A Special Visitor

We have a special visitor this week.  We’ve been contemplating getting a dog so having our son’s dog  visit is a good way to see if we are up to the challenge.  He is a lot of fun and we are really enjoying his visit.

This morning as we were taking our morning constitutional, I got to thinking that Avry and I have some things in common.  For one thing, we are similar ages.  I read an article last week that stated although we tend to think of 1 dog year equalling 7 human years, different breeds age a bit differently.  Makes sense to me. So I used their handy dandy guide and what do you know, a Pekingese year equals about 6 Nana years, so Avry and I are almost the same age, give or take a month or so.  And given our years, we both like to walk at a slower pace with intermittent bursts of energy.

Avry Birdwatching

From this picture, you can see we both like to watch birds.  Avry hasn’t barked at them once, but his head swings right to left to right to left to …well you get the picture.  He swings his head just like me with every little bird movement. After a while he plays with his toy a bit, only to peer out the window again whenever there is the slightest movement. By the way, I don’t bark at the birds either. And you see that toy in the picture…well he sometimes curls up with it when he lakes a nap.  I know you are wondering now if I curl up with a toy like that when I take a nap.  OF COURSE NOT! That is a dog toy…I have my own, thank you very much.  About 12 years ago hubby had to be away for a few days and bought me a huggable stuffed snowman about a foot tall.  I hugged it tightly every night he was gone.  I still have it, and  especially like to have it nearby if I am feeling poorly. I’ll snuggle under my blanket and hug my snowman. No need to laugh or judge…it says nothing on the tag about being only for people of a certain age. And speaking of snuggling, that is another thing Avry likes to do.  He burrows under the covers to get those last few minutes of sleep. I’m sure we would make quite a picture taking a nap, each of us burrowed in our blanket cocoon clutching our toys, but if Hubby ever takes one let me just say he will be in really big trouble.  Really big.

What really connected the dots for me about this whole similarity thing is when I fed Avry after our walk.  I used a shallow pan for his food. (Ok, it was a throwaway pie pan, but I didn’t want to admit I had ever bought a pie.)  I put Avry’s food in the pan and he just looked at me in disbelief.  So I added just a tiny little bit more.  He shook his head and walked away for a moment, came back and sadly shook his head. Finally he took a few bites.  It suddenly occurred to me that Avry likes his “plate” covered with food and since this pan was a bit larger than the amount of food, he felt a bit, well, rejected and slighted.  Not that I feel rejected and slighted, but a small bowl of soup that is full looks a lot better to me than a larger bowl of soup that is half empty, even if the amount of soup is the same.

I know I am rambling here, but really, what else am I to do? The birds have gone about their daily business, it is rainy outside, and Avry is taking a nap.  Wait a minute…what a good idea!  I think I will snuggle with a good book which just might lead to a short nap.  Now where did I put my snowman?




Top of the Morning!

I haven’t accomplished a single thing today.  Stumbling from my bed, I made it as far as the recliner in the living room where my sweet hubby had a cup of coffee waiting. Three hours later, half of it is still sitting here on a TV tray next to my chair.  Certainly I have things that need to be done today.  It’s too wet to garden, but there is laundry I’m sure, as well as some de-cluttering that desperately needs to be completed. I could write to a friend (wouldn’t they be surprised), crochet (I tried but kept putting it back down), beat my friend Connie in an internet game (I’m not really all that competitive), sewing (I have started our Christmas projects- just in case our children or grandchildren read this and wonder)…the opportunities are endless.

Instead I made the mistake of looking outside my window.  I have a hummingbird feeder, as you know, but I also have some finch feeders.  And a regular feeder.  At first there were about 4 yellow finches.  Suddenly there were 18 finches hanging on the sock feeders munching and crunching to their little hearts desire. Sometimes they paired off in couples.  A time or two, all the ladies came to partake and when they left to go shopping or whatever it is lady finches do, the men came along to catch up on the latest finchy gossip and share stories of their accomplishments. Along with the yellow finches there were some red house finches.  Below the feeders were the mourning doves, Mr. and Mrs.,  feasting on the thistle and seeds that dropped to the ground.  Every once in a while Mr. would catch Mrs. Dove looking his way, and he puffed and preened for her benefit.

We still have a few dry leaves under the feeders and I noticed they seemed to be moving without the benefit of a breeze.  Looking closer, I noticed there were sparrows dancing through the leaves enjoying a lite snack. Suddenly everyone took flight, and here comes the black bird.  Okay, so I don’t know much about bird identification.  If it would work, I would just say yellow bird, red bird, black bird, brown bird.  We even had a white egret one day, but that is another story.

All that to say there is a lot of activity outside my window and I am too mesmerized to leave my spot.  The hummingbird only visited briefly a time or two. I think he is shy and doesn’t like crowds of birds much bigger than he.  Keeping track of how many birds were at the feeders at any one time is keeping me quite busy, thank you very much.  The little stinkers tend to shift around and make me lose count. Right now there are 14 assorted finches…make that 15, 2 doves, 3 sparrows and…no, I don’t see a partridge in a pear tree but I keep looking.  There is another bird that comes to visit the regular feeder, and I just can’t identify him. For now, he is called the Mystery Bird.  I’ve looked on some websites but I can’t come to a firm decision.  Maybe you can help me?  Here he is.

Mystery Bird

In retrospect, I realize that for 3 hours the TV has been on and tuned to political news and views and I don’t even know what they are saying.  My pulse is steady, my nerves are calm,  and my blood pressure is great. I’ve been able to marvel at the complexities and wonder of God’s creation.

Like I said, I have accomplished a lot today!

Happy Anniversary!

Hard to believe it has been a year since I started this blog.  I well remember the fun I had with my niece Bethany (This, That & T’Other)setting it up and actually seeing a dream come through.  My initial intention was to post a minimum of once a month.  Ok, that part of the dream didn’t happen, but I am not finished dreaming yet.  After a very busy year of sewing, I planned to post pictures of the quilts my hubby and I made for our kids and grandies, but that didn’t happen either.  I admit, I was feeling a little down after the project was finished and couldn’t seem to get myself in gear! Then yesterday, on the very anniversary of my blog launch, I was blessed to have the most amazing perker-upper.

Along with gardening and sewing, I really enjoy taking pictures of critters.  I haven’t picked up my camera much in the last year or so…it seemed to take all my energy to keep my head above water so to speak. But last week I put up my hummingbird feeder and a finch sock outside my window.  Nothing new in that, but there haven’t been many visitors in the last 2 years.  Then a hummingbird appeared!  Something about a hummingbird just has to bring a smile.  There followed a string of visitors: some yellow finches, a beautiful male cardinal, and other birds paused in their daily routine to say hello. Yesterday I set my chair near the window, opened the curtain wide, and sat down with a book. And then it happened. That spark deep inside that called out to me to find my camera was reignited.  Where did I put it anyway?

I spent several hours watching the parade of birds and rushing to the door to try to take the perfect picture. Notice the positive side effect of this activity…exercise rushing to the door and back.  God is so good to me in so many ways.

The perfect picture didn’t happen, but something better DID happen.  Getting that “spark” back for however long it lasts is such a blessing.  And I’ll keep trying for that perfect picture!April Hummer

A Coat of Many Colors

Did you ever want to be a part of something beautiful? Or create something beautiful as an expression of your love, much like we made quilts for our kids to show our love?  Well last Sunday my hubby and I were listening to a sermon about Joseph. Of course as you would expect, the coat of many colors was mentioned. You see, Joseph’s dad, Jacob, loved Joseph was unique and Jacob wanted to show him he was beloved. I have no doubt that Joseph was pleased with that beautiful coat. His brothers? Not so much. In fact they scorned that coat. (Maybe they were a bit jealous.) But that coat was full of the expression of Jacob’s love.

Now bear with me a few minutes, but this mention of Joseph’s coat led me to think of another coat of many colors…sung by Dolly Parton. As an adult my own tastes in music have developed, but as a child, I heard a whole lot of country music. But what struck me about this song when it came out years ago was the sacrifice and love of the mother as she made that coat to show her child she was beloved. It took sacrifice. It took time. Others may have scorned the coat, but the fact is, that coat was so full of the expression of a mother’s love we still feel it whenever we hear the song.

Now I know my thinking often makes a jump from one point to another faster than I can explain, so I will try to slow down my thinking so I can explain a bit. Thinking of these two coats made me think of another representation of great love. Hold on now, because I’m not going to say what you think I am going to say. I am thinking of the “coat of many colors” that Jesus has prepared for His Father. You see, Jesus came to this earth to bring salvation from sin. And the ONLY WAY to Heaven is through Christ Jesus. He said “I am the way, the truth and the life. NO man comes to the Father but by me.” (see John 3:16 and John 14:6) So in a sense, we get to Heaven and are presented to the Father, gathered in love by Jesus. (I remember gathering a bunch of flowers and “presenting” them to mom to show I loved her.) We surely are a people of many colors, unique and special to our Father. There are those who scorn this “coat” of souls gathered in love…satan chief among them, but they can’t negate the love woven throughout. In John 15:10 Jesus says that if we keep His commandments we abide in His love as He abides in the Father’s love.  In our love for Jesus, we become a part of His love for the Father. Each of us must make our own choice to be a part of this “coat” that Jesus is taking to the Father. He is the Way, the only way.  I’ve made my choice.

I am getting the message!

One morning I was listening to a sermon. The first scripture read was Matthew 27:22. Jesus had been brought to Pilate and the scriptures record that Pilate said, “what shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?” BAM!!! I had been sitting comfortably listening to the preacher and the scripture hit me. HIT me. Hit ME!

Now I want a preacher to deliver God’s Word and deliver it how God wants him to deliver it. That means there should be times my toes are stepped on. I like happy sermons.  We need them. But if every sermon was a feel good happy sermon I might love coming to church every Sunday, but I wouldn’t be growing very much. And I want to grow.  Second Peter chapter 3 verse 18 says, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”

Anyway, back to the sermon.  I’ve heard this scripture before.  Lots of times. You can count on it being read every year at least once if not many times during the Sunday’s leading up to Easter.  And we will all shake our heads and say something like, “That Pilate. He knows what he should do, but when the rubber hits the road, he is passing the buck to someone else.”  And then we go on to the next part of the sermon and forget all about Pilate’s words.  This morning however, the words repeated over and over in my head.  We know that scripture…the sacred writings of God’s Word, are profitable for our teaching and training to equip us for God’s work. (2Timothy 3:16-17)  And the Word said to me when I read them over, “What shall I, (me personally!) do then with Jesus which is called Christ?”

God has given us a wonderful gift!  Salvation from our sins, hope for eternal life.  Wow!  Now what am I going to do with that?  I can sit and think about Jesus all day.  The joy, the peace, the love, the hope.  I mean, think about the time Jesus said to let the children come to Him.  Ahhh, sweet.

“What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?”  Oh. Yeah.  The scripture.  Well, I do try to make sure others know I believe in God you know.  And I’m willing to help out in different activities.  It is so much fun to participate.  I love helping, especially when I can…..wait!  What am I hearing?

WHAT SHALL I DO THEN WITH JESUS WHICH IS CALLED CHRIST?!!!!   Ok, I’m getting it. God has given me a wonderful gift.  You can’ take it away from me, because God gave it.  I didn’t have to earn it. But God wants me to grow.  Sometimes that means I can enjoy the happy blessings of this world.  God wants us to be happy and enjoy His blessings.  Sometimes that means I should do something I may not enjoy as much.  Not because God tells me I HAVE to do, but because I WANT to, because I love God so much, and I want to grow.  Sometimes I have to step outside of my comfort zone, but God will help me. His Word tells me so. (Philippians 4:13) When I read God’s Word, I need to realize the Word is speaking to me.  The Word is not telling me what someone else needs to do, but is talking to me.  ME! How cool is that!  So God is asking me what I am going to do with Jesus, which is called Christ. What am I going to do with this wonderful gift God has given me?  It might not always be easy, but God will help me, and it will be spiritually rewarding.  God, what will You have me do with Jesus, which is called Christ? I want to grow!

Maybe you want to read that scripture for yourself and see what God is saying to you?  Think about it, in a quiet moment.

I’m So Excited!

I’m so excited!!! Shift from foot to foot, grin from ear to ear, shake the fingers, jump up and down, tremble all over and can’t wait to share excited!  Anticipation is running high!

In January of this year, my hubby and I decided this would be the Year of the Quilts.  It is no secret I love to sew, and often the gifts we give are handmade, but this year…yes this year we planned to make each child, spouse and grandchild a quilt.  Not just any quilt, but a quilt designed just for them. I’ve made a baby quilt or two, and helped my mom work on a quilt or two, but there was no doubt this is a major undertaking for a “basically a beginner” quilter.  This project had been in the back of my mind for a long time, and for the last several years I have been collecting fabric just for this time.  The last 12 months have been a humdinger of a journey, and I am so thrilled to have experienced each step.  Our family is not perfect- sometimes they are ornery stinkers- but we love them so much and wanted a special way to show that love.  We told the family they were each getting a quilt for Christmas, but they haven’t been able to see the fabric, the designs or anything.  Even the youngest, age 4, seems to be looking forward to getting a quilt made special just for them.

Now don’t you think I did this all myself, let me assure you that hubby has taken each step of the journey with me.  Ok, he didn’t actually stitch anything (yet) but he helped choose fabrics, discuss pattern designs, help arrange blocks, and did most of the cooking, cleaning and laundry for the last year.  He didn’t complain when the fabrics and notions spilled out from the sewing room into the rest of the house. Ummm, that in itself is enough to make me want to declare each year the Year of the Quilt, but I don’t want to push things too far.

Ever since I started this blog some months ago, I have wanted to share bits and pieces about the quilts and often found myself biting my tongue and getting up from the computer without writing a thing because I wanted to tell about the quilts so badly.  The things I have learned while sewing are amazing and I can’t wait to share.  There have been many people who have said, either with their lips or eyes, that it is a lofty goal to design and construct 12 quilts in 12 months.  In fact, each of our two sons, even though they know I’ll give it my best, have said quietly, “Now Mom, don’t push yourself too hard.  If you don’t get them all done it is ok. Save mine till last and if it doesn’t get finished by Christmas you can finish mine later.”  Said in love, meant in love, and accepted in love. I can’t wait to share with you our year long experience and maybe a picture or two.

Christmas is mere days away.  Eleven of the quilts are completed and sitting in a neat pile in the sewing room.  The twelfth quilt is still on the frame with more than half the of the hand quilting completed.  And the last 24 inches are the easy part.  I should finish it by the 23rd of December if not before.  The day of the big reveal is almost here and I am so excited!!!  Shift from foot to foot, grin from ear to ear, shake the fingers, jump up and down, tremble all over and can’t wait to share excited!  This will be a special Christmas to be sure.

Wait a minute.  Wait just a minute.  Every Christmas should be special because the reason for Christmas is special.  God planned everything from the beginning.  He thought of each one of us as He planned for Christmas.  For each of us He chose the fabric from which our life would be designed…which threads would be used and what the pattern would be. Each stitch of our life was in His plan. Why? Because He loves us, even though sometimes we can be such, well, ornery stinkers.  He even planned ahead to send His Son to show His great love, providing the lamb that would cover all our sins and make a way for us to spend eternity in a Heaven prepared lovingly by our Father.  And when we accept that gift of God’s great love and eternal life, we are SO EXCITED.  We want to share the excitement. There was great anticipation regarding the birth of Christ.  And there should be great anticipation of His second coming.  We should be excited. Shift from foot to foot, grin from ear to ear, shake the fingers, jump up and down, tremble all over and can’t wait to share excited! Think about that in a quiet moment.  And if our fervor isn’t what it used to be, then our Father is waiting to stir the embers and help us regain that fire of excitement and anticipation.

My prayer for you is that the love of God burns brightly in your heart, and that you are shifting from foot to foot, grinning from ear to ear, shaking your fingers, jumping up and down, trembling all over and sharing that love and anticipation with others.

Merry Christmas!

Chilly Mornings and Cinnamon Toast

Recently someone on Facebook shared a link an article by Pioneer Woman about how to make the Cinnamon Toast the right way.  You can read it for yourself here on Rhee Drummond’s Pioneer Woman website: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/the-right-way-and-the-wrong-way-to-make-cinnamon-toast/

Of course, I already knew the right way to make cinnamon toast but I followed the link anyway.  Now I admit, in a pinch I have been known to toast a piece of bread, butter it, and add cinnamon and sugar. That isn’t cinnamon toast-it is toast with cinnamon and sugar.  It’s tasty, but nothing like the taste of REAL cinnamon toast.

When I was a little girl, admittedly life was simpler.  We lived in a tiny town…village…whatever you call a collection of about 15-20 houses.  Our front yard was large and was often filled with the neighborhood children as we  played games like Red Light/Green Light, Mother May I, and Red Rover.  I am blessed to have 5 brothers and sisters, so even if the neighborhood children were not around, we still had plenty of kids to share games, secrets, chores and fun. Being one of the youngest, I got a lot of hand me down clothes and I was proud of that.  I still remember the beautiful mint green dresses my sisters had.  If I remember correctly they had butterflies on them.  I couldn’t wait until they would be passed down to me.

We weren’t wealthy and I’m glad.  We had a huge garden, which probably helped me develop my own love of gardening.  (That and the fact that I never liked to do the dishes and would rather work outside.) Our meals were not fancy, but I thought they were the most wonderful meals on earth.  Looking back, I know that Mama and Daddy put a lot of love in the family to make everything stretch. I’m not sure how they did it, but I never felt deprived in any way.

Back to the cinnamon toast.  Every so often mama would make hot chocolate and cinnamon toast.  Six or eight slices of bread would fit on her cookie sheet.  She spread each slice with butter, and then sprinkled the cinnamon and sugar on the bread.  After a few minutes in the oven, we were treated with the most delicious REAL cinnamon toast I have ever tasted.  For an early breakfast or a rare bedtime snack, there was nothing better. The oven warmed the kitchen and the toast warmed our heart and set the tone for the day.  I don’t know where mama learned to make cinnamon toast the right way…maybe from her mama.  Of course now that I am thinking back, I don’t remember us even having a toaster back then.

So when that Facebook link was posted, it immediately took me back to fond childhood memories of chilly mornings and cinnamon toast. I would write more about the subject, but I’m busy. Its a little chilly and  I think I have earned a cup of hot tea and cinnamon toast!

A Day in the Life of…

Did you ever have a day that was just hilarious?  I mean a day when the “Can you believe this?” and the “I can’t believe that?” and the “Well I never!” just seem to collide?  That was today.  It wasn’t bad. Actually it was good…just strange.  And sometimes when life gets a bit strange you just have to chuckle.

Today was a little like that.  That can be a good thing.  Sometimes I take me too seriously and I need to  acknowledge the humor in life around me.

It all started when the alarm went off.  I. Did. Not. Want. To. Get. Up.  (I always wanted to write a sentence like that and now I have.  It appears at least once in every book I read.  And it appears in many blogs I read.  I feel better now.) Anyway, back to the phone alarm.  It wouldn’t stop.  I tapped it.  I slid the icon. I shook the phone. Finally the thing got tired and stopped playing annoying notes in my ear. My glasses that I ALWAYS hang on a certain peg were not there.  I guess now I have to say always except for this once.

After breakfast I worked on a quilt for a while.  It was a riveting experience. Or should I say a rippiting experience as I ripped out a few lines of quilting that were not acceptable.  Could I find my super special purple seam ripper? No.  I had to use my old one and it got the job done…but it wasn’t purple.  I was able to fix my mistake on the quilt for one of my daughter-in-laws, but more about that another time.  Can’t reveal the quilts until Christmas.

Then hub and I decided to have a competition with a computer game.  It was on my device but not his, so I tried to download it.  It was free…thats good, right?  Couldn’t remember my Google password.  Couldn’t remember my internet password.  Couldn’t remember my username.  Really Nana?  Enough already. Time to put this away before frustration sets in.

I decided a nap was in order since obviously something, probably tiredness, was affecting my memory. About the time I crawled into my nice comfy bed a rain shower created the perfect ambiance for napping. Sigh.  Happy sigh.  Ahhhhhhh. Then the phone went off with a chirp I wasn’t used to hearing.  I had forgotten to turn down my phone.  And just like that the nice, calming lullaby of rain was over. Bummer.  I can’t believe that.

After finally getting a short nap, a little conversation time with hub was in order. And the phone rang.  It was my doctor so I figured I had better answer.  After a short conversation, I decided to go online and check things out.  Right.  I couldn’t remember my user name.  I couldn’t remember my password.  Sound familiar?  My last try I got the username and a security question came up…about my dog.  Wait!  I don’t have a dog!!! Worried that I might have stumbled on the initial part of someone else account and not wanting them to find they were locked out of their account I gave up.  I’ll get that straight another day. Can you believe this?

After all this, I decided I might as well go to my afternoon work a bit early and pick up my new pills on the way.  No one would know I was there early so I could probably get a few things done that I’ve been needing to get caught up on.  The over the counter pills were on sale!  Now that is great- I like it when things are on sale.  My day was looking up.

A quick trip to WaWa brightened my day even further. National Coffee Day and I didn’t even know!  I could have dressed up or something to celebrate.  With my free coffee in hand, I headed to the car and continued on to work.

Settling comfortably at my desk, I decided to look at my new pills. Might I just interject here that settling comfortably is a master effort?  I have one of those desk chairs on wheels that threatens to dump you in the floor. At some point I rearranged the room so I have a cabinet within a reasonable distance of my desk so my chair can only roll so far.  Visitors to my room love watching me try to sit down.  Oh dear, I went down another rabbit trail, where was I?  Oh yes, the pills.  Now these pills aren’t anything earth shattering, just a supplement that I evidently need.  Opening the bottle, I had to chuckle.  The pills filled exactly one-third of the bottle.  Yes, the correct number of pills were there, but they were MUCH smaller than I anticipated given the size of the bottle.  I guess its like a bag of chips that has a big bag for a smaller amount of chips.  Maybe the pills need space to keep them from…something.  Like a good consumer, I read the label before I took a pill.  Most of my pills say drink a whole glass of water or don’t eat or drink for 30 minutes.  Not these pills.  The directions say, “Take with choice of any meal.”  Wow, I’ve never had pills with directions like that before!  The possibilities are endless.   How about with steak and potatoes?  I know, I know…how about stuffed french toast with blueberries or maybe shrimp scampi?  This can be good.  Wait.  Any meal? Do you suppose they mean with breakfast, lunch or dinner and not menu choice? Well I never!  Don’t even tell me.  I don’t want you to burst my bubble.

Camels, Pain and Prayer

Did you ever watch a camel plodding over the dessert?  Ok, I admit I have only seen a camel plodding on hot desert sands in the movies, but I can empathize with the camel.  One foot in front of the other, again and again and again.  Now God created a camel to be able to do what a camel must do.  And He created me to do what I must do.  And I was NOT created to plod across hot sand.  Fiddle, I can’t even keep my balance in cool sand.  But if I can do anything, I can plod on a good old regular floor.

Today I plodded with the best of them.  My part time job coincides with the school year, so Monday it is back to work.  Today I went in to make sure everything was in top shape and ready to go.  The room wasn’t too bad, but something about this time of year makes me want to rearrange furniture.  And rearrange I did.  Cabinets full of construction paper changed position more than once. (Come on Nana, really?)  Tables, equipment…nothing was safe.  One hour slipped into two, and before you know it hubby was calling to see if I would even make it home for dinner.

As I plodded to the car (ok, I couldn’t resist that one!) I remember thinking my feet were really going to be telling me a few things later after all the abuse of the day.  Driving home, I could feel those ankles getting their thoughts together.  Sure enough, when I tried to get out of the car at home, they had their words in order.

“Nana, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?’ said the left ankle as I swung it out of the car.  The left ankle jumped right in. “Anyone as old as you should have better sense than to move furniture all day without help.”  Personally I wish the ankles would just hush.  Do they really think I don’t already know I overdid it a bit?  Mentally I reminded myself that I should probably keep quite about the pain or he would probably join the ankles in commenting on my good sense…or lack thereof.

Keeping quiet didn’t work.  Within 2 hours I was all but in tears and bemoaning the fact that pain pills are not permitted.  I propped my feet up.  I groaned.  I complained that while doctors were quick to tell me I couldn’t take pain pills they didn’t tell me what I could take.  I took a hot shower.  I berated myself for not being sensible.  And then I thought, oh yeah, prayer.  Why is it that I always remember prayer last?  God wants me to talk to Him about things all along rather than waiting until I feel there are no other options.  I think sometimes I feel I shouldn’t bother Him with my silliness, but He wants to hear my thoughts.  Just do a search for prayer in the Bible and the verses will keep you busy for a long time.  I didn’t ask God to take away my pain, but to make it manageable.  He sure answered that prayer and I wondered why I waited so long.  With things in a better perspective, I was reminded of a  social media post earlier in the year.  It bears repeating, so here it is.

“I am thankful for pain. Now don’t get me wrong…Wes hears a complaint or two because my feet hurt so badly tonight, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My ankles are remembering the many pushes of my bicycle pedals especially in 4th and 5th grade. And the pacing back and forth while I stretched the phone cord as far as it would go while talking to my hubby…before he was my hubby. They remember running after two little boys who have since become two fine young men…joining in their games and pretending I had just as much energy as they did. The bottoms of my feet remember the joy of teaching my students. The most recent students needing me to squat to their level as well as spend long moments balancing doubled over tying shoes, wiping noses, sharing discoveries…and did I mention tying shoes? My feet remember hours of joy spent in the garden. Sometimes alone with God and my thoughts and sometimes accompanied by precious grandies who made me see each plant and critter with new eyes. My ankles are remembering being blessed with extra sewing time and flexing to press that foot pedal for just the right speed. They remember walking from the car to a job I enjoy, and trudging up the steps when I get home and being greeted by a husband who still thinks I am special. Tomorrow my feet will be ready to meet a new day with better energy, but for today they help me remember so many blessings. I’m thankful for pain”

The thoughts still hold true.  I’m thankful for what I was able to accomplish today, even if I could have been a bit more sensible about it.  I’m thankful that I have a God who cares.  I’m thankful that I have a hubby who puts up with me when I haven’t made the best choices.  I’m thankful I can still plod along.  I’m even thankful for camels.

camel in Lancaster

Camp Feet

Years ago when I was a youngster, I attended a 4-H camp.  It was AMAZING!  I remember singing around the campfire, listing to our camp counselor and playing lots and lots of volleyball.  When our sons were young they were able to go to church youth camp several times.  I remember being happy for them; I was also a bit wishing I could be a youth and go to camp.

As an adult, I knew there was our denominational church camp.  Hubby and I often went nightly and heard some great preaching.  I heard people share memories of camp and thought…how did I miss all that?  What are they talking about? Well, this year I was able to go to Family Camp.  Who knew that the evening services we attended were only a small part of the camping experience?

Camp CoffeeOur theme was THRIVE. In a nutshell, during the daytime hours we talked, had Bible Studies that were so enriching, shared wonderful meals, formed friendships, enjoyed family activities, ate some more, and had some incredible coffee before the evening service.  WOW!  I enjoyed getting to know some older people from the state north of us and hearing the life stories they had to share.  Some of the younger adults had so much enthusiasm to share.  And watching the children was an experience all its own.  They played and learned and rode their bikes from breakfast until lights out.  And like me long ago, they played lots and lots of ball…but it was GaGa Ball.  And yes, some of my grandchildren were there. What they learned about Jesus and the songs they shared with us were so precious.  Spiritually, the whole experience was so needed and so uplifting.

I went a bit early to help get things ready only to find so many people had volunteered so many hours to clean the campgrounds, make repairs, set up the tabernacle and more.  Helping to prepare the grounds definitely helped me see and appreciate all the effort that goes into something like this.  During camp, I was scheduled to teach 7 different craft classes so I tried to get everything ready for that too.

In between the work, there was so much fun!  A local company that rents golf carts delivered 10 to the camp.  Some were rented to campers, some were set aside for the speakers, the nurse, or other staff that would need to get from place to place quickly.  Never having driven a golf cart before, I was thrilled to be given a tour of the camp.  Then- oh what fun- I was allowed to drive.  Oh yeah!  Hubby wasn’t around which was good, since he tends to be a bit overprotective.  Needless to say, I had a blast.  And in case anyone wants to know what to give me for my birthday, I would like my electric golf cart to be a cool shade of lime green with purple trim with 4 seats and please remember a great sounding horn. (hint hint)  And by the way, when hubby got to camp and was able to drive one, he had the same grin on his face that I did.

Craft time went well, although the flip flops flopped a bit.  We managed.  But the great thing is that we had so much fun.  Maybe a later blog can focus on the specific crafts, but suffice it to say, we shared plenty of laughs along with the paint. And speaking of paint I seemed to accumulate a splotch of each color and I wasn’t even painting! I still haven’t figured that one out.

One of the big things I heard people talking about was camp feet.  Yes, by the end of the day, those wearing flip flops had accumulated several layers of ummm, well- dirt.   It was a badge of honor that showed others just how active a person been that day and how much fun they were having.  Some even posted pictures of their feet that clearly showed the strap lines of their flip flops.  Since I was wearing purple Crocs, it took a bit longer for me to get my camp feet on.  (of course we washed our feet, but it was hot and dry at camp this year and dirt does cling you know.)

Camp is over now. Laundry is clean again.  All those supplies that I took to camp for crafts are back at home.  I would like to say they have been put away, but that wouldn’t be true so I won’t even go there. And finally, after many days I am able to sit once again at my computer and share some thoughts on this blog.  In fact I think I will kick off my Crocs and read a few other blogs while I am sitting here.

Wait a minute!!! I think I can see just a shadow…maybe just a memory…of camp feet!