Posts Categorized: Patience

So Long, Old Friend

I’m about to have to say goodbye to an old and dear resident of my closet. (No, not some living thing. Some fabric thing.)

The McCart Family Thrift Store. It's amazing.

The McCart Family Thrift Store. It’s amazing.

Several years ago, I was in Fort Worth, visiting Kevin and April, along with my sister and niece. JoAnne and Natalie were wanting to do some shopping for Patrick’s (the middle child) wedding. JoAnne didn’t find anything (despite April’s strong encouragement to purchase a pair of bright pink cowgirl boots). Natalie did find a nice sundress with a pink and peach floral pattern on it, in the colors of the wedding. The place April had taken us to was a huge, well-organized, clean, and well-stocked consignment store. McCart’s Family Thrift Store. We all did a bit of shopping, and, as I looked through clothing, I made a wonderful find! Denim overall shorts! Giant-sized! They looked perfect for working in the yard and around the house when I was doing messy things, like painting. It was in good shape; I don’t recall what I paid for it, but whatever it was, I’ve gotten great wear from it.

Recently, though, it’s begun to show just how much work it’s done over the past few years. And, it’s beginning to have holes so large that it might be becoming inappropriate for me to wear in public (even if that “public” is in my backyard).

So, I went to the place where I do most of my where-can-I-find-that shopping: Amazon. I asked for “Cherokee (the brand of my old overalls) short denim overalls.” Looks like the Cherokee people do not make short denim overalls any more; nothing matching what I had been wearing for several years came up. So, I tried asking for “denim overall shorts.”

 

I ordered them. Not the largest size, which was 4X. That seemed overzealous. But I did order the 2X. I’m not going for looks. I’m going for comfort, and plenty of space so that I can put my gardening gloves in a pocket and a pair of small pruners in another pocket and my phone in a pocket and my glasses in a pocket. And a couple of shirts underneath the overalls, if it’s a little chilly out. I just want lots of room.

And, news from the front yard …

 

She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength,
    and makes her arms strong.

Proverbs 31:15-17 (New Revised Standard Version)

Okay. It’s not quite a vineyard. It’s an herb garden. And a thyme garden. And a shady place with a garden bench. But my arms are strong enough to transfer a big bag of mulch or topsoil from the car’s trunk to a wheelbarrow, and to cart that bag to the backyard. And spread that mulch or topsoil where it needs to be. While wearing my overalls.

It Was a Dark and Stormy Afternoon

I was returning Peter home last Monday. Rain was forecast for Fort Worth most of the day, but we pioneered on with our plan, which was to visit a nursery first, then go to Central Market grocery store and have some lunch and play on the nice playground they have there. (I know, most grocery stores don’t have playgrounds, but this one does.) We did go to the nursery, and I bought some thyme and Peter gave me some germander to buy. Then, on to Central Market.

 

They have lots of prepacked foods, for people who come in and want to get something quick to eat. For the vegetarian boy,it was pretty much a peanut butter sandwich. He lunched in the race car cart while I did a little shopping. (The race car cart is oversized and a challenge to navigate up and down the aisles. But, very cool for a 4-year-old.) We took our groceries to the car and then I moved the car closer to the playground. To our (well, maybe just my own) disappointment, they have redone the playground, removing the very interesting play structures, one that had a suspended plank bridge connecting two platforms (with sides, for safety), and another that had a curved tunnel-type slide, and a third, which I cannot recall very well, but there were three of them that could accommodate lots of kids. Now, there’s a play structure that does have several manipulative sorts of gadgets, like steering wheels, and a double slide, and steps. And a few kids can play and work there without feeling crowded. Then, there’s a slide. Yes, just a slide. And, between those two things, there are two kid-sized (man-made, which is fine) boulders, for climbing on. I suppose that the other play equipment was getting old, and, for safety’s sake, and lawsuit protection, it might have been time for replacements. Sigh. But, there were kids there and Peter had a good time.

Meanwhile, the weather. Things were good, nice temperature, cloudy enough to not be too hot. Good. Until, abruptly, a big gust of chilly wind blew through. I called Peter over and said he could play for five more minutes; feel the wind, see the sky, it’s going to rain.

About a minute later, the two moms called their kids and said they needed to leave. We all raced to our cars. Peter’s house is very near. By time we got his stuff into the house, and, well, chatted a few minutes, it was raining so much that April took me out to the car with an umbrella.

On I30, on my way to I35 (we were stopped for a moment, so I could safely shoot a photo)

On I30, on my way to I35 (we were stopped for a moment, so I could safely shoot a photo)

 

By time I got to the highway, there was LOTS of rain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was pretty much the situation until I was quite a ways out of Fort Worth, then, no rain, and we could clip along at regular speed. A little north of Grandview, we had to all move into the right-hand lane. There had been an enormous wreck. I could only see one car. I didn’t know if there had been others involved and they’d been removed, but the car there was terribly damaged. It was up against a barrier in the center median, smashed on the back and sides and front. Whomever was in the car had been removed, and there wasn’t any debris left on the road (and there surely would have been debris). I’d have taken a photo, but, seriously, I was driving!

The skies cleared and the temperature went up, the further south I went.

For you non-Texans--You can see where Fort Worth, and Hillsboro, and Waco are. Grandview is right about where that 35W sign is, south of Fort Worth. And West is about where that highway 77 is, between Hillsboro and Waco.

For you non-Texans–You can see where Fort Worth, and Hillsboro, and Waco are. Grandview is right about where that 35W sign is, south of Fort Worth. And West is about where that highway 77 sign is, between Hillsboro and Waco.

On the way up to Fort Worth, I had realized I hadn’t filled up the gas tank before I left Waco. It was about 3/4 full when I noticed it, so I knew I had plenty to get there. I’d planned to fill up before I left Fort Worth, but by then, it was pouring rain. As I was entering Hillsboro, the tank was 1/4 full, but I thought maybe I should go ahead and fill up, so I wouldn’t be anxious as I drove on.

And this is actually, truly, I’m-not-making-this-up what happened:

The car said the outdoor temperature was 76°. The skies were clear. The air was still. I pulled into a gas station/convenience store on the north side of town. I turned off the car. I got my credit card out of my purse. I got out of the car and walked around the front of it, to the gas pumps. I swiped my card. As I picked up the nozzle, kabam! A giant, chilled wind smacked into me. I had started the gassing-up process, so I filled up the car, struggling to hang onto the gas pump and stay upright myself. The tank wasn’t empty, so it didn’t take quite so long to be full. I replaced the nozzle, and, no thanks, no receipt, and struggled to the other side of the car to get in. E-GAD!!

I checked the temperature as I left Hillsboro, and it had already dropped four degrees. I often stop in West, a few miles down the road, to get fruit kolaches for breakfasts and sausage and ham ones for lunches. Not that day. I was a little afraid of the vicious wind that was chasing me. But, it was slower than I, and when I got to Waco, the car’s thermometer said 81° and things were still. The storm made it to Waco in the night.

Springtime in Texas. Sometimes there’s a nice gentle rainshower, and I can sit on the porch and read and enjoy it. More often than not, it just roars through.

 

But they were no sooner out to sea than a gale-force wind, the infamous nor’easter, struck.

Acts 27:14 (The Message)

When I was a teen-ager, a friend and I had back to back piano lessons, the idea being that we could (and we did) learn two-piano duets by overlapping our lesson times. One springtime afternoon, I was in my teacher’s den, waiting for my turn. The teacher’s mother had come for a visit, and she was sitting in the den with me. As we sat, the light began to fade. The backyard got dark, and a newly arrived wind was whipping the trees’ and hedge’s limbs and leaves in a frenzy. I was pretty much in a “whatever” mode, but the teacher’s mother was beginning to seem panicky. She looked at me, wide-eyed, and said, “Is this a Blue Norther?!?!?!” “Well,” I said, looking outside, “I guess so.” I don’t know what she’d heard about “Blue Northers,” but it must have been pretty scary. Maybe they were infamous. But, she seemed to become a little calmer. I guess my complete lack of interest made her think we were going to be all right. Good thing I didn’t say, “Oh, it could be a Blue Norther. Let’s just hope there’s not a big ol’ TORNADO on the way!”

Anyway, I have lots to be grateful for these days–lovely new plants for my yard, good springtime rains so we don’t have to turn on the sprinklers yet (I love it when God waters my yard for me), safe travel without any sort of collision, and a grandson who lives close enough for us to enjoy frequently.

 

“Your Mailbox is Full”

IMG_3339Sometimes, when I look out the little window in the front door, to see if the mail has come, there are a couple of pieces, so small that the mailbox lid is down, and I can’t tell if there’s actually any mail in it. Other days, there’s a catalog and a magazine and several bills, and pieces of all sorts of ads and circulars, and sometimes even some actual mail. And I’m glad I’m not a mail carrier, because if everyone gets the amount of mail I do on those busy days, then I’d be too worn out to deliver mail. (Maybe it evens out over the course of several days.) Plus, I’d probably end up sitting in my freezing mail carrier truck in the winter, and setting fire to pieces of mail that I think not one really wants anyway, just to try to stay warm.

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 4.48.02 PMThese days, some of my mail is electronic. Two or three days a week, coupons appear in my inbox, and I can scroll through them and choose which ones I’d like to print out, to take to the grocery store. I get offers, almost daily, it seems, from the Groupon people and the Living Social people. Amazon.com reminds me periodically that I bought some vitamins from them a while back, and would I like to order some more? And, yes, thank you, I’m almost out and would like to order some more.

Grande Communications is our e-mail provider. When I’m away from home and need to check my mail, I go to the Grande site. When I’m at home, I use the mail app on my computer. (This will be important later.)

Wednesday morning, when I went to check my mail, I saw that nothing had come in since afternoon the day before. That seemed odd. I tried clicking on the “Get Mail” icon, without success. I tried sending a message to Kevin, to ask if there was something amiss and how could I remedy it, but I couldn’t send anything out, either. So, I called him. Wednesday is a work from home day for him, but he had a knotty work issue to sort out, and couldn’t get back to me for a while.

So, I did the sensible thing and called Grande. After listening to several recorded options, I finally got a human. I explained the problem to him, and very quickly he was able to identify the glitch. “Your mailbox is full,” he said.

Hmmm. While I do indeed delete some of my e-mail messages, I’m bad, I admit, about thinking, “Oh, I’ll go back later and read that ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ piece …” but I rarely do. So there are several of those lying around in my mailbox. And some devotionals. And some other stuff, like coupon offers, and things I needed to save, like the worship service volunteers in preschool, for this quarter, but then I didn’t go back and delete the one for the quarter before that, and the quarter before that, and well, you know.

mailSo I said to the nice young man from Grande, “Hmm. So I need to go back and delete stuff. Lots of stuff?” And he said, and I’m including the print out from the Grande web site, so you’ll believe me, “You have seven thousand, one hundred, ninety e-mails in your inbox. That’s 99.97 per cent of your capacity.”

“So, it seems I need to do some deleting, then,” I said. And he agreed. I also asked him, just out of curiosity, if this was the largest email box percentage he ever seen. “Yes,” he said. Up til now, the highest one he’d seen was 96% full. “You should get a plaque,” he said. “Or maybe a trophy.”

I called Kevin, and got him (knotty work problem was resolved, which is pretty much Kevin’s job description–solve those knotty problems). I laughed and explained the Grande situation: full mailbox, 99.97% full, time to delete. And Kevin was astonished and began to look into things. And, to shorten a very tedious, hour-long story, Kevin ultimately discovered the trouble.

Because I have a Mac and use the computer’s e-mail program, when I delete an e-mail, or a hundred e-mails, they disappear from my computer, but they do not disappear from my Grande account. When we looked at my Grande mail page, it showed (after you scrolled and scrolled and scrolled) every e-mail I’d ever gotten, except for a few that I’d deleted after reading them when I was someplace else besides at home, and deleted a message from the Grande page when I was working on some other computer.

Kevin discovered that, if he deleted a message from my Grande account on the Grande page, it did not disappear from my computer’s e-mail. There was a button, on the Grande page, that said, “Delete All.” And, since we’d learned that the computer email and Grande’s email aren’t on speaking terms, he tested out his theory, by deleting some messages from my Grande website e-mail list. They disappeared from my Grande account. But, they did not disappear from the computer e-mail application that I use regularly. He was able, then, to go to the Grande site and hit “Delete All.” They all disappeared. From the Grande page. But, on the Mac mail application, they were there. Well, a sensible number of e-mails were there. Not seven thousand, one hundred, ninety of them.

 

Christ gives me the strength to face anything.

Philippians 4:13 (Contemporary English Version)

 

I understand that this verse really refers to spiritual matters, but I think it also applies to all day, everyday challenges–the things that trip me up and frustrate me and make me lose time and energy and patience. Modern life keeps on slapping me in the face; every time I think I’ve gotten a handle on something, someone pops up and says, “No, you can’t go that way. That’s a one way street;” “Hey, that’s not the right way to do that! You have to go through this door first, then that door!” “Of course you can’t access your e-mail. YOUR MAILBOX IS FULL!!!!!!******” (Insert appropriate emojis here.)

 

 

 

We Took a Little Trip, Part 2

As we were traveling back home from Tulsa, Sunday before last, we stopped at a Cracker Barrel, somewhere in Texas, after we left Oklahoma. When we got out of the car, it was breezy and a little chilly. And I recalled the conversation I had with myself, several times that Sunday morning, in the hotel, as I was packing. “Oh, there’s my jacket. I must remember that my jacket is on the chair. And I’ll need to get it when we leave.” When we left the room, to go down for breakfast in the hotel, um, snack room, I reminded myself about my jacket. “There’s my jacket on the chair. I must remember to get it when we leave.”

After breakfast, when we got back to the room, there was my jacket on the chair. “Oh, yes,” I said to  myself. “I must remember to get my jacket.”

I carefully packed up all my things, and we went down the elevator and checked out and took our things to the car (where the weather was still) and drove away, off to the Chickasaw Nation Visitor Center, where the weather was also still. At the Cracker Barrel, however, it was not still, and as we walked toward the Cracker Barrel door, I was chilly, and I thought, “Oh, yes, I need my jacket, which is … on the chair in our hotel room.”

At the door of the Cracker Barrel, I told David I didn’t have my jacket. And, he knew where it was. On the chair. In our hotel room. In Tulsa. He went back to the car and got the hotel receipt and, from the door of the Cracker Barrel, I phoned the hotel and gave them my name and our room number and a description of the jacket. “It’s sort of a sweater-jacket,” I said. “A knitted thing. It’s sort of a pinkish/lavender jacket, with a hood. And it’s on the chair, in room 212.” She explained that the housecleaning crew had just begun to work, and that they waited until they were completely done cleaning, before they brought things down (apparently, I’m not the only guest who leaves things behind). We went over our home address and phone number (just in case), and, of course, the credit card number, which they would need to pay for the postage for sending the jacket to me. And I thanked her, and we went and had our lunch.

When we got back to Waco, I unpacked and put things away. But it wasn’t until I was getting ready for bed that I began to look around, check my suitcase, look in my smaller bag, and finally accepted the fact that my nightgown had not made the trip back to Waco. I’ve had this “white nightgown” problem before, last May. I had left it at David’s mom’s house, when I went to Baltimore for a family wedding. It had gotten mixed in with some white towels, and I didn’t see it. Same thing in the hotel. White nightgown, hanging on bathroom hook, along with a white towel.

Monday morning, I called the hotel. AGAIN. I gave the lady my name and room number and, oh, yes, they had the white nightgown. “Oh, thank you,” I said. And, they had a white shirt. “WHAT!” I should not be allowed to travel. It was an extra knit shirt I had taken along, in case I got cold and needed to wear it underneath something else (like a jacket, for example). And, same, problem. It was folded up, in the suitcase, and I think that, when I was repacking everything, I may have taken it out of the suitcase, rearranged things, and didn’t notice it on the white sheets of the bed, and just packed everything else up. So, yes, they would pack up ALL my left-behind clothing, and send it along to me.

My missing things: jacket, white nightgown, white knit shirt, all safe and sound back in Texas

My missing things: jacket, white nightgown, white knit shirt, all safe and sound back in Texas

I had hoped the package would arrive by Thursday, so I could take a photo, to put in last week’s post. But, it didn’t come until Saturday. I thought that, after all their traveling, maybe I should just go ahead and toss them in the laundry, to clean them up. And I did that. I’d done laundry all day Friday, so these things just went into the washer all together. The white nightgown. The white knit shirt. And the lavender/pinkish sort of colored jacket. Regular cycle. Warm wash, and cold rinse.

 

 

 

 

 

Right out of the washer

Right out of the washer

Looking closely at the jacket, you probably notice that it’s covered with little white detritus. Apparently, I’d left a tissue in a pocket. Or maybe a tissue in each pocket. Or multiple tissues. There were a lot of little pieces. And I thought I’d just go ahead and put it in the dryer and let the dryer get all that stuff off the jacket. And, then I noticed the white nightgown and the white shirt. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so obvious, if they hadn’t been sitting on top of the white dryer. But, they were sitting on the white dryer. And they were pink. Not really, REALLY pink. But, most certainly–pink.

 

Every laundry room should have Color Catchers. And every launderer should figure out when to use them.

Every laundry room should have Color Catchers. And every launderer should figure out when to use them.

I tried washing the gown and shirt again, by themselves, with a Color Catcher, hoping that, maybe, if they went right back into the water, the pink would just wander right out of the gown and shirt and be corralled by the Color Catcher. Nope. They are still pink.

I was talking with a friend about this and we agreed that having a box of Color Catchers is a good idea. Knowing when to use a Color Catcher doesn’t always kick in.

I checked the tag on the jacket. It says “Wash with like colors,” which means: launder this thing with other purpley, pinkish, and red things, or even blue things. Not white.

 

 

 

 

True, the grass withers and the wildflowers fade,
    but our God’s Word stands firm and forever.”

Isaiah 40:8 (The Message)

THE FIRST DAISY!!

THE FIRST DAISY!!

Small mistakes are nothing. They are gnats. So many more things are more important. And, seriously, I have a nightgown. I have several nightgowns. I have shirts that I wear under other shirts, to stay warm. And if I’m still cold, I have jackets and coats. And socks and shoes. And enough to eat and a safe place to live.

And CHECK THIS OUT——–>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

 

 

 

I Was Lulled into Inaction . . .

. . . by the previous two winters. They were mild. And, whenever there was a threat of freezing temperatures, all the plants were just fine. It’s always warmer in my backyard than it is at the airport, ‘way out of town. So, this past December (I think it was), when low temps were forecast, I was an unbeliever. Oh, they’ll be fine I said to myself. And, the big cold front that was supposed to blow in after sundown, blew in a few hours earlier, and I went out and got a cute bougainvillea that I really liked. And I moved other stuff closer to the house, which has worked in the past. Then I came in, too chilled by the earlier-than-expected temperature drop to do much else.

And I lost most everything.

But, there’s some good news!

 

 The flowers are unfolding in the fields;
        the birds are warming up their songs,
 The cooing of the turtledove
        is heard throughout the land.

Song of Solomon 2:12 (The Voice)

 

 

IMG_3068This photo, and I am so not making it up, is a picture that my phone took of the inside of my overalls’ bib pocket. Really. I was working outside and heard the click of a photo being taken. I looked down and saw that the smooth side of a snap, on the inside of the pocket, was right in line with the shutter button on the phone (which was facing forward but upside down). So, there you go. The machines are beginning to take over. I hope they can live peacefully with the plants and flowers.

How’ve YOU Been Feeling?

Two weeks ago, last Wednesday, Kevin phoned and said could I please come and be with Peter. He’d been sick with something that had swept through Fort Worth, knocking over kids like bowling pins. He was better, but still running a little fever, which meant he could not go back to preschool on Thursday, and Kevin, who’d been at home for a couple of days, and April, a teacher at Peter’s preschool, really needed to get back to work. “And,” he said, “if you get here by 5:00, April and I can go to church and teach Mini Maestros (their little preschool music group).”

“Sure,” I said. And I went on up. Peter wasn’t all that sick, except for a rather epic sneeze situation, with adult-type output. There were tissue boxes in every room of the house, at kid level, and trash cans. We played and read books and had a very nice time. There was one instance when he wasn’t near a tissue box when the parent-of-all-sneezes occurred. He looked down at the catastrophic pool on his tummy, and said, “I need to change my shirt.” Which he did.

On Thursday, I got a concert:

When I woke up, I did find this pile of used tissues between us. While he was sleeping, I emptied the trash, and practically filled it up again.

When I woke up, I did find this pile of used tissues between us. While he was sleeping, I emptied the trash, and practically filled it up again.

After lunch, I was falling asleep while reading to him and finally said, “Peter, Mimi has got to have a little nap. You can play in your room and I’ll lie down on your bed and nap for a few minutes.” He ended up getting in bed, too, with a box of tissues. I had put his trash can next to the bed. Just as I was falling asleep, he whispered, “Mimi. My trash is overflowing.” “Well,” I whispered back, “I’ll empty it after I nap.” “Where can I put my tissues,” he asked. “Just put them here on the bed, and I’ll throw them away after I empty your trash can.”

 

Saturday, I got some writing work done. Sunday, as I was getting ready to go to church, I felt a little bit of a scratchy throat. Hmmmm. If thing was as contagious as they said, then I did NOT need to spend the morning with preschoolers at church. So hurried up to church to leave things, contacted other teachers, and stayed home. And did some writing work. On Monday, also. I walked on the treadmill, but at half my usual speed, went to bed early, and on Tuesday, could not get out of bed. I would think, “I must get up and do some work.” And I would roll over to get out of bed, and fall asleep before I’d gotten all the way over. Except for trips to the bathroom (to check my glucose level and take my temperature), I stayed in bed all day. ALL. DAY.

I was quite a bit better Wednesday, and was able to sit up for extended periods, finish up a bunch of writing and send it off to my editor. But I stayed really weak, and, on Sunday, I was too woozy to feel secure about being in a room with preschoolers, and missed another Sunday. Monday I was quite a bit better. Tuesday, I was in bed most of the day with some intestinal thing. Seriously. No Valentine’s Day dinner out. Wednesday, I actually left the house, for the first time in over a week. I went to Target.

I called Jeremy a few days ago, for a reason I don’t recall now, but I said, “There was something rolling through Fort Worth.” Jeremy said, “It’s rolling all over the country.” He and Sarah both had it. TWICE! And, as far as he was concerned, the absolute worst part was that it snowed in New York and he was unable to go out and play in it. I had lunch yesterday with a friend from Corpus Christi. Where it also rampaged through.

The annoying cough is back, after a brief hiatus. As is the intestinal thing. My wastebaskets are overflowing, and I am ready to feel better. Lots Better! Maybe I’ll phone the doctor.

I hope you are having sunny weather and sunny health.

 

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.

3 John 2 (English Standard Version)

Amen

 

Why Is EVERYTHING So Much HARDER Than It SHOULD Be?!?!?

In our previous house, the fridge was several feet away from the stove and sink. In this house, the fridge is just an arm’s reach from the sink. As I organized the kitchen when we moved in, I put my kitchen shears, which I use really often, on a metal hook on the side of the fridge. And then I put my nice big strainer up there, too. Not so much because I use it all the time (the way I do the shears). But, it took up more room in a drawer than I liked. Then, I got these verrrrry strong magnet hooks, and stuck them on the side of the fridge to hold the shears and the strainer.

Recently, I’ve had to admit that the strainer had come to the end of its safe usefulness. There were sharp pointy parts at the bottom and things were wearing really thin. So, I threw it away, lest I say to myself at some point, “Oh, it’s not really all that bad. I can strain a few more tortellini.” It was that bad.

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I Had an epiphany

The capitalized, or upper-case, Epiphany, refers to Twelfth Night, or the end of the Christmas season, the last of the Twelve Days of Christmas (the one with the twelve drummers drumming), celebrated in some churches as the festival commemorating the visit of the three kings. The lower-case “epiphany” is defined as “an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure,” used in a sentence like, “One epiphany came when a dozen engineers in northern New Mexico saw a lone, fading Xerox paper carton bobbing in a swamp of old motor oil at the bottom of a pit.” —Michelle Conlin, Business Week, 1 Nov. 1999 (This quote is from dictionary.com. And, I don’t know about you, but I intend to track down that article and find out what that amazing epiphany was**. But that’s not what this post is about.)

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