Saturday, February 28, 2009

I will have to catch up tomorrow

This morning I slept in a bit, surfed the net, did some more amending of soil and mulching and watered the garden, surfed the net a bit more and then, pretty much from noon onward, I was on my feet in the kitchen cooking. Three friends came over and we had a lovely time. Then off to the Vortex Theatre for a very nice production of Antigone. There were only a couple of places where the modern interpolations bothered me. The performances (with one exception) were very good. I loves me some Greek plays.

Dehydrated and tired, I am not worth a plugged nickel tonight. There will be photos tomorrow.

Sweet dreams, my little meerkats.
--the BB

Some Senators want us to face the truth. They are my heroes.

Senators Leahy and Whitehouse

The American People may yet learn more of what has happened, and is should shock the shit out of us. We must face the truth.

War criminals should be held accountable.
--the BB

Change, baby. Oh yeah!

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Saturday, February 28th, 2009
Washington, DC

Two years ago, we set out on a journey to change the way that Washington works.

We sought a government that served not the interests of powerful lobbyists or the wealthiest few, but the middle-class Americans I met every day in every community along the campaign trail – responsible men and women who are working harder than ever, worrying about their jobs, and struggling to raise their families. In so many town halls and backyards, they spoke of their hopes for a government that finally confronts the challenges that their families face every day; a government that treats their tax dollars as responsibly as they treat their own hard-earned paychecks.

That is the change I promised as a candidate for president. It is the change the American people voted for in November. And it is the change represented by the budget I sent to Congress this week.

During the campaign, I promised a fair and balanced tax code that would cut taxes for 95% of working Americans, roll back the tax breaks for those making over $250,000 a year, and end the tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas. This budget does that.

I promised an economy run on clean, renewable energy that will create new American jobs, new American industries, and free us from the dangerous grip of foreign oil. This budget puts us on that path, through a market-based cap on carbon pollution that will make renewable energy the profitable kind of energy; through investments in wind power and solar power; advanced biofuels, clean coal, and more fuel-efficient American cars and American trucks.

I promised to bring down the crushing cost of health care – a cost that bankrupts one American every thirty seconds, forces small businesses to close their doors, and saddles our government with more debt. This budget keeps that promise, with a historic commitment to reform that will lead to lower costs and quality, affordable health care for every American.

I promised an education system that will prepare every American to compete, so Americans can win in a global economy. This budget will help us meet that goal, with new incentives for teacher performance and pathways for advancement; new tax credits that will make college more affordable for all who want to go; and new support to ensure that those who do go finish their degree.

This budget also reflects the stark reality of what we’ve inherited – a trillion dollar deficit, a financial crisis, and a costly recession. Given this reality, we’ll have to be more vigilant than ever in eliminating the programs we don’t need in order to make room for the investments we do need. I promised to do this by going through the federal budget page by page, and line by line. That is a process we have already begun, and I am pleased to say that we’ve already identified two trillion dollars worth of deficit-reductions over the next decade. We’ve also restored a sense of honesty and transparency to our budget, which is why this one accounts for spending that was hidden or left out under the old rules.

I realize that passing this budget won’t be easy. Because it represents real and dramatic change, it also represents a threat to the status quo in Washington. I know that the insurance industry won’t like the idea that they’ll have to bid competitively to continue offering Medicare coverage, but that’s how we’ll help preserve and protect Medicare and lower health care costs for American families. I know that banks and big student lenders won’t like the idea that we’re ending their huge taxpayer subsidies, but that’s how we’ll save taxpayers nearly $50 billion and make college more affordable. I know that oil and gas companies won’t like us ending nearly $30 billion in tax breaks, but that’s how we’ll help fund a renewable energy economy that will create new jobs and new industries. In other words, I know these steps won’t sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they’re gearing up for a fight as we speak.

My message to them is this:
So am I.

The system we have now might work for the powerful and well-connected interests that have run Washington for far too long, but I don’t. I work for the American people. I didn’t come here to do the same thing we’ve been doing or to take small steps forward, I came to provide the sweeping change that this country demanded when it went to the polls in November. That is the change this budget starts to make, and that is the change I’ll be fighting for in the weeks ahead – change that will grow our economy, expand our middle-class, and keep the American Dream alive for all those men and women who have believed in this journey from the day it began.

Thanks for listening.

--From the White House web site

[Emphasis mine]

Saturday after Ash Wednesday

This morning we are presented with a challenging juxtaposition. First, let us look at Titus.
But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. After a first and second admonition, have nothing more to do with anyone who causes divisions, since you know that such a person is perverted and sinful, being self-condemned. (Titus 3:9-11)

Here we have a passage that is easily embraced by people on both sides of a controversy, since they (we) will usually opine that the other side caused the division. Since the Anglican Communion, to the world's entertainment and dismay, is caught up in quarrels about the law these days, it is easy to envision one's opponents as perverted and sinful and self-condemned. Again, this is a tendency for both sides.

I do believe both sides could save themselves a lot of fussing and grief by paying attention and simply leaving each other alone ("have nothing more to do with anyone who causes divisions"), but there are other passages in scripture admonishing us not to give up on folks. And that brings us to an oft-cited passage in the Fourth Gospel that shows up in today's Office lessons.
Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ (John 1:46)
Since this was also a Sunday Gospel not too long ago, one on which I preached, I will toss out the idea, as I did in my sermon, that we all have our Nazareths - those places, situations, and groups from which we expect no good thing. Our prejudices (pre-judgments) exclude being open to encountering God or grace or any good thing that might come to us from that direction.

The evangelist reminds us (as does Luke in the tale of the Good Samaritan) that this is precisely whence God - and hope and salvation - may come.

The wonderful part of this snippet of Gospel is that Philip says, "Come and see," and we next read that "When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him" he made his comments.

In other words, Nathanael set aside his skepticism in response to Philip's invitation and went to see anyway.

So even in our "opponents" or in our "Nazareths" we may yet find some grace.

Having said that, we all know I am more likely to have nothing to do with them.

Lent is a great time for thorny challenges.

Psalm 42 - sicut cervus (setting by Palestrina)

Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities, and in all our dangers and necessities stretch forth your right hand to help and defend us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

--the BB

Friday, February 27, 2009

Shabbat shalom

Blossoms before the last frost

That, of course, assumes we will have more frosts this year. I am playing rather good odds. I have not forgotten my first spring in Albuquerque when I waited until mid-April and planted tomatoes on Maundy Thursday. How was I to know? They were on sale everywhere in the garden centers.

On Good Friday it snowed.

My tomatoes survived, a bit traumatized. One vine made it, one never did much, and my cherry tomatoes bloomed and produced well into the fall.

I now know to wait another month. Mid-May is tomato planting season here.

But these are lovely blossoms. Having worked where I work in three successive autumns, it is nice to see the place during springtime. (Yeah, yeah, late winter, but tell that to the trees on these sunny warm days.) I took this photo during lunch hour today.

"Adult beverage" is a phrase much bandied about among my co-workers these days. It is Friday evening and I have been indulging in an adult beverage. Actually, I am mostly through my very strong second adult beverage. Rather pleasant, I must say.

[Let us note that I am safely home and the car in the garage, so no DUI behavior is involved.]

May you all have a lovely weekend.

Tomorrow I cook an Armenian meal, the way my mother and neighbor Gladys taught me, and then some friends and I will go to see Antigone performed at the Vortex.

This play by Sophocles had a profound impact on me when I was in the tenth grade. I was pondering the words and deeds of Dr. King, who led me in turn to Gandhi and Tolstoy. For very deep theological reasons I was convinced there are higher values than the state or societal norms to which we must answer. A classmate and I performed for our social studies class the scene where Antigone and Creon argue. I very much look forward to tomorrow night's performance. I have read it a few times in between but this may be the first live performance I have ever witnessed.

Shabbat shalom.

And yet you dared to overstep these laws?

Because it wasn't Zeus who pronounced these
things to me, nor did Justice, companion
of the gods below, establish such laws
for humanity. I would never think
your pronouncements had such strength that, being
mortal, they could override the unwritten,
ever-lasting prescriptions of the gods,
for those aren't something recently made, but
live forever, and no one knows when they
first appeared. I did not intend to pay
the penalty to the gods for violating
these laws in fear of some man's opinion,
for I know I will die. How could I not,
Even if you had not proclaimed it? But
if I die before my time, I say this
is an advantage. Anyone who lives
a life of sorrow as I do, how could
they not count it a blessing to die?
Therefore, there is no pain for me in meeting
this fate, whereas if I were to endure
that one born from my mother die unburied,
that would cause me pain. As it is, I feel
nothing. If, however, I seem to you
to have acted foolishly, then perhaps
I owe my foolishness to a fool.

Antigone by Sophocles
--the BB

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Friday after Ash Wednesday

I enjoy and admire what Margaret rather consistently does in her reflections on lessons from the Daily Office.

As I resume my discipline of reflecting on the lessons I promptly come upon those for two days after the beginning of Lent and boom: I find them rather oppressive and uninspiring. I am well aware that the strain of Deuteronomic theology (obey and be blessed; disobey and be cursed) is itself frequently critiqued within the Bible itself. Things are not that simple and there are many reasons to consider it crappy theology (though Deuteronomy also has exalted and life-giving passages).

Well, there you have it. There are times when we don't find ourselves inspired. Perhaps our stony hearts need God's sledgehammer or maybe we just need to let go of our desire to be inspired and inspiring. There are desert periods in our lives and desert moments in our days. It's only a big deal if we make it into a big deal.

I choose not to make it into a big deal.

And I'm glad I'm not preaching at Morning or Evening Prayer this particular Friday.

I turn to Psalm 31 that has a verse I have long loved:

I have known periods in my life when I felt hemmed in, besieged, hopeless - and in those periods I have experienced God's grace.

So I will simply go for that and invite any who wish to share their tales of the wonders of God's love in their own besieged cities.

Gratuitous photo taken on the UNM campus Monday night while walking to Russian class. One may worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness AND in the holiness of beauty.

Support us, O Lord, with your gracious favor through the fast we have begun; that as we observe it by bodily self-denial, so we may fulfill it with inner sincerity of heart; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

--the BB

Why I live where I do

Two unretouched photos from the drive home:

I stopped at the corner of Paseo del Volcán and Dennis Chávez and took some photos this evening.

This is the view looking east (the road home).

And this is looking west.

I love the wide open spaces. I hope the mesa is not developed while I'm here.


Yes, if you've been reading about the 11 bodies unearthed in the SW corner of Albuquerque they are being found just a mile west of me. Today my coworkers were looking at a photo at MSNBC where officers were searching and said, "Paul, we think we see a photo of your back door." Smart alecks.

Photo from MSNBC and most definitely NOT the back of my home

I live at the next main street east of there. Huge difference. Right? And the bodies were all buried BEFORE I moved here.

--the BB

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thursday after Ash Wednesday

I remember that when I was a freshman in college (yes, my chickadees, I can remember some things that far back, when the U.S. had only known the Beatles for about a year), my poor, highly repressed mind could find sexually suggestive overtones in almost any common noun, verb, or preposition. A classmate shared this late adolescent trait with me and our conversations were, well, pathetic.

This phase of my life comes to mind when I re-read the passage from Titus illustrated below:

As I said then, and have often said since: To the pure all things are pure and to the rest of us, well....

This passage led me to think of something other than my period of virginal filth. It made me think of others, more mature in years at least, who still seem incredibly, overwhelmingly sex-obsessed. I refer to the neo-Donatists who find filth (or apostasy) everywhere they turn. I am not going to conclude firmly that it's all projection on their part but, sweet Mother Mary, these people need lives.

Even when I was a young, single, non-celibate gay male living in West Hollywood before HIV came on the scene there was much more to my life than sex. I was praying the Daily Office faithfully from the Holy Cross Breviary (Matins, Diurnum, and Vespers always and often Compline from memory), reading roughly two books a week on theology, pondering the glories of creation in the swelling of buds on trees that I could observe from day to day, thinking about justice and community, leading adult formation programs at the cathedral, and simply trying to survive financially when I was over-educated and under-skilled.

Then when I did give my heart to one person it was the beginning of a relationship that was mostly about everything but sex: companionship, support, challenge, shared interests and values, building community, being there as we grew and struggled, creating a life together. We always intended our home to be a haven of peace, love, joy, and healing for ourselves and everyone who crossed the threshold. For the most part we succeeded and knew our home to be an outpost of the reign of God. As good friends we still experience each other's home as continuing to be that.

I guess we all find - in situations, people, relationships, and events - pretty much what we bring to them.

As we journey through Lent may we grow in purity - by which you all know I don't mean some pathetic, legalistic, smarmy concept - so that we may bring purity of heart and mind with us and thus find purity wherever we go and whomever we meet.

It's kind of like taking Christ with us and thus being able to seek (and find) and serve Christ in all we meet.

Direct us, O Lord, in all our doings with your most gracious favor, and further us with your continual help; that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in you, we may glorify your holy Name, and finally, by your mercy, obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
-the BB

Heart thread - 02/25/2009

At the end of the work day I got a phone call from my coworker Stephanie. Everything went well with her mother's surgery today (it had been delayed from Monday). They get the pathology reports on Monday but today went well. Stephanie's mom is also named Stephanie. Thank you for your prayers.

I have fallen behind in keeping up with prayer requests. Mimi has had alternating news on our friend Roseann. There was this yesterday:
I am back in the hospital. Last night I started running a temp of 102 and I can't move my left leg at all. It can bare no weight and any position other than supine is beyond painful. I didn't go to dialysis yesterday because I couldn't move. When my temp spiked I called Gary and he came home to take me to the ER. He couldn't move me so he had to call the ambulance. Long story short, the nephrologist said if I hadn't come in I probably wouldn't have lived through the night. My potassium level was so high my heart was about to shut down. They put me right on dialysis at midnight and kept me on until 4:30. Also, my ob/gyn called yesterday and is concerned about a possible relapse of the cervical cancer.

If you look up "snake bit" in the dictionary it has my picture.

I'm back at St. Vinnie's.... My very favorite aide works on this wing. She sat and cried with me last night until I got it out of my system.

Not trying to be dramatic here but I don't think I have much time left on this earth. Please pray for Gary.

Love, Roseann

Please pray for Roseann and Gary.

UPDATE: Mimi, roseann is going to have a bone scan which will show up a hair line fracture if it is in the hip. she sounded better this afternoon.

Then today there was this:
Dear Mimi,

I've just spoken with Roseann, and to my relief she sounds so much better, we were even sharing a laugh. She is still being treated for the original infection, but she felt so much better after the dialysis today. The nuclear medicine scan that was done showed a deep contusion of the bone. No Break. She is still receiving pain medicine, and that will probably be for a short while longer.

I can't begin to tell you how relieved I am for her.. Pass this on to Maddy please, and again I thank you so much for being willing to help pass on these notes.


We will keep Roseann in our prayers.

Mimi also had this on Sunny:
Sunny received a heart transplant a few days ago.

Sunny update:

Mom reports that Sunny opened her eyes and Mom told her she had her new heart for 36 hours. Her eyes got really big and Mom asked "are you happy?" and Sunny nodded "yes."

If all goes well, assist pump comes out of the aorta today and perhaps Sunny comes off ventilator as well. Prayers must be working.


Thanks be to God and all who prayed or sent good wishes.

There is a huge roundup of prayer requests at OCICBW so I am just posting a link for you.

Almighty God, we entrust all who are dear to us to thy never-failing care and love, for this life and the life to come, knowing that thou art doing for them better things than we can desire or pray for; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Four U. S. Army soldiers died on 24 February; the names have not yet been released.

May they rest in peace....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Latest Coalition Fatalities

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
1st Lt. William E. Emmert, 36, of Lincoln, Tenn., died Feb. 24 in Mosul, Iraq, of wounds suffered when he was shot while participating in a local Iraqi Police function.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Pfc. Zachary R. Nordmeyer, 21, of Indianapolis, Ind...died Feb. 23 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their unit using small arms fire. They were assigned to the 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment...

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Micheal B. Alleman, 31, of Logan, Utah...died Feb. 23 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their unit using small arms fire. They were assigned to the 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment...

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Cpl. Michael L. Mayne, 21, of Burlington Flats, N.Y...died Feb. 23 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their unit using small arms fire. They were assigned to the 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment...

Ash Wednesday 2009

But God said to Jonah, ‘Is it right for you to be angry about the bush?’ And he said, ‘Yes, angry enough to die.’ Then the Lord said, ‘You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labour and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?’

There is in me a self-righteous Jonah who needs to be reminded, often, to let go of my judgmentalism and learn once again to care.

Because God cares.

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

--the BB


Photo via DKos

Why do I usually catch major speeches and events after the fact, reading text or watching videos online when I have cable TV?

Why don't I post more on major items like President Obama's [and doesn't it feel good to type that, read that, hear that, say that, think about that?] speech tonight?

Well, I did plop down on the love seat, prop up my feet on the coffee table, and then crashed after the sugar rush subsequent to my glut on pancakes rich in butter, cream, and sour cream all swimming in more melted butter and maple syrup. I did wake up for the conclusion.

It is so nice to have an educated, eloquent person in the White House. Sigh.

Raise in pay for our service men and women and better health care and benefits for our vets - now who supports our troops? Not the goopers.

Somehow "America does not torture" sounds very different depending on who utters it. When spoken by someone with a long record of lying it rings, oh..., hollow. Tonight I could almost believe it. (Proof is in the pudding and I ain't gonna cut Obama slack on this one.)

Enjoy y'all's last bits of Carnaval, Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday. Save some strength for turning back to life.
--the BB


Latest Coalition Fatalities

02/23/09 MNF:
Three MND-N Soldiers die in combat operations
Three U.S. Coalition Soldiers and an interpreter died as a result of combat operations in Diyala Province, Iraq, Feb. 23. The names of the deceased are being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the U.S. Department of Defense.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Staff Sgt. Mark C. Baum, 32, of Telford, Pa., died Feb. 21 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered earlier that day when enemy forces attacked his unit using small arms fire in Mushada, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 111th Infantry Regiment...


Monday, February 23, 2009

Some progress

Which is to say, I actually worked on my Russian homework this week. At the last minute, I grant you, but still I was much more prepared for class tonight.

I also took the laptop in to class tonight so I could take notes by typing instead of writing Russian cursive (which I can do, but I find it so hard to read). Much faster. It helps that my Mac keyboard can adapt to phonetic Russian at a click of the mouse and I touch type.

Oh, that's the Winter Palace (Hermitage State Museum) in St Petersburg in the photo with the Neva River in the foreground.
--the BB

Blame it on Kathy

Yes, sometimes I have my sources.

One day my mother was out and my dad was in charge of me.

I was maybe 2 1/2 years old. Someone had given me a little 'tea set' and it was one of my favorite toys.

Daddy was in the living room engrossed in the evening news when I brought Daddy a little cup of 'tea', which was just water. After several cups of tea and lots of praise for such yummy tea, my Mom came home.

My Dad made her wait in the living room to watch me bring him a cup of tea, because it was 'just the cutest thing!' My Mom waited, and sure enough, here I come down the hall with a cup of tea for Daddy and she watches him drink it up.

Then she says, (as only a mother would know... :) 'Did it ever occur to you that the only place she can reach to get water is the toilet?'

I just prints 'em.

--the BB

Here it is, folks

Just go to Google Images and type "Obama birth certificate" and you will find it. I got this image via TPM (June 12, 2008).

I know this won't shut some folks up (because it obviously hasn't). I have also learned (in holy mother church, no less) that NOTHING is ever enough for some people. You cannot placate or satisfy them. One can find marvelous freedom in realizing this and ceasing one's attempts to placate or satisfy them. Life not only continues but it gets better.

--the BB

Sunday, February 22, 2009


02/22/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Staff Sgt. Jeremy E. Bessa, 26, of Woodridge IL, died Feb. 20, in Khordi, Afghanistan, when his military vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device followed by small arms fire attack by enemy forces.

02/22/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualy
Master Sgt. David L. Hurt, 36, of Tucson, AZ, died Feb. 20, in Kandahar, Afghanistan...when his military vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device followed by small arms fire attack by enemy forces.

02/21/09 :
DoD Identifies Air Force Casualty
Staff Sgt. Timothy P. Davis, 28, of Aberdeen, Wash., died Feb. 20 near Bagram, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla.

Father of all, we pray to you for those we love, but see no longer: Grant them your peace; let light perpetual shine upon them; and, in your loving wisdom and almighty power, work in them the good purpose of your perfect will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


I began doing this when I was horrified to note the count reaching 4,000. I do not want the American people to ignore this. Nor am I concerned solely with American deaths and not Iraqi or Afghan deaths. They all count.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
PFC Cwislyn K. Walter, 19, of Honolulu died Feb. 19 in Kuwait City, Kuwait, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. She was assigned to the 29th Special Troops Battalion, 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team...

Into paradise may the angels lead you. At your coming may the martyrs receive you, and bring you into the holy city Jerusalem.

I threw a very petite Oscar party

Which is to say I invited a chum over. I cooked and cleaned (oh yes, two loads of laundry today too) for several hours. I am so ready for bed.

Following Margaret's repeated urgings, I also went to church today.

This is why there is such light blogging.
--the BB

As my momma would say:

How can anyone be so stupid and live?

Well his father was Kenyan and they said he was born in Hawaii, but I haven't seen any birth certificate. You have to be born in America to be president.
--Sen. Richard Shelby, Alabama, on Obama

Hey, Senator Rocks-for-Brains, the certificate is out there. Just because you haven't seen it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I'm assuming you DO know Hawaii is part of the United States. And did you have any questions about your colleague John McCain who was born in Panamá yet is considered a U. S. citizen?

It's scary that Republicans tell so many damned lies they wind up believing them.
--the BB

This one's for Margaret

The Mint (while stopped in traffic on Market Street)

The lagoon in front of the Palace of Fine Arts

The Bay viewed from Moeser Lane, El Cerrito

San Pablo Bay viewed from Mare Island

Another view from Mare Island in the late afternoon

Enjoy, darlin'!
--the BB

Heart thread - 02/22/2009

I went to bed early again, so awoke to an update sent last night from my niece:
Spoke with Jeremy this afternoon; Katie's Dr has said that he will try oral meds starting Monday. If this works she may be able to go home at the end of the week. Praise The Lord! (Jeremy is scared and has mixed feelings) Pray for continued patience; (this is quite a stress for a new marriage) Safety for the babies and parents...Jeremy is running on very little sleep, trying to work and spend time at the hospital. Strength and comfort for beds are awful and with the IV, monitors, and of course, the twins wrestling, Katie spends most of her time looking for a comfortable position.
Katie's mom has made arrangements to stay for another week. Please pray for all the grandparents as we continue to deal with the worry and seeming helplessness of this situation.
God is in control, We just want to help him in dealing with this!! :)
Jann has a great sense of humor; hence the emoticon at the idea of helping God. [If you come to this late, my grandnephew's wife began very early labor and they are trying to keep the twin babies growing in the womb. My niece is a pediatric intensive care nurse so she is more aware than most of both possibilities for treatment and risks to the babies.]

I am running behind on other updates and requests but here are some more.

From Mimi (on Friday):
There is good news from Arkansas this morning!

Roseann's MRI results are in, and there is NO BREAK! She suffered a very bad bruise, and is being treated with some pain meds and Attavan for the anxiety. She ate some dinner last night and following dialysis this morning she will go home.

There will be a breast biopsy done in March, but that was expected.

She is greatly relieved, and Thanks the entire OCICBW blog Community for the prayers and good wishes sent for her and Gary.

You folks are simply awesome!!

Blessings to you all.


To which Mimi added this good news last night:
Roseann Is Home!
You can talk to Roseann at her blog now. She is so glad to be home, and she's quite emotional, which is understandable, and I have to say that I am, too. Please continue to pray for her and for her husband who has much to do as he works two jobs and takes care of things at home, too. Roseann can't do much now. I am so happy for her!
I lift this longer-than-usual one from OCICBW. It comes from KJ who just had a birthday.
With the excitement of my birthday past, it's time to get back to the business of prayer, for which, I find myself in need.

First, my sister, Karen, wishes to send thanks for the prayers of the community (She's a very proper sort, but can't resist a laugh when I quote the Mad One.). She is doing well as her breast cancer treatment heads toward completion in July.

Now, since the praying, and non-praying, of the OCICBW community has proven to be the stuff of sustenance, I bring a few more requests.

At the end of last year Mom, 80, was diagnosed with adult hydrocephalus, but defers the treatment necessary (placement of a shunt to decrease cerebrospinal fluid). Given other medical conditions, I cannot fault her. However, the symptoms wax and wane, primarily causing greatly reduced mobility.

However, today (Friday the 20th), I'm off to the doctor with my dad (81). A mass, assumed to be malignant (Biopsy will confirm, but the docs seem pretty certain on the call.), has been discovered in his colon, and the process toward surgery initiated. Dad is a man of deep faith, and lives the difference between "adversity" versus "adventure." Of course, he worries about the care of my mom as he receives the care he needs. We'll get that sorted.

On a more personal note, something I'm not terribly good at, the past few years have been rather challenging for my partner and I as he has faced multiple back surgeries, which have unfortunately resulted in long-term pain management with the use of the "big gun" paid meds. This is further complicated, and compounds, long-term mental health challenges. All of this has resulted in the docs and his employer placing him on long-term disability. His employer has been generous, and with SS income, I believe we'll be fiscally solvent, but all has transpired with emotional challenges as the loss of what was, or what we thought would be, becomes the new "normal." I'm working on that "adventure" versus "adversity" stuff and seeking the help I need. That does not come easily for me. Being the OCICBW prudish post-evangelical poster boy (The OCICBWPPEPB) helps, as do long walks. The attached picture is from a recent walk through one of our local wetland preserves. As you can see, it's still winter in the the Pacific Northwest.

Peace of Christ,
In my own muddled way I have been keeping Karen in my prayers ever since I first saw KJ's request, even though I could never remember which one of the OCICBW regulars was her brother. Maybe now I will be able to pray for "Karen, KJ's sister."

+Maya gives an update on here canon to the extraordinary, Jane R:
My Jane is a little on the tired and discouraged side, so she's not being as creative as she might be. She's also working hard because she teaches in the early morning and all evening the first half of the week and then there are meetings and then she wants to sleep. What she really wants to do is sleep some more and also be a solitary writer. She's having trouble making sentences these days, though. Also she wants a vacation. I think she will get one, in a few months, but right now it's not there. I am compensating for this by taking extra naps. I am even more beautiful and soft than usual these days and Jane is noticing. So she's not completely in the Slough of Despond.

They are lovely; see photo here.

Jane also begins a discussion on intercessory prayer.

Kirstin has another moving post, sharing all the precious things she is learning through the most difficult process. We must not forget her. Prayers for strength and focus and abiding hope and deep connectedness - don't forget coherent expression as she does her seminary work! Hugs all around.

spiritual maturity is holding heartbreak and hope in healthy tension

--from Margaret's notes on Parker Palmer talking with Bill Moyer

Tobias has sent off the page proofs of his book. Prayers for blessings on his ministry of reasoned discourse!

Bob Herbert had a column yesterday in the NYT called "The Invisible War." It is a grave cause for prayer and action.

Perhaps we’ve heard so little about them because the crimes are so unspeakable, the evil so profound.

For years now, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, marauding bands of soldiers and militias have been waging a war of rape and destruction against women. This sustained campaign of mind-bending atrocities, mostly in the eastern part of the country, has been one of the strategic tools in a wider war that has continued, with varying degrees of intensity, since the 1990s. Millions have been killed.

Women and girls of all ages, from old women to very young children, have been gang-raped, and in many cases their sexual organs have been mutilated. The victims number in the hundreds of thousands. But the world, for the most part, has remained indifferent to their suffering.
For the cessation of all war crimes, this included, and for the healing of the minds and bodies of these women and girls.

As always, feel free to add your own requests and thanksgivings in the comments.

--the BB