S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280It’s that time of year when the grocery stores are stocking up on their 20+ pound turkeys.  I’ve already cooked up one and stored most of it in the freezer.  We usually head back to Indiana for Thanksgiving with family, and my sister-in-law puts on the feast of the year.  It’s one of those meals where you have to pace yourself, especially if you want that pumpkin pie (with R-E-A-L whipped cream) at the end of the day. 

It tends to be the typical “your eyes are too big for your stomach”, so it’s a learning process I suppose. Continue reading “S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G”

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Roger, Wilco

plane-607224_1920This past summer Bob and I enjoyed visiting my parents in their beautiful Midwest retirement community—it’s like a college campus for the over-60 crowd.  They’re incredible!  Interestingly, we were also roaming around the California Redwood Forest just few weeks prior to that, and in my mind, there is a striking resemblance between the two in more ways than one, if you get my drift.

Now a retired engineer, Dad is a United States Navy veteran who worked as a mechanic on airplanes, and his stories keep me spellbound.  While we were visiting, a neighbor stopped in.  Mr. B is a 90+-year-old U.S.A.F. bomber pilot vet from World War II.  (Triple exclamation marks…!!!) Continue reading “Roger, Wilco”

Somebody clean the ox

IMG_20150103_172451138My house is not a clean house. 

Well, I mean it’s hygienic.  We have indoor plumbing and clean water, which, for context and perspective, is more than can be said for most of the planet. 

It’s just that, as Bob says, “my girl is a messy girl”.  Truth.  I really had to acknowledge that when all the girls moved away and the empty nest didn’t really reorder itself.  Nope. 

Just too many books to read, too many posts too write, gardening, projects, and then there’s this thing called a full-time job.  And a husband.  (They take time, too.  Well worth it.  And he’s the clean one of the duo.)

So I find at least some solace in this:

“Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.”

Thank you, King Solomon.

Not that I consider myself a strong ox, although Bob says that I “come from good stock”, whatever that’s supposed to mean.  (He also says, however, that I can “work him under the table”.)

I think it’s probably also easier in parenting, for instance, to take a DIY attitude rather than let the kids learn by doing, because of the potential/probable mess, which makes more work for yours truly (which may or may not get done, see above disclaimer.)

Extrapolate: it’s likewise easier (translate “safer”) to not care so much, try so much, dream so much, reach out so much in this otherwise hostile world we live in this side of eternity.  It gets harsh, uncomfortable….messy.

This citation will probably put me over my word count, but it’s worth the read:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” –Theodore Roosevelt

I have not a clue whether or not good ole’ Teddy would have made it into the White House in today’s climate, but I sure do like this quote.  And if ever there was an ox in a Washington china shop (other than, of course, now) it was Teddy.

sweepSo while the laundry piles up in the stairwell and the dog hair in the kitchen, I’m off to a workday at the church.  The laundry will be there when I get home, and the dog hair never really goes away.

Proverbs 14: 4  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Ties that bind…or strangle.

IMG_20150103_172451138Several years ago, I read a study synopsis from a well respected site indicating that the most influential power in a child’s life was his parents. (Golly-gee-whiz, I wonder how many man-hours and tax dollars went into that one.)  Of course, ask any of the teachers in my middle school, and they could have told you that.  Better yet, I have a Book that pretty well spells it out from years of experience and Wisdom. 

Needless to say, there are some forces in the Universe that are inherently powerful, for good or evil, and parenthood is certainly at the top of that list.  It’s not that parents can take credit for all the choice their kids make (positive or negative), but their influence is still credibly incredible in some capacity throughout a person’s life. 

So it takes some real courage when a child, even an adult “child”, has to back up and re-evaluate patterns of thinking and doing that Continue reading “Ties that bind…or strangle.”

Tie your own shoes

Dawncartoon[1] (1)TO THIS DAY, I still have middle-schoolers walking around with their shoes untied!  Kids!  This is NOT a fashion statement, this is a HEALTH HAZARD!  You trip, then I have to take care of you!

Remember teaching your little ones to tie their shoes?  Some used the bunny ear technique.  In my house, we used the old-fashioned loop/knot design.  It all takes time and practice, but then, of course, my youngest ended up wearing flip-flops to high school in January, so why bother?

The point is that teaching self-sufficiency is a 
Continue reading “Tie your own shoes”

A personalized present

IMG_20150103_172451138When it comes to summertime, my husband kind of makes out like a bandit.  To begin with, there’s Fathers’ Day in June, followed by his birthday in July, and (dare he forget) our anniversary in August.  So he can just stay in celebration mode all summer long, and keep Amazon pulled up on the computer 24/7 as the gifts roll in. 

Now, lest I make Bob sound like E. Scrooge sitting at his table fingering his coins, nothing could be further from the truth. But even with his generous spirit, I’m the one doing most of the Amazon gift giving, for my husband’s special moments, as well as for other family members. 

C’mon, ladies, you know how we do.  Check the list, buy the gift, wrap it, put Dad’s name on it, take it to the post, whatever.  No biggie.  Just gotta remember to tell him what “he” sent so when the phone call comes in… Continue reading “A personalized present”

Mom jeans, and other fashion faux pas’

IMG_20150103_172451138Well, it’s actually happened.  I’ve turned yet another corner in parenthood.

Here in our small Midwest town we are superiorly blessed to have, not one, but several very nice second-hand shops.  I’m a true re-purposed human being, (even my dog is a rescue), so my children were likewise brought up in this frugal practice.

Recently, my eldest called from the West coast, where prices are not q-u-i-t-e as judicious has here at home, and wondered if I could look for a few things, including jeans.  But not just any style.  She was specifically requesting—are you ready?? (I just so love this!)—“MOM” jeans.  Yes!  High-waisted, the kind I used be to chided for a decade or two ago.  Continue reading “Mom jeans, and other fashion faux pas’”

On the way out the door~~

IMG_20150103_172451138Remember sending your kiddo off to kindergarten that first day?  Or camp?  Or that first solo in the car? (GAG!) Or college?  I remember the anxiety of allowing our teenage girls to go on month-long mission trips out of the country. The first one was to Hong Kong when it was still under British rule, and I found out (after the fact) that my 14-year-old smuggled Bibles into China.  She assured me it was safe. 

Because 14-year-olds know these things.

On one such excursion, one of our daughters reported that when she arrived at the staging complex, there signs posted everywhere that read “CALL YOUR MOTHER!”  Somebody there must have compassionately understood.

Now, by the grace of God, all three of our children have Continue reading “On the way out the door~~”

You mean I can relax?

IMG_20150103_172451138Sitting on the deck in the cool morning air of a quiet Pacific Northwest morning, I hear a light tapping on the inside window and turn to see our youngest and her 6-month old peering out to say good morning.  That is to say, the 6-month old wanted to say good morning; mommy wanted a hand off and go back to bed for an hour or so.

Of course, for a first-time mother, it’s still kind of new, this hand off thing, even if it’s to her own mother who raised three children.  Immediately after the pass, mommy was still admonishing me to let her know right away if Sweet One starts crying because she might need to be fed, and oh, she might have pooped and need a diaper change, and….

Honey, go to bed.  Right now.  I’ve got this. 

 So while I was enjoying that grandmother thing, it occurs to me that this is exactly what my Father is telling me.  Continue reading “You mean I can relax?”

You’re going out like THAT?!

IMG_20150103_172451138

I’ve used this picture before, but it’s just too darn good to not use again.  This is my husband Bob and our middle daughter on our visit to Woodstock, the (in)famous place of musical rowdiness back in the 60’s.  Bob and I married in the late 70’s, imposingbobandrobin2 brown tuxes with peach ruffle-collared shirts on the groomsmen.  My wedding dress looked like a formal Little Miss Bo Peep.  So clearly I’m not a fashionista, but after a few years of marriage, even I took the liberty to eradicate a few items from Bob’s pre-marriage wardrobe: the mauve colored polyester slacks with the brown elevator shoes with white marshmallow soles, and the slick acetate shirt…he said he was trying on a new image during that phase.

What exactly that image was is probably best left to the imagination.

For you young ‘uns, feast your eyes on Continue reading “You’re going out like THAT?!”