Category Archives: Anamnesis

These are all the posts that I wrote for the Anamnesis writing project. When Natalie passed it off it wasn’t the same, so I haven’t written for it currently. Some of these posts are my best blog writing, though not all.

Surface

Weekly Anamnesis #21

I’m a day late on the deadline to this one . . .

I don’t know when I developped the knack for it. I do know that as a child and a tomboy I decided that crying was for wimps and I began to bury emotions beneath the surface. Most of my memories of childhood are happy, rosey golden ones. I know that my childhood wasn’t perfect, but it was far better than most of my friends and I loved my childhood. I burried sad memories with my desire to cry. (I don’t mind the burrying of sad memories, I think it is important to move on, but along with some of those memories I burried the ability to show more emotion than just happiness.) Maybe I had experienced just enough hurt to not want to face it, maybe I was trying to be tough, I’ll never really know. I remember in college wishing that I could “feel ” more and I worked on it some. But it hurt – a lot. So I reburried emotion and continued on my life. But, once you excavate something and try to reburry it, often you don’t do as good as a job. My feelings were a little easier to tap into, a little easier access. I started showing more than one feeling without my even knowing it. (I was the always with a smile on her face girl.)

Paul was the one who taught me how to cry, really cry and to really feel. I remember after my Grammy died and I couldn’t go to her funeral that I was trying to assure him that I was fine, everything was fine. He looked at me odd and knew what my true feelings below the surface were, but I couldn’t cry or show my emotion in front of people, even him, and tears slipped quietly down my face while we were sleeping. He knew.

I have since become a watering pot, or at least I feel like it sometimes, with him. I still work on not burying all my emotions below the surface, but I still have a hard time letting hurt and pain and fear show. Though sometimes, I wish I could have the always happy girl back, but that just doesn’t work in parenthood. heh 🙂

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Filed under Anamnesis, Love and Marriage, Memory, Writing

Register

Weekly Anamnesis #20

I looked down in horror at my hands, every finger bent and crushed beyond recognition. I would never play the piano again. Never feel the music course through my body as my soul soared and my passion consumed me. The weight of my emptiness pressed down upon me, suffocating, hot, I couldn’t breathe, and darkness was pressing upon me from every corner . . .

I ripped the covers from off my face and sat up in my bed, gasping for air. The memory of the dream quickly receding into nothingness, and yet I quickly checked my fingers to be sure that they were in tact. I am sure every pianist has a dream similar to this at least once in her life.

I have never broken an arm or finger; I have never had any injury that stopped me from playing the piano. Except tendonitis, and I just take my brace off and play anyway when I feel like it. That is why the enormity of this week’s accident didn’t register with me until long after the event.

It was Elizabeth’s birthday and we decided to have a special birthday trip up the Columbia River Gorge. We drove with my parents, and my brother and his family came along as well. It was a beautiful sunny day and we hiked to numerous falls with the children, their giggles and chatter dancing with the breeze along the trails. Jacob soft babble tickled my ear from his perch in the backpack. We arrived back at the cars after our last hike and were trying to get everyone loaded. All the doors were open, and placing my hand on the narrow part of the van between the open driver’s door and the open sliding door, I leaned in to check on Emily and Elizabeth’s progress and to be sure they were getting buckled in.

It didn’t register when it happened, though an “ow!” escaped my lips when I heard dad hop in and shut his door. When I tried to move to see what was going on my hand was stuck. I just looked at my hand, all the fingers disappearing under the edge of the door. “Umm, dad? My hand!” I spoke so calm, he didn’t comprehend what I was talking about until he saw my hand. With an exclamation of horror he flung his door open and my husband came running to inspect the damage. I should have been scared to death. I should have felt pain and been inspecting each finger for breaks. But I hadn’t felt any pain. In fact it had felt like my fingers had been trapped in pillows. They had escaped completely unscathed and I felt no pain as I flexed each finger in turn.
“There will be bruising for sure,” my dad said as we all realized with dismay that I was to play a piano solo the next day in church. “They feel fine dad, and they don’t even hurt to touch!”

My fingers were and are fine, and I played my piano solo without a hitch. A miracle to me, and a realization that my talent and love for the piano is not just important to me, but important to the Lord as well. Oh, and I will watch where I put my hand from now on too!

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Illustration

Weekly Anamnesis #19

I loved to draw as child, though much of my drawing was simply a copy of already existing cartoon characters. I was confined to what I could see with little creativity to add. I could not figure out how to take the same character and orchestrate their bodies into a different pose, which caused much frustration to my young mind. My father is a spectacular artist through natural talent and ability and really never had any classes on art, somehow I just missed that particular boat (along with singing).

I decided to take an art class in high school, hoping for some guiding hand to show me the way. My teacher, unfortunately, was mediocre at best and we were confined to drawing and rather middle school level at that. I do remember one illustration I did. We had to find a house in a magazine and draw it in ink. I called mine “Haunted” as it was mostly black with a rather eerie air about it. It is not fantastic or perfect or incredible. In fact I hated it, though my parents argued vehemently that it was quite good. But they are parents, and prone to love our creative endeavors. Some one must have liked it though. It ended up somehow in a highschool art show at a library 20 minutes away. That town’s newspaper put it in their article about the show. I had no idea until one day a letter showed up from a church member in my mailbox.

He had included a copy of the article and my illustration, with a hand written sticky note attached, “Great work!”

Maybe some day I will finally take that art class or have time to sit idly trying to draw, but not at present. I still have that newspaper somewhere, and maybe even the orginal. I didn’t keep them because they were great, but more because some cared enough (who wasn’t related or obligated in any way) to encourage me.

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Shiver

Weekly Anamnesis #18

I was nestled in a cozy chair in a secluded corner of the public library buried deep in a book I had taken from off the tower of shelves. Suddenly the lights dipped and I jerked out of my book looking around, bewildered. The lights slowly brightened, “The library will be closing in ten minutes, please bring any books you wish to check out down to the circulation desk.”

I gasped and jumped out of my chair looking frantically at my watch. It was nearly 8:00. As I neared the glass doors I realized that the sun had long since retired and night had descended. I had arrived at the library at 3:30 with the intent to only stay for an hour or so. My family’s rule echoed in my head, “You can go where you like on your bike as long as I know where and you are home before dark.”

It didn’t occur to me to call; I just checked out my book and charged to my bike. My fingers fumbled with the lock as I tried to remember the combination and jerked it free. I didn’t notice there was no moon that night, and the lack of street lamps on the way home had never been apparent to me before. I hopped on my bike and began to pedal through the dark streets. It might as well have been in the dead of night the way my heart was pounding and the emptiness of the streets. I heard the crunching of gravel behind me and shiver ran through my spine fusing into my feet sending them pedaling faster. There were no headlights; images of all the possible things that made gravel crunch that close behind me filled my mind. I could feel it breathing down my neck, reaching out to grab my hooded sweatshirt. My shoes became flying feet of fury; the Flintstones had nothing on me! Too terrified to look behind and see what was following I raced on swinging around the corner unto my street; I zipped into the driveway. I hadn’t even stopped when my feet hit the ground running and I stormed into the house. I didn’t take the time to see that nothing was chasing me besides my imagination.

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Follow

Weekly Anamnesis #17

While visiting my sister in Japan I went on numerous hikes and enjoyed exploring on my own. My brother-in-law showed me how to use the trains and turned me loose. I went on two very memorable hikes by myself. One was to Mt. Mitake.

Though rain promised to fall I left early in the morning and took a train (with probably a few changes) to Mitake station. Rain began to pound upon me as I walked up to the cable car station. The way up the mountain is so steep there is a cable car running to shuttle people back and forth. I was grateful for the short respite from the rain. I hopped off the cable car at the top and hiked on up to the visitor center. At the top of the mountain is the small village of Mitake and the famous Mitake Shrine. I enjoyed touring the museum of swords, armor, mirrors and many other things. With umbrella in hand I wandered through the small village enjoying the ancient architecture and the beautiful scenery through the fog and rain. I thought about cutting my hike short, but decided against it and set off out of town towards Mt. Hinode.

Only the sound of pounding rain kept me company as I hiked following the instructions in my guide book carefully. After a time I began singing songs to keep myself company. The trail was deserted, due to the rain I am sure, and the only living things I saw to keep me company were giant toads along the path. I have never seen toads so big! I would need both hands in order to hold one. My plan was to hike to the Yasawa Stalactite caves, a plan which would never be realized.

Hiking alone in a strange country can be a bit intimidating and I would often get worried that I had ended up on a wrong trail if it took to long for certain landmarks to appear. It didn’t help that everything was shrouded in a gloomy fog. The landscape would gradually fade to nothingness as ghosts of trees loomed up beside me. It was strangely beautiful and eerie at the same time. I did end up on a wrong trail for some time but it looped me back into the main trail and I uttered a prayer of thanks that I was not hopelessly lost. I kept trying to tell myself that it was silly for me to continue hiking in the pouring rain and to head back, but some unknown reason spurred me on.

I made it to Mt. Hinode, enjoying what I could see of an amazing view; mountains filled with trees and bamboo as far as the eye could see, which wasn’t too far considering the fog, but it was impressive none the less. I nearly turned around at Mt. Hinode but again felt a spurring to continue and so I set off down the trail that would take me to the caves. I had been hiking for about and hour and forty minutes when I reached a junction in the trail. I had to choose between four different paths than the one I was on. I froze. My book talked about a junction but not such a big one. I stood dripping with rain as I pondered about which path would take me where I wanted to go. Finally I decided on the far right path and after a silent prayer, that I felt confirmed my decision, I set off down the trail.

I didn’t get more than a hundred feet or so before I saw two lone figures sitting on the side of the trail. Forlorn, drenched, and hopelessly lost sat a young mother and her daughter of only 5 years or so. They leapt to their feet upon seeing me round the bend. Neither of us spoke any Japanese. She was from Quebec and spoke French, with some English. I spoke English with only two years of high school French under my belt. We managed to communicate that they were staying in Mitake and had some how become lost on the trails outside of the village. I immediately abandoned my plan to go to the caves and offered to take them back to the town. I handed the little girl my umbrella and we began the long hike back to Mitake Village. They followed me willingly and we enjoyed attempting to communicate with each other through our unique language barrier. After a time we took turns giving the little girl piggy back rides.

As the end of the trail approached and the first building came into view the young mother became excited and cried out while pointing, “That is where we stay!” The path ended at their doorstep. They tried to invite me in to get dry and have a bite to eat but I explained my sister would be worried if I didn’t arrive before dark, which was not a too long off. I watched them hurry into the home as I quietly disappeared into the fog.

I have no doubt that God inspired me to follow the path even when I thought to turn back. I don’t remember what they look like but I remember their smiles and the intense gratitude on their faces. I am glad I followed my feelings to continue and that I was granted such an amazing experience. The memories may fade, but their smiles will never pale in my mind.

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Filed under Anamnesis, Japan, Miracles, Writing, Youth

Amendment (an attempt to clear my name of it’s dubious behavior, somewhat)

Weekly Anamnesis #16

It has been ages since I have done one of my farm stories, so here we go. Now, lest you all believe that I was the main center of mischief in our family I am submitting this amendment (correction) to my blog confessing my siblings’ follies. (I know it is a stretch for the topic at hand, but it is all I could come up with) I hope they will forgive me, but after all, I wasn’t an only child and they did many crazy things just like me, and as I witnessed most of them well . . .

We’ll start with Heidi. She was the oldest and I don’t know that I remember too much, other than the boys and I harassing her when she was babysitting to her wits end. I do remember a certain yellow plate rocket launched into space though. Paul, Kimball, and I were being especially obnoxious, sitting across the back of the kitchen table, and she got really, really mad. Before we knew it we had an UFO aimed right for our heads. “Beam me up Scotty!!” It missed us and shattered on the wall right above our heads. Were we scared, terrified, sorry? Of course not, we started laughing and said, “you are so lucky you didn’t break the window with that thing!” Hmmm. Ooh, and then there was the time when she was going to bake something in the oven and turned it on with out looking inside it first. I’m not sure why it was in there, but pretty soon there was an awful smell, flames, and lots of smoke! After about of gallon of baking soda was dumped everywhere she pulled out a very melted plastic cake/jello pan. See, I’m not the only pyro in my family!

Now Lisa, I cannot claim to ever having witnessed her particular claim to glory. Though I might have been watching it all from above as I was not born yet. I have heard the story a million times. I believe it was a beautiful day and they were someplace visiting someone and there was a pond. My sister was prone to delusions of grandeur, and on this particular day was delusioning about super woman. Maybe she was showing her older sister how it was supposed to be done, I can’t really say, I wasn’t there. Perhaps she was just under the impression that if she got a long running start down the hill she could take flight and soar across the pond. So down she went proclaim at the top of her lungs, “SUPER WOMAN!” I’m afraid there was no grand flight, or soaring into the sky. There was a loud splat though as she hit the mud at the edge of the pond. Heh. I sure wish I could have seen that one! 🙂

I was reminded of Kimball’s moment as I watched Looney Toons with my children the other day. I looked at my mom, pointed, and exclaimed, “Hey! That’s Kimball!” I’m sure there are many, this just happens to be the one I remember, and I hope he doesn’t shoot me if he reads this. 😉 My brothers had BB guns and one fine day Kimball was carrying his BB gun about. I’m sure he thought the safety was on. His finger was placed strategically over the barrel (to keep that silly BB from rolling out, heh). Apparently the safety wasn’t on and he got a nice little BB sized hole going through his finger. So the moment on the Looney Toons you ask? I believe it was Elmer Fudd putting his finger in the barrel a number of times to keep it from going of and his finger kept popping out and then in again. You might comment that maybe he watched too much TV and especially Looney Toons when he was a kid, but that argument won’t work; we didn’t have a TV. 🙂

Paul’s story involves BB guns too, and I was there to witness the whole thing! My family just heard the resulting crash. We were standing in our front yard looking out towards the slightly distant road. At the end of the yard just before the front pasture started there was a cement block. On the block in the yard at the beginning of the pasture sat a Robin. Now, my brothers were permitted to shoot pesky birds to keep them out of the garden and such, but Robins were not on the ok to shoot list. And as my brother took aim I reminded him of this. He shrugged, pesky sisters didn’t know what they were talking about. Then I informed him that if he missed the bird that he would hit the block and it would ricochet. “I won’t miss.” he said taking careful aim and squeezing the trigger. There was a pop, a whiz, a ping, a zing, and then a mighty crash. The Robin flew off and Paul stood in utter horror. I kindly did the little sister jig and said, “Oooohhh! You’re gonna get it now!” And promptly disappeared to hide in the barn so as not to be included in the mad-cap caper. What was the crash you ask? The large side van window. Heh.

So, you see, I was not the only contributor of trouble. I am just amazed that my poor mother managed to survive us all! How we do love her so!

(by the way I was interested to find as I looked at definitions of “amendment” that it also means ” a material (as compost or sand) that aids plant growth indirectly by improving the condition of the soil”. For a good story on the many uses of such an amendment read this. So now hopefully, this post won’t be such a stretch of the topic.)

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Congratulations

Weekly Anamnesis #15

I ran down the stairs and unlocked the mailbox one more time, sighed, and took the mail up to my sisters tiny Japanese apartment. It still hadn’t come. I had been checking every day for the past month with much anticipation. My parents didn’t know that I was having it sent to me in Japan, they thought they would be receiving it and reading it to me over the phone.

It was the one day I didn’t bother checking the mail, my brother-in-law came in and took of his shoes. “J you might want to go check that mailbox.”

The words were barely out of his mouth before my feet took off running with out me as I pounded down the stairs and arrived gasping at the mailbox. There it was in a large white, crisp, envelope, I had been waiting for this for days. I snatched it out and slammed the box shut and charged back up the stairs bursting into the apartment waving the envelope over my head. I sat down at the table as everyone gathered around me and my parents in the US were called.

“Hey, mom, I received this funny looking envelope in the mail today, it says it’s from the presidency of the church, I was just wondering what I should do with it?”

“You brat!” my mom exclaimed jokingly. “Open it! Open it!”

I tore the envelope open and read aloud, my voice shaking with excitement, “You have been called to serve in the Chile Antofagasta Mission.”

Shouts and congratulations went up all around, and my 4 year old nephew full of exuberance and joy, jumping up and down, “Happy Birthday!!!”

Well, what else would be so exciting to a 4 year old. His form of congratulations made the experience even more memorable.

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Messages

Weekly Anamnesis #14

1980 something

I didn’t know what it was called, I still don’t; I just remember it was fun to play with. You inserted a narrow plastic tape of sorts, with a peel off backing so it would stick on something, and turn the dial to different letters. By squeezing the handle (or a button?) it would leave the imprint of the letter. We had black, blue, and red tapes and the letters would look white when they were embossed on them. I wrote a message to my mom one time and stuck it on her sewing machine. It said, “Mom, you are the best!” It is still there, though her sewing machine has changed since then.

1980 something else

We took a day trip over the border (we lived in Pennsylvania) to West Virginia to visit Coopers Rock Sate Park. It is an amazing place with mammoth boulders scattered through the woods. Pillars to squeeze between, caves to explore, and sloping boulders to hide under. If Robin Hood had been in the United States I am sure this would have been his hide out. The trails wound around and through them and hours were spent climbing. We went back on numerous occasions I believe. I spent a lot of time with my mom as the older kids went on longer hikes with my father. My mom and I would find a hiding place to camp out, and then leave hidden messages and clues on the paths to our location. We would make arrows out of sticks on the path pointing the way or place sticks in an “x” or an “o” for a hug and kiss. Sometimes mom would hide from me and I would follow her messages to be greeted with a heart when I found her.

1998

When Paul and I were married we received a very simple gift which has been a favorite all these years. It was a small mirror with an oak frame and two hooks beneath it; nothing grand or spectacular. The giver had cut two hearts out of cardboard and labeled them with our names and hung one from each hook. The note attached to the mirror face said, “It is my hope that you will leave love messages and notes to each other on this mirror in the years to come.” We did, and we still do, though maybe not with quite the frequency as when we were first married. On many occasions I will enter the bedroom and as my eyes drift to the mirror hanging on the wall there will be a note or card tucked under the wood edge on my side. A message of love, caring, thoughtfulness and gratitude; a reminder of messages throughout the years.

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Waiting

Weekly Anamnesis #13

Waiting

Expecting, anticipating, languishing
Stealing time, the thief creeps in
Binding my hands as the hours
Drift by listlessly

Time abducted is lost forever
An act of piracy,
Pilfering away the minutes,
I cannot retrieve even a second.

Hollow heart and barren arms
I can but appreciate moments past
And cherish the days
When the thief relinquishes his hold.
-J.H. Schmidt

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Filed under Anamnesis, Heart, Parenting, Poetry, Writing

Warrant

Weekly Anamnesis #12

Like Karen, when I read this week’s topic I immediately thought of a police warrant; which made me remember . . . .

“I can’t remember it! I have looked all through the book and I can’t find the blasted thing anywhere,” I said in frustration as I slammed the book onto the table.

My best friend, Julie, shook her head in dismay, “I can’t find it either. We have to think of something.”

We were sophomores in high school and were working on a math project that would make or break our grades. We needed to build a kind of sphere using different geometric shapes. We needed to figure the angle of an octagon and couldn’t find the formula anywhere. We were desperate. I lifted my head and looked out her front window, and there it was. It was like the heavens opened and a beam of light shown upon it illuminating my mind. . . Well, maybe not, but it did give me an idea.

“We’ll measure the stop sign!” I cried.
“We’ll what?” Julie asked incredulous.
“We’ll take our protractor and go outside and measure the stop sign.”
“What if someone sees us?”
“We’ll go in disguise!” I was feeling more brilliant by the minute.
Julie knew well my wild dorky schemes and rather reluctantly asked, “Disguised as what?”
“We’ll dress up like spies. Do you have trench coats, sunglasses, and hats?”

Julie started laughing, which always reminded me of a chipmunk and procured the necessary items. We donned our spy gear and snuck out the front door. We quietly tiptoed across the street and reached our destination: THE STOP SIGN.

“Dang!” I said.
“What?”
“It’s too high, we need a step ladder.”

Julie groaned and we scurried back inside to obtain the underground step ladder with highly enhanced function and set out in our dangerous cloak-and-dagger pursuit across the street.

“What if we are caught?” Julie asked.
“What?”
“What if a police officer or someone drives by and catches us.”
I shrugged as if it was all so obvious as I said, “We’ll simply state that we are undercover spies on a covert operation to gather secrets for the KGB.”
“Ummm, yeah,” and the chipmunk giggle surfaced again.

I climbed the step ladder with such stealth that it amazed even my self. Protractor in hand, I furtively gathered the classified information.

“Got it!”

As we turned to run back to the house we realized that our operation had been compromised: Julie’s brother had a CAMERA!!!! In horror we ran back to the house but not before we were caught on film.

Oh, and measuring the octagon really didn’t work after all. I suppose we warranted that. We finally found the formula and did it the right way . . .

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