Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ode to Stuff

My daughters and I went to Wal*Mart today. I find it incredibly overwhelming, especially after being overseas even if only for a few short months. Now, don't misunderstand me. Since coming back we have definitely enjoyed many things about this culture and the ready access to so many different products, foods, and amenities. But we had also gotten used to a simpler lifestyle, and the massive display of materialism at Wal*Mart is hard for us to handle. I enjoy capitalism as much as the next conservative, but so much of what is available in this country is a) unnecessary, and b) way too expensive. Are all of these things really needed? How have the advertisement agencies succeeded in convincing Americans that they need all this STUFF? What would our Indian friends think of such a place? How can we stand to hear all the kids whining about stuff they want their parents to buy them?

After today's trip I was inspired to write a satire--sing it to the tune of Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

Plaintive, whining, we implore You
Give us what we want today.
We will evermore adore You
If You do just what we say.
Give us toys and cars and new stuff,
Give us all that we desire.
It will never be quite enough,
Of new things we'll never tire.

I'm sure none of us have ever actually prayed these words, but the sentiment may have been there. How often do we ask God for THINGS? Or, if we don't come right out and ask, how much of our time is spent worrying about/thinking about/wishing for stuff that we think might make our lives happier or easier? I'm not pointing any fingers here; rather, I'm reflecting on my own desires and wants. When I start to think about things that "it would be nice to have" the Lord brings to my mind people that we saw in India living on the streets. How blessed I am to have so many nice things! Our family constantly sees God meeting our needs and many of our wants. I am convicted by God's Word:

Hebrews 13:5 says "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." "

Will I ever be able to truly say that He is all I need?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Thinking or Feeling? A Critical Analysis From a Female Pespective

I was going to take the time to write a lucid, concise, well-thought-out treatise on thinking and feeling, specifically their gender-specific implementation and the implications this may have for societal stability and improvement, but then I just thought "I really don't feel like it."

Antarctica, Anyone?

We now know for sure that we have people on six of the seven continents praying for Bobby. Our only unknown is Antarctica. I've been wracking my brains trying to figure out how we could get someone down there praying for Bob. Any ideas? It's not crucial or anything, but it would be neat to be able to say that he has prayers going up for him ALL over the world. I'll keep working on it.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Feeling as a Man

Guest male blogger posting here.

I have read this particular blog for some time and am deeply troubled by it. In my small, concrete world I thought that "thinking" was the realm of the man, while "feeling" was the realm of the woman. Now, please do not get upset right away. I know that women are good thinkers; it's just that when it comes to key national security issues like blogging, men should be thinking and women should be feeling.

What will happen if women start to post all kinds of thinking blogs? They already have a corner on the feeling market. We (men) have no chance as far as feeling blogs are concerned. Don't even bother trying. What must we do?

I suggest that we, and I'm talking to all men here, THINK as we blog. We must fight this battle in order to keep our small portion of the blogging world intact. I have great fears here. While we are busy looking at things on-line such as sports, politics, sports, news, sports, other blogs, and sports, the women of this country will be launching out into the thought-based blogosphere.

Men, the women of this country have us all by the neck on this particular issue. We must stand up for our rightful place as thinkers. After all, if we do not think and cannot feel, what is left? I know that we do technically "feel," but since we don't know what those feelings are all about, why bother writing or even thinking about it?

So, men, how do we put this into action? First, we men should all think before we ever start to blog. If you can't say something with thought, then say nothing at all. Second, write on topics that other people care about. If your primary interest is, for example, finding out what Hollywood stars think about our country's foreign policy, it may be better to keep that to yourself. Third, write about topics that you know. Avoid branching out into arenas that are unfamiliar to you. If you know how to cut grass, tell us how. If you can hit a golf ball well, enlighten us. If you know how to make an Apple computer work well with the rest of the computing world, please tell us how.

The most important thing, however, is this. Avoid feelings at all costs. This is the big one. You are not ready to tackle this. It would be like what happened the first time Luke Skywalker faced Darth Vader. Just don't. Don't.

If we stick to thought alone, we have a chance. We must not give up on this part of our world. We must not back down. If we give up, it would be like pulling out of Iraq. Let's not run up the white flag on this issue. Let's fight the good fight, for it is worth fighting.

Winston Churchill, in WWII, said that England would never give up. This must be our battle cry. Let us think, think, think, and if that does not work, let us think some more.

Whoa, that was close. I almost felt something there. Worse yet, I almost wrote about it.

Remember, you can think as a man and tell others about it. If you feel something and then write about it, you will be crying in the corner before you know it.

Guest male blogger (better known as Eric C.) signing off.

Sudoku, Schmudoku

On the inane side of life, let me take a few minutes to RANT about my hatred of Sudoku puzzles, which my daughters and mother-in-law love. Some may say my disgust arises from my total inability to complete any Sudoku puzzles that aren't labelled VERY EASY (I think the microscopic letters under that say: If you can't do this, you're a moron.) But surely my lack of success has nothing to do with my aversion to these waste-of-time, good-for-nothing little engimas. The concrete reasons are:

1. They don't MEAN anything! Crossword puzzles involve verbal brain power, and often have longer answers that are puns or plays-on-words. Word search puzzles also have a theme or meaning. I know, I know, Sudoku puzzles challenge your numerical-logical skills. Whatever.
2. Umm...I can't think of any other reasons. I just despise them.

Any comments? Any defense from the Sudoku Savants?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Please Lord!

It's totally dark in Bobby's hospital room except for this computer screen. I look across the room at my son, curled up under his favorite blanket with Mr. Smiley, Brownie, and Ruff, his favorite stuffed animals. All I can think right now is, "Please, Lord, just give us more time with him. Please, God, I know he's yours to do with as you will, but could you just heal him and let him grow up? Let him hit puberty, let his voice change, let him be as tall as his daddy, let him play sports, let him learn to play the piano, let him go to college, get married, and have children of his own some day. Please?" Is this just selfishness on my part? I'm not trying to strike any bargains with the Lord--I know that God doesn't play that game, and neither do I. I know that Bobby is God's child, and that God is sovereign. I pray that this whole situation will bring glory to God. And yet...I don't want to lose my son! He is so sweet and cuddly and smart--how could I possibly handle it if he doesn't get better? These are such dark thoughts. Some people would say it's "Bad luck" to even think this way. But I don't believe in luck. I believe in an All-Powerful Creator God who has known every day, minute and second of my son's life since the beginning of time. And I hear a still, small voice telling me to be still and know that He is God, and rest in Him. This is all that I cling to, and it gives me peace. He gives me Peace.

A Whole New World...

Our family has entered a new realm with this cancer thing. On Bobby's Caring Bridge site I'll be keeping everyone up-to-date on his care, whereas on this blog I'll just be journaling my own thoughts and reactions.
So, honestly--this cancer world is a club we never wanted to join. It's the kind of thing that you are thrust into unaware. It reminds me of being at youth group pool parties in high school...not planning on going swimming for whatever reason...and suddenly being pushed into the pool. At first there's total shock. The water is cold, you have trouble catching your breath, and you may feel really angry. There's nothing you can do at that point--you're already soaked, you're completely in the pool, so you may as well join the rest of the swimmers and have some fun. It's the "fun" part where the analogy breaks down a little. Nothing about this situation is really very fun.
Of course, our family tries to have fun and laugh no matter what happens, but these days a lot of humor rings hollow for me. I'm finding it ironic that my husband preached on the topic of suffering the first weekend in January. I'm having trouble understanding how we are ever going to regain a sense of normalcy in our lives. I'm lonely for my friends from North Carolina. I'm lonely for my friends in India. I'm working on rebuilding friendships with people here in the Savannah area, where we haven't lived for four years. I'm discovering that the promises we read so nonchalantly in the Bible are true: God gives us peace, He'll never forsake us, if we lack wisdom we just need to ask, He created us and knows us and the plans He has for us. These are the truths to which I'm clinging these days.
I hope that over the next few months I can still find time to read good books, watch good movies, and have some intellectual life beyond learning everything I can about Burkitt's lymphoma and all the anti-cancer drugs which are used to treat it. But even if I don't--I do know that this entire situation can bring glory to God. I keep thinking of that song "Let my lifesong sing to you..." That's what I desire. (On a sarcastic note--Eric and I used to sing that song as "Let Mike Nifong sing to you..." People from the Raleigh area will know what that's about...) Seriously, I pray that our lives through this trying time will glorify the Lord. What more could we ask?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Please visit Bobby's website

I won't be blogging on here more than just occasionally. Please visit:

to see how our lives are going. THANKS!

La vida te da sorpresas, sorpresas te da la vida...

Okay, so the title of this post is taken from an old song in Spanish called "Pedro Navaja." It translates as "life gives you surprises, surprises are given you by life." Now, I know that God is in control of my life, so it's not as though I believe in some mystical "nature" or "fate" that determines my life. But life sure is full of surprises!

There we were, living overseas, adjusting to the culture, learning the language, and making good friends, when suddenly....

POW!! We get hit right between the eyes with a BIGGIE, a HUGE change....and we can only withstand the stress and pressure of this change because we have the Holy Spirit abiding in us, comforting, teaching, and giving peace.

So, most of you who bother to check this blog occasionally (and have given up on my EVER updating it) already know what this huge change has been. For any newcomers, here it is:

From one day to the next a large lump appeared on my son's neck and another lump surfaced in his throat. We consulted doctors and they determined that it was some type of lymphoma. We packed up everything in two days, flew back to Savannah, GA, and got him treated here--and yes, it is lymphoma. Our eight-year-old son has a rare kind of cancer called Burkitt's lymphoma. He is now in chemo and our lives will never be the same again...or at least they won't be for quite some time. I am going to be journaling and keeping posts on this at another website called Caring Bridge. That website will basically become my blog.

What have we learned so far through this experience?

1. God is good all the time, and He gives peace and strength as needed for each hour.
2. We are INCREDIBLY blessed with family and friends--so much so that I don't know how some people go through a time like this without this level of support. We have so many people who have said "Call me no matter what time it is, tell me what you need, how can we help?...etc." and the amazing thing is that they really mean it!
3. We have also been blessed with great children. Our girls have been phenomenal so far through this, and our son--depite some grumbly moments in the hospital--is handling things really well.

I have felt the Lord's presence closely over the past several months as we lived overseas, and more so over these last few weeks. He has truly been "the God of all comfort" to me.