Tag Archives: faith
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My Mom’s China

27 Dec

This year 2013 has been a very eventful time. Our lives have recently best been explained by the following scripture found in the Old Testament of the bible.
No matter what belief system you embrace, this passage reflects what is on my heart.

Ecclesiastes 3
New International Version (NIV)
A Time for Everything

3 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.

What does this have to do with china?
When going through tough times, it is common to take a look at what is really important in your life.
Cleaning out my china cabinet, I took down my favorite china, Burleigh Blue Calico by Staffordshire. It is made in England and is only available in limited pieces
I inherited an incomplete collection of this china when my mom passed away over twenty years ago.
I have children still at home, pondering this thought I stacked all of the blue china on the counter and carefully washed each piece.
When I was done, I took a deep breath and rearranged the mish mosh of classic pottery plates (also cobalt blue) to accommodate the new additions in the day-to-day dish cabinet.
Was I really ready to incorporate these precious, beautiful hard to replace pieces into our daily lives?
Would I cry or get angry if one was broken?
After a time I have come to realize that the risk is worth the joy of seeing the bright, cobalt calico print on our dining room table. We did have our first and second casualties; dinner plate and teacup.
We are now looking for a stone tumbler, precious broken bits saved in a Ziploc bag are now awaiting their rebirth.
Beauty truly is in the eyes of the beholder, whether something or someone retains value when broken has to do with the patience and hopeful scrutiny of the bearer.
I am thankful to have this exquisite reminder of my Mom every time we use these plates, fond memories of times shared together.
As my family and I anticipate the return home of my eldest son and his wife, I look forward to a time of new hope, dreams and future deposits of this memory bank called Life.

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Keeping one glove…

8 Mar

We had lived at the house in town for seven years. Now, against all odds our dream had come true. We had just purchased a home in the country.
Amidst our crazy busy schedule; up at 5 am to get ready for work, son ready to be dropped off at school across town and enough time to navigate through the stagnant traffic of city life five days a week.
Not taking a lunch at the regular time, my boss let me take my break at 2:30 so I could go and pick up my son from school. He came back to work with me and after work, we drove home, ate dinner and went out to take care of the horses who were boarded at a private barn.
Being four months pregnant, I was a little particular about the way I wanted things to line up! The weather that November was typical for the Pacific Northwest and being that we were in the elements so much, I had just purchased new hats, gloves, boots for staying warm and dry.
It had taken me awhile to pick out a pair of gloves, I have children’s sized hands and feet and the choice was overwhelming! Finally I decided upon a turquoise pair of gloves, they had grippy dots on the palms and stars on the backs of the hands.
When the offer was accepted on our new house, we did not have long to sell our house in the city. Friends and well-meaning family warned us not to buy the house until our city house sold.
I recall receiving the phone call from the realtor that our offer was accepted, literally five minutes before it expired! I stood there holding the phone receiver in my hand, my husband asking me “what? is it good, what is it about?”. After slowly hanging up, I looked up at him and told him. “We have less than two weeks to sell this house before our first payment is due!”
The realtor we had already spoken with was wonderful and gave us some tips to make things go well. We packed most of the personal items, stored them in our huge garage and burned a Sugar Cookie candle in the entry. Less than a week later our house sold to a young couple buying their first home.
Mind you, it certainly wasn’t our great works that sold this house for us. It was meant to be and sometimes you have to step out and have faith. This was one of those times.
We packed and packed and drove out to the country house. It was such a wreck with much to be done prior to it being close to habitable, but that is another story!
We love our new home, yet there are adjustments with any move.
Being out in the country, it is DARK after the sun goes down! While unpacking, I realized that I couldn’t find the box with gloves and hats. Our house didn’t have a wood stove yet that was operational and we were sleeping in the front room with oil filled base heaters to be warm. We were still traveling to care for the horses and it was cold in December! We had over a foot of snow on the ground shortly after we moved in.
Darn, where is that box? Finally found the box and gleefully pulled all the warm winter stuff out and looked again. There is only one of my new gloves! Well, I had put some mismatched socks in a bag and brought them with us because I hadn’t time to match them up before we moved. I searched all over the place, sigh, only one of my new gloves could be found.
For some reason, I am an eternal optimist. Can you believe that I kept the one glove? Why? Growing up with bare minimums, I appreciated little things. For example in our family at Christmas we were given necessities; socks, new undies, new outfit if we were lucky.
I wanted to hold onto the idea that I could find that glove!
Time passed and my beautiful daughter was born, my ten-year old son growing and that fall I “spring cleaned”.
Surprisingly the second glove appeared out of nowhere. Rather like when a lost sock finds it way home. I was overjoyed!
We were out doing farm chores and I finally got to wear my pair of gloves, reunited at last! Filling water buckets, one of my hands got wet and I took off the gloves and put them in my pocket.
Tired and satisfied at the work we had done, we went back into the house and hung our coats up to dry.
I put some muffins in to cook, set the timer and dashed out to do chores. Not one thought about the gloves.
Next day was the weekend and we were all outside, reached into my coat pocket to get my gloves…pulled out…one glove.
Not again, I frantically searched all over to no avail. Sigh, setting the glove aside by this time feeling like it is the precious.
More time passed and that spring we were having shavings delivered.
We were in the shavings room and scraping the floor clean. I had already found 2 socks, a flip-flop and a hat. I look into the turn out and see a spot of turquoise amidst the grass. Could it be? I rushed out and lo and behold, the long-lost glove!
At first I was ecstatic, I could justify keeping the one glove to my husband who likes to razz me for my eccentric behaviors!
Then as I reached down to pick it up, I noticed that it was in tatters. One of the animals had liked the texture and it was only a scrap of glove now.
It sounds silly, but I was so disappointed. I went back into the house and really thought about why had I kept that mismatched glove for so long? What drives me to keep a huge bag of socks waiting to be matched? Why couldn’t I be like my friends who just throw everything away without remorse?
Mulling this over I came to realize that I have hope in silly things, including people when others do not. Gloves, socks, children I always have faith and hold out when others just go and buy new. Growing up with little I see things differently, constantly looking for the good. Whether you be a glove, sock or wayward person there is always something positive that can be found if you look hard enough!
Hope is not encouraged in this me world and I am content to be peculiar and be on the search for it, as I pull on mismatched gloves.
One glove navy blue and one glove…turqoise.

Sigh, No Cherry Pie!

27 Feb

This year the holiday that was bombed…Valentine’s Day. Our family celebrates loving each other on Valentine’s Day by giving simply, things that we should do more often. We don’t need a holiday to tell a loved one that you, do indeed love them! 

After setting down to check for emails, I noticed the Facebook tab was flashing. My son and daughter in law, I always look forward to hearing from them. We are nine hours apart and it is challenging enough to remember what time of day it is on the other side of the world! My son wanted us to sign into Skype, this is a step by step process. The computer I am fortunate enough to be using is over 12 years old! An ongoing chuckle that is constantly being acknowledged by all who hear, is that the computer is held together by the breath of God!

In order to sign into Skype, I must close each and every window, save every file…backup again. Once I have accomplished this, I can click onto the Skype logo on my desktop. Hitting that button is rather like wondering if the 3 year old fireworks you found carefully stored in a box in the bottom of the closet will still catch and spark! Evidently some video driver is going corrupt and I am told it cannot be fixed, as a result sometimes the image is similar to a Brite Lite screen with fuzzy picture behind and bright pixel dots on the screen!

We are in luck today! The breath is strong today and I am thankful to be able to see my son and daughter in law. It has been since June that we saw them last. They came home to get married in a whirlwind leave and then they were gone. I can tell by looking at his face that he has news to share. We had been looking forward to them PCS’ing back to the states. (PCS=change of station/transfer to a different base). Not only had that just been swatted out of the sky, now he was deploying…for the third time.

We listened mostly and tried to keep the conversation going. There is always an awkwardness, when sharing bad news. My youngest son as soon as we signed off, went to his room and sat on his bed. He did not eat lunch, snacks or dinner. He did not want to talk, nor play, nor watch television. After a couple of hours passed, I walked past his room and he was doing school online. That night he tossed and turned, he kept getting up and came out hugging me from the back of the couch. “Mom, I miss my brother! My heart hurts.”

His sister didn’t comment and went about the rest of the day staying busy. Turning thirteen soon, I have noticed that she tends to be more independent. I knew when she wanted to talk, I would be available to listen. She went with my husband to run errands and they came home with beautiful flowers for me to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Brilliantly colored and variantly petaled Primroses that smell sweet like the promise of Spring! While I was making dinner, my daughter came in and started helping me without being asked, prepping food and putting away dishes.

I knew this was her way of demonstrating her love and concern about the talk we had that morning with her big brother. She brought up the disappointment of not having them here for her birthday, games and 4th of July. No camping or finally being able to celebrate a birthday with her big brother after 5 years and worst of all…still, NO Cherry Pie!!!

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Just a Bench…

22 Feb

We were given a cement waiting bench, we put it out by the tire swing so the children waiting for a turn would have a place to sit.
Little did we realize that this bench would come to represent more than just a place to sit.
Before little sister and brother came along, my oldest son and his friends would sit out there and scheme together. One day they talked about how they would create jumps for their BMX bikes. Another day it was used for a napping spot. Countless coats, hats, plates, books and Army men have utilized it.
Our cat likes to sit upon it and watch the goats out in the pasture.
The dog watches whomever sits there and offers to share their sandwich.
I sat at that bench after I lost my dream horse that I had shared the previous 16 years with. After the sun slipped away, the fog slowly crept along the ground and came to swirl around in front of me. I know I sat out there until I could feel the cold penetrate every joint in my body, I guess I needed to feel something, even if it was painful!
Over the years Z Waiting Bench has been well used and appreciated.
Last year someone was just downright mean and took it upon themselves to break the edges off and this exposed the iron rebar running through the rectangle of cement that gives a sitting place.
After thorough interrogation of the vast range of children that were at Z Farm that weekend, we came to the conclusion that the NOBODY Gremlin that causes socks to be lost, dishes to be dirtied and other various household items and farm tools to be misplaced had gotten bored causing mischief in the usual way.
In life I am finding that it is not always possible to find out the truth in all situations, no matter how much it is desired!
Instead of focusing on the havoc that was wreaked, think of the opportunity to recreate beauty from ashes.
There were a few very surprised children when I told them that no longer could we comfortably sit upon Z Waiting Bench.
After being queried by the suspected offending party about this, I calmly stated that safety came first and I was really sorry that one had ruined it for many. Hearing complaints, blames and whines we removed the seat and placed it on the ground.
Well, that’s not fair! Protest after protest from all was heard and acknowledged. I replied “Life is not fair and we just have to make do with what we have. I want you to remember that decisions you make really do affect others, contrary to what society tells you!”
I have two bags of cement, broken pottery and china pieces stored in the garage waiting for the warmth of Spring.
Collecting materials so we can implement plans to create a new and improved cement seat for this bench.
We want to have this done before my daughter in law comes to visit when my eldest son leaves for his next deployment of 9 months.
So many have come to Z Farm, shared, helped, been ministered to and moved on in their lives.
We are continually blessed by longtime family friends who come to visit. Sharing a meal together, we listen as they recall that some of the most pleasant memories of times spent on Z Farm included work, with me as the Sargeant Taskmaster! This resulted in tears, I laughed so hard! They reveled in their stories of youthful antics, mind you they are only in their early 20’s now.
One young man, now in the Marines. Another getting his life together and working steady. Both had fond memories of doing chores, eating well and sitting on Z Waiting Bench, while times passed.
Why not just go out and buy another? What is the point in replacing it? I am not giving into the societal norm throwaway mentality.
You cannot always just “go buy a new one!”
As I think forward to hands and minds joining together in the solution, it will create new memories.
It has been almost five years since my son left home, progressing towards his third deployment and still living abroad.
I cannot explain why it is so important to me, but I need to show that broken things are worth fixing, valuable. Maybe this will help things to seem normal, like before.
He remembers Z Waiting Bench and knows it will be here for him…waiting once again.
waiting bench

A Dragonfly in October..

15 Feb

Lab and dragonfly

When I was reminiscing about this, the weather was cold, dreary, raining like cats and dogs. Our old dog Rowdy was wanting to go out and seeing the downpour hesitating, not wanting to venture forth into the deluge.
As I was calling him to go out with me, I realized that he at almost 11 years is an elderly dog.
This saddens me, he has evolved into such a great family friend, snuggler, protector of all.
When we got him, we had a black Lab named Roly. He was my eldest son’s first dog. We were able to go to the farm where he was born and usually you pick out the puppy, well this puppy chose my son. He was the largest and no one had wanted him because he was so calm. After the littermates excitedly jumped, wagged and licked everyone in sight, he quietly came over and set his muzzle on my son’s shoe. He looked up and then started nuzzling the shoelaces, progressing to normal puppy behavior by chewing the laces.
We went and visited the farm a couple more times and when he was 7 weeks old he went home with us.
That pup became my son’s new best friend, they shared food, toys and he was so insistent that eventually he let him sleep on his bunk!
Over the years, he was loyal and loving. He was a gentle giant at over 100 pounds and did not have to bark aggressively, he was just there and that usually made anyone think twice.
I had to travel out-of-state for a business trip and left my husband in charge of farm and children. At the time I ran a preschool/daycare out of our home and I had someone fill in while I was gone.
We talked by phone every night and at the end of the week, I was ready to come home. I missed my family and farm life.
No one had mentioned that Roly, now 10 years had been laying around more than usual. When I came in the door, Rowdy was there bouncing and carrying his toy. Roly was nowhere in sight, not like him!
I walked over to his bed and he slowly glanced up at me, I could tell he did not feel well.
Shortly after arriving home, I was in the car with Roly traveling the 40 minutes into town to the veterinarian.
After running tests, they determined that Roly had been exposed to Salmon and his body was in toxic shock. He came home on fluids and all kinds of pills to help him battle this sickness. Rowdy received a preventative dose of medicine just in case he was exposed.
Evidently because he was an older dog and given that he had probably been sick for 3-5 days, he was not able to fight.
After two days, the whites of his eyes told me it was time. They were lemon yellow and confirmed that his organs were shutting down.
We lifted him, bed and all into the van of a friend and again drove the 40 minutes into town.
The vet kindly came out to the van and in the last act of love and kindness we ended his fight. He had such a heart that the vet said he would of suffered for days.
I held him as his spirit slipped away his eyes never leaving my face.
We wrapped him in his favorite blanket and left for home.
I was so distraught, I came into the house to change clothes and calm down for a little bit before going back out to where we were going to bury him.
Rowdy kept snuffling me and it seemed he was wondering where his canine companion was.
I must tell you that it was October and an unusually warm day, almost like spring, not fall.
When I met my family and friends at the van, they told me that an incredible thing had happened. After opening the hatch door of the van where Roly was lying, a huge Black Dragonfly had flown out.
They were so surprised that they jumped back and stood in awe, it flew all around the van and circled around each person there. As I came, it had disappeared.
Of course when they told me about this, I started crying again.
“**It is said in some Native American Beliefs that Dragonflies are also held as a symbol of renewal after a time of great hardship.”**

I knew this was his spirit, it had to be and I had missed it!
I pulled myself together and just as we started to lift his massive body out of the van, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye.
The Black dragonfly was magnificent, after circling up and down my whole body, he landed briefly on my arm.
I was mesmerized by the intricate iridescence traced on his wings and how his head was focused on me.
As suddenly as he appeared, he was gone!
Although I was sad at missing my long time friend, I now was encouraged. I had been blessed at witnessing a very rare sighting of transition, this grew into a spark of hope.
Day after day I continued to search for a glimpse of the Dragonfly again, I wanted to feel in my heart the same joy I was blessed with when it appeared to us in our dark time.
Now, as I realize I my young pup is now dealing with the changes life gives us, I will rejoice that he is with us for hopefully many more years.

I will never forget the Dragonfly in October…

“**Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/1604680