Extraordinary Sunrise: Fire on the Mountain

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “(Extra)ordinary.”

I’ll admit it. When I step out onto my front porch each morning, I have a beautiful view. It’s the main amenity that drew me to this home. And I know when I look to my right each and every early morning, I’m going to see the sun crest over the dip in the foothills in some form or another. In that respect, it’s an ordinary, daily event in my life.

Yet some glorious mornings, Mr. Sun wishes to attract my undivided attention more intensely than others. On this particular morning, I have to say, his show was stop-in-my-tracks spectacular. He truly dazzled me.

Fire on the Mountain

Fire on the Mountain

What extraordinary thing (or person) managed to catch your eye today that (who) you might otherwise have missed?

The New Personalization of Depersonalization

As a young healthcare professional of a couple of decades ago, one of the earliest lessons given to me in the clinical setting was to never depersonalize my patient. Rather than “the possible ankle fracture in Waiting area 2,” I was to reference “Mr. Jones, who will be receiving an x-ray of his ankle.” Someone would’ve escorted Mr. Jones (likely by wheelchair) to my department’s waiting area, where he would be – you guessed it – waiting for me to come out, call him by full name for identification purposes, introduce myself as I addressed Mr. Jones by his formal name (which would likely make him uncomfortable because he wasn’t used to being addressed as Mr. Jones), and then I would wheel him back to the room as we chit-chatted about anything from pets to pet-peeves (his, not mine, mind you).

Fast forward to today.

I took my son for a CT scan this afternoon. (CT is short for ‘x-ray on steroids’). He was called by his name only once – at registration in the confines of a corner-concealed cubicle – and it was by last name first (apparently to confuse anyone else in the vicinity who was in excruciating pain but might otherwise wish to eavesdrop and be in need of an additional x-ray for a broken HIPAA regulation). As we were directed from the open, airy, sun-filled waiting room toward the dank, dark recesses of radiology, I began to wonder if my son had been transformed into “he who must not be named.” (By ‘directed,’ I mean we were told to go to radiology, followed by some vague instructions that didn’t work the first time – probably because the director wasn’t sure if he could speak the name of the floor or department aloud, lest a HIPAA dementor be floating by to suck the life out of him. Wait. Too late.)

Arriving at the Radiology desk, my son’s papers were quickly snatched from his hand, where he was instructed that he would no longer be referred to by his name there. Rather, he was handed a number, as apparently had been every other person in the bat cave.

Forgive the blurriness - but I took this with my secret i-sphy-phone when I thought no one was looking.

Forgive the blurriness – but I took this with my secret i-spy-phone when I thought no one was looking.

I wasn’t sure if I was even allowed to glance around the room. I mean, were I to recognize someone, how appropriate would it be to say, “Well, hello there, Double-Oh-Seven. Why, I haven’t seen you around since you stole a kiss from me in that coat closet while we were still in single digits. You know, back when we all still called you Jimmy. Me? You want my number? Oh, you mean that number. No, I don’t have one of those little slips like….” I figured secret service agents might rush in and pull me out about then. So I kept my eyes to the floor – or to my iPhone. Close enough. Doesn’t HIPAA realize that’s why no one would’ve noticed anyone in there anyway? Unless someone was bold enough to check in on Facebook, I guess.

I digress.

My point to this story, you ask? Take a look at the nomenclature assigned to this number:  “Your Personal Number.” Good thing it was personal, meaning, I guess, that my son didn’t have to share it with anyone else. Can you imagine another 233 standing when his personal number was called? How embarrassing to be the wrong Number 233 – especially if you replied for the Barium Enema when you were there for the CT of your ribs. Even Mr. Jones might not have gotten that kind of guarantee.

Woe be it to the patient who loses that slip of paper and forgets the secret code number though. If you thought SOB was an offensive diagnosis, see how you feel about being SOL.


So why can’t you choose your number to help your memory along? Couldn’t a trucker be 10-4? A smart cop would insist on 10-43. Of course, Usain Bolt would always insist on being number 1. Marilyn Manson would probably ask for 666 every single time he came for his annual colonoscopy. (I guess his day would really be ruined if the anti-Christ showed up first.) And what about the prima donna who wants to be seen before everyone else, so she opts for a high-pitched 911? OK, I see the problem with my twist on this idea now. Best to keep us all as generic as Mr. Jones.

A century of nonsensical reflections later…

I’m wondering if my son is going to return to me with some secret identity. Didn’t Spidey have some radiation-related incident? If he comes out, powers up his Droid (that I’m sure he’ll be Jones-ing for), and wastes no time jumping on the Web, I’ll know to be logarithmically suspicious.

Beauty in Every Season

I got together yesterday for a group hike with some high school friends. Four of us made it (plus the dog), which wasn’t a bad showing for such short notice. Of course, a few years have passed since we’ve passed one another in those hallowed high school hallways. Somewhere along the way, we entered another season in our lives. But just as all seasons come with a purpose, we should be purposeful in how we live out each one.


One day we’ll be in our winter years (if all goes well). Winter’s all too often known for its drabness, its barrenness, its lonely appearance. All too many people live their winter years out like that too, bundled away with no desire to be hit by a little fresh air. That’s part of the reason for the hiking/outdoor high school club venture – to prepare for that cold snap before it arrives – by surrounding ourselves with the warmth of friends. All that being said…

Yesterday’s fun challenge (besides being able to make the 7-mile hike – especially without getting lost, as we were exploring a couple of unknown trails on a system), was to find something beautiful to share on our winter hike. 

My hiking colleagues outdid themselves in sharing many lovely things about themselves along the way. But I thought I’d show you just a couple of the beautiful images that we captured on camera to share with others.

Fortuitous Stories are Made Every Day

I just recently finished my novel, Rolling River. As the writer, I of course have a responsibility to orchestrate events to move my characters towards some form of resolution. Even if they feel everything is spinning out of control, I can’t let them stay that way – no matter how many edits it takes.

Oh, that real life always worked that way, right?

But wait. Every beautiful once in awhile, it does!

Take, for example, this Wednesday.

It didn’t start out too great. My youngest son was diagnosed with pneumonia, but we got that dealt with for the time being.
One of my dearest friends was having a birthday, and a group of us was getting together to celebrate at lunch.

What it looks like when our group of high school friends gets together for lunch

Many laughs later, it was time to go back and face the work world again. I had loitered with two of my besties in the parking lot, encouraging and being encouraged, and then we parted ways. As I got into my car, I thought to warn the canoodling couple in front of me not to let my car startle them when I started it. (It had squealed a little that morning and I had to get it to the shop the next day to be checked out.)

As promised, it squealed. Only very loudly this time. Then smoke started pouring in through my vents and out from under my hood.

An Unrealistic Re-enactment that I found on the Internet.

As I shut it down, I heard the shocked man in front of me yell, “Pop the hood!” Before I could feel guilty that I’d ruined his goodbye kiss, his significant blonde other had come around to assist me.

Looking back, how I think the couple may have actually looked…

No sooner had the helpful stranger diagnosed my problem as “a broken drive belt,” producing evidence of it swinging in his hand, than I heard a familiar voice coming across the parking lot behind me. “Jody, what have you done now?”

I turned to face one of our prior youth leaders at church, Greg, who also fortuitously works in the repair shop closest to where I’d broken down. He told me he could get my car towed and taken care of. I told him I could meet him half-way on the towing – I had AAA.

“Let me get a ride back to the shop and go get my truck. I’ll come back and pick you up,” he nodded.

The lady who had been at the scene of my car’s crime wanted to assure I felt comfortable with those arrangements. (She also offered to take me to the mammogram I’d just cancelled, if needed. I guess she figured Greg wouldn’t want to do that! Any hey, I figured we weren’t strangers anymore about the time I’d told her about the mammogram; but I assured her it was all just as well – I was happy to put that trauma off for a few more days.)

No sooner had the couple left and Greg returned than one of my besties surprised me by coming back across the parking lot. “You go back to work and wait on her car to get there,” she told Greg. “I’ll hang out with her until the tow arrives and then take her to work.”

And that’s how it went. I never had to do much of anything for myself – except make the call to AAA.

But that’s not really the end of this story. It has a better punchline from the grand writer’s perspective.

My oldest son stopped by my house that evening for dinner, and I was telling him about my day. When I finished my story, he leaned back with a big grin on his face.

“You know,” he smiled, “every time I stop to help someone and they try to pay me, I always tell them that I’m helping them because I know if my mom or my fiance’ ever breaks down, God will make sure that someone’s right there to help them.”

My oldest son with his fiance’. (If he ever stops to help you out, he’s a pretty good fella’.)

It wasn’t too long before he was on the phone with his fiance, sharing my story and assuring her, “You know how I know that you’re gonna’ be alright if you ever break down? Because God showed me how faithful He was in watching over my mom today. She didn’t even have a chance to worry, and everybody else had already solved her problem for her.”

Now, I’m not going to tell you that usually happens. I’d never have a chance to grow in life if everybody else always solved my problems for me. But isn’t it nice to know that, every beautiful once in awhile, our faith isn’t tested as much as it’s simply gifted?

Don’t miss those fortuitous stories of resolution in your own life either (’cause I’ll bet they come up more often than any of us truly ever notice.)

Gray sand peas,