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

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rockwell Moments on Ice - Spending Treasure XIV

Recently, a friend of mine wrote about an ice skating experience she had this winter. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about her challenge in finding skates for her family, and how she ended up with skates for herself. 

When I was younger, ice skating used to be one of my favorite wintertime activities. It has been a lot of years now, since I have skated, but my friend’s blog post invoked such fond memories, I felt compelled to write about some of these memories.

First of all, my love of skating came from my folks.  Both grew up on ice skates, and they encouraged my siblings and me to learn to skate as well. They would often skate hand in hand, and they really just danced on the ice. I love that I was able to share something like that with them.

Mommy and Daddy
Some winters my dad would clear a spot in our garden, and when he knew the temperatures would be below freezing, he would run the garden hose until the garden filled with water. It would freeze overnight and we would have a wonderfully smooth "rink" to skate on the next day.  What a guy!  How I appreciate the time he took to do that for us.

What a guy!
Across the road from our house, on our neighbors property, was a small gravel pit. It was eventually filled in, to become level pasture; but for years, “the pit” as we called it, would fill up with water during the winter, and almost always freeze to give us an easily accessible “skating rink”. Other kids on our street would sometimes gather there to skate, but mostly it was me, my brother and my younger sister.

We also had a larger pond in our small, country community, where several families would gather at night to skate.  It was all the rage while I was in grade school to skate on Totten’s Pond. I will never forget the first time I was allowed to go to the pond. I think I went with a friend, and I remember being almost overwhelmed and a bit shy about getting out on the pond with so many people there. There were several fires along the banks, and I recognized several of my classmates.  The picture is still engrained in my memory, and it reminds me somewhat of a Norman Rockwell, or a Grandma Moses print when I think of that pond. 

Finally, as my siblings and I grew older, we would skate on the larger lake in our area. Cougar Bay became my favorite skating location, and it is there that these photos were taken. I can’t drive by that bay today, without telling my son, “There is our old skating spot…only that cabin wasn’t there.” “The highway allowed us to park directly in front of the path where we would walk down to the lake.” And on and on, I reminisce some of my fondest memories of what used to be.

One afternoon, after my brother had returned home from the service, we all got together to skate.  The ice was so perfect on the lake that I skated out much further than I should have.  My brother became worried and called me back. I’m glad he did, I’m not sure I would have stopped.  I was not being very wise, in going out as far as I did.  The ice was sure to be weaker the further out I went.  I remember returning to the group and my dad saying in astonishment “You went clear out there!” He had not been watching, probably practicing maneuvers with Mom or something.

Another thing, I did back then, that I would not do now, is skate alone.  I would jump in my ’66 Chevy – my first car - and take off for the lake any time I felt the mood.  That really isn’t very wise either. 

The winters are different here in North Idaho now, than they were back then.  I really wouldn’t skate on the lake now.  It seems we no longer have a winter that is consistently cold; but rather we will have a warm up period, then the temperatures will drop, and then it will warm up again.  That does not make for safe ice. I’m sure the ponds and smaller lakes are safe some winters, but I believe the skating days on the larger lakes are over.  I treasure the memories I have there.

Well, now I’ve relived a few of my fondest memories.  Ice skating was always on my list of favorite things to do.  Not so sure about that now as I’ve aged…I like being warm, and staying by the fire, while reading about younger folks’ experiences! ;-) Besides, my skates don’t fit me any more, now being too narrow. ;-(  

Maybe some day I will venture out on the ice again, but if I don’t I’m glad I have these memories of some very valuable times spent with my family doing something we loved. I’m thankful that I have some photos and "treasure" to spend of our “Rockwell” moments on the ice.

"Rockwell" Moments

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


To Be

I am…gratefully washed in the Blood.
I want…“a little more time, is all.” – Grandpa P.
I have…all that I need.
I wish…on falling stars and birthday candles; otherwise I pray.  ;-)
I hate…injustice, untruths, and a self-righteous attitude…oh, and traffic.  ;-)
I miss… Isaac.
I fear…public speaking.
I feel…at peace.
I hear… the TV, but I’m going to shut it off, because I keep thinking I hear Matt’s pager.
I smell…brewed, vanilla nut coffee.
I crave…a morning, cinnamon roll.
I search…Scripture.
I wonder…at the hour.
I regret…time I gave up that belonged to my son.
I love…Jesus; my family and my home; my animals and my friends; my church and my country…sunsets, sunrises; lily of the valley; summer sunshine; softly falling snow; mama’s example; daddy’s wisdom and counsel; Grandpa’s sermons and sense of humor and Grandma’s prayers; Grandma’s laugh and love, Grandpa’s work ethic and humility; lakes and mountains; meadows and hay fields…country songs that touch the heart; striving for that which is right; my son’s efforts; strong foundations; and laughing with someone close that understands what’s funny; and spaghetti...ok, food in general.  ;-)
I ache…more than I should.
I care…for the lost and those that are hurting.
I always…know two words to avoid: always and never.
I am not…easily convinced, nor dissuaded when I believe something is right.
I believe…in life everlasting.
I dance…only in traffic. ;-)
I sing…in church where I can’t be heard and when no one else is around. Oh, and sometimes at work, when it’s only W. and me. 
I cry…because God gave us tears.
I don’t always…stay on my diet. ;-(
I fight…to protect truth, the underdog, injustice and to preserve freedom.
I write…because it is a way to relax, as well as a way to exercise ones brain and express ones thoughts. It is a way to share, to stay in touch, to instruct, and a way to preserve what some are determined to ensure we lose.
I never…say never. ;-)
I listen…to country.
I need…more patience.
I am happy…when I can stay home.

“This challenging writing prompt was provided by” Karla at Roads to Everywhere She states on her blog that it is part of the Marriage Monday series, with which I am not familiar. But as she said: “I enjoyed thinking about the sentence starters on this list...” so though I have never done a tag before, I decided I would give this one a whirl. Actually, I'm not sure if this is a "tag". I'm still learning some of this stuff. I guess it would be ok to do it, anyway. Let me know if I did this wrong, Karla!

 “I'd love to read your list, so if you decide to participate please let me know!” Karla is right! It is harder than one would think.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gopher Hole Dimple - Spending Treasure XII

Though it is only January, I’ve been doing some “spring cleaning”.  The weather has been so beautiful with such wonderful days of sunshine that it has put me in the mood to clean and re-organize. While cleaning, I came across a folder that had several stories I had written for Creative Writing class, during my High School years. I hadn’t seen this folder in many, many years, so I decided to stop and read through a few of them.

I came across one paper that was a character sketch of my grandpa.  My grandparents lived next door to us while I was growing up, and I have many fond memories.

I don’t believe the exact incident that I was writing about actually happened, but it was an accurate description of my grandpa. Though in the paper, I elude to being his favorite grandchild, I’m sure that was not the case. I’m sure he had no favorites. While I am not saying that my sketch was well-written, I did really enjoy reading it after all these years. It just seemed to bring my grandpa close to me again after his passing, all these years later. As life moves forward, ones love never fades for those that have gone before us, but memories sometimes do.  This little paper that I had written seemed to bring Grandpa back to life for just a bit - hard to explain. I had the best grandparents in the whole wide world ….on both sides of my family. And I loved my childhood. It’s fun to relive some of my memories in this fashion. Part of what is revealed to me in the paper, is that my grandpa was someone that I could undoubtedly trust and respect. I decided to post this sketch here, simply to share a part of my grandpa with you. J
I was alone on a Saturday night with nothing to do.  Everything was quiet and it made the wind and rain outside sound that much louder.  I could have watched TV or listened to the radio, but I was feeling too sorry for myself to do anything that might make me feel even a little bit better, so I sat.

The next thing I knew someone rapped on the back door and then opened it calling a questioning “hello” to anyone who would answer. I knew at once it was my grandpa, so I ran to the kitchen to welcome him.

He stood there in his long dark over coat, his dress hat cocked over one ear.  He was in such good health for a man of 75, and though sometimes he walked a bit bent over from a back that had seen better days, he always straightened his posture to stand tall and erect to look you in the eye as he visited. What little hair he had was pure white and neatly combed straight back.  His eyes sparkled with laughter as they always seemed to do.

He hugged me and then I pulled him into the living room so we could sit and talk.  He had just returned from a long awaited vacation out of state, and I knew he was anxious to tell me about it.  But he also could see there was something bothering me.  Good ol’ Gramps always ready to offer advice - always from Scripture; but never forcing me to take it. This was a praying man.

I was very close to my grandpa and I liked to believe I was his favorite granddaughter, but it was funny; this was the first time I had ever really looked at him. I mean, really look at him. His face was strong and lined with wrinkles, but most of them seemed to be “laugh wrinkles” rather than from age. He had a dimple on one cheek that was the size of a gopher hole and his eyes were a deep blue that always told me just what he was feeling - a window to his soul.

Right now he only wanted to help me out and cheer me up.  He did just that; and when he got up to leave I helped him on with his coat and then I watched him go slowly out the front door. From the light of the porch, I could watch him cross the yard and out of sight. Though bent with age, my grandpa was strong in heart.

Ok; while this isn’t that well-written, (gopher hole dimple?) I really appreciated the memory it invoked…it’s partly why I like to write.

Grandpa's sense of humor

Grandma and Grandpa

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Holding Tight

I tuned into a morning show on television the other day that I like to watch from time to time. It is a Christian production with a Biblical perspective.  This show features a news segment, and then there will usually be a testimonial from someone whose life has dramatically changed upon receiving Jesus. 

I was also getting other chores accomplished as I was watching, so I was only partly paying attention to the testimony of a man who had been the pastor of a small church, but whom also had become a “cutter”.  He said through his faith, he knew drugs were wrong, and he knew alcohol was wrong, as well as other types of addictions.  However, somehow in his distorted understanding, “cutting” was something he had fallen into, justifying it by his belief that his life was without worth and that he was deserving of the pain.

I don’t want to misstate his testimonial, because as I said, I was only half way listening until he began to speak about his children. This piqued my attention out of recognition of something that had also happened to me. As he shared his experience with his child’s first immunizations, I could relate; it all ended in tears - our child’s tears and our own tears.

The pastor said he literally cried for his son as he watched the doctor administer the shots. He explained how he was holding his son who was happy and content in his arms, as the doctor was talking. Then all of a sudden the needle was injected, and his son’s face became one of shock and pain as he looked mournfully at his dad as if “daddy” was the one to blame. The child wailed, and the man couldn’t help but cry with him as he held his son tighter.

For this man, the experience of his love and sorrow for his son became a vision of God’s love for him. At once, the pastor realized how much pain it must have caused our Heavenly Father to watch him as he continued to abuse himself with “cutting”.  He told how in a moment he finally realized through all of his abuse, the Lord had been holding him tightly, grieved by his actions.

His was a beautiful heartfelt testimony of one who, though he had spent years in church, finally came to understand that our Father in Heaven really did love him.

I love those special moments when God reaches down low to meet us where we are, and show us through means that we can relate to, how very special His love is for us as individuals.

It reminded me of the first time I took Matthew to get his immunizations. I don’t remember how old he was; 3 or 4 months, I guess, when babies receive their first series of shots.  I, too, could not help but release tears.  My tears were for my baby’s pain, while understanding this was something that was best for him and that these immunizations would keep him well later in life. 

My tears were also because this almost seemed like a betrayal of trust. One’s child counts on his parents to keep him safe and comfortable; fed, clothed, and bathed. But now, I was causing him to hurt. At the time, I didn’t relate my tears to God’s tears, or God’s love for me.  I didn’t think about any of that, as this man had. I only knew that I didn’t like to see my child in pain. I had already come to terms with our God’s love for me….so I didn’t need to think about it in terms like this man did. But now all these years later, hearing this man’s testimony made me want to carry his allegorical story just a bit further.

I know without a doubt that my son’s relationship with my husband and me has been one of complete trust.  I have watched for years as our son trusted us to do what is best for him.  I know without a doubt that Matt has never questioned that we have always had his best interests in mind.  He probably did not like everything we have done; he may not even have appreciated all of our decisions, but I know for a fact he never questioned them, or doubted that we wanted what was best for him.  He knew we loved him and that was all he needed to understand and to know we would always have his best interests at heart. I have watched him at times repeat to others what we have taught him, having learned and understood those truths full-well within his own heart. That kind of trust is an awesome thing to see.  If we appreciate these kinds of things as parents, we can rest assured our Father in heaven enjoys seeing such trust in each of us, if we would only have it.

What a beautiful example the Lord has given us in the Father/child relationship to help us understand His love for us.  I know every child has not had this example; I know every child has not been raised in this kind of faith, but I believe our Lord can reach such people in just the right way, at just the right time, with just the right example to turn a heart unto Him. 

We can also rest assured He is holding us tight, and we can confidently trust Him as we experience life in all of its triumphs and all of its trials.
"Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?  Or if he asks a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
                  ~Matthew 7: 9-11