Saturday, August 27, 2011

A year ago today...

Hey Little Buddy,
Today marks the anniversary of the half way point of your short life. I see other l toddlers with Downs running around  and wonder if you would be too. I really wanted to see your cake smash face on your first birthday. We are going to visit your "brudder" in four days. We miss you.
Your cousins,
Andy, Dana and Dylan

Friday, August 26, 2011

The two boys... (day 5)

The entire family arose early. They had to be to the next town by sunset. They had made camp for Nathan's birthday and coming of age ceremony two-thirds of the way there. Breakfast was eaten. The campsite was being packed and children were being gathered. Nathan was waiting for his sister, Michelle, to get his new riding clothes out of her luggage. Grandfather was becoming impatient. The sunlight would not wait. Nathan was to ride along side the wagon on his new horse. His old mare was tied to the back of their wagon. Father was pacing and calling to his brothers to hurry up. Nathan sat on his steed watching the scene with a grin on his face. He'd never seen so much chaos!

It was mid-morning before everything was put in its proper place and the campsite was back to its original state. They'd have to push the pace today if they were going to arrive on time. The Seer's invitations weren't something a person should take lightly. Nathan had heard rumors about him from their community's man of God. It was said he was well connected. Other people went to him to find out things. Nobody knew how the seer came by his information. Every word Nathan had heard was dripping with awe and deep respect.

When they stopped for a quick lunch mid-afternoon, the road was packed with all sorts of people. There must be some holiday Nathan didn't know about. His father was avoiding the family and hadn't said much since they'd broke camp. There was so much wonderment throughout the crowds starting to gather that nobody in the family seemed to notice his father's strange behavior. Nathan heard his Grandfather muttering. They'd never make it to the seer's house if the roads remained this congested. They'd just had to hurry as best as they could.

As the sun started to set, the family had just reached the town's main thoroughfare. They found lodgings quickly and got ready for the night's events. Father told the family where to go in case anyone got lost in the crowd. They'd have to take the horses to a barn near the Seer's place. When everyone was ready, the rushed into the streets toward their destination. The closer they got the more people there were. He saw his town's Governor conversing with some other important looking men. What was going on?!? Nathan had never seen so many people in one place, not even on National holidays. Father tapped Nathan's shoulder and pointed to a gentleman standing on a porch of a small building. The wide double door stood open. Painted above the doors in forest green paint read, "B-A-R-N, the place where your animals sleep." Nathan nodded. Father pushed his way through the crowd leading the horses.

They were only blocks from the seer's house. It was so noisy from the hum of so many voices. Nathan missed the ranch. This cacophony hurt his ears. The sun set. He heard the roar of the multitude ahead.

"SEER! SEER! SEER!" People around Nathan started looking around. His sister clung to him frightened. A hush came over the town. Even the dogs seemed quiet. A distant voice could be heard bouncing of the buildings. "I am Sam, the seer, since my youth I have settled disputes between all manners of people. I have kept my oaths and been fare to all in my dealings. If any of you feel otherwise, come to me and I will do my best to make things right." Nobody moved or said anything. Nathan hadn't ever heard of wrong done by this man.

"I have asked you all here tonight to talk to you. I have heard the complaining of those who'd have me removed from my position over all the people in the country. I never wanted to be your judge. You all and the Lord above asked this service of me, so I have done just that. I, however, am willing to answer the complaints in this way. We will elect a person from one of the 12 towns in the surrounding area. Whoever is chosen will help me out in service to you. Is this agreeable?

"YES!", the multitude responded. Nathan was starting to wonder where his father had gone. Sam started to speak again.

"Let the vote begin. Make way for the Governors of the 12 towns." There was a shuffle as the host allowed each governor through. "We will draw straws. Whoever pulls the longest one will have the various patriarchs from there town come forward. They will all draw straws. The Patriarch of each family will then have the men of their family come forward and do the the same. Whoever gets the longest straw will be your new Leader."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The two boys... (day 4)

The day arrived when Nathan and his family were to leave. Their supplies were all packed into their wagon. Mother had made sure they all had their best clothes. It wasn't very often the entire family went on such a long trip from home. The had a couple of ranch hands staying behind to tend to the animals. Father knew his mother and sisters didn't trust trains, so they were taking this journey the long way- riding, walking and camping outside under the stars for a couple days. Nathan loved the thought. His birthday would be spent on the trail with all the people he loved and who loved him back.

The next couple days went by mostly uneventfully. On Nathan's birthday, they'd made camp on the side of the road to celebrate. Grandfather, Father and him went hunting in the early morning to go fishing for the birthday meal. Nathan's favorite meal was fish roasted in the coals of the fire, rice, and beans. His mother always made this meal for his birthday. Just thinking about it made his mouth water. Tonight would be his rite of passage ceremony with all the men of the family. (Father had made sure of this by letting them all know where they were going to camp that night.) He would be considered a man in his community. His tutors had been working with him to be able to quote the different commandments and names of honorable men from scripture. He was so excited. The day progressed with lots of hugs, laughter and food as more family arrived. It seemed as though everyone had been invited to both his ceremony and the get together in the next town over. Nathan kept hearing whispers among his elders about the "seer" and  the "man-with-the connections".

When evening arrived and everyone had had their fill of the meal, Grandfather stood up to address everybody as the patriarch of the family. Nathan was bursting with excitement and nerves. He sincerely hoped he wouldn't mess up when it was his turn to speak.

"Family, we are here to celebrate my grandson's coming of age. He has proven himself a hard-worker, a good student, a trustworthy friend, and obedient son to his father and to me, his Grandfather. He has been faithful to the Lord's house since birth. We his family are ready to see this youngin' become a man. Nathan would come here, please." Nathan rose from his seat closest to the fire and shakily walked toward his grandfather. He looked over the small crowd. His father had his arm around his sniveling mother. Tears were welling up in his Father's eyes.

"Son, it is your 14th birthday. It wasn't that long ago when I held you for the first time. You've always been a child of strength and full of heart. Do you know what tonight means for your life?" Nathan nodded. "You will be considered a man by all who see you. I commission you to be a man of high moral character, honorable in all your dealings with young and old, and be kind to those around you. I, your Grandfather, wish you to remember who you are and whom you represent." Nathan looked around at the faces looking back at them. He would do what Grandfather asked of him. It'd be easy...

"I, Nathan, represent the I AM, my family, my community, and myself. I vow to honor and obey the wisdom of those who've gone before me like Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Joshua, Noah and Ruth. I will do my best to keep the Lord's commands. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God he is one. No other gods, only me. No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don't bow down to them and don't serve them because I am God, your God, and I'm a most jealous God, punishing the children for any sins their parents pass on to them to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation of those who hate me. But I'm unswervingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments. No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won't put up with the irreverent use of his name. Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don't do any work—not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day. Honor your father and mother so that you'll live a long time in the land that God, your God, is giving you. Do not murder. No adultery. No stealing. No lies about your neighbor. No lusting after your neighbor's house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don't set your heart on anything that is your neighbor's." 

Everyone stood at this point. Grandfather prayed over Nathan and poured oil over him. It dripped down his nose and off his ears. He was a man.  He felt the burden of it suddenly. When the prayers were over, a shout rose from those on the road side. "Nathan, Go and join those who have gone before you in manhood." His mother scurried to his side. He would have to change before he could greet his guests. The party would soon end for they all were to go meet the seer tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The two boys... (day 3)

That night at dinner Ben told about his adventure. The family and the help sat around the table listening with rapt attention. His father and his man had tracked the animals through several towns. When they couldn't find them, the ranch hand had suggested seeing a man with connections about where the beasts could be. At this part of the story, Ben became antsy and reluctant to say much. He just summed up the story there by saying the man had heard about a large number of livestock being seen in town and had requested for Ben to stay with him for a time. Nathan's father couldn't refuse such a request from so well a connected individual. Ben had sent the ranch hand home to let everyone know he was alright. Ben had come home as soon as he could. The remaining asked questions went unanswered and soon the topic was changed to what had happened around the ranch while Ben was gone.

Almost month passed, things seemed to settled back to their pace. Chores were done. Food was purchase, made, and ate. Clothes were washed. The animals were fed. The mail came and went. Lessons were taught and learned. They continued to be members of their local congregation. Nathan's father remained to be unusually jumpy. The slightest sound would has his father looking over his shoulder. One day a letter came inviting the entire family to the nearest city by the gentleman his father had mentioned. Excitement permeated the house for the next couple days.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The two boys... (day 2)

The days passed slowly for Nathan. Every morning when the light struck his window and the rooster crowed, he'd slowly roll over in his warm bed listening to the sounds of the others in the house. He'd rise to dress. Nathan would run down the stairs for the his morning meal. He'd rush to the road to look for his Father's horse. Disappointed he'd go about his chores and studies. After the noonday meal and customary rest time, he'd go find his friends to go practice their bows and arrows. He was part of the local bow and arrow club. They had a tournament coming up at the next community fair. He really wanted the blue ribbon. It would be a proud moment for him if he won. Father said he could ride with him on his next journey for ranch supplies if he did well. He wasn't a bad shot compared to the other boys. Grandfather had helped him carve and string his bow. He couldn't help but think it would give him a slight advantage.

On Sundays Nathan and his family would go sit with rest of the community at church to hear the words of the Lord. The man of God would stand before them to read from the scriptures. Nathan liked to listen to the ebb and flow of  this man's tone of voice while he instructed the congregation. He and his brothers didn't always get along but he wondered if he could ever sell them into slavery like good ol' Joseph.

 It was the day before the tournament when the ranch hand returned without his father. Nathan had eavesdropped when his grandfather inquired where his dutiful son was. The man said he wasn't sure, but knew he'd been asked to go ahead home to let him know everything was fine. The ranch hand had done as he was told. That night after Nathan and his brothers went to bed, he heard his grandfather's feverishly hushed discussion with his great uncles who'd arrived this evening for the weekly family dinner.

Grandfather sounded worried, "Ben didn't return today with our ranch hand. I'm worried. I've been hearing things about bandits in the hills nearby." Nathan shivered and muttered, "Bandits?" The adults moved to a different room. He couldn't hear the conversation below any farther. Nathan lay in bed for sometime staring at the ceiling. If anything happened to his father, it'd be his fault. He'd left the gate open when he'd went to find his friends that day. When he'd come back through that evening, all the animal's prints were in the dirt leading out of the gate. He closed it and went to find his father. Nathan was soundly scolded before his father had left.

Nathan awoke to an unusually quiet house. The sun had long since arose. He sat up with a start, quickly dressed and rushed downstairs. His Mother was sitting at the table. She was usually bustling about house. Nathan wondered where everyone was. His mother informed him, before he could ask, the wandering livestock had been recognized by one of their neighbors. The menfolk had gone to fetch them. Once the beasts were back where they belonged, they were going to town to inquire after your father. Nathan munched on some bread, cheese and grape juice. He had to get to his chores! While the others were gone, he'd have their chores to finish too. His tutors would be here shortly.

Two very busy days passed. Nathan didn't have time to even think. Grandfather and the uncles had returned not long ago. His father hadn't been seen. His normally gracious mother was worried. She kept snapping at his sisters. Grandfather would be pacing in his study with an anxiety etched into his wrinkled face. His bread forgotten. Why, oh, why had he forgotten to close the gate? Nathan disparately missed his father. He passed a window in the barn on the way to feed the chickens. He saw dust rising in the distance. Fearing the worst, he ran to get one of his uncles. They raced to the road to head off the stranger. As the figure approached the ranch, they realized recognized the horse and rider from a little ways off. Nathan's uncle told him to head back to the house to let his Grandfather know his father had returned. Relief washed over Nathan. His father was home! He glanced over his shoulder in time to see his father dismount and say something to his uncle.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The two boys...

Once upon a time there was a young boy, named Nathan who lived in a great kingdom. He was a wealthy rancher's son. The boy's father was a handsome man who was well know in their community for his good looks.

One day Nathan's grandfather sent his father to find some livestock that had wondered off. Nathan wondered how long his father would be gone this time. He loved his father greatly and missed their long talks when he was gone. Nathan hugged his father before he left. He stood watching his father ride off down the road with one of their ranch hands until he couldn't see him anymore. His mother called for him to come back to his studies. The tutors couldn't be left waiting. He really didn't want to learn anymore today. He knew he couldn't focus with his father wandering about the countryside. He should have been able to go along with him. He could ride just as well as anyone else. He'd been practicing. Nathan knew his father would be angry with him for neglecting his responsibilities when he returned home, so indoors he went to face the musty smelling tomes and dreary tutors.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wanting for Dylan to finish pooping, so he can bathe.

Wowzer! It's been awhile. I got inspired to write today. This summer has been full to the brim with activity! We finally moved! As of August 3rd, we are the proud renters of a nearly 1,600 square foot two-bedroom town home. After the entire fiasco we had with attempting to buy a house, we settled on this place. Dylan has his own room for the first time in his little life and seems to be adjusting okay. Be back. Bath time.

Back. We have a clean sweet smelling baby! Back to the previous topic... Dylan is adjusting. Right. I, however, am finding the amount of space... well, spacious. We all lived in such close quarters (625 square feet) before that to have an average amount of room seems to be giving me a bit of separation anxiety. Silly right? I couldn't wait to move... for. the. space. We haven't a tap dancing neighbor or doors slamming at all hours or the smell of choice herbs permeating the halls. It makes me grateful. We have our own washer/dryer AND dishwasher. I suddenly realized the other day, while gathering dirty clothes, I don't have to wait until I have money to do laundry. I snuck downstairs to see if those blessed machines were still there. When they were, I took advantage of them. lol I might do it again today. Just. Because. I. Can. HEHEHEHE!

Work has been crazy to say the least. So many of my co-workers are being moved into other departments of our grocery store. Others are quitting or have quit. A few are going back to school (like me WHOOHOO! More on this later...). Where does that leave me? Well, I've been working between 20-25+ hours a week, being a wife, mother and a S.H.E. (sidetracked home executive). The checks are better with the more hours. I find it an answer to prayer. I've sorta put the serious looking for other employment on the back burner for now.

Dylan at his 15 month Doctor Appointment 8/10/11
My dear mother-in-law, has let us know she wants to go back to being just grandma to Dylan as of the first of the January. We are thankful for her volunteering to care for Dylan for the last 15 (will be 20 months)! Lord bless her for blessing us. We are in the process of trying to figure out what we will do after January 1st. Whatever it will be, I know God works all things for our good. That means God will work for Andy, me and Dylan in a way beneficial to each of us.

 About a month ago, I went to our local community college to talk to a counselor. I have attended classes there in the past. I knew I was close to getting my Associates degree. I just didn't know how close. The academic counselor told me I need 4 classes to be finished. This has been something I've wanted since I began roughly 9 years ago. I decided to take the chance with a prayer attached. Would financial aid pay for me to finish? I knew with moving money would become tighter. The last thing I wanted was for my education to be a financial burden. The government aid returned with more than enough to cover the 4 classes, the books, the gas, and childcare for Dylan.

 I'm registered as of this morning for a math class. Math isn't may strongest subject. I wanted to focus on doing well in that one area, so as not to overwhelm myself with a heavy course load.

 By this time next year, Lord Willing, I will be walking with another cap and gown, across a another stage, and be handed another piece of paper. I will have earned it with many years of frustration and hard work. I'll be able to rest for a couple years knowing I completed what I started. Insert a sigh of relief here.