Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I am A'feared

Is that even a word? I'm not sure, but it fits. Because I am very, very a'feared right now.
No, a mama grizzly bear protecting her cubs is not on the verge of attacking. (I know. Too much Deer Hunter; the 2005 Season)
No, I am not out of Starbucks French Roast. And I am going in for more tomorrow anyway.
No, the writers are not going on strike again.(Why, did you hear something?) Even if they did, this is American Idol season, AND America's Next Top Model Cycle 10 just started last week, so I don't really care. (please, don't judge or harass. This is good television, people.)

And no, I am not following a semi-truck with his left turn signal on and my wind shield wipers are stuck on at a high level though it is not raining. (not sure where I got THAT from, Ang.)

What has my blood freezing and a scream trying to emerge from the back of my throat is.....The 2007 Tax Season.

I really can hardly bear to type the words. You don't know what this does to me. I am in a constant state of anxiety and jumpiness with a rash that comes and goes if the words "profit and loss" cross my mind. Oh my word, I literally just broke into a cold sweat and I am not kidding.

Get an accountant, you might advise.

Oh, I have one. And I am STILL a'feared.

I am not afraid of having to owe some money. That happens sometimes. (Although I DO have some good stories, let me tell ya) I understand that.

What I don't understand are the "English" phrases that the IRS allegedly uses when attempting to communicate new tax laws. Oh, who am I kidding? Any tax laws, new or old. I don't understand any of them. My thought process starts to freeze up when I begin working on the taxes and it is as though I am trying to get my brain to function while it's submerged in quick sand. My breathing becomes as shallow as an episode of ANTM, cycle 9. (Extremely shallow cycle.) All I can do is stare with a completely blank look on my face. (No, that IS NOT the same expression I always wear, thank you very much.)

My accountant asks me questions that I simply cannot answer. He'll say something like "This rule does not apply to personal property you acquire for resale if your average annual gross receipts (or those of your predecessor) for the preceding 3 tax years are not more than $10 million. Does this apply to you?"

All I can do is smile and nod, trying to look thoughtful as I ask him, "I'm not really sure. Hmmm. I'll have to give that some consideration and consult my notes. (more like a Safeway shopping list from November.)
But along those same lines that does make me think; did you happen to hear David Archuletta sing "Imagine" on Idol last night? Seriously, it gave me goosebumps, and I don't even like that song."

So, my goose is cooked. I have to traverse through the perils of the 2007 tax season trying not to look and sound as stoopid as I feel. I'll muddle through (doesn't that phrase inspire loads of confidence?) somehow with Rod bringing me comforting bowls of Hot and Sour soup or Subway sandwiches.

Maybe my choice of television viewing has something to do with the the deterioration of my brain function?


But I really wish all I had to face was the charging mama grizzly bear.

Oh, Eric? If you are reading this, give me a call and let me know who your accountant is. I think mine is getting tired of me. I'm not sure why.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Please send cheese

It will pair very nicely with my whine. And I am a-whining.

All of the illnesses that have been surrounding me for the last few weeks finally caught me and I am SICK. (Capitalizing makes me feel like it is more serious and you will be more sympathetic somehow.Don't ask me to explain that. I am SICK.) I can't believe that all my compulsive hand washing and my Great Wall of Pillows when Rod and I went to bed at night didn't keep me safe from illness.

So, because I am trapped at home so I don't infect half of Clackamas County, I am trying work on the bible study that I am leading in prison later this week .But I just keep reading over the same passages over and over and they make no sense no matter how many times I read them. Probably because I am SICK. (or God is not allowing truth to penetrate my heart any more)

I am getting nowhere with the bible study today.I should move on to another project that is due in a couple weeks: our taxes. I wonder how many times I'd have to read that over before I decided to throw it away or let Chopper do them this year.

You know, that sounds like I good idea. Probably because I am SICK.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad

My Dad would have been 73 years old today. I'm not sure how old he is now, in Heaven years.
When we were kids, I know we five girls felt like we got in his way alot. As the years went by, Dad did what he could to show us he loved us.(shown here in 1955 in the upper left hand photo) But I can't say I was really close to Dad until the end of his life and the advanced lung cancer diagnosis. My sisters and I took turns going and taking care of him, although my sister Sherri took on the brunt of the responsibilities as she lived nearby.
Taking care of him meant doing things that I had never imagined doing, and I was moved so many times at his fraility. Trying to feed him was a never ending source of frustration as he now hated the taste of everything he used to love. Think how hard that must be!
I tried on numerous occasions to talk to him about where he thought he might be spending eternity, what I had learned in a sermon the previous week, or how God was moving in my life. But he never wanted to open up about what he thought, and didn't want me to pray for him out loud. (ha I did quietly:-)

All the medications, all the doctor's visits, all the decision making. Stacie came to be with me and Dad and Sherri at the very end.

I remember the last Thursday night, not sleeping. Listening as my Dad groaned loudly from his room. We took turns going in to be with him. We tried to give him pain medication, but he could no longer swallow. He desperately wanted to die at home, but we were having such trouble accomplishing that. So on Friday morning, we called hospice to come and get him. We would go with him. Dad was so unaware at that point. I read out loud from Revelations and from Romans. No response. Just groans turning into shouts of pain. After a while I called Rod and friends and asked them to pray with me for my Dad to die. He was hurting. We were hurting. Watching him suffer was unbearable to me. Please just let it end. Rod said, no, he couldn't pray for him to die, that he hadn't probably accepted the Lord. I said, you don't know what this is like.
I called my friend,Nanci. She cried with me.
The kind people from hospice came, but it was horrible when they took my Dad from his beloved home. I knew it was for the last time and I cried and cried.

I drove to the hospice facility. Stacie and I spend the night there. My friend Randy called around 5 or 5:30 and I was exhausted and could hardly understand him as I sat outside in the hospice courtyard. Then I heard Randy read from 2nd Corinthians, as though every other sound had ceased, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." It didn't fall into place immediately, but it pierced my heart for a reason. After I got off the phone with Randy, I went back in to see my Dad. Stacie had left to pick us up some dinner. I looked at my Dad laying there, being destroyed by cancer throughout his body, painful tumors actually protruding between his ribs. He was the frailest living thing I had ever seen, weaker than any newborn baby. He hadn't spoken or responded for 12 hours or more and each breath was a struggle. Every time in the past I tried to talk or read the bible to him, he rebuffed me. But with the words from 2nd Corinthians in my heart, I wondered if possibly, maybe God meant for me to try one more time.
I said, "Dad?"

He partially opened his eyes and smiled. Amazing. I asked, if he was ready to pray with me now and he nodded his head and I gripped his hand. I have no memory of the words I spoke, but the Lord knew what was in our hearts , and his grace was absolutely made perfect in our weakness that night.

My Dad waited until the last moments of life before submitting to the Lord, but I have no doubt that he did, and I have no doubt where he is spending this birthday. He is more alive at this moment than he ever was on Earth.

The Lord taught me so much through this too. I had so given up. Completely, totally 100% given up. For whatever reasons God could not, would not save this man.It was too late. And look how he suffered. I just wanted it to end. I was looking at the situation through tear stained human eyes, unable to see God's plan. But look what God did! (I just love saying that!) He snatched my Dad from the gates of hell. He loved my Dad and brought him home. He blessed the prayers of my family and extended family who prayed for him. My joy could not be greater.
Whenever I am tempted to think it is too late for God to move, that things have progressed too far for him to fix, I will remember that night, praying with my Dad.
(Above, Dad is in the back row, 3rd from left)
These documents show my Dad on his graduation day from the Air Force Fighter Pilot school, one of the proud moments of his life. I picture a new and different graduation document now dated Septemper 29,2006, the day he asked Jesus Christ to save him, and September 30,2006 the day of my Dad's death and entrance into everlasting life, the day Jesus answered that prayer. Happy Birthday Dad. I love you. I really can't wait to see you again.

Monday, February 11, 2008

There will be blood....

My joy knows no bounds. It is almost Girl Scout Cookie season. This is a special holiday at our house and helps us get through the February doldrums fat and happy. As it should be. (That's what I tell people)

Happiness is also at an all time high around here because Josiah is home. Yes, the Puppet Master is back and directing everyone around him. It is a beautiful thing.
He and Amy decided to move into an apartment together.
Yes, I am aware that he used to shove her into the dryer and threaten to turn it on.
I remember how he would chase her with a laundry basket, cover her with it and not let her up until she began to scream. *see below.
I know. She used to tattle on him for.Every.Single.Thing.He.Ever.Did.
True, it probably saved her life on occasion. But still.
And Amy has this screech like a pterodactyl calling it's young to feed that she lets loose for no real reason a few times a day. We are so proud.
When they said they were going to get a place together and I had finished laughing,the seething fear set in. I could hear a calm voice, my voice apparently, saying," Great idea. Go for it." Encouraging words. Words of false hope. Outside I am a picture of cheerful optimism. Inside I am quickly and efficiently donning my flak jacket, night goggles and helmet. Because, truth be told, there will be blood.

For though my memory is getting spotty, I do remember my two children, sworn mortal enemies screaming at each other as they fought to the death over a box of Fruity Pebbles.
So the headlines I imagine follow this vein: "Suspicious deaths being investigated. Woman found stuffed in dryer. Man apparently pecked to death by giant bird."

Over the weekend I helped the kids begin moving into their new place. Let me tell you, Amy and I had a blast carrying heavy boxes across deep snow covered with a slickery layer of ice. Good times. Rod can't help because he still has Bubonic Plague the flu rendering him next to useless on Moving Day. It doesn't count that we could hear him coughing up a lung in encouragement as we trudged back and forth from house to car with our heavy loads. The special Moving Day cupcakes I made helped significantly. Red velvet with cream cheese frosting. Decadent. Festive. You can thank me later.

As we hefted the boxes up the flight of stairs to the new place, I noticed the nice neighbors, smiling benignly at us. Someone should warn them what was coming. "I'm sorry," I say with a meaningful stare at an elderly man as I accidentally bumped into him with an extra large box. I willed him with my eyes to understand the code(which meant "Run as though Alien AND Predator were chasing you down! And you are on fire!") I was trying to convey, but he just chuckled and continued down the sidewalk. I obviously have to work on my silent communication skillz.
So I was completely unprepared for my sense of wonder and joy, (yes joy!) I felt when I brought up Amy's boxes of shoes (how many shoes can a girl have? Please, don't look in my closet. Besides, we were moving HER shoes, not mine) and assorted towels and bathroom items.
There was Josiah arranging his things in his room. They showed me around their small, yet spacious, place with obvious pride. I loved it. Especially the eating area with two big windows to let in the afternoon light. Oh, and the 50 inch plasma television. My word.
Their rooms are kitty corner to each other, just like when they were little kids. I started to get a warm glow in my heart.
Later that night I came by with some kitchen supplies and Nyquil for Josiah, who wasn't feeling great. There were a few friends over visiting the new place and commenting on the size of the deck and what household items were still needed. Josiah invited me to stay as he was having our favorite pizza delivered. Everything was low key and relaxed. I felt welcome and at home because this was Josiah and Amy's apartment, and they are my kids, and we all love each other. I needed to leave quickly before the weird cry/laugh thing that I have mastered began. But it was all so GOOD. I could heave a huge sigh of relief that peace will reign.
I came home to see sickie Rod and make him a nice healthy dinner. We ate, then watched a western. It was fabulous. I could lock the door because I wasn't listening for anyone to come home late. I knew where both the kids were and we could R-E-L-A-X.
Then the phone rang. It was Amy in full pterodactyl mode, thanking us (sarcastically) for getting Josiah Rock Band for Christmas and concerned(read: scared out of her mind) that they would get evicted on their second night there. She asked us to talk to him. I could hear Josiah in the background "singing" loudly as his friend Joey helpfully played the drums. At their new apartment. Next to their new neighbors.
I thought about it. Then I rolled over and went to sleep. By the way, I haven't read the headline this morning. Is there anything that I should be aware of?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Keeping on the Safely Home theme....

Look who is joining in the exciting world of Blog Give-aways! You can go here to join in the fun and enter to win Randy Alcorn's novel (yes, signed by the author because, well, he IS the author).
Bless Randy's generous heart, he is giving away THREE of his novels, Safely Home. It will touch you in a way that few books have before and I promise you will shed tears of both heart ache and joy before you are finished reading it.
Don't stay here reading....Go...Go...GO and sign up to win your copy of this best selling, award winning book.
Now I'm going back to trying to fix my scanner which has decided it does not want to work anymore.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: He's Home

Not the best photos, I know. But it makes no difference to us. Because look. He's home. Enough said.
For more Wordless Wednessday go here to Wendy's blog. Or, if you want to be truly overwhelmed go here, to the Wordless Wednesday headquarters.

Monday, February 4, 2008

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programming.....

Thanksgiving. Christmas. New Years. Family birthdays. Even Groundhog's Day and Superbowl Sunday. (Yay Giants!) All the cold weather holidays gone by the wayside.

Remember the joy and excitement of the first snow of the year? The second? The third? Etc.?

Let me tell you, my friend, the joy is gone. The sparkle has dimmed from my eyes, probably due to the retinas being burned off because of the glare of snow on everything within sight.

Last night, on our way home from our the Superbowl party (again, Yay Giants!) Rod and I discussed our currant lack of enthusiasm for the ice on the roads, the sleet being deposited from the sky and the general, all-around cold weather.

That brought us directly to discussing our trip to Tahiti last year.

" Remember our over the water bungalow, and waking up and leaping right into the warm turquoise water?"

Then we looked outside again....Boy, does the truth hurt.

Rod reminded me that one of our favorite parts of our trip was slowly drifting into the bay at Huahine at sunrise and watching the spectacular scenery as we slid silently by. Amazing.Then we thought about how you have to climb UP to get out our back door because of all the snow that we used to be so tickled about. Now we're just ticked.

That is a touchy subject, so we closed our eyes (well, I did. Rod was driving) and imagined I was back on the private balcony of my stateroom, eating my breakfast and sipping my coffee as South Pacific Islands floated lazily by....

I know. Ridiculous, isn't it? But the scenery outside the window brought us rudely back to reality and this: (by the way, that is MY CAR under the snow in the left of the picture, so I'm not going anywhere soon. No Strarbucks this week. And we've had MORE SNOW since I took this picture.)

This is enough to drive a body to drink. Like in this picture taken in the sunny climes of French Polynesia after the best drift snorkel EVER:

Have you ever seen such goofy, happy faces?

But, no. The grim reality is that we have lots of snow, Josiah STILL can't come home because of it (not just here, but in Utah) and the dogs have to walk on a trail with snowbanks to get outside. (That kinda makes me chuckle, but they miss playing outside)

So, as thankful and happy to see the snow as we were, we obviously are a complaining and whining family. I am reminded of the Hebrew people in Exodus as God was leading them out of Egypt. Nothing was ever good enough for them. I always said I would never become so ungrateful and bitter......But they didn't have all this SNOW! (just kidding)