Struggling…

Today is Sabbath. The local U-Pick community is putting on a huge harvest festival, every weekend until the end of October. There is a corn maze, tractor train, kids events, live music, hot pumpkin donuts and apple cider, vendors, and lots of fresh produce available to purchase.

This is the kind of event I have always wanted to do with my kids and grands. My older grands are only with my son every M-Th (school days/nights) and every fourth/fifth weekend of the month. It makes doing fun things with them on weekends very difficult. This is a good weekend to go. They are with our son and his wife, the weather is good, we have no plans today to go to a small group. I made plans to meet them there for a few hours, and our good friends are coming too, since they consider our kids/grands as theirs also. Sounds like a great day. So what is my struggle?

Today is sabbath. Our sons family and our friends observe Sunday as their day of worship. They attend church, and then Sunday is getting ready for work the next day. I always feel bad asking them to give up their Sunday to try to do these types of things. We’ve bumped heads about it in the past. But now, I feel like I have chosen a family day, outside the home, buying from people who are working to make a living over spending the day with my creator. What I will be doing I feel goes against God’s instructions for Sabbath. I want my father to be pleased with my behavior, not grieved. I want to walk in the blessings of obedience, not the curses of walking in my own ways. I know there is mercy and grace, but I also know about reaping what I sow. In the past, there has been conversation about no one being willing to give up their day off, their sabbath. So, do I resign myself to not getting to do fun family things because no one will give in? Or do I resign myself to doing something uncomfortable to have a family day?

I guess it all comes down to where my priorities are. Family or Yah? It seems like such an easy decision, and yet, it isn’t. It seems I haven’t made God the priority I thought I had. May he show mercy to me as I struggle with my weakness.

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Busy times…

Over the past month, we have committed to hosting a wedding in August, a Bar Mitzvah in September, a wedding in October, and a ten year anniversary wedding reception in our barn.

I babysat a friend’s three kids for a few days, during which I got very little done besides cooking and keeping the house somewhat clean. I dealt with a sprinkler station that had a major leak due to voles (underground field mice) eating holes in the plastic piping, leaking backflow assemblies, a rabbit in the garden, a squirrel on our patio, bored tween/teen grandkids, the family dynamics between my son and his ex-wife.

I have had to start files for all the events we are hosting, and figure out how to shore up a weak pergola for the wedding. Tomorrow I have to get the wood for that project and get it stained for the workers who arrive on the 18th. Hopefully it is ready to use by the 24th, when we are hosting an outdoor bridal shower.

I have flowers to plant. A garden fence to finish putting up, raised beds to move into the garden space, and an irrigation system to design and install.

My freeze dryer gave me a vacuum pump error message, so I spent part of today going through their troubleshooting process. After I think I got it working again, I installed a software update. We’ll see how it works tomorrow when I put a batch in.

My honey needs a ride to his specialty chiropractor and hour away, and somewhere along the way, I would like to spend a few minutes making some 3 dimensional flowers for the wall in my office. We have 10’ ceilings, which make rooms look bigger, but can also lead to a lot of bare spaces.

The list is never ending. What doesn’t get done today, will be forwarded to tomorrow’s to do list. Someday, maybe I’ll finish. Probably not, but, hey, hope is good for the soul! I have to Lear. To carve out time for fun things, for building relationships with other women, with my grands, with my Creator. May today be one step closer in your life to finding Balance.

Visit memories…

The boys eating icicles.

Our daughter humming as she went about her day.

Climbing piles of snow with our grandsons.

The boys helping me make monkey bread for breakfast.

Playing with LEGOs, dinosaurs and trains with our grandsons and son in law.

The boys singing songs, alone and together.

Brothers chasing each other and racing up and down stairs while being timed.

Emotional meltdowns, children and myself.

Tickles, giggles and belly laughs.

The smell of our daughter brewing coffee each morning.

A trip to Cabela’s to see the mountain of taxidermied animals, then out to lunch for gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.

Eating fudge, pie and cookies together for dessert.

Playing Toddles Bobbles card game.

Pulling the boys on a sled behind the tractor mower.

Taking the boys to the dumps with great grandpa in hopes of seeing big machines. They were not disappointed.

Evening chats with our daughter and son in law after the boys were in bed.

Watching the newer Aladdin movie with our daughter and son in love for the second time, because we didn’t remember we had done that the last time they visited.

Seeing our daughter with her friends and seeing how their families have grown and changed.

Trying a new restaurant together.

Watching our daughter as a mother. Inspiring.

Toys everywhere.

Amazing deliciousness!!!

I am mostly sugar free for hormonal reasons. No, I don’t fly off the handle in rantings or anger, I just turn into a walking space heater if I have sugar. As any doctor would diagnose, “you’re just not a spring chicken any more.” Thanks for stating the obvious. I could have had my adult kids diagnose that one for free.

Anyway, I had the delightful pleasure of having two of our grands overnight last night. As is our tradition, I usually fix a special breakfast for them, usually food I would never eat due to sugar content. Yesterday they decided banana chocolate chip pancakes were to be on the menu. We picked up the ingredients last night between torrential downpours, and went to bed after some Grandpa time playing corn hole and competing by answering the questions while watching Who Wants to Be A Millionaire.

Morning dawned with more clouds and dampness, so hot pancakes would be perfect for breakfast. I had looked up a recipe online and printed it out. I decided to double the recipe. Past experience dictated that. It is better to have extra pancakes than to not have enough. The recipe was easy to follow, and the skillets were heated. The first batch always tends to brown a bit too much, and those are usually the ones I will nibble on while cooking the rest. I took a bite…

OH MY GOODNESS!!! Those were amazingly delicious!! I don’t know if it was because I haven’t had any sugar or chocolate for quite sometime, or if it was because they were moist, cakey and fantastically delicious, but I knew at that moment that I would have to share the recipe I found with the world!!!!

https://www.justsotasty.com/banana-chocolate-chip-pancakes/

Thank you JustSoTasty for this little taste of heaven on earth!! These were well worth the hot flashes!

Enjoy blogging buddies!

P.S. I made this with gluten free flour! And I know it may seem silly, but I consider these curtains utterly delicious too!

Bleary eyed…

Early morning, once again, arrives way to soon for me. The minute she saw me at the top of the stairs, the old cat PK started howling at me “feed me! Let me out back! No feed me!” I like to imagine that there is a please somewhere in the yowls, but I know better. A quick scoop up of her fragile body stops the noise, and I pet her until she says enough. Feed the cats then check the phone for messages.

My phone is set for do not disturb between the hours of 9pm and 8am. Although I don’t want to hear the alerts, I know that there are things happening on the shop/house build this morning that may require my attention. Sure enough, there is a request for me to call the cement company to pay for two extra yards of concrete that was ordered for this morning’s 6am pour. Insert the ear buds, make the call and let the foreman know it is done. Check.

My eyes still feel heavy as I step into the kitchen to begin my morning chores, when I hear my honey open the bedroom door. Breakfast now takes priority. A banana and greens protein smoothie should do the trick for the man. As for myself, I will stick with no sugar/stevia vegan protein and greens for mine.

Breakfast has been consumed, along with a few supplements and the daily comics. Once I finish with the chores, I get to pick up two of our grandkids for a couple days. I cherish the time we get to spend with them, knowing all too well how fast they grow up and get busy. The sports schedules have already reduced the visits I used to get. Once there are work and social schedules, time with them will be at a premium. The weather today is not great and we are expecting rain. If so, a bowl of buttered popcorn and a game of monopoly may be on the table for the afternoon. Literally on the table!

Tomorrow, we are going to a neighborhood garage sale in town. I will give them both twenty bucks to buy whatever they like. I do get veto power, but that will be reserved for extremes. Non modest clothing, or inappropriate decor. They are good kids, and I have yet to have to have to use the veto. We will have Subway sandwiches for lunch, and Baskin Robbins ice cream for a treat. I love sitting down to a meal with them and just listening to them talk. I try to just listen and ask questions, and toss in a few teaching comments in the midst. Serious lectures are reserved for the serious, which does not often come up. This is becoming an annual summer event with them. A close friend who has never had children is joining us. She loves them, they love her. Again, her company with them every now and then is becoming a tradition also. We will probably go out to dinner with Grandpa after work too, and then we will watch Who Wants to Be a Millionaire together. The kids love trying to beat Grandpa at trivia games. Before bed, we will probably read a few more chapters of the book in the Little House series that we have been trying to get through whenever they spend the night. I think we are on book three?

Of course I will have to answer building calls and questions, and I definitely plan on taking everyone out to the site to see what has been done so far. And I will have a few household chores to do. But the days with the kids fill my love tank to overflowing. I pray that I am filling theirs too. I want it to be about them, about their growth, about loving them. Loving and serving others has always brought me great joy.

May you discover what type of service brings you great joy in life, and may it fill your emotional tank to overflowing.

Cats…

If you have ever been owned by a cat, this will resonate with the deepest part of your soul. How is it that a cat will expand to fill any sized empty space on a bed at night? And why do they prefer to lay between your legs, trapping you in one position instead of next to you?

For those of us of a certain age, the between the legs thing is torture! I already struggle with hot flashes, or power surges, as my friends who don’t want to admit they are getting older say. You put that furry little ball of heat between, or on the legs and it is a recipe for setting the bed on fire! I kid you not! I used to appreciate the extra heat during the cold winter months, but no more. Maybe once I have the hot flashes under control?

Then there are the water drinking habits. Our girl, Spanky, Otis Spankmeyer the III, LOVES to be hoisted into the bathroom counter to drink water from a dripping facet. Our facets don’t drip, but we oblige and turn it on for her. Of course we wait for her to be done. We wait, and wait, and wait, wondering if she is part camel. She used to jump down on her own, but the older she gets, the more often she will wait for us to gently lift her down. I think it is easier on the bones and brain than the jarring jump.

Our black cat, Spankie, aka.: Pookie and Butthead, was a stray. She joined the family when we had two teens, our two dogs and one cat, my parents and their cat all under one roof. She is a hisser, and would often hiss and batt at the dogs. Our other cat at the time rules the roost, and Spanky avoided her. Mom’s cat stayed in their room near mom. It wasn’t until a few years later when we moved my dad and his cat PK into the same house with us and Spanky that we learned she is also a screamer. I still remember the first time she and PK went at it, and she let out a blood curdling scream that belonged in a horror movie! My heart was beating so fast when I heard that! Over the past 5 years, I have gotten used to the sound. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I don’t jump anymore. We do keep the cats separated at night though, just so that scream doesn’t jump start our hearts at 3:00am.

My dad’s cat PK, short for Phantom Cat, has always had health issues. When he got the beautiful Tortoise Shell cat as a rescue after my mom died, he didn’t see her for six months. He knew she was in the house, because there was poop in the litter box, and the food would disappear. It wasn’t until he took in a stray kitten I had found that she magically appeared. Since then, he hasn’t been able to shut the little chatter box up. For the first several years, she hated being picked up, and was skittish. We think she may have been in a less than tolerant house at some time. She is also afraid of the outdoors. After ten years of lovingly and quietly working with her, she will tolerate being picked up, and sometimes enjoys it. One reason she didn’t like being picked up, was that it would often trigger a coughing fit. A vet said she needed drugs, or eventually all the cats in the house would have it (we had three at the time). But we are pretty sure it is asthma. We affectionately say she has a smokers voice and cough. Who knows what her past held. And so, I will be trying some homeopathy on her here real soon. It also appears that she may be having seizures. This manifested in front of me the other day for the first time. It would actually explain some other behavior we had been wondering about.

You may be thinking that we are just cat lovers, but that isn’t at all true. We have had dogs too. Raised them, fallen in love with them, lost them. After my Australian Sheep dog Sunny died 8 years ago, we decided that our lives were too busy to have dogs. There is an element of stress making sure they are let out regularly, finding someone to housesit them when you go on vacation, walk them. We just haven’t been ready to tread that path again.

Probably the hardest part of being a pet owner is the end of life. You spend ten to twenty years with these animals. You learn their personalities, they become a friend you find yourself talking to when you need a listening ear, and then you watch their health decline. It’s hard knowing that inevitably, death will happen. It does to us all, eventually. I am trying to learn to reframe death as being as much a part of life as living is. We gave her a good life, filled with love and care. As hard as our furry friends deaths will be, maybe that will just give us an open space to rescue another one, and continue the cycle of loving.

We’ll see. In the meantime, I will tell her to stop snoring on the other couch.

New Friends

Last night, in the middle of getting some dessert for my honey, there was a firm knock on the front door. We weren’t expecting anyone, and it was well past getting a delivery time. I checked out the window to see two people. I opened the door cautiously (sad that we live in a world that we have to be wary of strangers) to find a man and woman standing there. They asked if this is where My honey lived. I’m sure they saw the puzzled look of surprise on my face. Maybe a client who tracked him down? I said yes, invited them into the house and asked if I might get their names. I went upstairs to where my hubby was watching the Final Four games he had taped (to fast forward through commercials). He also had a puzzled look on his face. We went downstairs and they re-introduced themselves, explaining that they had met us briefly when we hosted our Yom Teruah/Day of Trumpets gathering back in September.

Each year we host this gathering of friends, our spiritual family, to watch and wait for the return of Yeshua/Jesus. We eat some pretty amazing potluck dishes, hang around and visit with each other until we can start looking for the sliver of the new moon. The excitement builds as parents point their kids to look in the right direction. When one of the kids sees it, we blow a cacophonous noise of rams horns and plastic kiddie horns. Once the sun truly sets and it begins to cool, the adults head inside while the kids play outside. Over the past few years our gathering has outgrown our home.

Back to our guests. This past year, we had many unfamiliar faces arriving at our home. A friend, of a friend had invited them. They came as strangers, left as family. But, with that many people (100+), there are bound to be some you don’t really get to know. As the hostess, kitchen duty often keeps me out of the mainstream gathering area. Our guests were among those who attended, but we didn’t get to really know. We got comfortable in the living room and began to talk. That was at 7:30. When our black cat started coming down the stairs, I knew it was close to 10pm. I almost told my honey that “it must be getting late, our bedtime reminder alarm just came down the stairs.” She is a cat of routine, and she lets us know when she is ready to settle in for the night. When texts began to arrive from their eldest child at home, around 11:15pm, we all decided to end our sweet time of visiting. And it was truly a sweet time.

Conversation meandered through how each couple met, what led us all to live in this area, has anyone studied the topic of the new moon, homeschooling, loss of children, and more. Although it “disrupted” our routine, it made me remember a time, when I was younger, that people would pop by someone’s house for a visit just because they were in the neighborhood. That is something I enjoy doing. And, as the recipient of such visit, I was not inconvenienced, nor frustrated with any time lost. I was thoroughly blessed to make new friends!

Real “face time”, in person talking. Yes, it takes time, yes, there are other things you could be doing. But, in the long run, is it not the relationships we build that count? The people whose lives we touch by a hug when they share the loss of a family member, or by offering free eggs from our chickens because we have an abundance. How many times have I been truly ministered to with the exact bit of wisdom I needed about raising kids, or dealing with an emotion only after an hour of seemingly surface talk with a friend or family member? I will always treasure last night’s visit, and pray it inspires others to do the same. Take the time.