DSC01490_crop

The Bible Tells Me

I’m not the Bible scholar I should be. I know some verses; not as many as I ought. Still, I find most of my experiences can be framed or underscored, explained or illuminated, by Scripture. Or maybe a hymn or a worship song, a devotional or a testimony. Frequently, I have those “Oh, yeah” moments when I see God clearly in an event. Or realized that I should have seen Him.

These are the moments of “The Bible tells me.”

These essays reflect that. Do know that I can proof-text as well as anyone. I have a concordance, and I know how to use it. Well, truthfully, I do all of that online now, where I can quickly find a passage, see it in many versions, and choose the one I like best. I try not to be narrow, but instead broad, as I apply Bible words to my experiences. I know that your interpretations and understanding may be different than mine. But I also know that our God is big enough for all of us.

I have a friend who, in her prayer time, likes to tell jokes to God. “I know He knows the punch line,” she says. “But I tell them anyway. He likes it when I laugh.”

He likes it when I laugh. I’m going to hang on to that. It’s Biblical. The Bible tells me.

Our mouths were filled with laughter then,
and our tongues with shouts of joy.
Then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord had done great things for us;
we were joyful.

Psalm 126: 2,3 (HCSB)


I’m Trying to Become a Weather Believer

I know that weather forecasting is an imperfect science and those weather folks are doing the best they can. But, because it is an imperfect science and they are sometimes wrong … really wrong, I’m bad about discounting their advice. For example, I’ve killed trees and lawns by trusting that the expected rain will actually fall. Conversely, I’ve sent perfectly good plants to their early demises by not believing that the temperature will drop below freezing. NOT THIS YEAR!!

Many of the plants on my back patio are new this year, having been purchased to replace those that didn’t make it through the first freeze last year. I’ve tried to be a wise and good plant mother to them, and they all look pretty good. So I’ve been following the weather rather closely. And, according to the weather app on my phone, Thursday night the temperature was supposed to drop to 30. Actually, it’s not supposed to get down to 30 until 6:00 a.m. the next morning, but the high temperature for the day was at 9:00 a.m. (low 40’s), so I bundled myself up and dug out my long cuffed gloves and went out.

Everything else has to stay outside. We have a garage, which can keep the plants from freezing, but there’s not enough light, even if I keep the garage door up.

Several years ago, in our previous yard, I had some upright, white bougainvillea (yeah, I really like bougainvillea). Before a freeze, I went to the nursery to ask about how to protect them. “Put plastic over them?” I asked. “First,” the nurserymen said, “cover them with a sheet. That helps heat stay in. Then, cover that with plastic. Plastic alone can damage the plant.” I did that, but those plants aren’t really meant to be in the ground in Central Texas.

But, I remembered the “sheet, then plastic” advice, and went with that.

Sometimes, I can get away with just moving plants close to the house, because it’s a little warmer there, out of the wind, so I started with that.

Everything’s nestled all snug in their beds. The temps are supposed to be in the low to high 50’s for the next two days, but the overnight temps in the mid to low 30’s. And in a week, the high is supposed to be 70 with a low of 51. I think it’s just the beginning of my winter plant dance.

 

Flowers and grass fade away,
but what our God has said
    will never change.

Isaiah 40:8 (Contemporary English Version)

 

Things like:

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

Luke 2:10-14 (New Revised Standard Version)

That Special Grandparent/Grandchild Bond

We went to a family wedding, the Saturday before Thanksgiving. We were seated at a table with a couple of my cousins and their husbands. There were also a couple of empty chairs.

A cousin pointed to those chairs and said, “Bill and Karen couldn’t come. Karen’s sick.”

“Oh, no,” I said. “I’m sorry to hear that.”

“She kept the grandkids,” she said. “They were sick. And so she got sick.”

“Ah,” I said. “Been there. Done that.” And I explained how, last February, I went to Fort Worth for a couple of days to stay with Peter. The whole family had been sick, but Kevin and April were going back to work. Peter still had a temperature of 99, while meant he could not go back to preschool.

“Sure,” I had said, when they asked if I could come up to stay with Peter. He wasn’t really still sick.

But, he was. I came back to Waco on Friday afternoon. By Sunday morning, I had a bit of a scratchy throat and thought I shouldn’t go to be at church with little children. By Monday, I was truly sick. By Tuesday, I left my bed for quick trips to the bathroom. Otherwise, I was in bed.

My cousin related how she had stayed with her grandkids a while back, and picked up something they had. After she was back at home, she felt like she really needed to go to work, and did. And gave whatever it was to the rest of the office. She said her boss, not happy, said, “Next time? Stay home.”

Ha, ha. We had a good laugh.

The next afternoon, Kevin and April and Peter arrived. They were going to stay until Wednesday afternoon, and we were going to put up the tree and decorate it. And have fun.

Monday, Peter took a nap (unusual) for a couple of hours in the afternoon. That evening, we tried two thermometers to try to determine if he had a fever. We ended up not being sure. And, he didn’t really seem sick. Tuesday afternoon, he took another nap. At one point, he came in and said to Kevin, “I’m cold.” “Then go put your pajamas on,” said Kevin. Peter returned, carrying his pillow. “That’s your pillow,” said Kevin. “I know,” said Peter, putting it down on the floor and lying down on it.

Kevin scooted Peter so that his body was on his pillow and his head on a little square pillow he sometimes brings. Kevin covered him up with the comforter from his bed. And Peter slept another hour and a half. At one point, Peter opened his eyes and said, “I’m done with my nap.” And closed his eyes and went back to sleep.

Wednesday, he was all perky, and we all went to lunch together and they headed back to Fort Worth. On Friday, I felt a little throat-scratchy and head-achey. On Saturday, I was sneezing and blowing my nose. On Sunday, I stayed home from church. By Thursday morning, I felt much better. I had only woken up in the night a couple of times, when I needed to take Tylenol Super-Duper Cold and Flu, and I slept well for the first time in days. By Thursday afternoon, I was back to feeling achey and blowing my nose again.

Tiny kids with mighty germs.

 With all my heart
    I praise the Lord,
    and with all that I am
    I praise his holy name!
With all my heart
    I praise the Lord!
    I will never forget
    how kind he has been.

The Lord forgives our sins,
heals us when we are sick.

Psalm 103: 1-3 (Contemporary English Version)

And once again I am grateful for tissues in a box, and particularly for the Cool Touch Kleneex brand that feel so good on my red, problem nose. I’m glad that I can go to bed and not have to launder, hang out to dry, and iron any linen handkerchiefs.

 

 

‘Tis the Season–at Least We’re Getting There

It’s been a rather long and rather full couple of months. I’ve had a big writing assignment and been spending lots of time at the computer. And, well, there was Thanksgiving. Ish.

One of Peter’s favorite places to play is “behind the pillows.” It’s a hideout, a home base, or, this day, the library.

We’re fortunate to have Kevin and April and, of course, Peter, nearby, and therefore get to spend some, and sometimes quite a bit, of the holidays with them. This year, we had our holiday time earlier, rather than later. They came on Sunday afternoon. Peter and I spent Monday together, while Kevin, who was having a work-at-home day, and April, who had some accounting homework, went off with David to have a quiet, boy-less place to work. And the boy and I played (and I did some work).

He’d come with a runny nose and congestion and a cough. The sort of thing, I suppose, that’s “going around.” All morning, we took turns playing together, and then him playing alone while I did some work I needed to finish. After lunch, I kept hearing him hacking away, and then it got a little quieter. When I went to investigate, I found he’d created a nice, soft napping place, just right for little boys somewhat under the weather.

We’d already decided that, if we wanted them, well, Peter, to be able to help decorate the tree, it would have to be Tuesday evening, before they left to go back to Fort Worth on Wednesday afternoon. We planned a festive pre-tree-decorating dinner. Grilled cheese sandwiches and soup.

April and Peter put the tree together, and then I remembered that there’s an order about where things go and how they go. So I had to send April back out to the laundry room for Box 4. (Box 6 has the ornaments, and the tree’s in a big cardboard box.) Box 4 has lights.

First, the lights that go in the window have to go in. But, you can’t plug them in, because they’re the kind that turn on at the same time each evening and stay lit for six hours. They get plugged in at 6:00 pm, usually, but we forgot, so they went in at 6:30. Now, they turn on automatically each evening at 6:30.

Next, the lovely, lighted swag goes up, around the window. That can get plugged in, and it has a little metal snowflake that, when you gently touch it, makes the lights turn on (or off).

So April and Peter got all that up and ready. Then Peter took another nap. And, then . . .

Often on Christmas Day, we have crackers to open. Kevin and April had found some Thanksgiving crackers in Fort Worth.

Jeremy said could we not put everything on the tree, and leave some of his meaningful ornaments in the box, so that he and Sarah could add them to the tree when they come in December. So we sort of get to do this again. Meanwhile, the window lights are coming on each evening. But, I’m waiting a few more days before turning the tree’s lights on regularly. Even though I don’t think I’ll be growing tired of it all any time soon.

 

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

Isaiah 60:1 (New Revised Standard Version)

Time to dig out that recording of Handel’s Messiah!

To the Grocery Store . . . and Beyond!

Maaaaaaany years ago, when the boys were kids and teens, and we got paid on the first of every month, I found that we ran out of food AND money by about the 28th/29th of the month. To combat that, I started making a month’s worth of menus and the grocery list for the whole month. That took a couple of days. Then, I spent the better part of an entire day grocery shopping. I’d go one place for a whole cart of non-perishables, which I then packed into the trunk. And then I’d go on to another store for a whole cart of cold and frozen stuff. I’d rush home and haul everything into the house, and put things away. And then, it really was nice to know, every day, what I would be preparing, and knowing that everything I needed was there.

I don’t do that any more. First, we get paid every two weeks. Second, I’m way older now and the very idea of shopping that way makes me have to go lie down whenever I think about it.

So, now I’m at some grocery store a couple of times a week, if not more, when I’ve forgotten something or changed my mind.

 

It’s really irritating when folks do this. This guy has parked his cart while he’s searching for something. But, instead of keeping a pathway clear for other shoppers, he’s standing beside his cart so that now, between him and his cart, no one else can move up or down the aisle.

When we were first married, David was in the Air Force. We did our grocery shopping in the commissary on the Air Force base, and occasionally in the nearby Navy base commissary. There was no funny business like this in either of those places. The aisles were one way, and there were people patrolling and making sure that things were going smoothly and efficiently. The center, horizontal rung on each cart was painted red, all the way around. There were “half-cart” lanes, and shoppers learned how to wisely pack their items so that they wouldn’t peep over that red rung, or they’d get gently, but firmly, moved to the full-cart lane. Military precision all the way around.

One food store-related thing that I think I’ve finally learned, the hard way, of course, is the inadvisability of purchasing plants at the grocery store.

I really love Cyclamen. I’ve not had lots of luck with them, but I keep on trying. The pink flowered plant came from a very nice nursery in Fort Worth. The other ones, which had white flowers and red flowers, came from the grocery store. I understand and accept that it might be my fault. But it seems a little suspicious, doesn’t it. And, really, I think I should stick to buying food at a store whose main purpose is getting good, nutritious, wholesome food (well, and the candy bars and chips) to people. And, if I want beautiful, long-living healthy plants, I might should stick with places for whom that is their specialty, the thing for which they are trained.

My new mantra:

Groceries from the grocery store.

Flowers and house plants from the plant store.

 

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good

Genesis 1:11-12 (New International Version)

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

Luke 12:27 (New International Version)

Okay, it guess there is a little bit of crossover here. They’re both growing things, and they both nourish, in usually different ways. But I think I’m sticking with my new attitude. Things grown for the nutrition of my body should come from the grocery store. Things  grown for beauty should probably come from the nursery. But, those big, fat, orange pumpkins are pretty attractive. And big red apples. Hmmm. What a conundrum.

What a Week . . . End

Peter has come for a visit the past two weekends. This past weekend was the regular Thursday-Monday visit, but the weekend before, Kevin and a friend had planned a campout (not for little guys, and just as well, the temperature was frigid and the wind fierce), so Peter came for Saturday and Sunday. He and David went out to breakfast, as usual, but, alas, they could not visit the Mayborn Museum, as they usually do. Because the Mayborn is part of the Baylor campus, and on the river side of things, just across from the giant football stadium, and as parking is at a premium on game day, the museum is closed when there’s a football game. They came home from breakfast at loose ends. “What’ll we do now?”

The last time Peter was here, on a Sunday, we went to the library near church, because it’s the only one open on Sundays. We found some friends from church who were using the computer in the children’s part of the library. There were some interesting things to do. So, to the glum men of the house, I suggested that we might try going to the library. Oh, yes! Yes! Yes!

This past week, I picked him up on Thursday after school.

He took a long time to fall asleep Thursday night (all the excitement of a trip to Waco)! David said that at 12:15, Peter came wandering to his office and talked about a dream. “He said he was flying in an airplane,” David said the next day.

“And he fell out and the wind blew him to safety?” I asked. “Yeah!” he said.

But Peter easily went back to bed and fell asleep quickly. And slept until … 4:15, when he appeared at my bedside. “I’m hungry,” he said. “Do you want your Nutella kolache?” I asked. “Yeah,” he said.

We went to the kitchen, and he ate about half of it.  “That’s all I want,” he said. “I’ll eat the rest later.” He told me about the airplane dream and then walked back into the living room and got on his air mattress. And went back to sleep. He woke up again at 8:50 Friday morning, which put us a little bit later for zoo arrival than usual. We typically like to get to the zoo parking lot by 8:45 a.m. (it opens at 9:00), so we can get a good parking place under a little bit of shade, so that the car’s not so hot when we leave. But, now, in November, that’s not really problem.

One of his most favorite things to do at the zoo is to play in this dirt, which is in a little artificial wishing well. He pretends we’re making stew, and we gather leaves and small sticks and pebbles, and he stirs (not much, because the dirt in there is pretty tamped down) and stirs. This time, he ran across a quarter and a penny. “No,” I said, anticipating the question. “You cannot take this money. People put it in here and made a wish. We are not allowed to remove it.” He covered it back up before we left.

When we left the zoo, we stopped at the snack bar for something to eat, and he chose a small bag of Chex Mix. Notice how the bag says “Savory?” Traditional Chex Mix is “Savory.” Peter does not, apparently, like “Savory.”

We went to Wal-Mart for stuff for the rest of our meals. We checked the Chex Mix area, and, it was as I feared. There is no such thing as “Regular” Chex Mix. There is Chocolate Chex Mix and Bold Chex Mix and Honey Nut Chex Mix and Muddie Buddies Chex Mix. Even the Cheddar Chex Mix says “Savory” on it. (And the chocolate/muddie buddie/Honey Nut varieties seemed like a no-go for his folks.)

I suggested that we make our own. We visited the cereal aisle to look for possibilities. We settled on Rice Chex, Rice Krispies, peanuts, Pretzel Goldfish (which we had to get at Target), Cheerios, and I gave in to yogurt raisins. I added cashews to the list, after seeing it in another recipe, but he said no. And, we already had some cheese crackers to add. And that’s it. No spices or flavorings or butter. No baking and stirring every five minutes. Just the ingredients, all stirred up together. We had it for dinner Saturday night.

 

AND, he wanted to make Rice Krispie treats, and we should get some marshmallows. Fortunately, I had already gotten some at Central Market in Fort Worth, before I picked him up. I cannot get the kind I need (vegetarian) at HEB. I haven’t looked at a health food store, but I might could get them there. (And, if you’re confounded by the problem, Peter and April are vegetarians, and regular marshmallows are not vegetarian. Read the label for the solution to that conundrum.) So he went home with a plastic Glad box of snack mix and one with Rice Krispie treats.

Sunday morning–time change, and he was up reasonably early, which made getting to church easy.

Monday morning, he showed up at my bedside at 5:50, which is just about the time that David gets up. He was surprised at how early Peter was awake, but, really, it’s about the time that he would usually get up (at the REAL 6:50!). (I AM NOT ANY KIND OF FAN, AT ALL, OF TIME CHANGE!) David got up, Peter went to play, and I got up and started Peter’s laundry.

I wanted to visit a nursery I like in Arlington before delivering Peter back home. I pulled off 35 a little before I thought I needed to, to put the address into the phone so I could get good directions. We stopped at a gas station for me to do that. Peter needed a restroom, so we went in. Then we walked up and down the aisles, looking for a snack for him that I was willing to purchase. We finally whittled it down to pumpkin seeds.

At the counter, as I was opening my purse for money for the seeds, the clerk looked down at Peter and said, “I like your hair.” He looked up and said, “Thank you.” She looked at me and said, “Can I give him a cookie?” Now really. What was I going to do?!? Say no!? Which was like being rude to a kind person who wanted to give a gift to a child. So I said, “Yes.”

 

 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.

Proverbs 31:17 (New International Version)

I may not be quite as vigorous or strong as I used to be, but I can still pick him up. When I really need to. But it’s hard for me to carry him around. However, at the nursery, there were these little carts for people to pull around to put their plants on. With a long handle on the front. And, in my case, a boy sitting among the plants. And, for the most part, uphill. Which might explain why, yesterday before I started walking on the treadmill, I took one of the pain pills I take when I’m feeling extra sore. But we’re talking about my arms here. Right!?!

Autumn Update

The first time I handed out apples for Halloween, was, I think, the year before Jeremy was born. David was taking Kevin around to family and friends, and I was home with the porch light on and apples in a bowl. Most kids seemed happy about the apples, but not one. He knocked on the door and I opened it and held out my bowl of apples. He looked down at it and said, a little angrily, “Apples! I don’t want an apple!”

“Well, that’s all I’ve got,” I said. And he turned around and stalked back down the sidewalk to his dad, who was waiting at the curb.

What did you say to her?!?!” Dad yelped. And I shut the door with a bit of a smile. Halloween is a nice time to learn manners and appropriate behavior.  And I’ve persevered.

This year, I bought four bags of apples for Trick-or-Treaters. I emptied three of the bags into a basket to take to the door. I didn’t count the apples, but it seems like I maybe gave out about one-and-a-half bags worth.

The weather forecast was dreary, but the rain had fallen late in the afternoon, and by time kids came, things were just damp. I think our house might have been the only one on our block with the porch light on.

A group of three or four came early, and then there was quite a lull. But, later, there were several doorbell rings and small groups of children, all ages, and all dressed up.

I’m still a little amazed that most kids think that apples are a cool thing to get for Halloween (and I’m determined to be the lone voice of reason in a sea of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups–which I would eat six of every day, if I was allowed that sort of thing–the Reese’s, not apples).

One little fellow, the smallest of his group, the ‘way smallest of any group, stood solidly by the door as his companions reached, one by one, into the basket for their apples. For every apple they put in their bag, he put another apple in his little plastic pumpkin, saying, rather zombie-like, “Apple! Apple! Apple! ” with every one. I finally stopped him, because I was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to get safely down the steps without falling over sideways from the significant weight of his apple-filled pumpkin.

Lots of apples remain, which is not as much fun as an apple basket full of Butterfingers, but better to have around. We may need to make applesauce in Sunday School.

Meanwhile, the fall plant report.

As long as the earth remains,
there will be planting
    and harvest,
    cold and heat;
winter and summer,
    day and night.

Genesis 8:22 (Contemporary English Version)

 

 

And, I suppose, squirrels.

 

We the Jury . . .

I got this jury notice. I don’t even remember when it came, but I was supposed to report last Monday.

The card always says to call their recording after 5:30 on the Friday before report time, to see if we actually have to report. I called. We had to.

My jury duty history has been rather spotty. When Kevin was a toddler, I got a summons, and there’s an exemption if you have a child at home with no one else to care for him. So I circled that one and sent it back. Then we moved to Lubbock for a year. Then we lived in a rental house for a couple of years. Then we moved into the house we bought. So, I’d forgotten about juries. I guess they lost track of me, as my address kept changing, and, I guess, those cards kept getting returned.

Then, once, when neighbors were out of town and we were getting their mail for them, our mail got mixed up with theirs, I completely overlooked a jury notice. When I found it, I was panic-stricken (thinking they might arrest me or something). I called frantically. Turns out, it was one of those days when the prospective jurors actually didn’t have to report.

Then, 1991, I had to go. And I actually got picked to be on the jury. And I actually served, start to finish, for the only time ever. It was a Workman’s Comp case, and, we the jury, did not think the guy was owed any more money.

I did get picked another time. It took so long that they sent us off for lunch before the trial began. When we got back, and were sitting in the jury room, someone, I guess one of the prosecutors, came in and said that, while we were at lunch, the case had been settled. He assured us that our presence had not been for naught. Our being there and having the jury chosen and the case ready to be presented, made whomever was on trial decide that maybe that deal that had been offered wasn’t so bad after all. He said that our willingness to be part of the judicial process helped the case get resolved. And thanks. And our checks would be in the mail. ($7.50, I think.)

Once, I got a summons and showed up for a case that involved a drunk driver. Oh boy, I thought. I am going to fry this guy. But then the lawyers began to talk about being unbiased and listening carefully to all the testimony and making a good and honest decision, and I felt bad and resolved to be a good juror. And then they asked if anyone was a non-drinker, and I raised my hand and that was that.

Then, more recently, I had a summons. They come a few weeks before jurors have to report. I forgot about it. I felt really bad about it. And really anxious about it.

A few months ago, one Monday morning, so few potential jurors showed up that there barely were enough people to handle the week’s court cases. Needless to say, the judge was FURIOUS!! This was after I’d neglected to show up, but, I’m being more careful and attentive now.

So, I showed up. But I wasn’t quite as anxious as I’d been when I first got the thing. For those of you who haven’t kept up with local legal events here, the first Twin Peaks shooting case has begun. The ladies who were sitting on either side of me in the potential juror room, and I, were all grateful that that’s not the case we’d be hearing. (It started a couple of weeks ago. The shooting happened two-and-a-half years ago.)

So, quite a few people who felt they had legitimate exemptions went up and talked to the judge. Most of them got to leave. Then, they called the names of 60 folks, and told them to leave but to return on Tuesday morning. Then, they called the name of 62 more people (including me), and also said to come back on Tuesday.

I went back on Tuesday. And this time, not to the juror room in the Annex building, but right up to the third floor of the courthouse. At 9:00. I didn’t want to be at all late, and I wanted to be sure I could find parking (which isn’t all that hard, after all), so I arrived at about 8:15. But, I brought some work to do. At around 9:15, I got up and walked around a bit. Actually, around and around and around the big open space that looks down on the rotunda. I stopped and talked to a friend I haven’t seen in many years. And talked. And talked. Finally, at 10:15 or so, they opened the doors and called us, by name, to enter the courtroom. They lined us up on the benches, six per row, all going in in the order in which they had called us. That took a few minutes.

Then, the judge said, “We’re sorry we had to keep you out there so long. And we’re sorry that we couldn’t tell you anything. But if we started talking to you about what was going on in here, then it would have undermined the whole process.” There were several cases on the docket, and all of them got resolved with pleas and deals. And we were done.

And again, the judge was sober and serious about the fact that our showing up and our being ready to be part of a jury had made the process work. Cases were resolved.

I looked at my watch and thought, “Hmmm. I can actually get over to West Avenue Elementary School in time for the Reading Club time that I thought I was going to miss.”

Everything you were taught can be put into a few words:

Respect and obey God!
This is what life
    is all about.
God will judge
    everything we do,
even what is done in secret,
    whether good or bad.

Ecclesiastes 12: 13, 14 (Contemporary English Version)

I guess if God’s doing the judging, a jury of my peers might not be all that reliable. They might have a bias.

 

 

 

Hey!! Who’s Quarrelsome and Fretful!?!

We’ve been having a little trouble with the garage door opener. Actually, that’s not accurate. We’ve been having a LOT of trouble with the garage door opener. For weeks.

It’s been erratic, unreliable, and the cause of some shrieking.

I changed the batteries in the remote. Not helpful.

I traded the remote I had with the one that Kevin and April had, thinking that, being used less frequently, it might work more efficiently. Nope.

When Peter was here recently, we returned home from a trip to the zoo; the garage door would not go up. I finally phoned David and asked him to please come home and see if he could let us in the house. (His car has a built-in remote button, which, for some reason, works better. Not always perfectly well. But better.)

He opened the door for us. We went in and I unlocked the back door’s storm door and checked the door’s locks to be sure my keys worked well in them, since we never go in and out that door. One lock worked but the other one didn’t.

Peter and I went out again, and the garage door went up and down as it should. So, things were back to their erratic normal.

And things were reasonably fine, until last Sunday.

I got home from church; the door would not open. Not. Not. Not. There was lunch after church and David was staying to lock up, so I knew he wouldn’t be home for a while. So, I went around to the back door, where the storm door was still unlocked. I opened the storm door and tried both locks. NEITHER ONE OF THEM WOULD OPEN!

I really needed a bathroom, so I went to the grocery store. And then I did a little shopping.

When I got home, I said to David, “Tomorrow, after work, I need you to go to Home Depot and purchase three new sets of locks that are keyed to each other, and I need you to replace all the locks. (One of the locks on the front door also didn’t work.) And, tomorrow, I’m calling the garage door opener people and having them come out to replace this one (which was installed in the early ’80s.)”

And he said, “If we replace the garage door opener, won’t that solve the problem of the locks not working?”

And I said, “THINGS NEED TO WORK!”

And all those things came to pass. Well, sort of. It seems that locks are only sold in matching pairs these days. So, the keyed-together locks are going on the front and back doors. Actually, the one on the back door is done, and, as I write this, the ones on the front are going in, too.

Monday, first thing, I called the garage door people. Then, as long I was in the mood, I called the plumber, because the shower head in the bathroom I use just fell into my hands a couple of days earlier. And, while, yes, I can shower in the other bathroom, THINGS NEED TO WORK!

And, one of the sprinkler heads had broken completely off, and I thought we might could make it until cooler, wetter weather, but why not to ahead and call those guys, because THINGS NEED TO WORK!

 

 

It is better to live in a desert land, than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.

Proverbs 21:19 (English Standard Version)

 

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. What is the first thing you will do? Won’t you sit down and figure out how much it will cost and if you have enough money to pay for it?

Luke 14:28 (Contemporary English Version)

 

This is the garage door going up. I should have been taking my blood pressure during all of this. I suspect it’s right at normal now.

So, we solved that quarrelsome and fretful woman problem by sitting down and figuring out how much it would cost to repair and replace some things that badly needed repairing and replacing. And nobody has to go live in a desert land.

First, Chik-fil-a, then the Mayborn, then the Zoo, then cookies, and so on and so on and so on

As soon as Peter’s parents seemed interested in Peter’s new Pre-K school, I went online to look at the school calendar and discovered when the Monday holidays were, put them on my own calendar, and, as soon as seemed appropriate (a day or so after school had begun), I mentioned it to Kevin and suggested that we begin to think along the lines of “when can Peter come to visit again?”

And so, Columbus Day it was! I picked him up, as has been the norm, at school’s end on Thursday (because, really, even though there is school on Fridays, it’s Pre-K and there isn’t going to be a visit from college reps or big “we-hope-you’ll-get-into-the-university-of-your-choice” testing). And isn’t a trip to the zoo just as educational? I think SO!

And, truly, he seems taller and stronger and, well, all the ‘ers there could be.

Thursday–meeting Granddad at the Mayborn for Late Night, which includes Waffle Fries before visiting the rooms. And, a quietish early evening for Mimi, who spent quite a bit of the day in the car.

Friday–ZOO! Freshwater Aquarium, playground, tortoises, grilled cheese at the cafe.

I took this photo and sent it David to see what it was. I got this in response: “In general, assassin bugs hunt on various types of vegetation, including trees, weeds and bushes. Assassin bugs are able to fly but they are poor fliers in general with some notable exceptions.
Although most assassin bugs are slow-moving and non-aggressive, they will use their rostrum in self-defense if handled carelessly. Such bites may be rather painful to humans because the bugs inject the same salivary secretion used to dissolve the tissues of their prey. This results in the death of a small area of cells at the site of the bite. The symptoms are an intense burning sensation, often followed by a small, itchy lump that may persist for several days. However, no true toxin is involved so it is rare for the reaction to last long or to extend beyond the site of the bite. Some bites occur when the bugs are purposely handled out of curiosity, but most happen through accidental contact while gardening or working in the open. The sharp pain associated with assassin bug bites is usually enhanced by the surprise accompanying the experience.
The beneficial qualities of assassin bugs far outweigh their negative potential, and learning to get along with these indispensable predators is in our own best interest.” BAD BITES!! You’d think I’d have learned my bug lesson by now!

Well, it didn’t bite me, and we were at home and ready to make some cookies for a friend who loves Halloween.

Also on Friday, Peter was talking to me about Columbus Day, and how it was a holiday on Monday and we should have a cake that said “Columbus Day” on it, and have it for breakfast on Monday, with hot chocolate. He is always full of ideas that are really rather stream of consciousness things, and I said, “Sure.”

On Saturday, he said, “What about our plan, Mimi?” “What plan?” Sign of exasperation. “Our plan of a Columbus Day cake and hot chocolate for breakfast!” “Oh, that plan.”

So Sunday, before going to the library to get another video, because the Bob video we got on Friday only had ONE Bob, and some other characters in other videos, and the library doesn’t open until 1:00, we went to Wal-Mart for cake ingredients, etc. And then when we got back to the library, there were some friends from church, finding some interesting activities on the computers, and we didn’t get home until 3:00, and then I had to be back at church by 4:00 for a training event, and when I got home a little before 6:00, we went straight to Kiddieland to ride the train and a couple of other things, and then we rushed home for a quick bath and some dinner, and enough time for a book before bedtime at 8:00, so I was up until midnight or so, baking and decorating that little cake.

At then at breakfast, David said, “I thought there was supposed to be hot chocolate,” and I said, “EEK!” and warmed up some milk and put chocolate syrup in it.

 

 

How can we possibly thank God enough for all the happiness you have brought us?

1 Thessalonians 3:9 (Contemporary English Version)

 

There’s another Monday holiday the first week of November. I have my hopes up.

Bag Lady

I wonder if that what’s the employees at the grocery store and Wal-Mart and Target say (or just think) about me. Because I am a bag lady.

Whenever I go to those places, I almost always have a bag full of bags slung over my shoulder. And I’m a little surprised that more shoppers don’t.

My parents, and generations before them, used up, reused, and recycled (before it was a thing). They save used envelopes for list-making and note-taking. They kept wrapping paper from gifts, ironed out the creases, and re-wrapped and re-wrapped gifts. They kept all their leftovers and ate them all up in subsequent meals.

And then things became disposable, not-worth-the-effort-to-keep, and groceries went home in those flimsy plastic bags instead of the nice brown paper, stands-up-by-itself bags. If those brown paper bags got blown away in the wind, they just ended up stuck behind some garage or in some ditch, where they got sunshined on and rained on, after which they deteriorated and became mulch and enriched the earth. And when those flimsy plastic bags got blown away by the wind, they got stuck high up in tree branches where they are to this day.

So. I try to do my part. We recycle the cans and the bottles and the plastic and the paper, and sometimes our blue recycle bin is filled to the brim on recycle pick-up day.

And I take my bags to the stores.

Target has a variety of sizes and weights of reusable bags. They are pretty and red and useful. I’ve purchased several. One of my favorites was a bag that folded up and there was a zipper that held the whole thing closed. It disappeared. I think that maybe it was on the edge of the car’s seat and may have fallen out, unnoticed, when I opened the door. But then, they made another kind, similar, but it had a Velcro fastener that kept it all together.

 

I love this Target bag. It’s canvas and big and heavy-duty; holds a lot. Typically, I’d put all my other, smaller Target bags in it and go off shopping to Target. See this bag? This bag from the inside? It’s empty. It’s empty because it’s a brand-new bag, and it’s the only Target bag I have now. I think what must have happened, because I have searched and searched the house, the car, the house and car again. And again. No bags. I must have gone to Target, with the bags, down in my cart, didn’t find what I was looking for, and, without thinking, put my cart back at the front of the store, and left. After several days, of looking and wondering, befuddled, and finally thinking that maybe I knew what happened, I went to Target to check the lost and found. No luck. No luck at all. And, after shopping that day, I was checking out and saw, behind my checker, the nice canvas bags. “I’ll take one of those,” I said. I’m starting over.

 

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.

Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice

Psalm 96:11-12 (King James Version)

Let’s hear it from Sky,
With Earth joining in,
And a huge round of applause from Sea.

Let Wilderness turn cartwheels,
Animals, come dance,
Put every tree of the forest in the choir—

Psalm 96:11-12 (The Messge)

Once, when I was checking out at Wal-Mart, but using my HEB grocery store bags, the Wal-Mart checker sort of took me to task. “You’re bringing those HEB bags here to Wal-Mart,” she asked, sort of skeptically. “Really,” I said. “Here I am, with my HEB bags, but I’m shopping at Wal-Mart, instead. You’d think that the Wal-Mart people would be overjoyed.” Nobody at Wal-Mart has ever again said anything to me about it. And me, I’m just trying to do my part to keep the sky, the earth, the sea, and the trees all singing their happy songs!