Saturday, December 05, 2009

Dear Steven Curtis Chapman

Today is the anniversary of the day I told someone I love very much that she was dying of cancer. She didn't understand the words the doctors used to say there was nothing more they could do, so it fell to me to explain it to her. Three months later, she did die.
Today is also the second anniversary of my own diagnosis of cancer. One year after I told that very special person that cancer would take her life I was diagnosed with it myself. While I have many supportive friends and family around me, it's hard for me to talk about my experiences. Today I especially felt it would be difficult to explain the complex emotions I'm feeling, and to be understood. If you didn't know the person I lost, it's hard to really know what it was like.
Today also happens to be the first time I heard the song "Heaven Is The Face."
I am amazed at the courage and strength it took to write and share this song. To mourn a loss so painful robs most people, including myself, of the energy and ability to even interact meaningfully with others.
After I listened to this song, I felt listened to. I wish you could grasp a sense of how I was really listening to you too.
Just thought you should know.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Weekend Blogger

Around this time of year I start thinking about plans and goals for next year. I try to take a look at what worked and what didn't work over the past year. You know, keep what works and chuck the rest.
I haven't gotten very far, but these are some of the adjustments I am contemplating.
  • Continuing the blog on a reduced, weekends only schedule.
  • Building my own intensive topical bible study for the coming year.
  • Experimenting with schedules and strategies that keep my energy level in balance (minor adjustments such as what time I exercise or take a bath seem to strongly influence fatigue and nausea).
  • I'm still on the fence about writing, but I think I have determined that I will do some significant writing about writing and see where it takes me.
  • Normally I dislike the strict "do this every day" type of goal. However, I think I'd like to follow what is something of a mantra in the creative/arts world. "Do something creative every day."

What about you? Any goals or plans for the coming year?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Winter Reading List

Usually as summer approaches, there is quite a buzz about what folks are putting on their summer reading list. I wonder if the tradition stems from the days when it was much more popular to lay out in the sun all day to work on your tan. As a person who burns at the mere mention of the sun, that trend never caught on with me. For me, summers are more interactive, whether I am interacting with friends and family at a party, or interacting with store clerks as I browse up and down the block, or even interacting with a good movie. (Now there's a summer trend I like: the great movies).
Back to the approaching winter. Once the holidays are over we still need to get through January and February. Cuddling up with a good book might be as close to hibernation as we can get. Between the physical complications of mixing snow and ice with getting around on crutches, and the cold, decreased daylight, and my own decreased energy, I am hardly out and about during the winter.
Enter the winter reading list. It just so happens that right at the beginning of December my local library has a used book sale. Twenty dollars lands me more books than I can read in a year, let alone a season.
This year, I have quite a few classics on my list. Jane Austin, CS Lewis, maybe even some Tolstoy, or Dante's Inferno. I also hope to get to a few more contemporary pieces, Like Running with Scissors, The Year of Magical Thinking, and I Know This Much Is True.
What's on your winter reading list?

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Brave People Make Things

My friend Dianne borrowed this from another blog and I decided to take on the challenge myself.
Will you be brave enough to take on the challenge?

Because 2010 is so near, I am changing the timeline.

The first five (5) people to respond to this post will get something made by me.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations so please read carefully:

1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make. Whatcha get is whatcha get.

2. What I create will be just for you, with love.

3. It’ll be done this year (2009). EDITED: It will be done by May 1st, 2010

4. I will not give you any clue what it’s going to be. It will be something made in the real world and not something cyber. It may be weird or beautiful. Or it may be monstrous and annoying. Heck, I might bake something for you and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that’s for sure!

5. I reserve the right to do something strange.

6. In return, all you need to do is post this text on your blog and make 5 things for the first 5 to respond to your blog post.

7. Send your mailing address - after I contact you.

Good luck!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Reformation Day

The plan was to take a few weeks off of blogging at the end of the summer. Things rarely go according to plan. I decided to return to blogging today for a couple of reasons. The theme of reformation has been bouncing around in my brain and I think it lends itself quite nicely to renewing a practice I have found helpful and making the adjustments needed in my schedule to create the room to do so. And speaking of making time, today also just happens to be the day we turn our clocks back to gain an hour.
The time change was the subject in my creative writing group this week. One member of the group said she was going to use her extra hour to write to her family and let them know how much she appreciates them. I like this idea because it took a minor observation and added a practice that turned it into a real holiday, a time for reflection and celebration.
So I am using my extra hour to resume blogging, as well as a few other creative pursuits I'll tell you more about in the next few weeks.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

IL Budget Crisis

Today our nation celebrates its Independence. For many people in the state of Illinois, this celebration is bittersweet. The IL legislature has failed to balance the state budget. Some would say that it's good that the proposed cuts to social services were not enacted; hopeful that a belated resolution to the problem will come to pass. Unfortunately, for many of the state funded social service agencies, this resolution will come too late. Programs that serve women, children, the abused, and people with mental illness as well as physical and mental disabilities have already begun to close. With no funding source, these non-profit programs simply cannot function.
Ironic isn't it? On this Independence Day, many of us social service providers are wondering how to tell our clients that we can no longer support their goal of living as independently as possible. Oh, and did I mention that the aforementioned legislature, immediately after failing to balance the budget, voted themselves a two week vacation? They return to session the day before many checks that state programs try to cash will bounce.
I teach my clients that independence is connected to responsibility, maturity, and integrity. What am I supposed to tell them when our leaders take part in manipulative "negotiations" and vote themselves raises and expense free retirement plans, instead of cutting pork barrel spending?
I teach my clients that budgeting requires sound judgement and priorities. I live by these rules myself. I pay for my housing and chemotherapy before I decide how many times I can go out to the movies, or how many magazines and books I can indulge in each month. What do I tell my clients about a government that pays for designer "Welcome" neighborhood signs before it makes sure its citizens are fed, housed, educated, and medically cared for?
Please visit Save Our Services and help if you can.

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." JFK 1.20.61

Saturday, June 27, 2009