Thursday, September 11, 2008

We Remember

It's been 7 years. It's hard to imagine that it's been that long. So much has happened since then. So much happened that day.

We were building a church near Albany, NY. We were living on a mountain about 30 miles NW of the capital area, in a flight path for an airport and a military base. I was doing a little housework, and when the first attacks came and news coverage began, I didnt have the television on. A few minutes after 9, my husband called me from the building site and asked me to turn on the television to see what was happening -- the crew had been told that something was going on. I turned on the TV and in a matter of minutes, I also threw in a VCR tape and started recording -- it was more than I could take in. At about 10, my husband called again, wanting to know what was going on. I was only on the phone with him for a few minutes, when the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed. I can remember repeating to him over and over "it's going down .... it's going down..... it's going down". He kept asking what was happening, but I had no words.

Some moments from that day are so clear, others are such a blur, too much to take in even now. Within a couple hours, we knew that it had been a terrorist attack. That realization brought fears and concerns for our son -- he wasn't in any of the places hit, but it was apparent that air transportation was going to be suspended indefinitely. He was 17 at the time, and had flown out of Albany to Chicago on 9-9 to help at a retreat for some special needs men in WI. He wasn't supposed to return until the 17th, but we didn't know how he would get home. Our youngest daughter, 14, was in MI visiting her sister. It was terrible to have all my kids away from me that day -- I so needed them close, to know they were safe.

I remember driving to the building site mid-afternoon. The trip involved taking a 5-lane road, normally very heavy with traffic, especially at that time of day -- I was the only vehicle on the road for miles. It was one of the most eerie feelings. By 3 that afternoon, our local firemen were already on their way to Ground Zero.

By that time, we also knew that planes from Boston had been involved -- a couple months earlier, in July, we had shared our ministry at a church just north of Boston -- we'd met 3 airline pilots at that church -- we wondered about them. We later learned they were all safe -- although one was supposed to have been on a flight -- his schedule had changed late Monday night and he was on another flight.

I know that all of America was impacted, but I've always felt that our area was hit a little harder. EVERYONE there knew someone. If it wasn't my son or my niece, it was the son or niece of my next-door neighbor or the people across the street. There was an older couple who lived next door to the church we were building -- they had a son-in-law and niece at the WTC and a brother at the Pentagon -- all ended up safe, but it took so many hours to find out. The waiting was so terrible. The SIL was late getting to work that morning -- he'd been running about 10 minutes late after staying up to watch Monday Night Football -- 10 minutes that spared his life.

My parents were in Nebraska at the time. They had moved a trailer for another builder family, heading for a project in the west. As all air travel had ceased, any plane in the air was especially noticeable. As a matter of national security, President Bush, who had been in FL that morning, was on Air Force One and was not returned directly to DC -- they saw AF1 taking off from a military base.

The days that followed are a blur. For some, they brought relief, for others the pain of loss. The skies over us were eerily silent for several days -- only an occasional military plane -- and the air was hazy, heavy with the smoke from the World Trade Center. Air travel resumed on the 15th or 16th -- our son was one of the first to fly. There were only 11 on his flight. Later that week, on Friday evening, it was the first night that folks were getting out -- life was beginning to resume. Baseball resumed in NYC with patriotic pre-game extravaganzas. We went out to eat that night at a Smoky Bones -- a restaurant with TVs all over carrying sports programming. That night, the place was full, although a little quieter than usual. Those pre-game shows were playing on all the TVs. There were bagpipes playing "Amazing Grace" and someone sang "God Bless America" but when the National Anthem was sung, all TVs and all sound boxes were tuned to it and the restaurant was stone quiet except for the Anthem. The servers all stopped moving. Everyone just sat and listened. Some prayed. Some cried. Some quietly sang. When it was done, all clapped and cheered. I can't tell you how moving that moment was -- all those total strangers, so incredibly unified by grief and pride.

In our current political season, I think that we, as a nation, have forgotten 9-11. We've lost that unity and each has returned to his own agenda. In many ways, we are more sharply divided now than we have been in decades. We need to remember that we could be only moments away from another terrorist attack. It is good today to be reminded of that national unity and the heros who died that day. We need to tell our families and friends how much we love them -- because we don't have any guarantees of tomorrow. We need to be sure that we, as individuals, are prepared to meet God.

I know that it was much more personal for so many others, but we will never forget.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Project Update

I've been super busy these past couple weeks -- and lots has been happening on the building project so today I'll update about that. Two weeks ago, we got the rest of the exterior walls up and started sheeting them. Last week, we finished sheeting and got some of the interier walls up. Everything has been going well.

Today, the trusses were delievered -- we plan to set them Thursday, weather permitting. The weather has been pretty cooperative (for a change) and the forecasts are looking promising for most of the next couple weeks. We took a little video of the last delivery -- always a little exciting to see them drop!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My Teeter Totter Day

Yesterday was one of those days -- up, then down.

First thing in the morning, I was greeted by the nicest news -- I'm the featured "Crafter of the Month" on someone's blog:

I met this gal on Etsy and found that we had built a church near her. As we've chatted, we talked about places we knew in the area and realized we had some nice things in common. I felt so privileged to have her choose me to be her featured crafter! So I was up.

Then I went and picked up mail. Down. I have applied to my first juried craft shows -- and got my first rejection letter. It was a disappointment, but it was also a frustration. Undoubtedly, they were trying to be kind about a rejection, but in doing so, they were completely vague, and I don't really know why I wasn't selected. There are some things I can change, some I can't. For instance, I haven't been using table skirts in my displays and I've noticed that many shows want that. I've started making some, but they weren't in my display photo -- if THAT was the problem, it's something I'm changing. If they have a quota on jewelry vendors and their quota was full, that's something I can't change this time, but I would know that I need to make an effort to get my applications in earlier. And I would know that it wasn't that my work was sub-standard. If my jewelry isn't at the level they're looking for, it would be good to know -- and I will try to find other venues. And because I've never applied to juried shows before, maybe I just need to do something about better photos. So the rejection letter itself was somewhat discouraging, but the frustration of not knowing why is worse. I wish I knew.

Then, as I continued to sort through the mail, I was "up" again -- I had ordered some new beads which had arrived. I buy most of my beads from Ebay, and usually buy from the same sellers. This time, I tried someone new -- it's always a little scary. But I was totally thrilled with the beads!! They were exactly what I was looking for and seem to be of a very nice quality. My order for pearls also arrived -- I got 2 colors that I've been using in earrings, but got them in a new size with an eye toward developing a couple new necklace designs. So my creative juices are really rolling! And I can hardly wait to "play" with these new beads!

Now, for me, these "teeter totter" moments do not mean big mood swings or erratic behavior -- just the gentle ups and downs in the rolling meadows of life. The ups bring me joy, the downs challenge me to "fix it" which is my bent when something isn't quite right. So today, I sat down and applied to 2 more craft shows -- 1 juried, 1 not. And I'm still waiting to hear from an application I sent just over a week ago. We'll see what happens.