Sunday, September 30, 2018

In Between

Nothing that is can pause or stay; The moon will wax, the moon will wane, The mist and cloud will turn to rain, The rain to mist and cloud again, Tomorrow be today. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I have been consumed with learning the rabbit world: the who's whos, the standard of perfection, how critical people are, the Facebook rabbit drama (that probably make the rabbits laugh at the humans), how to navigate sanctioning and entering shows, preparing for shows, and breeding the rabbits around those schedules. There is a lot to it all that I am not going to be writing about it here because I have a rabbitry blog for all of that.

This morning I woke early as I customarily do, so it was still dark. I decided to finish some updates on some rabbitry records I had started a couple of days ago. It is Sunday, so we should be going to church, but we are again between churches....

My daughter was claimed by a friend, a boy with whom she had been friends for about three years but who also thought of her as more than a friend and began threatening other friends of hers that were boys. We thought we had reached an understanding between the families and the church leaders, but my daughter had become a bit paranoid because of it and did not want anything to do with the boy, whose father is involved with services there. We decided that we would need to find another church and even though the Princess is involved with the youth program at one, we are not entirely comfortable there either.

So, for most of the summer, we have been discouraged about going to services although we have sporadically. Today, my husband's back is in knots, probably due to a very stressful couple of weeks with work, and I have a rash from unknown causes that is making me uncomfortable with wearing anything binding against it as is usual for a woman. My daughter may go to church with a friend.

Such an odd time of life...watching my daughter become an adult and hoping she makes good decisions, but she had made several recently that have pleased us as her parents. She was always yours, my Lord, and I hope I did my part to helping her understand that she always should seek You.

So, I am just thanking my Lord today for the quiet misty morning that obscures the material world and draws me into a more philosophical and spiritual mindset to just seek Him for myself as well. 

Thank you, my Lord, for bringing me to You.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Life is Like a Piano...

Life is like a piano.
What you get out of it depends on how you play it. –Tom Lehrer

I am fasting right now, so my energy level wanes during the day, but I needed to lose a good 15 pounds. (Actually more like 18, but I was giving myself some slack.) I did not work in a cleansing water fast in January as I normally try to do. That in part was due to the fact that as I have gotten older, I tend to get leg cramps at night in the winter, even though magnesium supplements help. I also tend to get leg cramps when I fast. The idea of doubling up this cramping challenge in January was not something I was excited about doing at the time.

I decided to do a milk fast, which means I drink about 2 ounces of raw whole milk with 2 ounces of water in the morning and in the evening. I also have been eating about 2 ounces of yogurt in the afternoon. So, while my digestive system is not complete closed down, the milk keeps my metabolism on a high level spurring my body to burn off fat stores faster. I am about half way to my weight goal.

The months that followed January were still too cold and just as I thought I might be able to give a fast a go, we were almost in April. The month of April...I can only describe it as Piano Month or maybe Crazy Piano Month! This year it turned out to be crazier than ever before.

The Princess, who was not particularly interested in going to college and did not know what she wanted to do even if she did, suddenly decided that she wanted to go to college for piano. This same girl that begged me for a few years to quit, yet in the past year has blossomed in her skills and likes to take on challenges.

First, the Princess had decided to do something new, to apply and submit an audition video for the Reinhardt Piano Festival. Despite she did everything as last minute as possible and it took 3 hours to load her 10 minute video to YouTube, which put it after the deadline, she was accepted.

Second, there was the AG Georgia District Fine Arts Festival in which the Princess won first place last year. This year she did not place, but her score was high enough to be invited to the Nationals in Houston, Texas at the end of July. There was more competitors possibly because Nationals are closer and will not be as expensive to attend.

Then she was to perform in the annual Spring Piano Recital that her piano teacher organizes. This year she played four pieces throughout the program and the final piano piece, which was a great grande finale kind of song. 

And my baby girl then turned 17 years old!  

So, after the birthdays, because my husband's follows hers, I decided to lose the extra weight I have been carrying for so long. It is amazing how a fast can also change my perspective about other things as well. I look around the house and think, this can go and that can go. 

I am in the process of selling off all our homeschool curriculum that has been sitting on shelves unused or that we finished (or quit) long ago. Time to streamline. This is her last year and I need to prepare for the next phase of her life and of mine.

My Lord, thank you for giving my daughter such a wonderful gift and now the desire to use it. May she do so to glorify You.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Downs and Ups

The Lord is in control of our life journey including all the ups and downs. -Crystal McDowell

The Queen Mother was making her bed as she does daily, because—of course—the people who make them at the nursing home do not make her bed the right way. She got dizzy and fell down hitting her face on the bed and her bad knee on the floor. This we did not find out for nearly two days. We were told only that she had fallen and she was being taken to the emergency room of the hospital when we were called late on Monday night.

When we called the hospital on Tuesday morning, we could not find out if she had been admitted or even if she was still in the ER because their computers were down. However, I called again later in the morning and even though the computers were still down, I was told she had been admitted and I was bring transferred to the nurses' station. A woman answered, saying her name followed by "ICU." Then I was rather even more concerned!

She offered to have the attending nurse talk to me and that is when we found out that how and why the Queen Mother fell...and that she was going to have raccoon eyes, because of the nose bridge piece of her glasses being pushed into her nose when her face fell onto the bed. However, what landed her in ICU was her atrial fibrillation, fever, edema, and the possibility of pneumonia. The lab work had not been completed to determine the pneumonia, but she did test positive for Type A influenza.

My husband tried to call to talk to her, but she did not want to talk to him. The nurse said it was because she was coughing so much. However, we found out that she was going to be in ICU for some time as she did test positive for pneumonia and they were having difficulty with her heart rate when they placed her on a diuretic to reduce the edema.

So, she again either was unaware or ignoring signs that she had a fever and should have stayed in bed. But, it also confirms to us that she needs to have a full time staff to check in on her as she does not use good judgement in regards to her health and her condition and what she should and should not be doing. In addition, anything that upsets her health-wise tends to slide quickly down to becoming a life-threatening battle between excessive water retention and her heart.

This picture was from Christmas 2005 in a very rare moment when the Queen Mother was being lighthearted in showing off the scarf that we had gotten her. It is my favorite picture of her and the only time I have actually seen her like that.

We have not gone to visit her because there really is nothing we can do and this week my husband was in negotiations that had to be settled before today's mandatory meeting in Chicago. He was offered a promotion, but the pay offer...well, it was rather more like an insult than a raise. Since the company has not given pay raises for the last two to three years, it was more like one would expect as a cost of living raise, hence the reason he was in negotiations.

An agreement was made, but they have not yet really defined the job. However, all three of the men that were given this opportunity laughed at the absurdity that they could what they have been doing 80 percent of the time and the new responsibilities would only take up 20 percent of their time in their regions. My husband has done this before and, to get the company to have a better reputation with American customers, it is going to take far more than 20 percent of his working hours.

However, the really cool thing is that in December, we had made a commitment to fund a missionary's feeding program in Guatemala and this raise will cover that. Now that is the God I know!

My Lord, so much has been on my mind and heart of late. I ask that You stay close to me and draw me close to you. I thank You for my husband's promotion and I ask You to bring peace to my mother-in-law, who worries so much and often makes life more difficult on herself because she has such high expectations on the people who care for her.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

When Things Must Change

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. ~Anatole France

Did you think I had forgotten my sanctuary? I have not. I just have been learning more about rabbits (and other animals) and I have come to realize that I tend to learn by complete immersion. I actually am reading message boards again, which I dropped many years ago because most people gave them up or the boards changed and then there was the drama...which happens just because people are people. However, when it comes to raising livestock of any kind, people still like to connect with people, pick brains, talk about their experiences, ask questions, etc. 

My online journey has been interesting. I went from a local message board that chatted on things happening in our area, including all the politics, to just homeschooling boards and then I began blogging. There met a few friends that are still friends today, but the lives of many of my homeschool friends have changed. Some are not homeschooling because their children grew up. Some are not homeschooling the same because they have their children in schools, some are private homeschool hybrids and others placed their children in public high schools to get the necessary credits for college. Most of these friends now have jobs outside of the home, businesses they run from their home, or a combination of both. In other words, most have moved on with their lives and I felt a little left behind...and a little lost.

The last few years I could not just call a friend as I use to during the day when I needed to feel in touch with adults or just get a reality check after dealing with a moody and reluctant student most of the day. I came here and wrote about things, but these days I only have one reader, who is a very busy person as she has moved on to a ministry and has home businesses. I do not stay in touch with anyone as much as I used to do.

My daughter has another year in homeschooling then that season of my life ends also. After devoting so much of myself to educating the child, I wonder what she and I will be doing after it ends? I know what I would like to do...well, I have had this desire to homestead all my life, but I wonder if I am holding on to that just because I have always thought about doing it or if it is something I really do still want to do.

I feel as uncertain about what I want to do after homeschooling as my daughter does, but we are looking for land. Actually, I stopped looking because I felt my Lord tell me to not to look as the land would come to my husband, so I am to focus on my house which is a mess, stuffed with stuff from homeschooling, my mother-in-law's stuff, and just stuff that accumulated over the 20 years we have lived here. I will take it one drawer, one shelf, one corner, at a time. Monday, I tackled my sock drawer. Yesterday, the refrigerator. Today...hmm, not sure yet.

So, my sanctuary may be changing, along with me (and my house).

My Lord, guide us through these transitions. Make the path we are to take well lit and welcoming.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

One Weird Tuesday in January

Don't learn safety by accident. ~Saying, circa 1949

We have a very nasty flu going around that has caused the deaths of children and elderly. It also mutates faster than most viruses do so no vaccine is really helping and there have been school closures in many parts of the country. My family have been fortunate to not get it..yet, but I was not too surprised that the Princess' piano teacher texted me Monday night to say she had the flu and would not be teaching for most of the week. I did not see it because I was already in bed—not sick, just very tired.

The next day, Tuesday, my husband decided to drive to the account where he was to work, but not with our vehicles, so I had to drop him off to get his rental car. I was just about three miles down the road on my way to the Post Office when he called me to say that he left his computer bag in the van.

I finally made it to the Post Office and to send out payments of my bills. The gas bill was particularly high, but it had been particularly cold. Still, I had called them to be sure that I was not being charged for the gas leak we had at the beginning of the month (after the fireworks fire). I let my Mishka out and smelled gas on the south side of the house, the side with the meter, and realized it was coming from it. The temperatures were in the 20's but within 30 minutes a man from the gas company was replacing my meter, but the next day...there was that smell again. A bad regulator. Now it is fixed, but about two weeks later I smelled gas again on the north side...the firestarter neighbors also had a leak and he smokes outside on that side of the house. Anyway, my leaked gas was before it is metered so I had to pay the entire thing and that was fine because we actually used it.

I also went to the health food stores because we did not go out last week. I had not been feeling so great for quite awhile, but this extra tiredness and weakness—seemingly for no reason, but I think I was fighting off something I did not really get—started that week and I felt a little too weak to try it.

The health food stores are no longer across the street from each other, so after we had finished shopping in the one, we were on our way to the other. The Princess and I had our braces adjusted the day before so we decided what to eat and where. We were sitting at a red traffic light with about eight to ten cars stopped in front of us when we got rear-ended. It was not bad, a bump really, but having worked for a chiropractor, I know that what seems like nothing much right then can feel a whole lot different the next few days.

I called my insurance agent first to ask if we really needed a police report as there did not appear to be any damage to either vehicle, but I was rather shaken up, mostly because I have a sensitive nervous system that gets triggered when things like this happen. They advised to get the report, so the officer arrived and talked to the other driver first and then explained that he would write the report but he was not going to cite the man, who was highly cooperative and admitted what happened. I probably would not have wrote the ticket either. He had a brain-damaged girl in the car with him who suddenly was getting sick and that distracted him. Then I felt so sorry for the man, who was rather nice about everything. The officer could not see any damage to either vehicle, but I knew that bumpers do not always show the internal damage so we shall take it to a shop to have it checked out just to be sure that it will do what it should if it is hit again. I was feeling my upper back on the left tighten up at the scene, but that could have been just me being up-tight about the whole thing. As I write this, it is the next day and I am just a bit sore, like I would be if I had done some gardening, so I am good.

We decided to eat lunch and relax. Then we went on to the other health food store, got the items we needed and some home early to put all our groceries away. The Princess is pet sitting a neighbor's cat and hamster, so she went there to spend about 30 minutes feeding, cleaning, and playing. While I fed our rabbits, the cats, and the dog.

Then I was ready to go to bed early again, but my husband called to say goodnight and mentioned the State of the Union address. I was not going to watch it live and see it in the morning, but...well, I really get sucked into politics and my daughter would have also if she had known, but her mind was on the Super Blue Moon Eclipse that happened this morning...that she slept through. And, yes, I liked Trump's address very much. He is abrasive but he is saying what most the people I know in my part of the country have been saying.

Thank you, my Lord, for protecting us.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

First Minutes into 2018 - Fighting a Wildfire

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. ~Bill Vaughan (1915–1977), in The Kansas City Star

In the first minutes of 2018, my husband and I were out fighting a wildfire...

On New Year's Eve, many people shoot off fireworks, but if there ever was a night that was a bad night to shoot fireworks it was this night. Or perhaps I should say if ever there was a good night to start a wildfire, it was this night. For one, we have been having unusually low temperatures for a few weeks with no precipitation, making everything particularly dry. The wind was gusting from the northwest. The temperature was in the 20's that night so all the water hoses were frozen. In other words, it was foolish to do any fireworks at all, but people did and some of those people lived next door to us. (Ironically, our other next door neighbor is a fireman, who was not home at the time.)

It was just after midnight and I had just put on my pajamas. The next thing I see is my husband with his jacket on grabbing one of our fire extinguishers. Then I looked outside to see the yard on the corner across the street with streaks of fire like in the movie "Back to the Future" and a few people, the people who accidentally caused it, running around seemingly not knowing what to do. So, I ran to change back into clothes, put on my heavy hunter's rubber boots, and my warm camo jacket. By the time I got outside, the streaks of fire had disappeared and it was just a total burn with embers even going over the road into our yard. I ran to get the hose from our backyard as I knew it would reach all our front yard and even the other side of the street, but there was water frozen in the hose so it would not work.

At that point, the only method was trying to stomp it out. The homeowner had gotten some shovels in hopes to save his home. I know how fire can move, but I personally had never seen a fire on a mowed lawn have flames shoot up four feet and advance fifteen feet with one gust of wind! And the same  people who caused it were trying to get in front of it too, but I warned them not to do it that way. Crazy just runs rabid with these people!

The only thing that saved the house was that there was a huge island that the homeowner had filled with rock in the front. It caused the fire to split into two sections. I was on the road side and my husband was on the driveway side. I could not even see him at times because of the flames. We all worked at keeping the fire from catching the bushes near the house, but it had advanced to the backyard on my side. Just ten more feet, just one more gust of wind, and the flames would be into leaves, brush, and then up trees. Should a fire get up in height like that, the whole neighborhood to the south and west would have been in jeopardy.

I was praying under my breath and that one more gust of wind did not happen, the fire just began to fizzle out on my side. On the other side the flames were nearing cars in the driveway, but that is when the fire department came and it took them all of 30 seconds to douse it all.

My husband and I did not wait around, but started home to shower and wash our smoky clothes as we coughed out what had gotten into our lungs. The next door neighbor man, who never talks to us, made a point to thank us with the kind of scary sincerity that comes from knowing what could have happened if we had not been there to help. His wife said over and over that there was a newborn baby in that house and I assured her that we would have had enough time to get the baby out safely.

After our showers, we were up for several hours. Adrenalin! Our stories were different because we were in different areas with different people. Our dog saw the first streak and my husband watched as two more shot toward the house across the street. He realized that it probably was a Roman candle that had fallen over, more likely had been blown over. He thought they could get it, but realized before he had a chance to finish that thought that the wind was a big factor. When he arrived with the fire extinguishers, they all thought it would put the fire out, but my husband knew and told them it would only slow it down as they were halogen extinguishers that are for inside fires because they remove oxygen in the air. They really would not do much outside, but when you are desperate it is worth trying.

One of the neighbors with the best yard now has a completely black front yard. It is eerily striking.

We had not seen our next door neighbors for over a week since it happened. I feel for them, I really do. One stupid mistake can cause property and people to be in danger. I am sure they wish they could hide forever right now. I am hoping that none of them became ill because of it.

Our daughter missed it all as she was staying overnight at a friend's house and I was thankful for that because I did not have to worry about her jumping in to help and possibly getting hurt. No one was hurt, thankfully.

My Lord, just thank you that no one was hurt and the damage was minimal.