Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Things That Make Me Go "Huh?" (2)

I went to the eye doctor today and she dilated my eyes. My pupils are huge! So my question is this: When your eyes dilate, where does the pigmented part go? Where's my brownish hazelishousness? Are my pupils like a black hole in space, sucking all matter into their doomed darkness?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bring It On, Dad!

My dad and I have a long-standing air hockey competition going on. It all began when I was bragging to him over the phone about how I had beaten an entire youth group full of air hockey playing kids. So he decided to knock me off my "high horse" and say he could beat me with one hand tied behind his back.


Here I am looking vicious. Here he is looking terrified. I'm going for a visit in August. I'm ready, Dad. Bring it on!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Little Update...

Mr. Jim passed away yesterday afternoon, thus ending a long, hard and painful battle with cancer. Praise God that Mr. Jim is in a better place and reunited with his wife and son. Please pray for his family and our church and also for Steven and I as we try to help in whatever way is needed. He'll be having a military funeral on Saturday...

Aunt Sarah Project

I've written about Aunt Sarah (also known as "Caroline" a time or two before.

She traveled all over, teaching classes on linguistics, giving college devotions and learning languages, sometimes even creating a written language where none existed.

Recently, I came into possession of a box of letters that she wrote to her family along her journeys. Painstakingly saved by her mother and tied up with ribbon, the letters chronicle years of Aunt Sarah's life and travels all over the world. The idea behind this "project" is to put some order to this great jumble of words, to chronologically map out her voyages.

It's been a little more difficult than I had anticipated. I find myself mesmerized by her stories. What started out as little more than a genealogy side project has become something else altogether.

A kind of obsession. A kind of feeling like I know someone I've never met. Like maybe I'm with her as she talks to people in strange languages and with different customs than what I'm used to.

Sitting with her next to a fire, seeing her smoking a cigar and watching a sunset, pen in hand, waiting to describe it to her mother in a letter.

Riding with her over bumpy, potholed streets in places where yours is the only car. Everybody else walks. Later, the car will leave and she'll walk, too.

She laughs at the antics of the children who come to entertain her, showing off, doing cartwheels and trying to outdo each other, vying for her attention.

She wracks her brain for words when writing to her supporters, trying to sound dignified and yet still trying to raise awareness of the plights of some of the people she works with.

She's amazed by God's Creation.

She misses her family.

She's ravaged by cancer, but still determined to serve.

She speaks to at chapel services, too weak to stand but still beautifully eloquent in her love for God.

I don't know her but I love her all the same.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Take One.

My first attempt at fiction! Inspired by an accident I saw a few weeks ago. Let me know what you think...

No, really. Criticism is welcome.


"Why don’t you tell me again how it happened. From the top.”

Opal glanced around worriedly. Her eyes swept past the police, the paramedics. Thoughts of Paul and his inevitable lectures about how a woman her age shouldn’t be driving filled her head. Ever since that little fender bender last year he’d been just unbearable. She hadn’t even been hurt! Just a few little bruises. Paul certainly had a temper.

The flashing blue lights of the police car snapped Opal back to the present. “He came out of nowhere!” She blinked back tears. It was true. Maybe she had been going a little too fast, and of course that curve was the site of many an accident, but the young man on the motorbike must have been invisible until the moment of impact.

Officer James sighed. Miss Opal was going to be in a world of trouble if that boy in the ditch didn’t pull through.

They both looked up as the paramedics loaded the man into the ambulance. One of them caught Officer James’ eye and shook his head slightly. It didn’t look good.

"Come along with me to the station, ma'am, and we'll talk more. And we'll call your son, too."

As he helped her into the patrol car, Quentin James thought back on his eight years in the Highway Patrol. Never had he seen an accident like this one. The motorcycle was actually embedded into the front of Opal's Cadillac. They hadn't been able to identify the boy on the bike yet but he hadn't been wearing a helmet. If he hadn't been thrown to the water-filled ditch, he would have surely died already.

Officer James looked up warily as a black BMW screeched to a stop in front of his patrol car. Must be the old lady's son.

"Mother!" The kid was out of the car and scuttling towards them, engine running and door open, barely stopping to put the car in park. He looked more angry than worried. "Mother! What were you thinking?"

Opal cringed, shrinking into the back of the car. "Paul, please..."

Officer James tried to keep the peace. "Son, your mother's had quite a scare. This isn't the time to be berating her."

"Officer, is my mother under arrest?"

Quentin didn't like the man's tone, but he was used to dealing with all sorts in his line of work. "No, sir, she's not under arrest. I do need to talk to her, though, and get this mess straightened out. How did you even know about the accident?"

"It's a small town, Officer." Paul looked at Quentin disdainfully. "Good news sure travels fast."

"Son, you can either come along to the station with me and help get this taken care of or you'll have to go."

Paul shot his mother an evil glare.

What kind of relationship must they have? Officer James was baffled at the malevolence in Paul's face. He really seems to despise her.

"She just doesn't listen!" Paul spat the words out, giving each one it's own sentence.

"Now just calm down." Officer James tried to diffuse an increasingly explosive situation.

Paul took several deep breaths and appeared to gather himself up.

Officer James' radio squawked to life. After a hushed conversation with the disembodied voice on the other end, Quentin turned back the Opal and Paul. "He died en route. Ma'am, you have the right to remain silent."

"Oh, no you don't!" Paul darted to his car, ruffled around in the glove compartment and turned back, triumphant, with a gun in his hand. "Leave her alone," he said. "I'll deal with her later."

Instantly, Quentin's own gun was in his hand. "Boy, you don't want to do this. Just think about what you're doing."

"I am thinking. You're going to arrest my mother! I can't let you do that." A wild look had come into Paul's eyes. The look of a man on the brink of losing control.

A light rain started, darkening the street around them and whispering through the trees.

"Put the gun down." Quentin spoke firmly, yet calmly.

Paul sighed enormously and rushed him, closing the space between them in five giant bounds, gun in hand.

A deafening roar.

Opal looked at Officer James, his gun still smoking. Paul lay in a heap at her feet, a pool of blood slowly spreading beneath him as the rain began falling in earnest. Silently, she began to cry.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

I don't know about you, but reading this makes me all tingly. Cue The Star-Spangled Banner...


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

Why We CareImage by Montwerx via Flickr

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security...


Praise God for men who were courageous enough to stand up for what they knew to be right. And for the men and women who fought (and still fight!) to keep us free.

Here's hoping you're all celebrating in your own way.

Happy Birthday, America!