Sioux Perdad

One of the fun things that Kathy does in her work with the Mentorship program for the women of our church, is to participate in skits. Trying to make the whole mentor/mentee relationship less scary, these dramatic sketches portray problematic mentors in a humorous light.

One of the characters is a wife and mother on-the-go, who is able to do everything and be everywhere. She schedules her meetings with her mentee to coincide with a child’s soccer game. “Bring your own chair so you can sit with me on the sidelines,” she tells the woman, that she plans to mentor. “I may have to step away for a few moments during the game — the coach really needs my advice.”

I may not have it exactly right (men are traditionally banned from these ‘Mentor Moments’, so I have never actually seen the skit) but that is the essence of the character, I think. Her name is Sue Permom.

Kathy has been away for the past week, helping to care for her Dad at the Mayo Clinic (who has been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of lymphoma). Although my boss graciously allowed me to work from home this whole week, we were quickly ‘going under’ in terms of dishes and laundry, not to mention homeschooling. Kathy’s friends have been bombarding us with princely meals, but I still wasn’t able to keep on top of the household, so I took yesterday off from work.

At the end of the day, I was beat. I’d filled the dishwasher twice, and had done at least 438 loads of laundry (or maybe 439 — it is possible I lost count). I established my new draconian policy of throwing all clothes that came out of the dryer on the couch in the living room, with dire threats:

“If your clothes are still here in 12 hours, I’m sending them to the Goodwill!”

About 9 pm, just as I settled in to take a well-deserved rest, playing my computer game, little Sarah piped up:

“What about our Valentine’s Day box?”

I groaned. Each year, Valentine’s Day (or the Friday nearest that holiday) is a big deal at our local homeschool co-op. Each family decorates a box (some of them are pretty elaborate, the show-offs) and they make Valentines for each other, usually with a little piece of candy. I constructed a quick mental checklist:

  • Valentine’s Box — nope
  • Valentines — nope
  • Candy — nope

“Quick,” I told Sarah. “Go get that shoebox on my windowsill, and cover it in paper from that roll of butcher paper in the garage. Then you can decorate it.”

Valentine Box
“Granddad, will you be our Valentine?”

Sarah loves to decorate. After I helped her wrap the box and cut a slot in it (all the kids were concerned that the slot must be large enough to accommodate candy), she stenciled our name on it and decorated it with little pink hearts. Then I found a Valentine template in MS Word and printed out a customized valentine (squandering all of Kathy’s red printer ink). The kids formed a folding party and signed the valentines, some 50+ of them. In the morning, I went to the store and bought some candy, so that each valentine can be properly accompanied by a tasty treat.

As they were leaving for co-op, I ran downstairs.

“Stop, wait!” I shouted. “Did you remember the Valentine Box? The Valentines?”

No, they hadn’t remembered any of it. Typical of our family, I’m afraid. But as for me, at least for today, I am Sioux Perdad.


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Dwelling in the Shelter of the Most High

Today has been a difficult day for me. I am not a person who is very much at home with outward displays of emotion, yet nearly everyone I’ve met today has hugged me and told me, “We’re praying for your family.” In spite of the awkwardness, I am so thankful for the way that God is surrounding us with His saints, who are so determined to show us love in a variety of ways.

Kathy is in Minnesota, helping to care for her Dad, at the Mayo Clinic. Bill continues in very poor health — the doctors still do not have a firm diagnosis for him. Hopefully tomorrow the batteries of scheduled tests will shed some light on the situation. Here in Washington, we watch and pray, checking text messages and Facebook for updates, dreading news yet thirsting for any certainty.

Kathy referenced Psalm 91 in one of her texts, which begins this way:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

We are continually reminded that we rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Whatever happens in Kathy’s Dad’s body, God will be glorified. And so we watch and pray some more.

In the midst of all this, life continues. We went to church, and I taught most of a Sunday School class. My parents came over after church, and we celebrated my Dad’s 74th birthday. It was very pleasant to connect with my parents again, and to watch my Dad guess each of his gifts before he unwrapped them. He also makes a big deal of saving the wrapping paper, presumably a holdover from his childhood on the heels of the Great Depression. We enjoyed an ice cream pie together and had a sweet time of prayer together for Kathy’s Dad.

Seventy-Four, and Still Silly
We made him blow out the candles twice, as is our custom.

It is hard not to feel guilty or shallow when the normal things of life interpose themselves in front of our concern for Granddad. And yet, I don’t think God wants us to wallow in fear or worry. Where is the balance? How much time do we focus on prayer for the healing of our beloved one, and how much do we go on with life? If we are able to trust easily, does it mean we don’t care about Granddad? If sorrow and tears predominate, does it mean we don’t trust God?

Last night, Daniel pulled out one of his last baby teeth, after much wiggling, in the Albertson’s parking lot. Back at home, he asked me:

“What should I do with it?”

“Put it in a little ziploc bag,” I suggested, not sure where this was going.

Later, as he was heading to bed, he asked me where he should put it.

“Why, do you still believe in the Tooth Fairy?” I raised my eyebrows at him.

I thought it would be funny to see how he answered that question. As an almost-14-year-old, he certainly couldn’t claim a belief in the Tooth Fairy, especially since Kathy and I are not particularly careful to perpetuate such childhood myths. Yet he clearly wanted to be paid for the tooth — I was eager to see his angle.

“No, but I believe in … Money!” Daniel gave me a big, cheesy grin, dangling the ziploc bag suggestively.

The Tooth Fairy is a bit notorious in our household. It is not unusual for kids to place hopeful teeth under their pillows for days at a time before attracting her notice.

“Times are hard,” I tell them, when they complain about their tooth being overlooked. “She is probably working the East coast this week — I hear there was a hockey tournament last weekend, and the poor Tooth Fairy is just swamped. Hang in there, maybe tonight will be your lucky night.”

When I checked on David and Daniel before I went to bed, I was amused to see that Daniel left nothing to chance. On his desk just beside the door, he placed his tooth (in its sanitary little bag), and left a note with an arrow, pointing at the tooth: “Right here, Tooth Fairy!! X marks the spot!” Around the tooth, he bent a glowstick into a circle, literally highlighting the tooth for even the most nearsighted of fairies.

Tooth Fairy-ing for Dummies
Apparently Daniel has no high regard for the intelligence of the Tooth Fairy.

Naturally, the Tooth Fairy made no visit that night. I want my children to learn to be persistent, and to persevere. As Paul told the Romans:

Let us also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. — Romans 5:3-5

It warmed my heart to watch Daniel’s silliness, and to have something to laugh about.

Pie with Grampa
… and a piece of ice cream pie with Reese’s cup pieces and an Oreo crust never goes amiss.

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Tears and Laughter

This morning, I got up early to drive Kathy to the airport. She’s traveling to Minnesota to be with her Mom and to care for her Dad, who is very sick, being treated at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

We’ve been praying and praying, and Kathy has been teary-eyed as she thinks about the uncertain future and her Dad’s health. It has been a sober and serious time for our whole family.

Sometimes I am amazed at God and how he brings joy and laughter into our lives, even at the darkest of times. This was one of those times.

Heartfelt apology
Joshua wins this round in the Great Sock War.

Rachel and Joshua went off to Winter Camp with the youth from our church … clearly, I should have watched them more closely as they were packing, yesterday afternoon. Although Joshua’s feet are bigger than mine, he takes great delight in stealing my socks (probably because I don’t run around outside sock-footed, and so mine aren’t all stained and hole-y.)

You have to wonder at the mindset of a boy who takes the time to write a note like that. I especially enjoyed the underline in his text:

I Took Your Socks. I’m Not Sorry.

To think that people say I’m the quirky one!

He’s a strange duck, that boy. Of course, that leaves the whole weekend in which I have free run of his room … bwahahahaha!

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