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Howdy. We've moved from Cayce, but St. Elizabeth of South Rose Hill or Lizette de Waccamaw de Sud just don't do it for me.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Baby Eliza Update 2-23-06

From her parents, who are now getting to hold her at each visit:

Hallelujah! There's really nothing to report today!

Eliza's feeding volumes continue to be increased; as a result, Eliza will likely soon not need any intravenous nutrition. They have begun removing some of her lines since they won't need them for medications or feedings any more. Eliza's muscle tone seems a little better today, too.

And that's really it! We'll update you again tomorrow...
Sometimes no news really IS good news.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Now that that's over

Looking forward to the chant workshop this weekend. Will get extended time with church folks on the drives to and from Auburn. Maybe hear some of that "girl talk" that us old married folks are never privy to anymore.

But 1st, I get to help (small speaking part, larger organization part) present a talk on Pan Flu (someone's favorite topic??) to the Cola Medical Society. Not a typical role for a nurse...glad I'm getting the opportunity.

Note to self: gotta finish Dogwood's book soon...

Fun with Committees

Just finished up a bookkeeper search for our Parish.  Got to see the managerial, yet still very pastoral, side of the Padre.  Nice.
Thus far, I've been part of four church search committees:
  • I chaired the search for a Presby Music Director (hired in early 1997--still there)
  • I chaired the search for a Presby Co-Pastor (hired in June 1998--still there (though a rehire, so his years at the church count since 1985))
  • I participated in the search for a Presby director of children's ministries; no luck with any of our choices;  Committee reformed after I moved--hired someone who lasted a year.
  • I participated in iterations A & B of the parish bookkeeper search committee.  1st guy had to leave after 3 mos for health reasons, 2nd person hasn't yet started.
Overall average is ~5 1/2 years for positions filled; let's not calculate the 0 months and the endless meetings that went into hiring no one. 
Glad this process is over for now.

Eliza's Progress

From her parents:
...The doctors' plan for today: feed Eliza dissolved caplets of a B6 derivative purchased from

Eliza's change of plans for today: get hooked up to the EEG and surprise the medical community by having only 2 mild seizures in 4 hours of monitoring.

The doctors' response to a request for explanation: (A very happy) "I don't know."

Normal baby news:  her Daddy got to change a diaper today; her Mommy got to hold her for an hour.  She opened her eyes whenever Mommy spoke. 
She may get her ET tube removed tomorrow. Yea!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Baby Eliza Pix

Wanted to show what this little girl looks like.

Click the photos, or below for larger Pix:

Eliza in the ICU

Eliza's hands with those of her parents

Eliza with her parents, 10 days old

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Baby Eliza Really Needs Prayer

We've been praying for NC friends whose daughter is now 18 1/2 days old. Everything seemed fine right at birth, but little Eliza began having intractable seizures very shortly afterwards. She's had a myriad of problems, some related to trying to stop the seizures, some from unknown causes.

Eliza's parents have been sending regular updates, asking for prayer and demonstrating remarkable faith and hope in the face of a progressively worsening outlook. One excited post, announcing progress in resolving her kidney failure, began with "Eliza is peeing."

Yesterday, her parents wrote:

The signs of waking are minimal, and any eyelid twitching or toe reflex may simply be the product of a seizure. The seizures have not lessened. There are a couple more spontaneous breaths per hour. Eliza is behind schedule in the waking process. This could mean that she won't fully wake while she is with us.
"...while she is with us..." so much packed into those words...

From earlier this week:

At our meeting this afternoon, the doctors communicated that they no longer have hope to find an explanation for Eliza's seizures or a medication to control them. Thankfully, our hope is not in medicine; despite their increasing sense of defeat, we know that Eliza's life, no matter how short, is a gift from God and a perfect fulfillment of His plan. One doctor said, "At this point, her seizures are not going to miraculously go away;" on the contrary, as Sam assured the doctor, we understand that they will ONLY miraculously go away.
I share today's post for those of you who are prayer warriors.

Eliza is breathing more on her own today and having more reflexive movement (toes, lips, fingers), but some of this movement may be caused by seizures, which have not let up.

We have not received the formal report about the MRI. A neurologist and a nurse practitioner mentioned that the initial readings are not good. Specifically, the lesions in the white matter may have grown, and the brain as%

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

So, we all miss bits of history

From Cheney's interview with Fox News today:
On his decision to have the story "break" via Katherine Armstrong:
I thought that made good sense because you can get as accurate a story as possible from somebody who knew and understood hunting and then it would immediately go up to the wires and be posted on the Web site, which is the way it went out and I thought that was the right call," Cheney said.
"What do you think now?" Hume asked.
"I still do," Cheney responded. "The accuracy was enormously important. I had no press person with me."
Cheney said he was concerned that if the story broke Saturday night when information was still coming in, some reports may have been inaccurate since it was a complicated story that most journalists had never dealt with before.
"I've been in the business for a long time and never seen a situation quite like this," Cheney said. "We've had experiences where the president has been shot. We've never had a situation where the vice president shot somebody."
Apparently, lots of folks have forgotten Aaron Burr.  (I certainly had.)
(Izzy does a great version of an old "Got Milk?" commercial where a PB sandwich kept a Burr trivia buff from winning a radio station contest.)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Is this the time to say Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot? Or "Don't that beat all?"

(From MSNBC)  Whittington shot a bird and went to look for it in the tall grass, while Cheney and the third hunter walked to another spot and discovered a second covey.
Whittington "came up from behind the vice president and the other hunter and didn’t signal them or indicate to them or announce himself,” Armstrong said.
“The vice president didn’t see him,” she continued. “The covey flushed and the vice president picked out a bird and was following it and shot.
And by God, Harry was in the line of fire and got peppered pretty good.”
On the way home from Mass this AM, I heard an interview with Doris Kearns Godwin on NPR's To the Best of Our Knowledge.  Kearns was talking about Lincoln's Cabinet.  It lead me to recalling presidential shootings--Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Kennedy, Reagan.  Never imagined I'd hear a story about a VP shoooting someone...

Search for the Historical Jesus--not in this courtroom...

ROME (Reuters) - An Italian atheist lost his legal crusade against the Catholic Church on Thursday when a judge rejected his attempts to sue a priest for saying that Jesus existed 2,000 years ago, the priest's lawyer said.
Luigi Cascioli, 72, had argued his hometown priest and former schoolmate had effectively broken an Italian law meant to protect the public from being conned.
But instead of granting Cascioli his request to bring the case to court, the judge recommended magistrates investigate him for slandering priest Enrico Righi, Righi's lawyer, Bruno Severo said.
The 76-year-old priest said he was delighted by the news.
"Thank God it's over," Righi told Reuters. "I'm glad it has ended like this, because imagine if it had gone on and on."
Cascioli, author of a book called "The Fable of Christ," said the court had not yet informed him of the ruling. But he was not surprised, and said he would appeal to Italy's highest court, and then to the Hague.
Asked about the possibility he would be tried for slander, Cascioli chuckled, saying that to prove he lied, prosecutors would have to prove that Jesus existed.
"They don't have any proof," he said.
"Sadly" (or should that be Sadly?) for Cascioli, this means it will take even longer before the time when "following a court sentence, the great fraud of Christianity will be banned from society." (Googlers--this is irony (duh)...representing his great dream, certainly not mine...)
Kinda sad for the rest of us that we'll miss the brilliant briefs that would come out of this courtroom.  Maybe I'm overly optimistic about the discourse, being a fan of both The West Wing and Boston Legal (and I'd take either style of argument/summation.)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Three years on

Three years ago today, my Dad celebrated his last birthday.  Although he held out some degree of hope of more time after his brain cancer diagnosis, I think he knew that this was the last time that he and Mom would celebrate their consecutive birthdays (Feb 9 & 10.)  The only reason for using "think" instead of "know," is that Dad chose not to talk much about his death, at least not to us "kids."  He talked about his illness, and how grateful he was for all that God had given him--a gratitude that was displayed more emotionally in his last months.
He shared more with Mom--they clung together often in the evenings on the couch that winter, cherishing each moment, each hug, each sighting of birds returning with the spring he had feared he would not see return
Dad started the 1st day of his 72nd year (a year he did not get to finish) with a stack of pancakes topped by a birthday candle.  He wore his favorite sweatshirt--"Compost: a rind is a terrible thing to waste."  I sang Happy Birthday to him before preparing to head off to work.  He and Mom then read from Mom's grandmother's large print Bible.  Dad read slowly, deliberately, assuredly; he prayed aloud just as steadily and just as thoughtfully for each of us in his large family.
We'd had a full family party the day before Dad's birthday--celebrating Mom on her day, and Dad every chance we had.  Izzy had come down from NC for the Bday weekend.  We crowded into their living room, spending Saturday night looking at Dad's slide collection, as he narrated the stories my brother (B1) and I had managed to put in order.  Dad could no longer focus for the hours needed to arrange loose slides by years, put into trays, flip as needed--and flipping is always needed during the slide show.  But he could recall great detail about the people and events pictured, especially the cheesecake swimsuit pix of Mom--the woman he adored.  His love for her showed on their birthdays, in their quiet times, and as he stared into her eyes just before they closed forever.
I still miss him terribly.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Is that a Strip Club?

is what my priest asked me at the end of a meeting at church tonight when I announced I was headed to "Guys and Dolls."

One wonders what he thinks of me... 8-)

BTW, the SVHS production of Guys and Dolls was well-done. Izzy and I enjoyed it, especially once the candy wrapper crinkling and text-message bleeping stopped.

It Shouldn't Be This Close

When you're leading by 17 points (14 unanswered points in the 1st 3 minutes of the 2nd half), I shouldn't lose all my fingernails watching you fight for an 87-83 win.

Still, a WIN in the Dean Dome! A great ending to one of the 4 high holy days of "my other religion."

1. Duke-Carolina at Cameron
2. Duke-Carolina in Chapel Hill
3. The ACC tournament championship game (esp if Duke is playing)
4. The NCAA tournament championship game (ditto)

2 regular liturgies; 2 moveable feasts.

Reddick got within 2 points of being the 2nd leading scorer in Duke history--would've been great to do against Carolina, but I'm sure he'll be happy to get the record in Cameron this weekend.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Open This in Private

Izzy was quite excited to show me an envelope that arrived in today's mail.  It said on the front:
Believing that the Holy Spirit will be
passing your home close to where
you will be sleeping tonight...
I don't have the ability to reproduce black text with fake purple marker underlining, but you get the idea. 
It's addressed to "A Friend."  Izzy has decided that I must be the "friend" since it's a pretty thick packet from our friends at Saint Matthews Churches.  Yes, the seed faith folks are trying yet again to get our attention.
Flipping over the envelope, I read, in a ghastly replica of ye olde scripte, that
"You Have This Divine Promise From God..."
The letter, dated "6:15 AM Tuesday", tell me that I'm supposed to place a sealed purple envelope (the Purple Sealed Word) under my pillow tonight, plus keep the Purple Ribbon of Blessing Bible Marker near my body tonight.  Tomorrow, I would send in a prayer request form (my "Purple Ribbon of Blessing Prayer Page"), with any seed I might wish to sow in Saint Matthews Churches' ministry.  This somehow constitutes my "Ribbon of Purple Act of Faith." Only after doing all this, and waiting until tomorrow evening, after sunset, am I to open the Purple Sealed Word.
Recognizing how difficult this all might be for me, the letter tells me that
"If for any reason you can't [follow the instructions? sleep near the ribbon?] God will understand.  He sees all."
Why do all this?  Well, I am assured by the good folks at StMCs that
"There is a prophetic word in the sealed envelope.  This prophetic word, in the spirit, tells things which are to happen in your life...if you are the one God means this for." 
This is the best "out" I've ever seen for a "prophet" (what else should one be called who presumes to send out prophetic words?)  "We've sent you good news...if you're the one we've sent it to..."  Not exactly the confidence of Amos, Malachi, or even Jonah.
Since I knew "God would understand"...I opened the prophetic word envelope tonight.  Bad art, more fake purple maker, and a badly worded "word of prophecy" in all caps.  Best line:
Sadly, I guess I'll not benefit from that efficiency, having not waited until sunset tomorrow.
Back to the title of this post, I think that the admonition to open in private is so that recipients' families wouldn't be able to talk sense them and keep them from sending in $$.  I also know that, even if these transactions are hidden from family...
He sees all.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Lord,We Just...

Great post on The Holy Observer on a style of intercessory prayer (which has bugged me for some time) :

God to Intercessors: Just Stop Saying "Just!"

For decades, God has lavished his followers with linguistic grace regarding what could be considered an epidemic in the prayer world – the use of the word "just." Usually found in a pattern similar to "God, please just [insert petition] and just [insert another petition]," the word "just" has made answering prayers a confusing and tedious process for the Almighty. In response, God declared earlier this month that Christians everywhere may no longer use the word "just" during intercessory prayer, effective immediately.

In an AIM interview with The Holy Observer, an official from Heaven explained, "This has been a huge frustration for everyone up here. For ages our gracious Father has put up with the grouping of mutually exclusive prayer requests, on each occasion taking extra time trying to decipher what the intercessor probably wanted the most. You see, the prayer queue was getting quite backed up but it was usually manageable. That is, until last month when the queue was flooded with hundreds of millions of contradictory requests. They were like, 'Lord, just use this movie as an evangelistic tool,' 'God, just help us to grow spiritually as we watch this movie,' 'God, just let everyone understand that this movie is about Your love,' and the one God answered, 'Father, please just let this movie make box office history.'"

That debacle last month was apparently the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. It is reported that God, in His perfect frustration, echoed throughout Heaven yelling, "I can only JUST do one thing!" Thus, we have the aforementioned decree. (article continues...)
Great idea...Not that any of the "just, Lord" folks will ever change...

Blast From My Past, part 2: Seed Faith

Got a booklet (not sure what one calls something bound that's larger than a brochure, but neither substantial nor significant enough to call a book) last week from Saint Matthews Churches. The booklet had a Tulsa address; I spent most of August of one year to December two years later in that city at a large university on South Lewis Avenue.

The booklet's artwork was pretty atrocious; Izzy was sure that the JW's had discovered seed faith. Turns out, it may be even more odd. From the best I could gather, they wanted me to request a coupon book that I would keep with my other critical bills (utility, etc.) to remind me to send a prayer request (naturally accompanied by a "seed" planted into their ministry) each month. I'll skip the details of what all is involved in Seed Faith theology--Saint Matthews Churches explains it here.

St. Matthews Churches (StMCs) appear to be some sort of loose configuration of charismatic, protestant but interested in and incorporating older liturgies, sorta Assemblies blended with Lutheran, church. They send out items like "prayer rugs" (newsprint with a pic of Jesus on an oriental rug that is to be returned with a seed faith offering.)

God Hears and Answers Prayer! Inspiration through Saint Matthews Churches Prayer Rug. The Savior said, "Ask and it shall be given you" (Matthew 7: 7) and again, "Ask and ye shall receive" (John 16:24). So a large portion of prayer is asking and an answer to prayer is receiving. The Saint Matthews Churches prayer rugs provide motivation in asking. In answer to prayer, including those done with prayer rugs, God miraculously intervenes in human affairs and changes things, people, weather, outward circumstances, health, even to the working of miracles.

Where are StMCs? Hard to say which leads one to be pretty sure it's a scam. They use a Tulsa address for their solicitations; I could not find info on a physical address for them, despite lots of pix on their website of liturgies. Their website goes into great detail on their accounting procedures for seed faith offerings and tells me that:
There is not now, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be a Saint Matthews Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (This doesn't bode well since the Emergency Prayer phone number is in the 918 area code...)
Saint Matthews Churches has had churches in various cities throughout the years. We now have two churches and have no present plans to add more churches.

Alrighty then. So, how would my prayer request get prayed over (the prayer request that I've sent in with my seed faith offering or after sleeping over my prayer rug)?

St Matthews Churches members mail their letters and seed faith donations to a post office in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The United States Post Office delivers the Saint Matthews Churches mail and seed faith donations to the secular firm that opens it and removes donations. Seed faith donations are deposited into Saint Matthews Churches bank account from which Saint Matthews Churches writes checks from seed faith donations to pay church bills. Then, and only then [emphasis mine], every letter is sent to Saint Matthews Churches where they are read and prayer requests are prayed over five times each day.

So, only after they've checked my envelope of coupon for $$ do they forward my request? Why is it important that "secular" folks open my mail--are they immune to temptations to theft?

Looks like StMCs have at least one building in Houston, though no physical address. They are also very aware of the many, many websites criticizing their fundraising practices and teaching. Apparently,

...the published sermons and sacred literature sent free of charge by Saint Matthews Churches crosses the paths of atheists; communists; drug dealers; criminals; the lunatic fringes of society; those who hate the United States, God and Christianity and those who hate us because we are gospel missionaries. They accuse all churches which mail sermons of mail scams and mail fraud. (found here.)

Why blog on this? Years ago I left the university on South Lewis Avenue not in small part because of what I realized was untruth, and maybe fraud/deception/heresy, in what I heard in classes and Chapel (sample here.) God was presented as a cosmic Santa who was obligated to answer my prayers if I SAID the right words (not had the right disposition of heart, or if what I wanted was in line with His purposes.) I was also being taught to see God's favor only in terms of prosperity--receiving back from God in giant multiples of what I invested. I realized that I no longer believed that God taught us to "Expect a Miracle."

StMCs booklet reminded me of that time. It also reminded me of how grateful I am that God allowed me to recognize His sovereignty, His justice, His abundant love for me that doesn't rely on bribes or demands or even on magic formulas for prayer.

Do I still pray? Absolutely. Do I still believe God can intervene in events and lives? Very much so. Are we praying for little Eliza's seizures to end? Yessirree, Bob, and you are welcome to do so, also. The Holy Spirit knows the details, as does Our Lady, for whose intercession we also ask.