Jul 092014
 

A while ago I wrote a post about my aunt and going to her house in the desert and what was happening and what would happen when she was gone.  Well, this week she is gone.  She passed away last Saturday morning and I was asked to give a eulogy.  I’ll tell you, this was the hardest thing I have ever written.  I decided to just post the whole thing instead of trying to rehash it.  This is the first post.  Read it here.

 

It seems almost everyone knew her as Aunt Nora. She was a woman hard to define in just a few words, and I don’t know that we will ever know the real extent of her contributions to the world.

We are gathered here today in one of her favorite spots on the planet; this little white church.   I can feel her even now, looking down on us, coaxing each of us to hold to our faith, no matter the denomination. Her faith in the Lord never wavered in all of the years that I have been alive, and I believe it was never stronger than when she had this entire church join in with her praying for a miracle for my daughter. That miracle was realized when Amelia got her kidney transplant. It has shown me the power of applied faith, and group prayers, and leaves no doubt to the mercy of our Heavenly Father.

Since then, we have been down here, and joined her in this very church, thanking the Lord for his grace and mercy. Nora never wavered in her belief in the Almighty. She knew without question His love and grace. Now that she has returned home to our Father, I know that she is happy. She is where she always knew that she would end up.

They asked me to talk a little about what I remembered of Aunt Nora. Well, she was always there, always so permanent. She was my Dad’s aunt, my great-aunt, and my kids’ great-great-aunt, but she always seemed a bit more like Grandma. She was one of the strongest, most stubborn people that I have ever known. Life never seemed to get her down for long, she always rolled with whatever life gave her, and came out even stronger at the end.

She always had a story about either overcoming adversity, or making the best with what you had. She has told us countless stories of growing up in Indiana, helping to raise her brothers and sister, and having a home filled with love.

She was an inspiration to my family as we began to learn to overcome the obstacles that life throws at us. She always told us that we just had to have faith in the Lord, and he would take care of us. I know that this is true. She has helped to teach us about growing our own garden, and cooking everything from scratch. She was always more than excited to hand off a recipe or a little trick to get vegetables to produce more, or to save the fruit trees from bugs.

Her home is covered with pictures and mementos of her life. It is like a museum dedicated to her family. There are so many people in those pictures that I don’t know, but she knew them all. She could tell a story about every person in every picture. Many times that was all she wanted for Christmas or her birthday, was more pictures of the family.

My kids loved to come down to Aunt Nora’s. She gave them the rock hound bug and now they don’t go anywhere without picking up rocks and hoping for a treasure. I got that bug early as well. I can remember lots of times we would go picnicking in the mountains around here and come home with a bucket of rocks to polish.

She was the last of what I always thought of as the “older generation” on my Dad’s side of the family. Now, all we have left of that generation is memories of those who grew up without television, cell phones or the internet. There is a break in the history now, and I have to remember what Nora taught me of her generation, from their history, to their exploits, to their epic hunting trips, to their working conditions in the mines, and of times when life was much simpler. Times when siting on the patio and talking was prime entertainment.

I feel privileged to have known my Aunt Nora for my nearly 40 years. I am glad that my 4 kids knew her. I am glad that they are old enough to have heard some of those stories as well as learned some of the values and sensibilities of her generation that seem so old fashioned and worn out now. I try really hard to keep some of those values alive and not let my kids become like what much of the world is becoming nowadays.

This world will not be the same without Nora.  I don’t know exactly how many people were blessed by her influence over these past 92 years, but I am sure the list is long. The good that she brought into this community, and to this world will never be forgotten. Years from now Nora will be remembered by the people that she came in contact with, and those who they came in contact with and so on.

I know that she is finally, completely at peace. She has been welcomed to Heaven and has been reunited with her family that has gone before her. I really wish I could have seen her smile when Jesus opened the gates for her and said, “Welcome Home Nora, I am well pleased.”

Farewell to the last

You’ve had more life than most will ever, Your book of deeds is full,

            From rocks to mail, from fish to deer, Your life is now come whole.

            For Jesus welcomed you this week, With his sweet and open arms.

            He has watched you from afar, And knows of all your many charms.

            Much more to us you ever were, Than just a simple Aunt,

A teacher, friend, a grandmother too, who never said “You can’t.”

You’ve told us all the stories, That we did hunger for,

And prayed with us for guidance, Then showed us so much more.

The things you knew that no one else, Remembers now today,

You passed on to us on the porch at night, To ever guide our way.

You kept your head up, Through trials and troubles too,

You kept your faith and remembered well, That Jesus would see you through.

And now this life is over, The next in Heaven starts,

Where you’ll be teaching others, To keep the Lord close in their hearts.

I’d love to’ve seen your face, When Jesus welcomed you home,

And said, “Welcome Nora my dear, dear, one, You’ve nowhere else to roam.”

We will greatly miss you here, Upon this mortal coil,

Yet feel your spirit watching o’er us, As we finish with our toils.

Rest well my dear Aunt Nora, In our hearts you’ll always be,

Rest with those you love in Heaven, We will always remember thee.

We’re going to miss you Aunt Nora, we will never forget you.

 

Jul 092014
 

As you know by now, my wife and I welcomed number 4 into our family 2 weeks ago.  It has been wild this week as he has only been home for this week.  We have been trying to get him trained to sleep at night, as well as remember what it is like to raise an infant.

My youngest daughter is now 4 and I kind of took for granted the independent and “grown up” ways of a 4 year old, not to mention 7 and 10.  I have been trying to remember how to be the complete caregiver to an infant.  Strangely, it is not difficult to handle 4 kids when the older ones are so helpful.

Here is the rub, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.  We have always wanted 4 kids and now we have been blessed with 2 boys and 2 girls.  Our family is now complete.  While I wouldn’t trade this experience I am glad we are finished having our family and getting ready for the next step in our lives.

Family is very important.  Family is the only thing that will endure any other trial or hardship.  As you go into this weekend remember your family.  If you have kids, do something with them that doesn’t include electricity.  Go play baseball, go fishing, read them a story.  Just spend time doing something that isn’t distracting.

If you don’t have kids, do something without electricity with your significant other.  Or even go by yourself.  Get away from the computer, the television and all of it.  Go be with your family.

Have a great weekend folks.

-Justin

Jul 092014
 

Well, this is a treat!  Today I bring you the first ever guest post on Catharsis of the Bogue!  This post was inspired by a dream that I had and chose to write about.  I thought it would be funny but it turned into a really interesting discussion of dreams.

Jayne Sherwood was kind enough to comment and give me some very interesting insight into the dream so now, I bring you a guest post by Jayne.  Take it away Jayne!

Dreaming, what’s it all about?

Do you dream? How often?

As humans we dream as a natural process, although some research suggests that dreaming has no absolute purpose. However, other research suggests that dreaming is essential to mental, emotional and physical well being. So where does it all fit into your understanding of what dreams give us?

Many of us only remember vague, indistinct dreams where as others of us constantly have vivid experiences and wake feeling un-rested in the morning. Maybe your experiences fall between these two extremes but whatever yours is there are many schools of thought as far as Dreamwork or Dream Interpretation goes. Firstly let’s clear this up, as Dreamwork differs from Dream Interpretation.

When using dreamwork the aim is to investigate the images and emotions that the dream has brought forward by keeping a dream diary, but does not attempt to produce a single or unique meaning this means we are keeping it “alive”

Dreamworkers suggest a dream can have a variety of meanings; this depends on the levels of subjectivity and objectivity that are being investigated. The dreamworker will have their own belief that the individual dreamer will have their own ‘dream language’. The dreamworker also  works on the basis that any given place, person, object or symbol may differ in its meaning from dreamer to dreamer and also at times will differ within a dreamer’s ongoing life situation. This means that a dreamworker helping a dreamer move closer to their dreams adopts the thought of “not knowing” as long as possible.

The dreamer will keep a dream diary to which they will ask questions and listen to their answers over a period of time, before a dreamworker will offer an actual meaning to the dreamer’s dream history. However, the dreamer does not have any obligation to agree with the meaning and can use their own judgement in deciding which meanings are valid or not.

With Dream interpretation, symbolism is used to assign a specific meaning allowing it to be “finished”

This process of giving meaning to the dream has descended from many ancient societies, where dreaming was considered a supernatural and spiritual source of communication or divine intervention. They were thought to be messages that were unravelled by those who were thought to have the power to interpret.

In the 19th centaury dream interpretation was used within Psychoanalysis, suggesting the manifestation of the content of a dream could be analysed to expose a hidden meaning to the psyche of the dreamer. Much work was done on this matter by Sigmund Freud in his work, ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’

Whatever your idea of why we dream and what they mean are is something that is a path of personal choice. It is a fascinating world where reality does not apply. I hope that this short piece will help you to have a greater understanding of the different ways you can unlock the meanings or interpretations of your dreams. I hope that by beginning to understand your dreams you can have a clearer view on your feelings and a greater outlook on life’s challenges.

Thank you for reading I hope you this has inspired you to read investigate further into this mysterious subject.

Jayne Sherwood

Jayne lives in the North West of England, Lancashire to be more precise. Her knowledge is simply passion and reading for her own spiritual path. She is a qualified Teacher and Personal Performance Coach.  Her interest in Dream interpretation and Spiritual mediumship leads her to the belief that personal development and self-help is a crucial part of our life’s journey.

Follow her on Twitter @jayneesherwood or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jayne.sherwood.  She Does not have a blog currently but that may change soon!

Please feel free to fill my server with your accolades and comments!  If there is interest, there may be a series coming or maybe just her own blog!

Thanks for reading, tomorrow is Fiction Saturday!

-Justin

Jul 092014
 

**EDITORS NOTE: This post was written in the forest.  I was sitting on a log surrounded but trees and started to write a poem.  That didn’t happen but I ended up writing the following post.  In longhand.  With a pen.  In a leather journal.  Holy crap I am old school once in a while.  🙂  Let me know what you think.**

***second editor note, this post was written a year ago.  I thought I should get it out, seeing as how we are going back this year and I will have another one to write.***

I sit alone in the woods, listening for the sounds of the forest.  Trying to ignore the cars driving past only a football field away.  I try to quiet my mind and not hear the voices, other people with their own worldly problems, trying to bring children to heel. I am surrounded by trees, close to our dwelling but hidden from all but the most searching of eyes.  The sun is greatly filtered through the trees and the patch of sky above me shows not the barest hint of clouds.  This should be a good spot. The ground on which I sit is comfortable enough, good forest loam and a few small rocks.    It should be a place to sit in quiet reflection but again a car passes and voices shout.  I am not alone.  No animals will be visiting.  I know that there are places out there where I can find that peace and solitude that I have found before on backpacking trips.  It is still there somewhere. I have been searching my copy of Walden looking for nuggets.  Not my favorite book, but I love the gist of it, going out and just being in the world.  I have always wanted to go and have a place in the woods, far from “civilization”, where our food is provided by hunting or fishing or from the garden near the house.

I can’t help but think this every time I go into the woods (and then a plane flies over), “I went to the woods because I wished to learn what it had to teach.”  Of course this is Thoreau paraphrased.  I should learn the actual words as they suit me- “I went to the woods becasue I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”800px-Thoreaus_quote_near_his_cabin_site,_Walden_Pond

Yes I am alive today. There are so many times lately that I have not been sure if I am living or merely existing, taking up space in the world. It is quiet now.  Birds are beginning to have conversations in the trees until they are silenced by far off shouts and another car passing by.  In spite of it all, I am grateful for times like this.  Alone, no kids, no wife, no phone, no internet.  As much as I love all of those, when worse comes to worse and the world goes to hell I know that I can take my family and head to the woods.  Build a house like Thoreau did, and live simply.  A handful of seeds, means to make fire, my rifle, and my knife can provide a long happy life in the woods.

The woods can provide.  Or rather I can provide from the woods. This is an odd sort of camp, due to its nature.  It is here in Utah, up a canyon that is known for its fall colors.  It is on a road that is part of the Alpine Loop, just behind Mt. Timpanogos.  I can see the back of the mountain from here.  This is a family camp for the Utah chapter of the National Kidney Foundation.  Only families who have kidney patients are invited to come here and play together, be normal, and share stories of triumph over kidney disease, dialysis, and transplants, and to give hope to those who are currently going through any part of the disease process.

All of this written while I am now being chittered at by a squirrel.  Anyway, if you are new here, my youngest daughter has Kidney disease.  she was diagnosed just before she turned 1, spent 2 years on dialysis, and finally got a transplant.  It has now been 3 years since that transplant and she is very healthy and happy.  We thank God every day for that blessing of the kidney and her health. Anyway, the family camp has “rustic” cabins with power and heat.  the entire camp meets for meals and socials.  We first came to Kidney Camp in 2007 when we were stilll trying to do peritoneal dialysis.

I remember hauling the bags of dialysate solution up the hill followed by the heavy cycler and the other supplies for Amelia.  I remember that first night, trying to get the dialysis to work, and finally giving up on it for good.  That was just over 4 months into the whole kidney disease thing, after several surgeries, and 3 different peritoneal dialysis catheters. She was finally strong enough that the doctors would let her go out of the valley, so we came to Kidney Kamp.

That will always be memorable, as well as the place where we had to stop trying peritoneal dialysis. The kids were disappointed that we couldn’t go the next year because of Leatha’s baptism, but we went the next year and they loved it again.  This time we didn’t have the dialysis equipment, and Amelia was almost 4 months into her kidney transplant.  She was 3 years old then.  She got her transplant a week before her birthday, there will never, never, be a better birthday present; a new kidney and no more dialysis.

The next year we came to camp again, and the kids couldn’t stop talking about it.  They still talk about this simple weekend every year.  We missed 2011, but are back again in 2012.  We have seen some of our friends that we have met up here, some that we have known on dialysis, some we have been around for their transplants.  Some of these people will be on dialysis for the rest of their lives, some are still waiting for a transplant.  Some are donors, they are welcome as well.  It is really neat to share that gift and reception of life. Last night, there were 2 parents that had donated a kidney to their children.  They all are part off this kidney journey.

There are many different stories here, but we all understand each other on different levels.  Up here though, we are all the same.  The mountain doesn’t care what you have or who you are, the mountain is there.  The trees change like the people but they will always be there in one form or another.  If they only observe the majesty from the huge picture window of the lodge. God has put all of this in place for us, and here in the mountains, everyone can pull out their own meanings.

For me, I am grateful that I have had these trials with Amelia that lets me come to Kidney Kamp and be here with everyone.  As hard as it was spending almost 80 weeks on dialysis through 312 sessions of Hemo (not counting what they did at first in the hospital) I am so grateful that I still have my little girl.  She is still my buddy, and still glad to be with me.  She started school this year, and, while we still have to be careful, she is healthy enough to go to public school. No, she will never be whole like she was when she was born.  She will always have kidney disease.  She will not have her original kidneys, but she has a kidney from a stranger who became a sister.  She will be on medication for the rest of her life, but she can do almost anything she wants.  She will get tired a lot, but she can play and live a life.

I really want her to do as Thoreau said and “Live deep and suck out all of the marrow of life.”  Some of the best ways for her to do that now is to be in the woods, at the foot of these striated cliffs, in the scrub oak and pine.  Here in the woods, learning what they have to teach.

 

** Like I said, this post was from 2012.  We are headed to Kidney Kamp again this week.  I fully expect everything to be the same.  More on that later.**

-Justin

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