Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Spiritual Birthday

Yesterday I turned 36 years old. Spiritually, that is. On December 28, 1973 I stopped trying to work my own way to heaven and trusted Christ as my savior instead. I believed Him when He said:
  • He is "the way" and that I was on the road to destruction.
  • He is "the truth" and I am nothing but a liar.
  • He is "the life" and I was following a culture of death.
  • He is "the bread of life" and I was starving.
  • He is "the water of life" and I was dying of thirst.
  • He is "the alpha and omega" and I am extremely nearsighted.
  • He is holy and I am sinful.

It has been a bittersweet journey at times, but since I am no longer traveling alone or without The Guide who knows every possible danger or pitfall, I know I shall safely reach my destination when my trip is done.

This is why I am making plans now to read my Bible through in 2010. It is something that I have done almost every year - if not every year - since I became a Child of God. The Bible is my spiritual GPS.

And this is why I am encouraging YOU to read through your Bible in 2010. Did you know that it only takes the average reader approximately 10 minutes a day in order to read the complete Bible in a year? Who doesn't have 10 minutes a day?!

So if you will commit with me to read through the Bible in 2010 grab my "Take Ten in '10" button and boldly proclaim it! This is not just for individuals using my reading plan. It is for anyone who will make the commitment to read through their Bible in 2010 and will let others know of their intention on their own blog.

The reason I'm posting my own schedule is because I cannot post others' without infringing on copyrights. But I did list several last week and encourage you to find one - any one - that will help you read through the Bible in 2010 by allotting 10 minutes or so each day toward the completion of that goal.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Take Ten in '10


I am making plans now to read through my Bible in 2010. Won't you join me?

Last week I listed several good schedules for reading the Bible through in a year's time. That post can be found here.

I also mentioned that I have devised my own schedule for 2010. This one includes some of what I consider to be the best features of the others combined into one program. Here are the elements that I included:

  • 2 separate scripture portions which can be read at one sitting or broken into morning and evening readings.
  • Catch-up days. I have scheduled Sunday to be the day left unscheduled as I intend to be reading scripture as part of corporate worship. Any readings that were missed during the previous week can be made up on Sunday.
  • Readings that are not sequential. In other words, the readings do not follow the Genesis through Malachi or Matthew through Revelation sequence. Instead, they are somewhat randomly ordered with more lengthy and/or difficult books coupled with those that are easier reading.
  • If reading through the whole Bible is too much for you, then read only the second portion. This would allow the reader to complete the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs within the year.
  • The schedule for the following week will be posted each Saturday (except this week).

I hope you'll join me. Are you ready to begin?

Bible Reading Schedule for January 1st and 2nd, 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010:

Old Testament: Genesis chapters 1 & 2

New Testament: John chapters 1 & 2

Saturday, January 2, 2010:
Old Testament: Genesis chapters 3, 4, & 5

New Testament: John chapter 3

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Not A Creature Was Stirring...

...not even a mouse.


After my adventure I found evidence of where a rodent had been hiding of late. Let's just say that those of you who were so worried about my Tupperware bowl and the Muddy Buddies might want to avoid my kitchen altogether now.

About the time that I was done patting myself on the back for my vermin extermination skills I happened upon another one. Only this time, it was of the Speedy Gonzales variety and he surprised me half out of my remaining wits. Does that mean I'm down to 1/4 of my usual allotment?

The second one was hiding under my dining room table, which I just happened to be standing near at the time, because I was wrapping a few presents for the Bear. And by that I mean gifts the Bear was giving not getting. The gifts for him were wrapped at another time and in another place because some surprises are good, unlike having mice jumping out of hiding places or sitting near clean laundry.

'Twas the night after Christmas and Lulu and her dogs arrived this evening, having braved the Christmas Blizzard of '09 to drive across the country, so there are bigger creatures stirring in this house.

And we are glad indeed!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I Don't Do Mousework


Remember when I told you that housework is bad for your health? Laundry is too, evidently, because I thought I was going to have a fit when I went to get the clean clothes from the laundry room this morning that I'd washed this weekend but hadn't had time to fold.

See this little guy? Yeah, I know the picture is blurry. That's because in order to get a better one I would need to be closer. No snarky comments about my tattered laundry baskets ! These do the job just fine.

I left it there for awhile in the hopes that it would scram in my absence. It isn't that I'm afraid of mice - as in, I think they will give me rabies or something - it is just that I'm not a fan of surprises in general. And I think finding a mouse amidst clean clothes somewhat of a surprise.

I went upstairs to run the vacuum. Actually, my cleaning was interrupted more there by the large animal pest (who routinely insists that vacuum hoses must be exterminated at all costs) than the small animal pest who was blocking the way to the washer and dryer.

Action was required. So first I sucked the breath out of the dog just long enough to incapacitate her (I'm joking! No animals were harmed in the vacuuming of my floor! I promise!). Then I went downstairs to find the little fuzzy huddled in front of the dryer like so:

I enlisted the Bear's help. It turns out that we didn't really need that broom much after all. We tested to see if the mouse would let us near. A few times it ran between the dryer and the adjacent freezer but it would always come back to this spot:

I have a ginormous (Spell check objects to "snarky" but not "ginormous?") Tupperware bowl with lid that I use to make large batches of bread. As we were throwing the bowl over the mouse and sliding the lid under his little body he started squealing a warning alarm for all his mousy kind to hear and heed.

I hope they heard him three counties away because I sure don't want any more paying us an unexpected visit.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Free Bible Reading Plans

If the Twitter information on the sidebar is working correctly (ahem!) you might see that I "tweeted" about working on my New Year's resolutions a bit early this year. Well, I just don't want the New Year to sneak up on me and suddenly smack me in the face like Polly's birthday did! There's nothing worse than desperately calling your daughter for help because you didn't plan ahead. After all, it isn't like the date for a birthday moves around like some Monday holidays do. And, neither does New Year's Day. It's been January 1st the whole time I've been alive.

But I digress.

One of the things that I do each year is to read through my Bible. I'd like to encourage those of you who don't make reading the Bible as much a part of your routine as eating and breathing to do so now. I'm sure many of us are planning our physical diet for the New Year so let's not forget our spiritual diet either!

I've tried many Bible reading plans through the years and I've found that they are a lot like clothes for body-types. One size does not fit all. Here are some I've used:

  • Some that were mass-produced. You can tell them by the way they handle Leap Year. They can be recognized by the note at the end of February telling you to combine the reading for the 29th with the one for the 28th on regular years. You might be able to find one you like and use it forever. I had one that I favored until it became torn and practically illegible through my check marks and refolding of the page.
  • Some that leave "catch-up" dates either at the end or interspersed throughout the month, OR both! NavPress usually provides a new one each year. I've used them several times and like the concept very much. (Who doesn't get behind once in awhile? If you don't, don't tell me. I don't need any more guilt trips because I've used all my frequent flyer miles for this year.) There are some editions that I've liked better than others. NavPress's Discipleship Journal plan for 2010 can be found here: http://www.navpress.com/dj/content.aspx?id=138
  • This one came to my attention today. It looks very do-able even though it might appear daunting at first. After all, who thinks they have time to read 3 books each day? But when studied closer it can be seen that 2 of the segments are very short with 1 longer segment. It is arranged so that some of the "heavier" reading is interspersed with lighter reading (i.e. Numbers is joined with chapter portions from Matthew and a segment from a poetic book). Notice also that the Jan. 1st assignment begins at the end of Luke chapter 5. The previous 4 1/2+ chapters are not read until the end of December. Perhaps this is an intentional Christmas connotation. I'm not sure. However, if one were to use this plan for the whole year and then continue using it throughout 2011 one would never notice a continuity problem. This plan is from Rose Publishing and can be found here: Free Bible Reading Plan eChart Download
  • I recently devised my own Bible Reading plan that I intend to unveil this week. By taking the best of other plans and adapting them to fit my schedule I can keep up. (I'm a homeschooling mom. I'm used to taking published material and adapting it to fit a need.) No more marathon reading at the end of the year, either! (Nothing worse than sneaking in the last few pages of Revelation during the annual Watch Night Service! Or so I've been told. :) ) My personal plan has readings scheduled in 2 books each day except Sunday. I expect you to attend worship services, take your Bible, and read the passage being expounded. Therefore, there is no scheduled Sunday reading unless you need a make-up day. My intention is to post the schedule weekly here and via Twitter on the Saturday prior. That way no one can say their participation is hindered by time zones or religious affiliation.

I'd like to encourage you to find one plan to fit your needs and to faithfully and systematically read your Bible in 2010. And drop me a comment telling me that you intend to read through your Bible next year and what plan you will use to help make that happen.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy Polly-day!

Posted by Picasa
(Click on picture for larger view)

Our oldest granddaughter Polly is now 8 years old and we celebrated with a party! Time sure flies when you're having fun. :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dinner Theater Grandkid Style

Last Saturday, Pastor Dad and I volunteered to work the concession stand during one of the Bear's games. This was our work crew:

They were more suitably attired, of course, but I don't have a group shot that is more recent or casual. No matter how they dress these three are "more fun than a barrel of monkeys." Really, they are.

Pastor Dad dropped Polly and me off first so that we could get situated in the stand before he proceeded to take Tigger and Sweet Pea to the McDonald's drive-through down the street. We always hope the words "Happy" and "Meal" will guarantee a light-hearted repast, especially since a toy is included.

Polly and I soon developed a system where she would run to the refrigerator for cold drinks while I used my gloved hands to dish out the food. All went well until the others returned. Then Tigger insisted on taking turns ferrying drinks. Sweet Pea, in the meantime, had enthroned herself upon the only stool which was situated in front of the serving window where everyone would be obligated to admire her blinking Avatar toy.

One of the player's dad bought a bottled water and a hotdog. In the background, the noise of arguing could be heard as Polly and Tigger loudly debated whose turn it was to fetch while playing tug-of-war with a plastic bottle that was making slow progress toward its purchaser.

The dad was back within minutes and a similar scuffle ensued. I accused him of dividing his order into two separate ones just so that he could see them in action again.

His response? "You gotta admit that it's a pretty good show for a couple of dollars!"

I guess dinner theater is just as entertaining with wieners and water as it is with prime rib and Perrier.

Stay tuned! Perhaps there will be a few more encore showings in the near future. The season is young and so are they. :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

G.I. Joe Has Gone Home

By now we've all heard that the "Greatest Generation" is quickly leaving us. Those World War 2 veterans that remain are fighting another war now, namely battling ill health and sometimes the loss of memory as aging takes its toll on their bodies. Many are retiring from the final battle each day.

My family recently experienced the death of one of its own soldiers. My uncle, Joe, passed away last Thursday. He was not a blood relative but he was still my uncle. He had been married to my aunt for over 60 years before she lost her own battle in 2007. Then he was alone. They had no children of their own but there were nieces and nephews aplenty on both sides of their family.

(G.I. Joe and his sweetheart who waited for his return from war)

( Joe as he appeared in recent days)

Last week, Joe told the doctor and nurse who were attending him in his final moments that he was tired and ready to leave to meet his Savior. Those were his last words.

We are sorry to see you go, Joe, but we thank you for your service to our country, your love for us, and for letting us share your last few days on earth. I know we were no substitute for the sweetheart waiting at Home for you to finish your battle.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

  • I love the original poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
  • I love the poignant story behind it, too, including its Civil War era setting.
  • But I especially love this song!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Birthday Wishes!

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday dear Lulu.
Happy Birthday to you!

(And the gift is in the mail. Really. I kid you not. Watch for it.) :)

Hope your day is great anyway.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thanks for the Tip, Tim Hawkins!

Click here to see Tim Hawkins perform "Chick-fil-A"


I could eat there 7 times a day.

Where the people laugh

And children play

Oh, I'm in love with Chick-fil-A!


I need waffle fries in front of me

With some nuggets

And a large sweet tea.

Oh, Chick-fil-A, you set me free!*

*Thanks to the manager, or whoever it was that gave us coupons a few weeks ago, Pastor Dad and I each enjoyed a free chicken sandwich at the new restaurant while the rest of our entourage enjoyed the nuggets. Yum! We'll certainly be back!

(No royalties were paid to our family for our endorsement. We just happen to enjoy good food, an indoor playground on a cold day, and Tim Hawkins.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Welcome to Our World

Our blog world, that is. Lovingingly nicknamed the blogosphere, I think. Oh, what do I know?! I've only been here a little over a year myself.

A certain someone that we know has taken up blogging. Please make her welcome.

You'll notice that Lauren is a very lovely young lady. She always has been, but now I've noticed that she either got contacts or just never got around to replacing the eye glasses that were lost when her hap was to light upon the canoe zigzagging the river courtesy of my son, The Bear, and one of his friends. All I know is that her parents have yet to present us with a bill for new eyewear. :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What's NOT For Sunday Dinner

This is in honor of the new Chick-fil-A that recently opened near us.

And since I regularly cook Sunday dinner for anywhere between 10-15 people, you must understand that sometimes I have a bad day, week, hour, whatever and take everyone out to eat instead. Yes, it is expensive, but sometimes I have more money than I do sanity. Which just goes to show you how close to being overdrawn at the Bank of Sanity I can become!

Anyway, when those days hit here is one restaurant where we will not be going as an alternative.


Monday, November 23, 2009

The Cost of Being Family

This post is directed at Kelly of For the Love of Letters.

Kelly is many things:
  1. blog buddy
  2. member of our church
  3. one of the Princess' former babysitting clients (as in the Princess babysat Kelly and her siblings many, many years ago)
  4. good friend of all four of my children
  5. a High Hill family wannabe

I don't understand that last one. I mean, I think we're pretty nice and all, but we're probably not any better than any other family, at least as far as anyone else is concerned. If you know what I mean.

I often get a little tongue-tied when introducing Kelly to people. We had missionary visitors last week and I introduced my biological children and it sounded so lame to introduce Kelly as our friend when what she really wants to be is a member of the family.

Don't get me wrong. I'd adopt her in a heartbeat but I don't think her parents would approve of that. Well, there might be some days that they'd pay me to take her, but I haven't tested that theory and don't intend to do so. So put the checkbook away Bryan and Amy. Besides, I only take cash.

I'm not sure Kelly understands all it means to be a member of the High Hill family. If she did, she might not be so eager.

For instance, all members of the High Hill family must be able to sit quietly in their pew while Pastor Dad uses them as fodder for humorous sermon illustrations.

Oh, wait! Kelly endured that yesterday.

I guess that means you're in! We've got an extra bedroom reserved just for you.

And it needs cleaning.

Welcome to the family! :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Our History Of Learning History

I don't often write about how we do things in our homeschool, but I noticed an interesting phenomenon recently that I just couldn't keep to myself.

My son has read much further beyond the assigned work in his American History course.

I don't think I've ever had this happen before, at least with him. He's the kind who knows how to read but doesn't want to do it. So when I started catching glimpses of him reading the text purely for enjoyment, I was surprised.

How did this happen? I'm not sure. The only answer I can find is that he is hungry for it because he has never studied it before.

It's true. My son is in 9th grade and yet he had never studied U.S. History until this year.

It all started as an experiment. Okay, experimentation in our homeschool is not something new. Our family has been homeschooling since the mid-1980s so the whole scheme for our children's education began as an experiment. We homeschooled when homeschooling was something few had begun, let alone completed.

But in this instance I'm talking about experimenting with the way I presented history. I decided to teach a straight timeline from creation through to the here and now. I started this with my girls when they were students but I always chickened out somewhere and gave them doses of U.S. History thrown in intermittently totally out of sequence. I think it had something to do with the fear that developed during those early years when it was required that the child be dropped off at the front door of the public school in grades 2, 5, 7, and 9 for standardized testing. It was obvious that the parent was the one being tested more than the child. What parent wants to send their child to school without a rudimentary understanding of their country's history? I decided that I didn't!

Our state law later changed, but not before scaring the wits out of me! By the time my son began school we were operating under more lenient laws and our oldest had already graduated. Our oldest graduated a year before the youngest even began school. Thus, this was a new beginning in many ways.

When teaching him, I constantly resisted the urge to veer from the plan of teaching history sequentially. The first time I took him for an achievement test with our local co-op he was in 3rd grade. He said afterward that he could not answer any of the American history questions and I almost wavered. But when I saw his total battery scores I resolved anew to stick with it. History was a small part of the social studies segment and the social studies segment was a small part of the whole test battery. It would be of small consequence for a child to be knowledgeable in American history.

By the time I had him tested a few years later, he had picked up enough information merely by being an American that he was able to answer the basics with no problems. Even he was able to recognize the face of Abraham Lincoln and knew that Martin Luther King was the person honored on the January Monday holiday.

Now here we are six years later and he can't get enough U.S. History! The whole spiritual, political, and geographical picture interests him. I remember snoozing through high school history because I knew all the dates and pertinent facts by heart having heard them every year since the early elementary years. But I had no concept whatsoever of how the spiritual, political, and geographical aspects meshed to form the fabric. And I barely remember the one year (or was it only a semester?) of world history that I took as a teenager. For all I knew, history began in 1492. Who knew or cared what people did prior to that?

Besides the fact that my son is interested and therefore learning I noticed another perk to teaching sequentially. We used the Bible as our main history text in those early years. This led to a firm belief in the Bible as being true. He has never questioned the veracity of it.

What we used in prior years:
  • The Bible - we began a timeline that included a line graph of the lifespans of Adam and his descendants. The Bible gives the age of each father when his son is born and the age of the father at the time of his own death from Adam through Jacob. We did the math and plotted a line for each person. We discovered that Methuselah died the year of the flood long before the Creation Museum mentioned it in one of their exhibits. We also showed the year of creation at the top of the timeline, creation taking place in Year 1, and the years B.C. and A.D. at the bottom. Since some events are known to have taken place in certain times as verified through other extra-biblical means, we were able to extrapolate some dates in relationship to others. I'm sure Ussher did the same.
  • James Ussher's "The Annals of the World"
  • A timeline taken from Ussher's chronology. Ours is old but they are now republished under the name "Adam's Chart of History."
  • When the first two volumes of Mystery of History were published we used them to review the Biblical personalities we'd already covered and to add people and/or cultures from around the world to show how they compared in time.
  • We used Greenleaf Press guides and books obtained through them or the public library to cover the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and Reformation periods. At the time, the Mystery of History series ended with Volume 2. I actually preferred the Greenleaf approach (Mason's "twaddle free" learning) and wish I had discovered Greenleaf sooner.
  • Family history. After my dad's DNA results showed that we were of Scandinavian origin those Vikings became a lot more interesting to study! Several of our family lines on both sides can be traced to the 1600s, which would be the time of the Renaissance and Reformation. History is much more fun when one considers their own ancestors living through certain portions of it and upon the affect it had in their lives.

What we are using this year:

  • You may notice that the book shown at the top is the Bob Jones University Press text for the 8th grade. I chose to use it because it presents our history totally from a Christian perspective and in an easily readable format. It is our springboard for further exploration.
  • Since my son is now in high school I supplement the text with biographies and autobiographies that we have in our home library. Treasure hunts through flea markets and old book stores have been worthwhile.
  • We are planning to visit a historical archive which houses the original handwritten journal an ancestor kept in 1797 while journeying from Virginia to frontier Ohio. I held this artifact in my hands once before and can't wait to do so again.
  • We purchased and watched the newer Drive Thru History DVDs. These were excellent! Not only do they provide a tour of many historical places within the 13 original colonies but Dave Stotts is funny but thought-provoking at the same time.
  • We are planning a trip to Washington DC this summer. It seems so much more appropriate now that our son has an appreciation for his country, its seat of government, and for the presidents who are memorialized in the city's great monuments.

He seems to be having so much fun that I hate to interrupt him to make him do his other subjects. Sometimes I don't.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Things To Do At Gram's House

Stop and smell the roses.

Receive lots of kisses!

Master new computer skills.

Learn to drive.

Smile and giggle until it's time to leave.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Running Out of Steam

After helping to care for sick people and their families over the course of the last month, I've discovered that I am not sick myself but wouldn't really care if I was. I am worn out. Frazzled. Drooping. I'm in need of an Energy Fairy.

I read a want ad for such a thing here. If anyone knows of such individuals, then let me know. I'm not too worried about surviving the holidays {gasp!}. It's the here and now that has me concerned.

Also, if you feel like joining me by reading book segments via email, then follow the directions at the blog. Suzanne will see that you get a daily installment each weekday. If you like the book you can check it out at your public library and finish what you started.

Now go curl up with a good book and then dream up a way of getting me one of those Energy Fairies!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Budget-Busting Buster

I spend more money at the grocery store if either Pastor Dad or the Bear go with me. That's not always true because sometimes Pastor Dad drives but naps in the car while I shop. The Bear usually insists upon escorting me in order to insure the cart and conveyor belt are properly overloaded. Gone is the day when I could slap his little hand away from the shelves as he rode along. Now he just wanders at will through the building discovering all sorts of goodies.

Last night, the Bear spent the night with friends and was not yet home when I left to do the shopping this afternoon. I thought I'd made a clean break. My celebration was interrupted in the first aisle by the buzzing of my phone's text message cue. It was the Bear telling me the things that he wanted.

Next time I sneak off to the store I think I'll leave the cell phone in the car. Technology has made it inexpensive to carry one unless the cost of groceries is factored into the equation.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Pain In The Neck

My dad had cervical spine surgery last Tuesday and he now has a better understanding of what it means to have a pain in the neck. He only thought he knew before. He realizes now that the prior pain was nothing like what followed surgery.

Dad progressed well the first few days and then began to steadily decline. The source of the problems was found and corrected with medicine and physical treatments before his health spiralled too far out of control. It. Was. Scary.

Once the problems were identified, someone had to make him do some things that he didn't want to do. I'm not sure who rigged the election (remember that the day of his surgery was election day here in the States) but I won. Or lost. I'm not sure anymore. Anyway, I was the one designated by my mom and his nurses to put him through painful procedures every hour on the hour. Day after day.

I became a pain in the neck.

I guess I did my job well. The patient is now home, having skipped the rehab center altogether. The next time someone calls me a pain in the neck I'll agree. In my dad's case, I've had many years of practice. We just never knew this was a quality that would one day come in handy! :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Where "The Borrowers" Are Now

Do you know who The Borrowers are? This is not to be confused with the Bible verse that Dave Ramsey quotes so often (Proverbs 22:7). These "Borrowers" were written about in a series of books that I read aloud to the Princess when she was young. See here if you need a refresher course in certain "Little People."

In the books, The Borrowers "borrow" things from humans who are supposed to be oblivious of their existence. The humans, of course, think they've just misplaced items. If The Borrowers inadvertently make their existence known to humans, they move for safety's sake.

Which brings us to now. We've had two weird occurrences concerning missing sundries.

About a year ago we rode to a corn maze in the Princess's car. The next morning Pastor Dad realized that he could not find his cell phone and assumed that he'd lost it either in the corn maze or on the accompanying hayride. Since the cell phone is almost as important to Pastor Dad's existence as I am he obtained another one immediately. (Wait! Suddenly I am not sure that I like this analogy.)

Anyway, a couple of months ago, the Princess's hubby was working on a flat tire and found a cell phone in the wheel-well, of all places. It looked like the Bear's phone, but Bear said that it wasn't his and confirmed same by producing it on the spot. It was the one Pastor Dad lost a year earlier. How did it get into the wheel well?

This summer, we cleaned out a rented storage facility. The last person to have my keys - the ring containing the keys to the storage lock and Pastor Dad's car - was Lulu. When I asked her for them she could not find them. As you read yesterday, I recently discovered that I had no key to Pastor Dad's car when I needed it.

Sunday morning, the Princess walked toward me in the church auditorium with a funny smile on her face. In her hand she held my keys. She'd found them somewhere in her car. She has no idea how they came to be located in a nook or cranny there.

But I know.

I think The Borrowers liked the Princess as much as the Princess liked the Borrowers and have taken up residence in her car! This is good news indeed as the husbands of both the Princess and Lulu state that their wives - my daughters - lose things often. Looks like it isn't their fault after all, guys!

I've been known to misplace a thing or two occasionally but I usually attribute my losses to age and hormones. I think now I'll reconsider. And I'll be hunting through the inner recesses of the Princess's car from now on whenever something goes missing.

The Borrowers are among us!

Monday, November 2, 2009

How To Take A Bear To The Doctor

Given the fact that the Bear's illness came equipped with high temps (103.7), his older sister who lives nearby just got over the flu, his oldest sister developed life-threatening pneumonia after her own bout with the flu, and it was the weekend (whew!) I felt it necessary to take the Bear to the doctor Friday. This was not easy for a couple of reasons:
  1. Our doctor's office was turning children away unless it was a dire emergency.
  2. The Bear hasn't been ill since 2005 so I wasn't sure he was still in their system. Really and truly.

But off to the doctor he went. Just not without a hitch. So here are the steps I took to get the Bear there:

  • Call for appointment. Actually get one! Amazing! Have 60 minutes to get him there.
  • Put Fen in his car seat, dogs in crates/rooms, get Bear off couch, grab purse and prepare to load big boy and little boy in car.
  • Remember that Pastor Dad took my car on his funeral trip to WV since mine is more comfortable on trips than is his. Reassess situation.
  • Look for keys to Pastor Dad's car since this is the one in the garage.
  • Realize that I no longer have a key to Pastor Dad's car since someone (I'm looking at you, Nevada!) lost my keys this summer.
  • Panic!!!!!!!!
  • Call son-in-law in hopes that he is not (a) substitute teaching, (b) off running errands, (c) ignoring the call once he sees it is his mother-in-law's number on caller i.d.
  • Breathe once more when son-in-law answers phone.
  • Borrow son-in-law's mini-van and drop off Fen to play with his adoring cousins (bonus!)
  • Drive Bear to doctor's appointment where they are positive that it is strep but the test is negative. Go back home after several blood tests, no diagnosis, and no prescriptions.

The good news is that the fever is now broken and the Bear is on the mend. Blood tests for things like mono are negative.

Bear looks like he saw ghosts this Halloween. Or maybe it's him that looks like a ghost. Good thing we kept him in the house away from the trick or treaters! I don't care how he looks. I'm just thankful that the fever is gone. Seven days is a long time to have temps over 100 degrees unless one is off on a Caribbean vacation.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Dog And A Blog

Yes, Pepper speaks. Doesn't every dog? But now you know why there have been so many mentions of her in recent posts. Well, that and our favorite foil, the Bear, has been sick and it seemed heartless to pick on him when he's ill. Although, he ain't that sick, Praise the Lord, and should be back to being good blog fodder any day now.

In the meantime, I thought you might like to see my co-writer. Usually she dictates or leaves me notes, but as you can see, she decided to take things into her own hands er, paws the other day.

I'm sorry! But I couldn't read what she'd written! The copy was dog-eared.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

From "Almost Heaven" to Heaven

I just returned from the first funeral of a dear man who was a member of our church. I say "first" because this one took place in OH where the man and his immediate family now live, but there will be a second one in WV this weekend where the man was born. It is also where he died last weekend while making his "good-bye dear family" visit.

I'll miss him. He was the kind of man who gently teased the small children and verbally sparred with the rest of us. He was the kind of man who liked to throw down a verbal glove but then acted surprised if I responded to his challenge. I always did so because the battles were good-natured and never mean-spirited.

He and his wife were/are two of the most generous people I've ever known. Their generosity wasn't just the kind that included gifts of home-grown veggies and baked sweet bread, although there have been plenty of those. It was the sharing of their burdens, their blessings, their very lives that constituted their generosity. They've had their share of mountaintop and valley experiences both within and without the borders of the state of West Virginia. I felt privileged that they allowed us to ascend the heights and plod through the lowlands with them.

Each week the man's wife sends a newsy email to her family, friends, and pastor updating us on burdens and blessings. The man hasn't been well in quite some time and toward the end the illnesses were ganging up on him. His wife would give us the doctors' diagnoses and prognoses in a form that we could understand. Each email was written like a blog post. I wish I could share her writing with you because it is so sweet and down-to-earth. Each email ended with song lyrics. I looked forward to reading them each weekend.

I hope she keeps sending them. I never want to stop hearing about how she is managing day-to-day without her beloved husband there to share the moments. I'm not just her pastor's wife, I'm her friend because she allows me to be.

To me, the hardest part of laboring beside my husband in the ministry is attending the funerals of our congregants. And yet, it is the part that epitomizes what the ministry is all about. What other service demonstrates so effectively the message we're laboring to deliver? Our goal is to proclaim the offer of salvation so that all will be prepared for the next phase of their life, the eternal one. And what worship service proclaims better than this one does that we believe there is reason to hope? We aren't saying "good-bye." We're saying, "See you later!" because we believe we will!

To quote my newly-widowed friend, "A song, a song. I must find a song." I can think of no better one than the one Pastor Dad sang today.

No More Night
(words and music by Walt Harrah)

The timeless theme,
earth and heaven will pass away.
It’s not a dream,
God will make all things new that day.
Gone is the curse
from which I stumbled and fell.
Evil is banished to eternal hell.
No more night. No more pain.
No more tears. Never crying again.
And praises to the great "I AM."
We will live in the light of the risen Lamb.
See all around,
now the nations bow down to sing.
The only sound is the praises to Christ, our King.
Slowly the names from the book are read.
I know the King, so there’s no need to dread.
No more night. No more pain.
No more tears. Never crying again.
And praises to the great "I AM."
We will live in the light of the risen Lamb.
See over there,
there’s a mansion, oh that’s prepared just for me,
where I will live with my savior eternally.
No more night. No more pain.
No more tears. Never crying again.
And praises to the great "I AM."
We will live in the light of the risen Lamb.
All praises to the great "I AM."
We’re gonna live in the light of the risen Lamb.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dunces With Wolves

Don't let that laid back, docile look fool you. Inside this dog is all the cunning of her wild canine wolf cousins.

Ever since we installed an invisible fence Pepper has been able to run in and out freely. This has put an end to certain problems (like bursting out the door whenever it opened followed by wild chases through adjoining neighborhoods) while adding to others (like trying to knock the doors down to get back in the house because whatever is going on inside must be more fun than what is going on outside). Even dogs are never satisfied.

But worse than the forced entry problem is the way she has acquired certain wolf-like habits.

Last night, for example, she sat outside howling at the moon until we got tired of hearing it - which fortunately was before our neighbors did - and forced her back inside. Unfortunately, we had to do this repeatedly as one cannot always tell when a dog is lying. Dogs are a lot like toddlers in that way.

Once she tired of that game she decided to put her hunting skills to the test. She sized up her prey and then went into action.

First, while I was distracted with kitchen cleanup she ran to my bedroom and grabbed one of my fluffy slippers. Since she is known for literally tearing the stuffing out of anything that is stuffed I promptly yelled for the Bear to rescue my footwear.

Second, once Bear had rescued my soggy slipper and was distracted by returning same to my bedroom she bounded down the stairs and ravenously devoured whatever it was that was in a bowl that had been left unguarded. (Yes, even though sick, the Bear has not stopped eating - and in this case that's a good thing.)

Cunning. Very cunning. Instead of our usual "hats" of "teacher" and "student" today I think we will sport ones with the word DUNCE boldly emblazoned upon them.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Prayer Requests

I type the prayer list for church. When it comes to the names of my own family members, it would be shorter to list the ones who are well instead of the ones who are ill. However, there are a few requests that are more urgent than others and I would appreciate it if you would petition the Lord for their health, too.

  1. Karen (my daughter) of Candid Diversions fame. The flu has now progressed to pneumonia. I don't think her ears are the primary concern anymore.
  2. My dad will be having surgery on his neck next Tuesday. Then he will be in the hospital for a few days before being transferred to a rehab center where they will teach him to walk again. Yeah, I don't like the sound of that either.

Thanks for asking. And thanks to the Lord for answering according to His Will.

Try Not To Talk With Your Mouth Full

On Saturday the Bear helped me carry in the groceries. I know. I know! What was I thinking!?

It had been a very good shopping excursion because I had lots of coupons in my possession and there were lots of bargains at the store to match them.

Which means I returned with several of some items on my list, specifically a certain microwavable macaroni product that I can also use toward a $20 rebate. Whoo-hoo!

While helping me put away the groceries, Bear noticed the multiple quantities and reverted to a likeness of his 2-year-old self by asking, "Why? Why did you buy so many bowls of microwavable macaroni?"

I explained that I wished to have at least 2 of them left for us to take for lunch on homeschool co-op day. He then made some incredulous remark about co-op being in just a couple of days.

At that very moment I heard the microwave beep as it finished cooking - you guessed it! - one of the microwavable macaroni bowls.

Perhaps next week I'll get the dog to help me "put away" the groceries. The amount that actually makes it onto the pantry shelves would probably not be much less. And maybe the irony won't be lost on her either.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pomegranate Peccadilloes

(Get out your dictionary and look 'em up. I had to get mine just to make sure I spelled the words correctly.)

So what could possibly be the faults of that luscious, nutritious fruit? Have you ever tried to eat one? If so, you know!

Our Kroger store had a great deal on pomegranates recently so I bought a few. When the girls were little I would occasionally splurge. I remember that the first one I ever bought came with a little paper telling how to eat it. That was back before Al Gore invented the Internet so the importers had to include instructions for all of us uninitiated.

I also remember that the purchase was quite expensive but the enjoyment rivaled anything that a doodad from Toys 'R Us could achieve and at less expense at that. I never bothered to tell the girls that it was good for them. Why spoil the fun?

Until yesterday, I had never eaten a pomegranate for myself. I may've sampled a seed or two from the ones given the girls but that's about it. Watching them get juice stains all over their mouths, hands, and clothes looked like the kind of fun I'd experienced as a child while picking wild blackberries in the thicket behind our house but tended to avoid as an adult who no longer desired to play with food.

So here I was with half a pomegranate in front of me and no idea what to do with it! Should I really just pick those seeds out and pop them in my mouth? I gave it a try. And immediately I decided to employ the help of a grapefruit spoon. It worked pretty well, I must say.

Lest you think I am a total ignoramus I will admit that I already knew I liked the taste of pomegranate as I have been known to indulge in bottles of juice and grenadine syrup on occasion. But my education is more advanced now as I came to understand why those bottles are so expensive!

As I was eating my seeds yesterday I decided to share them with the Bear. I wasn't sure he'd ever had the opportunity of sampling this fruit and my memories of his sisters just made it seem normal to want to indulge my nostalgia. I should've known better. I waited much too long to introduce him. He looked at me like I had two heads, then gingerly picked up a seed and popped it in his mouth.

"Not bad," he said before returning to his video game, which was the obvious signal that I was dismissed.

I see now that my approach was totally wrong. What I should've done was told him that under no circumstance was he to eat this fruit because it's on the list the orthodontist gave us of forbidden food items.

Every pomegranate seed in the house would've disappeared before the day was over.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What's It Worth To You?

I'd like to point out that I passed the 200th blog post a few days ago. I didn't say anything about it at the time for many reasons including the fact that the "blog police" might make me do something special like a "200 Things About Me" post. Ain't happenin'! Go read the 100th post twice if you wish. Actually, I did so myself because there were a few pertinent things in it to which I would like to draw your attention.

Numbers 16, 18, 27, and 50 are no longer true. I'm rarely alone these days and therefore I rarely get a lot done. I'm not preparing for any speaking engagements at the moment and I also am no longer the registrar of my local DAR chapter. Certain things were accomplished, certain jobs were completed, and a certain little boy was born who visits his Gram regularly and expects certain undivided attention. No complaints. Just updating the list.

I would like to draw your attention to #96. (Wow! Do I ever feel like a teacher again telling pupils to turn to page such-and-such!) In light of recent remarks about some birthday gifts I've received over the years I felt it necessary to remind my readers of this little caveat. Marilyn Monroe called diamonds "a girl's best friend" and I merely quoted her last week. I haven't been showered with sparklers through the years. Not very many birthdays are that special and my parents do not own Microsoft.

But twice my parents have seen fit to buy me a lovely piece of jewelry for my birthday. The first time was for my 18th and there was a surprise party involved. (I know! As if having Pastor Dad ask me out on a date for the first time wasn't surprising enough!) The gift from Mom and Dad was a birthstone ring with two small diamonds. My first diamonds. They beat Pastor Dad to the draw by about 10 weeks! Yes, he really did propose to me that quickly after we started dating.

The gift for my 50th birthday was a beautiful solitaire necklace and another small party. Should I be looking for Pastor Dad to produce another gem in about 10 weeks? Hmm. I kid! I kid!

It was mentioned that many of the birthdays between the 18th and 50th have not been so good. Several have been marked by grief as friends and relatives have either passed into eternity on this date or we've had their visitation or funeral services on it. They got to celebrate in heaven. We were left to mourn.

If you'll actually read #96 you'll find that the reason these gifts are so valuable isn't their financial worth. As special as the gifts are, it's the people who gave them to me that make them special to me. Marilyn Monroe had it wrong. It isn't "diamonds are a girl's best friends" it is "the people who give you diamonds are a girl's best friends." By my value standard, some of the baubles that my young children produced or my grandparents gave me when I was a child are just as valuable. If I'm ever robbed it won't be the loss of the monetary value of the items that upsets me. I've got a lifetime worth of memories in a jewelry box that contains very few actual jewels! But the memories those items represent are forever cherished as I wear them.

I'm also quickly coming up on my first blog anniversary. I can't believe I've been doing this for a year! I've had so much fun writing, meeting new people, and making new friends. Recently, I've had fun looking back over the past year by re-reading some old posts. Ah! The memories!

In conclusion, just let me say that I've already taken care of #99 on the list. City Gospel Mission received another donation in honor of my 200th post. And if I ever get more time in my schedule - which is probably still a few years down the road - I might begin volunteering there personally once more because people are definitely worth more than things.

Monday, October 19, 2009

It Was The Lord's Will!

I accomplished most of the things on the list today!
  • Take Bear to co-op for his classes. Check.
  • Teach my own class at the co-op. Check. (And based upon class participation it was a good one.)
  • Take Bear for his physical so he can participate in basketball again this year. Check. (Also checked stats against last year's measurements and was somewhat amazed. No, not really. All that food disappearing inside that boy accounts for the many inches grown and many pounds added to his frame.)
  • Took Bear shopping for new clothes. Check. (We bought just a few essentials today. His growth spurt is far from over and I'm tired of being Goodwill's favorite donor because of the almost-new clothes they're receiving from us on an almost-monthly basis.)
  • Buy clothing for myself. Uh, no. Fatigue was setting in after a long day of co-op, doctor's visit, and shopping for Bear. I decided to "make do" for a little while longer. Once basketball practice begins - next week - I'll have plenty of time to wander around the shops and try on clothes without someone hurrying me along.
  • Fix dinner. Again, no. Fed Bear at the mall food court and used coupon from Entertainment Book. Great food and a great deal! Bear was starved and so was I. Pastor Dad had to fend for himself in our absence.
  • Do select school subjects with Bear. Check. And this was absolutely painless - for me anyway. If a child reaches the high school years and cannot be given an assignment and turned loose with it, then someone did something wrong. Bear sometimes pretends he didn't understand the directions but he becomes really astute once the loss of privileges is threatened. Thankfully, that rarely happens. And by that I mean the mere threat. The loss of a privilege especially so.
  • Carry on with normal Monday routine. What was I thinking? Is there any such thing?!

In other news, Pastor Dad went to the pharmacy today and received a flu shot. I decided against getting one myself. I have no particular risk factors like Pastor Dad who has the occasional bout with asthma and I feel that getting one myself now would be like shutting the barn door after the horses have already escaped. I expect that I've already been exposed to it and that getting the shot would be useless. We shall see. If sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office doesn't make Bear or me ill then nothing will!

Hope all of you are staying well-rested, warm, healthy, and enjoying bountiful blessings from the Lord!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

If It Is God's Will

If it is God's Will tomorrow I will
  • take the Bear to his homeschool co-op classes
  • teach my class at the co-op
  • take the Bear for his yearly sports physical so that he can play basketball
  • take the Bear shopping for clothes since everything he now owns is too small again
  • shop for a few more cold weather outfits for myself because many of the things I own are too large (and I'm not complaining!)
  • fix dinner
  • do a few select subjects with the Bear
  • go about the rest of my normal Monday routine.

But it will all depend on God's Will, as it always does, of course. It's just that often I'm not quite as mindful of the fact as I should be. But now two of my children have the flu. Neither child lives with us, but Pastor Dad, the Bear, and I have been around both of them. We shall see how we feel tomorrow and what will be checked off the list.

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow....For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. (James 4:14a, 15)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thankful Thursday

We've had a bit of car trouble lately and am I ever happy about it! Sometimes something that seems like a bad thing can actually be a blessing in disguise.

Pastor Dad used to have a hobby. Now it has become something that makes him a little bit of pocket change.

In order to take things to the next level, Pastor Dad would be required to take a two-day continuing education class in another state. He was somewhat ambivalent about the whole thing but decided that if everything worked out he'd go.

Our second car has been under the weather in recent days. Actually, a brake line broke one day while Pastor Dad was driving and I am very thankful that he wasn't injured as a result. Twice this week we were told the car was ready and to come pick it up and twice we arrived at the garage only to be told that something else had been found that needed repaired.

Pastor Dad needed to leave early this morning for his class if indeed he would go at all. We prayed that if God doesn't want him to pursue this certain avenue at this time that He would close the door somehow. Since the car wasn't ready by this morning we took that to mean that God didn't want him leaving town this week.

That makes two of us.

One more thing. The car is back home now. "A day late and a dollar short" never sounded so good. The day late part is a plus in this case. And even if missing the class means that we'll be short some dollars I know that God will provide them some other way. He always does.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday Wrap-Up

Our usual Wednesday is ordinarily a long day that includes such activities as taekwondo lessons, school, then working at the church office in the afternoon, followed by an evening of church services that mimic a night of summer Vacation Bible School and prayer meeting combined. Today was slightly different.

Last night, Pastor Dad, the Bear, and I attended the evening services of a Bible conference taking place about an hour or so from here. Pastor Dad and Karen's husband, Prince Charming, had spent the better part of the morning and early afternoon there, but the Bear and I were not able to go then, which was quite a shame since Pastor Dad was one of the guest speakers. I think he was even preaching a sermon that we had not heard before. Only members of a pastor's family can fully appreciate that remark! :)

Pastor Dad took the Bear and I to the evening service. The Tuesday night services sometimes run a bit long because a musical concert of sorts follows the evening message and once the music ends there is a fellowship meal. We made the decision to leave following the preaching portion because we still had a good distance to travel home and several things to do once we arrived there. We were surprised when we had to drag the Bear out. He wanted to stay longer than we did!

Upon arriving home, I gave him a list of things to do to get ready for today's schedule, including gathering his taekwondo gear. He was so quiet that I asked him what was on his mind. In response, he asked if he could forgo a day of taekwondo for another day of conference attendance.

What can I say? I was dumbfounded. So what did I say? I said, "Of course!"

And that is what he did. He's still telling me tonight about the things he heard today.

When the Bear gave his life to Christ a little over a year ago, his life surely changed. I can see the Savior in him a little more each day. I've watched my only son grow physically the last 14+ years and I've marveled at the changes. Now I'm watching him grow spiritually and I marvel and rejoice even more.

What a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Typical Tuesday Tidbits

This didn't get posted on Tuesday so I just sent it through now. "Wednesday's Wrap-Up" will appear on Thursday. Bear with me.

I awoke this morning feeling well rested. Just don't ask me what time I awoke. Or got up. Let's just say there wasn't a whole lot of morning left when I arose from under the toasty covers. I titled this update "typical Tuesday" but actually there was nothing typical about it. Usually I am up and running before Fen and Fergie descend upon me in the wee morning hours. Fen had other things to do today so stay tuned. :)

The Bear and Pepper also slept late. They appear to be in high spirits today, too.

Even the wearing of eye glasses and eating of oatmeal went off without a hitch. My cousins were right. Fifty-year-olds can accomplish a lot, once they make up for their sleep deficit, that is.

The last of this year's tomatoes were picked today. Not by me. Those pesky squirrels and raccoons managed to get every one this year. My patio tomato plant produced about 10 beauties but we didn't get to sample a single one! They were picked and half-eaten when they were just the right size to begin changing colors. The wildlife seems to enjoy their green tomatoes un-fried. Anyone have any ideas of how to beat these critters next year? Like all good gardeners - of which I am not one but have aspirations to become - I am already making notes and plans for next year. Having a patio veggie garden sounded good in theory but didn't work so well in practice. Please, please, please! Leave me a comment if you have any legitimate ideas. I say "legitimate" because someone in conversation suggested paying to have all the wildlife moved out to the country. Well, if I'm going to pay for anyone to be moved to the country it will be us and the wildlife can just stay here thankyouverymuch.

I had a moment of deja vu this afternoon and I know that several other family members will, too, once I relate an event that happened. It seems that among many appointments scheduled this day, Princess had one with her college advisor and she took Fen along because the next appointment was for him to get his 4 month check-up and shots. Fen has this strange way of holding his #2 for several days and then overfilling his diaper at the most inopportune moments like, say, at his mother's appointment with her college advisor. She said that once he had completed his task he sat there and grinned really big like he was so proud of himself. She, on the other hand, was quite embarrassed and couldn't wait to leave because the mustard-yellow stuff was beginning to seep out. Ah, shades of his Uncle Bear at the same age! What is it about boys that make them start such disgusting behavior at such a young age and then show so much pride after the fact?! Beware, Princess! Bear did this twice when he was between the ages of 4 and 6 months. Both times were when we were away from home. Since Fen just turned 4 months on Saturday you might be checking your calendar for your next appointment!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday's Maniacal Musings

The worst part about Monday is that it follows Sunday. In our home, Sunday is not typically a day a rest. Of course, the fact that Saturday was one big part-ay could also help explain why I dragged myself off to our weekly homeschool co-op feeling like someone who had not had enough sleep lately. Because I hadn't. That's why.

But it was a good weekend so I'm not complaining. It's just that I have all these random thoughts taking up precious brain cells and I need to get them written down pronto! before they purchase one-way tickets to who-knows-where and thus depart forever. So if they come across as the unorganized, almost unintelligible gibberish of some dear soul on the brink of senility, be assured that they are. Just be glad that I can still type at my advanced age.

Of course, perhaps it is the time spent trying to teach 20+ students from grades 1-6 certain educational concepts in the Monday co-op that is the actual culprit instead of the whole aging thing. The little "front kicker" who vigorously attacks the Bear in the first period taekwondo class usually also assaults my patience during the last period of the day. Students like this little fellow are why I gave up teaching as a profession years ago.

Anyway, thanks to all of you who sent well-wishes for my 50th birthday. I hope you take everything I say here as the joke that it is intended to be. Without further ado I shall now launch into my monologue.

  • Karen and family asked me to accompany them to the zoo Saturday so we could watch the animals do fall activities and the kids could trick or treat. I think the grandkids really wanted to trade me for a cuddly zoo animal, but the keepers said they already had enough old bats hanging around the place.
  • We noted that this birthday was also the 32nd anniversary of the day that Pastor Dad asked me out on date. He didn't know at the time that it was my 18th birthday but since we were married before my 19th it was the last October 10th that he has been able to plead ignorance of the occasion without dire consequences.
  • My parents have chosen a few special birthdays to present me with nice pieces of jewelry. (Think a "girl's best friend.") I think next year I'll tell them that it's my 75th. No wait. That won't work! Even my parents won't be that old yet next year. Hmm. It reminds me of how Bear used to tell folks that his mother was 32 years old in response to their queries about my age. That's pretty good considering I was 35 when he was born.
  • I got some snarky birthday cards from two of my "double-cousins" ( who are older than I am, as a matter of fact) that turned out to be quite prophetic. One said that we're still "quite the lookers" and went on to make some snide remark about always looking for things. How could she possibly have known that I would spent a good 10 minutes this morning looking for my glasses!? The worst part about misplacing eye glasses is that one needs eye glasses to help locate the missing pair. No, I don't have a spare. I'd need to sell a few "best friends" to buy more than one set. Ain't happening.
  • The card from the other cousin said that 50 year olds accomplish great things every day... like "eating their oatmeal..." Yeah, well, I would've done so if I hadn't spent so much time looking for those stupid eye glasses this morning!
  • Princess and family gave me a card with a dude on the front who looks a lot like Fen with a pacifier in his mouth. The card told me to "suck it up." I'm trying. I'm really, truly trying. But watching those decades fly by ain't as fun as it was when going from the onesies to the teens or the teens to the twenties.
  • Lulu and hubby sent me 2 dozen beautiful long stem red roses. Gasp! I guess Onyx got that job as a Walmart greeter after all. Thanks, guys and dogs!
  • Among other things, Karen and family gave me a wall hanging that contained a Mark Twain quote that says, "Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today." Apparently. Unless he meant finding one's eye glasses when in a big hurry to leave for Monday morning co-op. Then it absolutely cannot happen.
  • Pastor Dad bought me a gift card for my favorite department store. I don't know if he realizes it or not, but said gift shall also include a day out shopping. Ah! The gift that just keeps on a-givin', honey!

Thanks again, one and all, for the kind acknowledgements (on blogs and otherwise). We're all getting older so we might as well laugh about it.

(Stop over and see the pictures of someone else who will be celebrating October 10th as a birthday from now on. His momma, Stephanie, is a lovely lady with whom I've become acquainted in recent months. She's a bloggy friend who could use an encouraging word and her newborn son could use your prayers.)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

An Invitation

Mark your calendars now!

You are invited to
A Birthday Party
the 100th Birthday
of "Karabeth"
Date: October 10, 2059
Time: All day
Place: Either here or in Heaven
Please RSVP first at Acts 16:31 and then at Karabeth6@gmail.com
Please, no gifts. The Savior has already taken care of everything.
Your reservation is all that is required.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Eye of the "Tigger"

It's the eye of the tiger, it's the cream of the fight
Risin' up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he's watchin' us all in the eye of the tiger

Our five-year-old granddaughter, Tigger, put on warrior's gear today to join her uncle and sister in taekwondo lessons. Doesn't she look fierce? Everyone loves a person in uniform and I guess a grandparent is no exception. :)

One can tell by looking at her stance that she has been paying close attention in recent weeks as we've observed the others taking their lessons. Notice that as she prepared to attack that shield with a solid front kick that she also had her hands up in a defensive position. It usually takes the instructor weeks to get the new students to "keep your fists up!"

It's the eye of the Tigger!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It's All Relative(s)

A woman parks her car and begins to unload the occupants while passersby observe the procedure. The 14 year-old boy exits the front passenger seat and holds the rear door open on the sedan to allow the 5 year-old girl to exit. The woman opens the other back door to help the 7 year-old girl to do the same. She then watches to make sure the young girl makes her way safely to the boy, who is standing on the sidewalk by this time. The woman then removes the car seat containing the 3 month-old baby from the middle of the back seat and makes her own way to the sidewalk after retrieving the diaper bag.

Finally, one spectator comments. "That's a beautiful family you have there," he says.

"Thank you," the woman replies.

"How old is your son?" he asks.

"He's 14," she states.

"No, I mean the baby in the carrier," he says.

"He's not my son," she replies. "He's my grandson. And he's 3 months old."

"Oh!" the man says in a perplexed way. "I thought . . ." Then turning to the 7 year-old girl he says, "I bet you like your little brother a lot, don't you?"

The little girl politely replies, "He's not my little brother. He's my cousin."

"And who is this then?" the man asks, pointing at the teenaged boy standing next to her.

"He's my uncle," the girl says.

Now the man is really confused. He looks at the youngest girl standing there. "And how are you related?" he asks.

"She's my sister," the little one replies as she points to the bigger girl.

"As I said earlier, you have a beautiful family, ma'am!" he states with a smile as he continues on his journey down the sidewalk.

I think I'll start carrying genealogy charts with me on the days the Bear, Polly, Tigger, Fen, and I go to taekwondo and/or run other errands besides. We once held up the line at the post office for several minutes when one of the postal employees was just trying to make polite conversation. :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Speaking of Birthdays...

Mine is coming up soon. Specifically, my [drum roll] 50th!

My friend, Donna, sent me an email recently reminding me that Barbie also turned 50 this year. And man, doesn't Barbie still look good? But you know what? I'd probably look that good, too, if I had as much plastic in my body as she has in hers.

Donna also sent me a picture of what Barbie would look like today if she had been allowed to age through the years to look like the rest of us who were introduced to the world in 1959.

Yep. That's me!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tigger and Large, Gray Mammals

Our second granddaughter, Tigger, will be celebrating a birthday very soon so preparations are being made, shopping is being done, menus are being planned, and laughter is already abounding. Let's get this party started!

Polly reminded me yesterday that this is the birthday when Tigger "becomes a handful." If you'll think back you'll remember that my first-ever blog post was about the conversation we had last year about this. Read it here if you need a reminder. And remember that GD2 quickly took the name of Tigger for future posts. :)

I asked Tigger the other day what she wants for her birthday. She replied, "A manatee."

Of course she does. What else could Tigger possibly want?! Then she explained that somehow, her mom was going to come up with a manatee cake.

I was relieved for two reasons. First, she isn't heading for obvious disappointment when she opens her presents and finds no living, breathing, belly-button equipped (don't ask!) manatees swimming around in an oversized aquarium. Second, I was relieved that I wasn't asked to bake the cake! She was a bit worried though about how the decorator was going to achieve the proper belly-button effect. Hint: Might I suggest a raisin? After all, what's a manatee without a belly button?

So back to the question of what she wants for, you know, gifts.

Well, it seems that for Polly's 5th birthday - almost 3 years ago now - Pastor Dad and I bought her a bike. NOT a bicycle, Tigger was quick to clarify. A bike. Evidently, there is a difference in her mind. And evidently, we must now provide one for Tigger's 5th birthday.

Okay, so she says her favorite animal is the large, gray mammal known as a manatee. I think she might have it confused with another large, gray mammal known as an elephant. She sure has the memory of one!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"That Face Seems Familiar"

You're gonna think I'm bonkers - ha! you already did anyway - but I said, "That face seems familiar," to myself while watching the Bear recently. No, I haven't been diagnosed with any form of senility so I wasn't having any problems actually recognizing the Bear. And it isn't because he has similar facial features to his sisters. It's just that . . . Well, I couldn't put my finger on it for awhile.

It all started when he began student teaching for his taekwondo master at the homeschooling co-op as part of his black belt training. When the Bear is helping the instructor I am in a nearby room that is designated as the parents' lounge. The door has a window that looks directly into the part of the gym where the Bear and the class are located. What I saw made me think that elusive thought.

There was the Bear, who is at least twice as tall as the young children he was assigned to help, holding a large padded shield that the young warriors were to attack with sidekicks. Some of the little guys obviously weren't understanding the drill as they were rushing head-long at the Bear with all their might and kicking from a straight-forward position. Some of the kicks looked like they missed the target altogether and landed squarely on the Bear's shins instead.

What was it about the face he made during this exercise that made it seem so familiar? It was a combination of slight amusement and calculated patience with a touch of boredom and a hint of annoyance. It was the look of someone who could easily do serious harm to the oblivious aggressor with the blow of one well-placed punch or kick. I just couldn't place where I'd seen that look before.

Then I saw it again the next day. Only this time, the look was on the face of the Bear's 60-lb. dog, Pepper, as she lightly held the 6-lb. dog, Fergie, in her paws while the little dog aggressively bit the big dog's throat in mock battle. It was obvious that Pepper could kill Fergie in one bite if she so desired but instead she laid there on the floor and let Fergie think she was subduing her. When Pepper had had enough she merely flicked Fergie off just like I saw the Bear lightly push some of the little guys off of him and send them back to the end of the line to wait for another chance to pretend they were beating him up.

I guess it's true what they say about dog owners and their pets looking more alike over time. Bear would still be considered more of a yellow Labrador as opposed to Pep's chocolate color, but the looks on their faces were identical.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mother Knows Best

I spent the day with my mother. As a young child, I would want comfort from her whenever I was sick or scared. I guess things haven't changed much even though I am almost half-a-century old.

The men went golfing today and mom was with me. I spent some of the time confessing my sins. Boy, does confession feel good to the soul even at my age. Okay, I didn't tell her everything I'd ever done wrong. There is probably a statute of limitations on some things and as I've said before, there wasn't a whole lot that was done when I was a child that they didn't know about anyway. When you're an only child like I am, any acts of disobedience that are discovered are just automatically assumed to have been committed by the only non-adult in the household. And if I dared to disobey elsewhere, like say, at my grandparents' house on a Sunday afternoon there were almost 35 cousins to witness the event and to tattle on me. Not much got past my parents.

However, I did confess to my mom just how deep some of the depression went when I was a young mom. I told her of the suicidal thoughts that never went beyond thoughts and into action but scared me nonetheless. I confessed having fought from time-to-time with her beloved-son-in-law (Pastor Dad) without going into irrelevant details that might embarrass all of us. I told her that I'd left him a few times but that I never spent a night away from him while we were angry. An hour or so was about all I could muster and that was usually spent walking or driving.

I told her about the arguments I had with my kids. I mentioned that they sometimes hate(d) me and I wondered if I would lose my hold on sanity in the dark moments.

I told her about the abyss I found myself in when the chicken pox disfigured me and led me into the dreaded autoimmune system disorder when I was 29 years old. She knew that, but she never had been told about the dark days of not being able to rise from the bed because I was prostrated by the resulting depression.

And do you know what? My mother didn't look the least bit shocked. Instead, she smiled and basically said that I'm not a superhero. And she doesn't even read this blog! I had to go back and read my own writing about being Super Mom before slapping my forehead while uttering an audible, "Duh!"

So thanks, Mom. It's amazing how much wiser you are now than when I was a kid! :)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Marvels of Modern Medicine

Isn't modern medicine wonderful? I'm rarely sick enough to warrant a visit to my primary care physician but when I go I am amazed with the latest tools at his disposal and drugs in his arsenal.

Such was the case Friday. I desperately needed help serving eviction papers to the elephant sitting on my chest. My body temperatures were steadily holding in the tropical range no matter what I did and the elephant obviously was a fan of warmer climes.

My last fever-free day was Wednesday. The one from the night before had broken and the elephant must've been out running an errand because I was breathing well and feeling better except for a slight headache. I decided to go on to church. Since a headache can quickly escalate, I sat on the back row in case I needed to make a hasty exit. This caught the attention of a few church members. I guess I looked a little under-the-weather because one asked if I had Swine Flu.
  • What I wanted to reply was, "Of course I think I have Swine Flu! That's why I came to church on the first night of our mid-week ministries just so that I'd have a packed building in which to share the germ."
  • What I replied was, "No, I don't have the Swine Flu. Right now it is just a slight headache," as I fought the urge to roll my eyes.

My physician verified my claim by taking a swab. We discussed how quickly a diagnosis for things like strep and flu can be made these days. The swab would not tell if I had Swine Flu but if it came back positive it would assumed to be of that variety. He knew I didn't have it, and I knew I didn't have it, but given recent hysteria (and the fact that the person in the next examination room had just tested positive and was receiving an anti-agent) he decided to test me. Our conversation leading up to the swab went something like this:

Dr.: Do you have any flu symptoms?

Me: Every time I get a fever I experience some of the symptoms.

Dr.: Any muscle aches?

Me: I went canoeing last Saturday. Every muscle in my body ached before I got sick.

Dr.: Been around any college students from (named a couple of local schools) recently?

Me: Actually, we invited a visitor to Sunday dinner recently who attends one of them. He seemed fine at the time.

Dr.: Have you been in contact with crowds or sick people lately?

Me: Well, yes, and yes. I'm a pastor's wife who stands at the exit every Sunday shaking hands with all the adults and children (whom I'm sure don't always wash their hands properly after such unsavory activities as nose-picking, etc. - meaning the children). I think shaking hands with everyone could literally be considered "contact" with crowds.

Dr.: Nurse! Get a swab!

Ten minutes later I was certified flu-free with the diagnosis of an elephant named Bronchitis. I already knew this as the elephant was a frequent visitor when I was a child.

Further proof of how far medicine has progressed is that the 2-week rounds of antibiotics that I used to take have now been replaced with 3 mega doses. I like that so much better! It means less chance of forgetting to take a dose, or wondering if I've already taken a dose ("senior moments" makes this pretty important), or wondering if symptoms are caused by illness or side effects. But most of all, it means the elephant will be packing his trunk quicker than ever.

It also means fewer lost school days, but some people might not appreciate that. Good thing these advances in medical science came when I was an adult instead of when I was a child.

School reconvenes Tuesday. Holiday weekend, you know. :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

When Dust Becomes An Elephant

The Bear is taking biology this year and one of the things that we have reviewed is the way scientific laws are made and how they can be proven wrong. The prime example used is Aristotle's hypothesis that non-life could produce life, something which is known as spontaneous generation. Aristotle proposed his theory around 350 B.C. and the data obtained for centuries seemed to support it so well that it was firmly believed until Louis Pasteur conclusively refuted it in AD 1859.

What is spontaneous generation? It was the belief that rancid meat turned into maggots, pond water turned into frogs, and boxes of grain turned into mice. My question is why anyone would want to create organisms that God used as plagues to punish the Pharoah of Egypt prior to the Jewish Exodus? Shouldn't we be avoiding making maggots, frogs, and mice? But "make" them they did just to prove that they could.

Then Louis Pasteur came along with his experiments and he proved there were other things at work in each of those situations. Living things, that is. I happen to be a big fan of Pasteur and I thank God for him every time I reach for a glass of pasteurized milk. Three cheers for Louis!

But I think I have to disagree with him on one point. I think dust can turn into an elephant.

It all started Monday when I lost something behind a heavy piece of furniture. It was one of those pieces that doesn't get moved often merely because of its weight. But since I'm in my fall cleaning mode (I didn't get to do the spring cleaning) - and I really wanted the item I dropped - I decided to tackle that puppy. So with dustcloth in hand I bent over to clean the baseboard as soon as I had moved the furniture. Specks of dust flew up in my face like a flock of sleeping ducks that had been disturbed on a pond! I gasped in surprise, which caused the involuntary response of inhaling deeply.

Uh oh. I'm in for it now.

Sure enough, by Tuesday evening at least one of those specks of dust had grown into an elephant and he was sitting squarely on my chest. I could feel him with each breath I took.

So dear M Pasteur if you were correct - and you most assuredly were - when you proved that non-life cannot spontaneously generate into life, might I suggest a hypothesis of my own? If it passes scrutiny we could name it Karabeth's Law:

Cleaning is bad for your health.