Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Day After Christmas

It has been one of the happiest Christmases ever! More relaxed, and less stressed. Lots of time spent with family, with the whole family, all the kids and grandkids, and even the Beautiful Daughter-in-Law's (aka BDIL) extended family on Christmas Eve. The Texan and I went to Midnight Mass at Annunciation this year, the first year since he has been sick. Then, after a whole 5 hours of sleep, down to Big D to spend Christmas morning with the Littlest Grandson, Computer King, and BDIL, along with the LG's other grandparents. When we came home, we finally had time to open our gifts, then Lawyer Girl and I took a nap. The Texan, who had loved every minute of the celebrations, went to bed for 18 hours! It truly has been one of the happiest holiday's I can remember.

Today we are moving slowly and planning to relax A LOT! Our Wonderful Neighbor came over for morning coffee, I do have to go back to Dallas to retrieve my purse, and then the Texan and I are not planning to do much at all. After all, Santa brought me two great books to read. Do you think he knows my addiction to the written word?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Three More Days!

Christmas is almost in sight; only the last-minute things remain to be done. The Texan's Golden Boy arrived in the Metroplex with his family; Lawyer Girl will be coming in soon. I have one present left to finish knitting (do-able), another gift card to buy, cookie dough made, ready to put into the oven, and lots of presents to wrap. Somehow, I don't even feel frazzled.

We kept the Littlest Grandson on Thursday and Friday while he was out of school but his parents had to work. He helped me make cookies, we saw the wonderful train display at Northpark, went on a long walk, and watched lots of cartoons. A very satisfying time had by all.

This is a time of great music for us, both at church and on the telly. I was talking with a friend of mine about how Christmas has changed for us over the years. As a child it was so exciting, filled with presents and family visiting; then it was a bit ho-hum until we had children of our own and could re-live our own childhoods with them, keeping the best of the traditions alive. Now, as we are in our 60's, Christmas has become quieter, more interior. We appreciate the spiritual significance of Advent and Christmas, enjoy the beauty of the church services, the beauty of the expressions through music and art and decoration. Presents are nice but not a focal point anymore, except for enjoying the little ones' excitement. I guess we do come full circle.

I wish all of you the joys of the preparation for Christmas, both the secular holiday and the holy day.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Little Shepherd

I'm off tonight to see the Littlest Grandson be a shepherd in his Christmas pageant! It should be fun. Last night was the Pastoral Care Christmas Party at Chez
Rozell. with lots of good food, wine-aritas and scrumptious hot buttered rum, and, most of all, love and laughter. It was my favorite kind of party, small, intimate, with dear friends.

We all needed the break from the sadness of losing our dear Janet. (In reading the blogs of our church friends this week, we all are grieving, in one way or another.) We will send her off with a glorious Requium (sp?) Mass on Saturday, cry some, give and get lots of hugs, and celebrate Janet's wonderful spirit. Then, on Sunday, is Lessons and Carols. But tonight is the night of the cutest Little Shepherd!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Advent II

This has been a a week of opposites! The music at the La Novella concert was breathtaking, so clear, so beautiful! It took me a while to get my country-music-listening ear to be able to hear the clear German chorales, but, oh when I did...!

Then, struggling to get all the tasks done for my classes, some Christmas shopping done, dealing with the Texan's holiday depression, and all the sadness of this time at our beloved church.

Our dear Senior Warden Janet is dying; they were not expecting her to get through last night. We had our beloved and wonderful Christmas English Tea yesterday afternoon as Janet was in the process of making her transition. She was the motivator and prime mover for this wonderful tradition of ours. It was bittersweet for me, having sat at the tea last year with our Rector's wife, who we also lost shortly thereafter. Our wonderful English/Aussie ladies are exhausted, numb, and heartbroken. And so am I.

Lord Jesus, are you sure that you want to be born into this broken world of ours? The beautiful Baroque music reminds me that you are coming. Oh, how we need you!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Almost Advent

Ok, I can tolerate the Christmas Carols now - tomorrow is Advent 1, the beginning of the preparation for Christmas. My conference is over, there are only two more weeks of school(dead week and finals),and best of all, my Wonderful Neighbor came over today and helped me decorate! The Advent candle is all set to be lit tomorrow; I know how I am going to put out Christmas lights that I can put up, most of the shopping is done, and I should actually have time to make cookies this year. Hurrah!

As I went through all the decorations and picked out the ones to be put out this year, I had the most wonderful memories of my mother and father and Christmases past. I remember the one where my cousin Elaine and I were about 5, heard Santa and the elves putting out the presents, crept out where we could see shadows, and KNEW that Santa was there. My favorite grown-up Christmas was the one where we all went to Denver when my kids were about 10 and 12, both my brothers and families and my mom were there, as well as my cousin who came through the 16" snowfall in order to make Christmas dinner. We were snowed in for days!

Next week will start the wonderful musical events put on by Annunciation which I get to share with the Texan, who has taught me to truly love good music. We are so blessed to have an outstanding music director who has truly developed our whole church into a place of great music. This has become an important part of the holiday tradition for us.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

After Thanksgiving

It is this strange time of year- after Thanksgiving, which was particularly wonderful this year - and before Advent. Everywhere I look, people have their Christmas decorations up, radio stations began broadcasting Christmas carols on T-giving afternoon, those that had the decency to wait for T-giving, that is. And I feel like saying, "bah, humbug!" I don't feel like Christmas yet, and I do not even want to feel like it. Can't we bask in the glow of Thanksgiving for a few days? I realize that I sound like an old fuddy-duddy, and maybe that is what I am.

I am looking forward to the celebration of Advent and Christmas that we have at Annunciation - lots of musical events, Musical Feast, The Baroque concert, The Annunciation Chamber Singers, and Lessons and Carols. More and more I want to celebrate the season, and the gift-giving means less and less every year.

All of my family, except the grandchildren, are getting donations to charity this year. Oh, I'll have a few small gifts, for the grown kids, but that is what they are, small and/or homemade. There are a few things that I get for the Texan, and he. of course, needs to get a little something for me. I guess I am being unAmerican by not buying out all the retail stores, but the economy will just have to survive without me.

I am still in the Thankful mood, thankful for the dear friends who are part of our collected family, thankful for the family that I was born into, gave birth to, or married into, thankful for the health we have this year, even caught myself being thankful for indoor plumbing when it got really cold one night! Maybe I will just stay in the Thankful mood until Christmas Eve, when we have a Special One to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Day

How can I possibly give thanks for all that God has given me? Allowing me to be born to parents who taught us that family loves and supports each other with integrity; to be born into a country and family that supports education for women so that I can use the good mind I was blessed to have; to be a Christian, Episcopalian, and member of Annunciation so as to never be alone in my joys and sorrows; giving me a husband who has taught me what real love is, in sickness and in health; giving me children who love me despite my flaws as a mother and for whom I thank God; and in giving me friends and family to spend this day with. For so many countless other blessings in my life. Thank you, Lord God. Amen

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Good Day!

Today was a good day, one of accomplishing things that I had put off. I had three interviews with students, taught my Child Welfare class, arranged service learning placements for students whose others had not worked out, made a field visit with a student and her supervisor, spent almost two hours getting home around a horrible traffic accident without getting frustrated much, and have a quiet evening at home with the Texan without any grading tonight! Whoo! Busy, yes, but such a feeling of accomplishment. Thank you, God, for this good day. Please deal mercifully with the two people who were burned so badly in the accident that has shut down the major N/S interstate, also with those who are still caught in the horrendous traffic snarl that has resulted. Also, I am thankful for the lovely glass of shiraz that I am having before I cook dinner!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veteran's Day

Our church acknowledged the members of the congregation who are veterans during the service yesterday. My husband slowly walked to the front, pushing his walker. I remembered that I am the daughter, sister, wife, and mother of American veterans and it filled me with a sense of somewhat rueful pride. I was opposed to the Vietnam war in the 1960's; I am saddened by the senselessness of the Iraq war and the phony pretexts that were given for our going into that war, sadness at the tremendous loss of life that it has caused for all concerned; I am angry at both the Muslim extremists who don't seem to care who gets killed and at our American government officials who don't seem to care either. In fact, they seem to lie and scheme in order to get us into this war, and now, truly do not seem to have any exit plan. There is all kind of emotional language being thrown around but very little common sense at play here.

War is an evil that we as a species do not seem to even truly want to avoid. How can a just God forgive us all the evil that we do and do so in the name of protecting ourselves? (I must trust that Grace really does exist.) Was World War II the just war? Are Vietnam and the Middle Eastern wars unjust wars? How do we support the men and women who are in the military without supporting what they have been ordered to do? How can tax cuts be proposed when we are not coming close to paying for the care these veterans need when they come home?

I understand PTSD; I understand secondary PTSD for those who care for the wounded in our society. Social workers work with traumatized victims of violence, and suffer themselves as they care for these victims. When do we start taking proper care, not just of ourselves and those we love, but also of those whose names we do not know, of soldiers who can't stand being in a crowded WalMart and of children who have seen family members shot and killed? When does the human race stop caring just about our little group and caring for the world?

I can only do what I can do. This year, at least, we are giving our Christmas money to the Heifer Project instead of buying gifts for adults who already have more than enough stuff (ourselves included.) Lord, forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

Happy Veteran's Day, Robert Jessup, Dan Jessup, Terry Moore, Fred Rozell, and Ben Griffiths.
I love you and thank you.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

"The time has come, the walrus said, to speak of many things..."

It seems that my thoughts are of many disconnected things today.

I FEEL GOOD and have for three days now! My psychiatrist gave me some medicine "to push through the fatigue" and it actually is working. I am very relieved as I had just been dragging through my days before that, would have a good few hours, but would be ready for a very long nap after that. My job and home responsibilities simply didn't quit because I wanted a nap, imagine that! Now, I actually have the energy to want to do things. Hallelujah!

My friend Janet had a stem cell transfusion yesterday; please, Lord, let it work and work well for her. The next 10 days are critically important; please, anyone who reads this, pray for Janet and her family.

Tex and I want to do a weekend getaway soon, but it has to be within easy driving range for me. I need to look at a website for B & B's within about 150 miles. We have not done anything like this in a long time, and we used to do it frequently. It is time to build in some fun for us, even with his extremely limited mobility in mind.

It is a glorious, crisp, fall day in Texas today, and we may even get some rain next week. I have always loved the fall season best.

Finally, it is time to put the Halloween decorations away. Yep, housework calls.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


So far, we have had a few Trick or Treaters come to the door. It seems that every year there are a few less than the year before. I think that parents are too paranoid to let the kids have ordinary fun like we did when I was young.(I date myself, huh?) I remember going all over our neighborhood for blocks and blocks, collecting candy in a pillow slip, coming home to dump it out and split it with my little brothers who were too scared to go out themselves. There are stories now on the news about obesity in children, yet we were encouraged to walk or ride our bikes to schools. It was rare for a parent to take their child to school. Is our world actually more dangerous now or are we just more frightened? Kids no longer have the kind of freedom to explore their world, and that strikes me as sad.

Ever since I was told to put the Texan into a nursing home because he was going to die (three years ago), I have leaned heavily on God, prayers, and my friends to get me through all the incredible ups and downs that Tex has gone through. One of the most important gifts of Grace has been learning to live in the present instead of dwelling in the past and future. The Texan has gotten better instead of worse, and has been back home for 15 months now! His health has kind of hit a plateau but it is one we both can live with and still find joy in each other's company. Grace wins out over Tricks every time!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Kinship Fair

I went to the Kinship Fair put on by CPS in Denton this morning. It was a beautiful, crisp, sunshine-y day, with lots of kids and adults at the various booths. I really enjoyed seeing some of my old students there. Some of my current students are volunteering for class credit. Lots of hugs from CPS friends. Today was the first inkling of enthusiasm that I have had for my work since the stroke.

The fatigue and lack of serotonin have been getting me down lately. More and more, I consider retiring early at 62. I could do it but I would just be increasing more caregiving for letting go of the paid work. I don't see a reduction in my workload either way and what I really want is a nice long temporary break from responsibility.
Ordinarily, I love my job and love having the Texan be at home. Oh well, it is too pretty a day for a pity party.

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's Been a Week!

I feel like I have been running in a track and field meet this whole week! First, I took my first adventure away from home since my major medical event. Flew to San Antonio for a conference regarding my Title IV-E contract, spent a blessedly quiet night in a hotel, then drove to Austin to stay with Lawyer Girl and meet her Virus Researcher/Scientist Guy. VR/S Guy is quite cute, very social, and a lot of fun...not at all my idea of a research geek. He and Lawyer Girl definitely have the same kind of humor and are really cute together. They drove me back home, then went on to meet #1 Son and his family and go to the State Fair. Mercifully, I stayed at home with the Texan. Of course, we then drove into Big D the next morning, so the Texan could meet VR/S Guy. I think I slept the rest of the weekend.

Taught an extra practicum class on Monday, as well as my own classes. Also did several doctor visits for Tex and me, plus the beginning of my physical therapy, Hallelujah! Now I get to drive to Arlington (40 miles away) to deal with one of my students who is being terminated from her practicum, for good cause, I might add. Then, hopefully, will get my car back from the shop, turn in the rental car, and grade 90 papers this weekend. Whew! I must be getting better, just to survive this week. This fatigue factor is getting to be a real drag! But the neuro says the brain will retrain itself in a few months; I can hardly wait for it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Going to a Hotter Place

I am unduly excited about going to an even hotter city in Texas than my own. It is the first time since the str... that I have felt well enough to actually get on an airplane and attend a meeting regarding the contract that pays me enough to keep the Texan and me in hearth and home. Hurrah for our side! Boooo to bad spot in the brain!

The Texan will stay with the Bird Girl, and I will stay in a hotel, drinking my little bottle of zinfandel, going to the meeting, then driving to the Capitol to stay with my wonderful Lawyer Girl. Evidently, this is "meet the family" time for Lawyer Girl and her (micro)Virus Guy. They are coming up to Dallas to meet our family, then she is going to the East Coast with him to meet his friends back there (and his family?)in a week or so. I am so very, very glad that my Lawyer Girl is happy with him. I think I would like him even if he were hairy and covered with stripes.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Rejoining the World

I found myself profoundly glad to be at the women's knitting group after church today. I have missed the company of women in my life. I spend so much time being the caregiver and wife that I miss out on social events. This afternoon was low-key and very enjoyable. I found myself wistful that the Texan and I were not included in the party and the small group that were talked about but realize that I am too much of a introvert to be part of these groups. The Pastoral Care group is very enriching and supportive for me, and that is probably all that I can take on. Even came home to find the Texan had taken out the kitchen trash!

During my haircut and color with the new stylist, I learned a lot about the Muslim society and customs for women. She is a very interesting lady who was born into a Muslim family, came to America, was divorced, and became a Christian. She had not been back to see her family for 18 years, until last year. She was literally afraid for her life. She said that if a Muslim changes religion, "Their blood is free." Anyone can kill them without fear of reprisal. Dear God! What a society! What courage to become a Christian! I was profoundly moved by her story.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Good Gifts

Yesterday we received good news from the neurologist--no more tests, my brain should heal itself completely in 4-6 months, my stroke was caused by the arteriogram (a very rare occurrence, says he), it should not be repeated, that I am going to be completely OK! No extra medicine, no more anything! Hurrah! What a relief! I have really stewed about how I could continue to take care of The Texan if I went down again.

I realized this week what a different take I have on things from the average citizen. There was a story about a registered sex offender who had worked as a night janitor for 20 years for a local school district who was found dead in the boy's locker room with his pants down and a bag over his head. While the paper and the school district were horrified to find that the man had a past of criminal sex acts and had applied for a job under a false name, they are now fingerprinting everyone in sight. Everyone is saying "ain't it awful that such a person could come on the school campus at night."

Me, I feel really sorry for the man who had to resort to such means to get a job, found one where he never came into contact with children, and died trying to have an intense sexual experience... by himself! It seems to me that this poor guy was trying to do his best not to reoffend and succeeding at that! I don't have much sympathy for sexual offenders but, my gosh, this guy deserves some credit for trying to deal with his sexual problems in a non-offending way. I guess I have worked for Child Protective Services for too long.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Jumping Over Hurdles

It has been a month since I started this blog. During that time, I have had a TIA, Transient Global Amnesia, and a probably small stroke affecting my eyesight and equilibrium. Oh, yes, and Fred went to the hospital for a few days in there. What a month!

Thank you, God, for family and friends! At least when I did all my antics both my grown children were present and took me to the hospital. When Fred did his, my son took him to the hospital and called Fred's daughter. Then Ben and Robin split the care for the ailing Rozells, with what seemed like all of Annunciation taking care of us when we got home and lots of support from Ben, Meg, and Robin. This, truly, is Grace in action.

I don't like having my body fail me like it has! I have depended on it for a long time, and need it to hang tough so that I can continue to take care of Fred. This week I go back to the neurologist to find out the results of all the many tests I have taken. Keep me in your prayers that the symptoms go away and that I don't need further work.

Friday, September 7, 2007


This is the first time I have tried to have a blog which other people can see. I have jotted down musings in different formats all my life, in notebooks, journals, computer musings etc. Here goes.

I have been in the Child Welfare biz all my life. First, as the oldest child with much younger brothers to care for (and to boss around), then as leader of the all-male trumpet section in the high school band, to having l kids and grandkids of my own, and as a caseworker, supervisor, and administrator for a Child Protective Services agency in both the Northeast and the Southwest, and finally, as an educator for students who plan to do into Child Protective Services.

Almost 19 years ago, I met the Great Love of My Life, who has made my life full of fun, new experiences, and great joy. I have seen my children grow into Terrific Adults whom I am proud to know and enjoy. I am watching our grandchildren blossom from babies into young people. I am a very happy, very blessed woman who only sometimes falls back into complaining about the little rocks in my path. I am looking forward to seeing what this blog reflects.