June 29, 2010

A new decade begins...

I'll admit to being slightly sentimental.
I'm slow; methodical; deliberate.
I've never liked the word 'forget',
and use a great amount of energy determining not to.
I've kept a little mental scrapbook of my life to this point;
the times when Creation is especially beautiful,
and God is especially good;
the moments of particular pains and joys;
- beginnings and endings -
they're all so distinct for me.
They're carefully recorded, treasured, and remembered,
and stretched for all they're worth.
We only have so short a time here,
and even the little things,
like a walk with the dogs, or a chocolate milkshake,
seem meant to be savored.

Now I find myself, still up, early, early,
reminiscing, reveling in retrospection,
as I'm prone to do -
because today marks the end of my twentieth year.
And now I can claim the title;
The oldest I've been yet.

I've never liked endings of any sort;
and I'll admit I'm dwelling long on this one.

Didn't I just turn 13 last week?

On one hand it seemed to go so quickly,
just a moment, here and gone.
And yet,
I marvel that the Lord managed to pack so many lessons
into such a seemingly short amount of time.
That's where the sense of years begins;
not in the hours passed,
but the growth, the revelations,
the steady process of sanctification;
the numberless shows of Faithfulness and Providence
from the Lord - again and again.
That's where the years become real.

Seven very long, very full years.
It's been an eternity.

On one of those distant days,
my wise Mother handed me a book:
Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss.
And quoting the wise mother portrayed therein,
she reminded me that:
"my character would be essentially formed by the
time I reached my twentieth year..."
She told me how important those years would be;
and despite the fact I that I felt I had all of the
time in the world at that moment,
I did take it to heart.

And that day is already here.

And on this day, despite a thirteen-year-old's expectations,
what stands out most is that
I haven't "arrived," I'm not anywhere near "finished."
If I've learned anything in twenty years -
it is that I'm nothing on my own,
that His strength is made perfect in weakness,
that coming to the end of myself -
is the best possible place to be.
That God does work all things together for good
for those that love Him.
It hasn't all been easy by any means,
but there isn't a single thing I would change,
not a single detour or bypass I could ask for.
He has used it all;
and perfectly so.

His mercies are new every morning.

Here at the end of them -
all I can do is simply thank Him for each
undeserved moment these twenty years are made of.
And ask for an extra measure of grace as I begin
my next decade.

Because it really begins in about an hour...

June 26, 2010

a hissy fit

Please witness the amazing effect our dear Spencer has
on this poor little gray cat.

Nickle really is a sweetie most of the time;
but not when Spencer is goofing off and acting spastic.
She hates that.

Sorry, you missed the part where she howled and jumped
on his head... I felt that I had to intervene at that point.
Spencer thought it was hilarious.
Silly dog.

June 24, 2010

Flood Waters

We sort of missed out on sleep last night.
Blue bolts of light flickered across the walls.
Lightning so close
that it flashed and thundered all at once.
Thunder so fierce, and deep,
that our aging house shuddered,
and the windows rattled with each roll.
And then the rain came,
hard and fast.
I could hear the soft drip; drip;
in our leaky old chimney.

I awoke to the kitchen radio broadcasting warnings
of more storms, and flash floods,
as the sun rose on a drenched world.

The dogs and I took an evening walk as dusk settled.
The air was so thick and humid
we had to swallow to take a breath.
It felt like an Orlando day in a Louisiana swamp.
The air sniffed of homeless earthworms,
and the air buzzed with hoards of mosquitoes.

But that pink sky is what made us go.

We've been enjoying the record precipitation for awhile,
and the weeds in the garden are having almost as
much fun as the mosquitoes these days.

But this too shall pass.

We got a little curious about the creek
across the road;
and just had to go check it out.
By our standards and thirteen years of records...

The water was high.

Huck, Buster, and I took a moment to sit on the bank
and reflect, as we often do.
The sky increased in its flaming pinkness,
the creek clamored by,
the mosquitoes made way for the fireflies;
and God's promises shown anew.

"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee;
and through the rivers,
they shall not overflow you..."
Isaiah 43:2

Just a moment to be grateful for
stormy nights, flood waters, and fiery sunsets;
that remind me just how small I am,
and how Great my God is.

June 19, 2010

My Dad

I've never doubted that God knew exactly what He
was doing when He gave me the father that He did.
He couldn't have found a better one for me.

Dad and I at the Father/Daughter retreat in 2008.

We are alike in so many ways, it's kind of funny.
We both can be people of few words,
and that works fine for us.
We can almost have an entire conversation with just
facial expressions.
(Short conversations...)

We both have a very dry sense of humor,
and are likely to see it when no one else does.

Dad never gets lost. Ever.
Well, there was that one time in Boston;
but that was it.
All he needs is a map; and sometimes not even that.
I'm happy to say he passed his directional skills on;
the only thing that intimidates me about maps
is getting them folded again.

And, we both have a bit of a crazy side.
We're roller coaster buddies;
they make us laugh until we cry.
When it comes to flying, we agree on everything.
We love it.
While some may take Dramamine and close their eyes,
we just grin like Cheshire cats;
especially during take-offs and landings.
We like feeling those "G's."

That brings me to the second portion of this post.

A trio of P-51 Mustangs

Dad and I just celebrated a yearly tradition.
The Air Show.

Thanks to Dad's line of work,
(which includes lots of military aircraft),
going to the Air Show is not only a lot of fun,
but very educational as well.
He tells me everything he knows,
and I love hearing about it.

Unfortunately, we both missed our favorite part
for this year's show - the F-18...
We aren't as big on the old War Birds,
though we appreciate them for Grandpa's sake.
We like the loud and noisy jets best.
The F-22 is almost as good as it gets.

But- I was pretty happy to see the A-10,
I've loved them ever since 2003.
I'll never forget visiting my sister on an AFB
in Germany, and watching the A-10's
and F-16's depart for Iraq.

The Air Force Heritage Flight - an A-10 and two P-51's

The A-10 always brings back good memories,
even if it isn't the loudest one out there.

Another view of the Heritage Flight

They actually had the audacity to cancel the B-2 flyover.
But we lived, we went home early,
and we didn't get sun burnt for once.

Joe had been helping out with his CAP squadron
during the show, so we went and found him.

While Joe was talking,
I was sneaking photos of his boots.
Well, I was actually listening too--multi-tasking.

Thanks for putting up with all of this girls. :)

Happy Father's Day Dad,
I love you!

June 17, 2010

Barn Swallows

Dad called me out to the barn a few days ago,
to take a look at these little beauties
suspended from our barn roof
in their little mud-daubed cradle-nest.

It appears to be already getting somewhat small for them,
what do you think?

They were just quietly sitting there,
waiting for mom and dad to bring them some dinner.
Pretending that the gawking humans below
couldn't really see them.

Sorry guys,
it's kind of hard to hide with a mouth like that.

Their parents meanwhile were having conniption fits.
(The screaming/dive-bombing kind.)
They really didn't appreciate us admiring their kids.

I can't wait for these little guys to grow up and get
busy on our mosquito population.

We could use some help with that about now...

June 15, 2010

Favorite Frances Memories

Brace yourself.

We loved having little Frances,
but life has just been too hectic around here to include
a happy (needy) little sheep in a diaper.
Sweet little Frances found a new family over the weekend;
A really good family.
She's happy, and well taken care of -
but we still miss her,

and I'm guessing you will too.

So, I might still have to sneak in a Frances photo
now and then, just because;
but for now -
I just feel like listing my favorite
moments with our 2010 bottle lamb.
Here they are:

My six favorite memories -
from my six days with Frances.

1. Frances getting the mail with Dad.

2. Giving Frances her bottle.
(Every four hours, day and night.)

3. Working at the computer with company at my feet.

4. Telling Spencer to please leave the sheep alone.
(He really liked the sheep,
and was very jealous of the sheep,
both good reasons to ruin photos.)
(Good job with this one by the way Spence. :)

5. Changing that cute little diaper.
(Okay, maybe not.)
(She was worth it though.)

6. Watching the sunrise together.
(The literal highlight of those early morning feedings.)

I miss you Frances!

June 12, 2010

More Frances...

She has to be the best little lambie there ever was.

She sleeps through the night,
and comes when she's called;
and she's yet to discover jumping on the couch...

She likes chasing Spencer around the house,
tap dancing on the kitchen floor,
and being sassy -
(in her own sweet adorable little way.)

Everybody needs a be-diapered sheep in the house;
at least once.

June 9, 2010

A sheep in a diaper

Yeah, you read that right.
This is Frances.
And she's our latest sheep in a diaper.

It all started Monday afternoon.
I thought my mind was playing tricks on me.
I was out in the strawberry patch,
and I kept hearing a baby lamb.
After so many years, you get to know the differences
between sheep cries, and there's nothing that sounds
quite like a baby sheep.

It didn't take us long to find the screaming baby,
the challenge became identifying her mom...
Sheep are really good at looking clueless and innocent -
and none of them had any idea who she belonged to...

We searched, but found no evidence of guilt,
though something was definitely up.
Lambs don't drop from the sky.

After a half-hour of searching and praying,
we found Samantha in the back 20 acre pasture.
She was very calmly sitting with a second lamb.
Excited and relieved, I reunited baby with her mom.
And Samantha made it clear she didn't want the baby...
Samantha always has singles,
and they are always white.
I'm guessing she didn't know what to do about this
little black and white extra one.
So, I named the white one Freida.
(It made me laugh okay? :)
And Frances came home with me.

Dirty, bedraggled, she takes a nap in her basket.

After a quick bath and a run for lamb formula,
we've begun settling into life with a lamb in the house once more.

She likes finding strange things to nap on.

And climbing like a monkey.

And she goes everywhere Spencer goes.
They're pretty good friends.

Anybody interested in a sheep adoption?... :)

June 7, 2010

off on a wild cow chase...

It's kind of ironic how timing works.
I promised a return to the classic material this week,
and without fail - the cows delivered.

Huck (the dog) was going off like an alarm clock
first thing this morning;
but it was Mom's exclamatory remarks after seeing
this out the front window -
that finally roused me.

Two cows. Loose. Across the Street. Munching on Corn.
And they're our cows.

Mom went for some hay to bargain with,
(the equivalent of graham crackers to these cows)
meanwhile searching for missing cow #3.

(Despite the excellent name suggestions -
[thanks Breezy:)] we can't seem to make anything
stick... At the moment they seem to be
Maisy, Mosey, and "the Big One"...)

Here we spotted Maisy (#3) making her way through
the orchard...

Take my advice.
If you have a cow;
tame your cow...

This advice we did not heed.
I guess we thought we were too seasoned
for cow taming this time around.
But if you and the cow have an understanding;
chances of catching said cow -
go up exponentially.

I managed to lure Maisy back in her confines
with the assistance of a little hay;
but I made a few laps around a rather large pasture
in pursuit of the boys...
(No, I didn't take pictures of that,
but I'm sure you would have enjoyed it.)
We will have to do some explaining to the neighbors
about the hoof shaped divots in their yard.
(They also tasted the lilies, and
missed trampling their garden by inches...)
Mom tried heading them off with some hay,
but that just wasn't working with these two.

Meanwhile, Maisy managed to re-escape;
(which I decided to be grateful for -
she very unwittingly gave their method away.)

So, Mom broke out the big guns.

Powdered Cow Minerals.

(Gummy bear vitamins to a cow's mind.)

That did the trick.

A cow can only take so much frolicking through the
neighbor's flower beds for one day.

And who can say no to gummy bear vitamins?
(or at least the equivalent thereof.)

Stay tuned - when it rains it pours, and as of this afternoon we have a very unexpected little
visitor... She will be making her blog debut in the next few days.