An Ounce of Prevention

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Good evening! I can’t remember when my last update was, and instead of looking, I’m just going to tell a story!

Over the weekend, I was cleaning our new garage. These are the things that come from no longer living with one’s parents — one has to do things like clean garages, mow lawns, and get a power strip to put in the garage so that a mini fridge can be plugged in. You know, the important things. But this is not really about cleaning the garage, although that is the setting. The Goose was kindly staying with her grandparents, so I had time to arrange things.

As I was cleaning, I heard the POP POP POP of gunfire. Our home is in a neighborhood that borders a rural area, so I didn’t think much of it. Right across the street, if one were to go behind those houses, one would see open fields. I figured someone was out shooting in their back yard, because it had the rhythmic POP POP POP of range practice. I’ve fired a gun or two in my time. I can’t always hit the broad side of a barn, but I know what range fire sounds like.

So while I’m cleaning the garage and putting things into my car, I hear a WHIZ WHIZ with the POP POP POP.

POP POP WHIZ WHIZ. Oh what a…. nevermind.

SO! The WHIZ sound sounded like bullets going by me! I had heard that sound at the range before too, but only when I’m close to the other shooters and wearing ear protection that muffles the gunshot enough to hear the bullet sing through the air. I wasn’t sure what to think about this, but thought that maybe some weird sound-reflective property of the neighborhood houses was bouncing that sound back to me. I didn’t hear the THWACK of bullets hitting anything, so I didn’t think much of it.

UNTIL I SAW POLICE ACROSS THE STREET.

Without going into a huge amount of detail, here’s the gist: Our neighbor’s house across the street had sustained a bullet wound. The bullet had struck and penetrated the outer wall of the house, passed through the living room and struck an end table. The bullet kept going and passed through the end table, through the next wall into their child’s play room, and stopped in a stuffed animal. Only walls, end tables, and stuffed animals were harmed, fortunately, even though the children were in the room at the time.

Later we found out that our next-door neighbor’s house was hit too. OUR NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR. I was outside during this whole thing and didn’t notice that I was in potential mortal danger. I’m very glad the Goose was out of town. I’ve checked our house all over and haven’t found any bullet holes, so we were spared. What’s crazy is that the people shooting were about a half mile away and had no clue their bullets were able to travel that far.

I won’t speak to what people should have known when using firearms. People make mistakes, and thank God, no one got hurt. To their credit, they all turned white as ghosts when the police officer told them he found a bullet in a child’s stuffed animal.

This is why people who have cats and children and firearms need to teach them all about gun safety. Especially the cats and the firearms.

Email Realizations

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God is in control, no matter how hard I try to wrestle control away from Him.
 
I was exchanging email with a dear friend this morning, and in the course of that email, some things occurred to me in a fairly new way. I think this is an appropriate venue for sharing! Below is some of the text, revised for a wider audience.
 
I was listening to a sermon yesterday by Alistair Begg and I realized that while I get that Jesus took my sin so I wouldn’t have to, I’ve made that into something mathematical and void of feeling. Text-book truth that applies to my passport but not my heart. The sermon yesterday reminded me that Jesus also took my shame. And man, do I live with a lot of shame. Shame over big things, shame over tiny things. Shame over all things in between! Shame over nothing too, if I’m being honest. To know that Jesus took that shame is something that caught the very edge of my heart yesterday, and it got a little bit more of my heart this morning in the shower. (Shower theology is the cleanest! Or at least the wettest.) God is working on my heart.
 
I listened to an old Hardcore History this morning about the Great Depression, and ol’ Dan Carlin was talking about the migrant worker shanty towns, and how children died of malnutrition and lots of people just sat staring vacantly, because they’d shut themselves down from seeing/having so much pain. I wondered how I would handle it if the Goose died, and realized I haven’t entrusted her to Jesus — the *only* way she can truly be saved. And by saved, I mean saved for me. Selfishly put, I know, but it got me thinking — how can I survive if something happens to her? The only way is knowing that I’ll be able to kiss those sweet cheeks again in Paradise. I haven’t made her salvation a priority, partly because she’s 2, and partly because salvation has seemed like a stamp on a passport, and partly because there’s always time for that later. Right? ……………….right?
 
So these are the thoughts that occurred to me in email today. I haven’t had any time today to research ways to present the Gospel to a toddler, but the Missus and I do pray every night with her, and the Missus sings “Jesus Loves Me” to her every night. So the Goose at least knows there is a Jesus. 
“Goosie, where’s Jesus?”
 
“Heart,” she says, pointing at her chest. Or her stomach. “Peesy heart!” she says, pointing at Peter Francis. “Mama heart!” she says, pointing at the Missus. “Cat heart!” she says, pointing at her stuffed kitty.
 
When the Goose was born, the Missus and I had a hard-to-have conversation about how we realized that the Goose’s safety is completely outside our control. We knew back then that we had to trust that God knows what He’s doing. 
 
God, help us to keep trusting You. And help us lead the Goose to you by whatever means there are.

Father. Therapist. Visionary. NOT living with parents.

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It’s official! The Goose no longer lives under a roof that covers four generations. As a result of all the craziness of finding a new home, I find it’s been nearly two months since I wrote my last post about not having posted in a while. Is this the new trend of keeping up? I can’t say for sure, but life has been crazy and wonderful in lots of ways.

  1. The Goose now lives about 40 minutes north of her previous home, and about as far south of her first home. I’m still working down south, and the Missus is taking a job back north, and this is a good halfway point.
  2. We have a house! It’s not home ownership, but evidently, renting a house is much more like home ownership than renting an apartment was. Who knew?
  3. We have space again!! Don’t misunderstand me, I remain grateful to my parents for all their help, and I always will, but being a man in my mid-30s gives me the itch to have things my own way. My own way is whatever the Missus tells me it is, and that’s just the way I likes it.

There are far too many tales of the Goose that have happened in the last two months for me to recount, and many I wish I had recorded. Here are a few! Some are fun, and some are… well, raising a two-year-old:

  • The Goose turned two recently, and her vocabulary is increasing like crazy. I need to do another volume of the Goose to English dictionary, but a quick sneak preview came today from the Missus. She showed the Goose our new lawnmower. The Goose said, “Car!” The Missus said, “No, Goosie. This is a lawnmower.” The Goose said, “Lo lo myer!” 
  • The Goose is learning to dance. Nothing formal, but her own style of dancing. I fear, Goosie, that you have my natural (read: nonexistent) talent for the dance. That said, she does it with gusto! And maybe two is too young for natural ability to show itself. She does enjoy dancing to the blues, and to techno, and whatever else Daddy decides to play. My favorite dance move is when she spreads her arms out stiff beside and slightly behind her, she leans forward, she looks at the ground, and she sways back and forth.
  • The Goose just tore the paper envelope for the Mario game that came with my Wii.

And keeping up with her just gets more and more fun. Hopefully, we’ll get settled in and I can keep you up on what she’s doing. Until then, I hope you enjoy this video of a church service.

It’s Been a Bit!

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Good evening, Goose fans! 

It’s been a bit since I wrote anything, and I am simply here to give a quick update in the life of the Goose and her family. Nothing huge, and I’m mainly just writing to say that we’re all alive and well and surviving the Midwest Winterpocalypse of ’14.

Not that the snow has been THAT bad, but I have to be honest and say that I forgot how to drive a stick-shift in slush or slick for a while. It’s just like riding a bike, though. On ice. 

So the Goose’s second birthday is coming up, and I used the funds gained through participating in the work/family conflict study to purchase an early gift — a small table and two chairs! She loves them, and I will post pictures at some point.

The Missus and I are finally in a place where we’ll probably be able to move into our own home within a couple months! No, we’re not buying a house. We’re not THAT fiscally solvent just yet. Student loans are a killer! No, we’re going to rent for now, and give my parents their own space back. It’s been good living with them. We’ve survived close proximity to my parents. More importantly, my wife hasn’t left me for having to live with her in-laws. Again, not that my parents are hard to get along with, but if you have ever had to live for the better part of a year with *your* parents, gentle reader, you know what I’m talking about. It’ll be nice to have some space again.

I have a project in the works! As a behavior consultant, I write and implement positive behavior support plans for the people I serve. Basically, I create strategies to help people make good decisions, and then make frameworks in which they learn to clean up their own messes when they *don’t* make such good decisions. I have decided that the Goose needs a “formal” behavior plan, and I’m working on putting it together. In actual practice, the state guidelines allow 45 days for the creation of an analysis of behavior function (for example, when she screams for Daniel Tiger when we turn off the TV, is she attempting to access attention or a tangible item?), and then another 14 days to write the actual behavior plan. This means that the behavior plan will probably be done when she is sixteen and totally owns us. As if she doesn’t totally own us anyway. Whenever I have it done, though, I will share it with you.

On that note, it’s time to put the Goose to bed. Nice chatting with you again!

A Somber Celebration

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It’s a somber night in the house of Goose, and yet…

Well, tonight is a tough night. The cat my parents have had since I was 17 is not long for this world. He’s a beautiful shelter cat who was eight when my parents got him, and is now the ripe old age of 25. What cat lives to be 25?? This one, evidently, and his name is Loial.

Loial is no longer the strong specimen you see in the photo above. In the last few weeks, he’s lost most of his body weight, and in the last several days, he’s stopped cleaning himself. Today, he decided he’s done eating and drinking, and I imagine it won’t be long before he’s eating the new catfood at the banquet table in Glory.

I love this cat, and because I love him, I’m ready for him to go. Well, mostly ready. It’s always hard to say goodbye.

The hardest part of this, though, is that the Goose is very attached to Loial. He’s been very good to her, allowing her to put things on his back (blankets, aprons, Peter Francis) with minimal protest. Nothing seems to delight her as much as when Peter Francis Giraffee is riding on Loial’s back around the kitchen.

The Goose was recently sick with a flu, and ever since, she’s been especially sensitive to the word “sick”. This has left a predicament in how to explain Loial’s decline. I don’t want her to think that “sick” means “go away forever”, but she’s not old enough to understand what the words “Loial is leaving forever” mean. 

One day, she’ll understand, and that future understanding breaks my heart for her today.

But you know what, Goose? Let’s remember the good times with Loial and your apron. Or Loial and Peter Francis.

I remember when I found out we had Loial. When I was in high school, my parents and I had had a cat named Jake for about a year, but Jake succumbed to a bladder disorder and had to be put down, and it broke my heart. Two months later, on Valentine’s day, my brother and I were in the kitchen with my mom when I heard the strangest sound. “Meow!” I looked at my mom and asked what that noise was, and once the cat was out of the bag (so to speak), she couldn’t keep the secret any longer. They had a beautiful Siamese mix hidden out of the way in a kitty carrier. Love was kindled on that Valentine’s day seventeen years ago.

Love is rekindled this year, albeit in a more somber fashion. Memories make the past and the present all that much closer to the heart.

Another memory! Loial and I used to play a game together, where he’d be on the stairs and I’d peek around the corner and stare at him. Then I’d jump back around the corner and hide. When I’d peek again, he’d be a little closer, and very interested. We’d go back and forth, and sometimes he’d jump out and scare me, and sometimes I’d do the jumping. Once in particular, he’d gotten close to the bottom of the stairs, and I jumped around and shouted at him. All part of the game! Poor cat ran straight up the stairs, turned a hard left STRAIGHT INTO THE WALL, bounced off, and ran around the corner. Poor cat! But I still laugh about the look on his face. 

A final fun memory. I was standing in the kitchen when something small and brown whizzed past me, followed by the gray blur of Loial. They ran up the stairs, and when I got there, he’d cornered a chipmunk that had gotten into the house somehow. Poor chipmunk fainted dead away, and I took him outside where he revived and scampered off.

Goose, hold on to good memories. They’re some of the things that remind you that even though life ends, it’s worth living.

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The Story of Batman

This is usually focused on the Goose, but for right now, I need to use my blog to share the story of Batman from You a Bad, Bad Mommy. YOU NEED TO READ THE STORY OF BATMAN. It is not at all what the movies lead you to believe.

The best part is knowing there are battles that can be won as parents. The Goose will continue to ask for Super Why by name, but there will yet be victories. Example: She likes listening to Ella Fitzgerald.