Saturday, December 12, 2009

Things are Christmassy!

Normal, everyday things seem different around Christmas, don't they? Cold winter nights are just cold in January or February, but at Christmas time they are cozy and crisp! I burn candles all the time, but at Christmas they are prettier. They glow. Burgundy and sage colored home accents are now decidedly red and green. Hot tea is the stuff! Suddenly it not only tastes good, it makes me feel good when I drink it. Surely you know that hot chocolate was made for Christmas! It's always good, but at Christmas it's almost a food group of it's own. At Christmas, it's all more of an experience! I have a better attitude about traffic at Christmas. I listen to and enjoy music that wouldn't excite me any other time of the year. I mean, who listens to Alvin and the Chipmunks or Bing Crosby in June? I don't even mind Wal-Mart as much this time of year. Maybe that's a stretch, but grocery stores, quick stops, gas stations seem friendlier to me, and it's just easier to smile at folks and strike up conversations.

Funny, isn't it? I wonder why it's that way? It's not just a 'mood', really. It's in the air... things 'are' different! It's the magical part of Christmas that I didn't quite outgrow, I guess. If it is childish, I'll keep it. I would really hate to out grow whatever it is that changes the mundane, day to day life into a different, more pleasant place. I wish I could keep it all the time.

I was thinking about all this just now because I'm baking brownies. I bake brownies other nights, but they are just brownies. Tonight, they just smell... well, Christmassy!. It's great! Happy! Comfy! Cozy! Homey!!

It's over cast and cold, with a light, misting rain this evening. In my world that's next to perfect! In my world at Christmas time it's delightful, enchanting, captivating! I think I'll just take full advantage of it all. Maybe I'll stay up late and look out the windows at the mist, or sit on the couch with just a candle burning. I could do that any night I choose, but this time of the year it's just... nicer.

Yes, I know what Christmas is really about, and I am not making light of it, or trying to change the focus. I just really enjoy the feeling of Christmas time.

Me, a candle, and a warm brownie looking out the window at the rain. Sounds good.

I'll add a warm brownie if they make it that long. ;-)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Any Ideas?


If you have any great tips on how to 'thin out' and get rid of things you don't need, please share!! It's on my heart to start getting rid of things, but I don't know where to start. Some of it I think I'm ready to get rid of, then I'll re-think it and stow it again for another day. Sometimes it's for sentimental reasons, sometimes its because I might need it later, sometimes it's because I might know someone who could use it. Whatever the reason, it seems like a good one at the moment, so I don't get rid of anything and I'm bursting at the seams! I don't want to keep all this junk! I've lived in this house for almost 16 years, and it's jam packed!

It's always been hard for me to determine what should stay and what should go. I suppose I am a partially recovered pack rat. You can never recover completely, I don't think. That might not be altogether a bad thing though, because it helps me spot needful things that others tend to overlook. For example, my husband has been wanting an anvil for as long as I've known him. They are pretty pricey items, so they were way down the list of things to purchase. Well, guess what? I just got a couple of anvils at a yard sale really cheap. Smokin' deal. Anvils are hard to come by, especially out here where we live. These were old, rusting, and junky, and would have gone unnoticed, or maybe to the junk yard if I hadn't gotten them. They cleaned up fine. We saved a bundle of money.

That's just one recent example. I do that frequently with everything; furnishings, tools, clothing, appliances. So, see? I'm good at finding things, but, unfortunately I don't jar loose with them as easily. I guess I just don't know what I actually need.

Here's my dilemma; Let's use the anvils as an example again. My husband is not using the anvils right now, but he will eventually. He has always wanted one and I have been looking for one for many years. Tthey were very difficult to find, and I probably won't get another deal like that, so keeping them is justifiable. Right? Right! So many of my things fit into that kind of a scenario. What do I do?

I have been thinking along these lines:

Pitch it:

~if haven't used it in 6 months (many say 6 weeks but I CAN'T!! lol ...yet)

~if have too many of any one item

~if it costs me more to store it than to replace it (yes, I have done that)

~if it will probably need replacing soon anyway

~if I can, use my 'good' stuff now (stuff that I already packed for moving and safekeeping) and pitch the stuff I've been using in it's place.

(By "pitch" I mean give it to a friend or freecycle it, or maybe take it to Goodwill. I tend to do that with everything I get rid of unless it's beyond re-using.)

Please feel free to chime in on this. Any idea is welcome. I need help! I have had a few minimalist folks try to tell me how to do it, and I understand mentally what they're saying, but they are suggesting that I cut back so radically that I can't really get my brain around it. Baby steps! Baby steps. Man, I sound like an addict.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Technical Difficulties

My washing machine went out. Reaching into the tub full of water, I pulled out a load of heavy, soggy jeans and went tripping down the street to my neighbors's house to spin out the water in his machine so I could bring them back home and dry them. And it was my first dirty load. I have about a zillion more to do. Now what?

Talk about ham strung! It says two very important and very different things to me. Number one, when you have a routine, a schedule, losing valued equipment is a bad thing. This is a monumental setback in the life of a stay at home mom, homeschooler, home maker, and the chief cook and bottle washer. I'm not the hard to please type. If I need a hammer and can't find one, a shoe heel will do. A butter knife, maybe even a fingernail makes a good screwdriver in a pinch. But what can you use instead of a washing machine in a modern home? I went through a moment of panic, followed by some unknown sort of nebulous sadness, followed by a ferocious need to overcome this setback. Conquer at any cost! Never give up! Never surrender!

No, I didn't conquer anything... yet. I will though. Meantime the laundry is piling up.

The second lesson: we as modern Americans are practically incapable of making it when something like this happens. We are so far out of touch with what it takes to get by that we don't think we CAN make it without all of the modern conveniences. The truth is, we are ill prepared. We can't go anyplace if our car breaks down. We can't pay our bills if the internet connection fails. Perish the thought that we would lose our public water services for any extended time. After chaos and looting and weeping and gnashing of teeth, we'd probably all die of thirst!

What does this mean to me? Plenty! However, I have promised myself that I'd blog three or four times a week, and I can see this being a subject of a blog of it's own, so I'm going to make this a cliff hanger.

To my many 'ones' of fans, stay tuned. To be continued....

Monday, November 30, 2009

New Beginning

It looks like my thirty day challenge sort of went by the wayside. I just wasn't around much over the Thanksgiving holiday, and I wasn't on the computer much when I was. I think I'll modify my original challenge, and rather than a post every day for thirty days, I'll use Roaming Chile's suggestion and make it three or four times a week instead for say, ten weeks, and see how that goes. That will help me out a lot on the days where I have extra meetings, or if I am studying, or preaching or something, and can't squeeze everything in.

It would be silly to add stress to my life right now. It would be silly to add stress to my life at all, especially something self-inflicted, and as totally avoidable as this. I am already having a bit of a hard time managing things some days, why would I add something more? It would make me dread blogging. That would be absolutely counter productive. I want to blog for fun as much as anything, and it wasn't feeling like fun to me anymore. So allow me to back up and take a deep breath and start over.

3... 2... 1...

Bless us
On that note, I would like to say that Thanksgiving 2009 was wonderful! My husband had a few extra days off and we spent Thanksgiving day with the family out at the 'big house'. We had food, food, and more food! It was a long, leisurely, lazy, and refreshing time, almost like a vacation for us. My mother in law, Judy, had the house fixed up so nice and pretty with fall colors and lights and candles that I just wanted to stay on and on. Everything was peaceful and calm. It seems like there's precious little of that in our day to day life, and I absorbed every wisp of it that I could while we were there. We talked for hours and had a great time. Even the kids enjoyed it without an x-box, and without arguing. That says a lot!

Judy still had leftovers from Thanksgiving, so she called and asked us to come back out for supper on Saturday. This was the second visit we got to have out there with the family this holiday. I almost said no, because I didn't want to put her to the trouble, but you know, she really liked having us, and I really wanted to go. So, go we did, and I'm glad. Once again we had a wonderful visit. Their house is so cozy and with the weather finally turning cool, and the leaves having fallen, it seemed like just the place to be. It seems like winter has been a long time coming this year. Maybe not, but I was ready for it. I love the cooler months.
landmann-big-sky-stars-moon-fire-pit My father in law, Jerry, built a fire outside in the fire pit on his front porch to just take the chill off a little. His fire pit looks sort of like the one I found a picture of and posted here. It's pretty. I really liked it. It kept us all mesmerized. Once the flames would die back a bit, we could still watch the fire through the cut-outs in the sides. We sat and stared into it, and out across the valley for a long time, hours probably, until the wind started to blow too cold to enjoy it any longer. We actually got a rare, and pretty decent cloud burst later on into the evening. I can't resist rain any better than I can fire, so I went back outside. Next thing you know I had another log or two in the fire and my husband came back out to sit with me and stare into it with me some more. Before we were done, grampa was back, too. We probably shouldn't have stayed out so long. Grampa told us later that it was way up into the night before his legs ever warmed back up.

Granny, who might have used her smarts a little more than the rest of us, stayed in with the coffee. When we all went back inside, we found she'd saved us a cup or two, and we sat and talked and laughed together. We've really had a good time going out there lately and hesitate to leave when the time comes. If you're reading this, granny and grampa, thanks a bunch! We love you both.

"Oh Lord that lends me life, Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!" ~ William Shakespeare

So, Thanksgiving has passed for 2009, and we're heading into what is going to be a very different Christmas season for us. I will attempt to post throughout the season about the things we're doing and not doing this year. Change comes hard for me during a time of such traditions. I'm sure it will be good... different, but good. Maybe this is where some new traditions will begin. Through it all I want the focus to be on Jesus. I want to be mindful of His presence, and to be a light for Him in a place and time where most would forget Him.

"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." ~ Joshua 24:15

Be blessed this Christmas season. Be a blessing.
Good night. See you soon.

Monday, November 23, 2009

How Boring Can I Be?

laundry-icon Committing to blog every day is a decent idea, and a noble attempt at, um... something. I forget what it was. Something to do with practicing writing. That would be fine if there was anything noteworthy to write about, I guess. I'm going to have to be more active and interesting for the next month just so I can have something to write about every day. It might help if I remembered to get in here and write before midnight.

My day today? I did my laundry and tidied up a bit. I'd post a recipe of my dinner for the day, but it was oven pizza. I'd like to say please stay tuned, things will be more exciting tomorrow, but all I'm doing is a staff meeting and one last quick trip to the grocery store before Thanksgiving.

Hmmm... Four days in and I'm beginning to realize what a dull writer I am. I guess I should take the craft more seriously. Feel the moment. Be the laundry.

Peering through the dusty beams of sunlight streaming in through the back door glass, I considered the neatly folded, brightly colored piles of freshly laundered clothing standing side by side along the edge of the table, like a row of indian corn. Na, laundry is laundry.

I'm going to bed.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sundays ar Great Around Here.

church_front Today was a nice day. I got to hear two really great sermons this morning. Nothing unusual about that at my church, though. We are really blessed. I tell you, my pastors are the greatest! I feel like everyone else is just plain missing out, especially the local folks who don't attend my church and could. They just don't know what they're missing. , people. It's available. Nothing is quite like being there, but take it where you can get it!

We had my husband's folks in for lunch. We've been spending more time together since they moved up here, and it's been really great, I think. It seems like we're making up for lost time. We're going to be joining them for Thanksgiving out at their house this year, too. For most of our married life we've lived away from family and spent a lot of our holidays with just us, no extended family, so this is really exciting. I'm planning on a long, lazy day and an evening of leftoverture and maybe a movie.

Then this evening, back to church. I preached tonight. I'm not real pleased with the way it went this time, actually. It felt a little disjointed, but I think I pulled it together in the end. I think I tend to over prepare, that's what my husband tells me, and that makes it difficult to connect all the points. I'm working on that, but it's tough. I almost always try to cram too much into one message. My son liked it, though. That was encouraging. I'd like to just ask my pastors out right, but I don't want to look like I'm fishing for compliments, or seem insecure. Actually, I just want them to tell me where it needs work. If I'm going to learn someone has to correct me.

Now, we're home, and I'm just about pooped out. I think I'll hit the hay early tonight. Tomorrow starts a new week and I'd like to get a fresh start, a better start than I had to the last one.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Forgetful Day

I almost forgot I was blogging again! I make a fresh commitment, and almost blow it within the first twenty four hours.

It sort of fits into everything else I've done in the past few days. I have forgotten a lot of things. It seems like about half of what I've started this week I left unfinished. I'd be doing something, get sidetracked and start something else, and totally forget to come back and finish what I was doing initially. I've been busy all week, but I can't really pin point any one thing I've done.

I forgot to wish an old friend a happy birthday. Perhaps I shouldn't say 'old' and 'birthday' to my friend all in one sentence, especially since we're the same age. After many years, I re-established contact with her on Facebook. Facebook actually is good for something, it would seem. She is a dear friend from high school and I knew her birthday was coming up soon. I've thought of her every year on her birthday for over thirty years, and I was determined to wish her a happy one now that I could! Slick forgot.

I forgot to turn the fire off under my iron pan and smoked the house up. I forgot to pay two bills. I forgot to take some ingredients for a holiday dinner to the church where I was preparing it. I forgot and actually left the water running in the kitchen for about five minutes. I forgot where I laid nearly everything I picked up. I forgot to record a TV show I like. i forgot my sunglasses... on my head. I forgot to buy coffee. COFFEE!!! I don't forget coffee!

So this is the week I committed to post a blog a day. Maybe the fact that I actually remembered before the day was out means that I've broken the forgetful streak and can move on. New commitments require some discipline, and retraining your mind is a part of it. It could be the hardest part, I think. I'm good at follow through once my mind is made up, though, so onward with the training.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fine! I'll Do It!

I have a very dear friend who is constantly challenging herself. She knows she is capable of more than she is doing, so she is constantly expanding her horizons and doing new things. She really is an inspiration to me, because when I look at her and her attitude, her lifestyle, all of a sudden I know I really don't have any excuses for procrastinating. She's a wife and a mother of a whole passel of young 'uns, a housekeeper, gardener, teacher, singer/songwriter, blogger, drummer, chief cook and bottle washer, with her fingers in a few other pies, and does all that and then some while contending with several severe health issues.

In the light of all of that, how can I look at my life and make excuses for not following through on little things that she and I have talked about because I've had a long day, or I'm in a bad mood or some such thing. I can't. I've tried. I have ignored her for weeks on end sometimes, but she's just so darn pushy, and level headed and inspiring like that! I need that kind of inspiration sometimes when life is too busy, or boring, or disorganized.

One of those things we frequently talk about is blogging. Not a big thing. I was trying to develop a habit of blogging, just to practice and hopefully improve at writing. It's not as though anyone is sitting on the edge of their seat awaiting my next post, or like my life is so exciting that I need to record it for future generations, at least not at this point, but it was something that I enjoyed doing. You never know, maybe something I write will benefit someone down the road, even if it's only me.

But, I have gotten so lazy about blogging. I had to adjust my schedule some time back, and I just lost my rhythm, I guess. I never got back into it or made a place for it in my life like I intended to. It's an easy thing to fall away from something and make excuses to put it off a little longer. So she challenged me to start again. Of course she took up that challenge herself, and decided to post one blog every day for thirty days. Well, I'm going to take up your challenge, Loretta. One entry every day for thirty days. I don't feel ready for this, but I probably wont until I get started, so I am just going to jump in. No rhyme or reason, no theme or flow in the works, just daily entries. I may bore my friends to pieces, but I'm just going to do it anyway.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

When Did You 'Go Green' ?

Homestead architecture-17

Someone asked a question in an email group I'm a part of that really made me laugh. The question was, "When did you decide to 'go green' ?" Everyone was responding with wistful musings about the day they'd seen the light, and the small beginnings they had before learning about all the ways it can be done. I'm not poking fun at them, and any effort made is a good thing, isn't it? It's the temperature of our world, the current of our society that prompted the question. Has the modern generation missed out, or what!? It's stunning.

I never decided to 'go green'! It's not a new concept, just a '90's era word, a new gimmick or catch phrase for politicians and mass marketeers. The hippies didn't invent it in the '70's either. LOL! I believe 'conservationist' was the phrase that caught on in the '50's and '60's. Prior to that it was just called 'stewardship'. It's been a way of life for me all of my life. Recycled things were called 'leftovers', which were never wasted. Some were called 'hand me downs', or 'second hand'. Excessive living was called 'wasteful', or even frivolous, and finding more efficient ways of doing things was just plain smart, or frugal at the very least. Saving energy, or finding renewable resources was what we all did just to save a little money, or to use up something that would otherwise have been wasted leftovers. We were basically living healthier as it's being defined by the 'green' movement of today, because we didn't add everything that science and big corporations tried to sell to us to our homes or our gardens.

No, it's not a new idea. It's just a popular idea in this generation because they are the first generation to have everything in their lives mass produced, packaged and sold to them all neat and clean, never really connecting them to the real things in life. I'm glad to see it happening! It's just kind of nauseating the way it's presented as sort of 'elitist', a counter-cultural political party, or a radical, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it thing. It's just basic stuff, isn't it? It's a result of a not-so-gradual evolution away from the way the Earth and nature were designed to work, by a world that has suddenly found that mass production and mass distribution to mass markets may not be the answer to all the ills of society that they all thought it was going to be. The fact that they are so far out of touch with real life and living doesn't mean that everyone is, and I hate to break it to them, but I can be deeply involved in the 'green' thing, and still be a conservative, a Christian and someone who believes in creation, as well as intelligent, without their political affiliations and without having some great spiritual revelation.

I'm not saying they are all that way, but they are widely viewed as such, portrayed that way by the media, and in my experience they are generally proud of that association. Pride in one's life choices is wonderful! I am happy for them, honestly. Now they need to allow the rest of us to live by our convictions as well, even though they are different.

That's not all I have to say about that, but I have to leave shortly, and I'm out of time.

Thank you Loretta and Gus (Jessika) for motivating me to blog again. It's been 5 months! Wow!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Back to the Business of Living

What a time I've had trying to get in and blog! A few times this week I thought I would come in and sit down to my computer, but something would come up. Tonight it would appear I have a few minutes. Unfortunately now my mind is sort of blank! What was I thinking I'd like to write about?

How about gardening to start? My garden is not much as gardens go, but I decided to throw a few edibles in with my flowers this year. It's the only soil in my yard that has been worked enough to support life, so I poked a few bell pepper plants, some stevia, a tomato and some cilantro in among the ivy and the flowers. If all goes according to plan I might plant a few more things. I had every intention of preparing a decent sized area out in the back yard so I could plant more, but I didn't get it done. The dirt back there is so poor weeds will barely grow. It will take quite a bit of work and I just didn't get to any of it in time.

My husband is getting ready to build a patio just outside my back door, and I'm probably going to grow some things in pots out on it. The problem is that the temperatures are going to be really getting up there soon, and out here very little grows well when the real heat comes. Folks around here say that tomatoes do better in containers than they do in the ground during the heat because you can move them around and out of the worst of the heat when you need to, so here's what I'm thinking. If I plant a few more tomatoes, maybe some beans and squash in some pots out on the patio about late July or early August they will be easy to move around and protect from the sun while they are small, and by the time they get bigger the weather will cool off a bit and they might do well enough, if there are enough hours of sun left in the day, to actually produce a late season harvest. It's worth trying. Everything else I have tried met with pretty sad results. Something has to work. I've seen other people around here grow things. It can be done. I want to have something to show for this growing season.

My neighbor across the street invested a small fortune in his "garden" area. It's more of a modified green house. He made an enclosure covered with shade cloth and installed an overhead misting system and drip irrigation, and brought in load after load of mulch and potting soil and bedding mix and what have you. He has reasonable success now, but for crying out loud he aught to! For all that I'd expect State Fair Blue Ribbon quality produce! For all that I could have probably paid someone else to grow it for me! LOL! I poke fun, but I'd probably build myself something like it if I could. I just like to grow things.

I think growing things in pots on the patio will look nice. We've been in this house for fifteen years and never used the back yard because it is just a dusty, unattractive old dirt lot. Having a patio will be a great plus, but something green out on it would really help. We are probably going to put in some grass. I've always wanted grass back there. We tried several times to get some growing, but we just didn't have any luck. There are seeds, fertilizers and things on the market now that make it where you can practically grow grass on a flat rock I think, so we'll give it another go. A few nice pots, grass, maybe a flower bed and we might actually enjoy our back yard!

We're going to build a shed out back, too. I'm really excited about that! That means I can empty my storage unit and bring my stuff home! When we put the house on the market a couple of years back I took everything I didn't really need and any extra clutter and packed it to move and hauled it off to storage. The realtors all say it makes the house show better, so I really emptied it out. I figured I could live without it until the place sold and we moved, no problem. Well, then the economy did it's thing, the housing market did it's thing, blah, blah, blah... and now just over two years later... here we still sit and I miss my stuff!

It's going to be like Christmas for me going through it all! I packed my favorite things first so they'd be well packed and safe. I bought a few new things just before we started packing and they went. We packed most of our books, our wall hangings and lots of personal things. I put keepsakes away, bedding, the boys even packed away some toys! They probably out grew them by now. That makes me feel terrible. They would ask about things and I'd go rummage around and find them and dig them out for the most part, but I'm sure they still have things in there.

It will be a challenge to see if I can get everything back in the house or not. We were crowded when we started. That's part of the reason we needed to get some of the stuff out before we showed it. Over time I bought duplicates of some of the things I'd stored thinking I wouldn't need them, but it turned out that I did. I stored my winter clothes thinking we'd surely be moved before I would need them again. I have all new school supplies, art stuff, blankets, some dishes and pans. Pans! Oh yeah! I have a huge box of iron pans in storage! I love my ironware. It's almost all I use. I've acquired a cabinet full of iron since I packed my other away. I'm going to have to build a special place just for my iron I think! Something very sturdy!

My china and my flatware, my bread machine and my juicer, no telling what else is in storage over there. I have forgotten what all I had. Stuff. Just stuff. But it's my stuff and I want it back. It's likely going to be quite a job unpacking it but I'm tired of life being on hold "in case we move." I'm bringing it home. When we re-list our house to sell later on I'll deal with it, but for now I want to live in my house again amidst all of our familiar, cozy stuff (albeit crammed in like pickles in a jar)!

I'm rambling. I think head for bed and read a while.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In Honor of Earth Day

I think a repost is in order...


What Can I Say

Funny how a bunch of liberal groups, greenies, so called "Earth Friendly" folks have cabbaged onto some "lifestyle" ideas about recycling, preservation, frugality, and general environmental consciousness as though they were new and different concepts, and somehow exclusive of their political party and of their little corner of the biosphere. What?! You can't be conservative and conservation minded! Republican and Earth friendly! Religious and a recycler! Forest loving and a disciple of Jesus! Energy conscious and a Christian! Gun toting, meat eater and a tiller of the ground! How gauche!

It may come as news to some, but stewardship wasn't invented by liberals in the seventies. Sorry. It's true.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Hello again, to my vast audience of ones!

I haven't blogged in ages. I used to get in here about once a week or so, but it's been a long time. Not that I had all that many earth shaking things to write about or anything, but I did really enjoy doing it. I have a new, somewhat different and busier schedule, and I haven't quite figured out how to put time for blogging into it yet. I'm getting there, though, so I'll be getting back into the swing of it soon. Now I have to remember how I did it! LOL!
I can't remember how I started, or what made me decide what to blog about. I guess it's like riding a bicycle and I'll figure it out once I get back on.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Parental Rights Amendment

The Parental Rights Amendment

Here in Kingman, our Representative has already joined in support of this bill as a co-sponsor (thank you and God bless you, Trent Frank!), but they still need 19 more co-sponsors introduce this bill in the House of Representatives. If you want to check and see if your Representative is already a co-sponsor, here is the current list of co-sponsors:{48D114CD-BD70-4776-A32A-5661013D8897}

Please encourage your friends and families to take a few minutes to contact their representatives here: Just type in your zip code. Ask them to join with Rep. Pete Hoekstra and get this thing done! I know it seems like an imposition to some, and that it takes a little more time out of an already busy day, but it's really only a few minutes and it means so much to me, our children, our families, and our nation.

Be blessed,

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Emergency Replacement Puppy

It's been a hard few weeks. We lost our old dog back on February eleventh and it has been a long, lonely adjustment for us all. The day I took her to have her put down was a Wednesday, a church night. I remember going to church and hiding my eyes from everyone because they were red and swollen from crying and I didn't feel like answering any questions about why they were that way.

I had called my pastor to let him know that it was possible I might be a little bit late. It wasn't three full hours between the time I took the old girl in until the time church started, and I didn't know how long it would take to do the deed, get back, pull myself together and still get ready to go to church. I just wanted to give him a heads up about it all. He was very empathetic and related a sweet story about some kind of dog movie he saw once and an old dog he has; just trying to help me out. He's a very sweet man.

As soon as I walked into the church he approached me, and I was sure I was in for a big hug and a "sorry for your loss" or something, and I was, but I was sort of surprised that he immediately followed it up with an offer to take his puppy. I was thinking, "Wow, ol' Chrissie's not even cold yet. I really can't think about that right now." I answered him some way. I can't really remember what I said exactly, but I knew he only meant well, and I appreciate him so much, so we chatted for a few minutes more and went on about our regular business.

We have talked about getting a new dog. I just really don't like the idea of having just one dog anymore. Dogs like their people, but they really enjoy the company of other dogs, too. When we decided to get a puppy for Chrissie it was because we thought it would sort of revitalize her life. She was getting older and getting to where she didn't have a lot of energy, and I wanted her life to be extended and full and happy. What better way than to get her a friend? So we got her a puppy, Beth, and it worked like a charm!

We all loved Beth immediately. Chrissie's puppy was a part of our family. When Chrissie died we started talking about "eventually" getting Beth a buddy, and "someday" finding a new family dog. Out of some kind of weird sense of respect for Chrissie and her life and what she meant to us, I was semi-determined NOT to get another dog right away and certainly when the time came I wasn't going to get a big dog. We'd wait and see how things went.

Several more times my pastor or his wife reminded me that they had a sweet puppy that they needed to find a good home for. He's half Queensland Heeler and half lab. I put off dealing with that. I knew they meant well and they really needed someone they could trust to take their dog, and I really didn't want to let them down, but half lab means pretty good sized dog and I really wasn't interested in a big dog.

Well, by this time you can probably tell where this story ends up. His name is Nash, he's a four month old bundle of happy, floppy puppy that we all fell crazy in love with right away. So, less that a month after we lost Chrissie we get Nash, who at four months, weighs thirty-six pounds and if he grows into his skin and his feet, he could easily see "big" when he's fully grown, but he's a fit, you know? He just fits. We're all really happy. Nash, too.

We sure would like to have the chance to show him off, so check out my photos here and see what a cutie he is!

So the adventure begins...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Good-bye Old Friend.

Well, we lost our old dog this week. Chrissie was a smart old girl with a silly smile that she was practically famous for among our friends and family. She's been a part of our family for many wonderful years, but her time ran out much to our great sadness. We're going to miss her a lot.

I hesitate to tell the story of her last hours. Partly because it's still really fresh in my mind and it's hard to talk about, but also because it sounds made up. If someone else told me what I'm about to tell you I'm not sure I'd believe it myself, but I tell you it's absolutely true. My son was there and he's able to remind me that it wasn't in my head.

She was almost twelve years old when we were told she had cancer. What do you say when you find out a thing like that? We couldn't really afford to shell out the kind of money they were asking for the surgery and they told us that at her age the surgery was at least as risky as doing nothing. Many older dogs don't recover from the anesthesia after a surgery of that sort, and we were aware that at her age she would probably never fully recover even if she did live through it. In the end we decided just to bring her home, pray for her, and give her the best life we could for the rest of her life, however long it would be. She did well for about a year.

A lot happened during that year that I'll skip over. Not all of it was good. We did however get to baby her and pet her a lot, spoil her and give her extra attention. Then about Christmas time she began to slow down pretty drastically. I actually thought she was getting arthritic. She was active and happy when she was up, or down, it was just going from one to the other that seemed to bother her. I had forgotten somehow, believe it or not, that anything else was wrong.

Then last week right after my birthday she took a sudden and drastic turn for the worse. She stopped getting up at all, and she was barely eating. The last two days she wouldn't eat, and finally she got to where she couldn't hold down any water either. Her breathing was very labored and she was obviously dieing, and suffering. It was horrible, and I knew I had to take her in and have her put down the next day if she made it through the night. She did, and I took her. It was sad. Really sad.

We took her in and they very kindly gave her a pain shot right away. It was the first time in a few days that she really relaxed and breathed easily and it was nice to see. They gave us a few minutes to be with her, and we petted and kissed and cried and snotted , and then they had us leave the room when they gave her "the shot". I asked if they would let me return to see her after she was dead and they said that would be fine, so we stood outside the door while they did the deed.

We waited for what seemed like a long time, but in reality it was probably only about five or six minutes. They came back and got me and told me that she was dead and that I could go in and see her. I went in and she was still and lifeless. It was done. I was walking over to her to pet her one more time and cover her up with her blanket when she started breathing again. She raised up her head, looked at me in the eyes and gave me one of her goofy smiles. She layed her head back down and looked at me for another long minute while I petted her, then her gaze floated away from mine, she went still again and died... again.

The woman that was attending her couldn't believe it as she prepared a second shot. She said she'd never seen anything like that in all the time she'd been there. I'm thinking then why now, and why us? I was afraid to leave! I wanted to know she was dead, I waited to be sure, and even though I saw it for myself this time, I was afraid to leave her there. I had dreams that she roused herself again after I left, and was alone and all kinds of awful things happened.

I don't know why I felt that way. The woman who gave her the shot has told me that she must have really loved her people to come back and tell me good bye and that everything was okay. My husband said the same thing. She was such a pleaser that it would be like her to do that, but that just sounds too spooky and oogy-boo to me. It sounds almost like too easy of an explanation, for lack of a better way of phrasing it. On the other hand, what else could it possibly be? She came back around, met my gaze, gave me her "trademark" smile, and died.

I do not know. Not at all.

So, she is gone and the place feels a little empty without her. Not many dogs are as smart as that one and even fewer are as well behaved. Her funny habits will never be replaced. The kids absent mindedly wait by the door a little extra moment when the puppy comes in, until it dawns on them that she's not coming in after her. She's almost always been a part of our boy's lives. We had her most of Jonathan's life and all of Josiah's. Beth, our puppy, wanders around looking for her in all the places she used to lay. She's pretty lonesome without her, too. It's all she'd ever known. I guess maybe she needs a companion puppy now. Yeah, yeah, that's it. Bethy needs a puppy!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My Valentine's Day Message

It's been a hard time for us lately, and I haven't had any time to be on my computer. Things will be normalizing a bit soon, and I'll be back. Until then, I am going to cheat and re-post my Valentine's Day post from last year . I liked it anyway. LOL!

Cry Baby

What kind of a thing is Valentines Day? We call them "Hallmark" holidays at our house. We started calling them that because Hallmark's slogan is "When you care enough to send the very best." The idea is to get people to the point that if they don't get a card then they feel they weren't "cared" for enough to receive the very best. Appeal to our most base level emotions. Sink below the reason and intellect and go for the selfishness in us. Smart marketing! It's very effective. They are targeting a consumer base comprised mostly of emotionally immature people. After a few years of repetitive marketing of this sort, it sunk into the subconscious of our entire culture. It was plenty easy to do, since our culture is so feelings oriented anyway. People will scream, cry, start horrible fights, get courts, law, and even governments involved anymore if something "insensitive" is done to them, and their little feelings are hurt. They call it many things, but it's just hurt feelings and somebody has to pay! Can't you just see the image in your mind of little three year old children with their little arms folded and their little bottom lips stuck out like a back porch?

These kinds of "holidays" were created by marketing firms to wring a few more dollars out of gullible Americans. That's all. No romance, no thoughtfulness, not a lick of appreciation. Just dollars. It works, so they keep creating them. How about Mother's Day?" I'm a mother everyday, and if you need Hallmark to tell you it's time to notice it, spare yourself the buck and a half. If I need so much maintenance that you have to spoon-feed me platitudes all the time, then I have a few more issues than Hallmark can fix!

Same for Valentine's Day. What about National Secretary's Day? Then Boss' Day? Ridiculous things are now "Holidays." The brilliant marketing minds would turn them all into consumer events as big as Christmas if they could (or is that "winter holiday?" Don't get me started!). If you don't think so, look what they've done with Halloween. It wouldn't work for them, but so many small minded people swallowed the bait! Now that it's been formally adopted by our society, the rest of us almost have to get on board! "Oh, don't get me a gift on Valentine's Day (Mother's Day, or Take a Troll to the Laundry Day!) if you can't treat me nice the rest of the time!" Nice thought, but let your sweetheart skip the Valentine's gift and nice all year or not, he's in the dog house until who knows when. Until he can buy his way out I guess.

Isn't having your own personal "holiday" once a year enough? It's called a birthday. Your birthday is the day with no other special designated purpose. You don't have to share. You can be openly and honestly self indulgent, petty, and demanding and you can probably get some of the attention you crave. Yeah, okay now, there's nothing wrong with celebrating a birthday at all. There are times when a little of this kind of thing is fine, but I think you get my point. My suggestion to people is grow up a little!

You know what my sweetheart did for me for Valentine's Day? He helped me with a problem I was having before he sat down and played with his new camera, something that he'd wanted for many, many years. Now THAT'S a Valentine's gift! You know what else he did for me for Valentine's Day? And for Mother's Day, Father's Day, our anniversary, my birthday, his birthday, the kid's birthdays, Forth of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day and just about every real holiday plus all the ones Hallmark thought up? He went to work so we could pay bills, have decent clothes and nice things. And he didn't even give me a card!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Welcome, Old Friends!

I found a beautiful quote today. I found it in an old, old book. It was titled "Faith Made Easy" by James H. Potts, published in 1888. There in the front of the book, just after the publisher information and before the preface were a few passages from different works, one of which struck me so powerfully when I read it that I saved it, and decided to post it here in my blog.

"No one is so much alone in the universe as a denier of God. With an orphaned heart, which has lost the greatest of fathers, he stands mourning by the immeasurable corpse of nature, no longer moved or sustained by the Spirit of the universe, but growing in it’s grave; and he mourns, until he himself crumbles away from the dead body."

~ Richter

I almost want to leave off there for tonight, it's such an intense thought to ponder. The depth of the reality of it all was like a slap in the face to me. Then I started thinking about the writer. 'Who' Richter? I tried to discover who, but I have absolutely no idea, and that is shameful!

There are so many wonderful books by inspired writers that are fading away. It seems such a shame that so much has been lost to time in old, out of print books. People poured their hearts and lives into them, and now they lay unopened, collecting dust someplace destined to be forgotten. It just doesn't seem right to treat those venerable old volumes with such disregard. Any time I see one I thumb through it's pages simply because they should be thumbed through at least once more.

I may be a little behind everyone else, but I've recently discovered a really wonderful feature on the Google search page. Actually, I think my husband showed it to me. Whatever way I came across it, for about four or five months now I can't get my nose out of it. It's Google Books. Google has really done something wonderful here. They have resurrected the old, dying books for a new generation to see if we will just go look at them. I love old books, and I have been consumed with exploring them ever since I found this feature!

Go to the main Google search page and go to the top left side of the page. There's a fly down menu on the right side of that little menu bar that says "more." Go in there and click "books", type in your search parameters, enter, and there it is. That's pretty cool, but wait... there's more! (Sounded like an infomercial there, didn't I?) After you do that, look up just above the list of results in your window. There's another little fly down menu that says "Showing: All Books." Open that and it will give you the option "full view only." Select that and you should get a new list of mostly very old, out of print books in there entirety that you can download to your computer!

I don't know if that is exciting to anyone else, but I think it's wonderful! There are bits of history sprinkled there that aren't common knowledge to us any more. How do you build a fireplace that you can cook in, sit around and heat your house with? Or better yet, how did the great-grandfather of a man writing a book in the eighteen nineties build a one? What was commonly found in an average Victorian era home? What do you feed your cow if you want good butter? Where did your local dialects originate? It's endless, and it's interesting! At least it is to me.

I know I can't read them all. Some would bore me to tears anyway, but it's nice to know that they are preserved. They have a new opportunity to been seen by the eyes of a whole new generation of people. The authors can live a little bit longer. The lore isn't altogether lost. Thanks, Google.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Go S.O.A.P. Yourself

One of my pastors recently came across a good Bible Study program. He got himself and the youth group at church started on it and they seemed to benefit from it right away. It was so exciting to him that he got the pastor on board, and the next thing we knew all of the staff, administration, and leadership at the church had a nice little, leather, personal devotional planner. It's called S.O.A.P. and it stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. Essentially it's a Bible reading schedule with a journal and worksheets that sort of help you clarify what you're getting out of your time spent with God and in His Word. The little folder he got for me isn't necessary at all in order to use the study program, but if he hadn't gone to the personal expense and trouble to get it for me, I might not have looked into is as seriously I did.

I'm not real big on "trendy" things at any level, but most especially where my faith is concerned. Trends in Christianity kind of gross me out. You'd have thought that Rick Warren's "A Purpose Driven Life" was the sixty-seventh book of the Bible! I'm sure it was great. Lots of wonderful people that I respect have read it and told me that it's a great book. Maybe someday I'll read it, but I tend to steer clear of most trendy things during the peak of their trend-dom. Stubbornness? Rebelliousness? No, not really. I've seen too many silly trends, and I've watched too many people look ridiculous, or worse, get hurt by them. I find it all the more repulsive in Christendom. I just think if it's as good as all that it will stand the test of time, and I will happily read a timeless classic later on.

The reason I decided to go ahead and investigate this "trendy" little program is because it doesn't require that you purchase anything new. It's text book is the Bible. There's no slant or bias, because there's no commentary or workbook type material to go with it. What it does for me is assist me in organizing myself as far as my personal study habits are concerned, and it helps me organize my own thoughts. In the short time I've been using it I've seen some improvement in comprehension, or at least in recognizing that I'd been missing a lot with my old study habits. It is helping me be introspective, to look at things more completely. It's training me to be more mindful of God's presence and causes me to see more fully what He's trying to show me. It helps clarify things.

There's a journaling aspect to this plan, too, and I know from just having started blogging, sporadic as I can be sometimes, that journals are key to growth and understanding, not to mention remembering things you were just sure you wouldn't forget. Journaling is different, and I'm sort of struggling with the transition, but I can envision myself settling into it fairly soon. I can see that this is going to be a wonderful, powerful tool if I will be diligent to do it. I'm very optimistic about it, because over all I have been diligent in my Christian walk in the past, striving to learn and grow, and this is just a better, more efficient, more refined way, I guess, to do the same thing.

It shouldn't be any great leap to go from keeping a blog to keeping a journal, so I thought it would be good to share this here in the great blogosphere, amongst my vast readership of six or eight at this point, where it might be well received. I copied and pasted an article from ehow .com below that explains the process better than I could, and my husband put together a Bible reading plan that you can access on one of my other pages here. Feel free to print it out and use it.

Do yourself a favor and give it some consideration.

Be blessed.

Original post:

S.O.A.P. stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer. It’s a great way to delve more deeply into your Bible reading, and record your thoughts, emotions and connections when studying scripture. S.O.A.P. is meant to be a journal you create with your regular Bible reading, using the process as you read each day, but it can also be an effective tool to help you connect with particular passages. You can use it with any Bible reading plan, whether you’re reading straight through from Genesis to Revelation, or following a reading plan from your church, study Bible or theinternet.


Things You’ll Need:

  • Bible
  • paper or journal
  • pen

Use the S.O.A.P Method of Bible Reading

Find a quiet time and space to read your Bible, preferably at the same time each day. Many people find that reading scripture in the morning helps get their day off to a focused start.

Complete the “S” by reading the scripture. Don’t just skim through it, but really think about what it means. Imagine what the people involved were experiencing. Write down a verse or two that really stood out to you in your journal.

Complete the “O” by writing down observations about the scripture you just read. You may want to write your own summary of the passage, but more importantly, think about what God has to say to you through this part of his word.

Complete the “A” by writing down how this Bible passage applies to you right now, in your daily life. For example, in the parable about the prodigal son, which character do you identify with most: the loving and merciful father, the son who squanders his life and then repents or the resentful older brother? Do you see similar situations in your life right now? How can you respond in the way Jesus taught?

Complete the “P” by writing down a prayer. This is a personal message from you to God, so don’t worry about getting the perfect words down. Just make it honest and heartfelt. Remember that God always listens, and already knows your needs. He just wants to hear from you.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Wesnesday Night Services

I'm really excited! Pastor Norm is going to let different people preach at least once a month in the regular services on Wednesday nights. He told me about it last night. I know that doesn't mean just me, but it does include me! I love teaching my class, it's wonderful and I love the people in it, but when I preach it's just different. I'm called to preach, so that's where I feel most comfortable, and where I fit best. Besides loving it, I can always use all the practice I can get.

The idea of preaching from the same pulpit as Pastor Norm and Pastor Joe is pretty cool, too! I couldn't be in better company. Who better to learn from? Sometimes I go about my mundane little existence and forget how very blessed I am to be able to sit under the anointing of such men of God. I don't know anyone I think more highly of than Norm Taylor. Aside from being a wonderful and anointed man of God, he's just a wonderful human being. I prayed and asked the Lord to add people to my life who could teach me about love and kindness, and walking in Christian love as is fitting a minister, and He sent me to Norm and Pearl Taylor. I can not express my gratitude.

Joe is getting better every service. He's red hot! He can explain some of the toughest concepts as well as I've ever heard anyone do it. Sometimes I forget he's just a thirty year old pup! LOL! He's got wisdom and depth of understanding way beyond his years. I'd rather sit under him and Norm than anyone I can name. We all seem to be on the same page, too. We are all feeling the Lord's leading and getting revelation on the same kinds of things. The Hispanic ministry is, too. Everything is really coming together. Our direction is becoming clearer and we're all on board.

To be able to sit with these guys and learn from them is a gift. My husband and I had prayed that the Lord would get us in a church where we could learn and study under the anointing of a strong man of faith. We were prepared to move far away because we knew of a great church we'd like to attend. Then, the Lord brought us here. I'm so thankful that God answers prayers according to His will and plan and not our own! I'd have moved away by now and missed all of this.

It's not to say we'll never go. We will. But it's our greatest desire to be in the center of God's will for our lives, and right now that's here. Nothing feels better than to be in the center of His will, either, and I couldn't be happier than to be in Kingman right now. I thought I'd never hear myself say that!

So anyway, I'm really excited about everything! Pastor told me once that if I wanted to teach a series that took several services that he'd let me, but I've never wanted to ask... makes me feel pushy. If I don't stink on the Wednesday nights that I get to be in there, maybe then I can build up to it. ;-) Once I get my license I wont feel as weird about it, either. It shouldn't be too much longer.

So, the adventure continues!

Be blessed!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

So It Begins

2009! Woo-hoo!

People get so excited about a new year, and frankly, I don't really get it. For me it's just the next day. January first? It's no different than August twelfth or February twenty-third. Why not declare October first a holiday and take it off from work? It's the first day of the new fiscal year, so why not fuss over that? We have a lot of ridiculous "holidays" but most of the holidays we actually get time off of work over are days that have some real historical or national significance. New Year's Day? Um... no. Just a conjured, non-event that we try to put stock in as being some sort of new beginning, or a harbinger. It's Omen Day or something.

We tend to place too much emphasis on all of it's little traditions. One of the local traditions when I was growing up was to eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day to assure prosperity and a good new year. How weird is that? And how about this one: "Whatever you're doing at the stroke of midnight is what you'll do all year." Maybe I'll give everyone I know a one hundred dollar bill during the day on December thirty-first so that I can invite them all to my house that night, and have them hand it back to me at midnight. That way people will be giving me money all year! What if I were overly intoxicated and passed out draped over a toilet in a public place? Do I have to stay there now for the rest of the year? What if my watch was off just a bit, and I decided to run to the bathroom quickly before the witching hour, but upon returning to the highly over-rated festivities, I realized that I'd missed it, and in fact I was urinating at the stroke of twelve?

This whole business of the New Year's resolution is a lazy notion. One day per year we must stop and pay attention to the things in our lives that we know are not good and we should be doing something about, make a solemn resolution to change these things knowing full well and even planning to break them, and then we don't have to think about it again for another year! Wow! What a deal! And some of these same people think Catholicism is odd for it's confession and absolution doctrine. Maybe the party was our penance.

Yes, the New Year's Eve Party! Back when I attended such things, I remember all of the preparations and expectation that swirled around the grand event. What will I wear? Who will I go with? Hair? Nails? Heels or flats? Brewski or the hard stuff? The affair was never as wonderful as your expectations demanded that it be, and usually the morning after held many regrets and uncomfortable reminders about how short it actually fell.

Why do we even celebrate such a mundane thing? Because it offers us hope. We want so badly to be able to start over. We long to have a new beginning because we know we are desperately in need of one. We want it so badly that we set aside a day every year to give us that starting point even though we know through and through that it means absolutely nothing. It's just the next day. It will never live up to the expectations placed on it, because it can't. The problem isn't the celebration, the party, the expectations or the day, it's us.

In our hearts we know we need to start over, have another chance, because we've done so many things and made so many bad decisions and mistakes. Not only can we not fix them, but we know in our hearts that we're bound to do more of the same, and no resolution is sound enough, no amount of determination strong enough to keep us from failing again.

"New Day" should be "the event" and not new year's day. We wouldn't leave a festering wound with a lick and a promise for an entire year or it would kill us, but we ignore the things of our hearts because they are unseen and can be temporarily put out of our minds as well. Rest assured, they will surface again, and they are as critical as any wound to your flesh. Contrary to popular beliefs, you aren't strong if you ignore it, hide it, and cowboy up, nor are you "dealing with it" by bemoaning it all and rehearsing it to your friends or your therapist. That's only coping, which is just a socially acceptable way to say you're keeping it, but you're trying to manage the damage it causes.

God has a better plan. He can take it and you can move on and be free without it. Sound better?

Each day is a gift from God, and His mercy is new every morning. Now that's a reason to get excited. From day to day, every day, our God and Father is with us, is willing, and is well able to heal whatever ails us and give us the new beginning that we need and crave. All we have to do is learn to walk in a trusting relationship with Him, and He sent His Only Begotten Son to show us how. What a promise! What a trade off! What an adventure!

Ask me how I know!

Maybe that's why I just don't get it about New Year's Day.