Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tigger On Canoeing

Remember Tigger? She's our almost-five-year-old granddaughter who is the closest thing to Yogi Bera that this family has. She says thing in the most serious voice that absolutely make you want to burst out laughing but you don't because you know it will hurt her feelings.

She's the one who wants to have a pet manatee in a home aquarium when she grows up. Oh, that Tigger, you say.

Yes, that Tigger. She was in our canoe during the first half of the trip yesterday.

Before they bussed us up the river to the drop-off point, the owners gave us an informative talk about the conditions on the river, the things to avoid, and the bridges we would pass under that we could use as landmarks. Evidently, all Tigger heard was that we would exit the river immediately after we passed under a big bridge because as soon as we floated under the first one we encountered she let out a joyous shout of "We're almost finished!!!"

We'd been in the water about 5 minutes.

When we told her we had several hours left until we completed our course she breathed a worried "Oh, dear!"

I'm not sure if this exchange had anything to do with the hasty exit her mommy and she made up the riverbank toward the bathroom at the end of the trip. She went before the trip began. I KNOW she did. But you know how running water seems to effect women. The rest of us were just a bit less obvious.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Floating Down the River

The subtitle for this post should be Speed Limit 2 because when an 8 mile canoe trip takes about 4 hours it means that one is barely moving. Of course, there was a stop for lunch along the way, but devouring the small amounts of edibles packed in waterproof containers doesn't take long. Plus there is the fact that there are no rest rooms so it might not be such a good idea to consume large quantities of food and drink.

The youth group and several youth wannabees go canoeing each summer. Pastor Dad and I have never gone before but we thought it might be fun. After all, we made our leg muscles angry a couple of weeks ago (read about it here at Speed Limit 20) and decided our arm muscles deserved equal treatment. Fair is fair.

When one is spending 4 hours in a canoe, one doesn't have a whole lot of options so I sat there people watching, which is just a polite way of saying being nosy. And because of this special skill of mine - coupled with a lot of time on my hands - I was able to compose this blog post. Oh, yeah. One more thing. I paddled, too, but I assumed you knew that merely by the fact that I was located in a canoe.

Canoeing was not a one-person endeavor. Two - and sometimes three - people were trying to steer their craft down the river while avoiding obstacles in the water like rocks, branches, sandbars, and discarded weed-whackers. I kid you not.

I thought about how much like life this day was. It is very important to pick the right person to be in your canoe. There were a couple of boys that Karen christened The Odd Couple (remember Felix Unger and Oscar Madison?) because they spent most of their time bickering over procedure. The fact that they spent time going around in circles made it a long day for them.

It is also important who you follow. At one point there were 2 canoes directly in front of us. One held a couple who seemed to have a clue. The other held the Bear, his friend, and his friend's female cousin. Since the Bear and friends are the only people I know who can turn an 8 mile trip into a 16 mile one by zigzagging from shore to shore, we wisely opted to follow the more sane mature couple. Choose your role models wisely.

Education can happen anywhere. As I was walking along the bank with Polly and Tigger while trying to reach the place where Bear and friends had overturned so that we could help hunt for the girl's glasses (never found them) we happened upon pristine animal tracks on the river bank. It rained a little yesterday so the tracks in the mud were fresh. I took the time to identify them for the girls. There's always something to be learned.

And what about us? Pastor Dad and I got off to a rocky start. Neither of us has been in a canoe in a long time. I know this because we've never been canoeing in all the years we've been married. It took us a bit to get in a proper rhythm where we were working together instead of counterproductively. (Kind of reminds me of the first time we hung wallpaper together.) We beached a few times, collided with other canoes, and basically fought the current instead of allowing the current to work for us. But once we finally got the hang of it the ride was so much more enjoyable. It was still a lot of work, but it was fun.

Yes, there's a metaphor in here. But you're all smart people so I'll let you figure it out for yourselves.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Note To Pastor Dad


I hope you're enjoying the conference. I know you enjoy getting away for a few days to hear edifying messages and to fellowship with other pastors. You know I'm happy that you get these opportunities even though I miss you terribly when you're gone.

Can you please come home now? I just don't feel the same when you're gone. I'm sitting here wiping my eyes as I'm typing.

Which reminds me. Don't forget to bring back the allergy medicine that we share. I obviously haven't taken any the last couple of days.

With All My Love,

Your Wife

(P.S. Thanks for being such a good sport! I wouldn't tease you if you weren't. Oh, and I really do miss you! See you soon!)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Just Call Me Rip Van Winkle

We celebrated our 10 year anniversary at church yesterday. They honored Pastor Dad for his years of service here by having a few fellow pastor friends tape congratulatory messages that were played for all to hear, and by giving him a card shower and party. As Pastor Dad's wife I would like to say, "Thank you," and "Where did the last 10 years go?" I feel like we just got here!

I know Rip Van Winkle lost more than 10 years from his life when he fell asleep for his long nap, but imagine how rested he felt when he awoke! Still, I'm glad not to have slept through it all. I mean, this is what we looked like 10 years ago:

Can you imagine waking up now and finding that the two girls in the picture are married to boys they met at the church, the little boy is smack-dab into his teenage years (!), I am almost 50 years old (yikes!). And - maybe the hardest of all to believe - Pastor Dad wishes to use the money he received in his cards for new kitchen appliances!

I must be dreaming.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I'm In Hot Water Again

Yes!!!!!! A new water heater was installed today, PTL!

The cold shower after that long bike ride the other day made that phrase "adding insult to injury" so much easier to understand.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Speed Limit 20

Pastor Dad and I went biking again today. We dropped the Bear and one of his friends off at Kings Island so that they could experience one more "thrill" before the beginning of the school year. The friend's school year, that is. He goes back to classes later this week. Bear goes back to school, um, . . . sometime.

We biked part of the Little Miami Bike Trail. It passes near the park so we were never too far away from where the Bear and bud were located. Our trip began near Loveland and proceeded to Morrow and back. It is almost 10 miles one way which makes it about a 20 mile round trip. They really do have speed limit signs on the bike trail telling bikers that they can't go over 20 mph. People who are more fit than we are might need the limit. We, on the other hand, do not. We did, however, finish the section we set out to do, just not in anything near an hour. We're more the sight-seeing type of riders, and believe me, we think it is worth seeing the beauty around us.

We've now biked about half of the main trail and about 20 miles of some of the spurs. One of our future goals is to bike the 60 mile section from Xenia to Milford in one trip, perhaps stopping halfway for a night's lodging.

One of my immediate goals is to be able to get out of bed tomorrow. I'm hoping the ice packs, heating pads, and aspirin tablets will do the trick.

I'll let you know how that goes.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dog Daze?

Note: I told the following to a friend who has experience with service dogs just to make sure that it wouldn't be offensive to the people who use them. The dog I encountered wasn't in training (no kerchief with the word "training"), but it was obviously new to the job. My friend assured me that she saw no reason why anyone would be offended so here goes...

I was walking through the automatic door at the grocery store Friday when I encountered a blind lady, her guide dog, and the chaperon who had driven them there. I stepped aside to allow them to pass unimpeded and I intended from there to go about my own business. However, the guide dog had other ideas.

How can I describe the dog's personality? Think of Onyx as a guide dog. If you've never met Onyx, perhaps you've heard enough about Lulu's dog to understand. There's a picture of her on the sidebar here showing her in her meet-and-greet pose. Onyx is the dog who would growl at the other dogs whenever we took the pack to the dog park, but would sit at the gate and greet the people as they came in with that "Hi! I'm Onyx! Feel free to pet me." look on her face and wiggle in her tail. Lulu always says that the upkeep on her dogs is so expensive that they need to get jobs. Well, I think Onyx should apply for a position as Walmart greeter. She'd be perfect. However, guide dog might not be such a good idea.

The dog in the grocery store was also a female black lab, but a younger one. Everyone was ignoring the dog as well as they could and should, but the dog demanded to be the center of attention. She walked up to store employees and fellow-shoppers alike with her tail wagging a mile a minute. I have now seen the shocked look of someone who has been goosed behind the knee by the wet nose of a service animal!

After passing the floral section (where the wet-nose-meets-back-of-knee event occurred) the little entourage made its way into the produce department. The dog's attitude immediately changed from "Ooooh! People!" to "Ooooh! Food!" I saw the chaperon pulling the dog away from the edibles like I used to do to my children when they were toddlers.

I passed them soon afterward. I noticed, however, that they never made it as far as the meat department.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I hope this quip isn't true: If I ever get it together I'll probably forget where I put it.

I can think of no better example showing the need to get it together than that of someone agreeing to watch her grandson for the day only to be awakened on the designated morning by her daughter knocking on the bedroom door while yelling, "Mom? Are you up? The baby is here. . ." and knowing that her daughter is going to be late to work because the grandmother wasn't clothed and in her right mind at the appointed time.

How can I describe how I, er she, felt at the very moment consciousness was restored? Hmm. Nope. Can't quite think of the proper words. Embarrassed and horrified don't even tell the half of it.

I, er she, hadn't forgotten that the daughter was dropping the baby off today. She even went to bed last night with that exact thought on her mind. And she even woke up early this morning thinking about it, but then, obviously, she fell back to sleep! I'm glad to say that after the heart-rousing wake-up call the rest of the day went pretty well, actually.

Then there is this whole homeschooling thing. My daughter, Karen, announced yesterday that she started her kids back to school. And I, er someone, is pretending that summer will never end. I, er someone, will need to order all of her son's curriculum. Seriously.

It is abundantly clear that -like it or not - someone better get it together. Now, where did I put that curriculum catalog? It seems to have been misplaced.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Back to our Game

Remember the game of hopscotch we're playing using the numbers from my July calendar? Yeah, I'm having a hard time remembering, too. I do remember that there was a trip involved...

As a matter of fact, when we last spoke of this subject we had just finished the first 24 hours of a 2 day trip. The next hours were just as fruitful and fun. "Fruitful" could actually mean a couple of things here. I'll explain later.

I really must apologize to the good friends and fellow bloggers that Pastor Dad and I were blessed to see that day. It is because you are fellow bloggers that I took my good ol' time getting this post up and running. It takes time to link to all of you! Without further ado, let's reminisce about the second day of Pastor Dad's and my annual anniversary trip.

After settling into our motel room (which was fantastic I might add), we prepared for dinner with good friends. Aunt Morgan and her brother, Spencer, were kind enough to bring their parents, Grandma Jane and Brother Scott, along for this event. :)

I also got to meet Aunt Morgan's favorite photography subjects that evening for the first time. They are even more adorable in person than they are in their photos, if that's possible.

What can I say? Going to visit Grandma Jane and Brother Scott in their home and church has got to rank right up there as one of my favorite places to go. Always. No exceptions. Yep! I love you folks! Just be glad I don't show up on your doorstep more often than I do. As in, moving in with you, I mean. I always come away from your home full.

And this time we were very full. "Fruit"-ful. Remember that word? Before they sent us merrily on our way they filled our tummies at the nearby Bob Evan's (thanks Spencer for buying!) and our car with all sorts of home-grown produce for later. I made a joke that some of it would go immediately as an offering to the Bear who would greet me at the door with the question, "What's for lunch?" on his lips. I was right,but honestly, it doesn't take much of a prophet to make that prediction!

Another highlight of the trip was that I got to meet little Colton of On the Branch and Living on the Creek fame. What a blessing to see how God has worked in this little fellow's life in the last few months! Nothing like witnessing an answer to prayer. I also figured out that little Colton and I are related. Mmm hmm. It's a small world after all. Chitchatting with his momma Britt and his grandma Donna was special, too. My, but they have great memories! They remember us from way back when. (I hope it is because we were nice and not because we did something insulting or something equally horrifying to think about! I'm going to guess it is the former. :) )

I also got to chat awhile with long-time friends, Sue and Nick. Their daughter, Jessie, doesn't live in their town anymore but I keep track of her over at Tales Of A Stay-At-Home Mom. Your mom and dad miss you, Jess. I missed seeing you, too.

So thanks, Brother Scott for inviting Pastor Dad to preach to your congregation. I sure hope his sermon was a blessing to y'all because y'all were sure a blessing to me -- as always! Thanks Grandma Jane for inviting us into your home for --cough-- chocolate. Yum! How did she know I'm a sucker for such things?! Thanks Jodi and Ryan for letting us meet your adorable children. Thanks to the whole family for singing with us around your piano.

And our week was still not over. But I must stop here before my emotions overwhelm me.

Yet again, to be continued...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

When Hollywood and Reality Don't Jibe

Okay, that's often.

But today that title is not meant to be political or even philosophical except when it refers to the fact that it is truly humbling to go to the theater to watch Julie and Julia only to come home and fix the Hamburger Helper Beef Stroganoff that was on that night's menu.

(La deep sigh.)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Enjoying the Harvest

I've posted about what was happening two weeks ago so I'll hopscotch for a moment back to the events of the here and now.

We've been enjoying the results of harvesting.

First I will tell you about the spiritual harvest.

If you remember, in one of my teen camp posts I mentioned that we're praying for spiritual fruit in the hearts of the campers. We're starting to hear reports of how God is working because of things that were taught that week. Praise the Lord!

And then two weeks later was junior camp. We already know that one young man trusted the Lord because he presented himself yesterday for baptism. Praise the Lord!

And then there is the type of harvest that has to do with physical food.

Someone at church gave me a large paper grocery bag full of green beans yesterday. I spent most of the afternoon today processing them. They look very nice in my freezer and will be great to eat when the summer is over.

Even though I decided not to can the beans, I still managed to heat up the kitchen in the process. Strange, but the air conditioning decided to go on the fritz. There's no telling how long it has been broken because we haven't been having our usual August heat lately.

We live in a bi-level house, so the upstairs became steamy. At one point the temperature was hovering around 90 degrees in the upper story. Please, no one tell the environmentalists about my own contribution to global warming today. I'd hate for the government to pass regulations against blanching green beans!

We're thankful for the harvest, both spiritual and physical. May they continue to produce abundantly!

First Jump in Hopscotch

Two weeks ago Pastor Dad and I celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary. We usually take a trip to celebrate the occasion, but there was scarcely time or energy this year to be gone for a whole week. This was due to the fact that the week in which our anniversary fell was sandwiched between two weeks of church camp. That's pretty appropriate since that's the way it was the year we married, too!

This year we took just a couple of days off to visit a couple of pastors' families and their ministries in Kentucky.

Pastor Dad preached on this trip. That's also appropriate.

Since Lulu was still living with us then, the Bear and his dog had supervision during our absence. The Bear prefers staying in his own home if at all possible and Pepper had just returned from a week at the kennel.

Our first night was spent in a small town. The pastor and wife of the church where Pastor Dad was preaching that Wednesday night are friends of ours from w-a-a-a-y back. That pastor always introduces Pastor Dad as his own former pastor. Specifically, the one who disciplined him. In Baptist lingo that means we excluded him from membership from our church for unchristian conduct. And you know what? It got his attention. I'm pretty sure that's what the Apostle Paul was teaching the church at Corinth in his first epistle to them.

As should be obvious, the man who is a previously disciplined church member turned pastor made an about-face at some point in his life. I remember well when that happened, too. And when it did the young man came to visit us in our TN home while he sought God's direction about where to attend Bible college. Direction was provided, and that's where he met his then-future wife. That's appropriate, too, because that is how Pastor Dad and I met.

We left our friends the next day. We first got together for a nice brunch and spent time talking about things that are and things that will be.

These friends aren't on one of our usual pathways through the state so it was a treat visiting with them. We appreciate them for providing for us on our first night away from home.

To be continued...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fen's Boredom Explained

It wasn't until I looked again at the photos on yesterday's post that I realized that you can't see what I'm talking about in this picture:

Okay, well, how about a close-up image then?

Now you understand why I said Fen was bored. :)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Baseball with Some of my Buds

Because the Princess and her hubby had free tickets like this

they were gracious enough to take us along so that we could see how Fen enjoyed his first Cincinnati Reds baseball game. As you can see, he was a bit bored when he first arrived.

His interest picked up a bit as the night progressed, especially as we began enjoying the snacks. Such is the way it goes with little Fen. Whenever his mommy begins to eat he suddenly shows interest in indulging in a meal of his own. Or maybe he was just annoyed that he was decked out in something that could be a Colorado Rockies blue hat along with his official Cincinnati Reds onesie.

He did oblige his Gram by modeling his snazzy clothes for the camera. I might add that he soon required a change into jammies, and later still, a third outfit. He was quite the well-dressed man-about-town last night.

After the game came one of the best firework displays that I've ever seen. Little Fen didn't seem to mind the noise. And the rest of us were happily entertained until the breeze from the river made the smoke waft in our general direction causing some of us a bit of breathing discomfort.

Unfortunately, the Reds didn't win. Colorado's team was here for a visit while Fen's aunt, Lulu, was out there being hosted by some of its residents.

Hopscotch Karabeth Style

Are you ready for a game of hopscotch? In my version of this childhood favorite we will be jumping around as I blog about events of the last few weeks. No chronological scrapbook for me, Vicky! No sirree! I'm going to be here and there and everywhere until I get everything said that I wish to say.

Some of you more literary people might call this "flashback" writing. I, on the other hand, will stick with what I know best. And that means something a bit more childish like hopscotch.

No matter what your game is, I hope you enjoy reading of the events of the last few weeks even if it takes the next few weeks for me to get it all down in writing.