My friend Rosemary had a request from her school teacher son to blog about her memories of the moon landing. She was distracted by babies and work at the time and it was not a very big deal for her. Being married to a NASA rocket scientist, my experience was far more intense.
In 1967 my husband flew to Houston to work with the crew of Apollo I. They were to perform a scientific experiment while in space that he needed to demonstrate to them. It was a big thrill for him to able to work with the astronauts. When those three men were killed in a fire while preparing for the launch it was a painful loss to him and to all of NASA.
In 1969 we stayed up late to watch as the moon lander left Apollo 11 and landed on the moon. I had four small babies at the time and staying awake was a challenge. I kept drifting off and then waking up again. My husband prodded me awake to make sure I saw Neil Armstrong step onto the lunar surface. We held our breath. “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” It all seemed so unbelievable. People were walking on the the surface of the same moon that was shining over my head. The TV camera showed Armstrong frolicking and playing, jumping around on the moon. He and Buzz Aldrin set up a flag on the moon. It was a moment full of wonder in our house.
The Apollo13 mission was very scary. That phrase, “Houston, we have a problem,” seemed to reverberate around the globe. Special prayer services were held in churches everywhere. The TV was constantly on as we watched and waited and prayed. Time seemed suspended as the world held it's collective breath. I remember standing in my living room laughing and crying and shouting for joy as my four children stared at me like I was a crazy woman. It was a great moment of a world's prayers answered.
I remember the great pain I felt when the Challenger exploded and again when the Columbia exploded. Space travel is not a safe thing.
The technology developed by NASA for the space program has had far reaching effects in our daily life. Everything from laser surgery to Teflon cookware to Olympic swimsuits is a byproduct of the space program. In spite of budget cuts and the loss of some programs, NASA is alive and well and discovering new wonders everyday.
What are your memories of America's space program? What has NASA's technology developed that amazes you?
Since Mother's Day when we heard from our long lost boy and his wife I have been learning to adjust to a new way of thinking. I am thrilled beyond measure to know this boy is alive and well, but I have to learn how to think about some new realities. My son is a sergeant in the infantry fighting in a war zone. I now look for his face on the evening news. The war in Iraq seems much closer and more personal than before. He is expected to return home in early fall. (The picture was taken the day he shipped out last fall.)
I have a daughter-in-law and teenage step granddaughter that I did not know existed. My new daughter-in-law and I have had several long phone conversations. She and her daughter live on the other side of the country. The more we talk the more I like her. There is so much we both want to know. We are going to meet them this summer. I am excited and nervous about that. She is excited and nervous too.
Our boy has contacted his ex-wife, the mother of the daughter he has not seen in eight years. He wants to try to re build a relationship with his daughter, but isn't quite sure how to start. It will not be an easy thing to do after so many years. His little girl does not yet know that he has contacted us. Everyone is trying to figure out how best to do it. How does a long lost dad re-enter his daughter's life?
We feel blessed to have all these new realities as part of our life. It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds.
Like most of the world I have been watching the news about the tragic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Like most of the world I would like some answers to my many questions. They are important questions that need answers.
1.What was the cause of the accident? Answer, “I don't know.” 2.How can the oil leak be stopped? Answer, “I don't know.” 3.How can the oil be contained? Answer, “I don't know.” 4.What will be the environmental impact? Answer, “I don't know.” 5.Whose fault was it? Answer, “I don't know, but it wasn't my fault.” 6.How can another oil spill be prevented in the future? Answer, “I don't know until the questions above are answered.”
It seems to me that folks with the technology and money to build a oil well in the middle of the ocean would have figured out a better answer to some of these questions than, “I don't know.”
BP has a phone number to call if anyone has an idea about how to answer any of these questions. Feel free to call BP if you can help.
Today is my sixty-ninth birthday. In honor of the day I will share some of the things I have learned along the way.
1.Forgiving people is hard, but it is harder not to forgive. 2.It is impossible to not be happy while eating an ice cream cone. 3.Exercise really does make you feel better. 4.The Blue- Footed Booby is the funniest looking bird in the world. 5.Laughter is one of God's best gifts. 6.The morning's first cup of coffee in the second best thing in the world. 7.Digging in the dirt is good for the soul. 8.Dandelions picked by small children make the prettiest bouquets. 9.There is a light at the end of long, dark tunnels. 10.Grandchildren are a great blessing.
Do you ever feel like your life is just one enormous, never ending roller coaster ride?
Lately my life is full of the highest highs, the lowest lows, and all sorts of scary loops and curves. I have to admit that there have been long, peaceful parts of the ride, but not lately. I am still glowing from the high of hearing from my long missing boy. Knowing he is alive and well and that he has taken that first big step toward home just makes me feel warm all over.
Yesterday was a huge, scary drop that sucked the air right out of me. I accompanied my daughter to the doctor for a surgical consultation for my teenage grandson. He has ulcerative colitis and has been in a serious flare for many months. Medical intervention has not been very successful. We went to the doctor ready to act and hopeful that surgery would be a cure for his problem. We left feeling overwhelmed and demoralized. The surgery described was actually a series of major surgeries that would have horrific, life changing results. We do not want that surgery. So he will begin a new medicine that will be administered by IV drip, frequently at first and then tapering off to every eight weeks. This should buy him time, many years we hope. In the mean time we will pray that research comes up with a better way to treat this disease and it's serious symptoms.
I have seen God work a miracle in the life of one boy. Now I am waiting for a miracle for another boy.
Long time readers have heard the story of my long lost foster son. I have not seen him in eight years. The last time I talked with him was six years ago. He was not doing well then. In the intervening years I feared the worst for this son of my heart. I have prayed that one day he would call and tell me that he was well, but I had long ago quit expecting that call. Yesterday a young woman called and introduced herself. She is Todd's wife. He is alive and well. He is in the army, stationed in Iraq. He loves being a soldier. We talked for nearly an hour. She said it was just time for me to know that he is well. I felt a heavy weight slide from my heart. My boy is man who is loved and happy.
Today I received an email from Iraq.
“HI MOM! happy mothers day i miss you and the family i would like to talk to you soon”
Saturday evening we double dated with our daughter and her sweetheart at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. We heard the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra play Rachmaninoff's Symphony Number 2. It was wonderful. I can't remember the last time I heard a real symphony orchestra perform. Most of the music I have heard in recent years has been presented in school cafeterias by elementary and middle school orchestras. Although I appreciated the effort these kids made to learn their music, it was never really very good. Saturday night was something entirely different.
The Meyerhoff is a stunning concert hall with perfect acoustics. The conductor. Marin Alsop , introduced the concert by telling us about the music we were about to hear. Her explanation reminded me some of “Peter and the Wolf” with the different instruments demonstrating their part, making the music much more understandable. Then the symphony began. I closed my eyes and music wrapped around me and filled me up. There were moments of soaring triumph where I could visualize the sun rising to greet a glorious new day. There were episodes of dark sadness and fear followed by joyous, lilting romance and playfulness. For just over an hour the music carried us into a wonderful place filled with music that spoke to my soul.
When was the last time you enjoyed a beautiful symphony?
I always enjoy church. I love worship and I love worshiping with my friends and family. Today church was extra special because I got to meet one of my favorite friends in the flesh and worship with her. Lorraine and I agreed that church was an excellent place to meet.
When I was a little girl May Day was a day celebrated with flowers. We would make little paper baskets and fill them with flowers from our yards. Then, armed with our flower baskets, we would sneak up to the neighbors' porches, hang the floral baskets on the door knobs, run and hide behind the bushes and watch as the neighbors opened their doors. Our neighbors always feigned great delight and surprise at the baskets we delivered. I'm sure none of them had noticed us spending the morning picking all the flowers from their yards.
Did any of you ever deliver May Day flower baskets?
In honor of May Day I am sending you all a virtual basket filled with flowers from my yard. Azalias Camelias Lilacs Violets Chinese Andromeda