forty eight

It has been a strange, trying, and exhausting forty eight hours.

Saturday morning, my mom called me about twenty minutes before I was to begin teaching my morning Bible study.

"Alaina, Grandma had a massive stroke. We don't know if she'll make it hours, days, or weeks."

Devastating words. Debilatating words.

My focus was divided for the rest of the retreat and though I love my youth, my heart was not with them. My heart was with my mom, losing her mom.

God is good to me and he has blessed me with retreat leaders who are dynamic and faithful. They quickly took contorl over every aspect of the retreat that I was managing. This freed me to come and be with my mom as she says goodbye to her mom.

As if that wouldn't be hard enough, my grandmother's primary caretaker is my aunt. My aunt who is 31 weeks pregnant. My aunt who was put on bed rest on Friday because her blood pressure was too high. My aunt woke this morning to some bleeding and a few contractions. She was admitted to the hospital and will be monitored for the next 24 hours.

This weekend, my primary message to the youth was a message of Christ-rootedness. When we are rooted in Christ, our perspective on life changes.

My message is being challenged within me, but I rest in the comfort of knowing that it is true.


csa does not stand for communism, socialists, and anarchists

When I told Roommate that I thought we should join a CSA, she looked at me like I had just proposed joining a nudist colony. She didn't know what the letters CSA stood for. Chances are, if you are like most of my friends, you don't either.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Which implies some sort of leftist mentality, but in actuality it is a great way to support local agriculture. Instead of taking out loans in the beginning of the season to cover up front cost, the farmer sells shares to families. In return for their cost, the farmer gives each shareholder a specified amount of his crop each week.

When Roommate understood what a CSA was, she became very excited (not quite the shrill full body shimmy excited, but very excited nonetheless). But then we realized a few impracticalities of our situation and we needed to share a share. I was adamant that this was something that I needed to do. So I talked to La Señorita and her roommate, The Reader. They jumped on board so quickly, they almost pushed me off.

We joined Three Rivers Community Farm and we couldn't be more excited. I am happy because the carbon calorie on my carrot will be low and it will also be free of pesticides. Roommate is happy because we can visit the farm and pick herbs. La Señorita is excited to support the local farmers instead of the conglomerate. The Reader can't wait for November to use her 104 Squash Recipe book.

CSAs exist throughout the country. Many seasons are just beginning, so now is a last minute chance to join. Sites like localharvest.org can help you locate CSAs, farmer's markets, and restaurants serving locally grown foods.

I am going to feel really good about my tomatoes this summer. Supporting local economy. Eating pesticide free food. Sparing the environment a few pounds of carbon.

How does your tomato taste?


light (of life)

When I was a little girl I shared a room with my older sister. Her bed rested in one corner, mine in the opposite. One of our walls was home to a large picture window. The window looked out onto our front lawn and the street beyond that. Not far from the window was a huge old tree. Years later, this tree would die and I would grieve its absence from our yard. Just beyond the tree was a lamp post. The street light lit up the entire block in front of it and a good portion of the small neighborhood park to its rear.

Every night, my sister and I would climb into bed and she would quickly fall asleep. I was never quite so blessed. I would lie awake wondering if I could read my book in the dark by way of my alarm clock's slow blinking numbers. The darkness would settle in and the street light flickered on. The tree and its limbs swayed in the night, their shadows cast eerily on my ceiling.

Even as a young child, reason told me the shadows were not a man, a monster, a sight to fear. Yet my brain crafted frightening tales of monsters lurking on our lawn. My eyes remained open for many nights in fear that if they closed, no one would be awake to protect my sleeping family.

My sleeplessness wore on my young body and soon I caved into fear and told my mom the frightening tale of tree shadows and lurking monsters. She smiled and quickly solved my ordeal with night light that wiped away the swaying peering arms and limbs of the tree.

The light cast away the darkness from my nights and I could rest easily, calmly, without fear.

"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life." -Jesus


real springtime running

Cold weather and running don't go together very well.

Much like cold weather and months spelled A-P-R-I-L don't go together very well.

Through the month of January, I was highly motivated and ran on a treadmill in the basement of the clubhouse at my apartment complex. Those days ended with a trip to Belize (I know, boo-hoo) and a subsequent bouts of food poisoning and overwork poisoning. Now the thought of running on a rotating rubber band makes me simultaneously cringe and convulse. Perhaps it was the singular week at the end of March with temperatures in the 80's that ruined indoor running for me. I ran outside! Lots! It was glorious!

That week was quickly followed by rain, threats of snow, and a blustery cold wind that makes me wonder if Al Gore really does smoke crack (or distort statistics, whatever. same difference.). That was also the week I came down with a case of the "I don't wannas and you can't make mes." This is not a good problem to have when you are trying to get back in shape. (For what you ask? Ummm. I don't know. Life.)

This week, I have determined that I will turn into some sort of crab apple (in attitude and appearance) if I don't shed the pout and get out there and run. It's amazing what a few tough runs will do to you. Despite the lingering chilliness normally reserved for months that are spelled M-A-R-C-H, I have hit the road four times in the last six days. La Señorita and I even had a run together!

Spring will actually be here sometime next week. After the threats of snow are banished from the airways this weekend. (Seriously, Meteorologist Ben Able at NPR member station 90.7 KWMU, NO MORE). And all of that means running. Real springtime running.


something to mourn

An American great has passed away. And even in his death, his words still make me laugh like no tomorrow.

People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order, so they'll have good voice boxes in case there's ever anything really meaningful to say.
Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle