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Posts Categorized: Patience
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I know lots of people think spring in the best season of the year. And spring is great. Stuff starts growing, flowers begin blooming, and the weather is nice. But here in Central Texas, fall is my favorite.
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When Kevin, and then Jeremy, were at TCU, I used to visit Hulen Mall in Fort Worth pretty regularly. It was sort of on the way to the university—just a matter of where one turned off I35. There was a Container Store in front of the mall, and right across the street there was a Border’s Bookstore. Lots to do. After graduation, Kevin moved to the Cultural District; Jeremy eventually moved over there, too. Kevin and April still live in that area. Jeremy and Sarah married and moved to Brooklyn. The Border’s moved much closer to Kevin and April. Then, that store closed down, and The Container Store moved into the old Border’s spot. So, all in all, I don’t have much reason to visit the Hulen Mall area any more. Until yesterday. I was on my way to hear a speaker at a Fort Worth library which was really close to the Mall, and I’m on a quest to find a skirt with pockets, which turns out to be a much more difficult task that any sensible person might imagine. Maybe it is nonsense, but I tried.
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I guess there’s always been some sort of disconnect between generations. The older folks have to get used to new-fangled things like cars instead of horses and buggys. And, televisions instead of radios. And radios instead of, um, people sitting around campfires and telling stories and sharing news. Mail instead of smoke signals and drums. Microwave ovens. Computers. (Insert red-faced angry emoticon here.) Emoticons instead of actual words.
Actually, I’m fond of computers. They make my life easier in lots of ways. Until they don’t.
And we’ve had a computer in the house for about 35 years. (Ollie, Mollie, Gollie, can it have been that long?) The first one was barely more than a toy, but I did a lot of writing on it. Then we bought an Apple II from a school friend of Kevin’s who was getting a new computer. Then, we bought, TA-DAH, a Mac Classic. The screen on that computer was about one-fourth the size of what I have now. THEN, we got an IMac. THEN, it got stolen. THEN, we replaced it with a new IMac, but it was RED. And then David got his own IMac (blue), and we were a two-computer family.
That was two or three computers ago, and I cannot even tell you what I have now, except that it’s bigger and faster. (Not great big, just bigger.) It came with “El Capitan” software. Then the word processing program said it could upgrade but I would need to upgrade my operating system and … (insert imagined conversations between me and Jeremy here) … so I did, rather accidentally, start the upgrading process to install the Sierra operating system and it always take so much longer than I expect, so I went to bed. Then, the next morning, THERE’S A NEW BACKGROUND PICTURE ON MY COMPUTER.
I liked the previous picture. Apparently, the previous picture actually was El Capitan. And the new picture is (you know this already, don’t you) actually Sierra. That’s how far behind the curve I am with many things “computer.”
THEN the phone said: new operating system; upgrade now! Or something like that. So I did. And, TA-DAH, I can’t find stuff on my phone. So, in a royal snit I called Jeremy. “I can’t find anything. Nothing’s where it’s supposed to be. This is making me NUTS!!! Who’s responsible for this? I know Steve Jobs died. Who’s running things now? Who is it that I want to go to Seattle and throttle?!?!?!?”
I suppose some folks, the younger, hipper folks, who grew up knowing how to use a computer the way my generation knew how to do things our parents couldn’t, even though nothing comes to mind right away, they like all the changes, and like changes all the time.
Both sons are basically kind and patient with me when I phone them for help. And when I phone them for help, it’s because I’ve tried and tried and cannot find the solution to whatever problem I may be having, so I’m not particularly patient. I don’t want to be walked through some scenarios and look for things to try, I want it TO WORK. NOW!
Even so, Jeremy sent me a schematic for computer problem-solving. And, as you can see, there are notes on Post-Its that tell me how to do things. Still, I call, because there’s always some new thing I need help with. Which led us to a conversation about what sorts of phone calls Tim Cook might get, from his mom. “Hello? Tim, honey? HELP ME!! I can’t get this silly computer to: a) send a photo; b) send a letter; c) balance my checkbook; d) show me how to get to the zoo; e) 30,000 other things. Choose one. Or all.
When Kevin was here over Labor Day weekend, he was doing something on my computer (10 years old), and remarked how slow it was. Indeed. And he looked up new computers and said, “If you order this by 5:00, you can get it tomorrow.” What! Huh? “The beauty of it is that I’ll be here to set it up,” he went on. So, long story short, that’s what we did.
Please go ahead and click to get the whole image. Yes, you’re seeing right. There’s the new computer, and on the shelf above, the old computer and a television. I’m in the process of moving things from old to new and making sure nothing important gets left behind. So, yes, there are two screens, two keyboards, and two mouses (is the plural for more than one computer mouse mouses or mice. Mice just seems wrong.)
And, as Kevin was putting all the computer stuff together, he said, casually, “you know there’s no disc player.” WHAT?!? How do I play CDs? DVDs? Apparently, I’m supposed to download music and get a streaming service. Really, I prefer going to the library and checking stuff out, for free. I’m sooooo not a modern girl. When we ordered the computer, we got an external disc drive, too. I can only make a limited number of changes at a time.
Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift? The fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Psalm 127:3 (The Message)
And so helpful, too.
Years ago, when I was teaching at the community college, on mornings I didn’t have a class, I liked to watch the Today show (while I stayed in bed and read the paper, too). One morning, the show (and probably the other news shows) was preempted by National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice’s testimony before the 9/11 Commission. It was pretty interesting, and I watched it all.
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When I was in elementary school, a lady at church had weekly choir rehearsals for children who sang in the kids’ choir in Children’s Church. I remember going, sometimes, and what I recall most is learning the round “Scotland’s Burning.”
“Scotland’s burning! Scotland’s burning! Look out! Look out! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Pour on water! Pour on water!”
We were pretty good at it.
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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.
Sugar and spice and everything nice/snips and snails and puppy dog tails
We 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.”