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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Lap hog…

Yup. My Statler is a lap hog. Statler is the black kitten, turned big Tom cat we rescued back in September. We also took in his grey tiger brother Waldorf, Waldo for short, because my hubby lives saying, “Where’s Waldo?” When he gets home. They are named after the two little old men in the Muppets movies who sit in the balcony and heckle.

Anyways, Statler is the “I want affection, so I will ask for it aggressively” of the two. Every morning, correction, every meal, he jumps up into my lap for lap time. He’s adorably annoying. Waldorf isn’t so needy. He doesn’t ask for attention, but he wants it. This morning, Statler had done his lap time and vacated the spot in the middle of my bowl of oatmeal. Waldorf came up onto the chair next to me and began to stare. I am starting to learn to read his cues. I scooped him up for some lap time. Lap time to Statler is a full on curl up and go to sleep time. Lap time with Waldorf is more just letting him sit on your lap while he looks around and enjoys a bit of chin scratching. There he was, enjoying his time, when his brother had to come up and interrupt. It’s a good thing I have two legs, one for each cat. It only took a minute before Statler was turning around to lay down, basically shoving his brother off the other leg.

Our Muppets
Lap hog Statler

Lap hog. I am not sure why, but it is these moments in life that cause me to get introspective. I found myself praying in my head that I am not a lap, or attention hog when I am with others. I want to allow others to find joy in sharing stories during conversation, instead of dominating conversations with my own stories. Then I found myself pondering that being a lap hog with my Heavenly Father might be a good thing. That it brings joy to him that I would desire to be close to him, in the shelter of his arms. He loves me, more than I love my cats. I’m not sure where I am going with this analogy, just pondering life.

As I finish writing this, and getting ready to remove the warm lap hog from my lap, I hope that today you can find “a lap” where you can find a few moments of peace and the feeling of security. For me, that will be my afternoon twenty minute thanking God for his blessings siesta. We all need some lap hogging in this crazy, chaotic world we are living in today.

I hate wind….

Let me clarify. I hate heavy, sustained thirty mile an hour wind with sixty mile an hour gusts. Out of all the weather phenomena, that’s the one that bothers me most. And I grew up in earthquake country, they never bothered me.

I usually wake around 4:00am for the nightly, stumble to the toilet to empty the bladder ritual. I must have been in that light sleep when I was jolted by the sound of the wind on the walls of my bedroom. It wasn’t the sound of a freight train. Living in train country, I know what those sound like. It was more like someone pounding on a base drum super fast. Needless to say, I have been awake ever since.

I worried about our cats who were sleeping somewhere else in the house, because they are too rowdy to sleep in the bedroom with me. I found them hiding in a closet in our bonus room. They are hanging out with me now, but the sound of the foil moving that I have taped over our range hood vent has them a wee spooked. I have found in the last two houses we have lived in that when there is wind, the cold air outside sneaks, or sometimes pours, into the house. So I cover the vent with foil and blue tape when it gets windy.

While I was looking out into the darkness surrounding our home, I saw a bright flash. Lightning? Or was it maybe a transformer blowing somewhere nearby. I decided that I should probably heat up the house early, just in case we lose power. After turning the heaters up, I checked our power company website for their outage map. Sure enough, there is a huge chunk of area about a block east of us that is out.

While looking outside, I also saw a light colored sheet of something fly past the house, and as my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I saw a BBQ propane tank off the patio and a black mound in the yard. Putting two and two together, I flicked on the patio lights for a moment and realized that our barbecue had somehow been moved from the walled, patio corner it was in, around two large stone flower pots and out into the yard, into its side. Sometimes I wish I had a camera on to see how things happened. In this case, I will be glad if there is no roof damage when the sun rises.

The wind continues to whistle, and I continue to hear unexplained thuds outside. I wonder if our front porch chairs are still on our property?

When the sun rises, and the oatmeal is cooked and eaten, I will have to bundle up and head outdoors to check for damage, return loose items (chairs, light colored panels, barbecue) to their proper homes. I will probably find a couple black garden pots from our neighbor’s property too. He collects them, and we usually find one or two after a wind event. I may have to wait for the wind to subside a bit, as I have found that when it is this hefty, my petite frame can struggle to stay upright.

I never considered myself petite growing up. Admittedly, I am of slim build and small boned, but I am 5’8” tall. But one day at the local hardware store, I needed customer service to pickup something. I had purchased it earlier with a different employees help. The customer service person couldn’t find it, so called and spoke with the employee who sold it to me. They said, “There is a petite, dark haired lady at the front desk who…” Petite. That is the first time I have heard that used to describe my build. Thinking back though, the only reason I don’t wear many petite clothes is because the length is too short, the width is fine usually. But wait, I am off topic.

With each increase in the sound of the wind, I find myself praying in my head that Yah would have mercy on his children, that he will protect our home. And I thank him that I have a safe, warm place to sleep. And now, I have one cat on my lap, who is horribly spooked. His head shifts with every noise, his ears are back, but he is comforted on his mommy’s lap. And I am comforted knowing I am sheltered under the shadow of my heavenly father’s wings. To me, that is a picture of a father with his coat pulled around a child that is clinging to him, to protect the child from the storm. And, it brings peace to my mind. He is with me.

May you find peace in knowing that the God who created you, is with you in your storm.

Contented…

There is frost on the ground outside and thin, gray clouds in the sky. The sun still hangs low in the southeast, and peeks out from behind the clouds periodically. For those brief moments, the living room is bathed is golden light, and seems to warm up, although, I know that is more psychological than anything given the briefness of its appearance.

The cats are playing WrestleMania across the great room, leaping into each other from the tops of the couches, running into the kitchen, ambushing from a kitchen chair. Every now and then, one will escape the other with a leap to a window sill for a brief respite, only to leap into action again with no notice.

My father is sitting with his green tea at his oak roll top desk. When he saw it for sale, he said he’d always wanted a roll top. Not my favorite look, but he bought it. He is probably scrolling through FB for new pictures of his great grandchildren and checking his emails. Every now and then he lets out a cough. He has COPD and post nasal drip, so that cough has become a regular sound in our home.

After walking to the mailbox in the briskness of the morning, enjoying a few minutes with my Creator, I enjoyed a soy free, sugar free, dairy free, chocolate protein shake very early for breakfast, and will top it off with some oatmeal with freeze dried blueberries and pecans. Then, I will head upstairs to read the Scriptures and pray, and probably nap. Later, when my honey wakes up, we may discuss some of what we have been reading, or maybe I will read a book while he reads the newspaper. We plan to drive into town to walk around a new park along the river, then maybe rewatch some episodes of The Chosen.

It’s a beautiful day, and my heart is overflowing with joy. I hope you can find things to make today a joyous one.

New life…

There’s nothing like the miracle of birth and a new life to give you perspective on what is truly important. While my husband and I and about 100 friends were celebrating the Day of Trumpets in our shop, our son and daughter in law were at the hospital delivering our fifth grandchild, their third child. People asked why we weren’t at the hospital. I reminded them that COVID has emptied hospital waiting rooms. We waited at home. Thankfully, mother and our new grand daughter were both happy and healthy after a c-section.

When I look at a new baby, I feel hope for the future. I feel joyous and excited. All thoughts of current world events disappear, and there is a new life. A tiny girl to pray for, and to eventually take to ice cream and listen to her chat about friends, and other things. a beautiful being to share about the love of Yahuah God for her with, to celebrate his goodness with.

This child is my father’s seventh great grandchild. His eighth was born three days later, and number nine will be born sometime in November. He has crocheted baby blankets for all seven of his grandchildren and all nine of his great grands. I wish that I could carry on that tradition for him when he is gone someday. The traditions I have started for my grands are I order baby announcements for each one, and try to create a photo book for each ones first year of life. Most of them also get double sided flannel blankets from me too. For my kids, I used to make them matching flannel jammies for New Years. Our ten year old grandson was wearing a nightshirt I had made for his dad at the same age. That brought back lots of memories.

My day is ending. By the time you read this, I will either be snoozing soundly or waking up for some Sabbath pie. As each day ends, and your head hits the pillow, I hope you can identify something that brings hope and joy to your heart, that helps to erase the events of the world, if even for just a moment.

Country living…

In October last year we lost our beloved Spanky cat. About a month ago we lost my father’s cat PK. For the first time in 22 years of marriage we are without an animal in the house. So it comes as no surprise that we were delighted when the neighbor barn cats came to visit while we were sitting on our porch watching the sunset. It has become an almost nightly ritual now. My honey gets home from work, we go for a quick walk, as we pass the neighbor’s home the cats come out and join us for the second half of the walk then follow us home to our porch. My honey hangs out with them while I get his dinner and then we sit and pet the cats and chat while watching the sunset. When we begin to get cold, or I start to yawn too much we say good night to the cats, and turn off the lights. We go inside, and they go home. And we wait for another day and another visit.

Needless to say our hearts have been captured by these two unnamed felines. They are unnamed because they just showed up at the neighbors house a few years ago. Since they weren’t sure they would stick around, they just called them grey cat and black cat. We have nicknamed them Notch and Spunky. Notch is the gray tabby who has a notch out of his ear from a recent fight. Spunky is a slim black female who is extremely skittish yet very loving. The title of my post was inspired by a phone call the other day. The neighbor whom these cats “belong” two called around 11 in the morning. She politely asked if I had seen the black cat at all that day. I had said no and asked why. She explained that she was concerned that she may have gotten eaten by coyotes that night. Apparently we had a visit from a pack of coyotes and they were making such a ruckus she was sure they had eaten her cat since she hadn’t seen her. I expressed my sympathy and my hope that maybe the cat had just been so spooked that she was very slow in coming out of a hiding spot. We both said we hope so. I spent the next half hour or so consoling myself and explaining to myself that that is the way country living is. Animals come and go, there was a food chain and I had better get used to it. My eyes teared up anyway and I felt myself being sad that we would no longer get to have Spunky to warm our laps and hearts while we enjoyed the sunset. I am pleased to say an hour later, the owner sent me a picture of spunky and said guess who just came out of hiding! We were both thrilled to pieces!

I relayed the story to my honey when he came home from work. He too was glad she was alive. We discussed the possibility of getting our self some barn cats when our shop is done. But there is a part of me that doesn’t want to face the possibility of losing a creature that I love dearly. I know we probably will anyway I just hate that part.

So here I sit on my big cushy chair out on the front porch. The sun has just set each night the sunset is a little different sometimes it’s very calm and sedate sometimes it’s bold and vibrant and exciting. Sometimes it lasts a few moments and sometimes it just seems to go on forever. There are hills close by that are silhouetted in the light, and The lights of a small town sparkle at the base of them in the dark. Sometimes we hear the coyotes far away, always listening to the Killdeer sounds and sometimes being honored by a visit from the local owl.

We have loved every minute of living in the country and wish everyone could have this opportunity. It is peaceful and de-stressing, except for the coyote part. Something much-needed in the environment of the world that we live in today. I do know though, that living in the country is not the only thing that helps us de-stress. Sometimes just taking a walk in the cool evening in the summer can be helpful. Sometimes just sitting and reading a book. Or gardening, or playing a game with a child. I hope that you have been able to find the thing that brings peace to your soul during these trying times. Shalom

Goodbye sweet PK…

Sunday was a rough day. Our last pet, PK was a tortoise shell rescue. My father adopted her from the pound soon after my mother died 11 years ago. We estimate that she (PK) would be between 13-14 years old this year.

Over the last couple years, PK had started having random seizures. Maybe one every four months. Around the beginning of the year, they began increasing in frequency, maybe one every other month. By May, she was having multiple seizures every couple weeks. One vet gave us some medication for hyperthyroidism and one to stop the seizures if they went longer than two minutes. The medication worked great the first time, about a month ago. But this Sunday, it didn’t work so well. I have almost gotten to the point where I could sense she was having one without seeing her, and I would go looking for her.

I won’t go into details, but there emergency vet said they were seizures probably related to having strokes. She didn’t recover from the last set… this is the part of life that I hate. Death. Permanently losing those you love.

PK stood for Phantom Cat. When my father first brought her home, he didn’t see her for the first six months. He knew she was there, hiding someplace because the litter box was being used and the food was being eaten. And so, Phantom Cat. The spelling was specifically chosen because my father loves Phantom of the Opera. Once we found her hiding in the drawer under the oven. She had been jumping into the kitchen counter, then behind the oven to crawl into it. When we brought a stray kitten into the house, she came out and joined the family.

PK was skittish, and took a long time to warm up to us all. It was only in the last few years that she would come out into the family space when we had company, and would allow the older grands to pet her. PK always seemed frail and sickly. She was overweight until four years ago (the hyperthyroidism caused the weight loss), she coughed regularly (we figured she had asthma). She was a territorial female. When my father moved in with us, she would chase our black cat Spanky up the stairs whenever she ventured down. Spanky’s death last October was hard on PK. Although they didn’t play together, they had developed a sort of loving tolerance for each other. The other cat had died a few years earlier. PK began yowling at the top of her lungs when she didn’t know where people were, or if she wanted you to open your bedroom door at 4:00am. Usually in the only space in the house that would echo. The last year has been hard for us too with regularly disturbed sleep. And she became very talkative, especially first thing in the morning. Auugh! Wait until my eyes are open!!

As obnoxious as she had become, she had her sweet moments too. She purred quickly and that motor ran forever. She would perch on the back of the couch behind you after a few pets. We are enjoying the solid sleep again, but miss the girl. The tears still flow at random moments: when I go to check her food dish, when I am sitting on the couch. I am sure they will continue to flow for a while. Rest In Peace dear PK. You are missed.

A fly is buzzing…

As I sit in the living room on my Sabbath, I can hear the hum of the furnace fan circulating the air in our home. There is a huge fly buzzing in the window, and the sleeping cat next to me is twitching. Across the street, the neighbors weed whacker is growling. Upstairs is the sound of whatever sporting event my honey is watching, and I can see the neighborhood trees outside gently swaying in the breeze.

I had coffee with one of my daughters friends this morning, who has become one of my friends. We walked around the local farmers market and sipped coffee while she shared pictures and stories about her recent trip to Israel. I ate a bowl of green salad on the couch, and some leftover potato salad while enjoying the warmth on the back patio.

The sleeping cat has begun to squeak snore. There is a small airplane buzzing overhead. I like these lazy days. They help refresh my soul and body. The dishes can sit in the sink, we can rummage through the fridge for leftovers to eat. There is plenty in there to eat, even though it may take a little creative thinking. The biggest decision I have ahead of me is whether to take a nap on the couch, or should I take a walk around the block in the heat. I am grateful for permission from my creator to take a day off of work. He certainly knew what he was doing when he said we should work six days and rest on the seventh.

Hopefully you can find the courage to rest one in seven, and the refreshing that comes with the rest.

Random thoughts…

I am so thankful to the creator of the universe this morning. For sustaining my life through the night once again, so that I may live another day, and somehow be a light to others, showing forth his love for them.

I am so grateful for insect repellent!! I have an awesome essential oil recipe I use. Smells good, is natural, and works! I brought a pack of baby wipes soaked in it to a friends house last night. We went for dinner, they live in the woods, last time I was there I came home bumpy and itchy. I felt the first “landing” on my arm around 8pm. I quietly slipped to the foyer where my purse was, wiped down all exposed skin, and enjoyed the rest of the night “landing, bump and itch” free.

Our permits to build were approved this week! So exciting. It took a month to get something that should have taken a week. Our area is definitely experiencing a building boom. Monday, my honey and I, go into the community development department, sign our names in front of their notary, pay our fees, and “poof” we are official! Let the framing begin! Ok, let the cement pouring on the footings begin first.

On a related note, last night my husband was sharing about feeling very unprepared for teaching at church this morning. He hates that feeling. We both do. Both of us like to feel in control and prepared. I have also been feeling very out of control with the whole building process. Everything seems to be happening so fast. We need to order wood so the guys can prep window headers while waiting for the permits, but the companies I asked for bids from are still working on them, so we buy from the company we think will have the best pricing. Our DIY in floor heating has taken an interesting turn too. We have hired a guy/consulting company to prepare the schematics of the system for us, and the control panel. We will lay everything, and connect it to the main panel, etc. however to get the permit for the mechanical, I have to provide “calculations” about capacities, oem something, and lots of other techie words I know nothing about. When I asked if they do that, or could help me with that, they said that the HVAC contractor usually does that, and asked if I had one. Ummm. No. Doesn’t DIY mean do it yourself, or, in other words, you won’t need to hire and pay an HVAC contractor for this project? At first I was angry, really angry. However, after a drive to the big city thirty minutes away, with my calm me down music by Brian Crain playing softly in my ears, I came off that ledge and began to think about how we could solve the issue. Was that a moment of personal growth? Oh my! This old dog is not too old to learn a new trick!!! Another thing I am thankful for.

I think my homeopathy regimen is beginning to show results. Last night I had some key limeade with dinner, a few bites of sugar laden rhubarb pie and a very cheesy chicken enchilada casserole. All delicious, but dairy gives me a gassy tummy and sugar can exacerbate the hot flashes. Yet, I slept well. Really well. In the past I have battled dealing with adrenal fatigue. My hormones have been out of whack, I get exhausted, but too wired to sleep soundly, often waking four or five times a night. Pretty much the only remedy was stopping everything and spending a month at home, in jammies, doing only things which are emotionally non stressful. But, in spite of the house stuff, I seem to be doing better, handling the stress better, handling life better. Again, I am thankful to God for his mercies and provision of all that we need in life, including homeopathy. I started this part of my journey after reading a blog I can across on joettecalabrese.com. She is a great educator, and all of her stuff is downloadable and a lot is free. She also has classes you can take, which I will when life slows down a bit (meaning when the building process is done). I would add the link, but I haven’t yet figured out how that feature works yet, sorry!

Oh! I am thankful there are no bees buzzing around my food!

Last thought. I am thankful for summer Sabbath mornings. Cold sweet potato pie, breakfast on the shaded back patio, colorful blooming flowers, cats eating long grasses so they can go into the house later to puke it up in a location I won’t see until my bare foot lands in it. Crickets are chirping, doves are cooing, and the neighborhoods resident pheasant chimes in periodically with his distinct voice. My soul is at peace.

May you also find the confidence and humility you need to stay teachable during your journey on this earth, and may you find your “Sabbath morning” peace for your soul.