Neighbor Marian Taken to Hospital

Marian, my sweet elderly neighbor, went to the hospital this morning, after fainting in her yard.

This morning, while I was working in my garden, I noticed my white lilac tree had bloomed. Marian was out in her yard retrieving the newspaper, so I trimmed some blossoms and took them over. She was wearing teal pants, a teal turtleneck, and a teal sweater – a monochromatic granny!

As she was walked back towards her house, paper in hand, she stumbled slightly over the edge of the sidewalk. I asked if she was alright, and said she was feeling dizzy — that she hadn’t eaten her breakfast yet. I asked if she wanted for me to fix her some food and she said she’d be okay and that she was going to go in, read the paper, and have something to eat. I walked back to our yard, but never heard her screen door shut. I turned to check on her and she was leaning against her door, slowly slipping downward.

Leaping over the flower beds between our houses, I ran as fast I could. I caught her. She looked at me, smiled, closed her eyes and went completely limp. She barely weighed 100lbs. I gently lowered her to the soft grass and checked her pulse. It was faint, but there. She started breathing deeply and slowly. I said I needed to get some help, and not to try to get up.

It started to rain.

I heard the loud engine rumble of my neighbor Eric’s delivery truck starting up, as he was getting ready to leave for work. I ran up the hill to his house. Jocelyn, another neighbor, saw me. I quickly told them what happened. Jocelyn called for an ambulance.

Eric, Jocelyn and I ran back to Marian’s yard. I cradled her head in my lap to hold her and shield her from the rain. I ran my fingers through her beautiful white curls. She was so pale. She was whispering apologies to us for the trouble. We assured her it wasn’t any trouble at all. I held her hand and said, “I love Marian! You’re breathing, and you’re talking to us… you’re doing great. We’re just waiting for the ambulance to get here.” “I love you, too,” she said. “You are the best neighbors.” Eric held a large hoodie sweatshirt over her body as a make-shift umbrella. The sprinkle had turned into a rain shower.

The ambulance arrived in the alley. The EMTs quickly assessed her to make sure it would be okay to move her, and then we all helped her into her house. It was now pouring. We were drenched. I stayed with her and put together a bag of things for her — a pair of black double-knit pants, a light pink turtleneck, and a white cardigan. It was the first time I had ever been inside of her house, but it was exactly as I had pictured it: White carpets, lovely floral decorations with many plants and grandmotherly knickknacks.

As soon as the the rain let up, the EMTs and I helped her to the ambulance. She was able to walk slowly with our support, but she seemed disoriented. She stopped to complain that her trashcans had been knocked over instead of stood upright when they had been emptied. I locked up her house and brought her the keys. She quietly asked if I could call her daughter and gave me a last name and the area where she lived — but not an address. The EMTs wouldn’t let her bring her lilacs with her.

As they pulled away, I placed her trashcans – upright – next to her garage. I ran back to our house to look up her daughter. I found an address, however no phone number was listed. “C’mon kids!” I said, scrawling down the address on an envelope. “We’re going to drive over.” It wasn’t far — just a few blocks away.

No one was home when Micah, Leah and I got there, so we went to a neighbor’s house to leave contact information. As we were talking, Marian’s son-in-law came home. I explained to him what had happened. No one had known Marian had been taken to the hospital. He left immediately.

The kids an I are praying for Marian and hoping for an update soon.

In the meantime, Marian’s lilacs are sitting pretty in a vase in my kitchen, waiting for her.

UPDATE – 4:30pm, Marian is home! Her daughters and son are with her now. I was able to give her a hug! :) Not sure what will happen next for her care, but what a wonderful relief to see her smiling.

Eternally Thankful : Guest Post at

Pregnant!!! by DDanzig via Flickr

This past week, I commented on What I Want, a post at There Is No Wealth But Life about expectations and parenting. The post began, “When I say that I do not want to be a stay at home mother, it is because I want something else…” and it drew me in.

At the end of her post, Rae (Twitter @nowealthbutlife ) asked, “What do you want? If you are already a parent, how has reality changed your plans and dreams?”

Rae asked if she may use the comment as a guest post.

I said yes.

An excerpt:

I found out I was pregnant in the midst of big deadlines at work at the bank. I didn’t even tell my husband I had bought the test. Why should I? It would be negative anyway.

I took it after work, still wearing my snappy navy dress suit and classic leather heels.

My expensive woolen executive armor didn’t shield me from the truth in the urine.

You can find the rest of the guest post as well as Rae’s thought-provoking blog here.

How would you have answered Rae’s question?

More Than Valentines Day : In Pursuit of… Your Wife

Just read an excellent post, “Solomon’s Song for This Sunday” by Kevin Deyoung who writes to his readers “as one who needs to learn.”

Deyoung writes,

“Even after years of marriage keep using words like “Come” and “Let’s.” Be a man. Be a leader. Try to impress her. You managed to do itonce, but chances are much of your impressiveness has worn off under
the rough edges of career, laziness, and time. Men shouldn’t get married
so they can stop pursuing women. We get married so we can perfect the
pursuit with same woman over a lifetime. Don’t give up the chase


In the book “Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God“, CJ Mahaney adds this advice for wooing one’s wife:

To learn how to touch your wife’s heart and mind you must study her….

Do you know how to surprise and delight your wife in specific ways in each of the following areas?

-clothing sizes, styles, stores
-books and magazines
-the arts
-food [and drink]
-places to visit
-intellectual interests
-and, of course, sex

Does anyone have ideas to add to the list?

What are some of the things you have learned about your wife recently?

What was the best surprise you gave to your wife that meant a lot to her?

Any advice for someone who has lost touch with their wife and wants to reconnect?

Photo credit: WebboT

Fan Dance in a Secret Garden

For the past two months, my children have been running in from playing outside to report that the landlady was at it again — fan dancing, that is.

“How do you know?” I asked one day.
“Oh, we were watching her through her window!” said Aiden, with matter–of–factness.
“Eek! Yeah, um, how about you not look through other people’s windows!” I scolded, knowing they probably couldn’t help themselves. My children wouldn’t have had to crane much, while they rode their bikes down our shared driveway, to see inside the ground-level windows, often open to let in the breeze.

Secretly, though, I wished to see her, too.

Athough she’s a farmer’s wife, and occasionally helps in the fields, Sasaki-san, my landlady, has a certain poise about her. Her hair is always neatly coiffed, and she daintily walks her white fluffy Coton de Tuléar, Lamb (pron. “Ra-mu” here), down the driveway to visit with her husband while he works in the fields or under his blue tarp-covered gardening tent.

One sunny day after days of rain, while I was pinning my laundry to the line, she brought me a small poster about a neighborhood rice-harvest festival on October 4th.

She was speaking in Japanese, and kept pointing to herself and then to a time on the event schedule. I had understood the word “matsuri”, but not much else.

She paused for a moment to think. Then, she started air-fan dancing in front of me! (I am so thankful for her patience and mercy towards me!) “Hai, wakarimashita!” She was going to perform a fan dance at the festival and was inviting us to attend.

The festival took place at a hidden little community park less than a mile from our house. Even though it was practically in our back yard, I’d never noticed it before. In the flat openness of the rice fields, unless you’re up close, the garden looks like a mere rogue clump of Japanese Maple and bamboo from the outside. Yet, nestled inside is a secret garden, boasting a quaint tea house and many stone statues of frogs… and it’s other-world beautiful.





As we walked down the pebble paved path from the narrow road toward the garden park, our landlady shuffled in her geta over to us – clothed in a floral-accented emerald green kimono.

She was lovely, and seeing her made me hope that I age as beautifully as she.

Sasaki-san directed us to a tent-covered picnic area, with a great view of the stage. Then, she excused herself and went back stage – she was next to perform.

Casserole Sex

There were no less than 2,000 tab-A-into-slot-B bits of advice, tips and tricks being advertised on the covers of the women’s magazines at the entrance of my grocery store checkout lane this evening. I counted. There were enough bedroom pointers for a different one each night for almost five and a half years.

I find it funny that in each monthly issue, the same magazine finds 100 or so more of the “best” tips. It’s endless, and it sells.

Don’t get me wrong… I’ve been married for almost 10 years now, and I have z e r o complaints in this department. Sex is awesome, it should be frequent, and it’s a very integral element to a healthy marriage.


My gripe with the onslaught of shallow women’s magazines is this: Sex is presented is as the be-all-end-all shortcut to happiness. Yet the inundation of the act makes it as ordinary as a dinner menu. Hmm… what will we eat tonight? In fact, I bet that if the word “sex” was replaced with “casserole,” readers would never notice.

Let me just say, from a great deal of experience, that it is easier to have sex than a meaningful relationship with someone. Sex can be a substitute for real intimacy and oneness, rather than an extension of it.

Since most who read these types of magazines for advice don’t understand true intimacy, they will never have satisfying sex. Like a person who lacks cooking skills, they know there is something missing, but they don’t know what it is. It’s easy for them to think that if they just try new things every night for five and a half years, that one of them must be the winning combination to bliss. This mystery makes it very easy for magazines to appeal to the unsatisfied crowd – the same crowd who buys a cart’s worth of prepackaged foods each week.

Casseroles – with endless ingredient combinations of canned condensed soups, frozen veggies, ground meat, mushy noodles, par-boiled rice – are easier to make than the perfect steak (I like mine medium-rare with blue cheese crumbles or a fresh herby churrasco sauce, thankyouverymuch). However, they are not as satisfying.

If you have a deeply-in-love, committed, trusting relationship with someone, the rush of sex is infinitely more penetrating because it’s a mind + body + soul experience. If you’re not satisfied in your relationship, it’s probably not the fault of your sexual abilities as much as it is with the relationship itself. Delicious relationships are not built upon 15-minutes-to-the-table shortcuts.

Trophy Wives

“In our society, women are repeatedly told ad nauseam, by those periodic packaged lies called women’s magazines, that it is their responsibility to deck themselves out in such a way that they ‘keep’ their man. A woman may be able to do this successfully in her twenties, and then have to work a little harder in her thirties and forties. Then, if she still buys all this foolishness, she really has to work in her fifties and sixties, because she is always competing with twenty-year-olds. If a wife treats fidelity in marriage as a prize to be obtained through competition, then somewhere, sometime, she is going to lose. This is the way of the world. But if she approaches it as a Christian woman, the older she gets, the more beautiful and serene she gets (1 Pet. 3:5)” (Her Hand in Marriage, pp. 50-51).

This quote is comforting, pressure-relieving and peace-giving on so many levels – because it’s the truth. Wilson recently featured this section of his book on his blog. His books and his blog are great resources, and I highly recommend them.