Thursday, April 12, 2012


                                                                                photo: Bachelor's Button flower wildflowers.

          SPRING BREAK !!

I will be out of town for a few days and immediately after that the LOC* and I will be traveling for a bit. (Lovable Old Coot*)

Don't know whether the travel schedule will allow for blogging; but we should have some tales to tell upon our return.  If not, well, maybe we will just make some up.  :)

Happy spring!  Hope you are taking time for a break, too.  Until next time ... Marsha

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

So Far, So Good - The Spot I Am In

         Reader alert:  This post is a mother's paean to her son's courage.  Don't say I didn't warn you.  :)
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Yesterday was the Big Day!  Eight months and sixteen days after his surgery last July, K. rolled into his classroom.

No, he is not completely recovered; and yes, he still has to have a nurse come to the house each day to dress his wound.  But it is 95% healed and he persuaded the doctors to give him a "conditional" release to go back to work.

The conditions are that he must be evaluated weekly, and if the wound begins to breakdown (due to the fact that he must sit on it 10-12 hours a day while working) he will have to have another surgery and be down again for several more months.

Nevertheless, he felt it was worth taking a shot at it, because if he could not return by April 17th, he would lose the position he has held for the past ten years.  No tenure in the county where he works.

Back in the day, I managed a workforce of over a thousand people; and when I think of all the times an employee with the "two-day sniffles" stretched that into a five day absence - when I think of all the times an employee worked two or three doctors from different angles to be able to declare a temporary disability in order take several months off work - well, it is hard.

In the past nine years on the job, K. took nine sick days - total.

I have watched him struggle to get back into the workplace, while still on three or four medications, still carrying a wound that could have killed him, still unable to move his left arm with full range of motion due to eight months of enforced bed rest, yet still saying, "Let me go.  Let me try.  I want to do this if I can.  We won't know until I try."

Yesterday students ran across the quad when they saw his car pull into the handicapped spot, shouting "Mr. R., Mr. R.  You're back!"

Office staff shook his hand, some with tears in their eyes, saying "Welcome back."

Fellow teachers in various classrooms, hallways, and the cafeteria stopped by to shake his hand and say, "We missed you."

Of course, I am his mother, and I am biased.  But I am telling you, Mr. Chips had nothing on this kid.  He is indomitable.

This is the guy who went down to the DMV office two weeks after both legs were amputated and had them change his license from six feet one inch tall to four feet eight inches. It was his idea of humor.

He teaches the most difficult students in an economically deprived school district in a portable classroom.  He attitude is "bring it on."  These kids have no one to read to them at home, their parents may be incarcerated, and often English is not their first language.  Still there has been one dependable person in their world: Mr. R. shows up.  And he cares.

Despite everything, despite all obstacles and all hardships, he shows up.  Daily he shows them that if he can do it, they can too.

Role models come in all sizes and shapes.  Some come riding in wheelchairs.

We do not know what next week holds.  But today we are wearing big BIG smiles.

Hope you are smiling, too.  Until next time .... Marsha

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Control Myth - Wrinkled Brows

Wrinkled Brows is a Monday series on a word or quote of interest (perhaps only to me.)

Control:  to regulate, dominate, rule, direct, or to have influence over

There is a catchy country-western song (I believe sung by Tim McGraw) which says:

"I like it
             I love it
                        I want some more of it..."

And although the song is referring to something else entirely, I think the same could often be said of our desire for control.  We like it, we love it, we want some more of it, if at all possible.  Of course, maybe that's just me.

I grew up in a household where there was little control.  Dad could not control his drinking.  Mom could not control dad.  And we kids could not control the fact that we moved every other month (okay that is an exaggeration, but not too far off the mark) and thus had few friends and no stability to speak of.

The upshot of that kind of childhood is that I can tend to be a bit of what is euphemistically called a "control freak."  I like to know what is going to happen well before it actually occurs; and it will not surprise you to learn that I hate surprises.  If possible, rather than just knowing what is about to happen, I like to be the one to decide what is going to happen, as well as determine when and where.

Guesswork is anathema to me.  "Ball-parking" it gives me the heebie-jeebies.  When I ran a corporate office, they liked to talk about taking a  "S.W.A.G." at something.  This denoted a super wild-a-- guess.  Now I really despised those.  How could you carve out a budget, determine a project timeline, or deliver a product based on "swags"?  It was beyond me, but I learned to live with it because I really had no choice.  And very little control.  Yuck!

Ah me, there are so many things over which we have so little control:  age, gender, height, weight, oh wait, I guess that one is actually within our control, more or less.  Where we would be born, who our parents would be, and on and on.

Psychologists tell us that of all the variables in our lives, we actually have true control over only about two-percent of them.  What!  Two-measly percent?  How can that be?  How do we cope with that? 
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Well, here is a thought.  Perhaps the well-ordered life is more about contemplation that control.  Possibly surrender brings about more peace than constant wrestling for supremacy over our circumstances.  It is just possible that control belongs to Someone else. Someone who can handle it a whole lot better than I can.

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But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like 
this?' "  ( Romans 9:21 NIV)

So today, if you "have it all under control" more power to you.  The rest of us are still working on it.  Until next time ... Marsha

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Rescue from Suffering ?

We often refer to Palm Sunday as the day of the Triumphal Entry because the crowds hailed Jesus as a king and cried out "Hosanna" as he passed by.

However, this morning our pastor talked more about the contrast between the triumphal entry and concept of the suffering servant.  

I find it interesting that then, much as now, people equated "triumph" with rescue.  The Jews wanted a triumphant king who would rescue them from Roman rule and oppression.

They certainly were not interested in some "suffering servant" concept.  Where was the joy in that?  They wanted relief, deliverance, an easier time of it.  Sound familiar?

Only Jesus understood that it was through suffering that true and lasting triumph would come.   

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:15)

To our human thinking this is still very confusing.  We would like to be rescued from suffering, not made victorious through suffering.  It is counter to all our human instincts. 

In our deepest heart of hearts, however, we hear the ring of truth in the call to servanthood, and yes, sometimes to suffering.  While God is always capable of rescuing us at any time from any circumstance, rescue may not be His highest calling for us anymore than it was for his Son.                     # # # # #

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 
            who, being in very nature God,
                  did not consider equality with God
                           something to be grasped,

but made himself nothing, 
        taking the very nature of a servant,
        being made in human likeness,
        .... he humbled himself and became obedient to death -
                      even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8)
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I don't know about you, but some days I so desperately want to be rescued, that I forget that may not be God's highest plan for my life.   

He explained this to us a long time ago in Luke 9:23 when he told us that following Him meant taking up our cross daily.

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Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 NIV)