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



Friday, December 23, 2016

I Will Get The Horses

"You feed Bullet; I will get the horses," I instructed my husband as we brought the last load of groceries in. We had been shopping in town all day, and I knew he was tired. It was dark now and cold; and I knew he didn't feel like going out again.

It was kind of one of those moments James Dobson talks about - you know, where it is time for the woman to step up and do the "man job", for no other reason than that the man needs the help in that rare moment. Yeah, it was one of those moments. And actually, it isn't even that feeding the horses is the "man job". It isn't. I have always been the one to feed the animals; but recently, ever since my husband has been home, we have more often done it together; especially at night and in the cold.

I actually wanted to do the feeding alone this time. Sometimes feeding the horses is the most peaceful thing that I do all day. I especially wanted to do it alone tonight. I had had a good day with the horses earlier and the day before. I was feeling extra love for them - it was almost a need of mine to spend extra time with them. And it was a beautiful evening. The sky was clear, the stars popping and it was warmer than it had been the previous nights even though it was a clear night.

I grabbed the lantern from the house (the battery kind) and walked down the steps. Feeling a little bit like Laura Ingalls in The Little House on the Prairie, I made my way to the barn. The snow crunched beneath my feet as it was frozen from the previous single digit nights. Once I entered the pasture the horses gathered around me anxious for their evening meal. I was a tad late and they were going to be sure that I knew it. Si, my daughter-in-law's 16 hand Tennessee Walker, was the first to greet me. I was able to give him a bit of love before the other two reached me and they shooed him away making sure he knew who was boss. This horse is a gentle giant and sometimes it makes me sad he lets the other two push him around. Because of that, I guess he is fast becoming my favorite.

It was a pleasure to come out tonight. I had spent the majority of the day prior cleaning their stalls and putting down fresh pine shavings for them. My husband had cleaned and filled their water trough and we had straightened the hay barn so it was organized and inviting. I got Tobi's grain first, and then Juliee's. I learned a long time ago, just to simplify my life and feed them in their pecking order. It is just easier on everyone. Besides, having those two out of the way gives me a little more time to extend some love to Si - the only one who seems to appreciate it. Don't get me wrong; Juliee is a good horse, too. And she does appreciate the love, but she doesn't seem to need it like Si does. Si craves it. Si seeks it out and I try to oblige him as much as I can. Tobi is just Tobi. Sometimes I love her. ;-)

As I settled into feeding my beasts I reflected on the earlier feeding that morning.  We had had quite the morning with Si and I wanted to love on him a bit more tonight. I had woke up to the most beautiful sunrise. The sky wasn't just pink in the east like a typical sunrise, but rather the pink hues surrounded the entire sky from east to west. The snow covered mountains against that soft shade of crimson took my breath away. Or maybe it was the 15 degree temperature that stole my breath, as I headed to the barn. But the view was definitely Christmas card worthy.
After the Pink
I turned around to go back to the house when I saw a new predicament. Si was on the wrong side of the fence, frantically pacing back and forth when he saw me coming. He was in a bit of a panic knowing it was feeding time and he couldn't get to me. I wanted help for this. I wasn't sure exactly where he had gotten out and how I would get him back in. I wanted my husband's help. So I went in to wake Sam and we headed back out together. I soon forgot my intentions to photograph the Christmas card sky.

Because our neighbor had allowed us to use his pasture to graze the horses there for a few years, we had placed a gate on that side of the pasture. But we had sealed up the opening pretty tight this last fall, needing the gate elsewhere and feeling we probably wouldn't use his pasture again. I knew I couldn't get it open alone.

I quickly fed the other two horses while my husband assessed the situation. And when I was done feeding the other two, I brought a couple handfuls of grain over to Si to calm him and assure him he wasn't being forgotten. My husband started to work on taking the fence down, but I saw it was going to be no easy task.

"Let me get a rope and halter. I think it will be easier to take him back through Dan's property," I suggested.

My husband easily agreed and I went off to the barn for the halter. When I returned, Si was agreeable and didn't balk at the halter idea at all. He did however balk about half way across the pasture when he realized, he was not headed in the direction of his feeding trough. I ran into the house to grab the key to the front gate where they would come home. When I came back out, I realized they weren't moving. I didn't know if my husband had tuckered out from the walk in the snow, or if Si was giving him problems. So I grabbed some grain and jumped in my car to head over to Dan's to see what was happening.

I had forgotten there wasn't a gate there at the other side of Dan's pasture, but fortunately by the time I got there, my husband was able to walk Si carefully over the low fence that was there. just as I arrived, they got safely over the fence. I gave Si a nice handful of grain to reward him for walking patiently over the fence and my husband and I switched roles. I walked Si back to our house while Sam drove the car back. I used the excuse of not wanting to back the car down Dan's driveway, but the truth was that my husband had already walked clear across the pasture in the snow and been out in the cold long enough; I wanted to give him a break.

Once I took the hold of the lead rope, and he knew food awaited him, Si cooperated easily. He knew now he was going home. As I walked him down Dan's driveway and out onto the road, he picked up his pace. He was anxious to get home. I knew he would do that. That's what horses do. The road was icy and I did not want to slip and fall on the ice, but he cooperated well and slowed his face when I instructed him. I LOVE this horse.

He is such a funny buddy. My husband opened the gate for us and once inside, I quickly took off his halter. We gave him his grain in his stall and it felt good to see him happy and content. But his curiosity got the best of him and before he started on his hay, he had to come out to see what the other horses were up to and what had changed around the barns since he had been gone. I laughed. There is no way my other two horses would put curiosity before feed.

Si's curious nature is what I believe got him in this predicament in the first place. He is a jumper and a small fence, or even a four foot one, is not going to stop him when curiosity calls. My next order of business would be to find out where and how Si got out. "Why" would always only be a guess.

So I told my husband I was going to walk the fence line to see if it was broken anywhere. I didn't get much more than 75 feet when I noticed prints in the snow that led directly to the fence where they stopped abruptly. I called back to my husband pointing at the trail.

"I think he might have ran and jumped here", I exclaimed.

But I wasn't certain about this and so I continued walking the fence. I could see there was at least one strand down at Ben's fence line at the south end and I wanted to be sure our big buddy couldn't have gotten out there. Knowing the poor condition of this back fence, I was thinking this would have been the most likely place for him to get out. He could have worked his way over to Dan's pasture from there through another opening in the bordering neighbor's fence. Again only a guess.

Our fence was solid all the way down to the end of the pasture. There was a low spot at the very end which he could have possibly jumped over. I was doing detective work now assessing tracks in the snow and low spots in the fence line to determine what might have happened. I noticed there was a spot in the snow pretty well disturbed on Ben's side of the fence that looked like a horse could have tried to jump. But there were no tracks on the other side of that fence. So I knew he hadn't gone over there. I searched that entire corner to see that the bordering pasture was clear of tracks. Si had not been there. I repaired the fence on Ben's side and determined in my head that we would have to fix this fence completely this spring. Though it is Ben's fence, I feel pretty sure he is not going to repair it, and at this point we need it as much as he does. It would be our turn.

I went back to the corner of the fence line where ours and the other 3 land owner's meet. There I realized this had to be where Si went over. There was one pair of tracks on Dan's side walking north headed home. This was the lowest part of the fence and probably most likely where Si went over. Still the fence was probably at almost four feet and it would have required a good jump. I walked back down the fence line pondering what would have made him do it. I remembered our neighbor, Linda, had told us two baby fawns had been born in their pasture this spring. Melissa, Dan's wife had said this winter, the pair had been bedding down at the end of their pasture - exactly where Si had most likely went over. So! My best guess is Si saw the deer and was enticed to check them out - curious beast that he is.

Anyway, I was pleased with my morning walk in the 15 degree temperature. I was excited about my opportunity to play farm detective and analyze tracks. When I got back to the first spot I thought Si might have gone over, I realized I had been wrong. This time, I was smart enough to look at the other side of the fence. There was no spot in the snow that had been disturbed where he would have landed had he jumped. There was only the single track that led back home.
Look closely for the path to the fence.
I guess we will never know for sure. I'm just glad our buddy is home. I really didn't intend to write about all of this. I was only going to write about the joy I have in taking care of these 3 animals. I had spent 3 hours shoveling manure the day before and it had been the best 3 hours I had had since the last time I did it. It's my job, but I was a bit behind because it had been so cold that the manure had been frozen and I had to wait for a thaw. It finally came in the way of a Chinook wind. I got out as quickly as I could after that, though I should have been a day earlier.
Curious Si - Home Again

Yeah, shoveling manure - the highlight of my month. I'm sorry. I don't mean that to sound negative. That's only a perception. For me, it really, really is a highlight. It's work that feels good. It's fresh air and time alone. It's being with animals that I love, and a chance to pretend they love me. It's taking care and doing things right for the animals you have been blessed with. "A job worth doing, is worth doing right." Grandpa N's  words come back to me over and over and over whatever task I have set out to do. I don't want to do my tasks any other way. His words have always resonated with me. There is not a better feeling in the world than taking care of ones animals properly...Ok well maybe taking good care of ones kids might be a better feeling...or family.  

And sometimes as Dr. James Dobson suggests, the wife needs to step up to do the job the husband might normally do. I took those words from the good Dr. Dobson to heart, as well. There is reward in that. But truly, whatever the task, there is no better feeling than doing it right. Everyone and every animal is deserving of that.

Yep, I will very happily get the horses.

 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Mama's Revenge - Spending Treasure

"What's the matter? Don't you care about your kids education?"

 The sales woman had been relentless; finally ending her spiel with these words. I was probably about nine years old. I really don't remember for sure, but I never, ever forgot those words...or my mama's revenge.

The sales woman was trying to sell my folks a set of encyclopedias. This was the 1960's; long before the internet. The 20 - 22 volume encyclopedias are a thing of the past now, but everyone had a set back then.

I remember my dad was there, too. His work was seasonal and often took him away from home to work. Obviously this was a time when Daddy was out of work. I didn't tell them, but I wanted that set of encyclopedias in the worst way! I knew it would be much easier to get our school assignments done, and the truth is - I wanted to be like everyone else.

 I don't remember much of what Dad said. Thinking back, I guess I am a bit surprised they listened to this woman as long as they did. Finally, at her rude question my dad answered.

 "Isn't it ok with you if we can't afford them right now?" Daddy questioned right back.

That was all it took. The incorrigible woman got the message. She got ready to leave. And just as she opened the door, my mama got her two cents in. "They are all A students anyway!" she politely explained, but with just a bit of "I am not going to take this anymore" in her voice.

I was proud of her. I was proud of both of them. I knew how wrong this woman was when she was so arrogantly and condescendingly talking to my parents this way, in their own home.

It wasn't too much longer after that, Daddy got us a brand new set of encyclopedias. World Book, I believe, though I think I remember him originally wanting Britannica. It doesn't matter; my folks made sure their kids had a set of encyclopedias as soon as they were able. I cherish the fact that my folks did this for their kids. And I cherish this memory. I have thought of it many times over the years. My mild and reserved Mama got a final word in, that day, with a woman who deserved a bit of my mama's revenge.

All of my siblings and I used the encyclopedias for school, and I am pretty sure that my younger sister, sat and read through them over and over and over.  I hope that memory is accurate. I will have to remember to ask her if that part of my memory is true.

Now my son has that same set of encyclopedias and I couldn't be happier knowing that. When it was time to move my folks out of their home of 55 years, we had a garage sale with things they no longer needed, or could take with them. When Matt saw the encyclopedias, he told me he wanted them for his own home. I had bought Matthew a used set when he was in school. I had always told him, "Yes, I know these are outdated and we have everything easily available to us on the internet, now, but this set is from the 1960's. With the rewriting of our history these days, these books are going to be far more accurate then a lot of stuff on the internet. No one can change what is already written down in a set of educational books. We will use these for confirmation of any new information we might read."

We used the encyclopedias a lot in his schooling, and now I am curious to know the year of the set my folks bought. I will have to remember to ask Matt to check.

I loved the fact that he wanted this set, and happily set them aside for him, contributing $15.00 to the garage sale pot -  a mere pittance to what my parents had originally paid. I had shared the story with him, and how hard they were to come by for my family. That meant something to Matthew and I loved that he was now getting them. I suspect my reasoning will be even more relevant when he has a family in school. The words written on these pages will be priceless.

That rude and relentless woman had no idea how much my family cared and still does! This mama feels a little revenge, too...even all these years later.

 

 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

In Sequence

Summer is finally coming to an end. I almost always like to comment on how the summer went for me and how I am feeling moving into fall.  Well I guess this year is no different.

I don't think I have ever had a busier season in my life - ever! Busy. Eventful. Frightening. Joyful. Exhausting. Substantial. All of that and more.

I guess I should start at the beginning...or I could start with the most emotional challenge. Maybe the most heartbreaking...I don't know. If I do that, I will have to choose. So it makes the most sense to write sequentially, as much as I am able.

The new roof! Yes! Such a relief. We had a new roof put on due to last year's windstorm in November. I tried at that time to get a roofer out here, to no avail. They were all so busy that I couldn't even get one out here for an estimate. I jumped on it this spring, though, and we were finally able to get it done. I still look at our new roof from the pasture and feel such a sense of relief. So very thankful!!

The barns! We were able to finally build our long hoped for barn. But not only that, we were able to build one for our son as well. It was such a fun project and we were extremely happy with the contractor who built them for us. Matt chose traditional red, and we chose beige and forest green to match our home and other out buildings. My husband has finished up the stalls and is currently working on the tack room! I can't wait to have my tack stored away in a dust free, hay free room. No more sharing the tack with the hay!

Sold my folks home!! Huge endeavor! No more running at a moment's notice to last minute showings, and going early to clean to make it as presentable as possible! So thankful!! There is no way I have been allowed to miss this home. I am too relieved it is gone. Perhaps a list of the jobs I no longer have to do will come forthwith...or in another post. If I think about that it helps me be thankful. I think of all the work that I no longer have to worry about and it is a relief. I don't believe I will EVER miss it. Feeling a bit deprived of being able to miss my childhood home in that regard.

Moved my folks from 60 years of life, downsizing to something more manageable for them. SO VERY THANKFUL. And really, though there are trying moments, their new home is really quite perfect for them. Of everything I have gone through of late, this job was the most overwhelming. OVERWHELMING, indeed. I actually don't know how we got it done. God's grace and God alone. I feel a book in me coming about the challenges, the heartbreak, the do's, the don'ts. The joy, if any, and the sorrow; family; material possessions; working together; and not working at all. It took some serious recouping from this one. If there has been any recouping yet at all.

BUT! We got it done! With a couple weeks to spare to help our folks adjust and get used to things in their new environment before my total hip replacement.

Surgery! Pull the wisdom teeth first. That was necessary to prevent the possibility of infection. I was supposed to do that in my 20's. Chickened out until 4 decades later. It went well. In fact, I was able to orchestrate and work at the folks' garage sale the next day. Still don't know how I did that.

Did I say "Surgery!"? So very scary. So very interesting. So very effective. I am glad I did it. No regrets. I have a bionic hip. I had wonderful help at home; and I had great home physical therapy. Then I had some very good outside physical therapy. I am almost as good as new and far better than I have been for almost 2 years. I could write a blog post about this, too. But I guess I will spare you.
Baby Girl

Sorrow...deep, deep sorrow in the loss of my best friend. My beautiful, Belle Amore! Yes, I know that is redundant. Think of it this way: my beautiful, beautiful love. The one I have always believed is the one (human or otherwise) who loves me most. And yes, she did! She wanted me no matter what. She was never, ever once mad at me. She never judged me, she never criticized me; she never rolled her eyes at me. She only gave me love. Yeah, she was a dog. So what?? She was my joy, she was my comfort. She was what always got me through. My beautiful, beautiful Belle Amore.

Almost lost my daddy...that wasn't easy. That was incredibly frightening. But it ended in a miracle. Daddy was here for...

The wedding!!!

Oh my goodness!! My son got married. Eventful to say the least. Emotional. Head spinning. What life is all about. Moving through life with the very best.

Magical showers; fun rehearsals; stressful rehearsal dinners. Friends and family connected to give us their best. The dance I have been waiting for since my son was two. Missing some; grateful for others. A daughter! And a son!

My Wish
My husband is home. Dodging bullets. We are getting good at that. We could have lost him too. But God is with us. Always with us.

Eventful, stressful - the best and worst of summer. I didn't even notice the season or what is normal for it for the first time in my life. Everything I have written about was all peripheral though, in regard to what must keep my focus. I am tired. But I am grateful because I also know how it could be.

And the good news is! I have been reading again. That feels good. And it feels really great to write a bit. Slowing down. Looking toward the future? Maybe.

Need to breathe. Need to not focus. I want to rest. I want to read and write and think about me. Selfish? Whatever. I am ready to settle into fall. If I am able to at all.

 

 

 

Monday, August 22, 2016

More Than Anything

I saw him come around the corner, Pastor leading the way. That is all it took for months of emotion to unleash - my shoulders shaking, tears running down my face. He looked more handsome than I had ever anticipated. He looked measured and controlled, but knowing him as well as I do, I knew almost every sentiment he was most likely really feeling.

It was probably the first time I had ever seen Pastor in a suit. Our church is casual, unencumbered with dress codes or certain expectations. Part of my tears, in part, had to do with this man. This is the pastor my son had been raised hearing and learning. I had deep respect for him, as well as everything that he had taught my son over his formative years. Pastor taught Bible and only Bible, but he led a life that revealed the deep study he shared with such passion. This was a man worth following.

It was our only son's wedding day. A day his father and I had long anticipated. We had always wanted this moment for him, and we had hoped it would be shared with a woman just exactly like the one who was about to walk down the aisle to meet him at God's altar of love and honor.

I watched as the two men took their places. Grandparents and parents had already been ushered to our seats. Matt looked my way and saw my (fairly) controlled shaking and the tears rolling down my face. I could see in his expression (as he smiled just a bit at me) that he had to check his own tears. I wondered if the two of us would hold it together. In the seconds that we waited, we exchanged more than one earnest look at each other. I think we were both concerned how the other one was doing.

Then the music began. The bride was about to make her entrance. I had told myself, I would keep  my eyes on Matt at least initially because I had wanted to see the look on his face when for the first time he laid eyes on the woman God had so perfectly chosen for him. But I quickly forgot my intentions and instead stood with the others and turned to view the radiance of Kaytee and her dad as they turned the corner to walk through the first arbor on the way down the aisle. I then remembered my plan to watch Matt and turned back to see his eyes well with tears. I knew Kaytee and her dad saw it too. In a role reversal I had expected, the groom was on the verge of tears as the bride smiled deep from within exuding strong confidence and pride on her face. She loved this man and he loved her; and I suspect the way it will forever be expressed throughout their union, will be exactly as it was in this moment. :-)

We are an emotional family. We just are. And there had been a few moments like this for me as the day traveled through the minutes and hours. It had started early that morning, when I had arrived to help with set up for the wedding. A woman came over (truly sent by God) and introduced herself. I believe she was sent simply to say the words and express the sentiment that I needed to hear. She had four sons of her own, she had told me. And I gushed as I heard the words of wisdom that she shared. Right now, I don't even remember what they were. I just know I needed to hear them in that moment.

The next moment where I lost control was every bit as unexpected. The work was done, the bridal party dressed, everything was in its place and the guests had started to arrive. I had spotted my old boss and went over to say hello. I don't really remember what all transpired. I believe I was introducing him to someone, and all of a sudden the tears burst forth in torrents. He had recently lost his wife and I knew he was still mourning that loss. These two had graciously allowed me to bring Matthew to work as a baby, so that I didn't have to quit my job. She had rocked my baby to sleep many times as I worked away in the back room. These two had been with me through rough, single years, paying me a wage to meet what I had made prior so that I might stay at this job. They were with me, when I married my husband; and when we had a scare over Matthew's health when he was first born. They had watched him grow; let me work for them again as I homeschooled Matt, even allowing him to bring his studies to my job. More than any other friend, this man had been through it all with me. I let the tears gush like a fool, and tried to tell him "thank you" for once again being with me in this very special moment.

As other guests arrived, I was truly touched by each one that took the time to come and share in our joy. I greeted two couples that Matt had worked for from the time he was 12 years old. I greeted friends that came 300 miles just to spend this day with us. My good friend was there who is the mother of Matt's very first friend - meeting each other in Sunday School when they were just 3 years old.  And our good neighbors, who I have grown to love deeply, were there with their new-born baby and toddler, who has recently started to call me "Grandma Jan".

I simply want to remember every special moment that happened. I want to remember every act of love; every second of joy...I want to write it down to ensure I will never ever forget, so below are a few of those moments.
................................

After we finished setting up, and the time drew near to get ourselves ready for the wedding, I quietly snuck off to another bathroom that I was pretty certain would not be in use by the wedding party or anyone else for that matter. I needed time to myself and I wanted to be alone as I got ready. So off I went. No one saw me. And I readied and steadied myself as I paused to breathe in every memory that brought us here to this point in time. When I felt ready, I left the bathroom, and entered the hall. There sat my son waiting and reflecting as well, I suspect. I was grateful for the moment alone - just the two of us. It was short-lived as a groomsman soon joined us. But as we stood there, Matthew reached for the tie on my dress..."Mom, this should be a bow, not a knot." And he gently and capably tied the laces at the waste of my dress. I didn't tell him about the struggle I had had with it in the bathroom, finally just opting for the knot.  'Thank you, son," were the only words I could articulate. He had made it look far better...just like he makes everything.
................................

Pastor had just pronounced the two "Mr. and Mrs." and they would almost be on their way, BUT....

I laughed right out loud at the bridesmaids as they yelled "STOP" when Pastor told the groom he could now kiss the bride. I knew this was in the plan and was sworn to secrecy about it. The young women yelled in perfect unison as they held their hands in the "STOP" motion. One of the girls picked up a small stool, and they each passed it one to the other ending with the maid of honor who then placed it on the ground in front of Matthew enabling Kaytee to stand on it with a better reach to kiss him. I knew he was surprised, I will have to remember to ask whether Pastor had been let in on that little antic. I can't imagine what Matthew and the audience must have thought. But it certainly got a good laugh when completed.

When the kiss was over, Kaytee literally skipped down the aisle to an upbeat song they specifically had chosen together. They were now one, but not quite in unison (just yet) with that skip in her step. ;-) Pretty sure she will never get Matt to skip down any aisle. lol
................................

The reception was beautiful, but I struggled with it as I worried about the comfort of my elderly parents. I missed more than a few things I wanted to see, and probably some visiting, due to taking the time to position my folks where they would be most comfortable and also be able to participate in the activities that were taking place. I am not sure they ever did get cake. I finally got some after my oldest sister took my folks home. We were in clean up mode, and I decided I had better grab one of these cupcakes that I had heard so much about, before the little cakes were once and for all whisked away. YES! They were every bit as good as I had heard!
................................

Of course one of the highlights for me was the scheduled music and dance. And if I had any complaints about the wedding it would be this...it took forever to finally get to the music portion of the event. People were starting to leave! But there had been photos after the ceremony, to honor my son's request that he not see the bride before she walked down the aisle. I was extremely happy that request was honored! Then of course the bride and groom needed to grab a bite before cutting the cake. Once the cake was cut, (which I missed) a reception line randomly started as many gathered to offer congratulations to the couple. I don't think that was planned, but it warmed my heart to see that it had just naturally took place. Guests genuinely wanted to offer sincere congratulations.

I then moved my folks outside again, feeling it was probably getting time for the long anticipated  dance. This had been planned in my mind (at least) since Matthew was about two years old. I had long dreamed of the "Mother/Son Dance" with Matthew at his wedding. Matthew and I had discussed 3 or 4 songs that we both liked and thought could work. When just a few days before the wedding we finally got a chance to dance to each, we settled on My Wish by Rascal Flatts. We both loved the words, and I believe it was Matthew's first choice, so I was extremely happy about that. I am not a good dancer and we only ran through it once on that day. I didn't know how I would do on wedding day, but when the time came, Matthew held and guided me strongly. I knew he had learned well what I had told him as a teenager, "You can dance with almost anyone if you are a strong lead."

"I might be the exception to that rule," I had told him, but we got through it.

"Mom, you are shaking," he said as we danced.

"I know", I laughed. "I am nervous," I whispered to him. But then I just continued to sing the words to him as I wanted him to know I felt every word of this song we had chosen to dance to. And how that looked, I couldn't have cared less. This was our moment.

It was every bit as wonderful as I had always dreamed and I know I smiled all the way through it. He hugged me when it was over. It was all I wanted from his wedding. Such a silly thing, but so very important to me.

And of course the "Father/Daughter Dance was lovely with a song chosen by the bride and her dad.

And then came the dance for the bride and groom. My sister and brother-in-law had been asked to sing for this one. They had chosen the perfect song. Keeper of the Stars by Tracy Bird. It had even brought tears to my husband's eyes when he had heard it performed in practice. "That song is perfect for the two of them", my husband kept saying. And it was.

After the shoe game and a couple more dances, I saw Matthew motion to his dad and me.. I couldn't quite get what he was saying. He then came over and said he had told the MC to play a song for us and we had to dance. It was I Can't Help Falling In Love With You by Elvis Presley.  This song had been sung at our wedding and Matthew had remembered that and made sure it was played for us on his wedding day. That is just the way my boy does things. And I could not be more proud.
................................

I know there will be more things I remember, but I also know this is getting really long. Time to wind it up with just one more special moment.

Each time someone came over to tell me good-bye and that they were leaving, my response was "NO please don't go." I honestly didn't want anyone to leave. I didn't want it to end. I wanted to feel their presence just a bit longer. I can't ever remember a time that I wanted people to stay as badly as I did on this day. When things were over, and there were several people staying to clean up, I found myself in conversation again with my newest, best friend from the morning. The one who had four sons and had given me such sound advice.

"Well you did it, Mom!" she had exclaimed.  "He's married. And I saw him looking at you the whole time when he first got up front with the pastor. You obviously have a special relationship," she commented, once again warming my heart. My niece was standing there too, and heard her words.

" I saw it too," my niece told me. "It was very special to see him look at you like that."

Just then my other niece came over to say good-bye.

"NO! Please don't go!" I said from the deepest part of my being, without any thought from my head or intellect. As I said it, I once again burst into tears. My niece was flabbergasted and burst out laughing. And then we all did! I laughed through my tears.

I simply didn't want it to end. The people that showed up to bless my son's special day meant everything to me. But I don't know. I think it had to be more than that. I was just so happy for him. And I am happy for us, to be gaining a daughter. Our family is growing. Changes are occurring. Time is passing. Life is moving forward. I do not do well with change. I guess even if it is positive change.

Now, what was it my new friend told me? "You were his first love. He looked to you, first."

From the deepest part of my being I just want to yell: "NO. son! Please don't go!" Those are the emotions that get all mixed up. People told me I would have both feelings to deal with and they were right. I love gaining a daughter, but fear losing a son.

But I have to remember:  Two are better than one. For when one falls the other will be there to lift the other up. Now I know that is not usually in reference to marriage. But in my case, I have always thought of those words for my son in regard to marriage. Many that know me will remember that. I just never, ever want him to be alone. He doesn't like it and never has. As he was an only child, I have only wanted love to surround him in many ways - from family, friends, brotherhood - and I want them to never go. It is not good for man to be alone.

I will get the emotions in check. The truth is, I am extremely happy for my son. It is what he always wanted...and I mean always!

And more than anything, more than anything my wish is he always knows someone loves him and wants the same thing too...and that he is forever loved.

 
I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
And each road leads you where you wanna go,
And if you're faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
And if one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walkin' till you find the window,
If it's cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile.
But more than anything, more than anything


My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.


I hope you never look back, but you never forget,
All the ones who love you, in the place you live,
I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,
And you help somebody every chance you get,
Oh, you find God's grace, in every mistake,
And always give more than you take.
But more than anything, yeah, more than anything


My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish. Yeah, yeah.


My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish (my wish, for you).


This is my wish (my wish, for you)
I hope you know somebody loves you (my wish, for you).
May all your dreams stay big (my wish, for you)


Written by Steve Robson, Jeffrey Steele • Copyright © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

 
 

 

 

 

 

My Wish

To my son, Matthew....


I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow, And each road leads you where you wanna go,
And if you're faced with a choice, and you have to choose, I hope you choose the one that means the most to you. And if one door opens to another door closed, I hope you keep on walkin' till you find the window, If it's cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile.

But more than anything, more than anything

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,You never need to carry more than you can hold, And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,

Yeah, this, is my wish.

I hope you never look back, but you never forget,
All the ones who love you, in the place you live,
I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,
And you help somebody every chance you get,
Oh, you find God's grace, in every mistake,
And always give more than you take.


But more than anything, yeah, more than anything

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too
,


Yeah, this, is my wish. Yeah, yeah.

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,


Yeah, this, is my wish (my wish, for you).

This is my wish (my wish, for you)
I hope you know somebody loves you (my wish, for you).
May all your dreams stay big (my wish, for you)


Performed by Rascal Flatts
Written by Steve Robson, Jeffrey Steele • Copyright © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal



And somebody out there will always love you...

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Grandma's Uncle

"Rudy was Grandma's Uncle, right?"

My son was inquiring about my mom's uncle who was also a firefighter all those years ago. I barely remember Uncle Rudy. He was my grandpa's younger brother and he lived in the same town as my grandparents - the one where my mom grew up and the one I still like to call "home".
Uncle Rudy's name has been mentioned a good deal in my household the last few years. My son became very curious when he found out that Rudy, too, was a firefighter. The town, at the time, had only a volunteer department, and it remains that way to this day. Sometimes it is beyond my comprehension that people do this job without getting paid. Regardless, my son and I were both very impressed when we saw the recently placed monument with a tribute to the firefighters from the history of the town. Uncle Rudy was number 6 on the list, even making the first line of the tribute. It made us proud. Here was history. Here was heritage. And it was a heritage my son wanted to follow. Here was a brotherhood with like understanding.

I think I was probably about 9 when Uncle Rudy passed. I barely remember him. I am not sure how he died. I believe he was relatively young when we lost him. My grandpa lived into his 80's and died in the 1980's; comparatively, it would have been the 1960's when we lost Uncle Rudy. I didn't grow up hearing a lot of stories about Rudy, but those I did hear, I remember well. My mom loved to tell how he was always the first one at the station whenever there was a call, so he always got to drive the engine. "And," she would emphasize, "he didn't have a car, so he would have to run all the way from his apartment to the station, still beating everyone else." She was proud of her uncle. And we are too.

I knew Uncle had never married, but I only recently learned why.  The story came up while visiting the county museum one day. A picture of a lovely woman caught my mom's eye. "She was Uncle Rudy's fiancĂ©," Mom told me. "But she called it off and broke Uncle Rudy's heart. He never found anyone else after that."

Please forgive my next statement. It is going to sound very corny and maybe even like I am mocking. I am not. I mean it from the most sincere part of my heart. Norwegians (which my grandpa and uncle were) are like geese. If you know anything about geese they only mate for life. If they are to lose their mate, they never mate again. That is who these two men are to me. Loyal, faithful, strong and independent; committed to their family. No pomp and circumstance, "no drama" as we would say today. Just "get the job done" men of dedication. Geese, while flying in formation, will take turns in the lead. When one tires, another will move to the front. That is looking out for each other. And that is also true humility.

Coincidently enough, that is exactly what it takes to be a firemen. That description, gives a bit more understanding why someone would have any desire to "volunteer" for such a position.
 
Lifetime of Service
So we have heritage. My son has the Norwegian blood and he has a fireman's heart. He has the heritage that allows him to do the job he has chosen. This is why in my house, we talk a lot about Uncle Rudy. I like that. How do we remember unless we speak? How do we know unless someone is mentioned? How do we carry on legacy unless we learn from someone's example? How do we keep a memory - a life - alive unless we tell stories and work to remember those who have gone on before us? Why ever, would we not?
 
Uncle Rudy never married. He had no children. There is no one to speak about the attributes of what was most certainly a fine man. There are very few who have remembered. I am glad my son has. I am so thankful he wants to know. He is proud of this heritage and so am I.

"Yes, son, Uncle Rudy was grandma's uncle."

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Then They Do

This song has been on my mind a lot the last few days. Listen through one time, and you will understand why. Now for me, I was never in a hurry to get my son's childhood over. In fact, quite the opposite was true. I wanted to savor and cherish every minute. But other than that, this song is perfect for the way I have been feeling lately.

I love it! I love words, the melody, the instruments; and the singer! I love the sentiment! And I simply thought I would share it today.

Enjoy! Then They Do! That's how it is...






You want all the dreams they dreamed of to come true...





 
then they do...

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Barber Pole

I sat in the front seat of my car with the engine running. I was deep in my thoughts. Mama sat in the back. I stared straight ahead, watching the red, white and blue spiral up and down.                     

"I wonder why they ever thought of making a barber pole like that?" she commented.  

My first inclination was to respond, "It was most likely the Brits." But I really didn't know and I don't know why that idea came to my mind either. I only responded, "I don't know," and I went back to my reflections. It has always been hard for me to communicate when I am not feeling well, or I am tired. And I have been tired for awhile, now. I didn't want to talk.

Poor Mama. She had wanted to come along, but I didn't really want her to. I didn't have much time, and my leg was sore enough, I thought perhaps I had made a mistake in coming. I knew I didn't have the strength to walk with her, and help her in and out of the car.  But I couldn't tell her that. So she came and I helped in spite of the pain. Been doing that awhile now, too.

We were waiting for dad outside the barber while he got his hair cut. He hadn't had luck getting it done at their new retirement community.  And when I had come that afternoon to take care of a few things for them, it was the first thing he had told me. "They won't cut my hair!"

I didn't know why. I assumed maybe it was the wrong day, or hour. Maybe he had trouble finding the salon. I didn't know and I didn't ask. I just responded: "I will take you up to the barber where I used to take Mr. B. when we were neighbors."

That delighted Dad. Mama wanted to come along for the ride. So we were off on another errand that I was secretly hoping wouldn't turn into an ordeal that would take longer than necessary. I had hoped to find out if I could do this after my recent surgery, but I soon found out I wasn't ready.

As I sat there with my mom, I really wasn't able to talk. I was reflecting. I was remembering all the times I would bring my elderly neighbor up to this same shop, when he could no longer drive. My memories are all fond of this wonderful old man and his wife, but my reflections today were not. There had been more than one time, that I had revisited this same memory. Mr. B. standing on his front porch, as I had tried to explain.
 
"Mr. B. I just can't drop everything and run you when you want to go. I am trying to home school Matthew and it interrupts our day."

"But I HAVE to get my hair cut," was his forlorn response. And I knew then and there, my efforts to explain were all in vain. I was saddened, I was frustrated. I was defeated. So, I simply took him to the barber.  I never, ever forgot his need in that moment. I can still see him standing there, trying to reason with me.

To this day, I hope he didn't sense my frustration, or anger, or whatever it was that might have been bubbling underneath. I have reviewed it many times over the 15 years or whatever it has been. Over and over, I have given myself an "F" and vowed to never let anything like that happen again.

So here I was now - right outside the same barber shop with the same lousy attitude. All those memories couldn't help but flood my tired mind and body. It was only day 7, after all, of a major surgery I had just had. Part of me was telling myself, "I shouldn't have to do this yet!"

"You have just been ran over by a truck!" The doctor had told me. "Quit expecting so much! This is only day 2!"

Yeah, I get that! I feel that! That part is easy to understand. What isn't easy is to say no, when an elderly has a need. It is different than when you or I have a need. I am not going to explain that. It is simply different. "I will never, ever forget his need in that moment!"

And so here we are. Same barber, same need, same grade. "F" for not being more gracious with my mama. She only wanted to go for a ride.

I saw Dad come out of the shop with a smile on his face. "How did it go?" I asked trying to include some cheer in my tone.

"Good!"

"Did you like him?"

"Yes, he did a good job and I am glad to know this is here."

"Yes, little by little you are learning where things are. And what is nice is the barber, the bank, and the store are all on the same street that you live on! That will make it easy."

"Oh, boy! Thank you so much, Jan."
 
Daddy was happy and his hair looked good. Mama was still sighing in the backseat, probably sorry she came. Ok. I will give myself a "C" for Daddy. I still need to get that attitude in check.

Thank you, Mr. B. for showing me the importance of a barber and where to find one. I really wish I could do it all again for you, you know. Still looking for that "A". Not so much because I need it, but because you do; and all of those like you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Offering Up the Whole

Years ago - the 1970's, I believe -  there was a poet named Rod McKuen. He was a "modern-day" poet.  A bit of the "60's revolution, by all counts. I read his stuff at the time. I can't say I liked all of it, but I liked poetry, and back then, he was "trending" as they would say today. They didn't use that term, however. He was a bit cynical and a tad depressing, and if I remember correctly - a whole lot "distrusting". He was surely a part of the counter culture that was occurring at that time.  I don't even know if he is still alive today. I guess I could check that out easily enough, and maybe I will at some point.

I hate to admit it, but lately, one of his poems keeps coming back to me invading my thoughts and trying to stir up agitation or something similar; not even sure what. It isn't the whole poem I remember, but rather only a line or two. I decided to try to see if I could find the poem. The line was almost haunting me.  I found it is from his poem called The Leaving. And I do NOT recommend it. It's depressing, cynical, and I suppose full of distrust. (see above) But I will say this, there is much of the poem that will cause one to think; to really think about what the author is saying and then ponder ones agreement or disagreement. For example:

I do not dangle
at the dawning
on a strand of sunlight,
nor do I perch on
paragraphs of prayers.

Beautiful alliteration, which was popular at the time. But what in the world does that mean? I do not want to perch on the paragraphs of prayers. I want to shelter under His wing.

All men have lessons
they can give you
even in rejection.
And the least that you can offer any man
is your good arm or shoulder.

Agreed. And I would even say "especially in rejection" there are lessons to learn. But that good arm or shoulder is rather rare in either case. Moreover, prayers would be better in accompaniment with that good shoulder.

The small times count.
The inches not the miles.
Touches not tradition
will fill your memory
in the morning or the end.

Oh I don't know about that. Truly, it is the small times that count...and maybe it is the inches over the miles. I really don't know. The inch is sometimes the only thing that gets us where we are going. But in the end we only count the miles.  Touches over tradition? I don't know about that either. Touches are most often remembered because of tradition.

The older one gets, everything all kind of just gets muddled together, and repetition is what helps in remembering. Traditions are extremely important, in my view.

There is something to be said about a kind, gentle touch, however. It is actually rather rare.

But the line that keeps coming back to me of late (probably because I had to do a high school or college paper on it at the time) is this one:

There will be
times when many
will want pieces of you
but only offer up the whole.

Side note before I continue: I do understand why a college or high school literature class might use this author. He was, after all, "trending". And unfortunately, his views were the way our schools were going at the time. Secular. Counter-culture. He was a good poet. He was creative and his poems induced thought. He used all the proper (and some improper) methods from which to teach a literature class. Whatever. At least one line of the poem certainly stuck with me for all these decades.

"Only offer up the whole." "Many will want pieces of you." This denotes being used, doesn't it? Or maybe just being put up with, but never really accepted. Picked apart, piece by piece.

When one says, "I like this about you, but I will certainly not be a part of that." that is ok. We will never agree with anyone 100% on anything. Everyone has things that need to be worked out, or worked through. We should never support someone in their wrong doing. But do we walk away with our nose in the air, or even worse with a clothes pin on our nose because of the perceived (or even real) stench? Do we even bother to find the truth?

So why is this line going through my mind over and over these days? I don't know. Do I feel used? No, I don't. Do I feel disliked? Often, I do. Do I feel ridiculed and unfairly maligned? Sometimes. Do I feel accepted? Rarely. Now before you think me despondent, or depressed, the Bible warns us that we won't be accepted. We are aliens in a strange land. So whether I am accepted or not, doesn't really bother me. It does make me wonder however, when I am made to feel that way by other Christians. Or even more, when I see a brother or sister in Christ treated unfairly by those who are supposed to be "family".

What I do know, is more and more often, I only feel like "offering up the whole". What would Jesus say about that? I am not talking about the whole of what we once were, but offering up everything God has intended for us to become. Offering up exactly what He would have us do in our lives (according to His will) - whether anyone else agrees or not.

In this context, we can read Scripture and get a pretty good idea of what is expected of us. But then, in the end, we would probably only argue about it. (Now, I am the one sounding cynical...maybe just a tad.)

What we know in reality, though, is Jesus offered up the Whole. That is something worth emulating. Piece by piece, He offered it all.

Personally, that is what I believe this poet was searching...we would do well to help others find that not only in their unbelief, but also in their ever-growing belief and trust they, themselves, know who God has created them to be and inspired them to do what they are to do.

So bring on the criticism; I will learn from the rejection. In the end, I suppose I will count both the miles and the inches. I have learned not to expect that "good arm or shoulder".  And I will take the poet's advice on at least one count; I am only offering up the whole.
 

 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

This Ain't About Fishin'

I needed a little escape to real life this morning. I'm glad I came across this video. Keeping it with my collection of favorite songs. One of my favorites from Trace Adkins.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

I Hope He Calls Me "Jannie"

"Where is Jannie?" I heard him ask.

I was in the kitchen mopping the floor and my folks were watching television in the living room. My dad must have thought I had gone home. He might even have dozed off and just wakened from a slight nap, remembering that I had been there.

"She is mopping," I heard my mom answer. That was all. No further discussion. They went back to watching their show. But it caused me to stop to think.

I am in favor. I always know when someone uses that name - Jannie - that everything is ok. I am in favor. It has always been that way. "Trouble", when I was little, usually meant first and middle name. But sometimes, even now, "Jan" means I better watch my p's and q's.

My Grandma P always called me "Jannie". I loved it. And because of her, all my cousins on that side of the family call me "Jannie".  I remember years and years later when we had all grown up and then some, my oldest cousin let "Jannie" slip from his lips, due to habit. I didn't mind at all. But I could tell he caught himself and was wondering if that was still appropriate. I should have told him right then, that it is actually my preference. To me, it means everything is ok.

A bit later, an elderly aunt called me "Jannie" - probably never thinking twice about it. To her, that is who I was. It warmed my heart so much to hear her use that name that later I found myself telling her in a Christmas card about how much I loved to hear her call me that after all these years. A Christmas card came back from her addressed to "Jannie" and they have come that way ever since. I LOVE that.

I had a friend at work years ago that always affectionately called me by this name. I don't remember how that ever got started. But I do remember that my boss at the time, also picked up that same habit from her. And I always knew when everything was ok, when  he called me "Jannie". I had found favor. I still remember my last day of work there, and what he said. "Let me walk you out, Jannie."

My youngest sis doesn't know this, but I can always tell me when she is a bit irritated with me, because it is then she calls me "Jan"...otherwise it is almost always "Jannie". It is then I know for sure that I am in "favor".

And on this day, I had found favor with my dad. As my folks age. It isn't always that way. Life can be difficult for them sometimes. We all can get a bit crotchety when we don't feel well.

But on this day, the name brought all kinds of warm thoughts to my mind. Jannie.

Names really are so special. I love being "mama" to my son. He had always heard his dad call his mom, "mama".  So it came out naturally. Not so much anymore. Somehow (only in the last couple years) I have become "Mom". I would rather be Mama. So too, I would rather be Jannie.

As I was about my business today...I thought about all the people to whom I am Jannie. Just after starting this post, but before finishing, I popped into Facebook. I saw a cousin there had just commented on one of my photos, and she had called me "Jannie". :-) It is never always that I hear this name, but it always is when I have found favor. :-)

As I was contemplating all of this, I thought a bit deeper - I am usually guilty of that. But I wondered: "What is the name our Lord has for me?" What will He call me when we meet face to face? I don't want to be called Servant; though I hope, indeed, that is what I am. I want to know I have found favor. I hope I hear Him call me, "Jannie".

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Not On My Watch

I watched, hoping. I saw the flutter of blue going in and out of the box by the garden, and I didn't want to leave until I knew for sure. This box has housed the blue birds before, but more often than not, the swallows chase them out and take over. And when the bluebirds do win this box, it has usually been the western bluebirds, rather than our state bird, the mountain bluebird.

I usually don't worry too much about this box. When my husband first put it up, he had added a little perch to the front of it, just under the opening. His intentions were good, but the bluebirds prefer a box without a perch. I believe this is out of their innate, instinctive defense of their home. It hasn't bothered me that they don't nest here, because I have 3 other boxes located around my yard, and in my mind, the swallows could just have this box and keep them from bothering my other boxes.

But this time, as I watched, I became very excited. It was the mountains that were taking claim to this home this year. Both the mama and the daddy were there, and it appeared they had been there awhile. I was pretty sure the home was now theirs.

A few days later, I saw some swallows circling the box. Now swallows can be very aggressive and usually do win the battle. But when it comes to protecting a nest already established, the mountains can be aggressive as well in protecting it. I made up my mind to watch carefully for a few days, so I would know. Not that I could have done anything about a swallow take over. But I wanted to know for my own peace of mind. I didn't want anything to happen on my watch. Early in the morning, the next day, I saw the mountains come out of the box and the swallows were no where to be found. A few days later, nothing had changed. It looks like this year, the mountains won, and I couldn't be happier.

It's  a good year for birds. They came early and they are very prevalent. Mr. Flicker is back and he is as entertaining as ever. I have only heard him pecking at the house once, so that is a relief. This morning I heard that distinct sound, but I couldn't tell from where it was coming. I was just glad it wasn't on our house. I guess in reality that is something I should prevent from happening. My husband cares more than me. For some strange reason, I love hearing that sound...even on my house.

I had seen the flicker some time ago, but yesterday, I saw him high up on a telephone pole - just sitting there, almost regally.  I looked again and noticed there was a mourning dove sitting there with him. I wished I had my camera, but I knew if I went to get it, they would be gone by the time I got back. So I just continued to watch, amazed at the close proximity of the two birds, while they just sat there not bothering each other. Finally, the mourning dove flew away and the flicker soon followed. I chuckled in wonderment, as a 2nd mourning dove then left the pole. I hadn't seen him as he sat there with the other two. What in the world!! I suspect Mr. Flicker was having a bit of fun, coming between the two love birds. That's just my imaginative guess. I really have no clue why those 3 birds were sharing the same pole that morning. I just knew it was one more antic to entertain me from my favorite Mr. Flicker. And I was glad to see some mourning doves were back; they have been conspicuously absent the last few years. I had heard them from the woods across the street a few days ago, and I was hoping they would hang around. I also heard them, this morning, from my open window after Mr. Flicker had awakened me.

Later, that same day, he made me laugh right out loud. I have a bird feeder in the center of my yard. The previous owners had put it there, along with a bird bath, that has since been broken due to the weight of the snow one year. But anyway, this feeder is getting old because it has been there so long. It looks like a little house, and "the roof" of this feeder lifts up to allow one to put the seed in. Well more often than not, "the roof "is now left open due to the blowing wind and weakening hinges. Mr. Flicker visited that afternoon. He was not content to eat the seed from the bottom screen trays, which are created for them to eat easily. No, not my guy. He sat at the top of the feeder trying to eat, and when he wasn't successful he crawled right down into the feeder, eating to his hearts content, with only his tail feathers sticking out of the top. This mister always makes me laugh.

The meadowlarks have also been abundant this year; not only audibly, but visually. Typically, I don't see the meadowlarks as often as I hear them. But they, too, have been hanging around showing off for me. Well, they don't "show off" like the flickers, but they have made an appearance or two and that pleases me very much. But I would be satisfied to only hear them sing.

At least one of my other boxes has a pair of westerns in it, and the box I call the "death box" is hosting the sparrows this year. I lost a daddy western out of that box a few years ago, and the bluebirds have not been back to it, even though I tried to clean it well. I am happy to see the sparrows have seen fit to make a home there this year, allowing the mountains to have the other box.

Ahhh, nature.

There are at least one set of killdeer. I think last year, or maybe the year before, there were a ton of them. I love these birds too, but they can be so noisy, and I worried about them so much after learning their warning call. It seemed it filled the pasture that year, because there were so many of them. I would listen every morning to that call, just so I knew they were still there. And really, I can't do anything to protect them. I could only pray. And yes, I prayed for all those little baby killdeer and their mamas. I certainly didn't want anything happening to them on my watch.

Yes, some how I think the Lord has given me watch. There is not a lot I can do, but I care for them the best I can. NO more cats. (I have to remind myself of that, periodically.) Keep the boxes clean. Keep the boxes in a safe, secure area so the little fledglings will be safe on their first fly out of the nest. I keep them watered with a little bird bath Matthew bought for me, and of course they use the sprinklers. I keep seed in a bird feeder and try to keep it full. That's the most that I can do. And I can watch. God has given me "watch". It is for my own joy, I know...but still, I try my hardest to not let anything happen on my watch.

 

 
*x in jpg name denotes not my image.