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18 August 2022

The Next Chapter

 I'm sitting on the sideline, supporting Danny as he deals with the unfolding story of his Dad. After his dad fell at Sams' Club in June he fell again in the apartment parking lot where he lives. This time he was looking up at the jets and lost his balance. He wasn't so lucky with this fall as he was on the first one. He got cuts and bruises all over the place including a 3' gash next to his eye. Needless to say, we spent another afternoon at the ER. That's when we found out he had fluid leaking in his brain from the falls.

He was doing pretty good for a while, riding his new scooter over to the house clinic to have his bandages changed every few days, riding down to the dining hall for meals, working on his computer. Then one day he went to the clinic, seeing a nurse who hadn't seen him for a long time. When she saw his bruises she assumed he'd fallen again the night before. That wasn't true; these were old bruises. BUT he was drifting off to sleep while talking with her. So she sent him to the hospital again for evaluation. Unbeknownst to her it was the Stage 4 Kidney disease and lack of protein in his diet that was causing the drowsiness and extreme swelling in his lower limbs.

This time when he got out of the hospital (on his 99th birthday, no less) he had to go to rehab, which was another building in his home complex.We didn't know then that there would be a rapid deterioration of his abilities. He got it in his head that he wanted to move back to Colorado (he'd lived there over 25 years before moving to Virginia again with his wife who had Alzheimer so she could be with her sister who had Alzheimer). He bought a one-way ticket for the end of August, not realizing that although the airlines will push him through the airports he would still have to be able to stand on his own to sit in the airplane seat. He can't do that! That's what therapy was for - to help strengthen his legs so he could walk again.

Instead of focusing on his therapy he was focused on his phone, calling the sales department at the Community he lived in to see about selling his apartment. He called the movers to get an estimate on moving his small household all the way to Colorado. He called the independent living place he had previously lived in before coming to Virginia. He was blowing up phones across the nation to the point that a complete stranger at the independent living place told Danny he was sorry Danny had to go through this and jokingly said he'd heard there were some places in Wyoming that had no phone reception!

Yes, Danny was spending all his time countering all his dad's plans, calling everyone from the airlines on down to making doctor appointments he couldn't keep because he couldn't get there, his investment firm, and banks. Luckily, by now the health evaluations had determined his dad was not able to make financial or medical decisions. His dad had assigned power of attorney to Danny a long time ago, so with copies of everything pertinent he's gone about trying to keep his dad safe and secure through his last days. They have now given his dad less than 6 months due to the disease. With his memory shot even if everything is repeated umpteen times he doesn't remember. It's all just so sad.

Danny has stepped up and done everything a son should do. His dad's belligerence and determination has made everything so much harder than it needed to be. This week we just learned his dad called the eye doctor and made an appointment, even though he can't leave the facility. And right after Danny got home, we were called yesterday afternoon to come in, that his dad was unresponsive. We didn't know what to expect, but 10 minutes before we arrived he opened his eyes and started talking again. If he's able I'm sure he will be on the phone again today! That is one feisty guy!

We covet your prayers for our family as we navigate these uncharted waters! Thanks!

06 June 2022

Spring into Summer

Spring into Summer is a  busy time. About the time time of my last post we had our neighbor come by and grind down three tree stumps. I am so happy to have them gone. It's all nice and smooth now!

In early May my daughter came to visit in time for Mother's day. We had an awesome time celebrating her being here! The other daughter couldn't come, but I enjoyed a delightful hour-long video chat with her.

I had several doctor appointments while trying to find a new doctor to take care of my left knee. I went back to my old pain management doctor, but that really didn't work out too well and ended up being a waste of time. I found a new surgeon at Jordan-Young and when he did an evaluation he said I should not be doing a lot of walking and should never have been given prednisone, much less twice thanks to my old surgeon. He gave me the shot that the other guy wouldn't give me and it's been quite a wonderful change for my quality of life. I should like to get both knees done at my next appointment!

Danny experienced a falling out with his dad in October. I'm glad to say they have finally moved past that. We had lunch with my almost 99 year-old father-in-law two weeks ago and afterwards they worked on his new motorized chair. Just in time, I might add.

One afternoon last week Virginia Beach General ER called to say my father-in-law was there. It seems on a 90°+ day he went to Sam's Club. The heat must have been too much in the parking lot and he fell, hitting his head and becoming confused. Sam's Club called for an ambulance. Danny and my brother went to the hospital and upon learning they had to wait for tests to done, they went to Sam's Club for the abandoned car and purchases, only to find nothing in the car. They finally tracked down the goods and stowed them in our car. Before they could leave the parking lot to go back to the hospital an employee with a string of carts he was taking back to the building, ran them into the side of my father-in-law's car. Then they had to wait to do a police report since my brother was the driver. Good grief! Long story, short - everyone went home that night and Danny finally got back at 11:00 pm. 

Two nights later the water pump kept running. Danny went exploring and discovered the water heater had given up the ghost and water was all over the garage. The next morning he went shopping. We now have a nice new water heater and a clean garage floor.

While all this was going on Danny was experiencing a toothache. He actually went to the dentist the morning that his dad fell, so his day was full from one end to the other. The dentist couldn't do much and the next appointment was over two weeks away. I'm happy to say he was rescheduled to tomorrow afternoon after they had a cancellation!

Meanwhile, I've been working on genealogy for one of my son-in-law's brother of another father (adoption involved), trying to answer questions the guy has had for years. I've had good results so far and I think he will be pleased.

Our tub garden is finally growing now that the weather has warmed up. We had to move the eggplants to the pepper box, but other than that everything has been good-to-go!


26 April 2022

Spring Is In the Air

So much time has passed since my last post. As usual I often thought about posting, but the time just wasn't right. Today is the day!

Easter was wonderful. We got up early and attended the brief but windy early service at church. The sun didn't start to poke its head out until we left, but that's ok. We went back to church later for classes and worship. Everything was terrific. I was fortunate enough to sing with the Shades of Grace again (we don't get together often anymore) and it made my heart glad. The sermon was great and after church we waited until the last of the dessert auction was over to collect our goodies. We got a wonderful deep dark chocolate cake with chocolate bits in it. Well... they say dark chocolate is good for you, right?!

Instead of heading to a restaurant as we usually do, we came home and with my brother and sister-in-law had our own special meal of grilled porkchops, mashed potatoes, baked beans, skillet cornbread, and of course a couple of selections of church desserts. Our little group of four is a far cry from former days and as we tried not to think about who was missing, we all knew we were thinking the same thing. But we are making new memories now and thus far we've had a lot of fun along the way doing just that.

Since Christmas we've been dealing with aches and pains. Danny's hurt back is now starting to feel better after a 2nd shot in his back/neck area. The first didn't quite do the trick, but I think he's conquered it this time. Meanwhile, I delayed doing much about my knee, wanting to get him fixed first. When I finally got x-rays and saw the surgeon he just gave me Prednisone, which helped but didn't help long. When I called to get on the surgery agenda, I found out he was going to retire in June and didn't sound like he wanted too much to do with me anymore. Well, why didn't he say so before?! Since it's taken so long to get Danny straight I called the surgeon once more, thinking maybe he could at least give me a shot. So what do I get? Another round of Prednisone. Thanks for nothing! I'm now researching for another 'knee guy' and I guess I'll get to the top of someone's list eventually. Stair-climbing is becoming a challenging sport these days!

We had toyed with the idea of tilling a garden space in the yard, but with all our issues decided another year of plants in pots will do the trick. Our planter garden is coming along nicely now. We have 4 tomatoes, 2 eggplants, about 10 okra (Danny likes it), Swiss Chard, 3 peppers, and new basil. Our 5-year-old sage plant, chives, and oregano go from year to year so we don't have to do much but enjoy them.

My vintage rose has just started blooming this week. Oh my! If I could just bottle that smell! It's so divine and well worth the wait each year.

I guess the weather with all it's hot and cold ups and downs was perfect for the Carolina Allspice bush and Clematis. The bush is full this year and the sweet fragrance goes across the yard on the wind so wonderfully! And I counted almost 30 Clematis flowers so far this year, all open at the same time, and there's still more to come! It's the best it's ever done in all the years I've had it!

Last but not least we've had a few visits from the now lone wild turkey. She wanders in the yard from the woods path, pecking bugs and whatnot as she travels across the back woods line and along the ditch bank before heading back into the woods. I know there are other turkeys around here so I hope she can hook up with them and not be lonely. Nothing worse than a sad turkey!

23 February 2022

A Confession

I think I failed an important test the other week. Something happened and I pretty much considered it a catastrophe at the time. I was embarrassed and humiliated by the event. Then  I over-reacted and flipped out, taking aim at the people I felt had caused it. They definitely knew I was upset.

My reaction, although some might call it understandable given what happened, was not what a Christian should do. In that I failed. I could have simply acknowledged what was done and that it was not intentional on anyone's part. I did forgive the people involved and I know they did what they thought was right at the time and had never meant to hurt me.

Within moments of my reaction I felt so bad about my response that it brought me to tears. It was no longer about what had been done towards me or by whom. It was my reaction that broke me. After venting my experience to a kind person who let me share, I went off by myself and cried and prayed for God's forgiveness for my own behavior. I know He forgave me because it's promised in His Word. After finally reaching a place of calmness I went back to those I'd railed against and apologized for being so awful. They graciously accepted my apology and we moved past that moment in time.

But I've not truly been able to move on because of guilt for my actions. It's been stuck in my heart for having responded in such a quick and callous manner. It doesn't matter about what caused it. What matters is how I reacted.

It's hard to stop yourself during a difficult moment and remember to not react quickly. It's especially hard to take the time to think before you speak when you feel that you are right and justified. But that's exactly what is needed - to stop in the moment, think through the details of what's really important, and remember how it feels to be on the receiving end of a tirade; then pray to ask for God's guidance and wisdom to handle things. Only after doing all of these can you calmly respond.

I've come to an understanding that this could have been a test designed to challenge me and my reaction to things outside my control. I didn't do so good this time. Acknowledging this is helping me release the guilt. And release has to be chosen because I can't change what happened; I can only accept how it played out and learn from it. To ignore this would mean everything was for nothing. The greater part of my learning is to continue praying to God to change my heart to be less condemning and critical of others and for His ways to become my ways so I'll be better prepared next time something happens that I don't agree with. Sooner or later something will occur; it always does.

Life is full of challenges. I hope, even though I failed this time, that from it I will become a better person, with more patience, understanding and compassion. I will try my best to bloom when I am planted and to be what God wants me to be and do what God wants me to do. No matter how old we are, we're all still a work in progress, right?

Psalm 86:5 - For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.

Matthew 6:14 - For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

21 January 2022

Vintage Feathers With Gratitude

 As I go through my home in my effort to continue downsizing (has it really taken that many years already?) I recently pulled out three big pillows. They are old and large and full. They are not soft and fluffy, they are hard as a rock. Unless you want to put one under your knees while laying on your back they are useless.

I've had these pillows for many years. They are my vintage feathers.

Nancy Burnham and James Cartwright
on their wedding day, 1875
When I was young my grandmother, Big Mama, had an old feather mattress. It had belonged to her grandmother, Nancy Burnham, who raised her. And it's very possible that Nancy's mother, Lovey McPherson (1830-1867), might have originally made the mattress. My great-grandmother Nancy lived from 1854-1932. This old feather mattress was covered in blue ticking that was disintegrating because of age. Since I was able to help and loved to hear her childhood stories we went into her back yard to transfer the feathers to a new home.

The mattress was for a full size bed, but it wasn't as large as full-size is now. It wasn't over stuffed so it was rather wobbly and we were able to squeeze the feathers to about half that original size. I had taken a large light-green blanket, folded it in half and sewed around the edges to make a giant bag. We crammed as many feathers in as we could and what didn't make it in the bag floated away on the wind or went to a trash can with the old ticking.

That green bag of feathers went with me to Ohio during my first marriage. It came back with me when that was over. When my kids were little the bag was taking up too much space so I downsized the feathers again and ended up with these three pillows.

Happy little bather
I'm pretty certain no one wants to keep these old feathers around for a memorial to ancestors they never met. I hate the thought of just tossing them in the woods or into the trash. I seriously doubt anyone would want to buy them. So I am thinking about having a burning in the fire pit one day.....just burn the three pillows and thank God for my ancestors who made me who I am today.

I've had my DNA done; I come from good solid North Carolina stock. Nothing elaborate, with no fancy genes from exotic places, just good hardworking people. And these feathers make me think on the hard times people had to endure back in the day. The unheated bedroom with several small children tucked under a heap of home made quilts (yes, I've got those too). I can picture these tough grandmothers of mine, outdoors beating the dust out of the mattress covers maybe once a year or so, just to freshen them up. I see the go-to-meeting Sunday best clothes they washed so carefully in a tub of well water. Or maybe even a child or two in a pan of water! Times were tough but the women were tougher. They grew their own food, plucked their own chicken dinners. They made do, or made it up, or didn't need it after all. Options weren't always plentiful. They lost a lot of babies and young children, so heartache was part of things. Good or bad, they got through everything.

We have things so easy these days, yet all you hear around you are complaints. Think of that feather mattress and then think of today's modern automated beds that heat you when you're cold and cool you when it's hot. Some even tilt when you snore... Life is so easy huh? So isn't it time to just be grateful for a change?

14 January 2022

Of Yarn and a Yarn

 I have finally started crocheting a sweater. I've been thinking on it for a long time and after viewing a lot of videos finally chose one that looked fairly easy to do. I printed up the instructions and gave them to the Crochet Club members and I'm hopefully that we'll all be able to get at least one sweater done in our lifetimes!

I had three skeins of a lovely dark marine blue that I could see myself wearing. Isn't it too bad that the pattern calls for at least seven skeins?! So I paired it with a lighter color greenish blue that seemed to work. I laid out my pattern to gradually go from the dark to lighter color as I got closer to the shoulder. It looks pretty good going from 1 dark, 1 light, 1 dark, 2 light and so on up to five (which ended up being 10!

After completing the back and one front side I was able to lay it out on my kitchen table this morning. There is great value in doing a lay-out; I'm just sorry I didn't do so yesterday when I worked on that front. I found out that one simple error had made a major problem for me. I now have to take over half of the front side out and redo it. Ugh! I had added an extra stitch that turned into two extra stitches. Now the bottom from is wider than the top front. But now I know it, so I can fix it!

Today is my lovely daughter Lindsey's birthday. She was the one I had at home so many years ago. She simply came too fast before I could go anywhere. It was a dark and stormy night and I'm grateful that she came at 10 minutes after midnight or you can see how that would have been.... to be born on Friday, the 13th on a dark and stormy night! It all worked out and we both traveled to the Norfolk hospital in a bumpy old ambulance in he middle of a cold driving rain. We made it and I ended up with a rebate from the doctor's office since they didn't do the delivery!

She is now married and living outside of Atlanta.

I'm using a cane nowadays, for my good knee. About 2 months ago I dropped a jar of moisturizer and it made a streak across my bedroom carpet about 12 feet long. I got on my knees to start scooping it up before it sank into the fibers. Unfortunately it took too long and I was in tears before I could finish, but I was determined to get it up. I'm now paying the price. I've been to see the surgeon who said it's just a matter of time as I'm almost bone on bone. I'm praying for a miracle and somehow new cartilage will grow back. I really don't want to have another surgery in my life. I've learned to leave earlier now to give me time to get anywhere. Stairs are slow!

04 January 2022

Our Christmas

What an awesome Christmas we just had! It was, by far, the smallest family gathering in our history, with just 8 of us attending, but we had the most fun ever! Both of my daughters and their husbands came to stay at our house for a week. We haven't had both girls spend the night since they were  in high school!

We decided not to exchange presents this year. This idea had been discussed in the past and was rejected every time, probably because Mom was always just a present person...she loved tearing into her gifts and each year it was a game when we took turns tossing the old balled up wrapping paper into a large box in the center of all the action. I'm really glad we decided no gifts this year! There was no pressure or feeling that we 'had to do this, or had to do that' before December 25.  We were free from standing in lines, and spending tons of time and money buying items that weren't always exciting to the intended recipients. We were excited to just spend time with each other. Our theme was "Our presence is the present!" And so it was!

Here's a few highlights of our week (which may be in disorder as the days started running together):

The girls arrived on the Wednesday before Christmas. We called everyone together that evening and enjoyed a big pot of hamburger soup and sandwiches. Surely, this was home-style at it's finest! We gathered around the fire-pit that evening, staying out until it was just too cold. It was so fun and relaxing.

We did the crackers and cheese and grapes and wine thing almost continually all week, which was fine with us because we were all together. We threw in some M and M's and some dark-chocolate Kisses for fun! Those had to be replenished before the week was out, hello!?

On Friday we all went to the same Mexican restaurant that we  went to after Lindsey got married a year ago. Her husband's family also came and everyone had a great time. We left in time to get home before dark. Everyone separated for a while and I attended the Christmas Eve worship service at church that evening. When I got back we regrouped and watched "The Man Who Invented Christmas," which I'd never even heard of. It was a fantastic movie about Charles Dickens and how his life paralleled "A Christmas Carol." I can highly recommend this for your next Christmas movie night.

On Christmas Day we all went to my brother's house for a big brunch. Gosh! How many goodies can you eat for breakfast? I'm thinking a lot!

On Sunday we had everyone over again and polished off the hamburger soup and enjoyed Danny's Chicken Gnocchi soup.

One night was pajama movie night over at my brother's house. All the ladies had their cozies on and we watched "What a Wonderful Life" together.

One night the girls went to visit and have a Christmas meal with their dad's family while us four old-folks just rested up.

We just had to have a shooting event in our back yard on Monday. One of my son-in-laws is a reenactor and he had brought a musket to share with everyone. That was so much fun!

On Tuesday my oldest left to do half their journey back to FL. The next morning, the youngest left for GA.

But NO ONE left before they helped us take down our Christmas tree and decorations! That was a gift in itself!

Everything was perfect, except that Danny's dad had already made plans for his Christmas elsewhere. I don't know what we'll do next year, but this year was enough to tide me over for a while!

19 November 2021

The End of Chaos

Again I've been slack on posting in a timely manner, but I've just been so busy. Our kitchen remodel is nearing it's completion. We're now searching for under-cabinet lights and new paper towel holders and we've started researching a new island to put in the middle. After that we should be done. As the head chef Danny has reorganized everything from pots and pans to bread and potato chips! We decided not to reinstall the corner appliance garage which gave us more counter space, but removed some previously used storage. I shared the "before" picture in my last blog post. Here is the "after" photo:

After kitchen renovations

It's the week before Thanksgiving. We will be hosting this year for the first time since Mom was here for her very last Thanksgiving. We didn't know it at the time and I'm glad spirits were high.

Thanksgiving Day 2019

The day after that wonderful day of celebration she went to the hospital for her gallbladder surgery and never came home again. To say that it's been on everyone's mind is a slight understatement. This year will be so different. There will only be five of us this year, with both of my girls now living out of state. There will just be too many empty seats at the table. But we will do our best to have a good time. And in addition to lunch we'll probably do a left-overs supper by the fire pit.

We're all looking forward to Christmas when everyone will be home. We've planned several days and nights of events so it should be a lot of fun. We've decided no presents (everyone usually gets what they want when they want throughout the year) and just being together again will be the best gift of all. I'm not holding my breath but I am hoping everyone will attend Christmas Eve services with me.

When the kids were little Christmas Eve used to consist of a steak dinner out, followed by picking up our pre-ordered ribs from Frankie's for Christmas dinner, and then driving around fancy neighborhoods looking at all the pretty lights. Later as the kids got older we participated in the services at church. Then Frankie's closed, and now there's not much but the candlelight service at church, especially after I started playing the piano there. I really enjoy the service and it's actually the best part of Christmas now. But I think we can still figure out some special dining experience before the service starts this year! How does hot dogs over the fire pit sound?!

My back yard is now glorious! I love watching the leaves fall even while I mourn their loss. But my leaf covered yard - Wonderful!! It's all crunchy and definitely puts you in the mood. I've been sitting on my deck reading a good book while the fur babies hunt worms. As soon as all the snakes are hibernating I'm hoping to go through the woods back to the water! That's always such a treat for me!

I wish each of you a wonderful Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas! I am so blessed and wish only the best to you all for the coming year!

24 September 2021

In Over A Month

 Shortly after my last post we lost one of the hunters who have been part of my life for ever so long. As the child of a Hunt Master I’ve met a lot of wonderful men who have been a part of my family’s life. Mr. Paul was one of the quietest and also one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known. He will be missed so much when the next hunting season starts.

 I had my annual mammogram and I’m happy to say I’m good to go. I don’t know why any woman would not take the time to get this done to have peace of mind. Years ago, a lady at my church was diagnosed with breast cancer and it was no time at all before she was gone. It was so sad. Technology has come a long way in 30 years. It’s quick and relatively painless. October is Breast cancer Awareness month… a good time to get caught up on your check-ups.

In August, we drove down in NC to visit my cousin’s granite company and select new kitchen counter top materials. I can’t thank Hunter enough for the “family discount” and for squeezing us into his busy schedule. So now, my kitchen looks all new with counters, sinks and faucets. 

 We went from this:

 To this:

Once we get the tile back splash installed, I won’t know how to act!

We discovered an overgrown skin-tag like growth on our lady fur baby and had it removed in late August. As we celebrated our new counter tops the next evening the vet called to say that the biopsy came back “malignant.” She will have another biopsy on nearby lymph nodes to see if the cancer has spread. We’re hopeful that we got it in time. Today she gets the stitches out and hopefully the dreaded cone of shame from off her head that has kept her from scratching.

In September my Florida daughter came for another visit. That meant a lot of fun times filled with awesome discussions, a lot of laughter, great food, and a drop or two of good wine. My Florida kids as well as my now Georgia kids will all be here for Christmas, and I can’t wait!!

Today I had a regular dental cleaning. The appointment was made in May, but for some reason they couldn’t find me on the schedule anywhere. They offered to squeeze me in 2 hours later, but it was too far to go home and come back so I said forget it.

We stopped by Home Depot so Danny could get whatever he was going to get while I was at the dentist. That’s where I saw this “thing.” It was 8 feet tall with giant flapping wings. Another nearby Animatronic was speaking in a gravelly satanic style voice and the whole scene just stunned and bewildered me. I know it was nothing more than an overgrown decorative toy but I saw a representation of what it could be like at the end-times, with Satan standing high on a hill, commanding his armies to go out into the world and gather his own. I felt sorrow and fear for the future. My heart broke for those that Christians call the lost.

I know some people get into this kind of thing. But I just saw Satan using this as an opportunity to make his presence in our world in an OK way. We see this kind of stuff all the time and think no big deal. He’s already infiltrated out movies and TV and we don’t even give it a second thought.

I almost cried as I left the store; it was all I could do to get out of there. I did cry on the way home. I felt so overwhelmed, so fearful for those who will be deaf to hear and blind to see or heed the warnings of a Godless future.

I can’t explain my strong reaction. I just know I’d be ashamed to have one of these things in my front yard. I am sorry if I brought you down. You may even think I’m crazy. I love Jesus and make no apologies for it. He’s been part of me since I was a very little girl. I don’t understand it at all, I just know I’m good with it being this way. I crave knowing Him and desire to be closer to Him every day. The way the world is changing is heartbreaking all around.

Have a good week and watch for God’s working in your life.

18 August 2021

A Church Moment

We were just getting used to having church almost like normal. Then we had Vacation Bible School and two positive Covid tests showed up the following week. We're not totally sure it came from VBS, but just to be on the safe side we closed up church again. So far it's just for two weeks, but that could change. Who knows from day to day what will happen? It's turned into a crazier world than what I would ever have dreamed it could be.

Last Sunday it was so strange not be at church early in the morning. I know most people don't think twice about something like that. To them it's just another day, one that they can dawdle away with sleeping in, or going to the beach, or fishing down a creek somewhere. To anyone that is a church goer like me it's hard to deal with not being there.

We're told in the Bible to keep the sabbath, not to go fishing. We're to fellowship with like-minded people and being involved for one or two hours a week isn't asking a whole lot when you compare that to all the blessings God is continuing to supply to us.

Exodus 20:8 reminds us to "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy."
Leviticus 26:2 says "Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord."

There's lot more references, but you get the idea.

Ever since I was a real little girl and we used to play Beat You to Jesus when seeing who could swing highest on the swing set I've always felt close to Jesus. I wonder if He might not have been my imaginary friend that Mama fretted over until the doctor said it was a normal thing for kids.

My feeling of closeness has never gone away. Many times I've thought He was sitting right in my car with me on a long lonely journey. Sort of like a big Brother that I couldn't see. And I'm always chatting with Him about something or other going on in my life. He's been with me through lonely times, sad times, and good times. He knows whenever I play the piano I'm playing for Him. When I was just starting out I'd tell Him I was playing for Him and then I'd say "let me start over" so many times when I'd mess up and want to get it perfect for Him.

I've asked Him for help when I was publishing a newsletter. I'd be sitting there drawing a blank and always after an out-loud conversation with Him the answer or inspiration would come within a few minutes.

I love going to church through the week too, when it's cool and quiet, and kind of mysterious in a good way. I know every crook and cranny. Sometimes I have a meeting; sometimes I need to get or drop something off. I never feel afraid, even at night and it's dark inside the building. It's like a second home. Sometimes when I'm there alone I just sit in the sanctuary and listen to the quiet and wait for Him to speak to me.

Yes, I really do miss going to church on Sunday mornings. Hopefully this latest situation will clear up quickly. I miss the sounds of church music and the people chattering to each other. I know it's a joyful time for many. It's always good to be in His House.

Call me crazy if you want to... won't be the first time. I reckon people who don't understand will think church is boring or old-fashioned or just not for them. I hope one day they do understand what's in it for them and at least visit church once in a while to find out for themselves. 

Meanwhile, I will listen for the hourly church bells wafting through the woods on the breeze. Still there.

26 July 2021

Hot, Hot. Did I Mention It Was Hot?

It's hot and humid outdoors. I haven't even been going out there except to go to church twice a week and to see the chiropractor once a week. Bah! Humbug to hot weather. I always say you can get warm if you're cold, but you can't always get cool if you're too hot!

I guess we've gotten so accustomed to having air conditioning that it's almost heart-stopping if the AC goes out for any time at all!  I remember when Hurricane Irene came through and we lost power for four days! It was so hot and miserable. Luckily at that time we had a swimming pool and kept using it until it started getting too yucky (because the pumps were not running due to no electricity). Danny and the fur babies spent most of the time just laying on the floor where it was cooler.

All of that is artificial though, when it comes right down to it. There's really nothing better than the real deal...

I'm glad it's almost Fall. I can't wait for the cooler air to show up and for the trees to start changing colors. When the leaves fall I think of them as Autumn snowflakes. Makes me cooler just to think about it.

I love that we have several outdoor rooms now since our trees have grown up so much. By that I mean that our weeping cherry tree and a few other low-hanging canopies have created a sense of being enclosed and it's pretty awesome when sitting under those trees. The air is so much cooler than the rest of the yard and the gentle breezes seem that much sweeter too. Natural air conditioning! I find a lot of peace surrounded by nature at her best. We have a hammock in one area and swaying back and forth while looking up towards the sky is beyond awe-inspiring. 

I grew up without air conditioning until I was in my teens. I lived in a big old farmhouse and my bedroom was on the upper floor with four big windows in it. In summer I'd enjoy beautiful breezes filtering in and fluttering the cotton curtains. The air was perfumed with honeysuckle and Ligustrum blossoms. I could hear the honeybees buzzing around the flowers and the birds singing from the top of the huge oak outside. The windows were open on Summer nights and I could hear the mosquitoes buzzing, trying to get in, and the frogs singing for rain. Sometimes there would be a Mourning Dove cooing or an Owl making itself known. I remember jumping out of bed to quickly close those windows when a storm would come, closing them before too much rain came inside and got the curtains and wooden floors wet.

I remember the feel of it, of what the coolness felt like.

I am grateful for my air conditioning these days. I like using a fan with it too, because it makes the air swirl around like a good summer breeze.

13 July 2021

It's a Wild Life Adventure

 Another over-due post, I know. When it's hot like this I don't hardly feel like thinking.

Our lives have been filled with critters lately. Even this morning when we awoke we were delighted to see at least 3 Pileated Woodpeckers working on the cherry tree. Since we usually only see 1 at a time around here, I'm thinking perhaps a baby was being shown the how-to of scouring berries. I think the squirrel that was leaping around in that tree was also making them crazy because they kept flying back and forth so much. I doubt the squirrel was bothered at all.

We also had twin fawns hiding out in the middle of the field of wheat stubble a week or so ago. That was too cool to see two little heads bobbing around. One stood up for a few moments and we saw the spots on it.

The turkeys made a few passes across the back yard as I sat on a dewy chair on my deck at the break of dawn several mornings. What a delight to see a Mama with 5 hand-sized babies trailing being her! I loved watching them take a dust bath one day! The visits lasted until the morning when Toby spied something moving and ran after them. He came back, thankfully, but Mama is taking no chances anymore - we haven't seen them again.

My brother saw a big bear running between his house and the next one down. After getting his phone call we went outside clutching our binoculars to see, but I guess the bear was long-gone by then. Now I keep looking across the wide field on the other side of the road hoping to catch sight of the bear roaming around. One of these days I just might!

Beyond critters, my little garden plot of cabbage and broccoli was attacked by tiny worms and when discovered it was much too late to save anything. The damage happened practically over-night so I don't feel too bad for not catching it sooner. Needless to say, we had to pull everything up and at least were able to get enough cabbage for one meal. So good, too!!

I must say that the container gardening plants are doing much better.

As for my flowers I never did get anything from a garden center this year. I'm practically grooming weeds! Luckily, before my daughter moved from VA to GA she brought me a bag of gladiola bulbs this spring. We planted the largest ones before we got tired and then chucked the tiny ones into a barely surface scrubbed pile of mulch under a pine tree. I didn't figure any of those would amount to anything.

They did just enough to brighten the spot!

Those we really took time to plant did much better although staking would have been good if we'd just thought of it sooner. I think God's paintbrush is stunning on these!

I'm somewhat curious as to how we've ended up with corn growing in a metal fire pit. It would seem that I actually have a new over-large planter available! Hmmm...the wheels are turning!

I've been working on paternal genealogy for a client in PA since June 22. It's gone very well too. I've never had someone with so many foreign ancestors before. I'm considering upgrading to an international account for a month to see if it's any help. Before I do I want to finish everything I possibly can ahead of time so I can really focus my efforts once I'm on the clock.

I also had an inquiry through the church's website from a man in NJ who was looking for ancestors in the church cemetery. Unfortunately some of the church's records were accidentally burned in the 1930s by an over-zealous janitor. There was no record to share with him. His relatives had moved from Franklin to Blackwater between 1880 and 1900 and later moved to Richmond. In 1908 the woman was traveling back to Blackwater by train when she took sick. She died 3 days later in Portsmouth where she'd been removed from the train. I did find a blog by the man's cousin who indicated that perhaps the woman had been buried on a farm. She mentioned Land of Promise Plantation in her blog and I contacted the family who now lives in that area. Perhaps I'll be updated as to how this mystery turns out one of these days!

This was a very interesting case because supposedly the woman was traveling to visit her childhood home in Blackwater, even though censuses show her folks living near Franklin prior to her marriage. So where was this childhood spent? I finally let go of my overwhelming desire to investigate and sent the man a link to a map showing names of families living around the 1930s and earlier.

Last week I spent 3 days using a cane to walk after screwing up my "good" knee. After doing a few morning computer chores and genealogy research I spent the rest of each day propped up in my recliner with a large ice pack on my offending leg. My goal was to at least get to church and back without too much problem. That's about all I did too, because just as I was finishing up after worship I felt my knee starting to give out again. Back to an afternoon of ice and a good book. Thursday I had a chiropractor appointment and she showed me how to stretch out the tight parts and now I'm doing much better, but I'm still being careful!

02 June 2021

A Little Heap of Hodgepodge

 I was sharing photos with my daughter and thought I should be posting, so here I am.

First my garden

We had despaired that cabbage and broccoli would grow much because it was already getting hot outside when we bought it. Every time cool weather came we were thankful.The plants have actually done well.

Next we whacked limbs from under another cedar tree:

It seems so strange to see under it. There were remnants of at least 4 bird nest under there! We waited until we were sure no one was "at home" before starting this project. Glad to say all the nests were old and no longer used.

Since Abby hurt herself a few weeks ago we've been trying to keep her as still as possible. We're hoping she will heal rather than need surgery. At her age it probably wouldn't be a good thing. She's already so much better!

We have to walk her on a leash and She's definitely not a fan of just walking and not running around, climbing stairs or jumping on the bed.

Last of all my little skinks are always on the lookout for bitty bugs and other tiny critters. Apparently under the porch post is a good place to hang out!

We have both the brown looking ones as well as the blue-tails. I am not scared of them, but I do jump out of my skin sometimes (especially if one gets inside the front door) and startles me!

07 May 2021

Tale of The Quail

I couldn't quite believe my ears! Then I heard it again. That sweet sound of a Bobwhite calling to another Bobwhite. I didn't imagine it! They are out there somewhere!

Hear my bobwhite

The echoing response from one to the other makes my heart sing! It has been years since this has occurred. We used to have so many that my dad used to hunt them. I remembering seeing little families of them scooting along the edge of the woods or ditch bank, babies running in spurts to catch up with the mother while the father trailed behind keeping watch.

After watching the video above I'm stunned to learn that quail populations in Virginia have dropped 80% since I was a kid. That's awful to know, that development and human greed has destroyed the habitat of such a sweet bird and other creatures like bees.

I'm blessed to hear this sound again. I don't want to lose it. It makes me want to let my front yard go to seed! 

23 April 2021

A Swing, A Miss, A Hit

I was so excited at the prospect of seeing the Lyrid meteor shower this week. I got up off and on for two nights hoping to glimpse something. All I got for my efforts was to see a a stray airplane or two and a couple of cars go by. That was a swing and a miss if ever there was one.

Then I heard that Space X was doing another rocket launch from Cape Canaveral early on April 23. (Hey, I was going to be up early looking for meteors anyway). At 5:45am SpaceX launched their 2nd six-month crew mission (Crew-2) to the International Space Station. Based on the maps I'd seen from the previous week's space train, I figured I'd be seeing this rocket about 6 minutes after launch.

I was RIGHT!

I got up, pulled some warm pants on under my nightgown, got my puffy coat and a warm hat and headed out the front door for a really good look in all directions. I wasn't sure exactly where to look. A few cars went by heading to work and I thought if they saw me standing out here like a fence post, looking all bag-lady, I'm sure I'll be named the crazy person of the neighborhood! The trees on the ditch bank were blocking my view so I headed to a clear spot under the trees to peer through the trees. And all of a sudden I could see the rocket coming up from the south and headed right for me! This was better than a meteor!

It moved slowly across across the sky towards me. Now, I'd mentioned this event to Danny the night before and he had been OK with getting up to see it with me. But I hadn't awakened him when I got up and he was still in bed. Why wake him if it didn't show up, right? Standing outside with an actual visual I now wondered if I'd have time to get back in the house, wake him up and get back out before the rocket vanished from sight. I've had both my hips replaced so moving real fast is usually not an option. I started my "fast" walk and thought it'll be Christmas before I get to the house so I hitched up my giddy-up and started running, which I never do. OMG! It was like running through mud on Pogo sticks! I didn't get far, but what little I did helped me get Danny out of the house in time!

We both watched as it crossed our front yard and went over towards the barnyard. I'd grabbed my camera on the way outside again but didn't expect to get anything with my extremely limited cheap camera. I was surprised to get images of some kind of separation from the main rocket happening before it headed off into the wild blue yonder! Wow! How cool was that?!

This was a total hit in my book of missed swings!
Now there was nothing left to do but go back to bed. and so we did.