Archive for November, 2010

Flying in Formation….

II was driving to a funeral the other night. It was twilight, which is my favorite time of day during the winter. The sky is sooo beautiful, and I love how the trees look in silhouette against the stunning colors. I was watching some birds flying…they looked a little disorganized for a minute until I realized that they were rearranging formation so that a different bird could fly at the head of the V. Do you know why birds fly in a V? Scientists have found that the V formation reduces drag on the birds, so that each bird flying behind another is able to endure longer. In fact, they believe that a flock of 25 birds can fly about 70% farther as a group in a V than a single bird flying alone. Once the lead bird becomes fatigued, he falls back, and another takes his place.
As I was watching, the birds were reorganizing so that the lead bird could rest while another took over.t was a very beautiful sight to see on my way to a funeral. Thinking of the family members left behind who were going to need endurance over the weeks and months to come…strong people, but needing to fall back and let others support them in prayer and thoughfulness during this time. Thinking of a church family who would rally around them, reorganizing themselves to offer the most support during their time of grief. Realizing that what sometimes appears to be disorganization is really the beginning of new alignment…


As I continued down the road, I watched the birds fly into the distance in a perfect vee….


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Like vs. Love


       Do you have anything in your life that you love, but often don’t like? I have several. I love being a parent. I love my children desperately. But sometimes I don’t like it. Got to thinking about this earlier this week when I was vacuuming hamster food from the bathroom floor. “???” I can hear you thinking….well, this particular unhappy parenting moment began with our chore lists. It is Kate’s chore to clean Frisky’s cage once each week. Doing a poor job (which is not unusual for her and par for the course as I have little time to follow up with her assigned tasks until it’s too late), she dumped residual food from his cage into the bathroom garbage can (ew!). It is Alexander’s job to empty the trash cans, and in the process, the hamster food got spilled all over the floor (probably because he had not put a bag in the can the LAST time he had done his chores, and I hadn’t had a minute to follow up). Because I work nights, nap time is sacrosanct. Part of my frustration this day was that cleaning up the hamster food was cutting into my naptime. I couldn’t let Kate do it (although she really SHOULD have had to do it for doing a poor job in the first place) because it would take her at least three times longer (cutting further into naptime) and she would not do as thorough a job. I couldn’t leave it until later that day because after quiet time, there would be supper and then we would all leave for work/babysitter. Left alone until then next day (even if I could stand it), the hamster food would be tracked all over the house, leaving little seeds and bits of who- knows-what to grind into the carpets and stick to our feet, no doubt attracting rodents. So, I’m stuck kneeling in the seeds and grains, thinking about how at this moment I disliked being the parent. Cause what I really needed to do was go have my nap so that I could function all night long.

            Amazing that you can love something and dislike it at the same time….But amidst the dislike, I realized that I would still rather it be ME with these children than anyone else…and them with me. Working as much as I do, and as busy as our lifestyle is, I have to capitalize on the teachable MOMENT – since I don’t have hours or days at a time to work with.

            Homeschooling is like that, too. I love it. I don’t want to quit. A good homeschooling moment or day can bring untold rewards to your family life. But a bad one…oh my word. There are days when I’d put my kids on the first unsuspecting yellow bus that rolled by. Days when I can’t get them on task no matter how hard I try. Days when I’m wondering if expanded value notation and complete predicates have any real value in their lives. But if you were to ask me if I like homeschooling, I’d say that I love it. I do! To me, to care for their education and the molding of their character is a gift – a tremendous privilege.

            What about people? Seems like there are people around that you love, but sometimes you just don’t like them much….  Despite the behaviours that make you dislike someone, you can’t help but love them anyhow…

            I think the point that I’m making is this:  When it comes to holding on to valuable things in your life, you’re going to be tested. You going to throw in the towel? Go the easy way? Give up on that something you started, be it a school year or a relationship, because it’s just getting too hard?  Hang on. The moment that makes it all worthwhile may be just around the corner….It’s the love that holds you when there’s not much like around….

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The Sands of Time


My husband and I watched “Prince of Persia:The Sands of Time” the other night. Great swashbuckling movie, very clean – we really enjoyed it. The premise of the movie is that the power-hungry brother of the king of Persia is attempting to acquire the fabled “Sands of Time” that would give him the ability to turn back time and make himself king.

It got me thinking, though. If I had the ability to turn back time, what about my life would I want to change? This is an intriguing, although purely theoretical thought…I really thought hard about it, and honestly came to the conclusion that if I were able, there was only one thing I would change. I would go back to the years I had before I was married and go to nursing school then. I can’t say that I would change any of the disappointments, my parent’s divorce, the lonely years…I feel like those things were instrumental in making me who I am today, and I’ve come to terms with them. But I WOULD go back and go to school while I had no other responsibilities. Of course, the possibility exists that if we had the ability to change one thing, many things would be changed as a result, and I’m not really interested in all those trains of thought. All this thinking did make me feel rather blessed that the only thing that there were as few regrets in my life as there are.

I don’t want to change much at all…but I would change that. How about you? Would you want to change one thing? Or everything?

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Of all the sounds I’ve ever heard, the worst is silence. Tonight, listening to a baby’s chest and hearing only silence meant that the six-hour vigil was over, and the baby was gone. Even though we all had known it wasn’t going to live long, the heartbreak in that silence was profound. Tears had been shed for months, but the grief was fresh now that there was a little person to grieve for, rather than the idea of a person.

Working in this field is like the little girl that had the little curl. When it’s good, it’s very, very good…and when it’s bad, it’s horrid.

Cleaning a baby with no muscle tone, skin cooling with every second that passes, is just pitiful. And the silence…babies are noisy even when they’re quiet. Little snuffles and grunts, audible respirations – those heartbeats that you can hear all over their chests. Tears come unbidden just thinking of this family’s grief.

Guess I’m fortunate that I’ve been doing this over a year, and not had to do this. Fortunate again to be living in a day when the outcomes of pregnancy are mostly good. How common this event was 75 years ago!

Thinking of my grandmother who had a baby die about 60 years ago – the baby left dying at the foot of her bed. Trusting that our medical community has learned compassion since then. Proud of our staff who have gone out of their way to give this family the tender loving care with the tact, kindness, and compassion that they so desperately need at this time.

Living for the day when there will be no more tears….

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