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Archive for November, 2007

Farwell Meg

My sister had to put her dog to sleep today. Meg has been her dear companion for the past twelve years. Kathy was home for the holidays that year, and we'd stopped by Wal-Mart just long enough for her to run in and grab something she needed. We waited in the van and saw her approaching with the ubiquitous plastic bag dangling from her arm but also with a less than expected puppy. Tiny, wrinkly and the color of nutmeg, hence her name.

Kathy was the only one in our family who could run into a store to pick up some life necessity and somehow end up with a new pet. The puppy was undeniably adorable, yet its presence raised some predictable questions, not the least of which was how did she plan to transport her new best friend back to California? Calls to the airlines ensued, a small kennel was purchased, and in a matter of days, Meg was on her way home.

Within weeks, Kathy's life would change drastically. Her husband left. But Meg, she stayed. And she grew. The next time I saw her, she had at least tripled in size, appetite and energy. She had grown from a timid and sleepy pup into a much loved companion.At night, when the darkness was darker than it ever had been before, Kathy's pet was her comfort. During the day, their walks together gave my sister a reason to expend energy on something besides crying.

Kathy always did have a special knack for taking in the weariest looking creatures…many of whom were animals. But there was also Timothy, a tiny boy with ashen skin and fully neglected by his teenage mother. Timothy would spend many nights with our family during our high school years, and Kathy's first task was always to clean him up, feed and clothe him (often with clothes she purchased from her own meager funds) and then spend every minute (many of them in the middle of the night) letting the boy enjoy the safety and warmth of unselfish love. Later, his baby brother would come too. Strange thing is that it never seemed out of the ordinary for Kathy to do such a thing. Befriending the rejected. Caring for the discriminated. Giving a home, even if only for a little while, to someone who was hurting.

That reminds me of Lois. She was an African American girl and the only visible sign of diversity at our small private school. So, the conclusion was obvious…she would be Kathy's friend. Then there was Priscilla. No dad. Unconventional. And always ending up on the wrong sight of the right thing, except that she had Kathy as her personal advocate. Carrie, John and Terry and Brian. Rebels. Down and out. Never quite fitting…except, that is, into Kathy's circle of friends. She took them in and showed them her love by sharing in their troubles, which sometimes meant that her grades suffered, she would warm the chair of the principal's office a few times too many for my mother's liking and that her friends loved her dearly.

With time, Kathy has moved through lots of friendships, always preferring the least likely ones to draw closest. Lately, it’s been an older friend, Elaine, who is battling cancer and a new neighbor named Trena who hails from Scotland and has not a friend at all in Kansas City except for…you guessed it, Kathy. There's also a young Filipino woman named Lori. Last Christmas Eve, Kathy surprised her by making a curtain for her living room simply because Lori had so admired one of Kathy’sown but knowing that Lori could never afford to buy one for herself. I remember watching, with intermingled pride and tears, as Kathy wrapped up her festive parcel and drove through bitterly cold December streets to make her sly delivery. She left her gift on the doorstep, rung the bell and drove away. Hours later, Lori called, sobbing yet delighted while Kathy beamed.

Her joy was of a radiant sort, thrilled, not because someone was thanking her but rather out of her own pleasure in making someone’s day a glad one. And that reminds me of Meg. She had her own gleam and she wore it best when she was with Kathy. Over the years she welcomed Kathy’s husband, Jared, into their lives. Then their little boy, Luke, and just last year another named Isaac. And she loved them all.

But she had been there first and she was Kathy’s dog. It was to her voice that Meg’s ear was tuned. It was at her side Meg found her place. Whether on a walk in the park, finding the warmest spot in her bedroom or waiting with patient resolve each morning for the last two bites of Kathy’s toast. I guess Meg did what Kathy has been doing all along. She took Kathy in when she really needed someone close. She called her a friend and made her days a little gladder.

Thanks Meg. You’ve been everything a friend should be, and we’ll all miss you. And for you, Kathy will keep saving those last two bites.

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Home on the Range

We did it. We bought a house. It doesn't look much like a house right now. It looks a lot like a little bit of dirt, a lot of Texas limestone and exactly three live oak trees, two of which we hope to keep.

We signed the papers on Monday. Today, Gerry and I spent about four hours at the design studio picking out everything from cabinets to grout colors. We're told that we completed the making of our selections in record time…no surprise to anyone who knows Gerry True!

If all goes according to plan, we'll be ready to hang out our vacancy sign sometime in May to welcome any friends and family who would like to come for a visit. We can hardly wait to feel a little more at home here on the range. Here's a little tour for your viewing pleasure. Bienvenidos!

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Now that the restfulness of Thanksgiving is past, we've returned to our normal schedules.Here's what today looked like.

 8:15 Dropped the kids off at school. Checked in with Maddie's cheerleading coach on details for tonight's first basketball game.
 8:40 Arrived back home. Put in some laundry.  Had a little time to just hang out and visit with my parents.
 9:30 My parents and I arrive for my appointment to get a much needed haircut.
10:15 We leave for the airport.
10:30 I drop my Mom and Dad off at the terminal and say, “Goodbye” for three more weeks. It's strange to be doing this.
10:50 I visit a downtown artists village and pick up Gerry's birthday present…more on that later.
11:30 A little shopping at Sam's, Target and Michaels.
12:40 Home at last. Putting things away, running the vacuum, doing laundry.
  1:00 Lunch
  1:30 Read my Bible…I'm reading in I Samuel. Today I read the story of David being crowned King of Judah and then the several murders that followed.
   2:30 Answered emails
   2:50 Gather Maddie's shoes, food, etc. to drop off to her so she'll be ready for her cheerleading debut
   3:05 Head to the school
   3:20 Pick up Mason and drop off Maddie's things…Ran into a friend and talked with her for a few minutes while Mason ran amuck
   4:00 Back home. Mason has snack while I take care of more laundry (do you see a recurring theme in my world!). We talk about the day and he plays for a few minutes on the computer.
   4:40 Time to go back to the school for the ballgame
   5:00 Tipoff…Our Eagles girls basketball team loses the game 33-37 after a hard fought for game. The cheerleaders were winners all around! Gerry and I visited with our new friend Kelly throughout the game.
  6:30 Time to go home. Dinner. Homework. Bedtime. Oh my!
  8:51 Here I sit working on my blog while Gerry does some updates on a new website.

I can't imagine that all those details are all that interesting to most anyone. They're just a snapshot of a single day's events, and as I review them I'm struck by the reality that God cares about them. Have I honored my parents during their stay? How did I treat the store clerks with whom I interacted today? Have I been a good example to my children? Have I used my time wisely? Did I encourage anyone today? What have I done that will benefit someone else?

We don't know what tomorrow will be like, but we can consider what today has been. Examining our priorities and motives exposes our true character. William Thackeray said, ” The world is a looking glass and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face.” This time of reflection does just that for me. It allows me to evaluate, examine and correct. It's much like what I do before a literal mirror each morning. Stand still. Look closely. Observe reality. Make adjustments. Let the day begin.

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