Color My World Pumpkin

John 8:35 “And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.” NKJV. Abiding freedom that comes from Jesus the Truth brings us up out of slavery to the past, sins, and bondage to world views that are not His way.

In actuality, this blog was written nearly twenty five years ago. At the time I was putting together the song track for my music debut. The result was twelve songs that told my life story. Each one shared a slice of both my spiritual journey and my coming of age. While the music continues to sneak back into my thoughts now and again, the sharing of these songs came to a standstill at some point. Perhaps looking at each one still give me some peace. So for the foreseeable future, I am planning a “focused writing clinic.”

Right now the creativity in my life has gone into fast track. Keeping up with all of the ideas has forced me to start making lists again. I have lists for everything: what I want to write about, what I plan to crochet, what books I want to listen to, what music I should look up, what plans I have for the garden and greenhouse, and anything else that comes to mind. And for some reason, I am not wore out before I even get started. Yay!

First up Stained Glass Windows. This song was written in my college years as I sought to understand my early growing up years. Originally focused on the first ten years, I think that it actually goes clear through my teen years. what the words mean to me now is different than what it meant at first writing.

Sundays during my childhood always meant church. This past year when church has become a time on Sunday when we sit and watch a live feed, is simply not quite right. All those years of pretty dresses, fixed up hair, shiny shoes, and church music really had a strong influence on me. I loved the music part of church of course. The clothes were just a bonus. (However, getting me to put on a dress these last few years requires summer temperatures.)

The churches that we went to always seemed to have stained glass windows, and so did the houses that we lived in. Old buildings have a history to them that is undeniable. These windows were not my focus as a child. Though they were beautiful works of art and I can picture them in my mind’s eye to this day.

It is what happened during my thirteenth and fourteenth year of life that changed me to the core. I had already had my “Come to Jesus” moment by the time that life would change me forever. I knew who I was, or so I thought I did.

Then came the “mean people” years. Mean classmates, mean men, mean peers, mean parents, mean church people, mean friends. Though I guess if they were mean, that would declare that they really were not my friends in the first place

God chose to color my world pumpkin.

Color my world pumpkin?

Yep. And being a spring baby (birthday in April) this was not my favorite color. I remember when I asked my parents to let me have a yellow room. All was not really my choice, as they proceeded to put up pink wallpaper and gold carpet, and my Grandmother made me a pink with grey bedspread. I never liked any of it. The room was just not quite cheerful enough. Of course, I also lived in one of those houses with a tower room and the windows were at sky level. Talk about the real life “Tangled” experience.

I suppose if you mix pink and yellow, you get orange.

And so that’s what happened.

About the time I could get a drivers’ permit (in my state it was fourteen) my mother decided it would be best to get my eyes examined first. Off to the eye doctor she took me. The only local doctor that had any experience with Retinitis Pigmentosa was alarmed at the progression of the disease in my eyes, and he took drastic measures He prescribed pumpkin colored spectacles.

Well, that about sealed the deal with any hopes for friendship that I might have with my peers. Growing up in small town America meant that since I was no longer athletic material, I was out of IN. Yeah, I said that just the way I wanted to. Mean came into my life more that it had ever been before. I was picked on, teased, called names, and basically treated terribly by everyone who had a capacity for ruthlessness.

Coloring my world pumpkin may have saved my eyesight so that I would be able to drive for the next twenty eight years, but it gave me an “orange tinted” view of all those around me. Some people are simply rotten clementines. I hope they grew up.

Everyone has rose colored glasses. You really can’t deny it. No matter what has happened in your life, all of these situations and experiences effect one’s worldview. Knowing this about yourself, and about others is what makes us human.

It’s when we can take off our pumpkin colored shades and put on someone else’s color for just a moment that makes us relatable, friendly, and healthy.

I don’t know what color glasses you look through. Maybe like me life has handed you some very difficult set of circumstances. Maybe you are one of the lucky ones, with the “rosie” view of the world. I doubt it. Everyone has stained glass windows in their worldview. We don’t have a choice about it. It’s what window pane we choose to look through at others that matters.

Sometimes we have to take the spectacles off. Sometimes we have to put the glasses on. Sometimes we have to clean the lenses to get a better view. Blindness is not always a physical disability. Sometimes blindness is in the heart and soul. Sometimes pink blends with yellow and makes orange.

Disclaimer Alert! I don’t really like pumpkins. Okay, it is fun to watch them grow and it is cool to watch them change colors. I use to love the taste of pumpkin pie, but these days even that does not agree with me much. I would rather have a “squash” pie that tastes just like pumpkin only better-because it agrees with my system. And I am not a fall lover, so the loaded pumpkin decorations are not really my thing either. So it is now obvious to me why my CD failed. The picture was taken in the fall and the coloring is fall. For this “forever spring” garden lover, the CD should have had a spring picture and it should have been color toned to my spring palette with some yellow on it. Oh, well.

Is Hindsight Really 20\20?

When we remember things with a skewed sense of reality…

Here is the thought that got me considering hindsight, and I’m not talking about the butt end of a roast or anything else of that sort. This year is in fact 2020, so why not think upon all of it’s various connotations.

Recently my mother started the whole sibling group on a “remember when” game and the focus was the earliest snow in our state. The consideration was in September, but now we are already into October. Snow is expected for our area within the week. The northern part of the state had snow and ice this week.

What each one remembers is truly based on the strength of that persons memory. I do not remeber any snow earlier than October 31st within the first year of our marriage. Then just a few years ago we had snow that landed the bean crop in disarray. That snow was earlier than Halloween, but the exact date just does not stick in my head. Lots of people lost cattle during that snow.

When considering the whole vision thing (20\20) is really about how well one can see on things put in front of the eyes. This has nothing to do with the foresight of whether to plant corn or beans for the best harvest value. If one sees best at close up or and distance we have names for that kind of vision. Well, in life experiences, some people are truly better at foresight, while others are good and hindsight. I will try to explain later.

Even more skewed in my mind is the memories that I have of our families first home in the northern part of the state. I vaguely remember running under the old metal table from the late sixties. I was so short and so young, it was a great spot to hide from my sisters. Funny how I do not remember the moment that stopped my under the table “cross country” home runs!

And answers that we were seeking are no longer questions to be asked. We can see clearly now. Hindsight brings us clear vision and the view is nearly 20\20. Is this the thought that we will have some years down the road? A few years from now we will look back. Right now we simply try to look forward and all that we see is the moment. The difficulties of the day seem insurmountable.

Foresight tells me that this is the plague that is taking away our history. So many elderly people are being lost to this virus. This disease seems to be taking the people that gave us our history. They are the ones of our past. The gray haired populous is considered at risk in this pandemic world that we live in. But hindsight is telling me they are not the only ones at risk of this disease. Some younger people suffer and just this week the world news exploded with the news of a 38 year old dieing in flight because of the virus.

We all have so many opionions about everything, and yet there is still only one breath between all of us and the future. The next breath could be our last. We never know.

But here’s a look at the past few weeks here in my neighborhood.

Our outdoor living space is complete. We made a 2×4 slat bench to add to the collection. The recitation bench along the east wall of the house came from our old grain shed in Iowa. The place that we lived had three delapitating buildings: the grain shed, a small animal barn and a garage. The garage was the first thing to go. After the spring snow melted and we discovered it was full of the trash from the previous occupants, we lit a match to the whole lot. Of course the fact that the propane tank was less than ten feet from the building was quite a frightful thought. The grain shed and the basement held a number of pieces of furniture that still grace my home today.

The swing is an old crib remodel. Haha. The crib was the one that Gavin’s dad and siblings all slept in when pre-toddlers. Today it would not fit the safety regulations as the bars are too distant in measurement. It makes an amazing back porch nap zone.

The focus of all the pets attention is the deck box. It contains their food. We have had to discard of a few wild critters in the past as raccoons can figure out how to lift the lid and help themselves. Thank goodness for the new addition to the family. Eva has kept them away since her arrival.

The slat bench has wood that came from the top of the barn. All the pieces were well over fifty years old and rough cut lumber. We spent quite some time getting each piece to the correct measurement. The staining of the top pieces made the construction of the slat bench really pop. It is a pretty good nap zone also. However, these cooler temps are not the best for such things. The finish is an old oil based recipe from Aussie Timber care. It has kept my benches and other outdoor pieces in tip top shape.

This mosaic crochet afghan is now complete. It does not have a new home yet. Because I was born in the spring, I prefer bright and bold colors more than fall. I have a perpetual spring in my greenhouse and could bore you with my pictures of flowers.

The pattern on the blanket is “What comes around, goes around.” The square spirals were really quite fun to crochet. The border and the separation lines are a simple steppe pattern. I think they kind of look like “z’s” and that makes it a good sleeper’s warmer! While I thoroughly enjoyed the process of crocheting the afghan, the colors just did not thrill me. So if there’s a friend of mine in love with it, they better holler quick. Otherwise my sister will find a home for the burnt orange delight.

Lately, I found the cold a bit too nippy on my fingers. So I decided to remake a couple of my hat and mitten pairs. I started with my everyday set that keeps me from the frost while doing the morning rounds. Honey and I go out to greet Eva. She sleeps in the heated hut outdoors. We scoop a bowl of kibbles for the cats then head out back to do the business. Next we run to the greenhouse to check the temperature. I give Cocoa a can of oats. Then we run like mad to the house because the north wind is so bitey.

This little whimsical hat was part of my creations from last spring. It is a scrappy hat. In other words, I used some scrap chunks of yarn and made a hat that was one of a kind. So the other day after perfecting my mitten pattern on a different set, I sat down and pulled up some yarn chunks to make my “whimsy set.” Something of the Oma in me enjoys wearing such a silly little dunce hat. The ball always gets a lot of attention either from little kids (while shopping) or even from other peoples pets (they can’t take their eyes off of the ball dangling from my head). Well, with a Grandmother name like Oma, why wouldn’t I enjoy a little whimsy in my life? My favorite books were the Dr Suess and I still can’t resist buying one even if I can’t read them anymore.

People with foresight always seem to get things right. They dream forward. They plan ahead. They look to the future with hope and ideals. People with hindsight are always talking about the past, looking into history with new perspectives. Trying to discover the truth about how things really happened. Maybe even considering the latest conspiracy theory. Ahhh, now I don’t believe that’s all a blanket approach to the whole of living.

My vision into the distance has always been a little poor. Having someone else to explain exactly where the moon is has made it much easier to find. Even if I can’t see the “man on the moon” I can still imagine it. And now my closeup vision has gotten a little more challenged also. Losing the peripheral view of the world, does not mean that I don’t see what’s going on in the world around me. It just means that I run into things far more frequently than I would like. It also means that my husband has to sort my little yarn chunks into the right color coordinations. White and yellow seem to be so close in color these days.

Whether you like to look ahead and dream of the future or whether you are an avid history book reader, one thing is the same. We all breath the same air. We are all fighting for another day another breathe. Today I want to aknowledge that I believe that breathe of air comes from my Soveriegn, Invisible Source. God the Creator who breathed into that first man Adam the breathe of air,

Psalm 144:4 “Man is but a breathe of air, His days are like a passing shadow.”

These days I do not visit my grandchildren as frequently as I would like. The fear of covid probable keeps me away more than I would like to admit. Being high risk in the health area is not something that I want to frequent in this blog. So I will just say that looking to the Author of this vapor does give me meaning and purpose to make each and every visit of high value and very enjoyable. They bring me so much joy, even if it is just during a phone call with childish squeals in the back ground. Looking at each day, week, or month as a passing shadow is one thing, considering my life to be but the passing shadow is another thing entirely. For now seeing these little faces as a small token of my shadow cast into the future is almost too deep a thought for consideration.

Thanking my Creator for every breath of air. Looking to a brighter Future tomorrow.

Bridge to nowhere

The cradle falls down

“Rock a bye baby in the tree top

“When the wind blows

“The cradle will rock

“When the bough breas

“The cradle will vall

“who will catch baby and all?”

Years ago we built a fort for out girls. This picture was taken at the tail end of construction. Gavin and his dad were the braun. The girls are seen near and on the steps. The dog was our first, Labrador Lady. This fort was a rectangular shaped deck over a sandbox. The stairs were an antique slide stair made of cast iron. The hand rail was curved beautifully. Off from one corner we placed a slide down the opposite side from the ladder. The girls spent hours dragging stuffed animals, Barbies, and dolls up and down that fort. We even braved the night air once and slept up there. No comforter could bring us enough cushion or comfort. Poor daddy did not sleep at all running to the house for more blankets to keep us warm. Good memories.

When we moved to this place, the fort had to come with. The legs were chopped off and the sand box was recreated as a stand alone. The fort itself stood a few years until the wood began to crack.

When the girls were in junior high we put a “deck” up in the trees. The best of the boards from the fort were used. The platform was a project that the girls and their father put together. The same stairs were used and the many days spent up on the viewing deck were lots of fun. We even had school up there. If you can count going to read out on the fort with a pillow and blanket: school.

Finding pictures of those days is difficult. We had a no shoe policy and there weren’t many days when the old camera made it up there too.

The high school days seem long ago now as both girls are married. This spring with all of the rain, many of the split trunk trees could not handle all of the wells of water in their hollows. So the old fort fell down one night in another one of those windy rain storms.

We picked up the pieces… rather dad picked up the pieces and gathered the salvageable deck boards and the think tank session was in full motion.

One day, I got the grand scheme that we really ought to be adding more lanscape areas to our yard so that there is less mowing. Permanent visual art flower gardens would benefit me in my visual needs and perhaps this was the time to begin. What to do with that old deck wood?

How about a bridge?

I think my husband though I had gone mad. We don’t even have any rough, rocky, or hilly areas. But there are plenty of rocks to add to a landscape theme and perhaps a bridge to nowhere was just the thing to do with these old pieces of the first fort, turned viewing deck and now ….

We began with an idea and watched a few video how to’s and soon I was painting away.

The arched base was made from the floowbeams of the old deck. They were 2×12’s and perfect for the job.

The top of the arch is actually the pice that is cut from the bottom and lifted up to the top and planked together by screws and lag bots. The corner of the base bottom board is cut off to continue the arch. The three base pieces are held together with some 2×4’s in between. And soon we were putting the deck boards on.

The floor of the bridege was complete and then it was time to design the handrails. We went in for coffee and some more Google search time. Seeing the deck boards used for the third time and thinking about there age was good ruminating over memories. The boards were first used nearly 20 years ago. We never sealed the green treat lumber, yet here they are sanded and ready for another 20 years maybe. This time the paint will help them weather their use.

Once we figured out our design for the hand rails, the four uprights and the top rail could be placed. Happily the 1×3 we used for the handrail did not snap when we attached it. It was just thin enough to take the arch that we wanted it to have.

And finally it was time for those trying triangles again. Getting the angles on the ends of each board was a bit of trial and error, but thank goodness my husband is an engineer. One measurement and four boards later, each piece was placed and “eyeballed” into position!

Here is the finished project!

Of course, we aren’t really finished yet. The landscape idea is in process. Creating a dry river bed isn’t exactly what my husband wants, but having another mosquito haven is not my idea, so we will see what the landscaped area turns out like down the calendar aways.

So many days I needed to look at some item to remind me just where I have come from and where I am going. My eyesight will play tricks on me out in the yard, but if there is something to aim for, I can get moving again if I feel lost.

This bridge really symbolizes much. From the youth of our parenting days, to the years of homeschooling, and now the bridge to a future. We take each day, each step, one at a time. Days turn into years so quickly. Each decision we make to put another step forward leads us to a future that we may not always know the outcome. Yet we build things, we create memories, we make bridges.

Whether it is with people, places, or things where we came from might just be the bridge that gets us to where we are going….

Pretty Ugly

Banners of love?

There is a story that my mother tells. Sorry sister, but it’s mot about me. It is about my eldest sister.

When she was a little girl learning about language and the true essence of words, my parents were also learning about such things. They would do this little conversation bit that went something like the following…

“Are you pretty?”

Little girl nods her head in the yes motion.

“Are you ugly?”

Little girl shakes her head vehemently in the no fashion.

“Are you pretty ugly?”

Little girl hears the word pretty and begins nodding head yes, then gets confused.

When I heard that story the first knowledgeable time, I was so sad. Why would a parent do such a confusing thing? Children in the toddler stage don’t understand all of the word abnormalities that our language has to offer. It seems mean to me to be so confusing.

I wonder what my parents did to me along this same line. Oh yeah, there is this one…

“Do you want an ice cream cone?”

I would nod my head lyes.

“Maybe you’d rather have a hot dog?”

I would shake my head no.

“Are you sure?”

Sure?

I distinctly remember being asked this frequently… I had no idea what sure meant. My name, that I knew. My want for the ice cream cone instead of a hot dog, that I knew. Sure–I did not know.

I was not sure. I was not sure what sure was. Sure was a foreign word to me.

The first phrase that my daughter repeated that I said was a bit of a shock to me. While unloading the dishwasher one day or doing dishes, not really sure which, something spilled. Usually it was a plastic on the top rack that got flipped over from the force of water and then filled up. Somehow, this happened too often and then spilled all over the silverware or the clean floor. My natural tongue wagging during those days was the phrase “Dog-gone-it!”

One day while my little girl was playing with blocks or a toy, her frustration became apparent when she too voiced her disgust with “Dog-gone-it!”

Today however, the words only match my spirit.

It is downcast and I echo the psalmist who repeatedly asked, “Why, o my soul, are so downcast within me?”

Like the sunshine blocked by the clouds. Or rather like the clouds themselves. There is this dark ominous sky that says the storm has moved int and the showers are about to burst forth.

Tears. On the brink of tears. The mist is covering my face and the moisture is making my eyes blink. And on top of the darkness, it is cold. Bitter, ice driving winds fling the sharp mist into my eyes and face until it seems I am about to face plant on the rocky gravel under my feet.

When I woke up this morning, the sun was shining.

Where did it go?

Into the empty despairing silence. The chores were complete. The coffee was made.

The dog refused her breakfast.

What was I suppose to do? Ignore her need? I decided, that just because I am blind deosn’t mean that I had not seen her do her business in a few days. We have been trying to nurse her back to health. Perhaps she needed a long walk to get out. Her energy level just has not been normal this last few days.

Why did I think that someone might want to go with me. The morning had dawned bright and cold. Freezing to be exact. Fall is officially here. No one would want to take a brisk morning walk in the sunshine.

By the time I returned home my spirit was completely defeated. The walk had frozen my tears on my face. The bitter words I had uttered told me that in truth, I was pretty ugly this morning. No one wanted to go for a walk on the first day of frost. Not even y dog.

She’s back to sleeping at the foot of my chaise. I’m back to not being sure about anything. And I feel like the whole morning has been a “Dog-gone-it!” Kind of experience.

The Eleventh Hour

May your good character shine during your eleventh hour endeavors.

When I looked at the calendar for this week and discovered it was week eleven, I thought I knew exactly what this blog would be about. Then the drama unfolded and things changed and being a woman, I changed my mind. The title for this blog however had already been written in my notes. How could I possible change my mind?

While drama wasn’t my calling in life, I did get to act in a couple of plays while in high school. I also wrote a few skits as a youth director. And I wrote a Christmas play or two during the children’s growing up years. My most memorable acting career was during my own childhood. Six years older than my brother, I could convince him to play some silly part in many of the stories we would act out for our older sisters, or mom and dad.

Playing a role in a one act play can be fun or filled with anxiety. In high school, my classmates knew I did not want to walk across a darkened stage. Stress. So they set me up in a rocking chair and told me to knit. I tried to tell them it was crochet, but most people just don’t care about that difference. Having a role in someone’s one actor play in adult life is filled with drama that without a good sense of humor could drive the outsider to craziness.

Here’s the skit.

Vinedresser: The grapes will be ready to pick in two days, did you get the crew hired?

Caretaker: Yes, I have a dozen people hired to arrive at sunrise the day after tomorrow.

Vinedresser: A dozen? I can’t afford to pay all those people!

Caretaker: I only promised them a denarius for the full days labor.

Vinedresser: They better all meet their quota or I’m not paying.

Caretaker: Don’t worry. I got this.

Two days pass, and the morning of picking day nears noon.

Vinedresser: The forecast shows a storm for the morning, tell theses lazy people to get on the move.

Caretaker: I’ll go get another dozen pickers after lunch.

Two hours pass, and the field is still only half harvested.

Vinedresser: If we don’t get this crop all in the vats by sunset, I’m going to loose my year’s income! Hurry up!

Caretaker: I have another dozen coming to haul the carts in an hour.

The last hour of working day arrives and the day is nearly spent, there is about a quarter of the harvest left, and a storm is brewing. The distant sound of thunder rumbles through the air.

Vinedresser” I’ve just sent for another dozen workers.

Caretaker: They can’t possibly get here before the rain.

Vinedresser: They’ll do all they can because I promised them a denarius.

As the lightening looms on the horizon, the last wagonload is dumped into the vats for the stompers to begin their footwork. The pickers all line up for their wages. The first hired and the last hired all receive the same day’s compensation.

Caretaker: That’s not fair. These twelve worked all day and those ten only worked a half a day and those fifteen did not come until the eleventh hour of the workday.

Vinedresser: It is my crop. My wine presses and my money. The crop has been successfully harvested. I have every right to pay each one the same wage. My gratitude for each one is the same. My thankfulness to each one is the same. I will pay to each one what I have promised-one denarius.

Life is not fair. If it was, we couldn’t live in the world of cotton candy, goat rodeos and blue ribbons all the time anyways. Because then the fair would not be special.

No life is not fair, because if you lived there, then it really wouldn’t be a fair, now would it?

“The eleventh hour” is a working world phrase that is meant to convey the last ditch effort given at the final hour of the day to complete a task. Many people are told they have an eleventh hour procrastination personality character trait. People who consistently throw in a “last ditch effort” actually are preparing their own hole to be buried in-in case you didn’t know where that one came from. It is a battle term used to describe the front line where soldiers dig a ditch to lie in, from which they attack the enemy often to die in their own hole. “There are no atheist in a foxhole” is another common saying that is used in this same scenario. Meaning everyone cries out to God for saving when death is eminent.

Okay enough of the morbidity. The above doily / bowl was another of my efforts to make something for which I had no pattern. These efforts are usually filled with a lot of drama on my part. There is the constant figuring and refiguring of the sequences to discover how the item will lay according to my mind’s eye. Sometimes I get angst enough that my husband will pointedly say, “Maybe you should work on something else.” And then there was the day when he enforced my purpose in crochet. “You know,” he stated, ” You should not fuss about a pattern or project for one person, when you should be praying for another. Just pick up a prayer item to work on for the person who needs your prayer now.” Quite the advice from the one who does not crochet. Yet, wise words, as most of my crochet time is purposeful prayer for the person whom the item is intended for.

There’s a story to every moral ya’ know! Or the other way around: there’s a moral to every story.

The whole point of the above parable told by Jesus of Nazareth, is that God’s reward for coming to Him for saving grace is the same for everyone. Eternity. We twist the story in our own thinking to be about the caretakers and the workers who felt unfairly treated. Our purpose should never be about fairness.

Whether we live a holy life for 99 years or change our actions the last six months while dying from cancer that we brought upon ourselves, God’s hope for all is that we choose HIM! Don’t wait for the eleventh hour to become the person you want to be or the person God wants you to be.

My brother and I would probably enjoy a momentary return to those little two little people one little act plays. But dealing with people who are stuck in the eight year old’s drama style, no thanks. Though I ditched my last effort at this blog and chose to write something completely different at the eleventh hour, it is not a habit or lifestyle I choose everyday. God help me to put my best effort forward every moment of the day.

Blessings to you on your eleventh hour endeavors. May they be non-dramatic and evidence of your good character throughout your life!

Eight Note Melody

Scaling mountains (or piles of snow)

My mother always yelled at me when I didn’t finish a tune, song, scale or melody. Ending on the seventh note of the scale then became fun for me. A way of passive aggression that get some rise or attention out of a busy mother with two toddlers. Playing piano was a relaxation technique for me. I played through the red solo book or hymn book skipping from song to song. Often not even finishing them to go on to another. I suppose she would say I was being ornery.

Getting my nine month old dog to scale the snow pile without biting me while I crawled up there was almost like scaling a mountain. For some reason she has decided that mittens are toys and simply won’t stop nipping at our mittens. Perhaps she thinks we are saying nippin’ instead of mitten. Oh, well, she will get old soon enough and the mittens won’t be on forever.

“For apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?”

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭2:25‬ ‭ESV‬‬ http://bible.com/59/ecc.2.25.esv://bible.com/59/ecc.2.25.esv.

The month is nearly gone and it took me long enough to catch up on my Bible reading for this month. This is the verse that seemed to stick in my memory for meditation the other day. Solomon’s contemplation of the vanity of life might seem rather depressing if you can’t find the little nuggets of wisdom in each chapter. Knowing that our table prayer has always given honor to the God who feeds us has been special through my life.

“To Him who has given these blessings, and thanks to the hands that prepared it Bless this food to our bodies use and us to His service.” “Thanks be to Him who has filled our table once again.” “Our Father, who has seen fit to feed us each and every meal. Thank you.”

Whatever your daily ritual is, considering that God gives both food and the enjoyment of food is wonderful. When I thought about my sister in her need of food and need of an appetite while suffering from the winter flu bug, I couldn’t help but making some yummy treats. It was great to hear her exclamations over the muffins and the canned apples that our mother had insisted on making while she was here last fall was rather enjoyable.

So this week might be the snowiest yet this winter. We’ve had two days of snowfall already and more to come tomorrow. I’m okay with waiting for the mud. It is February. But the older I get the longer the winter seems to be. Tomorrow, Honey and I will have to go climb some more piles while we can. When the wind takes a break from sculpting the snow, it is so picturesque, that had it not been so cold, I would have taken more pictures.

Anticipating the coming spring, can sometimes take the enjoyment out of the pretty landscape. So I have decided to ask God just for today’s appetite. The daily bread, the enjoyment of today!

The same thing

Six to one and half dozen to the other

Children say the darn-dest things! And sometimes those silly jokes from the elderly to the little child are pretty funny too.

Once upon a time immigrants could only come into our country from Ellis Island. The lady of liberty was their first greeting to a land of hopes and dreamers. And today no one can seem to agree if the “dreamers” should be allowed to stay or forced to go. Yet we have an aging population that will desperately need care in the next ten to forty years. Alhzeimer’s and brain degenerate dies eases just may need this flood of immigrant healthcare workers to take care of our aging population. That’s my own opinion.

Telling silly stories and ridiculous jokes is one of the elderly past times that I enjoy listening to but haven’t quite the knack for proper repetition. The older one gets the more common it becomes to have frequent repeating pun lines. Remembering them is the key to long life I think. One story thus repeated in my family is about Ole Olson.

In a small Norwegian settlement in the Dakota’s there lies a little cafe named Ole Olson’s Fine Cuisine. In it you’ll find everything from white sauce Norwegian dishes, to German dumplings, to Fine Chinese cuisine. Upon the visit to the restaurant an out of towner was overheard asking the owner how he came upon the establishment. Here is Ole’s reply. “Well, when I got to Ellis Island with my wife and child, we happened to fall in line with some very fine brothers from Norway heading to the Dakota territory. When we got up to the name taker, she asked my name. I could tell by the process, that though I spoke no English and neither did the brothers, Name giving was the proper answer. The gentlemen ahead of me replied- ‘Sven Olson’ and ‘Ole Olson.’ So I stepped up to the window and said ‘Siam Ting.’ I could not read or write English but was given a pice of paper for identification. I gestured to the brothers and Sven figured out what I wanted. He laughed heartily and slapped me on the back . ‘Ole we have another brother!” They insisted I come with them to Dakota, My wife Lyi and child Kyi became LeeAnn, and Kiya Olson. And we’ve been here ever since!”

I really do a better job of writing this joke than telling it. My dad and those out in western South Dakota can tell the joke in about two minutes. It took me nearly twenty to write it.

Here’s a much shorter joke I heard recently.

Q: Why didn’t the skeleton go to the movies? A: He couldn’t find anybody to go with.

As a child, sharing things with my sisters became a daily mealtime, snacktime and playtime reality. They being older than I, soon found that I was a very bad tattle teller and learned to exclude me from their schemes. I remember as a pre-teen my sisters getting jammed fingers in their fighting days. I found my six years younger brother to be an ample playmate. I could boss him around as long as I wished or until I compromised and played his way occasionally. Before he arrived on the scene while the tattle teller was still ruling within, my mother had to learn how not to referee the sibling rivalries. On one such occasion, she responded to my telling with “It’s just six to the one and half a dozen to the other.” I couldn’t believe that she didn’t see the same unfairness that I had. I stomped off angrily with “that’s the same thing!”

Indeed, the same thing.

While it may be difficult to understand that it rains on the just and the unjust alike, that the Lord gives wisdom to all those who seek it. That there are really smart people who are atheist and really smart people who give all the glory to God. While I am human and unable to fathom the deepest secrets of the Almighty God, perhaps it is the simplest things that get the mind stumped more often.

How did Siam Ting live his whole life as Ole Olson’s other brother? How do children have the same parents end up so totally different even when they grow up in the same house? How can six Cookie’s and a half-dozen Cookie’s be identical? How does the garden grow even when there’s so little sunshine and the rain never stops? How?

Why was it so hard to give up my helper Seymour eight months ago and I didn’t even shed a tear to give away the little want to be house cat that just can’t live in the same house as my husband? While I miss my helper from time to time, a needy cat is not on my to do daily list. Suga just really wasn’t letting me get anything done. She will make a nice house cat for someone else. In this case the feelings were not six for one and half a dozen for the other. I was definitely playing favorites with that adorable loving kitty. And it’s not fair to expect her to live at the threshold of “wanting” in the house in a world so cold, when someone else not allergic to cats will really enjoy her soft furry body.

And yet asking questions like these never made me any smarter. There are still people who think my opinion is invaluable. There are still times I fail to ask a question and guess very wrongly. There are still others who think life can be “qualified.” While the quality of my life isn’t the same as it used to be, my life still qualifies to be fed. Mentally, spiritually, physically, emotionally I still have the same needs that I have always had. Being blind might be a physical challenge for me that leads me to tears, yet I will continue to have much of the same needs I have always had. May God spare me the thoughts and the pungent people who think about life in terms of quality. The struggle to win life’s battles will continue to make me want to fight for fairness.

Dream on.

Ode to Chivalry and Stupidity

When not to stay home

Yep, my husband is a re-born Knight from the Middle Ages. Nothing will stop him in his tracks. He is like a bloodhound on scent when he is on a mission of kindness.

As a young lad, he and his brother out-foxed the coyote, the deer, the pheasant and the snowstorms. There wasn’t a school snow day that they didn’t go hunting. Rather playing in the outdoors was not a sport as seen in the winter Olympic. Weather, wind, snow, and ice were just an excuse to trap some poor animal trying to beat the elements.

Not to be called an anti-hunting activist, I am thankful that my great white (snow covered) hunter can save my pets from preying beasts.

Knighthood and kindness has not been killed. This is proof that chivalry still exists every time old-man-winter tears his ugly head. The blowing snow has never been a foe to my beloved.

Until last Monday night.

Stupidity

Stupidity and chivalry really are synonymous.

Okay, maybe that was a little to blunt. Like the edge of that fish fillet knife buried in the tackle box in the closet. In all of our married years, i don’t think it has ever been out of it’s leather sheath. Oh, well. If there were no mosquitoes in the fishing world maybe fishing would be more appealing. My poor dear really hates mosquitoes. That’s why winter sport hunting has been more fun.

However, the last time there was a license on the table was for the Canadian whites that come through. And if I had any patience for soaking the wild meat longer and making it more taste worthy, perhaps my love would have brought more bunting home for his little ones.

So there, you have the old hunting fail stories. He and his brother used to have a lot fun going after critters. When livelihood comes into challenge because the critters are after the livestock, suddenly it’s not so fun anymore. We have lost lambs, ewes, ducks, geese, chickens, pigs, piglets, and kittens to wild coyote or fox. There just aren’t as many young teen males interested in late night rendezvous to go after a coyote or wild dog. There are times we can hear the coyotes calling to each other over their food.

So we took the blizzard warning quite seriously. Until it quit snowing. Then it just seemed right to go help scoop out the elderly and the invalid. Not in that order of course. The only reality in the whole thing, is that after scooping himself out of the snow bank, my dear hubby was feeling quite elderly and invalid!

There is a little book that we bought many years ago that was one of the girls favorite winter reads. The title is “The Snowplow.”

An ode to the evenings true knight in armor would definitely involve the sound of a Diesel engine and the impressive sound of the snow being chewed up and spewed out like a dinosaur-ish volacanic monster!

These last few days recovering from the shoveling has taken longer that it did years ago. I use to shovel out my own foxhole in a snowdrift just for fun. Now it took me three days to get an adequate path to my greenhouse that doesn’t include snow in my toes by the time I get there. Recovery to me is never about just resting and watching television. My preferred mode is crochet and a book to listen to while sitting with a warm buddy next to me. Thank goodness with Honey’s sprained toe/paw, she has been more willing to help keep me warm.

The above project is one that began nearly four years ago. I finally decided to just finish it as a set. Fingerless mittens, visor hat with buttons, and a turtle neck warmer should come in handy for the next blizzard event. Perhaps, Monday nights events will keep us closer to the cabin next time..

Chasing leaves

Why does the wind get to have all the fun

The other morning when my daughter and I shared breakfast table time, she began laughing our loud and proclaimed, “that little black kitten is chasing leaves.”  I was amused by her joy at the cat’s expense.  


Chasing leaves might be an endless game this time of year.  With the high wind warnings on the weather radar, this week brought the new carpet to the backyard quite quickly.  I was amused to catch a glimpse of our five month old golden-doodle chasing a leaf today also.  Not so amused to be aroused at sunrise with her ferocious  barking at the deer in the yard through the picture window in the living room.  Chasing things must have been “in the wind” today as a neighborhood black doodle came through the front yard later after said-same deer!

Chasing leaves is how I feel about cleaning this time of year.  The crumbles, and dusties of fall find their way into the house as readily as those pesky little Asian beetles.  Once the harvest begins the little imposter ladybugs must find a new home.  Mine seems to be the best, I quess.  Once the leaves get blown across the township, maybe the cleaning will let up.  But I hear snow might fly first and then it won’t be so easy to remove the soggy mess.

Chasing leaves right out of fall and into winter reminds that there are some decoration changes to be had soon.  While my sister’s have fall birthdays and enjoy putting up all of their fall what-nots our early in September, my birthday is in spring.  So having a “forever-spring” greenhouse is far more fascinating than rearranging all of my surfaces to make room for a seasonal decoration theme.  However, I have always loved playing in the snow and my snowman collection will have to come out soon.  The law of flat surfaces is alive and well in my home, so there will be a big cleaning festival before the collection can find its winter place on those spaces.

Chasing leaves back into their pile might be fun as a child when the joy of scattering them as one jumps into the mound, but as an adult getting the unruly back into submission is less captivating.  Today as I observed my puppy’s lack of restraint when greeting newcomers it occurred to me that perhaps it might be easier to put the leaves back on the tree than to get her to sit when every ounce of her being springs forward at excitement.  We set up class for her and I for the next six weeks.  We will soon find out of getting her to obey is something like trying to gather leaves into a pile with a northwest gale!

So while you consider the change of the seasons, find a few leaves to kick around.  Be a child for a few minutes as you kick up some joy.  Imagine yourself stronger than the wind as you puff at the pile!