27 August 2006

I want to share this column, which I am considering a birthday gift, with all of you. If this is all I get, and this from a stranger who has no idea I am going to call it a birthday gift, then I have been blessed, and as in all things, I give thanks to Him who made me...

Retrieved from the 27th August 2006 online edition of the Boston Globe-copyright to the New York Times 2006:

And God sayeth unto man: I've had it!

By the Reverend John Hudson, 23 August 2006

MAKING HIS first public remarks in more than 1,000 years, God appeared in the heavens yesterday and ordered all world religions founded in His/Her name to ``immediately take a well-deserved and long overdue time-out." At the crowded press conference, hastily called by the angel Gabriel with a trumpet blast, God's tone switched between anger and sadness as He/She described being frustrated with the boundless cruelty and violence committed in His/Her name.

``It's not like I haven't been patient," said God, who is also known as Lord, Yahweh, Allah, Creator, and the Unnamed One. ``I make and give to humans this beautiful gift called Creation. I give them the ability to think and love and imagine. I send them messengers who teach. I provide food for all, sunsets, cute babies, music, even the Internet! But the minute I turn my back, they all start fighting. Holy War this, Crusade that, and Jihad, blah, blah, blah," He/She said.

Citing the recent war in Lebanon as the final straw, God declared that, until further notice, each of the world's major religions would be punished. God then sent the religious leaders, with their faiths, to their rooms so they could ``sit and think about all the ways they've been bad. They can take their sacred books with them to read," continued God, ``but that's it. No TV, no cellphone, and no iPod."

God was quick to assure the world that the good works of religion, including peacemaking, disaster relief, healthcare, education, and aiding the poor and downtrodden, would not be affected by the time-out order.

``It's not that everything they do on my behalf is bad," noted God. ``They do a lot of good. But just when you think humanity gets it and has learned how to live with one another, they start bombing each other. They stamp their feet and say, `My faith is better than your faith, my country matters more than your country.' They act like each owns me and knows my mind. But not anymore. I'm back in town and taking charge!"

Responding to questions, God offered various opinions about life on earth, including reality TV (``No comment: Ask the Devil"), global warming (``I didn't turn up the thermostat"), and the recent Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees series (``I had to turn it off. It was too painful to watch").

Asked when religious leaders and their faiths might be allowed down to the dinner table, God responded, ``When they learn how to share and get along."

Leaving the press conference through a hole in the clouds, God failed to respond to questions about when He/She might return. The clerics, struck speechless, went to their rooms.

Around the world, wars ceased, poverty plummeted, and millions of people used the time they had scheduled for criticizing others -- in God's name -- instead to clean up the earth, get involved in their communities, and wipe out disease.

And, truly, it was good.

The Rev. John F. Hudson is the senior pastor at the West Concord Union Church (United Church of Christ) in Concord .

26 August 2006

OK, tomorrow (God willing that the day dawns :) I will be officially fifty years old.


I don't feel fifty. (OK, I know, but the truth is I don't especially feel 5K, either. Well, most of the time. But sometimes...)

Maybe I sort of look it. (Watch yer'self, buster...)

I had my 'mid-life crisis' on my 21st birthday. So I'm WAAAAAY past that, thank-you.

Pregnant out to there with my daughter, 'Lexie, I was not permitted to ride the camels at Lion Country/Africa USA-can't blame them, I was almost as huge as the elephants the park operators also declined to let me ride.

You know, what was the ex thinking, taking me to a safari park on my birthday while out to there pregnant with the child who refused to be born? That's right, she was a month late, and they ended up having to go in after her.

They told Tom that I was probably going to die; they told him the baby would not come any other way. (I must be one of the few moms telling the truth when years later I looked at my 15 year old daughter and uttered those words, "I almost died giving birth to you, how dare you talk to me that way?")

So he asked them to wait until the next day, so she could be born on his birthday.

Two months after she was born, I left, and raised her alone until she decided she would rather live with him and his newish wife. She was close to 16 years old by then.

(An interesting side note-about a year after her father remarried his new wife called and told me she understood completely why I'd left...)

Most of my birthdays have been um, less than great. OK, none of my birthdays have been good, much less great.

I had pretty high hopes for my fortieth. Oops, didn't happen.

I have given up on me, for the most part, so I cherish no big hopes for my fiftieth. I didn't come here to this life to live it alone; I don't matter much to me, really, although I do have feelings, and what happened at work yesterday is going to hurt for a long time I think.

This life I'm living is not what God planned for me, this I know, and nothing the enemy whispers in my ear and the ears of others will ever change that.

So I know that my birthdays that have been so, well, meaningless to those I wish it meant something to-my son, a real husband, neighbours, real friends...

Well, I know those are in the past.

My fiftieth birthday is still in the future, so who knows, something could happen. Fox could knock on the door, hey, it could happen, right?

Hope floats for the future.

Last year was especially bad. After enduring IVAN a year earlier I was astounded to watch Katrina take aim on the Gulf Coast with a predicted landfall of on or very near my birthday.

I'm getting worried about this trend-in just after my birthday in '01 one of my hospice patients was in the second tower stairwell; then, in '02 something horrible happened; in 'o3 something horrible happened; in 'o4 IVAN happened to me personally; in '05 Katrina happened. HUH? All these horrible things happening right around my birthday??

Every year it seems to get closer, right, until Katrina hits on my birthday; perhaps you will forgive what appears to be an unbearable ego-centricism-I'm gobsmacked to see...

Ernesto is working his wicked little way into the Gulf.

Maybe I should give up birthdays.
I am re-thinking quite a lot of things.

(But some things are constants-Faith, Hope, Love-somethings never change...)

For example, my adventures in The Corporate World.

Frankly, the adventure palls.

Yesterday, according to company tradition, everyone having a birthday over the weekend was visited by their department head, and given a big fat Starbuck's cookie. Short of singing the Birthday Song, a rather big deal is made of the occasion.

Mid-morning, in waltzed ours, who with great fanfare and loud announcement bestowed upon a co-worker with whom I share the birthdate, the big fat Starbuck's cookie.

And then he left the room.

Without stopping at my desk.

Which several other people noticed.

The day before, the 'team' got our team leader to ask me to run a system process that required an hour in the other room.

While they had a birthday party for everyone else on the team celebrating a birthday in August.

Shortly after lunch HR distributed the monthly newsletter-announcing, amoung other news of note, company birthdays being 'celebrated' during August.

Lord, for my birthday, I want a stacking washer/dryer so that I can stop washing clothes by hand in the sink, and I want a job where the boss has a hell of a lot more class, and my co-workers a whole hell of a lot more couth!

That first year after their bodies were found, as I lit a candle for each of the children I knew or knew of who could be considered such on that day-Holy Innocent's Day, I added two more, one for Ashley, and one for Miranda.

Someday I will be able to tell someone the whole story, until then all that I can say is that day, one by one, sadly, each candle burned out and finally faded.

Except Miranda's. The candle I lit for her stayed lit. Impossibly, long past the time the flame should have sputtered out, it flickered on.

Four years ago today, two families learned their worst nightmare had become reality.

Please pray for them today, those loved ones Ashley and Miranda left behind. Pray they find strength and healing and courage and faith.

Two little girls. Two candles.

And one that finally had to be blown out because I was afraid I would fall asleep and the house would burn down.

A year or so earlier, on 7 Nov 2001, Fox and his roommate fell asleep on the living room floor of their apartment, leaving a candle burning.

How they made it out of the building, and how they were in a fully engulfed apartment fire without any injury beyond a small spot on Fox's nose that healed within a week, can only be a gift-from God. Fox said he heard someone calling his name, felt someone standing over him and pulling him to his feet...but he and his roommate were the only people in the apartment, and he said when he realized what was going on and woke his roommate, they were alone-so who...? When they raced door to door to get their neighbours out, they saw no-one else-so who...?

"Be careful how you entertain strangers, for some have done for angels, unawares..."

When Miranda's candle refused to go out, it did something to me that I still cannot articulate. Like most caring Americans, I watched the news magazine segments about these two lost children; I saw Miranda's eirie interview done just before she was taken, and from the interview it is clear this was a young woman full of love and fight, and righteous anger for her friend.

So I wasn't really surprised when the candle I lit for her refused to go out, but I don't believe she is an angel now-angels are a different sort of being altogether.

I believe in angels-I feel one saved my son and his friend from certain death in a toxic smoke filled and burning apartment.

I believe Ashley and Miranda's angels were with them throughout their horrific ordeals; I believe the consumate evil of Ward Weaver snuffed out their lives because he refused to hear the pleading of those angels God sent to plead His cause-"Stop! This is wrong-let these little ones go!"

And I believe Ashley and Miranda are finally safe. I wish we could have made them safe while they were still here...

Two candles, for two little girls.

And one that refused to go out...

24 August 2006


Please go there, and click on the 'Light a Candle' link. Then click on 'Groups' and then scroll down until you find the Peace candle group. This site IS hosted by a Christian group-and welcomes ALL faiths without ANY attempts to change one's beliefs...

When I went offline the last day of July 2006, this candle group was down to a single digit number of candles burning. I lit one, and prayed for peace and lots more light bringers...

When I got back online exactly one week ago, I had some blogs to check, then I went to the candles, and almost fell off the chair-over 100 candles were burning! I forget how many countries were represented the first day I was back, but I can tell you that today, nearly 250-TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY!-CANDLES ARE SHINING-LIT BY SOME ONE FROM OVER 30 DIFFERENT COUNTRIES!


At least two hundred people from over 30 different countries came to light a candle and publically pray for peace amoung men!

France, Italy, Israel, Lebanon...Great Britain, Austria, Hungary;

the US, Canada, Egypt, Belgium! Hati, Malaysia, Germany, Poland, and Romania;

Brazil, Argentina, New Zealand, Sweden...

The testimony of over thirty different countries where some one person said in his or her native language, and in his or her homeland, "Today, I will be a light..."


And thank-you, ML from Luxemburg, for finding the little 'group' I started for my son, and for lighting a candle there.

Please tour the site and if you wish to light a personal candle for a personal concern, I can tell you that you are welcome to do so-be prepared that someone may find your candle and add their voice by lighting one with you.

23 August 2006

Psalm 127

1 - God’s Blessings in the Home
A Song of Ascents.
Of Solomon.

1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labour in vain.
Unless the Lord guards the city,
the guard keeps watch in vain.

2 It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives sleep to his beloved.*

3 Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.

4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the sons of one’s youth.

5 Happy is the man who has
his quiver full of them.
He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate -

Do you remember the comfort I found in the Psaltery?

Tell her to know that she put her filthy hands on mine after you were killed filled me with outrage - for a time. She was ever a thief. Tell her I look a wonder in yellow now, my heart, my soul, my everything -

New York can have it, and their gossip!

Five and twenty one. Be thou now a wiser, my lord...

Five hundred and 21 years...

19 August 2006

Gads. I go offline for a few weeks and my son finally updates his blog-whoa, what updates!

His (now ex) girlfriend, the one I liked, got drunk-roaring, apparently-and after hacking her way through the bathroom door with a rather large kitchen knife, stabbed my son with a rather large kitchen knife. The same knife she used to hack through the door. I think.

She blogged that county jail orange is not her colour and that she would never have called the police on him so why did he on her; he commented on her site that she was not clear on the details.

He then proceeded to remind her of what happened, ending by telling her that the caller had been the ambulance service that transported his stabbed, liter and a half less of blood, self to hospital. Something about no choice-it is the law in Alabama to arrest the perpetrator of domestic violence that results in an emergency full siren trip to hospital.

Which is how I know the details, his blog entry was shortish, consisting primarily of a warning against dating certain types because they will stab you. His comment on her post jail blog was somewhat more illuminating.

And then I read that his friend had died.

Few details there, too.

From consecutive posts I understood the young man was taken to hospital when found after ingesting cocaine, pills, and whiskey; he lingered as braindead for a few days, and then Friday 11 August he was pronounced, and his parents had to make arrangements for a funeral.

Tuesday afternoon he was buried.

I went to the online book of condolence the funeral home has up but couldn't bring myself to leave a message for this grieving family.

A son, a brother, a father is dead-yes, the young man left a pregnant girlfriend.

The night I got back online I went to Jobstale.blogspot.com and was floored by the post Curious Servant had up. I read it thinking, "Oh man, it is as if he was there, and saw it, heard it..." The writing left goose bumps on my arms and my soul.

Last night, after I found out about my son's friend (I remembered he is the kid who was with Fox when Fox threw the rod on the coolest car I ever owned and then in a fit of parental generosity gave to Fox thinking he was getting himself together and deserved a cool car-the kid who was so impressed that I didn't kill Fox on the spot for downshifting into third at 90 miles an hour), after I went to the online newspaper and retrieved the obit, after trying and failing to leave a condolence message for the family, I went to jobstale.blogspot.com and reread the post CS put up about how the Fall happened, and how the Garden became thorny and weedy because one of the Gardener's apprentices didn't like the plants and so started a whisper campaign...

My son's friend was 20.

He listened to the wrong whisper...
It is a constant, missing my son and grandson.

At least two, often more, times a day the pain hits me; I silently scream out at the rat bastard responsible for all of this and want to know WHY-no answer, never an answer from him to the question I answered on my own years ago.

Because he could. Because he wanted to hurt me, and much much worse, he wanted to hurt Fox. Completely.

I try all sorts of things to get through it without going insane. Not much works or helps, and I have the worst days when the question spins faster and faster in my head and heart, my soul until I just want to find some place quiet to hide until I have control again-but can't, because life goes on.

"That's how you know it's real." She said it very softly, as though she knew some intelligence was just too much.

"That's how you know it's real, because life goes on; you still have to go to work, pay the bills, wash the dishes and the dog. That's how you know it's real, because life goes on."

And finally, she told me, it really sinks in. You reach the horrid awareness of the finality of it.

Because life goes on. One morning you wake up knowing in the very marrow of your bones that your life is completely and iretrievably changed; it is an irrevokable thing.

It was for Job, and it is for you.

No-one can wave a magic wand and put everything back together for you-EVER, not even God.

"Time," she said, "is consecutive."

Meaning God isn't going to reverse the flow to make it all right; circumvention of the law of physics is one thing, but turning back time to the place before what happened to devastate your life simply is not part of His plan.

Absolutely nothing is ever going to un-make it happen.

And you still have to get up, iron a blouse, shower, clean the house, feed the dog, then take him out, and then go to work.

You have to get through work; you have to survive the drive or train ride home.

You have to go about the evening chores, and then you have to do it all the next day.


Again, and again, and again until you go numb for a while and the days meld in a meaningless stream that lull you into a sense of success.

Until something happens and you are breaking the surface. Gasping for air, you long to return to the numbness but can't; your only hope is to contain it until you are safely alone and have the privacy to pound the steering wheel/scream/weep/fall to the ground in a fetal position...

After a while you realize the dog needs to be fed/walked/cleaned up after; you do what needs to be done.

"That's how you know it's real." She leaned close, I thought she was going to reach out and pat my arm...

"Because life goes on even though you don't want to."

All I ever wanted was to be the wife of the right man, mother of his children, and keeper of his home-an equal partner to him and with him through this life.

All I ever wanted for my children was that they choose to spread peace, justice, positivity; I wanted them to choose that over spreading fear and pain and unspeakable grief.

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" He asked me that, and I said quickly, "OH, a grannie!"

All these long years I've looked back at that moment; smiling a little at our divers reactions to our long ago childhood conversation, then embarrassed-he said with some shock and surprise in his voice (which I've wondered about-why was he shocked and surprised that I wanted to be a grannie?) "Oh, but I think you have to be a mummy first!"

My reaction to THAT was horror, for the image that flashed into my mind was one of the nightmare tomb robberies; for a very long time I wouldn't even talk to him for saying something so nightmarish to me! Not to mention the bad dreams I had for a long time after.

And recently I read something that clued me into his personal feelings about mothers-his (in a previous life) caused him to choose to never make a woman bear him children so as to spare the unborn the misfortune of having a mother at all.

I never knew. I should like very much to see him face to face now and argue that with him.

My heart broke when I lost Fox and 'Bas, it really did. My spirit shattered; I am not at all the person I was when hope floated along despite the problems.

But I would NEVER refuse the chance to make it different, or to make it better; I would never NOT have Fox. If I could go back in time and change it all, the only thing I would change is Crusty.

Fox, my beautiful boy, I love you. On the 14th I thought about the day 25 years earlier when Dr. Bernard's nurse called and asked if I was sitting down.

Son, I stood then, and I am standing now. I love you. NO MATTER WHAT.

Call Chris, he has my number.

I know about Mangle. I am so sorry to hear about what happpened to him, to his family. To his unborn child.

I cannot get over thinking how awful it must have been for his family to have to say good-bye at Byrd's.

Please don't let that happen to you. To me. To 'Bas, most of all, to 'Bas.

I know about your recent need for stitches. I understand you may have some very serious health concerns.

I am so sorry about all of the grief you have had to endure in your short life.

18 August 2006

I love my job; I hate my job. Sigh. But antidote awaits-it's Thursday night and The Office is on!

Come on, be honest; after Earl, you stay tuned for The Office, too, don't you? 'Coz you know it hits the mark, huh? Ahhh, life and guilty pleasures! White trash in the act of transcendence followed by permission to laugh out loud at wonderfully accurate caricactures of one's boss and or co-workers. (Blogger's note-SpellChek is being a goober again, so I'm giving up and hoping that you, gentle reader, will play nice. IE, yeah, I am pretty sure I spelled the word wrong, OK? Happy?)

Sweet:) Way, Dude.

I had a 'Jim' moment today after trying (why in the name of all that is sane do I try?) again to explain to a co-worker that the person she should be talking to (about a situation she really has no business concerning herself with) is our supervisor. Not the facilities manager, not the HR guy. Our immediate supervisor, whose job it is to handle the situation she is concerning herself with.

But she probably doesn't want to see our supervisor just now. She is pretty stupid, but not stupid enough to have missed how VERY pissed he was with her, her daughter, and her friends. today. All day. ALL DAY.

My fellow hag and I spent much of the afternoon hoping the supervisoral tornado would strike today. Nope. But the ax will fall soon; the oxen have begun their inexorable march. The wheel is turning. And cranking up speed.

Maybe the best part is the dawning knowledge that they are clueless as to just how very thin their ice is becoming. After his third grim-faced/tight-lipped trip through the room, they still didn't get it, and kept right on pulling the rope...

Driving home every night makes up for it all. By the time I cross the county line I am smiling; the facial muscles telling me in no uncertain terms how unused the wee things had got over the past few years. The roads are perfectly banked, I miss the Stutz more than ever!

Life in a tin cabin clinging to the side of a North Georgia mountain is truly growing on me. I'd forgot how very much I like living in the mountains. Silly me!

I'm sitting here at a makeshift computer table keying away and pausing only to light a cigarette. I'd forgot how very civilized it is to be able to choose if I want to smoke inside the house, or out. I'd forgot how wonderfully clear my thinking can be when I am not having to get up mid thought and go outside for a smoke.

I think I also forgot how nice it is to be able to go to the fridge and know the food I put in it the day before (oh Hell, the HOUR before!) is still right where I put it. I'm seriously considering trying the oven out this weekend in that time honoured test of all tests-the chocolate-chip cookie bake.

The first few days in the tin cabin were, um, somewhat stressful, if only because I moved in on Sunday afternoon and was without running water until Weds morning.

But on payday I bought a microwave instead of a shotgun.

Don't get me wrong, I am armed. I just didn't buy the shotgun.


More than likely, I will. Tin cabins on the side of North Georgia mountains somehow just call out for a good .12 gauge or .30 'ought' tucked quietly behind the door.

Trust me.

17 August 2006

I'M BACK!!!!!!!!!

Hullo everyone, it's nice to be here. I just flew in from the real world, and boy, are my arms tired:)))

Ya know, I am sorry, but I really could not resist...

Anyway, I'm back online. It took a while, but not as long as I thought it would, so things are good.

I've been checking in on a couple of blogs while at work-STRICTLY WHILE ON BREAK OR LUNCH I promise.

Matter of fact, I've got some research to do, so I'll write at ya later.

Good to be back. Really good:)