Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Abbott family name continues...sort of

On August 4, 2010 the name of Abbott is given a reprieve. Marcos Ramon Abbott is born.

In my family until this day I was the lone provider of children. By choice or circumstance, my three kids have been the only children to exist on my side of the family.

When my brother Paul married Sonsoles Fdelapuente in August of 2009, we entertained the possibility of adding to the cousin/nephew/grandchild population.

The result? Marcos Ramon Abbott
Fernande delapuente. That's his Spanish name.

Meeting little Marcitos (he's named after my younger brother Mark and Sonsoles' father, Jose Ramon) was amazing! He's such an animated child. He connects with people, he's happy, only fusses when something is wrong, which isn't very often.

Paul and Sonsoles are doing a great job raising their little boy.

We all got a good dose of Marcitos prior to Christmas. They arrived in the states on December 8th. There was NO way we could wait till December 26 to see them (okay, Marcitos) so we arranged a gathering at my brother Mark's house.

Brenna got some great photos, Jo (my sister) got some great videos and we all fell madly in love with this new little Abbott.

His mom speaks Spanish to him and his dad speaks English. When all is said an done he'll also speak French, the language his parents use to really communicate.

The best Christmas present we could have is that it appears the family will be settling in San Diego as Paul has a job waiting there for him. Right now an airline ticket costs $268.

Look out hometown, I'll be seeing you soon!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Smile when your heart is aching

Last week I heard some sad news from two dear friends. The "C" word is the culprit.

When my mom discovered a tiny lump in her breast a few years ago, she hustled right away to get treatment. Her cancer is gone. But her activism is not. She teaches a laughter class at the senior center in her town. My siblings and I kind of laugh at this, which is not the point of her teaching laughter classes. It's a serious thing, if that kind of thing is allowed in laughter class.

If you Google 'Laughter Class' you'll soon discover that this form of education is not a joke. Laughter classes is downright serious!

My mom must be pretty good at teaching this class. She's got the weirdest laugh. Admittedly I was rather embarrassed by it when I was in Junior High, okay, in grade school. Two incidents stick out in my mind: The San Diego Zoo field trip when she saw the Kookaburra. Not only did she SING the song about the Kookaburra, but then she laughed that loud, embarrassing laugh.

Then fast forward, with many other forgotten examples in between, to 10th grade. I was in the showmanship ring with my sheep. During the quiet judging of my ability I could hear that laugh wafting down towards the ring. Somewhere, up in the stands my mother was laughing her head off about something.

Apparently there is a lot of research about how laughter does promote healing. David in the Bible said that laughter (or a merry heart) was like medicine. If anyone knows that, I am sure David would.

When people I love suffer I want to fix it. Yet I have a long list of failing when it comes to performing miracles. Yet I still offer prayers to God and offer love and a shoulder to my friends.

I am not laughing right now as I think about the pain and suffering that may await my friends. Praying for healing and planning to walk through this journey WITH them.....but when your heart is heavy it doesn't seem like laughter is the best line of defense.

Or is it? I think it's time I learned more about my mom's laughter class.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A dream is a wish your heart makes

A year ago this week (December 12 to be exact) my heart was made full with the arrival of Roxy.

I don't remember a time when I didn't want to be the owner of a Jack Russell Terrier. Not a Parson Russell, although they are the diluted brand of the same dog.

Wanting and owning one were two different things as Jacks need space to run and play - something I was not able to offer.

Then Ruth bought Jessica a little ball of Jack Russell fluff and Lulu became the lust of my desire. Dreams that I'd long ago set free came back to taunt and tempt me.

Mid-November I met "Rachel." She was a breeding female (bitch to you dog people) at a very nice kennel in Woodinville, Washington. Deals done and transfer complete Rachel is renamed Roxy and with my sweet husband's permission we added a female dog to our duo of boys.

Now a year later I walk 2 miles a day and look for places to go play ball. Fetch is Roxy's favorite pastime. I discovered a nice dog park in McMinnville - 20 minutes away. What a great place for us all to play!!! New training opportunities, new friendships...TONS of fun. And fetch.

A few months ago I heard that our local recreation organization was opening a dog park. Since Wade has connections (he's on the city council) I soon was the keeper of all the details.

Admittedly I did harass the Chehalem Park and Recreation staff.

On Thursday afternoon I saw the notice on CPRD's facebook page. Friday morning Jim McMaster phoned me with the good news.

Saturday at 9 am we (Fonzy, Murphy and Roxy and I) made our first visit. We went back later that afternoon. We arrived again on Sunday. Have already made friends with 'Tuckers' parents and little girls - Hazel and Violet. I love the dog park! <3

When my children were young I loved playing with them Of course fatigue kept me from giving them my all - and all the housework that lay before me.

In the time I wait to have grandchildren I am enjoying this dream come true.

Happy Anniversary Roxy!

Wind and the new dog park

'Leaves racing down the road with reckless abandon.'

'Frolicking like children without adult supervision the leaves swirled and tumbled in the wind.'

I love wind. Wind makes me happy. Growing up in Southern California is the culprit for this affinity. As I child I remember the warm Santa Ana winds that invaded our yard, but rather than leaves it was tumbleweeds that danced out in the barn yard. I loved the warm air that captured your breath and added strength to it's force. Nothing bad really happened during the Santa Ana winds: except the year our Avocado tree fell.

So this past Saturday was especially wonderful as the winds in Newberg kicked up to blow away the remaining leaves from the trees and dry up the wet ground. It was a perfect day to inaugurate the new dog park in Newberg. The wind was colder than the Santa Ana winds but my breath left me several times, the lagging leaves danced and the dogs had fun.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Life is funny....admit it

I had dinner with my friend Julie Saturday night. Good friends are like a pair of old jeans that you haven't worn for a while. They feel so good to have around you and remind you of good times. (Especially if they still fit!)

We spent the first hour catching up with life since we hadn't seen each other for a while: family, work, friends, etc....

Julie took me to a delicious Middle Eastern restaurant called "Cypress" in Oregon City. Great atmosphere, great prices and memorable food.

After our meal we shalayed on back to Julie's house for coffee and more conversation. For the next two or so hours we talked about what we have learned now that we think we have grown up. Dealing with family members, moms and plans for the future. We spent some time reminiscing about the past, parties, the ways things change over time, how things stay the same.

As I drove home, following the path of a spectacular full moon, I too reflected on the conversation with Julie. We are both dealing with aged moms who at times drive us crazy. Likewise we are both trying to adopt an attitude of patience as we navigate through this time. It's good to know that others are in the same space as I am.

As the moon followed me home I couldn't help but chuckle at how nice it was to spend time with her: no one else, just Julie and I. No Wade (although he was invited). I thought about all the other things I wanted to talk about but time ran away, and we are getting too old for those late nights.

Wade was already in bed with I arrived home around 11 pm. The coffee I had consumed earlier in the evening was still coursing through my veins so I stayed up a while, watching Saturday Night Live - which is still not very funny any more.

By 1 pm I was still awake but thought maybe I could fall asleep. I crept into bed, Roxy and Wade breathing heavily, a peaceful rhythm conducive for sleep. As my mind began to drift and think about all the things that happened in that day: A wedding for a co-worker was earlier that day - I could feel my body begin to relax.

And then I got a cramp on the top of my foot.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Crutch vs Church

I’ve had a couple of interesting thoughts this week that came to conclusions after reading pages 86 through 91 in Don Miller’s book ‘A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.’

Earlier this week while typing the word church, I actually wrote ‘crutch.’
I’ve done this before.

Listening to a radio program a guest suggested that modern day, organized religion has been the source of oppression and depression as church leaders fail to empower people to become and overcome. Interesting.

Sharing and talking with a student friend this week we discussed televangelists and their silly ways; I thought out loud that it seemed to me that some pastors in churches have to find a way to keep their congregation weak so as to keep the revenue stream coming in. If people realized that they had the power of Christ on their own, then maybe they wouldn’t be so dependent upon the religious institutions.

Then I read Don’s book on how God is the writer of his life. You’ll need to read this excellent book to get the whole picture, but basically he is saying that God is writing our story and if we listen to him the ending will be far greater than anything we can imagine.

Don makes this statement: “As a kid, the only sense I got from God was guilt, something I dismissed as a hypersensitive conscience I got from being raised in a church with a controlling pastor.”

The point that Don makes is that the Voice we need to listen to isn’t slathered with guilt and condemnation, making us think we are worthless but rather a Voice that speaks softly (so we will listen) IE the Browns) a Voice that encourages us to do the right thing.

I like this description of God.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Weekend Fun with No Agenda

It's a weekend. Three day for some. My employer (George Fox University) doesn't include Labor Day as a paid holiday. I've worked their 14 years and we've never had it off. Rumors blame it on the start date of the semester. But who really knows. It's just the way it has always been done. Blah.

So Wade headed down to Cary's house with hopes of getting into the Duck game. He needed a 'holiday' before school starts. I tried not to be too over anxious when he mentioned to me that he was thinking about heading south. "Stay as long as you want!" "You deserve a break." Don't forget to go see your mom."

My sleeping in was interrupted by a phone call from Gina. Her class was waiting on a student who hadn't shown up and the professor thought I could help locate him because I just have that kind of power. It was 6:45 am. So technically I did sleep in. After saving the day I crawled back in bed with the dogs and attempted to sleep a little more. My growling stomach woke me up and I made my way into the kitchen to cook up the last strips of Vogets' bacon.

And Now I sit on the back deck, reading the paper, drinking Mark Thompson's PNG fair trade coffee, cold but feeling the fresh air as it breezes in and out. Roxy was shivering so I put her pretty, pink sweater on.

And I am contemplating the dog park. :) I'll report on that later.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Imagine what life would be like if people who call themselves Christians practiced the teachings of Jesus?

I had a conversation with a friend last night, totally impromptu, didn't plan on discussing the 'Mosque at Ground Zero."

Earlier that day I was reading Steve Sherwood's book "Embraced: Prodigals at the Cross." (Buy it. It's really good.)

In the chapter titled "Does Revenge Have the Power to Heal?" Steve talks about the what transpires in the nation of South Africa after Nelson Mandela is elected President. If you don't know, here's the scoop.

In 1948 South Africa formalized polices that had loosely been in place since the 1800's that basically stripped all Black South Africans of their rights. During the decades of formal "apartheid" (which means separateness) thousands of black South Africans were unjustly imprisoned, tortured, or killed by government security forces.
Apartheid greatly curtailed their opportunities to educated, hold most jobs, and own property. They were prisoners in their own country. (see the movie District 9)

But this oppression ended in 1994. Due to the suffering they faced, many believed that the nation would erupt in violence with the black Afrikaans's seeking revenge for the many years of oppression.

Due to the work of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu a better way was sought and established. The work is detailed in Tutu's book "No Future Without Forgiveness."

Basically Tutu and his followers set "Ubuntu" which is a tribal custom that translates into the meaning of generous, hospitable, friendly, caring and compassionate. Share what you have. I am a part of you and you are a part of me.

Out of this quest for Ubuntu came the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

People who had wronged someone could seek amnesty if they were willing to come before the commission AND those who they had wronged, either the victims themselves or their relatives.

These sessions would be recorded as the perpetrators confessed their transgressions to the victims. Forgiveness, amnesty and forgetfulness would follow. Only 1000 people took the opportunity to receive amnesty.

Watch the movie "Invictus" to get a glimpse of the result of this process.

And while the entire county did not participate in this process, for those who did the result was healing.

And apparently peace spread in such a way that the country was spared of the violence that could have resulted.

So the Mosque being proposed two blocks from ground zero: surf the internet and you will understand that this has created a huge outcry.

What if those who follow Jesus invited the members of that Mosque to participate in a Truth and Reconciliation Commission? What if those of us who follow the teachings of Jesus offered those in that Islamic congregation an olive branch. What if we said to them "In the name of our savior, Jesus Christ, we forgive those who killed so many people in the name of Allah. We chose from this day forward to forget the pain that was caused by some who so filled with hate chose to murder thousands.

What if instead of standing on the principles of our country, we stood for the teachings of Jesus - turn the other cheek, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you?


A little Abbott is born

My first blood nephew was born on August 4, 2010. My kids have a blood cousin. A little baby boy that looks like an Abbott was born at home in El Mendano, Spain. It wasn't planned that way but that is the way it turned out.

Marcos Ramon Abbott Fernandez de la Puente (His American name is Marcos Ramon Abbott) lives too far away for me to get my lips on him, to change his diaper, or smell the sweetness that comes from a breast-fed baby. His mother, Sonsoles, remarked that she is 'a twitterpatted mother.' I know the feeling.

Nothing is more life changing than giving birth to your first child. When I look at her pictures and hear her words I am transported back to 25 and a half years ago when I gave birth to Brenna - also at home but my home birth was planned.

Words cannot describe the joy I feel for Paul and Sonsoles. Their whole story is something of a miracle. I can't think of one romantic movie that comes close to theirs. And now this little boy who will bring such joy to families on both continents.

Welcome to the family Marcitos! I can't wait to kiss your rosebud lips and bury my kisses into your sweet neck. I'll change your diapers without gagging. I can't wait to meet you in person, rather than over Skype. :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

This crazy little thing called love

Brenna told the extended family yesterday that I'd given my grandmotherly love to a dog because none of her kids have popped her out a grandchild.

The dog in question is my new dog, Roxy. She's the Jack Russell Terrier in this picture.

She adores me. I walk into the house after a day at work and she runs up to me and gets so excited. The only other person she gets that excited about is Jesse. We don't really know why. She acts like a puppy with him, wagging her tail and jumping up to get into his lap. It's adorable.

Ninety-nine percent of the time it's all about me. And I love it. She watches my every move and gets to a place where she can be near me.

Just like I loved it when all three of my kids, when little babies and on into toddlerhood, watched me walk into their bedroom when perhaps they were awaken in the middle of the night. A little sleepy and scared, their eyes met mine and they knew that all was right with the world. It was as if the moon and stars hung at my command and all that was right and safe in the world was due to my command.

That complete awe and admiration begins to wane all too soon and when it does it is replaced with the disdain and contempt of adolescence.

Dogs love unconditionally. Sure, they are like perpetually, naughty five year olds, but is there really anything more endearing as a five year old? I taught kindergarten for a few years....I love five year olds.

So maybe it's true what Brenna says...but I'll tell you this: I can't wait to get home each day.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Have you ever wondered?

This past few days has been crazy for me. Good crazy, but crazy. I've had a pretty easy schedule for the last several months. I am not busy. My life is full but I am not busy.

I measure my busyness by how busy I was when the kids were in grade school through high school. Once they all entered college, marriage and the work force, by life has slowed down to a pretty awesome pace.

But this week I had out-of-town guests. Granted, it was great to see both sets of them. It had been over 20 years since we saw the last one. He was an MK in Ukarumpa the last time we saw him. Now he is a successful engineer, husband, and father. Although we barely knew him: He was a senior when we arrived to PNG; being with him was really easy. Conversations flowed and we enjoyed getting to know his wife and kids.

Hence the question: Have you ever wondered why some past relationships pick up where they left off? That's how it was with Chris. And there was an instant connection with his wife, Kristin. I loved her immediately! And his kids - same thing.

I know why this is the case with some people. But although I liked Chris, he wouldn't fit into my explanation. It's no surprise why this phenomenon happens with, let's say Jill Schmidt, or Cathe Wiese. But Chris? I'm pleasantly surprised.

Wade has a theory about how we make connections with people. I'll have to ask him to write it out sometime so I get the little nuances right, but basically he says that each one of us emits a sound. It's a silent sound that no one hears but it does send a wave of sound of some kind. If your sound hits someone else with a harmonic sound then the two of you will be good friends. If the sound is not so harmonious then you will be at odds with that person. Hmmmm.......like I said, I'll have him write it out.

So I guess that is what I was wondering about. I don't have to understand it. But I do like it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I know, it's been a while. But today I ran across something that, well, made me laugh and cry. Agree or don't it's got a lot of food for thought. By the way, I looked up the Bible passages too. It's all correct.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted fan,

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Kalie and Aaron wed (or what a party!!)

10 years from now, should our life on this earth tarry, we will look back on Kalie and Aaron's wedding and smile.

All the careful planning, everything that mattered happened according to plan.

And the bride and groom were lovely.

From the rehearsal events to the after-wedding party, memories were made that will last for several holidays to come.