Friday, May 27, 2011

Indoor People and Outdoor People

Some people love to be outdoors. My friend Karin wants to spend her whole summer outdoors and not come in. Last year, one of her kids lived outdoors for practically the whole summer.

I tend to be an indoor person, even though I know it's not good for me. I feel better when I go outside to exercise or work in the garden, or even just to sit and do schoolwork with the kids on the deck. I'm both physically and mentally stronger when I spend more time outside.

So why is it so hard to kick myself outdoors? If I enjoy going for a walk, why don't I do it? If it's uplifting to go pull weeds out of the garden, why not do it? Why does the indoor work always seem more important and pressing?

Thursday, May 26, 2011


In our church body, the term "vicar" is used for seminary students who are doing their year of internship under the guidance of a pastor. Those of us who watch BBC or read British literature have heard the term "vicar" used for the guy we Americans might call "pastor" or "bishop" or "minister" or "priest" or "father" or "clergyman."

In the Lutheran church, we are also likely to run across the term "vicarious atonement" with great frequency. So we know that "vicarious" means "in the place of" or "substitutionary."

I didn't realize until this week that "vicar" is the same word as "vicarious." Sure, one's a noun and one's an adjective, but it's the same word. The pastor says, "In the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins." And we sing, "When ministers lay on their hands, absolved by Christ the sinner stands." Jesus says to the pastors, "He who hears you hears Me."

VICAR is a very good word for who a pastor is and what he is called to be and do.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Andrew has proven to the government that he does not have tuberculosis. He is caught up on his government-mandated-suggested vaccinations. Thus he is not a public-health nuisance and will be allowed to start his CNA class next month.

Maggie saw a new osteopath yesterday. (The one we like very much is no longer covered by insurance.) Going to new D.O.'s and new chiropractors is hard: they ask me what needs to be done. I want to holler, "You're the doctor. You're the one with the training. Just make this person's back straight." There must be a lot of different ways to accomplish that -- and at different speeds. Maggie's visit yesterday took a lot longer than expected. I always forget that new doctors need a health history (whether it's relevant to why we're seeing them or not), and Maggie's health history isn't speedy to record. Good news: her x-rays yesterday for the scoliosis (first ones in five years) still showed only a mild curvature.

Maggie saw an immunologist today. It seemed like most of the long visit was filling in the nurse-practitioner on previous test results, surgeries, Mag's manifestations of vcfs, and this winter's illness. I don't know how many vials of blood they drew for the labwork, but the nurse told Maggie that --no matter what it looked like-- they weren't taking ALL her blood today. They will be looking at T-cell and B-cell counts and function, thyroid levels, endocrine levels, calcium levels, and checking to see if this winter's low platelet count has changed. They checked Maggie for asthma too; she seems to show a not-too-serious problem in her left lung where she had the post-surgery collapse and where the doctor thought she might be developing pneumonia this winter. Before helping Maggie figure out what she might do for a living or what kind of training she might need for a job, we figured we needed to find out about her immune system and how it will affect her health and strength and ability to hold down a job ... and whether working with kids or in a school would be too risky for her health.

The immunologist today told us that Maggie's facial features for 22.q.11-deletion are fairly mild. She also gave me a little speech about how we should call it 22.q.11-deletion syndrome instead of VCFS. Hmmm ... can you say "12 syllables versus 4 syllables"??? Yesterday I had to instruct the doctor on what VCFS is, and today I had to instruct the nurse practitioner on what homeschooling is and where we get our diploma and how this affects the services the State/school offers to special-ed students. (Rumor has it that some people go to the doctor and don't have to teach the doctors things. Wouldn't that be weird?)

We have a dentist visit in two weeks. He will give us the prescription for the oral surgery to have Maggie's wisdom teeth removed.

Nathan's doctor visit today confirmed what's been causing his knee problems/pain for many years. The tear in his knee can be repaired. So that's good news too.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Katie's Arm

My mom told the story of when she and my sister-in-law were Christmas shopping when my daughter Katie was 10 or 12. They ran across a very cheap deal on a hooked-rug kit. Mom wondered if this would make a good Christmas present for Katie; Tina too questioned the wisdom of a latch-hook rug for Katie. Turned out, though, that Mom was worried about a dust-catcher for an asthmatic child, whereas Tina wasn't sure whether Katie could DO latch-hooking. Mom was taken aback at first. Why wouldn't Katie be able to do latch-hook? Well, because of her arm, Aunt Tina wondered. (Tina was still kind of new to the family at that point.)

You see, Katie was born with only half her left arm. No hand on that side, although you can see the little dents and shapes on the end of her left arm where the hand and fingers would have developed. I often forget that people here don't know if her missing arm was from an accident or a birth defect. She was only 3 when we moved to our former home and church and met all our homeschooling friends there. But now, with Katie being an adult, people are polite and don't ask the questions that were easy to ask when she was a wee one.

It's hard for us to remember that some people see Katie as handicapped. We have all sorts of stories about her abilities. Of all our kids, she was the one who learned to unscrew jar lids, work snaps and zippers, and unbutton buttons at the youngest age.

There was the story of meeting some new homeschoolers at a state conference. They lived only 20 minutes away, and we spent hours with them on the weekend of the conference and several shorter visits at home. Later, we were planning another get-together. The morning before they came over to play, Abbey (the friend) said something about Katie's only having one arm. The mom told her kids to knock off the stupid stories. WHY would they make up something so outlandish??? The kids argued: "But, Mom, she DOES only have one arm." "That's silly. I've seen her. She's not missing an arm." When they arrived, the kids made sure to point out to Mom Katie's left arm. Even then, the mom didn't believe Katie had one arm: there she was, sweeping out the garage. "Mom! Look again!" Wow. She really does have only half an arm on that side! But she can do everything. You'd never notice the kid is handicapped! Indeed.

Here's another funny story that Katie told me about her paper route one day. She said she reached into her bag to pull out a paper to toss onto a porch. It slipped out of her hand. She reached in again, and again missed grabbing the paper. On her third failed attempt to yank a paper out of her carrier-bag, she realized why she couldn't pick up the paper. She was using her left arm. Well, I figure if SHE could momentarily forget that she didn't have a hand on that arm, then I can't be scolded for the times I forget she has only one.

Long before we moved here, Kantor was trying to figure out one day which kids were mine. He didn't seem them often. I was trying to describe Katie by hair color and length, height, build, prettiness, glasses, and whatever other identifying markers I could think of. Finally it crossed my mind to say, "Oh, she's the one missing her left arm." Oh! Of course! Then he knew right away which kid I meant. But he said he felt like a jerk for having that be the thing by which he finally identified her, and he heckled me for not using "one-armed" as the first thing to describe her. Sorry, but Katie's lack-of-arm is such a complete non-issue that I forget that other people might notice it.

Although Katie has run into a few things as a mom that are a little harder with one arm [much harder to multi-task: nursing a baby, reading to a toddler, and making supper all at the same time] I think Katie's biggest "handicap" is in how other people see her. When she went job-hunting the first time, employers didn't see her. They saw a big fat emptiness where her hand was supposed to have been. I wish I could say "their loss." (And that would be true.) But it's also hard for a person to overcome the manager's First Impression, and thus not be given the chance to show how very capable she is.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The End of the World

1. Somebody at work asked me on Friday if I believed the world would end on Saturday. Seriously? I wonder if she asked because I'm a pastor's wife and because I spend my breaks at work editing theology books and introits.

2. People at the store on Saturday evening were joking about the end of the world not coming. I also heard loads of talk from radio DJ's on Friday at work. (I prefer for the radio to be off at work, but usually the people I work with turn it on.) It sounds to me like people didn't believe the end of the world was coming .... but .... maybe ... just in case .... they were going to have a party on Friday night to enjoy their last fling ... just on the off-chance that the end really was imminent.

3. The media coverage is unfair to the followers of the false prophet in one big way. They expect people to be fearful of the end of the world. They write about people who spent all their money before The End so that they could enjoy it while they still had a chance. There's just no comprehension that some of us (even us mainstream normal Christians) believe the real enjoyment comes after the end of the world, and we look forward to it.

Lift up your heads, for your redemption draws near (Luke 21).