Friday, May 30, 2008

This is what I get after watching Stand-Ups on T.V. late at night...

So, I was watching some stand up comics on t.v. last night right before I went to bed. Well, I was watching them, and the news because a whole bunch of severe weather was rolling across the area last night. And it looked like it was heading for us, so I wanted to be aware of the situation. I even put some socks on so if the sirens went off, I wouldn't have to spend time doing that before heading to the basement. It's important to be ready because I live on the top floor. I wanted socks in the really off chance the building crumpled around me and I would have had to walk around. Who wants to do that barefoot? Not I. Anyway, I digress...

So, I was watching some comics on t.v. and none of them were all that funny, but I wanted to laugh anyway, so I gave them the opportunity to make me laugh. I did laugh, but none of them had me rolling. Oh well. Anyway, one of them talked about Canada and the Canadian Mounted Police for just a snippet. He made some joke about how they don't support/help the U.S. in the war in Iraq, and how people say, "Oh, put away the tanks; they've brought their horses!"

I watched one more comic, and then I went to sleep because the storm was dying down. Then, I had this crazy dream that Canada attacked the United States. We had no idea they were going to do it, but they did. They caught us totally offguard. And they were all around where I was and they were making my life miserable, it seemed, by tracking me down! I was at the mall, and these Canadian Mounties were trying to find me. So, there was this old lady grandma who was with them (she was Canadian), and I went up to her when she was alone and I took her hand and started singing "Kumbaya." She wasn't a fan of the war like I wasn't a fan of the war. So anyway, I went away and hid behind this wall and the Mounties came and found her again. Then, they went someplace else and I went to find the grandma lady again. I found her and went up to her again, but it was a trick! The Mounties closed in on me and I looked at the grandma and we started singing "Kumbaya" again, but they weren't having any of it. All of a sudden, I was in a forest with a guy who just graduated seminary. We were assigned to chop down a really thick tree with manual tools (no chain saws for us!). So, he was chopping at the tree really high, which I thought was weird because you're supposed to chop close to the bottom. He had one of those bigger bow saws and I had a hatchet. Since he was cutting parallel to the ground, and because I didn't have a ladder or anything, I really had to reach to chop in the same places he was sawing. And then I woke up.

The dream was incredibly bizarre, but I totally see why I had it. My late night t.v. viewing put the Canadian Mounted Police idea into my head, and I also did some yard work at Sis and BiL's when I was there early this week. So, all that was ruminating around a bit. And since I'd not posted on a dream in a while, I thought I would share. I hope you were at least mildly entertained.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Just Another Day

Today is another day in the life of Trish.

On this day last year, Sis and BiL brought Sunscreen home from the hospital. It seems a bit fitting that today is the day they are giving him his first birthday party. His actual birthday was May 21st, but because they both work and because life is busy, they postponed the party until the weekend. I am heading for "home" after I sleep a bit.

On this day eight years ago, when I was 17, my car was broken. It was a Wednesday, I think, and I was at work. Ma was supposed to come get me when I was done, but she forgot. I got a ride from a co-worker, but could not get into my house because it was locked. So, I had to walk all around town to try to find Ma to let me into the house. I was not a happy camper.

When I was a sophomore in high school, nine years ago, I had an Applied Biology/Chemistry final on this day. It was a beautiful day with sunshine and pleasant temperatures. I did well enough on the final, but science has never really been my thing.

Eleven years ago on this day, I graduated 8th grade at 1:00 in the afternoon. I walked with my boyfriend of the time because we were both the shortest kids in our class, and they paired us according to height. We were the first to walk because it went shortest to tallest. I was always the short kid, even until about 10th or 11th grade. Modern medicine is what let me grow to the height I am now (5 feet, 5 1/2 inches). I am the happiest person you will ever meet to be completely average.

Thirteen years ago, my part of Illinois was dealing with one of the rainiest Mays in several years. May 24, 1995 was a drizzly, cold, and gray day. So cold, in fact, that I wore a blue hooded sweatshirt with pink roses on it, with black jeans (it was cool to wear colored jeans back then). A friend YS and I shared had spent the night prior at our house, and was going to hang out with us and go on errands with us and our dad. This is the first May 24th that I remember, and I remember hours and hours of the day. It's really too bad it's not pleasant.

The point I reckon I'm trying to make is that "good" and "bad" things happen all the time. This day used to bring up horrible, awful, miserable images in my mind that led to horrible, awful, and miserable feelings for me, but I'm doing better now. I guess it's because I can see that May 24th is not a day destined for craptacularness; it's just another day, like all the other days. I remember this day for something bad, and I probably always will, but at the same time, I can look around me and see that good things happen on this day, too. I guess a lot of how a person feels has to do with how they look at what is around them.

The seesaw has gone the other way now, though. I was 12 on May 24, 1995, and here on May 24, 2008, 13 years have passed. It's just a little odd to think of what I was like back then, and on that day, and to think of me now.

Bad and good, indeed. But now, I need to get some sleep so I can celebrate a birthday later today. I love my boys.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fun Stuff

Well, tonight, a group of us from the Seminary went to the midnight showing of the new Indiana Jones movie. I have only seen one of the IJ movies, and it's been a LONG time. But, the new one was pretty good.

J and I went and bought tickets for ourselves and for two of our friends. They weren't sure if their spouses would be coming, so I only bought 4 tickets. We planned to meet at the theater around 11:15 because the theater was hosting a kickoff party with video games and drink specials and what not (this theater serves wine and beer and other adult beverages). When we went into the theater, a very popular X-box game was being projected up onto the big screen. Two other screens were down in the front row for different games. It was quite entertaining, although the people playing on the big screen were not doing what you're "supposed" to do in the game, and were just messing around.

When the theater people took the games down in order to prepare for the movie, an employee came in and was giving away raffle prizes. I assumed they would be giving them away according to the numbers on our movie tickets (which were not taken by movie attendants because they are mini-poster like things). I believe there were 4 or 5 prizes given away. The last number called was 54 and I was like, "That's one of the numbers I bought!" So, one of my good friends stood up and got a prize! It was exciting because it makes me feel like a winner. I don't win stuff very often, and I technically DIDN'T win the Indiana Jones hat, but because I bought the ticket (although my friend paid me back), I felt like I did win. AND, I'm not the one acquiring more "stuff," which is important to me because I'm somewhat of a minimalist. Anyway, I was excited, so congratulations, Friend!

The movie was pretty good. It's fairly ridiculous, you know, the whole plot line and stuff, but it was exciting. It also parallels the biblical story in a few places which I thought was amusing. J and I agree that there is not anything new to be come up with anymore. Very few things are completely original. Not that that's necessarily a BAD thing; just an observation.

Anyway, so it's now pretty late, and although I have nothing to do tomorrow morning, I don't like sleeping the day away. It makes me feel weird. So, anyway, I recommend going to see the new Indiana Jones movie. That makes 4 movies in the past week or so that I have liked which I didn't think I would: Episodes IV, V, and VI of Star Wars, and now the new Indiana Jones movie. Cool. Anyway, y'all have a good night.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

So, my posts have tended towards less than happy lately...

But the thing is... I am doing alright. I wanted to throw that out there. Earlier last week, I was having a pretty difficult time because new things that happen with Ma tend to upset me a bit. Because I consider myself to be a realistic person, I recognized that she would probably not do well with the anesthesia from the hip surgery, and that this violence thing is a new part of her life. With all that, I'm doing better now. I have awesome friends who support me and who ask me how Ma is doing. People pray for Ma, my family, and me through all of this, and faith also helps me.

I just keep thinking about how weird it is that Ma is so far gone already. And I realize that other people have lives that are filled with much more heartache and loss than mine is, but sometimes it just weirds me out to know that I'm a twenty-five year old woman dealing with her mother's quick and steady cognitive decline. Sometimes, despite all of my awesome friends, it makes me feel a little bit alone. There are other people here at Seminary whose parents have dealt with dementia, but to my knowledge, I am the only one in my age group. It's just weird to know that Ma will never see this wonderful place where I live and learn in order to hopefully someday serve the church professionally. It's weird to know that she thinks my sisters and I are young children she has to care for and cook for, and what not. It's weird to think that it is quite possible that the end for her could be nearer than we think, although we do not know for certain. Weird and isolating, I suppose, although, the isolation comes through my own doing, and really isn't THAT big a deal. I think I'm doing a pretty good job with trying to be more open about what is happening. I'm still working on it.

And even in my own isolation, I reflect on the cross. Jesus cried out in Matthew 27:46, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus felt abandoned, isolated, and upset. The Word made flesh in Jesus Christ came and lived this sinless life, and yet, his life was not all kittens and teddy bears. Sure, he made friends, but he also made enemies of many of the religious leaders of the day. He even ticked off one of his own disciples by not having the costly perfume sold in order to give it to the poor. Many events in Jesus' life led to his crucifixion, but I think it is important to not gloss over Jesus' crying out because he believed himself to be abandoned. But the truth is, Jesus was not alone on the cross; he had the power of sin and death with him-unhelpful and uncompassionate companions. Galatians 3:13 says that Christ became a curse for us, and Martin Luther states that a piece of that comes from the fact that this sinless Jesus came and took the sin of every man, woman, and child into his sinless self in order for the Father to be able to see humanity as cleansed. That is how the powers of sin and death were overcome on our behalf. Jesus took every part of humanity into himself in order to redeem and offer restoration to us. He took our shame, our suffering, our hatred, contempt, envy, anger, sadness in order that he could share with us in all that it is to be human; in order that the one through whom all things were made (John 1:3) would be the one through whom all things would be redeemed. Christ shoulders our burdens with us and allows us strength, or better yet, even the ability to be weak, until at last we can set them down and they are obliterated in the eternal love and grace of God in Jesus Christ. In our strength, which is not even as strong as God's weakness (1 Cor. 1:25), and in our weakness, which shows that God's work is within us, upholding and strengthening us when we are unable to do so ourselves.

So, we do have these companions with us: joy, sadness, fear, loathing, anger, happiness, excitement, pride, and so forth. These emotions are a part of who we are and how we perceive and act to the people and the world around us. The Incarnation means that God cares about us enough to experience these things with us in Christ. May we recognize that we are never truly alone because God stands with us in Christ through even the worst of situations; not necessarily to make us feel better, but to offer a word of peace in the midst of turmoil. Thanks be to God.

This thing is always badgering me to Title my posts.

But the thing is, sometimes, I can't think of witty titles, or titles that adequately reflect what I want to say. I digress.

A quick update on life:

My first full time seminary year is over. I got an A!!! on my Systematic Theology paper. The professors who read it said they enjoyed it and that it is creative and well thought out. I was thrilled, especially considering most of us were seriously freaked out about that class. I also got an "A" on my Pauline Letters final, not that it matters because I took that class for Credit/No Credit. The sermon I wrote for From Text to Sermon received several good comments and some constructive criticism. The professor didn't appreciate the humor I tried to interject. Oh well. I think he liked the thing for the most part because I got Credit for the sermon, and since I was there every class period and did everything required, I am assuming I got credit for the course. Really, I'm not worried about having failed anything. I'm fairly certain I did well this year. I'm happy with the academic work I did.

Many of my classmates have already hit the road for home, for CPE sites, or for wedding planning. I went to graduation this year because "J," who is no longer "just" my friend, but my boyfriend (officially since the Thursday before Easter), graduated. I'm so proud of him! He is so smart, he is so smart, S-M-R-T! I got to help for the Baccalaureate service as a communion assistant. The graduation ceremony was also quite nice. The pictures I took are less than stellar, but I never claimed to be a photographer. It was a good weekend, really. I pray God's blessings on all those who have graduated or who are otherwise leaving this place. I'm confident that God is working in them.

Tonight, J and I hung out a bit. We walked on a path near a body of water near here. It is quite lovely, really. It sprinkled just a bit, but I'm not a wicked witch who is bound to melt from a little water. We also had dinner and started watching Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi. We have been watching those movies because I'd not seen them before. I didn't think I would like them, but I really do. We got about halfway through the movie tonight, before we decided to finish it tomorrow or something. He has to wake up early for work, so hopefully he was able to fall asleep well. It was a really fun evening, though.

When I got home, I saw that I had a message from Sis. She told me a few various things in the message. She said Mom is getting even more violent and combative; so much so that the doctor at the Supermax is starting her on an anti-psychotic drug. I have mentioned before, but I think it bears repeating that Ma doesn't have Alzheimer's Disease. Rather, she has what is called "Vascular Dementia," aka Dementia without further differentitation, aka hardening of the arteries in her brain. The progression is a lot like the big A, but instead of the gradual decline in most Alz patients, the declines come for people with Ma's type in steps as different blood vessels get closed off in what are sort of like strokes. You can click here to see an overview of what dementia does to a person. Because it is so similar to Alzheimers, the symptoms/stages are pretty much the same, except for the way they come about. Here and here are places where there is some information on the symptoms of dementia, and this link discusses staging of Alzheimers Disease (and by extension, speaks to other sorts of dementia as well). It's disconcerting to see that Ma is moving more and more quickly toward the moderately severe (Stage 6) area. Even though AD and Vascular Dementia are not the same thing, they are quite similar. Similar enough, in my opinion (though I am not a doctor), to compare reasonably. Yikes. I keep praying for her to have peace. I'd appreciate your prayers for her, too. Thanks.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Violence is bad, mmkay?

So, in talking with Sis, I have found out some new information. Sis called the home where Mom lives yesterday. She wanted to know how Mom got a big skin tear on her arm. I thought maybe Mom caught her arm on the door or something when she fell. It turns out that the REASON Ma fell is because she was in some other lady's room to say goodnight to her (the whole "Grandma" thing), and some nurse's aid was in there, maybe trying to get Mom to go to bed or something, when Ma decided to try to punch and kick the aid.

My mother is getting violent. First, there is that lady who she throws down with sometimes (we call that woman vinegar, and Ma Oil), and now she's getting narsty with the aids at the home. And, really, I think, anyone she doesn't know because she was giving some attitude to the nurses at the hospital. Thank goodness Pastor came in and was able to convince Ma they were trying to help.

Violence is a fairly new thing for Ma. She was always so meek. I mean, she'd swat us occasionally when we were kids if we were bad, but she was not really the disciplinarian of the family. It is scary to see her getting worse so quickly. Before this weekend, the last time I saw her, she still used "normal" words where they belonged, but she didn't make much sense. Now she is using words that don't belong and not making sense. And, when she's tired, she uses non-words. Just jibberish. And, she is getting violent. It just seems like she's going downhill fast. It's just a scary and frustrating thing.

Anyway, I guess I'm just trying to process through what is happening to her and what that means for her, my siblings, and me. Thanks for all your kind words and prayers and everything. I am very much appreciative. Peace to you all.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I don't care about a Title right now.

Saturday night, Sis called me around 10:30 or so. Ma was going down the hall at the home to say goodnight to some lady she calls, "Grandma," when she turned, lost her balance, fell, and broke her hip. They took her to the hospital and Sis and YS called me from the Emergency Department. Thankfully, she didn't break the whole ball of her hip; just the piece that curves around. That meant that she didn't need a whole hip replacement.

So, when Sis called, I was on MSN talking with a seminary friend. I told her what happened after I hung up because I was conflicted on whether or not I should go home, considering this week is Finals Week. Friend asked me what my gut feeling about it was, and I said I wanted to go. It's good to have people help you sort through these sorts of things when your mind is going around in circles and it's hard to tell which way is up. So, I decided to go, and so I realized I would need to email my extended family and some of Ma's old friends to let them know this happened. I also thought it best to email the profs I have on Monday in case something were to go wrong, that way they would know why I was absent. I also txt messaged a friend here at the Castle. I was going to tell her I was going home and would not be riding to church the next day. She called and came right up, which was helpful. When she got here, I was pretty much babbling like an idiot, trying to compose the email to the profs. So, Friend typed it for me. She also helped me pack, making sure I didn't forget anything important.

Then, I headed out. Packing Friend texted me on the way, and so did another friend who was with Packing Friend when I told her what was up. The drive from Seminary to "home" is about 3 hours or so. It downpoured the WHOLE WAY HOME! I thought I was going to die a couple of times. But, I didn't, thankfully. I made it "home," and Sis got back from being with Ma at the hospital about ten minutes after I got there. Ma was actually talking in non-words that night. But then, Sis and I made plans about Sunday's surgery; what time to leave and what not. So, we went to sleep. I was able to go to church because Ma's surgery wasn't scheduled until at least 11:00 or so. So, I went to church, and I'm glad. Since it was Mother's Day, I figured Pastor and his wife and sons would have something planned, so I didn't expect to see him at the hospital. However, I needed some sort of Pastoral Care. I got it at "sharing the peace" time. Pastor came up to me and put his hand on my arm in the "hey, I'm with you" way. I'm not big on being touched, and I think he knows that in some way (body language), but I appreciated it on Sunday. I am, however, working on this "personal space" thing. I'm very grateful for the hugs and shoulder pats I've gotten today.

Sis, YS, YSB, and I then went to the hospital after church. Mom was sleeping because they had given her some morphine. She woke up for a few minutes and I tried to make a joke about how if she wanted us all to come home for Mother's Day, all she had to do was ask. She just kind of stared at me. No laugh or anything. That was really disappointing because my mom used to have a really good sense of humor. I think I'm funnier than she is, but I also believe that her influence helped shape my sense of humor. My older brother (the one who is cool) and his wife met us at the hospital a little while later. Mom was so out of it, so we just stayed in the lounge about 15 feet from her room. Then, they came and took Ma for surgery. Sis and I rode down the elevator with her to say goodbye, although we were kind of confused about what was happening. I was disappointed that the rest of the family didn't get to wish her well.

The surgery took about an hour and a half or two hours. When all was said and done, the doctor came out to talk to us. He told us that she would be able to bear weight on it today, even because they only had to replace the piece of bone she broke. He also asked about her dementia. I got to be the mouthpiece of the family because I am good at keeping those sorts of dates and timeframes in my head. When Mom first became unable to recall this sort of thing and Sis had to do it, they had me write down all of her diagnosis and surgery dates.

So, we got to go back up to the Med-Surg floor after about an hour to see her. She was totally out of it. She was wearing an oxygen mask. She has problems with her blood pressure after surgery, and I think they probably gave her the oxygen to help that, too. She slept the rest of the day. We stayed in the lounge until about 6:30 that night, but then decided to go because the nurse said she'd probably sleep the rest of the day and into tomorrow. While we had been waiting, I went in to check on her once to see if she was asleep and I just looked at her. She's so small and frail. She looks just like her mom did when she was in the throes of Alzheimer's, except my mom still has dark brown hair, with very minimal gray. She's too young to have to be dealing with this stuff.

Pretty much, we're waiting to see how bad the anesthesia and the stress on her body messed her up. She'd been getting worse before the fall, and so I'm not confident that things will be good for her. It's so disconcerting.

But, instead of staying to be with my family, I came back to the castle early this morning so I could take a final and what not. I am conflicted. But, I'm here now, so I might as well make the most out of it. I would appreciate so much if you would (continue to) keep Ma in your prayers. I so much want her to have some peace. Alright, so I need to go have some lunch. Bye.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Some Thoughts

I was reading an article today in Christianity Today (the online version). The article is entitled, "A Little Office Humor Goes a Long Way." It speaks about how laughter is a gift from God, even though the Bible never explicitly says that Jesus laughed.

I for one, think that the mere fact that Jesus was a full human being means that, of course he laughed!

I think I've mentioned before that wherever I go, people tend to comment on my sense of humor, or my laugh, or the "impish michievousness right under my surface." The word, "impish" has actually been used multiple times to describe me. In a good way.

Anyway, I have been thinking about how laughter and a sense of humor is a spiritual gift. Sometimes I feel like I don't have enough "spiritual gifts," and I sell my sense of humor short. After all, what good does laughing REALLY do?

I think it does a world of good! When I am having a bad day or am feeling sad, a good laugh seems to reset me. Galatians 5:22-23 says, "By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (emphasis mine). Laughter can be a good signature that one is joyful. And to go hand in hand with this verse, I think that a sense of humor can show these other fruits of the Spirit. When a friend can make me laugh, that shows kindness to me. I feel like I have received a gift from their generosity of being able to use their wit and charm to make me laugh. Also, I am far more apt to laugh at something said by someone I like or love than I am to laugh through jokes or some random person's comments. And I feel at peace when I am laughing. I forget the stresses and tribulations of life, if only for a few minutes.

So, that being said, I think I am really beginning to believe that my sense of humor is indeed a good and "valid" spiritual gift. It is a hope of mine that my sense of humor and my laughter blesses the lives of others in some way. In reflecting on this, I remember a time last semester, I think, when we were sitting in class and it was getting too intense or we were all getting really bored or something (I don't remember the specifics of the situation), and I made some silly comment and the whole class started laughing. I was slightly afraid it was timed improperly, but later, friends said that we needed that right then.

Laughter is a good thing. Frederick Buechner once said that there is "laughter of faith." What I think he was talking about is that even in the midst of the "stuff" of life, we can laugh because of the hope we have in Jesus. We can trust in faith that the promises of God in Christ are not willy-nilly, but are firmly bonded in the steadfast character of God, the awesome one.

Be blessed, my friends. And laugh. See you.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Cap'n Crunch!

Are you ready kids?
Aye aye Captain!
I Can't hear yoU!

OOOOOOhhh, who has lots of seminary papers due!
Burnt out, and fried up, and zombie is who?!
Then pay attention to this girl named Trish!
Dooododooodoodoo DO!

So... In case you couldn't tell, it's crunch time here at Seminary. I'm not really freaking out; I just wanted to stretch my rhyming/creative part of my brain. Yup. I have a sermon due tomorrow. I finished and started today, and am happy with it. I need the pressure... Seriously. I tried writing this thing a couple of days ago, but to no avail. I'm bad. Then, I have my big Systematic Theology paper due Tuesday. The paper part is done, but I have to finish my annotated bibliography, yet. I only have a few more articles and a book to write about. The big assignment I'm slightly concerned about is for Parish Worship. It's a group project. The only reason I'm stressin' is because I am very chill about this sort of thing and grades, but I don't want to mess up my group, ya know.. I like to be responsible when people are counting on me. But, seriously, it shouldn't be too big a deal. That's pretty much all that is "due" this week. Oh, and this thing for Pastoral Care, but I've had that done forever.

Next week is another big week though. We have our Pauline Letters final, a Systematic Theology final (we have conversations with small groups), a bulletin/paper for Parish Worship, and hmm... we also have to redo our four small Systematic Theology papers. Next week is going to be slightly more stressful. Ah well. I shall live. I promise.

It's almost summer. Peace to you all who are gearing up for summer activities, or who are going through finals and end of the year projects of your own. Keep ya chin up!

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Well, it's 1:00 a.m. and I'm still up. I took a ridiculously long nap today, and so... here I am unable to sleep. Ah well. It was worth it. I was tired.

I think I am going to try to go to bed soon, though. I have a 7:30 a.m. class, and I'm also helping with communion tomorrow because it's Ascension Day! Yay Jesus!

Last but not least, I have Facebook, and I love the application, "Pieces of Flair." It's where you get a corkboard on your profile and you can add "buttons" to your board, either by yourself, or people can send them to you. There are a whole lot of REALLY funny ones. One that I was laughing at tonight (although I wouldn't put it on my board) is, "Ask Me About My Explosive Diarrhea." I'm a huge dork, but I don't care. Peace out, y'all.