Thursday, November 22, 2007


I'm thankful today for Sparky's near complete recovery.

I'm thankful for blog readers who are gracious enough to pray for a dog.

I'm thankful for four healthy sons. I much prefer the sorts of trials and tribulations they offer as healthy teens than what I'd be experiencing if one of them were fatally or chronically ill.

I'm thankful for my parents. I agree with them most of the time (not all), and they've taught me to be willfully graceful.

I'm thankful for the trials and tribulations of life that have drawn me closer to and made me more reliant on God.

Most of all, I'm thankful for the Holy Spirit, who lives and works in the here and now, through all sorts of people in all walks of life, and who comforts me continuously through those folks.

love and grace,

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Still Recuperating

Sparky is improved, but not fully. He is choosing to use the paper in the house instead of going outside. On a typical evening, I spoil him by allowing him to go in and out as much as he wishes. This usually amounts to about 17 million trips to the back door for me. He's gone out once this entire evening and has spent most of his time in his "me" space which I discovered once during a frantic search for him thinking he was lost. He retreats to the back of my little closet, under the hanging clothes, a few times a week. I think these are the days when dealing with Emma's high spirits have completely drained him of all emotional resource. Sparky is definitely an introvert, like me. Emma, on the other hand, is frisky and ready for a constant frolic this evening, having spent the entire day with a wounded co-hort. She is currently yelping at me in a high-pitched sort of girly dog scream because she's got more playin' do to before this day comes to a close. I may join Sparky in the "me" space before the night is over.

I do appreciate all your well wishes and prayers. Tomorrow is our last day before our Thanksgiving break, so I will be able to take him in to the vet if he is still mopey on Friday. I'll keep ya posted!

love and grace,

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Pray for Sparky

I feel sort of stupid asking this. I know there are children dying and hungry in third world countries. Sparky was attacked last night by a German shepherd. He has one gash about the size of the dime and another about half that size. My neighbor is a nurse and she looked at it and said he doesn't need stitches or anything, but you wouldn't believe the way he's moping around and refuses to go back outside. He's just not Sparky. He's been such a great friend to me and seen me through such a difficult time. I wish I could take him to school with me today, but that's not possible.

I'll post pictures later this afternoon, and I hope I come home to a much improved dog.

love and grace,

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Making Headway

Last Thursday's dinner was great. Both teenagers were here,(Senior Boy and Sophomore Girl) along with their art teacher and my friend, the veteran art teacher. I feel like I made some major headway in building trust with the teenagers so that they'll feel comfortable here in my home. My ultimate goal is to get them living in a clean place of their own that has a washer and dryer. The interim goal is for them to feel comfortable coming down to my house for dinner occasionally and to do their laundry. They are GOOD kids. My veteran art teacher friend is such a great resource for the kids as well as the first-year art teacher. Both teachers are going to continue to provide mentoring and resources for Senior Boy so that he can get into a good college art program next year.

Thanks for the prayers! I've got more to write but no time at the moment.

love and grace,

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Politics of Poverty

My snazzy little pirate girl is seizing the day. She's living, loving, and laughing as if she wakes up covered in fairy dust each morning. She has become a joy to me and quickly stolen my heart like the daughter I've never had.

But, there's a glitch. Big brother and sister. Both high-schoolers and talented artists. It's the brother with the major issues concerning all the "help" I can provide. If I can ever crack him, the sister will follow. He views my help as a judgement on their current situation. And frankly, it is. The problem is, he's hanging on to poverty and uncleanliness like Linus hangs on to his blanket. Dad wants them to receive it and "gets" it. Yet, this kid.....he's a tough nut to crack, apparently. I've talked to him at length only once. He came down last Wednesday to view all the Halloween festivities. We had a great visit. Nothing was mentioned about ANY of the stuff going on with my helping them. I just spent the time getting to know him, talking a bit about art, and scaring some of the kids as they came up to trick-or-treat. He never let on that he was having so much trouble, and I was relieved to finally have the chance to meet him and know him.

I'm cooking a bit pot of spaghetti tonight and I've invited his art teacher (who he LOVES, and who, come to find out, has been trying to help as well) and another friend of mine who's a veteran and highly respected art teacher in this state. Pirate girl says dad is having to force the kids to come. Dad is invited to, but may not be able to make it. I'd appreciate any prayers you can wing up for me today.

love and grace,

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Kids are rotten.

Yeah, so like Pam mentioned, Tony and I have a four-year-old now, and let me tell you something about that. Kids that age are rotten. A lot of fun, yes. Cute as a button. They always take a good picture.

But they are rotten. Just rotten to the core.

They're always testing you. Always tip toeing right up to the edge of those behavioral boundaries that you put in place for them.

Like I'll put the kid down for a nap, and I'll tell him "You stay in that bed, or we're going to have a problem."

And so what he does is he'll dangle one foot off the bed so that it's hovering a fraction of a millimeter above the floor. And I know, I KNOW that as soon as I walk out the door, he's pushing stuff around with his foot. His cars, his blocks, his Elmo, whatever he can reach without technically violating the nap order.

And I think it's times like that when, as a parent, you really have to reach back and remember maybe the five or six worst things you ever did when you were a kid.

Like one time, my friend John, his dad built a teepee in the backyard for us. A real live teeepee. And John told me "Tonight, after everybody goes to bed, sneak out of the house and meet me here. In the teepee. We're going to have a secret meeting."

Well, of course. I was five. It sounded like the most reasonable thing in the world to me. You got a teepee. You're going to sneak out of the house and have a secret meeting. Just seemed to follow logically.

So that night my parents put me to bed. I waited until the house was completely quiet. I got out of bed, put on my bathrobe, walked down the street to John's house, let myself in the backyard and sat down in the teepee.

John stood me up (and neglected to mention the sprinkler system in the backyard), but that's a story for another post.

The point is, in all likelihood, your kids aren't any rottener than you were when you were that age, and you turned out OK, so don't feel like you have to address every single little incident of rottenness that comes up. Some of it you just have to let it slide or just put it behind you and forget about it.

Like the time the kid threw his shoe at my head while I was driving. I figured he's tired, he's cranky, I'm letting that one slide.

And to be honest, I was pretty darned impressed with his marksmanship.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007



Actually, I'm introducing my new co-blogger, Kurt "big daddy" True. I could tell you all the factual information I know about Kurt in about 5 sentences. Instead, I'll tell you the things that I think are most important as to why I invited him to co-blog with me at Willful Grace. Kurt has been commenting off and on since the beginning of my blogging days. He ranks in the top five of commenters to my blog who have demonstrated "willful grace" to me during the course of my blog journey. (kudos as well to a few other quite regular and full of grace gay male commenters: Robert, Norm!, Brady, and Peterson) I've talked about willing myself to extend grace to others, and I believe that during times when these guys have strongly disagreed with some things I had to say, they willed themselves to extend the sort of grace toward me that I strive to extend to others. The point of extending grace being that none of us come within light years of comprehending the grace God extends to us through the gift of his son.

Kurt has made me laugh out loud with his comments on more than one occasion. He has a child-like quality to his outlook that I find refreshing and often profound. He is gay, and he and his partner have recently adopted a 4-year-old son.

I didn't ask Kurt to co-blog here because I'm trying to convince people to accept anything, vote for anything, or even deem anything good, right, and holy. In fact, if you are bound and determined that Kurt represents everything that's wrong with our world today, his writing may be the perfect place for you to practice some willful grace of your own.

love and grace,

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Hallween PIcture Fun

Some of us had fun. This picture is not convincing that Sparky was among the fun-havers. In fact, this looks like the perfect picture for Kurt to caption for us. I've invited Kurt to co-blog with me, BTW. I'm anxiously awaiting his rep
ly and I've promised to put up a picture of his cat.

Here's Emma within 2 minutes of putting on her Egyptian collar. Notice the beadwork is mostly gone. It was completely decimated within 30 minutes. I'm still finding bits of it strewn about the house and yard. I did manage to keep her away from Sparky's collar but don't think for a minute she didn't try and make mincemeat of his as well.

As promised to my class of 4th graders, I turned my front porch into an Egyptian tomb, complete with sarcophagus and my own personal mummy. The mummy took a 20 minute break to watch Nickelodeon during one of the busiest times. Geez. But, since he's family, I decided not to short him on his payment of pixy sticks. The word nepotism does sound a bit Egyptian,doesn't it?

I'll close with a few more pics including one of a very resigned Sparky. He's such the golden boy when it comes to dogs.

I'll get back to more thoughtful posting next week. I've still got a ton of stuff rambling around in my head to think and write about, but after all the work I went to in pulling off this Egyptian Halloween, I wasn't about to let it go unblogged!

love and grace,

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