Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Hero Passes


Mary Flood leashes her black Labrador retriever search and rescue dog, Jake, near the World Trade Center in New York in this Sept. 22, 2001 file photo.

Jake, who helped search the rubble following the Sept. 11 attacks and later worked in Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina, died Wednesday, July 25, 2007.

The results of an autopsy on his cancer-riddled body are part of a University of Pennsylvania medical study of Sept. 11 search-and-rescue dogs. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

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posted by Marsha at 2 Comments

Mimi, what are you doing? (A Flashback)

“Mimi, what are you doing?”

I look up and see that I am veering off the interstate onto the median, speeding towards a guardrail scant yards in front of my vehicle. I have three granddaughters in the backseat of my car and my first thoughts are, “please God, I don’t care what happens to me, keep them safe.”

In a matter of seconds, I have to make a decision. I quickly realize that I cannot pull safely back onto the interstate and maintain control in the traffic coming up behind me. My only choice is to go into the median. It is wide here, thankfully, but trying to navigate around the guardrail and into the broad, gently sloping ravine at a high speed was a frightening prospect. I am not panicked but I am begging God, beseeching him, to protect the girls, “please, whatever happens, protect them, please put them back safely in their parents arms.” I know I cannot live if anything were to happen to a single one of them. I would never forgive myself.

I hit the brakes hard, trying not to slam down on them so hard that I would lose control. I press harder on the brakes as we are still hurtling towards the guardrail. I could not avoid the rail, clipping it slightly which was just enough to flip the car. I think we rolled over two times before landing right side up. I stay conscious throughout the entire ordeal. I remember hearing the sounds of metal banging and the girls screaming; I remember catching glimpses of them in the rear view mirror and trying to watch what was happening to them as we tumbled over; I remember being thrashed and thrown around; I remember a sharp pain in my right knee; I remember an odd odor, like new plastic. Something is in my face and I don’t know what it is until we stop and I realize that it is the airbag. To my relief, I can still hear the girls and I call out to each of them, “are you okay?”

Within seconds, other motorists have stopped and are helping the girls get out of their car seats and seat belts. People are asking me if I am all right and I remember someone trying to pull me out of the car but I am already stiff and sore and my leg is screaming at me. I tell them I think it is broken. When I am safely out of the car, I realize the girls are not with me and I can’t see them. I am frightened. I need to see the girls. I hear them. Are they okay? I am afraid one or more of them is hurt and they are not telling me. In reality, some quick thinking individuals had removed the girls in the opposite direction until it was determined that I was not badly hurt or worse.

Less than five minutes after Erin’s question brought me back into awareness, we were seated together on the side of the ravine. There were state troopers and deputies from the sherrifs department asking questions, assuring me that I had handled the car well. I never questioned how I reacted to what happened but I did question my judgment in not having pulled over a second time during the trip from their home in Bossier City to mine in Monroe, on the other side of the state. I had stopped once during what is normally a 90 minute drive because of fatigue but realized shortly after getting back on the road that I was still not fully focused mentally. To this day, I don’t know if I went to sleep or was in a road trance, it doesn’t matter. I should have stopped. Somewhere, anywhere, even if it were just on the side of the road until I was more alert. I pushed on because we were less than 30 miles from my home. I thought I was okay. I wasn’t.

We were taken to a local hospital by two ambulances. Erin and Emily, the two older of my granddaughters rode together in one and Sarah and I in the other. We were x-rayed, scanned and treated royally by the staff in the emergency room. The girls amazed everyone with their ability to communicate not only their necessary personal information but to also give a detailed account of what had happened. The doctor on call told me that each of them had expressed more concern for me than for themselves and that each of them was remarkably calm, mature and intelligent, but I already knew that.

All this happened on December 23, 2000. The flashbacks started almost immediately for me. I experience that accident over and over in my mind, although the frequency of the flashbacks occurring has lessened, they still bring the memory so sharply into focus that it is just as frightening as the day it happened. I just had another one moments ago and that is why I am writing this entry. Most often, they occur when I drive that same stretch of road as I often do to visit my daughter and her family. This one today came from nowhere as I haven't experienced a flashback in ages. I will never get away from the horrible knowledge that my actions, my decisions put three of the most important and precious people in my life at risk. We all walked (in my case, limped) away from a car that day, that was totaled and beyond repair. We were safe after a potentially deadly accident with nothing more serious than some bruises and a fractured tibial plateau that didn’t require anything further than wearing a full leg brace for two months. Sarah’s picture was in the newspaper the next day, lying on a stretcher before being placed in the ambulance. She was only four years old.

I continue to thank God for the outcome, for his presence that day and for answering my pleas. In my humanness, I know that I would have questioned the outcome, that I would have questioned his presence if it had been different, if my prayers had not been answered and I feel ashamed because I know better. God's presence is always there. It is not he who chooses to be absent.

I carry a human burden from this experience, something I assume is akin to survivor's guilt. Strangely, I believe the burden is the result of my answered prayer and I need God's presence more than ever to help me live my life in a way that reflects my understanding of just how different it all might have been.

I am so very thankful for the thorn.

Now playing: Born by Not By Sight (see lyrics in previous post)

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posted by Marsha at 3 Comments

Born

This song is one of my favorite Christian songs and is on the album Not By Sight, by the group, Not By Sight. It was written by lead singer Naomi Thompson Carroll, as were most of the songs on the album. Naomi performed at my church one Sunday morning a year or so ago, as a solo act. I loved her vocals and music and bought the group’s one and only CD that I’m aware of after the service. I believe that the group has disbanded but I did locate a website for Naomi here http://www.naomicarroll.com/ and here http://myspace.com/naomicarroll where you can listen to some of her music and discover a little more about her.

I love the lyrics to this song. Our humanness is brought into focus. This morning, I was reminded once again of just how human I really am. Read that to mean, another post is forthcoming.

Born

Not By Sight

Born of dust, I get so dirty,
But you pick me up, brush me off, send me on my way.
Born of flesh, I get so caught up in my story,
It's so human to concern myself with
Everything that I seem to be going through
But Lord, where would I be
Without this flesh to remind me

I was born to breathe,
Born to be broken,
Born to realize that it's not I,
But the You in me.
Born to live, and born to love You.
I was born to die.
Knowing that my life is not mine.

So Lord, thank you for the thorn, I've had to bear
From the day that I was born

Born of love, Love so perfect
You are Heaven's thought, gift of God
Come to save the world
Born of flesh and born of Spirit,
My sweet Savior it's so like You
To concern Yourself with,
Everything that I seem to be going through
Oh Lord, where would I be,
Without Your love to remind me

I was born to breathe,
Born to be broken,
Born to realize that it's not I,
But the You in me.
Born to live, and born to love You.
I was born to die.
Knowing that my life is not mine.

So Lord, thank you for the thorn, I've had to bear.
From the day that I was born

You were born to breathe, born to be broken.....

You were born to breathe,
Born to be broken,
Born so that I would realize,
You are all I need.
Born to live,
Born to love (save) me.
You were born to die so that I,
Could be completely free. (Repeat)

So Lord, thank you for the thorns, for the thorns, you chose to bear,
So that I could be... I could be born.
I could be born.

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posted by Marsha at 3 Comments

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Softly and Tenderly

This is one of my favorite hymns. I love this acoustical version that I found on You Tube. Some of you may remember this song from the award winning movie, The Trip To Bountiful.

Here are the lyrics to the song:

Softly and Tenderly

Words and Music by Will L. Thompson

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me;
See, on the portals He's waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me.

Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!

Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,
Pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,
Mercies for you and for me?

Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!

Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,
Passing from you and from me;
Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
Coming for you and for me.

Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!

O for the wonderful love He has promised,
Promised for you and for me!
Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon,
Pardon for you and for me.

Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!

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posted by Marsha at 1 Comments

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Feast #152

I'm actually on time with my Friday Feast this week.

Appetizer -On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being highest) how much do enjoy watching sports on television?

This has really changed over the years. I used to be a huge fan of college basketball, couldn't get enough tennis during the 80s and into the 90s, enjoyed the heck out of professional football and grew up a devout NY Yankees fan. One by one I dropped each sport along the way and seldom watch sports at all these days. Even the Olympics failed to draw me in last time around... but I did bleed Colt blue on Super Bowl Sunday this year. I would say I went from a 7 to a 2.

Soup -If you could completely memorize any one work of fiction, which one would you pick?

To Kill A Mockingbird

Salad -What is your favorite breakfast food?

French toast with homemade syrup.

Main Course -Name something fun you can do for less than $10.00.

My family loves to play games.

Dessert -How long does it usually take you to fall asleep?

About 5 minutes after the movie starts... (grin).

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posted by Marsha at 8 Comments

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Busy Week

The past week was busy for me. Just catching up after being gone for three weeks was hectic enough. Laundry, cleaning, clearing away the mail that accumulated.

I also missed my son's 33rd birthday while I was gone. I finally got around to making a birthday dinner for him and his favorite yellow cake with chocolate icing on Wednesday night. We had half of it after dinner and I sent the rest of that home with him so I wouldn't be tempted to eat it myself. I took the other half of the cake with me to Dee's on Thursday night and it was pretty much devoured that evening.

Here's a few photos from my time with my kids last week.


John blowing out the candles on his cake... not very fancy, but it was good!


Dee on the phone, talking to her sister Jamie, my other daughter in Florida.


This is Emily, 13, (a good photo of her other than the finger, which would not clone out easily. I could have cropped it out but would lose part of her chin... oh well.)


This is Erin, 14, taken on the front porch swing. She was sitting with her friend Amy, who I cropped out of the photo. It was a nice shot of them both and I will send the original photo to be shared. They will start high school this year... sigh.


and of course, Sarah Grace, almost 11.
I can't believe she is moving to middle school this year... another sigh!

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posted by Marsha at 3 Comments

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Only Constant In Life Is Change

Life changed while I was away. It always does.

I knew coming home would be difficult. I haven't returned home in the last 26 years without eventually talking to Margaret about whatever happened on my trip or listened as she would tell me what happened here while I was gone. When we were still working, we would generally talk at the office, unless one of us experienced something so earth shattering that it wouldn't keep and one of us would pick up the phone to call the other. She and I were not really phone friends, although when we did call one another, the call would generally last a while.

Several times during the long thirteen hour journey from Muncie, Indiana to Monroe, Louisiana, it occurred to me that Margaret would not be there to discuss my trip with me. Indeed, the past few months, while she was so ill, we had talked very little as she was so weak and was unable to sustain a conversation of any duration. At least there had been some measure of hope that we would talk again someday. Now I must talk to her and listen for her response in a different way.

There were two packages waiting for me when I got home from Margaret's family. One contained a DVD of the slide show that played during the visitation and service and a tape of the actual service itself. Another contained a laminated copy of her obituary. I watched, listened and read without tears. Those were shed quietly while Betty prayed with me at the alter on Sunday morning and in the pew sitting next to Margaret's mother during our contemporary service.

I felt off kilter at church and in my Sunday School class on Sunday morning... that little out of place feeling that comes sometimes when you've missed several weeks in a row and you're out of synch with what's going on. I know she was feeling a deep sense of loss and out of place as she usually attends the earlier traditional service and up until Margaret's illness prevented it, she sat with her daughter during Sunday morning services. No doubt, Providence placed us together. Our shared presence in that pew seemed to provide us both with a sense of peace and belonging.

While driving home from church, I realized that I had sensed a piece of my touchstone through sitting with her mother. It was familiar, but different... a new and different way of communicating with my friend.

Life changed while I was away. It always does.


Margaret Ann Francis
June 9, 1948 ~ June 14, 2007


(5:00 pm -- I've just added the song This Train Is Bound For Glory as it was one of Margaret's favorite songs. I'm certain she reached her destination.)

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posted by Marsha at 1 Comments

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Home

It's good to be home.
posted by Marsha at 1 Comments

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Friday Feast #150 (better late than never)

This is my second Friday Feast. It looks more like a mid-week feast to me, but it couldn't be helped this week.
Appetizer -How many pieces of jewelry do you wear most days?

I normally only wear a necklace (cross and chain that was a gift from my son), a watch and a ring that I bought in Jerusalem. I am mostly a very plain Jane when it comes to accessorizing.

Soup -What is your favorite instrumental song?

ohmigosh... how can I ever pick just one. One of my all time favorites would have to be Magic In Her Eyes by Earl Klugh.

Salad -Who has a last name that you like?

Eddie Money... not that I particularly like Eddie Money, but I do like his last name! ;-)

Main Course -Name a popular movie you’ve never seen.

well, this is another one that I have several answers for. hmmmm... Crash would be the most recent award winner that I haven't seen, but there are many more popular movies that I've missed.

Dessert -Fill in the blank: Nothing makes me ___________ like ____________.

emotional --- thinking about my children and grandchildren

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posted by Marsha at 2 Comments

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Geraniums and Petunias

I'm in no way a horticulturist, but I do know the difference between a geranium and a petunia. From a previous entry I made to this blog you wouldn't think so.

I had taken pictures of some of mom's flowers and couldn't decide which ones to upload and display in the post. Because I am on dial-up here (have I mentioned lately how much I hate using dial-up?), I didn't want to try to upload too many at one time. I ultimately chose to upload the image of the geranium bloom but mis-labeled it in the post as one of her double petunias. Not an earth shattering mistake by any means but I don't like the idea that I've given the impression that I don't know better.

Anyway, here is a shot of the double petunia bloom and the photo of the geranium bloom again. That's all I want to tackle uploading on this Sunday afternoon with this stinking, slooooooooow connection.
















This is a double petunia!
















This is a geranium!

Just so you know that I'm not totally flower dumb!

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posted by Marsha at 1 Comments