Easy Like Sunday

“As they stood there puzzled about this, two men in brilliant clothes suddenly appeared by their side. Terrified, the women bowed their heads to the ground. But, the two said to them, ‘Why look among the dead for someone who is alive? He is not here; he has risen.’ ” (Luke 24: 4-6, The New Jerusalem Bible)

Through His resurrection, He made all things new and He made all things possible.
May your Easter be blessed and holy.

Happy Birthday Susie and Pinky!

It seems not long ago Miss Susie and Miss Pinky, and their littermates were born. They began their lives in rather humble and difficult surroundings. Through kindness, and a little good fortune, they made their way into feline rescue. “The rest,” it is said, “is history.”

Becoming six, Susie and Pinky, are lots of fun. They are loving and loyal.

favorite chair and perch: Miss Pinky

baby quilt time: Miss Susie

the sunny side: Miss Susie

watching for cats: Miss Pinky

suncatching: Miss Pinky

suncatching: Miss Susie

 

Happy Birthday Susie and Pinky!

xoxo

One

While much has changed in a year, much has remained the same. The everydayness of life has continued on – working hard, relaxing, a little playing, laughing. She, herself, would admit 2016 was a difficult year. “Yet, you cannot let these instances govern your life,” she would undoubtedly say.

It is exactly one year since my mom passed away. The last few days of her life were long and hard. Simply, you knew her time was very, very short. Only she knew when was when. Both Laurie and Andrea, after long hours at work, would stop by for nearly 30-45 minutes to visit with her and dad.  A little worry had crept into their voices. It was expected since we were talking family.

With her concerns increasing, Laurie consulted with her geriatrics professor from medical school. His advice was sound, “you’re doing well by keeping her comfortable much as possible.” Laurie wished she could do more. When her and Andrea asked if she was okay, mom would always reply, “Yes, I’m okay. I feel fine.” We were pretty sure she was trying to allay our worries and concerns.

In the year since, it has taken some time to adjust. We’ve had our moments when we said, “make a mental note and tell mom later.” Or, the girls saying, “we need to call grandma and tell her what happened.” Then, in a flash, we remember. Moreover, we are glad mom’s passing seems not to have affected dad a great deal. If it has, he’s not telling but we know he misses her much.

While our counting of days phase is largely behind us, mom would be very glad that we have remembered her. Hopefully, she won’t ask if we learned anything from the counting.

Love you, miss you.
xo

Washington: Enduring Wisdom

“[No man has the] right to mislead others, who have less access to history, and less leisure to study it. . . . Thus substituting falsehood and deception for truthful evidence and fair argument.”

 – Abraham Lincoln, “Cooper Union Address,” 1860

Gilbert Stuart “Lansdowne” portrait
image courtesy of Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

In his farewell address to the nation, George Washington warned against faction (better known as partisanship) and sectionalism. Dividing into factions and sections, while natural, would tear at the political fabric of America. A populist would use those divisions to deprive the people of their power and place it in the hands of a few, unjust men. Further, it would undermine the common ground needed in which we can agree on those principles and matters that unite us as a people and a nation.

This mattered to Washington: We are a nation that is more than an idea, more than a dream, but where all things become possible. For this to be realized, her people must stand fast against the internal divisions and foreign meddling that would naturally follow. It would require her people to be aware and engaged. Failing to do so, we fail ourselves and we fail our nation.

A  little more than eighty years later, America was facing her greatest test as the nation divided along the factional and sectional lines. The institution of slavery had become so pernicious, the constitutional process was becoming inconsequential. In his address at Cooper Union, Abraham Lincoln plainly stated [people] will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events.”

Though a devastating civil war ensued, had Lincoln failed to state his case at Cooper Union, America would have become the failed experiment in self-governance. America would fracture along the factional and sectional lines Washington had warned many years before.

In the here and now, many have their own interpretation of America – choosing to believe what they want to believe and dismissing the rest as romanticized nonsense. They choose to believe America was never about an idea, was never about a dream. It is contrary to what every founding father believed what America was and could be, and they believed it regardless of their personal politics. Washington was content to serve one term as president. Democratic-Republican Jefferson and Federalist Madison made a joint appeal to Washington, asking him to serve a second term. They believed if there was no second term, America would die in her infancy.

Shortly after the inauguration a few weeks ago, actor Sam Waterston, penned an opinion editorial in which he rightly notes how lying has become a daily constancy and danger. “The great issue of today is lying — constant lying in public. Lying is the ally of faction … it is the greater danger. Yes, the word is lying — not negotiation, salesmanship, bluster, attention-getting, delusion, deception, braggadocio, exaggeration, bullying, alternative facts, or any other euphemism.”

Waterston warned of the corrosive nature of lying: “… the frequency of his lying, Trump has revealed a truth we have avoided confronting: Like partisanship, regular and habitual lying is an existential threat to us, to our institutions, our memories, our understanding of now and of the future, to the great American democratic experiment, … It blurs the truth, subverts trust, interferes with thought, and destroys clarity. It drives us to distraction.”

Washington’s warning, advice and wisdom in his farewell address remains relevant today as it did in 1797. Lincoln’s Cooper Union address remains relevant today as it did in 1860.

It becomes a matter of our willingness to listen and heed the wisdom.

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Remembering

By Lauren Westin, MD

Sitting at my desk late last night, tying off the loose ends of the day’s work, it dawned on me it has been two years. It seems like yesterday when David called early that morning saying we needed to talk, and not over the phone. Yet, it does seem to have happened long ago.

In the hectic of Friday’s “everyday busy”, not a thought of mom came to mind – not even the anniversary of her passing. I know she would say it’s time to set it aside. “No more sadness.” Instead, concentrate on your family, concentrate on your patients. She would not expect any less. However, I felt bad at that moment last night. I should have remembered earlier, but I didn’t. Both Andrea and David said I shouldn’t beat myself up over this. They’re right, but I did.

from the one

Tara called her grandpa early this morning and they chatted awhile before heading out to ride with Deborah and Elizabeth. Afterwards, I talked with dad. He said it was okay. Mom is imprinted on all of us, in our thoughts, our deeds and our words. Staying true to your values is remembering and honoring mom to the highest degree.

It was the reaffirmation I needed.

Love you, mom.

Laurie
xo

About the author

Lauren Westin is a practicing trauma surgeon with University of Colorado Health, and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She holds certifications in trauma surgery, trauma medicine and microsurgery.

 

Again

Winter returned overnight, bringing with it freezing drizzle and fog and much colder temperatures. After depositing a veneer of ice, it has been mix of light snow and fog since then. The snow hasn’t been overwhelming, leaving only a dusting.

cold conditions: a light dusting but no birdies

It must be cold. The local groundhog, residing at the zoo, didn’t bother to check for his shadow. Perhaps he remained in his burrow where it is warm. Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog, has predicted another six weeks of winter – which interestingly coincides with the arrival of the spring in six weeks.

Today’s brush with winter is a one-day affair. By the weekend, it’ll be sunny with temperatures warming back into the 50s and 60s.

Inauguration Day

Many, including myself, hadn’t given him a chance to win. Not in the primaries, and certainly not in the general election. He would certainly self-destruct. And, he came close on more than a few occasions. He used his bluster, denials and penchant for insults to distract. His serious character flaws did not matter. His lack of knowledge did not matter. Furthering the polarization in our politics did not matter.

Today, he is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. While many bemoaned his election, he now occupies the singularly most powerful office. His proposals, vision and direction should be subject to the utmost scrutiny. He should be held more accountable by virtue of the power of his office. He should not be given a free pass just because he is the president. I have serious misgivings of his abilities to execute the duties of the office he now assumes. I have serious misgivings of his ability to be president for all Americans, particularly those who did not vote for him.

Though I personally disliked the politics and policies of President Obama, I still find him to be an interesting person. Similarly for President Clinton. Both President Bushes (41 & 43), I like very much. While you may disagree with the policies of these presidents, the one certainty that can be taken away is they tried their best, gave their best, for this nation. I do not know if the new president will do his best for this nation. I do know he is not an individual I would want to visit or socialize with. He is crass, crude, impolite and more – the very characteristics we urge our children not to learn and possess.

Some have suggested his election would reorder the status quo. The elite and the media will come to heel. The original intent of the Constitution will be restored. While he espouses these notions, he does not quite understand the federalist concepts of our representative republic. He believes he can do whatever he chooses.

He will soon find out America did not lose her greatness, and is found residing in her people. It is reflected in our values, our decency and our promise. We are far from the perfect nation but we strive to be a better nation each day through hard work, taking care of our families, and doing what is right.

America will be fine, because she is in our hands and not his.

NOTE:
If you wish to comment, civility matters. No coarse, belittling or insulting language may be used. As administrator, I reserve the right to DELETE any comment that I deem to be disrespectful. If you cannot abide by these terms, please exit this site.