December 26, 2008

Two Tiny Voices

Seven Christmases ago, my mother spent the month of December caring for a baby. The violence between his birth parents had disturbed the neighbors for long enough. The state, now his guardian, placed him in our family temporarily, just through the Christmas season until his Grandparents 2,000 miles away could prepare their home for a little one. Out of this arose a poem of hope, "Two Tiny Voices".


One tiny voice cries on throughout the night,
Amid despair and anger acted out,
'Til those outside the walls hear every shout.
Two distant hearts, in fit of rage, take flight.

Approaching sirens split the night sky.
Amid pain and confusion, voices calm
'Til soothing comes; the touch of healing balm.
In strangers arms, the babe ceases to cry.

Then, likened to a bird without a nest,
The little one stays here awhile, then there,
Instinctively desiring love. But where
Could someone without someone's love find rest?

***

One tiny voice cried on throughout the night
Amid the bits of cloth to shun the cold
And damp. For long ago in days of old,
Each innkeeper blew out his welcome light.

To think, that the Creator of the earth
Took on Himself an earthly form and face
And we beheld him, full of truth and grace.
Yet those He came to save denied his worth.

Then likened to a bird without a nest,
The King of Kings stayed here awhile, then there,
Expressing love as only God can share,
Knowing firsthand the need for peace and rest.

The unloved humbly washed His holy feet,
The palms of His hands dispelled rejection,
Our hearts lifted with the resurrection;
His compassion and love became complete.

So now, let us adore this holy Child.
Said Jesus to each one, "Come, follow Me."
I AM the poor, the longing to be free,
The weak, the helpless baby, the one defiled.

© Mrs. E. ~ 2001

"For God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him."
John 3.17

December 21, 2008

Snow

"Fall on the earth."
He speaks to us.
If you could hear the thunder of His voice
And the rumbling of His mouth,
You would fall too.
(Job 37.1-6)

We fall on the earth
And it sings anew and life breaks out
Because we fell.
His word falls on your heart.
Do you sing anew and flourish?
(Isaiah 55.10)

If you wash your own hands with us
Scrubbing them with lye,
Still you will not be pure.
Still you will dread.
Still you will fear.
(Job 9.30-35)

Appearing as lightning
And clothed by us
Appears one announcing
"Do not fear.
He is Risen."
(Matthew 28.1-6)

The washing
And the purging
Are His to perform,
Are yours to receive.
A heart as pure as we are.
(Psalm 51.7)

Though you are crimson,
Stained scarlet since your birth,
He intervenes.
Restores.
And you become like us.
(Isaiah 1.18)

December 16, 2008

Northwest Culture: Just a little different

Two members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints came knocking on my door one Wednesday afternoon. In white shirts and ties they announced that they would soon be opening a vacuum shop down the street. They offered to clean a patch of my blue, 70's carpet with their machine. They invited me to try out their magical cleaning products.

Slowly, a realization dawned on me. These friendly chaps weren't Mormons. They were vacuum cleaner salesmen.

Growing up in the Aloha state, the only men I had ever seen wear a tie on a daily basis were lawyers and Mormons. Well Toto, we're not in Hawaii any more. Welcome to the mainland, where people dress up.

Guy 3, my little bro' from Hawaii, visited us this fall. Tromping through Seattle, somewhere between Pike's Place fish market and the space needle, a friend quietly noticed, "Guy 3's backpack is covered in pink flowers."
Aha.
Looking around, I noticed something new: Northwestern men don't wear flowers.

Luckily, 11-month-old has a limited vocabulary. Therefore, he didn't have a say in what to wear to Husband's much-anticipated Company Christmas party. It's almost as anticipated as the "Company Vacation"... but that's another story. Over his wintry garb, I dressed 11-month-old in a red and green aloha shirt (with flowers).

As we meandered through neighborhoods, looking for lights after the Christmas party, rain fell on our car. Rain danced. Rain flurried. It wasn't rain!

Back home at midnight, Husband and I tucked 11-month-old into his cozy pack 'n play and headed out to tromp circles through our snowy backyard.
I wouldn't trade this winter for the world... but I might trade a day of it for a spam musubi.



December 11, 2008

Meaning of the Darkness


Vision
by Guy 2

First you see the angel, then you notice the silhouette of a man beneath.
And next, if you were closer to the ink print, you would begin to find meaning in the black surroundings. A dragon, fire, a cross, men, buildings, a swan...
What does it mean?
Guy 2 is not sure.
Any suggestions?


© 2008
RPE
All rights reserved

December 10, 2008

Unintelligible Fun

Guy 2 graduates from U.S. Air Force boot camp this week.
Boot camp was crazy. Babysitting was crazy too.


"Okay, have fun! I'll see you whenever you get back."

The door closes, and three eager faces look at me, wondering "What're we gonna do?"

I had built up this whole babysitting thing with the cousins, and now it was time to deliver.


The Characters:

The 2-year-old: Loves to communicate in unintelligible languages urgently. I'm convinced she speaks a mixture of a South African dialect, a little French, Dutch, and then sprinkles English on top to mess with my mind. It works.

The 6-year-old: Very sharp, loves to get a kick out of something I really didn't intend to be funny, laugh hard for a good long while, then bring it up all the time. It's like I'm a smaller person than her. She's nothing above 4'2", and I'm over 6 feet. But yet I still often feel left out, or that what goes on with her is way over my head. It puzzles and intrigues me. It must be a skill.

The 8-year-old: Avid reader of anything she can get her hands on, plays piano, has bright red hair but a fairly complacent personality, loves dancing and singing above all other sports (including eating, breathing, and keeping a regular pulse). She really, really loves to dance.

Me: Older cousin and babysitter now being stared at expectantly.

"Okay girls, are you hungry? Feel like pizza?"
Their excited response was encouraging, but not enough to pull me out of my small low I'd just tripped into realizing that painfully un-original me just played the stereotypical babysitter and offered the girls pizza. It was a hard hit to take, but after a moment, I swallowed a glass of water and moved on with my life.

Over glasses of milk, chips with salsa that was too hot (the animated and over dramatized yelling that happened on the two-year-old's side of the table was a poster on the wall that said "salsa. dumb idea. she's two.") I had seen her eating it earlier that day, but unfortunately the salsa didn't make it into the long-term memory part of her brain, because the first thing she did was ignore the pizza and go right for the mild, piling it all on a single pathetic corner of a chip, and plunging into her pallet before I had an opportunity to finish praying.

"In Jesus name..."
"yaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh! hot! hot! hot!" the two-year-old yells.

"Amen. Two-year-old, no more salsa. Eight-year-old, could you pass it to this end of the table so she can't reach it? Thanks."

A few moments later, I look over at 6-year-old next to me, who isn't touching her pizza. "Hey, what's going on girlie? Can I cut up your pizza for you?"

"Sheesh, I thought you'd never ask. And I'm hungry too."

Feeling pretty bad I hadn't thought of it sooner, I cut her pizza up into bite-sized pieces for her.

"Oopsies" I said, then kept cutting. "Sorry Bob. Shoulda asked you sooner 'bout that pizza."

Then up from her toes came an incredibly loud roar of laughter, and hair flew all over the table as the six-year-old threw her face onto her plate and started cracking up hardcore.

"Sorry Bob! HAHAHHHAHHAAAAAAAA! He said 'Sorry Bob!'"

Perfectly even toned, not gracing the 6-year-old with the least bit of inflection, the eight-year-old coldly responded "It wasn't funny."

Your imagination can fill in the rest of the meal, and it probably wouldn't be that far from the actual dining experience I had.

Next task at hand: clean up dinner, then decide that cleaning up dinner was very boring. So we stopped cleaning, and skipped right to the dancing portion of the evening.
Take two cups of ballet and put them in the center of the room.
Next find one egg(head), give him a guitar, and tell him that no adults are around, he can act as dumb as he likes.
Then, take three tablespoons that are totally dirty, and set them on the counter where they will be ignored as the rest of the events in the evening unfold.
Add a half cup of general noise provided by two-year-old who could care less about the Tarzan soundtrack music, if people were dancing, she was too.
Sprinkle ever so slightly a little mosh action the girls picked up somewhere...from someone else other than me who didn't teach it to them the last time I babysat...
Then douse it all with hyper-ness, bake at a million degrees for about 45 minutes, and you have...

Me getting schooled by three girls who KNOW how to dance and all together don't add up to his age.

Thankfully after the girls went to bed, I still had an hour or so of quiet, danceless time which I used to clean the areas that looked like Katrina happened twice in. It made the house look really good when I put the furniture back where it belonged.

As I slowly drifted off to sleep that night, the sounds of the 80's still ringing in my ears and my legs aching from the many times I jumped into the air purposelessly, I thought to myself...

"Did you leave the oven on?"

Sleep didn't come so easily after that, because trying to drift off again having just gone from a relaxed horizontal position to a leaping, running, stove-checking frenzy of action brought my pulse rate up in a decidedly unhealthy manner.
The stove was not left on.
Good.
But I was no longer tired.
Crap!
Oops, I'm totally not allowed to say that.
I meant "aw man!"

© 2008
By JPE



December 5, 2008

White (sock) Flag

The epic battle he fought since infancy. Today, he signed a peace treaty with his socks.

The 11 month old has a history of removing socks. 4.5 seconds flat, both feet. Never mind wet grass, rain, or sleet. No matter what.

Today, somewhere between exploring the Poulsbo boardwalk in 40 degree weather and walking on almost frozen concrete to a Viking statue, he waved the white (sock) flag in the air and called a truce.

Back in our toasty living room, he sought out his sock and sat, pressing it to his foot. After my shock wore off, I disbelievingly slid the sock onto his foot.

Step, step, step. He walked (he walked!) to the second sock, wanting it too.

He has reached peace with his socks, and is now asleep with warm toes.

December 1, 2008

2:36pm

Radiation treatment.
For her 13 year old son.
The battle with a malignant brain tumor should not have to be fought by one so young.
She knows this, and she fights to always be by his side.
Every treatment, every surgery, every anesthesia, she is there.
Until 3 weeks ago.

2 months ago another child began to grow within her.
3 weeks ago, she found out.
Now the Doctors won't let her near during radiation treatment. And her heart is torn.

She walked into Planned Parenthood at 2:36pm this afternoon. Except it wasn't.
It was different sort of place to get a pregnancy test.

The ending to Elyana's story? And her son? And her unborn child?
I don't know.
She asked her counselor to call her, but not until Friday.
By then she will know the results of the blood work and she will know how much radiation her son has to endure this year. and next year.

The poem Transportation brings my soul to this refreshing awakening.
I am simply a stretcher bearer.
And I serve the God who Knows.



Transportation

Be there to bear the stretcher
For those in need of Him.
No need to be the doctor
Or give judgments on a whim.

What people need is Jesus,
His love and healing hand,
And they need transportation.
This, then, is His command.

Mark 4
© 2001, Mrs. E.