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Showing posts from December, 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 …