News, updates, and happenings with the Kragnes family: Phil, our Seeing Eye Dogs, and (me) Rebecca.

Archive for April, 2016

Current life Event

Before I describe how great my birthday was, I want to let you all know I’m going to have surgery next month. At this point, some women might just say it is of the female variety and hush up. I think we hush up the details of female things when we’d think nothing of describing surgeries in other parts of our bodies. I’d rather write it out and perhaps have someone learn something they didn’t know or benefit in some other way. I’ve been having some extra bleeding in the last few months, and originally, my doctor recommended an Interuterine device (IUD). We had a false start earlier in the month when my appointment had to be rescheduled due to the ultrasound tech’s daughter being sick. Upon the recommendation of a GYN I had ultrasounds taken, because this bleeding is new. She found a cyst on an ovary, a fibroid on my uterus, and a very very thick uterine lining. These are all normal things for my age which could be responsible for the bleeding. I asked whether the IUD would stop the bleeding, and she said gradually. However, then she told me of an alternative called Endometrial Oblation. Because I don’t ever plan to have children, they can destroy the uterine lining which should stop bleeding until menopause. It’s a same-day surgery, and right now is planned for May 19. By the next day, life should be back to normal for me. I told her I’d be hearing about a dog soon, and she told me I could reschedule. This is not urrgent. I need to get in to see my regular doctor for a pre-op physical etc.
I received a call from Tom at the Seeing Eye today. He wanted to know my availability for training, and I gave him a pretty good idea. I asked what he could tell me about the dog, and here’s what I learned. He’s a sizable male “Back cross” meaning three fourths Lab, one fourth Golden Retriever. The color is yellow. I tried to wheedle a name, but no dice. So sometime in the next three months, the instructor will bring the dog and train us here at home. Probably at the same time, Phil will be applying for his dog, and perhaps my instructor will be able to do a juno walk with Phil.

My birthday was wonderful! Over the years, I’ve had people tell me the last occulist painted my eye more hazel than green, so when asked about painting, I made it clear I wanted it to look green, yet natural. According to those who have seen it, the goal was achieved. Meals out were wonderful. At Culver’s for lunch I had a double cheddar butter burger with cheese curds. Instead of ice cream, they make frozen custtard which is even thicker and Richer. I had chocolate with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in it and plenty of Pepsi to wash it down. The main course of supper was a lot more healthy. I had a stir fry with pork and lots of vegies which was called the “Slayer” because of all the garlic! Then I just had to eat Wok in the Park’s Key lime Pie my favorite dessert! Just as palatable as the meals was the company of the friends with whom I ate. I came home to open presents from my sweetie. He gave me a keyboard necklace and two more colored lights. I can put on quite the light show in either the bedroom or the living room with different effects.

Prince and Birthdays

In the wake of Prince’s death, informal celebrations of his life have been occurring here in Minneapolis. There have also been discussions about our celebrity culture and how some feel celebrities’ lives are over-celebrated, dead or alive. I don’t believe in celebrating a celebrity’s life just because he or she is a celebrity. However, when Michael Jackson died, I celebrated his life listening to the memorial service and for many times since. Yes, some celebrity connections can be unhealthy, but I felt such a connection while he lived. Why wouldn’t I celebrate that connection when he was gone? the same thing seems to be occurring on a wider scale in Prince’s beloved Minneapolis, and we are just finding out Prince went beyond celebrity into being a good neighbor and humanitarian to the city and people he loved.
My birthday is Monday, and I’ll be 44 years old. As I’ve talked to my sisters after they have had children, they express their birthdays aren’t as important now as their children’s birthdays. I obviously can’t make a good comparison having never had children. I celebrate my dogs’ birthdays, but of course, they aren’t aware of why one day is anymore special than another. They’re happy to be celebrated whenever we feel like giving them some love.
I’ve been asked why at 44 I still love my birthday as much as I do. After all, I’m an adult, and it’s just another reminder I’m aging. Prince’s celebrations have reminded me that people are celebrating just because he was alive. Yes, he made movies and music, but it seems to go beyond that. A birthday is a day when we non-celebrities get to experience what celebrities experience much more often. In his book, Michael talks about people applauding just because he happens to be in the audience. He’s not the main attraction, but people applaud anyway. My birthday is a little like that for me. People are celebrating just because I’m here, and I don’t earn those celebrations or extra tokens of love. People feel strongly enough about my being born or present to do whatever they do to help me celebrate. Perhaps it’s because I *don’t have kids that my birthday is more important. After all, there’s no mother’s day celebration for me. It’s Christmas which is more of a kids time of year with Santa etc. As an adult, I am more focused on Christ’s birth, and gratitude for the people I love. A birthday is a special day which feels like it’s just mine. I love it so much I created a Facebook group called Born 425. So far it hasn’t gone much of anywhere, but just like my birthday, I’m not willing to give up on it.
So I’ll anticipate Monday when I have a friend taking me to an appointment to have a new prosthetic eye made. (Phil’s not the only one with prosthetics in this house). I planned it, so I’d be able to go out for lunch and not be stuck alone that day. There’s a Culver’s near the Occulist, and that’s lunch. Supper is with a group of people we call “Dinner Delvers”. We go out to a different restaurant once a month, and it’s tradition that the birthday person gets to choose that month. Wok in the Park has become tradition for me in the last 4 years. One of the family members who owns the restaurant also has a birthday on the 25th. Another is a beloved Metro Mobility Driver and sometimes chef. The siblings often sing together, and their harmonious version of “Happy birthday” has brought me to tears.
I’m excited about the day for two more reasons. My husband is very talented at finding gifts I will really like, and it’s so cool to learn what he’s found each year. This year, there’s an extra special reason to celebrate my birthday, which typically goes on for the week. I learned last week the Trainer Manager has been out of touch, because he’s found a dog for me. He told me I’ll learn more about him (I know he’s looking at males) this week. Any little tidbit of info will make this birthday extra special, and I’ll be glad to see my late present arrive.

Did We Ask God To Leave? If so, did God Leave?

There’s a song by Wilburn and Wilburn called “You Asked Him To Leave” which has really upset me for the last week, but although I disagree with part of it’s message, I’m considering buying it due to it’s extremely great musicianship. In the first verse, they outline a school shooting in which 3 children are killed. People are asking why God allowed this to happen, and “Old Mr. Carter” reminds us that we asked God to leave. “You wanted it that way”. He rightly says God’s not responsible for causing our pain but then argues God wasn’t there. This is because we asked God to Leave.
In the second verse, the story is extended into the whole world full of violence, unrest, no peace or churches. In the song the “people who wanted God gone” stand confused wondering what went wrong. “You wanted it that way.”
I understand and agree with the message that we can’t suddenly call on and blame God only when there’s a tragedy. But did we ask God to leave, and even if the answer to that is yes, did God really leave?
I understand the frustration with political correctness, but I also understand we are a melting pot of people here in America. Although we may have Christian roots,, part of the reason this country was founded was the freedom of religion, and that doesn’t just apply to “a particular denomination, sect, or brand: We all have this precious freedom, and that includes the people in this country who are not Christian. It’s very hard for me to consider the ideals of the religious right which would be to forcibly have group prayer in school. I’M a Christian, but even in my small schools, I grew up with people who had to abstain from certain activities on religious grounds. Conservative Christians would rightly chafe at having forced prayers to the Muslim Allah in schools. It’s difficult for me to understand how keeping group religious activities outside school can be seen as asking God to leave.
One of the very basic things we learn as little Christians is that God is everywhere. God is especially everywhere a believer goes, so if there is even one believer in that school, God is there. As individuals, we are free to acknowledge God no matter where we are, but we just can’t acknowledge God as a group. Therefore, I’d like to argue that true believers haven’t asked God to leave and remain close to their God at all times.
There’s another message in this song I just find abhorrent, and that is whatever is going wrong, it’s because God has been left out of the school, government, society. I don’t believe in a God who would abandon me simply because I don’t participate in group prayer in a particular setting. Nor do I believe that God’s protection is gone from people who believe simply because we don’t express that belief as a group. The part of this argument I really can’t stand is that if we don’t acknowledge God as a group, we deserve every bad thing that’s coming to us. If only we start praying in schools again, the bad stuff would stop. I personally don’t think the bad stuff would stop and in fact would probably get worse due to the resentment of those who do not worship the God being acknowledged in a group and public way.
I am not going to say I don’t have my own issues with some Muslims. The ones who won’t take my dog in their cab in the name of religion are particularly odious to me. I’m not a fan of terrorists either, but we shouldn’t forget Christians, too have performed great violence in the name of our God.
This whole thing comes down to basic respect. In this instance and others, I think Christian Conservatives have lost track of “love thine enemy”. How is it loving our fellow man to force prayer to a particular God in the public arena? I don’t think it is.

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