Sunday, March 31, 2013

12 Men Dying for a Lie?

Jesus existed. That is historical fact. It has been proved. Since they can't say He never existed, many people try to attack Christianity by attacking the resurrection. Sadly, some "Christian" sources share this doubt.

The story goes something like this: The apostles stole the body of Jesus to create a myth and keep their fledgling religion going. It's not an impossible idea. People do strange things for strange reasons. However there are a few things that make it unlikely.

The twelve apostles split up.

They didn't stay where they were and build their little religion among people who were around to witness the events that took place. If I were trying to create a religion I'd stick around my co-conspirators and build something up with the materials I had. We'd stick together, building credibility with each person we conned.  That way our power base would swell and we would be able to take advantage of our situation. What is the point of creating a religion if you don't get anything out of it?

However, we have twelve men who decide to go their separate ways to spread the teachings of their dead leader. One they clearly couldn't have believed in if they conspired to hide the body to convince people of the resurrection.

These men stayed away from the comfort of their families, away from the security or their jobs, traveling uncertain roads and preaching dangerous words.

Very dangerous words.

Dangerous words that cost each man a heavy price.
  • Andrew: Executed
  • Bartholomew: Executed
  • James: Executed
  • James (brother of John): Executed
  • Matthew/Levi: Executed
  • Simon/Peter: Executed
  • Phillip: Executed
  • Simon the Zealot: Executed
  • Thaddaeus/Judas son of James: Executed
  • Thomas: Executed
  • Matthias (replaced Judas Iscariot): Executed
  • John: Exiled
We are to accept that these men each chose to live a life of hardship. Of danger. Of persecution. A life that for all but one ended in painful death. (Many were crucified as that was the favored method of execution at the time.)

We are asked to accept that not one of them recanted. Not one changed his story. Each one was willing to die rather than admit that he was lying. Eleven men, each on his own, willing to die for something he knew to be false. I, for one, am not buying it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Baby At One

I wrote this post a while back, but apparently it didn't post. So here it is now, late, but still true. I love you little boy.

Today my baby is one-year-old. It is hard for me to believe. This past year has gone by so quickly. Some milestones have had observable progress made toward them before achievement; others have come out of nowhere.

While I've observed and celebrated the achievements, I have not noticed them. Or, at least, I haven't paid attention to what they mean. My baby has been making steady progress toward childhood.

In my mind he is my baby. I have his sister running around, 23 months older than him, with all of her advanced skills. She is able to converse, moves without toddling, and is so, so much bigger than him. Looking at her I fail to notice how big he is. Perhaps not in comparison to her, but still, he is not a little, pink human larva, as my husband calls babies.

He has a definite personality. He is fearless, but not without sense. When he climbs, and he does climb, he watches for, and notices, danger areas. He loves to joke with me by waving and saying "bye bye" and he often greets me with a ritual soft bite on my nose. Three days ago, with only one previous attempt, he walked across the room. None of this "taking two or three steps then falling" stuff for my boyby. No, he spent his time perfecting his balance while cruising so he could skip the humiliating bits where a baby falls and move straight to walking around.

When I look at him I am forced to acknowledge that he is no longer a baby.

But looking at his as a child isn't quite right either. He still has a desperate need for me at times. True, these moments may be rarer than they once were, but they are undiminished in intensity. When he grabs me around my legs and lifts his little face heavenward, squished up in wailing sorrow, he needs me to pick him up just as much as he did in the days following his birth. Perhaps even more.

For he has been out in the world. He knows there are Mommy-less moments. Sometimes he seeks these moments out. After all, he can't play with his sister if he's being held like a little baby. But sometimes the big world overwhelms him. Sometimes he's been on his own for too long. In these moments he comes to me and holds his arms out. I pick him up and snuggle him close. If he needs that little something extra, he bobs his golden head at my chest. This, I've come to learn, means "I would like to nurse." Or, perhaps more accurately, "I need my booby now!"

Before I had kids I was pro breastfeeding. But only until perhaps age one. After all, at some point it just gets creepy. Then I had kids. Looking at my little boy, no longer simply a baby, not yet wholly a child, I realize it's not that easy. Nothing magical happens on the first anniversary of a child's birth. He is much the same as he was yesterday, except now when I fill out his age on a sheet I will write "1" instead of "0."

His need for me is not appreciably smaller than it was yesterday. He looks, acts, smells, and feels the same. It is only when I compare him to the baby he was a month ago that I can see the changes.

He still sleeps with us at night. He seems to need my presence as he sleeps. It is not the same as when he was a newborn, when he needed to be held. Now he sleeps next to me, with perhaps a foot, arm or the top of his head touching me. But if I hold him as he naps, he gets a much longer rest than if I set him down.

I have tried to enjoy these napping moments as I know they will not last forever. I see the chores that need doing, and part of me would like to set him down to sleep while I "accomplish" something. Sometimes I do that. It is no longer a sure thing that he will wake, as it once was. If I set him down I can usually count on 30 minutes to do my own thing before he senses my abandonment and wakes to protest.

Today he fell asleep in my arms. I started to think about all the things on my "To Do" list. The laundry that is sitting in the basket, the rooms that still need to be tidied and cleaned before our combined family birthday party in a couple of weeks, and so on. Then it dawned on me. This is his birthday. One year ago exactly, I was upstairs snuggling this beautiful baby who had made his appearance, rather precipitously, only 12 hours before. I kept smelling him and stroking his hair and petting his cheek. I was still getting used to the idea that I had a son. I was a mother of two.

As I thought of this it dawned on me. This is the first and last opportunity I'll have to cuddle my baby boy as he naps on his first birthday. All the stuff I have to do will still be there later. At least I assume it will be. It's been there long enough already. But this baby is growing. Eventually he will no longer nurse to sleep and be most content while lying in my arms. Eventually he will be too big for it to be an option, even if he wanted to. But for right now, my arms are his favorite cradle and my breast his favorite pillow. I have decided to grant his request for as much snuggling as he wants.

After all, it's his birthday.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Apparently You Still Have to DO It

I've been making lists and plans of all the things that need to be done. I'm really good at making lists. In my younger days I excelled at it spending hours each day on my various lists. First drafts with notes on them for my final drafts. If it didn't look quite right I'd start over. No joke. If I didn't have anything to legitimately list I would just find something to make a list of. After all, who doesn't need 15,732 identical lists of names for future children or all the different homonyms one can think of? As you can see, I took my lists very seriously. Even I don't know why I was compelled to make them.

Eventually I found a life, but I'm still skilled at  list crafting. Probably better than you. For your sake I hope I'm better. If you can beat me it means... nothing good for you. But I'm digressing.
My two most adorable and legit reasons for my failure to housekeep.
Also the main reasons I need to figure it out.




I've discovered that my "To Do" lists rarely get done. I've done extensive research on the subject. Online, mainly, but I've also read books on the subject. All I can say is that it is all ridiculous. Lists are not going to fix the problem and neither are other blogs or books written by experts. The reason they aren't going to fix the problem is that I still have to do the work.

It really is that simple. A list can track the actions I need to take. It can be motivating to cross things off that list. But the list won't do it for me. Likewise, I can read about how to clean or menu plan or organize or, well, you get the idea, but unless the problem is a genuine lack of knowledge, it won't help. For the most part, at least for me, lack of knowledge is not the problem.

There's nothing for it but to get off my keister and pick things up from places they don't belong and put them in places they do belong. Then I need to get finer debris off the cleared surfaces by using whatever combination of sucking, brushing, and wiping devices I have at my disposal. If I keep putting things in the places they belong I can avoid having to repeat the first step. That in turn will make the necessary repetition of the second step much less complicated and daunting.

What I am usually doing instead of keeping house.
It's not that I can't do it. I have done it. I did it eight months ago. I just don't do it now. At least not as often as I should. I'm guessing I'm in good company though. So how about it? Do you really not know how to do it, or do you just not know how to make yourself do it?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Raising Awareness about Raising Awareness

I'm tired of the concept of "raising awareness." When did that become a goal in itself? Name one good thing that "awareness" does.

It seems that a growing number of people think that if they "raise awareness" about                , they are helping to solve a problem. I recently heard about a group of (I hope) well-meaning people who want to form a committee to discuss problems facing certain "at risk" segments of the population. They'll initiate and encourage dialogue and innovative collaboration on a number of issues.  There was a sign-up sheet for those interested in being part of this group. Nowhere did the printout list any concrete goals of good accomplished. It was all about raising money and talking.

Unless the problem is too much silence, talking as a goal will not solve the problem.

Awareness does not treat a problem. Being aware of breast cancer does not treat it. Being aware of hunger does not feed anyone. Being aware of AIDS will not prevent infection. Being aware of abuse or neglect does not improve conditions for those in pain.

I realize that raising awareness is a way to feel better about oneself. How warm and fuzzy it is to care about the less fortunate, whether they be people or animals. But it is a false validation.

Unless the talk is accompanied by action it is useless. That makes it meaningless. If I am sleeping on a park bench it does not help me one whit if you tell your friend how bad you feel for me or if you really-think-something-needs-to-be-done to help me. If all you do is talk, you've done nothing.

If there is a problem that you feel passionate about, DO something.

If you feel bad for the cancer victim, give money to research. Or better yet, find someone and help directly. If you know a woman suffering from breast cancer, bring her a meal so she doesn't have to use her precious energy to cook. Take her out to a movie to provide some distraction. Watch her kids or do her dishes so she can take a nap. Sit with her one evening so her husband can go out bowling and have a break from his burden of watching his loved one battle something that he can't fight for her. Offer to just listen to whatever she wants to talk about. Anonymously slip an envelope with $100 in it under their door to help pay some of the expenses in a way that they can't refuse and can't "owe" you.

If your call is to help mistreated animals, volunteer at an animal shelter to help care for the animals. Find a place that rescues animals and give your time and money to help. Become a vet and offer your services at a discount. Set up a fund for people who have animals who need medical treatment but can't afford it. Or pay for a treatment yourself.

There are many ways you can make a positive impact in this world.  But rarely will that be by joining a group of like-minded people who are prepared to do nothing more than "really care."

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Night Before My Surgery

This past Wednesday I had my gallbladder removed. I tried to manage the issues without surgery because I believe that God gave me my organs for a reason, but it became obvious that we were all suffering due to my limitations. So out it went.

I was very nervous leading up to the surgery. Even though it is a very common procedure, things happen. Surgery is always a big deal. I thought a lot about my children. If I were to die today, they would not remember me. Daddy would tell them about me, they would have photos and videos, my words in their journals, but no true memories. I fear that.

Tuesday night I made sure to kiss my little girl until she squirmed away and escaped to bed. Then the rest of us went to bed.

Sleep did not come easily to me, nor it seems, to my daughter. I nursed Wriggly to sleep and, as I laid there, I heard her start to cry. I waited a bit to see if she would calm down but she didn't. Thinking she may have lost C.C. the Gurgle Bear, I went in to see her.

It turned out that she had C.C. and her backup. But she was writhing around in her crib crying and screaming. I couldn't figure out what was wrong so I picked her up. She collapsed into me, silent and limp. My little non-stop, go-go-go girl just buried her face in my neck.

I spent a good chunk of time rocking her, carrying her and singing "Baby Mine" while she snuggled her toys in her crib. As I sat in our rocking chair, smelling her hair and cheek, I was conscious of the thought I may never get another chance to do that.

I reflected on all the times I rocked her there. She has grown so much. She used to fit curled up in one cradled are and now her legs dangle off the chair.

I decided to just enjoy my girl that night. Because, regardless of how the surgery was going to go, my days with her are numbered.There are only so many times I will get to sit and rock her. The day will come when she no longer runs to me for comfort. She is a fiercely independent little thing and I need to cherish every moment of assurance she requires from me. Because I will crave that far more than she once it is gone. And one day, I will no longer be around.

I pray that I will live a long and fulfilling life with my family close to me, but there are no guarantees. So I will do my best to cherish every moment I am granted with them. Because the reality is that any one of them could be my last.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Poppy

This is something I wrote back on February 9th, 2008. I am reposting it here, without editing. Without reading it, in fact. I still miss him and regret that he never got a chance to see his great-grandchildren. He shaped me more than even I know and was the brightest part of my life before I met my husband. 

And I miss him.

My grandpa died. Late January. I could give the date and time as I was present and holding his hand when it happened. But I won't. That isn't the point of this. The point of this is to talk about his life.

Up until I got married he was the person I loved most in this world. I was always closer to my grandparents than my parents, but my grandpa and I had a special bond. I was his favorite and he was mine. It probably started because my mom and I lived with my grandparents for the first three years of my life. Until she got married.

Growing up I a bit of a tomboy. My grandpa taught me how to fish. As I got older I was allowed to do more until I was able to do it all myself. From baiting my hook to making sure they were ready for frying.

He was a perfectionist but I don't remember him ever being impatient with me. To this day he is the only person in my life that I have always been sure of. I never felt like I was judged and found wanting. To him I was perfect the way I was.

Although he was almost sixty years older than me I never thought of him as old. He was always active. In the spring he'd work in his garden, the summer he was out at the cabin taking care of whatever needed to be done out there. Then in the fall there were all the fallen leaves to rake into piles, at two locations, so that we grandchildren could jump in them. Of course the winter had snow activities from the pleasant, sledding, snow angels and igloo making, to the unpleasant, shoveling. He remained young until my grandma died in 1998.

In 1999 he had a stroke and had to move to Nevada from Wisconsin. It was the first of many that over the next ten years would slowly take away the grandpa I knew. One of the earliest things he lost was the ability to use a pen. This was a cruel blow for the man who had made a living as a commercial artist his entire life. He became increasingly frustrated with his inability to do things that once came so easily. Unable to work outside he spent most of his time watching television.

He was unable to return to his cabin on his own so twice I took him. One time spending five weeks there with him. I will always cherish that time. That was where he was happiest. At that time he was still able to putter around outside as long as someone was around to make sure he was alright.

Eventually he went into assisted living. But through it all, anytime I made it there to visit he had a huge smile for me. The people who worked at his various homes always knew who I was. They liked me to come visit because he was always happier when I was around. We'd go pick up coffee and sit at the park. Either on a bench or in the car, depending on how much strength he had. Even though he would get easily frustrated and upset, I never felt it was directed at me.

I packed for his funeral many times over the years. Something would happen and all the medical "experts" would agree that it was just a matter of weeks or days or hours. Once he was flown from the hospital in Elko to Reno. They Elko doctors couldn't help him and did not expect him to survive the flight. But when he got to Reno the doctors operated. They sawed open his skull, removed a gallon of blood caused by a slow leak over the previous month, and stapled him back together. He bounced back and eventually the only indication that he'd ever had surgery was a slight indent on his head that I only noticed when I cut his hair.

For the last few months of his life he was ready to die. He had already lived a year past when his bladder cancer was supposed to have killed him. He was unhappy with his quality of life. But even with his vascular dementia he never forgot who I was. I got to spend the last two days of his life with him. He wasn't able to talk but I held his hand when I was sitting next to him.

He was an amazing man. Everyone who met him remarked on it. While we sat waiting for the funeral home to pick up his body people came in the room to offer condolences. Every one said that they would miss him and his smile. Especially his smile. Most said they wished they could have known him before his decline. There is more to write but I'll probably not do it. There is not enough space and time to write everything. His death was not a shock to anyone, he was ready and he is in a better place, but it left a hole in me that cannot be filled. And I don't think I really want it filled.

John Frank Guzzetta May 1, 1919 – January 21, 2008

Monday, April 30, 2012

Cleaning House... Again

For a brief moment in time, about 4 days back in September, my house was clean. Then my little Wriggly made his debut.

I knew my housekeeping, and consequently my house, would take a hit. But I didn't realize how big of a hit. Apparently one month of enjoying a babymoon, followed by one month in a chair unable to move, followed by four months of recovery, laziness and a general disinterest in tidying up equals a huge mess. Again. (For the math people that would be written as B+I+4L=HM. Or something like that.)

I realized that my house was just as messy as it was when I started cleaning before I gave birth. It was incredibly disheartening. Somewhere I had really expected that it wouldn't backslide that much. But it did and I have to deal with that. So I will.

It is tempting to think of all the work I did previously as wasted. After all, it did not last for long. That attitude is exactly how I would have looked at it ten years ago. But I am not the me that I was then. Thank the Lord. I have grown up considerably.

So I decided to change my perspective. Instead of looking back at all my hard work and the short-lived difference it made, I'm going to look at it another way. I actually had a clean house. For four days my house was clean. I managed to set it to order and keep it there. Not for very long, to be sure. But it happened. And if it happened once it can happen again.

Dwelling on the "wasted" work would do nothing for me except ensure that nothing would ever improve. And the work wasn't really wasted. It taught me that I can get my house clean. Sure it was hard work. It was difficult for me in so many ways. But I know now that I can do it. So I will.