Sunday, January 1, 2012


Yesterday, I resolved to write more in 2012. When it comes to the "balance" between writing and teaching, I can't ever seem to get it right. Seems like I'm always doing one more than the other and the absence of one, makes me want the other all the more.

I'm reading Stephen King's new book right now, 11/22/63, and I'm loving it (despite the vulgar language, which you can skip when you're reading, as opposed to movies where you've actually paid money to be sworn at) Anyway... the story line is great, but I do think that one of the reasons I like the book is because the main character is a teacher-turned-writer-turned-back-to-teacher, a position I can relate to, whether I want to accept it about myself or not. Here's a line that sort of speaks for itself... "Those days of (teaching) reacquainted me with a basic fact of my personality: I liked writing, and had discovered I was good at it, but what I loved was teaching. It filled me up in some way I can't explain. Or want to. Explanations are such cheap poetry."

Having said that, teaching is also exhausting- especially when you have five classes, three of which are new preps, and also when you're a perfectionist, and let's face it, almost all good teachers are perfectionists by nature. Those are the reasons that I hardly wrote at all this past fall, and- just as I had missed teaching the year before- oh how I have missed putting my thoughts down through my fingers. So, it is a resolution, then, to write more.

I had a plan to write about places I enjoy going in Austin, and I was going to start yesterday. It was a beautiful day in Austin, a balmy 72 degrees with just a little breeze and not a cloud in the sky. Winter is actually a better time to enjoy the outdoors in Austin than summer. That's my opinion, anyway. Winter is about the only time you can stand in the sunshine without being reduced to a human faucet, sweat gushing from every pore. Last winter, I learned that, though Austin would get bouts of chilly temps here and there, before you can say "brrr" the sixties have moved back into Central Texas, and you can enjoy Austin's great selection of parks, hike and bike trails. One of my favorite places to spend a few hours on such a perfect winter's day is Zilker Park, so it was my plan to go to the park, read, picnic, play ball with Gatsby, snap a few photos and report back to this blog about a perfectly lovely afternoon...

There was a picnic, there was reading, there was sunshine. And there was ball. Too much ball. After probably an hour and a half of going at it hard, my best ball player, Gatsby, started to low crawl. He had a funny look in his eye, and I knew what was about to happen. I said to Andy, "He's not right!" and we both rushed over toward him. Seconds later, his muscles tensed and he began to shake uncontrollably.

Gatsby had his first seizure at the end of the summer. I was home for the afternoon, and we weren't doing anything active- watching an Oprah re-run, in fact. All of a sudden, he tensed and his eyes couldn't focus. He lost control of his bladder, and spent a miserable 90 seconds or so without control of his little body. I prayed through it and talked to him gently. When it was over, he stood up, got his ball and acted like nothing at all had happened.

The seizure yesterday was pretty similar, but in some ways was a little bit "better." First of all, over-exertion can bring on a seizure, so there's an explanation, at least. And I like explanations of that sort- cheap poetry though it may be. Also, he kept control of his bladder and seemed a little more in control of his balance as well. He fell over a couple of times, but corrected himself. Still, it was heart-renching. While Gats is having a seizure, I am very calm, praying, talking to him, asking Abba to help my sweet boy. But after Gatsby regains his composure, I lose mine. I was a ball of nerves and tears yesterday afternoon.

For better or for worse, I think that yesterday's trip to Zilker Park in some ways sums up a reality about New Year that is both sobering and comforting. The sobering reality is that life is never what you plan it to be. We all know that. Even our best laid plans change, and nothing is what we think it's going to be... though we delude ourselves for the first three weeks of each January. But the comforting part is that even in those unexpected changes, God is with us, and His mercy is unfailing.

My Gats is home and resting. He's still having some involuntary muscle/nerve spasms and watching it is making me want to tear up every few minutes or so. Andy and I are watching the Broncos while my collards and black eyed peas simmer. I'll start the fried chicken soon. I'm stressed out about starting school and all of the work to do, and Andy is still looking for a new job. Life is good, unexpected, sorrowful, stressful, and wonderful all at the same time. This year will be what this year will be, I can't control it and there's little that I am able to change. But one thing remains the same- His great mercy, unfailing love and devoted attention to us- all four of us.

I thank Thee for personal mercies,
a measure of health,
preservation of body,
comforts of house and home,
sufficiency of food and clothing,
continuance of mental powers,
my family, their mutual help and support,
the delights of domestic harmony and peace,
the seats now filled that might have been vacant,
my country,

-"Divine Mercies" from The Valley of Vision

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