Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dominick the Runaway Soul


When the time came for a woman to bear a child, God would send a little soul to become that woman’s child. God had a favorite small soul, whom he lovingly called Dominick, which means “belongs to God.” This is the story of Dominick.
Dominick would eat his meals at God’s table, and partake of the best foods in heaven. He would spend time with God each day near the throne, entertaining God with his antics, and soothing God with his beautiful clear voice. God favored Dominick as much as Dominick favored God, and they were rarely seen apart.
One day, God decided that it was time for Dominick to fulfill his purpose to go to earth and be born as a baby. Dominick dearly loved God, and did not want to go.
“Please God,” he said, “you are my parent, I want to dwell with you here, for I have seen through the clouds the ways of the world, and I am afraid.”
God dearly loved Dominick as well, but He felt that it was time for Dominick to go for it was selfish that God should keep the best from his people on earth, whom he also loved greatly. God told Dominick this:
“It is time Dominick. You must go to earth now. You will grow into a boy, and then a man. You will learn much about life on earth, and then, one day, when your years on earth have been many, I will welcome you back to live with me forever, but first you must fulfill your purpose.”
Dominick was saddened. Part of him was excited to go to earth. He saw many things when he peeked through the clouds, things that looked exciting and fun. But he loved God so much, that he was sad too, and afraid to leave. God took the little soul to a place at the edge of the sky, a place where God liked to look down and watch the goings on down on earth. He pointed a great finger to a place in the city. Dominick saw a young woman sitting beside a tree. She was a beautiful woman, as God had created all of the women on earth with a beauty all their own. The woman was crying, and Dominick heard her wishes for a child of her own.
“She is who you must go to, Dominick. See her tears, and feel the heaviness of her heart? You can make her happy, and that right now, is your place.”
Dominick stared at the woman little while longer, and then turned to God. “I love you God,” He said bravely “and if that is where you want me to go, then I will go, but I will long to come back to you every minute that I am away.”
God smiled at Dominick, and was proud of him. “You are a good soul Dominick. I love you greatly, and I will welcome you back when you have finished.”
With that, Dominick gave God one final embrace, and leapt off of the edge of the sky and went to join the woman.
When Dominick had been inside the woman for a few weeks he became sad. He missed God so much, and he longed to be near him again. It was cramped and dark in the small space of the woman’s womb, and he longed for something better than the nourishment that entered him through the cord in his belly. Dominick kept reminding himself that he would be able to return back to heaven one day, and tried to entertain himself with the thoughts of dancing and singing before God again. He passed his time in the womb by counting off his favorite heavenly dishes that he would eat at God’s table again one day. He tried to dance inside the tiny space, but there was no room for that. He began to thrash about in anger, kicking hard at the sides of the uterus. The woman felt the quickening inside of her, and was overcome with happiness. Dominick could feel the pressure of the woman’s hands on her belly, feeling the places that his feet had kicked. He could sense her love for him, and was calmed by her touch and quickly fell fast asleep.
While Dominick was sleeping, an idea came to him. He dreamt that he could leave the woman, and get another soul to take his place! He could be back in heaven and eating from God’s table much quicker than he would if he stayed on for a human lifetime. Dominick woke with a start. He could nearly taste God’s dinner on his tongue and he wasted no time escaping through the umbilical cord, and out of the woman’s belly.
Dominick hurried back up to the sky. He was thinking of things to tell God about his return. He was worried, but he knew that God was always forgiving in the past, and hoped for that same forgiveness again. On his journey back to heaven, Dominick came upon Sara, another young soul. Sara greeted Dominick with surprise.
“I thought you had been sent on your earth-journey.” Said Sara. “You have been missed, God longs for your completion every day so that He can welcome you back. He has even been planning for your return feast since the day you left.”
Dominick was happy to hear this. He was certain that God would take him back early, but he still needed to fill his place on earth.
“Sara, it is good to see you as well. I have missed being in heaven, but I have done something wrong. My time on earth hasn’t finished, but I couldn’t stand it any more Sara! I want to be here with God.”
Sara looked pensive. She too knew of God’s favor of Dominick, but she also knew how much God hated to be disobeyed. “I don’t know Dominick,” she said. “He may be angry, what are you going to do?”
Dominick had been looking down when he replied to Sara. “Well… I could… I mean, if I were to find someone who would go in my place, to earth I mean, maybe God wouldn’t be so angry.” When he finished speaking, Dominick looked imploringly at Sara, he was pleading her with his gaze. Sara knew what he was asking her, and she shook her head, but without conviction.
“Please Sara. Go to earth for me. It really isn’t that bad. Just a little lonely in the darkness of the womb, but it is warm, and it only lasts a few earth months, then you would be free, and could live on earth for many years.”
Sara looked doubtful, but she had wanted God to send her soon, and she was growing excited that she could go now. Finally she nodded.
“I’ll go,” she said “show me the woman.”
With that, Dominick pointed out the woman who was walking in the same park where Dominick had first seen her. Sara jumped down to her, and entered her through the belly, crawling through the cord the way that Dominick had escaped.
God was angry at first when He saw Dominick, but could not stay angry long, for He had missed his favorite small soul. God agreed that Dominick could stay for a while, but that Dominick would have to go back to earth and fulfill his calling. It was well in heaven. Dominick again ate from God’s table, and danced and sang at God’s throne.
When God felt that the time had been long enough, He decided that it was time for Dominick to return to earth. Again God showed Dominick a woman who was ready for a child, and again Dominick left with sadness. It was only a few weeks before Dominick was overcome again with the loneliness and boredom that had plagued him before, and he escaped the womb for a second time. He found a replacement, and went back to heaven.
Again and again this happened. Sometimes though, he could not find a soul to go in his place, and the baby would be not be born as a live child. Often, Dominick would escape after only a few weeks, but sometimes Dominick would make it for as many months as it took to grow a baby on earth, but escaped through the cord at the last minute. Often, his hasty escape would cause the cord to become entangled around the baby’s neck. If Dominick was able to find a replacement, the baby would live, but that was not always the case.
To this day, the struggle has not been resolved between the will of God, and Dominick’s own will, much like the struggle between a parent and a child here on earth.
Many times, when a woman loses her child, she thinks that she has done something wrong. But as likely as not Dominick, the runaway soul, has probably been there, and then… gone.

My personal struggle with multiple miscarriage over the past 12 years has been a difficult one. There is nothing like hearing a baby's heartbeat, your baby's heartbeat, for the first time, and weeks or months later being faced with a horrible, yet deafening, silence. "Dominick the Runaway Soul" is my way of dealing with a the loss of my son at 4 month gestation in 1999.
If you or someone you know has dealt with the pain and grief of miscarriage, you can find out more here: American Pregnancy Association. ~Rebecca Reece

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Becky's Beans

I didn't start gardening until I was twenty-nine, actually, my husband started gardening when I was twenty-nine; I became "gardening support." It all started with one sad, wilted tomato plant that spring, and ended with a freezer full of garden-fresh tomatoes, zucchini, and beans that fall.

"Look!" My husband, James said. He had just come in from work, he was holding up a black, plastic pot with a wilted tomato plant that hung limply to the side; James was smiling like a twelve-year-old boy with a huge toad bulging out of his fist. I eyed the tomato plant, and didn't say anything.

"It's a tomato plant!" He said, thrusting it toward me. I reached my hand out toward it, then changed my mind, instead folded my arms across my chest. Our two-year old son, Grover, plowed into my husband's legs at that moment, and the tomato plant flopped limply from side to side.

"I can see that it's a tomato plant; what is it doing here?" I asked, as though the plant had followed him home like a stray kitten.

"We're gonna plant it! We'll get more, and we'll have a vegetable garden this year," he said.

He knelt down on the floor to show Grover the plant, "look, Grove, tomato plant," he said to the toddler, who promptly grabbed at the limp greens; James pulled the plant out of Grover’s reach.

"'Mato pants,” said Grover. "'Mato pants... Mato pants!" He chanted, dancing a jig around my husband.

That was the beginning of our garden. Plots were dug and the soil was prepared, gardening books of all kinds started showing up around the house. Nearly every day brought James home from work with some new plant, or more seed packets. Vegetables, fruits and herbs were planted, and started to grow in our back yard garden.

James was thrilled with each new sprout, and I was indifferent. It wasn’t that I disliked gardening; I had not been enthusiastic about anything then; my mother had died unexpectedly from a ruptured tumor in her lung a few months before, and nothing I did held much pleasure for me. Gardening just seemed like another chore to do, something else to be “gotten to,” during the day. I kept Grover out of the garden, watered it when it was hot, and just continued to muddle through my days, reminding myself to get up each morning and breathe.

It was a Tuesday evening when James brought home a packet of bush beans, and I finally began to garden.

“Mom!” I shouted, running into the house from the school bus. “Mom, where are you?” She answered from her room, so I toss my book bag on the sofa and hurried down the hall to her door.

“Becky, what are you shouting about?” She said. She saw at what I was holding in my hand and furrowed her brow. “You’re getting dirt all over the carpet! Get that thing outside!” She walked toward me and shooed me down the hall, and out the back patio door. The plastic baggie in my hand had sprung a leak sometime between school and my front door, and I left a trail through the house.

“Sorry mom, but look, can I plant them in the back?” I held up the baggie toward her with its treasure inside; three small bean plants peek out of the top of the leaking bag.

“What are they?” Mom asked her brow still furrowed.

“Beans!” I say.

“You’re a sophomore in high school and you are growing beans in a baggie? What are you learning, kindergarten botany?” Mom said.

“I don’t know; I do what Mr. Thomas says. Anyways, can I plant them in the yard?” I said. I was still excited; I had visions of Jack and his beanstalk climbing beyond the clouds.

“Fine. That’s fine I guess. You’ll need to make a place,” Mom said. She reached for the caddy that held her gardening tools and ushered me down the deck steps toward the back of the yard. “Near the fence will be best. There,” she pointed to a spot by the fence, far from the tall tree that sits in the corner of the yard.

“Why not over there, by the tree?” I asked her, gesturing toward a tall evergreen with my baggie of bean plants.

“They need sun,” she said. “I had better give you a hand or they will be dead by the weekend.” Mom let out a sigh meant to be exasperation, but she was enjoying herself. She knelt on the ground next to the spot she had pointed out, and instructed me to pull up all of the weeds and stones in a small patch. Less than an hour later, we had prepared a place, planted, and watered the beans. While we worked she explained how to care for them, and then we settled into relaxed silence with sound between us beyond the rings on her hands softly clicking together. When we were finished, we both had dark patches on our knees, dirt on our cheeks, and smiles on our faces.

A few weeks that passed school ended for the summer. Mom and I would go out often to see ‘Becky’s Beans’, as she had named them, and we watched them grow together. With three other foster girls in the house, there had never been enough time alone with Mom; our little bean patch brought us together. We shared conversations, some of our talks were about growing beans, but even those conversations were about more than gardening. Some of the things we talked about were important, and some were not, but the things we shared were just Mom’s and mine.

When the beans were finally big enough to pick and eat, Mom sent me out with a colander, and I gather beans for dinner. When we ate that night, she bragged about what good beans they were, and she said all of us girls should plant a garden together next year. We never did, though, and I was glad. That year, Mom and I didn’t grow a garden together, we grew together.

I planted my own patch of bush beans in the sun last year, and I watched them sprout and grow. When I tended to them, I would think about ‘Becky’s Beans’ from all those years ago, and recalled the conversations we had together over my little patch of garden. She would encourage me when I was down, and laugh with me about something else. I weeded the rows of beans with the sun on my back and remembered mom’s laughter and wisdom accompanied by the comforting clicking of her rings.

When we harvested our crop last year, and ate fresh beans for dinner the day we picked them; I was glad that I had finally taken her advice about growing another garden, even if it was fifteen years later. I didn’t just find a love for gardening; instead, I remembered my love for my mother, and found her in the dark, rich soil that just like her life, and then her passing, fostered new growth.

*This is the final edit of "How I Lost My Mother to Cancer, and Found Her Through My Garden"

Monday, April 6, 2009

Help Wanted!!!

*I did not write this, but wish I did! If I one more person says to me: "Oh, so you don't work?" I will not be able to stop my hands from wrapping around their neck... All mothers are working mothers! ~RR

Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an, often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities. Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.

The rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

Virtually none. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you

None required unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.

Get this! You pay them! Offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them
whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs for life if you
play your cards right.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Twitter Traffic Wars! Jenni Hogan of KIRO7 is Today's Winner!

"A sale is not something you pursue, it is something that happens to you while you are immersed in serving your customer.." ~Unknown

This economy has been tough on our family; we have had to look outside of our normal travel range for remodeling work. Gig Harbor, WA to Bellevue, WA; Google quotes the drive time at 59 minutes, to 1 hour and 30 minutes with heavy traffic. The actual drive time has varied even more over the past couple of weeks; I wanted a more professional opinion.

Monday morning: Stretch, yawn, let the computer load while I get some hot coffee... I sign in to Twitter and see that a couple of the local news folks that I follow, are now following me. Interesting! Hmmm... What's the commute going to be like this morning? I Tweet...

"Gig Harbor to Bellevue?" I get answers! A couple of different answers...

"Who's right?" I wonder. Joking, I Tweet again,,,

"Whoever gets me there with the closest time, wins!"

And so it began, "Twitter Traffic Wars: Dare to Get Me There!" is born!

Tuesday is even more exciting, and on Wednesday, another traffic guru jumps in; it's RachelleKOMO! The race is on: Adam Gehrke (Q13 Fox), Jenni Hogan (KIRO), and Rachelle Murcia (KOMO), all Tweet their best guesses:
Adam: 55min.
Rachelle: 1 hour, 6 min
Jenni: 1 hour, 10 min including James' coffee stop (already winning extra points for remembering the coffee stop from earlier in the week!)

James left the driveway, and the race was on... It was looking like Adam was going to win for the second day in a row, when suddenly, an accident on I-5 Northbound. 55 min. gone... 1 hour, 6 min. gone... 1 hour, 10 min. gone... Aaaaand... 1 hour, 12 min. James is in Bellevue, and Jenni Hogan won the day!

James' commute was exciting and fun, and with narry a thought to the gas and time it takes to get to the jobsite.

This is a good example of great customer service on the part of our local news stations; acknowledge the viewers, and gain loyalty. (I have to admit that Jenni Hogan dropping my name this morning on KIRO7 may have shifted my loyalties around... Slightly...)

What can you do today to make someone feel special, or at the very least, less invisible? Let "Dare to Get Me There" be a challenge to help others get into a better parking space, a better spot in line at the grocery (like, in front of you, maybe!) or even into a better mood! Let's go out in the world today and make 'em smile!

Quote found @
Photo of Jenni Hogan found @