Thursday, March 24, 2005


In the News

There seem to be lots of big things going on in the News, the Teri Schaivo case and all the wrangling which I am finding hard to listen to or sort out my feelings about because I am busy dealing with my own dad's illness and how to honor my parents and my family here at the same time, The shootings in Red Lake, MN (I spent some time on a different Minn. Indian Reservation growing up and a friend's dad was the pastor at Red Lake for a while so this feels close to home and I am glad to see that the media is covering it fully and with sensitivity to the unique situations of the Native American Reservation culture)

In all the hubbub you may have missed out on a new Dinosaur find and what happens when you do what you generally are not supposed to do with an artifact "This particular dinosaur fossil was too big to lift and they reluctantly cracked a thighbone.." Some times you hit the jackpot!
It has interesting implications for our understanding of the genetics and time line of dinosaur life and evolutionary assumptions basing timelines on the fossilization process "The finding certainly shows fossilization does not proceed as science had assumed...".
Also makes you wonder how long before some one tries to make Jurassic Park something more then a movie.

Friday, March 18, 2005


Long Distance Family

Today on the radio they were discussing some new book about long distance relationships, they meant romantic relationships. The long distance relationships I need a book on are those between the aging parent and their far flung children. My dad (81, obese etc.) is currently hospitalized for the second time in 2.5 years with breathing and other health problems. My mom is diabetic and has memory and confusion problems and needs help, especially without him there. They live in Minnesota. My in-laws live in Arizona, this fall my father in law had gall bladder surgery, he too has some cognition difficulties and my mother in law who is doing well now is a two time cancer survivor. This Christmas my sister's husband had a heart attack at 41 and almost died, he has only just come home from rehab.

All this background is basically to say that in this fallen world where adult children very often live far from their parents and/or siblings how do you handle the needs of aging parents and other family difficulties when you are so far away and have your own family and commitments there. How do you "honor your father and mother" in this kind of circumstance in a fallen world?

I don't have all the answers by far and I'm sure I will make some less then perfect choices along the way but here is some of what I have gleaned even as I battle doubt, tears and stress this week.

- my sister reminded me that We have to have faith in God and his plan, since if we knew it wouldn't be called faith it would be called knowing. (where would the growth and refining be in that?)

-In my Tuesday bible study we came to Proverbs 27:10 "Do not forsake your friend and the friend of your father, and do not go to your brother's house when disaster strikes you-better a neighbor nearby than a brother far away. (This verse really hit me as a word from the Lord that it is ok to let all the friends and church members how are asking to help, do for my mom what I can't do right now and for me to stay here with my family. That this is not an unbiblical shirking of responsibility but a blessing and provision of the Lord through the people to whom my dad has ministered all his life).

-The words of the Hymn "Abide With Me" have become my prayer for my parents or myself when ever I start worry about how they are doing or that they might be feeling alone or scared or unsure in their current condition. A great reminder of God's character and presence.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

-After the first time my dad was hospitalized I asked one of the associate pastors at my church
if he had any advise/resources on this topic. He had the following suggestions of things to work on consider which I have found helpful in trying to work this issue out.
" let me give you some categories in which to think and pray through the

What is their spiritual care and how is it being met?
Hopefully there is someone who you can entrust with this care for them.

What are their physical needs and what options are there available?
Is there a fear of dying or going to a hospital? Alone? Is home health
care an option? Etc.

Are you spiritual honoring & blessing of them?
This is where we respect them as our parents without having them deter us
from the responsibilities we have to those with whom we have made vows (ie
Jesus Christ, spouse and children).

Have you taken the time to bless them? There is a great book by Dennis
Rainey called "The Tribute and the Blessing" in which he encourages people
to write a tribute to their parents, enumerating the many wonderful ways
their parents have been a blessing to them -- how God has used them -- and
how now, you, as their child grown up, can appreciate all of it and indeed
give thanks to God for their diligence in preparing you for life,
responsibilities and worship of your Heavenly Father.

Are you effectively communicating with them your love and care?
This is a bit tricky because of their expectations (are they realistic?)
what you might be able to communicate. Take time to think this through,
but realize this is a major role you play in their lives now. Most parents
have been "around the block" and know you are at a distance: However, they
also rightfully should expect loving communications from their children and

Are you try to eking out their blessing and legacy?
Wittingly or unwittingly we all crave and need our parents' blessing -- to
know we are a delight to them. Some parents are incapable of giving this
(because of death or emotional make-up). You cannot demand it, but live as
though you have it because your Heavenly Father has already showered you
with his blessing: From this position of satisfaction and strength, minister
to your parents. Along with this, ask them about the legacy they want to
leave...not so much for you as your children. Are their memories recorded?
(I can tell you of some resources for this aspect.) Will they write a card
of their blessings for your children? These are the things which will be
more important than a headstone!

Hope this stimulates your thoughts."

-I am also learning (again) that one needs to accept what God gives to you and trust him and his promise to give you the resources/strength you need to get through it as you lean on him. For me this has meant not being jealous of my sister-in-law who just spent 6 weeks or so with her mom living at her house while recovering from an injury. I know some of it was hard for them but I was so jealous that her mom was close enough for her to do that, I really had to take it to the Lord.

Well as part of this all I am low on sleep this week so off to bed. I hope some of this makes sense and is helpful. I welcome any comments, further resources and your prayers for my parents.


Today in History

I bet very few of you knew that the Rubber Band was patented on this day in 1845 by Stephen Perry of London. The kids and I talked about them today as part of school and used cardboard boxes and rubber bands to make music. However, I decided it would not be in my best interest to share the info. I found on the physics and technique of shooting rubber bands with my 4 year old son. Maybe when he is older?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


...Paper or Plastic?

If this is the wave of the future then I may have to consider a return to hunting and gathering.

The things that get me riled up about this article on Whole Foods bigger fancier store are probably too numerous to rant all at once but here are a few.

-Even if I thought shopping for food was a bore I don't want to prolong it with more choices and a bigger space to move through. Lately my husband and I have been doing more shopping at Trader Joe's and Aldi. What we are finding we like about them is that they are smaller, easier to navigate, have good prices and especially in the case of TJ's have excellent quality food. I am so much calmer after shopping in a less hectic less choices environment.

-You would have to be insane to try and shop in a store like they describe with kids in tow! I can just picture my son elbow deep in the chocolate river fountain. Ok there is an outdoor playground but that only works for me if they provide free licensed care workers to play with my kids while I shop.

-1.69 for a single strawberry, I just paid that for a whole pound.

-Which brings us to budget, even if you have a weekly budget of 250 to 600 dollars like some of the people mentioned in this article, there must be better more responsible things to be spending it on then a shopping experience? After all isn't part of the target clientele the "fruit and granola" socially and environmentally conscience crowd? They almost admit that they are aiming to combine hedonism with a balm for the conscience.

-I guess what really bothers me is the assumption that everything has to be an experience and more then the minimal function required and the way that is often forced on us with out leaving us an option. "They are not just selling food.... they're selling life" and "You can't just be a purveyor of meal ingredients anymore.." Am I the only person that buys food to be part of a meal or is all food now an experience and though food sustains life it is not life.

I really struggled last year when my husband and I started doing Atkins dieting with attitudes toward food and its appropriate biblical place in my life. I ended up using a bible study by Elyse Fitzpatrick to help me work through not using food as love or as a substitute for God in times of stress etc. While it should be good and enjoyable and healthy it should also be in perspective and not become an idol or a form of entertainment or all consuming fulfillment.

well my kids are getting antsy so I will go and clean up our lunch crumbs. Thanks for letting me get some of that off my chest.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


.....Of Cabbages and Kings

We have a great thrift store near us (The Second Mile Center) and yesterday I got cassette tapes for 60 cents each of dramatic readings of Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass" and all of the nonsense poetry from his two Alice stories. Alice in Wonderland was one of my favorite childhood stories I even had Alice curtains, sheets and bed spread. I am looking forward to listening to them and sharing them with the kids.

Being an Archeologist and having seen the King Tut exhibit when it toured the US during my junior year in highschool, I enjoyed this new news on the child king. I think it is great the way modern technology can help give us new information about the past without destroying it for the future. I also heard/read somewhere that they are going to retour an updated version of the King Tut exhibit sometime in the next few years. I would recommend keeping your eyes out for it. I loved it when I saw it in '77.

I rented the DVD of Hidalgo the other night. I liked it, but then how wrong can you go with beautiful horses and Viggo Mortensen. It was not nearly as sappy as I thought it might be, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it had no or little profanity, no nudity and no real sex/infidelity in it. I also hadn't realized that it was based on a true story. Some parts of it dealing with white/native American Indian relations were a bit slanted toward the nobel savage vs. stupid evil white man perspective and there was a strong feminist tilt to the part of the story line involving the sheik's daughter. I am not saying that the treatment of these two sets of people was or is all that it should be but I think the movie's portrayal was a bit slanted to one point of view and wonder how true to the actual experience the sheik's daughter part of the story was.

Yesterday it was almost 70 out and we were playing in mud, riding bikes and running around with out coats. Today it is snowing and cold and blustery. I think I will go curl up with the kids and read them some more Farmer Boy, another favorite book series from childhood.

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