Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Blood Drive is tomorrow. Feel Good, Donate Blood, Safe a Life

Casady's Upper Division Service Learning students will host the annual blood drive on 12/11/2014 at 7:30 am- 12:30 in the Casady Wing. Please stop by if you would like to donate. Lower Division Learning Specialist, Aimee Hanneman, has a son, Bennett, who benefits directly from the drive since he uses blood products on a regular basis and awaits a bone marrow transplant. If you have any questions, please contact Director of Service Learning, Carmen Clay, at

Bennett's Update

Chemo. ✔️
Immuno-suppressant. ✔️
Anti-rejection med started. ✔️

Tomorrow is Day 0. Transplant Day.

The past few days have been interesting to say the least. All of the effects of the meds are catching up with him and he just hasn't been himself. He finally got really good sleep last night. He's been exhausted! His kidneys are hard at work but we are back in a situation of metabolic confusion with all of his electrolytes needing support and supplementation. Please pray for the doctors as they keep the tabs on everything. They say he looks better than numbers on paper say he looks. It's yet another indicator of how hard he's fighting everything coming at him!

He continues to eat some during the day which is a good sign for a few reasons. Aside from the obvious, it means he hasn't developed any mouth sores yet. Just the thought of this is miserable and I pray God is merciful in this part of the possibilities.

Being ready for transplant is exactly where we want to be. But, honestly, my emotions are mixed with  frustration and sadness this week. I've had on my game face, especially for Adeline, as we all talk about spending Christmas in the hospital. "Christmas finds us no matter where we are. We'll be together and that's the best thing." I believe all of that but we were supposed to be HOME by now!!! I remind myself that this is God's timing, not ours. The sacrifices being made extend so far beyond me and that's hard to live with some days! As I dream about being able to "pay it forward", it doesn't seem like I'll ever be able to show enough gratitude for all that's being done for us! Your prayers, thoughts, words, and deeds have changed us. I'll continue to say THANK YOU because it's all I can say.

They tell us tomorrow will be rather anti-climactic. The transplant procedure will LOOK like a blood transfusion but it will be so much more! The process is full of waiting for his body to recognize the new cells and allow them to starting working for him. A good friend remarked that this time of chemo has been like the season as Advent--the time of preparation before Christmas. It's the time his body has needed to prepare for the newness of life that comes from this gift of bone marrow, much like we are given life with Christ. God's timing. Yes. Yes, it is.


Day 11: Toy Trains and Nostalgia

By Professor Carol on Dec 10, 2014 03:00 am
One of my students recently wrote, asking me: “Why do we associate toy trains with Christmastime? Could you write about it in the Advent Calendar?” I initially thought, “That’s not an Advent topic.” My essays focus on music, art, liturgical and folk traditions. Serioustopics. But toy trains?
Maerklin-Gueterzug - Pantoine (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Maerklin-Gueterzug – Pantoine (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Still, the question wouldn’t leave me alone. “Why are toy trains associated with Christmastime?” I wondered. Is it just that kids get toy trains as Christmas presents? Or is there more to it?
Toy trains go back to the mid-nineteenth century, a not-surprising fact given that trains were the cutting-edge form of transportation. Trains had become the engines of progress. Growing cities were shaped by their palatial train stations. Songs, stories, poems, and, eventually, movies placed trains in their plots. In America, trains conquered the frontier, uniting the East and West Coasts.
What child wouldn’t want a miniature version of all this excitement?
A distinction was made early on between toy trains (for playing) and model trains (finely crafted collectors’ items). The “locomotion” of toy trains was provided a number of ways, including wind-up mechanisms and steam, but as early as 1897, electric trains made their debut. In the 1890s, Märklin, a German manufacturer of doll-house accessories, capitalized on a basic marketing principle, namely, the purchase of a train would be followed by a desire for accessories: gates, lights, bridges, figures, even miniature trees.
In the United States, the Lionel Company of New York City was founded in 1900 by a first-generation American, Joshua Lionel Cowen, whose life was bound up with trains. Lionel fostered the idea that playing with trains helped prepare a child for adulthood. Major gifts of toys were saved for Christmastime, so the custom of finding a toy train under the tree developed naturally.
One of my students recently wrote, asking me: “Why do we associate toy trains with Christmastime? Could you write about it in the Advent Calendar?” I initially thought, “That’s not an Advent topic.” My essays focus on music, art, liturgical and folk traditions.  Serioustopics. But toy trains?
But what about now? Today’s kids aren’t begging Santa for toy trains, are they? Isn’t there an app for that?
Maybe not. Toy trains are still incredibly fun to play with. And they teach many of the same lessons today they did a hundred years ago: imagination, dexterity, patience.
But adults seek them out at Christmastime for another reason. Nostalgia.
The word nostalgia isn’t so simple. At its core are two Greek roots: algos, “pain, grief, distress,” and nostos “homecoming.” Coined in a 1668 Swiss dissertation as a Latin version of the German term Heimweh (“Home-Woe”), doctors initially recognized nostalgia as a type of mental illness—a serious depression caused by inordinate longing. During the Civil War, nostalgia was identified as a threat to soldiers’ well-being.
Nostalgia became a sweeter, softer word only in the 1920s, in the aftermath of World War I. As society reeled from the destruction of an entire way of life, nostalgia came to mean a longing for things that could not be restored.
Could not be restored. It’s quite common for us to approach Christmas seeking the restoration of something that seems out of reach. We’ve come to see old-fashioned toys as a way to counteract the impersonal edges of our multi-tasking society. Why else would we fall over ourselves to buy puzzles, dominos, and Raggedy Ann dolls in December? Old-fashioned toys promise the restoration of an idealized Christmas Past.
And they surely help. They all take time to play. They require sitting around a table and doing something together . . . as a family. They give us permission to shut out the pressures of daily life and engage with one another. We should value the gifts that bring families together—the toy trains, the puzzles, even the pot-holder weaving kits.
But nostalgic toys can’t really restore that idealized Christmas Past. Isn’t that where Advent comes in? Advent reminds us each year that our “homesickness” is not really for an idealized past, nor for things that cannot be restored. Rather, Advent reminds us thateverything is restored and renewed in the promise in Christmas.
So be prepared to treasure the gasp of delight when the little track is assembled, the wires connected, the lights flash, and the train runs its first circuit. Let us rejoice knowing that the beauty of Christmas is not lost in the past, but is always new.