Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Upside down verbose realization

I was looking through some of my friends blogs and then I went back to ours. We don't post half as often, Jamil barely even posts... but man our (my) posts are long. I apologize.

Jamil and I are right now in the process of cooking Kawa Sak (sp?) basically stew beef in a tomato onion base. Jamil's family is coming tonight for dinner. The publix near us has bad produce. The onions were the size of small lemons and the tomatoes were not ripe. Nobody has ever died after we have cooked Kawa Sak. Our toilet sometimes suffers after a nice Kawa Sak meal. We have enough atomizers to fix this.

Jamil's niece and nephew are also coming. They are precious, but I wonder what they'll do. When they have been at other people's places, they play with the ornaments on the tables, but we have no ornaments... makes me wonder if they will try to climb the walls instead.

Talking about ornaments, I just realized that I lied in the previous sentence. Jamil's mom graciously sent some Christmas ornaments direct from QVC and HSN. Optical Fiber grandeur.

I hear QVC or HSN now sell upside down Christmas trees of the expensive kind. I can't believe anyone would pay more money for one of those than for a normal tree. If something like that sells that well being turned upside down, I wonder what I can turn upside down myself and make a profit: upside down TV, upside down lamps, upside down chimneys.... the possibilities are endless.

I don't really like being upside down, unless it is temporary while riding a rollercoaster.

I don't like cooking and I don't like ornaments and I don't like Jewelry and I don't like make-up. I am thankful that I can cook and that people (Jamil's mom mostly) think about giving me ornaments and Jewelry, I am very unthankful about the existence of make-up. There is also no love for upside-down trees, laughs and giggles maybe, but no love.

I am hoping to wake up really early on Friday morning for shopping madness. Then roll over, realize I don't need to save those $10 or $20 that bad after all and sleep until 4P.M.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

We came home around midnight after Thanksgiving dinner and the store we planned on visiting at the crack of dawn had what we needed at the right price online. We slept in, hung out with Alan and Ashley and spent all afternoon doing what we like to do the most: nothing.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The aftermath & other sad ponderings

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door-
Only this, and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore-
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Nameless here for evermore.

Maybe that doesn't capture my thoughts exactly, but it captured the mood.

Mr. S went home last Friday (see previous post). This is ok. That is truly what he wanted, although I know he was afraid to leave Mrs. S. I am thankful that we got to know him the way we did, and I know Mr. S's stories and memories will make nice stories when we have grandkids that (like me) can never get enough stories from their grandparents. And that is how we thought we were visiting the S's to keep them company only to find out that we were visiting the S's because God had a plan. Most people think we were ministering to them not knowing they were ministering to us. Not that we were seeking or expecting these blessings because in fact we have done as was in our hearts, but that God has blessed us through getting to know them.

As it is when sad things happen, I came to thinking about a bunch of things. I, of course, considered the future as anyone does when a death makes you realize time on earth ain't infinite, but more importantly, I have had a chance to think about my journey in the past few years. Don't take me wrong, I don't think dwelling in the past is good, but one has to look back every now and then to make sure they are walking in tha right direction. The following long post is a collection of thoughts I wrote down (but didn't get to publish) yestarday afternoon.

Why do I live in Atlanta? I have asked myself that question many times. Sometimes in longing for my loved and warm Puerto Rico full of family and laughter, sometimes looking for a purpose. Because I believe in God, I know that I am not here by accident. As I was thinking about this last night (Sunday) on my way home from a work reception I had a couple of thoughts:

1. I have matured so much since coming to Atlanta. I am no longer the young puertorrican that arrived at that unfamiliar airport with a suitcase full of clothes, a guitar and a computer. I am now married. I live in a house. I have a church family of my own. I have friends and different support groups. My accent has faded, my thoughts on life are very different these days. When I came I was a very inexperienced girl, perhaps too smart for her own good. Now I have more experience, but sometimes I feel dumber (not as in lacking intelligence, but as in unable to explain things that had simple explanations before).

At 17 when I arrived here I knew what I learned in Catholic school about the Bible, what I learned from my parents helped me develop a moral system and the stories of my grandma, greatgrandma and greatgrandma's sister helped me smile and reminisce with a little nostalgia of times that I never knew.

2. I have matured in my faith. I might not be as black and white as I used to be when I was 17, but sometimes that black and whiteness resulted out of self-righteousness and in that sense I have become wiser. I now understand much more than I did then. The Lord has met me in Atlanta in a way that I would have never expected, but never violating my desires. We had agreed I would let Him take over, but I was afraid of change and so I pleaded that He does this slowly. And He has... looking back know He has taken over so much and it is so much better this way. Praise God!

3. I now do things I would have never thought of. At my arrival in Atlanta I didn't want anything to do with Christian music. Today I help with worship music at West Merritts Baptist Church (really the name of the church is Midtown Community Church, but in my heart there is a special place for the old name). At 17 I wasn't going to get married until I turned 30 or so, at 24 I am married, own a house and will probably have kids before 30. At 17, I was going to return to Puerto Rico and live there forevermore as soon as I finished school (at 21). God saw it otherwise and I am not even sure if that will ever happen.

At 17, I knew God had something for me to do, I didn't know what. At 24, I have a pretty good guess and am amazed at the way that God has worked in my life for that goal in these 7 years during which sometimes I didn't even feel any closer to God than a non-Christian. At 17 God promised He would never let me go, all He asked is that I seek Him and I pray to Him. Today, when I realize I might have not been as faithful as I should, I realize He is just as faithful if not more than ever!

I will be 17 no more, but I have no need to be 17 again. God has made sure to provide for me in ways I could never imagine. And I just now, come to realize how great is His faithfulness.

1. He brought me to a church of dedicated believers where I have learned the word.
2. He brought me to a church that more than a church is a church family and has truly provided in that sense.
3. He has provided for me the husband I prayed for. Not that I prayed to have a husband because I didn't really want to get married, but knowing that one day I would get married, I prayed for my husband whomever he was, so that God would bring him safe and wise to me. God did.
4. He has provided for me financially.
5. He has provided for me emotionally. Today I stand tall as an emotionally mature individual with ocasional instances of homesickness.
6. He has provided for my family while I have been away.
7. He has provided endless opportunities of growth.
8. He has provided many ways to do His service and has remained faithful even when I have hesistated.

Recently, God provided Jamil and I with grandparents. We have grandparents at home, God bless them. I grew up around my grandma, grandpa, greatgrandma, greatgrandmas sister etc. etc. I love my immediate family, but I owe my extended family a good bit of my upbringing. God even thought of that. WMBC sports an extended family of 6. But most recently, God has allowed Jamil and I a pair of special grandparents away from home. I am thankful to God for them, and I am thankful to them for their faithfulness. I am thanful to God for the family and friends he has provided. I am thankful to my friends and family for what they let God do through them (knowingsy or unkowingly). I am thankful to God for where I am in life. I am thankful to God for bringing me to Atlanta. I am thankful to God for working on me even when I haven't been faithful. Lord, bless all the people you have put in my life, every single one of them. Lord, bless their lives, their loved ones, provide for them as yau have provided for me and allow me to be a blessing in their lives tha way you have made them a blessing in mine.

Last thought:
The human in me fears cooking neverending pasta again. The Christian in me rejoices in the knowledge that I do not have to worry about these things because God is in charge. At 17 I would have been embarrassed about this post, at 24 I could care less. I am not done growing or being molded by God.

Mr. S, I know you told me not to be sad, but I am not sad for you (I promise), I am sad for us who will now go on without you (and your wise advice) and for those who will never have the chance of getting to meet yourself or someone like you. Don't worry though, we'll take care of Mrs. S for you.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The end of a hectic week full of neverending pasta and the passing of Mr. S

Well, this was a hectic week and we should have guessed it being how it started.

Sunday: I decided that since we had finally gotten Jamil's car fixed the day before at the dealer, we would take separate cars to church. That way Jamil (who had stayed up all night preparing the Bible study) wouldn't have to get ready in such a short time. Instead he could hang around the house a bit longer and then go get Mrs. Louise. Well, his nicely tuned up car blew a tire... not punctured or anything just plain blown on the side. After much debating and in the middle of me trying to figure out how to get juice and pastries without money or a wallet for the hungry Sunday schoolers to come, Jamil decided he needed me to come over and help him. So I did. And that is how I left for church at 8am and didn't get there until 11:10AM. Makes that story of the little ladies in Florida's 24 hour church trip not sound so unbelievable.

Monday: One of my co-workers was leaving at the end of the week which left me with the daunting task of trying to get a brain dump out of his head. That and a customer installation that couldn't be completed took up most of my day. At the end of the day we went to see the S's for a little bit. Time with the S's is always nice, educational and refreshing. It reminds me ever so much of my time as a kid with my grandma.

Tuesday: Mr. S got taken into hospice as an inpatient, and that is how the day started. Pretty confusing all around. And at work, besides trying to get a brain dump from my coworker, I had to move a customer's system that was being tested and then I had to work on a presentation for a meeting next week. At night we were able to see the S's and spend some time with Mrs. S who was still getting used to the new in-hospice environment. Mr. S slept the whole time we were there, much different from the man we left on Monday. At least he was not in pain.

Wednesday: Jamil's uncle from Canada was in town and so we invited him and Jamil's grandma and his other uncle and aunt (the ones that live in Lawrenceville) for dinner. We cooked neverending pasta. Since the couple's group was coming in the next day we went ahead and made two trays. Well, Jamil's family almost finished the pasta, but of course they didn't because it is never ending after all. Then the thought dawned on us: out of 3 times we had cooked this, 2 it hadn't ended and out of those 2, one was followed by a death (someone who hadn't eaten pasta). It is a good thing we are not superstitious. We were able to see the S's briefly and drop Mrs. S a banana. Mr. S didn't look any better, but again at least he was out of pain.

As icing on the cake, I had a doctor's appointment with a doctor I dislike very much. It was scheduled for 11:30AM and I was not helped until 12:45PM. I just needed a prescription. I said this on the phone when I scheduled my appointment. On my first visit to this doctor, after making me write 15 pages worth of information on my first visit (visit was scheduled for a simple consultation), made me urinate in a cup, took some blood and asked me to lie down without ever talking to me about the reason I went to see him. When I asked if he even knew why I was there he was very startled. This time this is how it went an hour and 15 minutes after my scheduled appointment:

Nurse: Hi Patricia can you please give me a urine sample
Patricia: Can I? Yes I can because after an hour sitting here I have had plenty of time to partially refill my bladder, but do you want to know why I am here?
Nurse: (Thinking no) Why are you here Patricia?
Patricia: For a prescription
Nurse: Ah
Patricia: (Thinking... these people need to learn to read, maybe that way people wouldn't sit in this office so long). I can still urinate in a cup for you if you would like.
Nurse: No that is ok, come sit here

I sat in the lab section, and after asking how much longer it would be, she directed me to a sit far from he in front of the doctor's office. The meeting with a doctor was exactly 4 minutes, and he didn't even really talk to me.

Thursday: Work was once again hectic. I left about 1 hour later than I had planned due to this passing of the baton. We rushed through bad rush traffic to meet the Bible study group. We arrived 10 minutes after the first couple and found out that it takes a lot longer to warm up neverending pasta than it would have taken me to make it fresh. Bible study was good. 1 Samuel 27. We prayed for the S's. There was (as usual) pasta left over. Mrs. Louise joined us ( we would like more people to join our group since we recently converted it from the couple's group to the everyone who wants to come group. We would particularly like more of the older members of our church to join us, they are all such a great influence and model in our lives. I stayed up until 3am knitting my Harry Potter scarf (to be worn at the movie viewing on Friday), but didn't finish so I wore a half done scarf instead of a completed one.

Friday: Since Mr. S had gotten bad last week, we had made sure to have our cell phones in the room every night. Thursday night Jamil's cell phone stayed out. A 6am voicemail message from the eldest S son told us that Mr. S had passed away at 1am the night before. It is the end of an era. We returned the call (we got the message right as we were leaving late for work). We decided to join our group to watch Harry Potter after all. We stopped by before meeting out group to see Mrs. S.

Saturday: Mr. S viewing. No matter how many of these things you go to, they don't get any better. Mr. S had gotten a little mischivieous in his last few weeks (or at least we had gotten to know his joker side just a few weeks ago) so you almost expect him to sit up in his coffin and laugh at everyone. But he didn't, and that is how after 9 years of ups and downs and many of what seemed like near death encounters, Mr. S is know with the Lord. He has left a great legacy in us though. And by us, I mean Jamil and I but I also mean all the people that ever knew him, because it is impossible to have know the S's and not learn anything. Mrs. S is a very gifted and strong woman and we are sure she will make it through this and our group is all very committed to ensuring this happens.

We will see what God has in store for Sunday... Maybe we'll take one car this time and avoid the temptation to cook pasta... Fortunately, God is in control of all things and so we do not have to worry about superstitions.