~~~~~~~~~ "We are here for only a moment, wanderers and sojourners in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace." I Chron. 29:15 NLT

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Skid Marks! No, no....

This isn't the way the holidays are s'posed to be. No, I didn't slide on the snow or ice (at least not yet) and leave skid marks in the street. Rather, I left skid marks in my brain and now I'm going to leave them on this blog where everyone can see them. Or, maybe I shouldn't. But what have I got to lose, huh?

The skid marks go all the long way from Monday, the 15th (my last post) to yesterday, the 17th. Monday, you'll notice how philosophical I was about how I'd adjusted to having a reduced kind of Christmas holiday due to health issues like chronic neuropathy pain, FMS, and diabetes (no meds yet but I'm still trying to be happy about the diet). I might have been a little bit smug about it, if I remember right--not going to re-read it again!

So, in comes Wednesday. I had an about-face which explains the skid marks. I thought I'd outgrown the holiday drudges. Okay, let's name it for what it is: depression. I'm trying not to say it too loudly in case I scare someone off, mainly me. Depression is something I don't like to admit or talk about, nor do most people like to hear about it. But it's a reality I, and many others, live with from time to time.

How I got from a moderate Monday to a low-down Wednesday, I'm not sure. Maybe I was careless with my mental hygiene. I thought I'd set my alarm for 8:00 a.m., but didn't see the light of day till 11:00. The goals I could have accomplished in the three hours sleeping! I might have spent too long a night on the 'puter. I have a tendency to do that and then pay for it the next day. That was after having spent an exhausting Monday with my daughter and grandkids. What made it so exhausting was that I took pity on one of the farm kittens that is not meant to live on the farm. I spent about two hours bathing, drying, and cuddling this baby. You have to know me to know what a pushover I am for innocent little things.

The fact that it snowed almost 5 inches on Tuesday and frightened the sun away, which has yet to show it's face since then, may have had something to do with the crash. A week of clouds can send me down to low levels--it's kind of like flying, or sludging, below the clouds, if you get my drift.

Anyway, there I was, physically, mentally, and emotionally drained, but trying to live up to the expectations I had of what I wanted to get done for the holidays. Which is laughable, 'cause it just isn't all that much. But it sure looked like a big old bag of stuff Wednesday, and it seemed like half or all of it needed to get in that one day. Or else...or else, horrors, Christmas just wasn't going to happen.

If no one has ever been there, thank God for it. I went to bed earlier than usual, slept good except when I got up once for the "necessary." That's when it occurred to me: I always, and I mean always, sleep on my right side. Because when I find a good position where the pain is the least I stay there. But this time when I went back to bed I decided perhaps I should try sleeping on my left side for the rest of the night. You know, maybe that would keep all my brain cells from gelling on one side and keeping me from having a one-sided view upon awakening.

I am much better today as you can tell. Of course, I did have to convince myself to get up and stay up when the alarm went off at 9:00. I had to read a couple of David's Psalms (43, 46) and really take them into my heart where they made a difference in my attitude. So maybe Wednesday was all Stuff and Nonesense, but at the time it felt like hell on earth (forgive me, but I don't know how else to put it).

Perhaps added to fatigue was the fear that I would sink down into the deep depression of the past. But, I'm older and wiser now than I was 30 years ago. I have my faith, as I did then--but stronger, past years of counseling, and a whole basketful of stick-to-itiveness to get me through the drudges.

When it comes down to it, the skid marks are a good sign. For one thing I didn't skid off the path and lose my way completely. I used the things I've learned from compassionate others how to turn to the left or right to get going again after I smashed into the brick wall.

Oh, thank God, today I'm enjoying beautiful Christmas music on the radio and CD player. I'm going to finish making the dough I started Tuesday evening and begin baking peppernuts. Tomorrow I'll mix up a batch or two of pumpkin bread to give away and freeze, and address a few Christmas cards to send. I had a bad Wednesday--SO WHAT!--it was only one day instead of several. Sometimes a few skid marks is all we need to realize for what we have to be grateful.

For whatever it's worth, thanks for reading my sad story with a happy ending. The wonder of Christmas isn't what we do, but that God came down to earth at Christmas and His Spirit is always with us. And I'd better not forget it! I pray His Spirit is with you this Holiday Season: Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

'Tis the Season

Taking in the scenes, the lights, the music, the hustle and bustle, and trying to find time for reflection on the Reason for the Season is what is taking up my time these days. Attending a free symphony of Christmas music, REAL Christmas music, with friends was a highlight of last week. Almost being done with the gift-shopping is a relief. It's going well this year for having saved money because I love to be generous at Christmas. Now, this doesn't mean extravagance, but just enough gifts to give pleasure to those I love.

Because of health I've had to let go of quite a lot of the traditions that used to go along with celebrating Christmas: making fudge, baking rolled cut-out cookies and frosting them, more candies and cookies, baking lots of Peppernuts (a German delicacy--spicey almond-sized you-can't-eat-just-one-handful crunchy cookie-like treats), sending at least 50 cards every year, home-made gifts, and lots of decorations.

Decorating has been simplified to mostly a tree with years of collected decorations filling the branches, a nativity scene, and a few table and counter-top decorations acquired through the years.

Baking still includes peppernuts, just one recipe instead of two or three. That recipe would be my mother's which is so special because it must be at least a couple hundred years old or more passed down from mother-to-mother through generations. The last few years I've enjoyed making an easy moist pumpkin bread which I bake in small loaf pans to give away or freeze to take to occasions that call for finger foods. If I must cook a meal for our small family or for a larger group of extended family, I'm not afraid to ask for or accept help. I don't mind taking shortcuts, like making boxed stuffing and adding my own variations, or buying frozen bread instead of making my own dough (altho' that's easy with the bread machine).

I send Christmas cards or a letter every-other-year and the list has shrunk as loved aunts and uncles and others have gone on to their heavenly home. I still think it's kind of unnecessary to send cards to people I see every week or so and can give them a hug and verbal greeting face-to-face, but still feel obligated when they put a card in my church mailbox or send one across town.

I've learned to say no to most of the Christmas open-house events, concerts, going Christmas caroling, and an array of other events that made the Spirit of Christmas real to me. The Spirit of Christmas is just as real as I read the Bible and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas, the terrible sacrifices God made by sending His Son into the world to live and die for the love of human kind--The ultimate gift.

I love to reflect on the experience of the humble shepherds being surprised by a heavenly host of angels to announce Jesus' birth--(wishing I could have been there), and what Mary and Joseph experienced that night and in the years that followed. Reflecting not only on the New Testament account of God coming down to human level in Christ, but how the Old Testament predicted this moment in time. That one extraordinary moment that proved God's great love for us and how believing in Him changes our lives.

Oh, the reality of it is more than can be fathomed by our finite minds. Nothing we do, nothing we think we need, will take the place of the Nativity which is more than enough. I pray that all we need this Christmas is to let God's love dwell in our hearts. "All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel' which means, "God with us." Matthew 1:23 fulfilled Isaiah 7:14

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Oh, Oh! I dropped my thoughts again

If I'd hit the refresh button before I complained about the weather gadget I'd saved myself some embarrassment! Oh, it's not fun losing my mind to the aging process. Sometimes when someone asks me, "What were you thinking?" I draw a blank. Now, for someone like me, who has always had an overactive mind, to not be thinking is pretty much a catastrophe, you know.

Actually, it's quite scary. It gets worse when I say what I'm not thinking to my hubby or daughter and they give me that look. You know the one that makes me realize I just said something stupid. And then, I start thinking about what I said and I wish I'd thought before I said it. Now, our son, he would just laugh and I could laugh with him. I need more people like our son in my life when I've lost my thoughts.

I know one thing for sure, I'm trying to figure out where all that intelligence I thought I had has gone! It could be a lack of sleep that causes those forgetful moments, and scrambles my words. Yeah, that's it, all that late-night bloggin' has gone to my head--literally.

Can anyone explain why my thoughts and words sometimes scramble when I'm talking to someone, while my writing makes sense. Or does it? Well, see there, my confidence has hit an all-time low. Okay, since I can't seem to catch a thought and hold it in my brain long enough to express it intelligibly, I'll share some borrowed thoughts from others.

"Inside every older person is a younger person...wondering what happened."

I'm a walking storeroom of facts -- I've just lost the key to the storeroom door.

You know you're getting old when you stop to think and forget to start again.

You know you're getting old when getting a little action means your prune juice is working.

"Genuine Antique Person," Been there, done that, can't remember!

Always wanted to be a procrastinator, but never got around to it.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


I don't know what happened to my weather gadget. But it is not fair and 36 or 38 degrees and the wind isn't only 6 mph., but more like 30 or 40 mph. That pushes the windchill way down from the 36 degrees showing on my back porch thermometer. OK, so the temperature is almost accurate but I'm wondering what happened to the wind-o-meter!

Other than the weather, I'm paddling as fast I can to get ready for Christmas. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at my sister's house. Wish everyone in the family could have been there. So many things to be thankful for, including shopping for gifts on Black Friday and having more than half of it done--I think.

I don't know about anyone else, but I thought some radio stations airing Christmas music before Thanksgiving was just plain premature. Now that it's after Thanksgiving I'm enjoying it.

I hate to hurry away from here, but I have to. See y'all soon. Blessings

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hope and Prayer Equals Joy

I don't want to be a complainer, but I keep praying I'll get over the daily fatigue that's a result of pain and medication to give me more energy and time to blog. I'm trying to get our house cleaned up of clutter from the past eight years we've lived here. I was so ill when we moved and had to stop working which has been a huge adjustment. I"m doing better, but I got so far behind in homekeeping. I'm not sure I've completely adjusted to this life that is considerably different than what I had planned it would be. I keep trying to do the things I used to do, especially at holidays, and I've got to accept I can't do it all anymore.

I finally hired someone to help me get rid of stuff. It was too overwhelming and daunting a task to do alone. Hubby offered to help and would have been delighted to just chuck everything in one fell swoop because he doesn't have the patience to sit by while I consider what I want to keep and what needs to go. Therefore, having a Christian woman to share the task, who apparently enjoys helping weaklings like me, will save a lot of frustration and perhaps our marriage!

Oh, the anticipation of having our home cleansed of the stuff and nonsense that's no longer useful. It will feel like a heavy burden has been lifted. In some ways it is difficult because some of the things that need to go are objects associated with dreams that will never be fulfilled. But it's time to let them go so that without distraction God can begin to do a different good work in me.

I'm thankful for the journey God has given me. It hasn't always been pleasant. In fact it's been frustrating and quite ugly at times. Yet, what I've learned is that God is full of love and compassion toward us. He sacrificed his only Son, Jesus to suffer for and with us and to be our Savior friend. He has "turned mourning into joy, and will comfort and give joy for sorrow." (Jer. 31:13) This joy that I have isn't always apparent to others, but God and I know it's there.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Song for Sunday

You Go To Your Church

You go to your church and I'll go to mine
But let's walk along together
Our fathers built them side by side
So let's walk along together
The road is rough and the way is long
But we'll help each other over.

You go to your church and I'll go to mine
But let's walk along together
You go to your church and I'll go to mine
But let's walk along together

Our Heavenly Father is the same
So let's walk along together
The Lord will be at your church today
But he'll be at my church also
You go to your church and I'll go to mine
But let's walk along together

Author: na
Version: Stanley Brothers
Notes: This is an old Bluegrass song.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Me Too!

I love Cindy's (Letters from Midlife) Quote of the Day: (11-22-08)
"When I get a little money, I buy books. If any is left, I buy food and clothing." - Erasmus

If I have to choose between buying clothing or a book, buying a book wins almost everytime. Of course, I can go to one of the one-stop-buys-all shops, those that sell gently-used items, and get both. However, if the budget is tight I can always find clothing another time, while that one book, a rare find, may get snatched up before I return a month or two later. It's a no-brainer for this bibliophile.

I know I'm supposed to let at least one to two books go whenever I buy one, but what are the chances that's going to happen! I become attached. "Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will set me free from this life that is dominated by...contradictions?" Romans 7:24-25 paraphrased from NLT & Msg.

Even though I want to simplify my life, free myself from stuff and nonsense, I'm a slave to my wants and desires. Between grandkids and the fact that I don't get everything done as expeditiously as I used to, when do I think I'm going to read or study all the books I have?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chores and other stuff

I'm trying to get everything done each day that I need to keep up with the Holiday Spirit. That's why you haven't seen much of me for the past ten days. I'm doing extra housecleaning that I've neglected for awhile. Then, I need to get all the items needed to fill two shoe boxes for the Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child Project. Those have to be done by Sunday or before.

Tomorrow I go to spend the day with our grandkids. Papa (my hubby) went Monday and I couldn't go with him because I went to pick up my sister at the Wichita airport after she came back from Las Vegas where she visited her daughter and family. That was the last nice-weather day we've had this week. I liked it warm and without much wind. Now it's chilly and windy. Why am I complaining? The weather is what it is. It just seems to bother the aches and pains more, and I'm sure I have lots of company. Maybe I should go visit Betty in Paraguay where Spring has just begun.

Tuesday evening a friend and I went to see the movie: The Secret Life of Bees. We highly recommend it. It moved a little slow in places, but that's life, and that's what I liked about it. Even I could keep up with the plot. It had a really good message of love and hope which is more of what we all need while wandering through life.

I would like to get our Christmas gifts bought before the last minute. I don't like to buy gifts in July like some people. I have no idea in July what everyone wants. I'm not any closer to knowing that now, unfortunately. I would love to give gift cards because of the toll shopping takes on the old feet and muscles. I think gift cards would be alright for the adults although I consider them somewhat impersonal. But why not give them a gift card so the money will stretch further at the after-Christmas sales and they can get what they want or need? I will buy the little gifts that go in each stocking (though little doesn't always mean inexpensive!). Of course, the grandkids will get gifts that hubby and I will enjoy picking out just especially for each one.

Besides having to get advice on what kind of Medicare Plan D I'm going to need for my prescriptions next year, I also decided it was time to start doing some water exercises. I can tell I'm losing balance and strength because of lack of exercise. Sitting at a computer a couple of hours a day doesn't build muscle, except, hopefully, in the brain. I may have to wait till after Christmas to get started. We'll see. The sooner, the better! Oh, and did I mention I need to make dental and eye exam appointments? I guess those could wait till next year too. Can't do everything at once.

Oh, yes, I almost forgot. We had a feast at our friend's house last Sunday evening. She dressed the table in a beautiful Christmas glitter-print tablecloth she sewed (white with green pine needles), rich brocade burgundy napkins, and beautiful china place settings complete with a charge plate under the dinner plate. The salad plate on top of the dinner plate held a luscious mixed-green salad, and she thought the five or six different salad dressings might not be enough for the ten of us. I favor poppyseed dressing even though there was Ranch is also a favorite. The main meal consisted of Mexican lasagna, spaghetti with meat balls, noodles with Alfredo sausce, mixed Italian vegetables, Texas toast with garlic butter, iced peach tea or water, and Mississippi Mud Cake. No one left the table hungry. Afterwards we watched The Christmas Card movie on DVD. This is a heart-warming romance story between a soldier on leave and a woman who had sent him a Christmas card a year earlier that he kept folded up in his billfold. I won't tell you anymore in case you want to see it this holiday season.

That about does it for now. I hope I haven't bored you. I like to record the day-to-day activities that may or may not be exciting or significant. Later I can look back and tell myself I got more done than I thought. Why that's important, I'm not sure. Until next time.

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving. We're looking forward to a day spent with extended family. Praise God for all we have that comes from Him.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A quick Hello

What a week! I'm looking forward to Sunday Worship and a restful afternoon, then going to have dinner with church friends. Lord willing I'll post later or on Monday. Have a great day. See y'all later.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One of Those Days

Remember that beautiful Autumn Blaze tree in our backyard I pictured below. Here's a reminder of it. Then, last week, Kansas winds came howling down from out of somewhere, maybe the Dakota prairies, and blew the leaves off in one day. Now we have many bare trees instead of only a few. Oh, it had to happen eventually. But all in one day? Below is another picture from another side. The Burr Oak tree in the background still has plenty of leaves, but it isn't as showy. I'm trying to adjust to bare trees, believe me I am. We've got to plant an evergreen in our yard.
It's one of those gray, cloudy, drizzly, chili fall days which I used to love because I knew it was time to cocoon. But now, I'm just kind of in limbo until the sun comes out again. Is it an age thing? Fall and Winter are reminders of what phase of my life I'm in and about to enter. You know, the last half or one-third, which if I'd live another half of my life I could live another 60 years, or another 30 if I'm in my last third. That's quite a few years.
I'm not one of those who believes that life just throws things at us. In most things we have a choice, and in others we at least have a choice how we're going to react to what happens. "Depression is a choice," it's been said (A.B. Curtiss). Maybe like the trees who lose their leaves and rest during the winter months, depression is a kind of rest. A time of recuperation from the activities and pressures that the sunny, longer days of summer impose upon us.
"There is a time...," said Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3. Cocooning may not be such a bad idea. Now is the time, after a rough presidential campaign, and an economic roller coaster, after a summer of daylight savings time, to put aside our striving and sit down in an overstuffed chair to read a good book. Have a happy read on a cloudy day and don't feel guilty about it to the point of depression. Just enjoy and rest.
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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Where Am I?

Oh, yeah, right here. It's just been one of those weeks. Yesterday (Friday) I spent most of the day with my daughter and her two babies. Well, the 3 1/2 yr. old doesn't want to be called a baby anymore. And if the two-year old could talk, he would mimic his sister, which he tries to do anyway. Here's a picture daughter sent Halloween evening: Strawberry Shortcake and the Little Farmer. I just love them bunches of baskets and buckets!

Thursday night I slow-cooked an arm roast with potatoes and carrots and took that over for Friday's noon meal. We put the food in divided plates and took them out to the field for hubby and his dad who were cutting milo or planting wheat-- can't keep up what they're up to. When I was growing up on the farm all those seasonal things were so much a part of my life I hardly gave them a second thought and didn't realize how much they had become a part of me till I left and never went back. Have I mentioned I miss the rhythm of those seasons, the routine? I loved being closer to nature.

I wish I had more time to reminisce but hubby called and said he's taking me out for supper in Wichita tonight and I'd better get ready to dine in the city. Hope to be back soon. Y'all take care.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Blessings of Fall

Last Sunday we took a two-hour road trip to visit our son and his girlfriend in Topeka. It was a beautiful fall day with nary a cloud in the sky. Since they moved to a different home we took
I-70 through the northern part of the Flint Hills. It's not as colorful in fall, but you get the idea. The traffic up, was slow, but going home there was constant traffic from east to west, or west to east, whichever you prefer.

We had been taking I-35 and 335, the turnpike, through the southern part of the Flint Hills. That drive was just gorgeous last Spring, but I couldn't find pictures. You know how it is, you get to moving along at 70 mph. and it's hard to stop and get pics. But I remember stopping for at least a couple If I find them on a different card I'll post them at another time.

In the above picture you can barely see a ranch house and other buildings sheltered by trees. I can't imagine living on that windswept hill in any season except the few calm days we have in Spring and Fall. In a serious Winter snow I can imagine being shut in for a least a day or two. We don't seem to get the blizzards I remember we lived through when I was a child, but then I was a child and everything was bigger then.

When you travel I-70 from West to East Kansas, Salina seems to be smack dab in the middle of vast barren pasture lands. You get, oh, I'm guessing about 75 miles east of Salina and you're beginning to see the type of rolling hills that are reminiscent of Missouri. And by the time you're on your way to Kansas City, you can't tell the difference between Kansas and Missouri. There are lots of hills smothered with an array of different tree varieties.

About the same distance west of Salina, you'll see pretty much the same level pastureland, but with a few more farms visible from I-70. When you get closer to Hays you begin to see gentle rolling hills with clumps of trees growing at the bottom of gullies. Enjoy the reprieve, because when you get to the Kansas-Colorado border you drive through hundreds of miles of desert-like landscape till you get to Denver and can see the promising mountains west of Denver. (Ignore the date on the picture-Picasa saved the picture in the wrong file & attached that date.)

A few weeks ago, my dear friend and I decided to take the walking trail around Emma Creek just east of the Bethel College Campus. It was a beautiful Fall day with just a little bit of a nip in the air.

As you can see the trail is tree-lined with leaf-mold and chipped wood carpeting the path beneath our feet. Not too far into the trail there's a small sanctuary with a fire pit where college students and others can gather around a fire with hot chocolate, roasted hot dogs and marshmallows or to just gaze into a warm fire.

All the while we were walking our senses were wonderfully titillated with a woodsy and earthy scent. At one point a quick movement just in front of me made me realize a baby snake had slithered across the path in front of me, and not a second too soon! When we began our walk the sky was overcast and it was eerily quiet. On our way back the sun came out which seemed to wake up a couple of cardinals who started calling out to one another.

Yours Truly is trying to hide discreetly behind a bush while leaning against a tree that looks like it was seared most of its length by lightening. It must have been raining enough to keep the other trees around it from going up in flames.

We loved the walk and hope to do it again soon. I think it would be lovely with a little snow on the ground and shrouding the bare tree branches. Wish y'all could join us. It took us about an hour to walk one-third of the trail with the creek running full and singing joyously beside us after several inches of rain that fell a couple of days earlier.

I hope you've enjoyed this slice of Kansas life. I'll keep posting pictures as I'm enjoying using this blog as a pictoral journal.

What Can We Be Thinking?

Americans have chosen and I'm disappointed. Too many fell for a whole lot of rhetoric that sounded great but had little substance. Too many have been brainwashed into believing we need change, but what kind of change are we to expect? Who can tell for sure?

Too many who should have voted, didn't, because they took the easy way out. The choices weren't great, but how can people be so irresponsible? We now have a president who doesn't care about life. His past and present associations aren't flattering when it comes to the freedoms of country and individuals.

There was a concerted effort to claim the vote from people who are motivated by their ability or inability to be consumers. We were just beginning to prove that we can make adjustments to economic difficulties. But now we'll never know if we have the guts to get through it by helping each other instead of depending on big government to take care of us.

If schools are teaching the same history that I had fifty years ago, U.S. citizens would appreciate the blood, sweat, and tears it took to gain and maintain our freedom from religious oppression. How have we lost the vision and the toughness that settled and built this country? All we seem to be able to comprehend is our immediate pain from circumstances of our own making. Will Americans survive socialism? It's never worked for other nations who have tried it.

The liberal media is shameless in using communication to influence the unenlightened. Where are the journalists of the past who reported without personal opinion? An era died with Peter Jennings and others like him. If we can't trust the media to be unbiased who can we trust to give us an accurate picture of what's going on in the world?

Why should any of this surprise you and me? The Bible is full of stories of the foolishness of people who have lost touch with God. The one true God who sent His Son, Jesus, to be our salvation from ourselves. In Ecclesiastes 10, there are many verses that speak of the foolishness of man. "A wise man's heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish man's heart directs him toward the left." (v. 2) Isn't that amazing? The Bible actually predicted who are the liberals and conservatists.

Ecclesiastes 10 certainly helped me to put in perspective what just happened. But then we need to read on into chapter 11, verse 5: "Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things." It is comforting to know that God is in control. We may only guess what's going to happen, whereas he knows.

Finally, at the end of Ecclesiastes, 11:13, 14: "The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgement, everything which is hidden, whether is is good or evil." What more can be said than is said in His Word?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Day Isn't Over Till It's Over

Hubby and I went early to vote and then had breakfast at our town's rec center served by the local Lion's Club--pancakes and sausage. Since then I've hardly gotten anything done. So much is riding on this election. It seems more than ever Americans are uneasy: over rumors about what kind of change Obama may be talking about. Wondering if we want another administration that might not bring about the changes we would like. I didn't think I'd be feeling as unsettled as I am.

Please pray for the USA as we face an uncertain future. Finally, I must remind myself, as a believer, that it is all in God's hands and that's where I need to leave it. "For in the day of trouble he will keep me [us] safe in his dwelling." Ps. 27:5

Saturday, November 01, 2008

We Have Pictures

Many are the days I've wondered why we continue to live in Kansas, which can be a desert in August, and a deep freeze in January. But this is not one of those days. This is an Indian Summer day: calm, sunny, and in the 70's. We planted this tree in our backyard about 4 or 5 years ago. It's a keeper! Before we planted it I watched to see where it would be the most efficient on a summer afternoon. The middle of the yard turned out to be the perfect spot. It already shades our kitchen window from the mid-to-late-afternoon sun, and offers a cool place for the birdfeeders and birdbath. I can't imagine why they call it "Autumn Blaze," can you?

Our lovely daughter celebrated her birthday this last September. She found out what 32 lighted candles look like on a square cake. It impressed me--I can't believe our children are in their thirties already! I'm still trying to get used to the idea she's expecting her third next May. That age-old question: "Where has the time gone?" comes up often in my thoughts and vocabulary. If I would just accept that life keeps moving forward, rather than trying to process it so it fits into a permanent niche in my mind. I think what I'm afraid of is losing the special moments among all the less meaningful moments, the worries and cares of life. Thank goodness for cameras which help us remember the beautiful and important things in life.

The lights of our lives, our grandbabies. I'm happy they're growing up on the farm like I did. A dog, lots of cats and kittens, riding in the tractor or big combine with daddy, picnics in the field, snakes and coyotes.

On the Lighter Side

I was delighted to find a whole book full of Will Roger's wit and humor at our used bookstore a couple of weeks ago. I'll probably be sharing from it occasionally. Here are some of his remarks about politics and politicians:

"Common sense is not an issue in politics; it's an affliction."

"Everybody figures politics according to what they've accumulated during the last couple of years. Every guy looks in his pockets and then votes."

"You can't legislate intelligence and common sense into people."

"I guess the truth can hurt you worse in an election than about anything that could happen to you."

from The Will Rogers Book, compiled by Paula McSpadden Love (a niece). Revised. Texian Press, 1971.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We the People...Vote!

I don't like discussing politics. Most times discussions turn into arguments and arguments into diatribes. If this campaign hasn't taught me anything else, it's to stay out of politics: nada, zilch, zero...well, you get the idea. It's probably not very American of me, at least not typical. Politics isn't the answer to many of our problems, and most likely adds to them. The Psalmist says it best: "The Lord is for me; I will not fear. What can mere people do to me? It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people...than to trust in princes." Ps. 118:6, 8, 9

However, I believe it is our duty to vote, whether we believe we have choices or not. I'd like to share with you an insert from our church bulletin last week. It gives me hope that my vote will
affirm our founding fathers who established our nation and wrote our constitution on Godly principles. Godly principles that are getting lost because history isn't taught to our children as in the past. Here are the "GUIDING PRINCIPLES as you consider your voting responsibility:

1. Pray for wisdom. James 1:5: "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He'll not rebuke you for asking."
2. Avoid a divisive spirit. Eph. 4:15: "Speak the truth in love."
3. Choose righteousness. Prov. 14:34: "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people."
4. Study the issues. John 8:32: "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
5. Exercise your responsibility. Our form of government gives it's citizens the responsibility to select its leaders. It is morally unacceptable and unreasonable to allow others to speak for you. Prov. 31:8, 9: "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."
6. Don't believe every campaign promise. Prov. 15:14: "The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly."
7. Realize the agenda of the world opposes God. Prov. 14:12: There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death."
8. Don't be ashamed to stand up for the cause of Christ. Mark 8:38: If anyone is ashamed of me and my words...the Son of Man will be ashamed of him..."
9. Loyalty to God transcends loyalty to man - whether party, candidate or platform. Matt. 16:24: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."
10. Recognize that 'politics' and the issues of our society provide many opportunities to witness to others about the ultimate sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Daniel 2:28: "Daniel replied...there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come."
11. Realize that the economy is not the primary issue in our nation. Prov. 21:21: "He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor."
12. "Render to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." Mark 12:13-17 'Render' is a duty or obligation. Jesus held a Roman coin as he spoke these words. As citizens of this country, we benefit from its prosperity, order, safety, and opportunities. Being in a democratic republic, WE are the Caesar, and WE ARE OBLIGATED TO PARTICIPATE in the process of government. Though not "of the world," we are "in the world."
13. Don't give up, even though you may be discouraged by the slate of candidates of the state of affairs. "All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." Edmond Burke

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bits, pieces, and a soapbox

I don't have a whole lot to report about the Judgement House presentation at our church. Just that I worked in post-registration and spent time in the Prayer Room the other night and feel truly blessed. I walked from the youth pastor's outer office (where we were set up) to his inner office and there was "Jesus." At least it sure looked like some of the pictures I've seen of Him. I looked at him and said, "It's so good to meet you here." The actor looked at me a little strangely, and reached out his hand and said, "Hi, I'm Steve. And you're?" Now why did he have to bring me back down to earth like that? I guess I was interrupting his focus on the role he has, and I can certainly understand that. I kind of felt I should have been more respectful of that. I also think Steve must have thought I was a little (or a lot) batty!

I don't know what people expect of a sixty-something grandmother, but most seem unprepared for my wry sense of humor. I wonder if it's because at first I can be my old shy self that protects me from risking the rejection that I sometimes sense when my "silliness" is misunderstood. But, with a few who catch on I certainly enjoy the kidding back-and-forth. Life is too harsh if we can't laugh at ourselves and the ridiculous things that life throws at us.

Sometimes it's the "little" things in life that put a crimp into our best-laid plans of living life with humor. The crud is making its rounds at my daughter's house--it seems to hit fast and leave quickly, thank goodness. Her dear husband and their kid's father has been cleaning up after everyone, so guess who's probably next. Much as I love my daughter and her family, I'm staying away, while supporting and encouraging her over the phone. Coincidentally, with the busy week I knew I was having I wasn't planning on seeing them till Sunday anyway. Hopefully, they'll all be over it by then. I know she's had a busy week and in between the two kids and her being sick she was able to keep on schedule with getting their portraits taken, her daughter going to pre-school, Wednesday night church, and whatever else she had going on.

Young mothers seem twice as busy as I was. I purposely didn't force or encourage too many extra activities on our son and daughter. For one thing, I wanted them to enjoy being "just kids" with free time to explore the world around them. I guess I was also being selfish, because I wanted to have more time with them, and I didn't want to have to be chauffering them all over the place. If I was spending too much time in the car, I wouldn't have had time to enjoy some of my own hobbies. Plus, how could we be a family if we seldom spent valuable time together? I think there are a few kids who thrive on a lot of different interests, but others just want to have a quiet life in school and at home. I don't believe it's right for parents to force an introverted kid to get so involved they lose themselves. I hope common sense tells us when a child is isolating and needs encouragement to socialize. But how many parents have the time between work, work, work, to know their children and teens well enough to spot likes and dislikes and to recognize trouble when it comes? Contemporary life is hard on parents and children and I certainly don't have all the answers. Well, I'm on my soapbox and could go on but will let it be for now.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom..." Colossians 3:16a; and "...teach the older women to be reverent...to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home..." Titus 2:3-5
(Can you tell I'm writing an article on mentoring for our church women's newstetter?)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Judgement House

This weekend and the next, our church is having a Judgement House presentation. Many of our members have been working on it for several months. This is the second year Grace Community Church in Newton, Kansas has presented Judgement House. Last year, over 300 church members were involved and we had more than 700 people come from all over Kansas and the surrounding states. It is a life-changing experience for not only visitors who come to see the presentation, but for those involved.

"What is Judgement House," you ask? Here's the url to the website that explains it: http://www.judgementhouse.org/What-Is-Judgement-House-_39_pg.html . JH usually occurs this time of year to give people, especially youth, an alternative to Halloween. You can find a listing of locations at: http://www.judgementhouse.org/Covenant-Partners-Near-You_23_pg.html

It's a very busy time, but also exciting, when many people who have considered accepting Christ learn at JH how important it is to make that decision. When over 400 souls last year either made a decision to accept Christ, rededicated their life to Him, or had a concern for a family member or friend, all the work and fatigue, the attacks from evil forces on those involved, were worth it. The cost seems great, but not as great as the price Christ paid on the cross for the world to be forgiven and rescued from the darkness of sin.

Please pray for God to be working in the lives of all those working with, and coming to, our Judgement House, and all Judgement House presentations around the U. S. It's apparent that Satan doesn't want the work of JH to go on because it takes many out of his clutches. Some who are working in the scenes are experiencing illness, depression, and anxiety. Now, all of these struggles happen to people everyday, but it's happening to many more than usual. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Day After Overwhelming Day

I'm not feeling particularly humorous today, but I'm certain God has a sense of humor. Just when I think I'm getting caught up on the homefront, life starts raining down around me.
--Our daughter is pregnant with their third child and needs extra help;
--A friend broke two bones in her wrist and needs encouragement, assistance and I'm looking forward to spending a couple of days with her;
--Our church is hosting a Judgement House the next two weekends and I've probably over-committed myself in helping out in the prayer room and with post-registration, etc.
--I know, I know, I should have gotten started on an article for our church women's newsletter due on November 1st, and now....HELP!
--I've got a perm scheduled at the beauty shop on Thursday. That might not be a problem for many but it takes up to a month for my hair to get over the shock and settle down. I'll be ready for the holidays but in the meantime...who knows what my crowning glory will look like;
--The holidays are coming, the holidays are coming, and Betty at Wiens World (there's a link on my sidebar) has a widget that shows there are only 65 days till Christmas. I was going to have my shopping done by now--HA!
--The times between seasons (like now) when the weather bounces up and down like a yo-yo the chronic pain flares up big time, making me feel like I have a permanent case of influenza...why do I always forget and fail to plan ahead for it?

What am I doing just sitting here blogging as if I've got all the time in the world? Mostly because I consider this a journal, of sorts, since I'm not writing in my handwritten journal like I used to. I've journaled for many years, but lately I haven't had, or taken, the time, and since part of it is because that time is spent on this blog I might as well "kill two birds with one stone." If I may take a verse out of context in Jeremiah 30:2, ..."Write down for the record everything I have said to you." I know I can't write down everything, but at least some highlights. I know, too, that journaling can help me figure out what's going on from within, so hopefully, I can either enjoy what, and who, I am, or change what I need to become who I want to be.

I wonder, how do you handle the unexpected things that life throws at you? I know part of my dilemma, with this chronic pain, is keeping up with a routine, much less the extras that come when I least need it. I want to be there for my family and friends, but am I expecting too much of myself when I give in to the desire to help? Some days it would be nice to have someone help me clean up and organize my home. I used to be a very well-organized homemaker and volunteer, but that has taken flight on a kite and I can't seem to hold onto the string.

Such as they are, these are my thoughts today. Feeling a little overwhelmed by the choices I make.

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Love History

(The Aley home in the Midtown District of Wichita, Kansas is now surrounded by many other historical homes, mature trees, and formal landscaping. Here you can see that the street isn't paved and there are rails for a cable car. If walls could talk...what would they reveal about all the living done there in 120 years?)

It's been a week since I've written. Unbelievable. But then I hadn't posted anything for a couple of years. I'm doing better, don't you think? Sunday, after church and a quick lunch, we drove to Wichita and enjoyed a walking tour of 5 homes in Historic Midtown District, all within a two-block area.

I was particularly interested in the Aley house (picture above) because a Mennonite commune purchased the house in the 1970's and started to renovate it back to its original design. It had been transformed into an apartment house by the previous owners, with pink aluminium siding, if you can imagine that. All the porches had been removed, which the Mennonites restored. "The three-story Queen Anne style home was built in 1889 by J.H. Aley, a Civil War Veteran, Wichita merchant, and civic leader."

I love the grandeur of the interior and exterior including the three-story "conical tower." I would have loved living in just such a house as a child or young bride. I was disappointed that the kitchen is modernized, altho' some of the brick walls and other original features have been retained. I suppose I wouldn't want to cook with an antiquated wood or coal stove, and it might be difficult to have block ice delivered to refill an ice box. How could I cook without my microwave?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Charming and humorous blog

This blogger writes under the name of Quilly in a warm, humorous style about her childhood. Below is a sample from her "Hemmed In" post to whet your appetite. With an interesting title "The Grownups Wanted Us Dead," this blog is linked in my sidebar or click on the title of this post.

"Rumble never should have left me to walk home. Walking stimulates blood flow, and blood flow stimulates brain activity. Even though Gram sent Rumble back to get me, by the time he showed up, I’d walked over half the way home, and my revenge was pretty well plotted.

The next morning I told Rumble to go ahead and go to school without me, because my friends Sue and Anna were coming by. If Rumble left with the impression they would be taking me to school, that wasn’t my fault. We raided Gram’s sewing kit, grabbed a packet of needles and a couple of rolls of white thread, then we descended the basement stairs and invaded Rumble’s lair.

Rumble was — probably still is – ridiculously fastidious about his things. Most everything he owned had it’s very own hanger, even his bath towels. I took the towels out of his closet and very carefully sewed the inside layer tightly to the hanger. I also sewed the shoulders of his bathrobe to the hanger. Anna sewed all of Rumble’s socks together in pairs. Sue sewed the fly closed on every pair of underwear he owned. I sewed his top sheet to his bottom sheet on his bed.

All three of us sewed closed every single button hole on every single article of clothing he owned. On his shirts, we sewed them closed unbuttoned. On the flies of his mechanic’s coveralls and his denim overalls, we sewed them closed buttoned.

That little chore took most of the day. About an hour after we started Gram came down to see what we were doing. She shook her head. “He really isn’t going to like this you know,” she warned, then left the room. As she was ascending the stairs she said, “Don’t forget to sew his pockets closed.” It seemed like good advice, so we took it."

The Day That Was!

(Storm Clouds over the Kansas Prairie)

Monday morning started out cloudy and rainy. I wasn't ready to let go of the sunshine we had during the last couple weeks of Indian Summer.

I had a one o'clock appointment with plenty of time to get ready. Then I got distracted, or rather, the computer distracted me. You know how it works--I was just going to sit down for about fifteen minutes and check email? Yeah, right! Time goes so fast when I'm having fun, and before I knew it I had less than an hour to fix my hair, get dressed, get my stuff together, and make the thirty-minute drive to Wichita. Driving seventy mph through heavy rain showers isn't my idea of fun, but I made it to the appointment on time.

Did I mention I didn't get the dirty dishes washed that had been by the kitchen sink since Saturday evening? Or the laundry that needed folding, and a couple of loads that must be washed if I want something clean to wear. I might as well admit that I have several shirts hanging on the ironing board in the spare room that have been haunting me for the past two weeks. Then there's that article I need to write for our church women's newsletter. I've been swirling around ideas in my head, but have yet to regurgitate them on paper intelligibly. Oh, shoot, I need to call my sis who got back last week from a one-month vacation.

I started an email to my brother in Chicago who responded to an article I sent him about his choice for president. Of course, we're on opposite ends of the spectrum which leads to a lot of heated discussions. I don't know why I bother, especially since I hate politics! Maybe I'll just forget about the email.

Yep, during those two hours I messed around on the 'puter, I could have finished half of my to-do list and gotten a good start on the other half.

Thankfully, I have a reliable car which I enjoy driving. I can create my own little world with my choice of music or with complete silence to allow my thoughts to take wing. I enjoy classical music because it heightens my reverie without the vexation of human verbosity. Songs without words are the best.

Finally, when my hubby came home that evening, I bombarded him with the way my Monday went, and vented all the feelings that had accumulated over the last four days--which were crowded with so many activities I didn't take time to think or feel. The warm sudsy dishwater, or was it the caffeine-loaded drink I had at the coffee shop that afternoon, just seemed to loose my tongue. It was a rather lousy day, but it ended well. I'm so very grateful for a patient and loving hubby.

I'm certain there's a verse from Proverbs that sums up what I learned. The only one that comes to mind is Proverbs 31:27, "She [the capable wife] looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness."

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Food for Thought: There's a Hole in My Sidewalk

I'm always thinking I'm too wise at this time in my life to keep repeating my mistakes. But there I go again, at the same time expecting my life to magically change. When tough times come it sometimes takes me awhile to admit that what I'm experiencing are the ups and downs that are the consequences of being a stubborn old fool! Kind of like this...

There's A Hole In My Sidewalk:
In Five Easy Chapters
I walk down a street and there's a big hole. I don't see it and fall into it. It's dark and hopeless and it takes me a long time to find my way out. It's not my fault !
I walk down the same street. There's a big hole and I can see it, but I still fall in. It's dark and hopeless and it takes me a long time to get out. It's still not my fault.
I walk down a street. There's a big hole. I can see it, but I still fall in. It's become a habit. But I keep my eyes open and get out immediately. It is my fault.
I walk down a street. There's a big hole. And I walk around it.
I walk down a different street.
-- Portia Nelson

Nelson's story reminds me that there is hope, for God helps those who can't, or won't, help themselves. "Oh, wretched [woman] that I am! Who will set me free from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. There is therefore no condemation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and of death." Romans 7:24-8:2

Praise God for His love, for a life of hope in Christ, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit! (Praying for a sense of humor to get us through the consequences so we can have a blessed Sunday.)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Look At These Prices from the 1950's!

I remember eating lunch at the Woolworth's lunch counter when I was working during the 1960's. But before that, in the mid 1950's, I cherish the few times I went shopping with Dad & Mom in Newton, Kansas where we sat at the counter having a hamburger and a shake. Yummy!
What we wouldn't do to have these prices again. (Click on menu to enlarge and read it.)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Your daddy had to put on a mask and gown because he had a cold. Maybe that's why you had your eyes closed those first couple days--you may have gotten a glimpse of that "masked bandit" and it probably scared you.

Of course, right from the beginning you could melt your daddy's heart with a look, your smile, and your tears. Thirty-two years later you share the same brain waves or something--at least you share the same sense of humor that's fun to watch. All you have to do is look at each other with that special twinkle in your eyes and you're privy to a joke that leaves the rest of us in the dust, asking "What, what's so funny?" (Altho' some of us are beginning to catch on!) I'm glad you and your daddy have a good relationship. God blessed us when he gave us you. It's a huge task that's given to parents to provide everything a child needs to become an individual in their own right. You prevailed over the mistakes we made and taught us how to lighten up. Continue in the wisdom God has given you and enjoy the journey.

Today, our baby is 32

Posted by PicasaYou were so tiny, 6 lbs. 4 oz. at birth. I felt like I was holding a little doll. Here we are getting ready to leave the hospital. Within a couple weeks we'd be back in the hospital because you had a milk allergy, and once we put you on soy formula you thrived.

You were contented and happy and it was easy to get a smile out of you. It's impossible to sum up my love for you in this small space, and I'm suddenly at a loss for words (yes, believe it or not). Since that first day you have filled my life with joy and gratitude. Now you are exeriencing that love in your children. Cherish each day, time flies by so fast! I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. Love you today and always. Mom

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Last Saturday was a beautiful day, though a little warm, to be at the Arts and Crafts Fair in Hillsboro, Kansas. We recalled last year when it was wet and cold. I went with our daughter and her two children, our precious grandchildren, who were so good for the six hours we tramped around the streets ogling at the booths. This has been one of the largest Arts & Crafts Fairs in Kansas for at least 30 years. The population on this one day swells from 3,000 native souls to twenty to thirty thousand. Many have to park at the fairgrounds and school buses shuttle them to the town square. There didn't seem to be the usual 300+ booths which made it easier to move up and down the streets, even with our awkward stroller.

It's interesting to see the hard work that crafters put into their wares: stuffed animals made out of chenile spreads and patchwork quilts, tie-dyed clothing, dried-flower decorated grapevine wreaths, purses and bags made out of all kinds of material including the tops of leather cowboy boots, wooden toys and furniture, framed artwook, pithy sayings calligraphed on wooden hearts and other shapes, kid's cloth tee-pees, painted and appliqued sweat and t-shirts, to name a few.

Of course, there was the usual tantalizing array of home-made food and baked goods: New Year's Cookies, Verenika, Bierrocks and German sausage, Borscht and noodle soups, Zwiebach, Peppernuts, Kettle Korn, funnel cakes, walking tacos, caramel apples, pie and ice cream. Staying on any kind of diet was impossible.

Walking most of that time was a real test of endurance for this old lady. On our way out of there we enjoyed refreshing sno-cones. I collapsed when I got home and caught up on my fluid intake. When we lived in Hillsboro I had as much fun gazing--out the front window of my quiet, warm, or cool home--at all the people passing by with their arms full of merchandize, as I had shopping. Thank goodness, this fair only comes once a year! I'm sure the planners agree.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

This is how I feel at the end of some days

"I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older. Then it dawned on me . . . they're cramming for their final exam." ~George Carlin

Sunday, September 21, 2008

For both cat & dog lovers

How do cats sleep like this, and why or how is this dog putting up with that. Must be friends!

If dogs and cats can be friends, can dog-lovers and cat-lovers be friends?
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

I always appreciate a good joke...

however, I grew up Mennonite, so unless you are, were, or wanna be a Mennonite, you may not understand some of the Mennonite jokes--altho' Mennonite behavior is probably universal. In that case, welcome to the "club."

There are these three ministers on a boat. A Baptist, a Catholic and a Mennonite. The boat is sinking in stormy seas. The Baptist minister yells to the catholic "I haveta confess. I had an affair with our church secretary and with another member!" The Catholic priest realises that it's his turn to make peace with his maker and confesses his sins as he yells back to the Baptist "I've gotta confess myself. I tend to nip a little at the holy water when noone else is around and enjoy getting plastered." The listening Mennonite minister just sat there, listening with his mouth wide open.

The storm died down and the boat stayed afloat. All are relieved, but the Baptist and the Catholic minister are concerned about their confessions. They turn to the Mennonite minister and encourage him to confess his secret sin, also. The old Mennonite minister sat silent for a moment, debating whether or not to drag a skeleton out of his closet. Finally, he said "I have a real problem that neither of you would understand." The Baptist minister says "Well, speak up!" The Mennonite minister, in a sigh of resignation, said "I really find it difficult to keep myself from gossiping."

(Resource: http://members.tripod.com/~Willoewen/menlon.html)

A Day In my Life...in case you want to know

A month ago I wrote about change. Let's see how far I've come.

This was me yesterday morning: Awoke at 8:00 a.m., but lolly-gagged in bed till 8:30. Not too bad considering that most mornings I fall back asleep and don't wake up again till 10:00 (late nights on computer). Knowing that I had a 10:45 appointment, I took my thyroid hormone pills right away and while those were cooking through my system, took a quick shower. I usually wash my hair the night before because otherwise it would take me twice as long to get ready. Shower done, I did my hair and was getting set to apply make-up. It was 10:00 and I was doing great. Then I made the mistake of answering the phone!

I had to answer because it was hubby and I never know what kind of crisis he might be having. He called to remind me that I hadn't printed his business cards which he had been out of for a couple of days. I decided to do it right away so I wouldn't forget again.

The file came up different than I had saved it the last time. But instead of going into the print preview to see how it would print out, I messed around trying to get the 10 templates to line up in two rows of five instead of just one down the left side of the page. When I finally checked print preview it showed me it would print the way I wanted it to. By the time I had them printed it was 10:15.

Rather than stopping right there I considered it wouldn't take more than a couple minutes to check my email. Yes, well, it was a quick delete for this one and that, but there was one from our daughter's friend, and any time I get an email from someone I know I have to read it right away. Erin was inviting me to a candle party in October, and she had a link to the website: http://www.goldcanyon.com/. I had at least 25 minutes before I had to leave for my appt. so I thought--what the heck, I'll give it a five-minute glance. Ha! I knew better, but I did it anyway.

Almost fifteen minutes later I was going to have to hustle to make it to my appointment, throw on some clothes, get my stuff together (for going to the library, which includes the AlphaSmart2000 I use away from my computer), and get to my appointment only 5 minutes late. Am I ever going to learn that when I'm ahead I could keep it that way?

What am I willing to do to change my tardy ways, and my habit of procrastinating? Was the morning going too "perfectly," and if it was why did I need to shake it up and spoil the reward of being on time? Should I blame my hubby? I know better than that. It would have taken less time to let him leave me a message or for me to make a note so I wouldn't forget about printing his business cards later (which is what I should have done the first time he asked me).

Oh well, there's always another day to change my ways!

How hard can change be?

On August 17, 2008 I wrote: I've got to get my life together! Is the neuropathy and the pain a big enough excuse for staying up late (can't sleep because of pain) and sleeping in late (don't want to get up 'cause the pain starts over again) which gives me a hopeless feeling about getting anything done the rest of day? Is it the pain that really makes me do that? Or just plain old Laziness? An inability to deny my selfishness? Making myself an exception so I don't have to do what I know would be better life choices than what I'm doing now? I can't do it on my own--I need God's help, that's for sure. So why can't I just surrender? Perhaps I need to be kinder to myself, give myself some slack?

Daily, I tell myself, "I can't live like this anymore." Maybe I need to volunteer some of my time to something more satisfactory than just the church library. Or I need to spend more time and effort at helping make it a more attractive library--use some of the silk ivy leftover from Amy's wedding to add some green to the place, find a way to display new books more prominently.

I'm so diffferent than I was when I was a fulltime mother and a parttime librarian. Those roles disciplined me, and now I have little discipline. I feel like I don't have much to wake up for in the morning--what could I do today that I didn't do yesterday? What's important enough to me to make me get out of bed in the morning? I have to figure that out or changing what I do will be just another drudgery like the diabetic diet. That's another story!

Life Interrupts

Poetry by Tess Gallagher

I Stop Writing the Poem

to fold the clothes.
No matter who lives or who dies, I'm still a woman.
I'll always have plenty to do.
I bring the arms of his shirt together.
Nothing can stop our tenderness.
I'll get back to the poem.
I'll get back to being a woman.
But for now there's a shirt, a giant shirt in my hands,
and somewhere a small girl standing next to her mother
watching to see how it's done.

~from Good Poems, Garrison Keillor, Pengiun Books, 2002

Yeah, just like this!

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Who hasn't had this happen to them?

(This cat is a "little" basket case, just like me!)

You find something festive that you would like to slip into. It seems a little small, but you're QUITE SURE that in recent years,you've worn this size.

It might be a tight fit, but you still look GOOD!! Hey, we've all been there.
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Monday, September 15, 2008

Old Folks at Home

This was DH and me yesterday (Sunday) morning thirty minutes before church was to start. He said, "I can be ready in thirty minutes, can you?" Me, "Well, I can try," foolishly thinking wishes always come true. Another glance at the kitchen clock made me realize that it was hopeless. It would take a miracle and someone quicker than me to get myself ready to go out in public in that amount of time.

At first I thought I might be feeling guilty, that I could be commiting an unforgiveable sin. Yet, I believe that God understands that we occasionally need a complete day off to get our rest. DH had a rough week driving around the state, sometimes four appointments in one day, to do in-home sales. He was ready for a day of rest. Going to play with our grandchildren the evening before added to the week's accumulated fatigue. There's hardly a moment to take a breather when we're running after two pre-schoolers. Okay, enough excuses!

I enjoy the whole Sunday morning experience because it's the only time to worship with a congregation of other Christians. It's encouraging to know that others are enthusiastic in their love for God and in glorifying the one who has brought us through another week. Worship prepares us to anticipate the next week knowing we're not alone in our walk with Christ. I need that affirmation and encouragement to remind me of my purpose as I wander here on earth. Where else can we experience that kind of fellowship?

After realizing that what I was feeling wasn't guilt, I made the best of the rest of the day. Hubby and I listened to a local church service on T.V.--not the same as being there. To forget my sense of loss at not having fellowshipped with other Christians I read for a couple of hours on our back porch where the sun was finally shining after several cloudy days with almost eight inches of rain soaking us from Friday through Saturday. After a couple of naps and a couple of light meals I was okay, but I'm certain that next Sunday I'll set my alarm and get up when it goes off! No more of this foolishness.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Our nephew's beautiful garden

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Sis on the computer

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Derek in a pensive mood

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Long Time Passing

It's been two years since I added anything to my blog spot. I can't believe it's been that long! So much has happened I hardly know where to begin to catch up. I've changed the look of the blog and like it much better. I've added some of my favorite bloggers and other interesting links. I highly recommend them.

When I last wrote we had one grandchild, a precious girl who is now 3 1/2 years old and just started going to preschool. She's an intelligent and a happy, precocious, presence in our lives. I'm often reminded how carefree childhood can be, and I'm relearning how to have more of a sense of humor, how to be spontaneous, how to have fun in everything we do, and how to live each day at a time. I know some of these very things I love about her are likely frustrating to her parents...she gets too enthusiastic in hugging her little brother, she babbles on to anyone who will listen and we never have to guess what she's thinking because she thinks out loud, and she has spurts of energy where she runs wildly around the house neighing like a horse. She likes to help set the table, cut up watermelon or honeydew with a plastic knife, but she doesn't always like to pick up and put toys away anymore. She's perfect company for anyone who may be feeling a bit lonely.

Her little brother joined the family in January, 2007. He has the same blue eyes, but blonder hair than his sister (he's what you call a real towhead), is quieter, and keeps most of his thoughts to himself. But his face is a dead giveaway as to what he's feeling or thinking. He lights up my day with the sunniest smile, a smaller imitation of his sister. His pout almost breaks my heart, and he seems to know it. I often find him in a pensive mood but he won't tell me what he's thinking. Of course, he hasn't learned all the words he needs to talk to us, but I have a feeling even when he has a good handle on language he will still keep a lot of things to himself. He takes more risks than his big sister, a lot of times because he's trying to keep up with her, but isn't old enough to do what she's doing. He raises quite a fuss when we won't let him do what could be quite harmful to him. He sits quietly reading a book or building a tower with Legos, that is if his sister doesn't interrupt him. Then it's time for Nana to read a book with one or both to help diffuse over-enthusiastic sibling rivalry.

Being a Nana is more wonderful than I ever imagined it would be. Even on days when my chronic pain is at it's worst, just getting a call from my daughter which often includes a hello from Alana or Derek helps me forget what's bothering me. Hours of pain are erased when I spend time playing with, and caring for, our grandchildren. It's afterwards that I groan, moan, and limp around like an injured horse (who's lost its neigh), and complain to my hubby, Papa, that I can't budge another inch. But it's all worth it. Yes, and yes, grandchildren are real gifts from God, and also our children, who are the first blessing. But sometimes I've wished it could be lived backwards...if we would have our grandchildren first (I know, it's impossible), then we could hopefully enjoy our children as much as we now do our grandchildren. I remember it was the sense of responsibility, perfectionism, and constant vigilance to protect them that hindered me from just letting go and enjoying the moments each day, week, month, and year.

I'm not saying I didn't enjoy our son and daughter. There was real joy in those times of spontaneous connection in the moment. There was a feeling of great reward when they responded to our love which included times of discipline and consequences not to their liking. We all survived those times and we had fun in spite of them. I just hope that our children mostly forget the struggles and remember the good times. Going to the pizza place in Spring to celebrate the beginning of Summer. Going back to the pizza place and shopping for school needs and clothes in Fall. Having popcorn and watching a rented movie on a stormy winter's night. I especially want them to know we have always loved, and always will love them. I think our relationships have evolved more to a friendship level now. At least that is my hope. Is it possible to stop being a parent, or a child of parents? Hopefully, we can reach a level of maturity where we put those roles in perspective and let go to experience and enjoy each other as the individuals we are.

On the lighter side: Kansas has had a mild and wet summer. Having grown up on the farm and having a farmer for a son-in-law I find that the growing seasons still influence my life. I love Spring and Fall, especially Spring since I was born in April, and Spring is a life-enriching time. Everything is reborn in Spring. As a child I loved summer. School was out, and I could bask in the long sunny days as I read a book or helped my mom freeze or can garden produce. Any hot weekend was an occasion for home-made ice cream served with angel food cake, lemonade and iced tea. Chewing on ice cubes while reading or working was a pleasant way to cool down. It still is a pleasant way to cool down, but better than ice cubes are the low-cal, low-sugar fruit smoothies I make to subdue a hot day. Mmm-Mmm!

I like Fall because it's a time to slow down and think. Cool, rainy afternoons are just right for catching up on journal writing, setting goals and planning, considering what I can do on those cold winter days when snow keeps me housebound. Will I attempt to get out my scrapbooking materials and finally finish the album I began soon after Alana was born and is still only half done? Maybe I'll write that short story or start a novel. Saturdays might be spent baking some bread or cinnamon rolls to warm up the kitchen and enjoy the scents that remind me of pleasant memories from the past. It's time to get out the full-spectrum lamp that I can sit under while I read or work on the computer to drive away the gloom of SAD. That's the main thing I dread about winter--the short and cloudy days that keep away the sunshine which I absolutely need to feel happy.

I guess I can always come to my blog here and surf the links and favorite other blog spots to drive away the gloom. I'm feeling better already because I have something to look forward to. I wonder if anyone will read this blog and find something that speaks to their heart and will inspire them to share or comment so we can carry on a conversation about life? I can only hope and pray that will happen.