Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Don't hate me b/c I live in Denver...

Today on the daily dog-walk I saw crocuses! Their little purple or yellow heads straining through the winter-packed dirt to soak up the warm rays of sunlight. Yesterday after the dog-walk I rushed into my backyard hoping to see purple and yellow (Houghton colors!). Dirt. Dog poo. Lots of it. No flowers. I suppose Caleb must have excavated my gardens for the tasty bulbs and had himself a meal. I'll know if they start sprouting up within the lawn...

By the way, it's been over 70 degrees for the past two days. Don't hate me b/c I live in Denver!

Early spring-like weather draws people from their homes. I've lived in this neighborhood for almost exactly 6 years and many of neighbors I have yet to catch a glimpse of and believe me, I walk a LOT!

Today I met an elderly man named Linus who was setting out some slightly used tires, a step ladder, card table and stool free for the taking. He and his wife are in their upper 80's and decided it's time to move back to IL where their family lives. For 26 years they have called the house home. I've never seen either one of them before. Anyway, aside from his commenting over Caleb and Gabriel (we had a doggie reunion between Caleb & Gabe) and stories of twenty-five dog-bites, he told me how he and his wife took up skiing at the ages of 55! They skied until their 70's! Collisions by careless skiers ended the activity. Only having gone three times in my entire life, there is hope for me yet!

While we were chatting, another neighbor came sauntering down the side-walk talking to the pretty doggies. It's the woman who has one of the most well-kept beautiful gardens in the neighborhood. I envy her climatis plants each summer as well as her sage and lavender. Probably in her late 70's she had a life and a twinkle about her that was striking. She's a tiny Asian woman with white hair dressed in a navy sweatsuit. Immediately the step-stool caught her eye and within minutes she was hefting it toward the walkway, climbing up the stairs with more energy than I could ever muster right now.

All that said, it struck me how beautiful these people are. Old folk who our society wants to warehouse or plain toss out. The stories of the 1940's, Ranchwood furniture, depression glass and dog bites are rich with detail and meaning. Old and wrinkly isn't ugly. Fashion magazines lie. It's a conspiracy to sell over-priced moisturizers. Both of these people were beautiful and I enjoyed chatting for well over half and hour. I'm sad Linus is moving as soon as his house sells. I wish I'd met him earlier. Edie, too is moving soon. Downsizing. They live in some of the larger homes in the neighborhood and upkeep is becoming more difficult as time passes. I hope Kyle, when he comes ANYTIME now, will be able to meet and appreciate older people rather than scoff at them, thinking of them as a nuisance. Guess what? We're all gonna be old someday. Won't suprise me if we are treated then the way we treat old people now. God has a funny way of doing that sort of thing...

Friday, February 24, 2006

My reality of "fun"

It's one of the most common converstaion starters, "So, whatdaya do fer fun?"

My most up-to-date reply is, "Well, I sit in waiting rooms for a while waiting for sadistic therapists to tork my broken elbow in ways it refuses to go. I subject myself to varying forms of radiation, needles, and then I passively play pharmecutical roulette." Not wanting the conversation to continue, I plant my nose back into my book while hoping the slack-jawed interloper would leave me alone.

My health is a BIG turd in the litterbox of life right now. Dear Hubby pointed out I spend more time dealing with health issues than I do working. Something's wrong with that ratio. Seems a little sick and twisted to me.

I've been battling chronic headaches for several years now. For a while, strength training and staying in good physical condition helped, but about three months ago, that inexplicably changed. The headaches returned. Nothing helps. I avoided going to the doctor because I didn't want to deal with my health insurance company - that is the archetypal headache! It's a poor reflection on our society when people avoid necessary medical treatment b/c the insurance companies make life miserable and you end up in debt over your eyeballs even when you're standing on a 15 foot high brick wall!

But, I had to go. Kyle is coming. Kyle needs a mommy who can function. Today I had a CT scan (more radiation - no wonder I'm crazy!). Most people are praying for a clean scan. I'm actually praying something shows up!! I know that sounds rather morbid, but I'm at the point where I want them to find out what's causing my misery and treat it. A clean scan would mean weeks and weeks of trial and error, not to mention more referrals and time in waiting rooms. What kind of life is that?

Keeping with the spirit of my blog (JOY in the litterbox), I need to lay my frustrations at the foot of the cross. That's hard when you have a bungee cord attached to them! I have to believe God has a reason and a purpose for all of this (yeah, and then throw in the elbow fiasco on top of it all!!!). He is soverign. The Bible says He won't give us more than we can handle... THE BIBLE SAYS HE WON'T GIVE US MORE THAN WE CAN HANDLE... Lord, you inspired those words...

Right now I must look forward to the joy of seeing my friends Brian and Heather this evening. It's been a long time.
Chloe looks so cute all wrapped around herself in the ugly tan chair and Esau is playing baby-doll in the stroller. Joy. It's there, even today. I just have to make and EFFORT to find it. :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Some links b/c I can't do the html thing

Check these out!

www.bridgebuildersint.com This is the mission org I work for

www.Houghton.edu The BEST college

www.torraca.net A thought provoking blog w/ topics ranging from gemology, parenting to theology - Peter, his wife Karen, and I all went to Houghton together

www.xanga.com/free_by_grace a blog on worship and expectant parents by Joe, a friend from church

www.bvchurch.org My church - we are all about missions, check us out!

www.faithandforensics.blogspot.com blog by best-selling author Brandilyn Collins, if you are interested in writing, this is a MUST read

Eventually these will be on the sidebar, but until then... html YUCK!

html is NOT user friendly!

A lot of blogs I read have those cool in-text links as well as a list of links in the sidebar (that's the skinny little area on the right side of my link, looks like a bar, is on the side...)

As Peter reminded me, blogging is supposed to be FUN, not work. I've spent over an HOUR trying to create links to some of my friends' blogs and some other interesting sites. Sure there's a "how to", but come on people, can't you make this stuff easy? Plain English would help people like me a LOT. html is an unwanted presence in my litter-box right now.

While I'm ranting about computers, another odiferous package for me is Photoshop CS2. What conclusions can one draw if Photoshop CS2 for Dummies is over my head???? I'm a writer for Pete's snakes!

Help me find my joy today :) I know this blog is about how to find Joy in the litterbox, but honestly, there are times when you can't do it on your own. You need other people to step in , move the icky things aside (or scoop them out), and shine light on the Joy.

Alright. Here's what I'll do. I'll keep my eyes open for Joy, you keep your eyes open for Joy and we'll spread the Joy! It could be YOUR Joy that you share, doesn't have to be about me.

Better get to work. Got some proposals for our expansion office in TX to send.

As far as the links, I'll post them in a seperate post above. You'll have to copy/paste them into your little URL thingie at the top of the screen.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

More Kyle is coming!

Every now and then on TV you hear the staggering statistic that over 90% of parents don't properly secure infants in car seats. John and I figured we'd start practicing. Esau was more than willing to serve as the "test infant". Thanks Mom and Dad for the car seat!
Chloe, on the right is getting high on latex paint fumes in Kyle's room. I painted the walls green with ONE ARM! As you can see, it's hard to take a picture of your arm... this is the infamous "robo arm". Two more weeks of this cumbersome contraption!

Tonight John and I attended Infant Care 101 at Babies R Us. We sat through a 20 minute video, 15 of those minutes were about how to breastfeed your baby. Talk about not so subtle agenda! Bottle feeding was mentioned for about four seconds should we as parents choose the option - like we have a choice!

John's here, say "hi" John... Hmmm. Well, what can I say?! I'm excited!!!! After waiting for 7 years for this moment, it's finally here! I'm looking forward to the challenges of being a father! I guess I'll learn like most parents with their first child - "trial by fire"! Boredom as most of you know rarely happens in our household! There will be more excitement to come!

And that, my friends, was a word from John.

Back to my story...after the video we went to the infant care section to glean more knowledge about the bottle thing. Don't laugh! Did you know there are different kinds of nipples for different stages of development? There is slow flow - fast flow - depends how much the baby sucks.

This evening I talked to my friend Susie. She asked if I was freaked out yet. I lied and said "No, of course not," she called out my bald-faced lie. Yes, cyber world, I am officially "freaked out." People w/ kids tell me not to worry, but it's hard! All my experience is with teenagers... (long pause...) Alright, so teens can act like babies, but they are toilet trained, well, most are. I guess it's one of those events in life that you settle into once it happens. There is not a sure way to be absolutely prepared. Each baby is different. Parents expecting their second, like my friend Melissa, feel like they are starting all over again. What worked with one kidlett, will most certainly not work with the next. God sure does have a sense of humor in this litter-box world!

Monday, February 20, 2006

More Joy in the Litterbox

I'll be brief b/c breathing hurts, sitting hurts... I'll get to "why" in a moment.

Turd: I am unable to have children naturally. The factory shut down a long time ago.

Joy: John and I found out that we will be parents in two to four weeks! Kyle Robert Gudger will be born to one of the bravest, kindest, self-less 18 year olds on the planet between now and March 29th.

When I found out that Kyle was a Kyle (he "waved" at the doc on Monday!) and that he may decide to be born as soon as two weeks from now, I nearly fell out of my chair. John began to dance around, sending the cats running from his hopping feet. TWO WEEKS!!! We have an empty room and some baby stuff friends in TX gave to us, but 2 WEEKS!

Who would have known that it would take over 4 hours to register for Baby stuff at BabiesRus? Who knew such tiny creatures required so MUCH STUFF???? John and I shrank back as the bottle wall loomed large over our heads. I looked at him, he looked at me. There seemed to be 600 different brands of bottles, and don't get me started on the nipples... Beads of sweat crawled down my brow as my fingers bit into John's arm. "Call Heather."
"I said, call Heather and ask her what kind of bottles to buy."
I think we called poor Heather in Minnisooocold at least four times. She's got two kids and is eager to offer assistance.

While we were finally registered (my thumb was twitching from repeated scan button-pressing), the nice lady at customer service asked us if we had all the essentials on hand. I thought that's what we did - registered for the "essentials" so people could buy them for us b/c it seems having a baby requires a fat bank account... showers share that burden...
Essentials: baby equipment you need to take the little critter home from the hospital. The nurses will hold him hostage if we don't come with "stuff."

We bought a few little "onesie" outfits unsure of how big Kyle will be, and a blanket. My mom, anxious to finally be a grandmother and wanting to be the FIRST to buy from the registry bought us the required car seat and diaper bag. We're set, at least to pick Kyle up. Beyond that there's the shower on March 18.

Okay, back to my pain. Can't bring Kyle home and put him in the kennel w/ Caleb, he's gotta have a room ready. We bought paint for the baby room and the guest room. Mom is coming for 2 weeks after he's born to teach me what to do. Honestly, I have no clue. I've been painting for two days with ONE arm (the other one is broken in three places from the infamous "ice" incident - don't ask), hence PAIN!

I'm done for today. Gotta work tomorrow, but the baby's room is Done! Mom, I'll try to finish the guest room before you get here.
Isn't it bed-time yet? I'm tired!

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Litter Box

The actual process for starting a blog seems quite easy. Fill this in, click this button. My blog birthing progressed easily until I had to come up with a name! I couldn't choose just any name. My blog would become some sort of all-encompasing cyber identity I'd be stuck with forever. Boring won't do. I'm not a boring person. I also didn't want my title to limit the scope of my musings.

Right now it's a balmy 10 degrees in Denver and I sit at my computer huddled in a blanket fighting the urge to turn up the heat. The utility companies have decided heat is for the wealthy...hmmm. Anyway, I'm in my blanket, the dog is laying atop a heating vent in the kitchen and the cats are entwined in the chair. Cats. Litter box. Life.

At an early age I learned life ain't fair. As I got older, expectation after expectation was crushed leading me to one conclusion. Life sucks and it won't be getting better. No matter who you are, or where you live, life throws all kinds of turds at you, hence the litter box.

Several years ago in the midst of one of the deepest poo piles, I sank to the bottom in a deep, dark depression. Prozac helps, but it alone could not sustain me or protect me from the ill effects of flying butt logs.

Many argue that Christians aren't supposed to be depressed. Can't imagine what Bible they're reading. Depression is a part of the human condition. It happens. For the sake of wrapping up, I want to address the first word in my blog title: Joy. Yes the world is a litter box. Sometimes the turds block out all the light, but the light is still there! The light is found in Joy. Joy is the Risen Christ. I'll talk a little bit about that in my next post. In the meantime, if you haven't seen Mel Gibson's "Passion", rent it - the original version. When you reach the final scene where the stone is rolled away, open your heart, allow the Truth to flood your soul and I promise you'll find Joy in the Litter Box!