Thursday, July 31, 2008

Way Cute Wednesday

Since I can't begin to tell you, even using several languages if I knew more than one, how very cute my Grands are, you may view them for yourselves. Rowdy Girls are dancing. Jbear is throwing a picnic for Gracie. And I'm really needing to see them all!

My time today was spent with my Bible study ladies and in frustration with technology (internet, email, FOX station KVXA--a total green screen during So You Think You Can Dance, and interrupted telephone service 3 times during one phone call). After a great morning of study and discussion, I progressed (regressed?) to an afternoon and evening of head-banging due to technology that refuses to techno. Head-banging before and after gym class. Usually I stop hitting my head after chilling out at the gym class. It's healthier. Class and not hitting the head. But I digress.

Bible study is getting into the meddling area. Today we talked about knowing that you have an idol in your life when you begin to hide something--objects, food, meds, facts, make excuses. The final discussion question was based on John 2, when Mary is at the wedding with Jesus and she just tells the hosts, who ran out of wine, the facts. Then tells them to pay attention to her son, Jesus, and do whatever he tells them to do. That's all. Just listen to Him and do what He tells you. Oh Lord, may I ever remember that all you need is the facts and not my interpretation of them.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


OK, maybe when I was 10 years younger I would have accepted today's happenings better. Or maybe I would have blown them off and smiled through my hormone patch. But honestly, I cleaned my kitchen three, yes three, times today. And I'm the only person at home! I opened the microwave door after the first cleaning to place part of my lunch--delicious grilled chicken and fresh green beans-- in to warm. And dumped the entire plate upside down on the clean tile. Nothing to do but start over--with lunch and cleaning.

Then, after spending 9 hours cleaning my lint/spider/bug/dirt/paperwork laden house, I thought perhaps I should get my aging bod to the gym. I rode the recumbent bike because I had been on my feet for hours today, and the seat would not adjust without me getting off, then on, then off, then on and finally somewhat adjusted but not really firmly in place. Disgusting clickety clack for 30 minutes. So I went to the resistance machines and finished my time there, came home and found clumps of dog fur where I had already vacuumed. Doggie Scooter is having some sort of trauma, which has been treated at the vet's office and he is literally biting out his fur. I sat with him, gave him treats, told him what a good dog he is, and began my dish for tomorrow's Bible study group, Hashbrown Quiche, only I cooked Canadian bacon, rather than ham, to cut the fat calories. When I began chopping the crisped meat, the cutting board slipped and tiny bits of Canadian bacon went all over the twice-cleaned kitchen. Scooter loved it. I cleaned the kitchen again.

So, I ate a very late supper, began putting away everything that was left out, grabbed a trash bag from the top shelf of the pantry, and accidentally pulled down a precious little resin turkey that I had just bought for my Mother in law's collection--and it broke on the floor. So, I cleaned that and took a shower and called Muffin to talk before we go to bed, as we do each night that he is working out of town. And my email program refused to open. It downloaded some upgrade late this afternoon and hasn't opened since then. Tried system restore. Tried downloading a new version all together. Tried opening that version, and although it totally downloaded correctly, it will not open.

Just going to bed--if I can manage to walk to the bedroom without cleaning something or hitting "retry" 200 times.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Nannie update

She had two “episodes” while we were in AZ with heaviness in her chest and pain in the chest area. The EKG on the day of the spinal injection showed some irregularities. The episode yesterday was severe while she was in church. Upon arriving home after midnight last night, I made some calls this morning, but she had beat me to the punch and made the appointment herself. However, GW told on her to me during our drive home, so I had information she was willing to withhold from the family doc today. Namely, that the pain with these episodes is severe enough that she has considered calling 911. She spends too much time crying on his shoulder and too little time giving him specific symptoms and information, in my opinion, but Dr. Will is extremely patient with her and always blesses her. She told him the only thing wrong with her is that her heart is broken since Daddy died.

Bottom line is that today’s EKG was compared with last week’s and one from 4 years ago. They were very similar. Her “normal” heart rhythm is that every 3rd or 4th beat is abnormal. But that’s consistent.

Last week’s episode was followed by taking a sample medication, Lyrica, prescribed for nerve compression pain. She gave it back to Dr. Will, saying she was sure it caused the heaviness in her chest. He doesn’t think so. Neither do I, because she had a mild episode in the office today, following the EKG. I think this is an anxiety attack, but she takes an antidepressant already-- in a low dose.

Prescription for today included nitroglycerin tabs, in case this is a heart problem that is masked. If she has other episodes he will likely do a stress test and/or CT artery scan. The injection is doing its workout and her pain level is considerable reduced. We’re very thankful!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Jbear is Three!

Today in history:

Three years ago today we waited very impatiently beside the telephone for a call from Michael. It finally came in the early morning after Boo had an emergency C section, 4 days earlier than her scheduled C section. Jbear just couldn’t wait! He’s been in high gear ever since. One week later when we arrived in AZ to visit, he was trying to turn over from his tummy to his back, following both dogs (Lucy and Dixie) with his eyes, and had to be strapped in his swing, infant seat, and couldn’t be trusted on his back on the changing pad. What a high energy boy he has been from the beginning!

Jbear, we pray you will grow in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and with mankind, and that you will allow Him to direct all your energy every day of your life. May it be a long, blessed life, full of love from, and for your family. May you love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself.

The preferred gift of the evening--a weedeater from Meemaw and Papaw. He calls it a "leedly leeder" and is pretty sure it is trimming grass when he runs it over the back yard. This photo makes me laugh. Jbear is in Gracie's room, making faces at himself in her mirrored closet door, looking oh-so-manly in all that surrounding pinkness.

Here is where Gracie began the evening.And this is what she looked like when we drove away. I miss them already.
Bye bye, Gracie and Jbear. Don't forget Marmee and Gradpa. May the Lord watch between us until we are together once again.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Not so extreme garage makeover

Jonah got something new yesterday: lots of books. Grandpa and Marmee had a great time with him at a local bookstore. He played for almost 2 hours at the train table, making new friends by introducing himself and offering Thomas the Engine to a 4 year old girl and also to another almost-3-year-old boy. He was by far the most social of the 3 toddlers, but wasn't the least affected when they left and he had the table alone.

In the meantime, Grandpa and Marmee took turns finding age appropriate books for his birthday, which is this week. A few of the titles we purchases are:
First Encyclopedia of Science
The Jesus Storybook Bible
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Go Away Dog
I will never Not eat a Tomato-a Charlie and Lola Book
Way Out West Lives a Coyote Named Frank

We read Boom Boom three times, consecutively, last night. Then Boo read it to him again. Today it was a hit once more while he sat on the potty.

But, here is the go-to object of the day. A new garage for all his cars and trucks that Grandpa "made". Please note the small doors, windows. Not visible is a large garage door opening on the opposite side.

Project Baby Runway

Name that movie: “The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.”

Gracie has a closet full of complete outfits, a drawer full of newborn sleepers, and a separate basket full of headbands, hairbows, hats and bonnets. We simply had to model some of them for you.

Frog Sleeper is a hand-me-down from the Rowdy Girls. Headband is new.

Dress is vintage. Marmee, Aunt Christel, and Boo each wore it before Marmee got a little apprehensive that the fragile batiste, handmade into this little piece of fluff in the Philippines some time in the 1940’s or early 1950’s would not survive the laundry of the 1970’s and 1980’s. Even a month ago I hand washed, spray starched, and carefully ironed it (and my arm). Flower headband is handed down from Rowdy Girls also. Bonnet was hand-smocked by Marmee for a “We’re finally leaving the hospital after camping here for a month” outfit. Gracie has the day-gowns, also hand-smocked, that match the bonnet, but they are wearable for many months. We must model what we can when we can wear it. We’re working on the “beauty queen wave”, and will demonstrate that soon.

Update on Nannie

Yesterday at 2:40 p.m. she received another spinal injection and experienced a great deal of pain late in the evening. GW stayed with her for the remainder of the afternoon to be sure that she had no adverse reactions, did not bend or lift. He took care of Scooter, who is there to take care of Nannie. Go figure. (Scooter somehow got an infection, quit eating, got very lethargic, had a bad blood test result, and is taking meds three times a day.)
Anyway, she had a rough evening, taking lots of pain meds, but today is better. Boo talked to her and heard some of the nursing home stories again, but her symptoms are manageable today, her legs are not hurting, and her back pain is responding to the regular pain meds. She has decided to not take the newer sample med again since it made her so sleepy. Prayers always appreciated.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Nannie saw Dr. Will on Monday. She is still losing weight because she is nauseated most of the time. He prescribed a new pain medication for her, even though she has an appointment in 2 days for another spinal injection. Hopefully she will not need as much of the original pain medication and will be able to eat more. She still struggles with side effects from meds, with some depression (she's taking an antidepressant), and with thoughts of Dubbie's personal items which are remaining in the house. JB is in town for a couple of days, working and staying at our house. I praying that he will be good medicine for her. She wants so much for him to be able to wear my Daddy's handmade boots--says she cannot bear to give them to someone who did not know him.

At 2:30 CDT on July 24, please pray that she will experience no ill effects or reactions from the injection. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

On earth, as it is in heaven

Observing as a grandparent is so much more comfortable than as a parent. It is with great joy that I write that statement. Muffin and I are here to observe, enjoy, assist, and photograph. Today we observed the amazing alertness of Baby Gracie, the difficulty of being the three year old brother, the relatively new assistance of a lactation consultant, and relived the emotions of being the parents of two small children living in suburban America.

When our children were little our pre-natal care was better than that of our Mother’s, but not as good as that of our daughters. Our babies were not born trying to hold up their heads or turn over in their cribs. And speaking of cribs, they are part of the total design for the nursery, with monitors attached and beautifully and artfully designed as part of the interior of the house. Expecting our first baby and living 1500 miles from our parents, along with being on a very tight budget, we and our friends went dumpster diving for throw-aways and carpet scraps. The cast off pieces became lamps and chairs that were re-painted within a theme like “bunny rabbits”, or “clowns”, or something really clever that could be cut with a sharp pair of scissors or painted as a copy from a magazine. You know, something really original like flowers for girls and cars for boys. The carpet scraps were glued to a carpet pad the size of the floor where the new baby would sleep at night. It was colorful, and patchwork, but not beautiful by any stretch of the imagination. I sewed and owned a good machine, which saved bundles of money and made some honest to goodness interior design possible. I bought miles of green gingham checks, threading yards of elastic through about 3 rows of casing to make a bassinette skirt/cover/pads/pillows, and comforter. Green was the color of choice since it suited male/female décor and sonograms were only for those who had serious medical conditions which required immediate information. Hence, hardly anyone knew the sex of the baby in advance of birth. Total cost of all that green was about $10.00. Add one can of carpet glue to that bill.

When our second baby was expected, we saved the gingham outfit and built on a theme. This time it was an entire room, since we had moved from Capehart housing on an Air Force base to a small town. We painted one wall bright green and two white with two colors of green grass growing up from the patchwork scrappy carpet. The third wall, the long one opposite the baby crib and the baby’s closet, was a Richard Scarry fantasyland. It had all sorts of creatures from his book, The Best Richard Scarry Storybook Ever. Muffin painted each and every one of them, complete with a cricket fiddling under a mushroom. Above the grass and the creatures were the words “All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small. All things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.” I sewed curtains for the small window in an animal print—jungle animals hiding in green grass. Total cost was about $15.00 for two large cans of paint and some jungle fabric. It was about two months later before we moved Boo into the room because she stayed in our room in the green gingham bassinette. The bassinette was the same one I slept in as an infant.

Very, and I mean VERY, soon after that, I learned that Joy was on the way. I had the urge to re-do everything. I would have knocked holes in the kitchen to make a new back door if I’d had time to stop breastfeeding and sewing real clothes for two little girls. My “lactation consultant” was my grandmother. Virtually everything she told me I tried. If that didn’t work, I read my La Leche League books and called my friends. Mostly, I just didn’t do anything else except breastfeed, eat, sleep when I could, and play the violin enough to remember how to do it. We kept the jungle/Scarry room for Joy.

Four years later when I learned I was pregnant with Kak, I was sick of the green stuff and found some fabric with a gingham patchwork theme that also had some clouds on blue background. I went crazy. Had Muffin paint the walls all over again—white and blue with white clouds. I sewed new bumper pads, curtains, comforters, pillows, chair covers, and then made three primary colored hot air balloons from fabric which I then had monogrammed with “Jesus Loves Me”. Because the patchwork print had hot air balloons flying among the clouds. Joy didn’t move into that room for many months, because we didn’t have the heart to move Boo out at such a tender age. No monitors, no devices, just rocking chairs planted in their rooms with lots of books to read and places to cuddle. It wasn’t nearly as sophisticated or safety oriented as Gracie’s beautiful room, or as the Rowdy Girls room either. I think all of that decoration must have cost about $25.00 since I waited forever for the fabric store to have a sale on the printed fabric and used scraps for trims.

Today I looked at Gracie’s beautiful outfits, her ingenious baby swing, her gorgeous pink ladybug and butterfly room and remembered lots of things. I remembered how much I wanted to show love to and for my children, both by teaching them and by giving them “things”. Later in the day Jbear was struggling with obedience and good manners and having his Daddy return to work and his Mommy tired and his grandparents whom he rarely sees practically living with him all day. He was so thrilled to see us this morning, but by the end of the day was just tired and almost pushing everyone away. And I realized that we are so like that with our Father. He gives us beautiful gifts every day and listens to us get excited about some of them, ignore some of them, and whine about way too many of them. We ask Him for gifts and he gives them and then we get tired of them and ask for more. Our gratitude is buried beneath our constant list of “I wants”. How He must long to just hold our faces in His hands, turn our eyes toward Him and say, “Just use your good manners. Show some people on earth, what it is like in heaven and just praise Me for what I have already done for you.”

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday Marvels

Here I sit, watching my marvelous Jbear grandchild playing with Tinkertoys. I miss so much having him live nearby to enjoy, observing him growing up and being one of his teachers. So far this morning we have watched “Super Why”, spelling TEAMWORK, then we have practiced that concept in rolling and unrolling the yoga mat, which is doubling as a tablecloth in the floor for Popsicles and blueberries. And we are simultaneously listening to Silly Songs with Larry. My favorite song is the Cheeseburger. But, this is sooo not about me.
Marvelous Monday includes the good news that Gracie gained 2.5 ounces since Saturday. She had a bit of jaundice, easy to understand in the desert in July, and needed more fluid, which she accomplished. Muffin and I are enjoying the gracious hospitality of Gracie and Jbear’s other grandparents in their absolutely beautiful home. That is where we are spending nights. We hang out with the Grands during the day. I cuddled Miss G for about 45 minutes while she took a nap in her Nannie blanket. What a blessing!
Muffin’s Monday includes toilet repair. I’m sure he will be bowled over. Will he be able to flush out the problem?
Michael’s Monday includes an MRI on his shoulders. I don't think that's heavy--on the shoulders, I mean. We’re praying for excellent reports on those. Marvelous Monday Miracles are Magnificent!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thursday Things

Current Favorite Show

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thursday Things

Love Thursdays. During the school year I don't teach every Thursday. During the summer I don't teach at all on Thursday--I catch up. Laundry, Bible study, flowers in the garden, wash the doggy, make phone calls, answer email. And my favorite Thursday Thing is that Muffin comes home from working all week out of town.
Plus, today, Gracie and Boo went home from the hospital. Jonah was so excited that he couldn't take a nap. She said he was like a bull in a china closet with Gracie and the operative words are "slow and gentle". But, he's not quite three and he wants to help so much. Both my girls who are mommies are awesome mommies, so I know Jbear and Gracie will be just fine. I'm packing to go check out the action!
Another favorite Thursday Thing is Body Flow. The class is at 5:30 and is so popular that students begin arriving before the previous class clears the gym. There is a sea of yoga mats and bodies and towels and eager students of all types and ages. When the instructor chooses tracks that I know well, I get a little distracted watching the other students. Today I noticed that there were several men around my age who were incredibly flexible. There was another man who totally gave up somewhere in each track. And there was a young, lovely girl who yawned through almost every track and refused to extend her arms in the strength poses. I love these classes because the age range is from about 10 years old than I am all the way to high school and college students. The late comers are always forced to park their mats near the stage, right under the instructor's nose. I've been in that spot and it isn't comfortable, but can force you to work out harder just to keep from looking like a dork under the eye of the instructor.
Tonight's instructor is incredible. She teaches four, count them one at a time, four different types of classes and there is not a spot on her lyrca-clad body that isn't totally lean. Plus, she has legs as long as telephone poles and is as musically choreographed as a dancer. I felt so good when I left the class that I immediately hit the elliptical machine, then the recumbent bike when the lower back reminded me of my age. But, now one of my favorite Thursday Things is ibuprofen--YES!
Finally, on the list of summer favorite Thursday Things is So You Think You Can Dance. Love that show. Real talent, real choreography, really good music. Each of the dancers is getting the equivalent of a master class each week on the Wednesday and Thursday airings. The choreographers work with them for a very minimal time, but the judges comments are just as valuable as the time with the choreographers. Reminds me of some of the excellent music camps with fabulous instructors that I attended as a student and that my students have attended over the past 30 years. Oops, I'm older than that. Make that 40 years. Forty Years????? Have I been teaching that long. Yes, exactly 40 years. Seems like only a couple of years ago that I was learning to accept the critiques of coaches and teachers and directors with nasty attitudes toward violinists. It still makes me uncomfortable when I watch SYTYCD and the judges deliver unfavorable comments, but I really love to watch the dancing. Hopefully I can learn to speak more kind, constructive, and loving comments to my own students as a result of watching my favorite summer TV.

No Worries, Be Happy

So the Chicken Salad part of me wants to be with Gracie and family and here with The Nannie of the Clan, all at the same time. But the bread part on the bottom of the sandwich is greatly anticipating the next road trip with Muffin, listening to podcasts and recorded books, doing some needlework while he drives, and kicking back with very few responsibilities. And the bread part on the top of the sandwich is reveling in the phone call from Baby Daughter this evening, discussing creative activities with children (She has two Nanny jobs this summer), talking about her afternoons with the Rowdy Girls, discussing competition in various artistic fields . That piece of bread loved the time alone in the house today, establishing an online group for the violin studio. Same slice enjoyed the afternoon of relative inactivity—groceries, PO, bank, clothing donations, and writing memorial acknowledgments.

Oh, no. The Chicken Salad/Pimento Cheese is squeezing out and begging for attention. Visit me! Call me! Give me air time! Listen to my heart while my mouth talks!

Bottom line on the menu-no, make that the top line on the menu-is that whenever I think about Myself and what worries Me, or when I consider all that vies for My attention, I have an Idol. And I don’t mean the American variety. I mean the oldest Idol of them all. The I WILL that Lucifer declared as he was thrown down, along with one third of the angels of heaven. My only place on the menu is to do the will of my Father in heaven, just as Jesus did His will. That’s the only sandwich with no worries surrounding the filling.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sandwich Generation

It has nothing to do with Subway, great Panini, or your favorite deli. It has everything to do with being the filling between our children and our parents. My emotions are running high as I celebrate the birth of our sweet Gracie, gather the latest information about Jbear, Em and Roo, keep up with the latest activities of our youngest two daughters and their jobs, husband and friends. On the other end of the spectrum I hurt for my Mom, trying to find her identity without Daddy after 66 years of marriage. She struggles with returning to the nursing home “just to check on so and so” or “just to take a little gift to what’s his name”. Her conversation returns to those who cared for my Daddy—both expertly and carelessly. She is experiencing so much back pain, and is waiting under the influence of pain meds for her appointment next week for another spinal injection. Her appetite is very low and she can’t taste much, probably due to excessive pain medication. Since she is not a candidate for surgery to correct the nerve compression, her relief is provided by cortisone injections that last for a period of weeks to months.

It is 9 more days until the appointment for the next injection. Here’s where I feel like pimento cheese. We will be seeing Gracie for the first time and celebrating Jbear’s birthday with him. I can hardly wait! But, I don’t want to drive away and leave my Mom to face the appointment, recovery, and possible reaction to the medication. She decided to eliminate the anesthesia, and just plans to take her regular pain meds to deal with on site pain.

So, how is an “only child” supposed to be in two places at once? Really necessary places? Gracie and Jbear have birthdays only once a year, and Nannie has only one daughter. Just call me Chicken Salad.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Happy Birthday, Gracie Florine!

July 14, 2008, 2:07 p.m.; 7.5 lbs/19 3/4 inches
Dark blond hair; teal blue eyes

The entire family is very excited. You can see that Jbear is being very big brotherly. He proudly announced to the waiting room, "This is my baby sister!"
Granpa and Marmee are excited. Mamaw and Papaw took the photos. The Rowdy Girls are way excited too. God is good and we're thanking Him.

Monday, July 14, 2008 Slideshow Slideshow

Last 12 days in photos

I made this for my new Granddaughter: Gracie Florine, born today, July 14 at 2:58 p.m. MST.
This is the beautiful chapel where we spent an afternoon. Notice the repeated diamond shapes? It reminded me of the lyric "Lord you are more beautiful than diamonds, and nothing I desire compares with You." The interior is even more lovely than the exterior.
I hope you can see the reflections of lighted crosses in this photo. The light comes from the Frank Lloyd Wright-esque scones on the glass walls, which reflect off the opposite walls and out into the forest. Look closely. You can see one on the rocks here and there.
Here is the field where we picked the blueberries.

Oh, Deer! Caught in the Act! Please notice, this is on a residential street, in front, not back, of a house.
We weren't sure what the big attraction was for the deer, but it seemed to be the leaves. Just before these photos were taken, a doe and tiny fawn sauntered across the street right in front of our car. On another evening, a deer crossed the street, which is actually the main highway right in front of some of the businesses where there is quite a lot of traffic. I truly hope this is not how the Road Kill Cafe got it's title.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Yum Yum

Weather: Clear/partly cloudy and breezy. Warmer. Less humidity. Severe thunderstorm watch.

Wildlife: Less humidity=fewer fireflies. Deer in the road downtown again.

R&R: Stayed in all day yesterday. Took a nice nap. Blessed by Bible study.

I had two ambitions this week. One was to get a massage and the other was to attend the opera. Last night we saw The Mikado, updated to 2008, with “George Bush” as the Mikado, and “Hillary Clinton” as Katisha. Yum Yum was “Paris Hilton” and her two little maids were “Lindsey Lohan” and “Brittney Spears”. It was all very clever, entertaining, and extremely well performed. I knew three musicians in the orchestra, and after the performance visited with one of them for a short while. She is in need of answers for her life and marriage. I think it was no accident that Muffin and I were there, celebrating our 36th anniversary this week.

Today was massage day. Let's just say 90 minutes of fabulosity. And afterward, thirty minutes in the cabin jacuzzi. Yea! Back to no ambition whatsoever after that.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Bird, berry, moon, skies, heeler, corn, belles, bonnets, tooth __. How did you fill in the blank? Wednesday we drove east, sort of, as the road winds uphill and down, forward and backward through the Ozarks. On the way to Berryville, no kidding, not making up that town, we saw a sign similar to this: BLUEBERRIES: U Pick-->

Muffin made the right turn, and less than a mile down the road was another sign: BLUEBERRIES <--. Turned left. And the road dissolved into a muddy mess. We almost turned back when a local fellow passed us, then backed up and asked if we were looking for the blueberries. Said he had made it on the road all day. (It rained quite a lot last night. Did you know that fireflies are not intimidated by thunderstorms? Indeed, they seem to see it as flash rivalry.) Finally, we see another sign --> to the berries. As we made that turn, I am NOT kidding here, we saw a bluebird. He flew from the brush right in front of our car, as if to show us the way. Muffin saw it too, so don’t accuse me of anything! Under a little shed we found a table with buckets and a clipboard with a hand printed note something like this:

Berries in field. Take bucket. Pick Berries, Return Bucket. Use flat cardboard for berries. Leave money in Bucket. Thanks.

And a sign on a black board like this:


$20.00 (Big X through that)


So, we each got a bucket and hit the field. Some of the bushes were so loaded they actually looked blue from a distance. About an hour, many chigger bites (in spite of Cutter’s Deep Woods), and some rain later, we headed back to the car with 2 buckets of berries. Two dogs, an aging German Shepherd and a little white terrier, met us at the car. We left the money, transferred the blue bounty, and reversed the directions to the main highway, where we saw a hotel: The Bluebird Inn. I AM NOT making this up!

Because we didn’t have enough containers for freezing the berries, we drove on to Berryville, mailed a letter at the town square, stopped at Wally World and bought zip lock freezer bags, along with a little low fat ice cream, some Diet Coke, and a few cookies so we could have some calories. The refrigerator in our cabin is about half size, but has a substantial freezer. We poked holes in plastic bags, using skewers, making a colander for rinsing berries. Then using paper towels we lined the boxes, filling them with the rinsed berries so we could gently dry them. A few nasty beetles hitched a ride in the berries and ‘bout scared me senseless when they flew out of the water. One little ladybug also hitchhiked. We’re still drying the berries as we slowly flash freeze the others in two foil broiler pans in the itty bitty freezer, transferring them to the bags when they are frozen enough to avoid squashing. I think we’re going to have about 10 quarts, plus some for breakfast. Bunch of bountiful blueberry breakfasts.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Today is our 36th anniversary. Ahh. I do love my Muffin!
July 8, 2008 --the number 8 signifies new beginnings, as God rested on the 7th day and began anew on the 8th. It has been a quiet, peace filled day. I'll post later about it and include photos of a magnificent, anointed place here in the woods.
I like that new beginning thing. That's a good word.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Not much thinkin, more bout drinkin

Drive me to the sticks and leave me with a big Diet Coke and watch me relax! I mean, I can barely put two words together and I keep running into objects and opening the refrigerator door onto my foot and really graceful things like that. Cause I’m seriously relaxed. I slept almost 10 hours without waking. Spent four hours eating three kashi waffles, drinking two cups of coffee, and doing my Bible study. Didn’t even notice how much time had passed. Listened to everything from Jack Johnson to Kathy Trocolli to Mahler and John Adams while I was musing. You’d think I would notice that two Mahler symphonies take awhile to perform, but in never crossed my mind.

Last night I asked the Lord to speak to me while sitting on the balcony of our cabin here in the Ozarks. Immediately I began to see fireflies. At first, there were just one or two. About a half hour later, there were enough to really notice. By dark, they were really showing off, low to the ground. And the moon—what a show! As a waxing crescent full of light in the western sky, it is framed by a filigree of leaves hanging from the cottonwoods in back of the cabin. Muffin photographed both the fireflies and the moon. But he could not capture on camera the quiet breeze, gentle scent of pine, and the chorus of insects. Can you see why I am relaxed?

After a brief mountain shower we drove into “town” for a meal and to peruse the offerings. There are places like “Myrtie Mae’s”, “Road Kill Café”, “ Bubba’s”, along with numerous wedding chapels, an art colony, a mountain music theater, the opera, along with pacific rim, Italian, Tex-Mex, and Bavarian restaurants. We chose a gift shop/restaurant with more cars in front and the young lady who runs it is busier than ants trying to climb these hills. She cashiers, waits tables, cleans tables, and caters. If I had to guess I would say that economic issues are driving this community. The real estate signs are growing in yards thicker than the cudzu and pine needles. Gasoline is $4.09 and upwards. May the Lord bless them with abundant knowledge of Him and abundance of blessings.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


All the previous paragraphs about July 4 were memories. This year, reality is that Muffin and I had the day mostly to ourselves. We met a friend/co-worker of his at lunch and just visited. He commutes to work also—from Florida. He goes home about every three months or his wife flies here for a short visit. I was feeling pretty blessed by our crazy arrangement by the time we left the restaurant. Four days a week separation seems small in comparison.

After lunch we drove into Cowtown to the Kimbell Art Museum and stayed late. The current exhibit is organized by the Chicago Art Museum, and is a collection of 92 Impressionist paintings. Wonderful! So much more impacting than looking at prints, internet photographs, a TV documentary, or even a well done movie of the same works. My favorite room was either the “Modern Women”—all portraits painted by Renoir, Monet, and others. Such beauty! Such exquisite light and gossamer clothing! These men really revered the women, unlike Picasso, who seemed to have used and abused them (my opinion). And my other favorite room has the series paintings of Monet—the haystacks, the bridge over the Thames in London, and the water lilies. I think if Monet lived currently he would be a photographer, busily capturing the changes of light and atmosphere over water, land and sky, probably flying above, shooting from beneath at all times of day. Again, my opinion, to which I am entitled, n’est pas?

Feeling leg weary, but mentally refreshed and clean and full of light, we headed for Central Market—another feast for the eyes and the taste buds. The cherries, peaches, beans, squashes, melons, berries, and leafy greens, are in high season and oh, so beautiful! It was a pleasure to choose, sample, sniff, and touch. We found sweet potato pancake mix for our upcoming trip. Coffee beans to grind. Spicy lentil and rice mix. Fresh grated gruyere. Frozen edamames. Sweet chipotle dressing. Fresh ground peanut butter. White chocolate apricot bread, as well as a five grain sandwich bread and a tiny blueberry cobbler. Normally I bake some of these things, but this was a special weekend with a special trip ahead and not much cooking allowed! After shopping we bought fresh burgers, grilled on the patio of the market and ate them while listening to live music performed quite well. We briefly considered stopping off for a fireworks show somewhere, but decided to watch one on TV instead of with 59,998 other people parked off the freeway. Which proves that viewing fabulous classic works of art just makes a person smarter.

July 4, Happy Independence Day

Love this day. Love the USA. Love that my Joy serves our country as a public servant in DC. Love that her Mike does the same. They met each other after moving there five years ago- he from law school and she as a Truman Fellow after graduating from college. They may even be on The Mall tonight to hear the National Symphony and watch the fireworks over the Potomac.

It’s a good day for water fun, for good music, for learning more about our national history, for eating S’mores. Joy makes a fabulous S’more Pie, which is essentially a graham cracker crust with chocolate ganache filling and broiled marshmallow topping. Soooooo good!

We usually eat something with blueberries—cereal, or pound cake with blueberries and strawberries, or pudding parfaits made with sugar-free vanilla or white chocolate pudding and layered with straw and blueberries. Yum. Not as yum as S’more Pie however. But perhaps more patriotic in appearance.

At the end of the day just before dark (which is about 9 p.m. where we live) we cover all exposed flesh with mosquito repellant, pour a big Diet Coke over ice, unpack the camp chairs and move to the front lawn. From there we have a great view of the fireworks which are sponsored by our city and which originate at the city park less than two miles from our house. Perfect ending to the day. Unless you go inside at 10:30 and then watch the DVR’d Fourth of July celebrations from NY and Boston. Or need to comfort a traumatized Sheltie named Scooter who hates thunder, lightning and fireworks.


Today, Wednesday, for the first time since May, I slept all night, waking only long enough to double lock the door as Muffin left for work. The full night of sleep could be attributed to the muscle relaxer I swallowed last night. It could have been the three nights I stayed awake until after 3 a.m. It could have been the packing, the trip to the apartment, the unpacking, the trip to Garland, the return trip and the emotional drain of yet another memorial service for not one, but two people that I loved dearly. Yes, it could have been an accumulation of all those events. But, I really think that finally, the prayers of the Body of Christ were answered in one evening and my body gave my brain permission to rest.

You would think perhaps the reversal of that permission is true. And it certainly can be. But my body, although tired, has been renewed by a few hours sleep and some exercise here and there. It is my brain that will not turn off. When I truly rest it is because I have very little, or little of pressing importance, to think about.

The night before a performance is always very stressful for me, especially if it is a solo performance, or if I’m not as prepared as I desire, or if there is great potential for disaster within the music. So, I rarely ever sleep soundly on those nights. Nor do I rest well the night before an event for which I have responsibilities—meetings, weddings with the quartet, weddings for my own daughters, detailed events with high visibility, you get the picture…

So, now that I am away from the environment where I work, plan, host, and generally direct all events—namely, Home—I gave myself permission to sleep. Nothing big happening here at Muffin’s apartment while he was working today. Just me, smocking a bonnet for Gracie, a book or two, a couple of notes to write and plenty of Bible teaching on podcast and music downloaded on the ipod.

Bonnet finished. Notes mailed. Two sermons, three chapters, and ‘bout one tenth of a playlist behind me. So, why am I keeping score? Because that’s Me measuring Me. We all do it, but some of us do it too often. Tomorrow I’m setting no goals. Except mailing the bonnet. That’s all. Really!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Two weddings, One more memorial service

And today, my Aunt's obituary is online and in the Dallas Morning News. Tomorrow Muffin and I intend to be at the memorial service for both my Uncle and Aunt. It was only two weeks ago that I observed firsthand "til death parts us" with my parents. That one amazing tear, that rolled slowly down my Daddy's cheek in his final moments, the evidence of his last breath and hearbeat as a promise of faithful love for more than 66 years.... I am in awe. If the Body of Christ could only love one another in that same amazing and selfless unity!
Last weekend when listening to the vows of the couples for whose weddings I provided music I almost could not contain my emotions. One of the pastor's even mentioned that as their hands were linked together in youth and promise, so should their hands be linked together when they were old and wrinkled--exactly the way my parents were when Daddy's spirit left his body.
Muffin and I will celebrate 36 years of married life next week. We plan to do so on a vacation, which includes solitude, quietness, music, Bible study and teaching, and opera. Last but first, if you get my meaning--a massage! I just need someone to rub away all my fatigue and make my mind go puddly. No thinkin, no movin, very little breathin for an hour or so. Then, I'll be ready for the opera and the Bible study.
Speaking of which, this No Other Gods (NOG) is much food for thought. And much food to eat--Yum. Today our group had Black Beans and Rice, Caprese Salad with fresh grown ingredients, and a delicious sour cream pound CAKE. In other words, we ate the Word, on Feed on the Word plates, then had our cake and ate it too.

Blessings; more blessings

Today my precious sisters in my Emmaus reunion group gave me a new Bible. They also gave one to my sister whose brother died on the same day as Daddy. It is the Complete Personalized Promise Bible, with declarations for the reader to speak. That's a Good Word! Truth! Profitable for life! These ladies are my only siblings, having been born an only child to my parents. Of course, the others in the Body of Christ are my only siblings too. So, I'm just an "only child" in my earthly family, but not anywhere else. If you follow me. And I hope you do.
Twas also a blessing to complete a planning meeting this morning for a music club to which I belong. I think I am correct in saying that we bless lots of people with our music and three guest programs each year, giving our "gift" to the community. We met for a little more than an hour and planned our eight yearly meetings, complete with hymns, folk songs, leaders and accompanists, study book, and musical program for 2008-09. With a few more confirmations we will take this to print.
Later in the day I was blessed by some Bible study on my own, which I have been craving for weeks. I could have gone on for hours, but the schedule pressed in for exercise, and other disciplinary activities. After the gym I was blessed to visit my Mom, looking over the box full of beautiful sympathy cards and expressions of love sent to our family by so many friends. We had a good visit, and she blessed me with some aloe vera for the patch where I "ironed" my arm.
But the most amazing blessing of the day was this: a call from cousins to say that my Mom's last remaining uncle passed away yesterday, and just hours later, his beloved wife joined him. They were married 69 years and their spirits were so joined, that even though they were too ill to have cognition of one another's physical presence, their bodies went together to be with God in a span of 30 hours. He was such a fun man--always entertaining kids and adults alike with stories. And what a storyteller he was! She was my kindred spirit-a music teacher and pianist, who became an administrator of music education in their suburb. Heaven grew richer again today.