Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In the Heart of the Moment

Dear Diary,
Today I saw my heart.
I don't mean in a poetic way, within some act of kindness or secret evil tendency.

I mean in a literal, physical kind of way.

I took a stress test, and, along with it, an ultrasound of my pumper.

It didn't dawn on me that I would be able to see the pictures while I lay in my breezy, gray hospital gown on the white papered table.

But when the light did dawn, I thought,
Cool! Very-very cool! I will get to see my own heart!

As I made out the black and white video images on the screen, my throat tightened and my tear ducts filled. My thoughts changed from Cool! to
Oh my word!  I am seeing my own heart!

When I revealed my emotional state to the ultrasound tech, she responded by giving me a narrative of the things she was seeing on the screen, pointing out such foreign things as my "mitral valve" (what I saw: a floppy flap opening and closing) and my "beautiful left atrium" (what I saw: a chamber wall hiccuping in and out.)

I was surprised at my rush of emotion to those pictures on the screen. 

I have seen precious life on a monitor before, in the ultrasounds of my preborn babies.  The tiny hearts beating so quickly, the body parts perfectly formed as God planned.  Now that elicits emotion for good reason!

In the heat heart of the moment, I let my romantic side emerge as I watched the heart do what God designed it to do.  It is a hard working muscle, but it's also a vessel --
containing my spirit,
my life,
my love,

Many people will never get to see what I saw.
The cool thing about the heart is that you don't have to see it to know what it contains.
The way you live your life will reveal that.

As I stared at the wonders on the screen, the Sunday School student in me was hoping to spy a miniature Jesus smiling and waving at the "camera" from one of my heart chambers. 

'Cuz I know I have Jesus down in there too!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Tale of A Fish Tile

Dear Diary,
See this fish tile?
This brightly painted piece of Spanish clay holds a lot of meaning for me and my husband.

It's a reminder,
a memory,
a souvenir,
a promise,
a hope.

I keep it in my bathroom where I see it first thing in the morning and last thing at night (right next to Psalm 118:24: This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it).

A few years ago we had the privilege of traveling to St. John, Virgin Islands, for our wedding anniversary.  It was a wild adventure, one that we wouldn't have been able to handle well as newlyweds (our plane was filled with them); but as seasoned partners, we could giddily absorb the highs and maturely roll with the lows.

As part of our weekend package at the guest house Treetops, we were supposed to take a boat tour of the islands with our hosts, Hank & Karen Slodden. But, of course, the islands had just experienced the worst storm of the season the day before we showed up, and the marina was unable to prep their boat and get it into the water.  One of many disappointments on the trip. Can I help it we were married during hurricane season?

Yes, I am getting to the tile.

Hank and Karen are innovative and artsy. They had collected this authentic Spanish tile from an island Rockefeller resort undergoing renovations (Caneel Bay, popular with celebrities).  The tiles were discarded and abandoned in the undergrowth. So they gathered what they could and started incorporating them into their landscape.
My legs and some creatively placed fish tiles.
~Souvenir and Promise~
Upon our departure, Hank handed us a tile, with the promise that if we bring it back, he would accept it as our ticket to the boat ride we never had. And the best snorkeling, to boot.

I really would like to go back.
Some day.
(When I need a break from seeing other parts of the world I haven't been to yet.) 
I envision us driving down the steep stone-and-cement drive and producing the tile with a triumphant smile that says, "We remembered. We came all this way. We dare you to renege!"

But it won't be during hurricane season, to be sure.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Obscure Olympic Observations

Dear Diary,
It is Olympic season, the biggest international athletic event televised, and I have become the biggest couch potato in order to watch them.  While it isn't on 24/7 in my home, it is on every evening and weekends. Yes, I am even sacrificing my Downton Abby time slot to watch men and women hurtle themselves down mountains and over patches of ice.

Spending so much time as a couch blob worthy of a gold medal has stimulated a handful of obscure observations.

  • Despite the cold season, most winter Olympic sports are performed in skin tight body suits or barely-there sequined costumes. My gut tells me Olympians don't have the same psychological hurdles to overcome that I have when it's time to go swimsuit shopping.
  • Is it a prerequisite for female Olympic snowboarders and skiers to be radiantly beautiful and have great teeth? (I haven't noticed the men so much. Honest hubby!)
  • Shaun White cleans up real nice. (OK, so I noticed one man.)

courtesy wevegotyoucovered.buzznet.com
  • I have an appreciation for medal winners who are thrilled to get Bronze.
  • Despite the hours of watching, I haven't seen NBC show one medal ceremony. 
  • The biggest winners are also the biggest risk takers.  Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it/s disastrous, but at least they give it their all.
  • Winning isn't all about skill; it is also about the mistakes of your opponent. (I learned this long ago in my high school tennis "career"-- except I wasn't on the winning side.)
  • I don't care what part of the world you live in, you gotta feel a little bad this happened...and hope that the guy in charge of snowflake #3 isn't making his bed in the gulag now.
courtesy businessinsider.com
  • I heard the Russians spliced the successful five-ring moment in dress rehearsal into the broadcast for their own country. Can't say that I blame them.
I know there are oodles more Olympic observations that can be made.
Anyone want to add their own?


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

For the Birds

Dear Diary,
Take a look at this winter scene outside my window.

Do you see anything wrong with this picture?  Like the fact that there are no birds at the feeder? And the fact that the feeder is (still) full?

I was too late.
I didn't remember to put the feeder out this fall. 
Being the compassionate tightwad that I am, I only feed the birds in winter when food is more scarce.

Usually I put the feeder out before December and bravely wade through the frigid air and cold white fluff to refill it every few days.  I love to watch the Nuthatches, Chickadees, Cardinals, and other birds daily.

But I was too late.
I put it out in January.
I don't have to spell out the kind of winter we are having. Apparently the birds don't want to go check out the new neighborhood rest stop in the dead of tough winters.  I don't blame them.

But I miss them.

The feeder has been out for more than a month now.  It's frustrating that all that good seed is sitting unnoticed and blowing in the wind. I have seen birds briefly hang out in the tree, little feathery puff-balls roosting on a branch. And one or two have investigated the feeder. But they did not return or go tell their birdie friends about it. 

Who knew word of mouth had such power, even among the birds?
(Perhaps the inventor of the Tweet actually knew what he/she was doing?)

So, the feeder forlornly hangs, a bleak reminder of my ineptness, my forgetfulness. 
But it's also an anticipated source of joy for me and a patient beacon for my little beaked friends to find when they are ready to look.

Keep warm and well fed!