Monday, June 30, 2008

optic and otic

My Mom just put ear drops in my brother's eye. He's fine. It was hilarious.

Mom - "Asa, hold still."
Asa - "It's burning. It's burning a lot!"
Mom - "I know. It's okay."
Asa - "Mom.. it really really hurts!"
Mom - "... OH MY GOSH! THIS ISN'T THE RIGHT STUFF!"
Asa - "WHAT?!"
Mom - "GO RINSE YOUR EYE OUT!"

My mom is incredible. I know I will never be able to show the Supermom skills she displays. But everynow and then, I get a glimpse of what she might have struggled with in Mother School.

and this was only 2 days

Sooo.... it's been over a week since my last post. I'm sorry.

Right now, I am sitting on my best friend's bed, in an empty house, full of snot, drinking hot tea, studying informatics, with a mound of tissues beside me. Well, actually, right NOW I'm blogging, but I was studying.

I was at singing school from Wednesday night through Saturday morning. Because most of you out there don't know what I'm talking about, allow me to explain.
Singing school is a mainly Primitive Baptist thing. But the Porters have only in the past few years become friends with a rather large group of them. Thus, we go to singing school. Think do re mi fa sol la ti do. Think shaped notes. And now imagine the leader calling out a hymn number, singing a pitch, and a group of about 200 people finding their notes (sopranos through basses). And bam. They sing. They sing beautiful four part harmony without instruments. It is a joy to hear. The ear for music these kids have developed blows my mind. Many of them play instruments... without ever having taken a single lesson. They just listen to the song, sit down, and start playing. And at singing school they teach you how. No, not the instrument part, the singing part. Granted, most of these people have been doing this for most of their lives every Sunday at church.... so I will never catch up. But, it is still incredible. Many many songs are sung, games are played, meals are served, dorms have cleaning crews that consist of kids, the dress code is strictly obeyed, adults are respected, and God is glorified. Very fun. Very hard to come back to school, gas prices, and snot.

Some specific highlights in no particular order:
1. Giggling with Emily one night... even though we were supposed to be quiet
2. Sitting in between two very low (and good looking) basses while singing hymns I had no clue how to sing
3. Playing volleyball till 1:30 AM Friday night
4. Listening to Graham and Caleb's "impressions"
5. Talking to Emily K., glad that I wasn't the only one getting irritated about some things (she's the preacher's daughter... if she gets mad, that makes it okay, right?)
6. Being shown new swing dancing moves... but I didn't learn them very well. I need more lessons.
7. I learned guillotine is NOT GILL-uh-teen, but GEE-uh-teen. As in "gee" in geek. So sue me.
8. Being quizzed on the differences between Presbyterians and Primitive Baptists
9. Logan's list on the things that define this decade... and the mental image of the clothing styles we may wear when we are old
10. A disgusting paramedic story
11. My hair Friday night, thanks to Whitney (yes, I'm vain enough to say that)
12. Sitting in the suitcase section of Graham's 4- Runner, in heels and a white dress. Never ever tell a boy that you will be fine for a 2 minute ride. He will make it his personal goal to make sure you at least clutch the seat in front of you for dear life
13. Friday night's performance. For several reasons.
14. A little girl telling me that the big question for the younger female crowd was "Who does Asa Porter like?" and watching my little brother and realizing he was (thank God) completely oblivious to his popularity.
15. Eleanor's dimples
16. Chelsea asking me if I liked younger men (regarding her brother). Ha.
17. Getting to know Lydia
18. Ryan calling me Wednesday and saying he missed me
19. Whitney... put your shirt on
20. A vest

Gosh. If I had been there a whole week you would be reading my list until Christmas.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

this will have to do

Okay, I was studying (no, duh... i've been studying all day long) and I went upstairs to take a break and I reached the top of the stairs and glanced at the tv. Because the rest or my family has what is know as leisure time, they were all watching The Untouchables. I have never seen it. But I came up just in time to see Sean Connery shout 'dago bastard' and then get mowed down by a machine gun. Wow. What a great mind relaxing image. And for those of you who have never seen it.... I'm sorry, but Sean Connery dies. It was gruesome.

And altruistic means having pure motives. Try to use it in a sentence. It's hard.

HEY!!! it's my 50th post! Celebrex!!

.... I mean, Celebrate. Stupid pharmacology.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Three unabridged moments

While driving to church:

Dad- Hey, ya'll sing that rooster song.
Everybody - Rooster song?.... rooster?
Dad - Yeah... you know, the rooster and the farm.
Ryan - The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night?
Dad - Yes! That's a good one.

I fed a 12-hour-old baby today. She fit snugly from my elbow to the tips of my fingers. She was a perfect little black baby. She was so bundled up, it made me uncomfortable. But her wonderfully complete, tiny little hand, wormed its way out of the blanket and and grabbed my finger from the bottle.

I was told that technically I didn't have a third "moment" so...

Caleb graduated from high school a few weeks ago. I don't know if you remember the influx of money that surges via the mailbox after graduation, but I sure as heck do. Anyway, Caleb, being the organized maniac that he is, is staying as on top of his thank-you notes as he can. Last night, before i went to bed, I glanced at him at his desk. His hair looked like Wolfman and I'm pretty sure his pupils were dilated. I asked him what was wrong. "I am so sick of the word 'thanks' and 'appreciate,' " he said. "How many have you written?" I asked. "Sixty-three."

Also... to all my silent readers out there (coughDadTiffanyAngelaPritchettsBlevinsEmilyJimTiffanycough)... I love getting comments. Just click anonymous and type your name. Pretty please.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I can totally concentrate... on myself.

Thomas Boston - Human Nature in its Fourfold State

"When God is speaking to men by His word, or they are speaking to Him in prayer, does not the mind often leave them before the Lord, like so many 'idols that have eyes, but see not, and ears, but hear not.' The carcass is laid down before God, but the world gets away the heart. Though the eyes be closed, the man sees a thousand vanities; the mind, in the mean time, is like a bird got loose out of a cage, skipping from bush to bush, so that, in effect, the man never comes to himself till he is gone from the presence of the Lord. Say not, it is impossible to get the mind fixed - it is hard, indeed, but not impossible; grace from the Lord can do it (Psalms 108:1), agreeable objects will do it. A pleasant speculation will arrest the minds of the inquisitive; the worldly man's mind is in little hazard of wandering, when he is contriving his business, casting up his accounts, or counting his money; if he answer you not at first, he tells you he did not hear you, he was busy, his mind was fixed. Were we admitted into the presence of a king to petition for our lives, we should be in no hazard of gazing through the chamber of presence. But here in lies the case; the carnal mind, employed about any spritual good, is out of its element, and therefore cannot fix."

This hit home. Whenever I pray or read I am constantly 'loose in a cage.' I will be in the middle of talking to my Father in Heaven and a rabbit will pop up and I will gleefully chase it. Far far away from my Lord. Well done, Satan. My time with Him is often choppy... full of my plans for the day, my hopes for the future, regrets from the past. My mind will not fix. And yet, as Mr. Boston said, my mind is capable of fixing. Ask any of my family: if you approach me and I am reading a good book, it will take several AMY!!'s to get my mind out of those pages. Why can't I be that resolute in my time with Him? Yes, it is hard to force your mind to stay in one channel, to not surface for air, to keep moving forward. But, is He not worth it?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Miracle of miracles

Well. It happened. I saw a baby be born. Today. It was the most disgusting, most fantastic miracle I have ever seen.
I was assigned my patient at 7:30 am. We leave at 2:00. At 11:00 I was told I probably wouldn't get to see the delivery. Dang it.
At 12:45 she was dilated 10 cm (this is called complete... you figure out why). For the next 3 hours, I coached her through her contractions. Three hours. With a contraction every 1-2 minutes lasting anywhere from 40-80 seconds. At 2:00 my instructor came in and I must have given her Bambi eyes or something because she said, "You want to stay, don't you?" I was like, "I've been here all day! I really don't want to leave right before the baby comes!" And she goes, "Good. Well, I'll be here somewhere. Here's my cell phone number. Call me when you're done." Su-weet.
Another hour and a half of pushing. It reminds me of that Calvin and Hobbes quote. Calvin just broke something and Hobbes asks him if he's going to tell his mom. Calvin is like, "Are you kidding? It's times like these when all she can remember is how long she was in labor with me." She has every right to remember, Calvin. I was exausted just watching this girl push.
Anyway, at 1530, the senior resident came in and got gowned, booted, and masked and got these. Well, okay. Not exactly like this pair, but very very similiar. They were shoved in and locked onto the head and that baby was pulled (NOT gently) from the birth canal. Aw. A little baby, fresh from it's mother's womb, right? The typical picture comes to mind. No. No no no no no. This child was bloody, purplish white, cone-headed, with cheesy gunk in between his toes, fingers, and in his armpits. He was slung to the warming oven, vigorously wiped down, and suctioned. As he lay there, color started spreading over his body. His toes and fingers curled around the hands touching him. He informed the world that, not only did he have working lungs, but he was not happy with his treatment. The mother began to ask, "Where is he?" The little man was wrapped up, and the nurse walked him over to her. And I thought of the verse in John: "Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bouquet of grenades

Worked in the garden all morning. And planted the flower bed. Anna was describing the flowers that were in her piano teacher's son's wedding (stay with me here) and she said, "You know... dandelions?"
me -"Anna, dandelions are weeds. I don't think anyone would put them in a wedding bouquet."
Anna- "No! Not dandelions... they just looked like them!"
Asa - "Are those the flowers that look like bombs?"
me - "Bombs? A flower that looks like a bomb?"
Asa - "Yeah. Bombs."

Oh, little brother. One day, there will be something that cannot be related to a weapon, and then what will you do?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The End

Yeah… attitudes are getting kind of stinky here at the end of the third day. And Dad passed his cold along to 3 of us. I despise sore throats. I can be so cranky: don’t talk to me, don’t try to make me laugh, I don’t even want to smile. But… all in all still a good trip.

The five kids went to the public pool today. I forgot how much I hate them: no stunts off the diving board, jump, surface and swim for the ladder (no playing around the board), no running, no horseplay in the water, no treading water, no holding your nose, no towels allowed… okay, I made the last three up, but, what the heck? Yee-haw howdy, here we are, standing in the pool. Don’t move or they’ll blow their whistles. After about an hour we were ready to head back to the lake where the only rule was “Don’t jump off the bridge.” I think I can handle that.

Dad and I left to find somewhere with internet service so I could download homework from UAB. We stopped in a little place called Lynchburg and the welcome center had wireless. Which is how the 2 previous blogs were posted. I was the only one in the room (except for the very cordial and quiet receptionist), the room was still and cool, and the leather couch was navy blue. It was perfect for studying… until 6 very large and in charge women, with their 3 small girls, entered. They had come from a softball tournament and were decked out appropriately, with sleeveless jerseys, baggy shorts and bleached/frizzy hair. They formed a long and loud line to both bathrooms as there were no men. I was trying to concentrate… because by this time I was on facebook and it requires a lot of attention. At least it was particularly absorbing at the moment. One woman began to show her friends how her little two year old could sing a country song. I didn’t recognize it but it had something to do with being a tough girl and what she’s going to do to her cheating man. I tried not to look prim and horrified. Close the laptop. Thank you, polite receptionist. Peace out, Lynchburg welcome center.

Got back to camp and we walked to the marina for a wonderfully massive ice cream cone. Yes, I have a cold. And yes, I know I just helped out the enemy troops in my body. But it was good.

Dad took Mom kayaking and we were playing in the road- cause that’s where all the cars are - when the young man who worked the front desk drove up. Single young man. He stopped, smiled and conversed. And conversed some more. With skillful manipulation of the conversation he learned our names, where we were from, learned I was the oldest, informed us of all his previous work experience, learned our ages… made sure we knew that he would be there in the morning when we checked out, told us about the star-gazing event tonight, and said if we were interested in getting a job at a camp that he would take our email addresses and send us info. Sir, I just got out of the shower, my hair is damp and curling in every direction except down, I have on a t-shirt and gym shorts, I’m barefoot… and you are obviously interested. A job that lonely isn’t very attractive to me. Oh, and are we coming back this summer? Oh… too bad. When he got back in his cart and drove off, Ryan looked at me and said, “It’s a good thing you’re here, or we would’ve never learned all that.” I said, “Yeah, well, you also would have got to play the last 30 minutes of daylight. It’s too dark to see, now.”
I want to write more, but I am exhausted. Good night.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Day 2's story.... still at the welcome center.

Current tick count:

Ryan – 3
Asa – 4
Caleb – 4
Amy – 2 (I’m such a slacker)
Anna – 3

But, to quote Asa, “I haven’t really been checking.” The ones counted were the ones crawling in plain view. But extra care is being taken in the shower… because there’s lots of places that are hard to reach. Sorry. Brad Paisley surfaced. I try to keep him submerged as much as I can. At least it wasn’t Toby Keith; I cannot stand that guy, but I seem to always sing him around one particular friend.
Today, we all went to Wal-Mart with the now-very-long list. The whole family went. We split in 3 different directions. Yet, because opinions are needed, someone would always come in search of someone else. Ryan bought a batman mask. He walked around the store and the campground with it on. He’s pretty good at the whole “I’m Batman” voice. When he told Mom, she just said “Well, I’m Batman’s mother.” One day…one day…. even though I used to hate it, I will look at my many children and say, “Because I’m the mother, THAT’S WHY.” And it will be amazing.

I will say this for Tennessee people: maybe it’s just a change of view but they seem to know how to work the land. It seems like Alabama is full of pastures with nothing in them except dried up ponds and cow patties. Ignored cultivation. The ground here is alive and working: wheat, corn, orchards, goats, horses, and cows. Don’t get me wrong, I love untouched nature. More than split- rail fences and autumn bouquets. But if God has given you land, use it in a way that would glorify Him! Don’t let it just sit there and waste away. I saw a massive Weeping Willow today. It was taller than the 2-story house it shaded. I glimpsed several tree-lined driveways, something I would love to have at my home one day: a driveway lined with Bradford pears. I would say oak trees, but I am a selfish person and I know that I would never get to see the full effect of an oak- lined drive.

Very hot again. I think the high was 96. I love camping but I realized today that we always always always go in April or October. No wonder.

The welcome center at Lynchburg, TN is cute... and has wireless

I am camping right now. And we don’t have internet (duh) so I am using Microsoft word to help me journal these few days. Thus, there will be a multitude of blogs posted all at once. Hoorah!
This is the first trip without Alisa. It’s kind of weird. And because we haven’t had a camper in a few years, we are all a little out of experience regarding camping. For instance, tomorrow, we will head into town with the grocery list we accumulated today. Things like more bread, more lettuce and tomatoes, more milk, bug spray, s’mores material (talk about traumatizing: camping without s’mores!), citronella candle (or salmonella, as I called them earlier)… and so on and so forth.

Despite the fact that it was probably 95 degrees today we actually had fun with each other. Because we are so extraverted, sometimes I wonder if we can hang out with just each other. And there were no Primitive Baptists with us. Could we make it alone? This afternoon went well…. the lake is 200 feet from our site and we just ran down, climbed a tree, and jumped in. We probably swam for an hour and a half. It amazes me that we get along so well. We are all so different, each one of us playing our own song, dancing our own dance, and singing our own words. Yet, somehow, when all together, a beautiful harmony sounds. Our senses of humor seem to bounce off one another’s. We dunked and screamed and splashed and cannonballed to our heart’s content. My brothers make my heart hurt with love. I am still aggravated daily. My hair is pulled, my ribs are tickled, my belongings disappear… but strange males get bristly looks if caught looking at me, I am told I look beautiful, my advice is asked, my conversation is sought. As the men they are becoming emerge from the quickly fading little boys, I am almost caught off guard. I don’t remember growing older! When did they? Don’t get me wrong… sometimes I could kick them in the teeth. Last Saturday, for instance. I made Caleb mad and vice versa and we resorted to name calling and hurling cracker packages at each other’s heads. I thought it was handled very well.

So… all of this to say, we are alive. We love each other. Tomorrow we will get up and have to think of something to do that involves just us. And it will be fun. I’m not guaranteeing this attitude will still be here by Sunday, but, for now…. there is peace.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

By the lion's mane

I cannot sleep. So I will tell you something....... i am over him. Ssshhh. For real.

Moving on: I visited Alisa and Jeff's new house yesterday. I love it. It has so much character. The floor has as many waves as a red-flag beach day. If you sit down next to someone on the couch, you find yourself leaning towards them. "I swear! It's the room! I am not trying to make out with you!" The living room has a huge built in book case that is already full and a window seat with amazing storage underneath it. And my second favorite thing about it is a smalll stained glass window in the dining/living room. There is nothing large or ornate about it. I think it is brown and yellow, with maybe some blue and red. The pattern is confusing and it's too close to the ceiling. It's just stuck there. It's fantastic.

BUT BEST OF ALL!! The bathroom door handle. I'm dead serious. The door knob is brass and is encased in a 9-inch plate with brass flowers and DRAGONS. Dragons? Seriously? Could a bathroom door handle get any better? Oh, but it can! Step off the wood, onto the tile, and close the door and you will see what watches over the throne room.

A lion. I kid you not. A brass lion's head with a ring in his mouth juts out over an old keyhole. These things are in so many movies but I have never seen one on a normal house, least of all in a bathroom. Personally, it seems kind of backwards... I think the knocker should go on the outside of the door, but, I'm not complaining. Who would complain when Aslan watches you brush your teeth?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Kotex life

Today I pulled in Wal-Mart (because where i live that seems to be all that everyone does) and I nearly had a heart attack. Today is the second of the month. What was I thinking? I don't know what it's like where you live, but around here people come out of the woodworks at the beginning of the month. I have never considered myself a snob. Except during the first of the month. And suddenly I am a high class, heel -popping aristocrat.
Dirty, bare footed children with suckers in their mouths... obviously straight from the bank teller, most of them crying or whining. Their mothers are aged beyond their years, and if they aren't morbidly obese, they are lean and stringy. Their eyes are dull and listless or snapping with impatience and anger at their ward. They bestow useless threats on the little ones: "I'm going to slap you," "I am going to count to 3 and if you don't come I'm going to leave you here." Seriously? Why don't you just count to 1,000,000 because that child is never going to come. They have heard that way too many times.
I have to keep dodging those stupid motor scooters, because these people don't want to walk on their own. They tell the pharmacist they can't pay the full amount for the medicine while a Budweiser and Camel box stare out of the buggy (yes, it is called a buggy here. Get over it.). And if one more overweight, tattooed man slides his eyes down me, I may castrate him. With my purse. How dare you look at me like I'm here to give you a personal show. I mean, I'm obviously not looking at you. Just keep walking, Amy... and for once, all girlish shopping tendencies leave me and I am a man. I walk in, I get my 3 items and I leave. I spent 7 dollars and 10 minutes.

But as I'm leaving and walking to my car, it hits me. These are the "least of these." I think about prostitutes and tax collectors and Romans in Jesus's day and how good He was to love them. "I would treat a prostitute with love" I tell myself. I would be right there with Jesus loving everybody. I mean, I'm soo good at loving. Just ask my friends.
And suddenly, I am a filthy rag. Do you know what a filthy rag was in the Bible? Think of that special time of the month, ladies, and what it looks like. That is a filthy rag. And that's what my righteous deeds look like to God. I don't even want to know what He sees when I'm being a smart-ass uptown girl.
I am so glad God didn't ask us to bridge the gap. Because I cannot even walk through Wal-Mart without condemning myself to Sheol.