Thursday, February 18, 2010


When the snow storm first hit, our family headed outside and built a snowman with our neighbor Steve. It was the first snowman I had ever built and an obvious first for Israel. Coming and going from our house, Israel stops to greet the snowman. He looks really cute staring up at the mass of snow that is a good foot or two taller than him, saying, "Hi, Snowman. I'm just going to go to church and eat dinner. I'll be back. Bye! See ya! Have a good day, Snowman!" or "Hi, Snowman. I'm just going in the house. Good night, Snowman! Have a good evening!" He's been educated on snowmen from Bert and Ernie and has told me, "He no feel. He not cold," but he's still concerned for him and asks, "He cold?" Last night, we went out for an hour and returned to find that one of the neighborhood kids (or maybe two, from the footprints...) had kicked the snowman over. His head and mid-section were thrown back onto the ground, disjointed. Israel nearly cried. "Daddy gonna fix it?!"
A few weeks ago, I struck up a conversation with a man at church. "Hi there. How are you doing these days?" I was met with a frank, "Not too good." The man, who is in his fifties and always comes alone, told me how the doctors had found tumors on his lymph nodes. The lymph nodes spread things over your entire body and cancer there is a terrible diagnosis. He explained that the last time he had fought this cancer, it was in stage 2. While not feeling sorry for himself in the least, he told me it would likely be stage 3 this time, meaning it would be terminal. He kept a matter-of-fact grin on his face as he went on about how he had walked these streets for fifty-five years and was about ready for something else. We agreed together that he is safe, no matter what happens to him. We all go sometime, but I told him I don't think I'd like to ever receive news letting me know about when I could expect to make my exit. He bravely reiterated that he's ready to go.
The next week, I was out shopping with a girl and received a phone call from Pat telling me that one of our friends had pointed a loaded gun at his face and pulled the trigger to end his life.


Last night in the dark, while Israel was asleep, I went outside and re-built the snowman, fixing the places that had melted and spraying it with water to help it stick together. I gave him a new face with a crooked stick smile and an icicle nose. As I was fixing it, I thought, "I won't always be able to undo the wrong in this world for my son, but, darn it, I can fix the snowman!" Israel was pleased to see him smiling in the front yard again this morning. We hadn't named him yet, but Pat decided we should call him Lazarus.
Sometime during the week, the man from church went to the doctor. And he was told they found nothing. Nothing. The man who had trusted God as the Taker of his life stood up and praised his Maker who has made him new.
About an hour before the phone call from Pat, I had felt the need to pray for God to save our friend and to rescue him again, having no idea that he was buying a gun at that very moment. Right as he pulled the trigger, the blast from the gun thrust his hands back, causing the bullet to graze over his eye.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Eden's growth spurt

Perhaps I should have been more ready for everything, since I did go through all these developmental phases just 18 months ago, but Eden continues to amaze me. With Israel, I remember reading all kinds of word books and sign language books and the like together, anticipating new words all the time. I wasn't really surprised when he had a rather large vocabulary early-on. "We've been working on that," I'd say. Eden, however, sits in on storytime with Israel, reading things with paragraphs and actual plot lines, not getting much of the pointing and saying, "Look at the truck.... Can you say, 'truck'?" She's more left to figure out everything from context and repetition. But recently (as in the last week or so), she's taken to "reading" books to herself, carrying them around the house, turning them over and over to look at them. Two days ago, just for kicks (and because I was curious if she is actually saying the word, "cat" or if we're just imagining it...) I asked her where a cat was in a book. She stuck out her little pointer finger and pointed right to it, saying something a little less clear than, "tuc." I had no idea she knew that.

But today, while she was playing by herself after storytime, she looked at the page and told HERSELF what something was. I had never heard her try to say the word before and then there it was, clear as could be. I happened to still be in the room and ran for the camera. She did it again...and again...and again...for three takes! Align Center

I decided to post this one because you can also see some of her other developments of late. She can walk all over the house now, sometimes going the full length of it, stepping over toys and gates without falling. She can turn around on her own and two days ago, she started standing up without pulling up from time to time. Pretty good for just having started walking last week! (Is that right?) Things you can't see in the video are the way she now sometimes says, "Hey!" to greet people, how she tries to imitate all kinds of words (when she feels like it), how she hides her own eyes and plays peek-a-boo, and how she dances on her own to music (bobbing up and down and clapping). Nearly all these things have happened suddenly in the last week. Today, she is 11 months old. Amazing.