Archive for January, 2013

Barefoot in the snow!

From time to time I like to go down to the creek and sit on my personal ledge and enjoy the beauty, listen to God, and write.  I’ve been doing this for about a year and-a-half, and I always take my journal, and I always wear my crocs.  I used to wear them because the first part of the creek road had these two huge, deep dips that were just about always – even in the very hottest, driest weather – filled with water.  Knowing I’d have to slog through two, long deep mud puddles, it just made sense to wear the crocs.  After all, why get mud stuck in the sole grooves of tennis shoes, and why get socks wet?

Then sometime last year, the highway department graded the road back there and pretty much eliminated the puddles, but I still wear the crocs because you just never know!  Besides that, I like to wade out into the creek, and my feet are too tender to do that barefoot.

Today, I wanted to go to the creek.  I think it was about 40 and windy (9 mph) and cloudy, but I decided to go anyway.  It had rained for most of the day a couple days ago, and I knew the creek was up.  That meant that there might be mud puddles, so, as always, I wore my crocs.

The creek road did have mud puddles, but I was able to skirt them pretty easily.  Then, I hit the major challenge.  The place where the road tends to get washed out was totally washed out!  As in, the center of what would have been the road was about knee deep under very, very cold water.  The flooded section was pretty long – longer than it has been in previous years – because major flooding two years ago made significant changes to the creek’s flow pattern, gravel bars having been completely relocated.  Hmmm. . . what to do?  I couldn’t tell from the near end how deep it would get, but being the innately adventurous sort of woman that I am, I rolled my jeans up above my knees and started wading.

Now, you must get the picture.  I was wearing jeans, a short-sleeved shirt, a sweatshirt, my navy blue dicky, my really old ragged coat (the one I never wear in public, except occasionally for walking in the mornings when it’s below 30 and windy; it was 20 and calm this morning I didn’t wear it), and ear muffs.  All that and my jeans were rolled above my knees, and I was bare-legged with crocs.

I had to walk very slowly through the water, because I’m not quite as sure-footed as a gazelle, and I did NOT want to fall and lose my journal or get my phone wet.  (Note that personal injury concerns were not an issue; only the protection of the irreplaceables.) I stayed by the edge, and although the current was pretty strong, the water only came shin-deep on me, so my jeans stayed dry.  Every so often, I looked up to see how much farther I had to go, and since that distance never seemed to change, my progress was fairly slow.  My feet were numb by the time I got to the other side, but I figured that walking would get the circulation going again, and once I was sitting, I could always take the crocs off and let my feet air dry.

When I got to my ledge, I had to do things differently from the norm.  I always walk down the little gravel hill to the flat rock and walk across it to my seat, but today, the entire flat rock was under rushing water.  I had to climb down onto the ledge from above, and the water was only a couple feet away from my feet!  It was all greeny brown with whitecaps.  Really neat!

So I sat and listened and wrote for a while, and at one point I saw a tiny little piece of lint on my coat, which I flicked off.  A few minutes later, I saw another one on the cuff of the coat, and I wondered if it could possibly be snow.  Turns out it was!  Not enough to even be sure it was snowing, but the next fleck I found was cold and melted on my fingertip, and that was a dead giveaway.

Since my toes were still numb from the wading, and since the air was smelling faintly like snow, I decided I should head back.  I wasn’t really relishing the return wade, but it was uneventful, and all was well.  Back once again on the “near” side of the washed-out section, I paused to unroll my jeans, then looked up, and suddenly it was really, significantly snowing!!!  I called Andrew and told him he ought to go outside.  He was thrilled, too!

As I walked back to the house, I noticed that although I could feel my heels hitting the pavement, I couldn’t feel my toes at all.  Not even a little bit.  It was as if my feet ended at their arches.  Probably not a good thing.  Back home, I walked around barefoot on the carpet for a few minutes until I could begin to feel my toes again.  My feet were quite red, but now, a couple hours later, all feeling has returned and they are fine.

It snowed steadily for about an hour, but it’s not even enough to cover the grass.  However, I think I can now legitimately say (like Josiah) that I have been barefoot in the snow!

[Note:  When I got home, it was actually 28 degrees and snowing!]


Job description

Who would apply for this job?

* Provide full physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial care for Person for a minimum of eighteen years.

* Diagnose and accommodate food allergies, based only on Person’s incessant and inconsolable screaming.

* Change untold numbers of diapers, make untold numbers of urinary stops by the side of the road, and, until Person turns six, do untold numbers of loads of laundry.

* Invest an amount of money equal to the purchase price of a used luxury vehicle in meeting Person’s dental and orthodontic needs.

*  Plan, implement, and document Person’s entire academic training for many years.

Salary:  non-existent

Benefits:  infinitely wonderful

This I have learned for sure about parenting:  It is never easy, simple, or painless, but it does get easier over time.  Furthermore, in a truly cruel twist of fate, the time at which one feel somewhat capable and the joys outweigh the challenges is the precise time at which one gets terminated.  The reward, however, is that while one loses one’s job, one gains a friend.

I hate the phrase, “It’s all good,” because really, it’s not.  Much is not only not good; it actually makes like a vacuum.  That said, parenting is worth all that it takes.  It’s hard but it matters, and it is good.  Today I’m thankful for the growth I see in each of our kids, and for the growth I see in me.

My new keystroke

When our ministry treasurer was here working on year-end donor receipt letters, I asked her how to “get rid of those things that keep being in QuickBooks when I reconcile the account with the bank statement.”  They are things from 2009 that never go away, even though the account always balances.  I’ve been told to ignore them, but it just bugs me that they are there and I have to see them every month.

Donna looked at them, realized that they didn’t matter and said, “Just click on one and delete it.  Use Control D.”

Huh?  Well, I never!  What joy!!  Control D!!!  Who’dda thunk?  I have known Control C (copy) and Control V (paste) for many years, but I how could I have lived this long and never even heard of Control D?!?

I decided that not only would I apply Control D ruthlessly to QuickBooks; I’d use it in other programs, as well.  In fact, I have whole areas of my LIFE that I’d like to tackle with Control D!

So I have been working today on getting some “old” tasks caught up; like cleaning off a portion of the dining room desk, and getting the February cards written, and putting away new (blank) greeting cards that arrived – ummm – six weeks ago.

I also have three enormous file drawers crammed full of stuff that hasn’t seen daylight in decades and likely never will.  Be thou forewarned and forearmed, ye overflowing file drawers!  I’m coming after you with my new weapon of choice:  CONTROL D!

New keyboarder

Today Andrew played keyboard for worship at church!

There are actually two keyboards, and Jessica, the worship leader, plays one and sings from there, but she really wants to eventually get out from behind the keyboard and just lead the congregation vocally.  So, for now, she plays the big keyboard and Andrew plays the little one.  He is the back-up and fill, to give a fuller sound, but I think that over time, as the team practices more together and as he learns how to flow with her and what to do during the transitions between songs, he will be able to handle more and more of the keyboard “weight.”

I was really proud of him.  He looked sharp, and although he was concentrating too hard to smile, he followed her pretty well, as best as I could tell.  Most importantly, the whole thing sounded really good!  Jessica is waiting till he’s done with “To Kill A Mockingbird” to begin regular Thursday night worship team practices.  Practice, experience, and a teachable heart to worship are what it will take, and I know Andrew is capable!

Survey says. . .

There being only two guesses as to what I recently did that I haven’t done in seven months. . .  well, maybe I should first tell you what those guesses were.

1.  entered homeschool hours – actually I have done a tiny bit of that lately, but that’s not it

2.  cleaned Jessica’s bathroom – did that yesterday (and cleaned her whole room – shock and awe!), but that’s not it, either

No, what I did was. . . DRUM ROLL, PLEASE. . . bought tomatoes!  Only two Romas, and only because the fifteen or so home grown ones we have left are taking their own sweet time to ripen.

Bag head. . . or cheese head?

Wednesday night, our pastor had asked the youth pastor to preach to the adults.  Since he had prepared to minister to the youth that night, he had the youth sit in the adult service, and since the youth were with us, he decided to do the adult Bible study like he had planned to do the youth service, complete with a fun “ice breaker.”

Pastor Pete was carrying a Wal-Mart bag, the contents of which I could not discern (always scary), and he asked for two volunteers, saying that they didn’t have to be youth. I hate sitting on the front row, and I had plunked my stuff down on the second row, as is my custom, but when I came scurrying to my seat at 7:00:37 PM, Scott had moved our stuff to the front row; I think to let someone else’s family fit where we would have been. Anyway, there I sat on the front row, right under Pastor Pete’s nose as he asked for volunteers.  Since I couldn’t see if anyone behind me was raising his hand, and since I didn’t want to turn around to check, and since it seemed to be taking a while to recruit those two innocents, I raised my hand and was selected, as was my friend, Judy.

As we walked to the front, I asked Pastor Pete if we would have to do anything athletic for this ice breaker.  “No.”  Well, at least that was a relief!

He produced two additional Wal-Mart bags, which we were to tie onto our respective heads, enclosing as much of our hair as possible.  We did that, with the help of a couple of the youth, who snugged the bags on to our heads and squished out as much of the poofy air as possible.  Pastor Pete them produced two cans of whipped cream.  After aiming a significantly-sized squirt into his own mouth to confirm the quality thereof, he handed the cans to Abi and Jerry (his youth assistants), who then squirted whipped cream all over our heads.  It felt pretty good.

Then Abi and Jerry were handed bags of cheetos (puffy, not crunchy), which they would be tossing at us from some ten feet away.  The goal was to see which of us could catch the most cheetos on our cream covered craniums.  This was clearly going to be fun!

It should be noted here that our sanctuary was recently re-carpeted, and we are all quite fond of that carpet.  We have been FIRMLY instructed to NEVER slide anything (chairs, tables, small children) on the carpet, lest we snag, mark, or otherwise damage it, so when Pastor Pete’s wife saw him pull out the whipped cream, she called out, “That’s oily!  You need a drop cloth!”  He didn’t feel as deeply about that matter as she did, but she ran to get a tarp.  In the meantime. . .

Jerry began tossing cheetos at my head.  Now, I had assumed that the key to success would lie in successfully accommodating the angle of descent.  If the cheeto were coming in primarily vertically, it seemed to me it would land in the thicker cream on top (and thus stick), but if it came in primarily horizontally, it might tend to bounce off the thinner side cream.  Hence I was chose to step forward and back and do knee bends and neck scoops, in a constant attempt to get under the incoming missiles. Judy, on the other hand, closed her eyes and stood still.

As the first cheeto, approached (while Pete’s wife was high-tailing it to the supply closet for a tarp), I observed its trajectory, bent my knees, scooped my neck, and heard the congregation gasp in horror as I dropped a huge blop of whipped cream onto the carpet in front of me.  Oh, boy!  What would Pastor Barb say?  I was in deep doo-doo now!  “Oh, well,” I figured.  “If I’ve already flopped a greasy stain on the carpet, how much worse can it get?”  Actually, quite a bit.  There were soon many plops of whipped cream to avoid stepping in.  There were also dozens of cheetos around our feet, so that I was soon doing what could only be described as, perhaps, an interpretive dance routine (?), in my attempt to avoid grinding those into the carpet, as well.  Honest, Pastor Barb, I really didn’t want turn the white stains into bright orange ones!


As you can see, I completely lost the competition, but we all had fun, and that was the point.  = )

P.S.  Pastor Pete scrubbed the whipped cream out of the carpet while Judy and I were cleaning up in the ladies room.  He also vacuumed up all the stray cheetos, and the only thing left for me to do after church was return the still-folded blue tarp to its rightful station in the supply closet.

Surprise call

After Jessica moved to Hong Kong, we “gave” Andrew my old cell phone and her SIM card.  The phone is not for general, all-day use, but only when he is gone somewhere and needs to be able to call us to arrange transportation.  With play practice four or five nights a week, beginning at either 6 PM or 7 PM and ending whenever they happen to get done, and with his Friday homeschool classes and his Tuesday choir and drama classes, he has the phone a lot.

So this morning, while I was doing some preliminary desk work – and while I noted that Andrew had overslept – my phone rang and the screen said “Jessica.”  I figured that it was Andrew’s phone calling me for some reason.  Maybe he had set a reminder or something.  I knew he was in his room and I wondered A) why he didn’t just come talk to me, and B) why he had the phone in his room when it’s supposed to stay on the charger in the office when it’s not in use.

I answered the phone, pretty much expecting Andrew to say something, but imagine my delight when it really was Jessica!  Calling me!!!  It was 10:45 PM for her, and there was a lot of background noise.  Turns out she had gone to a life group (they call it house church) associated with the church she’s now attending, and it’s a good 45 minutes away, and she was just getting on the subway to head home.  We talked about whatever for maybe 15 minutes.  It was great to hear her voice.  I miss her and wish I could hug her.

Next time I will remember that when my phone says Jessica, it really is.   = )