Let’s get Henry a dog!

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Henry is the son of my friend Kendra. He was diagnosed with autism a few years ago and we’re trying to raise the funds to get him an autism-awareness dog that can be trained to find Henry if he’s missing (a huge risk with autistic kids, especially ones like Daniel and Henry who are non-verbal) and can sense if he’s overwhelmed/overstimulated so his people can get him to a place where he can get back to calm. This post is going to stay stuck at the top of my blog until further notice.

7 Quick Takes: Yet More On Vaccines, Flute Duets, and Some Prayer Requests

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Vaccine Take #1. This week, we’ll focus on the ethics of some vaccinations. For this first take, let’s talk about the issue of the MMR vaccine being derived from aborted fetal cell lines. This is one where I’m not happy that these cell lines were used for the vaccine (being pro-life and all) but it raises the question of whether putting a large number of people in danger by refusing the vaccine is ethically a better decision than getting it despite its origins. There are pro-life alternatives for measles-only and mumps-only shots but no alternative for rubella. Rubella *has* been eradicated in the Americas but that could all change if someone who is unvaccinated returns from an area where it is present (example: Africa) with the disease and goes into a group of people like the hippies in northern California or certain Hasidic enclaves on the east coast that don’t vaccinate. Another alternative situation for it spreading would be someone unvaccinated coming from Africa and being treated for symptoms in an ER with other unvaccinated people (example: cancer patients, transplant patients, etc.) before they can put infectious disease protocols in place.

So… my question for those who are concerned about the MMR vaccine for these reasons: what would be an ethical solution to this situation given that you can’t get around the rubella vaccination? Do you refuse to get it and risk contracting it yourself while any pregnant woman in your path risks severe birth defects for their baby or miscarriage? Assuming that you could get ahold of the only version of the MMR from Japan that is free of this cell line, do you pay through the nose to have it shipped to your doctor’s office? Do you bite your tongue and get vaccinated, after which you write sternly-worded letters to pharmaceutical companies to tell them off?

Here is the list of alternatives to the vaccines that are not derived from these particular cell lines. I tip my hat to JoAnna of A Star of Hope for providing me with it.

— 2 —

Flute duets. My amazingly talented friend Kathleen just published a collection of flute duets called Childhood. She’s asking people to help spread the news so… could y’all let any flutists or band teachers in your cohort know about this? Thank you. :)

— 3 —

Prayer Request #1. My friend Ian fought leukemia in 2013 and we thought he’d won until this week. Please pray for him, his wife Christy, and his daughters Asha and Fiona as they are dealing with the gravity of this.

— 4 —

Prayer Request #2. On my way back home from San Jose on Monday, my battery light started coming on and I thankfully made it home safely without a problem. I finally got a chance to take my car in today (Thursday) and it turns out that there was a problem with the alternator. It is at the repair shop of the guys who have kept my father-in-law’s Volvo running for almost 30 years and they’ve had to replace the alternator and 3 drive belts in addition to possibly having to replace the A/C. Could y’all pray that they can finish my car tomorrow (Friday) and that the bill isn’t more than the actual value of the car? Please and thank you!

— 5 —

Pentecost fun. At Bible study on Wednesday, my priest mentioned that she’d love to put copies of different translations of Acts 2:1-21 around the church on Sunday for Pentecost. I asked if she wanted help and she told me to start sending her languages. Between Bible Gateway and The Unbound Bible, we found some pretty interesting languages ranging from Maori to Wolof to Quechua to Coptic.

— 6 —

Prerequisite baseball take. The Giants swept the Dodgers this week, shutting them out each time. If it was in the budget right now, I’d make Jon go get a pedicure in Giants colors. 😀

— 7 —

Promise Walk 2015. I walked my 3.14 miles on Tuesday before going to physical therapy. If you’d still like to sponsor me, click here.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

#FiveFaves: Miscellanea (XXXIV)

#5Faves

One

My Bible study. One of the ladies put on a tea for me this morning and we had quite a feast between the treats my mother-in-law sent for me, the scones/lemon curd/jam/tea that M brought, and the brownies that one of my choir people brought. There were only five of us but I couldn’t ask for five more wonderful women.

Two

A Screwtape Letter for the Unappreciated Mom. Someone in #Cathsorority posted this and I resonate with it so very much. Another way that Screwtape and Wormwood tend to work is through older women I encounter who start harping about how *THEY* never got to read books when their kiddos were little or how *THEIR* husbands never watched the kids so they could go have an hour or two of respite. Seriously, I wish these women knew how much their kvetching makes the young moms want to distance themselves as far from them as possible, causing them (in some cases) to leave the Church.

Three

This article on the measles. Because of my vaccine postings, several people pointed out this article on measles to me. For those in a “tl;dr” mindset, the gist is that scientists have discovered that measles effectively erases immunity to many diseases to which the body has seen before. When kids are vaccinated against measles, they’ve found a drop in mortality to other diseases. This, to me, is a pretty compelling reason to VACCINATE YOUR KIDS.

Four

Murder mysteries. Seriously, I’m loving my “cozies” (the genre of murder mysteries I tend to read) because they give my brain a vacation from the day-to-day stuff I’m forever thinking about and working through internally.

Five

The NCIS franchises. I got caught up on NCIS while I was in San Jose and I’ll be working on getting caught up on NCIS: New Orleans starting this week. I have some crocheting to finish and it should give me something to watch while I do.

Go love up Rachel and the others.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook: May 17, 2015

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY May 17, 2015

Outside my window… gray and cloudy. I’m wondering if more rain is in the future for my parents. (I’m up in San Jose with them for my birthday weekend.)

I am thinking… about a situation in my life right now. Unfortunately, I can’t give details.

I am thankful… for the visit with my parents and with my evil twin and his wife who came down from Washington for the weekend. They flew back north today so it’s just my parents, Daniel, and I tonight. The child and I head back down south tomorrow.

In the kitchen… steak on the barbecue and I think I smell potatoes in the kitchen.

I am wearing… light green shirt and black capris.

I am praying for… a full-time call for Jon, a safe trip back down tomorrow, for Daniel to acquire more speech, and for some special intentions.

I am going… to be walking a 5K on my 35th birthday (Tuesday) to raise money and awareness for preeclampsia research. Details are here.

I am wondering… about some things that need to be worked out when I get home.

I am reading… Tragic Toppings by Jessica Beck. I also finished Sinister Sprinkles and read Evil Eclairs this past week as well.

I am hoping… Daniel goes to bed without a fight tonight. Putting him to bed will be a chance for me to catch up on my NCIS backlog. Before we moved back down to southern California (and gave up having a TV), he used to fall asleep in my lap watching NCIS on Tuesdays while Jon had council meetings or Lutheranism 101. At my parents’ house, this is usually the easiest way to get him to sleep because it relaxes him.

I am looking forward to… my birthday on Tuesday.

I am hearing… Daniel’s tablet.

Crocheting… Daniel’s big boy blankie and the amigurumi stuffie.

A favorite quote for today… “Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’”
— Bob Dylan

One of my favorite things… Ghiradelli brownies with caramel. (It’s what we got instead of a birthday cake last night because neither Sean nor I like cake.)

A few plans for the rest of the week: driving home tomorrow, doing my 5K and PT on Tuesday, various things and my physical on Wednesday, and my nephew’s second birthday on Saturday.

A peek into my day… Sean and I playing on the swings at the park yesterday.

Sean and I on the swings.

Hosted by The Simple Woman.

7 Quick Takes: Surviving As A Pastor’s Wife

7 Quick Takes

I’m sitting in Jiffy Lube right now getting my oil changed and so I thought I’d write a somewhat serious list this week.

Every so often, talk of Pope Francis allowing married clergy crops up and people talk about how they have *NO* idea how it could work. (Hint: instead of the Baptist/evangelical churches, look to the Orthodox churches, the Episopalians, the Lutherans, and the Eastern Catholic churches as a model.) For those who are wondering about all of this and are concerned for the sake of how things would be for the priest’s wife, here is my list of things that help me survive when Jon is pastoring a parish.

— 1 —

A cell phone number that is a state secret. After getting a couple “emergency” calls on my cell phone by people looking for Jon that turned out to be questions that could have waited or that took me 2 seconds to answer, I made the decision that my cell phone number would not be given out to anyone that did not desperately need it. Those who watched my cats got it as did the church council presidents but nobody else.

Another benefit: I kept texting off my cell phone plan until a year or so ago and this ended up actually being beneficial to me in Jon’s last parish. We had a ladies event and someone came in late. They started chewing me out for not texting them and I told them very sweetly that I hadn’t texted anyone because my cell phone plan didn’t include it. (Said person had been copied on an email about the event as well as me calling them to see if they were coming.)

— 2 —

Friends outside of the parish. There have truly been wonderful people in every parish Jon has served but I have found the need to keep some part of my life separate. As a rule, I do not friend people on Facebook until I am out of that particular parish, nobody Jon has pastored gets access to my Twitter EVER, and there is a definite limit to what I discuss with parishioners. This is why I have friends like Rebecca (who has known me for 20+ years, was my maid of honor, and is one of Daniel’s godmothers), Kym, Dayna, Crystal, my Cathso chicas, and a few other friends who have absolutely no connection to the parish but whom I trust enough to talk about things that are going on in my life.

Another part of that: I thankfully can read people well enough to know who is trustworthy. In the case of one particular person, I knew within 5 minutes of meeting them that whatever I told them would be known countywide before too long. It’s why I laugh when I hear people use the argument of the husband telling the wife the secrets of the confessional as an argument against married clergy in the Catholic church — Jon doesn’t tell me anything! Fellow parishioners, however, have tried to tell me who has a drinking problem, whose marriages are on the rocks, and a lot of things that I usually tell them I don’t want to know.

— 3 —

My own faith. One thing that all of my successful clergy spouse friends have is an understanding of what they believe and what works for them spiritually. As faithfully as I can attend church, Jon is not responsible for my spiritual life and each parish would become a cult if I made them solely responsible for it as well. My devotional practices fluctuate from time to time depending on what is going on in my life but the fact that I do spend some time reading the Bible and praying each day has enabled me to keep my faith during some pretty dicey times in parish ministry.

— 4 —

A place where I can escape. In Minnesota, we did errands in Watertown once every week or so and it was a chance to get away from our small town for a couple hours. In Montana, we went to Great Falls at least monthly for Walmart runs (back when I actually had to shop there) and also because I had family there. When things got hard in the parish, I also had a couple churches I could attend if I was willing to get up early and drive two hours south. In Jon’s last parish, I’d head to Elk Grove (the next town north of us) for a couple hours or I’d head to my parents’ house two hours away.

My best escape was my full-time job in Montana. My commute was 60 miles each way and it gave me a break from the parsonage, the churches, and the community. I found that it seriously helped me to deal with some difficult people if I could get a break from them and I thankfully had a boss who was more than happy to help me enforce those boundaries by letting me transfer parishioner phone calls to her so she could explain to the caller that it was highly inappropriate to expect me to conduct parish business on company time.

— 5 —

A sense of adventure and an inquisitive side. When God has called us to go to the ends of the earth to spread the Gospel, it generally ends up being rural and a farming community. I used to joke in Montana that we hadn’t gotten called to the ends of the earth but you could probably see them from there. A town of 12 people where we would have to drive 25 miles for groceries, banking, and medical care? Sign me up! A church in the middle of nowhere next to a Hutterite colony on a gravel road? Bring it! A church out in the corn fields 12 miles from town? I’ll do it! I actually had better Internet in my town of 12 people in Montana than my in-laws did in Los Angeles. The only reason we can’t take calls like that anymore is that Daniel needs pretty specialized services and medical care which unfortunately require access to a major medical center and/or proximity to various groups that provide speech, physical, occupational, and behavioral therapy.

Another part of this is that I am always wanting to know more about how things work and I’m not afraid to ask questions about what various parishioners do. I used to sit at the local co-op on Saturday mornings in Montana and talk with farmers about their crop yields and their cattle while getting my oil changed. My farm wives in both Minnesota and Montana taught me quite a bit about how to buy beef, how to can just about anything, and how to quilt. In exchange, I’d teach them how to use their computers. :) I still look back on some of those conversations with fondness.

— 6 —

A sense of humor and the ability to laugh at the absurd. One of my favorite authors is Phillip Gulley and his books in which he writes about a fictitious Quaker minister in a small town are a pretty funny look at life in a clergy family. In one of them, the church council is discussing the minister’s benefits package and various people are making remarks like the minister and his family not needing health insurance because they can pray for healing. (I hate to say that I’ve sat in on similar meetings with similar remarks made.) In another, there’s a Quaker militia to guard the various parts of the live manger scene from the ACLU. That sounds utterly bizarre but after 12 1/2 years of being a vicar/pastor’s wife, I’ve seen weirder things happen.

— 7 —

A therapist and the Boundaries book by Cloud and Townsend. Living in a fishbowl when you suffer from anxiety and depression is really hard. In both Minnesota and Montana, I took advantage of therapists to get some of the really toxic stuff out of my mind, especially when dealing with difficult people and when I was fighting PTSD/PPD after Daniel’s traumatic birth.

The book that I think I found most useful across the board was the Boundaries book by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. It was helpful to know how to separate what was mine to handle and what belonged to other people but was being tossed onto me. I still use every one of the lessons of that book in my daily life even though Jon is not in full-time ministry.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook: May 10, 2015

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY May 10, 2015

Outside my window… dark. I’m blogging late yet again. It was in the 80’s today though it has cooled down to the 60’s at this time of night.

I am thinking… about how to deal with my troll who has followed my husband on Twitter in an attempt to get information about me.

I am thankful… for the opportunity to see a good friend of mine from high school yesterday. I also got to finally meet his wife and 13 month old daughter.

In the kitchen… some sushi from Trader Joe’s.

I am wearing… light grey v-neck and capri sweats.

I am praying for… a call for Jon, relief from my neck/back issues, and for assorted other things.

I am going… in for bloodwork and a x-ray tomorrow morning. Whee!

I am wondering… how to make the fly in my room go away. I kind of wish that Freya was in a hunting mood, even if it meant her leaping on my head.

I am reading… Sinister Sprinkles by Jessica Beck. I’m caught up on Donna Andrews’ work and also read/finished Fatally Frosted by Jessica Beck. I started reading Being Mortal by Atul Gawande and put it down in order to get it on my NOOK as something to read when I finish all of Jessica Beck’s work.

I am hoping… to upgrade my NOOK with any birthday money I get that isn’t going to bills.

I am looking forward to… the wi-fi getting fixed so I don’t have to stand in the kitchen to get a signal in order to post this entry.

I am hearing… Jon’s CPAP machine. (I managed to kill the fly by closing my laptop on it.)

Crocheting… Daniel’s big boy blankie and the amigurumi stuffed animal from last week.

Around the house… everyone is asleep except me.

One of my favorite things… working wi-fi. *sighs* #FirstWorldProblems

A few plans for the rest of the week: bloodwork/x-ray tomorrow, PT and errands on Tuesday, Bible study on Wednesday, and heading up to San Jose on Friday to be with my family for the communal birthday weekend.

A peek into my day… Freya sitting on the piano and getting it furry.

Miss Freya on the piano getting it furry

Post Script…

For my 35th birthday on May 19th, I’m walking a 5K to raise money for preeclampsia research and awareness. If you’d like to sponsor me, click here.

Hosted by The Simple Woman.

7 Quick Takes: The No Wi-Fi Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

The Internet situation. OK… technically we *do* have wi-fi but the signal is really bad at the bedroom end of the house right now for whatever reason and I’m having to head back to the kitchen in order to post this entry and to send email. Given how little sleep I’ve gotten over the last few nights and the amount of email I need to write, this is a bit irritating. I’m looking forward to Sunday when my father-in-law can install the new modem and I can do things like blog while waiting out Daniel falling asleep in his own room.

— 2 —

Vaccine Take #1. This past week, we got an email from my Daniel’s pediatrics practice saying that they will not be accepting any new patients who are not willing to vaccinate their kids. Any current parents of patients who are not adequately vaccinated have been told to work with their pediatrician on a plan to immunize their kids. This is a pretty diverse practice with at least one of the pediatricians being somewhat open to homeopathy and some alternative forms of medicine so I have a feeling that there are going to be a number of medical offices that adopt a similar policy.

Obviously, there are going to be exceptions to the rule such as cancer patients, kids who have had transplants, etc. and I think one of the deciding factors is that we’re close enough to Anaheim (where Disney is located) that people are 1-2 degrees of separation removed from one of the measles patients from the outbreaks earlier this year. (One of the pediatricians has privileges at two hospitals in Orange County, including CHOC where all the “interesting” cases get sent.) LA County has also seen some deaths of kids from pertussis (whooping cough) so I think the doctors are just not taking any chances.

— 3 —

Vaccine Take #2. One of the annoying things about the Internet is that people can post complete and utter lies and misinformation with no impunity and some of them even create names for the sites that sound like they’re actually legit. (Example: Vaccine Liberation Army.) My recommendation is that you look at whatever studies/papers/articles they cite in their original forms rather than taking the site’s word for it. At the very least, the abstract of the study/paper/article is online and you can see what it actually says. I give this advice not only for the sites like Vaccine Liberation Army but also for any other sites including the CDC. Two other reputable sites are the AAP Immunization site and the Vaccine Education Center site from CHOP.

— 4 —

Just when we got drought-tolerant in California. We got some rain last night — not enough to help significantly but we did get some. My parents were spreading the bark over the lawn they removed and had to stop because it was raining so hard and there was thunder and lightning. (My dad’s comment is that they were “drowning in irony”.) It also did something to the phone systems at my church because they’re down today and our vicar had to put up her cell phone number as the main contact number for everything until further notice.

— 5 —

Promoting truthiness in South Carolina schools. Stephen Colbert just announced he would fund every existing grant request for South Carolina teachers on the Donors Choose website. I know some teachers in that state and what he is doing is huge. (By the way, Donors Choose is a *fabulous* organization and their thank-you notes are freaking amazing.) If I didn’t already love Stephen Colbert before, I think I totally would now.

— 6 —

In other shocking news… I was at a follow-up appointment with my new physician assistant and she was looking over my vitals and decided to take my blood pressure again. Apparently, it was really low and she is of the opinion that I need to stop my blood pressure meds temporarily because I might not need them. Considering the screaming hissy fit I threw 3 1/2 years ago when I was put on them by one of my doctors in northern California, I’m pretty happy because it’s one less pill in my pill box.

— 7 —

Speaking of blood pressure… Elevated blood pressure is one of the warning signs of preeclampsia. I’m walking a 5K on my 35th birthday in a week and a half to raise money and awareness of the other warning signs. Want to sponsor me? Click here.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

#FiveFaves: Miscellanea (XXXIII)

#5Faves

One

WordPress. I never cease being thankful for the ability to choose that all comments from an unapproved email address go into moderation. It saves me from soooooooo much spam and so many trolling attempts.

Two

UC Davis MIND Institute. This is where we took Daniel for developmental pediatrics appointments and where they told me that if I wasn’t having the ADOS done the next week, they’d be administering it themselves. They were started by some families of autistic kids who wanted to help the community by finding out more about autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. If you want the latest research on autism, it’s a good place to start. Their website is here.

Three

Doctors offices that send the paperwork to you before you see them. Bonus points are awarded if they email it to you along with driving directions. As much as I really wanted to go to bed and stop having to be a responsible adult tonight when I got home from choir, it was a lot easier to fill out all the info while having a Coke and not having to corral my kid while doing it.

Four

The new S’mores Frappucino at $tarbux. I tried it yesterday and loved it. I had to force myself to go with my usual order at $tarbux today (venti water with extra ice) instead of having another one because I knew I’d be going out to dinner tonight and wanted to conserve my calories for that.

Five

Jon putting Daniel back to bed instead of me. My wee bairn is climbing into bed with us around midnight or 1 a.m. and usually I’m the one who has to put him back in his own bed and get him back to sleep in it. Last night, Jon took care of that so I could sleep. Tonight, he fell asleep in Daniel’s bed so I might have my own bed tonight. *crosses fingers*

Go love up Rachel and the others.