Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

It's no secret that 2016 was a really hard year for the Bug household. But we are hoping that 2017 will (at least personally) be MUCH better. As is traditional, I'm sharing our annual Christmas poem, written by Dr. M this year. What is NOT traditional is that I included a note in our cards this year. I'm sharing most of that with you as well.

This is our annual Christmas poem, from hearts broken by 2016. It is a reminder of the travails of a certain refugee family long ago, and the fears and woes of our world today. It is a Christmas lament, written for anyone who feels cast out, without shelter...anyone whose refuge, whose Zion, was shattered by 2016. Peace on Earth, good will to all is our fervent prayer.

Dear Friends and Family,

We sat down and wept

Since we sent out last year’s poem a number of things happened which made Mike write a lament for our annual poem. We lost two people in his family (Aunt Helen and Uncle Barry). We lost my dad’s wife Amy. The head of my department at work died after a very brief fight against brain cancer. Mike’s school cut several positions; his was one of them. My nephew Brandon deployed to Afghanistan. My priest is retiring next month. And Donald Trump is the new president-elect.

And remembered Zion, our refuge

In response to all of that, it feels as if our safe place, our refuge, has been shattered – we grieve, we wail, we post epic rants on Facebook. And, we decide to move back to North Carolina, possibly in late winter or early spring. I will keep my same job, and Mike will spend time with his father and replenish his emotional resources. Whatever 2017 brings, we’ll face it with feet firmly planted on the red clay of home.

The Poem

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down,
yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
Upon the willows in the midst thereof
we hanged up our harps. For there they
that led us captive required of us songs,
and they that wasted us required of us mirth,
saying, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion.’ How
shall we sing the LORD'S song in a strange land?

                                    Psalm 137: 1-4

It is a season of lament—
Unwed mother, pregnant, stunned, shunned.
Older tradesman viewed with cynical suspicion
As he cares for the living vessel of Presence.
Zion shattered, they cling to each other and God.

It is a season of great worry—
New accounting, and, always, taxes to be paid.
Difficult journeys to be taken and retaken
With no clear vision of what the future holds.
Quo vadis? Where are you going? Do you know?

It is a season of homelessness—
In one fell day, secure shelters can vanish.
Cast off, adrift, wandering, we wonder…
Many of us feel mocked, displaced, rejected.
Is there room for us at the tables being set?

It is a season of faith leaps—
A weary couple seeking a new life, yet again.
Together struggling with the real, hard now,
Yet ever walking hand in hand the road
Before them, delicate steps, but walking still.

Have faith in this season of uncertainty—
By strange waters we have sat down and wept,
All of us, as we have mourned unsettling loss.
Our refuge shattered, we were unable to sing.
But in time, we each fetched our harps. Amen!

We SHALL overcome…

Mike & Dana
 Christmas 2016

Thursday, December 22, 2016


To entertain you while you wait for our annual Christmas poem (you ARE waiting, right? With bated (baited?) breath? Ha!

Something I posted on Facebook: Noticed today that one pant leg was a LOT longer than the other one. Of course I became convinced that my hip surgery (from 5 years ago) had suddenly shortened my leg. Mike (not being a drama queen) measured the pants. Yep - one inseam was over an inch longer than the other one. So I guess I'll cancel that (mental) order for a shoe insert.

My most recent Facebook profile picture: (Nance, please note the mascara flake under my left eye. Do not purchase Revlon Ultimate All-in-One mascara!)

Stuff I’ve crocheted while I haven't been blogging:

I'm mostly done with blanket number two. And yesterday I crocheted through the end of November on that temperature monster. It's looking like the Year of the Blanket won't be finished until sometime in January. And even though I looked at the post about the 2017 blanket crochet along, I am NOT going to participate. Nope. Mostly because I have my eye on a totally different kind of blanket. Ha!

OK, I need to get out of here & go finish my Christmas shopping!

Monday, December 19, 2016

I am just the worst...

I haven't blogged since November, and I am SO BEHIND on reading other people's blogs. It's been all crochet, all the time around here. I think I'll perhaps put down my hook & do other stuff after Christmas (except that the Temperature Blanket Monster has also been neglected). Anyway, until I get back to it, you should check out Dr. M's blog post here. Here's a little excerpt:

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Lake Cumberland

Before we headed to North Carolina for our Thanksgiving feast, Dr. M & I spent a couple of days at Lake Cumberland Resort State Park. We stayed in the lodge & had a lovely time. Because I'm a terrible blogger these days, my pictures are hit and miss. For example, did I get a picture of the lodge itself? Nope. Ah well - we've decided that we're going to go back next year, so maybe I'll remember then.

However, before you even read another sentence here you must go check out Dr. M's latest post here. It's all about our trip from Lake Cumberland to North Carolina. Such a glorious day!

When we got to the lodge I took a little walk around & found a persimmon tree! You may recall my obsession with the persimmon pudding that my Aunt Marilyn makes for Thanksgiving (and yes, I had plenty this week). I was tickled to death. I didn't try to eat any of these - if you've ever eaten an unripe persimmon you will totally understand!

That evening we ate in the lodge dining room. They were decorating for Christmas, and I had to laugh at the Very Special Bauble on the Christmas tree. Ha!

In the morning as we ate breakfast in the dining room we were able to see the gorgeous view!

Lake Cumberland is a reservoir in Kentucky & (to me anyway) resembles a dragon of some kind.

Image from here

We spent some time that day wandering around the park, checking out the local fauna.

Then we headed to Cumberland Falls. And, although I enjoyed the long twisty drive to the falls, I wasn't overly impressed. Then again, I've seen Victoria Falls, so I might have set my waterfall bar a little high. But I enjoyed spending time with Dr. M, and we crossed that destination off our list.

Plus, I got to see this cool bridge reflected in the water!

Kentucky really is a beautiful state. There was enough fall color remaining to make all of the hills look like a watercolor painting. I recommend checking it out if you have a chance!

Thursday, November 24, 2016


I'm usually asked to write a poem for the family gathering whenever Dr. M and I are able to be in NC for Thanksgiving. This year's poem was extra hard to write, as one might imagine. But it's done, and since I'm scheduling this to post during our meal, I am most likely eating corn pudding and pecan pie right this very minute. And I think that makes up for a lot of the hard things that have happened during 2016, don't you?

You may not know it,
But I have vicissitudes.
I hope it’s not chronic,
But it’s a pretty serious case,
These vicissitudes.

And my plate is full
Of things I’d rather not eat:
Bitterness, despair, anxiety, and Brussels sprouts
I blame those vicissitudes.

I’m looking back at the arc
Of this year and trying to find
A morsel of thanks be to God.

Was it in April when we lost Amy?
Was it in July when Mike became unemployed?
Was it this month, when Brandon shipped out,
My priest resigned,
And my candidate didn’t win the election?

Yes, yes it was.
Thanks be to God was there
On those days and all the others
Where there was joy and grief
And spreadsheets and the World Series
And your hand in mine in this circle.

You know how vicissitudes work, don’t you?
Picture a leaf, tumbling in the wind.
It goes down and up, around and around
Until it settles into
The cupped hand
Of God.

Let us Bless the Lord!
(and the people said): Thanks Be To God!

Dana W. Rhyne
Thanksgiving, 2016

Lake Cumberland Resort State Park
Dr. M & I startled a flock of wild turkeys - you can just barely make out the last of them, beyond the tree with the shadow, as they fled down the hill.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Just a selection of recent pictures by Dr. M. To see more (and wish him a happy belated birthday), go here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What the What?

I didn't actually feel all that confident.
Had to be talked down off the ledge a few times.
And yet, secretly, in my heart of hearts
I thought that there was NO WAY.

And yet, way.

I can't really froth at the mouth in this space (I have family who read this whose consciences are apparently vastly different from mine. They are not surprised by this.). But I just want to say this: I got about four hours of very restless sleep last night. And as I tossed and turned, I realized that I felt the exact same way that I did when I found out that my mother's cancer had spread. And just like then, I think I'm going to grieve for a bit and then get back up and keep trying to make the world a better place.

Monday, October 31, 2016

I have no hair...

OK, not strictly true, but finally when I approached my hairdresser with a picture of a super short cut, she didn't want me to "think about it." She just went ahead & chopped. It only took three years to get to this point. I'll take a picture & share it soon (because that's who I am as a person), but today I have bits of hair everywhere & no makeup & just look really tired. So something for you to look forward to!

And why am I so tired? Because BASEBALL, that's why! The Indians are up three games to two (in case you haven't been paying attention). The Cubs are headed back to Cleveland to finish the series out so we get a break tonight.

In other news, I've been given the assignment of writing a poem for my dad's family's annual Thanksgiving gathering. And you know, I'm struggling with it, a bit. I haven't written any poetry worth reading in a while now, and it's a little bit hard to find the thankful with all the things going in the world right now. But a few weeks ago we sang a song at church (Now Thank We All Our God) written by a man whose life was much worse than mine is! From Wikipedia:
Martin Rinkart was a Lutheran minister who came to EilenburgSaxony at the beginning of the Thirty Years' War. The became the refuge for political and military fugitives, but the result was overcrowding, and deadly pestilence and famine. Armies overran it three times. The Rinkart home was a refuge for the victims, even though he was often hard-pressed to provide for his own family. During the height of a severe plague in 1637, Rinkart was the only surviving pastor in Eilenburg, conducting as many as 50 funerals in a day. He performed more than 4000 funerals in that year, including that of his wife.
After the war ended Rinkart wrote the hymn for a grand celebration service. So, come on, I can surely get it into gear & write something for our celebration service!

Today is Halloween. And right now Dr. M is outside giving candy to short strangers. I'm hiding in the house. So, for today, our lives are pretty darned normal for us. For that, I'm thankful.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Week That Was

This week has been a bit hard. Bad news came boom boom boom - knocked me back a step. Most of the bad news only affects my heart & other people, but still... But then last night the CUBS won their way into the WORLD SERIES! And they're going to be playing the CLEVELAND INDIANS? Does that mean that there's still hope for the world? I say yes!

Therefore, since there's still hope in the world, I will share things that I did last week. First, after reading on a blog post (hi Steve!) about how many people don't really like makeup, and having been considering that I was about tired of all of that rigmarole, I decided to do a photo shoot to see if I could tell a big difference (I actually think I've done this before, but humor me).

Left - all natural Bug; Right, my full complement of makeup (which took four minutes to apply, even with photo breaks after each step). I was going to show ALL the steps along the way, but since I can barely tell any difference between the first & second photos I decided to spare you. Actually, the second picture looks like I used a filter to soften up my features (or maybe it's not in focus). Verdict: I shall use makeup on a case by case basis (yes for church & work, no for the grocery store).

When I wasn't peering at my face in a mirror, I crocheted (I know - shocking).

Do you see that? BLUE!!!

At one point during the week I ate a salad. Actually, I eat a salad almost every weekday - I took this picture because I was laughing at all the toppings. There is actually some spinach under there...

Last weekend, Dr. M & I went to the Renaissance Festival. He wore one of my favorite t-shirts :)

Finally, I got a lovely surprise from Rita - cards that she colored & made her self. I think I might have to share one or two of them with some of the folks on my heart...

2024 Project 365 – Week Twenty-three

As I had hoped, this week was a bit less chaotic – I worked a lot of hours, but they were orderly and I made headway on some of the tasks on...