This is Autumn

The magic car pet…

This is …Autumn

This is the silly kitten that took a ride in the Edge’s engine after a Fall Festival at church. This is the kitten that does not belong. This is the kitten that stole my heart. Not really sure how she found a place to ride in the car 17 miles and hung on for dear life. Well, now that she finished her Magic Carpet ride to a new life her on our acreage, a new adventure begins.

It was no fantasy here though. The first day she had to fight all of the other cats just to get a bite to eat. By the following day she has found that even the dog is not her friend. Honey is much to big and much to rambunctious for a kitten. Maybe the house is her friend.

My apologies to all the dog lovers in the family. Honey is much to muddy to invite back into the house. In just two days of evening dew and harvest dust, she is much dirtier than I imagined. Perhaps the cat will be less bother than the dog… Sorry.

This is autumn…

The time of year when vehicles move from farm to town to fields to elevators and to another one yet. Cats and kittens get cold and find the warm engines great places to cuddle up for a nap. Then suddenly, their world has changed and they are somewhere new. Sometimes it seems like magic, and other times just incidental. Poor little kitten.

This is autumn…

The time of year when vehicles and animals are all on the move. The traffic is pretty confusing if you are a little kitten. But we aren’t taking her back to town any time soon. She’ll probably steer clear of four wheels from now on. But if you know me… I’m all game to tame the little thing and teach her that our big scary dog is just in it for the chase.

The past week went by with many a car ride for me. While driving is not my option, it is for my family. The whole juggling act of vehicles and their keys has been very confusing this past week. Add to it the fact that we only had two sets of house keys. My set is not on a car set, the other is. But someone does not always drive that car. And our daughter, who lives at home right now, did not have a set and the juggling of cars and keys, made finding a house set kind of like a disappearing act. The answer to the problem was an extra set of keys. Rubbing the globe and a genie for the right set would not have worked.

My little grandaughter has been having quite the time trying to adjust to her mommy’s new lesson teaching schedule. Watching her during that hour, includes a part-time magic carpet ride. The first few times on the play-matte was easy for her, but now she tends to fight the nap time enforced by someone other than mommy. Typical kid if I do say so myself.

The first time I remember a “magic carpet” type expericence for me was in grade school, when we were allowed to go read a book in the carpeted tent while the others finished their lessons. I loved the chance to get done early and go to a different land in my reading. Reading for escape of reality has been an “issue” for me ever since.

One time in high school, rather than do my mother’s bidding, the book called my name louder. So when the time came to really do what she asked, well, I flew up the stairs and back down again. Only… my feet slipped on the carpeted landing and my hand went right through the window as I tried to steady my turn. No magic carpet or fantasy landing there. The window had to be paid for with my newspaper route money. Oops!

While I can’t really have a car-pet, the story of this little kittens ride and adventures are just beginning.

This is autumn…

Here’s the behind the story aspect…

This past spring I had a little kitten Suga that I had to give away because we can’t have a house cat. My giving pets away has been such a heart ache for my constant at home times that another soon took her place. Molasses came and went, taking nearly 300 dollars with hime as he only lived five months as a “fixed” and well “vetted” cat. So much for spedning money on a cat in the country. The others picked on him until he lost his life on the roadway. End of the want list… No not really.

One night this summer we took a motorcycle ride and discovered while visiting a neighbor seven miles away had an abundance of calico cats. Someone tells me that calico’s are always female which I’m not sure I believe. Because “black” genes always win and thus there would never be any calico cats left, right? Yeah what ever… I thought they were so cute, but they were not ready to leave their mother.

Then my babysitting days came and the cats were forgotten. Move on into fall. The days have been busy with other duties and while every one else is busy, I still often sit with not much to do but crochet. It would be so nice to bring a little fur ball in to pur on my lap. I still miss Suga.

The fall festival at church the other night was our missions offering night. While I do not believe that we magically recieve something if we give something… I do believe that God will reward our giving spirit. Maybe not now, or on earth but He does reward those who give with a “Cheerful Heart.” There’s a passage in Corinthians in which Paul writes about the spiritual law of sowing and reaping. Here is just a portion of it.

“For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭9:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Enter the evening’s end:

as we sit in the car a few minutes and then get out to go into the house. As I step around the car, there sits this soft, tiny little fur ball. A reward for giving? Maybe not, but the Lord knows my lonely heart. The days can pass with such emptiness for me when I am home alone. Maybe just maybe I could tame this little thing and have a purring motor on my lap.

They say a kitten reduces stress, and that cat’s can be good therapy for the lonely heart. Has God answered my prayer? Time will only tell.

Perhaps my spirit is a bit rebellious. The above prayer shawl done in a lemony yellow simply states that “I was a spring baby and I do not really like fall colors, so in defiance of fall my prayer shawl will be in spring colors!” And the little fur ball settled in on the previous prayer shawl that does not have a home yet, is my rebellious way of saying:

This is Autumn.

No sugar substitute

Molasses, or black treacle, is a viscous product resulting from refining sugarcane or sugar beets into sugar. Molasses varies by amount of sugar, method of extraction, and age of plant. Wikipedia

And here goes the story of Mol, Molasses the black cat with a white belly button. Who by the way is absolutely no substitute for holding a grandchild. After being send back outside, his soft fuzzy and cuddly self still welcomes me home. There is competition however.

Once upon a time there was a pumpkin shell house with a pumpkin shell husband and his little pumpkin seed wife. In the house there lived a pumpkin colored retriever that cared for nothing but frisbee. While the wife had hoped for a companion dog that would want to sit with her and cuddle much of the day, they instead were blessed with.a high energy golden doodle that wanted nothing but to run, chase cats, and chase frisbees. Bother but the little pumpkin seed found herself lonely, alone, and a little like a slime wet unhappy pumpkin seed that missed the drying rack.

The pumpkin shell woman soon grew exhausted from the energy drain and the pain of broken-ness collisions, and desired that once hoped for cuddles. So the search began to fill the shell with comfort of soft fur once again. The pumpkin shell husband wanted only to keep his wife happy. So he endured the wanton woman and let her tame the dreaded cat.

For many days the shell became a temptation of warm milk for the little black kitten. He soon learned to accept pets and purred in response. Then one day the kitten melted like molasses in the woman’s touch. His natural reaction to petting is to flop over on the floor and just take it, thus giving a full view of his little white patch on the belly. With all of the black cats on our acreage, at least recognition of him is easier by that simple character trait. Some of the cats are so skittish that they flee at first sight. Others can be touched during feeding, and still others are friendly only to a point or the need for food.

Choosing to bring a cat into the house was a temporary plan from the beginning. Knowing that my puppy was only focused on frisbee, made me decide a smaller cuddle factor was a good stress relief. Coming up with the name was easy. First Honey, then Sugar, now Molasses. Refinement for a cat is done in stages. Just like how you make the liquid molasses, a cat is tamed in stages.

From a confined room to another and finally to a room where there are few choices for naughty, busy kitten activities. I only lost one plant in the process! I forgot how tempting window sills are for a cat within a shell (house),

After the surgery, Mol was very fearful for about a week. Any new person or noise sent him scurrying back to ‘his room.’ We contained his things to the library for the time. He wasn’t allowed on furniture or beds. Which actually wasn’t that difficult. Turns out Molasses has a genetic disposition to cave dwelling. So his naturally flight fright action is to dive under something.

It has been stated that a dog calls you master, but a cat thinks you are staff. Indeed, within just a short time, I became the butler, the maid, the cook, the entertainment and the comfort zone for Molasses. When my hubby came home, Mol immediately retreated to his room. This behavior was acceptable as we didn’t want to rush allergy problems.

Molasses is no sugar substitute. Literally speaking, Suga was attached to her person. Going anywhere that I went and sitting on my lap. Her fondness for affection is what got her into trouble with Honey. Honey buried her in a snow drift several times. When they told me to quit coffee for a time, the thought of decaffeinated coffee was unacceptable to me. I have never really liked the taste of cheap decaf coffee. I’d rather have the most bitter coffee available, then they decaf. It just doesn’t seem a good substitute

Pets are no substitute for people either. So when my second daughter decided to come home for the summer, I knew the cat would have to go back out. Besides the fact that I do not enjoy cleaning. So being the cat’s maid and butler wasn’t my top priority. I would much rather have my daughter around for a few months.

Proverbs 16:24 “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and healing to the body.”

Heave you ever had those times when “the cat got your tongue?” Well, for myself there are those days, and then there are the days when it seems I am constantly putting my foot in my mouth. Some people are constant honeycomb never making blunders with their lips. Well, I am definitely not a honeycomb person. While I may have learned a thing or tow about the tongue being capable of a forest fire, I am not easily prone to gracious words. There are days when my mouth fills full of molasses and nothing comes out right. I use find it easier to blunder than to be sweet.

“Enough of this nonsensical treacle- let’s get back to business.” A British saying that means you have spent too much time on flattery and sentimental, feel-good, puffing up another’s ego and there is work to be done. Maybe I should go back to sugar in my coffee rather than cream. Perhaps the cream I added on those blubber-lip days was more like sour cream! This cat often makes me feel like I am just paying home some unescorted flattery and there must be something better to do, like chase a mouse perhaps?

His favorite mouse was an old wooden spool with shoe string for a tail. It was fun to watch him chaie the oddest things. Like the tub plug from the bathroom. Honestly though, watching my new grand=baby fill her diaper is far more entertaining. Sweet little Isabelle!

No Molasses is no substitute for anything. I love my family and would rather have them than a silly cat. But on those days when I am left alone for hours on end, please pardon me if I digress into my childhood for a moment or two. Molasses satisfies my desire for a snuggly hug. Someday maybe Honey will come back to her sweet puppy cuddly=ness. Until then, I will just have settle on the cat. Yeah, not so much.

Pinning clouds to the sky

Today’s been a long week (7)

“Therefore since we are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so entangles us and run with endurance the race that is set before us.” -Hebrews 12:1 (my mixed up memorized version)

My emotions have been a little under the rug lately. One minute I am happy and excited about some miniature flower found in the greenhouse. The next hour the dog has paw-scratched my nose and there is no little Suga kitten to hug anymore.

Discontentment in the middle of snow filled winters can be a hard chunk of ice to stumble over. And there are a few of those around. The other day while putting all of my yarn projects in order, the weight of “having” to do something just really hit me, and the “wanna” just up and left. If have struggled with the get up and go and feel like there just might be a horse whip after me soon.

While the sun is high in the sky and the snow glares its blinding white reflection, pinning clouds to the sky seems to be my new aim.

What in the world would someone try to pin clouds to the sky for?

Well, when the sun is too bright, like during the hot summer days, a little cloudburst is just the answer. Pinning clouds to the sky is impossible. However the training mode in which we have now arrived is exactly that. Honey won’t drop a toy unless she decides. She grabs ahold of the leash and tries to yank it out of my hand. She seems to think gloves and mittens are toys rather than a cover for my fingers. Whenever I am on the phone, she demands play time or she’ll run away. Popcorn only works if it is fresh and buttery. She also has decided being with, if it is not her choice, then it won’t happen. I think she is more sick of winter than I am. This ninth month of exuberance has me wondering how to make her lazy. Once again I am feeling the discontent worm eat away.

Where does one find a place of peace and contentment when the sky moves on without the cloud that we tried to pin up there? Dreams and goals fail. Things go awry and the worms eat the cabbage. sometimes life just smells like a skunk flower ready to plant on the corner of the garden. Maybe I don’t want to go into a garden either if there is a skunk bulb ready to plant.

(By the way there really is a skunk bulb. It is the Fritillaria Lutea. It is meant to keep critters out of the garden and is often planted at the corners or near gate entrances. Get your hanky ready though! And the funniest part is the flower looks like it has a white Kleenex stuck up a nostril. How funny is that? The Bulbs are so pungent the moles stay out of the garden.)

Now that onion lore has bored the reader, perhaps there is more to this cloud pinning thing.

The kind of day that demands a second pot of coffee is long and busy. But the days that crawl by are just as demanding. Our present reality cannot be so easily checked out of like luggage for the flight. Putting the chores on hold until the weekend or leaving the garbage until the morning could be just the road to slothville. Winter is the perfect time to develop a bit of procrastination character trait. The do-it-now driven personality could learn a little from the hibernaceous creatures. With all the winter bugs there are to catch, being lazy and turning in for bed early might actually keep health as a focus. But sleeping and finding snooze too many times in a row, might best be left for the weekend.

Pinning doilies to my doily board is much more successful. My sister made a square one out of insulation board. but having so little wall space, I decided that using the largest embroidery / quilt ring would work for me and then it would be easier for my blind-self to hang it on a hook behind the library door. This cozily below was made from a ball of thread I rescued from the winter snows behind the house. Who put it there is quite a mystery. I still think Honey stole it alon with the roll of stamps that “cleaning” day awhile back. The doily turned out very pretty.

This morning we were finally successful with learning “Drop.” Honey ignores us grandly for the last few months on this command. Last night we put the soft in house flyers up where she could not chew on them. So with a hand full of popcorn, I brought out her favorite toy ever and began a training session. While in my book hands-on-hip means exasperated and angry, apparently she got the signal today to finally drop the frisbee so that she could play ‘our way.’ After five minutes and over a cup of popcorn, she dropped the cloth disc every time! Wow!

Success often comes after difficulty. This winter has been a cold one. Though it was too cold for many things to grow beautifully in the greenhouse, the lettuce that I planted directly into the grow bed finally decided to pop up. The sun can be convincing. Weeks that feel like months, and days that feel like weeks while demanding more than one pot of coffee can wear on the spirit. But do not be dismayed, victory comes for those who persevere. Patience really is a virtue.

Pinning clouds up in the sky would just block the power of the sun to help my plants grow anyhow. I’m not quite ready for the shade cloth days. Spring will be here soon enough with it’s wet puddles and muddy paws.

Casting shadows

Second glance at second looks

recently, a friend of ours relayed to us a happenings to him at a funeral visitation that we had both attended. While walking across the room to give his condolences, an elderly women exclaimed, “Why you haven’t aged one bit. How are you these days>”. He did not have the heart to tell her that he was not his father and that he had not indeed gone to night school with her. She had glanced at him and saw her old high school friend. While his second look at her reminded him just how elderly his father really was. This second glance at her second look towards him had not made him feel good because he had not aged. In reality it had made him feel old if he must look like his father.

There is nothing more defining in one’s life than finding out that one is soon to be a grandma.  The expectation of the little child for the first time brings out the raw emotions of pride, joy, hope, and humility.

There is a pride that puffs up one’s self-esteem in a very raw manner.  Pride of life and love for the expecting and for the expected.  As we anticipate the generations to follow and the brag books and the boasting power.  So many thoughts that bring about a healthy pride of life that is more joy than pride.

There is a joy that threads its way into all of life when one is going to be a grandparent.  Children bring energy and joy to the faces of the aged.  They also define one’s age in a telltale way that only hits the heart of the beholder in sudden reality of mortality.  So it was with that defining of who I am that drove me to pick up my Grandma Mildred Meeder’s handwritten genealogy.  It’s pages were copied by the xerox copy machine and the lines thus faded, led me to thinking of so many things.

The hope of a little one to do things for and with pulls from me a meandering thought pattern that is surreal.  Was this the kind of hope that kept my grandparents going from visit to visit?

Just down the road from us lies a neighborhood cemetery.  In that internment are the bones of some of my husband’s relatives.  His grandma once planted two small pine trees next to the graves of her parents. For nearly 80 years those trees marked the corner and the view of them signaled an ‘almost home’ feeling that kept us alert the last few miles of the drive home.  One dog that we had felt the emotion so strongly that it would succumb to sleep the last few miles as the peace attended his body.  When the windstorm in 2015 toppled those tall trees, our hearts were saddened by the loss of our relatives touch into our everyday life.

The two trees, their shade,  their shape on the horizon against the sky, the casting of shadows in to the future or rather the fingerprint of the past on our lives is now gone.

Yet  the physical traits of the past generations live on in the family that I now know.  There is a general tendency to proclaim likenesses upon the faces of infants.  Sometimes those traits aren’t even there. But the resemblance of the generations carries into the future on each little face.  To the point that this casting of shadows is fascinating to me.

Casting Shadows

While the rising sun behind me gets

the long list of names and lineage begets

A student of lines that my grandmother wrote

Of histories and births and death she note

The ages etched in my fingers and face

Past and present sent forth in lace

Were I like her in all that beauty

Were I like them in honour and duty

Their lives of dust now blots of ink

My shadow cast into a future ink

Look there, now gone the sun bids fade

Behold what lies beneath the tree of shade

_-Yvonne Clark October 30, 2017

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!

When we bow our heads

What the flowers teach us

The sunflowers have bowed their golden heads. Not to the sun, but to the changing season. As the temperatures at night have dropped into the low fifties the large 14′ plants have dipped nearly to the ground. The sure sign of the coming fall is here. 

Last week  I gathered my helpers and we cut all the beautiful red headed ones off the plants. With lots of requests for some seed, hopefully the heads will dry and not mold. The volunteer plants that came up this spring from my daughters first packet of seeds a few years ago have multiplied quite beautifully. 

This summer we fed bees, butterflies, and a beautiful yellow finch. While others were filling bird feeders, our seeds and pollen kept a host of creatures quite happy. We knew the migration of the winged creatures was soon. Yesterday in the morning -when of course I did not have my phone-I witnessed five monarchs and three bees all in a one foot square area of the zinnias that are also product of saved blossoms. 

Though I was late on burying the wildflower seeds in my tire garden, but the winged critters still had time to enjoy them. We are not as excited about the insects that have found the vined fruit in the outdoor garden. Tomato beetles and such have devastated about half the crop. Next year I really am going to just toss the plant babies that I have no room for. Overcrowding in the garden creates a regular feast for the little bugs. 

As the world groans under the seize of hurricane winds, devastating floods and unimaginable earthquakes, some people   bow their heads in awe of the Creator. Yet others raise fists in defiance. 

Through all the seemingly business of taking care of plants my heart has been weighted down and my head feels the gravity of loneliness. Recently that weight has driven me to inventory my life and search out those who might feel it’s weight also. 

My first recourse is always to search scripture. The story of Hagar banished to the wilderness continues to draw me to a similar well. In Genesis chapter 16 she finds herself at a fountain. Her realization that God sees her prompts her to rename the spring: God Who Sees Me.  

While my eyesight continues to steal vision from me and I am now often missing seeing things, people, or the dog chasing a cat and running right into my legs and knocking me to the ground- I am pulled towards this idea that God Sees Me. 

I bow my head frequently. To see the path. To recover from a branch slap in the face. To ask God to help me with the loneliness of country life.  And as a watch care over the greenhouse and the gardens I am often reminded again how much my eyesight makes me miss. Then one small little creation gives me pleasure. 

One flower, one taste of goodness, one bowed head of a sunflower. One fountain and tractor tire pond. In my lonely alone garden moments God Sees Me and I am  blessed with the growth of some new thing. Sowing and reaping might fill my time and keep me busy but the God who sees me is the One who sustains my life. 

Turn around

When all else fails… 

With the recent addition of a new puppy to our home I thought i puppy-proofed the house quite well. Until she slipped through a tiny hole and found herself trapped in the living room. Well with no where else to go, surely finding some new toys in a basket was the right thing to do! Not so much. I spent two hours untangling yarn, and my husband three. Insert grumpy face.   Sure wish that I could–

read the manual!

When raising young toddlers I particularly remember shortly after my second daughter was born. The first one seemed to climb on everything. She was always on the counter or table when the time came to nurse the baby.  Later my mother told me the story of her sister putting the chairs upside down on the table so her third child could not climb on anything.  She did this so frequently apparently the neighbor thought she was always mopping the floor.  I remember thinking gravely, sure wish I would have–

—Asked my mother!

  • While the children were preschoolers we owned a fixer up house. One of the fixer-up projects was the roof. My husband thought that he could do the sweat equity himself.  Until after a few hours up on the two and a half story building! The tune changed when his stomach couldn’t handle the height anymore. Doesn’t help matters when cleaning the old shingles, one has to watch them slide and fall so far.  Needless to say we are glad that when it came to replacing the shingles we had the “cents” to —

–Hire it done!

In all the years of our house owning and the years of visits to relatives, my husband performed many repairs to the waterways in those houses.  From his daughters about  snaking toilets, to replacing washers on the kitchen faucet, it’s pretty great to have such a handyman husband. And the good part is that I think he’s handsome besides being handy.  However the Christmas morning we were at my mother’s and the sewage pipes decided to flood the sleeping quarters in the basement, we were very blessed to have the “presents” of mind to–

–Call the plumber!

What to do when you need a cup of sugar?  In the old days you would run next door and then have to take over a plate of cookies within a week to repay the favor. Today everyone just runs to the store. I think the borrowing idea was better.  Perhaps our lives would be richer if there were less convenient stores and when we needed another egg we would just–

Find a neighbor 

I live with a family that won’t even take a pain pill for a headache.  Not sure why they are so stubborn, but then I’m kind of a whimp at pain. They all have such a high pain tolerance. There are so many stories I could tell of pushing through the health issues without medical help.  My husband was one of those guys that wouldn’t go out for sports because he wasn’t  going in for the physical. I am glad to say that after years when I had to go to the doctor all the time for either my ITP or having children, he has finally gotten over his fears. Insurance requires the physical thing and after having had West Nile Virus twelve years ago he isn’t so afraid to–

–Go to the doctor!

Not many of us have this next luxury.  The children’s book about not getting out of bed is one of my favorites. Anyone who suffers from migraines can tell you that usually the only remedy for this one is to simply —

–Go back to bed!

Here’s another one that has lost its potency. Today’s world is full of GPS navigators. Everyone has developed so much fear of strangers, it’s like they might be an alligator or something. But we still tell people when they turn south onto Greenfield at the cemetery to look for the tall tree hanging over the road on the east side and that’s our place. I once had a relative drive right on by commenting to a co pilot about the tall tree before remembering my directions. I saw the tail lights turn red just past the acreage. They turned around and were pretty glad they had–

-asked for directions!

Last night I checked the weather before going to sleep. I do this so that I know how early to get up.  The outdoor chores are much too taxing if it is really hot. The alarm got set and rudely chirped it’s greeting at six something.  It was followed by a more pleasant good morning from my hubby-honey as he told me the radar readings and what he had already done with my puppy-Honey.  At approximately an hour later with a break in the rain, my puppy-in-training and I headed outdoors to do her thing. The sky seemed light enough for that under-eighty-degrees walk I had anticipated, so off we trotted.  However by the time we reached the mile marker south of the place the thunder begun to rumble again. Needless to say Honey was much stronger than I imagined as soon as a lightening cracked, she bolted for home.  We ran the rest of the “walk” and we were sure glad as we dashed into protection from the next downpour we felt the good sense to–

–Turn around!

In my life I  experienced friendship failures, body organ failures, memory lapses, mineral deficiency, my parents divorce, church splits, eyesight loss, and other trauma and tragedy. Life is full of last straw moments. People are human and they err often breaking our hearts.  Throughout these experiences I found one perfect love that never changes. Scripture says no one can know the height or depth or breadth or width of God’s true love for us. I am so glad that even in my human frustration at what failures God has gifted me with, His love through Christ Jesus remains pure and faultless. This is the string of hope God sews into my thread  of rope life experiences and reminds me  when all else fails–

Jesus never does!

Tea time plants

Strength does not lie in what you have, but in what you have to give

Tuesday is tea time plants day at my house. The tropical plants with dry soil get to live in the house with me because there is less tendency for moldy dirt.  From collecting the little flower pots to enjoying a cu of tea, this ritual has led me inspired card making and counting the tiniest of blessings. 

When the tea time plants take too long to collect from the windowsills and various locations- so that my tea brews overly strong -then I know it’s time to give away plants! It is such a joy to share garden goodies with a friend.  The tea pot is first put on to boil water, then the dollar store dish pans are filled with an inch of water for the potted plants to “bathe” in.   Usually by then the tea pot is screaming at me, so it’s time to pour my teapot full.  Next I start gathering all the little pots to set into the bath water.  Usually I forget one and just when I’m about to sit down, memory demands a pop-up run to collect another one.  The day when I  brewed my awful white tea, there were definitely too many plants if my tea was that bitter!

Tuesday’s teatime has become a ritual for me. Whether it be a beneficial created habit or one that we struggle to break, habits and character belong to the bigger pictures of legacy and destiny.  So Tuesday teatime gives me think tank time. These thoughts often get written down sometimes neatly other times as scribbles on scraps of paper.  Those thoughts soon drive me into action.  Whether it’s a list of to-do’s or a letter.  The actions which follow soon lead to habits.  Like each days coffee brewing, pill popping, first of the day teeth-brushing, we all have things that have become very ritualistic in our lives.  Habits create character. When Seymour enters the greenhouse, he turns right and heads straight to the yellow water can for a drink. Every time.  I have moved the watering can just to see his reaction.  Unlike animals we have the power to bend our character and plant a legacy. In turn destiny is also ours to pay forward. 

Tiny little pinky violet flowers are so pretty  on the plant, why not pick them early and press them for notecards to give away blessings?  Bloom where God plants you. This has become my motto as I feel so rooted to this place where I live. While others call me in their frequent drive-time. Going anywhere other than the greenhouse is not frequent at all for me.  Words can be so uplifting, Proverbs‬ ‭16:24‬ ‭ESV‬‬ says, “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”  I first got the idea to press flowers in tiny note cards from my fall  chrysanthemum. it too has tiny flowers that measure only thumbnail sized (which is about 2 inches from flower petal to stem). However the little pinky pilots have a flower petal that it’s no bigger than the pinky fingernail. Like the study of an ant colony, these miniature creatures can become Giants in uplifting encouragement.

One final look at teatime. Tea itself can be pleasure and joy with it’s taste and the warmth it provides the body from the inside out. Sometimes it’s the little things that can keep us going during difficult times in our lives.  Whether it’s having a Tuesday habit,  a favorite tea during collegiate  study, or tea for two time with a long-life friend tea time plants in the soul a distinct character that leaves a certain legacy of its own.  Sun-brewed summertime tea will always make me think of outside activities done with my spouse. These tiny “tea blessings” (below) will always remind me of visiting my daughters apartment during college.  Photograph by Lennea Clark.