Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
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.
from which I stumbled and fell.
Evil is banished to eternal hell.
No more night. No more pain.
No more tears. Never crying again.
No more night. No more pain.
No more tears. Never crying again.
where I will live with my savior eternally.
No more night. No more pain.
No more tears. Never crying again.
All praises to the great "I AM."
We’re gonna live in the light of the risen Lamb.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
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
- 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.
- 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.
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
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
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
- 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
- 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
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
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
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
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
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
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!"