Monday, March 24, 2008

Painful contrast...

Today we passed a painful mark in the war on terror. Over 4,000 of our nation's finest young men and women have now been killed while serving in Irag and in Afghanistan.

I remember hanging a list in my classroom as the first 19 and then the first 150 were killed. I remember telling those students that the day would come when the list would be too long to hang and when the names would start to blur and just like during the Vietnam war we would find ourselves becoming somewhat numbed to the daily reports.

I believe in the war we are fighting, I personally know one young Marine who is now a quadriplegic because of his valor, but I cannot help but wonder if any of those students from 2003 remember my words? And does that really matter?

By way of contrast I remember during high school as more and more young men from our town went to Vietnam and how sad we were when word reached us that friends were being drafted and sadder still when some did not come home. And then the day came when my boyfriend was drafted. That notice altered the forever in our after.

I suppose what matters most is that there are still young people in our country who are willing to sacrifice for our nation! We pray for those young people and their families. We pray for those families who have lost a loved one!

May God bless America!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Book Review... Is a review really a review if you have only read half of the book?

Hmmmm Anyway today I am reading Embrace Me by Lisa Samson. Any of you who know me well know that she is perhaps my favorite contempory author. Her new book will make you think about forgiveness in new ways. The story is told from two voices and from two time periods. One character a run-away preacher searching for himself and God. The other voice is that of Valentine... Val and her best pal Lella are side show artists. Val is the Lizard woman and Lella is a woman born without arms or legs. How the stories are woven together is perfectly classic Samson! Believe me you will not want to put this book down! Visit Lisa's website:

Story of Me ... Part IV... Early memories

One of my earliest memories was that of visiting my great-grandmother! For the life of me I do not even know for sure if this was my grandmother's mother or my grandfather's mother.. but I tend to think she was my grandmother's mother. She was confined to a wheelchair by the time I was born. I remember a day playing on the floor near the large wooden- high-backed wheel chair with grandmother sitting there looking stern with a white gown or day dress on. She had gray hair that was pulled up into a bun and I remember her reaching down and giving me red plastic coasters to play with. I do not know much about her except that I am pretty sure her name was Elizabeth Browning without the Barrett. I must have only been two or so when this took place but I can still see and feel the moment. We still lived in Rhode Island and there are several snatches of memory that go with this time period.

Another memory is of going to Little Compton in the summer to the ocean. I remember the little cottage we would rent and I remember the pattern of the linoleum floors that my mother would sweep each day to remove a layer of sand. I remember going to an eatery that was sort of outdoors. It served fish and chips and lobster and there were no tables, just counters the went all around the outside with stools that turned back and forth. We would make these treks to the beach with my "Aunt" Dot and my "cousin" Ricky. Dot was my mom's best friend and Ricky was Dot's son. I do not know why we called non-relatives by relative names back then but it seemed the thing to do. In the coming years there would be many more non-relatives I would call by relative names!

Wally Swett....

Today I have been reading a new book and it has reminded me of an amazing young man I met in college. Wally Swett was the yearbook editor at CBC one year. I considered Wally a friend. The first thing you noticed about Wally Swett was how comfortable he was in his own skin, the second thing was that he did not have complete arms. Wally never considered this to be a disability! He never complained about what he couldn't do, because for the most part there was almost nothing that he couldn't do! (double negative there somewhere).

I hope he is well. He taught me valuable lessons about life and living! He taught me look past the seeming disability and see the ability! Thanks Wally..

7 Things...

7 Things You Probably Don't Know About Me! Idea borrowed unashamedly and with permission from Nate's blog!

1. I LOVE to learn new things... not formal things like math or data, but I am huge on just knowing interesting stuff about a myriad of topics. This makes me a fierce living room Jeopardy player! When taking a Strengths test recently- Input - was perhaps my greatest strength.

2. Surfing was one of my passions in high school. I lived in Southern California and although I was never a great surfer- I loved it! I think I could still get up on a board although for this grandmother this would be an amazing feat for the feet and for the rest of the body!

3. Riding was perhaps my other passion in high school. We owned horses and I taught riding for several summers at Rawhide Ranch in Bonsall, CA.

4. Studying the lives of unique missionaries has become almost an obsession, although a closet one. I have managed to purchase almost all the antique books available about and by Amy Carmichael and Lilias Trotter. I am currently searching for a book about JW Tucker missionary to the Congo.

5. Another secret hobby is reading about and studying the great revivals in America and elsewhere.

6. If you meet me at school or church or see me at an event where I might be speaking or singing, I am really very shy. I know the talking and laughing and seeming boldness is at odds with that statement, but I am really very very shy. When they do that 'everyone turn and shake someone's hand thing' at church I almost always sit down and want to crawl under a pew or chair! ( as an aside) The last two weeks at church because of flu concerns they have been having everyone "wave" at someone during this part of the service. And last week the woman making this announcement said "maybe you just want to reach out and RUB someones shoulders"!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I don't think so! So see I am really not very outgoing!

7. If something were to happen to Garey (my husband), and I hope it never does, but just in case, I want someone to know I will go to a mission field somewhere until I am to old to be of assistance! There is a sweet woman named Margaret who is 90+ and who has gone to the Evangelical School for the Deaf in Puerto Rico, EVERY winter for the last, who knows how many years and just serves where she can! This is why I am trying to find somewhere to learn sign language! :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

For Tricia...I can't wait until you get to...

Because I used to teach with Jeff Prentiss in NJ and because Janet ( Tricia's sister) was my daughter's field hockey coach I have felt very connected to Nate and Tricia since the beginning of this adventure.

Because I spent many months, many years ago, completely paralyzed from the eyes down (Guillian-Barre syndrome.. a long blog for another day!) on a vent, and a feeding tube too.. and because I raised five children and had two little ones while I was paralyzed...

I can't wait ....

... until you can sing (with new lungs) to Gwyneth Rose.

... til just mother and daughter have that special alone time in the middle of the night, even though you will be so tired.

... until you get to hold the baby without the tubes, gloves, gowns, masks and hospital smells.
Sweet baby smells are so wonderful, hospital smells, ah not so much. Okay not all baby smells are wonderful, but you get the idea.

...put Gwyneth in the car seat for the trip home from the hospital. This is not for the faint of heart! :)

...try giving her the first bath at home. Those little ones are very slippery and squirmy!

... until you all can go to church together for the first time.

...go shopping with the baby stroller, stopping over and over as total strangers want to know all about the baby.

...go back to the hospital months from now just the say hello to the staff who have cared for you both.

...take your dream vacation going back to Hawaii with Gwyneth, hmm a 15 hour flight with a toddler hmm .. maybe not! with all of the firsts... rolling over, pulling up, crawling, walking. Each victory for her is your victory too.

...until the day comes when you can tell her all about her miracle story and yours!

I really can't wait... but I know from experience that our answers often take time.. in the mean time I will keep praying and trusting along with you!

Continue to keep Nate and Tricia and Gwyneth in your prayers and visit Nate's blog for updates at

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Class Trip to DC

In the morning I will arrive at school before 7:00 am in order to meet the junior class for a three day trip to our nation's capital. I have always loved taking students on these trips, partly because I have always loved history. My children years ago started calling the roadside historical markers, hysterical markers, because they say I get hysterical every time I see one. :)

This trip we plan to visit the Holocaust museum, take a moonlight tour of all the major monuments, take a VIP tour of the capital, go on a tour of the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, see the National archives, quickly see the Smithonian air and space museum,walk to the Arlington cemetary and lastly tour the National Zoo, Pandas here we come!! There will also be some time for ice skating and of course eating and shopping!! There will probably be a prank or two pulled on the teacher! :( Remind me to tell you about the prank pulled last year! (Different school, different students) Be still my heart.

When I get home on Wednesday night, I will have walked many miles, laughed a great deal with some great kids and once again come away with the awe that I have everytime I visit the nation's capital. One of my favorite things to do while in DC is to take photos of all the places where I find the Word of God etched in stone throughout the city! I pray that the day NEVER comes when those words are chiseled out of those stones!!