Hi You Sweet People,

Every time I look at my stats, I'm wracked by guilt.  I am fully aware that I suck in the faithful blogger department.  I feel like I'm letting you down, Internet.  And you don't deserve that. 

I'm going to let you in on a little secret:  I'm spending a lot of my time lately trying to put together a little novel of sorts.  And there is therefore very little blogging going on in this neck of the woods.  Who knows if this little novel will ever go anywhere, but I'm convinced that it's a now-or-never kind of thing.  I feel compelled to try.  What is it that we're always nattering to our children about the chasing after of one's dreams, afterall?  So in the meantime, bear with me and know that I'm sorry.  I'll try to update things here every now and then, but in the meantime, I've got rainbows to chase.  Here's hoping that they're glittery and smell of vanilla!
I've inadvertently discovered a secret.  I didn't do it on purpose, but my goodness! did I learn a thing or two yesterday.  I boosted my readership in a substantial way, though I doubt that the new audience I temporarily garnered is long destined to stay a part of my permanent one.  You see, yesterday, without thinking, I used the word penis. 

My blog stats are normally not all that impressive.  Depending on the day, between 10 and 40 people read these little musings.  Actually, I feel pretty delighted about that!  It's humbling that even that number would find me interesting enough to check out on a regular basis.  But yesterday.  Yesterday!  My handy little weebly stats function showed that this little blog hosted 915 page viewings!  I was baffled at first.  I assumed it was a glitch.  But then as I continued to check it (obsessively) throughout the day, I saw the numbers continue to rise in an orderly fashion.  I re-read my entry and lo and behold!  My eyes lighted on the word in question.  Penis.

I can't think of any other explanation.  So fellow bloggers, take note.  Capitalize on the desperation of the porn crowd if you're feeling really callous!
 I live in a warm part of this country, and so these men and women flock to our fair city, dirty coats flapping out behind them as they aimlessly meander down the streets rendered unsafe by their arrival.  They can sleep outside all night here, without shelter, and assuredly not freeze to death somewhere in the process.   They bring along with them so many social complications.  They force us to ask hard questions of ourselves.  What do we owe these people?

I feel convinced that it is not judgment they need.  I feel convinced that it is not money tossed guiltily their way that they need.  Illustrating this, I once encountered a dirty, helpless, wheelchair bound woman who seemed, too, to have special needs.  I was putting my groceries into my car when she approached me, asking for money so that she could get a special wheelchair equipped ride home.  I felt more than a simple stab of pity as I dug through my purse to give her what she needed.  My pity quickly grew to be much more complicated  as I then watched her wheel away to a perfectly clean, able-bodied young man in a flashy sports car, to whom she very servilely passed over the money I'd just given her, in exchange for what I can only assume were drugs.  The answer, if there truly is one for us while we still dwell on this earth, is no simple one.

Our city has recently had to dissemble a 'city' of sorts comprised of homeless people and their accompanying 'homes.'  I felt so sad to hear that it had to be done and yet I agreed that it needed to be.  The social aftermath for neighboring home owners just became too much for them to deal with.  The rampant theft, the used drug paraphernalia littering their lawns, the fear in their hearts for the safety of their sleeping children - all of these I have personally experienced.  We were once the chagrined owners of an SUV boldly emblazoned with a giant silver penis spray painted on with drug-induced abandon.  My station wagon was once stolen right from my own driveway as I readied the kids for school.  I came home late one night from a girls-night-out  to see a disheveled man hunched over on his expensive bike at the end of my driveway, doing goodness-knows-what to his arm.  All the while my children slept just meters away.  I had to call my husband with my cell phone to assure me safe passage to my own front door.  I have lost count of how many bicycles we've had stolen from our back yard.  I'm no armchair critic.  I've lived a life that very frequently brushes up against the social problems attendant to the plight of our homeless.  And plight it most certainly is.

I berate myself when I - in sunshiney ignorance - take on a topic like this.  I don't feel up to the task of doing it justice and yet this draft has been sitting incomplete in my drafts folder for months now.  It's either finish it up, or throw it out at this juncture.   My perfectionism isn't always very conducive to writing a blog.  I want to do things well and little recipes or quick blips about something cute one of the kids said or did make for better fodder for me while using this medium.  Not so helpful when I want to pontificate about the spiritual obligation we (Christians and perhaps non-Christians alike) have to these homeless. 

As a follower of Christ, I know that an important first step is the meeting of the physical needs I see before me.  However, I also know that that's by no means the end of what I owe the homeless.  But I know too, that the second doesn't effectively take place without the first.  Some cutting-edge young thinkers at our church recently made a documentary about our city's homeless and they talked at some length about how crucial it is that we go past the step of giving money and follow that up with ministering -  hands on - to these people's physical needs.  Evidently, our city leads charitable giving in this country with each member giving something like $620 per year.  The distant second contender (Kelowna, I believe) gives something like $350.  Ironically, though, we fall dramatically short with our volunteerism.  I guess many of us are thinking that if we throw money at the problem, that's the end of our obligation.  I find myself harbouring this attitude.  And so I feel some plaguing conviction.  I want to contribute and yet at this life stage, I'm not sure how.  I'm wary (to say the least) about bringing my children with me to an inner city church where we can tangibly help.  Unfortunately, homelessness doesn't end with mere homelessness.  Along with it come things like drug addiction, mental illness, theft, all things that make my maternal danger-0-meter clang into high gear when I ponder how my family can help.  Have any of you come up with an answer?  I think that if JoyBoy and I were empty nesters, this question would be a lot simpler.  In the meantime, I just give the cash and hope for the best.  That and I pray.
I haven't been sick in a goodly time and so - I suppose - it's my turn.  This is a mystery illness, this one.  I've got no other symptom other than fatigue and that I've lived the past day and entire two nights feeling in waves as though I'm going to throw up at any moment.  I take the kids to their swim lessons while I sit in the chlorine-infused air of our local swimming pool for an hour and a half and I sit with my head between my knees at inelegant intervals.  I take them to their annual eye doctor's appointment and practise swallowing in quick, tiny succession so as to keep the nausea at a momentary bay.  I then sit out in public parking lots with my car  door open and stare at the dirty pavement as I face it down, willing myself to be ready to drive as the kids anxiously shush one another in the backseat.  It's one of those. 

Lucy asked me today if I thought I might die.  Though I'd been half wondering the same thing myself, I hurriedly assured her that I was just fine and that everybody gets sick sometimes.  I wake up all too often from a nauseated tum and a sharp, localized pain under my sternum. 

At first I thought it must be food poisoning.  Now, umteen Google searches later, I'm wondering if it might not be a hiatal hernia combined with GERD.  I don't know if these things have much to do with heredity, but when Oliver was a newborn, he was diagnosed with the very ominous "failure to thrive,"  which was thankfully quite quickly modified to be called the much more reasonable sounding GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease, for those of you not in the know).  He cried and cried and then he cried some more.  It broke my nursing-mother's-hormone-saturated heart.  The only thing that comforted him (other than the hundreds and thousands of dollars worth of medicine he was eventually to consume) was to be strapped to my chest in his Snuggly.  As I sit here at 4:30 in the morning, wracked with pain so substantial that it wakes me up every hour or so with its sweat inducing waves, it breaks my heart to think that my poor newborn had this to contend with until he turned four, which is when he was finally able to go off all related medication.  And to add insult to injury, I think of the times where I felt flashes of irritation with him, wondering why he was so ill-natured at times.  Not my finest hour.

In the meantime, for those of you who do, please pray for me.  I'll be just fine, but this hasn't been a happy ride.