Sunday, February 27, 2011

Board Lessons

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“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” – Mark Twain



Yesterday I was witness to, and a participant in, one of life’s lessons illustrated through the breaking of boards.


I’ve been in my taekwondo class for a few months with my 8YO. We’ve learned kicks and punches and stances and forms of all kinds, but for the most part, with the exception of sparring someone with mainly our own skill level, our attacks fall on thin air.


For example: my front kick. Not really one of my best kicks, as I feel like my hamstrings are pretty tight and don’t allow me to get my foot up there as quickly as I’d like to. Last time I broke a board with a sidekick, and at least with that one I was fairly certain I could fully extend my leg. Front kick, not so much.


Well, as part of the test for our yellow belt, we were expected to break a board with a front kick. Breaking boards isn’t something we practice in class very often, and when we do practice it is on plastic simulation boards that I’ve found are nothing like the real thing. So… questionable ability… no way to practice… leads to anxiety… which doesn’t help.


Anyway, time came for us to break boards and the instructor – whom I’d also never met – went in reverse order. There were numerous white belts testing for their yellow stripes that went before me, and quite a lot of them didn’t break their boards on the first try. More anxiety. You’re the only one up there, trying your best while everyone else looks on, and you pretty much feel like a failure every time that board refuses to crack.


The board breaking portion of the test took a long time. Probably over an hour. As I sat there and watched kid after kid, and even some adults, kick their boards repeatedly, I began to think those boards are a lot like challenges we face in our lives. If we expect a different outcome, yet keep doing the same thing over and over again that isn’t working, those challenges will never be conquered. If we want that board to break, yet keep kicking it with the same kick that has failed to break it over and over (and sometimes over, and over, and over) again, we are never going to hear that crack.


As we watched our fellow classmates face their pine challenges, drama from our personalities began to unfurl. Some people became very frustrated. Others cried. Some would not take additional instruction. Others changed their kicks, but added no additional effort. Some became very angry and embarrassed.


Boards were changed out, pine knots were located, and the instructors may have added a little more tension on the boards for some, but in the end…


We all broke our boards!


Some were so proud they could have busted right there. Some jumped up and down and squealed. Some were grinning from ear to ear. Some were surprised they were able to do it (that was me). But I think we were all shared in the relief that it was over.


In the end, one of the instructors said that breaking boards is 50% physical and 50% mental.


Probably a lot like life’s challenges. You give it your best shot, you change your techniques, maybe even have a backup plan, but in the end, even if that board doesn’t break, you’ve probably learned something you can use again.


May all your kicks be hard and fast and may all your boards have a distinct weakness.


And may my toe heal up fast since I broke it during the first 15 minutes of the three-hour test!


“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

Friday, February 25, 2011

Never too Early to Sow?

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“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Corinthians 9:6



Ok, so I might be early, but after all that dirt digging with my new cultivator I told you about yesterday, and since my friend in Missouri had already planted some stuff, I thought it was high-time to get some seeds in the ground.


I got the seeds for 8 cents a package, so even if the frost kills everything I’ve got, I’m not out very much!


Oh, and the seed potatoes were like $1.50 for the whole bunch.


Anyway, drawing from all the knowledge I have now from previous years, I decided to go with “sooner” rather than “later” on the cold weather crops. In years past, I’ve waited apparently too long and have had very sad, pitiful results.


My radishes were stunted.


I got one sprig of broccoli that I could dip in ranch dressing.


My turnips have never made it past golf ball size, but the hub ate them anyway.


The weather just got too hot too fast for them to do any good. Plus, my soil hadn’t been enriched with horse manure like I put on it last year.


I planted radishes, turnips, peas, broccoli and potatoes yesterday. Everything went pretty good with the exception of the potatoes. I learned from the neighbor last year that you’re supposed to cut the potatoes into pieces where each piece has two or three “eyes” on it. My cats were very interested in this process and I had to work blindly from the cat sticking its tail in my face. The resulting potatoes looked like the makings for a really dirty meal.


Then the cat decided he was attached to the potatoes and flung them out of the hole before I could get the dirt on them.



Despite my “help”, I got everything planted. Not sure if anything will make or not, since I’ve never been this early with my planting before. I’ll let you know how it goes!


Happy Friday and Happy Planting - whatever you’re sowing today!


“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will me made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:10-11

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I'm Cultivating Something

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“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:8


I bought myself a wonder product on Tuesday and I have to tell you about it.

It is an electric cultivator.

Last year, I tried borrowing my neighbor’s tillers for my tilling needs and his are gas-powered, hard to start and emit noxious fumes that almost killed me. Oh, and they seem to outweigh me. They were terribly heavy and seemed to have a mind of their own.

After purchasing an electric leaf blower in December (read about my debacle here), I decided that electric is my friend over gas-powered anything in the lawn tool department. I’m sure it is greener or something, but for me, the #1 reason I would choose electric over gas any day is…

I can start it!

You push a button.

Even I can do that!

Pulling the cord seventy five times after priming the thing and then flooding it and having to pull the cord another seventy five times makes my arm hurt. It seems like exercise. And we all know how I feel about exercise. At least any exercise involving me. I’m sure it is good for OTHER people.

So I got the electric cultivator on Tuesday, screwed on the handle, hooked up the extension cord, pushed the button and started cultivating. I’m pretty sure I did just as good a job with my new friend as I did with the beasts of burden I borrowed last year. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t go quite as deep, but I’m pretty sure that a garden like mine (where it is survival of the fittest for the most part) won't care.

I tilled the whole thing up in about thirty minutes (my garden area is pretty small). I even ran the thing through a section that didn’t get weeded much (OK, at all) last year and had a gazillion strands of bermuda grass. Yes, it bogged down a little, but it kept going and all the bermuda strands eventually looked like a giant rolling hairball stuck on the tines. I began to rethink my weeding strategy when I realized that I had to clean all that out, but guess what? I just pulled out a pin, took the tines off, separated them and stuck them back on, clean as a whistle.

Ok, a whistle that had been rolled through the dirt, but was at least grass free. E-A-S-Y!!

In other words, I LOVE my new electric cultivator, especially after having experienced the “other side” last year. I’m thinking it will be good for my flowerbeds too and I have high hopes of making the children a small corn maze with it in the front yard once the weather warms up a little more.

I have dreams of broccoli and peas and tomatoes and cucumbers, and maybe, just maybe, my little cultivator will help them put their roots down a little better than they would have otherwise.

I know my arms are already happy!

Here’s wishing you spring thoughts and garden dreams today!

“But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:23

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ode to Roany Pony

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Roany Pony, you hairy beast

You eat green grass for your feast



Your hooves will hurt when you founder

You’re probably a 600-pounder



You’re hard to catch, a pain in the neck

My trying to ride you is a wreck



You act like I’ll whack you and some days I’d like to

But for the kids you’ll be perfect, just like a statue



You’re our precious pony, not fit for the show ring

But your hair falling out is a sure sign of spring!


Friday, February 18, 2011

Okay, I Got It

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“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13


So there I was in the drop-off lane this morning, behind a silver-haired lady who thought it was necessary for her to get out of the driver’s seat to unload her kindergartener from her vehicle.

Everyone knows the driver exiting the car is a NO NO in the drop-off lane.

I was feeling quite proud that my kindergartener was able to get himself and his backpack out of the backseat, and even came back to reshut the door when it didn’t latch good the first time he slammed it.

But I still had to wait for lady in front of me to get back in her car and pull away. There is no backing up in the pickup lane at 8:25 am.

And I was a little put out.

Then I went to the grocery store.

As I was checking out, I decided I didn’t want a package of hummus I’d found in the deli because I found a cheaper version elsewhere in the store. I had a giant vase of roses that were $30 off from their Valentine’s Day price four days ago (talk about depreciation!) that I was trying to wrestle along with my groceries. Then my frozen green beans had a hole in the end and the cashier had to send one of the sacker guys to get me a new bag.

In other words, I was one of those people you don’t want to be behind at the store.

Then I looked behind me.

There she was: the same lady who I had to wait on in the kindergarten drop-off lane. She was bearing with me.

I thought we were surely even now.

Then I left the store, got my groceries loaded in the trunk, propped the flowers up in the car seat, took my basket back to the front of the store, and pulled forward out of my parking spot.

Here she came pushing her grocery basket, just in time that it would appear that I was trying to run her over if I had punched it, but just slow enough that I had to wait... on... her... again.

And then the above verse popped into my head.

And I tried to be patient.

Here we were, two strangers bearing with one another, waiting for each of us to handle kids, groceries, and unruly green beans.

Maybe next time I’ll introduce myself.

Maybe she didn’t even notice me.

Maybe next time I’ll be more patient.

Maybe somebody was trying to tell me something.

Maybe I got it this time.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Plenty of Fresh Air

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“(Jesus answered) ‘The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or were it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.’” John 3:8


Ok, so sometimes I joke about being an Indian and being entitled to free stuff like casino winnings and bricks of cheese, but today they gave me something I thought was pretty cool.

The Cherokee Tribe is offering a free home energy audit to any tribal member living within the Cherokee Nation, and since that’s me and I have a drafty house, I signed up.

Two guys came today and put what looked like a parachute with a hole for a fan in my door and then hooked the fan up with some sensors and stuff and then turned it all on. Then the guys walked around my house with an infrared camera and the air leaks started showing up like crazy.

Now, where would you suppose they were?

If you’re like me, you’ve suspected your windows for years. I suspect mine more because they are ugly, dirty, old aluminum windows that small insects like to live in, and I would like to have something new, white and more vinyl-like without the perpetual cobwebs.

Well, windows won’t do me any good! My windows are for the most part fine!

It’s my baseboard and trim work to blame, or lack of insulation behind such, coupled with a ginormous straight-shot opening to the attic over my downstairs heater and hot water tank. When he opened the closet it was like he stepped into a wind tunnel. Pink insulation was sucked down from the attic and flew all over the one guy’s face.

Occupational hazard, I suppose.

I offered a paper towel.

I’ll be getting a written report with pictures in the future, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be forgetting the black streaks of the air leaks on the infrared camera coming up from behind my couch, the fireplace, gaps in the closet, gaps in door trim filtering down from the inside walls…

All very fascinating stuff!

Their scale was 1 to 10 with 10 being a “leaky” house. Mine scored a 14! But they said mine was considered a “maintenance” home where most of the leaks could be corrected with caulk, or weather stripping, or spray foam. I believe the one guy said, “A couple of CASES of caulk and you’ll be good to go.”

A one hour test offers months and months of work and entertainment!  The honey-do list just got a LOT longer!

The Cherokees are even nice enough to offer free caulk, weather stripping, and spray foam, but you have to drive to Tahlequah to get it, so I think I’ll be opting for the local home improvement store.

So, me and the house have something in common. There’s always a lot of hot air blowing around. Ha!

Anyway, if you qualify, I would encourage you to take advantage of this program. Here’s the info link: Cherokee Home Energy Audit Program.  They even said they would come back out and test it again after we make improvements and that the goal was to get us between a 4 and a 6 on their scale. And even if you’re not Indian, you might check to see if there are Home Energy Auditors in your area. They said their average customer, after making improvements, saved $300 per year.

I’m thinking by the time they come back, I’ll have one arm like Popeye from all the caulking!

Hope you’re having a wonderful day today and that your house isn’t too drafty!

I’m off to do one-armed push-ups as training for the Caulk Olympics…

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Naked Chicken

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“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:4

Some days I feel as if I’ve had my wings clipped. I feel like if I just had this or that, then I could do something great. Some days I feel stuck in a rut and not able to live up to my full potential.

I’m sure my chicken felt like that on Sunday.

It was as warm a day as we’d had in about a month and life was bustling. The snow was melting, the kids were playing and I was out sitting on my bench.

My rooster, Betty, (need further name explanation: click here) and his hen decided it would be a fine day to hop over the fence and check out if there were any horse feed samplings to be had.

The neighbor dog was over, playing with the kids and Lucky, and saw Betty and the Mrs. out. Now we’ve not had any problems between the neighbor dog and our chickens before, so I wasn’t in a hurry to shoo her away. However, this time she decided to slip down into a hunting stance, and before I could scream my way across the backyard, Mrs. Betty took off with a streak of dog behind her in hot pursuit.

As luck would have it, my neighbor, Mr. Fuller was out watering his cows and screamed at the neighbor dog, as did I as I ran like a banshee across the yard and slipped through the fence. The neighbor dog was so startled that she let go of Mrs. Betty, but it was not before Mrs. Betty lost a few feathers.

We immediately felt like guilty chicken parents for not trimming their wings sooner. We usually keep their wings clipped so they can’t fly out of their pen, but we got behind. Call DCS (Department of Chicken Services)! We’d had a blizzard, you know!

Anyway, the hub and I went into emergency wing clipping mode and rounded everyone up for their individual captures. We eventually found Mrs. Betty hiding in such a way that only her tail feathers were sticking out of a space in the barn wall. We looked her over and she appeared no worse for the wear, with the exception of being quite naked.

And ugly.

I’m sure she’s been jeered by the other, smarter chickens who stayed in the pen. I’m sure she’s given Betty a tongue-lashing for running out on her while she was wrestling the dog for her life. I’m sure she’s forgotten the whole experience by now since it has been two days and chickens aren’t known for their mental prowess.

So the next time you’re feeling down, or in a rut, or like there has to be something better out there for you, remember Mrs. Betty. Perhaps your wings are clipped for a reason. Perhaps there’s someone on the other side just waiting to pull out the rest of your feathers.

The “grass may be greener on the other side of the fence”, but do you really want to look like this:

I didn’t think so!

“…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Monday, February 14, 2011

Food vs. Hugs

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“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” Romans 12:10


Today is a day of love…

To me, that means food. I’m a feeding kind of Mama.

Some mothers hug and cuddle and kiss. I go board-straight and hand over a cookie.

The hub is the hugger in the family. I think every family needs at least one. I have three, including the sons, and they are constantly trying to convert me.

Anyway, I was wandering around the grocery store on Saturday, trying to figure out something “special” for us to eat for Valentine’s Day. Something the kids would like, but would feel “special” enough for a slightly over-exaggerated holiday.

While in the produce section, I found heart-shaped foil pans filled with a pound of strawberries and a little cup of chocolate dip. I thought the kids might like that until I saw that it was $12.95! I got my wheels turning and remembered the chocolate chips I’ve had up in the cabinet in a mason jar for at least a couple of months and the evaporated milk I bought during the snow storm just in case I had to revaporate (is that a word?) it for us to drink during the Great Milk Shortage of 2011. Which incidentally lasted two days and I have three cans of evaporated milk to show for it.

I also remembered that I already had bamboo skewers in the drawer, apples in the fridge, and bananas on the counter. So, I bought a pound of strawberries for $4.95 and a package of grapes. Three pounds, I think, but we eat grapes like candy – and you know how much I like candy!

Last night, after our mostly representational meal of chicken fried rice, I broke out the skewers, lit a candle, and gave everybody their own little dish of melted chocolate.

Needless to say, we ate like pigs at the trough and all nearly slipped off into a blood sugar coma.

I guess my meal of “love” was successful though, not in the way we all moaned and held our bellies afterward, but in the way the kids were still talking about it this morning.

“Great!”

“Best Meal Ever!”

“Can we do that again?”

Very rarely do I make a meal that survives in memory after sleeping it off.

And who wants to go to a restaurant anyway?

I hope you’re feeling loved today, although I won’t help by hugging you. Maybe a nice pat on the shoulder or something.  ((Pat, pat))  Here, have a cookie!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Candy Bites

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“A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul...” Proverbs 13:19


My kids love candy! They are related to me in this department, for sure. We very rarely buy candy, as it just seems to show up. We’re still eating some of the candy left over from Christmas. Before that it was Halloween, before that it was birthdays, parties, summer… This list goes on and on.

And here we are on Valentine’s Day Eve Eve, and I’ve already given the hub his stash of candy with his new sweater (we’re very romantic) so we could eat through his candy just in time for me to have my windfall of candy on Monday.

However, it occurred to me yesterday that I am a bit of a candy hypocrite.

I’ve told you all about Nanna before – great-grandma that practically raised me who died when I was 19. Well, one of the things Nanna used to do for me was always have a can of pop and a candy bar in the refrigerator waiting for my next visit. Usually it was Dr. Pepper and a Snickers, but she took special orders too. I went through a Skor phase, a Butterfinger phase, a Whatchamacallit phase. Rarely did I stray from the Dr. Pepper, but occasionally I would want an A&W root beer or a Coke.

And it didn’t matter if I visited EVERY SINGLE day! That can of pop and candy bar would magically replenish itself because Nanna only lived three blocks from the Star Cash Grocery. Sometimes, she’d even send me walking to the store to get my own snack. They also had penny and three-cent candy at the Star Cash and I would load up on those things too.

Well, the good news is that the metabolism has held and that I am not a diabetic, which she was, and I always suspected perhaps that she might have sneaked one or two of my candy bars when I didn’t visit for a day or so.

So, yesterday my 6YO asks me if when we go to the store, “Will you buy me a big Butterfinger?”

He’s asked about four times this month and each time I’ve replied with, “Not today.”

Last time I said it, he said, “Then when?”

And I said, “When you’re sixteen and have your own job, you can buy yourself all the candy bars you want.”

Terrible!

I know!

But yesterday I felt compelled to tell him the story of how Nanna always kept a candy bar and a can of pop in her refrigerator for me when I would come to visit. I told him of how when he has kids, I’m going to be their Nanna, and I want to be just like Nanna, and have candy bars and pop on hand for the grandkids.

Then I realized, Nanna would be giving him pop and candy bars every chance she got!

I also realized that I could buy him a candy bar EVERY SINGLE time we were at the store together, which really isn’t all that often, and he still would probably never consume as much candy as I did at the hand of Nanna,

...or for the three years I worked at a bank and consumed my weight in mini-candy bars every day,

...or for the three years of high school where lunch was pop and a candy bar every day.

And so, with a great big grin on his face, my 6YO son consumed his first full-size Butterfinger candy bar yesterday. He even forgave me for my candy hypocrisy, and saved me the last bite.

May all your days be sweet and may I never become diabetic. I probably wouldn’t last a week!

And yes, the picture above is how many caramel kisses I ate while writing this!

Don’t judge! We all have a vice.

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalms 119:103

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cheaper Than Therapy

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“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” Proverbs 15:30


I bought this sweater a few weeks ago at my local Goodwill. It made me laugh out loud at my first sighting and several ladies around me looked at me strange. Then I had to show them and they laughed too.

And since I was afraid that I could not possibly describe it with words, I had to buy it and take it home. It was $4.00 after my “customer appreciation day” discount.

I stopped by my friend-who-had-the-flu’s house on the way home and she got a big kick out of it as well.

I posted pictures of it on my Facebook and numerous people nominated it ugliest sweater ever.

The thing is, though, that the laughs continue. I can pull up a picture of it on my computer, or look at it hanging in my closet and smile just thinking about it. It is truly an object of joy!  Everything about it makes me laugh, from its hideously pink color to the sad look on the mismatched clothed bear.  And it was even MY SIZE!  We were meant to be. 

These last few weeks have been trying with all the snow, trying to entertain the kids and husband while we’re all bored, and finding my motivation for going out to the barn to feed the animals. I have to say that having purchased this sweater has given me my happy thought.

Now, if you ever catch me WEARING it, you’ll know I’ve finally lost it!


May you too find an object of joy to make your week, month, or year. And if you happen to collect ugly bear sweaters, have I got a deal for you!

“All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.” Proverbs 15:15

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Losing Face

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“… and beauty is fleeting…” Proverbs 31:30
Last summer, my then 5YO tripped and fell over the curb in a parking lot and skinned up his chin, nose and lip. He cried and cried, but then stared at himself in the mirror when he got home.

“What if I go to Kindergarten and nobody likes me because of my face?” he said.

I assured him that it was June and that his face would surely heal by August. And, of course, it did.

Today, the 8YO did an epic nosedive onto the concrete on the way back from art class at the end of the day. He scraped up his knee and the left side of his face right up around his eye. I was substituting today so I was there to do triage when the patient came in.

Baby wipe…

Antibiotic ointment…

Bandage…

I think he’s going to make it. But, he was very upset about the fall, much more than the flesh wound would cause. I think it was the fact that it was a face wound. You get used to seeing yourself a certain way, after all.

The other kids would all look and then make a face and turn away. They were surely showing empathy, but he wasn’t very receptive to their pity.

Cookies, milk, and a promise to withhold all bathing until tomorrow schmoozed things over with him after we got home.

Now I’ve lost some face in my days, though not in the physical sense in recent memory. Occasionally, the way we see ourselves is not the way that others see us. We hold our “image” in high regard, while others look on us with pity or even grimaces. Seeing yourself through those eyes is almost as shocking as perhaps my son looking upon his marred face in the mirror at school today. And sometimes the pain is just as deep.

But the old adage is true – “don’t judge a book by its cover” – although sometimes it seems hard to remember. You never know what lies beneath, no matter the fa├žade on the outside.

Here’s hoping your “face” stays intact today, physically and metaphorically speaking.

“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” Proverbs 30:5

Homekeeper Journal 2/8/2011

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Writing prompts from Sylvia over at the Christian Homekeeper Network.  Check her out.

In My Kitchen this week ………

Still trying to use up 90% of my stash of groceries. Another snow storm coming through this evening, so we should have ample time for the rest of the week. They are vacillating between 8 – 12” and 6 – 10” on the news stations. Personally, I see some overlap there.

Foremost in my thoughts this week ……..

Are those who are having surgery, or taking new treatments, or regular old treatments for ailments and how some of those people are entirely too young to be going through any of this. I pray for their full restoration and relief.

I’ve been so busy with ……..

Really, with all the snow we’ve had, I haven’t been busy with anything besides reading and laundry. I think I’ve fully caught up on sleep since I got up this morning before dawn and before the alarm!

Could someone please ……..

Invent rubber boots that are lined with one full sheep per foot so my toes won’t be cold outside?

I’ve been wanting to do this for so long ……..

To take a big family vacation, but I’m too much of a tightwad.

If I manage things just right ……..

Ha! I have so many “Master Plans” that I’m managing I’m just hoping any of them turn out. Actually the one about the kids moving out someday is probably most popular after all these snow days.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Blizzard Day 5 - The End

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The morning started out with breaking ice in the horse and chicken water with a t-post since the breaker had flipped in the barn. Not too much ice, but enough that nobody was getting any water. I’m no electrician, but I flipped it back on. Then it was tripped again this evening. No telling. It is a dream I have not to need the water heaters someday soon. It is just a dream.

However, since I was able to get out and about today, navigating with success to the fabric store and the mall, I hereby declare the 2011 blizzard… OVER! I’m over it. I’m over the snow. I’m over being stuck in the house.

And now in memory of the blizzard, a few photos of the event. (Picture some kind of sappy song playing here, like it’s one of those slide shows at a funeral home.)

Scooter running for hay.

Roany not wanting to be left out. 

Lucky wishing he was a little bit taller. 

Neighbor dog looking for somebody to play with.

My kid in his snow igloo. 

 Monster parking lot pile.

Chickens in the snow.

Let the great thaw begin!!

"The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride."  Ecclesiastes 7:8


Friday, February 4, 2011

Blizzard Day 4 - Peace of Mind

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“…my cup runneth over.” Psalm 23

Yesterday I wrote about the neighbor who couldn’t get eggs at the store and came to my house for a dozen. Well, same neighbor today was at the local ice cream store in search of milk, found some, and thought of me. He called my other neighbor to have him call me and see if I still needed milk. I said yes and other neighbor called him back. Quite a neighborly affair.


I now have two full gallons and one partial gallon of milk. The milk rationing is over. Milk will flow again at dinnertime. Our cups will overflow.

Of course, this means we could potentially make it another week or so without getting out of the house…

Oh, and guess what?

It’s snowing again!

And more is expected on Sunday.

And Wednesday.

And it's going to be freezing all week.

I think I'll go cry now.

But at least it won't be over spilt milk. 

“May the Lord now show you kindness and faithfulness, and I too will show you the same favor because you have done this.” 2 Samuel 2:6

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blizzard Day 3 - Desperation

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“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19


Three days with no mail or paper.

Three days we’ve spent mostly here in the house.

Three days we’ve had enough quality time to choke a horse.

So, we got out today. We all rode along to the grocery store, more as a symbolic gesture than anything. Talks of bare shelves were circulating, but we were out of cat food and needed some kind of diversion so we took off in the husband’s pickup.

No milk.

No eggs.

No meat.

But we did see our neighbor, Mike, from down the road at the store.

Our road is basically one-lane for a couple of miles, so it was interesting when someone was coming toward us. For the most part it was an uneventful five mile trip. We only were perilously close to being sucked into the ditch twice while the hub was looking at icicles and snowdrifts.

Remember, we haven’t been out much.

Since we were all bundled up anyway, the hub decided to take the kids to the park to go sledding. He took two tow chains and picked up another kid along the way. All the while I enjoyed the peace and quiet and fed all the animals, including the birds.

Then Mike calls to see if we have any extra eggs, since the grocery store had been all out. We haven’t bought eggs since the Great Chicken Massacre of 2008 and always have at least a dozen or so extra. I told him our special blizzard price was $10 a dozen, but apparently there are laws in effect to protect against price gouging during times of emergency, so our usual price of “free” had to stand.

Mike came and got his eggs and gave the kids some candy.

I thought it was kind of funny that we have a mega-grocery store just a few miles from our house, but the neighbors relied on us to fill their egg needs today. Maybe there is something to this self-sufficient thing after all.

Now if we only had a cow…

“But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.” 1 Corinthians 8:8

Homekeeper Journal 2/3/2011

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This week's journal prompts brought to you by Sylvia over at the Christian Homekeeper Network.  Check her out at http://www.christianhomekeeper.org/

In My Kitchen this week ……

We’re using up odds and ends this week. It’s actually been quite easy to do since we received about two feet of snow beginning Monday night and haven’t left the house since.

When I think about Crafting/Sewing/Making Things, I want to …

do more. I would like to learn to sew better than I do now, but I know that practice makes perfect and I haven’t seen any tempting sewing courses available in my area. I have a lot of yarn I need to use up too, but just can’t seem to get back into crocheting.

My favorite creative outlet is ……..

writing and taking pictures. Very immediate. I also think of cooking as a creative outlet too. I do that a lot. I used to crochet a lot too, but haven’t for several years.

A Craft that I’d like to learn is ….

I don’t think there are many crafts that I would not like to learn. I’ve always wanted to know how to weld. I would like to be able to make baskets. Carving appeals to me. Sewing, knitting, drawing, painting, grooming dogs… Pretty much everything.

One Craft that I can do but don’t do much is ….

Crochet. I need to get back on it. I wouldn’t even have to buy yarn.

An unusual Craft that I can do or would like to do is ….

I would like to know how to do blown glass, stained glass, or make pottery. I would also like to play around with a wood lathe, just to see if I could make something.

Another Craft that I secretly long to do but don’t right now is ….

rug making. I would like to know how to make rag rugs. I know it has something to do with crocheting and material. Not that I have a place for a big rug. Not that it would go with anything.

The Craft/Creative Work that I have no desire whatsoever to do ……

is soap or candle making.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blizzard Day 2 - The Aftermath

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"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'" Matthew 25:40

Day two of surviving the Oklahoma Blizzard 2011.  Getting kind of boring in the house, but we did manage to have snowball fights and build igloos outside today.  Word of food in the stores running low is circulating, but I can report that thanks to my obsessive-compulsive grocery shopping but not eating, we still have plenty of food to make it another week or so if we have to.  Weird food week continues!   
 
Last night about midnight we heard a backhoe running.  It sounded very close to our house and like it was maybe going up and down the street.  We awoke this morning to find this:


My neighbor, Tim, had cleared our entire street and everyone's driveways!  What a guy!  He will forever be known now as the Midnight Snow Bandit. 

Lots of neighbors were out today helping out one another.  I walked down to the main road and saw two of my neighbors outside.  I also met a new guy from down the street who was out on his tractor with a blade on the back trying to get his son out of his driveway so he could go to work.  Another neighbor with a tractor came out to relieve a couple of men with snow shovels trying to complete the impossible task of clearing their driveway by hand. 

By the way, this is the main road.  Anyone want to start making guesses about how long it takes the county to come out and plow it?  I'm going with three weeks based on previous experiences, but we've never had quite this much snow. 

Anyway, thank goodness for neighbors and friends like Tim, and Mr. Graham, and Mr. Fuller, and Ruby and Nathan, and Charlie and Kathy, and this guy up above that I don't know yet.  Thank goodness for keeping up with each other and making sure everyone is okay during weather like this and for sharing the load. 

Now to dream up neighbor care packages with what I have on hand. 

I'm sure not going to the store!

"We who are strong, ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.  Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up."  Romans 15:2

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blizzard Day

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“Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7

Greetings from the Oklahoma Blizzard! Only the second one in history according to overly excited newsmen.

Well, the snow started with lightning and thunder and everything last night about 11 pm at my house and the snow is still falling. The weatherman on TV just said that my town likely got about 21 inches! Whoever heard of such nonsense??

The day started out with a check of the weather, of course, and the hub and I got a big kick over a mental health counselor they had on the local station this morning. He was trying to schmooze things over for those who were prone to freak outs over the snow, but he was most entertaining when he explained in a nasally voice that you should look at this time in the house as a positive thing.

“There’s many things you can do,” he explained, “like cooooook. You can cooooook and baaaaaake.”

And those were pretty much the only two options he gave. Maybe he didn’t have much of an imagination.

But his voice has been imitated in this house many times today while trying to figure out what to do to entertain ourselves.

"What do you want to do?"

"I don't know.  What do you want to do?"

"Well, we could coooook.  Or cooooook and baaaaaake."

We’ve done some cooking, but not any more than normal. I followed through on my weird food week, using up items like stick margarine and beef base on our late lunch of mashed potatoes, hamburger mushroom gravy and mixed vegetables. We had toast and jelly this morning so we could try out the plum jelly that I got around to making last night out of my frozen plums.
I think it turned out quite edible considering how sour those plums were yesterday.

We’ve Skyped with our Russians (who were actually impressed with our snowfall this time), we’ve made a gingerbread house that I got on sale after Christmas, we’ve played video games, we’ve read, we’ve worked on our TV’s color settings, we’ve made snow ice cream. And I just caught the hub slipping away for a nap.

And guess what? We get to do it all over again tomorrow. The school has already cancelled for tomorrow too!


So whether you’re coooooking or baaaaaaking today, I hope your mental health is holding out. And if life gives you snow, I hope you can at least make snow ice cream.  Plenty of clean white stuff around here, that's for sure!

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Philippians 4:8