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Archive for November, 2008

Fighting a Hard Battle…

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle…”

Everywhere I have gone for the past two weeks, I have heard this Plato quote, most often used in the context of trials we all face throughout our lives, or in a “bigger-story” sense, spiritual warfare, which we are all involved in whether we know it or not.

I easily become so caught up with my own battles that I forget about other people’s struggles.  It is usually at the zenith of my own ‘pity party’ that God puts before me someone whose trials make mine look like mere skirmishes.

Last week, He propelled suffering people through my life with such a fury that even I could not ignore His message.

Below is just a small sampling:

Today, an acquaintance shared with me and a few others that her three-year-old adopted son is being tested for cystic fibrosis.  So now she travels to a larger town for testing, and then waits for results.  It’s the waiting that’s the hardest.

I struck up a conversation with a mother at the football field who asked me to pray for her 4-year-old who has an inoperable tumor on his eye; no testing can determine if it is malignant or not.  So now they wait…

Another friend’s husband lost his job for the second time in a year; they have four children and no health insurance.  So another season of waiting begins…

Her friend desperately needs to work in order to support her family and four children, but cannot find child care for her child with sensory processing issues.  Trusting, she waits…

A sweet woman and her husband have battled infertility for years, sinking their love and devotion into their niece and nephew whose mother battles addictions; they have had temporary custody off and on for years. Today they wait to see if a judge will make that custody permanent or if this mother will be given yet one more chance to make a home for her children.  (During the last ‘trial’ the children were found in a filthy home devoid of food, their only food source fish they caught in a local run-off pond.)  For these children and their potential adoptive parents, the waiting continues…

Five-year-old Chloe has battled cancer for two years now; next week she will travel to New York for more testing to determine the status of her cancer.  Faithful, she and her family wait…

A dear friend who battled infertility, lived through five miscarriages before finally having a son, and has tried for over three years to adopt a child, waits for her placement to go through.  Believing, she waits…

When Edward was 15 months old, our new pediatrician finally agreed that he needed an MRI to understand why his head was so large and his fontanel was not closing.  We waited several days for results of the MRI to be explained.

Yet as I sobbed to God in the bottom of my closet one night, I heard Him whisper these words to me:  “You know everyone is waiting for their own MRI results in one form or another.”  To a certain extent I have never forgotten what it felt like to wait for those results.  Later I would wait to see a heartbeat on an ultrasound, to have a cyst biopsied, to hear a diagnoses from a neuropsychologist…

We wait and wait and wait.  And we are always, always waiting.

As Christians we can take hold of the knowledge that we do not wait alone.

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” ~ Phil 3:14

I know all of you are out there waiting.

Please know, you do not wait alone.

Posted on 10 November '08 by , under Faith is the Evidence. 21 Comments.

Love Is A Battlefield: High School in the Mid ’80s

My dear friend Kia tagged me for this thought-provoking meme.  And while I am sitting here listening to the Transformers Movie in one room and the Ps2 rocking away in the other, I’ll try to pay attention enough to complete this challenge.

(Edward is having a 7-year-old spend the night party.  Yeah…wait for that blog post…should be interesting…)

I can only imagine why Kia tagged me for this.  It’s clear she wants trauma, drama and the gut-wrenching.  I’ve got all three so I’m game!

1.  But What Were You Like? – Well, I played the clarinet in an award-winning marching band.  We traveled all over the US playing at bowl games and the like.  It was quite grand, and not quite so geeky or lascivious as band activities are customarily portrayed.  (I know you will make fun of me anyway.)

I was also the editor of our high school newspaper; we started a scandal by creating fake “Dear Abbies” that related to actual events in peoples’ lives at the school.  As you can imagine, it ended badly.  Yet not as badly as what happened when we were finally caught “pretending” to sell newspaper ads during our lunch/newspaper class time.  Instead of selling ads, we skipped downtown to lunch at interesting spots.  It took months, but someone ratted us out, we were sent to the principal’s office and our parents called.  Not pretty.

2.  Prom Dreams – My senior high school prom date, a boy from a private school, contracted Hepatitis on his senior Florida trip and could not keep his commitment.  (That’s a good thing.)  So he suggested I take his foreign exchange student instead–quite generous.  This fellow was actually from the Ukraine and, despite his relatively limited English skills, was incredibly tall and slightly mysterious, so he fit the bill well.

I can’t go into details on the night’s events, but I will share that what began with an innocent picnic (for three prom couples) held in an unknowing farmer’s field, ended with police search lights, thorn-tattered prom dresses, and a foreign-exchange-student’s-near-deportation.

3.  Wildness –  Despite the way the story above sounds, I was not all that wild in high school.  I would say a tad adventurous but I certainly never saw drugs or anything like that until my late college years.  This was the mid 1980s…things were just calmer then…clove cigarettes were living on the edge…at least where I lived.

The cool thing to do during that time was spray paint your name on this bridge near our school.  (It sounds cool, doesn’t it?)  Well, I completed this rite of passage with my big “Elizabeth Channel” splashed across the bridge…the same day the newspaper did a story on this problematic local issue with a large photo of my name clearly visible.  Yes.  The whole city knew.

4.  Car – 1978-ish Pontiac Grand Prix SJ, two-door, V8, silver with burgundy interior, landau top.  Looked something like this without the cool tires.  Smokin!  This vehicle was so long I honestly had to sit on top of phone books to see over the hood.  It only had the AM radio, but I rigged up an FM converter so I could listen to Pat Benatar on the FM stations.  The first time I took it through a car wash, I hit the “car wash money box,” cocking it to one side and denting the “SJ” in the process.

5.  Fashion – I had long, fluffy hair in high school, and I had to get up at 5 am to render “hot rolled” perfection.  There were a few years of bad perms during the early 80s and one unfortunate run-in with a bottle of “Sun In.”  Truly, it’s tragic I don’t have any photos.  This was the era of side-zip jeans worn with your father’s button down and pointy-toed laced boots.  I weighed 95 lbs soaking wet.

6.  Education – Despite all the stories, I detested most of high school and couldn’t wait to go to college.  My high school was quite cheer-leady/football oriented, and I was more of a poetry-writing, Violent Femmes listening, forensics-involved person.  I did a mean dramatic monologue of ‘Night Mother.  Our group traveled to DC for Youth In Legislature where my partner and I sponsored a domestic abuse bill entitled “The Wife Abuse Deterrent Act of 1985.”

7.  Employment – Usually, I was employed in some creative way.  My first luckless job involved manning a batting cage.  I enjoyed dodging and chasing down the balls after they were hit; rewarding work.  Next I moved to biscuit maker at a local Mrs. Winner’s Chicken and Biscuits.  This was during the summer and I had to be there at 5 am to make the biscuits for the breakfast rush…horrific.  I moved up one year to working in a local real estate office…garnered some much-needed envelope-stuffing skills.

My senior year, I actually worked in the mall as an opinion poller.  I was one of those people who approached you with a clipboard and a promise of earning $5.00 for sampling butter-flavored biscuits.  I also worked at a local Haagen Dazs…now that was my favorite!

Thanks, Kia, for that trip down memory lane.  I’m tagging YOU:

Mrs. Bear at Outnumbered Two To One

MT at The Bon Bon Gazette

Steph at The Red Clay Diaries

Andrea at Crazy Jugs

Tari at The Grass Widow’s Diary

Danette at Everyday Adventures

and Helene at Two Sets of Twins.

If I didn’t tag you, please don’t think I don’t care what you were like in high school!  Remember, I am doing this while listening to purposeful burping, inane laughter, a loud Transformers movie, Ps2 wrangling and the myriad of other sounds that comprise boy sleepover parties.

Please, please, please do this meme if you want to and I will look forward to reading!  And if I tagged you and you’ve already done it, please forgive me and know I can’t keep anything straight these days!

I leave you with the quote of the sleepover night:  “I have to sleep in only my underpants.  If I get too hot, I throw up!”

Posted on 7 November '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 16 Comments.

Right Before She Put A Nerd Up Her Nose

It was a lovely, cool evening.  We had a few moments to spare before Joseph’s last football game.  So, we were walking, hand in hand…ended up at the swings…enjoyed this touching moment…

A few minutes later she sat in my lap, bundled under my coat, enjoying a box of left-over Halloween candy Nerds.  Lemon flavored to be exact.

And then she shoved a relatively large one up her nose.

Reflect that the candy coating of a nerd renders the treat somewhat smooth initially.  As it is broken down, however, in the nasal cavity, the true sugar crystals are revealed.

We all know crystals are not smooth.

Lots of hawking and screeling and snorting in the packed football stands.

We ended up retreating to the squatty potty where, with much huffing and straining, the errant Nerd was excised.

“I’ll not put Nerds in my nose again, Mama.  I’ll not do it.”

Posted on 5 November '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 27 Comments.

Our Favorite Thing About Charlemagne

Yes, well, it’s election day and while I have scads of thoughts, emotions, fears, tremblings, peace, questions and wonders, I’m not called to blog on politics.

So I will leave you with my children’s favorite part of their history lesson today.  We are studying the Franks as part of The Story of The World for the Classical Child.

Their favorite part?

The fact that Charlemagne encouraged the Franks to stop stomping on grapes with their dirty feet to make wine.

So we stomped a few grapes just to make sure this lesson stuck.

Need any non-alcoholic wine?

Posted on 4 November '08 by , under Accidental Homeschooling. 12 Comments.

Getting Even With Kia

My dear, sweet, loving, encouraging, accepting, authentic, frantic friend Kia at Good Mum has snidely made fun of me for my fake D&G purse that I purchased in an underground China Town “salon” in May while helping my friend who has her own invitation line Prints Charming.

(Check her out!  I’ll be giving away some of her invitations and holiday cards in the near future.)

I lovingly counter with these beauties:

I purchased them in 1999 in Soho from the Fortuna Valentino boutique.  (Now gone, woefully…)

Kia, here’s another image for your viewing pleasure:

(Note, Kia, they are nothing like Crocs, as you have surmised.)

I have never in my life paid more for a pair of shoes, and I’m not likely to pay such a sum again in this lifetime.

Yet these are the grandest clogs I’ve ever seen in my life and when I wear them I feel FIERCE!

Weep Kia, weep!

You can’t find these anymore!

Posted on 1 November '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 13 Comments.

Be Not Mistaken…God has a Grand Sense of Humor

Otherwise why would He allow Edward’s Darth Vader Cape to catch on fire from some errant Maple Cove Halloween Exhibit Candle in full view of two prominent local families.

If Edward learned one thing at Skippy John Jones Computer Magnet Academy, it was “stop, drop and roll.”

He’s unscathed.  Now we owe the Blether’s family a Darth Vader cape…small price to pay for not being a burn victim…or having to return to the ER.  (Not that I don’t have an ER doctor’s cell phone on speed dial at this point.)

(I’ve got to stop bragging about this, seriously…)

Joseph, however, ran on his merry, candy-crazed way, exclaiming to the amazed Maple Cove crowd:  “I think Edward’s on fire!”

Yep.

I can’t make this stuff up.

Laney Cohn was just standing there…”Was Edward just on fire???”

Alivia Blanengard just smiles on the sidewalk… “Excitement follows you all wherever you go, doesn’t it?”

Pretty much.

Try not to be so jealous….

Posted on 1 November '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 15 Comments.