Friday, September 25, 2015

tough kookie

I took Zibby to the dentist to get her routine cleaning yesterday and the girl ended up getting a tooth pulled. It was one of her molars, a baby tooth that had abscessed.
Poor Zibby has been our best "tooth brusher" but her baby teeth are the worst. The dentist said that it may be from how sick she was as a baby.
Needless to say we are grateful for dental insurance and that God gave us all two sets of teeth!
But what I'm wondering is how in the world Zibby wasn't complaining about being in pain.
I've had an abscessed tooth. "Painful" is putting it lightly.
So, Zibby gets a shot in her mouth and doesn't flinch.
Gets her tooth pulled and hears it "pop"...which doesn't seem to bother her either.
Then the dentist shows me the tooth.
It is seriously rotted out...a cave of a tooth that had been collecting food for sometime.
As gross as I know that sounds I still just keep thinking to myself how painful that must have been.
A few weeks ago she mentioned to me that her tooth didn't "feel right", but I didn't think much of it knowing that her cleaning was coming up soon and they would check it out.
How did she walk around with her tooth like that?
I mean, she has been extra naughty lately and earned her fair share of "consequences" so now, looking back on it I can tell that she hasn't been feeling really well.
And now that I look back on her eight years of life I realize that this is how she deals with discomfort....being an unbearably naughty, volcano explosive, or stubbornly quiet...these are her signs that something is a wrong.
Like the bladder infection we didn't know anything about until she was peeing blood (aha! that's why she was so out of sorts that week.)
Or the hearing loss she experienced as a toddler from those constant ear infections we knew nothing about. (oh! now, we know why she was so pale and quiet and cranky and tired all the time!)
Or the times we find her cleaning up her own vomit after getting so sick but not thinking to call on us to help her out. (changing her sheets and scrubbing off her floor at four years old and Ben coming to tell us, "did you know that Zibby got sick and is now cleaning herself and her room up?")
I'll never forget the time she got her finger slammed in the closet door and needed stitches.
She wanted to watch the numbing shots go into her finger and she wanted to watch them stitch up her skin.
I think that's intense.
And that's what Zibby is.
She is 100 mph at everything she does.
Like flying down the hill riding her bike side saddle with an arabesque...that's Zibby.
All Girl..
All Brave...
All Stubborn...
All Heart...
every single second of the day. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

another goodbye

I went to see my Grandpa a couple of nights ago. He was in the same place he's been in for a year now...going crazy and waiting to die. And I've wanted him to die for some time. Every time I visit, I want him to just die. Because this isn't how I want to see him. Not my Grandpa. The Grandpa who was younger and adventurous and ornery and independent and stubborn and told the best stories and the funniest jokes should not be waiting to die in a place where you are spoon fed mush and need your diaper changed.
It seems so dishonoring. 
Needless to say, it was hard to visit him in that place. 
I remember one day going to see him, I hadn't visited for some time and felt bad about it, he wasn't really "with it" that day but I apologized any way. I'll never forget his heavy eyebrows struggling to lift up high enough so that he could focus his watery blue eyes on me and he mumbles, "It's okay...I wouldn't want to visit me either." 
I guess we don't want to visit those places because we don't want to remember our loved ones in that way. 
I said this to myself more than once. 
Honestly, I didn't visit him nearly enough. 
But I'm so grateful for those times that I did go. 
Sometimes I talked to him or held his hand. Sometimes I just sat with him quietly. One time the kids and I visited and we wheeled him around the halls and fed him dinner. 
It was a mixture of sad-joy on those days there. 
And yes, true enough, I'll remember him like that...losing his mind and functions to Parkinson's, but I'll also remember him with that crazy mask on up at Lundy Lake scaring the bejeebers out of Grandma or running out in the middle of one of those High Sierra thunderstorms like a man possessed shouting at the he was gonna fist fight with a storm. 
But the best part I'll remember about my Grandpa was that he was always on my side. 
It sounds weird but that's the only way I can explain it. 
He was for me. 
He was proud of me. 
He believed in me. 
I don't know why. I wasn't separate or special or his favorite or anything. I was not an easy kid. But, Grandpa always made me feel loved when I needed it the most. And that alone made me want to be better and to do my best. 
So when mom called the other night to say that he was "getting close" I went over to see him, alive, one last time. 
He was struggling with every breath. The nurse was doing her best to make him comfortable. 
He was far from it. 
She told me I could swab his mouth if he looked thirsty. 
He looked more than thirsty but I did it anyway. 
I got really close to his ear and told him, "Thank You." 
I kissed him and I cried. 
I said "Goodbye." 
I said, "I love you." 
Mom called last night to tell me that he was gone. And I thought I would be more prepared for it because I knew it was going to happen. I wanted it to happen. But when it all comes down to it,  I feel  just like I did for every other goodbye I've said over the past two years. 
Emptiness....loss....deep sorrow. 
I mean, I know that our Hope is in Heaven, but today I'm here on an earth and I feel far away and full to the brim with way too many goodbyes. 

It's by faith alone I will trust and pray, 
"Now unto Him Who is able to keep you from stumbling, 
And to present you faultless before the glory of His presence with exceeding joy, 
To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise, 
be glory and majesty,
dominion and power,
both now and forever. 
Jude 24 & 25 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Refugees Welcome


After just a little research I've come across a number of ways we can help as a family. Donation to some of these organizations is a start but as easy as it is for us to give financially it's even easier to give and then forget simply because our conscience is eased a bit. I don't want to forget about them. These displaced lives need support every step of the way. It will take time for them...a long feel safe again.

Refugees Welcome starts in our hearts.

Friday, September 4, 2015


I'm restless with empathy tonight over this photo of a Syrian father clinging to his children as they climb out of an inflatable raft that had been losing air off the shores of the Greek island of Kos.

They were not on a family vacation.

They are refugees.

According to Webster's Dictionary a refugee is: "someone who has been forced to leave a country because of war or for religious or polictal reasons" 

This definition cannot define the emotion I saw in this photo.

I thought of Aaron in the place of this distraught father. I thought of Zibby in his arms, soaking wet in a flimsy life jacket, afraid. I thought of Ben burying his face in his Dad's embrace..wanting to forget the fear of a sinking boat or even worse...a war torn country and the home he left behind.

And I'm crying.

I feel helpless and far away and so removed from this world problem.

I wish I could help.

They need Home.

The population of world refugees seeking asylum is the highest it's been since World War II.

Since World War II. 

And I know it isn't just's Afghanistan's, Somalians, Colombians, they flee from Sudan and Congo, just to name a few.

I've been to Budapest. I've spent time traveling on the trains through Hungary. I'm not Hungarian. I felt out of place and far away from what I knew to be familiar and comforting. It wasn't home. I was not a refugee seeking asylum in Germany or beyond with my distraught family. I was just a twenty year old girl visiting a friend. No one blocked my way. I wasn't looked down upon as an economical burden. I wasn't stuck inside the train with no where to go.  I wasn't running away from war and terror and torture and death and destruction.

I just keep thinking about these people.

Five hundred of them packed together on a tiny boat for five days and nights.

And I can't rest.

An inflatable raft losing air floating from fear to some kind of freedom...or at least a chance at it. 

It's life or death for these people.

They die trying to keep their families safe.

Die trying. 

I would too.

What can I do to help them Lord?

What can WE do?

I'm Christian.

Many of them are Muslim.

We are all created equal in the image of God.

Would a Muslim family take in a Christian family like mine?

It doesn't matter.

I really don't know enough to understand the economic, cultural or religious implications...

I just know that I would do my best to feed and clothe, provide for and protect my fellow man from fear and harm.

No matter what.

A little food and shelter won't fix it all for the refugee but it's a start.

Wash up on my doorstep friend.