Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Failure

I've been thinking alot about this these days. Gene once came to Lithia and gave us a series of messages entitled "Wonderful Things to Fail At." We generally associate failure with loss, sadness, disappointment, poverty, lack of direction. I'm choosing to look at it differently.

I'll take Kiplings point of view:

"If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just alike.." (from If)

If I'm failing, it means I'm trying something. I'm headed in a direction. I'm aiming for something that has the chance of success. But it's not so much the goal that matters, its the living. I want to live life as a failure. Someone who had an AIM, and even if they didn't reach it, they wasted their life trying.

Understand, this is all in my head. This is all a THEORY.

Because I got a verbal warning at work last week and have felt like a no-good, sucky, worthless nurse who second guesses herself ever since. (It wasn't a mistake of action, it was a mistake of saying something stupid in the office.) I judge myself very harshly. In my view I totally failed. It's not acceptable. I think "I should just resign. I'm terrible at this." This thought has been pressing on my emotions all week, the pit of despair ("don't even think about trying to escape") looming in my waking moments. The grey shade of depression closing over my window of happiness. The panic baiting my breathing into a rapid pace. The memory of darkness coming to the forefront of my thoughts.

It's only a memory, Sarah. It isn't today. It's not what you're feeling now, it's how you felt then. It's just a memory.

At the same time, I have this Failure Theory reverberating in my semi-conciousness.

Did I ever connect the two? Heck no!

Not, that is, until tonight, when I sat with a group of sisters in the Lord who reminded me that nothing can seperate me from Him. Not the good I do, not the bad I do, not anything I do. So this failure of last week, is indeed the failure of my theory, and I can find Him in it. I can!!! They bust up the theory with their reality sticks, and make it a TRUTH. Whether I succeed or I fail, I am IN HIM. I am on a Purpose Road.

Bonnie told this story tonight:
She and her husband were on a six lane road, and it was really crowded, but there were people who were going slowly on the road, and it was very frustrating to him, so he slammed his hand on the steering wheel and said "Don't these people know that this is a purpose road? That people who are driving on this road have somewhere they need to get to, and something they need to do? Why are they trying to slow everyone down?"

Well, we all just gasped. You can bet you will hear that phrase round here for a while to come.

We are on a Purpose Road. Whether we succeed or fail (to normal standards) we are driving toward the Purpose. It is a wonderful thing to fail at.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

January Kit

The January Kit from Good to the Last Crop! Yum Yum!!
The last one is done on a canvas- my first time working with one! {Missy- don't let Mary see it! She'll probably be getting it for her birthday!!!}

Sunday, December 25, 2005

The Cure for the Post-Christmas Letdowns.


Ah yes. Christmas Night. How can one day make such a difference? The words "Christmas Eve" are so magical- so full of portent ("and the sky is full of portent" - if you can tell me where THAT came from, I will RAK you. Seriously. Bill, you can't answer.) But change the second word, and the thrill is gone. The presents are unwrapped, the halls decked, the Roast Beast carved, and now we sit aching from gluttony- looking at the carnage of boxes and paper and toys, and even by the glow of the tree lights it is unsavory. It has turned into plain old Sunday night. Almost every Christmas night for as long as I can remember, I get this sudden longing for spring. Strange. My brother, as a child, once wrote a prescription for "The Post Christmas Let Downs." I wish I could remember what it was!!!! We did have a wonderful Christmas, but Sunday night is not the time for me to wax eloquent about my holiday, when the shadow of Monday is looming like the Ghost of Christmas Future.

But Guess What!!!!!! Bill totally surprised me and got me.... a PHOTO PRINTER!!!!! And Susie and Buzzy got me.....Photo Shop Elements 4.0!!!!!!! Hooray! I've been playing with it tonight, but couldn't get the photo to upload. I'll try again....Dude, it's not in me. I'll work on it tommono.

I hope everyone has a good recovery day Monday! Lots of sleeping and straightening! As for me, I will be trying to pick up the pieces of my patients that got thrown off kilter over the weekend, and hopefully do some good. And I will remember you Lord, even if it because I am low. What does it matter why we cry out, as long as we come to you? You are The Answer.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Waiting for Christmas.

She is very patient.
And cute with braids and polka dot ribbons
.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas Tag

I got hit by the Tag Fairy, AKA Colleen.

Holiday: Christmas or New Years? Christmas until it's over, then New Years.

Cookies: Sugar or Gingerbread? sugar if frosted

Decorations: Santa or Snowmen? Snowmen

Reindeer or Elves? Reindeer

Colors: Red or Green? Red everyday, baby

Colors: Gold or Silver? Silver

Tree Topper: Star or Angel? Star

Stocking Stuffer: Fruit or Candy? Give me gaga everytime. True candy baby here. But I also like an orange in the toe for tradition.

Tree: Real or Artificial? But one more year of cleaning up those pine needles and I may change my persuasion!

Cartoons: Charlie Brown or Rudolph? A hard one. I love love love CB, but there ain't nobody who can touch the Heat Miser or the Freeze Miser or Yukon Cornelius for comedy. "He's too much, ba dum dum dum da-a-a-a dum!"

Movie: It's a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Carol? Wonderful Life. Bill can do a KILLER George Bailey. It makes me laugh every time! But really? White Christmas. No one like Bing for the holidays.

Stocking Stuffer: Jewelry or Gift Card? Yes please.

Christmas List: Naughty or Nice? Crabby. I guess that makes me naughty.

Drink: Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Nog. That's delicious nog. Neat. Neat fun. Good times.

Holiday Ghost: Past, Present, or Future? Present. He's the one I need help from

Vacation Spot: North Pole or Winter Wonderland? I could do some skiing!

Holiday Song: Jingle Bells or Silver Bells? Silver Bells, silver bells! It's christmas time in the city! Ringaling, hear them ring, soon it will be christmas day! Oh. You didn't want a solo on that one?

Holiday Song: Silent Night or O' Holy Night? I am rather fond of the memory of Gramps singing Silent Night in German. I also love hearing either sister busting out O Holy Night like you wouldn't believe.

More Fun: Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Eve. Anticipation is half or three quarters the fun.

Lights: Clear or Multi-Colored? Clear

Ornaments: Bulbs or Bows? Bulbs...mercury glass ones, please.

Tree Decor: Ribbon, Popcorn, or Garland? garland, but we don't have any this year

Gifts: Wrapping Paper or Gift Bags? Wrapping paper is much more festive, but it's hard to knock the ease of Le Gift Bag.

Better To: Give or Receive? Give!!Can I just say I wish I was rich?? Oh man. I'd love to spoil some people. But don't get me wrong. I love getting stuff too!

Tammy, Anja and Kim, you are IT.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Alright Kids, let's review.

Had a seriously hopping weekend. Why? Well, let me think...

Friday morning was Bo's christmas party at school. Here they are singing Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer and that beloved Christmas favorite Yankee Doodle Dandy. Bo is on the far left.


Here he is making his gingerbread house
Emma got in on the action too! She was so happy. You can tell she is really happy because she becomes absolutely silent, serious and focused.
See? She can't wait to go to school!
Friday afternoon, I ran errands like a crazy fool, trying to get things done. I did get my nails done, which was a special treat!!!

Friday night we went to Drew's band concert which was quite good. He plays the xylophone, so we could actually hear him!!! We ate at La Casa afterward, and had heaps of fun talking and joking.

Saturday morning, we took Cole to Sulfur Springs about 1.5 hours away, had lunch with her, her mom and two sisters and headed back home.

Peer and Natalie came in from Bournemouth, England that afternoon, and brought their ADORABLE son Leo, of whom this is one of many snaps taken. He is so cute! We ate dinner together over at Donna and Aaron's, and then scurried home to get ready for my office party. It was a fun time- and we won a portable DVD player, and got my bonus! Hooray!!! There was some grooving going on...a little YMCA, a little electric slide, you know the stuff. Bill and I got all dressed up and I have not one photo!!!

My brother Tim came in late Saturday night, and from all reports we missed one of the greatest meetings that the church here has ever experienced. It was wonderful just HEARING about it. The brothers planned everything down to the last detail, and everyone said it was so rich, and full of the Lord.


Sunday morning back at Donna and Aaron's for breakfast, and then a walk to show Peer and Natalie the neighborhood. What an odd and crazy crowd we are! I wonder what the neighbors think!! Here's Peer goin' all Fonzie on Don's recumbant bike.
Annette with Emma on her shoulders. I love this picture.
Sunday night we had a family dinner over at Mom's because they are leaving for Florida on Christmas day, and she wanted to make a meal for the fam. I love my mother's table. Look at those fabulous cranberry glasses, and a butter dish at every setting, the children's filled with M&M's. We had Tuna Casserole, Salad, Crusty bread and more types of cookies than you could imagine. Oh, and French Lemon Tart. Ummm-mmm!!

Jen, Al, Jessie in the kitchen (where the women usually congregate)
Tim, Mark and Bill in the den, falling asleep in front of the TV (where the men usually congregate)
Last night we went to Six Flags for Holiday in the Park and it was quite fun, although rather cold, so we didn't stay very long, and drove through Starbucks on the way home. I had a Gingerbread Latte, and let me say -it was so good, I think I had a hangover this morning.

Came home from a wretched day to a package from the owner of the website I'm on the design team for. Lookie here. Wouldn't this cheer anyone up? I was so happy, and perked up, I was able to enjoy six flags! Hooray! Thanks Shawnie! You are the best!

Oooh, and I got the large January Kit too. It is sa-weet!!!!

One more thing I am so totally excited about!!!!!! I have been waiting for this!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

She's a maniac- mAAAniac!!

Ok. So I'm a blogging maniac these days. So what? I used to journal all the time, and I didn't have a groovy way to post pictures and get comments on it, so this is better right???

Had to post these pictures. Emma LOVES Bo's reading homework. She comes running from any corner of the house when she hears the prologue: Bo shouting his six vocabulary words from the kitchen table- like it's the last preview before the movie. This is what it sounds like: "MAMA! Has-was-seven-saw-threw-kept! (continuous shuffling of bare feet getting closer and closer, occaisonal bumps into the wall) and here's my take-home reader!"At this point, what I see is the picture below.



Any hints about how to keep a four year old clean? She is like Pig-Pen in The Peanuts. The floor around her chair is unmentionable, and don't anybody sit down after she's been in the chair, cause you WILL stick to it. Her face is always dirty, but oh so sweet! It makes me ache with happiness!

And here's one for Christmas:





When the angels sang
"Peace on Earth"
it was not a
WISH,
but a
DECLARATION.

Jesus Christ IS Peace.


Monday, December 12, 2005

Fa La La

ITS WORKING!!!!!!!

The page the fabulous Anja (aka Miss Quiss) did for me. Can you say "Sarah LOVES it." Cause she does. Loves it.




This is the little garland I made using an old book, a cookie cutter and the mm stamps! Made it last year, and guess what? I still love it! Hooray!

Our cutie pie fuzzy tree!!!! I don't know why it's blurry. Could be that cup of coffee I was sucking down. There are heaps of handmade construction paper ornaments, LSU ornaments, and sundry items donated by family members.
Wanted to post this the other day. Ahem. It's the icicles on our house from the ice storm.
Bo and Bill and their LSU ornaments. What handsome laddies they are!!
Cole, Bo and Emma trimming the tree.
And the most important ornament of all. This is a little illustrated story, presented by Bo H. Once there was a boy who received the sleigh bell from The Polar Express from his aunt for Christmas 2004. Oh how he loved that ornament. He said it was his favorite gift. Here he is shaking the bell, and not hearing anything because he doesn't believe.
Here he is listening to the most beautiful sound in the world, because he does believe.

The end.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (bow, bow)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Weekend

I think we're finally over the pukes for the moment. Bill's still coughing, but I think three years of inhaling bleach would make it difficult for one's lungs to overcome. I'm so glad he's teaching now instead of pressure washing.

So on Saturday we did nothing. Zero. Just sat around and moaned. But today? Well, TODAY we got HEAPS of shopping done, got a christmas tree, and saw..dum, da-da DUM. Chronicles of Narnia. Every bit as good and better than I hoped for. We absolutely LOVED it. Loved it. So well done, and the story was so well portrayed. Even the changes only enhanced the story, and the acting was nice and subtle, which I always appreciate, especially after years of watching the BBC version and seeing that buck-toothed Lucy saying "Oh Asthlan!!!" with the extreme fake rapture on her chubster face.

One thing I love about Bill. He was raised by a Florist. The man can pick a Christmas tree. I sit in the car and eat Burger King, and he goes and shakes em down, and always picks a fabulous one, ties it too the trunk, and smiles all the while. It is heaven, I tell you, heaven. Thank you Buzzy and Susie ever so for that.

So the shopping, cause that's what really matters. We hit Target like maniacs....and got almost all our Christmas shopping done, except for Bo and Emma. But they bought for each other, so that's one less thing!!!!

And I got a new phone! Hooray! Mine old flip has been dangling like a loose tooth for about a month now, and we renewed our contract and got a CAMERA PHONE. Wow. Never thought I would live to see the day. So exciting!!!!

On a sad note. My local scrap store is closing. How could she do this to me? After I faithfully spend 6 dollars every week!!! Isn't that enough to keep her in business????Aaargh!!!! She always has everything I want, and she's less than a mile away! AAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!! On a happy note, she had everything marked 30 % off! Wanna see what I bought? too bad. Bloggers not working AGAIN.

Cole comes tommorrow, and that's pretty dang exciting!!! We will be trimming the tree, and I'll be posting pictures, cause what happens in life, happens on my blog.

Happy Last Week of School Before Christmas Break!!!!!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Birthday Love and Random

Happy Birthday Sister Dear!!!!! Guess which one has the HUGE stocking and rubbed it in our faces every year? Wish I could fill your stocking up with happy goodness of things like art and books and funky items of clothing!!! You are one of the coolest people I know- so talented and creative. You inspire me so much. Just being in your house is like artistic oxygen! Love you girlie!!!! By the way, I totally think you should be the one to bring the "neck ribbon" back.

And now about me:

Just some random stuff and junk. I'm trying not to be a veritable fount of negativity, but it's hard when the two men in my life are just plain founts. Yes, kids, now the flu bug has hit. I guess it was passing by and saw what a feast the cold bug had made of us and thought "Umm-hmmm! Easy pickin's!" I am so weary of it. I was trying so hard, and yet all day my stomach has felt like it was clamping down on itself. And yet I worked. Bill stayed home with Bo, who got up from the couch twice all day. ExTREMely rare. He's a rather active laddie.

OK so that's enough of that. Just know that my state of mind is pretty low and the wit is dim. So what better to do than blog, right?


This will be the first time I do not post an Effer dare either here or on 2ps. I have done it, but it is absolutely too lame to post, and I don't have the effort at present to devote to improving it or doing another one. But at least my record is still perfect! I haven't missed one yet!!!! If it had turned out it would have been pretty funny. I have some pretty smelly houses I have to go visit these days, and so I did a page titled "Ban Bad Odor" But as it turned out, it wasn't very funny at all. Just lame. *Note to Self: If you use bright yellow and green cardstock and then use black and red for highlights, don't try to rub Amber Clay chalk ink all over a page, especially when the page is about bad odors. It really gives the wrong impression. Rather like something else has been rubbed all over the page. Not so much.

Happy Weekending, and SERIOUSLY. GO SEE PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. I saw it last night with Mom, Kim and Annette. Oh man. I adored it. Jen, you were absolutely right. When it was over and the credits were on, everyone was standing up and I said "Roll it again!" I was ready to watch it again right then, and that's totally not my style. Oh gosh is it good. Good, good, goody, goodness. I wonder if there's a late show......

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Bah Humbug

It's sleeting like mad here. Got Bo outta school early, and although they wait until everyone is up, showered, dressed and has lunch packed before they announce school closings, I'm fairly certain we'll all be here tommorrow. The road is covered in sleet, and my intrepid sisters are determined to meet tonight despite the miserable out of doors. So I'll be braving the frozen tundra I guess, trudging the two blocks up the hill. Or I might get out my door, turn around and go back inside to my warm house.

Ummmmm for some reason it's not letting me upload photos. Watch this space to see what our house looked like today.


My sister Missy makes me laugh harder than anyone else on earth. She has posted a doozy, so go leave a comment to put some "hum" in her "Bah-Humbug!"

Loves ya!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Happy Snaps

Ok. Gotta make it quick, because blogger is back up hooray and I have promised myself that I will be in bed by 11pm on weeknights. I have to get healthy. I have alot I want to do in life, and I need to live a long time. So I'm taking my Barley Green, and cutting back on the sugar, and sleeping better. But that 's not what I wanted to post about.

I got a new camera hooray!!!! (Hooray is the word du jour, in case you were wondering. I think I'm finally getting over saying "charming" about everything) It takes some pretty schnazzy snaps! Check it:
The flowers my sweet sister Jen brought me on Friday.

What an adorable boy! Notice the great detail the camera picks up! You can even see his chapped lips and grungy hands!


How we spent Sunday afternoon. Bill just gets so intense while he's on the compy. Notice the rapt attention he's giving to his screen.
She only does what she sees her mother do.

My essential disaster.
These are all taken in our office/library/study/scraproom that we are thankful for every day. Someday I will post pictures of Bill's area and my area, and you can see what crazy dreamers we are.

Emkins is cracking me up these days. Here's my favorite story of late as related by my mother who took her out for a while on Saturday. They were out at The Corner Bakery to have a "special treat" and Mom was holding Emma up the case to pick out something they could share. Mom said "What about that yummy cherry pie, or that delicious looking Lemon Bar?" Emma paused for a moment, looked Mom square in the eye, and said--
"Ummmmm. Wet's get somesing we bofe wike."

She is ever the diplomat. So smart. I can't stand it. This morning she said "What is dat smew? (smell) Dat yucky smew? Dat's disgustine!" And at EVERY bathtime, when it is time to rinse off, she starts shaking her little bottom back and forth, gets a very silly grin on her face and sings "Sake yourr bootsie, sake your bootsie! Cwean your bootsie!" (translation: "Shake your boochie." ) Don't ask me, I have NO idea. I never taught her that.

Here she is trying on my "cyute boots." And now, dear friends I have five minutes to scrub my face, brush my teeth, get a drink of water, take my cough medicine, get in my PJ's, and leap into bed. I love bed.

And she's off.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

December Kit from Good to the Last Crop

Here are my DT creations for Good to the Last Crop. This mini-kit is adorable! The large kit is really great too- red and green for the holidays! The kits are sold out, but there is extra paper and add ons that are fabulous!

This is an altered composition book:
front-

back-

and the 8x8 layout of my beautiful neices:

Hate it when the scan bleaches out the middle part!!!!

Unfortunately, This Week refused my resignation, because right after I wrote that letter, I went to check on Emma and she had thrown up all over her bed. Bill is now sick with me, and we are puny together. My darling, adorable, most wonderful mother in the world came over and not only took care of me, but cleaned my house. I am the luckiest girl in the world. Dad vaccuumed, and Jen brought over some mags and some flowers to cheer me up, also some killer chocolate from Trader Joe's (eyebrows going up and down in happiness!) I am so blessed to have such a wonderful fam! I was sick enough to lay around and let them do, which is HIGHLY abnormal for me. I did lay on the couch and say "Oh my goodness, thank you so much, I wish you wouldn't, no that's enough, ect, ect..." and then roll over and moan.

I'm done typing. I can do no more.
{moan}

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Resignation Letter

Dear This Week,

Due to extreme fatigue related to a case of bronchitis that is holding on to my chest for dear life, and the fact that I have been going at a breakneck pace, not allowing myself rest or relief from the burden of "the daily chore" I do hereby tender my resignation. I am done doing. I am whupped. Put a fork in me-I'm toast. I have folded my last item of laundry, checked my last blood pressure, coughed my last cough, layed my last layout, driven my last drive, and made my last lunch. I have spoken my last word. I'm finished. Kaput. I'm sorry I couldn't give two weeks notice, but since you are only a week, it would have been quite a stretch and, as you may have guessed, I have stretched my last stretch.

The opportunity has come up for a new week, and it is an chance I simply cannot miss. Since I'd like a small break, I'll take off the next few days, and start the next week on Monday.I thank you for the happinesses and the trials you have afforded me. You have made me stronger and older. And tired-er. It was nice working with you.

Sincerely,
Sarah H.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Weekend in Jacksonville

What a great weekend. So rich, so much to look forward too. So MUCH FUN to be with all the saints together-singing, laughing. Thought I'd post a few piccies as that seems to be the trend these days.

Here's some of us singing on the first day:

Missy had bought Emma a nurses kit, and "Wuke" was so sweet to play with her, it warmed the very cockles of my heart. I get all coochie just looking at this picture. He looks like a handsome 18 year old to you, but to me he is a handsome 18 year old who was once my sweet baby. Being an aunt at 11 is something I consider one of the greatest privileges in my life. Thanks again, Miss, for keeping the kids.

Here are the Aussies and The Quebecois (hope I spelled that right) having a hilarious time posing for the "paparazzi." You can't see the palm tree in the back ground, but they really wanted that in the shot.
The Fabulous Vancouver Brothers, doncha know. Brittian, I know you're reading this, so comment, dang it! Jazz Hands.

Me and Marcie, who I so dearly love. Isn't she gorgeous? She is like no one else on earth. A treasure.
The brothers and the sisters from Bournemouth, England, and Gertine from Amsterdam, and Mark from New Zealand. I was so thrilled to meet Luke and Sue, and can barely believe how connected I feel and how much I miss them. It was great to see Matthew again and be treated to his Riverdance skills, and to meet Anna, who is, as Sues said, the perfect English rose, and who is utterly enchanting. I can't stand the idea of not seeing them again very soon. A story about Luke. We were having breakfast at Cheri's (the sister who kept us in Jax, and who was so wonderfully hospitable) and she invited us to prepare, eat and clean up the meal, and all the while, speak, sing and talk to/of the Lord only. This was a bit awkward at first, but became very natural as time went on. Luke was wonderful and very funny. I think I've said about 15 times since then "Lord, I thought it was bad when you cracked me open, but then....." He had gone on and on about being broken, and beaten, and mixed with others, and put over the fire, and chewed up, and then Bill started saying "Don't go any farther!!! Please!!" Hil-arious.
The ride home. These two children could not have been any better in the car. It was two full days of driving each way, and there was a only a total of two times that Bill and I had to get on to them about fighting or being loud. They were absolutely wonderful. (Yes, Emma is wearing a seat belt. She had fallen out of reach of the shoulder belt at that point.) Bill and I were about this tired, but there was so much to think and talk about that we only turned the music on for about 2 of the 17 hours in the car. So much in our minds, so much on our hearts, and so on the same page about it all. That really is a gift.

Came back to a home life that started in full effect the minute we stepped in the door. Full days of work today, and the next two, and laundry, and deadlines for the design team, and emails to write and Christmas to get started on....oh my. All the same old stuff, and all these new things happening. It's so exciting. I haven't slept well due to the cough that lingers, and is now beginning to take my breath away when it comes on. Headed to the doctor tommorrow.

So many people I have the priviledge to know, and to walk with in this life. Each one of you that I spoke with, new friends and old....my heart leaps with joy at the thought of each of you. How can it hold so much? All the time spent talking, questions and answers, help for each other, caring for one another. Really. It's just amazing. I'm so blessed. My heart sings.

Not only in the words you say,

nor in the deeds you do

But in the most unconcious way,

is Christ expressed by you.

Not in the beatific smile,

or holy light upon your brow,

Oh no I felt His presence while

Your laugh rang out just now.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I am feeling a bit better now, thanks for all your warm thoughts! I really am grateful for this medium that has afforded me so many wonderful friendships, and a new way to connect with people I love.

Emma's party went well, thanks to all who came. She was quite sweet opening each present, gasping in delight and saying "Just what I always wanted!" then hugging and kissing each person after every gift.

Well, blogger dears, just wanted you to know that I will be off line for the few days to come....I hope everyone has a happy thanksgiving! The nurse story below is what I have to give you all!

MUAH!!!!! XO

Black Panther Thanksgiving

About two weeks before Thanksgiving, I got a new patient: a diabetic who lived in a housing project in southwest metro. One bright morning, I arrived at this particular project. It was on a steep slope, and seemed in good condition, perhaps built in the 80’s as opposed to the 50’s. It wasn’t a re-built hotel either. It looked like regular, low-income apartments. I felt pretty good about this. I wandered around for a bit, searching, found the apartment, and knocked. This was always such a tension-filled moment. Who will this person be? What smell will waft out to assault me? Will I be greeted with happy gratefulness that someone is coming to help them, or will I be met with suspicion?

A tall, solid lady with braids answered the door. There is a look that I have come to recognize in this business: the look of a poor black person when a professional white girl is standing at their door. Mistrust. Resentment. In that moment, I feel the burden of slavery, lynchings, segregation and separation of mothers from children, racial slurs, intolerance, and the despicableness of white supremacy. I have about 30 minutes to overcome all of that, and assure them that I am trustworthy, will not belittle them, and really am here to help. I smile through the insurmountable burden up into her brown eyes. I want to do this. I want to somehow, in a tiny way, break through the barrier that separates us. I know I am not capable, but I have to try. I am aware that I will never be able to enter this world, to understand it, to truly sympathize. Her history is not my own. The problems she faces on a daily basis will never be mine. There will always be the knowledge that there is a horrific chasm separating us. I cannot bridge it. But maybe I can drive a nail somewhere that might help someone else put the next board in. And perhaps they will be able to look beyond me and my poor efforts and see something Greater, some hope for the future.

“I’m Sarah-the nurse from home health. I’m here to see Mr. Franklin.” She opens the door a bit wider and asks me to come in. I see that the initial surprise is gone, but there is some reluctance clinging in the corners of her actions. “He’s back in his room. Come on.”

People’s homes are always surprising. This one, for instance. One whole side of the room was solid plants. All sorts of beautiful potted green indoor plants. “Wow!” I say, “You have some green thumb! These are beautiful!” “Yeah, I love plants.”
“I can tell. Wonderful!” We walk through the green glow of the room, the smell of dirt and leaves, the sheen of the light reflecting off the leaves, and turn a corner. In a second, it all changes.

I had walk into what feels like a tiny chapel of hate.

I am facing an enormous red poster of a man whose fist is raised in the salute of the Black Panthers. It is a dark wood-paneled room full of the brown haze of smoke. There were two double beds pressed against either wall, and in the right one sat a man with a cigarette in one hand, a book in the other, one leg missing, and huge brown eyes which would have been beautiful if they were not so filled with loathing and rage. He hates me. I know it. I imagine he spends his time sitting in this room, thinking, forming dangerous theories, stewing in hate and bitterness for the loss of his power, his life, his worth, finding someone to blame. His wife stands to the side, watching me somewhat fearfully. This is it. In this moment I can prove all the things he believes about white people, or I can help weaken the foundation of his belief. I am pretty sure its going to be the former. I feel scared and sick. He is not speaking. I cannot.

Then I notice his glucometer. I look again at his face. It is ashy. He turns to sit on the side of the bed, and his stump comes out from under the covers. Here is the task. “Can I sit on this bed?” I ask, pointing to the double bed on the right. He acts surprised. He nods curtly. So there we sit, facing each other, knees to knees, with his wife standing nearby, and the Black Panther poster hanging between us, discussing diet, medicine and things he can do to feel better and be healthier. I tell him laughingly that he needs to stop smoking. He looks incredulous. “I suppose it’s better than something else you could be smoking, and I know it is one of the few pleasures you have. But, I have to say it.” He nods. He is very suspicious, that never changes throughout the visit. I ask if they have family support, and they do. I say “Oh that’s nice. My family all lives elsewhere.”

Bolstered by some unknown thing that has occurred since I entered the apartment, the woman forgets herself and the burden of the possible disastrous situation and blurts out- “Oh, you poor thing! Come have dinner with us!” I look at her. This is the last thing I ever expected. The gratefulness I feel for her is overwhelming. At that moment, she has adopted me. I have become the needy one. She is the one entering my world, outnumbered and insufficient for the task. She is motivated by concern for something that is greater than either one of us. That each has a family to gather with. She wants to bring me into her world where she can give me what is most important there. Family. We have crossed each other’s lines by simply loving. There is incalculable worth in the moment that you step out with no preconceived plan, no ulterior motive, just that burning, courage-giving, impulsive yearning to meet a need. No, larger than that. The same impulse that causes the piercing, tearing, straining moment when the mother gives birth: the last action of a man who jumps in front of a bullet to save his comrades life: that pushes every frightened groom to blurt out the words “I do:”

These moments are afforded us every day. They are moments that have the potential to expand into wonder. Whether we embrace them depends upon many factors, not the least of which is self-consciousness. But when we forget ourselves and act out of love for someone else- that instant is Life. The aftermath, however, is rather uncomfortable. I wondered if she wanted to take it back- wondered if my surprise registered with her as distain or disgust, when it simply was surprise. I hated to tell her I had plans in case she thought I was just blowing her off, and at the same time, I longed to tell her I had plans to afford her a way out of this offer. The truth was that I did have plans. I told her in a moment of inspiration that I could ask the office to schedule me, and I would come out on Thanksgiving. That was fine with her. We both turned to the man. He shrugged- non-committal.

Two weeks later I went to the house on Thanksgiving, and wished I had not asked to be scheduled for that day, thinking that she was probably inside wishing the same thing. I had little hope for the connection that occurred, due to the pesky interference of common sense and reason. I walked in, said “Happy Thanksgiving” and bit my lip. She said “Happy Thanksgiving” and led me back to his room. No table set, no festive d├ęcor, just the greenhouse atmosphere, and a slight odor of sweet potatoes. I took his blood pressure, made idle chit chat, and became increasingly doubtful of what had occurred the week before. I checked his sugar, asked about his book, made a comment revealing my naivety and immaturity. Then the most marvelous and wonderful thing happened. He smiled and laughed. I laughed with pure delight mingled with relief. His wife, with a look of amazement, laughed. The moment had mattered. It had been counted and added as gain to all of us.

I was thankful.


I hope you find Joy in your Gratitude this holiday season.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Snotty Post


I'm gonna blog tonight, even though I'm wacked out dead tired and suffering from a cold. And a cold sore. Ooog. Luckily I had a script from the last time I got one of these suckers, and hopefully it's duration will be shortened.

Just newsy stuff and bits.

I have a cold. Oh yeah, I mentioned that already. Did I mention that I have a cold? And I'm tired? Ok. Well, I am. I feel like I have a big rock of pain in between my throat and chest when I cough. Nice. Bill is still coughing, and so are the kids. So much for my "Oh I NEVER get sick" stories. Well, I don't usually get sick enough to stay in bed, just sick enough to keep doing all that I have to do and feel miserable doing it. A day in the life of a mama, eh, ladies??
Bo is cracking me up. He thinks "snot" is a bad word, so he spells it out.
"Mama, I have alot of, you know, S-N-O-T."

I got an email from Legacy Magazine asking for one of my layouts for publication! That pretty much rocked my world!!! I got an email today saying they received the layout and may retain it for up to 8 months, but will let me know what issue it will be in. It was an effer dare. The last one. I love love love love those dares. Love them. I just hope they use it!!!!

My girl Jen got a layout accepted by Scrapbook Trends---I'm totally stoked for her! She has a really great colorful- fun style. She also has a cold. Which I do too, did I mention fatigue? Well, I'm feeling it, and she is too, I imagine.

Susie (Bill's Mom) is coming in town tommorrow for the weekend to celebrate Emma's birthday. We've got the final soccer game, and party, and Emma's birthday party, and a whole lot of shopping to do so it'll be cram-packed, and I need to sleep tonight! The good news is I got the house cleaned. Rest easy, Mom.

Over Thanksgiving we are going to a conference in Jacksonville with the church there. It should be really good. Really Important. The kids are staying with my sister, and are totally excited to be with their cousins and auntie for the time! We are leaving Tuesday night, (yes, we are DRIVING to Florida. No, we are not insane, just frugal) and I will have loaded days on Monday and Tuesday trying to see as many patients as possible, packing and getting ready. Not to mention the cards I JUST HAD to make to take to the conference. They look pretty sketchy in the photos. I'm so excited about hanging out with people from all over- Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Colorado Springs, Vancouver, HOORAY! It's going to a blast seeing all my peeps that I never get to see! And all together!!!!

Here's a couple of the cards....I couldn't wait for the kit, Em! They had the jumbo cards at Target for one dollar, and I just had to play with them! These are two of five that I have made.


Dear Santa,
I have been a very good girl this year.
Please send me a canon rebel or any digital camera
that doesn't take grainy pictures. And some brown
boots, and Designing With Paper, and some more
opportunites with scrapping. And photo shop.
And Bill wants a laptop.
As for the kids, I will have to get back to you on that-
I have no idea what they want. Probably toys.
Living in Fantasy,
Sarah
PS. Santa, Don't let these pictures fool you. I still REALLY NEED a camera.

Dear Lord,

You are everything I need.

Really.

Love, Sarah