Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WHERE TO, LADY???


Where can I take you, lady? 
 
"Where?  Well, actually I don't want to go anywhere...so how's about you cruise the sights while I sit back and relax, okay?  Keep the meter runnin' and drive."
 
Some things  happen in life that sort of...well, knock your socks off (so to speak).
 
The news has been full of extraordinary things lately...notably a new 'hero'. 
 
I imagine most of you have been and remain touched by Dr. Kent Brantly...I certainly am.  He is someone whose demeanor and words have influenced thousands...what an example for me, for us...a heart filled w/compassion.  He and his family are touched and called by God to do the work they've been doing; what outstanding service.
 
Talk about 'knocking your socks off'...I can hardly imagine being in the midst of an Ebola epidemic!   
 
Dr.  Brantly spoke very poignantly about his experience and don't you know it changed his life?  The doctor is much, much braver than Michael and me...but...like him, we were also called by God to do something...different...only in China.  Believe me, that experience also changed our lives!
 
This week something dropped into my life that sort of 'knocked my socks off'...and I reacted poorly...rather pathetically...but hey, so? I'm human...surely I'm allowed one goof up...even a few! 
 
Well, the last time I did that was when the two of us were introduced to Amy aka Amyloidosis.  M reminded me, after our initial shock, we grabbed  Amy by the platelets and took care of things.  We're doing the same in my case and it isn't nearly so dreadful as I first thought.  Sigh!
 
I read this from my Values e-mail today...caused me to think more about my life...some of what has gone before.
 "There's a time in your life
where you're not quite sure where you are.
You think everything's perfect, but it's not perfect...
Then one day you wake up and
you can't quite picture yourself
in the situation you're in. 
But the secret is,
if you can picture yourself doing anything in life,
 you can do it."
Tom DeLonge
 
Many difficult situations have come about in my life; situations that I never would've pictured myself in...for instance?
 
Michael was off to Nebraska, finishing his education...the four boys and I remained in Virginia awaiting his return.  One night...about 2:00 A.M. I was yanked from sleep w/a feeling that I was going to die; couldn't wait for an ambulance so I did the natural thing...left the four little boys in bed...called a friend to come and watch them...drove myself 40 minutes to the hospital.  Eureka...had a ruptured cyst, full of peritonitis and almost died...! 
 
End of story...I didn't die...M graduated from Univ. Nebraska...boys took care of me w/help from friends...I did make it...God was in charge.
 
Never would've pictured myself two years later...Michael was off to Ethiopia on a year's assignment...four boys and I remained in Oklahoma awaiting his return.  I had two emergency surgeries one month apart...left the boys home alone 'til they were rescued by my mother!  Another trauma ended and I did make it...again...God was in charge. ..awesome!
 
 
Hey Back There...You had enough cruising for one day?
 
 
Oh...yeah, I was day-dreaming and forgot where I was...time to go home.  
Please, don't worry...I'm okay...just did me good to drift a while...calmed me down.  
Say, you might be interested in something I was thinking about.
It was written by James Russell Lowell...you might have read it.
 
Oh, you don't have much time to read, huh? 
Okay, I'll share...you never know, one day you might could use a little pick-me-up.
 
"Let's be of good cheer, remembering that the misfortunes
hardest to bear are those which never happen."
 
Well, ain't that the truth? 
 
If I can picture myself in all those 'trauma times'?  Well then, I can picture myself still making it...and I really can as long as God's in charge.  Say, my memory's sharp today...I even remember 'Don't worry about tomorrow 'cause God's already there.' 
Good to remember...oh yes!
 
From my heart, to yours...
 
Vasca

Thursday, August 21, 2014

YOU SUPER-DUPER MEN...

 
"My mom says the only reason men are alive
is for lawn care and car maintenance."
Tim Allen
 
Not true...no way! Tim's mom surely was kidding.  Some of my favorite people are men and they do tons of things; so you're thinking I'm partial?  Okay, I suppose having four awesome sons whose father led the way to their awesomeness possibly has much to do with it...I like girls too...however, since my order wasn't filled, I simply haven't had so much experience with them. 
 
A dis-advantage...I never experienced hands on car maintenance...why bother?  After all, those five men who lived with me were up on what to do; okay, even if they sometimes bombed out...fortunately for me it wasn't often.  I had no flat tires and only once had a serious mechanical failure...of course, it was far from home and took some doing to get me back.  I wish I had learned a few tricks of the trade...but...time marches on and I don't want to learn...besides I have my trusty, dusty smart phone! 

Cars are very sophisticated these days...are they ever.  They talk to you, jiggle your buns when you drift from your lane...use the brakes when you're distracted...cameras are placed in strategic places to give you 'drive around' instructions!  No more car keys...don't even start the engine yourself, it'll do it for you!  Wow!  They even can/will tell you where to go...reminds me of M when I'm driving!  Oh yes! 

Some even drive themselves...is there anything they can't do?  Well, they do need regular visits to their 'car doc' for check-ups...like people, right?  
 
Along those lines, I read this:  "Be sure and check your oil...oil is cheap, engines are expensive!"  Oh, I see...you've had some experiences with that...well, live and learn.


(Our grandson, Grant, re-assembling his car)
I was especially vulnerable when M
was 'out of the country' for a year...
more than once...
and I was saddled with four young men w/drivers licenses!

Enough to drive a mom bananas!
Disaster...we had a souped-up 98 Olds that  flew with the wind...fast. 
 


My little angels would vow to stay under the limit if I would just say 'Yes'
to their driving it to Dallas for the OU/Texas game.  Oh brother! 
 
It was even the OU colors...red and white. 
What a crock that was...thankful I didn't learn the truth 'til years later! 
 
Well, truthfully...I wasn't exactly a creep-a-long on the road myself...
inherited my lead foot from my mother and have paid for it a few times.  Ouch.

My twin brothers and my sister also followed suit...my dad discovered the twins antics when a friend of his remarked that Dad had the fastest 'family car' around.  Seems the twins would take it out, switch the tires, etc. and race it...they always won!  Notoriety has a way of making the news!  Ha!  They continue racing...but using their own cars!  Whew!

Men are alive for much, much more than lawn care and car maintenance. I've not always been respectful of their value...my bad.  Once...when I was way out of line, M looked at me and quietly said, "You know Vasca, I'm not your teddy bear that you can just take off the shelf and do your thing...then put me back."  That pricked my heart and I've never forgotten how I hurt him; trust me, I've tried my best never to hurt him again.  More living and learning, the hard way!

These days, my man smiles at me when I get up in the mornings...he tells me how precious and beautiful I am (fresh out of bed)...how much he loves me...he pampers and cares for me 24/7 in the most loving ways...much more than words. 

Oh, and for your information?  I reciprocate...100%. 

I have this idea that of all things wonderful...family relationships are about sticking together and lifting each other up!  The opposite of lifting each other up?  Tearing each other down...nowhere to go then but up...I'm into lifting up!

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.


You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.  

Lyrics by Brendan Graham

This is dedicated to each and every one of you...male and female...my readers! 

You raise me up and I thank you!
    
From my heart...to yours,
Vasca

 

 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

EPIDEMIC PROPORTIONS PART II

"We're being quarantined here.
We're being kept here to die."
from the film 'Ruins'
 
Our classes were avid SARS watchers; certainly no one wanted to come down with it.  The medical staffs stayed on duty...not leaving the hospitals.  Quarantine was the 'word of the day'...and those in charge were clamping down on travel, etc.  






(Quarantined medical staff receiving supplies)
When we shopped for groceries and things at Carrefour (the store of choice for us) we lined up to have our temperatures checked before entering...like the thousands of other shoppers.  Everyone, but everyone was 'masked'.  I never noticed anyone being turned away so I suppose all of us were 'healthy'.  Who was to know...except the police and in China?  The police know everything...really!

At that time travel between provinces (like our states) was prohibited which presented a problem for some; such as lovers separated by miles!  You remember what that's like? I'm sure...of course you do.  'Off Limits' is not what they want to hear so what to do w/an aching heart?
                    
Why you take action of course...
in this case one sneaks across the border into our province of Hunan and into the city itself...Changsha...and into the down room of his lady love herself. 
Our friend April stayed out of the picture and kept her mouth shut about what was going on...but remember?  The police know everything...
they have eyes and ears in every corner...oh yes they do! 
Don't call them 'snoops' for nothing! 
(You don't suppose we have those here in the U.S. do you?)


Sense of humor w/masks!                      SARS quarantine hospital; closed 2010.
 
Some informer squealed and the raid was on.  Oh my, along w/her roommate's boyfriend and the roommate...April was to be deposited in the quarantine prison on our campus
 
While processing to the quarantine facility she sneaked upstairs to our apartment...stopped on the landing and left a letter she had written.  She wouldn't come near us; tearfully walked off...saying we would never want to see her again...ever!
 
The letter was rather like a 'death-bed confession' of everything she'd ever done wrong, trust me, everything.  Convinced she was going to die, she bared her past...laying it at our feet.
"When you get caught in a lie,
the truth doesn't seem so bad anymore."

She was horrified, humiliated and totally ruined...in her eyes, that is.  While it was anything but humorous to her but M and I couldn't help but smile at the irony.
 
M & I weren't surprised by anything she'd confessed...we had already figured out what was going on in her life months prior to SARS.  After all, at our ages we were more than  experienced and besides, we were fairly smart cookies! 
 
She rode out the quarantine...didn't contract SARS and we had lots of heart-to-heart talks and lessons were learned; she vowed never, ever to lie again.  As far as we know this story has a happy ending.  Whew!
 
While the quarantines were in effect the international inspection teams visited Beijing, taking stock of how China was handling the epidemic.  It was almost laughable; the hospitals would load the suspected SARS patients into ambulances and tour the city during the inspections...then return the patients to the hospitals when the inspectors were safely out of the city.
 
In no way do I mean to take epidemics lightly; they are extremely serious and dangerous.  I merely share with you what took place in our lives during the SARS epidemic in 2003.  Illnesses come and go; some worse than others.  These days the world is plagued with Ebola which is extremely deadly...we're learning more, day by day.
 
Fortunately for those of us living in the USA we have first class medical care and facilities...we have much to be thankful for.  China made it through SARS and other things in these past few years.  They handle it in their own way...our country handles epidemics in our own way...to each their own. 
 
China is old...and she is changing at break-neck speed; still maintaining traditions w/a fascinating culture.  Michael and I have been privileged to witness the 'real China' and the experience continues changing our lives...for the better. 
 
"Heavenly Father,
 
You chose Michael and me for something that we never dreamed of;
revealing you to those who didn't know you...in China!
 
We remain in awe of your love and your confidence in us...
we are an ordinary couple that you chose for something extraordinary. 
It seems you had been prepping us for this most of our lives...
we just hadn't realized it until it you put it into action...
as always your timing is perfection.
 
Being 'spirit-led' is one blessed gift that you have given us...
thank you for protecting us, trusting us, encouraging us
and putting us where you meant us to be. 
 
We remain conduits for your living water.
 
Thank You, In your son's most holy name...Amen"
 
From my heart...to yours,
Vasca