Sunday, May 29, 2011
I had been trying for weeks to capture the sight of momma bird feeding her nearby young'un from the suet & seed cake dangling outside my office window... and I can now edit my post from "couldn't do it" to "here's a cropped shot for you!" Thank You, God!
I can tell when they're close by, now recognizing the insistent cries of the young, "FEED ME, MOMMY!!" As well the titmice & chickadees in particular do this little wing flutter as they beg. It's hilarious. Me me me! Now now now! I'm HUNGRY!
What's odd is that both parent and offspring are exactly the same size. Were it not for the dance of relationship, I could not tell the difference between the two. They LOOK grown up enough to fend for themselves, but they keep cheep-cheeping and mom (I presume - could be dad!) keeps bringing over her full beak and stuffing it into the eager mouth.
Looks can be deceiving. I'm not enough of a birder to know when the parent will finally chirp, "Hey! You're on your own, kiddo. Do it."
It's a gift when a parent will care and it's a gift when a parent insists that it's time to grow UP.
God leads me to more and more surrender, which trims the frayed lines of my self will and, with irony and grace, finds me growing in the greater strength that comes from His indwelling Holy Spirit. When I throw back my shoulders and proclaim, "I can do it myself!" (or some cartoon variation .... you've heard the old joke: What's the last thing a redneck says before s/he dies? "Hey y'all, Watch this!"), I am learning to discern between God's empowerment and the rising tension when I huff 'n puff 'n go screaming into my next great idea. I have a lifetime of practice in the latter (gushing self will) and am learning the nuances of praying for the former - surrender to God's most gracious Spirit, Will, grace, guidance and empowerment.
When I was in flight training in the early 1990's, I just 'knew' that there was liberation on the other side of my terrors doing stalls, particularly power-on stalls. (For non-pilots, that's when you raise the nose of an airplane, reduce its speed and make it stop flying. You need to be really REALLY fast getting out of that one). "If I can only do this over and over and OVER again, someday I'll stop being so afraid." My heart would threaten to burst out of my chest every time. I'd keep doing it, hyperventilate, and dream on.
I no longer fly. Yes, I miss it. I never got over the fear of stalls. God was not a core part of my BEING. Stretch with me here for a moment: If God HAD guided me to BE a pilot, I wholeheartedly believe that with prayer the fears would have melted away.
More and more today, even when the dark side throws in taunts of any variety - my health of course is a ready mark - and I notice the restriction in my mind and heart, I begin to PRAY my way THROUGH it. My anxiety-prone neuroses begin to melt. Really! Is this cool or what?
A week from tomorrow I'll be heading up I-5 to Gig Harbor for Round Two of naturopathic immune-building work. I am SO EXCITED about this trip! My last post has all the juicy links. And today.... today.... I give happy thanks to God.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I'm goin' back for MORE! My follow-up with Dr. Kolbo and the Mt. Rainier Clinic begins when I gently motor off in my own trusty steed on Monday, June 6th, planning some manner of in-between landing 'round about Grants Pass OR and then arriving in Lacey, WA Tuesday night for a Wednesday morning appointment. I love crafting this journey without the edginess of unwellness. Praise God for that!
Sometimes I need to unhinge my sticky thoughts and think more laterally. At first blush, flying is a no-brainer... it's less than two hours by plane from SFO to SEA and driving takes two days! However, the purported ease of flying turns into a very tiring 8-hour day from leaving my doorstep to arriving in the Northwest, with rides 'n shuttles 'n waiting 'n getting 'n sitting et cetera et cetera all factored in. Neither is eight hours of driving a picnic, however I prefer the coziness of my own car and not worrying about airport pat-downs and evil rental car agency shenanigans. Besides, I can not only pack my VitaMix for continued green smoothie fun but bring home a darling antique Scottish corner table I sold to my Seattle friend Annie years before.
So what's in Lacey, Washington? A prayerful alternative to posh and not inexpensive B&Bs: The St. Placid Priory. Anyone who knows me is aware of my love for staying in monasteries, convents and retreat houses when I travel. I don't think I even looked for the April trip, being as it was thrown together so hurriedly. With the luxury of driving, I began with my friend Google, and there opened the vista of exploration! I started looking in Oregon, where there are three obvious offerings in the Willamette Valley alone: Mt. Angel Monastery, the nearby Benedictine Sisters of Mt. Angel, and Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey in Lafayette. What a wealth of community and worshipful riches! I plan to stay in at least one of them en route back to northern California.
After my week getting poked 'n prodded at the Clinic, I'm headed to a rustic retreat in Sedro Woolley that I visited last August, then called Cedar Springs and now called Thrive Wellness Center. While I'll be Herxed again whether I like it or not, heading to the hills for organic raw cuisine, juicing, classes, God in nature and an infrared sauna (the likes of which I've jonesed for for 18 months), wow - I'll glow! Now you know I love and give thanks for my organic, free-range and grass-fed animal protein, however a few days of high-enzyme living foods will be exceptionally healing and well-timed.
I'm praying my way through this journey, breathing...giving thanks... and getting excited! I'm headed back up North for a healthier follow-up rather than in an emergency scenario. If chocolate wasn't crossed off my list I'd celebrate with a truffle!
Sunday, May 8, 2011
I do have a cropped version of this photograph. I didn't want to use that one, all tidied 'n gussied up. Here is my father, my mother and me. While the edges are rough, my friend Stacey did Photoshop out some crinkles.
Sometimes you can do that.
I thought of my mother Helen in Church this morning, how in the last years of her life I still kept her at arm's length. I was sober but not loving Christ as today. My woundology (to coin a phrase I believe originated with Carolyn Myss) had burrowed deep into my layers. I was more concerned with my armor than with an open heart, even if arrows would come flying at it. Had I more compassion and yes, gentle detachment then, I would have different memories. We might've been able to go out for tea or take a walk together. I'm not prepared to unpack why we could not. Not just now.
I didn't, we didn't. She died three days before Princess Diana was killed in August of 1997. Her ashes are interred in southern California. I wrote about that sometime last year (June). I'll let you find it if it calls to you.
This is the photo I uploaded to Facebook, but closer to the original. Mom was a beauty. She did and didn't realize it.
I'm wondering why Mother's and Father's "Days" are separated.
I think of Jesus' Mother, the Blessed Virgin, whom the Orthodox call The Theotokos. I pray to her sometimes, asking her to intercede on my behalf, but I don't consider her a "mom replacement."
My mother also had a mom, "Babu," a Ukrainian immigrant who had eight children, not all of whom survived childhood. Tillie was her name. My father's mother "Shayna" was killed in the Nazi death camps along with his father, brothers and sisters while he was in New York working for his uncle. There is generational grief in the mothering here.
I don't think Hallmark has a card for this.
While not blotting out the pain, I know exactly Who can soothe me when I feel it.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Recently I participated in a Baptism service at my parish, honored to have been asked to sponsor a wonderful woman named Maria. Looking at this photo, taken by another friend who lives far, far away in Germany even though he's a Yankee boy, I return to the latter part of the Baptismal service where the priest dips his finger in annointing oil ("chrism") and makes the sign of the Cross on the forehead of the newly baptized and proclaims, "...you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ's own for ever. Amen"
Marked as Christ's own FOR-EVER.
It is and isn't quite that simple - or easy. However, from the heart of the One who offers this new life, it is that pure.
On to the earthly trek, I am feeling better day by day. Really! Without the frenetic fix-it mentality that dogged last fall's gym runs, I've been using my Rebounder at home almost every day... gently. I took a rollicking fun hike yesterday with my friend Stacey up at Olompali State Park here in northern Marin County (followed by a grass-fed burger run, oh yeah!). I'm being Very Good about nourishing myself, stepping away from the "surely it's ALL good for me??" bakery section at Whole Foods and instead reupping my green smoothie regime plus salads salads and more salads. And healthy protein. And allowable yummy carbs like the mixed sweet potato and plain fries at the burger shack (fried in rice bran oil, which is even friendlier than using virgin coconut oil at high temperatures). My Lenten discipline of no sugar, chocolate or wheat got a wry chuckle when on my last visit to the Clinic I was muscle-tested for about 100 or so foodie bits. Not only was wheat a fail but also corn, soy and rice. Rice! Of course chocolate was a bwa-ha-ha NOT for you, little missy.
I'd been getting sloppy with my nourishment. It's just amazing what I can justify. Since healthy food is a powerful part of my healing modality, it is wise for me to be attentive. Not fanatical or diabolically perfectionistic, but serious. I was snackin' away on luscious organic cookies 'n such when I could've been sipping a smoothie or thanking God for a fresh, crisp apple. And so it is now... plus with a few more fiddly-bit supplements:
1. I'm taking 1-2 Tbsp./day of Metagenics "BioPure Protein," which has some mystery magic in it to help my immune system. It needs to be whizzed in a little blender, but with some fruit juice it's almost palatable!
2. I'm back on the liver pills. Gonna give those red blood cells all the help I can!
3. Russell's wife Cherie sold me this yummy powder that gets added to my health shakes - "Vega Shake & Go Smoothie."
4. The Clinic formulates a thymus-based product called "VR-7".... "for stimulation and support of your immune system." Works for me!
5. Now this sounds a little weird, but I'm taking it: Don't freak! It's a custom-made homeopathic remedy of my own blood. Russell took only a drop from my finger and made it up. I take it once a day. Read about it HERE.
Prayer. Prayer and worship are key for me. The pills 'n potions 'n health foods are all great gifts that I feel a need to incorporate in my living. When the Lord Jesus healed someone lame, for instance, He then would say, "Get up and WALK!" My "walking" includes this path of immune-supporting supplements.
I did get CBCs this week. I prayed that I would be calm and patient and not just knee-jerk myself in either direction.
My counts ARE better! The whites rose to 2.1 from 1.6; and those pesky platelets? The ones that freaked me out in the first place? They are PRAISE-WORTHY, having risen from 66 (yeah, they dropped up North, I couldn't bear to say that) to 103. The reds are slow but I've already learned that - they'll take 4 months to have a new life cycle! The neutrophils are still sluggards but I will pray them higher.
I am so grateful to be feeling better today. The past few months have been Mr. Toad's Wild Ride in places, even with Christ Jesus by my side. And I thank Him for BEING by my side.
For you who read this and pray for me - BLESS you and BLESS YOU again!