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Late cocoon stage November 17, 2006

Posted by fajita in family, Family Science.
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The transition to doctoral studies has been more challenging than I first believed it would be. As of yet, I do not believe that real me has been allowed to come out. What I mean by that is that I have been surviving and scoping the territory.

It takes a lot of energy to make a transition. It takes a lot more energy to make a transition with a family with young children. There are housing issues, schooling issues, the making of new friends, finding a decent grocery store, auto mechanic, and where is the free wi-fi (Panera and Breuggers)? So, with these and a million other changes, survival is the name of the game.

Secondly, I have to be comfortable with my surroundings in order for the very best of me to emerge. This has always been the case. The faster I can “own” my area the faster the very best of me will be allowed to walk that turf. If I cannot get my grip, then I function, but do not take the kind of necessary risks that are needed. I go into safe mode. Safe mode never works. Why? It’s not genuine or authentic. It gets me by, but over the long haul, it’s no good. It’s not creative, innovative, or intuitive.

The best of me takes risks, fails forward, creates, and is pretty darn funny. The best of me is not all too concerned about impressing anyone because that will happen or it won’t. The self-protective me is in many ways the opposite of my true me.

So, I hereby declare that it is time for me to be unleashed upon my new environment. I have been here long enough and I need to give this place a taste of who I really am.

Now, if I can just find a way to bust out of this cocoon.

Quote of the Day October 30, 2006

Posted by fajita in family.
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As my 59 year old mother was helping my 80 year old grandmother into the mini-van, my 80 year old grandamother says, “Geez, I can do that; you’re treating me like I’m 90.” 

Those Who Go Before Us October 2, 2006

Posted by fajita in family, Grief.
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The funeral for my brother-in-law was moving. I was assigned the task of creating a powerpint slideshow from old scanned photos. It was a good task for me. I liked it and it kept me busy. Besides, I was the only person who had any knowledge of technology, which frankly represents a sad state of affairs. When I am the the most technologically capable person in the house, the house needs help 🙂

As I have pondered David’s death, I ahve pondered my father’s death as well. What’s the difference between life and death? It seems like a simple question on the surface – the dead are dead and the living are living – what else needs to be said?

And yet, where is David? He’s not occupying his body. We can say that he is in Heaven, and I believe that is true, but how is he in Heaven? Where is Heaven? Just what is it that is going on there? Oh, I plan on going there and being with God in a different wayu than I am with God right now, but what does that mean?

I know that there are theories and theologies structured to answer these questions. But no one who comes up with this stuff has ever been dead and lived to tell about it.

As I get older and an important age like 40 is creeping ever closer, the meaning of death is changing. It is moving from the thing that will happen once upon a time in the far, far future to a thing that is only half a life away. It’s more familiar and more frightening, an inevitible fright for which I am somehow being prepared to face. It’s more mysterious and real. Death is an unusual mentor whose mentorship becomes more and more active as I age. One day, I know that I will walk with death and leave all others behind, just like David did, just like my father did.

And that is not the end. Just where is it that death will take me? Although death is an inevitible  and solitary travel companion, I tend to think that the journey, once begun, is quite short and then death leaves you alone forever. I am beginning to think that death plays only a very small, but essential role in a person’s existence – like birth. In minutes or perhaps hours, a baby is born, but then lives a life of 80 years. The birth was short in comparison, but essential to all other things that follow. I am starting to think death is much more like birth that it is, well, death.

Birth is merely a change of location. So is death. Once born, there is no return. Same with death. With birth one enters a never before known place to remain their for a long time. Is death so different?

Now, I do not believe in reincarnation, but I am starting to believe differently about death. It’s not that I long for it either – premature births are complicated. So are premature deaths. Longing for death is probably not healthy for most, but accepting it and preparing for it is probably a very healthy thing.

Oh, and one more thing about birth and death, what happens in one place has implications for what happens in the next. I want to make my life something of value for today, a benefit for the people surrounding me no matter who they are. How that affects the next life, I am not sure, but I am sure that it does. I have a say in the next life today. That makes today pretty important.

New Grief October 1, 2006

Posted by fajita in family, Grief.
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My brother-in-law, David, just lost his battle with cancer. We’ll be in Arkansas to join the family for the funeral. David was sufferin much with cancer and had horrific reactions to treatment. His death is very sad. At the same time, the extent to which he was suffering was great. He is no longer suffering.

Grey, Rainy, and Blah September 3, 2006

Posted by fajita in Bible/Meditations, family, Solomon's Porch.
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Today it rained all day. I was so out of it. I have these days sometimes, this being one of them, in which I feel so useless. I have no ideas, don’t want to do anything, and yet life refuses to go on hold. On days like these I lose confidence, like I’m washed up, done, wiped out. I want life to just give me a day to do nothing. No. Life requires my presence, my energy, my contribution.

OK, I did get a nap today and I liked it. I REALLY liked it. It’s evening now and I am snapping out of it. I also went to the Solomon’s Porch gathering and that gave me a boost.

It’s curious just how much emotions influence beliefs. The thing with negative emotions is to challenge them. Negative emotions must not be allowed to go unchallenged. They cannot be allowed to run amuck without any initiative. These negative emotions can hold a person hostage, keep captive their potentials, and remove freedom from the realm of perceived options.

At the same time, when negative emotions are present they usually try to get a person to believe that these negative emotions are permanent. Usually, the only way that these emotions become permanent is to fear that they will, to believe that they will. Usually, negative meotions runs their course and get out.

“Do not fear.” That is good advice for responding to negative emotions. Whatever was true about you before the negative emotion is usually pretty much true during the negative emotion, and still true after the negative emotion. Knowing this ahead of time, before the negative emotion hits, is pretty important.

“Do not fear,” is found often in the Bible. On days like today, it is important to have that kind of support.

Local Logic August 27, 2006

Posted by fajita in family.
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At the local home improvement store:

“Excuse me, can you tell me where the firewood is?”

“Plumbing.”

Sure enough, it was in plumbing.

Fossen Update August 24, 2006

Posted by fajita in family.
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Foseen has not had a seizure since my last post – not any real seizures anyway. You see, Fossen is a 6 year old boy with a sense of humor. He has faked a couple seizures since leaving the hospital. Needless to say when he fakes a seizure it isn’t funny to his parents. My brother figures that it is his way of gaining a sense of control over his situation. Fossen’s mom is not buying it.

He’s taken 4 rounds of meds and thusar, no problemo. Thanks for the prayers.

Fossen Epilepsy August 22, 2006

Posted by fajita in family.
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My nephew, Fossen (age 6) had no seizures today. Thank God. Also, thank-you for the prayers and well-wishing. The eeg was taken today, but the results have not been interpretted. We’ll see.

He has been diagnosed with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE). Half of all kids with TLE grow out of it. Half do not. However, some who do not grow out of the condition can control it with meds. Fossen took his first round of meds today. The meds are not expected to work for the first week. So, seizures during the first week are not to cause undo worry.

Of course this has impacted the family a ton. On the positive side, this epilepsy explains some of the strange behavior Fossen have exhibted for the past year or so. Sleepwalking, wetting pants, weird wiggling, etc. You’re never thankful for epilepsy, but answers do bring some peace – kind of.

If you want to learn more about seizures, go here.

Fossen Update August 21, 2006

Posted by fajita in family.
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This is an update on my 6 year old nephew Fossen who began having seizures yesterday. My first post is here. The seizures were determined to be grand mal seizures. The MRI showed no tumors or unusual brain issues. The fall back diagnosis is epilepsy. The eeg will be tomorrow.

We’re praying hard for good news and are grateful that there is not a tumor or someting worse than it is.

Fossen has 2 older sisters, Carly and Chloe. Chloe was the first to witness one of Fossen’s seizures. Naturally she was freaked out. I talked with her today over the phone and reassured her of her courage in responding how she did.

I am sure that I will keep updates right here on the blog.

Urgent Prayer Request August 21, 2006

Posted by fajita in family.
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My nephew is named Fossen and he is 6 years old. He is my brother’s son (some of you know Jay). Beginning yesterday (perhaps a while prior to), he has been having seizures. He collapses, shakes, turns blue in the lips, and remembers nothing. As of the writing of this post he is at St. Vincent’s hosptial near Indianapolis. He will get MRI, eeg, and a bunch of other kinds of tests I am sure in order to figure out what is happening.

No one needs this kind of thing in their life. When this kind of thing happens to children I just want to scream, “NO FAIR!!!”

Please, if you are a praying person, then pray for Fossen.