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

Friday, March 30, 2012

Pulling Curtains - Spending Treasure XV

“Jannie, What ARE you doing?” my aunt asked as I came in from outside on a hot, summer day.

“Playing…” my nine-year-old self responded, though a bit confused by the question.  “I just came in for a drink of water.”

“Well, yeah, I know,” she replied, “but what are you playing?

“I’m playing house.”  I answered in embarrassment.  I thought I was probably a bit old to be playing house. 

“House??” she questioned. “But you are walking up and down the yard with just one hand in the air, like you’re marching with a flag or something,” she continued with curiosity. My aunt was over having a cup of coffee with my mom and they must have been watching me from the living room window. I saw a curious smile on my mom’s face, as well.

“Oh, that! I laughed. “I’m opening the drapes to the windows in my living room in the morning and then shutting them at night.”  I was walking the full length of the front yard, imagining in my mind that one whole side of my two story dream home was windows. I actually played this silly game a number of times when I was little.  The front porch would be my bedroom that was up one level from the rest of my dream house, and the big old maple tree at the edge of the lawn, was my get away retreat.  I pretended it was a room high above the rest of the house, where I could read, or write, and store old dresses, and lots of pretend stuff.  I would grab on to the lowest branch of that tree with both hands; then I would push my legs up the base of the tree until I could grab that same branch with both legs crossed across each other holding myself parallel to the branch. I would then swing my body, up and over so that I was on top of the branch. From that point, I would be able to climb the rest of the study branches to the top of that tree. There was my pretend haven in my pretend dream house.

That tree, by the way, was a favorite climbing tree for all my siblings, I believe.  We spent a lot of time up there, and someone - probably my brother - trained our Springer Spaniel to climb up the trunk of that tree as well.  :-)

Anyway, I had designed the whole front yard in my imagination with pretend rooms and lots of windows letting in wonderful rays of sunshine.   Spending a few days with my folks in the last month has brought my pretend home to the forefront of my mind once again.  The old maple tree is gone, and the front porch, has been rebuilt, and is not quite as large.  But my parents’ home is still the home of my youth and I treasure the memories it holds. 

When my own family first moved into the home where we live now, the pretend home of my youth was once again brought to my memory.  I finally had windows!  I mean lots of windows, and every morning and every night I walk across the living room opening or closing blinds to the windows that I absolutely love and have always loved ever since I was a child! I will never forget the first few times I opened the blinds in our new home.  I always thought of the little girl pulling the pretend curtains open as she walked across the lawn. In acquiring our new home, I felt like the Lord had given me a desire of my youth. And He did!  Ha!! I’m still dreaming of those extra levels in my pretend two story house, though. It's ok; I'm pretty well-pleased.

Someone's Dream Homes:

*All images from Photobucket.com

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Glaze to Shine

My son recently received the very thoughtful gift of a cook book, pan and utensils that he will be able to use in his newly chosen career. It is The New Firefighter's Cook Book by John Sineno. The moment he showed me the gift, I knew it was the perfect thing for him. 
Today, I got such enjoyment watching him try out one of the recipes in the cookbook, making the recipe a little bit larger so that he could take the dish down to the fire house to share with the other guys on duty before a meeting that was scheduled. He let me try a sample before he left, and I have to tell you, it was absolutely amazing! 

The recipes included in the book are easy to make; manly and stout enough for a working man's appetite; but still a bit gourmet. I have had such a good time, just looking through the recipes and finding a few that I would like to make for myself from time to time.

Also included in the book, are stories of firefighters and other words of encouragement for men and women in this profession. Toward the back of the book is a beautiful poem written to memorialize a deceased firefighter.  It was one of the first things Matt showed me in the book when he recieved it, and I could tell the prose greatly moved him.  It touched me, too.  I know of at least one other friend whose heart will also most likely recognize "the shine". I am proud of our sons.

I love the poem because it reveals the desires of a parent who simply want to raise and equip their child to be able to be all that he or she wants to be, while trusting the Lord to help direct the path necessary to bring that child to the place that will be best for the desires of his heart.

Recipe for a Firefighter
In Memory of Captain James F. McDonnell

Active Play        Humility
Humor               Courage                                                                
Wisdom             Patience                      
Endurance         Glaze of Love

Set aside a small child.
     Sprinkle generously with active play to mold a strong body.
     Add liberally, stirring slowly, huge handfuls of humor - a firefighter will not jell without it.
     Watch carefully for approximately 13 years until the child turns into a spirited youth.
     Add the seeds of wisdom that only grow through youthful trial and error.
     Knead continuously through the teen years until endurance is blended with strength.
     Add slowly the yeast of humility.
     Set aside for 3 or 4 years, allowing the dough time to rise and double.
     Call in master chefs with the recipe engraved upon their hearts for the final work.
     Punch down the fully risen dough to shape the loaf.
     Roll carefully, using the rolling pin of training on the well-floured board of discipline.
     Blend in the rare spice of courage found hidden between the leaves of foolishness and cowardice that is only purchased with the gold of sacrifice.
     Shape the loaf with care, and brush with the glaze of love to make them shine.
     It is this glaze of love for human life that makes them what they are.  The love that makes them stand and risk life, health, and security for strangers until their job is done, and they hear these precious words:
     "Well done-good and faithful servant."

NOTE:  Firefighters are prepared and blended only over many years. 

                                          ~Betty Lines
                                            December 1985

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dancing Around the Box

I was kind of hoping to wake up to spring, today.  I’ve been hoping for that for some time, now. It didn’t happen though. I woke up to snow; only about an inch or two, but everything is covered in white. I slept later than usual, but I knew early on we had more winter, when I heard my son talking to a friend about the early morning hike he and several of his buddies had planned. 

“I just looked outside!” he exclaimed. “And we have snow! It’s ok; we will go anyway. It’s beautiful!” 

 I just went back to sleep; hiding deeper under the covers.

I know spring is coming, however. I know, because I saw my first bluebird a couple of days ago. Later that day though, it snowed – a lot!  The day after that snow, I heard my first meadowlark, and it was music to my ears. That’s probably an understatement. The meadowlark’s warble is better than music. Which came first? Music or the Meadowlark? 

Mountain in the Snow
A day or two ago, Matthew cleaned out my bluebird box for me.  And yesterday when I returned from my duties away from home, 3 or 4 bluebirds were dancing around the only bluebird box I have left.  Actually, I guess I do have another box on the side of the house, but the bluebirds don't usually nest there.  Last year, however, the bluebirds were successful in acquiring that box. It would really be nice if they would nest there this year, too. 

The snow is hanging on today. I thought by this time it would be melted away leaving the brown grass exposed. Yes! This time of year, brown is better than white, because I know then, that green won’t be far away. But no, we have no green yet. It’s ok; I know it won’t be long. The meadowlark reminded me of that fact, when I went out to feed the horses this morning.

Oh, well. It’s only winter for a little while; and yes, parts of it are very beautiful. But sometimes it seems winter has had an awfully long run.  It’s ok; I know someday soon, we will wake up into spring. I know because the bluebirds are dancing around their box.

Monday, March 5, 2012

He Represents Love

Just pups!
March 5th – Bullet’s birthday.  For those that don’t know, Bullet is our “bad boy” beagle and I can’t believe he turns 10 today.  We got him when he was just 6 weeks old. My husband brought him home for our son on his 9th birthday….so the “two boys” kind of grew up together. There has been a lot happen and a lot of change in those 10 years.  The other boy is now a man.  And the beagle?  He has grown into a fat, arthritic, aged canine that may not be with us for much longer.

Today, I will take him to the vet for what I am sure we will find to be his heart.  I had another little Pomeranian/Japanese Chin that had the same problem and I recognize the symptoms.

 Beagle, as I sometimes call him, represents love.  Of course, I am speaking of our love for him and his unconditional love for us; but he also represents the love of a father for his son who took the most careful steps to bring the pup to our son on a special day.

Bullet hales from Texas, and when my husband was driving 48 states he brought him home to us via semi-truck.  Needless to say the beagle was quite spoiled even before he met the rest of the family.  We still laugh about the look on Matt’s face when he saw that little pup on the seat of the semi.  Matt completely surprised us by doing a 180 running back into the house, leaving his dad and I wondering what in the world he was doing or thinking.  Pretty soon, he came back with a nice, flat box with a soft blanket folded inside.  He knew the pup needed a bed.

We chose the breed because my husband was still driving truck, and we often went with him on his runs.  We needed a dog that would be small enough to travel with us comfortably.  We also wanted a dog that would not shed much. The Beagle was perfect.

I can still remember Matt and Bullet sitting on the couch of the truck sleeper together. Matt would be reading or studying and Bullet would stretch out, pushing and pushing with his back feet against Matthew in a battle of the wills.  Bullet would not stop until Matthew was off that couch.  Bullet almost always won. It reminded me of a fight between siblings, that loved each other very much, but when a quest for space became a little too much to handle.

There would be walks in the woods, which we fondly called “hunts” as it was time for the Beagle to put his nose to the ground, and do what he was bred to do.  How we loved his bay! There were birthday parties, when family and neighbors who had the same love of dogs and whom would understand would be invited. There would also be steps we had to take to "Bullet-proof" the house, and it became clear, this dog reigned. There would be cuddles, and corrections, comfort and consternation…all in the life of my two boys.

The Beagle represents love mostly in the fact that the 10 years we had him, were critical growing years for our son; the in-between years of childhood and becoming an adult. It seems all too quickly they were gone. In just a moment, those years were all gone.  Today, on his 10th, Bullet represents those years.

I guess because Bubby (the other nickname of affection) needs a doctor, today, I am thinking even more about those in-between years. As he reaches his 10th birthday - which is old for a Beagle anyway - I can’t help but think of all the years he has been a part of our family and all that we have gone through with the Beagle on the journey of our son becoming a man.

So I won’t say anymore…Bullet simply represents love.