Proof I’m an Idiot, or Stress Makes Me Stupid

Like well worn grooves in a old dirt road, our patterns of behavior often keep us in the same old rut. When something happens, we don’t think it through, we just react. Remember the scene in Jumanji where Peter is looking for the ax and discovers the shed is padlocked? Focusing on the locked door, he picks up the nearby ax to break it. Then he realizes that what he wants is already in his hands. You can watch the scene here.

I have some issues with anxiety, but normally I catch it before it takes over. One of my favorites verses is Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” I have used this verse often both as a prayer and as a simple reminder; and as I said, normally, I can catch the anxiety before it develops a life of it’s own.

Evidently, yesterday was not normal. I don’t even really know where I lost track. Okay, yeah, well maybe I do. Ed’s late schedule has meant that I am up way later than I want to be, which also means I’ve been sleeping in later too. Yes, I could just deprive myself of sleep, but as anyone with Bi Polar disorder knows, that just isn’t a good idea. I woke up feeling rushed, and didn’t get my morning Bible reading in. I usually check my email early in the day, and I didn’t get to that either. Like I told you yesterday, Ed had to be at work by one, so again, that threw the “schedule” behind.

Since I didn’t have Bible study at church this week (a large number of our church members are in Colorado for the National Youth Roundup: NYR), I thought it would be good day to get Katherine in the kitchen and do some meal prep. Then I discovered we had one onion left.

First proof of idiocy: What are the number one and number two veggies that we use more than any others? Onions and Garlic! What did we not plant this year? Onions and Garlic!

Have we mentioned that we only have one vehicle? Have we mentioned that it has a manual transmission that I don’t know how to drive? The second point becomes irrelevant when Ed is at work, because he has said vehicle with him. Still it leaves us at a disadvantage.

Anyway, we needed onions. There is a little grocery store on Main Street. It’s a mile round trip. Before the accident, I walked that distance several times a week. No big deal. Now, it seems daunting. Nevertheless, we needed onions and I wanted to go get them. Katherine thought I had lost my mind when I told her, but was more than willing to go along. The whole trip took thirty minutes. Maybe I’m in better shape than I thought.

We spent the afternoon prepping veggies and cooking meat, using recipes found in It Starts with Food. Somewhere in the middle of all that, I kept thinking that I really needed to post something here, and really wanted to do some kind of feature (I actually have a couple more in mind that I will share later). That is where I got the idea for “Picure of the Week Wednesday” After I made that post, I checked my email and saw that I had a ping back from Rebirth of Lisa for my participation in her Word Crush Wednesday event last week.

Second proof of idiocy: I completely forgot about that event, and I really liked doing it. May end up choosing the quote earlier in the week, posting it on Wednesday, choosing my pictures on Wednesday and creating “Picture of the Week Thursday” Are you all totally confused now? Wait, it gets better.

Last night, at about 10:10, Ed called, as he always does, to tell me he was on the way home. I got his supper lined up, and then went to take a shower so that when he got home, I could go to sleep. As I was heading for the shower, the phone rang again. Ed’s truck broke down eight miles from the house, and he needed me to find someone who could come pick him up. He didn’t have any numbers in his phone, and this is where the proof of idiocy becomes undeniable…for both of us.

I don’t have a single phone number of anyone in town. I take that back. I have two numbers: one of those people is on vacation in Alaska, and the other is in Colorado for NYR. So, I did what I always do when I need to get a message to someone. I hopped on facebook to see if anyone was available…nope. OK, look up phone numbers online. Ever tried to do that? That is when I got a small glimmer of brains. I remembered that old, almost unknown, and rarely used thing called a phone book! Yes people here still have house phones, thank the Lord! I looked up the number of one person that I thought might be available, but his answering machine picked up. I left a message, and then had the only brainstorm of the day. There is an elderly couple who live across the road from us. Mr “A” has helped Ed mow and helped us with other things too. I had his number at one point, but I don’t know where it went. So I checked the phone book and there he was! By this time it is 10:50, and I really hate calling people late in the evening, but I did.

I talked to Mrs. “A”, apologizing for the late hour of the call and explaining the situation. Sure, he’ll go get Ed! No problem! So, our nearly 80-year-old neighbor went and brought Ed home. In the meanwhile, the person I called first called back, asking is Ed still needed a ride. I thanked him and told him we had it covered. When Ed got home, we both thanked God for good neighbors, and asked Him to handle the truck situation. We should have let him.

This morning, we had another problem. The truck was still eight miles from town and Ed was afraid that the damage was severe. We don’t have a lot of cash. There are (at least) two mechanics in town, but evidently, no tow service. The closest one is twenty five miles away. You KNOW that cost, right? The second problem was that the mechanic wouldn’t be able to work on the truck until tomorrow. Ed needed to be at work by three today.

Ed got hold of the tow service and then called his job to give them a heads up. He told them that if they wanted him to come in, they might have to come get him. He really didn’t think they wanted him that badly.

Not being one to just sit on my hands, I felt the need to do something. I know two people who have cars they could loan us for the weekend, but they both live about seventy five miles away. I got hold of my son Kyle and asked if I could get use of a vehicle, would he and his girlfriend bring it to me. He said yes. I did manage to track down a vehicle but it wouldn’t be available until this evening. Okay, we’ll take what we can get.

About an hour later, Ed’s job called. They had someone lined up to come get him and bring him home tonight. We were both impressed. A short time later, the phone rang again. It was the mechanic. Not only had they got to the truck today; it was fixed. The problem? A broken belt. While Ed walked down to get the truck (again, about a mile round trip), I made phone calls, thanking everyone and telling them we wouldn’t be needing the loaner vehicle. As I hung up the phone, I felt that I could almost hear the Lord say, “Oh ye of little faith!” Yep! Last proof of idiocy!

Ed went to work and I sat down to catch up on my time with Lord. I’ve decided that tonight is going to be night off. I cooked a lot yesterday, so I wouldn’t have to today, so supper can just be leftovers, and Katherine can help clean up. Maybe we’ll watch a movie. Maybe I’ll just take a shower and go to bed early. Tomorrow I’ll start working on smoothing out those old ruts.

Connie

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Picture of the Week Wednesday

Wednesdays are a little chaotic on the homestead. We are still trying to get used to Ed’s second shift schedule, which is normally either 2 or 3 to close. The last two Wednesdays however, he has had to be in at one. That cuts an hour or two off of whatever we do together in the morning, and pretty much nixes any work on larger projects. Additionally, Wednesday is Bible study night, which means I need to be ready to go to church by about 6:15. I am usually home before eight, but by that time, I am wanting to wind down and start heading toward bed (Even if I don’t actually get there until 10 or later.) On top of that, Katherine’s dad comes to get her every other Wednesday afternoon for lunch, and some one on one time.

In a nutshell, Wednesdays are pretty well shot for anything but short term projects. Breaking time up like that makes focusing difficult for me, which means I don’t get much done. Today I had an idea for something I could do that wouldn’t take a whole lot of time (I hope). I’m looking back through the pictures Katherine and I have taken the past few weeks, and I thought I would share some with you, hence “Picture of the Week Wednesday”

Katherine told her dad last week that she considers herself the “sunset picture taker” of the family. Sunset, this time of year, displays itself through our only kitchen window; the one over the sink. Katherine’s height puts her in direct line of anything coming through that window. I don’t know how many times she has come into the kitchen and stopped, staring out the window. Then she says, “I have to get the camera!” She disappears only to return with the camera and head out the back door for a better shot.

sunset over our neighbor's property

sunset over our neighbor’s property

After sunset, this is often the scene in the same window. Last night, she and I stood watching them catch moths for several minutes. No, it doesn’t take much to entertain us.

visiting tree frog

visiting tree frog

Connie

Lord Knows Everything Grows (Whether You Want It To or Not)

“I don’t really need the money, but the people I owe it to need it a lot.” That was something Hank Williams used to proclaim in the late 1940’s, on his Health and Happiness radio show, when he was selling his own records over the air. If you would like to hear some of that, you might look here.

Hank had a way of speaking for the common man. I really care nothing for money. A horse can’t eat it. Too bad my creditors do not agree with me. So I have to work, because robbing banks in Missouri has already been done to death.

Now I am settled into my new job, I can take a few moments and write to you about what is going on around the old Homestead. I have not been idle on that front, it is just that, between working, working around the place, eating, and sleeping, I have had very little time for much else.

So here are some random topics, things I have worked on, mistakes, and successes we have had over the last few weeks. As I told Connie not too long ago, “We do not fail; we either succeed, or learn how to succeed next time.” Unfortunately, quite often the tuition at the University of Hard Knocks can be high.

The Rag Weed that ate my fence row.

The Rag Weed that ate my fence row.

This is my forth summer of attempting to do some small farming, and wrest some small piece of property back from the clutches of flora so diverse and aggressive, it staggers the imagination. This year I have learned about the effects of an over abundance of rain on plants in the state of Missouri:

It appears that over watering kills, stunts, and/or messes up the growth cycle on everything you want to grow. Causing such behavior as cauliflowers that go straight from “tomorrow I will grow out and make a nice head of cauliflower” to, “on second thought I will just go to seed, see ya.” Not to mention that grass likes rain water much more than tomatoes, who “don’t like to get their feet wet” or corn which tassels while less than waist high.

The grass that ate what we were going to eat.  You can stand there and watch it grow.

The grass that ate what we were going to eat.
You can stand there and watch it grow.

On the other hand, everything you really would rather NOT grow, when allowed to take every other day showers, grow like Jack’s Beanstalk. Connie has learned to name near every invasive plant, common weed, tree, shrub, or fern on the place; whether useful, neutral or dangerous. We used to walk across the pasture and she would point down at her feet, name the plant, and tell its lineage, whether it is good or ill, and what we should do with it. She still does that, but now she has to point up over her head.

As I stand in the dog lot, I recall having cut out all the standing hemlock with a machete and some other light hand tools. I was counting on my ability to find the stuff as it grew back and destroy it quickly. That worked for a couple of weeks. I would see the little plants and knock them down with a hoe or even my foot. As I stare up at the seven feet Rag Weeds I ignored, I think, “Use the chain saw.”

This is Rag Weed, the picture was taken by a 5 foot tall most beautiful woman in the world. But it makes the perspective interesting. The plants are between 7 and 8 feet tall.

This is Rag Weed, the picture was taken by a 5 foot tall most beautiful woman in the world.
But it makes the perspective interesting. The plants are between 7 and 8 feet tall.

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In spring none of these sapling were over knee high and bigger around than your finger.

Let’s talk about the fence rows. All winter long, I would look out my door and see the sprouts caught up in the fence rows and think to myself, “When it warms up a bit, I will cut those out.” Let me save you some trouble. Don’t ever do that! Barring weather so extremely bad that the risk of death or serious injury is imminent, cut them things out right now. My fence rows look like a scene from one of those dinosaur movies.

Put shortly The Homestead is suffering from serious case of Underbrush Overgrowth.

I have never been a real fan of lawns. They always seemed to me to be such a useless waste of time and resources, unless you had chickens running loose on them. Then there is mowing the things weekly, and the constant obsession with only having the right grass. Crab Grass need not apply, and God forbid is that a Dandelion? Who cares and why?

So why did we end up buying a place with a BOY? (Big ole yard).

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This is the front yard, it is not as big as some but try mowing it and the other half with a push mower.

Because the BOY surrounded the house we wanted and was surrounded by the land we wanted, on which sat a cool barn with two horses pained on the front. Who could resist that, and why should you? So I have a large yard in which grows plants of all shapes and sizes, a lot of which Connie assures me makes good salad.

After having mowed our largish yard four or five times last year and again this year about the same, I spoke to Connie saying words to the affect of, “Hon, as soon as we get a chance we need to buy a riding mower.” Something I had largely disdained. She tells me that I misinterpreted her look, but I would swear she looked at me as if to add “wimpy boy” to her smiling statement, “We’ll have to see dear.”

The next week, she offered herself and Katherine to be stand in mowers. switching off the lawn mowing every time around. After a few rounds we finished and, back in the house, Connie smiled at me and said. “Dear we need a riding lawn mower.” Ah, the joys of shared experience.

So now we have one; a riding lawn mower I mean. Next week, I will tell you how that is turning out. By then I should probably have the stitches out.

May God Bless,

Ed

Word Crush Wednesday: Goethe

Word Crush Wednesday is a blogging event where in bloggers share their favorite quote for the week.

Yesterday, I was reading a guest post on Ann Voskamp’s A Holy Experience. The guest blogger was Artist Ruth Simons. Like all of Ann’s blog posts, the written words are interspersed between wonderful photographs. These photos were of Ruth’s family and her gorgeous watercolor paintings. As I scrolled through them, I saw one of a note card on which were painted the words:

“Cease endlessly striving for what you want to do, and learn to love what must be done. – Goethe-”

It stopped me in my tracks. Apparently, Ruth felt the same way about it, because finding love and joy in the mundane was the main point of her post.

Loving what must be done: Feeding the dogs, washing the dishes, doing laundry, cleaning bathrooms, and a host of other unpleasant (or at least boring) necessities. I suppose it ties in with having an “attitude of gratitude”. When your focus is on what you want to do, but can’t, or what you want to have, but don’t, you create an attitude (and atmosphere) of discontent and ungratefulness.

Obviously, this is easier said than done, but the joy often comes through challenges, doesn’t it?

Connie

Deception

As most of you already know, I have been taking WordPress’s Blogging 101 class. Yesterday’s assignment involved looking up the daily writing prompt and using it to write a blog post. The prompt had to do with being deceived by someone.

One might think that the art of deception is limited to human beings, but it isn’t. The natural world is full of deception too. I’m not going to go into my beliefs about how the earth is cursed because of Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden, I”m just going to discuss some interesting ways that nature can be deceptive. Knowing many of them could save your life.

One of the most common deceptions is camouflage. Think of the chameleon that changes colors to match it’s environment, thereby protecting itself from predators. Many species of butterfly have markings that make them appear to be something else entirely. That “log” in the river just might be a crocodile.

Plants are deceptive too. Think of the Venus fly trap. When you start foraging and learning about wild edibles, and edible plants in general, it is extremely important to understand that not all berries are edible, no matter how tasty they look. Pretty is no guarantee for safety. Unless you absolutely know the identity of that plant; don’t eat it! When in doubt, leave it out!

Elderberries and mulberries are wonderful edible berries. Choke and pin cherries are edible, but you probably won’t want many of them. Poke berries will kill you. When in doubt, leave it out. I have everything on my property except Elderberries. I just may have to plant some.

Green Poke Berry

Green Poke Berry

Several wild edible plants have poisonous lookalikes. Wild Carrot, aka Queen Anne’s Lace, is edible. One lookalike is the wonderful medicinal plant, Yarrow. A second lookalike, Poison Hemlock, will kill you. To tell the truth, once you know for sure the differences between these plants, you won’t mix them up, but for a novice forager, the similarities are confusing. When in doubt, leave it out! I would love to find some yarrow on our property, but again, I will probably plant some next spring.

Hemlock that hasn't flowered yet.

Hemlock that hasn’t flowered yet.

Queen Anne's Lace. Notice the purple flower in the center

Queen Anne’s Lace. Notice the purple flower in the center

More Queen Anne's Lace

More Queen Anne’s Lace

It’s a good idea to get a book, or books, on the wild edibles located in your area. I have a little book called Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide To Over 200 Natural Foods. It’s available on Amazon here. (This is not an affiliate link). What I like about this book is that it lists poisonous lookalikes. The internet is a good source too. I belong to a facebook page that is devoted to wild edibles in Missouri. I am constantly impressed with the knowledge in that group. I bet you have one close to you too.

If you’re like me, and really need to see it, youtube videos, like this one, can be a great source as well. However you choose to find your information, I cannot stress enough the importance of knowing what you are eating BEFORE you eat it. Don’t be deceived. When in doubt, leave it out!

Connie

Chicory on the Homestead

Yes, I admit it; I spend entirely too much time exploring the net. Pinterest is one of my biggest downfalls, but email notifications from blogs I read can keep me going for days. I’ll see something, which will make me think of something else that I really need to look up, and suddenly the whole afternoon is gone.

A few weeks ago, during one of my exploration excursions into the world wide web, I saw pictures of chicory blossoms. A few days later, when I saw those pretty blue flowers on tall, spindly stalks, I was really hoping I had chicory growing outside my barn doors. I went online and looked at more pictures of chicory plants and blooms! Yes, it’s chicory! Chicory root can be dried and used for coffee! Yes!

One thing I have discovered about identifying plants; once you know what something is, you see it everywhere. We have a lot of chicory. I noticed some growing outside my back door. It had been cut off several times with the weed eater and lawnmower so it wasn’t in the best place for a long healthy life. I thought that would be a perfect place to dig up the roots.

Well, not quite. This first snag was the stones underneath a very thin layer of top soil. The roots grew down through the stones. Ok, well, I’ll just dig them up. I wasn’t expecting the larger layer of gravel underneath the stones. At that point, I knew that my little garden trowel was not going to help me. I did manage to break a few roots loose, but called it a day.

A week or so later, when Ed was off and it was too wet to mow, I asked him to help me get the chicory root by the barn. Ed really likes chicory so he was agreeable to the task. Well, guess what? Underneath a thin layer of top soil, he found gravel: dry, hard as a rock, gravel. He went to find the mattock. If you don’t know, a mattock is kind of like a pick ax.

Ed and  the mattock

Ed and the mattock

more rock

more rock

After breaking up the dirt and gravel, He alternated a couple of different sized shovels to dig up the gravel and expose the roots. It took him over an hour to get this.

Wheelbarrow full of chicory

Wheelbarrow full of chicory

Since I really hate to waste anything, I spent some time looking up alternate uses for the stalks and flowers, but didn’t find much. However, I did find out some things I didn’t know about dried chicory root.

For instance: while it’s true that chicory is often used as an additive to coffee, it actually has sedative properties. So I suppose if you drank enough of it by itself, it would put you to sleep. It also works to relieve constipation. When I told Ed, he said that he would hope that it wouldn’t do all that at the same time!

Since all I need are the roots, I tried to remove them with my garden shears, but that was not going to happen. I ended up getting the hatchet from the garage and chopping the roots off. Chicory blossoms open and close at the same time every day. It was fascinating the see rootless flowers continue to open and close for four days after the roots had been removed.

Anyway, my plan was to chop up the roots, roast them, and then grind them in my spice mill/coffee grinder. Chopping up the roots was a little harder than it looked, and to make an already long story short, I enlisted Ed’s help. Between him, I, and the food processor, we finally got it ready to roast.

washing the roots

washing the roots

all clean and ready to chop

all clean and ready to chop

chopping the root

chopping the root

Roasting chicory smells wonderful! Katherine asked if I had something chocolate in the oven. She was disappointed to learn it was the chicory. Once it cooled, I ground it in the spice mill and put it in a repurposed honey jar.

ground chicory

ground chicory

I made Katherine a cup of chicory tea, but she wasn’t impressed. She said it smells a lot better than it tastes. Out of curiosity, we made a pot of straight chicory in the coffee pot. It was ok, but not something I would want all the time. However, adding a tablespoon or so to a pot of regular coffee adds something that I can’t quite describe.

Yesterday morning, Ed noticed the chicory jar is nearly empty, and asked me if I was ready to go dig some more.

Did I mention Ed really likes chicory?

Connie

Getting To Know The Crazy Old Lady, and Hoping To Be Just Like Her.

As you all know, part of the purpose behind this blog is addressing the issues of working a homestead as we get older. Well I came across a blog belonging to someone who has been there and done that for quite some time. I think I want to be like her when I grow up.

Part of the requirements for the Blogging 101 class involve reading other blogs, not only as a means for having examples of good (and sometimes, not so good) blogs, but as a way to get to know “the neighbors”. Yesterday’s assignment required that we find and comment on four blogs we had not commented on before. After scanning several new (to me) blogs, I found a blog post entitled “The Blue Funk”. It was the newest post on a blog called Ramblings of a Crazy Old Lady.

The seventy-five-year-old author was lamenting the fact that most of her family does not approve of her lifestyle, and while she wishes they did, she is who she is. Then she went on to describe her life as well as what is going on with the animals she has rescued, as well as her garden and the status of the local hummingbirds.

At first, I kind of felt sorry for her for being so “outnumbered” by members of her family. But then I realized that she is living a life she loves, doing what she loves to do the way she loves to do it, and has absolutely no intention of changing. I admire her spirit! In a comment, I told her to keep right on doing what she is doing! I also shared that our dogs have similar issues, and I was looking forward reading more of her blog.

Then I started reading her previous blog posts. She had me laughing, crying, and shaking my head in amazement! She writes about her appliances wearing out, medic alert mishaps, and caring for and rehabilitating a neglected and abused horse. Did I mention she’s seventy-five? She grew up learning how to reuse and repurpose, and still does. This is one old lady I would love to visit!

If you like our blog, and don’t follow her already, I highly recommend Ramblings of a Crazy Old Lady!

Unplugged

Unplugged

My daughter is a Visual Spatial Learner.

That means her thoughts come to her in images rather than words. She “thinks in pictures”. She needs time to “translate” what she hears into images so that she understands what you mean…that takes time.

It means she has a poor concept of time, but an excellent concept of space.

It means she struggles with handwriting, but is a talented artist.

It means she has no organizational skills.

It means if she has been somewhere once, she can easily find her way back (she could do this at three).

It means that her ability to learn from you depends on whether or not she thinks you like her.

Here is the article that I found about 18 months ago that opened my eyes to the true nature of my daughter’s educational issues, and eventually lead me to home school her.

I wanted to explain that because when I write about her, I think it will help you to understand how she thinks and why she does things like she does. It might also help you understand why I do some of the things I do.

Katherine loves technology. She loves gaming, making videos and computer animation. She has a laptop, a Kindle Fire, and the newest iteration of the Nintendo DS. Most of these have come as birthday/Christmas gifts from her father. I did suggest the laptop however, because it comes in handy for school. As long as she does her chores and turns everything off and goes to bed when I tell her, she can play, talk and create all she wants. Yes, I do monitor where she goes and we have discussed internet safety in depth.

A few days ago, I told her to clean her room, and put her clean clothes away. I had noticed the same clean clothes from last weeks laundry were still on her dresser. I make sure that I never tell her to do more than two things at a time because of the translation lag. Then I usually ask her to tell me what I said so that I know she understood me. You would not believe what she has thought I’ve said before.

Anyway, the room was not getting cleaned, so I had to pull out the big guns. Unplug for the day. No computer, DS, anything. Then there will be plenty of “time” to clean the room. She was not happy, but she didn’t argue.

Then the fire radio went off. She and Ed have both become volunteers for the local fire department. Kat is a junior volunteer, of course. They were needing people to show up for a work day. She wasn’t crazy about going, but as much as I needed her to clean her room, I also needed her to understand that when you volunteer to help with something, you need to follow through, and give it your best. This time, the room would wait.

Ed was outside cutting grass, so I went out and told him about the fire message. I knew he had to go to work that afternoon so he wouldn’t be able to stay over there and help, but he could take Katherine over there. That is what he did. It is less than I mile from the firehouse, so she would be able to walk home when she was finished.

Five hours later, my dirty, hot and tired child came back home. She didn’t have to walk. They brought her home. She said that she, the fire chief and a friend of ours from church were the only ones who showed up (then I was really glad I had made her go), and they did a lot of work, she was really tired, and her new tennis shoes were dirty!

I told her we would postpone the unplugging until the next day, and I would unplug too.

She looked grateful and went to take a shower. During the course of the evening, she told me about her day, and even though she was tired, I think she enjoyed it. Ed heard from the chief later that she did a great job.

Saturday morning, I got up, notified my facebook friends, my sons, and other members of the blogging 101 class I’m taking, that I was taking the day off, and shut down my computer.

My first plan had been that I would get Kat up early, and get her going on her room so that she would be done by the time Ed went to work. That way, she and I could spend some time in the kitchen, and maybe do some kind of crafty stuff later in the day. Most of all, we could just spend some time “hanging out”.

One of Murphy’s Laws of Combat says, “No plan survives the first contact intact”.

First of all, Ed and I both slept in later then we normally do and it all went down hill from there.

Let me add something here: We have been reading “It Starts With Food” as a family. The reason we are doing that is that is the only way I could think of to get both Ed and Kat to read it in time for us to actually start implementing it in this decade. The book is the first step in the Whole 30, which is a method to change the way you eat and think about food. You can read more about that here. I imagine there will be many posts about this in the future, once we actually start the program.

Just so you know, there are currently no affiliate links on this site. When there are, I will let you know.

Normally, we try to have breakfast or lunch all together so we can read after the meal. That didn’t quite happen, but we did read a section in the book, and Katherine moaned her normal “I’m going to die!”. However, I think she is starting to see the connections discussed in the book, she just doesn’t want to admit it.

Anyway, I sent her in to make her bed first. In the meanwhile, I am working on purging our kitchen of Whole 30 “non-compliant” food. I’m doing that by using it up. I had a ton of colored sugar that I had made myself. It needs to go, but I didn’t really want to throw it out. I had read how you could make powdered sugar in a food processor or blender, so I thought that would be the way to go. I probably need a more powerful blender but it worked out okay.

Kat made her bed and came back out to me. We mixed the batter for home made Oreos. It needed to chill for thirty minutes, so I told her to go work on her room while I washed a few dishes. At the end of 30 minutes not much had been done. I think she was overwhelmed. So I told her to pick up the stuffed animals first, and just put them all on her bed. That was kind of how the day went. We would cook some, and I would give her one thing to do in her room. Then we would cook some more. Her room didn’t quite get finished because I realized that the way it is set up is not conducive to her keeping it clean. We discussed a few different options and discovered we probably need more open shelving and clear containers and less drawers and out of sight storage. There was some progress made.

By the end of the afternoon, we had made home made Oreos, home made oatmeal cream pies, no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies, and blueberry muffins. We had both smelled so much sugar and tasted so much along the way, that we were both about half sick by the time we were done. I think we both ate one cookie. Katherine asked what was for supper (by this time it was about 5 in the afternoon, I think). Supper? She asked if we could go get pizza at the quick shop up the road. We might do that about once a month. We actually have a “buy so many get one free” card from there that is usually on a shelf over the sink. It has the phone number on it. It wasn’t there. Normally, I would have looked the number up on line, but we’re unplugged. So, I showed Katherine how to do it the old fashioned way: we looked it up in the phone book!

It’s about 2/10ths of a mile to the quick shop from our house. That is the beauty of where we live. We are outside the city limits on five acres, but we are a half mile from “down town”. So we walked up and got pizza.

After we ate, we went to check on the dogs and gave them fresh water. I still wanted to do some kind of crafty project with her and one just kind of fell into our lap.

We have a cat named Adora (yes after the “She-Ra” character). Ed calls her arrhythmia because she stays in a state of freaked out. We have both her mother and grandmother, and while they have their own brand of feline insanity, Adora takes it to a whole different level. She is scared of everything. She still hasn’t recovered from James and his dog being here a few weeks ago. She goes from outside, to the basement, stops long enough to eat and then goes back outside. I noticed one day last week, that she was sleeping in the litter box in the basement. After watching for a few days to make sure she isn’t sick, I realized that the basement floor is damp and cold and she just might be laying here because its a better alternative. Ed says it just proves she’s crazy.

Adora hiding by the printer

Adora hiding by the printer

Yesterday, Katherine and I discussed making a cat bed to put in the basement for her. I have stuffing left over from another project, and remembered there were two flannel garments in the rag bag. I don’t sew well, and Katherine doesn’t sew at all (yet) and so I thought this would be a good experience for both of us. Since it was for Adora, I knew Katherine would be willing to put in some extra effort. Some time I will write a post about Katherine’s gift with animals.

I told her we probably wouldn’t be able to do it all at once because there would be measuring, cutting, ironing, more measuring and cutting, pinning, sewing and stuffing. She understood. First we took the two garments apart. Then we measured one of Katherine’s bed pillows to get an idea of how big to make the bed. When it came time to cut the pieces we would sew together, I couldn’t find my quilting ruler. At least that is what I call it. I strongly resisted the urge to start pulling everything out of the two closets that holds the majority of my crafting supplies. Guess who else needs open shelving and clear containers?

So we stopped for the night. Katherine created a cave on her bed, with all the stuffed animals, and was sound asleep by 10:00. I really enjoyed the day. I think maybe we will unplug more often.

Connie

Scars

Scars

We will just make a little incision this way, and will stitch it that way, and it will leave just a little scar. Will that be okay?”

“Doc, have you looked at my head?”

This conversation actually took place a few months ago between Ed and the dermatologist who took a questionable spot off his head. The spot ended up being nothing to worry about, but Ed and I still laugh about the doctor’s concern about leaving another scar on Ed’s bald head. There are plenty more to keep it company!

If you live long enough, you are going to have scars. Some come from accidents, some from surgery, and some (perhaps the worst kind) leave no visible marks at all, but they remain, just the same.

Often, people compare scars. The movie “Jaws” came out when I was a kid, probably about ten or eleven years old. One of the lighter scenes has three of the main characters comparing scars, with Police Chief Brody feeling wimpy, because all he has is an appendectomy scar. 

Some people are embarrassed by their scars. In 1968, my mother was riding a motorcycle with a friend when they were hit by a car. Her knee cap was shattered, and the surgeon literally pieced it back together, like a jigsaw puzzle. The result of the accident and subsequent surgery was a really nasty looking scar. For years, Mom would never wear shorts out in public because she was embarrassed by that scar.

Scars can be reminders of horrific events, but they can also be reminders of God’s grace. It just depends on how you choose to view your scars.

I have a scar on my lower abdomen which could be a reminder of a doctor who jumped the gun, inducing labor that resulted in a caesarian section, or it can be a reminder of that wonderful day, 28 years ago, when I became a mama for the first time. Guess how I see it?

It was nearly a year ago, but I can remember it like it was a minute ago. Walking down the driveway of our old house, toward my car parked on the street. That moment of confusion when I was bumped from behind. Confusion turning to terror as I was bumped again and realized I was going under my son’s car, and he didn’t know I was there! I did the only thing I could do, I cried out “Jesus, help me! Jesus help me!” I don’t really know if the cry was out loud, or in my head, but thankfully, the Lord can hear our thoughts!


I remember Ed yelling “Stop!” and then in response to something that I did not hear, “Your mother!” When he got to the back of the car, I remember telling him to “get it off me”. You see, the tire had started to roll over me and had already pushed out some of what was in my stomach.

I remember the car pulling forward, and taking that first deep breath, reassuring myself that my ribs and lungs were still intact. There was the sound of my son crying, and my daughter screaming. Ed telling me not to move, and me telling him that I really needed to get off my shoulder because it felt like it was on fire and my knee did too. Intellectually, I understood why he didn’t want me to move, but still…

I never did convince the paramedics that the car had actually run over me, and the ER nurse wasn’t convinced either until he saw the tire marks on my skin. A CT scan and X-ray revealed neither broken bones, nor any internal injuries. No one could believe that I wasn’t hurt a lot worse. What I did have was some road rash on my left knee and shoulder and deep tissue bruising. I had something else too. I had the peace of knowing that in a dark, scary moment in my life, I had called out to my Lord, and He heard me. He covered me with his hand and brought me out of that “valley of the shadow of death”.

The road rash healed quickly, but the tissue bruising took substantially longer to heal.
There was some concern about my left knee, but an MRI just revealed arthritis. It’s more of an irritant than any thing else, because it will buckle at random times. 

The other day, Ed commented that all that visibly remains of the whole ordeal is a small scar on my shoulder. I thought about telling him that I probably wouldn’t even have that, if he had left me get up when I wanted to, but I doubt that he would have seen the humor in it.

So yes, I have a scar on my shoulder. When I see that scar, I could choose to think about the terror of going under that car, but I choose to use it as a reminder of a time (among many others) when God revealed himself to me.

How do you see your scars?

Connie

What Month Is It?

July in Missouri is hot. Sometimes it’s hot and wet, and other times it’s hot and dry, but it’s always hot.

Your garden may drown or it may bake, but it will not be chilled. Until now.

Normal overnight lows for July are 70’s and 80’s. Day time temperatures often climb into the triple digits. As I write this, it is about 9:30 in the evening, and the temperature is 59 degrees. I think the high today was 60. For the second time in a week, the temperatures have been way below normal. According to my mother (who just called) the news said that the July temperatures haven’t been this low since sometime in the 1800’s. On top of that, there has been a slow drizzle all day.

Personally, I love the cooler temperatures. Well, maybe my knees aren’t that crazy about it, but the rest of me loves it. However, I don’t think my garden is very happy. It is already struggling from too much rain, as well as some good old fashioned neglect from Ed and I, but that’s another blog post.

Tonight, being Wednesday, I went to the ladies Bible study at my church. Entering the house afterward, I heard Katherine holler,

“Mom, be careful!”

“Why?” I asked, expecting to hear something about a wet floor or broken glass.

“Meeko is in here. I saw him out in the front yard, so I brought him in the house. I didn’t put him back because I don’t know how he got out.” About that time, our seventy pound canine Houdini bounded out of the kitchen to greet me.

Lovely. Ed will be so thrilled. “Ok”, I told her, “Let me go try to see where he got out”. I trudged (yes, trudged…think tall, wet, hay/grass) out to the dog’s enclosure. I had a second of panic when I didn’t see Libby right away, thinking she might be out too, but she was still there.

I went in with her and walked the fence line. I found what I thought was probably where he had gone over, and noticed the strand of barbed wire was down. I put it back, went back to the house, grabbed two dog biscuits and Meeko (he just followed me), put him back, gave both dogs the treat, and headed back to the house.

“Squish, squish, squish!” Oh the wonderful sound of sopping wet tennis shoes. Actually, I was soaked to the knees. Yes, I love cool weather; I do not, however, love cool, wet, weather!

Meeko: Back inside for now.

Meeko: Back inside for now.

Connie