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Showing posts from 2018

Year Four, Day 78: This Thing Called Adulting

Most tired am I today!

But I feel like a huge, giant weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

After I sprung my son from the joint yesterday, we met with the deputy that will be monitoring him until his hearing.  She has been a God send.  Very efficient, takes time to explain everything and oozes motherly compassion. We love her!

She explained what was expected of him. Then she sent us out to another location to be fitted with his ankle bracelets.

Oh, let me backtrack.  After he burst through the prison door to freedom and hugged us all, I handed him a bag.In it was a Philly cheesesteak sandwich. (The cafe in the Justice Center makes really good food!)

His eyes lit up as he opened the paper wrapping (the jail would not allow me to bring in a foil wrapped sandwich, lest I activate the security alarm!).

I have never seen him eat with such pleasure before. Don't get me wrong, my son loves food. He has always had a voracious appetite. But he inhaled this sandwich, making animal noise…

Year Four, Day 77: "Neither Wind Nor Rain"...Nothing Stops the Mama!

I burst into the jail with only a few minutes to spare yesterday. I was drenched from head to toe. I didn't even have time to shake the rain from my umbrella.

My shoes squeeked on the slick floor as I sloshed over to a table piled with forms and tiny pencils. I filled out a request for a video visit with an inmate and rushed up to the deputy behind the glass.

He chuckled when I raced up, out of breath. I slid the slip of paper under the window separating us.

"Neither wind nor rainstorm..." He laughed.

"I know, right?" I smiled at him. We have a comfortable familiarity. I have seen this man once a week for over two months now.

"I'm more determined then a postal worker!" I blurted out.

He laughed again. "Well you even beat them", He said as he checked my ID. "I haven't even seen the mail come in today".

He handed me a yellow post-it note with my sign-in code written in pencil.

I told him I was alone today. My son's girlfr…

Year Four, Day 76: My New Hat

I am sitting at a bus stop downtown Vancouver. A steady drizzle is falling and the skies are slate gray. Not many people are out and about. It feels rather peaceful. I'm trying to hold on to that peace rather than acknowledge the churning in my stomach.

My son called last night before he turned into bed and was feeling low again. We've talked about how this experience will produce a roller coaster of emotions. Heck, life produces a roller coaster of emotions. But I encouraged him to stay above the emotions. To stay in the present moment and to look for positive rays of light in each day. These are the things I tell myself each day. And I am not in jail!

The waiting and the unknown part of this process are painful. But then so is the food. I asked him how his dinner was and he said like mush.

"Mush?" I asked. "Like oatmeal?"

"No"  he said. "Like cat food."

"Thank God for commissary!" I said. I chuckled. He didn't.

But it occ…

Year Four, Day 75: Bright Spots in this Deep, Dark Abyss

There are many bright spots in the dark abyss of my life currently.

Foremost is my granddaughter. She is learning to walk. The joy in her toothy, big mouthed grin is indescribable. I laugh out loud with glee when she crawls to.the middle of the living floor and then squats like a Sumo wrestler and slowly rises up to a standing position like a power lifter. Of course, whoever is watching her performance breaks out in thunderous applause. At which her grin widens and does an encore performance.

At this moment, 4:54 a.m., I was awakened to loud babbling from my daughter and soninlaw's room. It sounds like a cross between Russian and Swahili.

I open the door quietly and peer inside.

My daughter and soninlaw are fast asleep. My granddaughter is sitting straight backed in the middle of their bed, talking to the ceiling. In Swahili-Russian.

My daughter rolls over and says, "Shh!"

I close the door gently. I am on grandbaby duty. I'll stay awake, blogging with one ear tuned …

Year Four, Day 74: Musical Healing

I accompanied the Francis Street Singers last night in concert. I have been their choir accompanist for at least 20 years.  I love this group.

As usual, the music enveloped me, and permeated my very soul.

I'm not being overly dramatic.  It was a healing, spiritual experience.

I was thinking of my son when the choir sang "Sure on This Shining Night".  I felt like a vessel, as the lush harmonies flowed through my fingertips.  The hairs on my arms were standing on end. So I know we were in our musical zone.

But the song "The Rune of Hospitality" really hit me.  Here are the lyrics:

The Rune of HospitalityBy Alf HoukomI saw a stranger yestereen; I put food in the eating place; Drink in the drinking place, Music in the listening place; And, in the sacred name of the Triune, He blessed myself and my house, My cattle and my dear ones, And the lark said in her song, Often, often, often, Goes the Christ in the stranger's guise, Often, often, often, Goes th…

Year Four: Day 73: The Creeper Van and The Moment My Brain Music Stopped

I am always looking for the glimmer of light in the darkness. If nothing else, our difficulties can bring a lesson or simple be a hurdle to clear to a much better place.

Or we can find the humor.

I found it Saturday. At Plaid Pantry.

I was so pleased with myself. I had gotten out of bed early enough to grab a $1 breakfast burrito from the Taco Bell at my bus stop. All the buses were on time and synchronized, so I was also able to grab a large $1 at McDonald's before my teaching shift.

So I decided to stop at Plaid Pantry down the street from the music center where I teach. They often have really good sales at the cash register. I was hoping for something not too unhealthy for my break.

I was standing in line with my gummy candies, when the door flew open. It was cold and windy on Saturday. A man about my age seemed to blow into the store.  He saw me looking at him and smile and nodded. I smiled back.

I was in a good mood.  Early for work. And within my daily food budget.  I had al…

Year Four, Day 72: Frozen Moments

I just got a call from my son.  His voice was breaking. I thought he was going to tell me he was hungry, cold, the food sucked or someone was picking on him.

Or maybe asking me how close we were to getting his bail together.

None of the above.

He had gotten my newest letter of encouragement.

He told me that he just called to tell me he loved me and wants me to know how much he appreciates all the work I am doing for him.

I told him I loved him too. And his phone call meant a lot to me.

It does.

There are moments in life where time stands still. I wish I could just hold that moment and the feelings within in it in the palm of  my hand. Forever.

We are going to get through this. There is so much love in our family.

I have to run now.  Talk to you tomorrow!



Year Four, Day 71: Maya Blue

It's a gloriously beautiful day today in Portland, Oregon. The skies are clear and the most amazing shade of blue.  I looked up a color chart. It is closest to "Maya" blue. 

So I had to Google that.

Here's what I found:

"Maya blue (Spanish: azul maya) is a unique bright azure bluepigment manufactured by cultures of pre-ColumbianMesoamerica, such as the Maya and Aztec"

How totally cool is that!

It's funny that when I say "Maya Blue" it almost sounds like "Am I Blue?"  (A classic Billie Holiday song.)

I am not.

I was though. 

I am finding that I am gradually being able to find joy in life again.  My son is doing amazingly well. He has moments of frustration and depression. But he has reached a new level today. He has gotten more assertive about his life. He realizes how precious freedom is. He realizes he's made some mistakes, but he is determined to start rebuilding his life.

He even called his at…

Year Four, Day 70: Encountering Angels in the Land of the Golden Arches

I keep on meeting earth angels.  In the most unlikely places!

Yet again, I had the most amazing encounter at McDonald's of all places. 

I have been sticking to my resolve to give up expensive Starbucks drinks. Even though I have a Starbucks app and earn stars with each purchase, the free drink does not cancel out the money I put out to earn the "free" drink!

I need every penny for my son's bail.  And for daily survival.

But I still enjoy having a place to hang out when I come to Portland to teach. To hang out, sip coffee, read my Bible, write in my prayer journal and keep up with my GoFundMe account.

So there I was. Having my large, coffee with one creamer and 2 sugars at McDonald's on SE Powell.  Coffee at McDonald's, by the way is not that much inferior to Starbucks. And at $1.00 for a large, well within my budget!

And there's an app.  Buy 5 coffees any size and get the 6th for free.  Now your speaking my language!

Plus, over the years, I have had the m…

Year Four, Day 69: The Road to Inverness

At last I feel like talking again.

It has been a long time - over a month!

I have been sad, depressed, overwhelmed and anxious.

Such is a woman with an incarcerated loved one.

My family member in crisis. He has been in jail for one month today.

In case you haven't guessed, my FMIC (aka family member in crisis) is my son.  I have started a gofundme page for him. It is public knowledge.  

My son is doing well, considering.  In fact, I often think he is doing better emotionally, physically and spiritually than I am!

I feel like I am on a roller coaster - of the emotional kind!

Every morning my eyes fly open. My heart is usually pounding. I feel a sense of impending doom. I try to breath slowly, sip water and tell myself all is well.

But then I remember. My son is in jail. All is not well!

Although, to tell you truth, it could have been much worse.  There are many bright spots to this whole experience.

He is alive.He is clean and sober.He hasn't had a cigarette in over 30 days.He …

Year Four, Day 68: The Chicken and the Violin

I am going to start running (once again until the end of days...err my end of days) tomorrow!

It's the least I can do. In honor of my family member in crisis and for me! I need to relieve some stress.  And lose weight.  AND I need a goal. I am determined to do that marathon yet!

I am feeling better today. I am breathing better at least! I feel like I am glowing. It must be all of this prayer. Prayer is good for the soul!  Not just for the person you're praying for, but for you!

A funny thing happened on the bus just a moment ago. I was getting caught up on the news, when a message popped up. 

"I'm on the same bus as you". It read. There was a man's face that I did not quite recognize attached the text. My heart started to thud.  In my head the tone of voice was slightly threatening.

But when I looked up, I saw his grinning face!  He waved. Then texted me some more. It is a young man I met a few years ago on this very bus.  We exchanged numbers, but never real…

Year Four, Day 67: In My Own Little Corner

I spent the morning in court.  This process is opening my eyes to the plight of inmates.  Everyone makes mistakes in their lives. Some learn from their mistakes.  Some are destroyed from them. 

I'm not even addressing the evil criminals. Those that get pleasure from inflicting pain on others. Or those who feel they are above the law.

I'm talking about people who make mistakes due to poor judgment.  Often due to addiction. Which should be considered an illness, in my opinion. But that is another soapbox.

What I saw today simply saddened me.  Many inmates went before a judge who asked if they had read the charges and understood them.  Most had not read the paper. Some didn't know there was a paper.  Most did not understand.  They were told to read it and come back. And if they had questions, they could ask their attorney.

One man looked up sadly and said, "I did not even know I had an attorney".

I realize our jails are overcrowded. Legal language is confusing.  I …

Year Four, Day 66: The "Knot" of Not Knowing

Still praying.

Still putting one foot in front of the other.  Teaching, caring for my granddaughter, doing legal research online.

But what I want to do is curl up in a ball and cry. For a very long time.

I told my family member in crisis that we are all praying for him and doing what we can for him here on the outside.

I am still emailing nuns, and some monks all over the world.

The following is from the website of the Dominican Nuns:

"As contemplative nuns, our primary duty for the Church is prayer.  If you have a prayer request, simply enter it in the form below.  Upon receiving it, we will post it on our prayer board outside of our Choir for all the nuns to see.
Thank you for entrusting your needs and petitions to our prayers! We take them all to Jesus through Mary during Mass,  our hours of the Divine Office, Adoration and Rosary!

God bless you!
The Dominican Nuns"
I feel strengthened knowing women and men who have take…

Year Four, Day 65: All the Monks and Nuns

How I wish I could share with you, my reader, everything that is on my heart this morning
 It is 5:27 a.m. I have been awake since roughly 4:00 a.m.

Hopefully I can speak more freely after Tuesday.

That is when my family member in crisis goes before the judge.  Hopefully he'll be released shortly afterwards.

It has been a long week.

For him, for me, for his girlfriend. And for our whole family.

I've been waking up every morning about 4:00 a.m. I worry, I fret.  Sometimes I go back to sleep. But when I finally face the day, I also have to face the reality that I am missing my family member in crisis.

Missing him so much that it feels like a piece of my flesh has been torn off.

But I must be strong. And positive.  When he called yesterday, his voice sounded lighter.  He told me he was on to us.

"I know what you guys are doing",  he said with a smile in his voice.

"You are trying to act all as if everything is o.k. to keep me positive".

I told him I had a good…

Year Four, Day 64: Praying People

This will be brief.

My family member in crisis is in the crisis of his life. I am in tears, trying to remain strong.

I cannot divulge details at this time.  But if you are a praying type of person, please pray for our family.

I am fearful, but deep down I know we will get through this. I feel God's hand in this.

I am giving it up to Him right now.

Talk to  you soon.

Love and blessings,


Year Four, Day 63: Call Me Peculiar...

"Call me peculiar, but slate gray skies make me happy", I thought this morning as I leaned my head against the window of the Max train heading to downtown Portland.

Lately, I think in sentences that are perfect blog openers.

That's peculiar in and of itself!

It was chilly this morning when I left home. I walked through the park, kicking colored leaves with my boots as I walked. I could see my breath in little puffs in front of me as I walked.  I felt light-hearted.

I don't often feel light-hearted. I am often pre-occupied. Either worried, or pondering, or planning.

But I felt genuinely good and happy to be alive.

I have been pondering the connection between memory and emotion lately.  The slate gray skies and cool weather bring back memories of me being in a happy state.  I don't recall any particularly moment, just the feeling that I have looked at these same skies in this same emotional state many, many times before.

I wish my nose was functioning properly. I…

Year Four, Day 62: "I Am Not a Bum!" Love with a Capital L

Dear Friends:

This happened last week. I do not remember what day.  I blogged that evening, but fell asleep before I could finish it and post it.

So, a random day last week:

3:00 p.m. Belmont Library:
Another incredibly lovely day.  It is surreal, this weather we have been having lately. The sun is blinding. I wish I could find my sunglasses.

But I am determined to be present in this moment. The clouds will come, swollen with rain.  The skies will turn gray. And it will be damp for months.

At least that is how it has been in the days of the past.

I have noticed that I have been feeling stronger and more energetic lately. I believe it is mostly due to my increased activity.  Fall term is in full swing.  I am teaching three days a week, plus one evening of choir practice.  And I am walking more.

I do love to walk. But I am mindful of my stride. No more sauntering! I put on my sneakers in the morning, load up my backpack, and hit the road. The muscles in my legs are burning, my feet ar…

Year Four, Day 61: The Magic That is Johnny Cash

What a glorious fall day!  The skies are completely clear and a lovely light blue. The sun is brilliant, so bright it hurts the eyes. Unfortunately I have misplaced my special sunglasses. The ones that fit over my glasses. I am trying not to squint. Squinting causes wrinkles.

I watched Grace as usual this morning. We are still having our Mary Poppins marathon. I shall have to buy the DVD. I renewed it yet again from the library. I dread the day I have to return it!

A friend of my daughter's told us that there is a new Mary Poppins coming out soon. I am looking forward to seeing it, although I doubt anyone can hold a candle to Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke!

I am at the libary.  It is very peaceful here today.  A lovely view of trees with changing colored leaves is is visible through the window near the computer I am typing from.I believe they are maple trees. They are tall, sturdy andrd mighty.

My daughter dropped my off at Cascade Station so that I didn't have to spend so m…