Thursday, April 29, 2010


I have been thinking about Mother's Day quite a bit this year. To be honest, I think about Mother's Day every year because my birthday, my MIL's birthday, and Mother's Day are always together on the same weekend. It's a big weekend, and people from my husband's family start asking early about my wish list. Usually I am ready to provide a litany of "I wannas" because there are always material things that catch my eye or would be fun to own. Yet this year I am feeling the lull of satisfaction. This year I don't have a list nor do I have something expensive I am saving up for that could be accomplished through a collection of birthday cash. So, I don't really know what I want. My own mother has been at this stage for years. She became even more deeply entrenched in the "I don't need a thing" stage once her dementia set in. She isn't into clothes, and my dad makes sure she wears appropriate outfits. She has never been a woman that enjoyed potions and makeup. She can't read very well because she can't remember from one reading session to the next. Plus she always went to the library because back in her reading prime she could devour numerous mystery novels at a time. She no longer knits or watches tv or socializes. She really wants for nothing because her life has become limited. She needs my father (and her medicine) and honestly she's satisfied. She'd probably love a bottle of wine and a large bag of chocolate, but besides that, there's nothing. (I am my mother's daughter as I just figured out my wish list - wine and chocolate!) So I have started thinking, what can I give her besides the predictable phone call? And then it came to me - some memories. This is a woman of great strength, beauty, compassion, and stubbornness, and she can't remember. She feels so grateful and blessed to have us as her children. She doesn't remember her part in molding us into who we have become. I need tell her we (her children) were the ones God blessed when He gave us the parents He did. Therefore, for Mother's Day, I want to share some of my mother's wisdom, recipes, and humor with you as I prepare it to give back to her.

To be continued...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

History of Whiskers

Three years ago, for Key's fifth birthday, we got him pet firebelly frogs. They hated our house, refused to eat, and one eventually starved to death. Before our second frog could commit suicide, we took him back to the pet store so that they could "make him all better". Needless to say, Key felt as though his birthday present had gone badly, and he wanted a do over. So, a year ago, we went and got Whiskers, our pet rabbit. She was a sweet, precious, little baby rabbit when we brought her home. However, over a course of several months she turned aggressive and mean, especially towards the boys. Kelly, Key's little brother, was not very gentle with Whiskers, and would run by the cage growling, so he didn't help the entire situation. We had given her lots of room in our laundry room, but she was still quite frantic. Eventually we went to talk with the manager of the pet store to get some advice on dear ole' Whiskers. Well, it turned out we had accidentally been sold a male bunny instead of a female bunny and "she" (he) was in heat and locked in our laundry room. What would probably help would be for Whiskers to have a "friend". The manager suggested we find a stuffed "friend" about the same size as Whiskers, and Whiskers could then calm himself down by having a companion. Goodwill was right next door, and in the front window, lo and behold, was a stuffed rabbit about the same size as our precious Whiskers. They boys were SOOO excited. They each had a stuffed friend they slept with at night, so why shouldn't Whiskers have one too? I must let you know that their friends are used a bit differently than our rabbit's friend is used. When we got home, the boys promptly gave Whiskers his new friend, and sat down outside the laundry room to watch "her" play. Oh. My. We wash Whiskers' friend once a week. That's all I have to say. Anyway, now that the weather is warmer, we have been able to take Whiskers in his cage outside to enjoy some fresh air. One night recently, we left him outside and he escaped his cage. He is now living in our backyard, particularly loves our shed, and still comes back to the cage to eat and poop. We must have done a good job with the potty training! He likes his new life, and we have enjoyed watching him run free. He even likes us more now, and will come up to us even though he doesn't have to. It's working out for the here and now.

So, now that you have the background information, you must also know that my boys love Frog and Toad. With all this in mind, the whole family has had fun imagining up stories for Whiskers. And that is why we are publishing Adventures With Whiskers, here on my blog, for all of you to enjoy!

Adventures with Whiskers: A Game of Dragons and Giants

One day Frog and Toad came for a cup of tea and a rousing game of Dragons and Giants. Whiskers had invited them for quite awhile, but had only recently escaped to a home large enough for visitors. After sipping a strong cup of tea, the three friends were prepared to conquer the backyard. It takes special tea for such an adventure!

First they hopped out of the shed o' brambles into the wild,and saw a strange looking rope. It was scaly and had many colors and patterns. This rope seemed to be saying, "Ssssssss!" Oh, My! Quickly, Frog threw a boomerang at the SNAKE, and all three friends escaped.

The next obstacle they came upon looked like some sort of jail. It was made of green bars on all sides, but there was an open door. Whiskers vaguely thought this jail looked familiar, but could not quite remember why. Slowly, Whiskers, Frog, and Toad all hopped in to have a look around. They were so interested in a large bowl in the corner that was filled with brown pellets, they did not hear the two giant cream colored monsters approach. Suddenly, the big open door closed, and a huge clip slid through the bars. The three friends were trapped! Frantically, Whiskers, Frog, and Toad searched for an escape. Whiskers found another way out of this jailhouse through a top trapdoor. The two monsters were so surprised they reached out to grab the three friends, but were much too slow for these quick hoppers. Whiskers thought all of this felt a bit like deja vu!

All of this excitement had made the three friends tired, so they decided to hop back to the shed o' brambles for another sweet treat. Along the way, a large group of rabbits blocked their path. These rabbits were furious! They had found this land first and needed to protect it from the likes of well dressed Frog and Toad. No strangers could be allowed. Luckily, Whiskers had just recently befriended a few members of this rabbit family. After explaining Frog and Toad were his visitors, and they were going home for sweet treats, the other rabbits welcomed the visitors to the neighborhood. All three friends and Whiskers' neighbors went back to the shed o' brambles for cookies and strong tea.

Meanwhile, Turtle was just arriving with a special housewarming gift....

by Key Hatch and Patty Hatch

(To be continued)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wedding Dress Project: Entry #2

As many of you know, my church is collecting wedding dresses for Rwandan women. Women in Rwanda rent their dresses, and there simply aren't enough rental companies. Therefore, by us donating dresses to our sister province, women in the Kibungo Diocese will be able to start a business which can help provide living wages to other women and further connects us with those that have given us so much of themselves in many, many ways.

You may wonder, "What have they given us? In what ways?"

Testament like no other I have ever heard. Testament of love, faith, forgiveness, and joy born out of torture, terrorizing agony, loss, gross unfairness - genocide. A thought struck me while driving. The women that will be wearing the dresses we give were children during the 100 day genocide in 1994 that took the lives of almost one million people.

One day = 10,000 deaths : Rwandan genocide = 4 Haitian earthquakes or 4 Indonesian tsunamis : 100 days = 1 year of Hitler's reign

I am estimating these figures, but they help us grab a piece of perspective.

The point is, the women wearing our dresses were little when their country, their province, their village, their homes, their parents, brothers, sisters, and cousins were thrown into chaos, burned, murdered or forced to be murderers. They went into hiding. They witnessed it up close and survived, maybe at the sacrifice of a family member's life. They will never, ever, ever, be the same. Some of these young people are the children of victims. Some are the children of murderers. They live side by side, literally next door to each other. The government, local leaders, and people have made it so. Assassins that have confessed and asked forgiveness are to live in the town they ravaged. Next to the families they ravaged. They are all to learn to live together so that this never, ever, ever happens again. And because of this unprecedented movement of forgiveness among people both Christian and Nonchristian, there is hope. There are weddings to be had. Vows to be taken. Bonds to be created under God's many blessings. And we may learn by the Rwandans' humbling and powerful example.

The other gift we have received from the Rwandans affects those now connected with the Anglican Church of North America, but is a lesson for us all. There have been many issues among Anglicans worldwide, and within the Episcopal branch here in the United States, mediation was sought from the larger communion by those upset with lots of stuff. Leaders wrote a letter back in 1998 to the world leaders of the Anglican communion asking for help in mediation, since the Episcopalians could not resolve issues on their own. The only person in the entire worldwide communion that offered to help was the Rwandan bishop. The reason he answered the call - Four years earlier, in 1994, during the 100 day genocide, he had sent out a call for help to the world. Not one person answered his call. Not one. Not you. Not me. Not anyone. And he never wanted anyone to feel how hopeless he felt. Not one. So despite his country's poverty stricken, grieving, war torn status, he offered to help if he could. He offered his heart so that the priests asking for mediation in the US would not feel ignored and alone. That's all. And it, to them, was everything. Missional churches have been planted in lots of places. The Africans have come to minister to the Americans. And it is a beautiful relationship.

So now y'all know why I am so passionate about this project. I am learning to listen to my heart about balance in my life while still honoring God. I can't help everyone. I'm not supposed to. But this project, it pulls at me. If you also feel called to help, just keep reading.

Ways you can still help:

Donations of wedding, bridesmaids, and flower girl dresses are still being taken for a few more weeks.

Monetary donations are also accepted. We are collecting funds to help cover shipping costs, the purchase of a sewing machine, and start up funds to add a dry cleaning business to the dress rental company.

If you would like information about this project, I would be happy to put you in touch with Cookie Richardson, who's leading up our church's part in it. Just let me know!

Also, if you want to know more about the genocide and the acts of forgiveness, look up As We Forgive by Catherine Claire Larson, and the movie also titled As We Forgive by Laura Waters Hinson. The book and movie use different stories to tell about the same event. I have read the book, and will someday soon get up the courage to watch the movie.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bury me

Bury me in the river. Let my ashes drift down with the icy waters. Dust to dust, I want to return to the Earth to travel the currents through the mountain river stream.

I love going to the mountains. It's where I was raised, and the very air makes my lungs feel cleaner. My body responds as though it knows it's home. I just simply feel alive in the mountains. Maybe it is the feeling of being small in such a big space, but I fit there. When the boys and I were rock hopping, I had a thought that I allowed to linger, and I found joy in the idea. It might be the first time I can say I have seen joy in thinking about my own death. I hate thinking about death in relation to anyone I know - me, my husband, our families, and especially my children. I could easily send myself into a panic attack as we speak if I surrendered my mind to that rabbit trail of thoughts and "what if" fears of mine. However, despite all that, I found a joyful thought standing on the rocks barefoot in the middle of the river in Tennessee. I pictured my family sprinkling ashes in the water. My soul would be safe, and my body back where it feels at home.

Now, I am not saying one should take this as my final plans, but what I realized that moment in thought, is that there can be comfort in being insignificant. There is comfort in imagining your soul resting in God's hands with those that passed before. And there was even for one moment a little comfort with the idea of death as not painful, but natural and graceful like the running mountain stream.