Archive for September, 2008


It COULD Have…

Well, we have moved on to Berlin’s THIRD week of second grade.  Last week nothing remarkable happened.  This week she had to step it up. 

It’s 10:30 and I get a call from the school nurse. 

“Mrs. SuzyJ?  This is the school nurse.  Berlin is here in my office – she’s very brave – but there is an object stuck in her shoe.  It is protruding.”

“What is it?”

“I can’t remove it, but it has probably impaled Berlin’s foot.”

“What is it?”  I ask again, concerned that the nurse is going into shock and cannot bring herself to answer me.

“I can’t see because it is in her foot.”

“Is it glass, metal, a nail, or a razor blade?”  I am annoyed, but very concerned that the nurse does not have the stomach for this job.

“It is a paper clip,” she finally responds.  I say I will be right there and begin to pack up my desk and call the doctor.  The nurse there asks that I go to the school and pull the object from Berlin’s foot.  She tells me that school nurses tend to exaggerate, so I should not plan to bring Berlin in to the office. 

I quickly made my way to the school.  During the drive, I tried to work out the logistics of removing a foreign object AND a shoe from my daughter’s foot without throwing up or passing out.  I decide that my only option is to carry her to the doctor’s office.  It is well worth the $50.00 copay to avoid this situation.

Then I get to the school.  If you are unfamiliar with this child, read my post “Raising Berlin.”  No time?  Suffice it to say, the world has turned a little faster since this child was born – mostly because she is running it.  So, at school there is a crowd around the nurses office which includes Principal Marine and his second in command.  There is much concern.  I am ushered in by the secretary who is hurried and worried.  Well, there’s my girl, sitting on the little bed eating corn chips and reading a magazine.  The sole of her pink shoe is entirely red, which nearly takes me down until I remember that she was just grounded for coloring her shoes with red marker.  Still, there is a paper clip.  It is protruding.  It is rusty.  The crowd disperses and Principal Marine tells me I can call him directly any time to report the progress.  The tension disperses along with the crowd and I look at Berlin.  She smiles and shakes her head, “Don’t take that thing….Don’t hurt me.”  I hold up the extracted offender and Berlin squeals, “So it WAS just in my shoe!”  She scampers down off the table.  The nurse mentions that she raised some concern with the amount of screaming that went on when the paper clip entered her…shoe.  I assurred her that I was suspicious the minute she said Berlin was being brave ’cause that girl’s a screamer and a gusher!

We made our way to the lunch room where Mrs. First Year (she seems to believe everything Berlin throws her way – pity next year’s audacious child) is reassuring the class, telling them that Berlin’s mother is on the scene and Berlin will surely make a full recovery.  We walk in and the children swarm, wanting to hear all about the adventure.  So Berlin speaks to her breathless audience.

“I could have died.  It was a paperclip someone bent up like a SWORD!  It went into my shoe and stabbed my toe.  You know, it could have gotten into my bloodstream and I would have been poisoned.  I could be poisoned now because it poked me!  I could be dead tomorrow!”  A collective gasp rises from her audience, “I could have tripped on it and it could have gone into my spine, then I might have died!  At least it could have poked me in the eye and blinded me!  I’m a lucky girl.” 

Berlin nods her head slowly and looks off into the distance.  The girl can work it.  Thank goodness Mrs. First Year broke it up.  The classmates all reached in to hug their nearly departed friend and all was well in second grade.  Until next time.  Life itself is the greatest adventure.


Lohan vs. Palin

I never thought Lindsay Lohan would get to me, but she certainly has.  Yesterday I copped out an quickly pasted her anti-Palin rant onto my blog.  It should not matter one iota that a young, misguided nouveau riche panned a presidential candidate.  But it does.  LiLo (oh cute!) as they are calling her now, is a cultural icon and what she posted on My Space carried enough weight to be a loud story among the media.  Thanks to this very internet, we all had a chance to see it.  It hardly deserves a comment, but I believe that her sentiment is shared among many voters, especially mothers. 

Lindsay contends that Sara Palin will “negate” all the progress women have made as far as having a “choice over what to do with our bodies.”  The left is continually attacking Palin for not aborting her special needs child.  There have been questions raised as to whose baby he is.  There have been hysterical rants about her inability to hold the position of vice president and tend to this child, people questioning her commitment to parenting.  She has been called hypocritical because Alaska doesn’t have anti-abortion laws on the books.  Sara Palin exhibits all that is right and perfect about womanhood.  She has raised a loving family, no question about it, including a special needs infant.  Apparently, this infant has brought nothing but joy to the family; I don’t think this supports the argument that the world is better off without these babies.  She is showing the greatest commitment to her family, allowing her husband to take the reigns as she is called to minister to a nation.  If a person is in a position to fight for our future, the bigger picture is crucial.  Sara is seizing this opportunity to do her part to assure a bright and prosperous future for her family.  It is highly sacrificial, but her children are not going to be abandoned or neglected during the next four years.  Any mother will do everything in her power to protect her family; Sara has just hit the motherlode.  Further, it is nonsensical to call a pro-life woman who knowingly births and raises a Down-Syndrome baby hypocritical for doing just that.  As yet, Alaska still has rather liberal abortion laws on the books, but Ms. Palin hasn’t been governor for a full two years.  She may still have changes she looks to make.  OR, it is evident that she believes in smaller government.  Therefore, she may not feel a need to impose her beliefs on the entire state.  No candidate is going to reverse Roe vs. Wade and it is doubtful that the candidate will be able to appoint Supreme Cout justices who will succeed.

Now, since she brought it, let’s take a look at what Lindsay has done to further the cause of feminism.  Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure clubbing and posting poorly-spelled diatribes on a social networking site where we appear scantilly clad is what our great-grandmothers had in mind when they hoped for our futures.  If Lindsay were not fortunate enough to have a Disney-endorsed beginning, she would enjoy no success.  If the girls who strive to emulate her acheive their goals, sans Disney, they are destined to suffer lives of eating disorders, alcoholism, and desperate pleas for attention.  Lindsay needs to stick with what she’s good at.  She’s adorable and maybe a little talented.  She is not a crusader.  Best to completely avoid what one does not understand.


Lindsay, Lindsay

O-kay, I have wanted to foster open political thought rather than destructive arguments, but if this is not a reason to vote for the other team (the one with Sara Palin on it), I don’t know what is.  I am most curious as to why the vapid Lindsay thinks she could be influential in this role.  Enjoy!


Lindsay Lohan‘s online missives have come a long way from the days when she offered to “release a politically/morally correct, fully adequite [sic] letter to the press … simply to state my oppinions [sic] on how our society should be educated on for the better of our country.”

Now, with a little help from inamorata Samantha Ronson, she’s penned a surprisingly coherent diatribe on Sen. John McCain’s vice presidential running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, which she says was sparked by her “fear, anxiety, concern, disappointment and stress” and her inability to “bite my tongue any more.”

“Is it a sin to be gay? Should it be a sin to be straight? Or to use birth control? Or to have sex before marriage? Or even to have a child out of wedlock?” the Barack Obama-supporting actress, 22, rails on her MySpace page. “Is our country so divided that the Republicans’ best hope is a narrow-minded, media-obsessed homophobe?”

She goes on to cite an Associated Press story about how Palin’s longtime church in Wasilla, Alaska, promoted a conference “that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through prayer.”

And while Lohan says, “I am not against Sarah Palin as a mother or woman,” she points out that “women have come a long way in the fight to have the choice over what we do with our bodies. … And it’s frightening to see that a woman in 2008 would negate all of that.”

She adds that she “would have liked to have remained impartial; however, I am afraid that the ‘lipstick on a pig’ comments will overshadow the issues. … I have faith that this country will be all that it can be with the proper guidance. I really hope that all of you make your decisions based on the facts and what feels right to you in your heart — vote for Obama!”

Alas, LiLo then undoes much of her earlier eloquence by concluding, “Oh, and … hint hint Pali-pal — don’t pose for anymore tabloid covers, you’re not a celebrity, you’re running for office to represent our, your, my COUNTRY! And in the words of Pamela Anderson, ‘She can suck it.'”


Love in Autumn

The rising moon luxuriates in golden splinters, sunshine left behind by fleeting summer’s heat.  

Sunbeams dance, twirling with woodsmoke from evening chimneys, en pointe across the mountaintops. 

Trees stand tall, reaching for the sun’s last kiss, hiding young love’s laughter away in shadows deep.

Together they move, from sharpened shadow to shimmery splinter, below the dance they look for laughter, seeking kisses long since stolen, locked away in time’s sweet satchel.

Unpack, you travelling thief, and bestow the riches you horde! 

Oh, sweet Time, you are no thief, but rather Lord’s merchant trading stolen kisses for hearts held fast.  You take laughter left in shadows and enlighten with joys unkown.



My boss waylaid me today.  We were driving back from a meeting when she commented on how everyone stopped to look at the woman we were with.  She was wearing a burka.  Ms. Pitt said that she, being Hispanic, hates that.  I never really thought that Ms. Pitt was Hispanic.  She is exactly like me with really great, shiny black hair.  Sometimes, though, perhaps because she is so assimilated to her Yuppie life, friends make racial slurs right in front of her.  She said that everytime it happens she is speechless.  I really don’t care to write about this at all because I feel like everytime we bring up skin color, we contribute to the problem.  Sometimes, though, there is no choice. 

These racial slurs she spoke of are the direct result of people who are angry.  I wish there could be a discussion about illegal immigration without it becoming a racial discussion.  It is, after all, a criminal issue, not a racial one.  Illegal immigrants enter the country under a banner of disrespect.  They have no respect for our culture or our laws.  I have no less disdain for a conman than an illegal immigrant, no question about skin color.  The problem is that until the government steps up to uphold the law, racial tensions will be on the rise.  Nobody should endure name-calling and second-rate treatment based solely on skin color and that is exactly what is happening, even at the hands of people who would not normally behave in such a way.  

On a personal level, every American citizen needs to have the luxury of trusting our government to uphold our laws.  That offers us the opportunity to be human beings and treat each other humanly.  We should be able to reach out to each other without a thought to the legality of one’s citizenship or his propensity to be law-abiding.  Our job is to care for each other, to rise above the sludge.  The government should be counted on to behave impersonally, doing the “dirty work.” 

Awkward post.  Awkward topic.  Awkward drive with Ms. Pitt.  But the point I need to make is that we need some sensitivity.  The government needs some backbone.  I really would like to see the government take control of the situation before things get worse and we are looking for another Martin Luther King to save us from another Civil War.  I don’t know if that’s going to happen.  In fact, thanks to some pretty fascinating research, I am certain it never will happen.  One thing I do know, though, is that the situation will not improve based on the citizenry’s cruel remarks.  That is not fixing anything.


Created in Love

I drove for several hours today, which is inspiration in and of itself.  Gas prices are keeping traffic to a minimum, so I can actually let my car open up and devour our beautiful mountains dotted line by dotted line.  It’s like Pac Man on PCP. 

So not my point.

It is impossible to drive through the mountains at sunset with a full moon rising and not consider the Lord.  For years I have felt and understood His love, but I have to be honest.  I have doubted.  I doubt, but that is when I grow.  Frankly, the overwhelming love of an intangible creator is incomprehensible to me.  I have felt it, and I believe that is when faith becomes real.  It is not possible to explain the peace that comes from God’s love to someone who doesn’t believe in this love.  But to someone else who has felt it, no explanation is necessary.  It is unmistakable.  So it is realistic to consider a loving God.  A loving Creator.  If God is our Creator, and I believe that many religions, particularly the Islamic faith, believes this without a doubt, then He must be a loving, benevolent God.  How can violence be committed in His name?  A Creator bears love for His children, mirrored in a parent’s feelings for theirs.  Is that a gift He gave to us so we can begin to understand?  This loving Creator would not lightly or thoughtlessly sentence His creation to eternal death.  The basic precept of radical Islam is just that, convert or die.  If a non-believer dies, he is forever separated from God with no opportunity for reconciliation.  That is where it ends.  The decision must be made here on this Earth.  The Creator I know will move mountains to bring me to Him if He knows there is a chance I will come.  If I will come, He will not let me die without making that decision. This Creator would not establish a covenant under which I have one chance or certain death.  He is a God of second chances.  When you know Him, you know.  The God of Islam?  Not the same.  Not a god who loves his children.  He keeps them wondering, keeps them guessing, keeps them trying to gain approval up to the very end. 

Creation itself, those beautiful mountains and that amazing moon, even the joy I get from driving through those mountains, is proof that God loves us.  He will not forsake us if we will just have Him.

If you want to experience this love, this peace of a loving Creator, pray.  Pray to God and admit that yes, you have sinned and you just may do it again, but you would love to come to Him for the forgiveness only He can offer through His son Jesus Christ.  That gets you a ticket, but then take the time to learn.  To apply this to your life and learn about this amazing love.  You will never be the same.


Batman – My Hypothetical Hero

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  John 15:12-14
Batman Forever is my favorite movie.  It paints the question of motivation vs. results and brings to life moral debates never settled.  I love the questions, the way it makes me consider humanity and the fine line we walk.  In school, my daughter’s moral philosophy teacher uses this character to make their discussions of Odysseus more pertinent.  They are discussing what makes Batman the quintissential hero.  Well…two things.  He is wealthy beyond measure and has a vengeful spirit.  Bruce Wayne is driven by a spirit of vengeance, and the result is goodness as he moves through Gotham’s black night, banishing evil.  This good that is done, though, does not speak of heroism.  It is a fortunate byproduct of a bitter heart.  Bruce Wayne is a loose cannon and would have acted the same whether he was on the side of good or bad.  In his case, it is fortunate that he is on the side of that which is good.  The message of the movie would be much different if his father had been a drug lord and was gunned down by the angry family of an addict, driving Bruce to reak vengeance against the “establishment.”  Still, the on the surface it would look the same.  Bruce Wayne devotes all of his life, wealth, and strength to avenge his fathers death.  In the original scenario, justice.  In the hypothetical scenario, senseless violence.

If Batman cannot be the great hero of our generation, then who do we have.  Not many.  A hero is one who takes the time to examine his motivation.  He needs to check the recesses of his heart to ensure that what he does stands for justice, not just because he happens to be on the right side, but because he is just.  This man has to lay down his life in order to pursue justice.  A life laid aside is a painful separation.  I think of the men portrayed in “The End of the Spear” and their wives.  These men went to a cannibal tribe to minister to them, but the cannibals killed them savagely.  Their wives later went to the tribe to live among them and raise their children there.  Under their influence, the tribe has turned to Christianity and, therefore, away from a life of cruel cannibalism.  One of the murdered men’s sons acts as the tribe’s minister.  It is wonderful that these men are Christians, but with the faith comes a life of spiritual prosperity.  Their children and their children’s children are living better lives because of the spirit of forgiveness these women bore at great cost and sacrifice.  I highly doubt that living with these people and raising their children with them was what the women wanted, but something stirred deep inside and they laid selfishness aside.  That is heroism – the hero has no self.

Another hero – the mother of the slain Matthew Shepard.  If you remember, this young man was beaten and tied to a fencepost in Wyoming.  He died tied to that fencepost.  The men who beat him to death were on trial.  They would be sentenced to life at best, be sentenced to death at worst.  Matthew’s mother stood up to these men who stole her son’s dignity, his wallet, and left him in a God forsaken place to die.  She did not spit.  She did not swear vengeance.  She forgave.  She asked the courtroom for forgiveness, saying that she did not want to ruin their families’ lives as hers had been ruined.  She understood that there is no comfort in another ruined life.  This was hers to bear, not to share.  That is heroism – the hero forgives generously.

These people are not what comes to mind when we conjure our heroes, but it is a spirit like theirs that carries our country and our world, even our families and neighbors, when they need to be carried.  We may want the Batmobile coming to our rescue when darkness surrounds us, but it may be hard to see; it, too, is black.  The one we need is the friend who would lay his life down for us, never considering his self.

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