chipmunks were seen to be sitting in his dish eating his food and he didn't seem to mind sharing.

Bailey was afraid of thunder and gun shots (which we hear once in a great while up in the woods.) He would hide when the fireworks were being set off. It was something we never figured out, but he had it since he was very small. Lately though due to loss of hearing, Bailey didn't suffer from this fear any longer....a blessing to go along with all the curses associated with age.

I know my parents are going to miss their faithful friend. He always warned when anyone or anything ventured into "his" yard. In the evenings as they watched the television, he would lay at their feet or put his head in their laps. I think about how they made a little family of three and what a good life he had up there on "Music Mountain". When so many dogs in this world endure all sorts of tough situations,Bai ley lucked out and lived with two people who doted on him and took pains to make sure he had it good....really good. After all, how many dogs do you know who have their own bedroom?!