Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It is Christmas time!

Today is Christmas Eve day! We celebrated this morning with coffee and presents with The Dear Friend and Neighbor. Of course, Dear F&N comes over every Wednesday AM for coffee, but this one was special. Tex and I exchanged our gifts this AM also. We are going to Mass, then to Bud & The Beautiful Daughter in Law's for Christmas Eve with her family, then watching the Littlest Cowpoke open his Santa presents on Christmas Morn, then hopping in the car to go to Austin to spend Christmas Day with Lawyer Girl and her Virus Researcher fella and his parents. Hopefully, we can catch our breath in Austin before we head back home for Christmas with the RR & Bird Girl family and the Bigger Cowpokes and Pokette. Whew!

Thank you to those of you who called and wrote regarding the Ex's passing. I really appreciate your warm words.

Merry Christmas to all of you, as we welcome the Christ Child into the world once again tonight.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rest, dear Scott, Rest in Peace

The father of my children, Scott Evans Griffiths, age 62, died this morning in Austin, Texas. He died at home, after a long wrestling match with cancer resulting from his heart transplant 9 years ago. Scott was a gregarious man with a heart that went out to the abused and neglected children and their families. He worked as a caseworker and supervisor for Children's Protective Services for the bulk of his adult career. When he retired from CPS his many volunteer activities drew him to people of other cultures in order to improve their economic conditions. His heart transplant allowed him to know his cherished grandson Caetano Griffiths, age 5, as well as to spend extra time with his beloved wife Gail Johnson and his two children, Benjamin Griffiths and Meghan Griffiths. Scott is mourned by his extended family, Chris Sullivan, Elizabeth Marrero, Anna Rae Rozell and Fred Rozell, as well as cousins and dear friends. Scott viewed his life as an adventure and will no doubt relish the continuation of life into the next world. Rest well, my dear.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

5 Days Before Christmas

I'm having a hard time blogging right now. Several times I have sat down at the computer but nothing comes.
The new hardwood floor is in and it looks beautiful! I do want the installers to come back, though, and smooth a couple of places. My Wonderful Neighbor/Friend came over this morning and helped me decorate for Christmas. It feels very different this year even though we used the same decorations.
My daughter Lawyer Girl has a hard time whenever I blog about her father. I feel badly about continuing to do so, but I have absolutely no other outlet. He continues to rally after low spells. It is so hard on everyone but admirable too. I don't know what to think or what to pray. "Thy will be done" fits for me, but seems kind of inappropriate too for him... My past experience with the deaths of my parents tells me that people stay until they finish up whatever they need to finish. But gosh, it is so hard to go through even at this removed distance. I have found myself being very thankful for his life in the past week or so and for his dedication to his kids who, of course, are also my kids.
Well, it is off to an Open House at a dear British friend's house.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What did I do?

Yesterday, as part of a well thought out plan (get Tex a Jitterbug phone for Christmas) and leaving ATT for better reception through Verizon (not to mention bundling our bills), I did a very impulsive thing. I bought a Blackberry! Me, one of the most computer-challenged people in the nation! Aahh! I was really excited when I figured out how to charge it - my gosh, they give you four different plugs. But it is now charged, and we shall see if I can complete a call on it. Thank goodness they downloaded my contact list into the phone at the store. I am told that the tech support person in my office can put my office email into it. When I get my password on the Verizon email straightened out, maybe we can get that also. I really want to be able to work the calendar and camera, too. Work with me, oh angel of technology!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Virtual Retreat Questions

In participating in the Virtual Advent Retreat on the REVGALPALS blog, MB asks the following questions:

Imagine beginning each day with the prayer "let it be with me according to your word." How might such a prayer alter the rhythm of your days? If I actually prayed this? That is a scary thought. What would God want from me? What would I have to give up? What would I gain? These are not very spiritual questions, are they? I'll try it right now...No zappers yet, just a reminder to get up and fix Tex some dinner.

After Mary hears the news from the angel, she goes to be with Elizabeth, an older cousin. Can you think of other women who have mentored or sheltered you? Oh my mother Mickie, my wonderful nurturer, cheerleader, and best friend of my life. I think of her every day, thankful thoughts, direct questions to her, and comments to her. One of the joys of getting older is that I am getting closer to seeing her again. Also, my dear friend Judy who went through the days of divorce and raising young children, mentors at CPS who taught me to care for other people while taking care of myself, and lately, my dear friend Sharrond, who walks with me through Tex's illness. My daughter and daughter-in-law whose beauty and strength inspire me.

What is God calling you to give birth to in this advent season? Love and prayer for the Ex? I found a beautiful prayer in the Prayer Book funeral service, which I say numerous times a day as the Ex gets weaker and closer to death: "Receive him, Lord, into your arms of mercy." Other births to be awaited as this Season of Advent progresses.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Much to my surprise, I actually spent the day after T-giving shopping for Christmas. I haven't gone out on Black Friday for maybe 10-12 years but I felt like I had better get up and get going. Like most marriages, in ours the Socialworker does all the shopping and Tex might shop for 1-2 presents. Now that he can't drive, I shop for all of them. I kind of had fun planning out my route and getting in and out fairly quickly.

Today Tex is pretty clingy and wants more attention while I want to withdraw and have some alone time. This is an ongoing issue that has never been satisfactorally resolved in our marriage and probably never will be. Most of the time we manage our differences quite well, but it is really grating on me right now. Long weekends are sometimes harder as I crave solitude.

I have also heard that the Ex is no longer able to eat although he is still drinking liquids. That makes me incredibly sad. There doesn't seem to be anywhere to discharge the sadness either. My kids are not willing to talk about it much, and although Tex understands, he isn't the appropriate person either. I guess this blog is the best outlet I have for it right now.

One surprising thing about this weekend is that I have had several email contacts from my baby brother Mountain Man's grandaughter. She is 11 and interested in learning about her grandpa's family so I have emailed her some info about the family. That has been really heartwarming to me. I am so fond of both my brothers and seem to be getting even more so as we age. I do really feel supported by them and enjoy their company.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stronger at the Broken Places

Sometime back about 34 years ago, I was still married to the Ex. We were at very different stages of life. He was into his Don Juan stage while I was playing Mother Hubbard popping out babies. Or as he put it one time, he "was a professional trouble-maker" and I "was a professional trouble-fixer." Yeah, he was a union organizer and I was a social worker even then. Needless to say, we split up. But the one thing we did agree on was that we were both good parents and did not want our kids to have to choose one parent over the other. So we wrote our divorce settlement with joint custody long before it was fashionable. Very quickly after the divorce, he added the Stepmother (an honorable title in our family) to the parental mix. She loved my kids and they grew to love her. Fifteen years later, I brought Tex into the group. Tex had raised his own kids by then and knew how to be a great friend and stepfather to mine.

We didn't do everything right, that's for sure. He played "Disneyland Dad" more than I liked, and I bore the brunt of the work of kid-raising , brush your teeth, did you do your homework?, how did you lose just one of another pair of socks at your Dad's?, of course you can jump in bed with Mommy during thunderstorms, hugs and kisses kind of thing. The truth is that we both played to our long suits and enjoyed our roles.

I certainly misjudged the Ex's ability to be a good husband at the time, but I was absolutely dead on in picking the father for my children. I knew how to nurture and to work hard, and he knew how to play and have fun, which are all traits children need to have in abundance. Not the most conventional family structure but Bud and Lawyer Girl both thrived. They have grown up into really great people who are supportive of both their parents. I guess we really did grow stronger at our broken places.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pick a Path, Any Path...

This week I received word that my old boyfriend, the one I almost married, has terminal kidney cancer and is on hospice. My ex-husband also has terminal cancer, and he is on hospice care. My dear husband Tex has a chronic and serious illness and is on home health care. OK, I get it Lord, any path I picked was going to lead me to be a caregiver at this time in my life! All of the men in my life are happy with their current wives. The Ex has written beautifully about his love for his wife, and I am so happy that he has found joy with her. The boyfriend who has always classified himself as a Seeker, appears to have found a steady, clear-headed woman to be his "tie-down." Tex and I have a deep, joyful love that is more than I could have ever imagined existed. We all came through the tumults ending up in the best of all possible places. But I still think it is ironic that no matter which man I ended up with, I would now be a caregiver to a man with life-threatening health issues.

A young woman whom I met with two weeks ago was killed by her separated husband this week. He also killed her mother. Jan Carroll had taken every possible precaution, she had a supportive family who tried to protect her as best they could, she had prosecuted him through every assault and reported every threat. Still, he killed her, her mother, and himself. She was the friend and mentor to my young student who had spent the last three months with her. My student is devastated, Jan's friends and family are bereft and still reeling. It is a reminder to me that the issue of domestic violence is very real and sometimes fatal. It is spurring me to start working in that area. I brought it up in our department meeting yesterday and another professor and I are going to put together a seminar for our students on the topic.

Tex remains very frail and I am noticing how the fall at the El Chico's has taken out of him. He just doesn't have much energy at all. Sometimes I wonder how much longer I have left to be with him here on Earth. Since I can't know the answer to that, I will just treasure the time we have.

This has been such a week of sadness and weariness for me. The semester will be over a month from now, and I am going to take several weeks off.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

He's Coming Home!

I feel giddy as a teenager. This morning I am going to check Tex out of rehab and bring him home! I honestly can't wait to get my hands on that cute fella without all the other people around! He is walking extremely well, if somewhat slowly, with a quad cane; his mental status is excellent, and he has done remarkably well with his physical therapy and overall attitude. Once again, God has given me back "my" guy who makes me laugh and makes me feel completely loved. This strange illness of his, with its periods of "normal Tex" followed by swift periods of "dreadfully sick and completely out of it" Tex may be God's way of forcing me to be flexible. Although I wish he would just leave Tex at his highest level of functioning, I know that I am blessed to have the "up" periods at all. Please keep him in your prayers people; they are continuing to do wonders for us.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Proud to be an American

I am so proud to be an American! Yesterday we collectively put our racist heritage behind us and overwhelmingly elected a black man to be president. Whites, blacks, and Latinos joined together to elect Barack Obama President of the United States. I remember the 50's where African-Americans had "their side" and we whites had our much larger and more prosperous side of town. I remember the 60's with the tremendous tension and seemingly endless time of the civil rights struggle, with the deaths of John Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy and the despair that seemed to be sweeping the country over the Vietnam War. In a brief span of 40 years we went from killing African-American leaders to electing one to be our president. All this has happened in my lifetime. (And still my cautious nature says that the Secret Service had better protect this one really well!)

John McCain made one of the most gracious concession speeches I have ever heard. He is a true American hero and deserves to be honored for his lifetime of service to America. It was wonderful to see him at his best. People who supported McCain can be justifiably proud of their votes as well as those who voted for Obama.

How can we possibly be sufficiently thankful to live in this country at this time?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

This is election day, the day that all the awful commercials, and robot-calls cease! Hurrah! I already voted on the 2nd day of early voting here in the Lone Star State. Tex sent in for an absentee ballot since he is still in rehab (he will come home on Saturday, thanks be to God!). Evidently it did not get in before the cutoff so I took him to the polls today, even though he does always cancel out my vote. It was very important to me that Tex be able to vote; it is his civic right and he is quite compos mentis (sic). So up to our village hall we went and I asked for "curbside assistance." I checked him in, showed his id papers, signed a form stating that I would not tell him who to vote for (if only I could!), they brought his ballot to him, and he voted in the car. I really appreciate my country today which has made it easy for people like Tex to vote. Although I REALLY want my candidate to win, I remind myself that both McCain and Obama are honorable men who really do want to serve their country. I think that the political process is waaaaayy too drawn out, and brings out the worst in both parties. It may be a very flawed process but we are tremendously blessed to have it. Off to the election party...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Overwhelm and Procrastination

I am feeling overwhelmed today with all the grading I need to do (and have been putting off), the church strategic planning process, visiting Tex at Wandering Tree rehab, trying to keep up with replacing the carpet with a cork floor and fixing the area under the sink where the water rotted out the wood. Ay yai yai! And the truth is that I don't want to do much of anything right now. My sinuses are pouring, I feel just kind of punk but not bad enough to stay home. Woe is me! Oh well...

On a positive note, it will not be the end of the world if my students do not get their papers back tomorrow, and the Tiny Tibetan Terrorist wants me to play ball. I think that I will play ball, and get back to the other stuff later.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I am so grateful this morning

Today is a day for feeling grateful. Some of the bits of grace are:

*Tex is safely in a rehab facility very close to home. He isn't happy but understands that he needs to be stronger to comer home.
*The Ex who is extremely ill with terminal cancer called to check on Tex and me. Ex has always been part of my life since I was 17. We have raised the kids together (who are now in their 30's) and have remained part of each other's family all through remarriage and moves. I am going to miss him dreadfully when the cancer finally wins. Please pray for Scott and Gail; they are going through incredibly difficult times. They are nonbelievers and I cannot imagine facing death with no secure knowledge of life after death. They are good people with a great support system and need and welcome prayers and positive thoughts.
*Today the students in my class do presentations so I do not have to prepare a lecture.
*A cool front has come through so the weather is nice and crisp. Fall is always one of my favorite seasons.
*The tiny Tibetan Terrorist has forgiven me and slept with me last night.
*Even better, I can take both dogs up to the rehab center to visit with Tex.
*I voted yesterday. I am incredibly grateful to live in a country where we can choose our rulers. Although I have a definite preference for one candidate, both candidates are good men who want to serve their country well.
*I have great kids and stepkids who support us all, as well as an incredible church family.

I feel truly blessed today.

I am Grateful

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Moving along

Well, the Texan finally came back to reality Monday morning, flashing his bright brown eyes, and cracking jokes. This was a real change from Friday through Sunday when he stopped being able to walk, talk, or stay awake. So this time I took him to the Better Hospital in this area, where they decided that he had a concussion or a swelling of the spinal cord from his fall. Although he is now alert, he needs help in being able to balance, walk, get up out of chairs, eat, etc. with his broken arm and the deterioration in his lower limbs. So he is off to Rehab for a couple or three weeks, just until he can manage at home.

Little Bit aka Dolly the 7 lb Tibetan Terrorist is REALLY unhappy with me because Tex is not home. Athough she normally sleeps with Tex, she refuses to sleep with me, goes back into her kennel at night and glares at me because he isn't home. That ball of fluff sure can hold a grudge!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New Challenges!!!!!

A few of you know that Fred tripped over a mat at the local El Chico's on Wednesday, fell forward and broke his left arm and chipped a tooth. After a trip to the Lewisville ER I brought him home where he was until last evening when he was admitted to Denton Regional because of his inability to walk, talk coherently, and general neurological deterioration. He is confused and in pain, mostly because of the arm, I think. Please keep him in your prayers so he can come home quickly and in a condition so that I can care for him here with his beloved dogs.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

6 Unremarkable Things About Me

1. I am a read-aholic; I read novels, non-fiction, newspapers, magazines, and cereal boxes. In other words, if it has print in English, I have read it at least once.
2. I love brownies! I rarely make them because I can eat an entire 8x11 pan in 24 hours, all by myself. Since I have lost 10 lbs (hurray!)in the past two months, needless to say, I am craving brownies.
3. Over the years, my closets positively bulge with clothes that I love but are either too old, out of style, or the wrong size. I even have a friend who helps me go through those closets and clear out stuff but I still have a lot of clothes.
4. I only wear comfy shoes. After breaking three bones in my left foot, I am very good to my feet. Comfy shoes with a wide box at the toes feel great but I feel kind of like my grandmother who wore old-fashioned lace-up shoes in her fifties. Grannies rule!
5. Like MB, I always watch TV with a book in my hand. I can read and watch TV at the same time.
6. I hate housework, and have hired someone to clean since I was 12. Thanks to my 7th-grade and forever friend Denise, I leaned that my room(s) could be clean, and all I had to do was earn enough money to pay for it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Yesterday I found a shoe going-out-of-business sale, and got two new purty, comfy pair of shoes! I have gotten to the point where I am less concerned with stylish shoes than I am concerned about comfort. Breaking three toes a while back does kind of affect your priorities! But thse are nice looking and comfy too. Hurrah!

Both Gracie, the Tibetan terror, and I have had left feet that have owies. I have been enjoying a sharp pain in the soft tissue near the achilles tendon, and it seems that Gracie has pretty much the same injury. I took her to the vet who did x-rays, gave her anti-inflammatories, all of which showed no improvement. Took her back, gosh, is that ever expensive! and he gave her pain pills, which have done some good. She only hobbles on three feet some of the time now. Nevertheless, she can still streak across the yard to chase a cat out of the yard! I go to the doctor for a regularly scheduled appointment this week, by which time the pain in my foot will be completely gone. I can count on it!

The Texan went to the funeral of a beloved aunt with Bird Girl and his son RR. Our Pastoral Care Group has been cancelled because it falls on the night of the funeral service for a dear church friend. The Ex is now on liquid morphine because the pain patches are ineffective. It is a beautiful day today with birds singing, monarchs migrating through, and lovely cool nights. The light and the dark exist together.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Doodle!

This has been a week of gains and losses. I lost a good friend who died yesterday, after a severe stroke about 10 days ago. Please pray for the repose of the soul of Colleen.

On the plus side, the Texan got up early on Monday, made a pot of coffee and did a load of laundry. That sounds rather mundane, but do you realize how many steps he had to go through in order to carry out those tasks?! I was amazed and thrilled! Of course, he also filled the swimming pool and left the water running for 18 hours! Yipes, the water bill! All in all, he continues to inch his way uphill, which is nothing short of a miracle.

Today is Lawyer Girl's birthday; she was the most beautiful, light pink baby with just a springling of peach fuzz when she was born. And she still lights up my life after all this time. Happy Birthday, Doodlebug!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Birthday etc.

Well, Hurricane Ike has come and gone. Roger and his family were told to stay put in their house outside of Houston. They boarded up windows, had the kids sleep downstairs while Roger and Sheila were awake all night. They lost 4 trees, with 2 of them falling on the house but not doing any major damage to the upstairs. Now they are hot and doing without power, but overall are doing well. Thanks be to God.

Tomorrow is a milestone birthday for me. It is my "I qualify for Social Security" birthday, so they had better play nice with me at work this year! We are going out for dinner tomorrow night; it started out with just Tex and me, then I invited my friend S., then my son's family cancelled out on today, so are also joining us for dinner tomorrow night. This quiet little birthday celebration is getting bigger!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Laboring that I have done

It is Labor Day weekend. I have always felt vaguely melancholy at this time of year. The official end of summer, the beginning of real work time, no more days off for months. It is about 9 AM, the Texan is still snoring in deep sleep, the dogs have settled down for the morning nap, and I have "nothing fun" planned for the day. Lots of housework ahead. Yecchh! OK, pity party time is now officially over.

1. Tell us about the worst job you ever had. The worst job I ever had was my first college job as a typist for the College of Engineering in an crammed-full of filing cabinets, 8x10 one-person office (me) far away from any human being, sitting there typing things that truly did not look like any language I understood. It was tedious and it was tortuous to have to be there for 4-6 hours at a time. It only lasted 1 semester and I found something else to do on campus to make money.

2. Tell us about the best job you ever had. It would be a tie between the job I have now, teaching young adults, and when I was a supervisor at CPS working with caseworkers who had lots of children whom we were able to place in adoption.

3.Tell us what you would do if you could do absolutely anything (employment related) with no financial or other restrictions. If I could do my full fantasy, it would be to go to Canada in time to see the trees change with the Texan who could walk and have fun with me as we meandered wherever we want. I would be able to go to Eastern Europe and work with orphanages to improve the lives of children in group care. Teaching English as a 2nd language has always been something I have wanted to do. I would also volunteer at a hospital taking care of and rocking newborn babies. In short, dear ones, all of my fantasy time and activities presume my being retired with enough money to do what I want to, with a fully healthy Texan either with me or at home, depending on his interests.

4. Did you get a break from labor this summer? If so, what was it and if not, what are you gonna do? I was able to spend some time visiting with family and dear friends in Arizona and Indiana. I came back refreshed and feeling deeply nurtured. Tex was able to have a little more energy this summer, so time with him was also more satisfying.

5. What will change regarding your work as summer morphs into fall? Are you anticipating or dreading? Although I really like the work I am doing, I am dreading the pace of the fall. I feel like I have to run to keep up with all the tasks. Please God, no more health issues for either Tex or me this year.

Bonus question: For the gals who are mothers, do you have an interesting story about labor and delivery (LOL)? If you are a guy pal, not a mom, or you choose not to answer the above, is there a song, a book, a play, that says "workplace" to you? I have birthed two children, and it was very hard work. The best part was falling so deeply in love with those babies in the most profound part of my being that I was forever changed, forever loving them for the rest of their lives.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Man's Definition of Love

Today is my first day back at work. I left early (7 am) to go to Arlington for the contract signing and orientation of students in the new semester. After my 2 week break out of the office I was willing for the new semester to start. Even though classes don't start until next week we always feel like it starts the week before. I feel much more relaxed after the two weeks, remembering that I always needed 3 weeks vacation from CPS in order to go back to work. If I had taken 3 weeks out from the University gig, I think I would be pulling out my hair trying to get back.

The Texan said the sweetest thing to me this morning when I gave him his goodbye kiss and hug, and said "I love you." He said, without opening his eyes, "I know." He said that he knows "because it is like when you know one friend says he is a friend but you can't count on him, but you know that another friend will be right by you if you get into a fight." Tex has been in a real fight for life and health these past 3 years. It is good to know he feels that I have got his back. (Of course he is right there for me whenever I am down or feeling hurt about something.) I think that is a wonderful description of love from a man's point of view.

Friday, August 15, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things...

Things that I love:
1. Rainy days- spending significant growing-up years in the Arizona desert, I adore rainy days!
2. The Last Day of Vacation - knowing that I had better treasure it as I am today.
3. Traveling with my grown-up little brothers - find that I like who they turned out to be.
4. My cuddly and protective Llhasa doggies - all 12 lbs and 8 lbs of them.
5. Having a flexible work schedule so that I can spend lots of time with the Texan, even while I am working.
6. Child Welfare Workers - the most tough-skinned , most soft-hearted, most practical bunch of women (and some men) that God put on the face of this earth . There is nothing they can't handle at the time and then cry about afterward.
7. And, of course, at the beginning, middle, and end of the list, my wonderful family and friends, who have nurtured and do nurture my very being. They taught me how to love, to give and to receive love, and keep me surrounded in love. They are Grace personified.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I'm baack!

Hurrah! Hurrah! I finally got back into this blog! I have been shut out for almost a month now, but for some reason, it has let me back in. So I have changed the password and it worked!

I have spent a wonderful week with my brother the CPA in Indiana doing genealogical research on our Jessup family line. For the past several years I have been in contact with a 2nd cousin who has moved back to Indiana. She graciously invited the CPA and me to stay with her during our sojourn back through old homesteads and farms, not to mention numerous Quaker cemeteries. She was Hospitality Personified, lives in a Victorian home that could be a bed and breakfast because of its beautiful decor. The three of us had a fabulous time, located another cousin that none of us knew about, and just thoroughly enjoyed outselves. What a treat!

The Texan did very well while I was gone, thanks to his own determination and a cadre of friends and relatives who helped. All in all, this has been a very satisfying time for both of us.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What A Difference A Day Makes

What a difference a day can make! On Wednesday morning, I was complaining to Tex that I had a large knot on my neck, which kind of seemed to be growing. He INSISTED that I go to the doctor to check it out. So I did. The doctor seemed kind of alarmed by the size and hardness of the knot, told me it could be an infection, lymphoma or leukemia. Needless to say, I didn't like the last two options! He took a blood sample, and said he would call me back on Thursday without fail. Also gave me some antibiotics to take. Although I didn't panic, I didn't want to take any chances, and called in some pretty powerful pray-ers of prayers. Tex's first wife died of misdiagnosed breast cancer and I knew he would worry a lot when I told him what the MD had said. But our relationship is built on trust and honesty and besides, I knew he would worry even more if he felt that I was being less than open with him. So, he worried, my friends and I prayed, and I was really pretty calm through it all. I did not want to tell my kids who are dealing with their father's very real cancer progression.

The next day, the knot was still there in all its glory. No change at all. The doctor told me that the blood tests looked okay but to come in on Friday for a cat scan. By the time I got to his office in the late afternoon the next day, the knot had shrunk some, and he informed me that cancerous glands almost never shrink in size due to antibiotic treatment, and to call him in a week to report in on the size and condition of it then. So, today, it is still hard and painful but quite a bit smaller. Hurrah!

Bud came by yesterday evening to pick up the electric wheelchair we were given some time ago. His dad is getting weaker and can get some use out of it. He left the Littlest Cowpoke. It has been a morning of blueberry pancakes and cartoons here at the Ranchette.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Leisure by the Cement Pond

I love taking days off in the middle of the week! It feels so deliciously sinful and yet it really isn't. With lots of vacation days piled up, I'm actually doing The University a favor by taking them now. I am putting off my discussion with the new Sheriff until later in the month, which allows me more time to be sure what it is that I want to do. Meanwhile, Tex and I sat outside by the stock (little Llhasa Apsos) tank, drank our morning coffee, and enjoyed the shade and the breezes before it heats up to a bizillion degrees. Think we might actually take in a talking picture show this afternoon.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Life at the R&R Ranch

Still in throes of decision-making. My latest thought is to at least work through December so that I would have two years of my higher salary to count for Social Security. What makes the most financial sense is to work through December 2009. It really depends on whether or not the new Sheriff will let me continue to work at home when I need to. We shall see.

I think that this will be a quiet 4th of July here at the R&R ranch. Bud, the BD-inlaw, and the Littlest Cowpoke are going out of town to be with the Ex. Tex and I may go to a couple of movies, and out to dinner once or twice, but mostly I am looking forward to swimming in the R&R tank (aka pool). Ah, the lazy, hazy days of summer...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What's Next for Socialworkr?

I think more and more about retiring when I become eligible for SS. The new Sheriff at the University, who replaced our wonderful Chinese Chair, has decided that she wants all staff (including professional staff who teach like me) to keep strict 8-5 hours, and that I should teach an extra course, which I have done in the past but did not do this spring. That has me teaching more than any other person in my same position in the state of Tejas. It just makes me tired thinking about it! Plus, I would have to hire a caregiver for more hours than we do now. We simply can't afford it. My entire paycheck for last year went for non-reimburseable medical bills, some of which were mine. Can I handle the stress for another year? Do I even want to? An even bigger question, can we afford for me to quit? To be continued...

Today is the birthday party for my son. How can he be turning 37? I don't feel old enough to have a child that age! I will enjoy seeing him, the Beautiful Daughter-in-Law and the Littlest Cowpoke as well as their friends this afternoon. I am so very fortunate to have him and Lawyer Girl for children; they have turned out to be such loving and accomplished people. LG is staying with the Ex this weekend so her stepmother can have some time off with her friends. Both kids can be so very thoughtful of their parents that it almost makes me cry sometimes. I have been truly blessed by the family God has given to me.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Summer Days

This past week has sbeen wonderfully refreshing! I stayed at a beautiful resort owned and run by the Pima and Maricopa Indians in Arizona for a great conference. Then, I drove down to Tucson to spend some time with one of my dearest friends from high school, Denny the TM'er. I wish I could have stayed longer with Denny and her husband but, at the same time, I was sooooo ready to come home to the Texan. He stayed WELL while I was gone!

The Ex is not doing well physically, but is handling all his difficulties with such grace and love. He is now on hospice care. He wrote a beautiful tribute to his wife in his blog, "Scott's Wanderings." I got very wistful after I read it, wishing he could have felt that way about me. But the fact is that he didn't, and I have my Wonderful, All-Loving Texan, who doesn't need for me to change in any way to earn or keep his love. I always felt like I walked on eggshells with the Ex trying to please him. And, quite frankly, that is no way to live at all! God knew what He was doing when he brought Tex and me together. And I am glad that the Ex found the love of his life.

One of the comments that one of his friends made was very wise; she said that often in a divorce, the man feels free and happy, but that it becomes a 5-15 year sentence for the wife, depending on the age of the children at the time. Mine were 1 and 3 at the time of our divorce. It took me 15 hard years to find the Texan, but he was definitely worth the wait.

Things at The University are kind of slow for me right now, and I am enjoying today off. I get to spend it having coffee with my neighbor/friend, giving Tex a bath, and just lazing around. Ahh, the blissful days of summer.

Monday, June 16, 2008


A miracle happened on Saturday. Tex got up early, did some chores around the house. We went out to lunch and shopping, using Mr. Incredible's magic scooter, came home and had a pleasant evening. It was as if he was his pre-illness regular self! His mind was sharp and clear, we laughed and joked, and I even believed him for that day when he said that he could drive (not that he actually did.) It was truly a day of miracles.

Sunday he was very tired but was able to go to church and to his daughter's house for a fabulous Father's Day steak. Today I am getting ready to go to Phoenix for a conference--I know, I just can't get enough of hot weather. And I will be able to take the picture of Tex on Saturday in my mind.

Isn't God good!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Summer Days

I am feeling ever so much better now that the new med has kicked in, or is it just the placebo effect from being "heard" and understand by my friendly shrink? Anyway, life at the R&R Ranch is flowing more smoothly than previously.

The Texan (also known as Ole Coot) had his 74th birthday on Friday. Among other things, I decided that it was time for him to have a scooter, so that I would feel more free to go and do things with him along. Elastigirl loaned us Mr. Incredible's scooter and so Tex and I have been playing with that one. We went up to the tank (lake for you non-Texans) near us and the Coot really enjoyed that one. We are meeting this afternoon with our Medical Mercantile Store man to see if Tex will qualify for one on his own. The Ole Coot has been really sharp and perky the last few days, also.

I also decided to take a couple of days off in the middle of this week, since my main responsibilities are on Tuesdays and Fridays this semester. So I have been having a good time "goofing off" some. Mostly by going to coffee with friends, piddling around the house, and, even catching up on my blogging during the middle of the week! Next week I will be going to Phoenix for a child abuse conference, and visiting with high school friends in Tucson on the weekend. Hurrah!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bugs and Boys

The depression bug has come back again; so, a trip to my friendly psychiatrist was in order. He is fiddling with my meds so they can bite back the bug. Also, he referred me for a neuropsychiatric evaluation to see why I have been so forgetful, whether it is the depression or a leftover from my CVA back last September. (I'm betting on the latter.) Meanwhile, life is just kind of blah right now. Let's hope that the insurance will cover it, as I understand that it is two days of testing, yipes!

We did have a lovely Sunday. After church the Texan and I joined some friends to celebrate the Blonde Lawn Boy's graduation from high school and his birthday as well. I have known BLB since he was a tiny tyke of two when he tore through the narthex chased by his father and mother whom I had known in years past. What a joy to see him grown up into a fine young man. He gave one of the youth sermons and it was killer!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

Yesterday I went up to The University and found it virtually deserted. I had forgotten it was Friday before Memorial Day! I got what work I could do without other people done, then met with our IV-E students in Lewisville in the afternoon. The Texan and I went out for a drink and dinner early in the evening at one of our new favorite places. Such a nice, relaxed start to the weekend for us.

Today I am struck once again by the fact that I am the proud daughter, sister, wife, and mother of US war veterans. I still hate all the wars from Viet Nam on, as I watch my country become the "enforcer" of the world. And the fact is that I am enormously proud of my family who were willing to serve their country. I am even the daughter-in-law of a World War I veteran, as the Texan's father earned his US citizenship by serving as a Canadian citizen in the US Army. Nobody in the family has ever been career military but always citizen soldiers. I truly believe that war and killing are the most animalistic parts of the human race. And yet...
sometimes one has to defend our people and land from aggressors or be annihilated by them. I have never been able to reconcile Christ's teachings completely on anything other than a personal level. I continue to struggle with defending our country with "turning the other cheek."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

What Goes Around...

My eye surgery went well; no more cataract haze, and I can actually see distances well from the eye. Hooray! It does seem as though the distance vision varies at times, but maybe that is just a normal phenomenon. I'll talk to the doctor about it on Wednesday.

This has been a pleasant week at work. It is in between semesters, so not a lot of folks around. I have been able to catch up on detail stuff left undone during the end of the semester rush. I even have my part of the new contract done and submitted to my boss who will put the finishing touches on the contract draft and send it into Austin. She and I had both worked at CPS for many years, then I came to The University, and she came a year later. While at CPS, I was in a much higher position than hers; I was very highly regarded by (most) of my peers, managers, and community agency people as one of the best direct service managers. She was in a subordinate support position. Years later, at The University, she is in a faculty tenure track position and I am in a professional staff position. She is outstanding at managing grants - much better than I. And I am grateful for her skills and support. She is clearly in her niche, and I struggle to handle my parts of writing the contract. Funny, how God leads us to the right place for each of us, and allows us to appreciate each other's strengths.

Lots of social events too this week - Enjoyed a dinner with other social workers and the NASW director in Denton; dinner with Bud, Beautiful DIL, and Little Cowpoke last night. Now I am off to a nice brunch! Whoo hoo, as we say in Texas!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Weekend

I have had a really soul-satisfying Mother's Day weekend. Lawyer Girl, who just moved into her new house last weekend andstarts a three-week trial on Monday, flew up to spend the day on Saturday. The best gift of all, the gift of time, was just perfect, not to mention the nice massage etc. Then we got to keep the Littlest Cowpoke overnight while Bud and the Beautiful Daughter-In-Law went out to celebrate themselves. Met them again to transfer custody of the 'Poke, and made arrangements for us to go out to dinner at the end of the week. 'Poke was very cuddly this morning and very well-behaved at church too. What more could a Mom want?

Elastigirl gave a fabulous sermon today, one tying Motherhood and the Church as our nurturing mother. She was poised, and so very "herself" as she talked. It is impressive to watch her grow into her own voice and presence week by week, month by month. She becomes more and more the priest she will be. I do not know how the ordination issues will sort themselves out, but they will. It is as though she is becoming a voice for God, and not one for Bishop B-head.

Lawyer Girl became very angry when she asked about Elastigirl and when she would be ordained and I told her about the B's position and the Standing Committee, saying, "No wonder, people don't go to churches with "stuff" like that going on!" What I wish I had said was that the church is made up of all the lovely and the crappy stuff that goes on with people, and that, yes, our B. is biased against strong women and is sometimes very mean and petty, but that is no different that the society in which we live. I don't go to church because of a priest or bishop, but because it is where I can best communicate with God and be part of a community of people who want to do their best to live as Christ to each other. I cannot imagine how I could continue to go on without the many gifts of kindness from the people in my parish.

All in all, it has been an incredible weekend. Thanks be to God.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

It is a week of downs and ups

Lots of frustration gong on in my head today. I had just gotten the carpets steam cleaned and two hours later the Texan spilled urine in the center of the living room! Then, last night, he made two more spills in the living room. I know that closing the urine bag consistently is hard for him - doing anything consistently is hard - but he usually gives me a day or two to enjoy a clean rug. Then I had my pre-op appointment for cataract surgery yesterday, only to get there and have them tell me the doctor was called away, but they were sure they had called me to reschedule. (No, they had not) and they would be glad to see me Friday, when I had to reschedule another appointment in order to get to the pre-op. Nothing really bad, I know, but lots of pinprick frustrations to put a damper on my day. It could be worse, and has been worse, but I vastly prefer days that run according to plan. Ok. God what is in store for today? Grading finals and working on the new contract, I know.

Lawyer Girl is coming in on Saturday morning to celebrate Mother's Day. Hurrah! She will only be here for the day and has to go back to Austin that evening, but I really appreciate the gesture. I made us appointments for a massage at Coldwater Creek Spa, way overpriced but decadently luxurious. It is so special to have time with my girl!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

God's Plan for Us

We started today working on the new strategic plan for Annunciation. This is a process whereby the entire parish has an opportunity to be a part of creating and shaping how and where Annunciation will develop during the next 5 years. I always find this kind of planning to be an exciting work. When I see how far this parish has come in the almost 17 years that the Texan and I have been attending, I am amazed. It was a family-led church, just becoming a pastoral church when we started coming intermittantly in the fall of 1991. Our Amazing Rector was the new Vicar, having come about a year before us. He has grown our tiny mission into a thriving Corporate church, that is in the top 2% of Episcopal churches in the nation for active! attendance! It is highly unusual for any church to sustain this much growth, and even less likely that one priest could make those changes along with the parish. The Diocese of Dallas was incredibly foolish not to choose him as bishop. He has so much to teach other clergy about changing styles of leadership. We are truly blessed to have such a rector.

Tex is ever so much better, back to his usual rascally self. It was a miserable 3 week process but another blessing reminding us of the fragility of life. And that this fragile life can be so very good!

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Spring in Texas is so fleeting most years that we miss it altogether. Not this year!
We have had lots of spring storms, winds, a few tornados, and oodles and oodles of spring flowers. To my joy, my new iris bed has escaped my black thumb and is putting out lots of blooms. Lavender and white ones, purple and cream ones, light yellow, brilliant yellow, even a delicate pink! And there are several more to open this week. Last year I went to the iris farm near us in Argyle, bought about 20 iris bulbs, planted them, and crossed my heart that they lived. Dolly Dog ate two of them, actually, just dug them up, nipped at them, and threw them for hours, after which they were just shreds of what might have been bulbs. But the others made it, and 13 out of the 18 have bloomed or are putting out blooms. Don't tell me iris are hardy and that you can't kill them... I can kill any plant! But these are beautiful! I'm so proud.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Not So Good

The Texan is doing very poorly today. I found him having fallen on the floor, which is carpeted, thank goodness! He is very groggy today, not making a whole lot of sense, and, most ominously of all, not drinking very much liquid. I have convinced him that he needs to be in a wheelchair today because the carpet cleaners have left the carpet wet and slippery (true in the living room) but he has not been out of his room today.

I am afraid to leave him even to go to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for him. I haven't been able to find anyone home this glorious spring morning who can stay with him. Aha, maybe Bird Girl could - I get ideas just by writing out the problem. Let's see if that will work.... Hooray! she and her husband will come by in an hour or so to stay with him while I run errands. She is such a terrific help to me and her Dad.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

More Rain

Tex came home from the hospital on Sunday, proceeding to be the worst he has been in years that night. Delusional, unable to walk straight, up several times in the night, falling etc. One of the problems is that the dad-blamed hospital decided to reduce his amount of IV fluid the night before and didn't tell anyone. So they sent him home from the hospital dehydrated! I got caretakers for all this week, 8 hours a day, but have tried to manage him myself at night. (24 hour care is just prohibitively expensive.) He has come back some, has periods of clarity, and is joking again but is still unable to walk much. He is really trying to cooperate and is drinking about 90 ozs. of water a day. How can he go down that much that quickly?

It is getting to the end of the semester for me, so lots of papers to grade etc. My friends have been terrific, calling to check on me, bringing food etc. Exhaustion seems to be my middle name right now, since I sleep lightly, listening to see when and if he gets up. Please keep him in your prayers. big time!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Love is All Around Us

The Texan is back home after his hospital stay for a bad UTI. He is still somewhat delusional but better than he was when he went in. Yesterday, he seemed really clear, but they cut his IV intake without upping his liquid intake and he regressed today. I felt that it was really important to bring him home so he didn't get "hospital psychosis" on top of everything else. I have fulltime coverage for him all this week, and I can manage him at night. So far.

I went to Austin with my kids to attend the Ex's goodbye party, and am so very glad I did. He was gracious and just glowing to see all the people who came to see him. Old friends and new. I was delighted to see his cousin Sally whom I hadn't seen for nearly 40 years. He is very gaunt and frail but just glowing with love for his family and friends, and especially for Gail, his wife. It made me happy just to be there and see that. I want to keep that picture in my mind whenever I think of him.

Thank you to all of you who went to see the Texan in the hospital while I was gone; he loved all the visits and the caring that you expressed.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

And it keeps on raining!

Well, the Texan is back in the hospital. Hopefully he just has an infection that will respond to a different antibiotic than the one he has been on since Monday. We may find out more tomorow. It was great being able to reach Dr. Incredible - Elastigirl's fella - when I couldn't get a hold of his primary care physician. PCP also came by this evening. Both Docs know the Texan well, and could tell he wasn't himself right now.
In the meantime, the Ex is holding on, and his wife has had to deal with her brother's death also this week. It never rains but it pours! As Lawyer Girl said so perfectly, "Mom, I'm going to quit answering calls from my parents. It's always one of you falling apart!" Of course, being the Wonderful Daughter she is, she also said that she always wanted me to call when her Beloved Stepfather goes to the hospital. My kids are really reeling right now! Please send lots of prayers to Ben and Meg, they could use them as much as their parents right now.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Grace Under Fire

My Ex and his wife got the grim news yesterday that there is no treatment for his cancer as surgery, radiation and chemo have been ruled out for various reasons. Although recognizing the meaning of the news, he has responded in an unusual and very generous way - he is having a BIG party next weekend to celebrate the 29th anniversary of his wedding to the Stepmother! He said to bring lots of joy to the occasion. The Texan and I are planning to go and help them celebrate. My thoughts at the time of his re-marriage was one of relief, that he was now going to have someone else to be with him. Even though there have been some bad feelings over the years, I have to admit that she has been the best thing that happened to him since the birth of our children and that she has truly loved our children over the years. God bless them, and give them joy!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Easter Season

Easter Day was wonderful! I walked to the lake and saw the sunrise - and to think that God does that every day without my help! Then breakfast brunch and church with Bird Girl, then down to Dallas for the Littlest Cowpoke's neighborhood Easter parade. 'Poke was Batman, riding in the Super Heroes float and so very proud. Soon it was time to go have Easter Dinner with the Littlest 'Poke's other set of grandparents and their family. The Texan had a grand time as did I!

No news on the Ex's medical condition. They are in a holding pattern right now while they await reports back from the surgical teams in Dallas and Houston.

Well, it has been back to work this week after the best Spring Break ever. We stayed home, did a lot of small things around the house, and got me to wishing for retirement even more than I already am. Easter is the season of New Life - wonder what is in store for us at the Ranch?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Holy Week has been a little different here at the R Ranch. We did not attend Maundy Thursday or the Prayer Vigil this year; the Texan was tired after we had kept the Littlest Cowpoke whose preschool was on the same Spring Break schedule as the one that Socialworker's School of Higher Eddification scheduled.

Lots of fun with the Littlest 'Poke. I had a legitimate reason to see "Horton Hears a Who", which was one of my most favorite books of Dr. Seuss. The L.'Poke only got scared once during the movie and pronounced it "great!" Score one for Grandma Socialworker. He was an absolute angel the whole time he was here, with the exception of one 5 minute sulk. Thank goodness for that; I was afraid he was getting too perfect for a 4 year old!

It turns out that the RR bunch is not coming to the Ranch after all this Easter. What a bummer! The Texan and I were really looking forward to seeing them. But we will spend Easter Morning with our Bird Girl which will be highly enjoyable.

Lots of telephone calls to and from Lawyer Girl who is bearing the brunt of the Ex's illness. She is, of course, doing all that she can for the Ex and the Stepmother. She is also making a huge committment to her Virus Researcher Guy in that they are buying a house together. When I asked if that meant they were thinking about getting married, she replied "Oh, mother! I'm not ready to get married. I've been married before; this is a MUCH bigger committment!" Oh, this younger generation! I have to remember that her ex-husband took his marriage very lightly, and left for Italy when Meg wanted to buy a house and settle in Austin. (events slightly scrambled but nevertheless essentially true.) VR Guy is a really great guy who told SW that LG "was the light of his life." So I can't be too upset. God bless them and keep them, please.

We are going to Good Friday service tonight, then the Texan can rest on Saturday, and we will have our Easter doings. I hate to think that this wonderful break will be over by Monday.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

My Father and Mother Were Wandering Arameans...

It seems as though there is lots of inner movement going on within me. I've had deeply satisfying telephone conversation with both the Ex and his wife. Come to find out, his cancer is reeeeally rare - epstein-barr viral leiomyosarcoma, only about 20 cases or so have been reported. In some ways it is more treatable than the regular kind, but after surgery, it will be trying to balance the need for immunosuppressant drugs vs the need for antiviral ones. It was nice to talk with them without feeling that I had to protect myself at the same time.

The "Killer God" that was the deity of my childhood has been replaced with the Person of Jesus. When the concepts of the "Killer God" and the "Fake-em-out Jesus" were named and seen for what they were - false gods - I have been able to give up most of my fears about the end of the world and the state of the world as it is now. C.S. Lewis says in "The Great Divorce" that the gray city can either be seen as Hell or Purgatory depending on the direction you are heading. So, I think that the world now will be either seen as the beginning glimpses of Heaven or as the training ground of Hell. If the Real Jesus of the New Testament is truly as soul-freeing as I am perceiving, then this world can truly be the possibility of the glimpse of Heaven.

Along with this, I have become keenly aware of the soul-deadening qualities of patriarchy in this world. The prevalence of prostitution of women, both legal and illegal, the fight in the Episcopal Church over the ordination of women, and the demonization of women in cultures throughout the world, including our own, are truly evils in this world. I have been reading The Dance of the Dissidant Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd, and it has focused my thinking. I have no need to leave the Church as she did over patriarchy. Nor do I think that Goddess-worship is ultimately much improvement. God is truly neither male, nor female, but incorporates them both and transcends them.

What has become apparent to me is that I need a spiritual director/mentor/friend who can help me explore this new territory that I am moving into. When the need is there, one will arise. "Come, Lord Jesus. Fill the hearts of your faithful..."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Hey, it worked!

After multiple tries, I finally got the RevGals Ring information to post! Hurrah for the web-challenged! Who knows, someday I might even figure out how to post a picture.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Rolling Away the Stone

I was struck by the sermon Elastigirl gave on Sunday, challenging us to roll away the stone in front of our secret dark areas in order to let Jesus Christ walk in and make it clean. Immediately, I knew what area of my life needs to have the Light of Christ deal with the anger, shame, jealousy, and victim stance. Visualized opening that cave for Him to deal with...No huge changes noticed but just the knowledge that I can not deal with it alone, and I no longer have to...oddly enough, just the visualization that the cave is now empty and clean. What a blessing!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Random thoughts

It has been a beautiful Texas late winter day - with sunshine and temperature in the 60's. Cold front and rain tomorow. Oh well, we don't get bored with our weather this time of year! (Just in the blistering summer.)

Our rector has been nominated for suffragan bishop - he would be great for the diocese but such a loss to my parish! The Holy Spirit will no doubt sort this one out. He has been my parish priest for over 16 years, been through the good and the bad with the Texan and me. It sure would be hard to get used to a new priest, but I know that it will have to be done sooner or later.

Thanks to Elastigirl's Mr. Incredible for his help in understanding the Ex's medical condition. I passed his information and recommendation on to my wonderful Lawyer Girl who is the Kid on Location with this one.

The Texan did absolutely fabulous at church today - no walker even! But he has slept the entire afternoon away so has taken in no water this afternoon. One of my jobs is being Keeper of the Water Intake. Enough water in, bladder healthy; not enough, risk of making another ER room visit. Drink, Drink, keep Drinking!

Enough of being indoors. I am going to take the little bitty Guard Dogs for a walk.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Snow Day!

Here in Texas we deal with snow by pretending that it is catastrophic and shutting everything down. Evidently it is cheaper to do this than to buy snow plows, snow melting products etc. We had a whale of a snowstorm yesterday! Thunder, 6-9 inches of snow in Denton County, blinding snow, etc. I left right after my class about 12:45, headed onto the freeway, and travelled home at about 15 miles per hour on the normally frantic interstate. No accidents, just folks driving carefully on the snow.
We love snow days in Texas; they are always an unexpected treat for someone who is considerd "nonessential personnel."

So the Texan gets to sleep late this morning with our dogs snuggled in with him; our caregiver is stuck at her other job; I get to play on the computer; and life is good. Thank you for all your prayers for the Ex et al.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Prayers Please!

I found out yesterday that my ex-husband has been diagnosed with spindle cell carcinoma, which means that he has four or five very large cancerous tumors throughout his body. He is in a great deal of pain. He had a heart transplant 7 years ago and had done extremely well. However, because of the immunosupressant drugs he needed, he was much more vulnerable to cancer. He meets with the oncologist today to see what they recommend. Please pray for Scott, his wife Gail, and our children Ben and Meghan. He is an important member of our family.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Relief, maybe?

Today I talked to my direct supervisor and asked to be relieved of one course this fall. I am already carrying more courses than other university liaisons in Texas and it was doable for the first few years. I have struggled with it but it is no longer doable once they doubled the size of the class. I have had health issues for the last two fall semesters and don't want one this fall. My supervisor said she would do what she could to relieve me. Here's hoping (fingers crossed).

This evening I am going to go caucus for my candidate. I love it when my vote can count twice!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Praying for Guidance

I have come to a realization that I no longer have much enthusiasm for my job, nor does it seem likely that I will regain it. Enthusiasm is necessary since a very important part of the job is to recruit new social workers into working for CPS. I have been highly effective in the past, but not for the last year or so. Although this position pays extremely well and has great flexibility, I do not feel that I am wise to keep on going. I have had several health-related issues in the past 18 months, which seem to indicate that I need to leave the pressure of this behind. On the other hand, I have set my finances up in such a way that I will work for 3-4 more years. My working has allowed me some freedom in that I can afford a caregiver for the Texan 5 mornings a week. I cannot trade the pressure of working for the pressure of having his fulltime care and feeling trapped. That is not good for our marriage. So...what to do? Just naming the problem is a first step. Please pray for guidance for me, and that God will make my path clear.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Things that Change

I am taking the afternoon off so I don't need to feel guilty blogging in the middle of the day! Here is the results of the Bible Quiz I took, she said arrogantly:

"You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic! ""
Oh, yeah! I am so NOT a Biblical scholar! But it is fun to take these little quizzes.

I went to the "Everything Must Change" conference in Dallas this weekend. It was very interesting to be with so many evangelical Christians who share my concern for social justice issues. I guess I have been party to the notion that all evangelicals care ab out it abortion and homosexuality. (Still do not like the music, which was guitar, keyboard, violin, and drums.) I really related to McLaren's paradigm shift and ways of approaching and naming the issues of prosperity, security and ecosystem. It gave me hope which was quite surprising. Now, I need to finish the book. I didn't come to any conclusions exactly but left with plenty to think about, pray about, and begin to work on.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I want to share a great joy, even though it goes into the "forbidden" area of politics. I grew up in the 50's where Mom stayed home with the kids and Father did know best. As a teen and young adult in the 60's I and other young women had more choices than my mother's generation, but there were and are still firm beliefs that men are superior to women. Yesterday, I got to vote for a WOMAN for president! That is incredibly freeing to me and much more than a symbolic gesture. Whether or not she wins, it is a recognition that she is qualified, that women are qualified and are not inferior men. Huzzah!

The God who Smites and Kills

I am reading "Everything Must Change" by Brian McLaren in preparation for the workshop this weekend. I am finding out how much I buy in to the idea that the world will end in suffering and violence. The angry Old Testament God who smites and kills was my idea of God as a child. Even though I know that God has dealt with me wonderfully and lovingly and loves us all, that Killer God still lurks in the back of my mind. I would like to believe in McLaren's concept of a Peace Revolution but I am still not there yet. Maybe this weekend will help.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Ask, and ye shall receive...

After whining on the blog yesterday, it occurred to me that I was in my "I have to do everything myself" mode. So I picked up the phone and called my dear stepdaughter Bird Girl and asked her if she could take her dad to the Texan Family Breakfast tomorrow while I wait for the furniture delivery. She is wonderful and always helps out if she can. Amazingly, I can get respite without triggering the Texan's feelings of rejection! I guess that even Socialworker has to actually ask for help to receive it. Do ya' think there is a lesson there?

There really is a difference in our need for "alone time." The Texan, being a twin and the 8th out of 9 children, has absolutely no need to be by himself. After all, he was not alone, even in the womb! There was always noise and people around him, so he goes off in his head if he needs to. And, let's face it, he is alone most afternoons while I am working. But, I, on the other hand, the oldest in my family by 5 years, and working around people all the time, crave some time to myself. So we have conflicting needs and we work it out as best as we can. Some times, we succeed better than others.

They are predicting rain here this weekend. Please God, give us gentle, steady, soaking rain.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Long Time, No Write

It has been a while since I have written on this blog. No good reason, really; just that I have been pondering things in my mind without wanting to commit myself to writing things out. My friend MB "tagged" me into writing. The nearest book was a mystery by J.A. Jance, "Dead Wrong." The first 3 sentences on page 123 are: " There are 24 shots per camera. Only 16 of them have been exposed. Casey lifted plenty of prints." Yeesh! I didn't realize that she wrote so poorly. Maybe I had better upgrade my reading level!

The Texan and I celebrated 18 years of marriage on Sunday. They have been years of love and a lot of happiness. I wouldn't part with any of them, even the ones where he was so very ill. The lessons I have learned from the difficult years have been valuable ones, too. We are happy together, yet I still feel confined by his depending on me and most especially, by so seldom having any "alone" time in my house. His always wanting to be with me has been an ongoing problem in our marriage, and I suspect that it will continue to be. I know that he misses his independence, and I do too. I know that I am fortunate to have him at all - but, oh God, is it too much to wish he had somewhere to go without me one day a week?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Changes for the better

The next few days will be a real change of pace for the Socialworker. I'm going to spend Saturday and Sunday with Lawyer Girl and her Virus/Researcher/Scientist fellow which will be a treat. They are getting more committed to each other in their distinctly unusual order of things - looking at houses to buy together. More than anything, I want them to be happy and they truly seem to be. Then it is off to Alamotown to attend a child abuse conference.

The Texan has been so well lately that we have found ourselves cooking dinner together; he is doing the supper dishes, helping bring in groceries, picking up the living room etc. Almost seems like old times, only we are truly appreciating the times we are in. For someone who was supposed to die about three years ago, he is truly my Miracle Man! Although I do need a bit of respite, we were both reluctant to have him go to his daughter's house tonight.

I have been doing a bit of redecorating lately due to some unknown urge. First it was the new bed coverings, then the leather furniture and now, I'm looking at new tables for the living room. What in the world has gotten into me? All I can say is that I have left the beige period behind and am now in a world of burgundy and chocolate--not a bad combination in real life either!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Times, They Are A-Changing

Our church's pastoral group met at our house yesterday as it usually does so, once a month. Our number was down one-third due to illness in several members. But our discussion was lively and, I found, enlivening.

We talked about the strategic planning process and what the church may look like in the coming years. I feel strongly called to the strategic planning process, and I am hopeful about the upcoming years in my beloved parish. Most importantly, I find that I want to become more active again. The past three or four years have been consumed by the Texan's health issues, but they seem to have stabilized the past 6 months or so.

I am excited about attending the upcoming conference, "Everything Must Change." This is very odd, since I am someone who hates changes. But my life is changing as I can see the end of full-time employment coming up in the next 4 years; our far-sighted Rector says he is only staying for the next 5 years; both the Texan and I have had to deal with significant health issues this year which have made it clear that we are entering into another stage of life, both together and seperately. I am beginning to feel guided into a direction instead of feeling like I am in limbo or just struggling to stay afloat. Maybe changes can actually be good, she said hopefully.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Family Ties

I had a thrill this morning when I opened a box which I had ordered. In it I found eight perfect cups and saucers to match my father's grandmother's china pattern. I am named for her, and I am the one who inherited her relatively rare Haviland Star white-on-white china. For nearly all of my childhood the china sat in boxes in my parents' closet. (My mother had no place to display it, and I had rough and tumble little brothers.) She gave it to me before she died. I use it occasionally now for special dinners. I am the first person who has added to the collection as my mother died before the advent of internet shopping. I found myself feeling very connected to my great-grandmother this morning and feeling very greatful for the gifts which were passed on to me. I know that these are only "things" but they represent continuity with people who passed on experiences and values which have shaped me into who I am. Thank you, Anna Patten, Edith Patten Jessup, and Mickie Jessup.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ten Reasons for Not Ordaining Men

Ten reasons for Not Ordaining Men:
10. A man's place is in the army.
9. Men with children might be distracted by their parental responsibilities.
8. Ministry is unnatural for men since their physical build suits them better for chopping wood.
7. Man, having been created before woman, is an experiment, not the crowning achievement of creation.
6. Men are too emotional; see how they respond at sporting events.
5. Handsome men will distract female worshippers.
4. Pastoring is a nurturing role; historically, women have been the nurturers.
3. Men are too prone to violence and would be dangerously unstable in conflict situations.
2. Men can still be involved in church work without having to become pastors.
1. Jesus was betrayed by a man, whose lack of faith and subsequent punishment symbolizes the subordinate position all men should assume.

I lifted this from the Episcopal Princess. Kudos to whoever first wrote it, and kudos to those who can use humor during dark days.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Bless Them All

I have had so much rest over the holidays that I found myself eager to go back to work. It's been nice to get caught up on the pile of paperwork that I had let slide during the Recovery time. I still have one report to write, and a syllabus to modify, then I will be ready for the new semester which starts on the 14th. Hooray!

Elastigirl is finishing her Ordination Exams today so I have a bottle of champagne on ice for her. I can't imagine doing days and days of written you suppose that Jesus had to take exams before God let him preach? At any rate, E will be an outstanding, compassionate, organized priest assuming that the Powers That Be see fit to ordain another woman in this diocese. As frustratingly conservative as our Bishop is, at least he is not careening off the tracks as is our neighboring diocese to the west.

All this schism stuff makes me sad and mad. I cannot believe the massive egos and self-rightousness that comes out of the schismatics. As if any of us have the right to turn away from each other and say the equivalent of "God loves me best and I know what God wants and you don't!" I only know that God is bigger and grander than all of us squabbling Christians put together and that Jesus said "love one another as I have loved you." I love that song that says, "Bless them all, the long, the short, and the tall...." That seems like a good motto for 2008, "Bless them all..." But maybe it should be, "Bless Us All..."