Thursday, August 29, 2013


The re-entry of a space shuttle is not to be entered into lightly. It is then most vulnerable to damage from atmospheric friction. Vital parts can fall off, the trajectory can be too steep, the re-entry point can be missed. It is even possible that the shuttle will be reduced to flying cinders.  At best the shuttle is scathed with scars, paint wears off, and pretty soon it looks like an old woman needing a facelift.

I am afraid that my vacation re-entry from family farm harvest is just like a space shuttle’s.  My psyche has been through that process almost every year since I was a little shaver (twenty-two), because my family has regularly immersed itself into farm life every summer from two to four weeks.

I used to enthusiastically jump back into real life, getting boys ready for school, easing into my own part time job, weeding the summer’s detritus, restocking the pantry. But gradually, under the radar, that ability to sail my way through the change in life style has gone, strayed, lost, ‘tis feared. (Do you know “The Three Little Kittens”?)

This summer I fell to the bottom of the pit. Most decidedly I did not want to come back; neither did I want to stay on vacation. I decided I actually wanted a purgatory of sorts, a respite care center without the care, an out-of-time cabin in the woods. But what I wanted and what I got were two different things.

I got a fifteen-item list (I counted), a pile of phone calls and emails (though I had never been without my iPad and cell phone while away). Then there were two big decisions about my fall commitments to make, tomatoes and summer squash to somehow preserve, groceries to buy, appointments to manage, and most of all, my inner self to scrabble together. 

It was not pleasant. My husband would agree most emphatically, if I allowed him space to comment. And this morning, to crown it all, my ten-sentence devotion told me to wait on the Lord BEFORE I do anything.  I would do less but it would turn out to be more. Too late: I had already charged into my list and then fussed and fumed inside because my husband took MY praying space, fussed and fumed because….

No one needs to listen and wait on the Lord more than me. He promises to hang on, so I must too, by His grace.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Face in the Mirror

I was shopping at a thrift store recently in Ridgeway, CO. It was a
Saturday morning and the store was full of bargain shoppers hunting
for that perfect treasure. Here I am at almost 70 trying to clear my
house of unused and unwanted 'things', but I can't seem to stop
looking for that perfect something. It's just the thrill of the hunt,
I guess. A rare signed book or a painting lost for centuries or a
Tiffany lamp worth thousands could be mine! This day I had seen women
looking through baskets of fabric and I wanted to dig there, too,
perhaps to unearth a special fall color for a leaf quilt I have in
mind. But there were so many eager ladies pawing the material, I
couldn't get to it! I walked on down the aisle hoping to return when
I glanced to my left and smiled at an elderly woman walking away. It
took me aback as I recognized that woman was me! I was stunned and
dazed and felt perhaps I was losing my mind. I told my sister-in-law
what had happened, and although she looked carefully at me to see if I
was having a stroke, she laughed and assured me I was fine.

Have you ever had such an experience? Have you felt silly for talking
to yourself or not being able to do a simple task? Such as leave a
comment on a blog? It does seem impossible. Copy letters and numbers
to prove you're real? Preposterous! We've found a simple solution:
sign your first name to your comment, then submit it under the
Anonymous choice and...poof! You've done it! Have you read the book
yet? We know you're real. Let us know you're real, too!

Monday, August 5, 2013

My Perfect Day

Perhaps if I write words on paper, the perfect visual images in my brain will disappear, and that would be a great loss.  But if I use another of my six or seven senses (paper-speech) I think the day beyond description will live better in my heart.  Words are so inadequate; they are like the canned whipped cream that wafts away before your very eyes before you can enjoy even half of it.  But some words are better than no words.  The poor monkeys, who only differ from us by a chromosome, have no words.  Children don’t remember before they have a good collection of words.  Monkeys are truly to be pitied.

You now see that I am skirting around my perfect day. Ryan announced he and son Ben would come on Saturday to install a better handlebar on Richard’s new bike,  already given to him by our three boys (boys, though the oldest is in his mid-forties).  It was a retirement present; a hint, a kind suggestion.  Let us watch to see if that ”r” word gets implemented.  On Saturdays it does.  “I will work no more on Saturdays,” is Richard’s working statement.

Ryan also said, “We’ll help you with some projects.”

I thought they'd be here mid-morning.  Not so; that's when the phone call first came.

“We’re leaving here in a few minutes.  Oh, we have a stop to make in south Denver.”

That means they won't get here until after lunchtime.  Oh well.  I had better enjoy even a few hours.  Ryan also said they’d be going to the airport to pick up a friend’s daughter late.  Late to me means 7 PM. 

We eat sandwiches and chips and cherries and brownies and talk up a storm.  Ben is 14,  5’10” at this moment.  Look at him tomorrow and he’ll have added an inch or so.  Ben also has a low-low bass voice, pretty common for new thick vocal cords.  Will it be a singing voice?  We all hope so, but there’s no evidence now.  He does play a good Bach piano prelude and is rather a good violin player.  We shouldn’t lose heart:  Ryan didn’t explore his voice until college days.  Now he sings in a semi-professional classical choir.  I’ll keep hoping.

“Oh, we don’t pick Morgan up until 11 PM, so we’ll be here for dinner and awhile afterwards.”

Oh Joy.  O Celebration.

Richard says, “Oh, I’ll get my long job list out.”

Much laughter, and let the jobs begin.  Rug shampooing the whole downstairs, mowing and weed-whacking the lawn, installation and experimenting with the new bike handlebars.  I decide to enlist Ben in chopping off encroaching branches on the blue spruces.  They hang over the driveway, keeping the sun from melting off the ice in the winter.  I hold the ladder, Ben chops.  Soon there is overseeing by Ryan and Richard, and the result is perfect, the squirrels’ and sparrows’ nests intact, though threatened.

Everybody is having a good time, at a fast pace.  I don’t know what Richard does, but he is nearly always visible.  I am machine quilting and watching Jane Eyre on Netflix streaming, but that is a token industry.  I’m soaking in my son’s presence, my grandson’s burgeoning personality, and over all God’s magnificent umbrella of love and beauty and joy. 

We fix dinner:  corn on the cob and burritos (is it just chance that I have a huge supply of burrito mix already cooked and waiting) and mangoes and for dessert, that frothy-sweet gem, a root beer float. 

Rarely do we have time for a game.  Richard and I used to play Eurorail with diligence and vengeance but his Macbook and my iPad have taken precedence.  We are fairly halfway down the slippery slope, it seems.  But not tonight.  We unearth Phase 10, a contract rummy look-alike, and laugh our way through eight out of ten rounds, groaning when we are skipped, celebrating when we win a round.

We are talking about Ben’s AP classes, honors classes.  Lang Arts, Lit, Chemistry, Pre-Calc.

“Me and my friend are going to get together tomorrow.” 

I raise my eyebrows, and blurt out, “My friend and I.  If you’re in AP English, you’ll have to work on that, don’t ya think?”

“Don’t YOU think, Grandma?”

Oh how we laugh. 

Now it is 10 PM, Richard and I are yawning.  We want this to go on forever, but it’s a good thing they are leaving soon. 

I think that last statement a telling one.  An oxymoron allowed grandparents.

Have I destroyed the charm, the joy of the day?  Partly perhaps because it is impossible for me to write as I want since I am limited by my word bank and my perceptions.  None of us have the whole picture.  That should not stop me from taking a partial one. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Kauai Reflections

Aloha, Readers...

I must admit, I'm hooked on islands and humidity and life with no
responsibilities, where worries are safely tucked away in the back of
the mind and shoulds and oughts are a foreign language.
Where sunsets of crimson stain the sky and the bright yellow ball
disappears slowly behind pewter storm clouds, casting a rosy haze on
the earth below, promising evening rains for the already verdant and
saturated hills. Where black palms stand out against the fading ocean
and the rooster crows for the last time till morning. The smell of
plumeria and the occasional burst of rain invite deep breaths as
contentment fills the soul once again. Then a day at the beach, or
four or five, watching the water change from emerald to cobalt and
indigo and cerulean near the horizon, making plain the curvature of
the earth. Birds of paradise, ginger, bougainvillea, orchids and
bamboo give beauty unique to tropical climes and I haven't yet
mentioned the food! My new favorite fruit is lychee, sweet and sour
with the texture of an eyeball. Yummy nevertheless! I've gone on
long enough. My prayer for you all is that you can get away for a
while, even if just in your imaginations. Breathe deeply the breath
of God and rest in his everlasting arms. Mahalo.