Monday, July 20, 2009
Be that as it may, I learned the hard way that four, NOT one, is the loneliest number for our family. This past Saturday, my daughter got a four-hour pass from the psychiatric hospital she's currently committed to. We managed to get both boys together and we all went to see a movie as a five-member family again. We've been five for a long time. We're actually six, but that's a story for another time and place, if ever. It's been IvesFives for many, many years. Saturday, IvesFives rode again. It was only for a few short hours, but it was wonderful. Everyone was in a good mood. The kids got along really, really well. We had tons of laughs, too much movie junk and just a super fantastic time. We saw Public Enemies. For those who might not know, that's the Johnny Depp flick about John Dillinger. It wasn't my cup of tea, but the kids wanted to see it and because everyone was so dang happy, I thoroughly enjoyed it in spite of myself.
I have written before about how difficult it is to leave her every time they lock the door behind us. This time it was almost more than I could bear. Things were so good for just a few hours. I'm a realist. I know that if we were allowed to take her home, at this point, things would seriously deteriorate once again. My brain knows that. My heart wants to control/alt/delete that knowledge. We were a somber bunch when the four of us got back in that van for what seemed like an awfully long ride home.
This song was playing in my head all the way back. It's a good song. For me, though, four will forever be the loneliest number. I can't wait for the five of us to be together again. . . for as long as forever can be with teenagers. I need it. Ray needs it. The boys need it. And Lil needs it, too, whether or not she believes it right now. She will. That is my most fervent prayer. Enjoy the song.
"And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the Heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under Heaven." –Deuteronomy 4:19
EDITOR'S NOTE: Although Dr. Buzz Aldrin was prevented from publicly reading Scripture while he took communion in the Lunar Module, he did manage to quote Psalm 8: 3-4 "When I consider Thy Heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou has ordained; What is man that Thou art mindful of him? And the Son of Man, that Thou visitest him?" just before splashing down at the end of the Apollo 11 mission. –Aimee Herd, BCN.
For those of us who were old enough to comprehend what we, and the rest of the world, were intently watching on TV the evening of July 20, 1969—it was a day like no other. It was, of course, the day Astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped down the short ladder of the lunar landing module, and onto the surface of the moon for the very first time. (Photo: History Channel)
We squinted in attempts to bring into better focus the black and white images being beamed from our planet's encircling rock some 238,900 miles away. …A gleaming white space suit and helmet, bouncing, skipping and hopping on top of the dusty lunar ground. …The blackness of pure space in surrounding contrast.
All in all it was a pretty remarkable transmission for 1969.
Although I was only 8, I clearly remember the circumstances that put me in front of a TV that day. My parents, siblings and I were on vacation, traveling by car to our next destination in the barren "high desert" country of central-eastern Oregon. Since anything to do with space travel was a very big deal in our family (On several different occasions I remember the thrill of getting up in the middle of the night just to watch TV coverage of previous Apollo rockets' various "separation" stages); stopping some place where we'd be able to view Apollo 11's anticipated lunar landing was imperative.
Fortunately, at just about the "scheduled" time, we found a tiny restaurant with a TV in the bar. The law would not permit children to enter, but my father came to my rescue and sat me atop his shoulders so I could see over the swinging half-doors.
The moonwalk had center stage that day, as the bar fell silent, and restaurant patrons crowded in for a closer view. I watched the entire momentous event while piggyback on my daddy; keenly aware that I was witnessing history in the making.
Interestingly enough, Astronaut Buzz Aldrin had secretly taken along a communion kit, specially prepared by his church, so he could take communion there in the Lunar Module. It was kept secret due to the impending lawsuit brought against NASA after Astronauts Jim Lovell, William Anders and Frank Borman—a year earlier—had read the creation story from the book of Genesis on Christmas Eve, during the Apollo 8 mission. (Photo: History Channel)
Dr. Aldrin had prepared to read John 15:5 ("…I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without Me.") back to Earth, but—at NASA's request—ended up just reading what he'd written on a note card: "Houston, this is Eagle the LM Pilot speaking. I would like to request a few moments of silence. Over. I would like to invite each person listening in, wherever and whomever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his own individual way—My way shall be by partaking of the elements of Holy Communion."
Aldrin's church which had prepared his communion kit, reportedly still holds a special "Lunar Communion" service on the Sunday closest to the moonwalk anniversary.
This year is the 40th anniversary of the "giant leap for mankind," and it got me thinking about what it meant for Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin to actually walk on the moon, and return home to Earth. …And about what we, who remained here, have taken from the experience.
Perhaps Neil summed it up well when he described looking at Earth from his spacecraft saying, "It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small."
Awe for the incredible beauty of God's creation, and awe for the incomprehensible immensity of God, Himself.
He gives us the curiosity to explore, the creativity and knowledge needed to accomplish, and He lets us see—in doing so—that He is still so much bigger, and absolutely omniscient.
For those who are interested, the History Channel is airing the 2-hour program, MOONSHOT, for the 40th anniversary commemoration of the first moonwalk today; Monday, July 20th at 8PM ET.
For more information, follow the link provided.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
When this album (yeah, album, NOT CD :) came out, I think I put holes in the vinyl on several copies. Don't know why, but their harmony appealed to me. Then Neil Young joined in. . . hmmm. This is Teach Your Children. I liked the sound of the studio clip better than the live ones.
Even though the acid rock "stuff" was taking over, there were still a few great ballads being sung. This guy's voice used to really get to me. Here's Johnny Maestro & The Brooklyn Bridge singing It's the Worst That Could Happen. The live clip was wild with the costumes and all, but I couldn't embed it. :(
In 1969, if you had told me I would even think about liking country music, I would've slapped you! But I dearly loved CCR, Credence Clearwater Revival. This is John Fogerty and the CCR guys doing Proud Mary, a big hit that year.
That was fun. Maybe one day I'll pick another year that was important in my life. . . like when I got married in 1972 and see what's on the Top 100 list. Thanks for the great idea, Cindy!
Here's something else going on around the important July '69 anniversary.
"This historic anniversary is a perfect opportunity to show America, and the world, the power of every human life."
Speaking for the organization, CatholicVote.org, former Astronaut, Dr. Joseph Kerwin introduces their latest pro-life ad which is centered around the Apollo 11 Moonwalk. View this poignant video message at the link provided. Dr. Kerwin's introduction follows…
"…our nation [is celebrating] the 40th anniversary of the historic mission of Apollo 11 to the moon. While I never personally made it to the moon, I was privileged to serve as the first American doctor in space with Skylab 2.
"I am honored to announce the launch of a new ad from CatholicVote.org.
"I [recently appeared] alongside other retired astronauts along with CatholicVote.org President Brian Burch at a press conference in Houston. The reason for the media event was that the new CatholicVote.org ad would be running regularly on local Houston television stations for the next several weeks.
"Joining me at the press conference were retired astronaut Dr. Bill Thornton, and Mr. Gene Kranz—the Flight Director at Mission Control during the Apollo program, including the famous Apollo 13 mission. Mr. Kranz was played by Ed Harris in the 1995 Oscar award winning film.
"CatholicVote.org's new ad is already creating buzz in Houston, and I can't wait for the rest of the country to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11 with it.
"[On Monday] media outlets around the world will commemorate the historic achievement of Apollo 11. The courage and dedication of the astronauts aboard Apollo 11, and hundreds of others involved in our nation's space program make me proud of our great country.
"But most importantly, the achievements of the space program remind me of the potential of every human life. This historic anniversary is a perfect opportunity to show America, and the world, the power of every human life."
View the CatholicVote.org AD by accessing the link provided.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Right now, Noah is facing another very serious health crisis and is headed back to the hospital. Would you please send up prayers for this sweet baby? Noah has endured more in his short life than most of us will ever be asked to in a million years. Here's the blog address:
Leave a comment, provided you can uplift and edify these Godly but worn-out parents. Kate reads every one while she's in the hospital with Noah and they give her comfort. Recently, there have been some less than Godly comments so, please, let's get on there and lift these sweet folks up.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
FROM: Ethel the Editor
SUBJECT: Wordy Wednesday
Carla, I liked doing the last Wordy Wednesday so much, I decided to do it again. . . AND I decided to take over JoJo's blog for the day, too! Just wanted you to know there is absolutely NOTHING you can do about it either. Nyah, nyah, nyah, NYAH, nyah!!! I posted five E-words to JoJo's blog, but I was really clever and didn't give her the answers. I may not even post them here. I may just FORCE them to go to an online dictionary to get the meanings of these fantastic E-words. . . or leave them hanging. Why E-words? Well, ETHEL begins with E, doesn't it? HAH HAH HAH Now get out of my way while I 'splain these E-words to the folks. Wonder if JoJo finally figured them out. Oh, BTW, if you don't let me have this blog next Wednesday, I'm just gonna shove you out of the way and take it. . . so there!!! I guess I should give your readers the meanings to these words, huh? Okay, I'll be nice. EE
(1) Epexegesis (ep ek si jee sis) The addition of a word or words to explain a preceding word, or a word or phrase added for such a purpose. Epexegetic and Epexegetical are both valid adjective forms.
(2) Epigone (EP-i-goan) A mediocre imitation or follower of an important artist, writer, etc.
(3) Epigeal (ep-i-JEE-uhl) Living close to the ground, as certain plants do.
(4) Exiguous (ig-ZIG-yoo-us) Extremely scanty or meager.
(5) Expunge (ek spunj) To erase, strike or wipe out, destroy or obliterate.
NOTE TO ETHEL, THE USURPER: Actually, I knew them all except Number 1. Now I know Number 1, too! (giggles wildly while making appropriate raspberries at Ethel!!!) C
Okay, folks. . . let's not let Ethel have ALL the fun. How many can you use in a sentence and. . . I dare ya. . . can you put them all together? Where are the super creative (read that warped) minds out there? Leave a comment here or on JoJo's blog.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Most of our readers know that I co-host a weekly podcast with a wonderful lady named JoJo Tabares. JoJo has a great blog and, every Monday, she posts a thought-provoking question to get those brain cells out of weekend mode. So I'm going to post her question here for everyone's consideration. Then I'll go post my link to her blog in an attempt to d-r-a-g folks over here. ROFLOL Here's today's question:
What are the three words that best describe you?
This is a challenge. If you don't think so, try it. You are made up of so many pieces and parts that it can be difficult to describe yourself using just three words. If you find this a difficult challenge, it is. You may be sitting behind your computer thinking that you just don't know the answer. But to quote JoJo's DH, Rich, "If you did know, what would they be?" :)
I have to admit to this being really difficult for me, but it's my turn to start, right? I would say:
(1) Loquacious. . . meaning I talk too much;
(2) Loyal. . . meaning once you are my friend, even if you murder someone, I'll be one of your regular visitors while you're in prison; and
(3) Old-fashioned. . . meaning I like things the way they were better than the way they are. What kinds of things? Oh, things like the Constitution, actual education being taught in schools rather than political correctness, people staying married once they decide to get that way. . . that kind of stuff. And, yes, I'm old so I have a lot more to remember than most of you. Does this mean I want to go back? Not really. I would just prefer a lot less change in certain areas. Some old things are worth keeping. (like moi. . . . nudge, nudge, wink, wink :)
Now it's YOUR turn. Leave a comment with the three words that describe YOU!!! I can't wait to read your answers. If you have your own blog, post your answer on your own blog, if you'd like, and then post the link here so we can all go visit!
Let's have a happy, fun Monday instead of the. . . well, you know. . . the regular kind.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Word No. 1 FOOFARAW (Ethel's favorite silly word :) )
foofaraw \FOO-fuh-raw\ (noun) - 1 : Excessive or flashy ornamentation or decoration. 2 : A fuss over a matter of little importance.
Word No. 2 BOMBINATE (Yeah, let's go bombinate sumpin'!!!)
bombinate \BOM-buh-nayt\ (intransitive verb) - To buzz; to hum; to drone.
Word No. 3 BROBDINGNAGIAN (Dontcha just LUV this one???)
Brobdingnagian (brob-ding-NAG-ee-uhn) adjective
Of gigantic size. [After Brobdingnag, the fictional region where everything was enormous, in Jonathan Swift's satire Gulliver's Travels.]
All right, ladies and germs. . . let's get out there and use these properly in a sentence! Reply on this blog and let's see how creative you can be!!! Silly sentences acceptable. . . AND desired!
Ethel the Editor. . . over and out!
Monday, July 6, 2009
If you go back to June, you will find the post entitled PAIN. This will give you Chapter 1 of Lil's story. The incident described in that blog entry happened on the overnight of June 5/6. She was released on the 12th and referred to a partial program, meaning home nights and weekends, but bussed to a day program. She made it through that program for four whole days before she exploded on the overnight of June 22/23, June 23rd being my mom's birthday. SIGH This time, it was ugly. . . really ugly. We couldn't contain her, could barely hold onto her. I called the crisis center while Ray held onto her flailing form. They heard her screaming in the background and told me to simply call the cops and have her taken back to the locked program. We did. She gave the State Trooper an earful when he arrived. He wasn't having any of it. He bundled her up into the ambulance and off she went. This time, we followed the ambulance and then began about 9 hours of hurry up and wait. We got home somewhere around 4AM the morning of the 23rd.
The first few days were rough. She didn't want to see us or have anything to do with us. It started overnight Monday/Tuesday. On Friday, she decided she did want to see us so we visited daily for that weekend. On Monday, they told us they were sure she couldn't come home, but our insurance wouldn't cover a longer stay so. . . they held her on an involuntary commitment order until they could decide what to do for her. At the other end of the hospital floor is an intermediate unit. They wanted to put her there, but they didn't have an approval. Then they started talking about sending her 3 hours away from here. . . one way! I was like. . . OH, NO, YOU DON'T!!! They think she has abandonment issues now??? We would be able to go up there maybe once or twice a month. Uh-uh. Was only going to happen literally over my dead body! On Tuesday, we got a call that a bed on the intermediate unit may be opening up. They confirmed it later that evening. She was to be moved on Thursday, July 2nd.
I arrived at the unit at 10:30 on the 2nd, filled out the discharge paperwork, went downstairs to have her readmitted, went back up for hours of intake and financial meetings. . . and then, home. This unit is for those kids who are being rehabilitated to come home or go to a group home, but not for awhile. The minimum stay is one month; max is one year. After the interviews, they told me they are estimating approximately 3 months for Lil, at which time she will be discharged back into a partial program again. I have no say in this. She belongs partly to the State of New Jersey right now by virtue of her actions. She's not UNhappy there, but she doesn't like it. She wants to come home. I've explained to her over and over that she can't, that it's no longer my decision. She says she understands. I wonder.
We can visit her every day if we'd like, twice on weekends. The problem is economics. It's a 50-mile round trip each time. Even in the little car, the gasoline cost adds up quickly. We always bring her something to eat like an Entenman's pie, brownie, ice cream sundae, milk shake, things like that. She's always hungry. :) The unit has very strict rules on clothing. I've had to buy her a lot of new things. More $$$. So we agreed to go up every other day, for the most part. Oh, family therapy is mandatory once a week also. Right now, it's just Ray and me. Later on, it may include the boys. We have to wait and see. That's a lot of trips. The gas cost is only one part of it. It's 45 minutes each way out and back. We try to make it work with errands we have to run or shopping we have to do. It's still very time-consuming. But we do it. We will continue to do it until she's home.
Folks have asked. . . are we okay with this? Yes and no. She needs help that is beyond our capabilities. So for that purpose, yes, we are okay with it. These beds are in hot demand. The fact that she got one so quickly is a God thing, especially since our insurance won't pay for it. The finance wizards at the hospital are waving their wands and tell me they will get it paid for. Do we miss her? OH, YEAH!!!! This house is way too quiet. I'm usually okay until it's time to leave. She's taken to grabbing onto me at that time. That's when I lose it. I can't show it, but my insides cave and it's all I can do to get out of there without her and without leaving my heart on the floor. Ray feels the same way. He turned 59 on June 25th without his baby girl. He moped around and was on the verge of tears all day long. I'm like that most days if I think about her too much. Going to see her is a bright spot in my day. Leaving her there is the worst. I thought it would get easier. HAH HAH HAH! Not hardly. All we can do is pray that they can help her, God changes her heart. . . or a combination. I don't know what the future will bring, but I know we can't do it as four people. There are FIVE of us in this family. That missing 20% is killing us. To get her the help she needs, we may have to move into the county she's now in. That's okay. We will do what it takes. This house means nothing to me. I'll do just about anything to avoid having to leave her and walk away. When it was "temporary," it wasn't so bad. There was always the chance that she would come home again. Now it's much more permanent. It scares me. Oh, Lord, I miss my baby girl!!!
So now we attempt to settle into a routine with visitations, phone calls and such. Life will get back to what passes for normal around here, but. . . no, I said that wrong. Even in this bizarro world we live in, it won't be anywhere close to normal until I no longer have to leave her standing there, as they lock the door between us. The sound of that lock is what tears another piece out of my heart.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
NOW. . . on to some real classics!
This is one of my favorite B&W clips for the 4th of July. Sit back and enjoy Jimmy Cagney, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland doing George M. Cohan's Yankee Doodle Boy!
Now here's the incomparable Kate Smith doing her signature song (written for her by Irving Berlin). . . God Bless America, set to a newsreel from the 1930s. After this, there's a more modern version that impressed me. Keep scrolling!
I love this song. I listened to many renditions of God Bless America. . . and then I found this one, done by country chanteuse Martina McBride. I think you'll be as impressed as I was!
And now. . . for the Grand Finale. . . enjoy America the Beautiful sung by the Gaither Vocal Band. This is the GVB including Bill Gaither, Guy Penrod, David Phelps and Russ Taff. Beautiful!
Enjoy your day, your BBQs, your picnics and your family fun, but please tell your kids about the founding of this great country, too, why we celebrate the 4th of July as we do. And tonight, say a prayer for our brave soldiers who are not enjoying their families today.
Never forget. . . FREEDOM ISN'T FREE! These heroes pay for it every day.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
I have always been fascinated with the Biblical account of King David. I would even venture to say that he is my all-time favorite character in the Bible. For as long as I have been a Christian, I have marveled at how this “man after God’s own heart” committed adultery, murder, multiple acts of outright disobedience and still remained “a man after God’s own heart,” right to the bitter end. Oh, there were consequences, all right. God proclaimed that the sword would never depart from David’s house and it didn’t; however, David’s house remained intact. I have been taught it was because of David’s true and contrite repentance before God every time he sinned. Other characters in the Bible sinned and repented, but not one of them was called “a man after God’s own heart.” That designation belongs to David alone. This has intrigued me for many, many years and probably will until the day I’m called home.
The other night, I was looking for a comforting Bible story so, naturally, I ended up starting at 1st Samuel, intent on going through 1st Kings and Solomon. I couldn’t settle my spirit on it this time, though. Strange. So I went to the laptop to check my email. Several of my devotionals had arrived. Talk about shock value. They were ALL about. . . not King David, but King Saul. So back I went to 1st Samuel but, this time, reading it from Saul’s perspective, not David’s.
Saul was an unknown who was crowned the first king of Israel. God sent Samuel to anoint him while he was looking for some lost donkeys. Why Saul? Not sure. He was a head taller than the rest of the country, but God must have had a better reason than that. I’m sure he saw something in Saul that excited Him. Was Saul the originally-intended recipient of those glorious words, “a man after God’s own heart?” We will never know. What we do know is that Saul started out well. . . well, good enough, I guess, for a man who was hiding in the luggage during his coronation! Was he scared? I guess so. I know I would be. Israel wasn’t in such good straits at this time and they ticked God off mightily by demanding a king so they could be like other nations. I’m not so sure I would want to lead this rebellious people either. I feel Saul really gave it his best shot. It wasn’t good enough.
In studying these chapters from Saul’s perspective, I discovered something interesting. We usually think of Saul’s failures first, but Saul was basically a good king. He did all the right things. He prayed, he sacrificed, he got appropriately incensed when his people were threatened. He fought well and defeated some of Israel’s fiercest enemies. So why did he fail so miserably? He did most things God’s way, but he inserted just enough of himself in there to screw things up.
The first time he really made a mess of things, he was to wait for Samuel to bless the sacrifice. He was to wait until the 7th day. Did he? Well, yeah. . . the beginning of the 7th day. Samuel showed up later on and boy, oh boy, did Saul hear about it!!! So, technically, he did the right thing, but in reality it was the wrong thing.
Then he pulled the biggie. God ordered him to totally destroy the Amalekites in the land because they had attacked the Israelites coming up out of Egypt under Moses. This was to be God’s retribution, a definitive stroke to show that there indeed WAS a God in Israel. Off Saul went with his army, fully intent on doing the Lord’s work. The Israelites fought bravely and gallantly, destroying every man, woman and child, save one and a couple of choice heifers and some sheep. I honestly think Saul felt he did it correctly. I’m not sure what he was going to do with their rotten king, but he was going to sacrifice only the best animals to the Lord his God. But when Samuel arrived, lookout below!!! Saul insisted he did it right; Samuel insisted he did it wrong. Then Saul got scared, tore off Samuel’s robe trying to hang on to the holy man and, well, you all know what happened. Samuel yelled that God had torn the kingdom out of Saul’s hands in the same way and that it would be given to a neighbor, “a man after God’s own heart.” We all know who that was. Yet Saul still begged Samuel to go up with him to worship, even after this prophecy was made. He was still trying to do the right thing. It didn’t do him any good.
So why am I reiterating this whole gory story? I think those devotionals and the re-reading of those chapters from Saul’s perspective and NOT David’s was God’s way of showing me that many times, I’m much more like Saul than David. I don’t want to be, but I am. I am a very impatient person. I doubt I would have waited for Samuel either. Many times, I have been given Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” I’m not good at being still. Being still implies doing nothing, just sitting there. That’s just not me. It should be, but it’s not. How many times have I jumped the gun on God, doing what I thought was right and from Him, only finding out later that I was wrong once again. Had I waited. . . well, you know.
The other thing that was pointed out to me in this study is that, also like Saul, I tend to follow God 99 and 44/100ths. That’s close, but no cigar, folks. I will follow steps 1-9 and blow it on Step 10. Why? I guess I still think my way will work just as well. I’ve been a Christian a long time. You’d think I’d know better by now. Obviously, I don’t.
I don’t want to be Saul. I want to be David, big fat sins and all. Saul failed; David triumphed. They both sinned. David did it differently. I do it like David some of the time, but I do it like Saul most of the time.
So how do I change this? Sounds easy, but it’s not. One thing is to take Psalm 46:10, the dreaded “Be still and know that I am God” to heart. Be still. That’s not hard to understand. So why can’t I do it? Not sure, but I know I will try to do it more. Being still between each step will also help me avoid the big faux pas on Step 10. It won’t be easy, but now I see it from Saul’s side. He really wanted to be a good king. He did the right things. He just didn’t do it all the way. He meant well, but he didn’t end well.
Saul ended up falling on his own sword at the battle on Mt. Gilboa, the Philistines then dismembering him and hanging his parts up on a wall. David went the way of his fathers, peacefully in his own bed, with the promise of God that one of his descendants would always sit on the throne of Israel. That sounds a lot better to me.
So how many of you are more Saul than David? I raise my hand and slink away sheepishly. I much prefer my own bed to hanging on a wall somewhere in enemy territory. I know I have some very difficult work ahead of me. “Be still and know that I am God.” Yes, Lord, I hear You. And today, for once, I will listen and do as You say. . . but only if you help me overcome myself.