Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Shutter Bug

Well, my camera died last week. I was just learning to post photos too!  Fortunately I got an early Christmas present... a new camera. 

Unfortunately, it has taken me a few days to get used to it nd there is still a lot to learn.  One must read all the directions and figure out all that stuff in the box.  That is a lot of time and effort! I got the quick guide mastered, and now I have to tackle the rest of the box and thid during such a busy holiday season.

The new camera is also not as big as the last one, I am a little afraid I will loose it, but I am also looking forward to the ease of portability and learning to use some of the newer features, but it;s just not the same.  My other camera was a fantastic camera.  It might be an easy fix, but being a bit of a shutterbug, I need a camera.  I try to take pictures of life as it passes by, at least some of the more memorable moments.

I was extremely bummed about missing photos of Merrilee's and most traditional, Christmas party, and then of course the gingerbread outing at the Davenport Hotel... though I did resort to my telephone.   I would have loved to have pictures of our Antique Adventures on Monroe, (I am ready for the next time!) and pictures of friends at Jenny's Christmas party for the girls.  It has been quite a sad week on the photo front.... but that's okay, I have pictures in my mind, memories that I will certainly cherish, but nothing I can really share in print.  I am, however, ready for the future because now  I have a new camera.

I tell you what, it's tough being a shutter bug with a broken camera!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Words Falling on Deaf Ears


 Amos 8:11
"The days are coming," declares the Sovereign LORD,
       "when I will send a famine through the land—
       not a famine of food or a thirst for water,
       but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.


Freedom of Speech....
perhaps there is no greater freedom. 
I just watched a video of ABC News (John Stossel reporting on the program 20/20) called, "You Can't Say That! What's Happening to Free Speech?" that aired originally on 7/27/00.  Great piece of news and information, if you are interested in exploring this topic with your mind.  You can't watch it on the internet anymore that I can find, but you can order the DVD from several sources... (for one source, click the link above)  If you are interested in watching a clip, click here.  It's facinating and provocative for sure.


So what is happening?  I want to know.... to consider.



I was amazed as I watched this film, even stopped it from time to time to digest the impact of it all.  Some of the things taking place on the screen before my eyes was hard to take in, to understand.   I had to consider, " What is freedom?"   I live in America, land of the "free,"I should know what freedom is...  right?



Freedom.


It's a hard thing to even fathom in my opinion, maybe because we take it for granted.. maybe we could loose it.  Maybe one does not understand it until they loose it.  

The film looked at the concept of freedom of speech in the light of some very interesting issues... like the government stopping people from publishing books that show how to make bombs... even though it doesn't take a rocket scientist to build it, and nearly anyone can find the information to do just that... after all, someone somewhere before has already thought it up..  They showed the police stopping rally's and speakers from saying what they want to say on public sidewalks, and things they want to express, There is no freedom of speech it this... is there?  Should there be?

How about freedom to express hatred for America, what about people using their freedom...  to burn the American flag, and this on American soil?  It's only a flag... right?  Personally I see the burning of the flag as more than words... this is an action, much more than merely words... but then words have meaning and can provoke people to action.  


Freedom of speech, is it a God given right?  Can it be taken away?  Should our speech be restrained , and by what or by whom? 


Freedom of Speech... the freedom to say what we want to...
This program also showed the issue of a man on death row, petitioning, not to escape his punishment for his crime, but for the right to have some last words before his execution.... a "right" that had been taken away by law.  He was not going to be allowed to speak his mind and heart, his last words, before being killed as punishment for his horrific crimes.  


What about profanity?  The film looked at the issue of free speech in a bar, (the government came in and told the owner it was punishable by law to use profanity in his place of business; his private property...  his costumoers choice to be there, or not.)  The film looked at free speech over the airwaves... (George Carlin style.) It investigated freedom of speech on college campuses (where people are not free to say what they think,) and in the workplace, highlighting how monetary awards in sexual harassment lawsuits are causing companies to censor any and everything that might be offensive to someone somewhere, (because the law is that the "offensiveness" is (apparently) in the ears of the hearer. 

It made me think of a verse;


Psalm 119:165
" Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble." (NIV)

"Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them."  (KJV)


I thought perhaps the man at the end of the film said the most provocative thing when he expressed his thought; he said that it was a disaster for a country who's souls is freedom, to think that this thing called freedom is less important than "not being offended." 

The question is, are you willing to let others offend you with their words?  How many times?  To what extent?  Will you give others the freedom to offend you or will you be restrained like them by law so that no one anywhere, anytime, will possibly find offense in your own words?


John Stossel himself, using examples of people saying and writing things which he would consider bad things about him, offensive things,  pointed out that these words (the things people say) certainly do have an opportunity to offend him, maybe even sometimes "hurt his feelings;" but he said that he believes people have a right to say them just the same.


Am I easily offended? If I am offended, will I forgive... and how much will I tolerate before I get angry and react in some unkind way to mere words?  I wonder too, if I really value this thing called "freedom," better yet, I wonder if I really understand what freedom really means.  Am I "free?"   


According to wordnetdaily, freedom means, "the condition of being free; the power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraint."Another, definition says, "free from confinement," "not under compulsion or restraint, " "the ability to act at will," and "not controlled by obligation or the will of another."  But surely, not everyone who is "free" can simply do what they want to... can they?

Interesting concept isn't it:  Just let people decide for themselves how they behave.  I think you can only do that when people live in accordance with the laws of God, when they use their own restraint and do that which is good and right and true, and they do this not because they are forced to, but because something inside of them wants to please God.

When people refuse to restrain themselves from evil even the most sensible people see a need for law and order, protecting the life and rights of themselves or other from such things.  Unfortunately sensible people sometimes refuse to believe in God.  This is where we are today as America, once land of the free, is loosing freedom.  The current US President, Barak Obama has said that "America is no longer a Christian nation."   That took a bit of good ol American freedom for him to say that.  Truth is that our nation was once a Christian nation and we believed the Bible, looked to it for God's wisdom and light, people here recieved Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and sought the Holy Spirit in their lives.  but now we see a lot of people who are unable to show restraint regarding evil, mostly because they have rejected the things of Almighty God.

Americans are showing more and more that they are willing to be shackled with all sorts of external restraints on what one can and cannot do.  They get angry that they are offended, but not God.  They are even willing to be shackled regarding what they, or others can, and cannot say.   Freedom of speech is foundational to the human spirit, foundational to God and, yes Mr. Obama, as you sit upon that velvet chair in the Oval office, remember that America has been a Christian nation.  We also have been free to speak, and we believe in freedom of the press...  I cannot help but wonder if this lack of freedom is exactly what you mean by "CHANGE."  Freedom, however is quite a valuable commodity and some do give their lives so that others can remain free from oppression.  Jesus himself died to set men and women free.

I think how perhaps it was that God intended from the very begining that humans would be FREE.  Even Adam and Eve of long ago got to choose for themselves what they would and would not do in the garden, they got to choose whom they would and would not listen to or not and whose words they would ultimately believe.  They were free, completely free, and this state of being as described for us as "very good."  They made a choice to change things and then they knew, just as God had warned.

America,  "One nation under God," makes this claim because God's law is not a burden to us.  Christian, because yes, we do believe on the one whom he sent, Jesus Christ, and believe God has jurisdiction above and over all.  Now we are told we are not a Christian nation and realize that the gospel to many is an offense.  Instead of Jesus they want new laws, laws limiting speech, laws they make themselves, determining, what can and cannot be said. 

I am particularly perplexed over the man in prison, incarcerated justly for the breaking of imperial laws.  He stands there, on death row, in handcuffs, claiming he deserves to exercise something we call "freedom of speech" before he is executed.  He wants the right to speak his mind, the right to ask for forgiveness, or to proclaim a cursing if he so desires and he says that he doesn't understand why such a liberty as this is taken away, and he is speaking out about it.  I find this most interesting.

There he is, bound in chains, confined by bars and walls, facing death, and rightly so.  It's interesting to me that freedom of speech is the very cry of this man's soul.  He say's it's only fair that he should have something to say at the end of his life, be giving the opportunity to breath his last words.  Perhaps he wants to know that at the very end, as in the beginning of his humans life when he was but a baby and he cried, he would be heard.

It give a greater picture in my mind to hearing and being heard, and it makes me wonder what it is like when words cannot be spoken.  What is it like when the cried of the human heart, our words fall on deaf ears.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Snowflakes


Another hobby that I have is making these snowflake decorations.



These are made of paper and three-dimensional, and they are also pretty easy to do. I use computer paper.

The person who taught me how to make them is named Emily and she was ten or eleven years old at the time.  I have been making them ever since, usually around Christmas time, and I either give them as gifts to people or I use them as decorations.

The one in the photo is one I made last year.  It has been in my kitchen since, so it is a little bit out of it's original shape, but it gives you a good idea of what these snowflakes look like.  They are cool.

If you want to make your own there are instructions on the internet that I have found.  You can use these to make your own.  It's fun.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Looking Back At The Life You Have Lived.


I had the opportunity to look through some old photo boxes the other day and I was amazed and the cool pictures I found. There were things documented via photograph that I had completely forgotten about. I enjoyed the time ruffling through the many cool memories tucked away in those boxes.

It was great fun, but it took a lot of time.  It also made me realize how unorganized those photo boxes are and that I do not think that I would enough room for those pictures though if they were all in albums. I have a whole new appreciation for pictures stored on disk and on the web as well as  in boxes and photo albums.  It is kinda neat to look back at life you have lived and remember the people whose life you have shared.














Here are some fun memories
from when we celebrated
April Fools Day
with a "Silly School Day."



We each dressed up in some silly way or another, played some silly, (er..a... educational,) games, ate a silly lunch and read some silly stories and ate some very silly, smiling, cupcakes!



Another fun day in life was the day we made and played with a strange scientific polymer substance we made ourselves.



Here are three very happy little boys (and some big kids too,)seeing what amazing things this strange substance can do.









Another fantastic memory is the one of building our gigantic snowman.





Here is Johnny Appleseed... complete with a pot on his head.









And then there was that picture of our big ram named Een, hiding from the shearer.  I had forgotten about that until I cam across the picture of it and then I was surprised that I even had captured it on film.  This was one of the funnest things I have ever seen, a big old sheep trying to hide!

The thing he is trying to hide under is the top part of a yurt.



 There were many more great photos.

I got to look through several boxes and see lots of pictures of people, whose memories I cherish, even if perhaps I do forget.  Even things I do not have pictures of, I thought about thinking how, somewhere God has them all recorded.  He knows the inspiration and the love that these wonderful people in my life have been to me...and others.  I think that is pretty cool. 

I just sit back now and find myself amazed at this thing called life...From here, all I can say is that I am truly amazed when I look back at the people I know and the amazing life I have lived.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Emu in the Snow


Beth thinks I should write a book about our Emu, Kevin. Here he is in his pen. I am working on that thought. My kids always want me to write stories and draw pictures of things, but I really am not great at either. I must have impressed them sometime in their growing up. In our adventures with Kevin our adopted Emu, we are learning what to do with an emu in the snow.

We had quite a time corralling him after we saw he just stayed in the cold. Finally, after a lot of running at emu speed around the pen a bit of persuasion and a pillowcase over his head we got him into the little barned-in area that we lined with straw and furnished with a heat lamp. However Keving didn't appreciate like it and after a sleepy night in the warm straw he made his escape.... fortunately the weather was warmer the next few days. He could once again pace the fence again, which he loves to do.

The snow has begun to fall again and the night temperatures are below freezing. We are watching to see if he takes to the barn or if he needs to be corralled more permanent-like in there. Hopefully he is not as dumb as he appears to be from our human standpoint and will, like most birds, choose on his own to head south to the comfort of warm hay under shelter from the snow.

Also, I might ad, Geo and I recently watched the movie Up.. from which Keven gets his name. It was a rather fun frolic of a film. The bird in the movie is very much like an emu, only it is much more vibrant in color. Cute bird!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Playing with Toys...





M.A. and I had lunch together and together we discovered the coolness of Playmobile Christmas. It sure has some small parts but we loved the detail and the guys with beards!

Crochet Hobby

Here are some photos of things I have crocheted.... also called amigurumi.

Froggie, Cool Cat.... Mrs. Mousie....Purple Pakiderm....(Elephant) and some crocheted doll sisters... I named
Jill and Rosita.

I make these using 100% cotton thread and there is no pattern that I follow. It is like painting with yarn. I love it.




Winter Kid, Turtle, Snail and Mr. T, the turtle.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Books, books and more books...

I went to a meeting of the minds last night where we who we gathered talked about the many educational books and resources we love using and are thankful for. There were a lot of really great items that made our list too. I enjoyed it so much that I just wanted to blog about it.

Books are really important to people, and I say that because they tell me and because I know they are important to me. and in fact I have had many book related projects going on in my life.

Even yesterday I was taking photographs of books, as you can see here.



















This i s my "personal bookshelf," filled with some of my favorite things, mementos and mysterious objects that I like to collect.

Other book issues are: I'm a member of a book and movie club where we write reviews of films and are reading a book that we discuss. Also I am doing a group book blog with some lady-friends where we blog about the various books we read, and I am always adding new titles to my "want to read" lists... picking up books at bookstore and book sales. I feel like the mariner of old, with "books... books everywhere".... and hardly time for it all.

The inspiration for this particular blog today began when I needed a picture of a bookshelf but none were to be found ready made so I ventured to take a photo of my own. Then, instead of using a normal sized model of a bookshelf or bookcase, I thought it would be cool to use my personal one.

It just so happens to be quite small.


It contains miniature objects that I have made myself or have collected over the years. These are my older ones.

This picture taking photo project of books and bookshelves was not only thematically related to the meeting last night but also to learning how to post pictures and put photos on my computer!

Lori will be proud of me!

It's funny how a book really became almost like a good friend at times and is hard to actually part with. I love my miniature books because I have done much of it using the titles of books I really like. Sometimes I want to pass a book on to a friend but I want to keep a memento... othertimes I have to part with it because I keep getting new books (or old ones) and simply have to part with some. But the way I figure it, a book that I love in the hands of someone else is a good thing. I can keeps a little memento, a reminder of my bookfriend and still pass the book on.

It takes a lot of time to make the little books, and I am new at it so, they are not perfect.

One other book project of course are writing my own book...which is a long and tedious process to say the least. For the most part I can say it is written, but I am currently working to turn it into a "blook," one anyone who wants to can read. This too is a time consuming project. My book is not represented on the miniature shelves yet, but maybe I will make one someday.






Here is my design for the cover.





If you ever want to be an instant celebrity tell someone else that you have written a book. I find I have to be reserved in who I tell. People really do get all excited and this even before they have read it.  Kinda funny because it is not that great of a book.  I mean, some who have read it, never read it all because, as they confessed to me... they were a little bored. I do not mind. I am just glad they wanted to read it. Besides, (I tell, them,) "I only said that I had "written a book;"... I never said it was a best-seller."

...So if you read it and you are bored.. you are not alone.  It's a slow book.. and intended to be so perhaps in how it is written.  It is one that is suppoed to make a person stop and think about the world, or at least that is what it is supposed to do.... slow down things a bit... bring the reader into the movements, the moments, the thoughts... each and every little things being experienced in detail by the main character... a man named Evan. 

I am my own editor at this point and the feedback is good. Who knows, maybe someday I will make it more exciting... In the meantime it is what it is...

It is the story of Evan, who wakes up one morning to find everyone in the whole wide world around him is embracing a global change whereby everyone collectively says goodbye to the old world completely and forever.  They believe that they are saving the earth and saving themselves by using psychic power to move earth into it's "original" orbiting position.  Apparently, mankind has laid claim to even the desins of planet earth and people of the earth are using psychic/spiritual power to transform the present world into a world they envision themselves being in, one that they create, not God.... but do not realize it is ony in their own imaginations.  They believe they are resucing the planet as they recreate creation, they believe they are creating the world of mankinds future and Evan, has to grapple with it all and see if he is on board this spaceship earth being launched into the future, or not.

It a bit of science fiction...you might say... or not.  In some ways it does not sound very much like fiction... does it?.

go figure!


The bottom line is that I did it and had fun doing it and I learned a lot and recorded a lot of stuff I wanted to write down.  It's not that I even like fiction, or science fiction for that matter.  I just happened to think it woud be interesting to make a story about all the non-fictional stuff I was learning about in my spare time.  Even to describe it as "fiction" is not really fair because it is not written to stand alone as a fiction story but to compliment my notes, which I believe make truth seem stranger than fiction. Essentially, it is really more like a book around...a book within, with the book within it being a place where a person gets a peek into a bit of reality they never thought about, or maybe thought of and didn't think that anyone else really had, but the fictitious character Evan in the book does.    

It was for me a great way to document the meanderings of my mind and things I remember about life as well as to explore the wonderful world of words and what they do...

and then there is blogging.

That's a whole new subject, photos and all.

It's a rather novel concept too... don't you think?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Trip Home

Every so often we get to make trips home to Phoenix. I am preparing for one now, looking forward to seeing what happens and seeing family.. vacationing a bit with our kids.

I like trips home. It's fun to see family and friends, sad not to be more a part of their everyday lives, and this sad part is true, more sad about some than others. There are special people in my life that I never hear from or get to talk to as much as I would like, and it makes me sad... (perhaps they know who they are) ... but the world keeps turning and these trips do happen from time to time, and they are good for me.

Something happened recently to jostle my memories about one particular trip to Phoenix...about ten or eleven years ago now... It was a bit of a spur-of-the-moment thing... an opportunity to take, and so I was able to. It was to be a ten day trip.

Margarita... (I like to say Margarita sometimes but it's actually Margaret,) was going to Arizona and suggested that we go together since she had family there and I had family there... and she said I could stay with her and life would be cool. So I did, and it was. You would have to know Margarita to know what I am talking about... exactly... I mean to know just how cool.

Well, here is an example of how cool...
We were driving through a BAD neighborhood and she is looking out the window commenting on how pretty everything is... or rather, the pretty things... never mind she did have sunglasses on and we were in an air-conditioned car, (which is a necessity in the AZ heat!) The cool thing about Maragrita is that God has given her permanent rose colored glasses that she wears all the time through which she views life, seeing the good and lovable in most everything... Did I meantion this was an ugly neighborhood and the heat was glaring and I did not have sunglasses on at the time... I made her take her sunglasses off and take a real look and do you know what? She still found joy in our surroundings. This... is just one example of "cool."

Anyhow,

It was a bit of a drive everyday to see my mom, which is who I went to see mostly, but with the new freeway system that they had it only took about 20 minutes in my cool rental car. Jars of Clay became my carpool buddies and off I went each day to visit mom, who was living in a nursing home that she didn't like very much. Margaret would go and do whatever she did all day and I would go and do my thing and then we would recconect in the evenings and be off for another day.

The first day when I got there I went to see her and we had dinner and went for a walk. I pushed her in her wheelchair outside the nursing home and we talked. She seemed well, but on the second day when I arrived firetrucks and an ambulance was at the home.

Lo and behold, they were even in my mother's room. Off they went to the hospital, and I followed. They told me she had pneumonia.

Upon arrival at the hospital everything was a really big deal... tubes and nurses and doctors were everywhere, and they wanted to know if she was a DNR.

DNR?

(Do Not Reccessitate) This means that if she were to die should they put her on life support or not... keep her alive, try to save her life.... that kind of thing.

My poor mother. Well, She was definitely a DRN... I had hear it all my life, I had had it drilled into me ... She was definitely a DNR.

She had been through so much in life, and had her share of physical ailments over the years and disabilities on top of it all. Now at 72 she was no, as she would say, "spring chicken." She was now living in a low income nursing home, frustrated with the state of affairs in the family, alienated from everything she loved, unable to do the things she wanted to do, stuck in a bed or wheelchair.... at the mercy of underpaid and overworked nursing home staff... on continual pain medication and now, is stricken with pnumonia... Funny thing was, we had as a family been down this road so many times before. It was nothing new.

Well, I called all my family members and told them the situation. I was ready for anything. Mostly I hoped she would get better and we could have some time together. This was not at all what I expected. I expected to be taking her to lunch today... or to visit family. Instead I got to sit in the waiting room of the County Hospital watching as people rushed to help someohne who came in with gunshot wounds.. crying babies.... people feeling sick... big city hospital stuff like that. I did meet one man, a Christian man in the waiting room that day and we talked about the Lord as we sat there together. THAT was encouraging to me.... Then I was able to go and see my mom.

Each day of my trip was a blurr after that... but each evening I would meet up with Margaret and tell her everything that transpired. God had obviously prepared this for me to walk though and here I was.. walking through it, amazed to see all the little things he did and cared about. Praying to be faithful to the call... and be there for my ailing mother.

For years I had been praying, asking God to send someone to share the gospel with my mom, not that I didn't already, not that she had never heard, but she had issues. She knew about God, she believed in God... but she didn;t know him or trust him, most of the time. Faith is always a struggle, but because of her illnesses and her life, she felt unlovable, like she was being punished for sin... getting what she deserved...stricken by God. I think suffering sometimes just amkes a person want to die... and often, she just wanted to die and hope for the best. Little did I know, god had this plan to send me.

The trip was a trip! It was ten days of being blown away by the power and expertise of a mighty God.

My mom was alert, but on morphine most the time. she was on oxygen and sheared a room with four other people. She would come in and out of sleep and consciousness, and when she did we would have a chance to talk.

It was during one of these conversations that I asked her about her faith. She assured me that she was catholic. I said, I know Mom... but tell me, you know Jesus died for your sin... because God loves you... and because you believe in Jesus, when you die... you will go home to be with the Lord... in heaven.. forever?

She said, of course I believe in Jesus...

I tell you, one minute later a man came into the room. He barely looked up from a black book in his hands and but said, my mothers name s if asking if indeeed this person in the bed was she. I sid yes and he introduced himself as father so and so and said he was there to give her the last rites. Without even looking at us, he stood at the foot of the bed, ask my mother if she wanted to receive the last rites.. (of the Catholic Church) to which she said "yes" and proceeded to read something... from his book, make the sign of the cross over her bed and then saying good day, he turned and walked away.

That was it, the last rites. Although I know she had had "the last rites" more than once in her life.

It was quite a little ritual in my mind as I sat there, privy to it all, thinking in my head how glad I was that I had just had that conversation with her about Jesus, hearing her tell me that she believed Jesus died for her sin and she believed in Jesus... I kinda rejoiced in my heart, thankful that God was there BEFORE this man came in.

To this man I felt like my mom was just a name on a list and not really a person to visit and comfort. There was no real conversation. The man was a robot. He looked a little like Don Novello, but there was nothing amusing about the visit. There was no compassion. He didn't even touch her, or hold her hand or pray for her; he didn't ask her or me if we needed anything. There was no eye contact. He simply asked it she was the right person, said some words, asked her a question, and said some more words and left. It was as if he was going threough the motions, simply getting through a long list for the day. In a couple of minutes, he was off...

I wish I remember what-all he said. Whatever it was she agreed. In my mind, whatever it was didn't matter because one thing was certain... she believed in Jesus and believed she would go to be in heaven with the Lord when she died, not because of what she did or didn't do, not because she gave enough money at the church, not because she was good enough to escape the reality of hell... complete separation from God, but because God loved her and sent Jesus who being the exact representation of God, took her place in death. She believed on the one who God sent...

It was on Sunday that my mother died. I had gone to church, seeking some fellowship with Christians who could pray for me. I prayed with the pastor, Mark was his name... because I was a wee bit stressed out. I would be leaving in just a few days and concerned about leaving her in the hospital. (could I stay longer?) I wondered what that would be like and needed encouragement in trusting the Lord through all I foresaw as possibilities. I was thanking God for the many things I could see him doing in my life, in my family... and when I arrived back at the hospital, I entered the room and saw that she had died.

The woman in the bed across the room said no one had been in for a while and my mom was sleeping. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I perceived that she was dead. I just called the nurse.

We arranged a memorial service to which many family members came. Some of my mother's sister were there. My sister even made it. The fact that we had the memorial service before I felt was amazing too. An answer to prayer.

At a memorial service, people get up and say things...

Someone said it was a blessing that she died because now she would not suffer anymore. I got up and said that death was not the blessing, eternal life through faith in Christ was, despite death and suffering. I told of how blessed it was that my mom knew that she was going to heaven because of Jesus.

This was followed by a rebuttal from a catholic family member who was mad at me and insisted that my mother was Catholic, a good Catholic... and that she even prayed the rosary! I hope that means that Catholics believe in Jesus and will because of him will go to heaven when they die... but the rebuttal effect, the sharpness of the remark really made me wonder. (Even though I think I understand what "Catholics" believe, and this because I have read what the Catholic books and teachings say... at least in English.) The sharpness of the remark reminded me that this life is spiritual battle for the souls of men and women. In my mom's case, the matter is settled and quite frankly, I have to believe God won.

Did I mention that on our way to Phoenix the Airlines (Alaska Airlines) gave us a little card on our dining tray... It was the picture of a sunrise and it said, "I will praise the name of God with a song, and will glorify him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30." Margaret and I were pretty amazed. It was amazing to think that the Airlines would even distribute such a thing... but then this is America.... The little card e en says, "Alaska Airlines." But you know we were even more impressed that on the return flight home we got another card on our tray. This one was the picture of an evening sky and it read, " I will be glad and rejoice in you: I will sing praise to yourname, O most High. Psalm 9:2" I still have these little cards in my bible.

With all the adventures done Margarita and I headed home.. as scheduled... talking laughing rejoicing in what God had done and shown us on this trip, wishing life was always such an adventure.

Funny thing it is... we just often fail to realize the miracle of faith and the miracle of grace and JEsus... even this thing called life that we are living in.

Need those "rose colored" glasses, I guess...

Jesus.. that " sweet rose " of Sharon...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Video o' de Day

Lord, reign in me.

Four minute video posted by Michelle.

Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

One Day Last Summer

I just posted about the hole in my favorite table cloth, caused by a fire which was started by a pitcher of water. Well, this reminded me of another story that took place this last summer in which I put out another fire on a table I was seated at. It was one of those situations that would have been a disaster, but thank God! It wasn't.

I was at the Red Lion Inn in downtown Spokane for a luncheon for the Union Gospel mission. The tables were all decorated with candles and ferny plants. The speaker was great (and so was lunch) and it was almost over. I glance at the candle burning on my table.

I hate candles. Well, they are pretty, but I never light them without watching them closely and a rarely even if ever do that. This is only because I know they are a fire hazard, so I guess it drew my attention for a moment there because I know that table decorations that are ferny and candles that are aflame are a recipe for fire.

In that one instant I looked at the candle on my table and thought, "It would be a bummer if the fern caught on fire." I looked away and moments later, (I was not even looking, but I saw it out of the corner of my eye...) to my surprise, a fern was sparking, sparlking and in the next moment, it was really, truly, on fire.

I must have seen it coming.

Well, being as I had had practice putting out table fires before, I sprung into action and extinguished it by smothering it and this with only a minor injury to myself. The fern was plastic and the hot plastic burned me when I smothered it. Unfortunately I used my lyphademic arm, as I am right handed, and so, it was an injury non the less... yet minor. The hot plastic from the plant made a little burn. Here is an incredible thing too. No one, no one but an older woman at my table saw it happen besides me. She sent me off to go and see if some cold water on it would help.

It was amazing. The whole table could have caught ablaze, which could have been quite a disaster if you ask me. I just happened to see it as it happened, and reacted. I kinda felt like Elasta-girl. Amazing.

If only I could always be so attentive.

How do you start a fire?

I was folding laundry a moment ago, one of my favorite tablecloths and I remebered something that I think is worth a blog.

One day, one summer day, I was having a patio lunch of sandwiches with friends Nancy and Steven on my new deck and we were using this particular tablecloth. We were talking, having a laugh or two after eating, George was meandering around the yard doing some things when he made himself conspecously noticed and said, "Who of you over there is smoking?"

We laughed some more.

None of us were even smokers. We had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.

He said, "I saw some smoke and I was just wondering what it was."

It was kinda funny, until I looked down and realized the table was on fire. Right there, smack dab in the middle of the table! The tablecloth was on fire!"

Needless to say I put it out. It did leave a hole in my favorite tablecloth, a hole which is there until this day. But As I told you not of us were smoking. It was Steve and me and Nancy at the table, nothing but a plastic piture of water and the plates leftover from our food.

Upon further investigation we discovered that what must have happened was a magnification effect of the sunlight streaming through the piture of water, causing a point of light much like a magnifying lens would do. It was amazing to consider. I was glad I was there and had not left the pitcher sitting on the table and walked away.

Imagine if we had not known the table was on fire, or being the insurance agent that has to file a claim like that. We have a riddle of the sphynx kind now, it goes like this:

"How do you start a fire with water?"

You know the answer now.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

And that reminds me of a story.....

One dayin the summer of 08, I was at home, minding my own business when my phone rang. It was a friend of mine who happened to be at the local mega store, mulling over the book section. Something unusual caught her eye; a series of books for children titled " African America Heroes: Barak Obama" She called me on her cell phone to tell me how strange she thought it was.

"Is he a hero?" she said. "What has he done to be called a hero?"

Well, he was a presidential candidate, Senator too, but hero?

I had to think of the definition...
HERO:
1. a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities
2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is
regarded as a model or ideal: He was a local hero when he saved the drowning child.
3. the principal male character in a story, play, film, etc.
4. In Classical Mythology.
a being of godlike prowess and beneficence who often came to be honored as a divinity.
(in the Homeric period) a warrior-chieftain of special strength, courage, or ability.
(in later antiquity) an immortal being; demigod.


"Hmmm," was all I could say. I had to think about that one. Obama was not necessarily the principal character in America. I had never heard of him being in the military or saving someone from a burning building or something like that. It is only four letters long, but "Hero" was a pretty strong word.

Between the two of us, we couldn't think of anything specific we had ever heard of Obama ever having had done to be considered a "hero." with the publication date on the book being March 2008, we felt it was a little premature to rank him up there with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln... who often are though of as political heroes, but the man Obama, had not even been elected president yet.

I thought I'd see what the American Heroes book had to say about this "African-American Hero." the book review at Amazon.com says that first through third grade kids who read this book can read about Obama's "exotic pets and food delicacies that Obama encountered during his time in Indonesia" as well as, "his young struggles to embrace his biracial identity."

Hero? Hmmm... Well, It takes a lot of courage to run for president, but lots of men have run for president, they've not all been referred to as "heroes." Why him?

Before hanging up the phone we decided that it was quite a bit of propaganda being put on display at the store and also in the hands of little kids to call this man a "hero." After all, if you thought someone was a "hero" (or a demigod of special strength, courage, or ability,) wouldn't you want to vote for them? Lots of Senators could be role models... Do we see books that call them "heroes?'

No.

This book was strange if you ask me, and it seemed like political propaganda, packaged so as to o help get the man elected by calling him a "hero." It's almost like by saying something over and over, people will actually begin to believe it, if they hear it often enough. So now we apparently all think he is a "hero" and the "hero" was awarded the Noble Peace Prize last week. Now the whole world is feeling a little bit like I did when my friend told me about that book; people everywhere are wondering what the Prize was given to him for and no one knows.

All they know is that he offers hope to the world.. he must be a god or some kind of "hero." Too bad no one knows what heroic things BArak Obama did.

Wow. There seems to be a trend.

SurPRIZE!

Well, you just never know what a day will bring... I am having one of those four season days... lot's going on. Beside the usual busyness, I just read the news...

Did you know, it's only nine months into his presidency and Barak Obama is the man best serving the world? ( not just the US mind you.) I just read that he is now the proud recipient of a little bundle of joy... the Nobel Peace Prize!

The whole world was basically surprised when Barak Obama, President of the USA, was given the Nobel Peace Prize...recently, or is that the "noble peace prize"... or maybe the, "no-bell, piece price..." I just wish it were the no-bull peace prize!

Well, whatever it is, I feel a little bit sorry for the man OBAMA. Apparently there are people who think they can pull strings with this man, in this case by flattery and making him feel "special," to the world. If the Peace Prize doesn't make a man like Obama feel special, or make him feel like he is "doing good," with all of his programs and czar appointees over our nation, what will?

It's remarkable that he has gotten this award, which also comes complete with a cash award of 1.4 million dollars or so. I do not think the money will be given to the US treasury though, although it would be a nice addition, help pay for some of those programs, or maybe a new White House lawn. Obama says he will give the money to "charity."

Isn't that noble?

(I wonder what charities he likes the best.)

So I think now how it is that this bunch of wealthy and seemingly important "worldly" individuals who award a prestigious sounding award, (the Nobel Peace Prize) to our US President, and wonder what exactly Obama did.... and I wonder who the other, some 197, other nominees were and if any of them were really deserving of the prize , and I think, " Wow. Our US president is now right up there with some very famous people...

...really BIG names like Mother Teresa.. the Dali Lama.. Mikhail Gorbechev ...Martin Luither King Jr, not to mention, Al Gore... Albert Einstien.. Anwar al-Sadat,and Menachem Begin (the two opposing ideologies who were awarded together, mind you... have won this prestigious recognition of their work. We all know what Yasser Arafat, who was award the Noble Peace Prize, did for peace, (we do?) but what about Barak Obama?
hmmmm {see: http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/} AND BE SURE TO CLICK ON THE NAMES TO SEE MORE OF WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE) I cannot help but wonder if Obama has to appease the group, since he accepted the fame and fortune, after all, they could easily change their minds about what an awesome man he is if he didn't live up to this peaceful reputation.

Yes, if you are awarded such a prestigious award, allowed to join the ranks of such a fine and famous class of world citizenry, as other winners of the prize, you would think that you had done something to be recognized for... but I am only one of millions of people around the world wondering, trying to figure out the awarding committee’s rationale. It's all over the papers... people are asking what it is that Obama has done in his short lifetime to earn such praise.

It's odd. Mr. OBAMA himself, CNN NEWS, the Associate Press and even most Americans, do not even know what exactly Obama did to deserve such a thing.

Truth is, most of us do not know whether to laugh or applaud. And we wonder if the purpose of the award was to manipulate OBAMA, manipulate his Presidential actions and decisions, or perhaps manipulate the minds of those who see this OBAMA "the great man of peace" receive such a dignified honor... after all, not everyone gets a prize like this one.

(What a hero.)

And as for manipulation. not only that, but president OBAMA, is right in the middle of making some serious decisions relating to war.... lives of people.

What would you do?


Cease fire?

Remove troops?

Call more troops to war?

Oi vey... it would be so confusing...

Do you war with Afghanistan when you just received the PEACE PRIZE, (???) which is... an internationally recognized prize awarded "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses."

Seriously, what would you do?

Well, since I had no idea WHAT exactly Obama was awarded the Peace Prize for, I looked for and answer to my curiousity as to what the award was for. The Norwegian Nobel Committee (who gave the award) said that it was for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." They also said, "Very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future."

Now granted, Obama is a rather gregarious fellow, and was seen campaigning for the presidency in Germany and Kenya, befriending some of the most notorious heads of state too, since he has been in office representing America. It's almost as if he would happily give them the time-of-day, or something.

As for me and my house, we will spend the rest of today, considering who in the world has ever (to the same extent as Mr. Obama,) "captured the world's attention and given people of the world a hope for a better future."

The only person I can think of really, at least in a positive sense, is Jesus.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Freedom

I have a young homeschooling friend who takes a class at the public school, an advanced placement class. We were chatting a bit and I felt like it was a very interesting conversation... he told me several very interesting things, and so I thought I would post some thoughts on that conversation here for consideration. It is about homeschooling, public school and freedom of the mind to actually think.

In this particular class, (note: at this time is had only been about two weeks into the school year) they happened to be studying the Bible as literature. and this young man, a Christian young man, is rather bold in his beliefs. Having the opportunity to give a talk before the class he told them that he was a Christian and that he believed the Bible to be literally true.

Imagine that. He reminded me that this was something the teacher could never do without loosing her job, but as a student it was something he could do. Needless to say, he then continued to tell me about various encounters with people in school and what being in school was like. He said it is oppressive, much like a prison.

He told me how he had been to Russia as a visitor last year and he compared the look and feel of the people there to the look and feel of the people "stuck" in school...

Now I have not been to school recently myself, but I have known people who went to Russia, even the same cities that this boy had been. They saw what he saw in Russia. They explained it the same way. How interesting that he saw this same dynamic in his experience at the school.

Homeschooling is freedom exercised. Freedom to choose the kind of education you have and use... freedom from the clock, freedom in how you spent or do not spend your day, your week, your calendar of things to do. It is also freedom of the mind to think, observe and question, to seek answers and to gain an understanding of the more important things in life, your family, yourself, your world and your creator, the one who loved you and gave his life so that you might live eternally in freedom from sin and death, Jesus Christ, (and you can even talk about him freely.) Public Schools, they are like "a prison." Truth is, if the son sets you free, you are free indeed! Homeschooling in America is the free exercise of many freedoms.

Yet there is school, mandatory school, we are told, a person "has to "get an education.

This all has me curious. What does one learn in school? and...Who exactly runs the classroom?

Is it law? Is it the NEA? The Union? MacGraw Hill or whatever textbook manufacturer has given the US government the lowest common denominator.. I mean, bid? If not the Bible in American schools... then what morals and values are upheld in school who decides? Who manages what is thought... and NOT? What is the "plumbline" or "objective" of public education, concerning morals, stealing... respecting authority... assault... cheating... swearing... and what will happen when you break the rule or fail to learn what IS (or maybe is NOT) being taught? What in a classroom makes right right and makes wrong wrong? Is it the textbook? The teacher?

In this case the textbook just so happened to be the Bible, but they were not looking at it as truth... and the teacher, was not the teacher but the student was giving credence to the book. A homeschooling student, a student on loan to the public school from a local homeschool at that!

This student all his life had not been to a public school. He was homeschooled, where his teachers at home were actually free to teach him things that are true and right, noble and good. Free people in the USA, free to talk about, to believe and teach their son about something better than anything he would ever learn in school, the true and living God.

Amazing.

So he told me too.. (and keep in mind this is a smart young man. He has not only been around the block, but around the world. He knows his history, his knows his English pretty well, he reads and writes and is not afraid to speak out or speak up in a class...) He told me that after he had been in school a couple of days he was called into the principals office.

He was not in trouble or anything. The principal simply asked him, "Who are you?"


It reminded me of this verse:
Phi 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

And then there is Buddy...

Buddy, not a human but a companion none-the-less deserves to be mentioned as I think of individuals who are inspirational in my life. I am sure that Buddy is not the only inspirational dog that ever lived... after all dog is said to be man's best friend, but I just want to mention him in this blog because he is cool.

Buddy is patient and protective and he is really really smart! I know because I have seen him in action all these years. He is also obedient, most of the time. Less now that he is so old and hard of hearing. (I think he is about 15 or 16 now, and in dog years, it's right up there!) Besides, my young friend Jason, who studied animals and loved dogs once told me that he learned how dogs that have a large bump on their skull, like Buddy does, are the ones to look for when getting a pup, because, he said, it's indicative of the dogs intelligence. For him, Buddy was an example of what he had read.

Today Buddy was getting an inspection of his fur and it was discovered that he had some kind of mass on his neck. To get a good look at it he had to have the fur clipped and what was under that mass of clumped fur was some kind of fleshy thing that made the fur clump with blood. Kinda gross and I am glad the boys are tackling it. Definitely a "boy job" to see what is wrong with Buddy. I am amazed at Buddy's utmost cooperation with it all. It's definitely a four season kinda thing, after all, he was just getting an inspection. There was no sign of distress in the dog... he has had a cough and a runny nose, but we were really just going to give him a bath. It has become quite a project.

Did I mention, Buddy is an awesome dog?

It was several years ago that Buddy, clear out of the blue, went blind. It was so strange having a blind dog all of a sudden. He was so needy and I was not so sure I wanted to be so needed by a dog. But at the time, thinking about what a faithful friend he had always been, by my side when I was working outside, hanging around and keeping an eye on the kids... barking at strangers, I really didn't mind, but I was worried about how life would be with a blind dog. I took him to the vet.

The vet sent me to a doggie ophthalmologist. I had never heard of such a thing. (I guess that I thought vets did everything at their offices for animals.) I can tell you, I could hardly wait to see the eyechart on the wall devised for dogs.

The ophthalmologist was a really nice Christian man and that made me happy. We didn't get to use the eye chart because Buddy couldn't see anyhow... (just kidding about the eye chart) The doc had no idea why Buddy had lost his vision and said it could be a number of things.. he could have gotten into some poison or something. He didn't know if any treatment would work but he put him on prednisone for a few days and some other medication ... four times a day for a while to see if that would work.

I was officially a doggie nurse leading a blind dog around, making sure he didn;t run into things and giving meds around the clock.

Miraculously, it worked! Buddy regained his vision after a while and I was very glad. It was like having a dog again. The meds were discontinued..although the doctor told me that Buddy probably had some immune issues. He offered us to do some doggie chemotherapy, but I declined, mostly because I had just been through chemotherapy myself... and my dog was well, well, at least well enough... after all he could see again. The doctor however warned me that he probably would not live too much longer.

That was in 2004. Now it's five years later and Buddy has some weird growth on the side of his head that the boys removed today while I wrote this story. I really couldn't bear to watch because I thought for sure the dog would bite them as they cut it off, or bleed to death. Neither happened. He was a perfect patient.

That's Buddy for ya, not to mention a great "vet."

We decided not to send the specimen to the lab. Buddy seems really happy and is doing quite well for an old dog. He's a little like my friend Irma who has a great attitude about life and just keeps going, dispite the circumstances or the odds.

There are some good lessons we can learn from our dogs.

This is perhaps a perfect time to post this email I once received:

THINGS I LEARNED FROM MY DOG

.1. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
.2. Allow the experience of fresh air and wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
.3. When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
.4. Especially when it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.
.5. Let others know when they have invaded your territory.
.6. Take naps and stretch before rising.
.7. Run, romp and play daily.
.8. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
.9. Be loyal.
10. Never pretend to be something you are not.
11. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
12. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close and nuzzle them gently.
13. Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
14. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
15. On hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shade tree.
16. When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
17. No matter how often you are scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout, run right back and make friends.
18. Bond with your pack.
19. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
20. And, make happy memories.


I think it is anonymously written, I do not know, but I know it was not me. However, they must have had a dog, like Buddy.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A glimpse of Irma

September 5th is Irma's birthday and this year, yesterday in fact, she turned 101 years old!

Irma is probably one of the most incredible people I know, not just because she is old, but she is also wise. She has a way of looking at life that simply keeps her going, and going, and going. Today I told her that I want to be like her when I grow up. She laughed.

I guess that what I admire about her is her love of simplicity. She is a hard worker and she has a lot of nice things, a house kept as perfect and orderly as anyone I have ever known, but she just doesn't get caught up in the frill of things. She is as real as real gets.

There she is, 101 years old, spunky as ever. She works in her garden every day, she does her laundry as as an artist, she still does painting,with oil paints even though her eyesight is going bad. She makes her bed, does her dishes, takes her bath, washes her hair, even does her cooking( with a friend.) She doesn't drive and she has a secretary (as she calls her) to help her with her banking and she has someone to take he r to and from the store, but 101 years old and she lives alone.

She tells me, and everyone else, she doesn't need anybody's help. She is a no nonsense gal, you might say she can even be a little stubborn, but she has a great sense of humor too. A sign on her kitchen wall reads, "It's easy to give up!" She is not lazy and she is not a quitter.

Some well-meaning friends suggest she sells her home and move into one of those places where she would have the kind of "help" they think she needs, a place where she would "have a roof over her head." Irma tells them, "Well, what do you think I have here? I have a roof over my head right here."

Over the years I have known Irma, she has filled my head and heart with so many stories that made me smile when I would get a glimpse of Irma and the woman she was, the woman she is.
It's remarkable that people can be so old.

101.

She has lived through a lot, seen a lot in her days, and as I listen to her stories and see her simply embrace this thing called life, I am really quite amazed. She is quite beautiful... amazing....

Irma.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sweet Escape

This is one place one who lives nearby must really go more often, especially if you claim to love the beach. Go ahead, get out of Spokane and head a short distance away to the Couer De Alene park!

Isn't it funny how a person can live somewhere and always feel like they have to travel far to have some fun, especially when it's right in your own back yard?

Need to get away? Go ahead, we did, and we did it without the kids. That was fun and relaxing too. But if you have the kids along, it's always a fun time to head out to a nice big park, this one has a great playground and a beautiful beach on the lake. You will see parasalors sailing, swimmers swimming, boats boating around and airplanes landing with floats upon the water.

Eat and ice cream cone or snowcone, shop the shops, take back to school/ senior photos...whatever, (it's quite picturesque,) but you best hurry. It will not be long until summer waves goodbye and the ice cream parlor closes!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Music O' De Day...

My brother-in-law, John Kalb, plays guitar. Click and you can see him playing his guitar.

He has a sort of folk/country style, and I have very fond memories of listening to him play for hours and hours. I still have some of his songs ingrained deeply in my mind.

I liked everything he played, but some of my all time favs are his renditions of Arlo Guthrie's Motorcycle.... and Kenny Loggins' House at Pooh Corner.

Here is one I do not remember.

So the story is that today, I came across these you tubers of him and his guitar on the internet.

That was interesting. I always love a little music o'de day.

Even though it was only a video, I enjoyed seeing him again too.

Here are some more tubes I found interesting...
Buddy Ruckus

Lilac Open @ SFU


more to be added another time, another day...

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Letter from Martha

MARTHA STEWART'S CHRISTMAS LETTER TO ERMA BOMBECK

Hi Erma,

This perfectly delightful note is being sent on paper I made myself to tell you what I have been up to.

Since it snowed last night, I got up early and made a sled with old barn wood and a glue gun. I hand painted it in gold leaf, got out my loom, and made a blanket in peaches and mauves. Then to make the sled complete, I made a white horse to pull it, from DNA that I had just sitting around in my craft room. By then, it was time to start making the place mats and napkins for my 20 breakfast guests.

I'm serving the old standard Stewart twelve-course breakfast, but I'll let you in on a little secret: I didn't have time to make the tables and chairs this morning, so I used the ones I had on hand.

Before I moved the table into the dining room, I decided to add just a touch of the holidays. So I repainted the room in pinks and stenciled gold stars on the ceiling. Then, while the homemade bread was rising, I took antique candle molds and made the dishes (exactly the same shade of pink) to use for breakfast. These were made from Hungarian clay, which you can get at almost any Hungarian craft store.

Well, I must run. I need to finish the buttonholes on the dress I'm wearing for breakfast. I'll get out the sled and drive this note to the post office as soon as the glue dries on the envelope I'll be making. Hope my breakfast guests don't stay too long, I have 40,000 cranberries to string with bay leaves before my speaking engagement at noon.

Love,
Martha

P.S. When I made the ribbon for this typewriter, I used 1/8-inch gold gauze. I soaked the gauze in a mixture of white grapes and blackberries which I grew, picked, and crushed last week just for fun.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

World Gone Insane

Okay, so maybe it is nothing new,
but I just want to comment here:

the world
has gone
insane.

WARNING
WHAT YOU
ARE ABOUT
TO READ IS
NOT FOR
THE FAINT
OF HEART

The summary of this post is that the the world is rotten to the core.


Don;t need convincing? Simply SKIP this and move on to the next post now.


So anyhow, as I was saying, maybe it really is nothing new that the world..."has gone insane," but I want to talk about the world, the craziness of the world and how utterly lost and rotten it is. However, I am not
sure where to begin.

Is it that you cannot get a policeman to come and take a report of a theft when you call.? or maybe that is merely a symptom of the rot. Maybe it is the fact that children, well adults too, are senselessly abducted and murdered by some people who roam the streets. Maybe it's because we live in a world where a complete stranger would simply open fire in a crowd, like what was on the news recently. People killed, violence in the streets. It happens everyday somewhere.

Some say it takes a village to raise a child but the "village," in case you haven't noticed, is ablaze with madness.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Walking Adventures

On yesterday's walk we found a woolie caterpillar. Linda J. said she heard that to spot these meant that winter was coming. Too bad it was a hot summer day.

Well, later that day, (yesterday) I went outdoors to go somewhere and the air was crisp and cool, a marked difference from the morning.

Ha! Must been that woolie caterpillar. ya think?

We like Kevin

Emus are interesting creatures. I seriously laugh whenever I think about how cool Kevin is. The thing that makes me laugh the most is considering that he is a giant bird!

I like birds. Ever since I was little I have liked birds. I used to catch pigeons with old Albert's assistance of course, and make them my pets. Often times the birds had a broken wing or leg or something and I would simply feed them until they were well again and let them go. I have had conures, parakeets, cockatiels, a cockatoo, chickens, ducks, guinea fowl, and finches, and now we have an emu.

I love that he ( or possibly she) looks so much like a "dinosaur." It reminds me of reading about the dodo bird they say has been extinct since the 17th century an other dinosauric looking bird. I think most people would see a skeleton of such a large bird and easily think it ives millions of years ago simply due to the size if nothing else. We are trained that way. I kinda feel like I have a living dinosaur right in my yard, not only that I can pet it.

Each day we go out, at least one of us and pet the bird who basically turns to mush as we pet it. Kevin is really cute, but still offish in many ways. If we ever find the original owners it would be hard to part with him because we kinda like him being around.

The weather though has gotten cooler and I wonder what to do with an emu in winter.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Emu Update

Kevin, our visiting Emu, is still at our house. We are looking for the owners still. I mention Kevin to people here and there to see if anyone knows of anyone who is missing an emu. In addition to checking for local Emu farms and finding all their emus accounted for, I called animal shelters and humane societies to see if anyone has been looking for an emu. They do cats and dogs not emus... and suggested that I call the police. I didn't call the police because the emu was not being a problem and I do not think people call the police to report missing emus... do they? I guess if I had no place to keep it or thought it was a danger to my life or limb, they would be good to call, like if I saw a cougar or something of that nature... but not for an Emu that is already penned up.

I also checked the internet and found only one found Emu notice... (someone in my neighborhood apparently spotted it but did not coral it, and a you tube video of some hikers in my area who saw an emu on the trail... (hmmmmm, looked suspiciously like Kevin, but was far from here.) It could be that Kevin is either unwanted... or is a bit if a traveler, far far from HOME.

I have not seen the movie UP, but my kids have and insist the birds must be named Keven, and so it is.... Kevin's neck is a little crooked. I will have to post a photo soon. Also, I want to say that he or she is quite cute. Unfortunately I often think of that comedian guy with his EMU. Remember that? if not check this out:

http://www.povonline.com/cols/COL236.htm

Friday, July 10, 2009

Who Knows What A Day Will Bring

You really do not know what a day will bring... In fact, just this morning when I came back from my walk, I got a phone call from Geo as I was eating cherries in the orchard before coming all the way to the house. He said, "Lisa, come here, I want to show you something."

I was eating cherries at the time, in fact, I had only eaten about two, and I replied as any person who did not want to be bothered at the moment would. I said, " What?"

Geo said, "I found something."

I said, "What?"

He said, "Something."

"What is it?" I said, munching another cherry.

"A small dinosaur," came his response.

Now, you'd have to know George. He likes to give answers that other people would least expect, but he did pique my curiosity so I went towards where he was as I hung up the phone, wondering what it was he could have possibly "found."

"A lizard?" I asked.

"No, bigger than that."

"Hmmm, I wondered as met up with him hoping to see what I could see."

"It's over there...."

I looked and there in the fenced in area where our chickens are I saw a huge, (maybe 3 feet high, I'd say,) dark mass moving about.

"Small dinosaur?" I thought to myself taking a closer look now that I knew what to look at.

"What is it?" I said, as I saw what I saw, barely believing what it was that my eyes did see. I knew what it was, but I was not believing it was true...

"It's an emu." he said.

So, it was not really a small dinosaur, but I have to admit, the two toed scaly feet of the emu do remind me of dinosaurs that you see in picture books. I will also say that I am quite impressed with the bird, who seems to have a very sweet disposition. After spending the day observing him, I now think that emus are really kind of neat.

But I like birds anyhow.

I certainly never espected to have an emu in my life, up close and personal like this... and I have more stories to tell about how I spent my day trying to find the emus owner...but I wont tell them now. I am just amazed at how I woke up this morning looking forward to another day, but I never in a hundered million years expected to havean encounter with an emu... would you?

See, you just never really know what a day will bring!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Learn Chinese Quick

I love Chinese food and the oriental cultures. The Chinese language is also very interesting to me. It's sounds are interesting, and sometimes us English speaking folks wonder how the Chinese do it. Sometimes we just want to try to sound the same, however I am sure it takes many years of practice to get it right.

I have a friend named Onie, who is not Chinese, but she sent me this information a long time ago, so that I could LEARN CHINESE IN 5 MINUTES. Because I enjoyed it so much, I thought I would post it here. I think it is quite remarkable how one can play with words and word sounds from language to language, so here is some language humor for today.

Here ya go.

English / Chinese

That's not right...............Sum Ting Wong

Are you harboring a fugitive?.................Hu Yu Hai Ding?

See me ASAP.......................Kum Hia Nao

Stupid Man................Dum Gai

Small Horse..........Tai Ni Po Ni

Did you go to the beach?....Wai Yu So Tan?

I bumped into a coffee table......Ai Bang Mai Ni

I think you need a face lift........Chin Tu Fat

It's very dark in here........Wai So Dim?

This is a tow away zone........No Pah King

Our meeting is scheduled for next week
..Wai Yu Kum Nao?

Staying out of sight....Lei Ying Lo

He's cleaning his automobile......Wa Shing Ka

and my very favorite one of all....

I thought you were on a diet...Wai Yu Mun Ching?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Railroad Maps and Rowboat Oars

I just got back from a couple of days of recreation and relaxation at a local lake with friends. (I am so spoiled!... I actually spent two whole days away from family and with about 15 my women friends, and even made some new ones!.) Ages 40-90 were represented in the group, and we certainly had a wonderful time. Some of the ladies stayed the whole designated time, some came for just a day, others just for a little while, and one was unable to attend because she was sick....

: (

....It was a wonderful time as we gathered to simply spend time together away from our normal "busy" and separate lives and with each other, and this in particular for the purpose of talking and sharing about God. For me, it was kinda like being with family, maybe like spending time with a bunch of sisters.

It was a lot of fun. We could go out on the lake in a canoe, kayak or raft, trampoline, relax in a hammock, go for walks, play games or drive to the nearby town or just visit with friends. We did a lot of visiting and eating of each other's cooking. I think I gained ten pounds! It was great to be able to spend some time with each and all of them and do some things together. I spent some of my time crocheting, which was fun for me and I took a lot of photographs as well. I like to take pictures too.

Some of the ladies went for a walk and came back telling of a garage sale they happened to descend upon and the many treasures they found within. Their adventure was a hoot! There were a couple of car trips to a nearby museum and store too. We also each painted T-shirts, (This is become a sort of tradition for this group to do on these weekends) which is a fun activity too. I like it because it brings out the creativity in each of us while we are all doing the same thing. We are women of all different ages, all different walks of life, and places in our walk with God. I found it quite remarkable to think that we had all been brought together for this time by God, and I loved being part of all he was doing, not only in others, but in me.

One of the things I go to do which I really enjoyed was a visit to a neighbors house, one that had a lot of history with the woman who owned the house where we stayed. I loved it because as she showed us her house it had so many history stories that went with each of the items she had chosen to decorate her house with. Many of them were antiques, each with a history all their own. As some of the ladies in our group were antiques too, seeing such things brought back memories of their own youth. I liked the fact that many of the items in this ladies home, had histories that were quite personal to her.

She told us their stories too as were gazed upon railroad maps and rowboat oars, remnants of her youth with friends and family at the lake. There was a claw footed tub bought from a hotel in Spokane where her mother used to work, in fact her mom used to work at the hotel, her job- to keep them clean. She thought of her mother often when she cleaned her own tub now.

In the Frog Room, there was a cabinet full of items which were once sunken treasures hidden in the lake, once lost items that her husband, who was a scuba diver, had one by one (or maybe two,) over may years of diving, had retrieved. I could not help but think of all the stories each item itself could possibly contain and that the room of a real live frogman had been so appropriately named.

The most intriguing item on the tour however, was three framed bathing suits she had upon the wall in the lakeside living room. One was a woman's suit and bathing cap, the other two were men's 1960 styled trunks. She told us that these had belonged to "Mom" and "Dad" and to a neighbor, she referred to formally as "Mr. ..." (a man whose last name I now forget.)

I imagine that at a lake you pretty much live in your bathing suit, at least in the summer months...swimming, splashing, fishing, boating, water skiing, rowing... scuba diving, and I imagine that a suit becomes very much a part of who you are, especially in the eyes of a child. But now growing up a\round lakes or water, I was struck with awe over how a bathing suit, of all things, would be such an identifier of who or what a person was.

I imagine that the swim suit was what these girls always saw these men who rescued them and kept them safe and told them stories and taught them things were always wearing at the lake. I imagine that it was a profound identifier for them. I am intrigued at how the people who wore these suits, now empty, had left more than the suits, behind; they left a legacy to these young girls, now women who obviously thought of "mom" and "dad" and Mr. ...." with high regard, fondness and love.

Many a season had come and gone at the lake. The people who wore these suits, once young and thin, had aged, and even died, but there at the lake where they had lived so much of their lives and touched the lives of so many people, their swim suits not only still hung up almost as if they were hung out on the line to dry as they had done year after year... but now they were framed.

I found this intriguing. I was most intrigued to discover that it wasn't her "dad" that she affectionately referred to, but to the father of our weekend hostess.

As we continued the tour, listening to stories, I gathered from all the conversation that this man called "dad" had been a kind and loving father figure for many people at the lake, and in this woman's life when she was young. She called him "dad" several times throughout the tour. He was my other friend's father, but he was no doubt a "dad" to her as well. I was moved in my spirit to consider that both of these women, not related biologically to one another, looked up to this man and called him "dad."

The weekend at the lakeside was a great time and I loved every minute of it. I did especially enjoy the house tour, but it was all special to me. Mostly I enjoyed the time spent with these women who in many ways' are more than friend, even like sisters in the Lord. It was perhaps a little like maybe what a happy family reunion would be like; no agenda-just time together.

As I think of the swim suits framed, I think it's an example of how Christians view the cross of Jesus Christ. It's empty... like the swim trunk, but there is no doubt, he left a legacy behind.
Those who knew Jesus as he lived his life on earth, knew him well. He was a man of unusual caliber, a man of a special kind. He was lake man, a fisher of men, one who stilled a raging storm at sea and even walked on water, some have said. The man Jesus, crucified on the cross, like the men who wore those suits hanging on the wall, will long be remembered, thought of and talked about for like them, He has no-doubt touched many people's lives.

It was fun to be with just women. It was kinda like we are sisters when we get together and it is Jesus, in some way or another, who had brought all of us women there, to the lake to be together.

It was Jesus, that I was thinking of at the lake with this group of Christian friends, relaxing.. playing games, sipping coffee, collecting tiny pebbles as I walked along the beach. I know that it's a special relationship Christian's have with Jesus, and that they subsequently share with one another. I think it's rather remarkable too, that as Christians who know Jesus and who fellowship in light of his teaching and in remembrance of His death on our behalf, we all call God, "Our Father, who art in heaven, but more importantly, we who love him, because he loves us and cares for us, can simply call him, "Dad."