Random Thoughts About the Smithsonian Magazine

While vegitating on the couch last night, I was perusing this month’s issue of the Smithsonian. I came across a couple of things that I thought were interesting…

In the article “Let There Be Light”, by Richard Conniff, he states: “Even today in developing regions, the arrival of the light bulb often leads to a decline in the birth rate and the expansion of literacy.” Of course, that totally makes sense – bring light to an area and people get busy doing things other than, um, well, getting busy… But it hit me when I read this, how incredible it is that something as small and insignificant as a lightbulb, can change the way a society behaves. How facinating is that?!?!

The other item I came across is about the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt exhibit. It is primarily an exhibit about inventions that could be helpful “for 90% of the worlds population who are poor.” There was a cool water filter that can render contaminated water potable. There was a leg powered water pump to help irrigate crops. There was a really neat idea a guy came up with using two pots – one large, one small. He placed the small pot inside the larger one, insulated the space between with mud, and placed a cloth over the top. Due to evaporation this turned into a food cooler, which helps to preserve items like produce. Pretty neat, huh?

Then the last item mentioned was a $100 laptop “that will be given to poor children in the developing world.” Something about that just doesn’t jive with me. I mean, come on, these people are just trying to live. They are on a quest for clean water, food, and shelter; they are struggling for survival against the elements, animals, and crackpot terroristic dictators. What good is a laptop in this situation? Maybe they can swat at a charging animal with it…

Oh, yeah – and where exactly are they going to plug it in?

Lessons on forgiveness by a three year old

Luke 17:3-4 “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”

A couple of days ago, I witnessed a scene that is replayed in our home a number of times every week. My 5-year-old son, moments after being warned leave his brother and his brother’s toy alone, snatched said toy right out of the 3-year-old’s hands and took off running. Tigger whined. Woody was scolded, and sent to time out to think about his behavior. After a Mommy hug, Tigger went on playing. Several minutes later, Woody’s punishment was complete; he left time out, and apologized for his offense. Tigger’s response, while rather ordinary, touched my heart. He said “It’s okay, Woody, gimme a hug!” They hugged, giggled, and all was well. Each time this happens, the result is always the same, Tigger says “It’s okay. Give me a hug.”

As I reflect and contemplate the scene, I am reminded of verses from Luke 17:3-4. It says if your brother repents, you forgive, pretty much regardless of the number of times it may occur, if he repents, you forgive. While I’d like to be the smiling, proud parent shining my fingernails on my lapel, saying “my boy learned that from me.” I must confess I have a great deal to learn about forgiveness. Often when I am the one who is offended and an apology is offered, I am so selfishly busy being angry;or upset; or irritated; or frustrated; or “fill-in-the-blank”;at the offender, I miss the opportunity to forgive.

And, isn’t that just what the enemy wants? When we’re selfish “ when we hang on to our hurts, sometimes even cherishing them, we can cultivate them into a wound. A wound we can show the world and cry, “Look at what he did to me. He injured me. He did this to me. He deserves the blame. He is worthy of your condemnation. I ought to have your condolences and sympathy. Feel bad for me. Waaa, waaa, waaa!” When we have a pity party, we become the victim, the offender becomes the villain, and the enemy becomes the victor. While I am not a theology scholar, I’m quite certain that is not what God intended.

Colossians 3: 13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

On the occasion when I take a step back and am obedient to the scripture “forgive as I was forgiven,” an amazing thing happens. I am quickly filled with His sense of peace. I can forgive, offer a hug, and move on. No one has to become the victim.

My (almost) 3-year-old has taught me valuable a lesson on forgiveness. The next time I have the opportunity to forgive when it’s asked for (and sometimes even when it isn’t) I can decide how to respond. I can choose to be a selfish victim, or I can choose to forgive and say “It’s okay. Give me a hug.”

We have had some REALLY LONG DAYS!

This week has flown by in record speed, although the days have seemed endlessly long! Tigger and I made it back from a whirlwind adventure to the hospital yesterday. What started as a cough on Tuesday, turned into Croup/struggling to breathe by 4:30 Wednesday morning.

Tigger came in to wake us up at 4:30, because he was fighting for each breath. His cough sounded like a barking seal , and his chest was moving in ways I didn’t think possible, it would sink in with each breath while his tummy distended with each breath. (I now know this is called Stridor.) I immediately took him into the bathroom and turned on the hot shower, so we could create a steam room. Moist air is supposed to help the wheezing. We spent 30 minutes in there, steam was even coming out from under the door! However, it had absolutely NO effect on him. So, off to the Emergency Department of Methodist Mansfield Hospital. (As a side note: we are SO lucky to have such a great facility so close to our home. It was clean, had shiny, new equipment, and a caring, sensitive staff. They did wonders to calm an anxious mommy!)

Once we arrived at the hospital, we breezed through triage, and were sent back to a room. Doctors and nurses worked on him with breathing treatments, IVs, injections, x-rays, etc. But, after 2 breathing treatments, he showed little improvement. Apparently, that’s the cut-off when this hospital says, “you need to go to a pediatric hospital”. I was startled to hear that we would be transported via “Teddy Bear Transport” (aka ambulance) to Cook Children’s Hospital. We arrived at Cooks, went immediately to an ERoom, doctors and nurses buzzed around him again. He had another breathing treatment. This time he improved, but he still had some airway restrictions, as you could hear each breath.

We were admitted around noon, just about the time Woody and Hubby showed up. Woody had his own adventure for the morning as he attended some business meetings with Hubby. We ate lunch in the ER, and then moved upstairs to the 5th floor of Cooks. Woody and Tigger were amazed at all of the kid movies that were on the television, but I guess that’s what you’d get at a Children’s hospital, huh? We all watched movies, while waiting for the doctor. When the doctor came in, he explained what was going on with Tigger’s Croup. He said that when Tigger can go 12 hours without needing a breathing treatment, we’ll be able to go home.

It was sort of funny, every time there was a pause in the day, Tigger would ask, “Are we done?” Poor guy, I know he was tired of being poked and prodded. He was also very concerned about where his family members were. “Where’s Daddy? Woody? Granny? Beba?” He asked about them almost as often as he asked if we were done.

Hubby came back after his meetings and we spent some time together. We determined that he should go ahead and take me back to Methodist Mansfield, so I could pick up my car, and stop by the house for a change of clothes. The nurse looked in on Tigger, while we went to resolve logistical problems. I made it back to Tigger’s bedside in a little over an hour and a half. When I entered his room, he was sleeping sideways on the bed. Then, as I went to adjust his position, I noticed he was covered in sweat, struggling for his breath, and he had stridor. I let the nurse know, she swiftly contacted the Respiratory Therapist to administer another breathing treatment about 10pm. Tigger’s airways opened and his breathing noises decreased drastically, and we were able to get some sleep. Which, in itself is somewhat of a miracle, considering the screaming children and crying babies. I could hear Tigger breathing until about 2am, I think the steroids finally kicked in at that point. He slept well, and his demeanor when he woke, relayed how well he was feeling. He got up and colored, played with a puzzle, looked through books, ate his breakfast, hopped around the room like a frog saying “ribbit, ribbit, ribbit” – generally, became his usual flurry of activity. It was an amazing change from the boy who just wanted to lay in bed the day before.

The doctor came in and saw how well Tigger was doing, and said he’d probably be able to go home, he just had to clear it with the Attending physician. We did finally get discharged around 2pm. Tigger was very happy to go home.

Docs orders were to restrict his activity level, so he’s been watching TV. Woody has been quite thrilled to jump on his little brother’s bandwagon, as he loves to vegitate. 🙂

Oh, and did I mention that all of this was only hours after I had to have an abscessed tooth removed? Late Tuesday afternoon, I saw the dentist about an aching tooth, one that had a root canal almost 2 years ago. I didn’t know a tooth that had a root canal could sense pain, but I sure learned otherwise! Hopefully, it will feel better soon. I’m ready for all pain to go away.

So much to say, so little free time!

I really have been meaning to write, but it has been hectic around the E’s house. We just completed several home projects…painting the garage floor, installing a new kitchen sink, and installing a new faucet to go with it. I’m still working on painting the dining room. I have most of one wall completed, but it has taken at least 4 coats so this project may suck up more time than I originally thought…guess that’s what happens when you go from white to deep red!

Also want to mention the fact that we had snow, yes, you read correctly – we had snow for Easter! April in Texas – real snow! Boy, God has a sense of humor!

I read about the passing of B.C. comic creator Johnny Hart. It somehow seems comforting that he should pass on Easter weekend. Godspeed to a genius cartoonist who had wonderful warm humor.

Hmmm, let’s see there was something else, oh yes, my darling husband took some photos of a lightning storm we had 2 days before the snow.

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