Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sorrows from Norway

The island site of the Utoya Camp shooting in Norway

Dad and Daniel,

I know that you read these posts and know what is going on around us and on Earth also. I don't know exactly what you both do in Heaven, but I know that each of you are busy and that you have consuming tasks you do for God. As you likely already know,on Friday, a 32 year old man, who is likely deranged, was part of a bomb plot which killed people in a government building in Oslo. Afterward, he dressed as a policeman and took two weapons and arrived at a holiday island which was hosting a camp for young people. Over one and a half hours he shot teens and others as they tried to get away from him. Some were even shot as they jumped in to the water to swim away. In all, the death toll is said to be about 91 with five people still missing, as of the moment of this posting.
I realize that have been lucky in this life in that those I love did not depart from Earth as the result of a willful or malicious act. Each of you passed naturally, even if Daniel's passing was mysterious. Our family did not endure the violent taking of our loved ones. We are sending our prayers for the families of those who have lost loved ones or their children to this senseless act.
I will not state the name of the 32 year old man who committed such a vile and senseless act. He would have to be insane to believe that attack and killing of teenagers would in any way improve political conditions in his nation, and even if it did, no genuine God fearing person of any faith would kill children who had no manner of protecting themselves. Violence begets violence.
I will pray to God, and do what I can here to comfort those who remain on Earth, and if you each could do whatever you can, I would be most appreciative. I know that the veil between us in thin sometimes, and I look forward to these times and these messages. By the way, I got the message about the back door. The frame and the door was significantly reinforced today. Thank you and I send love from those of us who still dwell on Earth.

This amazing song from Adam Young (Owl City) from his blog

I believe that Daniel knows his work, and likes his song "Fireflies"


I am noting a marked upswing in the number of people logging on to this post from Norway.
Please know that my family and the people of the United States send their prayers and deepest condolences to all of you in Norway, during this time of incredible loss and turmoil. We send special condolences and prayerful support to those who have children or family members in this terrible act.


I am overwhelmed. There is much to do on the farm, and a week of days with 105-110 F heat has made accomplishing anything other than feeding and hosing down animals nearly impossible. I was stung by a hornet yesterday as I tried to check on and change waters for ducks, chickens, alpacas, and dogs. It is rare to have a day with such an inhospitable climate.
I am unsettled for other reasons as well. This week a criminal was arrested on a neighboring farm which hammers home that nowhere is idyllic, and that nowhere is safe in all conditions. We are examining better security, better gates, better fencing, and upgrading our security system, in a place which should never have needed it. There is also much talk of a default of the US federal government, and no one can fully anticipate what all the effects of such would be. These are uncharted waters and frightening to many people. I also sit on the precipice of a new business venture, and although I would normally embrace such an opportunity, I am reticent, to start something new, to call attention to myself, to chance any of the framework in which I have been surviving.
I often think that I probably haven't managed things as well as my Dad would have, given all of the situations with which I have to contend. I also think about Daniel very frequently. Was there ANYTHING I could have done in order to have protected him better? Was there anything I missed ? Once again, I am back to wondering how I failed him, if he is gone from Earth now.
I leave you with the song, the song I sang to Daniel, just before his funeral somehow,
"To Where You Are". Although most of you will recognize it as performed by Josh Groban, the song was written by Richard Marx and Linda Thompson (who was oncemarried to David Foster and with whom she has written many wonderful songs) The Groban version of the song was also produced by Richard Marx.

Here is Richard Marx singing his song "To Where You Are"

Friday, July 22, 2011

They Remain Nearby

Chris Schwarzenegger and mother Maria Shriver

Last night I dreamt in great detail and in vivid color as I sometimes do. One of the most memorable parts of my dream is Daniel walking beside me, to my left. We were walking in a grassy cool area. I thanked him for coming while I was at loose ends and a bit sad and a little bewildered at the moment, and he told me that he is always with me, as is my Dad, even in daylight, when I cannot see them. He also said that their choice as to where to occupy in "Heaven" just now is motivated by wishing to stay near their family. They will apparently not ascend to the highest point in Heaven until all of the family is with them......and apparently, the animals too. This was a comfort, because there are certainly plenty of things to worry about in the world in which those of us in the flesh suits still dwell.
I do want to take a moment though to ask for prayers for someone. I don't know and have never met the Schwarzeneggers, yet I understand how they must feel today. Their 13 year old son Christopher is in an intensive care unit, and has been since Sunday following a collapsed lung and multiple fractures which occured as a result of a surfing or boogie boarding accident in the Pacific Ocean. I hope his recovery is swift and that his mother receives whatever support she needs as she sits beside him in the hospital.

UPDATE: News reports are indicating that although Christopher remains in ICU, that doctors anticipate a full recovery. Our prayers are with Christopher and his family.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

For Those Who Sailed On Ahead

I do my best, but many times I feel disconnected from my father who came to Earth before me, and disconnected also, from my youngest son who was called home without me. Sometimes, I feel a little bit as if a ship on a glorious journey which called on Dad and Daniel, left without me, and left Dad's and Dan's luggage on the pier as well. I know that the remaining family here needs me, but I do spend time wondering what the consciousness and afterlives of both of my beloved family members are like. I will just have to continue to have faith.

This feeling, expressed very well by Richard Marx in "Through My Veins"

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How I Go On Living

Yesterday I was remembering an important moment with Daniel. In 2008, in the autumn, we were called to tell us that my father was in a hospital ICU in another city. He was very ill and was failing. I stayed with him for about four days, but on one Saturday, I thought it would do my father good to see his grandchildren, so my husband and oldest son, drove everyone up from Virginia. It was a trip which took hours. During those hours of travel, my Dad who would have enjoyed the visit, deteriorated significantly. When the kids arrived, I knew he knew they were there, but he could not wake and speak with them, and being nurses kids, they all noticed and knew a great deal about the apparent deteriorating heart rhythm on Dad'scardiac monitor. It was Daniel,especially,who was upset. Outside Dad's glass hospital room in the ICU, Daniel stood, with tears pouring down his face. I went over to him and hugged him tightly. I knew somehow that I wanted to hold that moment both frozen in time, and in my heart forever. When we let go, I told Daniel, that it was alright. (My) Dad's body was wearing out and he could no longer stay with us here on Earth and it was soon time for him to go to Jesus, where he would be comfortable, safe, and start on a new set of tasks. Somehow I was able to comfort Daniel, with my absolute and total belief in the hereafter. Of course, just 31 days after Dad's passing, Daniel too was called by God, in a manner which remains unclear, even after autopsy and multiple autopsy reviews by other experts, with continuing studies looking for genetic illnesses in blood and DNA. I I pray, that the courage I showed to Daniel that day at the hospital out of state, was courage that helped him when only a short time later, God called him home. Sometimes, I am not quite sure how I go on living

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I Miss My Boy

I know that Daniel and Dad are safe at home with God. I know that God manages the things I cannot, but I also know that the moments and time seems long to me before I see them again. I am once again rethinking how my son could possibly have had something which killed him, almost before my eyes,and that I had no indication of anything being wrong. How good a Registered Nurse, and how good a college professor could I be?  I had just finsihed discussing cardiology conduction before the break in which I spent two weeks with Daniel before his passing. I still don't understand how that could be.
Pathologists believe that Daniel passed from Long QT Syndrome, but he does not have the genetic markers for known Long QT. This does not mean he did not have it, just that Daniel may have markers which have not yet be detected and described as markers for long QT. The Mayo Clinic continues to study Daniel's case.I hope that I was as interesting an instructor and as matter-of-fact as the professor in the clip below.

A British medical school professor discusses Long QT Syndrome

The Drugs to be Avoided by Those With Congenital Long QT Syndrome as she discussed are found at:

Added by me, and sorted by US brand name:

This is an online tool for recording your medications for your physician, pharmacist and any other doctors you may see:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Congratulations !

Congratulations to married couple Jewel Kilcher and Ty Murray who welcomed their first child, Kase Townes Murray into the world on July 11th who was 7 lbs. and 6 ounces. Can you imagine how wonderful the lullabyes will be in their house ?

This is a peek:

Thank you, Eric Cantor

Daniel, our ever political homeschooler

Congressman Eric Cantor

Eric and his wife Diana at his birthday celebration.

In a prior post here, I spoke of how Daniel, during a Republican fundraiser, at Orapax Plantation here in Virginia, tried to convince Congressman Eric Cantor, to no avail, that the big bank bailout of 2008 would be a mistake. However, this week Eric certainly redeemed himself as outlined in the article below. Daniel would be pleased. Daniel believed that excessive spending and excessive US debt would not only be bad for his generation economically and educationally, but bad for the rest of the world as well. I plan to call Eric and thank him for his courage and leadership today.

***Our original post which discusses the day at Orapax Plantation can be found at:


UPDATE: If I did not make it clear enough during my call to your DC office today, Thank you Congressman Cantor for showing the courage in leadership that you have this week. There will be no default should the debt ceiling not be raised. The Obama Regime must not continue to write blank checks on only partially considered Bills.


The GOP's hardliner: How Eric Cantor thwarted the Obama-Boehner debt deal –

At his press conference on Monday, President Obama made clear that his frustration with House Republicans' intransigence in negotiations to raise the federal borrowing limit did not extend to their leader. "I think Speaker Boehner has been very sincere about trying to do something big," Obama said, one of several compliments in an extended embrace of his negotiating partner. "The politics that swept him into the speakership were good for a midterm election; they're tough for governing."

Tough indeed. And a death hug from a polarizing Democratic President doesn't make the task easier for Boehner. From the start of his speakership, Boehner has been forced to contend not just with a fractious band of freshmen who would rather risk economic catastrophe than give ideological ground, but also with a top lieutenant positioning himself as Boehner's purist foil. While Obama may respect Boehner's forthrightness, recent twists in the plot of debt ceiling negotiations suggest that if he wants to convince hard-line House conservatives not to jeopardize the nation's economy, he may have been negotiating with the wrong Republican. (See "Inside Thursday's White House Debt Ceiling Meeting: A Consensus to Go Big.")

During the high-stakes summit at the White House on Sunday evening, Eric Cantor was the primary voice speaking on behalf of Republicans interests, according to several accounts of the meeting. A senior Democratic aide briefed on Monday's talks told TIME that Cantor again "dominated" much of the negotiations on the Republican side, while Boehner "hardly spoke."

Cantor's stated resistance to a grand bargain freighted with revenue increases - and the perception that his position reflected the pulse of the GOP conference - likely influenced Boehner's decision to scuttle his pursuit of a "big deal" with Obama. Weeks earlier, Cantor's abandonment of the Biden-led negotiations were the death knell for those talks. Speculation about palace intrigue is a Washington tradition, but the rumored frost between the top two Republicans in the House could have significant impact on whether the two parties can craft an agreement to raise the debt-limit by August 2. That's particularly true if personal ambition leads either lawmaker to elevate political calculations over policy imperatives.

During a meeting with reporters on Monday afternoon, Cantor dismissed the characterization that a rift has opened between Boehner and his No. 2. "I know you all love to write the soap opera here," Cantor told a standing-room only crowd in the Capitol, but "the Speaker and I are on the same page." It was the first question he was asked, and he later repeated his denial. Less than an hour later, before the two leaders trekked to the White House for another round of negotiations, Boehner held his own separate briefing with the press, where he paid tribute to hard-line Republican demands - a balanced-budget amendment, binding spending caps to stem a slide back to profligacy - and wagged his finger at a reporter who asked about his apparent retreat to the safety of the pack. "There were no tax increases ever on the table," Boehner insisted. (See "There's Big Talk in Washington of a Deficit Deal. Can the Center Hold?")

But while Boehner said on Monday that a bill that raises taxes cannot pass the House, it was Cantor who made every effort in recent days to stake out the anti-tax ground. Helping to thwart Boehner's push for a "big deal" was only the latest jockeying between the supple, deal-making Speaker and his pugnacious top lieutenant. By tapping Cantor as an emissary to the Biden negotiations, Boehner tried to gain Cantor's imprimatur for any deal it yielded; by stalking out over tax increases, Cantor cleaved separation, as he did again by pushing for a smaller deal at a Thursday meeting at the White House. The House Majority Leader, who didn't support Boehner's bid for that job in 2006, could be poised to capitalize should an intraparty feud over the debt-limit fight spark an insurrection. "I think what we learned over this past weekend is that John Boehner…is not really speaker of the House," New York magazine political columnist John Heilemann argues. "Eric Cantor is the speaker of the House." Pointing to the potency of Cantor's anti-tax vehemence, Darrell West of the Brookings Institution said Monday that "Eric Cantor is the real power in the House of Representatives."

For their part, some Republicans argue that Obama's praise for Boehner - and the accounts of unnamed Democratic officials who outlined Cantor's swelling role in the debt-limit negotiations - is a gambit designed to accentuate a rift that isn't there. "I think the White House is trying to drive a wedge between the two. That's why Obama gave Boehner a big bear hug," says an aide to a conservative House Republican freshman. "Both Boehner and Cantor realize a tax hike is not going to fly with the House GOP. And neither one believes that taxes are the solution." Adds the aide: "I don't know if just spending cuts will seal the deal."

Monday's negotiating session, at which the negotiators sought to identify common ground, provided a snapshot of Cantor's determination not to compromise Republican principles. After Obama implored Republicans to bring ideas to the table, "Cantor came in with a specific proposal that included cuts to Medicare without providing a dime in savings through closing special-interest giveaways," says the senior Democratic aide, who says that Obama responded by insisting on "shared sacrifice." Earlier in the day, Cantor told reporters that he considered "shared sacrifice" a euphemism for tax hikes. "Republicans can't add stuff that only they want to do. That won't pass the House or Senate," says another senior Democratic aide briefed on the talks. "So Republicans have to start thinking about things they don't want to do, in addition to the things Democrats don't want to do - which means they need to start talking about revenues." (See five destructive myths about the economic recovery.)

It's not hard to see why the rank-and-file in a restive Republican conference are drawn to Cantor's hard-line haggling. During his off-camera briefing with reporters, Cantor stressed his aversion to a tax hike at every turn, insisting that any deal has "got to be net revenue neutral." He suggested, improbably, that the most fruitful path to a deal was the framework crafted by the Biden-led group that he walked away from just weeks ago, citing irreconcilable differences over taxes. Asked how Republicans were prepared to compromise in pursuit of a deal, Cantor said the GOP was swallowing as much as it could handle by voting to raise the debt limit, an "existential question" that deeply troubles fiscal conservatives. "I don't think the White House understands how difficult it is for fiscal conservatives to vote for a debt-ceiling increase," he said.

It hasn't always been so difficult. Cantor did so on multiple occasions during the George W. Bush presidency, raising the debt limit by trillions of dollars without enacting spending cuts in the process. Now Cantor claims a vote to forestall fiscal calamity amounts to a major concession. This kind of outlook is one reason Obama remains eager to deal with Boehner, even if the GOP's power center may be shifting.

With reporting by Jay Newton-Small

(Time article end)


Mercy Me "I Can Only Imagine"

Michelle Tumes "Missing You"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Scorching Summers Days Once Again

This may be one of the last candid pictures taken of Daniel.

I can hardly believe that one of our most popular posts, "Scorching Summer Days" was written now a year ago. In it, I believe I talk about the extreme heat which oppresses Virginia in July, and about my father's birthday this month, and my husband's as well. In some ways,losing Daniel has royally confused how I mark time. Very quickly afterward, music was divided into songs he knew, or songs which were written or became popular before his passing, and songs which came to public view afterward. Incidentally, the song selection below, is a song that Daniel heard often. I am very sure of one thing, and that's that he knew well how much I love him, and always will.
Virginia has once again resumed the oppressive heat which overhangs so much of the summer here. The kind of heat which inspires children and teens to try to shower and change clothing three times daily. I am transported to remembering the days in which Daniel all sweaty with his shirt collar not smooth at the back was cutting watermelon to eat. This is also the kind of heat which inspires adults to go out at seven am, finish all the errands quickly and get back to the house before the noon hour. Sometimes,the oppressive heat inspires some Virginia homeowners to contract to have a pool installed. This is not only outrageously expensive, but it takes time and fairly great expense to maintain.The law in many places also mandates fencing, even on larger farms. In my neck of the woods, a pool also attracts snakes and black bears. A neighbor had a pool destroyed near here by a young bear who apparently thought that it had been installed just for him. I think I will hold out, and perhaps just sit in the jacuzzi.

Friday, July 8, 2011

"Tosh" Revisited

As you might remember, a cat in a carrier, named MacIntosh, attended Daniel's funeral. The cat sat listening as if he knew why he was there. Some months before, Adam, a friend and I struggled to get a kitten caught in the engine of a new car at the post office. It took hours but thanks to the owner of the car, who allowed Adam to remove parts, liberate the cat and then reassemble parts of the engine, the kitten survived and went to live with friends of ours. Daniel loved the cat, , but could not have one because he was allergic to them. A couple of months after Daniel's sudden passing, a friend of ours gave us a kitten as it closely resembled the cat Daniel loved so much which came to his funeral. Since the first cat MacIntosh, nicknamed Mackie, this new one was to be MacIntosh II, or "Tosh". The idea, according to our friend was that this new kitten would grow up, live a life, and when he passes, would become Daniel's cat in Heaven. I did not have the heart to relate that I too am allergic, so I take my Claritin daily, and sometimes my nose itches and burns. It actually was a sweet gift and the cat has become a farm favorite. Tosh enjoyed his kittenhood here. He has been spoiled by everyone and for the most part, is a sweet and intelligent addition. He was originally supposed to spend his kitten months in the house, and then move out to the barn, which is very nice, where he would patrol. Tosh did not want this. He is a luxury cat who enjoys serenity, peace, and decidedly indoor life. He will not be a barn patrol cat. For awhile we wondered if he would be able to remain in the house because he was a little hostile at times. He had a problem with "misplaced hunting" and would attack the back of my legs as I walked through the house in a sundress or flowing skirt. Fortunately, he abandoned attacking us after being neutered.
Tosh really has been a great addition to our home. He seems to have the hypnotic ability to make us drowsy and take a midday nap when we are home. "Daniel's cat" is a treasured family member now. He remains spoiled and cuddled just as Daniel would have spoiled him. The pictures above are recent ones taken by our daughter.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Independence Day 2011

When Daniel was still on Earth we had a family ritual of placing a piece of plywood in the front field, hosing a broad area around it with water, to prevent sparks and fires, and doing our own fireworks. We also made a number of different foods including a sponge cake with strawberries and blueberries with cream in order to incorporate the requisite red, white and blues. Somehow, this seems less important now. Last year we tried to hold the tradition together because we wanted to show it to James. This year it seems like hard going. Large fireworks have become very expensive and therefore we have a few sparklers and small items, but not enough for our traditional family Independence Day show. We also have a relative drought here which makes fireworks dangerous. It's not as bad as last years drought, but not enough water not to have drought. Life seems to spin faster and faster as we grow. We try to have the American flag up anyway and we will likely have the Independence Day picnic, but it seems we have outgrown the fireworks.
One of the disadvantages to living so far out in the country is that when you think you might like to see a commercial or local fireworks display, that traveling would be a necessity. It keeps us from doing a lot of things suburbanites might do on a whim.
I will try to make this a memorable and happy holiday here. Last evening, my husband took James to select fireworks after all from a roadside seller. He spent more than I would have. Perhaps one more year we will still have fireworks on the farm.
When darkness finally fell, James and Dad set off the fireworks one at a time. I think James had the best time. I stood watching from the porch getting bitten by the mosquitoes but also knowing that this was important for James, and also for my husband. The other kids watched and my daughter took pictures with a new camera with a filter which catches the light from fireworks. I think it was a salvaged holiday after all.

This performance is a long time ago, before KT Tunstall was a big star. This is her first performance of UK TV