Thursday, March 29, 2007

Lil Bungalow, We Will Miss You

We have been entertaining the idea of moving into a larger house for some time now. When we moved into our cozy 1930's bungalow back in 2001, I was 4 months pregnant and instantly knew that we had already outgrown our first home. Talks of expanding and adding on were tossed back and forth, but ultimately, the only solution was more square footage.

Our goal was to be moved in by the beginning of the next school year. We had some time to get our house ready and to look for a new place to live ~ after all ~ it was only March. We looked at several houses that were out on the market, some good, some not good and none of them were just right for us. Then it happened ~ we walked into a house and instantly knew that this one was perfect for us. Before we knew it, we were making an offer on the house ~ and signing contracts. Next, within a week's time ~ we were spinning vortexes ~ trying to get our house ready to put up on the market! (If it weren't for my amazingly handy and hardworking husband it would have taken me a month to get things ready ~ SERIOUSLY ~ the man is talented!)

To make a long story short, we sold our house in 3 days! I do believe in the aftermath of the flurry of life changing events ~ the dust is still settling ~ and I am still in a state of shock. We have a couple of months to pack up all of our possessions and say our goodbyes to our lil bungalow. Even though she is too small for our family, many good memories have been made while living there. She has sheltered us from many a thunderstorm and blizzard ~ given us fertile soil for growing gardens in the summertime ~ provided retreat from the busy world outside her red painted door. We will miss her greatly, but memories of that time and place will live on in our memories.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Lost In Translation

Tonight, I was reading my youngest child a story before bed. I looked at the pictures on the page and I said without hesitation, "Look at the cute panda bears!"

Since my brain tail has taken charge over me, sometimes I will look at something and know
what it is in my mind, but something is lost in translation before the words come out of my mouth. Panda bears and penguins are both black and white, but I don't think most people would confuse the two, do you?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Coming Home To A Place I'd Never Been Before

When Helen Frady called me and asked me if I would write an article for the Alumni newsletter, I immediately arose the occasion. Then, as I started to think about what I would write about, I was struck with the awareness that it had been 7 years since I had attended Alumni Camp. What could I possible write about? Since I moved up to Upstate, NY in 1999, Camp Longhorn (CLH) has seemed so far away, geographically speaking. However, on the contrary, there is evidence of CLH everywhere in my house.

We are in the process of moving which involves the arduous task of packing. While packing, I have had the unexpected joy of discovering CLH again: an ATTAWAYTOGROW ruler, V-Day orange cups, CLH magnets, coffee mugs, T-shirts, pens, pencils and merits everywhere! In fact, I carry around a handful of merits on my key ring. My friends have heard countless stories about my CLH experiences. They look at me in disbelief when I share stories of swimming in a cow trough, swimming a mile in a lake full of catfish and turtles, playing in the mud pit my Marina year, zipping down a trolley line several feet in the air, teaching 9 year olds how to shoot a rifle, sailing with mere novices, standing in the snake pit and handling snakes. I have even trained all of my friends to call the bathroom the ‘library’ (my librarian friends adamantly have refused to conform).

I remember arriving on the bus at Indian Springs my very first year as a Seahorse was like “coming home to a place I’d never been before”. Not only had I found a place where everybody is somebody, but CLH re-introduced me to the person I really was meant to be. My first year at camp came a few short months after I had been uprooted in the middle of my 7th grade year by my family’s move from Houston to San Antonio. You could say that I was in a major adjustment period and CLH was the perfect elixir. CLH gave me several new friends and it taught me to believe in myself again.

When my daughters were babies they were rocked to sleep with CLH songs (sleep deprivation couldn't dim the words of Longhorn Girl, Taps, Among the Hills and Dales, Sipping Cider). They have heard countless tales about my summers spent in a little town in Texas called Burnett. I have passed along some of the CLH traditions in our home like you can have fun on a hot summer day with a couple of cans of shaving cream (thanks to the memories of having FUN activity with the Palominos’ ~ they wanted to either paint the counselor or cover themselves in shaving cream every day!!!). My girls know that I am the person I am today, because of the life lessons I learned at CLH. Not only the rappelling, sailing, blobbing, but the sense that no matter what trials come your way in life, a little bit of pep-and-chatter ,a positive attitude and a smile can turn a rainy day to a day filled with sunshine.

Being a counselor at Indian Springs taught me that I could do much more than I knew I was capable of doing. When Nan assigned me to the Pony Cabin one year as head counselor I almost melted into a puddle of tears. I wasn’t that good with the little kids ~ I preferred to have the Marina cabins, I could relate to them. Nan is a wise woman and has always been good at seeing potential in her counselors and she definitely put me to the test. Sharing a term with the Ponies that summer was a growing experience for me. Their wide eyed innocence and their new found love for CLH was beautiful. I even found the opportunity to use my Spanish skills to communicate with one of our campers who was from Bogotá, Columbia.

People ask me why, at 36, I am still sharing tales of a summer camp way down in Texas? Most seem to think that camp is a childish pastime. For me, CLH is a part of me and always will be. It ties me to my Texas roots. Camp Longhorn, I love it!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Follow the Big Yellow Dog

Friday afternoon, I left work a little early in anticipation of a long drive home through a snow storm. I have lived in Upstate New York for 7 years now, but I am still a little apprehensive about driving on snow and ice. I said a little prayer for God to protect me and get me home safely. I remember saying out loud as I pulled out of the shelter of the parking garage, "lead me home".

I had visions of a beacon burning bright ~ a shepherd leading his flock to water. The roads were slick and I was beginning to get a little nervous. I pulled up to a stoplight and made note of a school bus filled with children in front of me. I imagined then inside, with not a care in the world, and I was certain they felt completely safe. So, I figured, I'll go with the safety theme and stick close behind this bus. A wave of peace came over me & I wasn't fearful anymore. I followed the bus for several miles at a slow 10-23 mph. Sure, I could have passed them and gotten home a little sooner, but I stuck behind the bus until it turned. After an hour and 45 minutes of tense driving, I made it home safe and sound.

Who knew that God could use a school bus as a beacon through the storm. There are signs everywhere, I just need to slow down enough to see them.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I See You

Sunday afternoon, I was relaxing at my in-laws house in the country. I was reading and suddenly got the feeling that a pair of eyes were looking at me. I glanced up and realized that a deer was purposely peering through the window and making eye contact with me. We just looked at each other for a couple of minutes ~ we were definitely communicating. As of late, I have had many random animal sightings. Nature has always had a way of speaking to me and grabbing my attention. So when something like this happens, I pause and ponder what kind of deeper meaning the universe is trying to tell me.

I looked up info regarding the symbolism of deer and was quite surprised by what I found.

Biblically, David refers to the deer, "As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God" (Ps. 42:2). In Celtic mythology, the stag leads souls through the dark forests. The stag's actions as leader of his herd in the wild are reminders of Christ's role as protector. This definitely fits for me as I feel like I am on a journey through a dark forest of brain tails.

Native American’s believe that people who have encounters with deer are intuitive; often appearing to have well developed, even extrasensory perceptions. Deer's medicine includes gentleness in word, thought and touch, ability to listen, grace and appreciation for the beauty of balance, understanding of what's necessary for survival, power of gratitude and giving, ability to sacrifice for the higher good, connection to the woodland spirits, alternative paths to a goal. The gentleness of Deer is the heart-space of the Great Spirit which embodies His love for us all. Deer teaches us to find the gentleness of spirit that heals all wounds, to stop pushing to get others to change and to love and accept them as they are. The only true balance to power is love and compassion.

All these things really hit home with me ~ message received ~

  • I will be lead through the dark forest ~ have no fear ~ I will be protected
  • there is beauty in balance
  • there are more than one path to my goal
  • gentleness of spirit heals all wounds
  • balance is about love and compassion ~ not about feeling dizzy 24-7

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Finally, I have started the process for getting an appointment at the Chiari Institute! My doctors have concurred that it would be a good idea to see the specialist to review my case before proceeding with brain surgery. Of course after they review my medical history application, then I will get an appointment for sometime this summer. That is a long way off, but I am happy that my case is moving in a forward direction.

I have been a little concerned as the vertigo has gotten more frequent and intense lately. The ground beneath me feels like it is moving in waves and I feel like I am spinning like a top. A healthy dose of humor has helped me to keep my sanity. Just yesterday, I kept banging right into door jams ~ I couldn't help but laugh at myself. I mean ~ come on ~ it's just not normal to feel this way and it's so different than I was feeling this time last year. What a wacky hand of cards I have been dealt ~ OK ~ so how do I deal with all of this change and total insanity??? If it weren't for my faith in God, I think I would be a total wreck! I don't know what the future holds for me ~ but I am sure that as long as I trust that He is contol, I will make it through this difficult time.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Then You Stand

Feeling much like this picture of a hurricane today ~ the ground beneath me seems to be moving like waves in the ocean. A feeling of overwhelming hopelessness shrouds my thinking. Will I ever feel normal again? If I do decide to go ahead and have brain surgery, will I feel better or have a whole new set of problems? I can see that if I keep going in this direction, my thoughts could drag me down in a death spiral.

So ~ I get up, walk around outside, breathe some fresh air into my lungs, clear my mind and the lyrics of a Rascal Flatts song, "Stand", comes to my rescue:

You feel like a candle in a hurricane
Just like a picture with a broken frame
Alone and helpless
Like you've lost your fight
But you'll be alright

Cause when push comes to shove
You taste what you're made of
You might bend, till you break
Cause its all you can take
On your knees you look up
Decide you've had enough
You get mad you get strong
Wipe your hands shake it off
Then you stand, Then you stand.