Tic Tac Toe

In an effort to beat the heat this week, we’ve been escaping another 1000 feet in elevation to Williams, Arizona.  Relaxing at one of our favorite fishing holes, my son sets up an impromptu game of “tic tac toe”.  After a couple of dozen rounds, his interest wanes and he gazes off to the side of our picnic table.  A tiny robin is collecting – something.  Foraging through pine needles and gravel for tasty morsels, perhaps.


The earlier cool breeze now fights with a hot wind, both struggling to dominate our respite.  We move to a shadier spot.  My son has been suffering heat exhaustion for the past few days and the fresh, cool breezes are much better for him than sitting in front of the air conditioner.  He dozes off.  The lake is so quiet today.  It usually doesn’t get too crowded anyway, but today is heavenly, even for midweek.  In July and August, I just expect crowds no matter where we go.  


Clouds build and tease around the edges of the hills.  Will our “monsoons” deliver this year?  The lake is way down and we have a lot of water to make up for.  Boy wakes up and we take a short walk. Spending the days up here, pumping him with gatorade and water have helped keep his temperatures down.  He is just about back to normal now, but his body needs a few more days to recover from the shock he’s had.  He is already chattering nonstop and I expect him to start bouncing around again, soon.

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Affordable Health Care? Who Is It Really Helping?


My friend’s husband has a rare form of lung cancer.  He has never smoked.  He is a vegetarian.  They are self-employed, with two young sons.  Like many entrepreneurs, they make too much money to qualify for state health care and not enough to buy their own.  Then of course, there are the pre-existing conditions. 

So what about the so-called “Affordable Health Care Act”?  Out of funding for the Pre-existing Conditions Program.  What about providing treatment and working out payments?  Nope.  The chemo provider won’t start chemo unless my friend can come up with nearly $10,000 up front.  Yeah, got that layin’ around after paying for the surgery to remove the tumor and the hospital stay and the biopsy.  Right.   What about other programs?  Other states?  Other countries?  If only there was a sure answer.  

We have been praying for my friend and her family ever since we found out about the cancer.  Right now, though, my friend just needs moral support.  I hear out her fears.  Then she talks about escape.  Selling off everything and packing the family into an RV and full-timing it with whatever time her husband has left.  I go with it, for this is the very thing I am about to do with my own family.  We dream this dream for a few minutes, until my friend has to take another phone call.  I have to take my son to his baseball game.

The injustice of my friend’s situation burns in my heart.  I want to lash out, but where?  I want to help, but how?  I pray.  I listen.  I reach out to my friend, wishing I could fix it, knowing I can’t.    This is one of the problems that offensive Health Care Reform Act was supposed to fix.  It hasn’t.  What now?

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Grace To Climb Mountains


Last Sunday’s sermon touched on Confession.  About how we will face mountains at various times in our lives and need God’s grace to climb them.  God’s grace comes to us in the sacraments.  Especially in Confession and Holy Communion.  When we are suffering, we face a mountain we must climb.  God’s grace helps us to climb it.

When I moved to Arizona, I purposely chose a location where I could live on less and enjoy life more.  I was going to go hiking in the local mountains every day and travel to places I wanted to explore more often.  Then gas prices went up.  My kids became teenagers.  My plans didn’t work out the way I had hoped.   Somehow, I got through the initial adjustment, then I began to look at other areas to cut back.  Finally, I began to be able to live within my means again.  

When I am suffering, it seems as if I will never be able to handle what God has sent me.  Events in my life overwhelm me.  Only the grace of God strengthens me.  Confession heals me of my shortcomings.  The Eucharist is food for the journey.  Like a walking stick, the Sacraments give me something to lean on when I am tired of climbing the mountain.

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