Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bo, The Graduate 2009

I will start this post off by apologizing to all of you for not visiting YOUR blogs in the last several days. It has been a whirlwind, as I'm sure you know, if you've graduated children or been a graduate yourself. Believe it or not, it never dawned on me that we would be attending all these parties as well as graduation ceremonies. I mean, I knew we had the parties of ten girls (from the ten core friend families) but then add in all the OTHER senior friends and well, wow! It is party central starting last weekend through the next three weekends. But what great fun!

Last night........indescribable. I watched my sweet Bo walk down the aisle as a high school graduate. It was surreal. I didn't cry because I couldn't. Each set of parents (in a graduating class of forty) had the privilege of handing their graduate the diploma he or she had earned, and then giving a sixty-second blessing. I had to stay focused and not look like a wreck when all I really wanted was to sit and have a good, heart-felt cry.

But here she is walking toward us:


The Wild Man with Bo:


And another one just because it shows her cute shoes and my cute kids - oh be still my heart!


The proud and happy family - The Wild Man, Me, Bo, and Grizzly


Bo and TWM have been privileged to be part of an incredible homeschool choir through Peoples School of Creative Arts at Peoples Church in Fresno. The choir has over 250 homeschooled kids from K-12. The High school portion is called Concert Choir and Bo is also part of Girls' Ensemble. In the photo below, some of the graduating seniors (who were in the choir) perform. When I can figure out how to get this off of my video camera I will upload it. They're amazing. I wish you could hear them now.


And this shows the size of the whole graduating class: (There were about 1,000 people in attendance.)


It was the most marvelous experience for me to witness this event. Many of you know I left home at 15 and, though I tried to forge ahead, my life was so topsy-turvy I left school in my junior year. I never went to a prom or wore a pretty gown. I missed high school dances and senior events. Senior trip was something I heard about through a few friends but never experienced. I didn't graduate until my early 20's and only then because I wanted to start college. So, if I tell you this was a thrill, believe me. My heart was intensely delighted (as well as healed) to watch my daughter do all these things, and more. To see her standing there in her cap and gown last night was a full-circle experience. This time, with God's goodness and graciousness, it came out right. We broke the cycle of failure and dysfunction and crossed the finish line, with the honor of a full ride academic scholarship. I'm still shaking my head in wonder.

I don't think I fully grasped the magnitude of the whole thing until I sat down to tell you about it this late night. I looked down the long road when I was pregnant for her. I saw the finish line and knew what I wanted even then, but I couldn't fully grasp how it would feel or who she would be, or who I would be, for that matter. I think I could sum up much of my life by saying I have failed forward. But this is full circle. This is thriving. This, THIS, is a happy ending. She is not her mother's child. She is SO much more.

Thanks for loving us and walking with us on our journey.


Copyright 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

Thunderstruck By Graduation!

Tonight we'll see this:

Bo will graduate from high school after thirteen years of homeschooling. Just yesterday we were doing a "Hungry Little Caterpillar" unit study in kindergarten. Today she asked me if I ever remember not knowing how to read. I told her I don't remember not knowing but I definitely recall learning. I followed my mother around the house reading from my "Fun with Dick and Jane" book. (There's a story behind that for another post.) Bo said she remembers struggling to learn but not being unable to read. Books, reading, and writing are so much a part of her very essence now, I don't think she could delineate where she ends and they begin. They aren't what she does, they're what she is. And when that flower opened, I was there to witness it. What a gift.

With thirty-nine other homeschooled students, we will hand our kids (our young men and women) their diplomas. And we will close a chapter of our lives. What's done is done and what's undone is undone. There was never enough time, energy, or opportunity to do everything I had envisioned I would do. But I pray it is enough. I brought my lumpy loaves and a couple of fish to God and he has multiplied them beyond anything I was capable of achieving. I couldn't ask for more.

And last night we did this:


The kids and I went storm chasing. (These are stock photos but look so close to the unbelievable lightning storm we caught up with that they could be ours.) We try to storm chase every chance we get. This time we were able to drop right into the center of the cell and watch it explode all around us. Lots of strikes on the ground, great intercloud activity, a HUGE column with pink hues, a lightning ball all curlicued up into itself and bursting across our vision, as well as one strike that headed straight for the ground but veered off to the left at a sharp 90 degree angle.


At one point we saw a huge strike hit a transformer and explode into a sky full of brilliant aqua. We stayed long enough to watch repair crews arrive. The Wild Man wanted to pick their brains about exactly how much damage there was, but I doubted they would welcome inquiries in the middle of a storm so, he lost that bid.




The piece de resistance was when lightning burst forth directly on top of our SUV and made us nearly blind. We ducked, screamed, and plastered our hands to our eyes in self defense. And then, of course, the thunder was immediate and rocked the whole car and our ear drums in a blasting and long rolling percussion. WHAT A RUSH!!!!!!!! Now THAT's what I'm TALKIN' about! You can storm chase for a long time and not get THAT lucky. Oh! And the dogs were with us. They did great and loved the pelting rain that came right afterwards.

(Yes, I know this hobby is slightly dangerous but you're actually pretty safe in a car. And with all the trees in the fields and other outbuildings and poles to hit, it would be unlikely to seek us as we are fairly well insulated. And this is interesting: "The odds of being struck and killed by lightning are actually quite slim, about 350,000 to 1. You are fifty times more likely to be struck and killed by a motor vehicle." (from Starry Skies.com). So I guess by stopping in the middle of the storm instead of continuing the drive, our odds of living went up exponentially!)

Once the lightning moved off, the kids had to get out and stand in the wind and rain with arms splayed and faces upturned to the sky. Oh, and that smell. Is there anything that compares with the smell of a summer storm? Those of you in Big Weather Country probably get this all the time. But in California, it's much more rare. Bo says it was God celebrating grad night. I'll go with that. We are thunderstruck by thirteen years. God gave us a picture to remember the feeling forever. :-)

Please forgive me for not visiting you more this last few days. I will be back in between all the festivities and parties. And of COURSE I'll be showing you pictures!


Copyright 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Whatcha Been Chewin'?

Minky and JoJo would like to bring you today's update. It's a good thing, too. I'm still just a little spittin' mad at Blogger. It's better this morning but not fully fixed yet. (The dogs had to create this photo post backwards because nothing can be rearranged.) So I'm leaving now to assume my position on the fainting couch and sending this post to the dogs.



Hello!! MInky here, with news from my beautiful self. Look how the sun highlights my eyes in this remarkable photo. And do you see how I have my two front socks pulled up just perfectly so they match? I amaze myself. I am 8-months-old now and looking for ways to "go greeen" by composting the trash, recycling, and down-sizing. If I find it, I chew it.


Here's a small sampling of some recent work:


That red thing in the middle is actually supposed to be for dogs to chew on. Every time I chewed it, it got smaller and smaller. It’s kinda freakin’ me out. Pieces of it are showing up when I go outside to do my business. That’s not right. It seems to be following me.


(Oh my good grief. Could I BE any more bored? JoJo here. If you’ve been puttin’ off a root canal, now’s your moment. It might be more entertaining. Minky's probably gonna drag on and on about this piddlin’ life of hers and makin’ a big deal outta nuthin’. She’s never faced a bear or caught a cat by the tail. You know, the stuff REAL dogs do. I’ll just keep sittin’ here prayin' an anvil falls on my head.)


Anyway, look at these! These gloves are made out of Kevlar. My dad got some for work and they worked out great so, he got some for me, too. He thought we could wrestle and they would save him from my shark-like teeth. He was wrong. I found where he left the gloves and finished ‘em off.


Underneath that red thing below is my chipmunk. You might wanna look away if you’re squeamish. I pulled all of his guts out and I think those plastic things on either side might be his bowels. Yeah, I think I disemboweled him. When I bit down on him they made squeaky noises. I have that problem once in awhile with my digestive system. So does JoJo. Hers are loud which I think is AWESOME. It happens when she flops down on the floor.


Here’s me in mid-flight catchin’ the chimpmunk carcass. If you look right in the middle of that gray SUV behind me, you’ll see if heading right for my open jaws.


(You did NOT TELL THEM about my personal issues…..what a rat fink. You must work for the Enquirer. I have no dignity left.)


Well, I could be a professional journalist, I'm sure. And every good reporter needs a few pencils, some gum to work off the energy of waiting for that breaking story, and a comb to maintain a good appearance. That's why I hunted these up:



So then, in the spirit of journalism, let me ask you Madam JoJo, what have you been up to?

Well, finally a subject of interest to your readers. I haven’t been chewin’ stuff up all over the house like someone whose initials are Minky. I bark when I need to, like when people we know come over. And I generally maintain my happy-go-lucky attitude when you’re not buggin’ me, which leaves me precious little time for happy attitudes, I can tell you. But here's a shot of me in one of those rare moments:



Okay, well that’s enough about you. Now let’s get back to me.
Here’s another GREAT action shot of me on the fly. Check out that hang time and the air I got!


I look kind of chubby, but I'm not. I'm really just fluffy. My mom says she looks kind of fluffy, but she's not. She's just chubby.

So that's the latest from the home front right now. Happy tails to you from me and Happy Jo!!

Copyright 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

To Whom It May Concern..Part II.

Well, the last post sorta sums up the whole thing. BLOGGER IS HAVING A MELTDOWN.

My text disappears; I can't edit; I can't drag and drop photos for rearrangement; my page won't load completely; some of YOUR pages won't load completely. Some of these are known problems as of last week but there is still no status update as to a FIX. Hello? Blogger? Is this thing on? Posting is kind of THE thing, isn't it? Without the ability to post, well, uh, what's the point?

Debbie, at Jadehollow said last week she was having similar problems. I'll try posting this again and we'll see what happens. I just wanted you all to know I'm still alive!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Book Winners!!

Congratulations to the winners of the Jordan Rubin books:

1. Reginia at Tetertots
2. Libby, at Neas Nuttiness
3. Jillybean, at The Post It Place

And Reginia, you won the signed copy! Email me your shipping info ladies and they are on their way Monday. Thank you everyone for entering and posting. I promise the next contest will be international!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

O Great Medicine Woman!

Had I been born in an ancient place or time, when you didn't have to go through all these bothersome years of medical school and voluminous dry tomes, I would have been a great doctor. Through my own research I could have analyzed you way before Freud (and I would have known the true things you envied and those you did NOT), developed a method of treatment for PMS by gender - you know, Pre-Menstrual Syndrome or Petulant Male Sickness - let's face it, crabbiness is not limited to only those possessing uteri - and then whipped you up a dandy herb concoction as treatment.

Nowadays, you are required to know where the amygdala is as well as what a pre-frontal cortex does. If you actually want to buy a stethoscope you have to define occipital lobe and limbic system. It is no longer good enough to point to someone's cranium and say, "That's where yur BRAIN is, Jethro. If you don't believe me, well, let's just crack that thing open 'n have us a look see!"

Personally, I believe I would have fit right in with the likes of these guys:


I love color and big bangly jewelry so I could see myself workin' the whole outfit thing. But then my obligation as a purveyor of health would have kicked in and I'd be advising that guy on the right to lose the cigarette. At that point, of course, they would have held out their grateful arms for a big group hug, snapped my neck, and boiled me in the over sized communal stew pot.

However, I was born in this place and time and so must practice medicine on my family and friends in my own version of a village healer. This works out even better because they are not nearly as free to uh, liquidate me, as it were, with impunity.

Learning is my thing and I'm happy to share and help whether I am needed or not.

I enjoy knowing what makes people tick; why we do what we do; how what we eat affects our whole sense of well being; and how our second brain, the digestive system (which actually has nearly as much serotonin as our brains) impacts our mood through its complex systems. This is the type of late night reading I enjoy:




I even like to know what made Jane Austen do what she did, as in, entertain me MIGHTILY. (Okay. I don't think this has anything to do with the subject. And I may or may not have a shrine erected in my home to honor her.)


One thing every good healer knows is she practices medicine on herself first. If she does not die or have body parts fall off, then she is free to help others. I am the one people call for advice and come to for over-the-counter medicine when we're at functions together. I always carry Advil and Sudafed for Grizzly's sinus headaches, Excedrin for migraine, and Tylenol for those who can't take anything that might upset their stomach. I get a good ribbing about this occasionally but everyone keeps coming for relief. I have even been known to leave in the middle of church to hunt down Benadryl for a friend having an allergic reaction. I liken it to getting the donkey out of the ditch on the Sabbath. Some things simply must be done.

But I have made mistakes.

There was the time I put ear drops in my son's eyes. The bottles looked nearly identical. When he told me they felt "burny" I told him he was overreacting. But when he looks at you intently now and says, "I hear you," believe him.

Or the time I told him to take a big sniff of Zi-cam when he squirted it (because Grizzly said that's what the direction were). Note to all medicine women: Never trust anyone not highly skilled in the healing arts, i.e., men, because they never read the directions to anything. This was the exact opposite of what was prescribed on the package and had the resultant "MAJOR burny" effect. Lesson learned the wrong way: on someone else. That's bad medicine.

But probably my biggest error occurred on myself - the way it should be. It is the reason I am suspect to any and all when they get injured and I advise ice. I'm really not good with ice. It's probably because I'm a throw back to before they had ice, unless you lived in the glacial regions. Personally, I like the stuff and think it's good for just about anything, except migraine - which requires 3000 degree hot packs to the pre-frontal cortex.

My problem seems to arise in the theory that if a little is good, cryogenics is better. I have burned my back numerous times with ice packs applied to bare skin for well over an hour. But oh, what blissful, pain-free hours they were. Until later.

And then there was the time I froze my finger. Solid.

I had been washing our SUV and needed the ladder to get to the top. When I popped it up, I trapped my baby finger in the latch that forces the ladder open and it was caught there. I frantically tried to pound up on the mechanism to free my finger while simultaneously wailing and jumping up and down. The kids ran around frenzied not knowing what to do. I managed to extricate my digit as I called for ice and dashed into the house. My daughter moved rapidly to comply but came back with ice-cubes.

"No, no, honey. Mommy needs the soft ice pack!" I advised through gritted teeth, flinging meat pies and orange juice from the freezer in my desperate pursuit. I spotted my frozen deliverer and hurriedly wrapped it around my finger. The pain was still intense so, with the instinct that makes you stand on a badly stubbed toe and stop the throb, I put a couch pillow over the ice pack and then laid down on top of the whole thing. Slowly, the pain began to wane and I started breathing. Ahhhhhhh. Ice.

I savored my semi-pain free interval until I felt a shift of some sort and decided to investigate. I extricated my finger from its packaging and discovered it was frozen solid. Just like a T-Bone from the deep freeze. I was awed. I had no idea such a thing could occur. Every good healer should know these deep secrets hidden in the magic of ice. I called the kids.

"Look!" I said with wonder. "My finger is frozen! Feel it! Tap on it! Isn't that amazing? It's just like meat!" We all enjoyed the fascination of the moment. Then I had a second thought. "Uh, I think I have to thaw this out right away," I announced. I was pretty sure this qualified as frostbite. My first-aid training came back to me and I figured cool water was better than hot. I shoved my hand under the bathroom faucet and began the process. I found myself longing for the pain of the ladder.

I discovered that thawing out frozen body parts is painful to an exquisite degree. And I've given birth. I fell to my knees with my arm still draped over the sink and there I supplicated, minus the humility part. I wailed and moaned and carried on to epic degrees. When I finally dared to analyze my former barbecue candidate, it had thawed but had no feeling on the outside. I wondered, would it fall off? I eventually learned the answer was no. It simply turned hard as the layers of skin died. A few weeks later my finger lost its exoskeleton and revealed new and baby pink skin, with nerves intact and no other damage. I was happy and still fascinated by the whole process.

Unfortunately, the incident lost me my icing privileges and I couldn't practice them in any other state, either. Now, when I head for the ice-packs to halt bruising or swelling, everyone runs from me. Okay! I was wrong about this one thing. I've learned. They should trust me even MORE because I am now fully aware of the pitfalls!

And I learned them on myself. That is loaded with credibility. What doctor do YOU know who's willing to subject himself to his own medicine? Sounds like a true healer to me.




Copyright 2009 - All Rights Reserved

Monday, May 18, 2009

Debbie's Big Giveaway - Now THIS is SUMthin!


Debbie at Jadehollow is the dearest, kindest person and THIS, my friends, is a GREAT giveaway: a gift basket worth over $125.00! If you don't know her or follow her you will definitely want to head over and see what you're missing. She happens to celebrate her wedding anniversary, birthday, and her daughter's 16th birthday all in the same week - THIS week! But she's doing the giving. Take the time to visit. I'm confident you will fall in love with her writing, genuine heart, and sweet spirit. She plays the best music, too. :-)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Time for a Giveaway!

I am overdue.

For a giveaway, not for a baby, although by the looks of my stomach some might be planning a shower. If you are, please cancel and just send the money you would have invested. I'll put it to good use. Maybe I'll buy more aprons to dress my stomach in. OR maybe I'll pay for gas to haul it over to the gym and sweat and work it into submission. That's what I did last night. I'm going again today. Is two times to the gym enough or am I gonna have to keep this up?

I am allergic to working out. I have an anaphylactic reaction. Every time I think about 30 minutes on the StairMaster I can't breathe. Then 20 minutes in the sauna to sweat out the impurities. Do you know how impure I AM? I think you'd need to leave me in there for a couple of months.

The only good part is the jacuzzi. I don't get all the way in because I'm not putting on a bathing suit in front of ANYone but my family and God, and I apologize to God. My family - well, we all have to put up with each other and torture builds character. We're a bunch of characters so I figure we've tortured each other a lot. But, as I was saying, I don't get in the jacuzzi all the way. I just put my feet and legs in to try and help with the nerve damage. There is a sign, though, and it says, "No Shaving Your Legs." If this sign is necessary because people actually do this, then there are GREAT and COMPELLING reasons to not immerse your body in there and they far supersede bathing suit reluctance.

I'm also writing down everything I eat now. It's the only thing that works for me - writer's cramp. When my hands freeze into gnarled claws then I can't feed myself. I think it's effective.

So is this book. (I took the picture in my garden because I really need to get outside more or I might be nominated for a Vampire award next.)




And I'm giving away three (3) brand new copies, one of which is autographed (I'll draw among the three for that one)*. It's by the same author who wrote "The Maker's Diet" which some of you might be familiar with. I had a chance to meet Jordan Rubin when I was working for a raw milk company. He came through last year on the kick-off of his campaign, "Perfect Weight America" and started out with a seminar at the dairy. He gave us some extra books if we promised to give them to people who would really use them. I gave out a couple but the other friends had already purchased them at Costco. So, here they are and they should go to anyone interested in eating for optimum health and the right weight for your body. Like ANYthing, they only work if you put the principles into practice. That's where my breakdown is.

I do try to eat organically and buy locally. And we are still raw milk drinkers. But I also love my sugar and sweets and loathe the exercising thing. BUTT (yes, I MEANT to use the extra "T" so I will remember yet more reasons I can't ignore certain facts), I need to quit pretending all is well and make myself do the right things.

If you need a similar kick in the pants or just good information on optimizing your health, then I believe you would enjoy this book.

Jordan Rubin is a guy who, as a young man in college, nearly died from health complications no one could address. His parents spent huge amounts of money trying to save his life. He addresses this in "The Maker's Diet" and also (to a limited degree) in "Perfect Weight." He is definitely inspiring.

So, here's what you do: Signing up to FOLLOW (see the little button over the follower pictures? Just click that) will automatically give you two entries. If you are already one of my wonderful followers I THANK YOU and, you can get two entries by leaving me a comment (FOR MY BODY'S SAKE) offering any tips you might have about your own journey in the weight wars. (If you never struggle and have a perfect body, please do not tell me this. Just recite poetry or quote a line from your favorite book about plumbing and drywall repair.) If you blog about this contest (with a link) simply leave a comment saying so and you get five extra entries.

*I apologize to my international friends but shipping is SO expensive on this OVERWEIGHT book, I will have to limit this to shipping in the U.S. only. I promise to give away an Amazon.com e-gift card next time so it can go anywhere!

DRAWING WILL BE HELD: Friday, May 22nd. Contest closes at midnight on that day, Pacific Standard Time.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sisterhood And Renee Awards

I am SOOO late with awards and passing them along. This one came in to me from Living Life Outside the Box quite awhile ago and honestely, someone else as well, and just look at me not able to remember, which is horrible!!


Here are the rules:1. Put the logo on your blog or post.2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.5. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.

And this award was created by Bella and Ces in honour of their friend Renee, an incredible lady who in the face of a frightening life battle is tackling each day with great spirit and courage. Here is what Bella says of this award:“this is a brand new award and I have the pleasure and honor of spreading the seed, watching it grow.I hope it finds it’s way to those who are like Renee: the acorn, becoming a tall and sturdy oak, giving acorns…”


I am so honored to have received these awards and I thank those of you who sent them to me. (I was so interested in the history behind this one I forgot to copy the link of who sent it to me. Will you please contact me and I will include it here? And then forgive your DOLT of a friend as I offer my sincere apology?!) I will try to be more timely in the future about posting them and passing them along and keeping track. I cannot choose among my dear friends who have been a true Sisterhood - so that is for all of you!!!

As far as the Renee Award goes, I know that many of you are battling incredibly hard things in your life: emotional struggles, physical battles, family disturbances, financial worries. Does that just about cover ALL of us in some fashion or other?! Guess that's one reason we enjoy hanging out together. We know that life IS struggle much of the time but it is also great JOY if someone walks with you. You bring ME great joy with your love and acceptance of me, and your ABUNDANCE of kind words. You move me to laughter, or tears, or growth through your writings and/or unbelievable photography which often takes me to spiritual places of beauty, or shows me something I would never see without your perspective. So this is for you, too. You know what you battle and I hope you feel free to pick this up and post it proudly on your blog.


THANK YOU for being my friends. You don't have to be. And I NEVER forget that.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Time For Word Wackiness!




Still collecting wacky words. Can't help myself. These all come from the "Word Verification" category where we have to type in what we see in order to leave a comment. You KNOW how verbose I am. Can you imagine how many of these I HAVE?! Here are a few more with my definitions or usage in a sentence. What have YOU got? Go ahead. Crack me up. You KNOW you always do.

  • Eufulast: "You might live long enough to give EVERYone a piece of your mind eufulast."
  • Weemi: What you get when your "Wii" character, called a "Mii," has a baby. You get a Weemi. I guess if it was born before its due date you might get a preeweemi. If it's a baby boy then it might be a hepreeweemi. Okay. I'll stop. Oh I can't. Just one more.....so.....if you planted a tree in honor of the baby's birth would that be the hepreeweemitree? Oh, OCD. The gift that keeps on giving. And giving. And giving. Okay, that's three givings.....one for me, one for Bo, one for the Wild Man....OH! I need one more "giving" for Grizzly so it makes four. And giving. There, now no one will die. Do you think I know too much about this subject?! You should have known me as a child!
  • Hyrodis: “Oh she ALWAYS tries to act like she’s takin' the high road. I think she has Hyrodis.”
  • Unmerse: The act of trying to get out of what you’ve gotten yourself into. Like this post.
  • Decosour: What happens after the home improvement project drags on too long.
  • Lishen: What every drunk starts his protest with. "Lishen buddy. I have NOT had too mush to drink because I can shtill shpeak clearly."
  • Rediaped: What the baby is after you change him.

Enough goofing off! Back to the salt mines for me!


Copyright 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Mother's Day.....How Was Yours?

This post falls into the diary category but you're welcome to read it. I don't like that feeling - the one that happens about every two hours when I wonder, "What just happened?" or "What in the heck did I do yesterday?" This is my written memory of the good, the bad, and the redeemed.

Blessed to be teaching Sunday School. LOVE those kids and many are graduating next week. OH MY WORD! Thinking about leading a college Sunday School class in the fall because I can't let them go. And it would be all girls, well, young WOMEN, and most are going to school or working locally. Wouldn't that be fun?! Just not sure I'm really qualified. I didn't get my head on straight until...........hold on........let me go look in the mirror.

Honored my mother for bringing me into this world. Took her roses and a cookbook. Visit went south for oh-so-many reasons that are insane but the MAIN THING IS, I tried. Then, due to the maximum frustration of that visit and feelings of wanting to relocate to Mars except for the fact that it's so darn close to EARTH, I tried to reschedule my own Mother's Day. Glad I didn't because.....


My daughter made me a lovely dinner while I rested and read (and she had cleaned and detailed my bedroom a few days before!), and both kids gave me cards - The Wild Man made me laugh, of course, and Bo made me cry with words of encouragement only she could write - and George MacDonald books and music to, "soothe the savage breast." (Sing to me Allison Krause.......) It even works wonders on my savage brain.

And Grizzly? Thank you for fixing the sprinklers and computer for my folks while we were there. You tried, too. And you touched my heart by asking if I wrote that poem on the blog a few days ago and being amazed by that - in a very sweet way and saying so, even AGAIN, in your card. What woman doesn't want to be amazing to her husband once in awhile?

You three redeemers of the day.......I LOVE you with my whole heart. I am seen. I am loved. I am blessed. When I'm tempted to go all "Thelma and Louise" into the canyon, you always take my car keys. What a crew.



Copyright 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

"Calling All Writers"


This is an alert for all my writing friends. Most of us know there are writing competions throughout the year through different venues but this one is well publicized and offers lovely prizes. Writer's Digest is having its annual writers competition. Categories are varied and include:
  • Inspirational Writing (Spiritual/Religious)

  • Memoirs/Personal Essay

  • Magazine Feature Article

  • Genre Short Story (Mystery, Romance, etc.)

  • Mainstream/Literary Short Story

  • Rhyming Poetry

  • Non-rhyming Poetry

  • Stage Play

  • Television/Movie Script

  • Children's/Young Adult Fiction

There is a small entry fee for each piece but you may enter any, or all, categories. Grand prize is $3000 and a trip to New York City to meet with editors and publishers. And there is a First Prize winner in each category of $1000 and perks. Deadline is May 15, 2009 but late entries may be submitted for a few weeks after with an additional processing fee.

I imagine the competition will be stiff and the odds of winning will be long so I won't be losing any sleep over my entries. But I'm entering anyway because the odds are ZERO if I don't give it a shot. I hope you feel the same way and send something in. Many of you are talented writers and we would all be thrilled for you if you won! Anything! At all! I hope you go for it.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Here's a Shocker!

My sweet friend, Debbie, over at Jadehollow, made this little button for me.

Why? Well, because she is caring, thoughtful, and wonderful, of course, but also because she selected me for this award:


It's from a blog party she participated in and it could only be given to one person. And she chose ME! And she did a whole write up on me and linked people to different articles and even included some of YOUR comments. I was floored. When I popped over there for my usual read I just merrily scrolled down to see who the lucky person was going to be and - I'm dead serious here - I wasn't crossing my fingers, or legs, or eyes that it would be me because it honestly never even dawned on me to consider it.

So, when I saw my name and this darling button, my eyes did that thing where they pop out and lay on my chest. (I'm sure you've heard me mention that attractive talent I have. Once in awhile they roll right down on the floor and peer around corners and that's how I know what my kids are up to.)

I could not believe she selected me. A Mothering Award? I tried to tell her she really might retract her selection if she knew the whole story and I tried to give her some insider information, but she still hasn't pulled it down.

Maybe I should have shared more, like:

  • It takes dynamite to blast my kids out of bed. I am a failure at discipline.

  • Most days the answer to the query, "What's for breakfast?" is met with, "Can you not see the cereal box, bread, toaster, etc.? Are you unable to scramble eggs?

  • I let my two-year-old son ride a skateboard naked down the street. Yes, I have video.

  • I rant and rave about the exact same issues and always receive the exact same results. I do not know why I have not recorded these sessions and simply hit the "play" button. I could nap during presentations. Someone once said, "Yelling at your kids to make them behave is like trying to drive your car by honking the horn." Yeah, well, when you're locked in traffic sometimes that horn feels like just the thing!

  • My kids once got into a fist fight over control of the television. They broke the tv control button to the tune of a hundred bucks and gave each other a good thrashing before I could get to them. Bo had a huge bruising bite mark on her arm and TWM had such a perfect, bright red slap impression on his back you could have framed it and used it for a hand print for Mother's Day. And this is one of their fondest memories.

  • I can burp like nobody's business. It's a gift born from years of tummy issues. I once read a little book to my kids about helping them form memories of their favorite things. It prompted them with questions like, "When you go to bed at night, what things do you hear in the house that comfort you?" Now, I am NOT lying here when I tell you I have spent countless hours reading to and singing to my children. They know every lullaby that's ever been written and could quote chapter and verse from the volumes they've heard. This was to be my hour of appreciation. My heart filled to the brim as I awaited my longed for response about the joyousness with which I'd filled so many end-of-the-day moments. They looked at each other and almost telepathically responded in unison, "Your nighttime burp." "What?!" I asked, incredulous. "Yeah," they happily replied. "When you wander around the house putting stuff away or starting laundry after we're already in bed, you always have one big burp and it's so comforting. We know everything is just like it should be." I told you I channel a fifth grade boy. I just didn't know he visited every night and they'd like him better than me. It's good to know the stories they'll tell THEIR children.
(How I see myself)


(How my children see me)

That's just a small sampling of my mothering skills and the loving and gentle way in which my children are guided daily. I would tell you more but they are having a knock-down-drag-out over who should have to wash the pans and who got out of it last time. This seems like a good time to push that "play" button.

I leave you with these thoughts:


"It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge." Phyllis Diller

"Parents often talk about the younger generation as if they didn't have anything to do with it." Haim Ginott

"You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back." William D. Tammeus



I am so blessed by all of you and I wish you the most wonderful of Mother's Days. May your children rise up and call you "Blessed!" And these are for you. :-)




With Love,

Robynn


Copyright 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

Let HER Entertain You.....

Alright.

You deserve a laugh. I can't do better than this today. I think she captured childhood and maybe even humanity. Mind you, same mom, same exposure to God and church for both kids. Here ya go: Why We Scratch Our Heads as Parents.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Reflections.....

Do not let me linger too long alone within my thoughts because it's there the hard work is done.

When I am all consciousness
I swim in breaking waves and grasp about for tethers
upon which to anchor my vitality
through my writing.

This bauble attracts me and I set out
with a mad stroke to capture it.

That object looms into view
and I backstroke with abandon toward its bobbing form
upon my mental waters.

I am even content to remain ostensibly stationary
for I still create energy and waves
by my treading.

These are the places of felicity
where frolicking lends itself to humor
and ideas crash and spray against the rocks
in gleaming sunlight.

But left stranded on shore
without my mad splashing to distract me
and the impressions and images that are ever with me
constantly beckoning
overtake me.

I rise to follow the gentle swing
of the ebb and flow below the fray.

I sway downward past the wildness of the surface
into the muddy silt of stillness
where distraction is spent
and light softly shares its shadow
and fragments.

It is there
through opaque and muted contours
clarity is born.

But birth
for all its loveliness
is also mewling and messy.

(By Robynn Reilly)


And it takes time. It takes the very thing we feel we can least afford. But without it, nothing would continue and change could not be effected. We travail, and after a time, we pray that our laboring has not been in vain.

My thoughts there have given birth to sadness and great compassion for those who are wounded within our homeschooling group, but it has also come with courage.

I could write volumes here about outlandish remarks, judgements, and bullying directed toward women and children by a few men within this local community, and believe me when I say my flesh is sorely tempted to create a list. But it would change little and reduce me.

What I feel compelled to do is to stop grumbling (which does nothing) and be brave enough to call behavior what it is. Some things are worth standing up for and speaking out against, especially when it tears at the very fabric of something so precious.

I can pray for their censure so more are not injured, and perhaps that will happen. But I also realize contrite and humble hearts are necessary and people must be willing to change. I struggle to have faith or vision for such a possibility as these are old, established patterns. Hubris, adorned in the torn and tattered clothes of false piety, seems rarely to recognize its own near nakedness. But I am required to believe change is possible. I don't get a pass.

And then I want to shout from the rooftops to the injured: "This isn't us! This isn't who we strive to be! Please don't see us through the distorted lens that has been provided!" I want to rush in and fix the hurts and tend to the wounds. I want my own pain to be healed. Mostly, I want to see our community lovingly supporting each other and operating in ways of blessing even when we differ. Maybe, especially when we differ.

So, what do I do?

I have to recognize my own heart must be examined everyday and that's a full time, never-ending job where ugliness can take up residence too easily. I must strive to be the thing I long for; I must pray for change; I'm required to have courage when it's called for and to seek wisdom I may not possess. I must have an abundantly grateful heart for the large numbers of men and women within this community who are loving and kind servants, and who possess the courage, gentleness, and self-sacrificing willingness to serve in humility. They are the majority! I must rejoice and be glad!

And finally, I have to swim hard for the surface because it's time to breathe fresh air and exult in the wonderful absurdities of life. They make me laugh and I miss laughing with YOU. Because it really is true......."A merry heart (DOES!) doeth good, like a medicine!" (Proverbs 17:22 KJV)

"....weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning." (Psalm 30:5b KJV)



Copyright 2009 - All Rights Reserved

Sunday, May 3, 2009

"Ima Dud" by C.U. Less.........

I like to laugh. Did you know that?

What I don't like, yea, even DETEST is to be a project.


Consequently, I have wrestled with whether to simply be absent without explanation - is that A.W.O.E. (as is "Eh, WOE is me?) - or do I have enough confidence in our relationship to let you into my world? Will I cause you to think of me as morose, a flop, a pariah, the one to avoid at parties because all they can talk about is themselves and their latest malady?

It has been my privilege to know people with the direst, even fatal, health issues who, when you visited them, managed to minister to you and leave you with a smile. Obviously, that was not true on those really awful days that serious illness invariably brings and then it was my privilege to try and offer comfort. But as soon as they could, they were encouraging others and drawing attention away from themselves. This seems to have everything to do with their measure of faith. They see life in the bigger picture. They know where they're going when they transition out of this visible world. My level of illness, in its present form, does not seem to threaten my life and yet no one can give me a prognosis.

I struggle with a nerve disease that causes me small muscle loss and rotten pain at times. It is idiopathic meaning, after countless doctors and tests, they have no idea what causes it. It is progressive. So far (eleven years) it has been slow most of the time, though never leaving me pain free or without symptoms. Occasionally, for no known reason, it rachets up and just takes out muscles at will and leaves me wiped out. It affects my legs, feet, tongue, soft palate, and throat. For the last three weeks it has been escalating.

I have done what I can but the medicines that help to make the pain tolerable cannot be handled by my body. A response within me causes my body to build porphyrins when I take them. Porphyrins are a blood byproduct everyone makes and most people can clear, but I can't very easily. These porphyrins have the potential to cause further nerve trauma, as well as liver and spleen damage. I've gone through two of those episodes already and they left me very ill and pretty wiped.

The pain is intense at times and I am only able to squeeze out four or five hours of broken sleep at night, for weeks on end. That, of course, makes things worse and the cycle continues. My throat is most affected right now making me feel like swallowing is difficult - and my feet and legs feel as though I've laid them on the barbeque. Not a pleasant sensation.

And I wish it didn't but emotional upset strains my system and always increases symptoms. (One reason I love the upbeat and like to laugh!)

Friday night, I came up against a man in our circle who is in charge of some important functions. He made decisions directed at me which caused me to miss a pivotal night in my daughter's life. It was a night I had longingly anticipated for many years and had dreamt of enjoying. The moment passed and it is gone to me forever. What's done is done. But it did not pass without my grieving it and spending a goodly amount of time in tears. And, of course, that made all my symptoms worse.

I did get test results back from the doctor and have been given some instructions that are time consuming. This will cause me to have to take a little time away from blogging. That means I may not visit you nearly as often as my heart would desire though I will post as much as I can. If my failure to visit you would keep you from visiting me as well, I completely understand. The blogging world is symbiotic and we all try to support one another. I won't be able to keep up with my part for a bit. I will drop in sometimes and as often as I can but it won't be nearly as often as I want to. Please forgive me in advance. I love all of you and truly look forward to reading each of your posts. All together you compile the most fantastic magazine that exists!

Anyway, just think. With any luck, you skimmed this article and missed most of the ridiculous details. Had we been at a party together, I would have had you backed into a corner and you would have been longing for a meteor to land on the house. Now you are free to run away screaming.

I promise to be back with my attempts to entertain you and TRULY TRULY do not intend to, nor do I WANT to talk about my health. Who of us doesn't struggle with SOMEthing (as I've said before)? Life is hard at times. But it is also RICH! Thank you for loving me and visiting me and please know that you are one of the brightest spots in my life and I PROMISE not to make my health a regular feature. It may bore me even more than it does you! (Okay, I realize that is NOT possible. Insert retraction here.)

MUCH Love,

Robynn

Copyright 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009

Something Wicked That Way Went............


I understand some of you are wanting to know the rest of the story of Max the Menace. It's pretty brief so I'll just call it an epilogue.

Before Max shared his breakfast with me, as it were, we had added another ball python from the collection of an aged herpetologist who became too long in the fangs to care for the snakes he had acquired. Now we had two. We enjoyed our foray into this serpentine world as part of our animal craziness and endless search to appreciate God's creatures which, yes Eddie Bluelights, included spiders.

Our biggest event came when the snake cage lid was left unsecured one night. Both snakes regularly tested its strength and would nose and push against it. That perseverance paid off one evening after we had all gone to bed. The two of them slithered their way to freedom. Our second snake was located fairly quickly the next morning but Max evaded us. Every corner was investigated and all dark places were illuminated. Max was not to be found. We could only surmise he had somehow escaped through an open window or door and headed for more heavily infested rat pastures.

About a month later, while beginning to divest ourselves of rats altogether (Jack - our dear and friendly rat companion had eaten his last piece of cheese - and Jill lived on to spite him), we were moving cages and cleaning in the garage. As Grizzly moved a panel pushed tightly against one wall, there, to our astonished eyes, lay Max. He was coiled comfortably in between a couple of two-by-fours and was living in the wall. Apparently, he had followed the vibrations emanating from the constant scurrying of the rats in the cages and planted himself near a ready food source. Unable to actually access the source of the vibration, he had hunkered down much like a starving urchin child in front of a bakery window. How he navigated his way there will remain a mystery for the ages but we were all glad he had returned if for no other reason than to know where he was at night! We had no concerns for our safety. (No one in this family is in danger of being lightweight enough to become a snake meal.) But, nevertheless, one does not like to imagine the feel of slithering glacial skin gliding against your leg under the bedcovers.

Not long after, it was decided we had exhausted our snake adventures and were ready to move on. We found a worthy home for both our reptile friends, divested ourselves of rats, and closed the chapter of comfortably draped snakes and undigested rodents. No more would I sit at the computer feeling shoulder massages or lurching warnings. But our animal adventures were far from over. And, knowing us, it's quite likely we'll find ourselves boarding a hippopotamus or crocodile. (And I know you'll believe me when I tell you I actually DO have a hippopotamus story.......!)

Happy "Tails" to you!



Copyright 2009