Sunday, January 30, 2011

Normalcy Bias

normalcy bias definition

1. (sociology) The phenomenon of disbelieving one's situation when faced with grave and imminent danger and/or catastrophe. As in overfocusing on the actual phenomenon instead of taking evasive action, a state of paralysis.

As human beings, we function best believing that the days we have experienced and the range of our experiences are normal, and therefore our lives will continue to exist and move within what we believe are those continued normal parameters. Even when something strikes us as wrong, we tend to revert to our continued practiced paths because of normalcy bias.
Many times, those who are kidnapped, rather than seeing the opportunities to avoid being taken, or choosing to fight in place, can't completely BELIEVE that we are in the situation in which they find themselves, and they fail to act properly, thinking instead that they "will find a way out later". Unfortunately, statistically very few kidnap victims, once being relocated from the place they were taken, ever do. This is an extreme example, but I am using it to illustrate the concept of how normalcy bias can be damaging to decision-making.
Those of us who lost children especially suddenly, also were stuck in normalcy bias, and in some ways it benefitted us,in getting through those first days and functioning through a funeral etc. I am discussing this now because I don't want normalcy bias to adversely affect your choices, your actions and your lives now.
Our government has borrowed enough money that if every man, woman and child relinquished our assets to our government, that we still could not pay off this debt. Our federal reserve continues to dabble in a number of questionable practices including what amounts to currency fixing, printing money with nothing behind it, called quantitative easing. Our rights and liberties are being progressively eroded. There are a number of states which could conceivably go bankrupt. There are peculiarities in our government and economy which are not unlike "The Great Depression with cellphones". Add to this, potential for terrorism, and several North African and Middle Eastern countries in civil unrest, and we have a recipe for potential disaster here too. It is therefore time to examine the manner in which normalcy bias may be impacting our own daily choices.
If you haven't been, it's time to pay down debt and carry as little of it as you can. It's time to stock some food supplies, some medical supplies, and anticipate inflation, which most of the world's economists say is coming.
I don't know why some of our children were called from us, but I do know, that those of us who are left here, are in for some rocky times. Please take a moment to consider whether normalcy bias is interrupting your ability to see and predict potential hazards in your own life. Daniel would want that.

This young man reminds me a bit of Daniel.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

An Adoption Anniversary

It was a year ago today, that we brought J. home with us. He was a young teen who came to us needing a permanent adoptive home. In this busy and full year we have found a new family member, watched a young man grow, gain comfort in our home, and discover his interests. As I have said before, the ideal would have been to have J. grow up with Daniel, however that was not to be.
Sometimes in J. I hear echoes of Daniel. I hear interests they share, opinions on which they would have agreed, and occasionally, they even share wishes for the future. It still saddens me sometimes not to have both of them here. J. has said that our love for Daniel helped to prepare us for our understanding of him, and I think that is true.
We love sharing this part of our lives with J. but we also miss Daniel immensely.
The song below is a tribute by recording artist Mark Shultz, to his biological mother, on her choice to place him for adoption. It seemed a fitting song for our own blog entry today.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Winter Freeze

In the dead of winter, it's hard to realize that one of our children has grown up, learns and lives in a dimension away. It has been a great consolation that my Dad is there to teach him and learn with him, but still, there were lessons I wanted to teach. I hope the dimensions of Heaven are everything and more than I hear they are. I console myself that both of you are happy and fulfilled. I miss you Dad. I miss you Daniel.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Daniel and my dear Dad,
When you each had to leave Earth, it was as if the continents broke free of their granite foundations, and sank away, leaving me with a tarpaulin fashioned as a rubber raft, cold and confused as to where I should be going, or even if I should simply sit and sink myself.
Thankyou both for standing near, just beyond the bridge from Earth to Heaven, and whispering words for the winds to carry for me. Know that I somehow hear your words, your echoes, and I know that I will never really be without you, just as I am never without our God.
Somehow, I stood with shaky knees to be repurposed, and I have done much in the name of Jesus Christ and each of you in the time since my heart was broken and then shattered. The days do not get easier, but I have learned to walk straighter with knees that are less shaky, but still ache.
With love across the Earth and Heaven's divide...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bone Chilling Winter

It has been so cold here in Virginia lately. It has been uncharacteristically cold, icy, and bone chilling in a manner which cannot help but remind me of our time in Russia. In 2001, just weeks after 9-11, my husband and I went to Russia for a month. We spent nearly a month in Russia's far eastern maritime province Primorskiy Krai, of which the port city of Vladivostok,is a part. Following David's return to the US after almost a month, I spent a week or so in Moscow, some 5000 miles west of Vladivostok processing US paperwork at the US Embassy to permit the child to come home with us. It was a scary time at the embassy and for many countries post 9-11. During this time, Stephanie and Adam stayed at the farm, and Matthew and Daniel stayed with our friends, a minister and his wife fairly nearby. During this time, the minister's family all caught fevers and a stomach flu, and rather than having them fragment care for their own children, themselves AND Matthew and Daniel, Adam and Stephanie asked for them back, and took care of their fevers and vomiting. Of course, while in Russia, we were only told of this via e-mail when everything was ok and passing, but I am exceptionally proud of how Adam and Stephanie handled this, and Matthew and Daniel too. We had gone to Russia to help in an orphanage and bring back a boy who needed medical care here in the US, and it proved to be a very challenging endeavor for many reasons. We had not been completely prepared for how primitive medical care is in parts of Russia, or how roads and guardrails simply don't exist in some places there. When I returned I actually felt guilty for having left Daniel, who was five then, for as long as a month,even with great care, especially after he got the flu when I was gone. However, the trip was largely in thanks to God for such a beautiful and wonderful family. In a way, helping one of God's children was in thanks for Daniel and the others.
Still, as a result of this trip, which had been in the works for over a year before we departed, we learned to speak Russian. We also made many friends and developed an admiration for some of the elements of Russian culture. It is for this reason that I wanted to share with you, my favorite singer, Lara Fabian with composer conductor Igor Krutoy, singing a Russian hit "Love Like A Dream". This is a particularly interesting performance because although Lara is fluent in French, Italian, English, and some other languages, she is not yet fluent in Russian. This is a particularly difficult piece to perform particularly for a Russian audience who would immediately detect slight errors in pronunciation which could be disastrous to a performance.

The rough translation of the song is:

Love Like A Dream

I'm looking at myself in your eyes like in a mirror
I'm afraid that I may lose my reflection
I don't want you to be just a guest in a darkness Of nights and in my destiny
I love you as they love once in a life
As if there was no sun before us
You've taken me away from the bothers and the t
Trifling quarrels and you've found the keys for Happiness for me. Love like a dream
A crystal ringing of the hearts
I'll repeat with a calm echo your wonderful "I love"
Love like a dream has made my home happy
But in defiance of the dream's rules,
Let it not stop
I forgive a loneliness and a sadness
You said I would never again come back to them
It happens only in a sweet dream
But our love is in a reality now
I shouldn't lose myself in your eyes
We won't change a love for separations
I've deserved this happiness to be always with you
At inconceivable price and with my dream

And this song, written by and Lara Fabian and Igor Krutoy.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


One of the ways that we have survived these past two years without Daniel here on Earth, is that when I descend into sadness, my husband helps to pull me out. When my husband begins to fall, it is then my turn to try to elevate his mood and focus on how much joy and good fortune we have had, despite all the challenges in our marriage with our children. This morning was one of those rare times, when both my husband and I were sad....missing that beautiful young man Daniel, and wondering how the timeline could have gone so wrong.
The song below is very meaningful for me. This song was a hit while Adam was 14 and critically ill with ulcerative colitis which was refractory to treatment. This song pretty much reflected my unceasing prayers at that time. How ironic that although I gave prayers in thanks for my other children, that ultimately, without sickness, suffering or preparation, our Lord God called Daniel, also my beloved son, also a greatest joy in my life.

I used to sing this to him when Daniel was a baby.

There is some vulgarity in this video, but Daniel would have found this amusing in its entirety.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Birds of the Aflockalypse

If Daniel were here today, he would be researching why nearly five thousand dead birds were found in a particular area of Arkansas within about a one mile radius, about forty miles from Little Rock. These were red winged blackbirds which do not normally fly at night. The department of game in the subject area says they died of massive internal trauma of uncertain cause. In Labarre, Louisiana, roughly at the same time, about 500 starlings, red winged blackbirds and grackles were also found dead. Daniel would be gathering information on the internet about the dozens of jackdaws, also a bird, found dead in Sweden. In Italy, 400 turtle doves have fallen out of the sky dead. Daniel would be reading about all the theories from trauma and from fireworks to potential disease. From the testing of new weapons to theories about cloud to cloud lightning and high atmospheric hail.
In any event, he would be concerned about the abrupt bird deaths and recent fish kills. He would be considering whether the bird and fish deaths relate in any way to the increase in seismic activity recently throughout the world. In Yellowstone, occasionally animal groups are found dead due to the liberation of gasses in an area of seismic activity. He would be considering this also. The frequent and continuous seismic activity in Arkansas would also concern him as this is one of the first sites where in excess of a thousand birds were reported as being found dead.

This is the google map of the events thus far:

In any event, it seems an ominous start to the new year.

The original by songwriter, Dougie MacLean:

Monday, January 3, 2011

In Dreams

Last night, in a dream, around four am, I dreamt that I was holding Daniel as a baby. We were waiting in the lobby of a futuristic hospital at night. Everything was sleek and had LEDs and small sleek electronics on it. There were things that looked like kindles in the lobby, and no magazines. There were alpacas in the waiting area, which weren't ours, waiting to visit other children there. Apparently, in futuristic hospitals, germs aren't the issue they are today. Animals and visitors pass through an ultra-violet arch which kills all pathogenic bacteria and viruses for the length of time of the allowed visit. This means children can receive visits from their own pets while in the hospital. I was telling someone that I was a nurse but none of my training had anything other than historical relevance there. As I held Daniel,in the dream, I knew that he would pass at 12 and a half. I don't know what the dreams true significance is other than giving me some cuddle time with him. My mother, who has also passed, was also with me somewhere, also visiting the hospital, but I wasn't sure where as I didn't know the person she was visiting, and I didn't want to take Daniel to other areas there. In the dream I knew that nothing could prevent Daniel from being called at 12 1/2 including their expertise in the hospital of the future, however, I was going to try.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

To all of you who check this blog for some fragment of a thread of wisdom, or who quietly spy to see if we hold together, without the fantastic solidifying glue of Daniel's sense of humor and laughter, Daniel, who exists, and simply waits as if in the next room,and I, wish you the happiest, healthiest and most productive of Earth years.
To love, health, and happiness to all of you.
Life is a gift, mixed with trials......please don't forget.