Sunday, August 22, 2010

First Day Musings: Promises

"Weeping endureth for a night, but joy comes in the morning." Psalms 30:5

Engraced on a cross, this verse hangs next to my bed. It is the first thing I can see nearly every morning. This was given to me by God during a really tough time in my life. I was out shopping and it just showed up in the displays. I had to own it.
When I look at this, I remind myself that things aren't always as bad as they seem. Most things, well, all things in life are transitory. Even me. I am reminded of Aunt Jane in Aunt Jane of Kentucky when she says to her neice, "Here is the caliker from her dress, but where is she?" Yeppers. I am dust. Worm food.
But, I am more. I am soul, heart, and love. It is the love I leave that matters, not the work I do even though that seems so very important and fills my days. That is nothing. Rather, it is the compassion I show. It is the reflection of the love our Father had for me that I shine on others.
As this week begins, I'm will try to remember that while it might seem like a dark day, the brightness of the Son will return.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mr. Plumber

Along with all the other lovely things this week, our kitchen faucet failed. After all, it is 15 years old and has held up through more dirty dishes, canning, bee food making, and such than most faucets see in 30 years. So, I wasn't feeling too badly about having to buy a new one.

The Mister and I went down to the local hardware, after determining the old one was beyond hope, and finally, after quite a bit of conversation, decided on one. It is remarkably like the one it was to replace.

We got home and the Mister decided he was going to install it. However, five minutes into the installation, I heard, "I'll kill you!" Followed by words that I haven't heard, well, since I lived in a Navy town. Gingerly, I walked back to the kitchen and inquired, "Are you okay?"

"YES! I just *&^*^%&^%$& this *^**&*&(&^*^%^%(&^^$^%#^$# sink!"

"Do you want me to do it?" I softly asked.

"NO! I can do it, if it will just %#^%$#^$ behave!"

Quietly, I left the room, called my buddy E and settled down in the kitchen rocker to be on hand, just in case... In just a few minutes, the Mister was done and got out from under the sink to admire his handwork. He reached up, turned on the water and it ran perfectly fine! No Leaks! This was looking good! I breathed a little easier.

Then, he reached for the sprayer so he could clear the line. It sprayed Right In His Face! I gasped and tried to keep talking to E, but I couldn't say a word. I wanted to laugh outloud, but I was afraid he'd throw something at me.

I sat there. Stone silent. He reached over, picked up the dish drying cloth, wiped his face, turned and looked at me, with a twinkle in his eye, "Don't you dare laugh."

I burst out in giggles. Then I gaffawed. I snorted. I churtled. I wheezed. I shook. Tears ran down my face.

"It was just like in the cartoons," I gasped. "I thought I was going to bust!"

The Mister looked at me, picked up the towel, pretended to throw it at me and then he joined me.

Boy, am I glad he is an Instructional Technologist. I don't think I could make the bail if he were a plumber...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What God Sent Monday

Following a really stellar storm and rainfall, God sent us this. We could see the entire rainbow, from end to end, across our hollar. The rainbow lasted nearly an hour before fading, slowly, from sight. It was quite a treat to see a full one of this size! And, it was a tender reminder of how He Who Sends The Rain keeps His promises.
Have a great day, ya'll!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dear Mean Girl

When I started blogging faithfully nearly a year ago, I was an innocent. It was scary to put myself out there and write about myself, people, ideas and a myriad of other things in a forum in which the Whole Wide World could see it. But, after being slow to take to it, I took the plunge and went for the whole enchaladia. Anything was fair game!

It has been a joy to write and share with so many of you: the two Brendas, the two Tonias, Suzanne, Jane (I miss your blog!), Karyn, Sandy, and a whole host of others who comment on my blog. I read yours and feel a kindred spirit with those I will most likely never meet. Here are people who are trying to do and be good, kind, loving, and, most of all, civil in a world, quite frankly, that is usually far from it!

Yet, from time to time, there is a toad in the garden, someone who delights in attacking you in an email or sending your readers emails with unkind comments or even will, sigh, post something unkind about you. They will even go so far as, rather tragically that this is the substance of their life, go through the blog comments and carefully delete theirs to make a rather pitiful example of just how much they don't agree with you. Have you no life? Nothing that is more meaningful?

In high school we called them the "Mean Girls." These were the "girls" who were spiteful, mean spirited, and relished in causing others hurt. They rode on the coat tails of others more successful or popular. They were the "girls" you hated to see, but knew you had to be nice to or you would be seeing your name in the bathroom stalls. These were the girls who appeared to have it all, but in reality had little substance. They had little except their petty meanness.

Why, you ask, am I commenting on this today? Well, I just discovered another lovely blog that is going private after a very mean attack by a cyber bully, a "mean girl." And this seems to be paramount on the web. The Yarn Harlot has mentioned more than once the snarky things posted on her blog and the stalking that has occurred. Nie Nie's dialogues has had more than one post about the same thing. And, I have had emails, off blog, about similar incidents. My goodness, have people gotten so insecure that they have to attack complete strangers? You know, no one forces you to read a blog, so why be so angry, so mean, so vindicative?

And so, Mean Girl, I pity you. If the sum and substance of your life is jumping from blog to blog and attacking, hurting, demeaning, and rumormonger, you need a lot of grace. You need a lot of prayer. And, you need a lot of kindness. You are in my prayers.

First Day Musings: Blessings

This morning I am pondering how many ways I am blessed:

1) Going to the church one wishes.
2) Having food in the refrigerator.
3) Getting a hug from someone you love.
4) Turning On and Off the lights at night.
5) Watching Fireflies.
6) Receiving a child's smile.
7) Being able to read.
8) Knowing that even when it is hotter than blazes, that you can get a respite in the creek.
9) Snuggling a cat.
10) Having the phone ring and it be someone you really want to talk to!

What are your blessings? Count 'em and be grateful!

Have a glorious day, ya'll!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tastes Like Another

One of the best sellers at the Farmer's Market, is goat milk fudge. While the food laws in my state are very specific, I can't use my own milk because I am not licensed as a dairy, using the goat milk fudge along with the goat milk soap is a good match.

The fudge is very simple to make and, if you have your own goat milk, is a wonderful way to enjoy it even more than you do by drinking, making cheese or yogurt with it.

The fudge takes just a few minutes to whip up and garners a hefty three pounds of bounty. For me, it is a win-win-win, but not so much for my waist, sadly!

Usually I whip up two batches and slice it into 1/2 oz. pieces -- about 1/2" square. I package it with about four ounces per container and still can't keep it on the table! It just flies off!

Confidentially, the first time I took it to Market, no one wanted to taste it. "Goat milk fudge?" they would respond doubtfully. So, the Mister egged one fella on. "Just try it. You can spit it out if you don't like it," he replied. (Great selling technique, not!) The first man tried it, went wild, and then his sons tried it. One son begged for a container. His dad declined. In a few minutes, the boy returned, declaring, "I'll buy it with my own money!"

Here is the receipt:

2 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. goat's milk
2 c. mini-marshmallows (or 16 lg.)
1/4 c. butter
1/4 t. salt
1 c. chocolate chips
1 t. vanilla
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Pre-measure all ingredients.
Grease a 9 x9 pan. I use a spray on or butter.
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, goat's milk, marshmallows, butter, and salt.
Cook over a low heat, stirring constantly until it begins to bubble.
Reduce heat.
Cook another five minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and add chocolate chips and vanilla.
Stir quickly until chips are melted and the fudge is smooth (this takes just a minute or two usually).
Pour into the greased pan.
Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Cut, wetting the knife with warm water to keep the cuts smooth.

This would be a great Christmas or birthday gift, don't you think?


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Roving Tale

As the roving tale begins, it appears thus. Coming from a black-faced leister, this is a wonderful wool that spins so lovely!

After a good spinning, it is left in singles for a shawl and hot wet set. This is done by putting the yarn into a pot of very hot water (no more than 200-degrees or it will felt) and allowed to soak up all the water and Eucalin it wishes.

Remove from the but do not wring or twist in any way. If anything, squeeze gently.

Then, back into the hot water for the rinse.

Allow drip, drip, drip, with a slight weight on the bottom, until it is dry.

Once it is dry, wind on the ball winder and decide what it will grow up to become. I think this will be a lovely lacey shawlette.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Can You Feel It?

Fall. It is just around the corner. I know this because the pumpkins are getting larger, the green bean vines are nearly done, and the tomatoes are turning a lovely pink. School supplies fill store shelves and tax-free days are over.

I get this kind of giddy feeling when fall is on the precipice. Butterflies fill my stomach and I find myself looking with longing at notebooks and pencils. I love to smell them. Sick, isn't it?

Just as summer is full of the promise of goodness to come, lemonade, and lazy days, so is fall full of promise of cooler nights, football mums, and hot tea on the porch while wrapped in a handknit shawl -- admittedly there are still bare feet, but still snuggled in a shawl. Delicious.

Classes start in less than two weeks. As I consider my rosters I wonder about the students. Are they ready for college? Are they excited? Are they buying new clothes? Sleeping in Just One More Time? Worrying about their mean English professor or the challenging math instructor? Do they dread class?

And I think about me. Am I ready for them? Will they like me? Will they drop the class after the first day? What will they like about English? How do they feel about reading? Will they laugh at my jokes?

I think I became a college professor because it gave me a chance to get ready for school every year. Isn't possibility addicting??

Monday, August 9, 2010

My Airman!

Been to see the most handsome Airman in the Air Force this past weekend! Sadly, I forgot my camera, but, trust me, he is doing so well and I am very proud of him.

Ever have one of those weekend where you say to yourself, "did that just happen??"

We did.

Really, did this just happen?

  • Fabulous avacado rolls at the Japanese Steakhouse! Yum!
  • "Despicable Me" really is funny. Who'd've thunk it?
  • Coldstone Ice Cream beats sex. Maybe.
  • Tornadoes on base! Which lead to.... more lightning than I have seen in a long time and... no A/C in the room.
  • The "Heritage Museum" is an intriguing look at Panhandle Florida life. I loved the kitchen! (The Airman did take a picture of it for you. I'll post when he emails it.)
  • There is no such thing as cold water in an Air Force Hotel in Florida. It is warmer than my hot water at home! Really, I guess it kinda balanced out because there wasn't hot water either...
  • "Destin Commons" is a really sweet echo of Main Street. Too cool!
  • No A/C in the car.
  • Nutella Crepes at IHOP rock!
  • I will wait thirty minutes for Nutella Crepes.
  • My credit card was denied because I forgot to notify the credit union that I was traveling and they have a new rule that they won't pay things that are unusual unless they are notified first (thanks, I think). Yes, I had real money. Surprise!
  • I was pulled by Base Security Force for an expired tag, It wasn't. He just had never seen one from NC before. Thank goodness he didn't frisk me. See "Coldstone.."
  • If you go to Heaven or the Bad Place, you have to go through Atlanta.
  • Gas is cheaper everywhere except NC.
  • No oil was on the beach that I could see.
  • I am too old for a bikini... or swim suits... or shorts....
  • There was no screaming on the Destin Bridge. Given my fear of bridges, the Mister, Airman and Friend were gratified that I sucked a peppermint instead.
  • No matter how mad the cat is when you get home, he will still sit on your laptop.

Have you had a good weekend??

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Everything italicized is what got done:

Hang clothes on the line.
Make basic soap, two batches.
Move finished soap upstairs to dry.
Move all my office things downstairs to go back to campus.
Put things in the attic.
Rearrange the attic.
Weed the garden.
Repair the chicken fence.
Go to the dentist. -- This was bad. The only good thing was a/c.
Make bread.
Wash one load of clothes.
Visit Evelyn. -- Emailed instead.
Run by Arwen's. --- Talked on phone instead.
Clean the porch.
Burn the trash.
Pick produce.
Spray chicken coope and dust yard.
Pick up my truck.
Paint porch furniture.

Obviously we can see my problem. It is just like eating. My eyes are bigger than my stomach! Maybe I need an army. Volunteers??

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Longer Days

I need longer days. Do you?

This is what I want to get accomplished today:

Hang clothes on the line.
Make basic soap, two batches.
Move finished soap upstairs to dry.
Move all my office things downstairs to go back to campus! (My office is done!)
Put things in the attic.
Rearrange the attic.
Weed the garden.
Repair the chicken fence.
Go to the dentist (I have an abscess, I think.)
Bake bread.
Wash one load of clothes.
Visit Evelyn.
Run by Arwen's.
Clean the porch.
Burn trash.
Pick produce.
Spray the chicken coop and dust their yard with Sevin Dust.
Pick up my truck.
Paint the porch furniture.

Somehow, I don't think it will all get done.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


After spending the greater part of the last three hours listening to younger folks discussing their relationships, I have learned that being old is good. We know what matters. And, frankly, very little does when dealing with relationships. What matters is the respect, love, and support you give and receive. What doesn't matter is what's for supper, what the in-laws are doing, how a friend is living, or where you go on vacation. These are small potatoes and, frankly, won't even matter in a day, week or month.

What does matter?

Being told you are important by the other person taking the time to look at you when you speak.

Having a meal together where you share the day's news.


Having time alone to think.

Listening to each other.

Watching "Poirot" together and trying to figure out the murderer.

Letting the other person sleep in once and while.

In short, consideration, thoughtfulness, kindness, respect, and concern all make life with a partner worth living. I don't know when I figured this out. Judging from all the pain I have seen today, I am glad I did!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Everywhere I Turn

Confirmation of the new lifestyle for me and the Mister is coming from the funniest places.

Turn on the TV and there is a program about living more simply and spending less. Open up email? There is a note from a friend about how they "envy your lifestyle." Church? The minister might as well had said, "Matty! Stand up! I have a word for you this morning!"

Yeppers. Confirmation shows up everywhere.

The message at church yesterday was based on Luke 12 -- the rich fool parable. This is the only parable that Jesus tells where the character doesn't get a chance to change. Remarkable that. But what is more remarkable is the message in the parable. There are five:

1) Avoid preoccupation with possessions. Life isn't about all your stuff.
2) Avoid security of self-sufficiency. Everything comes from God. Remember that.
3) Release the grasp of greed. There is no way you can keep all your stuff. Remember others!
4) Avoid the hollowness of hedonism. It ain't all about you.
5) Avoid practical atheism. In other words, practice Sunday living all seven days of the week.

How do you do this? Two things:

1) Prayer. Pray without ceasing that God will guide your every step and decision.
2) Discernment. Give all you have to God and let Him decide what you keep and what you give. It is all His anyway.

You know, when God wants His way, He can be like a five-year-old in the toy aisle of Wal-Mart. He will kick, scream, spin on His stomach, and cry. If we can give that terrible five-year-old attention, why can't we do the same for Him?

I am listening. Are you?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

First Day Musings -- "What's it Worth?"

The house is quiet. A cool, mistiness garnishes the top of the creek. Hens are humming, singing a little tune to themselves as they scratch around the hedgerow and under the tractor. The goats' bells ring softly as they graze. Copper lows every little bit, reminding us all that he is wanting out to graze the hillside. Birds chirp, tweet, twitter, and call as they dart to and from the ground to the waiting maple limbs. Stillness. God's First Day. Sweet. Home.

There is a tangible difference between home and my "home-away-from-home" Concord, but the most telling to me is the difference in noise and, coincidentally, activity level. Even at midnight in the village there are cars swooshing and people walking and talking. Unless our very inconsiderate hillside neighbors (do they not realize we hear everything, I mean everything, they say?) are here, we won't hear another human voice for days here in the hollar. Even the sounds of electrical devices is small and slight -- a hum that lasts for just minutes and is gone.

Why is it that we humans have such a difficult time with silence? Put two people in a car together and they think they must chat until they escape. Sitting next to someone in the theatre? You must at least have the obliging conversation about the weather or movie. Home alone? Turn on the TV or radio. The last thing we want is to be alone with our thoughts! Heaven save us all!

I am as guilty as everyone else. It is hard for me to sit down to do anything. There must be constant action in my life. It is miserable. And, over the past few weeks I have decided that I must learn to slow down and savor the seconds, minutes, hours, that create my life. It is a determined choice. Sure, I have talked and thought about this before, but for some reason, this time is different. I want more richness in my life and less, sometimes pointless, productivity. Sitting in a very noisy hotel suite will do this to you, I think. It makes one pause and consider, "How shall I live?" The answers are scary.

Changes are coming in our lives. The Mister and I have begun the slow process of discussing and fleshing out how we want our lives to change -- of how we want the balance sheet of our lives to work out. We want our expenses, those things that drag time from us without being pleasurable, eliminated, budgeted out. Instead, we want to make more deposits into our lives by doing the things we really want to do. We aren't getting younger. But, perhaps, we are getting wiser.

As a young woman I envisioned a bucolic life, teaching nine months, writing three months, and sitting with stacks of books to read. What I have created is a lot of unnecessary labor due to lack of solid decision making, working twelve months to support the unnecessaries, writing little, and piles of unread books. I make promises I can't keep because I make too many promises. I have projects I can't finish because I make too many projects. I have resentment because I give myself away and keep nothing for just me.

As I stood next to Henry David Thoreau's cabin site, I could envision him working in his bean field, thinking, listening, pondering his life and what it means, really means, to live. He wrote that "the price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it." This is to be our guiding credo. The thoughtful consideration of how to use the exchange of our labor, our time spent doing things we don't want to do, is the new guiding principle for deciding how we invest ourselves and time.

Boy, some people are going to be really unhappy......