July 2008

survivor: someone who remains alive or in existence after; someone who continues living

victim: someone or something killed, destroyed, sacrificed, etc.; one who suffers some loss, especially by being swindled

I have been thinking about these words lately. The way we use them today. To define people who have been wronged in some way. Today, people are more often labelled “survivors” than “victims”. There seems to be a greater sense of dignity, or correctness, about the word survivor.

I remember, years ago, watching an Oprah segment. I can clearly recall her voicing her decision to no longer refer to women as Victims of Sexual Abuse. Instead, she would say Survivors of Sexual Abuse.

Recently, there has been some talk in the aftermath of the Prime Minister’s public apology to those First Nations people who had been victimized by the past government policy of residential schools. I heard a woman refer to herself and others as Survivors of Residential Schools. Really? She and others went on to talk about the effects that this terrible experience has had on the people involved, and on their families. Substance abuse. Broken families. Lack of parenting skills. Survivors? Sound like victims to me.

So here’s my thought about it all. Anyone who has had anything bad happen to him is a victim of that bad thing. There are holocaust victims, abuse victims, theft victims, and cancer victims. It is annoying to me that this word is no longer a good word. And it is annoying to me that the word survivor has replaced it. Not all victims, I think, make the transition to survivor. Because to be a survivor, I think, a person needs to truly find a way to live after the experience. There would be a sense of getting past, moving on, living with purpose. Not just breathing.

I don’t mean to minimize or make light of anyone’s experience. Heaven knows I have never been taken to live in a prison camp, or a residential school, or been abused or abandoned. Maybe it’s semantics. I just get tired of the political Name Game that, in my opinion, works to camouflage rather than clarify.

Family. God. Worship.

Beautiful service today. Ray and Ellen McMillan were here. Ray spoke — unity, love, forgiveness, peace. So beautiful. We had a potluck barbeque after. The kids got to spend lots of time running with their friends. I got to share a few minutes with some of my special friends.

Yesterday was Lyndon’s birthday. He wanted to do something fun with the kids. We went to Regina, where we spent some time at the mall (I got my hair cut), some time at the pet store, and some time in the movie theatre. Actually, Lyndon and the two big boys went to see Kung Fu Panda. Carter does not enjoy the theatre experience. It is too loud for him. So he and I wandered the mall for a couple of hours.

Today was my dad’s and Lyndon’s dad’s birthdays. Dad turned seventy-three, and Tom turned seventy.

Looking forward to a busy week ahead. We have company coming on the weekend, so I want to do some things in the house to get ready. If the weather cools off at all I’ll do some baking.

My heart is with the Straker family as Carole’s time seems near. It is a beautiful sadness, the end of a beautiful life.

After two busy weeks, this past week has truly felt like summer holidays. It has been lovely. A little reading, some housework and yardwork, hot weather. Ahhh.

Here are some of the recent highlights:

Alfter finishing our Hepatitis A and B shots, we were asked to have blood work done to check on the immunization status. That is, did it work?! So, on Thursday the boys and I made a trip to the hospital lab and had blood taken. Carter was very worried. Would it hurt? How big was the needle? How much blood would they take? He went first. He sat on my lap and was fine. Colton was next. While Colton was being stuck, Tyson tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around just in time to catch him. The lab tech helped me get him to a bed, and he recovered before long. Poor guy, his body (or mind) just does not like needles.

Colton has discovered Calvin and Hobbes. We own a collection of the comic strips and Colton has become a fan. He has read the book from cover to cover a few times, and has started drawing comic strips of his own.

Colton has also being doing “independent research” in a couple of areas. He found a book on prehistoric animals that contained some creatures he had not known of before. So he has been studying up on these new finds. He has also been reading up on the Creation/Evolution debate. It is interesting to see his “notes” on his findings. He does everything in pictures. It is like a storyboard for a movie.

Carter has discovered dragons, and has been poring over some of Tyson’s dragon books.

Tyson has been enjoying the gerbils. They are pretty fun to watch. Whenever they go to sleep, they barricade the entrance with fluff and sawdust. There have been no futher “tail removal” issues.

Lyndon got home last night. Today was a work day. I did several loads of laundry, and it was a perfect day for drying clothes on the line. Lyndon started painting trim on the outside of the house. The boys cleaned off the veranda, including spiderweb removal. We had a wiener roast for lunch, since it was so hot in the house and there were lots of pruned branches to burn. I took the boys swimming tonight. It didn’t take them long to head to bed after we got home. It was a busy, tiring (in a good way) day.

Yesterday, Colton rode along with me into town. I had a desperate need to get to the library, and he wanted to go to the fish store to see if he could make a trade. He zipped his Catfish into a baggie, and away we went.

The Catfish was fun to watch. He was extremely energetic. Watching him was like watching a toddler on a sugar high. He would zoom around the tank, almost crashing into things. And feeding time — he was like a missile on a heat-seeking track, bearing down on those flakes of food. You could actually see his abdomen expand as he ate. The problem, however, was that he was also a bully. We are pretty sure he was responsible for the deaths of some of our other fish.

It was fun to watch Colton negotiate with the Fish Lady in the store. He ended up trading the Catfish for two Mollies. A pretty successful exchange, in his opinion. When we got home, he discovered that one of the Mollies had had babies enroute. We have not had much success with fish babies in the past, so Colton put these babies in a separate jar. Alas, this morning they were dead. But the mature Mollies are doing fine, and seem happy to be a part of the Ross Aquarium. And, I swear, the other fish seem relieved to find the bully of the tank has been replaced.

Tyson’s new gerbil, Ron, died this morning. We could tell he wasn’t doing well. He was less active than the other two little guys and wasn’t eating much. Tyson held him as he faded and then was gone. Death is so sad, even a little death.

The other two seem strong and healthy, although there has been considerable gerbil trauma today. Colton’s got away from him and had to be coaxed out from behind the book shelf. And then, Colton tried to grab it and pulled off the tip of it’s tail! Gross.

My biggest worry is that the puddle will get one of them. That would be bad. Very, very bad.

Yesterday we wrapped up our week-long Vacation Bible School. It was an awesome week. I was very, very tired yesterday afternoon.

We started out with around sixty kids. Thursday was our top day for attendance, with 104 little cowpokes. But is isn’t about the numbers. It’s about the hugs and the smiles and the singing and – best of all – hearing the bigger boys talking about the “cool” bible stories they experienced. One friend said she got goosebumps one morning as she drove to the church and saw all of these kids streaming toward the building, on bikes or walking with friends. So great.

Today it is raining. That lets me off the hook for all of the outside jobs that have been neglected the past couple of weeks. Not sure what the day will bring. Lyndon is home. Carter just went to wake him up, to go and watch CBC Kids on TV downstairs. Saturday morning cartoons with Dad. Does it get any better than that!

Remember my kids and their dreams of owning hamsters? Well, hamsters are out. Apparently, if you have more than one hamster in a cage they will fight and kill each other. Can you believe that of those cute, cuddly little things? So, yesterday Lyndon came home with three baby gerbils. The boys are totally happy. They named them Ron, Captain, and Snowball.

I learned an interesting fact. Apparently, pet stores are gender-specific. The pet store Lyndon bought the gerbils from is an all-male store. Every animal in that store is male. Some are all-female stores. It seems so Jurassic Park. Remember that whole “nature will find a way” thing.

Well, we are finished with our two full weeks of Bible Schools, and now the summer is stretching ahead of us, long and lovely. Lyndon thinks he may be working in Estevan for the first two weeks of August, so maybe we can all go and camp near there, or stay in a hotel with him. Or something. His work schedule seems to change with great frequency, so I’ll wait and see.

I was thinking again of our week at the lake. The first day there, both Carter and Colton lost their Crocs in the lake. Carter went barefoot the next day, until I bought him some new ones at WalMart. Colton had some runners he could wear. Anyway, on Thursday we were playing at the lake again and both pairs of shoes washed back up on the beach! I was so amazed. That should be, like, a metaphor for something… but I can’t think of how to apply it. It was pretty cool, though.

Maybe this is it… We don’t know what we will get back from the “things” we leave out there in the world. We can just be surprised and delighted by whatever washes back up on the shore.

Whaddaya think? I know, a little fortune cookie-ish. Oh well. That’s my best shot at it on a Saturday morning. God bless!

We survived the first day of Vacation Bible School. It was busy, crazy, and a lot of fun. The kids enjoyed the western theme. One little girl in my group got scared during the Bible Adventure time (where the story is acted out). But she recovered quickly when we went to the snack station. I think we had around sixty kids.

Lyndon left today. He stopped in Moose Jaw to attend the funeral of a friend’s mother. I would have liked to have gone as well, but what to do with the children? Instead, I dropped the kids off at the pool and went for coffee with a friend. Debbie and I had not had a good visit in a long time.

Brought two extras home with me from the pool. They are spending the night and coming to VBS with us in the morning.

Sadly, the other baby bird died this morning. It is hard to keep those little creatures alive. Nature does a better job than we do, I guess.

Mom update: She seems to be recovering quite well after her hip replacement surgery. She says she does laps around the dining room every day. I am sure she is missing being out in the yard with her flowers. But she sounds pretty perky on the phone.

Oh, I am getting old. (I turned forty-five last week, you know.) I am tuckered right out, and it is only Monday. Four more days to go! It will be good. The kids are the best part! It is so fun to watch them having fun.

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