Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Comic Relief

The other day, I was standing in the bathroom in a state of what the French call “deshabillement.”* (I was drying off after a shower.)

My grandson ran into the room and checked out the view. Then he started speaking what sounded like a combination of…oh, I don’t know. Maybe Russian and Afrikaans.

“Zhaykin debootie, Mimi!” he cried earnestly. “Zhaykin debootie!”

I can understand almost everything he says now, but this one had me stumped.

“What, honey?” I asked, puzzled.

With more emphasis: “ZHAYKIN DEBOOTIE!!! Zhaykin debootie, Mimi! Zhaykin debootie!!!”

He was getting more and more frustrated at my inability to comprehend.

I moved closer to him and said, “I’m sorry, James. I don’t understand what you’re trying to tell me.”

Becoming frantic, he screamed, “ZHAY-KIN-DE-BOOTIE! ZHAY-KIN-DE-BOOTIE, MIMI!!!”

For emphasis, he reached up and gave me a little spank.

Suddenly, like a spontaneous revelation, the interpretation of the strange tongue was received.

I laughed so hard that it scared James.

To make up for it, I had to oblige him.

But he’s right.

Sometimes, no matter what,

you just need to

...Shake, shake, shake…shake, shake, shake


(But I’m going to kill whoever taught him to say that.)


(* “naked,” or, as we say in Georgia, “nekkid.”)


"God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me." (Genesis:21:6)

“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” (Job 8:21)

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22 kjv)



Monday, September 28, 2009


Once upon a time…

…if you’d told me I’d have a child in a wheelchair one day, I’d have fallen to the floor.

(I was just worried about her posture.)

If you’d told me that her face would be almost unrecognizably altered, I would have screamed in horror.

(I got upset about a zit.)

If you’d told me that I wouldn’t know her voice, I would have wept inconsolably.

(I nagged her to speak more softly and slowly.)

If you’d told me that she wouldn’t be able to take care of herself, I would have stared at you in disbelief.

(I fussed at her about doing too much for other people.)


I’m elated if she can stand for a minute.

I’m thrilled if the corners of her mouth aren’t chapped and torn.

I’m ecstatic when I don’t have to ask her to repeat herself on the phone.

I’m overjoyed if she can pull her son into her lap with one arm.

Everything’s relative.

(Well, not absolutely everything. The most important things are not.)

But you know what I mean.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Glad Game

Okay, I admit it.

I’m the one that first labeled my eldest daughter a “Pollyanna.”

Katherine’s disposition was always relentlessly optimistic, sometimes to the point of unreality. (Referring to things as “wonderful” or “amazing” that just really weren’t, for example.) Occasionally, it got annoying.

Still, the appellation was not a derogatory one.

I adored the movie when I was a little girl…as I did anything with Hayley Mills in it. (Ahhh…the beautiful simplicity of the early ‘60’s…)

We were all pretty much Pollyannas back then. It was pretty much a Pollyanna World, at least on the slick surface of things. (But a cauldron boiled beneath, which would overflow into the anger, violence, and rebellion of the late 60’s, forever changing our Cheerleader Barbie and Ken world. For better and for worse.)

Strangely enough, Pollyanna was one of the first things I thought of back in our days in the ICU. During one brief hospital break, I ran to the BestBuy across the street from UCLA and bought the DVD. Later that night, I took my laptop into Katherine’s room and snuck into bed with her. (Actually, there was nothing sneaky about it. The nurses indulged me.) It was a Houdini-esque operation, positioning myself in such a way as to avoid interference with any life-supporting equipment.

Finally, I got things set up with the laptop on Katherine’s feeding tray, her head at the right angle for viewing, and myself ensconced on about three inches of hospital bed. Kat gave me the thumbs up when I told her we were going to watch Pollyanna. But after about 15 minutes, she started giving me a thumbs down. I asked her if she was too tired and wanted to stop. Slight nod. Of course I understood. Fighting for life can really take it out of you. But she surprised me when I told her we could watch some more later. With a sad little look on her face, she shook her head in an almost imperceptible “no.”

I guess some things are too much even for Pollyanna.

Of course, she remembers absolutely none of this.

In time, her indomitable Pollyanna spirit resurrected itself from the ashes of destruction. That spirit is a vital part of Katherine’s recovery process.

I thank God all the time now that my girl’s a “Pollyanna!”


For those unfamiliar with the story, “Pollyanna” is an orphan, the child of missionaries, who comes to live with her rich, rigid, uptight, controlling Aunt Polly after the death of her parents. In spite of her own sad circumstances, Pollyanna brings a fresh breath of life and joy to all the old sourpusses she meets in her new town.

Pollyanna has a remarkable knack for seeing the bright side in every dark situation. She calls it playing “The Glad Game.” However badly something stinks, Pollyanna has a creative knack for discovering the silver lining. She knows that whatever happens, it could always be worse. And she’s so glad that it’s not!

I wish I were more like Pollyanna.

I am not by nature an extremely optimistic person. A traumatic event at an early age convinced me that the world is not a safe place. Bad things can…and frequently do…happen to “good” people.

Although often my initial response is to expect the worst, I know that I must fight against my inner fear and negativity. “Murphy’s Law” is a lie. I have to choose to receive the faith to believe that God is for me, not against me. That all things…even very, very bad things…do indeed work together for good, by the miraculous grace of His providence.

I’ve discovered that even an old curmudgeon like me can play The Glad Game.

Here goes…

1. I am glad that Katherine lived.
2. I am glad that all of my children are alive.
3. I am glad that I’ve been married to my best friend for 33 years.
4. I am glad that I have such a wonderful, patient son-in-law.
5. I am glad that our circumstances have caused me to have a much closer relationship with my grandson than would normally be the case.
6. I am glad that our extended families have gathered around to support us.
7. I am glad that I get to live in beautiful, sunny California for much of the time.
8. I am glad that I get to be a part of two wonderful churches.
9. I am glad that I have such faithful, dear, unconditionally loving friends.
10. I am glad that I have been forced to grow…emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
11. I am glad that I have hard work to do.
12. I am glad that the incredible out-pouring of love we’ve received has restored my faith in mankind.
13. I’m glad I’ve gotten to become friends with my children’s friends.
14. I am glad that adversity has enabled me to know God in a much deeper way.
15. I am glad that I haven’t been killed (yet) driving on the 405.
16. I am glad that I’ve been introduced to Red Mango.
17. I am glad that I am writing.
18. I am glad that I don’t take things for granted any more.
19. I am glad that I believe in miracles.
20. I am glad that God has never, ever given up on me.

Wow…and I’m just getting started!

I guess my husband’s been right about the Power of Positive Thinking all these years. Could have saved some money at the shrink’s office. I feel like Little Miss Optimistic now!

I’d like to challenge you to play The Glad Game yourself.


Write it down.

You may be surprised at how radically it changes things

….or you.


“…to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve— a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” (Isaiah 61:2-3)

"But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” (Psalm 5:11)

"Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it...” (Psalm 96:11)

"…and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” (Isaiah 35:10)

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I'm trying to keep an open mind, but I'm not in love yet.

Several things were lost in translation.

(Such as all of my Itunes playlists and all of my contacts. But those 2846 undeleted messages in my Inbox made it over just fine!)


I'm going to go out on a limb and ask that friends and family please email me at (Just say "hi.") Then I can add you back. If you've ever written me, you were on the lost list.

As completely unreliable as I am in returning calls or emails, I do love hearing from you. I just have one tiny request:

Although I wish I could read all of the funny (etc.) forwards, current circumstances simply don't permit the time. But there is something neurotic in me that hates to delete something someone has bothered to send me. This is partial explanation for why there are almost 3,000 items in my Inbox...I scan through for personal messages, and think I'll get 'a round tuit' to come back and read the generic forwards later. But later never comes.

So, I respectfully ask that my friends not automatically put me on large group email lists at this time. If it's something that you feel would specifically speak to me, please just forward it to me individually.

We have to keep things very, very simple right now.

And I have to fight for computer time. (James is paging me as I type!)

Hope to publish some thoughts soon, though. I'm learning my way around this new territory... igniting some fresh brain cells.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your patience, understanding, and faithfulness.

Much love,

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hi, Friends!

Another of life's many ironies:

I had actually made appointments with myself this week to do some writing. Written it on the calendar. Scheduled some alone time.

The first day of my mini-retreat, my beleaguered little laptop died.

DIED. No CPR...couldn't be revived. Warranty expired.

(Why do they make things that can't be fixed???)

Two of the topics I was working on: "broken things" and "flexibility." I guess someone thought I needed some more personal experience.

As I grieve the loss of my old HP friend, please pray for flexibility in learning a whole new system on a Mac.

It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

And, in general, machines hate me.

(It is so mutual.)

But, Patience is a virtue.

Thanks for hanging with me!

Love, Kim

Thursday, September 3, 2009


As, little by little, the freshness of fall starts to peak it's head through summer's muggy blanket, I feel a stirring of fresh hope that it heralds a new season in our lives.

A season of healing.

New beginnings. Fresh starts.

But also a season of completions, conclusions, consummations.

"He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion."*


In marking the conclusion of summer, I've assembled another ubiquitous family photo album. It helps me to remind myself that tragedy does not preclude joy. That laughter can penetrate a heavy weight of sadness. That the glass is MUCH MORE than half full.

And, by golly, we still know how to have fun.

If you happen to be one who enjoys looking at other people's boring pictures...or one for whom a picture is an excellent intercessory prayer're invited to click on the link below:

OH wow, I just imprinted a slide show by mistake. How cool is that??

Grandma learned a new trick!

I'll go back and try the link thing again in case it doesn't end up working:

I don't think that's right, either. I'll keep playing with it.

Maybe click on this?

In the meantime, enjoy the slide show before I mess that up.

May blessings fall upon your head!

Love, Kim

(*Phil. 1:6)