Just Call Me FRECKLES

After the big three headed out the door for Tulsa and Luke got on the bus for school, I slogged around until the coffee was ready.  I got the inside chores underway and told the remaining boys that I’d go out to milk Ms. Moo while they fed the other animals, hoping that the dogs would stay away.

Sounds like a plan, huh?  The boys didn’t make it to feed the horses before I got out there, so I fed the ones in the pen and went to look for Ms. Moo and her baby.  I’m thinking of calling the baby Cleopatra because she has those beautiful black-eyeliner eyes that are so common with Jersey cows.

Ms. Moo was rather disgruntled at seeing the doofus dogs behind me, and I shared in her disguntlement.  (yeah, I made that word up, but it has lotsa syllables so it’s fun to say)  Ms. Moo did the whole “putting her head down and kicking up dirt with her front feet” thing — and I tried to keep an eye on her to be sure I didn’t get in between her and the dogs.  I hollered at the boys to call the doofus dogs — which was about as useless as running a vacuum cleaner on the Sahara.  The dogs know that milking time can mean fresh warm milk getting spilled on the floor.  They’re the buzzards of the milking barn.

Once Ms. Moo was in the stanchion, I brushed her down and told her what a great cow she is, how she’s so well-behaved and sweet tempered, etc.  *just speaking it into existence*  Seemed like she was settling in okay, so I sat down on the bucket and went to work cleaning her to be milked.  So far, so good.

Ms. Moo enjoyed her breakfast while I milked her and little Cleopatra prissed around the dairy barn, egging the doofus dogs on to come and sniff at her.  Sure enough, the dogs had to get just close enough to touch noses with her, which sent Ms. Moo into conniptions and resulted in me having a milk bath.  Nice.

After intense fellowship with the dogs, accompanied by rocks that rolled, I began milking her again.  Got a few more ounces out and then she began to cough — resulting in my second milk bath.   Okay, we’ll try again.  Back at it for a while longer and I’m making some serious headway on the process when she suddenly decides to relieve herself.  Yet ANOTHER baptism.   I got up from my seat and moved away until it was safe to return to my perch.

Allrighty now, the dogs are sidetracked elsewhere, her bladder is empty, so let’s get started!!!   I get several ounces out when there is yet another southern movement.  Yes, this is when I got my first round of freckles.  I moved again, waited for the event to subside and tried again.  A few more ounces and one of the dogs came over to sniff me.  Ms. Moo kicked at the dog, nearly sending me off the bucket and into the fragrant darkness on the barn floor.  I figured I’d better just hurry it up so I intensified my efforts to relieve Ms. Moo of more milk — when SPLAT!  Another wave of freckles came my way.  I exited my bucket chair, opened up the stanchion and released Ms. Moo and her baby back into the barnyard.

Yea, LORD, I stinketh.

But this is how I figure it: The day can only go up from here!!!!

Christmas Memories

http://www.5minutesformom.com/2545/pedal-car-giveaway/

 <a href=”http://www.5minutesformom.com/2571/christmas-2007/”><img src=”http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k210/5m4m/buttons/events/Christmas-Giveaway-180-by-200.jpg&#8221; title=”Christmas Giveaway 2007 Sweepstakes” alt=”Christmas Giveaway 2007 Sweepstakes” /></a>

Seeing this giveaway on 5minutesformom.com brought back memories of the old firetruck pedal car we had when we were kids.  I wonder where it went?

Thinking back all those years reminds me of Thunderbolt the Wonder Horse, Sea Monkeys and Ant Farms, Candy Cigars and Cigarettes, MAD Magazine, CRACKED Magazine, Boys’ Life Magazine, Highlights Magazine with Gallant and Goofus, RatFink and all those great hot rods.  Our Christmas stockings usually contained fruit, nuts, a new toothbrush, and plenty of magazines, with maybe a few Hot Wheels cars for the boys and some small plastic animals for me.  

Mom always ordered food from Swiss Colony and Bachmann’s, sometimes from Harry & David.  She kept Christmas music playing and decorations everywhere.  As she brought out the ornaments for the tree, she retold the story of each one.  As we grew older, and the boys grew more aggressive, the stories changed a bit.  One ornament now held pieces of several others that the boys had broken while wrestling in the living room. Another ornament might have lost an appendage due to another ‘accident’ when the boys were up to mischief.  Even one of Mom’s favorite light fixtures fell prey to testosterone-driven interaction between my brothers and some of their friends.  Seems like we were constantly trying to cover up something we broke!  I learned, before I ever had children, that breakable items would not play a large role in my future.

Christmastime seemed rather magic at our house.  Mom tried to find the perfect gift for each of us and we tried to find the perfect gift for her.  One year we gathered up all our pennies and I rode my bicycle to Martin Boys’ Florist Shop.  I dumped all the change on the counter and asked what we could get for that amount of money. 🙂   Mr. Martin looked at all the change and smiled.  He reached over and said, “How about this?”  It seemed like the world’s largest poinsettia to me!  It was a bit of a struggle to get it home, but I somehow managed and Mom was thrilled.

Another year, I had about $25 for Mom’s present.  That was a LOT of money!  The boys stayed home, of course, while I rode my bike to downtown Vinita.  I went into McElwain’s Jewelry Store and looked over all the Fostoria.  My Mom loved Fostoria!  I picked out a Fostoria picher and was able to pay for it to be wrapped, too!   I was pretty proud of that purchase, what I hadn’t figured on was the difficulty in riding my bike and holding something so breakable.  I trudged along past North Park, headed out toward our home near the High School, trying to balance the picher and the hold up my bike at the same time.  I must have timed it just right because my Mom came driving up behind me (Or perhaps the good folks at McElwains’ had called her?) and asked if I’d like to put my bicycle in the trunk and get a ride home.  Absolutely!

There was a little hardship involved in giving.  It was a bit of a struggle, but it was always worth it.  I didn’t grumble and complain about the complications because I wanted to do something special for Mom.  Love works that way.  Now, when I find myself groaning over having to find a gift for someone, I realize that I’ve allowed myself to get away from WHY I’m giving.  We give because God gives.  He delights in it.  Of course, He DOES happen to know what the Most Perfect Gift is for everyone — and that makes it much easier. 😉

So, in preparing for Christmas — both in my heart and in my home — my goal will be to add some of that Most Perfect Gift (JESUS) to every gift we will give.  It’s a lot safer and wiser than risking those Black Friday crowds! 

Legalism vs. Walking In Favor

Lots of things on my mind today….

so many people in need of prayer — especially a baby girl named Ameila and a young lady named Laura…and my oldest son…

I also read what has often been a favorite website this morning.  Instead of enjoying the varied comments from the moms, I found myself feeling sick to my stomach.  They were speaking out against parents who allow their homeschooled child to attend high school.  The argument is pretty much the same “If God called me to do this in the first place, why would I consider giving up now?”  Of course, it’s worded differently — but the underlying “ick” of it is legalism. 

Do they know what is in the hearts of the families who make those decisions?  They may think they do, but only God knows the real truth.  Why do they doubt that God might call a family to do that?  Why do they doubt the confirmation of peace that the parents feel?  Yes, it is truly wonderful if they are concerned — but how about PRAYING?  

But you know….that’s what we frail humans do.

We critique, discuss, fuss, debate, and talk about it with everyone — MORE than we spend time actually praying.

Ouch is all I can say!   Looking in the mirror is never fun.

 Yes, I’ve been praying this morning — praying that I’ll have the right words to say when things are said that annoy and irritate me.  May I always suggest that we pray about it before I launch into a sermon!!!

On the other side of life, yesterday was Walking In Favor Day!

After a quick trip to the Big City to take care of medical and financial needs for my brother, I took one of my youngest sons to enroll in — yes, you guessed it — the public high school!  GASP!!!!

Earlier in the summer we had discussed it, even though both older and younger siblings will not attend public school.  This boy is different. 🙂  When the idea was initially proposed to me, my response was, “Of course!  That makes perfect sense! That’s exactly what is supposed to happen!” When my husband came home, we discussed it — and his reaction was the same.  Out of all our children, this one can handle it, this one can be a blessing, this one can begin what God has called him to do!

I did have him take tests to help him see where he’s at and what he’ll have to work on, but it really wasn’t about his academic ability.  He is a servant-hearted leader.  He is called to be there “for such a time as this.”  

Did I ever think I’d feel this way?  Nope!  Not at all!  In fact, my original  plan was that once they were out of public school, they’d never go back.  🙂  As always, God says, “Oh yeah?”  and I comply with His plan, which is always and forever better than anything I could come up with!

Anyway, back to the enrollment process — which took about 2 hours….

The first person we saw there was my dear friend and prayer partner, Ruth.  She is beautiful — inside and out.  She helped us gather all the necessary paperwork.  The second person we dealt with was the coach/drivers’ ed teacher that most of the other kids had when they took the summer driving courses.  He was so complimentary of all the kids — and you know how we moms love to hear good words about our children!  The third person was the counselor who had given the reading exams required by our state before students can enter the summer driving course.  Again, she was excited to see yet another of the “herd”.     What a blessing to know that my son already has supportive adults watching out for him in this new environment!

So…if you are opposed to public school or homeschool, then pray for us!

Motorcycles, Manhood, Moms & Money

21 SonNumberTwoSon just turned 21,  good kid — a little odd, like his mother, but a good kid.  He recently purchased a motorcycle so we thought getting a helmet would be a good birthday gift.  Took him, the girls, and a couple of female friends of his to the big city for a day of helmet fashion searches.   We splurged with lunch at Chimi’s — and the girls decided to let the restaurant staff know that today is Birthday Boy’s 21st!  Perhaps I should say “Birthday MAN” since we were shopping for manly things. 

We’d started the preparations to enroll three of the kids in a nearby Bible College, so when DaughterNumber2 left to go view student housing with her dad, the rest of us sat by to enjoy a few last nibbles of warm chips & queso.   Fun moment when the restaurant staff approached Birthday Boy and placed a HUGE sombrero atop his head and began playing a birthday song.  Never seen a boy/man turn so red so fast!

 After that moment of delightful embarrassment, we journeyed to several motorcycle shops in search for a decent yet affordable helmet.  Found a couple of bikes in the Harley shop that were especially eye-catching, but definitely out of my price range — and skill level.

 That’s why I am taking babysteps.  Yes, I recently acquired a scooter/moped thing.  I have ridden it around the yard, soaring at approximately 7 kph!   Talk about the wind in my hair!  Phew!  Very exciting for an ol’ gal like me!  Odd thing is that my ability to balance is not quite up to par.  Not sure what caused that — other than weight gain that I like to blame on birthing so many babies — but at least the scooter tires don’t flatten when I sit on it.scooter (daelim)

You puke, you die!

I have to start this out with a little history…

I’ve always had a bit of a weak stomach.  I can deal with blood, guts, feces, etc. from animals — but not from people.  Don’t know why, just always been that way.

When BrotherBoy was hospitalized for liver failure, he managed to ooze, shoot, excrete, blast, emit, torpedo all sorts of solids, liquids, and gasses from his body.  It was pretty rugged.  When he was going through the D.T.’s, not only were we dealing with physical filth, we also had to deal with an enormous amount of emotional and spiritual filth.  One day in particular, he cursed at me for nearly 3 hours straight.  Nanny & Daughters 1 & 2 left crying on more than one occasion. 

I guess you could say we were in the beginning stages of our own version of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  It was one of the most taxing events of our lives.  We four females prayed, laughed, cried, and did whatever it took to survive the ordeal.   Most of our antics were caught on the hospital surveillance cameras, but we’re happy to have supplied them with a few grins, too.

At one point BrotherBoy died — with all of us at his side — watching the transition.  Because the DNR was not signed, the hospital staff removed us from the room and began to work on him.  We were in the hospital over a month — a very hellish roller coaster of a month!  We were blessed with the most compassionate and helpful hospital staff, but it was still a very traumatic time for us all.

Over and over again we prepared for BrotherBoy to die — sometimes he did, sometimes he didn’t.  After a while we were too exhausted to whip up much excitement when, once again, the death proclamation was issued.  That’s why, after he was out and about, I probably sounded a bit calloused when people questioned me about his condition.  “Yeah, he was supposed to die, but he won’t stay dead.  Yeah, they say he’s terminal, but he’s not listening.”

We were told to go to the VA Medical Center to get BrotherBoy’s initial tests.  Eazy breezy, back home for a good afternoon together.  Daughter 2 called to say we needed to report to the VA’s ER in another town.  Why?  Blood tests reveal BrotherBoy could die at any moment. 

I went to the bathroom door and knocked, BrotherBoy sounded ticked, “What do you want?”  “Are you dead?”, I asked.  After some cursing under his breath he said, “No, why?”  “Well, because I have to take you to the ER, you could die at any moment.”  “WHAT?  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”, he yells.  “Nope, serious as a heart attack — no, wait, that’s what they say you’re gonna have any second now.”  

After some colorful discussion, BrotherBoy agreed to go to the ER.  There, we learned how to play a new game.  It’s called, “Sit and Wait, and maybe you’ll die….or maybe you’ll just wish you did.”  We dusted off the cobwebs when they called BrotherBoy’s name and he went through another round of being poked and prodded.  BrotherBoy was not amused.  BrotherBoy began to say bad things to the staff.  BrotherBoy told them he was not going back into another hospital when he just got out.  BrotherBoy walked out — and, seeing the mood he was in,  I stayed back several paces.  <He had attempted to give me flying lessons while he was hospitalized — flying out the window of his room and down about 5 floors.  I preferred to skip those lessons.>

The next morning BrotherBoy was scheduled for a visit with the VA Medical Center again.  The doctor he saw berated us for leaving the ER the night before, refused to treat BrotherBoy, and made several unnecessary comments.  Needless to say, BrotherBoy was furious.

It took a few days before BrotherBoy relented and went back to the ER for further testing.  (All the while, I’m getting phone calls from hospital staff telling me I should force BrotherBoy to go.  I remind them that I am no spring chicken — and BrotherBoy is a Marine with extensive training in extermination.)  At the ER, he is once again poked and prodded.  They threaten, beg, guilt-trip, and scold to try to coax him to stay overnight.  BrotherBoy refuses quite heartily.  Nurse Practitioner begins to tell me that BrotherBoy could die on the way home.  I can’t help but grin.  I’m sorry, it’s tacky, but I’ve heard it so many times — and have actually seen him do it — but BrotherBoy is like the Energizer Bunny:  He keeps going and going and going!  Nurse Practitioner tries to enlighten me as to the seriousness of the situation.  I explain that I truly do understand, that I’ve seen him die already, that I’ve heard it all before — and that after a month of very little sleep, I’m just not that hyped up about it.  Nurse Practitioner tries again to impress me with the gravity of it all.   I shake my head and smile.  BrotherBoy is grinning at me.  He likes watching them go after  ME.

 Finally, I relent, “Okay, he might die at any second.  Exactly how will he die?  I mean — will he flip flop around a while — or will he puke or what?”  BrotherBoy is laughing at me now, “Why do you want to know?” he asks.  I reply, “Because we’re in my van today — -and if you’re gonna puke, you’re sitting in the back seat — This is NOT a two-for-one deal!  If you’re just gonna grab your heart and flop around, you can die up front.”  BrotherBoy is roaring with laughter, Nurse Practitioner is speechless. 

It takes her a while to regain her composure.

Hey, I’m just being realistic.  If he started puking, I’d start swerving — and we’d both wind up dead. 

 Nurse Practitioner says he probably won’t puke, he can ride up front.  BrotherBoy’s grin gets even bigger.  

He can get away with anything!Piano Dance

The Mother of All Clotheslines

We’ve lived in this house over 18 years.  With  a multitude of children comes a multitude of laundry.  I asked for a clothesline to be put up.  It didn’t happen.   I went to the dollar store, purchased the line, and began tying it from tree to tree and back to my porch.  When people aren’t expecting clotheslines to be there, they sometimes encounter them during motorcycle rides through the backyard.  They usually aren’t happy about it, but those who see it take place remember it vividly and quite humorously for years!

When each clothesline would rot away, I’d buy new line and come up with a slightly different route to hang it.    At some points it would be low enough that the dogs would think they needed to attack and kill every towel within reach.  I did the best I could do, all the while asking for a ‘real’ clothesline.

A couple of years ago, someone built a beautiful log cabin on the way to my mom’s house.  DH & I called about it to find out who did the building and what it would run for something similar.  Every time we drove by it, we slowed down to enjoy the beauty of it’s construction.  One day, as we were driving by, I screamed.  (You’ll notice that’s commonplace for me.)  There was a big beautiful clothesline, painted the same green as the roof on the cabin!  DH cringed and said he wished he’d taken another route.

After a recent clash of the Titan Egos (me & DH), he and the boys began working furiously in the barn.  I could hear and smell welding in progress!  The post hole digger was hooked up to the back of the tractor and concrete was mixed.  What to my wondering eyes should appear, but THE MOTHER OF ALL CLOTHESLINES!

 This thing is huge.  The pipe is as wide as a dessert plate.  I’m not kiddin’!  The lines are plastic-coated cable.  It can hold EIGHT big loads of laundry.  Yes, I said 8 — the number of New Beginnings!  It is the Behemoth of all clotheslines!  It looks like a clothesline on steroids.  It is so huge that it screams for attention.  I’m wondering what color to paint it….I mean, after all, why go for a bland, boring silver when this mammoth sucker could stay put in a tornado?  I’m thinkin’ it needs a color as big and bold as it is!

Right after they got the concrete poured, poles set right, rings for the wires welded on, and the wires attached, it began to rain.  It rained.  And rained.  And rained.  And rained.  And rained.  And rained.  And rained.  And rained.    In the two weeks TMOAC (The Mother Of All Clotheslines) has been in place, I’ve been able to use it 2 — count ’em — two days. 

It’s okay.  When the sun stays out, my electric bill will go down by 1/3 — because I’ll be using TMOAC!!!!dancing man

Milestones & Fire alarms

My youngest daughter’s graduation from high school was last month.    While I was sidetracked with extended family, my daughter planned the graduation ceremony, refreshments and gifts for the guests, and the concert to follow.    I was so proud of her efforts that I decided to help out by ironing her graduation robe.  I used a lower temperature just to be safe.  The first sleeve looked perfect, so I placed the iron down on the other sleeve — and when I pulled, the fabric came with it.  Not just a little — a huge CHUNK!  I screamed and danced a little angry jig while my family looked on in amusement. 

My daughter kept telling me it was okay, she didn’t have to wear the robe, she could find something else.  I rushed to the phone to call around and see if any local churches had black choir robes they’d loan out.  While I was making calls, my dear husband came to the rescue.

Call it a Jeff Foxworthy Graduation.  Dear Husband took musicians duct tape and repaired the gaping wound in daughter’s graduation gown.  Yes, I did say duct tape.  Dear Husband looks at me and says, “We may be rednecks, but we are high class rednecks — this duct tape costs $20 per roll!”    The musicians duct tape is a dark charcoal color, that blends in well with the graduation gown.  To the untrained eye, it is hardly noticeable.  Yee haw!

Hee Haw!

So I considered that my flub for the day.  That was it.  I was done.  The rest of the day would be smooth sailing.

Right…..

We went to the church youth building to decorate.  Dear Husband brought some flowers and other necessities, friends brought refreshments and more decorations, and we had a good morning and afternoon of work.  I noticed that the young man who was also in the graduation was trying to work on singeing the edge of a sign that was to be placed on his display board.  His mother called with instructions for him to go pick up a few more items, so he left the sign, along with the lighter, on a table.   I just wanted to help….

I took it outside so I wouldn’t set off the smoke detectors. (Previous experience)  I began to carefully singe the edges of the sign to give it an aged look.  Suddenly a gust of wind caused the flames to engulf the sign.  I began furiously attempting to puff out the flames, but it kept burnin’, burnin’, burnin’ — so I rushed inside and turned on the sink water full blast.  About half the sign was gone — the other half blurred.

I made a new sign for him, didn’t attempt to singe the edges.

See, the sad thing is, I’m a bit of a pyromaniac at heart.  I’ve often joked that I treat dear husband like a god:  providing him with burnt offerings each evening.  My kids gave me the sign for my kitchen that reads:  Dinner is ready when the smoke alarm goes off. 

I intentionally did not cook for daughter’s graduation.  I tried to avoid burning anything, I really did.

Some days it just don’t pay to chew through the restraints….