Posts Categorized: Joy

The More Things Change . . .

 

Sometimes they stay the same. Sometimes they keep on changing.

Peter was here a few weeks ago. He was wandering around the house while I was making a list on the computer. “Mimi,” he said, as he walked by the room. “I’m going to call you. Get your phone.”

So, I got my phone.

So, I got my phone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

» Keep Reading

Awwwwwwww!

I went out to get the mail, about a week and a half ago. When I opened the door, I startled a black swallowtail butterfly, who immediately fluttered away. I rushed back into the house to get my phone. I went back out and stood quietly by the door and waited to see if it would return.

It did. I have a miniature yellow rose bush that stays in a pot on the front porch all the time. It’s a great plant, returning from near death, sometimes more than once a summer. In the spring I plant some rue in there, too, because I like the way it looks. It’s not as heat tolerant, which I forget each year, and it gives up in July. But, I buy more in September, and it grows nicely until a frost. It also attracts butterflies.

I was really hopeful. Every day when I watered the plant, I did it carefully, not just squirting water all over the plant, as usual, but running water gently into the dirt. I don’t know what black swallowtail butterfly eggs look like, but I think they’re pretty small. So … just in case.

Last Monday, I got the sprinkler and went to gently and carefully water the rose bush/rue plants and …

I immediately put down the hose, got in the car, and drove to the nursery. My previous experience with caterpillars (not lots, but a couple of times) is that will eat up ALL of whatever it is they’re on. All. Every morsel. Once I had caterpillars on some parsley. After they ate it ALL, I was frantic. There were several of them, and I’d already put in lots of energy on them. In desperation, I went to the grocery store and bought some parsley. They did not like it at all. Too cold? Different variety? Too clean? I don’t know. But, they gave up and pupated and I got butterflies. A couple of summers ago, I had them on rue, and they ate all that up. So this time, I wasn’t taking any chances. I went to buy more rue, before they ate up what I had.

I went to the nursery nearest me. I walked around the herb section and didn’t see any. An employee came over and asked if I needed help. “I’m looking for rue,” I said. “I don’t know what that is,” she said. “It’s an herb.” “Oh, well. I’ve just been working here for two weeks.”

I explained that I had some caterpillars, and I needed some more rue. “Oh,” she said, understanding. “You want to treat the caterpillars.” She meant “get rid of them.”

“No,” I said. “I want to buy them lunch.”

So we went off to find the owners, who might know if there was any rue.

We found them working in the shrub area. She called out to them and said, “This lady wants some rue. Do we have that?”

“Yes,” said the owner, taking off her gloves and walking up to us. “They’re herbs.”

“And,” she went on, “Up by the register, I have three of them. They have caterpillars.”

“No thanks,” I said. “I’ve already got caterpillars.”

“She wants to buy them lunch,” said the first employee.

We went and found the rue plants, and found another one with a teeeeny little caterpillar on it. “No, thanks,” I said again. “I have the caterpillar part.” I bought four (other) small plants and took them home. By then, it was afternoon and warm, so I left the caterpillars munching their way through what I had, and waited until the next morning, when I could work in cooler temperatures and shade. I dug up the rue plant that had the caterpillars on it and put it in a small container. I put that into the middle of the caterpillar habitat (yes, I have a caterpillar habitat), and put the four new rue plants around it. And waited.

That’s where we are, as of Thursday evening. I’ll keep you up to date.

 

“And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

Genesis 1:30 (New International Version)

Yes. That’s pretty much what I’ve observed.

 

X’s & Y’s

 

Sugar and spice and everything nice/snips and snails and puppy dog tails

kidsWe learned those poetic lines, when I was a child, to describe what little girls and little boys were “made of.”  But, maybe the parents of boys were offended to think that their sons did not have all sorts of nice things included inside them, also. And maybe parents of daughters thought that an appreciation of nature and God’s good world was an appropriate topic for girls, too.

All in all, it’s really inappropriate to tag an entire people group with identical qualities, whether positive or negative. “All blondes are unintelligent.” “Left-handed people are more creative than right-handed people.” “All men are (fill in the blank with your idea).” “Women should always (include your own belief here).” We all have some biases, and sometimes they’re really wrong. We’ve grown up with the attitudes and viewpoints of the people around us, some may be spot-on, but some of them may be truly inaccurate.

There’s lots of information about the differences in male brains and female brains. And there’s lots of information that says all those differences end up being negligible. Some experts say that boys are hard-wired for some behaviors and girls for other behaviors. Other professionals say that those differences can be attributed to how boys and girls are raised.

There’s research and there’s also anecdotal information. My sister’s older son’s first purposeful sounds were the vroom, vroom sounds he made as he pushed toy cars and trucks across the floor. Her younger son’s first sounds were bang, bang sounds as he pointed his fingers around the room, as though to shoot things off the walls. Her third child, a daughter, who lived in a world of vroom-vrooms, and bang-bangs, made first sounds that were the gentler mews of kitties and babies. Interesting. (The daughter grew up to be a teacher. The car guy became a lawyer. And the gun guy, after high school, became a soldier. And after college, he became a police officer. Also interesting.)

Maybe more important than the x chromosomes and y chromosomes that we hand down to our kids, are the genetic messages that hold the information for physical traits that encourage different heights and weights and body types and eye/hand coordination, or the mental genetic wiring that helps with math or reading or an ear for music and rhythm or for ease in learning different languages. Kids come with some inborn abilities, but there’s so much else that parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and neighbors and school friends and teachers and so on and so on, give to our children.

All that said …

That amazing zoo was created a couple of years ago. Last Sunday, for “God Created Animals,” I put the zoo animals in the block area again. These boys also made a zoo.

I’m sure the kids have seen instructional videos and learned about the cycle of life. Lions do eat zebras and giraffes, and tigers do chase after deer and antelope and wild boar. And that pacing jaguar Peter and I saw at our local zoo last week may indeed be considering a jail break attempt. It’s just really interesting to me how different the play of boys and the play of girls can be. Not all the time. But sometimes.

 

 God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (The Message)

 

I understand that this passage refers to spiritual gifts. But everyone also comes with some innate abilities or leanings or interests. Some of what we have is honed by our family situations, our school experiences, our neighborhoods, and how we are encouraged or discouraged as we grow. I want to provide an environment where kids can choose interesting things to do and work alone or with others as they are creative and purposeful in their activities. I want to make good choices myself as I’m deciding when to say, “That’s a good idea,” and when to say, “That’s enough. Time to make another choice.”

I Think It’s Safe to Go Back to Target Now

Target logoI think I’ve mentioned before how much I like to shop at Target. And how I understand that they are using all sorts of marketing techniques (which I know I don’t even recognize) to get me to shop there. I just know that when I walk in the door, I want to shop. But I’ve been a little reluctant to venture in the place for the past couple of weeks. (Oh, I’ve gone, all right. I just go fast.) It’s BACK TO SCHOOL time!!

target insideAnd because many, many people feel the same way I do about Target, there are lots of moms and dads and teens and kids milling around. In all areas of the store, not just the school supply aisles. (Yes, I saw the article last week in the paper that said that Target’s sales had slipped the past quarter, or so, but, frankly, it looks like we’re making up the difference here in my Target.)

» Keep Reading

Stamp Acts

Mother and/or Daddy must have thought, at some time in my childhood, that I should be a stamp collector. They bought a book and a package of stamps. In the package of stamps, as I remember it, there were lots of stamps, but many were duplicates. The thinking, I suppose, was that I would trade some of those with other young stamp collectors. Then you were supposed to attach (with the appropriate stamp attacher) the stamps in the little book, on the matching stamp pictures. Many of them, as I remember, had Queen Elizabeth on them. It seems like all the mail that came to the house had the same stamps on them, and I lost interest. I stopped paying any attention to stamps, and the only stamps we used in our house were those that came on a roll. Very convenient, but not particularly interesting.

I’m a little embarrassed to tell you that I didn’t realize that there were lots of other kinds of stamps that we could have been buying. I didn’t learn that until, and I am being really honest here, I came home for a friend’s wedding, a year and a half after we’d gotten married. While I was here in Waco, she and I were out running errands, and we stopped by the post office. She had run out of the attractive stamps that she’d chosen for her wedding invitations. “I think these are so pretty,” she said, as she purchased them. “They look nice on the envelopes.” I agreed. They did look nice on the envelopes.

That didn’t make me start being a stamp collector. I’m not a stamp collector now. But I do go looking for pretty stamps when I visit the post office.

Recently, at the post office, I found the cutest stamps. I found some really pretty ones, too. And I like the forever stamps, that you buy at one price, and they stay current and usable, no matter how much the price of stamps rises. Of course, when I use them all up, I have to buy replacements at whatever the current first-class stamp price is.

And I have to confess that I still prefer to send off real, snail-type mail. I do pay some bills online, and I do send some greeting cards that way, too. I like to get those kinds of good wishes, but there’s something about pulling a special envelope out of the mail box and opening it up and finding a card, a note, a photograph. And, here is what else I do. I like to use address labels that look nice with the stamps I’m putting on the envelopes.

 

I know, I know. In this day and age, it seems a little, um, weird? Ridiculous? Silly? But it makes me happy. It sparks joy. Do you think it makes my mail carrier smile a little bit? Okay. Probably not. Maybe I’ll ask some morning, if I’m outside when it gets picked up.

 

A cheerful heart is a good medicine,
    but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 17:22 (New Revised Standard Version)

Several years ago, I was at the post office, mailing something and getting stamps. I asked for first class stamps and requested “something attractive.” flagstampThe postal worker searched through his drawer and came up empty. “Really?” I said. “Nothing pretty?” He looked at me and reached into the next drawer. He pulled out a regular, old, ordinary roll of stamps and put it in my hand. “These are the most beautiful ones we have,” he said. I bought the roll of American flag stamps and went home humbled and happy.

When the Grandchildren Come

Well, at our house, it’s the grandchild. He’s our one and only. And it’s just as great as people have said it would be, and as I suspected it would be. Which doesn’t mean that we don’t have our moments…

But for every disagreement there are many, many more moments of delight and joy and charm.

And of course, at grandparents’ house, things can be a little more lax. Vegetables at most meals at home. Vegetables at some meals at Mimi and Grandad’s. At home, a regular, specific bedtime routine beginning at about 7 o’clock: bath, book, bed. In Waco, well, at 7:30 or so, it’s: bath, ice cream and Nutty Bar, two or three or four books, and bed. And things rock along pretty well for all three of us.

A few weeks ago, some folks across the street cut down a tree in their back yard, doing some work before getting the house ready to rent. The limbs and leaves and lengths of trunk have been out on the curb for weeks, waiting for the city to come and pick it all up. Meanwhile, I sent David there a couple of weeks ago to get two of the trunk pieces for Peter to use for woodworking. The garage gets pretty warm right now, but Peter did spend a little time out there with his new tools.

We went to Target Thursday, mainly for a prescription and some groceries. You can get everything you need there for a great lunch!

 

But he was sitting quietly in the living room, putting the cards from a Dr. Seuss game in a plastic bag that usually holds colored large craft sticks. He was a little miffed that I showed up, and he tried to send me back to the sleeper car, but I insisted that I had some chores to do. He was exasperated that I would not stay put. I have not idea what he had in mind for his next activity (w/out Mimi's supervision).

After post-lunch “quiet play time” in the living room (which is essentially Peter’s room, as it is where he sleeps and where all the toys are), I went to release him from there and we ended up playing for the next couple of hours. At one point, we pretend rode the TRE, which is a commuter train in Fort Worth that Peter and friends took a ride on for Peter’s birthday celebration, back in January. We walked around the house, on the TRE, and ended up in the guest room which was the “sleeper car.” (FYI, the TRE is a commuter train and doesn’t have a sleeper car, but, apparently, according to Peter, it should.) By then, I was pretty happy to lie down and close my eyes. After all too sort a time, Peter left. Eventually, I went off to locate him, imagining all sorts of unsupervised devilment that might be happening.

But he was sitting quietly in the living room, putting the cards from a Dr. Seuss game in a plastic bag that usually holds colored large craft sticks. He was a little miffed that I showed up, and he tried to send me back to the sleeper car, but I insisted that I had some chores to do. He was exasperated that I would not stay put. I have no idea what he had in mind for his next activity (w/out Mimi’s supervision).

For dinner, his idea was that we should have a BIG grilled cheese sandwich, that everyone could share. I couldn’t quite figure out how to do that, but I did make some homemade bread in the bread machine (oh, yes, I did, because it makes a taller loaf and I could make a bigger grilled cheese sandwich than usual). So, the three of us shared two big grilled cheese sandwiches. And ate the rest of the cucumber.

Then he and David went to the Mayborn Museum, which is open late on Thursdays, and they always do that when he comes. (I’m not the only pushover in the house.) Friday morning, we’re going on a first-thing-in-the-morning-before-the-temperature-gets-unbearable trip to the zoo, to see the elephants, giraffes, and orangutans, which we didn’t see last month when we went. Then, a stop by the zoo’s splash pad to cool off.

IMG_1458Saturday is supposed to be much cooler (well, in the 90’s instead of 104). David is supposed to help Peter practice kicking a soccer ball into a tiny, preschool-sized soccer goal, because he’s going to play soccer this fall. April ordered cleats for him, and they arrived this evening.

  Grandparents are proud
    of their grandchildren,
    and children should be proud
    of their parents.

Proverbs 17:6  (Contemporary English Vesion)

And my favorite thing he said this trip: When I went to get Peter on Wednesday, I had lunch with him and Kevin and April at their house. At one point, we were talking about our respective Sunday School classes (their kindergartners and my 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s). I said to Peter, “In a few months, you’ll be four!” “I know,” he said. “I’m so excited about being 4 years old.” “You’re really growing,” I said.

He became quite serious, and said, (with sort of choppy, delineating hand motions) “First you turn one. Then you turn two. Then you turn three. Then you turn four. Then you turn five. Then you turn six. Then you turn seven. Then you turn eight. Then you turn nine. Then,” (a brief pause, for dramatic effect, I suppose), “you turn ten.”

Kevin and I waited for a moment, then Kevin, said, “And then what,” expecting some more numbers, because Peter usually counts pretty reliably to about thirty. Peter looked at him, shrugged his shoulders a little and said, “Then you die.” I’m so proud.

Tiny Tidiers

One of the things that teachers of preschoolers are interested in, whether it’s in a school classroom or a church classroom, is the development of life skills. Like putting things away. If the kids don’t help put things away, then teachers are left with significant clean-up work at the end of a day, or even just when Sunday School is over. And, as with much of life, if it’s fun, the work goes more quickly.

» Keep Reading

Follow the Tidy Brick Road

I got the new tidying book, Spark Joy, from the library. It’s what I took with me to the urgent-care center last week. I read about half of the introduction and got re-tidyized. I know I’m not doing it the official TIDY way, but I absolutely canNOT take every item of clothing out of my closet and drawers, pick up each individual item and hold it close to me to determine if it “sparks joy,” and then put it in my closet (if it gets a “yes”). Conversely, I do NOT have time to hold each reject, one at a time, close to me and thank it for being part of my wardrobe and wish a fond farewell as I put it lovingly into the Goodwill bag. I certainly can, however, identify the places in my home where, when the tidy bug bites (as opposed to those other kind that send you to urgent care), I need to treat it. And the tidy bug has noticed my office/miscellaneous storage/can’t-find-any-place-else-for-it closet.

Lest you think I staged this for dramatic effect, no, I just opened the door and snapped the photo.

Lest you think I staged this for dramatic effect, no, I just opened the door and snapped the photo.

» Keep Reading

I Always Forget About the Subway Stairs

 

And then there was this wedding. JoAnne and Jim’s oldest kid, Collin, married Amy. It was on a pier by The Admiral Fell Inn. Right on the water. It was lovely.


» Keep Reading

I’m Going on a Trip

 

Actually, I’m back from the trip, but I’m not a hip modern girl with a laptop and a tablet. I only have my phone. And that’s no way to write and post a blog each week. So, before I left home on May 21, I had to get three blogs ready to go out on the three Fridays I’d be away. So, let’s pretend that it’s three weeks ago, and I’m getting ready to leave. Okay?

» Keep Reading