Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sunday Sermon

I'm having a hard time with one of my marriage vows. The one that ends "and in health." Jeremy is still sick. We're going on month four now, and it's getting really old. Quite frankly, I am sick of my husband being sick. Now don't get me wrong; I'm not saying I blame my husband, or that I want to divorce him for being sick. I'm just frustrated with the illness itself, and with my own inability to do anything about it. And I miss my husband. The healthy husband who enjoyed doing things with me. The swimming pool companion, movie companion, walks around the block companion, visits to Jon and Phil and Rachel companion, church companion, etc, etc, etc. I miss having fun with my husband, and I hate having to choose between going out or being with him. I want my husband back.

This morning's sermon got me started on this train of thought, and what follows is a fumbling attempt at some conclusions. I've been struggling a lot this week because Jeremy's condition worsened significantly again, and he ended up missing most of the week of work. He started getting worse on Sunday afternoon, right after several members of my church came over and laid hands on him and prayed for healing. The easy answer, of course, is that it's just a coincidence that Jeremy got worse right after we prayed for him. But if Jeremy had gotten better right after we prayed for him, we would have given God the credit for that, so why not for the downturn as well?

My marriage covenant binds me to Jeremy in sickness and in health. I miss the fun stuff, but I will stand by him whether we can go camping together or not. Now, I'm not pretending to understand God's reasons for allowing Jeremy's illness to continue this long, nor do I understand why he had to get worse right after we prayed. And yeah, I'll admit that I'm a little bit upset about the whole ordeal and I don't think it's very fair at all. But I'm married to God, too, and I've made a decision to stick by him even if he decides not to be a nice, Santa Claus God who gives all the good little kids whatever they ask for. Maybe I'm due for a dose of mean, Drill Sergeant God who pushes his recruits to the point of tears because he knows they can excel beyond their wildest dreams if they are given the right incentives. Maybe it's all for the best. (But that doesn't mean I'm going to enjoy boot camp.)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Is Jule Ann still alive?

Some of you have asked me how I am doing, so here is a purely informative, boring, uninsightful post.

Jer is doing a bit better, but he is still only well enough to go to work and that's it. He has an appointment with a specialist in August, after his insurance kicks in, which will hopefully shed some more light on the situation. His antibiotics have almost run out, so if he isn't 100% better by now, I think it's going to take something else to finish the healing up.

Perhaps prayer? My pastor asked me today if a few members of the church could come lay hands on Jeremy and pray for healing. I'm so appreciative of this church and the support it gives us. Seven members came over after church today and prayed for Jeremy and I, and then four of them stuck around for an impromptu dinner party that consisted of some Peace a Pizza's and a quickly assembled salad. It was a great time.

Last night was a great time, too. After over a month of working two jobs, and not having a single day in which I wasn't working at one or both of them, I was starting to feel the effects of not having a sabbath to rest. So I got a co-worker to cover my Saturday shift at the store for me, and went and hung out with some friends at Jon's house, who had just acquired an eye toy for his PS2. Much eye toyey fun ensued. We ate all of Jon's food, played word games, talked, and laughed until 2:30 am. I needed that.

So, in response to the "How have you been?" question, tired, busy, but happy. Both jobs are going well, although I don't know that I ever want to do the two jobs thing again, and am looking forward to camp ending this Friday. I am getting very excited about the Yarr camping trip the second weekend of August, and I have booked off the first and third weeks of August, too, hoping for some kind of fun (maybe camping with the cousins?) one and hoping to attend a family reunion in Letchworth state park the other. I'm sorry for being a delinquent blogger, as well as blog-reader. I've been trying to keep up with my blogroll, but my feed page just gets fuller faster than I can read lately.

Until August, then,
Jule Ann.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Surprise Package

I came home from work today to find a big package waiting for me. It had "Fragile" and "This end up" stickers all over it, and it had my name on the label. I stared at it in wonder for a few minutes, trying to figure out who might be sending me a package, when I noticed my BzzAgent screen name on the label, and remembered that I had just signed up for a few new campaigns, so this must be one of my new products. BzzAgent is a word of mouth advertising company that sends me free stuff on the presumption that I will like the stuff and tell people about it, thus doing their advertising for them. It seems to work pretty well, and the one product that I had been sent so far (Take 5 candy bars) made a complete believer out of me and I wouldn't stop talking about that perfect combination of salty and sweet for weeks. I think I am the ideal candidate for them because I tend to get really excited about trying new things, and want to share them with everyone. So I tried to remember what I had signed up for that could possibly be that big and that fragile, but I drew a blank. I opened the box with great curiosity.

The box appeared to be filled with nothing but packing peanuts. I dug through it for a while, making a mess of the floor, wondering if maybe they had forgotten to pack the product and just sent me an empty box. Then my hand found a something wrapped in bubble wrap. A candy bar. I remembered, then, that one of the campaigns I had signed up for was the follow-up campaign to the Take 5 test run I had participated in earlier. Hooray for more chocolate!

Packing Box

A closer look:


In case you can't read the writing on my blurry photo, the card attached to the candy bar says, "Over-protective? Or the greatest candy bar ever?"

I'm a sucker for a good ad campaign. Jer and I like to reward good ads with our patronage and punish bad ads by refusing to buy their products. If only I was a beer drinker, I would drink a lot of Molson because of their "My name is Joe and I am Canadian" campaign, and I will never order a Miller because of their stupid, sexist, annoying "Man Laws" campaign. Honestly, until I received this package, I was neither hot or cold about the Take 5 "Greatest candy bar ever" television ads, which border on annoying but are at least playful and fun. Something about the giant box of packing peanuts pushed me over the edge to hot, however. It tickled my funny bone in just the right way.

Jeremy's first comment was, "What a waste!" But really, is it that much more wasteful than paying actors, directors, camera crews, etc. to make a dorky television commercial? And after all, nothing is a waste if it gives me something to blog about. Thanks, Mr. Hershey!

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Mind of a Child

One of the cool things about working with children is that every once in a while, you can get inside the mind of a child. A few days ago, one of the youngest girls in camp was crying. I went to her to find out what was wrong, and she sobbed to me that she couldn't find her soccer ball. It was a squishy little soccer ball that she had just gotten that weekend with her family in Cape May. She couldn't find it anywhere. And she was really starting to like that ball.

All of a sudden, I was six years old again. I vividly remembered the attachment that I would inexplicably get to random objects - especially new ones with some kind of sentimental value. I almost started crying myself, because I knew exactly how she felt. She was really starting to like that ball!

We looked for the ball for several minutes, retracing her steps and looking under all the picnic tables. We couldn't find it anywhere, and she really had to get down to the parking lot for pick-up, so we couldn't delay much longer. I went into my office and dug through the prize bin to see if I could find something to comfort her. I found a little hacky sack shaped like a baseball, and I brought it out to her. I asked if it might help keep her company until she found her soccer ball? She smiled a little through her tears and thanked me, taking the hacky sack gently in her hands like it was made of glass.

My six-year-old self took that hacky sack home and cherished it for years. It had twice the sentimental value of the original soccer ball, because it stood for the trip to Cape May with my family as well as the whole experience of losing it, and looking for it, and being comforted with a replacement. My six-year-old self had a lot of fun playing with bubbles that day, too. Oh wait, that was my 28-year-old self. I get them confused sometimes.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Some days, I feel very lucky to be married to this man

My husband reads me bedtime stories. I read to him sometimes, too, but he really does the lion's share of the reading. I think he does this in part because he can get me to listen to books that I might not otherwise read myself, like In the Beginning... was the Command Line. The biggest undertaking so far has been the Ender series by Orson Scott Card, which was four books long (not seven, as Jeremy refuses to acknowledge the Shadow books) and read to me during a period of my life in which I barely had time to sleep, let alone listen to bedtime stories. I think the Ender series took us about two years.

Right now, Jeremy is reading Cryptonomicon to me, which I had twice tried to read to myself but never completed before it had to be returned to the library, so we finally just ended up buying it to fill out an Amazon order (does that tantalizing free shipping on orders over $25 seduce you, too?).

Last night, I kept dozing off while he was reading, so I told him I'd better just go to sleep. He stopped reading, then, and left me to my sleeping. Unfortunately, my nose was stuffed up (I get more colds in the summer than in the winter - darned air conditioning), and try as I might, I just couldn't seem to fall asleep. After half an hour of tossing and turning, it suddenly occurred to me: I was falling asleep with no trouble at all when Jeremy was reading to me.

I re-recruited my bedtime story reader, who was more than happy to oblige. I didn't want to miss any of Cryptonomicon, however, so he picked out a book that we had both read before and started reading to me from the middle. I was asleep within a few pages.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Wedding Video

We didn't hire a videographer for our wedding. Three separate people, however, all brought video cameras to our wedding, so we figured we would get a copy of it from someone. We never did.

As our fifth anniversary approached, I mentioned to one of those three people that we had never seen a tape of our wedding. He loaned us his copy of it, and my in-laws sent the tape away to a video company to get a DVD made as an anniversary gift for us. We belatedly received the DVD on Thursday night.

All that to say, I got to watch my wedding video for the first time on Thursday night. And I was smitten all over again, and touched by the memories. I watched the joy on my face, and listened to the vows we wrote, and surprised myself at how much I remembered.

Before the wedding started, while I was getting dressed, Scott had video-interviewed several people and asked them if they wanted to say something to the bride and groom. One of the people he interviewed was my dad.

Call me stupid, but for some reason, I forgot that my dad would appear in my wedding video. As we were getting ready to watch the movie, I thought about the vows, and the music, and the flower girls, and the dress, but I forgot to brace myself for the people. At least three people who were at my wedding have since passed away. I suppose that's not all that unusual, out of a crowd that size, but all three of them were middle-aged men who died well before their time. It shook me a bit to see them, and to think that every time I watch my wedding video, there will likely be a few more beloved friends or relatives in the footage who are no longer living. I shed a few tears during the viewing of the movie, but the overall happy mood of the day kept me from becoming too upset.

My father's message was beautiful, and it was touching to hear him affirm my choice of a husband in Jeremy. Later on, as I was lying in bed, calming my mind for sleep, the image of my father from the video kept re-playing in my mind. Then something snapped, and it was like losing him all over again. I have many wonderful memories of my father, and I miss him often, but there was something about having a vivid, recent image of him that brought back the sense of loss, leaving me feeling raw and helpless. It's been two years, but every once in a while, the grief just overwhelms me. And I cry, and I mourn, and I move on. Again.


Mother: I'm at home full-time, now, with my step-kids. I'm not working outside of the house anymore at all.

Child: She works for me!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


I've been such a busy girl. I'm onto week three of working two jobs, and it caught up to me this weekend in the form of a nasty cold. I think I can safely predict that I won't be blogging much for the rest of July. I have plenty to say, but I find myself too tired at the end of the day to write it all down. So, in the interests of freeing up some brain space, I'm going to pseudo-blog: information with little esposition. Here goes...

Starting last weekend: It rained all weekend, then all day Monday and Tuesday. Lots of chaos at camp, moving activities indoors and playing lots of dodgeball. Tuesday morning, Jer's symptoms returned, and he missed work again. We took him to a different doctor who told us many things that the first doctor neglected to mention and/or didn't know. Got another prescription for more antibiotics. Jer missed the rest of the week of work.

Wednesday, there was severe flooding due to all the rain. My day camp and Jeremy's work are both in Fort Washington, which was basically unapproachable due to flooded roads, so camp was cancelled, and most of Jer's coworkers stayed home. I slept all day Wednesday, until I had to go in to work at the store. In a way, the flood was a blessing, because I was emotionally drained from Tuesday, which was the two-year anniversary of my father's death, on top of being the day Jeremy got sick again and the most hectic drizzly camp day ever.

Friday, I had another board games day at the store, which no one really came to until a few coworkers near the end, so we played Settlers and went out for dinner. Saturday was Canada Day, and we had an awesome, thrown-together at the last minute BBQ at Penn Treaty park, which had an excellent view of the fireworks that the city of Phildelphia was gracious enough to put on for my country's holiday. I also received my first-ever Canada Day presents from Rachel, including a loaf of Canadian white bread. Rachel rocks.

Today was the Fourth of July, which meant that I doped myself up enough to act un-sick for a family party and the Slowest Closing Shift At The Store Ever. I am currently waiting for midnight, which is when I can take my next dose of drugs, then go to sleep.

I apologize in restrospect for the boringness of this entry.

P.S. Congratulations to Katie and Mike on the birth of their daughter, Isla! (Katie is the slightly less pregnant woman featured in the pictures of my Ottawa trip. Jenn, the much more pregnant woman featured in the same photo set, eventually had her baby, a boy named Dominic, on May 27, 18 days after the very pregnant picture was taken. I somehow forgot to mention that here.)