Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bear burgers, anyone?

                                   I love how they all have that "Just graduated from Boot Camp" look.

Well, they did it again.  Last weekend, Ken took Rees and Ian several hours north to hunt black bear and was successful!  Ken tracked off in one direction and shot his bear ; Ian remained with Rees, watching another through binoculars  (That one eventually wandered off too far and lived another day.). 

At just seven years old, Ian is particularly sturdy.  Both in mind and body.  He even offered to carry Ken's rifle on their return trek to the base camp since Ken had to empty his pack and push his gear into Rees's pack to make room for the bear parts.  Understanding the male psyche, Ken smiled and strapped a gun as tall as Ian across his four foot body.  The boy marched on.  And this was all between 9pm  (When the bear was shot.) and midnight  (When they arrived back at their base camp.).  Amazing.

How does a guy with CF do such things?  Right now, CF is pretty quiet.  No coughing.  No headaches.  No stomach troubles.  Just maintenance and prevention.  Flutter valves fit in pockets and can be completed while walking or driving or sitting at a campfire.  The pulmozyme that requires electricity for the compressor can be plugged into a converter utilizing a vehicle battery.  Pills can be tossed into baggies and swigged with water.  So he does his lung chores and does his other things.  Amazing.

With really, really full freezers,

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Real Presence

There was no burst of light.  No angels heard singing.  I did not tremble.  My eyes remained dry.  I received the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ at the 2006 Easter Vigil Mass after two years of study and preparation.  Converting from pentecostal style protestantism, I was expecing some sort of emotional, physical response ; but quietly completed the proper postures.  Then, it was over.  Holy Communion continued that way for many months : attentive listening, participating, receiving, praying, and singing without the waves of emotion I'd been accustomed to.  Intellectually, I understood that feelings are not what my faith is based on, that dignified liturgy as the expression of our ancient, ever-new Holy Faith is deeply satisfying.  The Catholic Mass is always a "great service" because of the Eucharist, not because of the musical selections or sermon.  On some level, however, I missed the feelings.  I figured I needed to learn how to worship God in spirit and in truth, not in dancing and tears.  I figured I needed to learn how to worship God the way the Israelites did : doing the right duties for hundreds of years without necessarily experiencing miracles or emotional highs.  This was good for me.  In those quiet Sunday mornings, I was quiet, too.  Like the Israelites of old, I was part of something that, while not taking my breath away, gave me deep breath.

But Moses did come to them.  Nehemiah did build the walls.  Gabriel did visit Mary.  And so it came to me.  Leaving Mass to nurse our wiggly six month old, my return proved too late for reception of the Eucharist.  The extraordinary ministers had turned their backs to the congregation and were lovingly folding, stacking, and returning the sacred vessels to their places at the side table.  I had missed it.  Without warning, I burst into tears.  This response surprised me, as there was no logical lead up in my thoughts, no emotional work up in my heart.  It was quick.  It was powerful.  It shook me.  I stood outside the sanctuary, weeping and mopping up my face, waiting for the rest of my family to join me.

I have missed Holy Communion several times since that day, feeding hungry babies or removing naughty toddlers (sometimes both) and have never had such a fervent reaction again, but I will never forget it.  It is how I feel that I know that I believe that Jesus is truly present, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist.

Thanks be to God for such an unspeakable blessing.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Heavenly Men and Meat

He shot a caribou.  By himself.  And when I say by himself, I mean By Himself.  As in, Ken was a mile away on the other side of a ridge, retrieving one of the four-wheelers to cart his caribou back to their base camp.  Rees was left to guard the kill from predators  (Good Lord.)  when he saw another one emerge and had to make the call on his own.  And he did.  And now we have 167 pounds of meat in the freezer.  Awesome.

This awesomeness is not regular awesome, but truly awesome : we will have more than salmon and beans for the upcoming year.  You see, they do not hunt to keep up an American tradition, or for male bonding, or for the thrill of the hunt.  Those things are frosting on the cake called Family Food.

An accomplishment on so many levels.  Ken and I tiptoe a balancing act between, "You are so amazingly better than anyone else just look at what you've done and you have CF."  and a gruff  "Good job, boy."  (We don't want him to get a big head, right?).  Darn it, though, he's dealing with cystic fibrosis ; a little applause, please. . .

. . .but ~ we also do not want him to expect different treatment or bent rules because of CF.  So.  Our charge to him  (And all our children)  is to live well with All You've Got.  And don't got, so to speak.

Now they're all hopped up on testosterone and antler racks and meat and guns.  And I'm all hopped up on love and pride and a full freezer and this cookbook.  A match made in heaven.

My boy and his caribou.

Ken and his kill.

Ready to head out.

Lovely legs on my table.