" I implore you, my child; observe heaven and earth, consider all that is in them, and acknowledge that God made them out of nothing (ex nihilo), and that mankind comes into being in the same way..." 2 Maccabees 7:28

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another Thing I Learned...

Masayo and Rico informed us that they have seen a disturbing trend; a tattoo in Japanese characters which they (the tattooed) claim mean "samurai". This is the ancient meaning of that word, however the current usage of that word is not so romantic. Apparently there are Americans proudly wearing body art that translates to "I can't pass the college entrance exam and so have to keep taking the test over and over again each year."

The ancient meaning of that word is not so great either, as it actually means a samurai without a master. To our American culture which above all prizes independence, this may sound positive; but that masterless samurais were in a state of disgrace, usually because they had broken the law and killed somebody.

So let this be a lesson to you- don't get any permanent body art in a language other than your own.
Masayo, Rico, is this the correct picture of the tattoo?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gifts From The Heart...

Oh, barf, that sounds SOOO Hallmark. Oh, well, I am open to suggestions for a better title, anyone?
I have received some truly beautiful gifts in the last year. All the friends and family who accompanied me to each chemo treatment, Br Robert shaving his head so that I would not be alone in my baldness, Harris offering me his hair for a wig, a hidden treasure in the wall at Czestochowa from Wojtek...
One of the most unusual I received from Rico and Masayo on their December trip to see us. It's called "A Thousand Paper Cranes", it is a traditional gift you give to the sick, a wish for good fortune. For the last two months, RIco Masayo, Rico's husband and Masayo's parents folded one thousand origami paper cranes by hand, then strung them together into rows and carried them to me through a grueling 19 hour flight from Japan to the US where they had to protect them from being crushed in flight. I was so blown away that I got choked up when I opened it- with my usual stoicism I couldn't read the description that came with the gift. Mom yelled "come here quick, Charity, it's Trinka's wedding all over again (a reference to my being assigned a reading at Trinx's wedding that I snffled and cried my whole way through- I was told later that no one could even understand what I was saying.) But as Charity was crying herself, I felt better about the whole thing.
It was very humbling- and to tell you the truth, I felt God's presence in the gift. At a time when I was tempted to be discouraged about what my future holds and what happens next, God sends me a gift through true friends that reminds me of his extravagance, his beauty, his generosity and his attention to even the tiniest details. And also reminds me to be patient- that the most beautiful things take time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Surgery today...

I have surgery today- it shouldn't be any big deal. But it bugs me that I have to be in the hospital when Baby Q (Michael) and his mom are in a different hospital. It would've been fun to be roomies again.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Yesterday during circle, one of my students could not stay in his seat- he kept trying to get up and reach for me, I assumed because he wanted the remote control out of my hand. We try to get him to use language instead of grabbing, so I asked him "M. what do you want? Use your words..." I was expecting his usual response, "I want music" or "I want play". Instead he looked at me intently and worked to get every word out just right- "I ... want ... Faif" and he threw his chubby little arms around my neck. It was so cute, I had to keep myself from crying.
Anyway, it's those kinds of things that make me remember why I like my job.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Monica Update

The spot on Monica's spine was not cancer- it was benign! There is no evidence of bone cancer!