Tuesday, July 24, 2018

everything -- after vermont

             At the nurse station I finished telling the charge nurse Ronda about the yellow cars on my trip. She nodded her head in agreement. "Your stories give me chills," she said. She proceeded to tell me about the blue huron. She once had just made a difficult decision and the Lord sent her a visible confirmation. As soon as she saw it she knew that the Lord was present and that she was loved by Him. "The Lord sent a royal blue giant beautiful heron by me. It flew passed as I was driving home. It was majestic."

            It was 12 days after the Vermont conference. Jan and I got home Monday afternoon. Our 3,600 mile road trip completed. Two cats were relieved to see us.  The cat sitter has been told her job was finished.
   It was a godsend that Jan had swollen red feet. It got you to the Doctor's office.                              Ronda Minor

         Shawn Scott, the nurse attendant, updated the gal who was next in line to take over his duties. "Everything is new," he said as he looked over the chart in his hands. "That would be the title of this story," said Jan as she lay in her hospital bed. Following Wednesday's tests, Jan was admitted to the hospital overnight. The staff worked to lower her blood pressure. I camped out in her room, sleeping on the sofa.  Thursday morning I jotted this down:

        Your words come as I drive from the hospital to our house this morning. "Behold I make all things new."  Jan and I are back from seventeen day trip. Monday afternoon. 
        On Tuesday we drove to Liberty to eat at the Fish Market - Asian shrimp sandwich - and Sprouts and - later - that night Jan has 101.9 degree fever. Her ankles and top of feet are red splotched - dark and swollen. I became concerned.   
       On Wed. the Nurse Practitioner said: "All kinds of tests. You stay around. Won't release Jan until there is a plan in place!!"
       Her blood pressure was high. 280.
       Blood work came back. Metabolic was good. Chest + heart fine. Jan put in Room 113. It seemed to be our new motel room. Ha.
       Last night read 144. Regulating her blood pressure. A tiny medicine patch on her back shoulder. 

I was reorganizing motel slips from the trip     when I noticed THIS. The last motel room on our trip was #113. The room Jan is in at the hospital is #113. I noticed the words: EXPRESS CHECK-OUT. The phrase: "Thanks for checking us out"  is usually what you say when you leave.  Does this mean Jan will get out soon?  I glue it in my journal and this page becomes a WORD of HOPE.

        Lord  --- in this  --  You are in THIS !!!!

       On Thursday, in addition to hourly monitoring her blood pressure the Wound Clinic team came by. A blister formed where the butt check joins the leg. Irritated by bunched clothing on trip - pressure - and sitting on it. Last day of trip.  
       The team scraped a sample of tissue to test it. They also are treating a cat scratch on the front of her left leg.
       My sister-in-law texted words that still challenge me to pay attention -- saying: "You can help her with the emotional side of wound treatment. God will use what you learned."
       She referred to my year long about with chronic ankle wounds in 2016. My weekly appointments at the Carrollton Wound Clinic. My healing complete. Wound free, two years on.
       My sister-in-law won't let it go -- adding: "You understand the emotional journey. Empathy has its own healing power." 
       I add her wisdom to a full page in the journal.

Friday morning, June 15th, Jan and I sat in the sunshine. Our glasses off, bare feet grounded, fifteen minutes of sunshine, portals in our skin absorbing free vitamins. Being out there was OUR THING.  IT WAS US.

Afterward I wheeled Jan back to her room. Saturday we return home.

Our CURRENT routine revolves around wound treatment appointments. Jan walks herself. We are mindful of our legs. Long trips are out of the question.     

           The Vermont trip is over but not our journey.  In our village yellow cars pop up in and out of my day. He reminds me He is HERE in THIS. Our new routine of doctor appointments, taking daytime naps, open to tears, listening to His words, being in His care. Saying YES to   "what He is brewing in US."

Sunday, July 22, 2018

five gee -- vermont trip

Lake Champlain, charcoal, 7 1/2 x 10 inches, by artist. June 2, 2018. 
Double click to enlarge.

Rock Face on Lake Champlain, 7 1/2 x 10 inches, graphite and watercolor pencils, by artist.
Double click to enlarge.
        The Nourish Vermont experience took some processing. Six days later Jan and I had gone through the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut. In the village of Mount Kisco, New York we chatted at a diner with the Total Eclipse couple we met at the Carrollton City Pool, the ones from Chappaqua. The husband told me about motor boats.  Later that day, Jan and I drove along the Hudson River to the village of Fishkill, New York. 
That morning as I looked back and wrote down what I had learned, a mess happened and made me stop  -  and think.

       Issue of motor boats: The husband told me story of the man-made lakes at Quabbin Reservoir (south of Orange, Massachusetts) People in charge decided to flood the region to create the large lake. That meant the former towns were at the bottom of the huge lake. Then the people in charge said you could not use your own boat on the water. You had to rent one. You had to rent one of their boats. A boat with an outboard motor on it. The husband complained about that decision, because the motor boat would pollute the lake water that others drank from. The reservoir provided the drinking water for the towns. In his estimation it made no sense to spoil the drinking water that everyone used. 

      One concern raised at the Nourish conference was the increase of radiation coming into neighborhoods. Metal boxes are showing up in neighborhoods to boost electronic signals. Apparatus in clusters on rooftops. Cellphones next to our heads exposes us to radiation. Cars with the latest technology become "hot spots." Too much exposure is a poison. Brain functions are affected. It messes with our thinking process. You can lose your focus, feel dizzy or dazed, tired all the time, have a hard time sleeping. The concern rises with children and adults who are plugged in every minute of the day. There are sicknesses the doctors flat out disregard.  First it was 3G (third generation technology), now some cities are introducing 5G. Cell towers are closer together and to what end? Where is public safety? Where is the testing on humans concerning this malaise? Why should an industry be able to make decisions for cities that affect everybody?

     Personal choices can limit your exposure. 
= My wife and I already shut off the breaker switch to our bedroom each night to limit the signals coming in. 
= We set our cellphones on "Flight Mode" before we go to sleep or when we are not using them. 
= Talking over the speakerphone moves the source away from your head and your brain. 
= We shut off the Blu-Tooth mode in our car. 
= Some people answer texts at the end of the day. 
= Some limit cell phone usage to nine minutes a day.
= You can unplug your Wi-Fi router when not in use. Unplug your computer.
Signals keep coming in to your house until you shut it off.   
I learned this from the presenter Nick Pineault of Montreal Canada

     Nourish Vermont speakers raised other public health warnings, such as the chemicals some farms used on their crops. Again, the practice of one group affects the health of the many. If I do something for myself that is one thing. If I do something that affects groups of people that is when it becomes political. Not everyone agrees how it it done.

      = + + + =  + + + = =  + = +

      Tuesday AM. As Jan and I climb out of the outdoor swimming pool - she spies it first. The apparatus atop the main motel. It looks like the "5G" we had heard about. The hidden netting that is invading the spaces where we live. I refer to it as Darth Vader. We slept under that? !!!

      Wednesday June 6, Fishkill, NY.  7:40 AM   As I am writing here about rooftop towers  -- I reach for my cocoa cup and it slips away -- spills over the bedside end table, over the clock radio, onto the white wall, onto white pillow on floor, on the motel room carpet.

      The big mess astonished me. As I paused from journaling, and listened, this strong impression filled my mind:  ## The 5G electronic stuff is beyond my control !!! ##      
       Finding a towel I clean up. That spill, it drew my attention to The Topic. Circumstances beyond my regulation.     To rest in You, Jesus.  To seek Your protection. Celebrate Your care, Your power, Your aid.
  I resume writing: So, our friend from Chappaqua, the wife, she shared how easy technology is to use. How she and her husband used their Smart I-phones to locate villages in Missouri -- which helped them locate the village of Carrollton  -- for lodging the night before the Day of the Total Eclipse in August of 2017.

      As I write this entry, suddenly Jan's cellphone blurts out a voice -- she did not intend to hear.   What button caused that ??

             Later on I add to that TOPIC. A road sign in the village of Poughkeepsie, NY features a large number and letter. It stands out to me. I draw it in the journal.

+  =  +   =   +   =  ++   ==   = + = + = +          


making changes -- vermont trip

           At our hotel there was a placard on the wall. It read: "We're making changes." Our trip to Nourish Vermont has had its push back. When Jan faced retiring, going to the country club, to stand up in front of her peers and be recognized for her service, the many years teaching art, and all the previous years doing Parents As Teachers. The applause, the feelings, emotions, and turning in her classroom key to the front desk. It was like a huge weight falling off the shoulders. Bittersweet. Her connection to all the students, memories of hugs and exchanges. "We Are Making Changes." I put that phrase in my journal. 
         Another placard said: "Change is brewing." A coffee ad, for sure. The words jumped out at me. Like a whisper from God. 

       Being miles away from home, wanting to switch hotel contracts, I felt helpless. Weak. The desk manager at the Hilton Express Inn went to bat for us, using her resources to advocate for us, and help switch the contracts for us. It was so awkward, and yet I felt like God was fighting our battle through that stranger in ways that seemed miraculous.

       June 1st -- Friday morning we all gathered in the Coach Barn for the Nourish Vermont conference. Folded chairs ready for people with notebooks and pens. We sat behind a couple from the Finger Lakes region, Renee and John. She was doing geneology on her folks and she shared a website with me to find old newspapers for my own research on Alfred Fowler. 

       The brick arch entrance went up in 1901. High pitched slate roofs. It reminded me of something out of Hogwarts in the Harry Potters movie series. In front was a low stage where speakers would make their presentations. Jan was all into this. I came along, not knowing what would come of this. Days after the two day conference I began to sort out my own memories. The ones that meant something to me.

     Each morning began with a couple who helped attendees leave their external matters behind -- to center -- to make a space within for something new --  to begin afresh. The first morning was about SOUNDS produced by resonating crystal bowls and chanting. I let the modality wash over me and drew in my journal, swirls and doodles that come when I am resting. Inside my inner thoughts settled on the love note I was fashioning for the Lord.

    The next morning opened with a drum. 

     I enjoyed listening to  Jeff Leach, as he talked about the health of stomach biomes in Africa. How tribes perceived to be sicker than the American lifestyle, actually enjoy a richer and more diverse gut bacteria and are far healthier for it.  Nick Pineault, an advocate for personal moderation when it came to exposure to electronic smog.   Jan enjoyed Jack Kruse and Everything.

    There was a lot of science spoken about. Discoveries that had been made at the cellular level. 
    On Sunday, the day after the conference was over, I spent time out in the sunshine -- shoes off my feet -- glasses off my face -- journal across my lap -- reflecting. Here was something that summed the conference up for me:
How those who marvel at the engineering -- they fret -- they stammer -- they are puzzled -- they scratch their heads -- and suggest we must fear and panic and question. 
    That morning in the sunshine, waiting and listening. Contemplating the times I have been helped by the Lord.  The words of encouragement He put in my mind that lifted me. The way He drew my mind into a precious embrace. Soon phrases came, His soothing touch, His calm. ------ I jotted down the fragments that follow here:

            Consider the birds of the air they do not labor -- and your heavenly Father provides food and shelter for them.
           He makes it possible for amoebas without organs
           to sense food
           to move toward it
           to surround it
           and consume it.

           How much more does He think of you and meet your daily needs.

The Zone I was in became an open channel. I wrote what was on my heart, it like a dialouge. An internal back and forth. The words spoke to me as I jotted them down:

          Lord, this morning -- after two days at the conference -- I look to You, Jesus. The science of the complexity in the cell -- machines and motors You created to do protein tasks -- its fragility -- how things can go wrong -- but how You think on it and cause it to work==!!!

           When You command us to: seek Your face, Lord  --  call on Your name  --  to Rejoice in Your Majesty  --  Your ability to order the movements  --  SO TINY  --  SO MARVELOUS  --  SO PRECISE  --  SO PRODUCTIVE.

          to be known by You  --  to be held by You  --  to be led as Your sheep, as Your friends, as Your handiwork  ==  giving You praise   in the midst of sorrow  ==  midst of doubt ==  midst of now.

         air passages   tracheal tubes in ants   bring same oxygen I breathe   to THESE God makes to breathe. so small  =  to eat, to drink, to breathe, to live.

       Your heavenly Father takes care of them. BELIEVE IN ME  ==  for Christ is the visible likeness of the invisible God  / colossians 1: 15    ====    all things are held together by the power of His voice  / hebrews 1:3     ====

The ant drawing the tubes the smallness. Remembering as I drew it down.
Later on, I was doing laundry upstairs.    humming then singing to myself.    and joy drew away the anxious dullness I felt.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

hudson river drawing -- vermont trip

     It was our hope to stop at some point and spend some time out in nature. Drawing. Do some art for ourselves. That came on Thursday morning

    In Glen Falls, New York ------  there are no waterfalls. 

    But I learned from the hotel desk clerk there was a boat ramp to the Hudson River just off the Big Boom Road. Thursday morning after packing up to go, Jan and I found the Big Boom Road, drove south, and found a grassy area and with convenient park bench.

   From a full hour we both drew on our art pads. Jan did on from inside the car, seated. I drew from the park bench. Hers in graphite pencil. Mine in pencil and water soluble colored pencil.  It was quiet.  It was great.  It was fantastic.  IT  WAS  US !!!

Click to enlarge. "Figure - Bench - Vines - River" by Jan Marxhausen, 9 x 12 inches, graphite on 90 lb watercolor paper.

Click to enlarge. "Far Bank - Vines - Trunks - Grass" by Karl Marxhausen, 7 1/2 x 10 inches, watercolor pencils on 90 lb watercolor paper.

A highlight of our trip to Vermont.


Friday, July 20, 2018

tey ley ohmatah

with tears  
your words roll off my lips
i love you  i love you  i love you  i love you

the blur above
looking at the ceiling
the shapes of what has been moved 
from her once room to our living room at home
no cross here
i know you are telling me
i love you  i love you  i love you karl    son   mine  you are mine

in grief
straying eyes blurred 
led to rest on
butterfly and red stream
your blood for me
your butterfly
i love   i love you my son   i love    i love you

out of focus
no cross  i see you jesus
in this   i spy the number 3, a red O, two black lines, gold with red 
you jesus   i love you   i love you father   i love
collected together

just the way you are    just the way you are
above the jumble of form
translucent with opaque lines
that's me   in this blurry state   me
just the way you are   i love you karl   just the way you are
i love you    i love you   just the way you are

i spy the signature
the pencil suspended    me in you    held by you jesus

another    further off the line    me
in this   you call   you draw 
i hear
just as you are    just as you are
i love you   i love you   i love

      tey ley ohmatah


ashtabula -- vermont trip


        Free hand sketch of Jan and Karl from reference photo on cell phone.

       My wife and I like to walk in water, whether it is at the Carrollton city pool outdoors, the Lifestyle Fitness Center indoor pool, and today in Lake Erie at Walnut Beach in Ashtabula, Ohio. This trip is about the future. Jan retired from teaching art at CES in Carrollton, Missouri. Going to Vermont is an abstraction. Retirement is like Vermont, an unknowable future. How will Jan transition into retirement? What routine will she adopt as her own? Me, I've been doing this since 2016. So -- traveling to Burlington, Vermont for a two day speaker packed conference  -- it is a peek into what we are going to be -- as a couple retired. Now traveling. And then after the conference -- what then???

Sketch from cellphone. I asked a local about Walnut Beach. He told me the swimming season usually starts later in June, when the weather gets warm enough. The water is cold. He said it was unseasonably warm.  This is a good thing for Jan and I WANT to be in the water on our trip up. So, today, we walked out from the hot sand into the cool lake waters.

       We walked along the roped perimeter of the swimming area. Jan spied a buoy bobbing. Other swimmers swam beyond the safe zone to the buoy and swam back. Jan wanted to. I had mixed feelings. Soon I realized it was safe for Jan, since her body mass keeps her afloat. She swam. Reach it. Rested. And swam back to me. We're approximating it was 75 feet out. Just a guess. She is a fish. She loves to swim.

      As we walked out, we held hands, and steadied each other to stay upright. Our feet sunk through the sand and small pebbles, with each step. Start. Stop. Start. Stop. Awkward.
Together, side by side. A mental picture of support.   This entry added for Monday, May 28.
     The next day we skipped Niagara Falls and crossed the lower portion of New York state, through Jonestown, Olean, visited Jan's life coach in Ithica, New York, and stayed over in Geneva, near the Finger Lakes.

     It was our hope to stop at some point and draw. Do some art for ourselves. That came on Thursday morning.

ink drawings -- vermont trip

     My current artwork is pen and ink drawings from our Vermont road trip. Colored pencil on notebook paper preserved personal episodes along the way. 
    To start off our retirement my wife chose Burlington, Vermont as our destination. We drove 300 miles each day. Staying in motels. Both of us took turns driving. We swam in Lake Champlain and indoor motel pools. The couple we met at the Carrollton city pool who were from Chappaqua, New York --- the ones who were returning from Colorado and decided to view the Total Eclipse  last August from our village ---  we caught up with them at a cafe in Mount Kisco. We drove from Missouri through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York state to Burlington, Vermont. 
   Jan wanted to experience the "Nourish Vermont" conference held at the Shelburne Farms. We did. She loved every minute of it. My thoughts went into my journal. The trip was a success. We returned from the seventeen day excursion. The 3,600 mile experience together. She thanked me for planning the trip. She noted we did not fight. 

    We left the Interstate to look for a lake. She held the map. I followed her directions. As we drove here and there the anxiety rose in me. I wondered how long it would take to find this lake. Traffic passed by in the opposite lane. I saw a bright yellow CAR go by. Then regular traffic. Soon a bright yellow PICKUP TRUCK went by. Driving on. When the bright yellow SEMI TRUCK passed by I began to count yellow vehicles. Soon I had counted nine. I had a suspicion someone try to tell me something. Yellow is the colored pencil I use to highlight passages in my prayer journal that I want to remember MOST. We had driven out of a village into the countryside. This did not look like where we needed to be. Where was this lake? Then I saw the barn off the road. Most barns had some kind of embellishment painted on its side. On this barn was a circle with a large letter "K." My first name starts with the letter K. I recognized that the Lord was using the bright yellow cars and this large K to reassure me, that He was with me, present, and that this wild goose chase was going to be Okay. He was here right now to lead my wife and I to our destination. The way He does His thing to help me out, to calm my heart, in the middle of THIS. We found the lake. We enjoyed moving through warm and cold pockets of water.

      Back on the Interstate I was reading from Luhrmann's book. Jan was driving. Luhrmann was discussing when the Lord speaks to our minds, it is both our thoughts in our mind but it is also something that we weren't thinking about. It comes suddenly, easily, and gently. And His words encourage and give me support. I like to think of it as an ambush. Or, that He redirects what I am thinking about, so that I become aware of His presence, and He brings me peace of mind. And with these incoming thoughts I feel loved and cared for, and I know I belong to Him. It is an amazing thing. 
     So as I am meditating on this, my wife reads the words off the license plate that just passed by. She says, "NEW LIFE."  I look up from the book, I look at her, and ask: "What did you say?" She repeats the words NEW LIFE. It dawns on me  the Lord is in this moment, breaking in to my reading just the way Luhrmann sez He does. I'm astonished and my body tingles. It is so cool.  This episode will later be written in my prayer journal. Sunday May 27, 2018. Richmond, Indiana.

      Still later, I am driving and ahead is an overpass. Underneath the metal girding is not a dull grey or a lifeless green, no, it is bright yellow. I pass under 1 - 2 - 3 yellow overpasses. One of my favorite numbers is 3. Three yellow overpasses. I laugh. I tell Jan about it. We chuckle. The Lord has gone out of His way -  to line this all up for me -- to know that I am His. That He thinks about me. And that this trip is going to work out.

[Tanya Luhrmann book, 2012, When God Talks Back]