Friday, March 17, 2017

Here a chick, there a memory

I have a confession.  I love going to Tractor Supply or farm supply stores.  I love the smell of the leather, the salt blocks, livestock food...  

I know it goes back to my childhood of having critters around.  The smell of the hay, which occupied half of the barn, permeated every nook and cranny, often housed small gray mice and rats, which scampering one could hear upon creaking open the heavy wood door.   I have memories of standing as still as possible, in the middle of the barn, waiting with baited breath, to see if I could spot of the  critters, stomping on the wood floor to send them to their hiding places again.  It was like a game, but in reality, they weren't really that scared of us.  A large hay hook enabled one to pull a bale from the tower of hay, sectioning off a few squares of hay to fluff for that day's winter feeding.  Plunging the huge metal scoop into the 50 lb bag of horse food.  The pellets spilling about as the horses crowded close to snatch the first bite before the plinking of the falling pellets hit the wood trough.  Their velvety soft noses exploring coat pockets for special apple or carrot treats if you didn't act fast enough.  Tromping to the north end of the pasture, water from the cistern was pumped into the white chipped and dilapidated claw-footed tub that served as a water trough. the horses scattered droplets of cold well water with their noses, shaking their heads before plunging their noses under and blowing bubbles.  

Hefting the 40 lb bag of grain-free lamb dog food in the basket, I glanced towards the back of the store, drawn by the glow of heat lamps in the middle of the aisle.  I was instantly propelled back to my childhood, as I glanced into the huge galvanized feed troughs, from which chirping, fluffy balls of yellow huddled beneath the warming lamps.  If it weren't for the locked enclosure keeping people from handling them, I would have been in the middle of them. 

Growing up, we didn't have a farm implement store close and ordered our baby chicks through the mail. The second you walked into the doors of the post office, the much anticipated peeping of the chicks filled your ears...  Looking back, it was such a wonderful time building memories.  I actually have felt sorry for my own children, that they did not experience the same chores and memories that Honey and I have growing up in more rural settings.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A new Sparkle

Our Engagement
I'll always remember that day, Friday, October 13, 1989. We drove to the city park, in the city where we had attended college, and in the fading of the day, as the city settled down to sleep, he asked me to be his wife. I remember looking at that ring on my finger, so many times in the hours and days that followed. It wasn't the biggest ring, the most sparkly, or expensive, but what made it so incredibly perfect, was Honey picked it out. At the time, Honey made a statement that, someday, he would replace that "small" ring for something bigger and better, but I told him I didn't want that. He felt bad that it was all he could afford on his limited salary at his new job, but, to me, it was the most beautiful ring ever.
Day of the accident
So long dead Explorer
I've worn that ring for 26 years now, until that fateful Christmas Eve in 2015, when it was damaged in an accident that totaled our worn out Explorer. The only injury I sustained was to my hand, and I didn't realize until weeks afterward, and the swelling went down, when I tried to put my ring on, that it was in such horrible shape, and the diamond was missing. I was so incredibly heartbroken.
So I left it off for a whole year and I missed it. I thought about wearing it on a necklace, but instead wore my mom's simple diamond ring when I went out in public. This last November, Honey said he was tired of me not wearing a ring, and he had been saving up for a new one. Off to Zales, with my original ring we went, hoping for good news on getting it repaired. We were shocked to hear it was go my to cost over $1,300 to repair all the prongs, strengthen the bands, replace the diamonds, and make it new. "Looks like its time for a new ring," he said.
Old ring and new
 The representatives/saleslady was so incredibly thoughtful and patient to walk us through this. She listened to me babble and occasionally cry, heard my comments, and presented me with a narrowed choice of three rings, that I might really like. It was really fun, a tad nerve wracking, to really figure out what my ring style was. Blessings: I was a tad nervous to think about paying for this new one, but when she said it was part of the collection on sale, then she gave us an additional small discount, but the part that tore at my heart was when she said "You can apply the value of your old set towards the new ring, but you'll have to turn it in." I just bawled at the thought of letting my ring go. We knew our kids wouldn't want it, but I was so emotionally attached to it. Eventually I handed it over to her, cried some more, as she kept handing me tissues.
This was my first time to ever pick out a ring, but I must say I love my new ring. I think it is me and it's so sparkly and I feel married again. It's amazing how that ring in my finger, or the lack of it, affected me. I was sitting at a stop light once, and the sparkle and zing of the light hitting it distracted me. The cars behind me had to honk to pull me out of it. Boy was I embarrassed! 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Between the lines of Faith

It's been a very long time since I've attended Sunday School.  You would think that after attending the same church for over 26 years, that I would be steadfast in this, but it's been a struggle.

Honey and I  used to teach K-1st grade together before we had kids, and it was just a joy!  The way the kids think and how they think is pretty hilarious at times and oh so refreshing.  Some of the first kids we taught are now 30 and have families of their own.  

Then I took some time off when we began our own family...  Okay, so I took a long time off, but Honey loves the little ones, and he has been teaching the same class each Sunday, for longer than we can remember. They love their Mr. D! He is easy going, goofy at times, and doesn't mind the noise, and is just lovable. But me? After being with our kids 24/7, and watching other people's children, working in the public schools, etc, I was worn and frankly, I had little tolerance for outright disobedience/disrespect that I saw in some of the kids. I know, it begins with the parents, but that is another time and discussion. 

Each Sunday for I've tried different ones through the years and each semester they do change.  Some are WAY too deep and philosophical and I was constantly lost and dread attending, some I struggled to relate to the direction or style of teaching, some had those who liked to debate and made me want to run away, and others left me wishing I'd slept in. One, I particularly really gleaned a ton from, was from a pilot who has spent time in the middle east.  He has the most wonderful insight to customs, the people, and when he puts it in correlation to the Bible, it really just becomes so clear.  One of the lessons that stuck with me was on the simple lesson on Zaccheus, a tax collector.  How totally bad it was for a middle Eastern man, to climb a tree, run, or or just be in the presence of Jews (because he was a crooked and wealthy tax collector).  Another was the lesson he presented on the Parable of the Prodigal Son - again, how the actions of the son, who would have been really dead to his family,  and brought much shame and disgrace to them, but Jesus used the story to show the most disgusting and shameful things, could and would be forgiven and how the wreckless/abandoned love of a Dad brought forgiveness and rejoicing.   

This morning, I decided to give Sunday School a try again.  Fruit of the Spirit lead by our lead pastor's wife.  I knew that she was real, focused, and had a passion for sharing.  I must say, this class is EXACTLY what I've been looking for all these years!  While the focus is about the Fruit of the Spirit, it is about each of our broken stories, how we cry out so many times to God, and without Him, we truly cannot do it on our own.   Then she shared her story, her struggles, and fears and I knew, this was the class I could not miss. This was not just a class, but it is about relational and personal.  She said we all have stories, a background, experiences, some are broken, some are healing...  Today she related and spoke simply about Faith...  

Faith - it is trust and it is intellectual
1. strong or unshakable belief in something, esp without proof or evidence2.  belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) :  belief in the Traditional doctrines of a religion
Faith is:
  1. An attribute of God - Psalms 146:5  How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
  2. A positive characteristic of men -
  3. A characteristic that men lack -
     Romans 1:31

    Luke 8:25   And He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?”

  4. A  characteristic of the Holy Spirit -
    2 Corinthians 5:7     We live by faith, not by sight.
    Hebrews 11:39-40    These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
If we don't have faith, we cannot do make it on our own. We cannot be victorious.  

John 10:10  10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

I know I didn't take the best notes, but frankly, I was struggling to just breathe.  My heart was still, listening...  I've been thinking of the words she spoke all day, and I know...  For me, it's about lack of trust, self worth, forgiveness, purpose, childhood parental inflected scars and memories, search for approval, belonging, trust (yeah, there it is again), and let's not talk about fears yet (beside canned biscuits and balloons)...  

Saturday, September 3, 2016

I Felt the Earth Move Under my Feet

I'd been up for a few hours, with only three hours of sleep.  Brain just won't quit sometimes and it kept playing a Francesca Battistelli song, Write Your Story.  Finally gave up at 5:30 and decided to work on emails, bills, and stuff.  I was sitting at the computer at 7 a.m., suddenly the computer screen swayed, my chair moved and I felt dizzy.  I must have been drinking too much tea too early in the morning!!!  I looked around for the dog, thinking she had laid against my chair and moved it, but she was looking at me from across the room,  like I was kinda crazy.  I think I was...
Earthquake felt in seven states - CNN 

Getting on facebook, I quickly discovered that what I had felt was a 5.6  5.8 (updated a few days after the quake) magnitude earthquake centered in Pawnee, OK and felt in SEVEN states!!!

I've got to stop blaming the dog for everything!!!   What a way to start Labor Day weekend!  I will be very happy with some kind of normal for the weekend!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Mr C goes to college

Hard to believe, but Youngest started college this week. He resisted greatly having his picture taken, but I played the "mom" card and won out.  You only have one "very first day of college" in your college career.  
Tuesday evening, after he finished his second day of calculus (what 17 yr old takes a class like that his first semester?!)  and he was bouncing off the wall with excitement.  He tried to explain how awesome it was, but the words math and awesome do not belong in the same sentence in my world. This is the kid who solves a Rubics cube, in close to a minute, and says it's simple because it's just an algorithm... Who is this kid???  He tried to explain how fun and challenging it was to solve the problem below, but my mind couldn't fathom any of it.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Definition for $100 please

So I can be a bit snarky at times.  Sometimes it's in my brain and I mentally reply to a person who was a bit more than rude. Most of the time it happens when I'm driving.  Sometimes I think people really did get their driver's license from a Cracker Jack Box!!!  Other times,  I think I've mentally replied and, based on the look on the other person's face, it actually came out of my brain via my mouth.  sigh  I did it again! 

Before you Google Snarky, I'll help you out:
SNARKY:  A witty mannerism, personality, or behavior that is a combination of sarcasm and cynicism. Usually accepted as a complimentary term. sarcastic, impertinent, or irreverent in tone or manner

From what I can tell, I'm not the only one that has this issue... Doesn't make it right or acceptable.  I've often told Honey that I could not work as a automotive service advisor. I would be fired for telling a customer that, it is not our fault they didn't plan ahead and waited till the day before their vacation, which they planned 6 months ago, to have their auto problems fixed, new tires, or oil changed.

I've been snarky with my kids.  Their lack of planning is not going to cause an emergency on my side.  They may have inherited some of this from me.

Time and time again, I chide myself and wish I were kinder, sweeter, more Proverbs 31 (but honestly, this woman seems to be a bit beyond my reach), prettier, in better shape, easier to talk to, less distracted, blah, blah, blah...  You fill in the blank. One Sunday, I was talking to a friend and they made a comment about a subject close to my heart and their opinion just about seared my soul.  They weren't meaning to.  Maybe it was a due to a bit of honesty in their observations, but their words were stomping on my heart...

It was a tough week with my mom, school was starting back up, my regular school year kids were back in my care, too little sleep, a bit of loneliness...  Not the best week, but it sure wasn't hopeless!  Getting ready for church on Sunday, my playlist began running through some of my favorites...  Tripping over dogs underfoot, outfit change #4, foundation, some blush, oh shoot... chipped polish on my toes won't go with those comfy sandals...  then the first strum of guitar and beat of drum pulsed through the speakers.... "He Knows My Name" by Francesca Battistelli    Listen  I heard Him say to me.

Spent today in a conversation
In the mirror face to face with
Somebody less than perfect
I wouldn't choose me first if
I was looking for a champion
In fact I'd understand if
You picked everyone before me
But that's just not my story
True to who You are
You saw my heart
And made
Something out of nothing
I don't need my name in lights
I'm famous in my Father's eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name
I'm not living for applause
I'm already so adored
It's all His stage
He knows my name oh, oh,
He knows my name oh, oh
I'm not meant to just stay quiet
I'm meant to be a lion
I'll roar beyond a song
With every moment that I've got
True to who You are
You saw my heart
And made
Something out of nothing
I don't need my name in lights
I'm famous in my Father's eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name
I'm not living for applause
I'm already so adored
It's all His stage
He knows my name oh, oh,
He knows my name oh, oh
He calls me chosen, free forgiven, wanted, child of the King,
His forever, held in treasure
I am loved
I don't need my name in lights
I'm famous in my Father's eyes
I don't need my name in lights
I'm famous in my Father's eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name
I'm not living for applause
I'm already so adored
It's all His stage
He knows my name oh, oh,
He knows my name oh, oh

Listen...  He said again... though I heard her voice begin, picking up where she had just left off.  

                                                   "If We're Honest"

Truth is harder than a lie
The dark seems safer than the light
And everyone has a heart that loves to hide
I'm a mess and so are you
We've built walls nobody can get through
Yeah, it may be hard, but the best thing we could ever do, ever do
Bring your brokenness, and I'll bring mine
'Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy's waiting on the other side
If we're honest
If we're honest

Don't pretend to be something that you're not
Living life afraid of getting caught
There is freedom found when we lay 
our secrets down at the cross, at the cross
It would change our lives
It would set us free
It's what we need to be

By the time I arrived at church, I was a bit of a mess.  First friend I saw was Miss "I", who visiting with her sweet Momma.  She gave me the biggest hug and then a mug with all these wonderful quips about friends (my favorite one was "Friends become our chosen Family") and I cried.  I cried as her momma hugged me.  I miss her coming here daily, but I am so thrilled for the new opportunity that God has placed their family in and thankful I do get to see them from time to time.  She is a friend of the heart.  As I turned from her, I saw a longtime friend, tears in her eyes approach me.  She just reached out and enveloped me in a hug and let me cry.  The frustrations and self-doubts finally came out.  She told me of her mom's struggle with dementia and her struggle with that, and as we talked,  she listened.  "My brain just can't wrap itself around why I would be good friend material.  We go from work to nursing home, do dinner and go to bed, only to do it all over again.  Late nights that Honey works, schedules.  I have no clue what is going on with anyone or even watch the news."   
Thyme is Honey blog

"Can I ask you something?  Those things that you say to yourself... Would you ever say them to someone else," she asked, understanding deep in her eyes. "No, of course you wouldn't!  Then why do you say them to yourself?"

This week is better.  Her question and challenge has echoed through my head all week.  My head is clearing and  I'm listening...  I'm working toward being less snarky...

 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:12-13