Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wild Wednesday: 4.08 am

My body clock does not seem to understand I would like to sleep until 6 am. At 3 am or 3.30 am, my eyelids snap open. I stare up at the ceiling and know my sleep time is over. Daniel tells me I should just roll over and try to sleep some more: sleep has always come easily to him.

I clamber out of bed. I pray. I read my Bible.  I decide to check my email...which in turn becomes a checking of my blogroll. I'm tossed into other people's lives. Their thoughts, dreams, worries, experiences come alive on the screen in front of me. There will be no chance of sleep with all this activity in my head.

I sit and listen...

silence ringing in my ears
sliced by soft snores
sounds of computer humming
sleep tip toeing further away

I sit and think...

memories from yesterday
mulling over what will be
musing about tomorrow
mentally bidding sleep farewell


And so it is, I'm here at 4 something in the morning rambling senselessly about nothing :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Memory Monday: Divine Intervention

* this was an article I wrote for a magazine several years ago:

It was the year 1981 and my brother Doug was at the end of his rope. His life had become a viscous circle of work, drink, work, drink, work and more drink. One weekend  while visiting him, I realized he looked like a prisoner in a concentration camp. I knew he needed help, but I was just a university student, barely twenty years old; what could I do? Even though I didn't know exactly what I was supposed to do, I packed my bags and moved into his house. He was my elder brother, but I figured he needed my help.

Have you lived with an alcoholic? It’s not pleasant. He wasn’t a happy drunk, that’s for sure. There were too many nights that I came home from University, driving over an hour on a crowded freeway, to find him passed out on the floor with vomit framing his face. I thought I was there to help. I wanted to be a hero; but there was nothing heroic about walking in on a half naked, elder brother passed out on the floor. I became weary fast.

One day I was asked to take a friend to the airport. On my way back from LAX, I decided that I didn’t want to go ‘home’ that night. I had enough. I would keep driving straight down to Costa Mesa and stay with one of my many friends. Just the thought of being able to escape to a friend’s house made me smile.

The radio was blaring Christopher Cross’ song “Ride like the Wind,” and I was planning to drive as fast as I could and be free again. When I drove past the exit for Lomita, I felt something inside me urge me to go ‘home.’ I refused to listen to the urging; instead, I leaned forward turning up the volume on the radio and continued driving. 


An audible voice instructing me to return home reverberated through the car. I almost lost control of the car as it swerved irratically across the freeway.  My heart pounded furiously and my mouth went dry. The voice only came once, but it scared me so badly that I turned off at the next exit and circled back around on the freeway. I still didn’t feel like going home, but I knew I had no choice.

When I pulled into the driveway, I noticed the house sat in darkness. It seemed odd to see the front door slightly ajar. I figured that my brother was up to his old tricks again. He probably had gotten drunk before it got dark and forgot to turn on the lights. Once inside the house, an eerie feeling wrapped around my heart. The light switch was across the room and as I walked towards it, I was wondering if someone had possibly broken into the house and that is why the door was ajar.

I quickly glanced in Doug’s room, but no one was there. I walked towards my room and as I passed the bathroom I caught sight of someone crouching inside. My body flipped around the wall that separated the bedroom from the bathroom. My back flew smack up against the wall. 


My pounding heart made it difficult for me to think. I tried to swallow but my mouth was too dry. The more I breathed, the drier my mouth got. I stood glued to that wall for what felt like an eternity, but it was only a few seconds. I mustered up a little courage and yelled, “Alright, I see you! You better come out whoever you are!!”

Silence.

“Come out!”

Silence.

I whipped around the corner and pushed the bathroom door open. It jammed up against the person slouched on the floor. It was only then that I realized it was my brother, Doug. Reaching forward, I touched his shoulder and he fell backwards. He almost crushed me as his deadweight fell on me. I put my hands under his arms and dragged him out of the toilet area and into the hallway. I had seen him passed out before, but somehow I knew this was different. I pushed him, I yelled at him, I even hit his chest, but no matter what I did he did not respond.

Reaching for the phone, my fingers dialed 911. Before I knew it, paramedics and policemen swarmed the house. They shoved me aside and began working on my brother. Everything swirled around me. It felt like a nightmare, and yet when I pinched myself I knew I was very much awake. One of the officers asked me what kind of drugs he had taken. I was not helpful at all, not because I didn’t want to help but because I didn’t know the first thing about drugs.

The paramedics attempted to bring him out of his unconscious state but they were unable to do so.  They communicated with the hospital and before I knew what was happening, they were out the door. I have always thought that paramedics are supposed to assure you that everything is going to be okay. This group of paramedics didn’t get that memo. They let me know that things were not going well. 


I remained at the house to call my parents, who were traveling back from Singapore. I went into auto pilot. I called my sisters and my other brother. It was 2 a.m., I called the pastor of the church I had just started attending. He prayed a quick prayer over the phone and then hung up. I put down the phone and stared at it wondering what I was going to do next. I knew I had to go to the hospital to see how Doug was, but I really wanted someone to go with me. That is when I decided to call Karen Fick, she was the young adult's pastor’s wife of the church I attended before moving to Lomita. She lived all the way down in Westminster that was around a 40 minute drive.

When she heard what had happened she said, “Don’t move, I’m coming right now!”

Somehow she made that 40 minute drive in 30 minutes.  Right before she arrived, the hospital called to tell me that my brother had gone into distress. When we got to the hospital I was told that he had stopped breathing and they had to resuscitate him. They were able to revive him, but he was still unconscious.

After a couple days, he finally regained consciousness. I was allowed to go in and see him. I walked into the I.C.U. room and tears sprang up in my eyes. He looked like an alien with his body hooked up to tubes and machines. I could see he wanted to say something, so I leaned towards him. His voice was weak. He whispered, “They tell me …you…saved my life.”

I smiled, and patted his arm, very pleased with myself, “Well, yes, I guess so.”

“Why? Why did you do it?”

My head jerked back as if he had slapped me. I frowned and leaned forward again, maybe I hadn’t heard him correctly the first time. He continued, “Why didn’t you just let me die!?”

Poor guy, his life was so miserable at that point, he just wanted to die. Tears welled up in my eyes. I had nothing to say. I patted his arm and said, “I love you.”

Today, more than 30 years later, his life has totally turned around. He is a missionary. He has a lovely wife and a handsome son. He lives his life for others. Doug is one of the most giving people I know. He never gives up on anyone. He always goes the extra mile when he is helping someone. When I see his life today, I’m so thankful for the divine intervention on the freeway in California in 1981.  Even though Doug thought he wanted to die... he had so much more to give by living.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wild Wednesday: HE DID IT!!

"Did you study enough?"

"Yes!"

"Okay how many representatives are in the House of Representatives?"

"435"

"Name one of the longest rivers in the US?"

"Mississippi...I told you I studied...no need to keep quizzing me!"

This was our conversation on the way to my husband's citizenship interview on March 6th 2012. He lugged his huge briefcase brimming with all the documents they requested...marriage certificate-- translated--children's birth certificates-- tax returns-- utility bills (I guess to prove we both are staying in the same house)-- pictures of the family--to make sure we are married? hello??? We've been married for 25 years...we have 3 kids...soon 3 grand kids!

I sat out in the big waiting area. The book on my lap gave the impression I was reading, but every time a door opened my head flipped around to see who was coming out. Nope ...not him...not yet... I had a lot of time to people watch. Oh, no, that man definitely didn't get it...he is shaking his head and trying to tell his daughter some reason why ...maybe he didn't have all his documents? Oh look at that other woman's smile- she is showing thumbs up to her husband, so she must have done well! Good for her.

Everyone sits straight in their chairs, hugging their documents and looking serious as they wait.  When the officer calls out their names, they jump up and walk mechanically to the door. What a transformation when they exit the door after the interview. Each person emerges with relief all over their faces.

The door squeaks, I turn and it is my hubby. I search his face, I can't seem to detect the relief...he has an odd expression...."How was it?" I already have my coat in hand and am ready to head down the stairs.


"Wait...we can't leave yet."


I half sit, half stand, "Why? Is something wrong?"


"No...the opposite...they said I did very well and I've waited so long why not just join the ceremony today and get my citizenship today!" 


"REALLY? Today...like when?"


"in a couple hours"


"Are you serious?"


He was serious. We waited a couple hours. I texted the kids. No one was expecting this so everyone was at work. Cassandra was able to make it...thankfully...since she snapped the pictures.


There were speeches, video presentations, oaths said, pledges made and presentations of the naturalization certificate. Tears softly tied each part of the ceremony together...they were happy tears...they were tears of amazement....they were 'just because' tears. Daniel said when they played the song, "God Bless the USA"* his eyes welled up with tears. When he walked across the stage to receive his certificate, Cassandra and I clapped as loud as we could. 


After 20 years of being a green card holder, he now is a citizen. I asked him what he is looking forward to doing as a citizen...his answer? "Vote, of course!"


*I could not find the exact link to the video they showed at the Naturalization ceremony but this was close enough.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Feature Friday: Elsie: Adventures of an Arizona Schoolteacher 1913-1916

Elsie: Adventures of an Arizona Schoolteacher 1913-1916 by Barbara Anne Waite is a fascinating memoir of an amazing young woman and her time in Arizona. Barbara Anne Waite uses Elsie's letters and journal entries to piece together the interesting life of a pioneer teacher in the early days of Arizona. 

Aside from letters and journal entries, pictures give the reader a window into the life of the young school teacher. Her simple abode and her students are captured. Life may not have been easy, as far as comforts go, but it was certainly full of people and adventures. One adventure Elsie found herself on was the adventure of an interesting romance.  Comments like, "It is odd the way men think they can't be just friends and have to have everything or nothing" reveal a bit of what Elsie experienced in her budding romance there in Arizona. 

This is definitely a memoir worth reading. The author, Barbara Anne Waite, brings insight into her grandmother's life with further research. We have the gift of being able to see the pieces of the epistles sent back and forth and journal entries put together and a full story emerges. What an amazing story it is...but don't take my word for it- read it for yourself!

You can order Elsie at Barbara Anne Waite's website. 
If you want to order the book on Kindle here is the link for the download. 
You can order a hard copy of the book from Amazon.com.
 

Zero to Sixty

Phew....when did we go from zero to sixty...all in one breath. One moment I'm telling you how to set the company up-- and promising you ...