Thursday, July 31, 2014

Red-Necked Door Handles and Patience

You know how trying to see the humor in things helps you get through a minor problems? A couple of weeks ago, my little putt-putt car which has always been faithful, starting every morning, cold, heat, rain or snow, for twelve years now, began showing it's age with a fan belt that has been squealing. I mean squealing to the point of embarrassment while sitting in the bank teller line, on the parking lot where I work and at stop lights. My wonderfully capable husband took a look at it, but because it's a foreign make, did not have the foreign tools to get in there to take it apart. So it was off to the mechanics.  He got the belts changed, but not before telling me there was other work that eventually needs to be done which of course entails more foreign parts and tools and can't be done at home.  I decided to wait on that for, ca-ching

     But I guess my little guy got used to the treatment he received at the garage because not even two weeks later, putt-putt decided to roll the driver side window down and not let it go back up again. My husband took the door panel off, checked the fuses, but it is, of course, either the motor or the switch.

    Off to the mechanic again who had to order the parts and sent the car back to us so we could use the car until the part came in.  The only problem was he didn't send back the door handle. So my creative husband said, "You just pull on that little wire and it pops it open."
      For some reason it would work every time he did it.  But no matter how hard I tried I could not pull the wire to get the door open.  So he got me the pliers.  Now, it's only supposed to take two days for the part to come in so I thought, no big deal, I can do without the door handle.  Getting out of my car now requires a tool...hence, my red necked door handle. Sigh...

    Now for the laughing part...I'm not really laughing 'cause it's a real pain to be in a hot car, grabbing up your phone, purse and purchases and forgetting you don't have a door handle to get out.  It means putting everything down I just collected and searching for the pliers which never stay in the little cup I put them in near the gear shift. They fall onto the floor and in the midst of driving around town, slide across the floorboard, sometimes under my seat.  Oh and when I get in the garage any time after 3:00 pm, it too dark for me to SEE the little wire that has to be pulled with the pliers.  Sigh...

  It's been two days now and I haven't heard from the mechanic about the part yet.   I don't want to complain about a really minor hardship...but...I'm trying, not so successfully to make this a lesson in patience. Lord knows, I need plenty of those lessons...

  Thank you, Lord, for the little lessons in life that poke and bite us like gnats and mosquitoes and door handles that don't work.  It's in those lessons we build up to greater patience with things like that guy next to me at the light whose squealing belts REALLY  need to be changed!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I Love My Kids...

I miss my daughter being so far away, and I know she and her hubs are making a wonderful life for themselves. But sometimes I'm reassured that "there's no place like home!"
From my daughter's blog: " La Goes Domestic "

It’s been two and a half years since moving to California. We’ve found a nice apartment that suits us, for the most part for now, though we dream of (and are jealous when we hear of friends/family with) a house with a yard and no crazy neighbors stomping or slamming or yelling etc. We have the cutest dog on the planet (who is cute or else he’d be…well, let’s just say it’s a good thing he’s cute), who we adopted at a local pet store just over a year ago. We’ve made some amazing friends, a fun variety of people. We’ve seen a lot of the cool areas of CA and know we still have  an endless list of other places here to explore. I quit a secure job where I felt I did an excellent job to start my own business, with the limited connections here and business knowledge I possess, yet with help it’s going fairly well. I just got asked to be vice-president of a networking group I’m in because they like my leadership and energy. We hustle, bustle, and keep quite busy, and are settling in as well as could be expected. We smile and laugh a lot.
And yet, days like today, I can’t help but admit, I wish I was home. I need a hug from my momma, a laugh and ever-encouraging word from my dad, an inside joke shared with my siblings, a goofy shot and dancing with my old friends, a drive on a back road with my windows down, chilling out with my extended family who is so good for my soul, to go to mass in the church I grew up in, a night out on the deck with a cold beer and just the sound of cicadas.
Maybe it’s Silicon Valley that drives you a little kooky, maybe it’s because I’ve just become too type A/OCD/controlling, who knows…but somedays, I feel like I just can’t quiiiiiiite hold it all together anymore. And that leads to crying at silly things like that I dropped an entire head of lettuce on the floor where the dog just trekked his muddy paws. Or feeling like I’m failing at everything and don’t know what I’m doing and wanting to just admit defeat and eat an entire pint of Chunky Monkey in bed.
Maybe that feeling never goes away. I think I’m truly realizing there never will be a place like home. And that while I love my life and the adventures and road we are on, I’ll always need home. And I’ll always need the reminder that, you’re not supposed to hold it all together all the time, no matter how badly you want to. And yeah, yeah, they always TELL you that growing up, but come on, we all think we can handle it all and be 100% at everything (because we’re also told THAT growing up). And then I remember Mrs. Payne telling us in 5th grade how we will sometimes just cry at silly things because we’re girls (human, whatever), or my mom telling me my art project really DOES look great, I don’t need to redo it for the 500th time, it’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine. My dad telling me I shall not be Marsha Brady, I cannot do everything, and must guard my heart. I need to remember that. And I need to remember that I have needs. And those needs matter, and always will.

“If this world makes you crazy
And you’ve taken all you can bear
Just call me up, because you know I’ll be there”

And now, I need a glass of wine and a reminder that, I am doing all right.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

... Like A Girl

   It's funny, but in our household we have never used the term, "Hit (run, throw...) like a girl" to mean anything other than doing your best.  Without loosing any of our femininity, we girls try hard and usually accomplish what we go after.  God made us as partners with men. No one is better than the other and we complement each other. That's why God made our union so beautiful. 
   While this video is made by a commercial company who specializes in women's products, it is trying to help girls at a certain age not lose their thought of self worth; building up confidence in young women the right ways, how to be strong and confident but not arrogant should be our goal. In fact, the same goes for teaching young men, you can be strong and confident, but not arrogant.
Like A Girl

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Good Dating Advice!

  Here are some great words of dating advice from a fave new blogger! 

"Why do guys date psycho girls? Lately I feel like all of my guy friends, acquaintances, and relatives have been telling me horror stories about psycho girls they have dates, are dating, or want to date. My reaction to their stories is always the same, “Why would you want to date a girl that is constantly up and down and who probably belongs in a place far from decent society?” And I kid you not, every guy replies “Because they’re fun and exciting.”"     

 read more at  Justsayinso!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Saw A Rainbow and Other Signs Of Help!'s been a little stressful the last six months, what with the church renovation and then our Pastor being reassigned and job duties changing. Whew... I needed a day off!  I finally decided last Monday would be the perfect day to go floating.
    Many, many years ago I learned from a good high school friend the joys of taking an old tire inner tube and plopping down on top of it and setting sail down an icy cold Ozark stream!  For two to four hours you had your own little world of nature, lazily kicking back and soaking up the sun and ride along on river time.
   The only dangers were scrapping your bottom on the rocks in the shallows, gliding too close to overhanging 'tick' trees, slamming into a snag; the tumble of trees and other debris flash floods sometimes leave in the middle of the river and the occasional motorized johnboats that come up river.  Though these 'dangers' may lead you to think floating is a little on the risky side, be assured, it's not as long as you are in a small group taking turns on keeping lookout for those blips on your floater's radar.  For the most part, you are able to lay back, watch the sky and the banks of the river go by and dream about Mark Twain's journeys on a much, much smaller scale.
     So, after thirty some odd years of on and off floating, I've taught my husband and kids how to watch for the 'dangers' and I myself can get some stress-free time just dangling my legs and arms in the cool waters of the Current River, near Van Buren.
    Monday we packed up the car with snacks, SPF, towels, a change of clothes, picnic lunch and headed the two hours southwest. The only danger was I had switched on a weather radar earlier at home and noticed several summer bubble-up storms around our area and in-between the river.  We debated whether to go.  Maybe it was all that stress bubbling up inside me, but I said, I don't care, we're going no matter what. If it rains, it rains, if it's stormy we'll do something else. I was going to get out of town no matter what.
   We were 15 miles down the road, when I saw clouds rolling in and everyone in the car groaned. "Not to worry," I yelled, "Look! A rainbow!" And sure enough there in the western sky was a beautiful rainbow. I was sure our trip would be successful!
  Twenty miles later we were stuck in the midst of a horrible rainstorm, thunder and lightning, torrential rains; this was sheer madness. Should we turn around? I kept checking my weather app and it kept showing the rains moving away from our trip area.  Just keep going...
   Sure enough, we got to our destination and the sky was blue and clear. A more gorgeous day could not have been ordered. We had the most marvelous float and relaxing time. Letting go of stress, phones, messages and worries as we floated through God's nature spotting eagles, turtles, waterfalls and trees. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Black Walnut Bread Pan Miracle

      Sometimes you have to wait a very long time to get answers on things. I was always slightly jealous of people who talked about receiving 'signs' from God.  It seemed it was a very rare thing in my life for there to be any kind of signal from the Lord, even when I prayed hard for one.
      I am well aware of my lack of patience, it is a virtue I highly praise and highly wish for more of. So I guess it makes sense that our wonderful God is teaching me in little bits and pieces about how to be patient especially when it came to signs.
      So my story is this; about a year ago, I got to cleaning one of the cabinets in my kitchen, the one that has the overflow of plastic and paper bags, the dog's treats, extra baking pans and cooling racks and casserole dishes.  I am not an overly neat and organized person so this cabinet is more a disorganized catch-all than a helpful storage area.    I marked two trash bags with 'Pitch', and 'Don't Pitch'.
   First to come out of the cabinet were 100 aluminum personal size bread pans my youngest daughter had baked bread in for her teachers when she was a senior in high school; five years ago. They hadn't been used since and I didn't plan on doing that much baking for at least another five years. They got pitched. I grabbed two dark looking objects that were slightly greasy to the touch. Ah, Grandma Long's bread pans.  My husband's grandmother had been an awesome cook and baker. She worked at restaurants and made meals for other people in her home. She had left those bread pans to my husband because he shared her love of baking.  Those definitely belonged in the "No Pitch" bag.  Finally I could see light and the cabinet was cleaned up. The Pitch bag went outside to the trash and the 'Don't Pitch' downstairs to be stored.
     Several weeks later, my hubs was in a bread baking mood, he began looking for the heavy bread pans but could not find them in the cabinet. I also looked but could not find them.
     "No worries, they are in the "don't pitch" bag downstairs!" I said, feeling very bad I hadn't kept them in the cabinet.  I searched the bag and found the 100 aluminum pans but his special pans were not there. My heart fell to my stomach as I realized I must put the wrong bag in the trash, weeks ago.  I could not apologize enough and felt horrible. I bought him new pans but as all bakers know, new pans are not the same as well seasoned ones, especially ones your grandmother passes down to you.
     He used these without complaint and the bread he made was good, as always, but I still felt bad to have disposed of something of his so valuable in sentiment, if not in good baking.
     Several months went by and on a bike ride along a trail we frequent, we found walnuts lying on the ground. Not only were they just walnuts, they were black walnuts, a highly tasty treat for baking!
     When I was young, my dad would receive a burlap sack full of black walnuts from my grandparents' farm. They fell from a tree near the gravel driveway. My grandpa run over them with the car and the tractor to work the green hulls off of them. Then he would pick them up, bag them and send them along with us when we would visit them at Christmas.  Then each January while watching football games, my dad would go out in the garage, crack open the nuts and bring them inside to a table in front of his chair where he would pick out the fragrant meat inside.  My mom would then bake them into chocolate chip cookies and I would put them in fudge. Wow, it was heaven!  For several years my grandparents collected the walnuts and dad would pick them.  Then my grandpa died, and grandma sold the farm and moved into town. No more black walnuts.
     So when I discovered these black walnuts along the trail I shrieked as if we had discovered gold! We went back home and grabbed some bags and picked them up off the ground and brought them home.  Now black walnuts are covered in a green hull and if you break it open when they just come off the tree your hands are covered in a black walnut stain that forever marks you!  So they must be dried out over several months then the covering peeled off.  You must use a hammer to crack them open because the shell is that hard. Even then you never get a whole nut, it comes out with a nut pick in small pieces. But the taste is awesome.
     Last weekend I got out my hammer and began cracking. Immediately the sight and smell of those walnuts took me back to watching Dad coax the meat out of those gnarly black shells. I took them inside the house and began looking for the nut cracker and pick I remember my mom giving me after Dad died. I knew I had seen them last when I was cleaning that cabinet.  I got down on my hands and knees and reached into the organized cabinet and felt something greasy and rectangular.  I pulled out the well seasoned bread pans that belonged to my husband's grandmother.
  What?  How in the world did they get in there?  I stood there holding the bowl of black walnuts and the pans incredulous. I had searched and searched that cabinet for those pans!  How did they just now appear?  Just then I thought of Dad and big fat tears fell down my face, thank you, Dad!