Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fragile

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“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-12

I’ve been thinking of my friend Lillian today. She’s in her late 90s and suffered a stroke yesterday. I’ve known her my entire life. I think my mom may have known her for her entire life too. She was a friend of my great-grandma and we all went to church together.


Lillian has always had white hair for as long as I can remember. I can picture her sitting five or six rows ahead of me and my grandma at church. She’s wearing a cream colored shirt with a high collar and a matching skirt with a long gold locket-like necklace in my memory. She was always tall. And she made note of my height as a teenager. “Don’t ever stoop. Be proud of your height,” she told me.


I also checked on my nest today and guess who’s hatching!


Three more to go.


Those baby birds got me to thinking how the theme for this week in my life has been “fragile”.

I just finished a book with that title by Lisa Unger for my book club.


We hunted eggs with ever increasing cracked shells on Tuesday because it finally wasn’t raining.


That day, we also found the bird’s nest and the five eggs it contained.


Now those eggs are hatching into pink, squirming masses of flesh that one day hope to become sparrows and fly away despite their fragile state.


And now my thoughts turn to Lillian, whose body has tired over the years more and more as age has taken its toll, but yet she’s one of those people to me who has always looked exactly the same for my entire life, and has had the same mood and mannerisms and concern for me forever too.


Her family surrounds her today much like the mother bird guards her new babies, taking great care in her condition and comfort.


And yet, one day, she will fly away to place where bodies never fail and comfort never ends. A place where God breathes new life into the weary and reunites loved ones with those gone before. A place where sickness and disease have no grasp on those at the foot of God’s own throne. A place where life will no longer be fragile, but everlasting and enduring.


I pray today that I meet you there.


“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nesting

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“Jesus said, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’” Matthew 8:20


One of my favorite things about springtime is to find a bird’s nest. I like to be nosey and look into the nest every so often and see what the babies look like.


And take pictures.


Sometimes they aren’t so cute!  Yikes!


In years’ past we’ve had wrens and robins and scissortail flycatchers. Our barn also serves as a nursery for mainly starlings. Numerous have jumped to their death before their time and have had to be carted out on a shovel blade.


Yesterday, the hub found this nest in one of our cedar trees in the fence row:



I believe it to be that of a sparrow, but I’m never sure until the babies get their feathers.


Look at the construction though. I could try and try and never build a bird’s nest the way a bird can.


I believe I see some horse hair in there, probably from Roany Pony and Scooter. I believe there to be some wool woven in as well, probably from the sheep in need of liberation.


I’ll be standing on a five-gallon bucket several times in the next couple of weeks to check on the occupants’ progress. Then, after everyone has moved out, I’ll take the nest down for a closer look. The kids and I will marvel at its construction and speculate as to where the bird found its materials. We’ll also feel inadequate to ever make such a conglomerate into a useful item, though we might try anyway.


May you find your environment ever plentiful of things to help make your house a home.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy (Slightly Imperfect) Easter

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“He is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!”



I wrote back in December about our imperfect Christmas Eve service at church and I just wanted to let you know that this may be a recurring theme for major church holidays.


First, we awaken to torrential downpours. Although we’ve needed the rain, on Easter it is a bit of a buzz kill. So into the refrigerator the colored eggs went to await their impending, although still uncertain, egg hunt date with the kids.


Second, after arriving at church and having a lovely fellowship breakfast, I noticed my kid’s brand new shirt had a hole in it! Holy clothes on Easter. Ha!


Third, I noticed at least three people taking tags off of clothes before the church service started. I also noticed one man in an obviously new sport coat that still had the stitching holding the back flap of the jacket closed. Two girls wore their prom dresses from the night before and were “slightly” overdressed.


Fourth, we were out of attendance cards in my pew. Not having evidence of my attendance throws the entire universe off kilter.


Fifth, we couldn’t find a bible in our pew, or the one behind us for that matter. I’m not above stealing from the pew behind me when my kid wants to look something up, but alas all my efforts were squashed.


So there we all were, with all of our shortcomings, before the cross on Easter. We may have all tried to look perfect, with our perfect families, and have the perfect holiday, but the truth of our sinful nature always seems to shine through. No matter how much effort we make to the contrary there is no denying our imperfect nature.


Thanks be to God for sending us a perfect Savior to save us from our imperfections!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Secret Recipe

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“This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.” Romans 2:16


Over the past several months, whenever we’ve had an occasion for soup at church, one lady will bring her tortilla soup.


I love it!


Last time we had it, I ate two bowls because I liked it so much.


I’d asked her for the recipe several times, but she’d been tightlipped.


Today she finally divulged her secret recipe*.



The secret is she adds hamburger.


LOL is right!


Now her secret is out.


*Name scratched out to protect the innocent or guilty, but she’s the one who makes the good tortilla soup.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Horse Ideas

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"An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all." - Oscar Wilde


I like to think that I have good ideas. I like to think that if the world would only follow my instruction, things would go a lot more smoothly.


Ok, maybe I should add “for me” to the end of that sentence.


Anyway, sometimes when I get a good idea, the other party involved isn’t too thrilled about it.


Such was the case on Tuesday night.


It was a bit chilly outside, probably upper 50s or lower 60s, and we were all outside. I had brushed Roany Pony the night before and decided that I should probably get Scooter out of the pasture and give him some TLC too.


Now Scooter has had, for as long as I’ve had him, a sensitivity to flies. I believe his condition to be called sweet itch, or the horse version of eczema, but it usually results in fist-sized patches on his back that eventually lose the hair and look like they are disgustingly dirty. The flies collect along this patch and eventually during the summer it would begin to get kind of a scab on it. I’ve tried creams and salves and fly sprays and everything else I know to do to get him some relief, but every year it returns.


Last year I finally hit upon something that worked great. Whenever I would see him standing by the water tank during the day, I would walk out there and hose him down. It got to where this became a three or four times a week habit. Whenever he would see me out in the yard, he would stand and stare at me until I came to give him a squirt with the hose. Then he would happily walk off and roll in the dirt, giving himself a wonderful mud coating.


Apparently the mud worked better than any fly repellent I’d been using because he didn’t lose any hair on his back last summer and looked the best skin-wise since I’ve had him.


Now cleaning him up to ride was another matter, but who cares?


So on Monday night I notice that he already has a huge hairless, filthy looking patch on his back that was covered with flies. And so, debating the cool weather and the fact that he is an animal built for the outdoors, of course, I decided to go ahead and give him a bath.


I readied my soap, bucket, brushes and hose, and then tied him up to the fence just before I brought the hose over.


The appearance of the hose apparently tipped him off to my idea.


His idea was to get the heck out of there before I had a chance to give him a bath.


And so it was, with all the force a 1200 pound animal can muster, that he set himself at war with the nylon lead rope and steel pole.


He leaned back with all his weight, while I’m on the other side of the fence screaming, “Ho! Ho!” (Some people say “whoa”, but I’ve always pronounced it “ho”.)


And then this happened:



Major equipment failure.


You just haven’t lived until you’ve had a slow-mo moment with a 1200 pound horse, breaking free of his lead rope while all his weight had been focused on his hind quarters. First he kind of sat down hard, like a giant dog, and then fell over on his side with a giant groan. And then…


He popped right back up and pranced around the pen like he’d really done something great! He had his neck arched and tail up and looked like a movie star horse.


I was calling him names that were very un-Hollywood. Well, I guess that depends on what kind of movie you went to see. Let’s just say I probably broke the PG-13 rating audibly and to myself.


Horse – 1, Me – 0.


It is a rule of horse ownership that you can’t leave on a bad note. You see, if you let a 1200 pound animal get the best of you once, guess what they will try the next time? My horse is 20 years old. I’m pretty sure he has a few tricks up his sleeve that I haven’t even seen yet.


And so I had to get another rope, catch him again, prepare to outsmart him, and give him a bath.


This time, I strung the lead rope up through the halter, over the poll of his head and back down through itself before tying him up. This made in essence a “war bonnet” that would put pressure at the back of his head should he try pulling back again. I also tied the rope up to the top rail of the fence on a horizontal plane instead of the perpendicular pole he’d managed to get away from.


My work was not for naught. Heavy with confidence from his first flip over backwards, he tried it again.


He must like falling over on his rear is all I can say!


More R-rated words and thoughts and a lot of screaming “HO!!!” came out of me.


The rope slid on the horizontal cross bar this time, clamped down on itself over his head, and he stopped pulling.


Victory!


Horse – 1, Me – 1.


I’ll settle for a tie any day where I’m not injured!


He finally tolerated a bath. I made him work on the lunge line a little after all his antics, just to make sure he knew I was still the boss. Then I gave him some feed to make sure he’d still love me in the morning. And then he took off across the pasture to go find the neighbor horse and tell him how he almost got the best of me this time.


Tail in the air.


A few bucks and farts to show his wildness.


Rub it in my face, why don’t ya???


You old nag!!


Sometimes I have good ideas.


Sometimes my ideas cost me a lot of work!


And a few lead ropes.


Yes, it melted.  Nice work, Scooter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Trotting Down Memory Lane

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“I thank my God every time I remember you.” Philippians 1:3

While we were out gallivanting around while we skipped school, I had a little trip down memory lane.


We’d looked up some Russians on the internet that we used to visit, but then they moved and we lost contact, and it had been ten years since we’d seen them, and hoped to see them on our way home from Branson. But alas, it was not meant to be, because they were gone. We found their house though, got their phone numbers from their son who now lives in San Antonio, and talked to them like it had only been yesterday. Isn’t the internet wonderful? It is a veritable smorgasbord for stalkers and private investigators alike, I’m sure.


Anyway, while we were just kind of hanging around waiting for them to call us, I told my husband we should go to the park where I used to show my horse and just see what it all looked like.


King Jack Park, Webb City, Missouri.


We turned by the water tower, just like I remembered. It was just a few blocks from there. I swore they’d moved the pond and there weren’t any Muscovy ducks like the ones we used to ride our horses over to feed bread we’d brought for them special.


There is a bridge that I don’t remember being there.  But I doubt my horse would have crossed it. 


There is also a softball field, and a soccer field, and concrete block bathrooms complete with running water. 


Running water could have come in handy on numerous occasions.


The double-holed outhouse had been removed. Too bad.


But the arena was just like I remember it.


Well, with the exception of growing over and the addition of giant bleachers with a cover over them and wheelchair access.


That cover could have come in handy during our summer shows when it was 999 degrees.  And dusty.   

These were the kind of bleachers we had when I was showing:


They were butt-breakers!


Oh, and the trashcans haven’t changed either. I think we used to use them for barrel racing too.  Georgie's dad used to roll them out. 


(Sorry about the slant.  Apparently I can't climb a fence straight anymore.) 

I showed my horse with the 4-State Arabian Horse Association from the time I was 14 until I turned 18. My first year was my glory year as I was just getting started and knew absolutely nothing. A boy named Georgie was the man to beat in halter and showmanship.


I still remember his skinny legs.


I had a 23YO Appaloosa mare, named Missy, who could not compete in halter against his giant grey gelding, but I managed to qualify for the championship show that year and came in second to old Georgie in showmanship.


The following year, after a lot of washing dishes at the nursing home, I got a decent horse. One that didn’t squat and use the bathroom everywhere when in close proximity to another horse. One that didn’t have to be ridden until frothy, just to take the edge off so it wouldn’t buck me off in the arena. One that actually wanted to go home at the end of the day and would willingly get into the trailer without us being the last ones to leave.


I taught myself to ride English around a corn field because the way these shows were scheduled put halter and showmanship first, then English classes (which took a couple of hours), and then Western and timed events. I could compete all day long.  I think entry fees were $2.00 per class. 

Here's the gate we used to start at:


I remember the announcer's stand used to freak out my horse.


(Again, kind of slanted.  I assure you this is a level arena.)


I used to do wardrobe changes in the back of my one horse trailer.


Always had to watch out for yuck on the floor.


Then we bought the hippie wagon. It was a Chevy RV of some sort. It had once been blue, but someone had painted it with a roller a yellow color, so the overall effect was something close to neon green. It had a small kitchenette, a tweed covered bench/couch in the back, and shag carpeting.


It was horrible!


And it smelled funny.


It is also the vehicle that I first learned to drive. I can still hear the motor. Tick-tick-tick-tick-tick… it always went. And it always had bald tires that eventually went flat at the most inopportune time.


It had curtains so I was able to change my clothes inside it and didn’t have to worry about horse poop.


We used to pull up in the hippie wagon right underneath these trees:


Well, maybe not exactly these trees, but a younger version of such. I hadn’t stepped foot on this property in almost 20 years!


My, how time flies when you’re living!


I took a picture of the kids on one of the trees I was just sure I had probably tied my horse to on several occasions.


The concession/signup building was just as I’d remembered it too. The restroom sign now points to nothing, but I think we used to have port-o-potties for our shows. That was only after the first show I attended where the double-holer was still in action.


I didn’t remember the concession stand having a ride-up window. I must have always gotten my candy bars on foot.




I don’t know if the 4-State Arabians are still in action or not, but their monthly shows from April to September (if I remember right) were some of the greatest times of my life. My mom still houses countless ribbons, medals, and trophies from this organization which I was so proud to earn. I think I even won a saddle pad one year. It was red, white, and black – my preferred show colors.


I hope that someday my little children can attend a horse show just like these used to be, where no matter if you rolled up in a hippie wagon or a six-horse slant with a dressing room and semi to boot, we all had the same chance based on ability.


Now get out there and recapture some of your youth today!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Worn Out! Again...

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It appears that word is getting out among the butterfly population that I’m running the only elderly convalescent care facility in the area. Today, in almost the same spot I found this guy a month ago, I found this female monarch:




She too is worn out!


Odd that it happened precisely in front of my porch steps again though.


But hey, we’re all about service here at Flightless Butterfly Hospice. I put her on the African violet over the kitchen sink where the sun is warm and the wind isn’t blowing.


I’m sure she doesn’t have long, but I’m glad I got to see her. Perhaps she’s one of my babies coming home one last time. Ok, maybe not, but I think all the monarchs around my house could be one of my very own hatchlings. And if they all want to come home to die, I hope they all wear out right in front of the front porch.


At least I’ll know where to find them!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Around the World in a Couple of Days

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“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson


Spring fever has hit in the form of temporary school brain loss for my children and, rather than suffer with three days of state mandated tests last week, we decided to run away.


And guess where we went?


Branson.


I know! We’re going to wear that place OUT.


WorldFest is going on at Silver Dollar City and having the foreign husband and all has always made it a draw for me, but I’d never gotten to go before. They have their festivals at the same time each year and this one is just after Spring Break, but before school lets out for the summer. Perhaps the Missouri summers are too hot for some of their internationals? I don’t know. They are too hot for this girl, for sure. Thank goodness for the water rides.


But, we didn’t have to worry about that this time.


We got there on Thursday and spent, oh, about SIX HOURS, at Silver Dollar City. We watched a Russian circus act (I love how they are denoted on the website with an asterisk pointing to pending visa approval), a musical and dancing and fire limboing group from Trinidad and Tobago


I still don't know how he did this:


Another musical group from Rajasthan…



They were jamming out to rhythms I couldn’t quite hear. Unlike any music I’d ever heard before.


We walked around through the different vendors from all over the world. Our favorite stuff was from China (definitely not the stuff you find at Wal-Mart), and we had to return the next day to take home dragon marionettes that would surely bring the kids good luck as the lady told them.



I personally liked the puppets she had and secretly wanted to buy one of each. But I didn’t. Maybe next year.



One of them kind of looks like me in the morning. I’ll let you guess which one.


Such a good time was had on Thursday, we returned on Friday for more, more, more. We watched a Russian band:



You haven’t lived until you’ve heard a Russian sing Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” Or maybe that was “Vat a Vonderful Verld.” And we’re still singing their rendition of “I scveam, you scveam, we all scveam for ice cream!”


It was awesome! Probably only paralleled by my own Russian singing Willie Nelson songs.


Rain and cold weather on Friday drove us out of Silver Dollar City and into the outlet malls and swimming pool of our hotel, but not before we had German apfel dumplings with cinnamon ice cream, Irish stew in a sourdough bread bowl, and black forest cake. We truly felt we’d really been somewhere!


And there was more that we missed. We missed the Irish. We missed the Canadians. We missed the Ecuadorans.


I have to say, though, that this was my second favorite festival for Silver Dollar City (my first being KidsFest and previous second being Christmas), and that we’ll probably be skipping school every Spring to attend for at least a few days!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Panic Mode

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“‘The end has come! The end has come! It has roused itself against you. It has come!’” Ezekiel 7:6



One month…


One month is all I have.


Ok, technically one month and six days, but still…


The end of school is nearly here!


I haven’t gotten half of the stuff I’d planned on doing during the school year done. I have no hope of doing any of it in a one month’s timeframe.


So now, I’m in panic mode.


I’m trying to tie up loose ends and cram as much into these next 36 days as I can (give or take the weekends). There will be field trips to attend, projects to help with, final days of church activities as we know them.


I have to accept defeat on several items:


I will never get my quilt done (or even started for that matter).


I will not paint my bedroom.


I won’t be removing all my baseboards and caulking/insulating behind them.


It isn’t that I couldn’t do these things with the children home. It is just that when they are home, there will be better things to do like go swimming or go to the zoo or break up their fights or take a nap.


And summer comes not without its own set of high hopes.


I’m planning a big trip involving an airplane, me and the kids, and half-way across the country, one direction or another.


I’m planning on working on their handwriting because it really drives me nuts.


I’m planning on teaching them their multiplication tables.


I’m planning on taking them swimming and getting a sunburn.


I’m planning on having a good time.


But for now, I can’t enjoy my final month of the school year, because I feel the end is near. This is just initial panic, mind you, as I just called the school this morning to find out when the last day was.


Perhaps next year I’ll manage my time better.


Maybe I’ll get everything done that I want to accomplish.


Maybe I’ll finally have a spotless house and all the laundry caught up every single day and there will be no panic mode.


Nah!!! Where’s the fun in that??

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Bragging

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"Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.'  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.'  As it is, you boast and brag.  All such boasting is evil.  Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."  James 4:13-17


Ok, so today I'm just bragging (but I'm forgiven!), but I have to show you all my little garden endeavours and how they are panning out. 

Remember when I thought I was too early?

Well, my timing was impeccable for the first time ever in my whole life.  I am proud to report (brag) that my garden plants are actually bigger than my neighbor's for the first time ever.  And I'm proud to report (brag) that everything I purposely planted, and some things that I didn't, have all come up and are doing quite well despite my less than stellar gardening skills. 

I hope you're enjoying warmer weather where you are, and I hope a unseasonably late frost doesn't kill everything I'm so proud of (and like to brag about). 

My yard in photos...

This is about half of the "garden".  Notice the new and improved board border this year.  It will hopefully keep errant balls, dogs, cats, and boys from trolliping through the plants and then swearing they didn't know they were in my garden.  Cats can be that way, you know.  I like to think it makes it all look more Martha Stewart-ish, but Martha would have a stroke if she saw all my weeds.


The turnips are really outdoing themselves.  I actually thinned them (like you're supposed to) this year, and they appear to have liked it.  I don't personally eat turnips, but the husband likes to eat them like apples. 


Potatoes that I planted all wrong that are defying the odds.



Radishes that will eventually be too hot to eat.  I don't eat these either...  husband again.


Broccoli, which I will eat, but has never made it before the heat got it.  Look at the weeds!  Someone get Martha the smelling salts.  


The peas are cute with their little curly Q handle thingys reaching up.  None of these will make it into the house, as we eat them raw off the vine as quick as they will make. 


Two rows of carrots that we will dig up and feed to Roany Pony.


Volunteer pumpkins from the birthday party last year (pumpkin chunkin') that have sprouted by my lawn chairs.  They can handle the weeds if I don't forget and mow them. 


And the strawberries are blooming and making little tiny strawberries.  Birds usually get these before we do.   


And now for my flowers.  My daffodills and grape hyacinths are D-O-N-E.  I will probably mow them this week.  I had one tulip bloom this year, but it is also a shriveled mess.  But here's what I have this morning...

I don't know what it is, but it came from a wildflower mix.  Last year I had one.  This year I have five. 


Same goes for these guys...


And these...  They are getting kind of shrivelly.


I am most excited about this one.  I planted the bulbs last fall and couldn't really remember what they were until the bloom showed up. 


My weigela is also blooming today.  They are first year bloomers too for us.  I was hoping they were a darker pink, but hopefully the hummingbirds will still find them attractive.


I also like how my hand looks like it is 100 in this picture. 

And finally, my lenten rose, or hellebore.  It has been blooming since just after Snowmaggedon melted sometime around late February.  I've had it a couple of years now and it seems to bloom better every year. 


So maybe you're not having the best of weather today, or live in a colder climate than I.   Perhaps my bragging will bring a glimmer of springtime to your Monday.  I always feel like I'm coming back to life this time of year after being in hibernation all winter long.  I hope your spirits climb right along with my peas and raspberry vines.  And I hope that if you're inclined to brag today, that you too are forgiven! 

"'Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.'"  Acts 13:38

Friday, April 8, 2011

Play Dates

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“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17

This is Sugar:



She’s the neighbor dog.


Hater of cats.


Plucker of chickens.


Lover of the kids’ swimming pool when it is hot outside.


She visits us often, but hadn’t been around much lately.


This is our dog Lucky:



Eater of everything.


Killer of chickens.


Lover of cats.


And best buds with Sugar.


Every time he can’t be found, we only have to go as far as Sugar’s house. There you’ll find them chewing on a stick together or ripping apart a blanket or toy.


Unfortunately Sugar has more sense than our dog. He’s a puppy and she’s an adult now. Lucky would follow Sugar wherever she might want to go, which could include crossing a busy street. And he would most likely end up like our last dog who ventured close to that road and is now buried out under the pine tree in the pasture.


So, Lucky is penned up for his own good. But, Sugar came to visit this morning, so I penned her up with Lucky for a playdate. Turns out she’d disappeared from her owner this morning, and she’s in jail until he comes to get her, but I’m telling her it is a playdate.


They’ve enjoyed sharing a snack, biting each others’ legs, chewing up Lucky’s old shoe instead of Sugar’s this time, and watching a movie.


Ok, maybe not the movie part.


But they have been watching the cat. The cat is torn about joining the playdate because she knows how Sugar feels about her.


Turns out, I have a playdate of my own tonight. I’ll be meeting another mother from church at an ice cream shop to talk about what kind of volunteering we don’t have the time for, but would like to head up anyway at the church. Should be a good hypothetical time.  Plus, there will be ice cream! 


I had lunch with my friend last week after taking her to Goodwill on her maiden voyage. She was quite frightened at all the germ possibilities lurking there, of which I hadn’t ever really considered.


I talked to another friend on the phone yesterday.


The truth is it doesn’t matter what you do, or what you talk about, or really even who you spend some time with, so long as you have some company every once in a while.  Whether you love cats, or hate cats, that you’re together is all that is really important.


I’m sure today after my play date I’ll feel “full”, filled with the kind of fullness you can only get from time with a friend.


I’m sure Lucky will feel the same way.


Or maybe it will be the dog food.


It's hard to tell with dogs. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Doomed, Part 2

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*A short post today, as I believe my house was hit on the inside by a tornado sometime this week. Oh, and I must dust. The dust bunnies are beginning to take actual bunny shape. I’m afraid by next week they’ll be opening their eyes!



Anyway…


Remember My Doomed Project?


Well, maybe it wasn’t so doomed after all. I planted tomato seeds in the 14 jars I had, and all but one jar have tomato seedlings reaching for the sky.




I think I have about 25 tomato plants in all.


Absolutely resilient, that’s what nature is.



And stubborn too.


And I finally bought a bag of decent potting soil, so I think I’ll add some today. They will probably all breathe a sigh of relief.


I guess when all hope is lost, reach for the Son.




And for some reason, this song keeps running through my head while thinking about the tomatoes. It’s one of those songs I belt out in the car whenever Mix 96 plays it. Plus, the video offers lots of views of nature, and some early 90s fashion ideas. Geesh, I remember those vests!!! Feel free to sing along, and HOLD ON!  Maybe your situation is not so doomed after all! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ice Cream Hogs

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“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6

 After a hard morning of shopping for dog food at Wal-Mart, I decided to make myself an ice cream cone. Here is what I found in the freezer:




Is that a happy face on the lid too??


I knew the culprit.


I called the hub and said, “I just want you to know...”


(He starts laughing.)


“That if you ever leave the ice cream in the freezer…”


(He’s laughing harder now.)


“With one bite left in it again,”


(He thinks he’s SO funny!)


“I will hurt you.”


So through his laughter he explains that he would have felt like a pig had he finished off the rest of the carton, but he knew he would get in trouble for putting it back like that. He decided it was better to get in trouble with me than for him to feel like a pig, so he put it back knowing I would find it and would know who had done it.


Who says there’s no excitement in marriage after 13 years?


He’s just lucky I bought another carton!


Oink! Oink!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Game Face

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“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

I know, I know! Another soccer post??


It’s a good thing I don’t like sports, huh?


For years, their parents have told them to share. For years, they have had ingrained in their heads that it is not nice to take things away from another child. For years, their parents have asked them to play nice.


Then they signed them up for soccer and now scream at them (albeit nicely) to “Get in there!!”


“Steal the ball!!!”


“Kick it harder!!”


Not really in their nature, I would say. A bit of a hypocritical situation, if you ask me.


What? No one asked me? Oh well.


During our second game, which was played in the rain on a 35 degree day, it became evident that not only were we a “warm weather” team, but that we had some hesitation about being aggressive enough to steal the ball away from the other team.


Remind me not to coach soccer again until I move to South Beach…


Anyway, I had a crazy idea at next week’s soccer practice. So crazy, I thought, that it just might work.


All my kids are six and highly receptive to believing anything an adult tells them. So, I told them that in their minds they had to be MEAN. I told them they had to be MEAN enough to steal the ball from the other team. I told them they had to be MEAN enough to take the ball and make a goal. I told them to make a MEAN face and I would take their picture. I told them it was their Game Face.



I also clarified that we would not be pushing, shoving or trying to hurt the other team, but that we did not have to be polite in trying to get the ball. I told them they DID NOT have to share!


We also worked on which way is left, which way is right, and the difference between a regular kick and a big kick. We seem to do a lot of goal kicks when the ball goes out of bounds.


“Big kick!! Big kick!!” now I scream, and they know what I’m talking about.


“Go left,” I say, and they magically move.


Amazing!


I emailed them all their pictures and told them to wear their Game Face for our Saturday morning game.


When they all showed up, we practiced our Game Faces.


And you know, I think it worked! They seemed to be more willing to get in the action and not just run beside the other team. They seemed to want to take the ball away and actually did a few times. They seemed to genuinely show an interest in the ball actually making it to our goal, or at least a little closer.


All that from a mental picture.


Whatever you’re tackling today, I hope you’ve got your Game Face on. I think I’ll wear mine to every practice from now on. I think half of a challenge is overcoming the mental barriers we put up in defense. Maybe a grunt or a snarl will help you get what you want to get done today. Or maybe it will just make you feel good.


Wait! Hold that thought…


Let me get my camera and I’ll take your picture!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lies, Lies, and More Lies

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“Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters, from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful.” Psalm 144:7-8




Last Saturday night, my husband and I went to a murder mystery dinner at the church. It was a fund raiser for the youth group. The theme was the old west and I was the rich snooty woman married to the rich investor. We were supposed to be from Chicago and I was less than impressed with things in the Wild West. Our daughter, who turned out to be Flo, was enamored with the west and hung out in the saloon with all the hooligan men.


There was the initial task at hand – to find out who the murderer was – and the secondary task of trying to raise the most money through lying, scheming, bribery, and blackmail, all to maintain your innocence.


Here are some of the lies I told:


“I’m starting the Poor Children’s Home for the Poor Children of the West. Would you like to make a charitable donation?”


“It’s for the children!!”


“You’d better stay away from our daughter or you’ll be next.”


“My husband is worth a lot of money.”


“The saloon owner must be the murderer since he wants to keep the saloon out of foreclosure.”


“I don’t think my husband would ever murder anyone.”


“Denial is one of the seven stages of debt.”


“I have some information that I could possibly share with you for a charitable contribution to the Poor Children’s Home for the Poor Children of the West.”


I really liked this quote in the materials for my character.



Isn’t that a lot like real life?


Don’t we only tell a certain portion of our story, depending on who we’re talking to, and depending on what we want to get out of it?


It was also funny to me that during the evening, you knew what you knew, but didn’t know that some of what you knew wasn’t common knowledge to the others. They seemed surprise when I disclosed something that I thought perhaps everyone should have known.


Another real life example, I think.


So who was the killer? I’m sworn to public secrecy, but I will tell you that my husband wasn’t worth as much money as everyone thought he was.


Turns out his wife was the money hustler…


It was for the children!!


"But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God's name will praise him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced."  Psalm 63:11

Friday, April 1, 2011

Lucy

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“Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.” Proverbs 19:20



Let me just start out by saying that today was awesome! I got up, got in gear, got half of the garage cleaned up, got my garage sale items out to the garage, and got them priced, all before noon. The hub came home for lunch and I was so pumped about the garage sale that I said, “Just stick the signs out on your way back to work, and I’ll just open up this afternoon.”


I didn’t really expect many people to show up. It was afternoon, after all. Most of the garage sales I have staged have started at the crack of dawn and were pretty much over by noon.


However, today was the first really nice day in a long time, and I guess the garage salers were out just itching to find a sale. Any sale.


My sale consists of mostly outgrown kid items.



I told them I’d split the money with them if they’d give up some of their junk.



Anyway, people were walking off with our items left and right, all afternoon long. I’ll bet I had 25 cars in only three hours. I think I probably sold half of what we had out there (there was more in the house, but I couldn’t get a break to bring it out!) today.


The entertaining part was talking to all the people. I had two people stop just to see if I wanted to sell Roany Pony. Garage sale… not pasture sale, people. Who buys a pony at a garage sale anyway? And they were driving a Ford Escort. Were they going to ride him home?


I had one lady who definitely resembled Elizabeth Taylor. Only with more turquoise and sterling silver.


I had one gentleman share with me his love of all things metaphysical and invite me to his nature shop an hour and a half away. Who drives an hour and a half for a garage sale? He also wanted to know what time I’d opened, since he’d already driven this way in the morning and didn’t see my signs out. Put him down on the list of potential suspects, just in case. Oh, and his dog was also named Lucky.


I had a lady with a friend with a drug addicted daughter who was raising her granddaughter, but whose grandson continued to stay with mother 99% of the time. Hmm.


One man came up just because he couldn’t figure out what one of the toys I had was from the street. He confessed that he didn’t have any children, so I offered him 75 ft. of Cat-5 cable for 25 cents, which he took. He said I was a good salesman!


This was probably some of the most fun I’ve had in months. I’m thinking about becoming a professional garage sale holder. I’m also thinking about changing my name to Lucy and getting a booth like this:


My services will also be available tomorrow from the crack of dawn until about noon.


I think you’ll find my prices reasonable and I’m sure you’ll find something you can’t live without!