Friday, April 30, 2010
That said, I am a rusher, hurrier, get-it-done-now kind of gal. When I don't get things done quickly, I am annoyed. Terribly so. This is one of the lessons God has wanted to teach me, but I have, uh-hum, ignored it until now.
I have come to realize that I must learn to slow down; I will not live more life by rushing. Rather, I am losing life by rushing because I don't enjoy all the processes that it takes to live -- dishes, mowing, cleaning, or even grading. Perhaps I am missing good things in life by not taking more time with these things. I should treasure the many things I have been blessed with, taking time to care for them and enjoy them more.
Dishes indicate the time and money spent to make a meal that will nourish my body for things I really love to do. Cleaning is a blessing because I, well, have stuff that needs cleaning like a toilet or bed sheets. Grading reminds me that I am blessed because I have a job and that students like me enough, even though I am tough, to spend two years with me.
So, this weekend, I am going to slow down and enjoy my long list of chores. And, I plan to take some time to sit on the porch and spin. I have this lovely angora that wants to grow into yarn. Wouldn't it be a shame not to do that for it?
Take some time and enjoy this lovely weekend. We are blessed.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Holder of knowledge
Holder of thought
Holder of a sight that saw what I did not.
Holder of patience
Holder of grace
Holder of encouragement to find my right place.
Listener of sorrows
Listener of joy
Listener of thoughts others tried to destroy.
Listener of dreams
Listener of fears
Listener with nonjudgmental ears.
Bringer, you spoke
Bringer, you taught
Bringer of outlets to express my true thoughts.
Bringer of support
Bringer of strength
Bringer of inspiration which knew no length.
Hero of yesterday
Hero of today
Hero of a girl who knew not what to say.
Hero of one who goes forth to chase dreams
Hero who knew how much all of this means
Hero who gave me a reason to soar
Hero who gave me the pen to write more.
My hero: a holder of knowledge and thought
I will never forget you ... Please forget me not.
Yeah. Can you say, doggone it, I love what I do??? I have the best job in the world.
How has your day been?
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
For days I asked Don to "take care of it" as we all know that I couldn't. Snakes, even on TV, scare me so much that I can't get my breath. Thanks, Eve.
Anyhow, Don got busy and didn't get it done before he left to teach a week-end long Motorcycle Riders Course. I was left alone with the biggest snake in the Whole Wide World.
Friday afternoon I went to feed the gals and guess who was finishing up an egg? My nemesis. The Snake. I hastily threw food for the gals and ran out of the coop as quickly as my old legs would run.
Saturday morning. The Snake had the audacity to be curled up in a nesting box, digesting the egg from the night before. I nearly touched him before I realized he was in there. I screamed. He screamed. The chickens screamed.
Sunday morning and I had reached my tolerance level. I called Daddy and asked for gun advice. He told me to come on and he would help me buy one. We did. I spent the afternoon learning how to safely load, aim and shoot. Daddy outfitted me with rat shot and regular bullets -- just in case, he said.
I arrived home, got myself a lawn chair, glass of tea, and my gun. My bullets were in my pockets because I was so afraid I'd shoot myself! Then, here he came, winding out of the building in the little space between the roof and the wall.
Took a deep breath.
I squeezed the trigger.
The Snake recoiled and seemed stunned. He then dropped -- right back into the coop.
I gingerly tiptoed to the building. Yep. Blood.
Then, I peeked in the building. He was dangling from the nesting box. Blood was oozing from his head. I was certain he was dead. Until He Licked His Tongue.
I couldn't shoot again. I was shaking too badly. But, I decided, I would wait and see if he came out again. I'd shoot him again if he did. Otherwise, perhaps he was dying.
Don arrived home an hour later. There I sat, Annie Oakley of the Mountains, gun across my lap, tea on the ground.
"What have you been doing?" he called up to me. "You? With a gun? What is wrong??"
I told my tale and dragged him into the coop. The Snake had coiled up in the nesting box, raging mad from his wound. It was evident that he was NOT going gently into that good night.
"Thanks," Don said sarcastically. "Now I have to finish him."
He did. Me? I went to the house to make supper. After all, hunting's hard work!
Monday, April 26, 2010
He has been, as it is written, responding in "pushed down and overflowing" mode since.
Nearly every day last week, God sent me a check or gift through the mail. I received book reviews to do, a refund from an ER visit from 18 months ago, coupons for free things, and a rebate. I also received a query inviting me to apply for a part-time home job reading essays for a large testing company: "Make your own hours!" they boasted. So, I decided I could work four extra hours a week and put that toward the house and still be sane. I applied.
Today God sent me another query to tutor from home in the late evenings. I don't mind that kind of time to work a little. I am done with all my "home work" and chores by 7ish, so a few extra hours will be fine. And, I received an email that I have been hired by the testing company for the few extra hours as well. And, in the mail, came another freebie.
Our cabinets are staying quite full, still, and somehow the gas is lasting a little longer in the cars. Our telephone, Internet, and cable were able to be negotiated down to save $88 a month; the dusk-to-dawn light has been disconnected for another $12 a month savings. My cell service was offering a special discount to have seven numbers you can call without paying for them as well as 750 minutes of time with free time between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. Yeppers. Another $49 saved each month.
You know, I can't wait to see what God sends tomorrow!
Amy update: She had another procedure today; there is still some drainage. But, she is out of ICU and in a step-down unit. While she is not completely out of the woods, she is seeing the edges! She even helped bathe the baby today! Thanks for your prayers!
Sunday, April 25, 2010
One of the things I have thought about as I have been gone is how much my home means to me. I love it. I love the old wood walls. I love the uneven floor. I love the porch, the way the screen door creaks, and the way the sunshine comes through the front windows at 7:15 a.m.
Home has many meanings to people. Some of my friends "dread" going home because they don't like the way their house looks (fix it!) or who lives at their home (move 'em out!). I have a friend who has never owned a home because her husband believes that it is a silly waste of money. She hungers for a place she can paint or change. Another friend rents a room in a huge old house and is living a monastic life and is happy with that.
Home is where we hang our hat. It is where we sleep, eat, read, and cry. It is where we should be loved regardlesss of what is going on the rest of the world. Home is more than the substance that fills it. It is the cat who curls up in our lap, the chair that fits just right, the tub that leaks when we fill it.
My family moved 17 times in nearly as many years. Daddy wasn't in the military; he was in sales. Sometimes, I thought we were running from "the law." I was always the new kid -- wrong clothes, wrong slang, wrong place in the textbook. No one in my life, except my family, knew me before I was 36 years old. I think this is why I cling to my little bit of earth and house. It is home. I will live and die here. I plan to be laid out in the parlor when I die and be sprinkled on the rose garden -- when it is planted completely!
Paul Simon wrote in "Keep the Customer Satisifed":
Gee but it's great to be back home
Home is where I want to be.
I've been on the road so long my friend,
And if you came along
I know you couldn't disagree.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Please continue to remember her in your prayers. Thanks!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
I am thrilled!
He is a charming man and very knowledgeable about history -- especially Civil War history. I can't wait for him to take me to Manassas and to Stone Bridge. I don't know where else we might go. It is his choice. He has agreed to take me to this lovely little Greek diner for breakfast in Fort Royal. We ate there a few years ago and they had one of the best breakfast menus I have seen in a very long time. And they had grits. Yum.
A road trip with a gal pal is so much fun, isn't it? Even if we are going to just have two nights and the drive time, we will have a blast. Do you have a gal pal who will just let you let your hair down and love you warts and all? Isn't it delicious to have a friend who will giggle over a song, share a catch phrase, or give you "the look" when you are out?
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Not to be confused with "Moon Dance."
Planting by the moon is an old tradition that comes from the realization that the moon plays an important role in nature. Early cultures developed most of the their natural life around the moon signs to ensure success and with the awareness that certain phases were more conducive to certain activities than other. How many of us have heard that more babies are born on the full moon? Or, that nursing homes have more confused clients during the full moon? Well, planting by the moon signs is yet another aspect of the natural world and how it is all integrated.
To plant by the moon signs, one must study: 1) the phase of the moon; 2) astrological signs (which simply indicate our orbit in the solar system and are not, for my intent anyhow, mystical for any other reason); and, 3) the season. It is believed that root crops grow best when the moon is pointing down (waning) and above ground crops do best when the moon is pointing up (waxing). And, there are some crops that do better when the moon is full.
We plan our crops around the moon signs as best we can. We have found that things actually do grow better or that weeds don't grow (which is even better!) on certain moon days. For a chart of moon signs, take a look at the Farmer's Almanac online here.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Shelly and I have laid our plans for our planting. We are using the moon signs for success. Shelly is the master at this so I am thrilled to have her guidance. First into the dirt are potatoes, peas, onions, and cabbage. Then, we will slowly begin to add other cole crops. We won't do any tender plants until mid-to-late May. Our last "official" freeze date is May 16, I believe, but I don't trust anything tender in the ground until the 20th at the earliest. One year I planted tomatoes five times. I am a slow learner or very optimistic. The jury is still out!
Many bars of soap are made and ready for the farmer's market. I am experimenting with different blends and textures. I have made some farmer's soap and something delicious that I am calling "Jamica Me Crazy." What fun I am having! Don picked up a beeswax book while at the State Beekeeper's Annual Meeting. We have so much scrap beeswax that I'd love to do something with it. Candles... maybe?? Furniture polish... perhaps?
I'd like to knit some little things for the market as well. Shelly is working on some lovely washcloths and I feel that I should follow suit. They knit up quickly and are so very nice to use! Have you ever used a knitted dish cloth? Fantastic! When my Sissie's boys were quite small they hated having their faces washed....until Aunt Cissie knit them both a "special, magic wash cloth" that wouldn't hurt! Sold! They bought into it and never fought again! And let's not forget I have my Santa Train to catch up! Where does time go??
My loom is standing at ready for weaving some tea towels as well. I am passionately in love with huck lace and think this will be the next project on the Dorothy loom. My Nilus is going to be busy with a runner for the floors. We have these lovely chestnut floors that I am perishing to weave some rag rugs for. My office needs something new, too. So, it seems that I have plenty of weaving to do, don't you think?
Here is what is on the mid-size loom. We call it "Roanoke" because that is where it was bought:
When it grows up, it will be a full-size tea towel in a pattern called, fittingly enough, honeycomb. I love it!
Right now we have the most delicious, gentle rain falling. Thank you, God, for the rain. It is clearing out the pollen and settling the dust in the road and gardens.
What are you doing this summer?
Monday, April 19, 2010
I like to sing.
Birds that hatch
Try their wings.
Poetic, ain't I?
So, you can see that I love love love spring and all the wonder that comes with it. Would you like to take a short stroll and see some hightlights today?
Hives are ready for new occupants. We have 20 nukes coming in mid-May. Our goal is to have 50. Since we lost 22 last year, we are kind of back to nearly 0. However, such as it is to be a farmer.
Off the corner of the back porch is this flowering quince. I had a cunning plan when I took a start from Mother's house 15 years ago -- to keep the children from running off the edge of the porch right there and making a mud hole. It worked. And, my treat is that it is full of bees all day long whilst it blooms. The birds hide in it whilst flitting to and from the feeder that is at the kitchen window. And, sadly, a black snake makes its home there in the summer. While I do not care for snakes (have I told you about shooting one while Don was gone?), I console myself that she does keep the mice away. Mostly.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
At 9:45 this morning the phone rang. I was still in jammies and having my third (oh my!) cuppa and finishing my Spanish omelet, homemade applesauce, and crescents with apricot jam. It was the Postmaster in Hickory. My diddles (chicks) were in and would I like to pick them up??
Of course! Ten minutes later, I was dressed and heading south, eager to get the little girls home.
We are at about 3500 feet elevation and so going down the mountain in the spring is a treat. While we still have nearly nekked trees, below the mountains spring is bursting out everywhere. From Roaring Gap, I could see puffs and explosions of red buds, apple trees, and stunning yellow dots which became daffodils as I got closer. This began to run through my head:
I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
---- William Wordsworth
And this was playing on the radio:
Great is Thy Faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
--- Thomas O. Chisholm
What more can I write? God is good, ya'll.
Have a great week!
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Amy is another matter.
She has had her second surgery in about as many days. Her first surgery revealed that she had gangerene and a lot of tissue removed in an effort to start her healing process. Today she had her second surgery resulting in a hysterectomy. She is in a drug-induced coma and is not, as we say, doing well.
Three requests, please:
1) Pray for her healing, spiritually and physically.
2) Pray for her family.
3) Pray for all who are working so hard to save her life.
I will keep you updated. Thank you, friends.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Let's be honest. I have to get over this whole fear of flying thing. I cannot make that kind of drive again. And, since I get car sick, well, there are little other options except for me to either do all the driving or to take drugs. And drugs are not an option, so we are back to number one. Get over the fear of flying.
John is probably going to be based in Italy in 30 weeks. Folks, I am open to any therapy. Driving ain't an option!
Missed you! Glad to be back and hope to catch up visiting soon!
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
5. Best billboard:
For electrolysis, call
215- R - U - HAIRY
4. Fastest drivers:
Anyone in Louisana
3. Most intriguing purchase (possibly -- I am still working on Don)
Small manufactured palm tree with pink fronds and spotlights for cocoanuts. Gotta have one!
2. Best hotel surprise:
Renting a room online for $69, getting it for $59 and it has a Jacuzzi!
Stay tuned for number one!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Been a while since you heard from me, I know. However, since we broke up, I haven't been eager to mend fences. Until today. Today I learned that you are not the worse place in the world to drive. I know; last time we met I told you that you had poor customer service, your roads were badly marked and poorly maintained. And, I vowed to never drive through you ever again. Today, I apologize. Houston is the worst place in the world to drive.
After sitting in traffic for nearly an hour, I discovered the lane was marked incorrectly and I had to move over three lanes in stopped traffic. Folks here are nice, granted, but the stress lead to a disturbing display of temper that I am ashamed to admit to here. Don slouched into the floor when I opened the window and shouted to all of Houston: "Why do you live here? What sense does it make to have a city where people cannot get home in a decent amount of time? Why do you people put up with this? Who is in charge of this mess? Fire 'em!" I confess, I don't even remember everything I said, but I know that folks were more than eager to let me cross traffic. They understood.
And, so, New Jersey, I'd like to be your, er, well-wishing friend. This means that we don't have to exchange birthday cards or even go to the same parties. We shall just not wish each other any harm. Please do not think, though, that I will drive your roads again. Frankly, you have moved to number two on my list of places I will never drive again. Houston has taken your place at number one.
Don't look so smug, New York. You are still in the top five.
Wishing you well,
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
Though foolishly he lost the same,
Decaying more and more,
Till he became
Oh let me rise
As larks, harmoniously,
And sing this day thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.
My tender age in sorrow did beginne:
And still with sicknesses and shame
Thou didst so punish sinne,
That I became
Let me combine
And feel this day thy victorie:
For, if I imp my wing on thine
Affliction shall advance the flight in me.
-- George Herbert (1593-1633)
This is a shape poem, which means that if you turn it on its side, you will see a pair of wings. George Herbert was a priest and poet. He used the shape poem to reflect the subject of his poem. Recalling man's lapsarian (fallen) state, Herbert's poem focuses not on the fallen man, but on the redeemed man, made possible through Christ's "victorie."
This is one of my favorite Easter poems because of the simplicity of the story -- man fell, God lifted us. Herbert reminds us that by joined our will with God's we, too, shall "advance in flight" and be raised from our natural state to His heavenly one.
GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
----- Gerard Manley Hopkins (1944-89)
As I worked yesterday, this poem kept running through my mind. The images of the day, tilled earth, burned debris, and changing landscape from brown to green, made me think on Hopkins and his eye for the beauty in this natural world. As a Jesuit priest, Hopkins choose the most austere and depressing cloister. However, he celebrated the natural world and used his poetry to celebrate his love for God.
Looking at the words above, while I hear the sprung rhythm, I am more struck by the gentle tension of the contrasts observed by the poet. When I consider this, I realize the life is filled with contrasts -- life, death, good, evil, kind, cruel. And, in each of these, we must have sampled the darker to appreciate the brighter. These past days, I have been consumed with the darker; however, being out in the sun, working with mud and dirt under my nails, has cured my darkness.
I know why our First Parents were gardeners. It is like being pregnant. Planting seeds is the only other time one can truly partner with God to bring something beautiful from something so small. It dawned on me yesterday that while I want to farm, God can only do so much. He provided the land and my well-being and ability to do it. However, unless I make the commitment to partner with Him in the work, my land will be as He created it. Only when I join Him can my dreams be completely fulfilled. What a fitting thought for Easter.
Friday, April 2, 2010
Waldo has a mouse under the bush hog.
We are so glad you dropped by today! Won't you come by tomorrow for a glass of sweet tea, a slice of chocolate cake, and a sit on the porch? We'll be watching for you!
Thursday, April 1, 2010
This seems to be my modus operandi these days. Twice in one week I have gotten up and walked out of meetings. The first time was when a colleague was telling a lie and I knew it was a lie. It was about someone I care about. I had been given the back story, so I knew this person was lying. If I hadn't left, I would have been even more unprofessional. I think standing up and shouting, "You Lie!" a la "Princess Bride" Miracle Max and wife would not be appropriate behavior, do you? It might feel good, but it would cause a stink. Walking out was the best plan.
The other walk out was yesterday from a training meeting. I was two minutes late because the meeting was scheduled right up against the last class period. Students wanted to talk with me and, so, I hung around a did that. They are more important. When I arrived, I was not brought up to speed on the web site we were working from. I asked twice for the address and twice was blown off with a partial address. It didn't work. After the second try, I was told, "Well, move! No one else is having trouble." Read: You are so stupid maybe if you try again on another computer you might get it. Nevermind. I just gathered my goodies, got up, and left without saying a word. Done. Thanks.
As a Quaker, I truly try to avoid confrontations that can get ugly. This means I walk off, but it also means I stew. I think of all the things I could have said, but didn't. I fuss. I clean. I stomp. I say words that my Mother would box my ears over and then make me write 1000 times "I must not say ...." as she did when I was a child. (Never mind that I learned to swear from her!) In short, the anger stays until I wear it out with wrestling.
How do you handle situations where you know you might lose your cool at work??