Sunday, April 30, 2017

When Your Mother Reprimands You ...

... That You're Not Blogging! Uh oh. I've been a bad bloggy-daughter! After all, the first reason I started this blog 7 years ago was to keep my family (and friends afar) informed about my life.

What was my last post anyway? Argh!

So ... last weekend. I do remember that! Julia and I went to Charlotte for a fabulous bridal shower for Shani, my new daughter-in-law. The decorations, the food, the house, the guests -- it was all so wonderful! We had a great time, and I simply adored getting to know Shani's dear family. They are so sweet.
 The photo above is of all the females in Shani's family who were at the shower. (Her daddy, James, whisked himself out of the house as more and more women made their way in!) Mother, for your interest, from left to right: Shani's aunt, her sister Kenya, Shani, her mother Belinda, her grandma, her other aunt, and kneeling is her sister Genet. Peter calls Shani's family rambunctious. I prefer that delightful British term, "larky." They are happy, chatty, busy, hospitable, elegant, fun, comfortable.
Below, Shani opened some really beautiful gifts from many friends. There must've been at least 40 guests at the shower. The other photo is of Shani watching a video Peter made for the shower. She wasn't expecting that :)
 I snapped a photo of Kenya and Shani too.

 Dessert table:

The treat table:

 Below are prizes for the games. And I won a prize! Shani answered a list of 20 questions about Peter. He had provided the correct answers to Shani's mama beforehand. We guests had to guess how many questions she would answer correctly -- and I guessed 17. And I got it right! I read the questions and felt it was quite likely that Shani and Peter knew each other well, and she would know most of those things. They are a good couple -- good friends, good buddies. They laugh a lot and miss each other so much.
 Even though I provided the photos of Peter in the game below, I still didn't do a good job of guessing their ages!
 I took Shani a whole stack of photos of Peter through his babyhood and childhood. She enjoyed those.
Belinda (Shani's mom) had this banner made. The photo of the couple is from their engagement. The landscape is from the Berkshires, where the wedding will be. And after that happens, I'll post photos again.
In other news: Adam's hand continues to heal. He has a pin in his middle finger, but the stitches in the thumb and index finger will be coming out tomorrow, and they are rapidly improving. Also, Julia is nearly finished with high school. Hooray!!! She has only 2 exams remaining at the local community college. She'll find a summer job and in a few months she will be headed to the mountains for university studies. Life is busy. I've stalled out in writing my newest novel, not because I don't know what happens next in the plot, but because I'm busy with farm work, my job, church stuff, tending to Julia, etc. There's not a lot of "down time" around here, and when I do get a half hour of it, I want to sit still and enjoy it :)

Or write a blog post. Yeah. That's what I need to be doing!!

Love to all!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Clover and Buttercups

Our pasture, our pups:

I'm sorry for the general absence of blog posting. Life is quite busy, especially with Adam's right hand out of commission. I've enjoyed my week of spring break. Julia and I are heading to Charlotte for a bridal shower for my new daughter-in-law, Shani! It will be a quick trip. The wedding is right around the corner, and life will be busier still. Adam continues to heal although the damage to his middle finger was extensive. He has a pin in it to prevent bending it.

I will get back to you with photos from the shower, our garden (which is doing quite well), and other developments in family life. Tata for now!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Male Pattern Stupidity, Take Two

I just refreshed my memory about Adam's ankle injury of last June, remember?
Well, here we go again!
This morning I was happily plopping tomato seedlings into the soil when Adam walked up, holding his right hand wrapped in a dish towel.
 That's when I realized I would (again) spend my day in the Emergency Room.
He'd started the day so well! He was repairing the broken window, cutting a new sash.
There's the offending saw. I found a surprising lack of blood splattered around. And the broken window is back there too. The fact is, Adam was pushing that board through the saw without using the little pusher board, which we all know (from watching Norm Abrams for decades) is an essential part of woodworking safety!
Male Pattern Stupidity at work.
Thus, I got to watch him like this for a few hours:
 I admit, I was not as tender and caring as I was last year. After the whole Infamous Knee Injury While Riding a Bike, and the lawn mowing incident with the copper wire ... I'm rather tired of having Adam in the hospital.
Okay, I won't show the photo of his fingers when they were gashed open, but for those of you who like to see scary medical things, I'll post a post-stitches photo.
For those of you who get squeamish while trimming fingernails, this is fair warning!







coming up.

Hopefully that was enough warning and you have now put a book over the screen while you scroll past.
 The worst part was the thumb. He did break the end of the thumb, or perhaps I should say ... that's the part that must've hit the saw blade and it crunched it a bit. He got about 25 stitches in all. They put in an I.V. and everything! Gave him repeated shots of something like lidocaine into his hand so he wouldn't feel anything. But he still felt it. He felt the lidocaine jabs most of all, so finally he stopped telling her that he could still feel the stitching, so she would stop jabbing him. He's a nut.
Then another nurse came in and wrapped it all up with two splints underneath.
 "Live long and prosper," he can say. Or he can turn his hand sideways and it looks like a great gun.
He is determined to milk this injury for all the hugs he can get. However, he also doesn't want to stop doing stuff. I made us salads for supper, but he insisted on making hot cocoa himself while Julia cooked up some of her Asian soup.
Fun times in the kitchen!
I was meant to start my Spring Break from work tomorrow, but I took today off too. Injured husbands come first. Mine spends more than his fair share of time in the E.R. But at least this time --- he's still ambulatory!
I rewarded myself with pecan pie from a new bakery nearby.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Too Busy to Think ... Much

Hi, dear friends. Sorry for the sporadic blogging of late. It's spring, which means there's lots happening on the farm, so I spend most of my free time in the greenhouse or in the pasture or with the chickens or dogs or messing in my flower or herb beds. If you want a catch-up on the farm, click on over to that blog.

This blog is usually about family life and whatever thoughts have been ruminating in my head. Right now, family life is just fine. Peter has moved to Boston and is preparing for his wedding to Shani on May 13. Julia and I are going to a bridal shower next week in Charlotte! Anna has started her second year teaching in Japan. Philip and Kara are still living newlywed life in Chattanooga. Julia has only a few days of high school classes left. Adam says, "Hooray!!!" to that because he's the one that drives her back and forth to New Bern. She's taking an Ethics class and a Psychology class, plus a math class at home.
Adam and Julia doing Statistics together
When I have time to think thoughts, it's usually about the ladies Bible study I teach each Monday. We're studying one of my favorite books ever, Elisabeth Elliot's A Path Through Suffering. The chapters are quite short, but chock-full of wisdom and Scripture and a great woman's personal experience with suffering in her own life and the lives of dozens (really, hundreds) of people who've come to her during her life asking, "Can you help me with my suffering?"
Image result for a path through suffering
In that vein, I share with you a radically different perspective (but a typical one these days) from Tim Lawrence on "Upworthy" -- "8 Simple Words to Say When Someone You Love Is Grieving." Lots of people agree with him also.

I imagine both Lawrence and Elliot would agree on these points: 1) We should be very, very careful when speaking to those who suffer and grieve. 2)It's easy to say hurtful things to them, thinking we're helping. 3)If you haven't experienced their type of suffering then you're not equipped to speak to it at all.

Beyond that, I'm pretty sure Elliot's views would be offensive to Lawrence. He says that if you're grieving and anybody says to you that your suffering is for a reason, or it was meant to be, or it will make you a better person, you have every right to jettison that person out of your life. And not just because their words are causing you more pain. Oh no! But because such words are platitudes. They are "categorically untrue," Lawrence claims.

Elliot would disagree, and I'm so happy she does! She gives real hope. Lawrence does not. Elliot avows that God redeems all kinds of suffering and grief because He is a redeeming God. Lawrence doesn't see life that way. Lawrence admits he has a more cynical view of others, since his own grieving. What a joy to read Elliot, who has had some pretty intense grief in her own life, and hear her state confidently that she is not jaded nor dismayed nor afraid! She is confident not only of God's love and plan for her in her suffering, she is confident that her suffering is perfectly designed for her by God to equip her to serve happily in His kingdom as nothing else could have done. Suffering is the tool God uses, Elliot teaches us, that forms us into the people who better hold the "seeds of the divine life." No, that's not hocus-pocus stuff. It means our suffering is designed to make us better distributors of God's life-giving food-for-the-soul: love, joy, peace, patience, forgiveness, goodness, tenderness.

Think of yourself as a container with a lid. God comes along and begins to puncture your lid, jabbing hole after hole in it. It hurts! The lid is ruined! The jar -- YOU - cannot hold anything anymore. Then he puts into you all the things he treasures, those "divine seeds" of love and joy and all the others. Then He turns your life upside down and He sprinkles them all out on people who need them.

A pretty little picture? A cute analogy? Not really. It can be real life, if you let it be. Or we can keep grieving and grieving and suffering and pulling inward and feeling angry and hurt and resentful. I speak to myself. I ask: How have I let the sufferings I've experienced change me into a better person who gives those seeds of love and joy to others? I don't just ask, Have I changed? I ask, How exactly have my sufferings changed me?

Elliot's book is full, chapter after chapter, of people who have done just this -- taken their pain and suffering and determined to use them to help others and make God's joyful, loving kingdom a reality on Earth.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Of Windows and Wattle

Bad news first? Okay. We have a broken window on our back porch. Beyond "repair." This will be a "rebuild." Thankfully it's not a big window.
 I like these windows all around our back porch. They make the area light. Two of them lift out for ventilation. Below is the other one that is still intact. Above is the spot where the broken window simply fell out!
 One pane was cracked last year. Then in the wind yesterday the good pane fell out when the bottom board of the window (which was rotten) fell away into the flower bed below.
 The pane didn't break!
 Adam trimmed all the fruit trees in the yard of their water sprouts, which are straight and pliable. I have always, always adored the look of a wattle fence, so I made a low one around my hosta bed in the shade garden.
 I just adore it! It's quirky and has some bad spots, but I don't care. It's the general, natural look that I'm after.
Have you ever made a little wattle fence? That's one thing I can now check off my "bucket list." I don't actually have a bucket list, but if I did, that would've been on it :)