Monday, June 30, 2008
One of my favorite things to do in the summer is get up early in the morning, in the cool of the day, grab a cup of coffee, with cream of course :), and walk through my garden admiring my flowers. I am by no means an expert gardener - I just love to garden. I love to dig in the dirt, I love to plant flowers, I even love to weed. Weeding is always a great time to spend with God because at least at my house, when I am weeding I am completely alone. My kids look out the window and if they see me weeding they don't get within 100 yards of me because they know I'll say something like,
"Hey you! Come over here and help me weed!"
What they haven't figured out is that it suits me fine. Because sometimes a woman just needs some alone time to think about things, and figure things out, and talk seriously with the Master Gardener about different kinds of weeds that keep sprouting up in life.
One of the things I have learned is important to do in caring for flowering plants is to deadhead them. That is when you pull or snap off the old spent blooms in order for the plant to stop sending nutrition to the dead part of the plant but instead to focus on sending it all to the living part of the plant. By doing this little mundane task, the plants will bloom more frequently and more fully. So this morning as I was weaving in and out of my flowers and snapping off their dead little heads it occurred to me that there is a parallel lesson going on here.
As there so often is in gardening.
Jesus used many gardening examples to explain spiritual truths to us. I don't remember Him using the exact term deadhead - but He sure could have. For instance how many times have I tried to get through a day by using the strength of the time I spent with Him the day before. That strength has already been spent. It is no longer living. I need a fresh word every day in order to bloom.
Or how many times have I resisted doing anything new or different spiritually because I am just a creature of habit. Maybe trying something different would "shake me up a little' and help me see things in a whole new way. It could be exciting.
Or how often do I hold onto the hurts and hangups from the past. And by hanging on to those deadheads, how often have I hampered myself from growing and being what God planned for me to be. Perhaps snapping those dead little hurtful things would be the healthiest thing I could do for myself. It would mean I would have to give up my wounded feelings and prideful stubbornness. But they don't look so good in my garden anyway. In fact they just seem to spread more disease making the whole situation more dangerous than it was before.
So the question begs to be asked. What things could you "snap off" that would take you from looking like a lonely, sick little lone petunia into a beautiful plant that is growing tall and flowing over the sides of its container in happy bursts of color that make everyone pause? And notice. Maybe it's time to grab a mug of coffee and wander through your garden a bit looking for those tired and used up blooms. Don't hesitate - just snap those old things off and get ready for a new day.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Here I am with BooMama at the Blogger's Reception. She is just as sweet and funny as you would imagine. I thought she was delightful.
And here we are at one of the sessions. Me, Kathy my roommate, I never did get the third ladies name (sorry!) and Nancy, my other roommate. Kathy and Nancy were both from Wisconsin but they didn't know each other. It was kind of like going to camp all over again. We stayed up late every night visiting and laughing.
And here I am with Linda and Sonya. They were both just so sweet. We were all on the Writer's Track together so we were in a lot of the same sessions.
This was my attempt to sneak a photo of BigMama while she wasn't looking.
I know. I should become a photo journalist.
BigMama is the one in the turquoise dress - she looked very fashionable at every session.
And this is me with Angie from Knightly News. What a sweet, sweet lady she is. I just loved her. The very first thing you notice about Angie is how young she looks. No way does she have 4 almost 5 grandsons! The very next thing you notice is that this lady is in love with Jesus. You can't miss it.
And this is my new online writer's group that was formed during the last minutes before we left ot go home. I am so excited about this. We are going to critique each other's writing on a regular basis online. I only wish we had had more time to get to know each other before we all had to go.
I wish I had taken the opportunity to get more pictures. I was just so busy learning and listening that my camera didn't come out of my bag very often. I might even have taken some pictures of North Carolina except do you know that once I checked into my room I never stepped outside the door - not even once - until I left to go home. I'm not sure I have ever stayed indoors for so long before. At least that way, the humidity didn't bother my hair - not one little bit.
Monday, June 23, 2008
And yes, I'm speak'in southern. Because I have spent the last 4 days living in North Carolina, among the most beautiful, talented, and fun southern women ever. It was fabulous. And even though I am most definitely a north-westerner with a Scandanavian upbringing, I can now talk southern. It just happens. I can't explain it.
I love southern women. I wish they would adopt me. They are so funny and I love their beautiful accents and don't even get me started on their beautiful skin. And they possess a hospitality not seen in other places. Oh they are special indeed.
And the bloggers. Oh, the bloggers. I can't even tell you how AMAZING it was to meet so many wonderful women that I felt I already knew. What a strange and fun thing to have people come up to you and say, "I read you!" or "How is your new little grandson?" These women were just as real and fun as they are in the blogworld. Our friendships were cemented a little deeper. I met BooMama, Big Mama, Shannon from Rocks, Linda from One More Cup, Antique Mommy, Sonya, Kathy from Blessed Builder (my roomie), Lisa, Robin the Pensieve One, and the list goes on and on. I made some new blogging friends too. It was a gift I tell you. Simply a gift.
As far as the conference goes, usually you will hear words like "It was fabulous, it was awesome, it was wonderful...." And it was all those things. But it was more than that for me. There were some times of struggle. And doubt. And weakness. There were times I felt very insecure and stretched. Very stretched. But through all of that God spoke to me. He gave me a promise - and although I don't yet understand what is all contained in that promise, I know it is all about Him doing something through me. He confirmed deep in my heart that I am pursuing the right goals and dreams. He assured me that my dream in not really my dream at all, but one that he planted inside of my being as I was being formed in my mother's womb. Wow. I'm just so amazed by that. I learned a lot, I made some good contacts, and I received some direction on what I need to do next.
Today I took the day off of work so I could process all of it. It keeps swirling around in my heart and my head and I need to write it all down in some sort of order so I can keep it all straight.
I am very glad I went.
And as far as the last plane ride, well, it was the easiest one of all. The plane was bigger and newer - it didn't look so flimsy to me. And I had a row all to myself. And the ride was smooth. And most of all I had a long and deep conversation with God about all of it. I kind of freaked out when I realized my medication that I take with me for "just in case" was not with me at all. And God clearly told me that I was to trust in Him alone. Just Him. Not in the medication in my purse. Not in anything else. I asked Him if that meant He was going to give me a very bumpy ride just to test me out. He didn't answer that. He just asked for my complete and absolute trust. I gave it to Him. And you know what? I actually fell asleep on the plane. I still don't like to fly - I don't suppose I ever will. But from now on when I have to get on a plane - I will strive harder to trust Him and believe that He is all I need.
Because He Spoke very directly to me these last few days and He is all I need.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Also, I would encourage you if you haven't been already, to read Bev's posts this week over at Scratchin' the Surface. She is working her way each day through what she believes and why. She is a gifted writer and her posts have been nothing short of brilliant. She is encouraging lots of comments - whether you are in agreement with her or not. She just asks that we keep it all respectful. I think it is an awesome idea. We should all write out what we believe and why we believe it. I intend to do it myself, after the conference. I'm not sure I will be posting it - I just think it's a good idea to write it all out so we are solid in what we believe. I just think she is so brave and smart to be doing such a thing. You will really be missing out if you don't go read it. Now. Today.
So until later, have blessed days. God is good. All the time.
Monday, June 9, 2008
So we had Tyler's baby shower Saturday night - and what a fun event it turned out to be. We did a monkey theme. And when I thought of monkeys I thought of Barb's wonderful sock monkeys. So I went to the store and bought some socks and made two sock monkey's. One is for Tyler and one is for Ava Claire's nursery. They turned out to be a lot of fun to make. But I only made two - not 16 of them at a time like Barb does!
We served banana splits, banana bread, and tropical fruit drinks served in coconuts. Michelle absolutely ahbors shower games - so we didn't play any. We focused on food and fellowship. And gifts. Boy did we have gifts.
I finally finished the quilts I have been working on for so long. I made one for Michelle and one for Tyler. And when my girl opened them, well, she cried. And I cried too. And I think the crying meant it was a good thing. Here is the quilt I made for Michelle:
And here is Tyler's quilt:
These quilts are filled with character (a crafter's term for imperfections) but they were a labor of love and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Here are a couple of pictures of Michelle when she opened them:
Tyler got so many nice gifts. And he got so many clothes - I wonder if he will ever get to wear them all.
For our party favors I made banana muffins and gave them out to each person as they left. We have so many sweet friends and family members who came and celebrated with us. It is truly one of God's greatest gifts to have people who love and support you - during the hard times and during the happy times. By the way, my house smelled wonderful all weekend with all the banana bread and banana muffins I made!
For the banana splits I made homemade chocolate, butter rum, and strawberry sauce. It turned out wonderful. The strawberry sauce was especially easy. I'll share more about that in another post someday.
It is absolutely wonderful having a grandson. I am learning that there is not much I wouldn't do for a certain little boy named Tyler. As far as I'm concerned he hung the moon. I hold his little body and I just melt into a puddle. How will I ever be able to say no to a little guy who looks like this?
Thursday, June 5, 2008
What kind of grandma am I?
So here are some fun pics of Tyler. He has the most fun facial expressions.
This little guy doesn't just melt my heart - he totally cracks me up!
His little jaundiced eyes are getting better - although in these pictures they are pretty yellow.
Have I mentioned how in love I am?
My sister and I are hosting his baby shower Saturday evening. Michelle always called him "her little monkey" when he was in utero. And we had lots of fun buying little clothes with monkeys and I made him a blanket with monkeys so it only seemed natural to have his baby shower be all about monkeys. I'll share some pictures of it on Monday. I think it is going to be a lot of fun.
The only frustrating thing is that I ordered a really nice stroller for a gift from the Toys R Us website. I ordered it on Monday night and even though it killed me I paid the additional charge for two day shipping so I would be sure to have it in time for the shower. Today, Friday, I got an email telling me it had been shipped yesterday and I will receive it on Monday. I paid a two day shipping charge so I could receive the give a week later - after the event I wanted it for. When I called the company to complain they told me that it is two day shipping. But it takes several days to process the order. And it was shipped on Thursday. So in my mind that would mean it would be here Saturday. But apparently 4 day shipping is the same thing as two day shipping. Who knew? I asked at the very least to be refunded my shipping charge - but they said no. So I said fine. I would share with everyone I could about what a dishonest policy they have. And I won't be shopping at Toys R Us any more. There are lots of other stores that carry the very same merchandise. So there. I am on a mission!
On to happier news. Two weeks from now I will be at the She Speaks conference. I am not ready. My writing isn't finished. I am beginning to work on my book proposal and it is a bit overwhelming. I am beginning to wonder "What was I thinking?" I am getting scared and nervous. The idea that I will soon be flying across the country is becoming more and more forefront in my mind. And I am still excited. What a mixture of emotions! And the worst thing is that I have 2 inch roots. Two inches! I missed my hair appointment because it fell right during the time that little Tyler was being born. I called yesterday to reschedule and I am on a call list. If my hairdresser has a cancellation she will call me. Yikes! This is really cutting it close. Yesterday I got a letter from the She Speaks people and one of the first things they talked about was the climate in North Carolina. And here is an exact quote (parentheseis mine):
The weather outside will most likely be hot and humid. That means if you go outside and you have naturally big hair, it will get even bigger. If you have naturally flat hair (that's me) it will get flatter. (Oh joy) We know how the condition of one's hair can sometimes affect one's mood. So mentally preparing you for the joy of humidity is a necessity.It kind of cracked me up - when that is the first item of business in a letter regarding the whole conference - well, it is so obviously a woman's conference!
Tonight I will be busy finishing Tyler's quilt, making banana bread for the shower, and cleaning my house. Tomorrow is the shower. Sunday is church with our annual Father's Day picnic (held a week early). I think I will be a tad bit busy. But then, busy seems to be my life creed.
I hope you all have a happy weekend. I'm really glad it's Friday.
I have discovered that it doesn't really matter what book you are reading. What is important is the fellowship and camaraderie that takes place among the women who attend.
It is rich my friends. So very rich.
There is something so special about women of various ages and of various walks in life with multiple opinions and dreams with one very strong commmon love of Christ, joining together to share their thoughts about what they are reading. Some women are career oriented - some are not. Some women have children - some do not. Some women love the outdoors. Some prefer to be indoors. Some women are athletic. Some are not.
We get off topic. A lot. Sometimes controversial topics arise. We spend time talking about our personal lives. We bond tighter together and become cheerleaders for each other. We pray for each other. We learn to respect differences and try harder to understand them.
As I looked around the room I saw women who would have never gathered together for any other reason than their love of reading. And that love has brought richness into our lives, for this season, as we share an hour and a half together each week learning to know each other more. And learning to see each other as Christ sees us.
I think we are on the right track.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Unless you count the sagebrush. John Wayne could have made all his cowboy movies here.
But the weather - it's a changin'. Slowly but surely. Some call it global warming. I call it prophecy coming to pass. Whatever you want to call it, it can't be denied that the last couple of years we have had more than our share of snow. And rain. And cool weather. In fact we haven't really had any warm weather yet this year. Crops are slow. So are gardens. And this year we have already had tons of rain. It's very interesting.
Where I grew up in the Midwest, we always had thunderstorms. I mean the kind with really loud thunder and lightening that cracks the sky in two. We don't have those here. It's always been a weird thing to me to have summer rain with no noise and no light. It's just .....different. But this spring/summer we have had real thunderstorms. Not quite at the level I'm used to - but real thunderstorms none the less.
Last night I was babysitting our youth pastor's kids. We were sitting at the table eating our hamburgers and french fries (that's what I always make them when they come over) when it began to thunder and suddenly the skies opened and it poured down rain like I have never seen it do here. I reached over and opened the patio door so we could hear it. The kids all looked at me with question marks in their eyes.
"Why did you open the door?"
"So we can hear the rain. Do you want to go out and play in it?"
They looked at me like I had come from another planet. The younger two (three year old twins) looked interested in the prospect and they scooted down from their chairs. They walked over to the door and peered out and looked back at me.
The older two kids got down from their chairs. "You think we should play in it?"
"Why not? That's what rain is for."
"We'll get wet."
That was all it took. Tentatively at first, then with joyful abandon the kids participated in a rain dance. It was glorious.
Click on the pictures to make them larger - you can see how hard it is raining!
I had the best time watching them dance and play in the rain. They just couldn't quite believe they were doing it - with permission! Finally they came in and they had to strip down at the door so I could pop their clothes in the dryer.
After wrapping them up in blankets we played some games of Crazy Eights and made a craft paper. All night long they talked about playing in the rain. It was the highlight of the evening. And it didn't cost a penny.
I don't know if this climate change thing is something to be worried about or not. I'm thinking not. It's all in God's hands - not ours. But I have enjoyed having some "real weather" for a change. Bring on the rain!
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
And let's just pretend that it's Monday morning and you have to go back to work after spending a glorious two weeks taking care of your daughter and new grandbaby. And let's just imagine that even though your husband promised to go to the store and get some coffee creamer, he
Sure, I thought so.
Okay, suppose you are pumping the gas and you realize you are running short of time. So you come up with the
Continuing in our hypothetical situation, just imagine how you would feel when as you are paying for your much desired coffee, a man runs in the store yelling at someone to "STOP THAT PUMP!". Can you imagine what it would be like to look out the window and see your car surrounded by a lake of gasoline. A non-hypothetical $4 per gallon gasoline lake at that.
Just imagine having to pay for five extra gallons of gasoline that you will never get to use. It is so very, very sad.
And can you also see in your mind how you would have to wade through the gasoline lake just to be able to get into your car? As many customers are looking on - some sympathetically, some incredulously. Are you able to fathom what that does to one's shoes? And how the horrible odor of fuel will remind you all day long of what a total idiot you were? And how said fumes would give you an incredible headache just to make double sure you don't forget what an idiot you are.
I'm sure you can imagine with me that this morning, realizing that we still are out of creamer - and milk I had a choice to make. How do I want my coffee?
Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it -yet.
Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables