Monday, October 31, 2011

Great Lakes Fall Retreat Sucesses!

The fall retreat for the Great Lakes LVC region was a huge success all around!! We (Port Huron) met up with the Detroit group, Chicago's group (they have 3 houses), and the Milwaukee group. There were 23 of us all together doing a wide range of service work from urban farming, to education, to food administration, to advocacy work, to crisis work. It was very rewarding to meet with the other volunteers to hear, for example, what is going on in Chicago's school system or how broken is the system regarding foster children.

There were numerous moments when you'd hear a volunteer's story and you would become enraged at the ridiculous difficulties they were encountering, while simultaneously being able to identify with your own difficulties you face in your placement. One thing we all seemed to have in common was that even though there are these huge obstacles we face, that can be very discouraging at times, these obstacles are also lighting a fire under our butts to get us moving and thinking. For me, the LVC experience as a whole has definitely started to reshape my thinking about what's next in my future, even though  I have no idea what that means, yet. BUT it's making me think and getting me one step closer to figuring it out.

Otherwise,  the retreat was nice to simply get us out of the city! We were surrounded by woods in the spirit of autumn, which meant I did a lot of walking around outside.

My housemates said I was very much "in my element" at the retreat as I floated around from group to group making it a priority to get to know everyone a little bit better. It was so affirming for me to spend time with a group of fun, excited, young people about the work we are doing in LVC and really encouraged me to maybe take a few more risks in my own life to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. 

High Ropes Course!

One of the many highlights on the retreat was the high ropes course!! 

Part of the High Ropes Course

Having never participated in a high ropes course before, I jumped on the opportunity to give it a try. The course consisted of 12-14 different challenges you could choose to try. I did 8 of the challenges myself and thoroughly enjoyed being anywhere from 12 to 50 feet above ground. About 10 other brave LVC volunteers also joined in on the adventure, which was fun because then we could cheer each other on and bond over the experience. It reminded me of my gymnast days several years ago, although I do not have the upper body strength I used to. Needless to say I was quite sore the next day!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

It's Retreat Time!!

Bina West Miller House has arrived at Camp Henry for our fall LVC retreat!! That being said, I will probably not be able to post anything for the next few days.. Unless something very exciting happens or I find time during our free time. However, I'm making spending time with the volunteers a priority first.

Eeeeee I'm super excited to be here!! Plus, the drive through rural Michigan was worth it in itself!! Here's some pictures from the drive!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Bringer of the Snack

Aside from recruiting volunteers, tutoring, and doing most of the paperwork for Read for Life, I also have a VERY important role known as "the bringer of the snack."

Everyday we have Read for Life I stop by the soup kitchen across from the school and pick up the snack of the day for our 45 students. Lauren (my fellow housemate and LVC volunteer) who works at the soup kitchen, and her director have been extremely helpful in actively searching and preparing snacks for the students. Their motto is "if kids are hungry, they aren't going to be learning." I have to agree... And trust me these kids ARE hungry. Over 80% of the school qualifies for free or reduced lunch.

Anyway, as I was refilling the Read for Life mini fridge at the school I thought I'd take a picture of it for you so that you can observe the usual Capri sun chaos. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Anticipating Our Fall Retreat!

The Bina West Miller House has been getting ready for our first Lutheran Volunteer Retreat!!! We are super pumped for this as we will get to meet up with the LVC volunteers from Detroit, Chicago, and Milwaukee at Camp Henry which is on the "west coast" of Michigan (aka on the west part of the state on Lake Michigan).

But like all good and exciting things we are expected to accomplish certain things... like finishing up our house covenants (a written mission statement for how we will live in the house incorporating our personal values and LVC's values of social justice, sustainability, and intentional community) and... our anti-racism homework.
Working on our Covenant! Lauren is designing a visual poster of our Covenant. Jeremy has been writing a formal version of it and I've been making a visual word document/flow chart of how our covenant works.

The good news is we finished our covenant tonight and are working on our presentation for the retreat! HURRAY! The bad news is for myself ,who is out of habit of reading dense but very important material, is that I still have to finish up my anti-racism reading and homework before our retreat.

At orientation we had 13 hours of intensive... and I mean REALLY intensive anti-racism training, which took us all the way from the history behind racism to white privileged to how racism has been institutionalized in our culture. It is very difficult intellectual and emotional work, when you reexamine your life and how it has and is being influenced by racism. At our retreat we will go through another 8 hours of follow up anti-racism training specifically focusing on how it plays into our LVC placements and our lives as an LVC volunteer.

Asking Good God Questions.

On Monday nights I spend an hour with some of the youth at St. Martin's Lutheran Church for a program called Kid's Klub.The function of Kid's Klub is to provide an alternative time for Sunday school activities as the church has not had very much success with its children outreach on Sunday mornings. Since I am the LVC volunteer for both St. Martins and Our Saviour Lutheran Church I spend some of my time helping out with their youth.

My favorite age group to work with is 3rd-6th grade. At this age kids are young enough to not give you too much attitude (like the teenagers I work with at Our Saviour), but are old enough to start asking really thoughtful and deeply philosophical God questions.

Last Monday I had one of the girls turn to me and said.. "You know I don't understand something.. if Jesus lived a LONG time ago.. like a REALLY long time ago and no one is alive now who knew Jesus.. How do we know this is all true!?!" I smiled on the inside, but before I could provide my knowledge and insight to her the person running the curriculum quickly answered with "because its the Bible and if its in the Bible then its true." The girl then looked at me and said "yes.. I'm not saying I don't believe the stories because I DO.. but it doesn't make sense to me." Again before I could answer her deep, sincere, and important questions we were already being 'redirected' to focus on the "important" Bible lesson of joy. Looking thoroughly annoyed the student began disengaging by drawing pictures of hearts and animals on her paper.

After the lesson was over, I was able to pull her aside and told her she was asking very good and important questions about Jesus today. I briefly explained that the Bible has many different authors written at many different times and the Bible tends to be a collection of stories in that sense. She continued to ask how do we know if its true and I told her "you know... we don't know. We can really only be as certain as we are of  stories that have been passed down by generations and translations of people. However, even though sometimes these stories may not make a lot of logical/factual sense it doesn't make the Bible less meaningful. The important thing is to never stop asking questions especially when it comes to God, the Bible, or Jesus. "

She smiled at me and said.. "you know what else doesn't make sense to me.. So you have Adam and Eve.. and they mated.. right? Well.. then they had kids.. and then their kids... um.. who did they mate with? Because if it was each other thats GROSS. Don't you think that God would have made other people too?"

.. words spoken from a true 6th grader. It was the highlight of my Monday.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Things that make me think

Here are my Saturday favorites! 

The Power of Vulnerability is a 20 minute Ted talk featuring Brene Brown's research on human connections and the challenging insights of what she found in her research. How do shame and the fear of disconnection play out in our lives? What does it mean to be vulnerable? What implications does this have for our lives? I encourage you to hear what she has to say about the wholehearted people she's studied.

Makes Me Think is a website where people update things that happen throughout their day that makes them think. Topics range from random acts of kindness to why someone's life was saved to insightful things some said in a given situation. I personally check the site almost daily to see what sort of things make me think.

The Big Picture is a news blog that has large interesting pictures taken from events happening across the world. They say a picture is worth a 1000 words and I firmly believe this. For me, seeing snippets of events like occupy wall street gives me a better idea of what's going in my world than any text/article can.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Halloween Decorating!

Our neighborhood gets pretty festive for Halloween. Well... I suppose I should rephrase that, I'm not used to living in a neighborhood more or less one that decorates for holidays. Our next door neighbors have spiderwebs, spiders, corn stalks, and many other fun festival type things scattered throughout their front lawn and porch. I've been making an extra effort to chat with them whenever I see them as they told Jeremy they thought I was very shy. I suppose they have a good reason to think this because I'm not used to the whole "hey neighbor, what's happening" normal social interaction that's expected. (I grew up in the country where my nearest neighbor was half a mile away). SO, I've been working on building a relationship with them. I'm thrilled to share that they even shared some of their extra decorations with us when I commented how plain our own house was compared to theirs. 

Needless to say their creativity got us going and now in addition to their decorations, we also carved pumpkins and set them on our porch ledge to greet the neighborhood. The pumpkins really help make our house feel like a cozy autumn home and makes me excited for Halloween. I can't wait for all the trick-er-treaters we have in our area!!!
My pumpkin, Jeremy's pumpkin, and Lauren's pumpkin.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Spirituality Night

Part of the Lutheran Volunteer Corps tradition is to have a spirituality night once a month in addition to our weekly community nights. October is my month to lead spirituality night and I can essentially plan any activity that ties into spirituality in some way. For instance,  last month Jeremy led spirituality night by reading out of a book on simple living to Lauren and I as we ate dinner. This is a practice the monks use every day in the monastery and Jeremy wanted to try it out with us.

Lit Candles on our Fireplace

For October, we started off by taking an online quiz I found about spirituality and discussed the different ways we experience spirituality in our life as whole and then more specifically to the work we've been doing here in Port Huron. I really appreciate these times we spend together in reflection as it allows us to 'settle' a little bit with some of the usual chaos we experience in our surroundings.

If you want to know God.... go live in a community with people who struggle. You will learn things about yourself and the world that text books don't capture. When you work with children who repeatedly ask you if there's more food or when you know a handful of your students are living in the nearby shelter it changes you. You begin to know God.

Rummage Sale!

This Wednesday I helped the youth group sort materials for their annual rummage sale! The money is used so they can go to events like camp or gathering. Here are some pictures of the event.

Bags and boxes of clothing just waiting to be sorted!

Lots of clothes!
I'm going to stop by on Saturday for sure to buy an epic Halloween costume. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

My "Teacher" Voice

As I told my Mom I've been discovering my "teacher" voice, which means I'm learning how to speak sternly when I need to.

This discovery of the so called ‘teacher’ voice came to my attention while observing some of the retired teachers who volunteer in the Read for Life program. It is equivalent to that of the “Mom” voice or the-voice-your-Mom-uses-when-she-calls-your-middle-name voice.

At first my initial reaction to observing the ‘teacher’ voice was one of surprise, "the tutors are being so strict with the students (when they aren't listening/behaving)” I thought to myself and it caught me off guard a little bit. However, when I saw the student's reaction and how quickly they understood and responded to their tutor I thought "hmmm I need to learn how to this!"

So, I've been working on my own teacher voice, which I personally think is excellent practice if I’m ever going to be a parent or teacher someday. It still surprises me how well it works when you lower your voice in a serious tone and say things like:

"Look me in the eye and tell me what we've previously discussed about how to appropriately use a pencil"

(wait for the student to response).

"See look at you, you know the expectations, and now I know, you know them too. So let’s continue on with our lesson using the pencil correctly."

And then they suddenly behave... at least for a few minutes. It’s like MAGIC and it surprises me every time. I guess I’ve been so used to hearing the teacher/mom voice directed at me for 18+ years I didn’t think I was allowed to use it. It's nice to know that I can.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Post Lock-in Thoughts

Of the past 36 hours I have been up for 30 of them.. so I would think I would be falling asleep instantly, however, this does not appear to be the case. If you barely know me you may be thinking "Amanda, why in the world are you staying up so late/much!?" and for those of you who know me quite well you are probably thinking "Oh my GOODNESS I do NOT want to be around YOU right now!!" (as images of stressed out sleep deprived college Amanda come to mind... or encountering Amanda bright and early in the morning BEFORE she wants to be up). Yeah.. I like sleep.. a lot. I consider it one of my core values.

So... the reason for this 30 hour awake marathon? Well, I was at a lock-in with the youth of my church of course! For what other reasons would I sacrifice valuable precious hours of beautiful uninterrupted sleep?

 The youth at the church I work at are wonderful individuals mixed in with the challenges and insecurities of high school like I imagine how most youth are. I find myself thinking about them all the time and sometimes I really struggle with the boundaries between being a good friend and being a good mentor.. when you mix that in with me being in a position of authority the water can begin to get quite complex and murky quickly (especially with my young age). 

I really do enjoy working with the teenagers and it is the hardest, most challenging part of my volunteer work hands down. There are so many layers and issues going on in their lives and I just want to wrap them all up in a blanket of love that we all need.

Its also funny... as much as I like to think I'm 'teaching' them.. in a lot of ways they are really indirectly teaching me about my own faith. I need them.. I like to think they need me too.  

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Things I Like

I added a new "gadget" on the right hand side of my blog called "Things I Like," which links to different websites or youtube videos that I like. I plan on updating it every Saturday with new things that "I like" or "makes me think."  This week I added 4 links and I'll explain why I like them.

1. Glee Remake: Say a Little Prayer for You. This video consists of 3 burly men lip singing the same dance/singing routine as the cheerleaders in Glee. My Dad was the one who introduced me to it and we had a good laugh together. (Hint: watch the original glee version before or after the other one.. you will find the guys are quite good at what they do)

2. Melanie & Marko: Contemporary Dance Turn to Stone. This summer I followed the "So You Think You Can Dance" TV series as a girl from my hometown, Kaitlyn Lawson, was part of the competition. (she did quite well) Anyway, this was my favorite dance of the whole season and to this day I still get chills when I watch it.

3. Hyperbole and a Half: Parp! This is one of my favorite blogs because of the computer paint made pictures that make up relate able stories. In this particular story the main character is trying to convince her Mom to let her go to a party after her dental surgery... and the difficulties that follow.

4. Swedish Chef: This is a favorite rooted in my family tradition of watching the Muppets.The Swedish Chef has character in the kitchen mixed with sillyness of speaking mock Swedish. My sister and I like to communicate in mock Swedish sometimes. You should try it. It's good to be silly sometimes.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Things that make you go hmmm...

Walking around the Heidelberg Project in Detroit is like walking into something you'd find in Alice and Wonderland. 

  The Heidelberg Project consists of challenging political artwork that simply makes you go think. The artist Tyree Guyton, grew up on this street and after returning home from the Army he found his neighborhood looked like a "bomb went off" (wikipedia). I believe he began purchasing the empty abandoned homes and began creating his outdoor artwork. His artwork speaks from his experience in the Heidelberg area, which to some extent today is considered a rougher area of Detroit. 

Houses like this are found on the block right next to residential houses.
While I visiting the project I noticed that nicer cars of people (mostly white probably not from the area) would drive by slowly taking pictures from their car not taking the time to step out side their comfort zones to fully experience the artwork. I wonder if this is because they are afraid of the area? It's hard to know. I walked to the project with the LVC volunteers living  in Detroit who live only a few blocks away.

Like I said. Things that make you go hmm...

It is still a living project.. the butterflies on the house I'm told are new.

I love these tree clocks!! They are found all throughout the project like this!

thought provoking...........


My favorite house! (because it has lots of numbers!) Also, notice the taxi on cardboard.. its a theme that pops up through out the project I don't know what to make of it.

An abandoned piano! Its funny because the block ends here and then residential houses start up again. I wonder what its like to live next to this project.

The front of the piano

The Wizard of Oz Detroit style.. notice the hub caps and car parts (the main industry of the area) that make up the yellow brick road.

My second favorite house! I like the clocks.

Even after a week of seeing the art and having time to think about it I still don't really know what to make of it. It definitely makes you think. 

The Fastest Hour

The fastest hour of my Mondays and Wednesdays is the hour between 3 and 4pm when the tutoring for the Read for Life program takes place. This hour literally feels like 5 minutes as I navigate the people of the program (volunteers, students, and parents). My role is mainly to float around the first grade room taking care of any obstacles that arise whether its finding more snacks, navigating unregistered students, interacting with concerned or annoyed parents, and filling in as needed as tutor. The first week had its share of unexpected surprises and I was ready to tackle these obstacles as presented. I really enjoy that sort of problem solving and I handle it well, which makes me feel good about my work.

For instance, the first day we had a student who was 'not ready to learn' and I was the one who had to make the phone call to their parent explaining their child was not ready to learn and needed to be picked up from the program early. When things like this happen, I am the one who then needs to watch that student waiting for the parent to arrive and making sure the student is not further disrupting the learning environment for the others. The mother was very cooperative with this and also brought her older child (who was in the program last year). The older sibling exclaimed to the younger sibling "MAN, your getting sent home! You have to behave when you are here!! You're missing out!" One of my committee members who happened to be near responded to the older sibling "that's right! You make sure to tell your sibling all about it."

Overall I'm very pleased with the start of the program. The kids are happy, the volunteers are giving lots of positive feedback, and I'm enjoying my work too. :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Enchilada Fiasco

I am not very bold when it comes to cooking in the kitchen. I consider myself rather inexperienced and what little I do know tends to lean on the side of 'quick' and 'easy' college style meals (translation = lots of spaghetti).

Well today when Wednesday night church activities were canceled, I decided to take a risk and told my housemates I was going to make enchiladas for our meal. Yes, I Amanda was going to take initiative for preparing our meal instead of falling into my usual role of "prep" cook (or chopping up vegetables etc) for Lauren or Jeremy.

Heading off into the kitchen with full confidence in my abilities I began enthusiastically cooking the chicken tackling it with physics-problem-solving like determination (and some choice words). The fire truck red, spicy, enchilada sauce dripped from the aluminum cans splattering spots of  hot fire onto the counter. I could hear the shrill voices of the green peppers and olives as they plunged into the red sauce screaming for mercy. (I like to give personality to the vegetables I work with... it makes cooking more interesting).

Everything was going according to plan in lab Amanda (aka the kitchen). I finished rolling up the enchiladas and poured the final can of sauce, topped it with cheese, and sent it into the fierce hot box called the oven. All was well in the life of Amanda enchilada making.

Or so I thought.................

About half an hour later, we kept hearing popping noises come from the oven. Recognizing that this was probably not a good thing, the whole house rushed to the oven and opened the oven door.

This was a mistake.

Clouds upon clouds of smoke poured into the house darkening every doorway. AND THEN... we were greeted with that high pitch synchronized screech of death. 

Now... this my not sound like a big deal.. BUT WE HAD NO IDEA WHAT THE CODE TO TURN OFF THE ALARM WAS. The next thing we know we are running around our house tripping over chairs, acting like Sims who's house just caught on fire (computer game), searching our bulletin board for emergency procedures, while simultaneously  preparing speeches for the fire department. Luckily, the obnoxious church phone that is in our house which also rings ALL the time (we are instructed to ignore it) began ringing and Lauren answered it just in time to hear the voice of the alarm system safety person to confirm that it was a false alarm. Unfortunately, he did not know how to turn off our alarm, but assured us that he would NOT send the fire department.  

At this point we frantically began opening windows and waving magazines in front of the detector all in vain. Keep in mind with the windows open, the screeching sound of death is now echoing throughout the neighborhood (and we are usually the 'quiet' house). So we make a phone call to a person on our LVC Local Support Committee feeling very much like a child confessing to your parents that you are not as grown up as you'd like to be... but she luckily knows the code.

WE ARE SAVED!!! we ignorantly think to ourselves.

Sure enough a minute and a half later the alarm goes off again, but knowing the password we are able to stop it. This of course springs a sort of cause like mentality to air out the room the detector is in. Fans are summoned... we all grab magazines and huddle around this detector... But no matter how hard we try every minute and a half for a whole half hour the alarm continues to go off. (Yes, we timed it)

And then... despite my roommate's legal warnings.. I momentarily kill the detector by taking its source of life away. Yes, I took out the battery and we were able to enjoy a silent smoke filled house and enchiladas.

The lesson to be learned from this whole experience is.... TO REMEMBER TO PUT A COOKIE TRAY UNDER YOUR ENCHILADAS so if they spill over the sauce WONT burn on the bottom of your oven causing waves of smoke.

More Posts on the Horizon..

Wow I can't believe it's Wednesday already and how behind I am on my blog posting! I guess that's what happens when you have a weekend full of activities, which jumps right into the week where we started the reading program. I thought I'd give you a sneak peak of posts I may write up so you have something to look forward to though:
LVC commissioning service in Detroit
The Heidelberg Project (Art project in Detroit.. I have pictures!)
Read for Life starting
An Exciting phone call for Read for Life!
Ministry opportunities that are popping up for me
The process of Lock-in planning

So there's a lot going on and many more things I could write about too! We'll see how many I can write up. I think I'm going to take Friday off (before the lock-in on Saturday) and hopefully I'll be able to crank some more out then.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Saturday in the Sun on Lake Huron!

We had amazing weather this past weekend (in the high 70s) so naturally we took full advantage of that and went to the beach!! 


My beach things! I like to rock out with my 'LVC' visor.

Here comes a Freighter! BOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAT. (thats kind of how their horn sounds.. I make a really good impression of it just ask my housemates)

The Freighter in its full length. Notice the normal people size boat driving by in the middle.. just to give you some perspective of the LARGENESS of the freighter.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Snack 'n Yak

Once a month my house meets up with the other LVC volunteers down in Detroit (at the Yusef Shakur House) for an event called Snack 'n Yak, where we eat and chat about our volunteer experience. We (the michigan group) are very fortunate being a new region to have an LVC alum who meets up with us and facilitates discussion and activities. I especially like having her as part of our Snack 'n Yak as she has been able to provide some much needed perspective about our lives as volunteers. Even though she served in Baltimore about 10 years ago, some things just don't change like learning how to live with other people or learning how to live under a small budget. She has been very supportive in helping mentor us through some of that while sharing some of her own personal stories.

It will be so good to see the Yusef Shakur girls again and to simply get out of Port Huron for awhile!!

Working on my Teacher Handwriting!

 I got to practice my 'teacher' handwriting today as I made the students in our Read for Life program name tags. Although this does not sound like a particularly difficult task, it was more challenging than I expected it to be! For instance, it drives me nuts that the capital "M" goes all the way down to the bottom line instead of half way. My personal opinion is the half way version looks much more aesthetically pleasing, but I suppose you need to learn the basic letters before you can stylize them to your taste.

The Read for Life program is scheduled to start next week!!! I can't wait to start seeing the fruits of our progress as a committee when it all starts coming together. We moved all of our organized supplies to into the school yesterday, which ended up being a 5 hour process. It felt so good seeing our books, materials, and games ready for our first day on Monday. I will say I'm a little sore from all the moving, but very pleased to see it coming together.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It starts with a small excited whisper.. "ice-cream!!"

Tonight we are going to Dairy Queen to get blizzards for our weekly house “community night”! I’m proud to say it was my idea!! I don’t know about you, but I LOVE my ice-cream just ask my best friend growing up! Let me tell you… it has been a struggle the past few weeks not having ice-cream available to me. I mean yes I could technically go buy some mint chocolate chip ice-cream, but I’m trying this new thing called reevaluating-things-you-really-need-in-life. So ice-cream as a daily luxury is out the window. 

BUT not for tonight!! I’m going to eat as much ice-cream a small blizzard can hold and I’m going to enjoy every last bite of that Dairy Queen deliciousness!!

And as Bill Cosby would say…


An October Port Huron Water Tour

Today was what any early October day should be: warm and beautiful. It reminded me of the glorious fall days in the Willamette Valley after a weekend of rainfall which would explode the moisture into crisp clean air at the sight of the sun. My neighborhood has turned into bouquet of orange and red. I started off  my morning walk to work breathing in the richness of change fall brings.

On my way to work!
Having finished what I needed to do for the day I took a walk around Port Huron to soak in the beauty of autumn. I started off my journey going to the Maritime center a few blocks from my house. You can see Canada across from the St. Claire river.

St. Claire River (that's Canada.. I see it every day)

Maritime Center, where the Boat Nerds hang out.. they make announcements when the freighters go by saying where its from, what its carrying, where its going.. etc. 
 I thought about sticking around for a while to wait for a freighter to go by so I could take a picture of it.. but I can do that any day so I decided not to and continued on with my walk.

To the left is the Black River which empties out into the St. Claire right here... the land on the right is Canada.
This is the Black River emptying into the St. Clair again.. if you look carefully you can see the difference in colors between the two rivers. The black river is much darker.. you can't really see it here but it's true.

The Black River facing Port Huron

I'm standing on the Military/Main Street Bridge. The left is one of the Breweries in the area. We haven't visited yet but we've heard good things.  

Other side of the Military/Main Street Bridge

Downtown area

More downtown...
 I decided to follow Black River.. I was kind of trying to find the Thomas Edison area.. meaning I knew it was in the general area somewhere but wasn't terribly concerned with actually finding it. (Thomas Edison grew up in Port Huron.)
More water!

Walking along the boats..

There's a lot of geese...

A LOT of geese. Also, the buildings in the background are the community college here in Port Huron.. its right on the water too.

Then I decided to start heading back home....

The tall building on the left is where I do some of my senior programing stuff. I live about 4 blocks from here.

My Pat-a-Cake Pat-a-Cake Mister Man

As some of you may know I have a 3 year old cousin, Nate, who has spent more time in emergency room than anyone else I know. It’s a complicated situation that doctors all over America have not been able to diagnosis as his condition behaves a lot like Cerebral Palsy; however, there are many other random factors that contribute to the confusion. His case is writing the text books as doctors say, which means nobody knows how to treat him or what to expect. 

He had another episode yesterday where he was rushed from my hometown to Spokane for treatment. When he arrived there the doctors didn’t really know what to do for him except give him lots of pain medications and say his pain is probably tied to his dysautonomia. Since no one really knows what’s going on they have to treat symptoms without solving the actual problem, which is extremely frustrating as no one likes to see him in pain.

From what I’ve heard he is doing better today although he did manage to catch a cold at the hospital.With Nate you have to take it day by day and treasure the moments you spend together. 

I miss him a lot.