Sunday, July 26, 2009


It sure would be nice to email leftovers to others. and then to e-wave them to the dinner table.
Maybe in 2050 we will have a way to invent a procedure to send over the net the great tasty dishes that the Marthas of the world create!!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

graduation day~~~

No caps and gowns this time around. Yet, my dad graduates to a new phase in his life as he moves across the bridge and over into the Holbrrook community of Piper Shores.

My dad's stuff has been moved to the assisted living community of Piper Shores. As my mom mentioned earlier in the week, my dad told her in a lucid moment, " let us count the number of living rooms our family members are going to have." I was even thinking the same thought. We will have 5 for our family members, one for each one of us.
And my dad is getting a whole big closet again and when I stay, I will be able to be in his old room and will have the whole room to myself. You see, I graduated from sleeping on an inflatable bed in the room to being in my own twin luxury bed next to my dad and now the whole room to myself.

My dad and i look alike and at birth, people knew whose son I was. It will seem different when i go up to visit next month not having my roommate whom I have spent time in many states from Arizona to Minnesota to Maine. But there comes a time in life when those transitions need to be made. We talked about it frequently in a "if things don't improve, you' ll go over the bridge to Holbrook assisted living. Not that I am positively thrilled with the outcome but I am relieved that Dad will be watched and if he tries to take a 3 am shower, he will have staff monitoring his activities and he will have activities to participate in.

To get ready for the move, my mom had to label the linens and clothing with laundry marker -almost reminding her of getting her kids ready for camp. That is the benefit of having built in respite for caregiving. Maybe this change will refresh everyone involved and be a full blessing for our family as well.

That is the trouble with dementia and not being fully aware of one's surroundings. I read in the winter a great book, Still Alice, by Lisa Genova who illustrated alzheimers from the perspective of the patient and the downward spiral. It was funny and yet poignant in parts. I have witnessed similar things in my dad since he has an alzheimer's type dementia.

And I know God was in this whole adventure when one of the cleaning staff who helped clean my folk's unit showed my dad what one of the assisted living rooms, C309 , looked like and then when mom shared with the nursing staff of his activity at night, they took action and approved him for the room.

So life has its changes yet Dad will have activities with peers his own age and condition. Something that has been really needed yet not present when he was on the independent side.

So no more snoring or risings up to witness. Let's hope that is not me in 35 years from now. But that is the beauty of life care, thanks to be introduced to it by my dad's sister, Marion, who was a nurse in Florida and lived in that very kind of community.

And thanks to my mom's keen eye in seeing Piper Shores in Down East one summer advertised even before shovels went in the ground. For they even went on site during construction with their hard hats to witness its going up.

So don't forget to turn your tassel to the side, Dad,when you walk into C309 and enjoy the new chapter in life as well.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Transitions and moves

It is hard for me to accept transitions in life. I learned that my dad is going to transition over to assisted living in the Piper Shores complex. Hard to take that kind of news sometimes. Yet, when aging accentuates quickly with dementia and parkinsons, that is inevitable. And God's grace was present since a room opened up this past week and my folks saw it beforehand.

Lord, in life, there are all kinds of transitions. I think of when you created the universe. That was a big transition going from a big black void of darkness and then going into this beautiful dazzling world of light, even with the mars on it with the disorders and diseases that prevent my dad from living a productive elderly era like I see others in their 80's doing.
But God, you give my mom strength and the resources within Piper Shores and you opened up the slot at just the right time so that your hand is present. Lord, help me not throw my fist in the air in madness but help me realize your hand is upon our family.

Help me Lord to realize transitions happen. Even this morning at church, I heard a friend say that someone moved to heaven and the person's body expired. A different way of looking at it.

God, you have made other transitions in life. There is the one where once you created the universe and the planets and everything that lives on the planet earth, you then made Jesus as an infant over two-thousand years ago. And you helped him through his terrible twos and his adolescence and his early adulthood. You gave Him wisdom and perseverance. You also gave Him the ability to stay away from the devil's schemes and yet, you had Him die on a tree and go to a grave and descend to Hell for our sins, BUT you raised Him from the dead. So thanks for your example, that you are in the moving business. Help me accept the moves within my own parent's lives and help me Lord not to angry but to look to you for the comfort and encouragement as I reach out to others as well.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The music of our lives

Ever consider yourself at the center of a big concert stage and our audience are the folks who influence our very lives.

Music is an integral part of my life. For me the enjoyment of it goes back to when I was in elementary school and our class put on a concert for the town. One of the songs, In the Çorner of the world we sang many times. My mom and dad came to the concert and at the end, I was thoroughly exhausted from having sung it that I could not speak too clearly, but enjoyed the moments sitting at the kitchen table slowly sipping some hot chocolate.

Singing music has been a passion of mine as I have sung as part of my congregation and youth led fellowships and bible studies. We spent time in the dorm room singing praise songs to 'God and each other while Amanda played her guitar and I enjoyed repeating the refrains over and over with my friends. Hearing the melody of the words wash over each other. Imagining what the lyricist must have felt when he created the full-bodied tunes.

At my sunday morning class, I get to hear the choir and vocal teams rehearse their pieces before the service starts. It has a magical quality being below where the music is sung and hearing it in the distance creates a special sense that does not get duplicated when I am in the midst of the congregation singing those same words. They are the same exact words and melody but being immersed in it, it is hard to capture that same essence.

Many times when i am getting ready for work in the morning, I will sing tunes that come to me at random to me-making me like a juke box where I randomly put in a quarter and out comes one of the songs listed on the roster of tunes.
Yet, I tried that during a retreat as I was getting showered at 6 in the morning and Paul sternly told me, "please Scott, no singing in the shower at this time of morning, even with your love of the Lord. Hey, we men are trying to sleep!!:" Yet, that never deterred me at home as I will spontaneously burst out in song with part of a popular lyric, and it does not matter if I get lost midway through the first verse. Singing it is like reciting poetry, hearing the words rhythmically dance across the air.

Music has a special effect on my friend, Gary, from the Kennedy Center. I brought him and his housemates to our christmas holiday program at church and he made a special connection with the choir even before he became part of our congregation.
He refers to it periodically of how special the choir members are to him. Mike in the choir has been very helpful in providing him and myself with rides and spending time at dinners and baseball games. Judy is special to Gary's heart in the way she speaks to him and stands sturdily besides him and can encourage him if he has had a rough week. They became part of his extended family.
Even though Gary can not sing the words eloquently, what comes from his inner being and soul is genuine.

Classical music is another one of my passions. I attend the local Bridgeport Symphony at the Klein auditorium and have been a faithful subscriber for the last few seasons. It is great to be able to hear the various composer's works performed before the able-bodied hands of Gustav Meier. Meier travels a great distance from Switzerland to conduct these concerts but he makes a good connection with his audience.

I go with several from my building,, and we sit together in a row of the red upholstered chairs. My neighbor Polly, across the hall from me, humbly performs some solo pieces from memory since she is legally blind and no one would know that she has this handicap;. Often when I am passing by the hall and hear her playing I will stop for a moment and enjoy her few brief strokes at the piano , Janet my neighbor who drives several of us to and from the symphony observes often of how before Meier came the symphony was not as great as it is now with his international fame. Intertwined in the concerts are stories that Meier tells of the composers lives and what the pieces of the music reflect in life at the time. He likes to tell of colorful dances and movements reflecting the moods of love found and love lost. At times after he puts down the microphone after making his few comments, he bows curtly to the audience and his white head of hair shows and his love for the music flows smoothly out of him as he conducts his pieces with poise and grace.
When I listen to the pieces, I find it hard to interpret them the same way that he shares, but it offers me a moment to appreciate the piece a little differently than if I were to hear it walking through the mall or hearing it over the radio at work.
When I walk through the concert hall, I will meet up with several friends that I have not seen in a while to catch up on her their lives are.

One summer when in our rental cottage in Maine , mom took a Sarah Brightman CD out of its case and played it during our lunchtime. I never before heard such a crystal clear voice and we enjoyed listening to her. Later that fall when i was home in Bridgeport, i noticed the local Arena at Harbor Yard was presenting, Sarah Brightman's Harem tour in concert. I immediately booked the ticket and sat in Section 106 directly across from where the stage was set up. I was seated midway up from the arena floor and it provided me with a birds-eye view as she moved amongst her dancers and was lifted high on her trapeze as she sang the songs while she wore her flowing white gown and had her hair adorned with a bright crystal crown. A lot of the songs had a middle eastern component but the words and tones were rich and fertile with meaning.. Reflecting of how in that part of the world during early civilization's new birth.
I just sat there dazzled and amazed at the beauty of her music having just discovered her a few months prior through a borrowed CD collection that we randomly opened up and listened to her.
After the concert, I purchased several of her CDs and have most of her music at home and my mom has done the same thing. Occasionally when we are together in Maine, mom will put on one of her CDS and listen to it also amazed at the clarity of her voice.

One saturday when I was getting together with friends at the local Andros diner, George Paci commented maybe there will be door prizes that day. When my friend Mark was at the diner, he commented that he recently updated his ipod and was looking to sell his used one. I often saw this ipod in his car as he played it while giving me a ride home from an event. He showed it and I took it and tried on the headphones and spun the dial back and forth getting a handle on how it operates. I subsequently have added several thousand songs and podcasts from collections from the itunes music store and from my own personal collection of cds. Yet, I rarely take the time to dust it off and turn it on to be inspired by all kinds of excellent genres of music that are out there. Yet, there is a world out there that I should myself of so I can someday during a retreat perform a different routine in the shower and maybe win an audience of Paul and the others of my singing in the shower. Yet, I have gotten no encores for my 6 am performance. Definitely would be not be sung to sold-out concert halls and definitely without Michael's swagger and without a white glove.

I have found that music is to be lived and loved. And I am thankful for the composers and songwriters who have magically put together notes and words in such a way that they are celebrated world wide in the presence of our friends and family.

Friday, July 03, 2009

the Lord's pain

Being the Lord's disciple is never easy. Especially when having to make decisions that I hope will work out to the best.
I can imagine Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane telling his best friends of his future without them. Of how He does not want to burden them with much of the pain and sorrow that will follow throughout their life in the walk through Bethlehem. Of just wanting to tell them of what they can handle. And not burdening them further.
For even Peter, one of Jesus' closest disciples had trouble with His master's instructions to keep awake and not fall asleep.

This week I was asked to arrange a ride for a good friend of mine who does not drive and does not have a full understanding of the nuances of life. In my arrangement for his ride, I knew that it might not work perfectly but I provided all the details needed re phone numbers, address and the like. When the plans failed to happen in my friend, Gary, not making it to the game, I felt bad deep down inside in not having gone to some other key players in his life. I was trying to extend those who he could know and interact with. Yet, it back fired badly.

Lord, I can understand a little more of how you in your life had a few back fires in your life. but I am very thankful that you have the power to create great things such as the universe just from your speaking.

And how you gave us imagination to create things out of nothing that was there before.

And being caregivers for others who are dependent on them is not easy. For I see it in my life. With my father dependent on my mother for his care and well being. Of my mom being responsible for my grandmother and with my being dependent on others and mass transit to get me to where I need to go.

Yet, Lord, you are marvelous. For you care for the sparrows among us and have left us the Holy Spirit. Yet, Lord, I am having trouble accessing the Holy spirit lately. As if I have forgotten the password to open it up. I know your Bible is there but I have failed to open and diligently study it!!!
Lord help to realize that you are at my side!!!!!

praise be to your never ending grace!!!!

For He does this eloquently in the upper room discourse. And He tells them in John 14 to not be afraid. Just as Joshua tells others, to not be afraid.