"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Lowly Care-Giver

I had just finished feeding the horses, feeling content in the ability I have to take care of them properly. Before I went back to the house, I decided I would freshen Juliee's water trough and then do Misty's. Juliee mostly drinks out of Misty's trough, as it is larger, and probably stays cooler; but I like to keep the smaller one of Juliee's fresh, anyway, even if she never drinks from it. Just in case, you know.

I finished filling Juliee's trough and pulled the hose over to Misty's. I did not like what I saw. There on top of the water lay two dead starlings. The water did not look good at all and I wondered how long these two birds had been dead. Juliee would have been ok, cause she had her own trough to drink from. But Misty can't get to that trough like Juliee can get to Misty's. Yikes. Not good! Poor Misty!

It couldn't have been that long since the water was checked and freshened, but I marked in my mind to do a better job of checking it daily. The starlings had been thick today so maybe it was just from today, but I had a feeling it was at least two days these birds had been there.

My first concern was if this water could make the horses sick. To tell you the truth, I don't really know. But I did not want to take any chances. And my next concern was when had Misty last drank some water. She was eating well and seemed ok, so there was probably no need to worry.

I keep a 5 gallon bucket readily available for when I need to scoop water from the trough to give it a thorough cleaning. I went to grab it, but realized Sam had grabbed it just the other day for a fishing bucket when Matthew had forgotten his on their first fishing day of the season.

Ugh! What would I use? I was pretty certain it would be fruitless, but I tried to tip the bucket without first emptying any water. Nope, too heavy; that was not going to work. I couldn't budge it. And I had to get those two birds out of there before I did anything anyway.

I spotted the snow shovel in the corner of the house in my yard and garden tool box. Worth a try, I thought.

It worked perfectly to remove the two dead birds. I picked them up in one scoop and drained the excess water from the shovel. I found a spot where I could bury the two birds, placing them out of the way to come back to. I wanted to get this water fresh before I did anything else.

I started scooping the water with the snow shovel and found it worked perfectly. Even better than my 5 gallon bucket, because it didn't get as heavy and was easier on my back. It actually didn't take that long to get the trough empty. I left the trough only about a quarter full (yes that was my first choice of words - "full", not "empty". Of course, in this scenario "full" is probably the negative view.) Anyway, I digress. It was now empty enough that I could begin to rock the trough back and forth enough to garner motion so that I could dump the rest of the water from the trough.

WHOOOOOOSH....success! Now if only that soil would soak up the water better. The ground was not absorbing it very quickly, leaving a big puddle on top. I was now standing in it with only my flip-flops on. I hoped the water wasn't harmfully tainted. Germ-phobia that I am.

I grabbed the hose and started cleaning out the trough as best as I could. I rinsed and I rinsed and I rinsed. I even sprayed the puddles around the trough that had gathered. If it was too tainted I didn't want the horses to drink from that, either, as I know they sometimes will. I figured I could at least add more water to the puddle to freshen it to some degree. I had noticed the little killdeer wanting to come to the puddle to drink and I didn't want them to get sick either. I just didn't know. Dead bodies of birds surely tainted the water. I didn't want to take a chance for my horses or the little birds.

Finally, I was ready to fill the now clean trough. I wanted to show Misty the tank had clean water, so I grabbed some fresh grass so she would come over to the trough and see the water would soon be clean and fresh. The hose was quietly running now with the nozzle at the bottom of the trough, but all the little birds seemed to know. Misty seemed uninterested in the water, but was certainly loving the fresh grass I was picking. As I stood there offering her the grass, I noticed a bird high in Matthew's 25 year old "Birthday Tree". I couldn't quite see what the bird was, but I was curious. As I watched, the killdeer kept coming and next a robin. I started to get worried about them too. I didn't want them to drink the water yet, until it had all been freshened - even the puddle on the ground. I decided I would just go stand by the trough and hold the hose, thinking that my presence would scare the birds away enough until the trough was full.

It didn't really work. As I stood there holding the hose, the sound of the running water seemed to draw more birds. A tiny humming bird came to the tank, apparently wanting a drink. She hovered and hovered, then flitted about before hovering some more. Now how in the world does that little buddy ever get a drink out of such a large tank, I wondered. She didn't try, apparently the running hose was enough to give her some apprehension, but she certainly wasn't afraid of me.

At some point the bird I had wondered about in the tree had flown to the ground and was standing in the mud. Oh my goodness you are beautiful, Mr. Cedar Waxwing, but please don't drink yet! I just want it to be a bit fresher first. He put his beak to the ground and sipped a bit. I lightly flipped the hose his way. I didn't want to frighten him, but neither did I want him to drink just yet. He simply looked up at me through his black mask as if to say, "Why not?" He stood there momentarily, not drinking, but seemingly unafraid of me. I held a life-giving source. It was in my hands and I was in control of it for all these little creatures around me - the killdeer, the robin, hummingbird and now the cedar waxwing. To tell you the truth (don't laugh and don't think me disrespectful)...I felt a bit like God in that moment..."I know what's best for you", I thought. And I will withhold this life giving source from you until the just right time. Hahaha...oh the places my mind wanders! ;-)

Yes, we all know that very simple truth. God knows best. It is a simple facet of our faith. But today, for me, it was a good reminder anyway. Sometimes one can feel pretty alone in our earthy challenges and the "why" questions always seem to come far more easily than the answers - even if they are simple.

I didn't really like momentarily playing God though. I worried the birds wouldn't come back. I worried I was chasing them from my yard forever, not giving a proper respite. I just wanted to see them all be able to drink right now! As I stood there holding the hose and letting the tank fill, they really seemed to have no fear. It was almost magical. They watched and waited patiently. Sometimes they stopped to look at me, not daring to come closer, but not flying away either. This was a very special moment for me - I was in a haven with my birds - still and watchful, with only the sound of a running hose...Oh and I guess some normal target practice shooting in the background. lol I LOVE where I live.

Finally another bird started to come. This one not so desired - it was that nasty mosquito. And he seemed to come with a vengeance. I swatted at him, and swatted at him some more. He would be what would finally drive me away. (Nope. I am not God)  I left the hose in the tank to fill and went to bury the two dead starlings. Funny that I didn't care about these two, but yet I was so worried about the rest. (Nope. See above parenthesis. lol)

I did wonder what had happened to these two. There seemed to be a wound on the chest of one. I didn't look that closely at the other. When I told my husband later, he commented that maybe they had hit the wire....that didn't seem too likely to me, but who knows...

One thing is for certain. I am not the Giver of Life and probably not even a sustainer of life. I am just a lowly care-giver. But I do care and I want to be the best care-giver I can be. Sometimes I simply need a good reminder of who I am and what I am supposed to do.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Brain Swirls

I think I will just post some random thoughts. It has been a long time since I have blogged. Too busy; not the right frame of mind...nothing to write about. I don't know. Maybe all of the above.

Anyway, if I am to get any blogging done at all, I suppose it will have to be random thoughts for now. Too many brain swirls in my head to put out anything too thought provoking.
Here goes:

I made it through another birthday...too many to count. But this one was significant in that it was the first birthday I have ever had without my mom. I haven't always spent the day with her, but she was at least always in the background with a phone call, or a card. I missed her terribly on this birthday. My heart was warmed when finding a moment to myself, I walked around the yard and discovered her Bleeding Heart is in bloom. Bleeding Hearts will always remind me of my mom because she always had one in her front yard, and she is the one that taught me about them. I am certainly glad I took a start from her bush at my folks' home, before they moved.

The kids came and fixed us dinner. It was wonderful. And Kaytee made me a delicious strawberry pie for desert, instead of cake. She knows how much I love it! It was a very thoughtful thing for her to do. She and I had tried to get some recently at Shari's Restaurant when we were on an outing. We were unsuccessful. I probably whined. But hey! I got some for my birthday! Yay! And it was absolutely delicious!!

Matt and Kaytee were not supposed to get me a gift, but they did anyway. They bought me the cutest little truck, with plants. They built a little truck bed out of pop cycle sticks and small wood blocks to hold two plants - Pansies and Hyacinth. So cute! I love it! Hyacinth is one of my favorite flowers. The fragrant aroma is filling my kitchen ever since.
I got a day to spend at home. It couldn't have been better. I cleaned stalls, worked in the barn, and groomed the horses.  I worked in the yard and got rid of some weeds. I did some arranging of furniture on our deck. I put out the humming bird feeders, when I found nectar, that I didn't know I had. I sat in the sun and thought about only the warmth of it, and remembered the days when I would sit for hours in the sun at the beach. It used to be one of my very favorite things to do. I remembered why.

And my biggest project of the day was making a "She Shed" in my barn. I had told Kaytee I wanted to do this. She is the only one who knows. I am sure my husband will think I am nuts and have me remove it as soon as he finds out. But for now...I am going to enjoy and pretend and keep it for as long as I can. Probably only 'til July - when it is time to fill the barns with hay. I told my husband I want to just have one hay barn this year and keep the big barn for horsey stuff and other barn needs. But we have picked up some extra pastures to tend, so I suspect we will need both barns if we get a good crop - for which we are certainly hoping.
Until, then my "She Shed"!
It was a beautiful sunny day, today. And we are having a bit of a storm tonight. Lots of wind, so far just one clap of thunder and only a small amount of rain. But the sky is definitely storm cloud gray and the sense of something imminent about to happen fills the air. My husband just reported lightening. I like it. The horses are safe in their stalls. Bubby is at my feet. It brings a good end to a good day. It is 7:51pm and I will be in bed within the hour. I like that too.
Oh! And I got to blog a few random brain swirls.


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Home Video Marathon - Part 1

It was a rare day to relax, so I decided to take full advantage of it. I did get dressed because I had an early appointment. But when I returned home, not feeling that well, I decided to put on my jammies and vegetate for the rest of the day.

Sick of the TV, and unable to concentrate on a book, but longing to do something constructive while I was down, I decided I would pull out some old home movies.

I have several movies, on VHS that I had taken of our son with my sister's video camera - the popular and probably only means back then. Honestly, I don't think I have ever watched these videos. I am sure I have never shown them to Matt. I was ready for a marathon. I pulled up and old favorite chair, directly in front of the television, got my blankie, the remote and got ready to put my feet up while I whiled away the hours - at least 8 of them. Life never felt so good.

I started with the videos of Matthew when he had made the local news. They were the shortest ones so it helped me feel like I had a good start on the stack. I remembered two times he was newsworthy, but I found out there were 3 - at least so far. ;-) After viewing those, I watched each birthday party that was recorded. I found that the videos stopped at age 13. I watched age 2, 3, and 4 and then the one I made of him at age 13. This last one also included quite a lot of information about our new acreage - we moved when he was 11- and my husband spraying the fields, complete with my dissertation.

I had been feeling like such a lousy parent of late and truthfully, I feel like this may have been the Lord's prompting to show me I wasn't so bad after all. Don't worry young parents, you will feel like this once in a while too. It is just part of parenting I believe. Especially once it is all over and one has plenty of time to look back.

I found instead of the wicked villain I had perceived myself. I was polite, encouraging and supportive. Truthfully, I was shocked. Now I know there were many times, I was not a fair parent. I yelled too much, I was too strict, I didn't pay attention at times I should have. These were the things that were running through my mind over and over. I knew I had spent too much time on the computer, trying to learn to make web pages with hopes of creating a job from home that would help us financially without me having to work outside the home. I spent too much time talking with friends on the phone, trying to help and minister to them believing that is what a good Christian would do. I regret much of that, now. I regret associations I joined, knowing they ended up in chaos, and mostly all for naught. With all of that, I needed this video. I saw someone I didn't know. And I don't mean to make this about me. It isn't. It is about our loving God, Who is always there to encourage us when we are feeling at our absolute worst. I needed some normalcy to life, to help me remember I didn't do everything wrong, and my day in video land gave it to me.

So with that, I thought it would be fun to write about some of the highlights. You know a mama always LOVES best to be able talk about her child! I laughed and I cried as I watched. I will try to keep this as upbeat as possible.

After viewing a couple hours of Matthew's 3rd birthday...and we are talking 3 days of celebration...I asked Matt what his favorite part of everything. Without any  prompting, he didn't miss a beat when he answered "Jesus." After 3 parties in 3 days, 3 cakes and mounds of presents for a 3 year old, and lots of kids in attendance, that is exactly what a mama wants to hear. It warmed my heart then, and it warms my heart even more now.

Another thing that especially made me laugh was when we were making a birthday cake. It was for his 3rd birthday, I think. He kept asking if he could lick the frosting, and me admonishing him not to put his fingers in it. I promised him a taste when we were done. I finally relented (and I am thankful I did) and gave him a small spoonful, with frosting just at the tip of the spoon. I then continued frosting the cake while telling him to wait until we were done for more. Just then, he fell off the little step-stool he was standing on and while trying to catch himself, his hand went directly into the cake getting frosting all over his fingers. He looked delighted at this turn of events and I laughed so hard! He got to lick his fingers after all.

I guess his 3rd birthday must have been quite a milestone and especially eventful. He had quite a large party with several guests. There were so many gifts, that I didn't want to hold people up or have them get bored by taking so much time opening them. So we carefully opened packages removing the gift wrap, but I didn't allow him to play with the gift or remove the packaging it came in. He was so good about letting me set each gift aside and moving on to the next thing; but it was obvious there were times he just wanted to play with the item he had received. Finally it came time to open one from daddy and mommy. We knew he had wanted this gift and felt confident he would be excited. It was a brand new helmet to go with his new roller skates. He almost had desperation in his eyes, as he tried to get it out of the package after the gift wrap had been removed. I had been side-tracked with conversation but the video kept rolling on him trying to get the helmet out of the box. Now, as I watched this video all these years later and seeing him so desperately wanting to put his new little helmet on, I was scared to death when the camera came back to me I would be telling him to set it aside. Watching gift after gift of me telling him to wait, I was certain that is what I probably had done. But now seeing this, I knew that would have absolutely been the wrong thing to do. I cringed desperate myself to see what happened next. Thank God to my relief, I let him open the packaging on this present and helped him put on his new helmet. THANK GOD!! I reiterate!!! I think God knew I would need that some day. I would have hated myself forever, if I had said no to him on this one. It was time to let him splurge and for guests to understand. I'm sure they did.

When Matthew was a baby, I would hold him in my arms and we would dance in front of the mirror in our living room. He loved seeing himself in the mirror and me swaying to the music. As he got older, we would still do this only now, he would hold onto my hand and steer me the direction he wanted to go by putting pressure on my thumb. For as long as I can remember while growing up, I danced with my son. This was one of the reasons, it was so important for me to have a mother/son dance at his wedding. I felt it would be the last time. And even if it wasn't, I wanted this moment symbolic of something we did in his childhood. I was so pleased to see we had captured some of these moments on tape. I was still lifting him up in my arms  at 4 and 5 years of age and we danced until I could no longer hold him because he had gotten so heavy. Back then, I think I thought he actually enjoyed the dance. Now watching decades later, I realized it was probably most likely that he simply enjoyed making me so dizzy!

Well anyway, you get the idea - our life in video. There are many more videos left and I will use the rest of winter to finish watching them. I can justify it with that New Year's Resolution thing...the one about cleaning out and organizing the chaos in my life. This is a good place to start. And after I have watched for awhile, I am sure there will be more to write. Stay tuned for part two of the Home Video Marathon!


Saturday, March 3, 2018

All The Better

I am just saving some of my favorite country music songs to my blog for my own future enjoyment. If you enjoy them too, all the better.

I love this one! It is Alan Jackson's newest release and it is one of my favorites.

There is a cool story that goes along with this one. It is well known fact that artists can struggle to stay popular as they age. People tend to forget about them and move on to the new stuff. Maybe some of them lose their voice or musical ability. Sometimes, it is just the market. Sometimes, as in Ronnie Dunn's case, the industry fights against them.

Ronnie Dunn was quite vocal about it on his Facebook page. (Yes, it was really him.) He was frustrated with the country music industry and the games played that often left the older artists out in the cold.  I follow Ronnie on Facebook and noticed him lamenting about it quite frequently and very boldly for some time. I believe it was Reba that was instrumental in pulling him out of his doldrums and helped reunite Brooks and Dunn for some shows in Las Vegas. This, after Brooks and Dunn had had a bitter break-up. But then the three of them began entertaining in Vegas - Brooks and Dunn and Reba. I think Ronnie's newest interest in photography also helped him. He has become quite a successful artist in a whole other realm - photography.

Anyway, I mention all of that, because Ronnie made a comment about Alan's song when it first came out. I absolutely loved knowing the back story behind it and then hearing Ronnie say this. The lyrics and sentiment that Alan expresses in this song are the direct opposite of what Ronnie was feeling, before Reba and photography came to his rescue.

When Ronnie heard Alan's song he posted this comment to Facebook along with a video of Alan's song:

"Sometimes I think I’m an “ok”songwriter then here comes Alan Jackson with “The Older I Get” - RD"

I love that! I love Ronnie Dunn (a singer/song writer who is second to no one) for being humble enough to point to another artists work. And I love the lyrics in this song!! All of us who struggle with aging could take it a little more to heart. One more thing, I love Reba's concern for her friends.

Anyway, all of that which I just wrote explains why I absolutely LOVE country music.

Most of the artists are really real in an often times whacked out world.

Here's to country and getting older - all for the better.