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Thursday, March 31, 2011

to trains

i am so not a morning person.

i'm with garfield...'whoever invented mornings should be dragged out in the streets and shot'.

and yet there is such a beauty about the dawn, before the world is rushing.

i've been having to get up so early lately (it's different if i wake up on my own, refreshed and ready for the day) to take my husband to the train. since his bike got wrecked, he's a commuter with the other ten or so million people who take the trains/buses/jeeps of this city.

so i get up and go with him to the train, then drive home.

barely awake.

system sluggish and protesting in the chill of dawn. staggering slightly as i walk to the car. clutching my coffee and praying for a jolt.

i'm affronted by the sound of the traffic as we near the station, horrified by the pushcarts full of vegetables being pushed along the middle of the highway, the buzzing motorcycles speeding in and out of lanes of traffic, the buses honking madly as if nobody can see that they're there...

as we leave for the train in the softening gray of dawn, i see a crescent moon and venus in the sky to the east. hanging so close it feels like they are lamps in the living room of our yard. i almost want to reach out and switch them off as the sun creeps up.

and then, we turn onto the highway and the madness begins.

but at least i'm not the one riding the train, fighting for an inch of breathing space, pushing through the crush to get in or out. bless his heart, my sweet man is the one doing that- for us.

to trains.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


once again, the angels have fended off what could have been a fatal accident for my dear husband.

Thank God for His protection.

a wrecked bike, a bruised wrist, a sore shoulder...but a living breathing Daddy sleeps beside his little girl tonight while i type this blog.

and nothing to say but 'thank you' in a million different ways.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

time out

sometimes it's good to take a time out.

this week has been hectic, grandkids here on spring break, construction full swing, a day trip to splash island which takes a day to recover from....

life presses on.

stuff tends to happen.

chaos always trumps order.

's'all good.

i've been on time out.

and shall be for a bit more.

(lays back on bed while sipping rehydration drink and wipes brow wearily.)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

the plot thickens...


we met the little boy who lives with his elderly father just over the wall in the jungle.

today we went to the wall and with the help of the roving watchman, met the old man.

he's 72. a toothless, skinny, polite, pleasant old man.

he's so thankful for our interest and help in his child!

i was able to communicate with him as he speaks perfect Tagalog- not a dialect as so many do around here. i'm guessing he's had a bit of education- he told me he used to be a carpenter before in a high-class subdivision near here.

the story is that 35 years ago someone took pity on him and 'gave' him this little piece of jungle to take care of and use, and now it 'belongs' to him. (probably not on paper though)

then about ten years ago he married a 'young' girl, who gave birth to this little boy emmanuel, and then proceeded to die of asthma. (i'm guessing tb actually, because i'm pretty sure the old man has tb)

so little emmanuel lives alone with his old daddy in the jungle. the only work the old man can do is to make charcoal and sell it at the market.

as we talked across the wall, all my grandkids, neighbor kids and emma peering over as well, it was apparent to me that the old man really loves the boy. he told me they had scheduled surgery for him at a local hospital when the child was 4 years old, but never pushed through because of financial difficulties. and the little boy is very attached to his father...when i mentioned our foundation, and possibly helping them, emmanuel immediately asked, "daddy you come with me?" and the old father reassured him that he would.

i asked if he'd ever gone to school...the dad said yes, but he always ran away.

i'm not sure how this is all going to work out.

for now, we are giving them one good meal a day, and we gave emmanuel a ball yesterday to play with. he has no toys. nothing but sticks and other stuff you find in a jungle.

it remains to be seen how this will all play out. we certainly don't want to disrupt their peaceful life, but only to be a support and a help.

help us to pray that God's will be done in the lives of this little family.

next week, we will bring a social worker to investigate and then we'll decide what can be done.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

just on the other side of my wall...

a little boy...left alone year after year with just his elderly father.

a horribly deformed little face and mind, but a happy little personality.

a little jungle animal, but somewhere in there is a hungry, love-starved little boy.

eats only rice with sugar. did not know what a banana or an apple was- we had taken some there- he threw them on the ground.

laughing loud, clothed in raggy things in honor of our 2nd coming...we'd peeked over the wall briefly and decided to go get food and go back...

'what's your name?' i asked.

'one two three!' he answered proudly.

'how old are you?'


cackle cackle.

no toys, no books, never been to school...spent his whole life in the jungle, just on the other side of my wall.

emma, my darling little emma, gave him one of her little bracelets...he admired it, birdlike, at first, then took it off and put it on her ear. she giggled and giggled. no fear, no shyness, just one child's open acceptance of another child. i'm so proud of her- my little open-hearted baby girl.

we had to leave him, having asked enough questions to present a case to those who need to know...this is neglect and abandonment and the old man was thankful to get some promise of help. in the meantime, we'll feed them.

the girls have taken to calling him 'one-two-three'...

this is Jesus, living right just on the other side of our wall.

Lord, open our eyes to see.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

so grateful

so grateful today for a moment in the past few weeks of fog, for clarity, freedom from the symptoms i've been having.

grateful for sunshine.

for my little girl happy in a bright orange dress licking chocolate ice cream so daintily, tissue napkin clutched in her little brown hand...

grateful for granddaughters in various stages of growth, young enough to play dollies but old enough to want 'private time'...

grateful for a husband who cares enough to come home early from work to take me for a check-up...

grateful for the green of bamboo sitting firm on my staircase handrail, a touch of nature put to good use...

grateful for the mistakes made by careless workers, for therein i can learn to hum and look away and quietly request for changes without 'losing it'...

grateful for life, for love, for strange happenings like the unexpected visitor at the door this morning, a naked boy who'd climbed over the wall and was begging for food...

Jesus, you are in it all.

i'm grateful.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

my life continued...

funny how things turn out.

i was a melancholy, subdued child.

do i hear a gasp of astonishment and disbelief from my audience?

true story.

the many horrors of my childhood included this bizarre and poignant story:

one of my mother's dearest friends married a fellow who was- to put it mildly- slightly 'off'.

all of their children were a little strange. not dangerous, but just not right.

grandma laura, as we called her, was a precious little lady with a boisterous laugh and a heart of gold. she stood about 4 foot 8 inches in high heels. not that she ever wore high heels...rubber boots, more likely.


one summer i remember the whispers, always the whispers...'manny's run away again.'

manny was her youngest son, a few years older than me. emmanual...her blond baby boy. a silent, hunched child from my memory. i never recall hearing him speak. i see him sitting in the shadows, in corners, looking sideways out of haunted eyes. in nowspeak, he creeped me out.

he always ran away from home.

summers, this was ok.

winters, not so good.

usually, they found him, cold and hungry and terrified, in the bush near their farm. grandma laura would praise Jesus in church and weep and shout and stomp her joy over the return of the reluctant prodigal.

one fall, manny ran away. the whispers again. only this time, they couldn't find him. and he didn't come home.

all winter we waited. every sunday grandma laura would stomp and shout and weep and laugh and hold on to her faith in Jesus bringing manny home.

we hoped. oh, how we hoped. mom cried.

the long horror of the winter passed. spring came with aching beauty and the hope of finding manny holed up somewhere in a shack, or sheltering at some farmer's place out of the bush.

no manny.

i was in high school already when they found his bones, hunters pushing bush- they assumed it was him. there wasn't much left. he would have been about 20. he'd been lost 4 years.

strange- i don't remember grandma laura's reaction to the finding, only to the losing. and i remember the whispers, most of all.

a little bit more of my mind broke off, numb with the unspeakable.

funny how things turn out.

(to be continued...)

Sunday, March 6, 2011


things i'm thankful for tonight...
- my family, those whom i saw and hugged today, and those i didn't, except in my heart
-my husband, ever a comforting shoulder and a challenging mind
-my little girl, learning to play video games *gasp*
-blue water filled with splashing, laughing kids
-a white house filled with promise and place (to dream, to live, to love, to laugh)
-my little pink mac computer which i did not open today believe it or not
-food that not only nourishes but brings enjoyment
-bubbly sarsi, a root-beer like soft drink that cools on a hot afternoon
-church, preaching, worshiping, visiting, being prayed for with faith and power
-this lovely world we live in and the quiet stars tonight

Friday, March 4, 2011

growing up

one of the most awful things in the world has to be growing up knowing your father doesn't love you.

and even worse, doesn't like you.

this is what i knew.

the twitch of the jaw muscles  when he looks at you, the reluctance to make eye contact or touch you, the desperate edge to his voice, the grating grit of his teeth when he's annoyed at you...all signs of what a child understands to be dislike, or even hatred.

i knew my dad didn't like me. i was also pretty sure he hated me.

my father was ex-military, and probably undiagnosed bi-polar as well. my early years were spent alternating between fear and fury.

fear of his rages...

fury as i became old enough to stand up to him.

healthy, no?

not so much.

i was a sensitive, dreamy kid. what we would call nowadays an "emo"...totally lived by feelings. my little antennae absorbed every sound, every color, every emotion that was in my world.

early on i learned to be careful, to control my outbursts, to cry quietly, to defend and protect those who hurt worse than me. my mother, my younger siblings, all looked to me- or so i thought- for help and leadership in the war against the father who often raged over nothing and sometimes laughed hysterically at things that weren't funny.

it was normal. i thought everyone's life was like this.

after i started school, it got worse- my 'emo' personality took refuge in fantasy. i once actually told my teacher that my dad had been killed by a bear, working in the north. to this day i'm not sure why i told that tale, but looking back i think i must have been very worried about him- he was indeed working in the north- and yet in a way wished that he would disappear. i don't know.

flashbacks of those terrible early years of school haunt me to this day...the memories are faded in some areas but others are so clear i can smell them.

the scent of chalk on the blackboard.

the cold smell of rain on the highway.

the stale odor of fear on the classmate "helena" who was a "DP"- a displaced person; she hardly spoke any English and we- yes, i joined in- tormented her daily on the playground.

childhood is not for wimps.

mine was tough.

in fact, it didn't exist.

i was born old. i was born careful. i was born silent, thinking, cautious. even my baby picture shows me making the 'shhhh' sign- finger on lips. tread softly, softly.

(to be continued...)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


no, not the song by U2.

a condition of feeling like the room is spinning around you.

like being on the deck of a boat pitching in high seas- constantly.

this is what i've had, off and on, for a month.

it has literally brought me to my knees a time or two. i've almost fallen. my inner self is discombobulated.

i've been too nauseated to eat several times.

i've learned to reach for whatever i can find to hold on to...a wall, a bedpost, a bannister, a plant.

not sure what the problem is, but i'm beginning to feel like a F.O.R.D...'Fix Or Repair Daily'!

when the inner balance is lost, nothing else makes sense.

there's a lesson in here somewhere.