Saturday, December 25, 2010

Now that they all showed up...everyone except him?

The kids are here. Their kid is here. All is good. The fire is still crackling and Willie is on the radio. Have you taken a sniff of the air outside? It smells of the mountains and cold weather. Finally the weather feels like Christmas, cold and a light wind. There have been many years we had to have the air conditioner on in order too light the fireplace. But we didn't's south Texas. At Christmas you just need a fire. We've had dinner, now we waiting on Santa and then we'll have dessert. So pull up a chair, enjoy the fire, watch the unwrapping, and one more time Santa comes.

Friday, December 24, 2010's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

The weather has finally gotten a nip in the air. The wind is howling in the trees outside. The fire in the fireplace is crackling. Christmas carols are in the distance. Presents are under the tree and the stockings are hung. My niece has been cooking in the kitchen all day....amazing stuff. The best being some stuffed jalapenos with who knows what inside them. Then they are wrapped in bacon. Oh, my. She made dips and sauces and veggies and more. So now bring on the people. While oddly enough we had a house full of folks earlier in the day and my sister got a nose bleed. I'm not talking about any ole nosebleed, I'm talking one that would not stop. She finally ended up in the emergency room and things have finally returned somewhat to normal. She is on the way here, to our cabin in Wimberley with my brother n law and things should start to bustle again pretty soon. My other niece will be here soon as well. My kids are coming tomorrow but until then I will celebrate with the rest of them. We are excited to be in this place together and Christmas will come and go, no matter what. Blessings and Christmas eve gift from our family to yours.

Encourage One Another

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Spring in December

What is it about Texas that lets you have spring in the winter? Consider that Thursday and Friday were really cold, windy, maybe in the 40s and 50s. Yesterday it was cool, and windy. I definitely needed gloves and a wrap. Today on the other hand I needed sunscreen! Short sleeves, bright sun, cool breeze, absolutely fabulous. Mosey and I took a long long walk through the fields. They have harvested the cotton so the fields are bare with just stubble to occasionally trip over. There were several riders with their horses on similar trails as us. We spoke but kept going our different directions. Mose always has to look and glare and gawk for a while at the horses as we pass before he will just move on out. He was a gentleman today, quiet and easy to ride. Occasionally I listen to music while I ride these days. Today was one of those days. Sometimes I just enjoy the quiet. Riding calms me, even if I have some issues to mull over in my mind. That methodic motion, the rhythm of his gait are sort of like rocking in a rocking chair, soothing, comforting. I love watching his mane blow in the wind. It's long and elegant, salt and pepper in color. So we just plod along, blowing up a little dust as we go, and enjoy the weather, and are grateful for the "spring".

Encourage One Another

Friday, December 17, 2010

Be Blessed

Today was different. I've been working in social services for over 25 years. I've dealt with a lot of things that for most people would be intolerable. I managed to handle it and keep moving forward. Today while I was sitting in my office someone was almost beating on the glass door to get in down the hall. The just keep on and on and I finally headed down the hall sort of yelling "ok ok". I swung open the door and a lady was standing there. I said "your suppose to use the phone". She said "I can't read or write. My mother stole my money, she stole my food stamps; I slept on the street last night; I don't have a place to live or stay". I was stunned. I asked her who she came to see. She didn't know there name. The police told her to come here. She said something about Adult Protective Services. I asked her name, told her to have a seat and I'd try to find someone to help her. I found someone in the Aged and Disabled area who came with me to talk to her. She was gone. We rushed down the elevator as we saw her walking out into the parking lot. When we got outside I called to her "Terry, come back". She did. She said "I was going scared me". I apologized. She was tearful. We sat and gathered more information from her. She described her mother putting her check into her bra and as Terry asked for it she swung and hit Terry accross the face. The more she talked, the more I felt for her. She had stayed at the shelter but had gotten all kinds of bug bites (bed bugs), had a reaction and had to go to the hospital. She no longer had her Medicaid card; her mother kept it. She was hit by a drunk driver years ago and had a let that "was not all hers". It had taken her 5 years to learn to walk again. She had nothing to eat. She had no money. She said she had been told she had cancer in her stomach. She asked if we had a blanket. I called a few shelters and they were not helpful. My friend had reached her APS caseworker and she was going to come pick her up and take her to a shelter in another town. My friend had also called the restaurant down the street and they were going to give her a free burrito. I found some gloves, a hat and scarf and gave her. She was again tearful. This time in thanks. She LOVED them. I took them apart and she put them on and wore them out. I gave her some cans of soup, some crackers, and a blanket. She was appreciative. She continued to apologize for knocking so much on the door. I continued to apologize for being rude and scaring her. I finally said, "we don't need to apologize to each other any more. We will just be friends" and I shook her hand. She went away happy. Happy with her new items and happy she was going to get something to eat and that her caseworker was on the way to pick her up. It's going to be 18 degrees outside tonight. When I think about her and I think about me we are worlds apart. She is grateful for the smallest thing...for a burrito to fill her belly, with a new glove set from Walmart. I find myself often complaining about the smallest thing. God will put someone or something in our lives to see life different. This woman was a blessing to me today. Tonight I hope she is someplace with a full stomach and has a warm place to lie down.

Encourage One Another

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gift Bag Shopping

Have you ever been shopping just to purchase gift bags for gifts you've already bought...? Your looking at your list, trying to imagine the size. You look at the bags to see if you think they will fit. It really is much easier to save some from last year and match them to this year. Problem is I just don't want to go to the storage unit to get them. Call me lazy. Didn't put a tree up either. Same lazy to go to the storage. I don't want to dig through and find and haul home and then pack them all back up and take them back to the storage when I'm finished. I've done a lot of packing, purging, reselling and moving stuff this year and that storage unit just isn't someplace I want to go. And probably I'll just give all these to my daughter who will be there for Christmas and has already unpacked and put out all her Christmas stuff...she'll have to pack it all back up anyway. So no more unpacking and packing for me until next year. I just hope my gifts fit in the bags!!!

Encourage One Another

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Who Was That Man Who Gets the Big High Five?

Ok, a second first was accomplished yesterday. T-Paw and I took the boy shopping. OK, T-Paw and I haven't even done all that much shopping together in our lives, however, I thought we did amazing. Getting the boy and our stuff in and out of the car each time was sort of like a Chinese fire drill. We would continued to round the car from side to side getting stuff in or out, then going to the other side to get something out or put something in. T-Paw commented, "we look sort of "rookieish" doing this. B makes it look so easy". I said, "she has had weeks of practice now and when I have been with her she won't even let me help. I think we are doing fabulous to not have ever done this". So we just kept on keeping on and shopped the day away. On one occasion there was a decision for me to go in and do the deal real quick and he would stay in the car with the boy. Next thing I know, I look out and he's in the back seat with the boy. Everything is quiet. "Paci" is in his mouth and there is not a hint of crying! I finish up and off we go to the next stop...clothes shopping for T-Paw. Out we go again, shop a while, the boy sleeps the whole time. He is such a good shopper. T-Paw got lots of cool stuff. We load up again and I'm thinking he's going to be getting hungry pretty soon. When we get to the restaurant, T-Paw says "I'll take him to the table and you just order for me." I'm ok with that. So I get our food and about that time the boy wakes up. I pick him up and hold him while I eat. He just looks around at the sights and sounds. I finish my lunch and feed him...perfect. There's no changing table in this restaurant...bummer. So we head to the car to attempt a diaper change. Other than him trying to push himself off the seat, we got that done without much trouble. He seems pretty happy so we decide to try one more for me! Well, the boy gets unhappy on the road. Here's another miracle. T-Paw leans totally across from the front seat to the back seat and talks, coos, puts the paci in and out, and quiets that boy down. T-Paw comes back to the front and settles in...but here we go again. Once again T-Paw goes without suggestion across from the front seat to the back (in case I haven't mentioned he's 61 and I have to be honest, a little slow). I was truly impressed. I said "think we should just head on home?" He said "I think I got it." And he did. The rest of the way all is quiet from the back seat until we get to the next stop. The boy was fine in the store. He and T-Paw went to the "man cave" area and just talked and hung out a few minutes while I searched for thing to try on. Just about the time I started to try on my items noises started to be heard from the "man cave" area. The boy started crying and although T-Paw tried to quiet him, he was just tired of being in the car seat. We got him out, quieted him down and decided to just put everything back and head out. Shopping for me will have to take place another day. Just a few blocks out of the store the boy gets REAL upset in the car seat. There goes T-Paw over the seats again. After a few minutes he has him soothed again. He's getting really good at this. Do I dare say he's a natural? I mean truly this was just miraculous. You have no idea. I don't think I know this man. Mostly because it's so far outside his box. For me, yeah, it's all new, or relatively new since I haven't done it in 26 years. However, I'll catch on pretty quick and I'm not gonna break anything I don't think. (OK, we did have one big faux pax, we strolled him backwards in the stroller! Sorry B!) But truthfully, I don't think T-Paw ever, no let me re-phrase that, I know T-Paw, who was once "daddy", never did anything like this. If he did, I've totally lost my memory about it. I'm sure he has too, if he ever did. He was amazing. I was pleased and impressed, and truly blessed by him yesterday. It was something I think we have both dreamed about, "grandparenting" our grandchild together. "T-Paw, we did it. I give you a big high five for the day."
When I told this story to B, she said "I think this is his attempt at a "re-do" (which I call a do over). "What do you mean?" She said "since he didn't do anything with me (when she was little)". Sort of takes the air out of my bubble. But the truth is the truth...and the truth will set you free.

Encourage One Another

Friday, December 10, 2010

Me and He, finally alone

Today was a first, a fabulous first, me babysitting alone with my grandson, my first grandson my only grandson. My daughter and her husband went out for a date night, their first since the baby was born. And I got to keep my boy.
So far so good if I do say so myself. Albeit a bit funny however. I'm sure the neighbors could hear my offbeat, out of tune singing of words and lyrics I really don't remember. My play list consists of old church hymns, little 'Jesus Loves Me" type songs and Christmas carols. I'm sure my boy was wondering what in the world he had gotten himself into. I mean "where in the world are my parents" he must have been thinking. However, he remained calm, looked me in the eye and keep sucking that "paci" like it was going out of style. My mission was to keep him awake until it was time to eat dinner and then go "bedtime". Mission accomplished! We played on the floor, bounced in the bouncer, walked the room, rocked in PaPa's recliner, and watched the fan circle. It's all good. Once it was time to eat there was first a diaper change. Then he drank his whole bottle and burped twice. Next I successfully managed to get him in his little swaddler blanket and kiss his neck goodnight. I laid him in his bed, turned on the little sheep sounds and off to lullaby land he went...just like that. Nothing to I have been doing it for years. Well I guess years ago I did do it....for years. Until she grew up and had my first grandchild! And the world goes round and round.

Encourage One Another

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's All About Attitude

Ok, really. It's all about attitude, right? If we have a good one, if we think positive, if we dream big…we can have a huge effect on our outcome. I really do believe that. I mean you read it all the time. It also effects our mood and our relationship to others. Do you really want to be around someone who complains about everything? Do you want to listen to someone who cannot find a right thing in their world today? Day after day they stammer that life isn't treating them right, that someone is to blame, that the weather sucks. No. The people I want to hang with are generally in a good mood. They see life as a blessing. They can tell you at any given time some of those blessings. They smile and laugh easily. They may not always be on top of the world, but generally, they see their life clearly. They are in charge. No one else is to blame for any of their misfortune. Those are the folks I want to spend my time with. They lift us up. They help us see our blessings. They are hopeful and help me be hopeful. They also see God. They see that he blesses us everyday, even in our difficult times. Those are the times for lessons learned and efforts to keep us moving forward. Those are times when we reach out to God and it strengthens our relationship with him. So for today, smell the roses and look for the rainbows on the horizon. You'll be blessed.

Encourage One Another

Monday, September 13, 2010

Life on the Trail #1

Truthfully, you just never know what you might see on any cool, breezy west Texas morning. Sometimes it depends on the attitude of my horse. He gets a good brush down before we do anything. He loves his face brushed with the soft bristles of the small brush. He closes his eyes and appears to be dreaming. When I get to the inside of his ears, he twists his head sideways and pushes into me a bit. He usually cocks a foot up as I travel down the rest of his body, his neck, his sides, his belly, his butt and his legs. He thinks he's on vacation. Once I get all the knots out of his mane and tail, we’re ready to saddle up. He stands patiently while I get everything even and straight and tightened up. He turns his head to me and opens his mouth to take the bit, almost like he likes it, like he is looking forward to the next best thing. As we amble off, I stop him and tighten up the saddle again. Once I get it to the right hole, he gets to stretch…his absolute favorite part. I ask him for his left leg first. He lifts it and I pull it way out in front of him. It allows him to give a big ole stretch. Then we do the left leg. He usually squeezes his eyes closed on this one. I step in the stirrup and off we go. I can generally tell what kind of day we are going to have before we ever get out of the yard. He is either dead headed and quiet, just minding his own business, or he is ears perked and eyes watching every leaf that floats by or grasshopper that jumps. If he’s gonna get a little “jiggy with it” I’m in for a more stressful ride.
On the quiet days, he just plods along, nothing gets his attention; nothing stirs him up. We generally never break a walk on these rides. I just listen to the sounds of the morning, leaves rustling, train horns sounding at the crossings, cars zipping by, pump jacks whirring, gravel under tires, high lines crackling, tractors plowing, horses nickering in the distance. I’ve always got my eyes open for a jack rabbit, a prairie dog, a coyote, a lizard, or a horny toad.
This past week I saw three baby horny toads. Their bellies weren’t bigger than a nickel. I stepped off and even tried to catch one. However, when I reached down to catch him, as he flattened out to spit on me to protect himself, he disappeared. I just wanted to hold him and stroke his back. Word is, as long as there are big red ants, their dinner, there will be horny toads in west Texas . Hope that’s true.
Prairie dogs are prevalent in this area of Texas . They make this shrill chattering sound to ward you off if you get to close to their mound. They will stand their ground on top of their home especially if they have pups down below. Mosey has great respect for that sound and stays clear when a mom warns him to “stay back”. Isn’t nature interesting? Here he is, a zillion times her size, and he is fearful to cross her. Isn’t God amazing?
Coyotes will see you from a distance. Once they do, they turn and run or lumber across a field as fast as they can go. It’s odd to see them out during the day. They usually travel in packs of course, but I see them alone or in twos most often.
The cotton fields are really growing. The plants are full and green. There is lots of irrigation out here in west Texas . Those fields show the best growth. Right now you’ll see anything from pink or yellow blooms, to green bolls, to white cotton all on the same plant. Weird! We no longer ride between the rows since they are so bushy. Whoever thought I’d be talking about cotton?
On the days where everything from a simple quail flying up off the ground to a white trash sack minding its own business sends Mosey into a tizzy, the ride is a little different. I am consistently trying to keep him calm and get him to just relax. Sometimes when the wind is blowing harder, he is just uneasy. On those days he thinks the farm equipment that has been petrified in its place for years, that he has seen day after day, is going to reach out and get him. He looks at everything. His ears are all over the place. On these days he has to work a little harder. By loping and trotting him I try to distract him and get his attention on to something else…or just wear him out. It’s a different kind of ride. I’m more alert, more aware, more conscious of the surroundings that might stir him up. It’s just not as peace filled.
But truthfully, I’ll take any kind of ride I can get and any day I can do it. I just love to ride. After losing my passion for horses and riding for several years, and finally getting it back, horses are at the top of my friend list, especially Mosey. He knows what to expect of me. He knows I’m going to take care of him and protect him. And he expects me to. And I do.
Mosey and I will make the same ride, the same miles, almost the same trail, most days. It’s sort of like a ritual. While the scenery appears different every time, the consistency is relaxing. We always hope to meet someone on the trail. Occasionally we do. However, most days, it’s just me and Mosey, ambling along, thinking about family, about God and all our blessings. While I have had a few bumps in the road lately, I remain grateful. Life is still full and family is still the most important thing. My grandson should arrive anytime. He will rock my world. I’m looking forward to it. Happy trails!
Encourage One Another

Friday, July 23, 2010

Now THIS Is West Texas

When your driving down the road and you see wind powered windmills and oil well pump jacks in the same landscape, you know you are in west Texas. Add a couple of deer stands, some mesquite bushes, and a cotton field and you are in the dead center. Driving through the green rolling hills between Big Spring and San Angelo, this is what you see. Who are those fortunate Texans reaping the harvest of wind power and oil wells? They must be living in God's will. Their blessings abound. When you watch those windmills they turn in a slow methodical rhythm that almost puts you to sleep. They all turn in the same direction, clockwise. One after the other they turn, though not always in the same sequence. They sort of appear like a kaleidoscope and they go on for miles and miles. Up close they are huge. No telling how many feet to the top. No idea how men get up to the top to work on or repair them. No idea if they have an elevator or a "dumb waiter" devise inside to get to the top. No idea what the view is like from the top of one of those. I bet it is fantastic. I bet you'd feel a little like Don Quixote, thinking what would a person do with all those windmills? Attack them? Climb them? Or would you just try to cash in on them. Sometimes our vision is a little skewed like Don's. Sometimes our vision is not clear. Sometimes we have visions of grandeur when truly what we have and what we need are just your basic everyday things, an average life. And truly, average is still a blessing. Generally all we have is all we need. Count your blessings. There are many. Be blessed. Keep dreaming though; life is full with hopes and dreams. Next time your roaming the countryside either by car, horse, or foot, enjoy it. Whether you are enjoying what God created or what man created, enjoy the mighty power behind it all. Take it all in. Let your eyes see the beauty.
Take a drive through west Texas. You won't be disappointed.

Encourage One Another

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Do You Remember When.....?

There's just something about the era that I was born in that intrigues me. I believe it's about the simpleness, the ease with which it appeared to me that people (my family) went through life. Truth is, they probably had as many problems as we do now. However, I was just too young to recognize them. Could also be that my parents were experts at not passing down worries and concerns to their children? Information and news was shared in a much more limited way. There was only radio and TV. And at that time, not everyone even had a TV.
Life just seemed simple and calm in my household...routine. Mom and dad left for work and my sister and I walked to school. No concerns about someone kidnapping us or accosting us along the way. We met up with friends and walking to and from school was an enjoyable, like a social event. We skipped or ran most of the way. In the afternoons we got home and enjoyed a snack of cookies or vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup. Our mom came in a short time later to fix dinner. Growing up we always had a balanced meal. It included a meat and two vegetables, one green. The four of us sat together at the table and ate while we visited. Sometimes we watched TV. Sometimes we didn't. My sister and I really looked forward to Saturday mornings. We got up early and watched Fury and My Friend Flicka along with Mighty Mouse, the Flintstones and some other cartoons. Other TV favorites were Captain Kangaroo, Gilligan's Island, Bonanza, Rifleman, Rawhide, Have Gun Will Travel, The Life of Riley, Andy Griffith, I Love Lucy, Father Knows Best, Bewitched, Leave It To Beaver, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, Dick Van Dyke, Bachelor Father, and Lassie. Walt Disney Presents came on Sunday evenings. On Saturday night we always washed our hair for church the next morning. (I can't imagine only washing my hair once a week). Our Saturday special was steak my dad grilled outside along with baked potatoes. It was a delightful treat. Together we watched Lawrence Welk, Ed Sullivan, and Gunsmoke every Saturday night. Sundays we dressed in our Sunday best and attended Sunday School and church. Waiting for us in the oven at home we would usually have a pot roast with the chunky potatoes and carrots all cooked in the same pan. Often my grandmother would cook this same meal. My grandmother and my mom were both great cooks, however, my grandmother had that special grandmother way that just made hers extra special. Oh, and did I tell you, both of them always wore aprons. I love aprons. I still wear the last one my mom used to wear. My grandmother made it. It's not in good shape. It's sort of tattered, torn and in need of some repair. However, when I wear it, I think of my mom, of that time in my life, and how great my life was when I was young. I long for that simpleness. I seek it in my own kitchen, wearing my mom's worn out apron and watching re-runs of my favorite shows on TV Land....and fondly smile.

Encourage One Another

Friday, July 9, 2010

Loving the Good Life

I have found myself wanting to write a blog for some time. I had two questions though; what would I call my blog and what all would I write about? This morning I read something that gave me a good idea. It is from a book written by the "Nearing" family back in 1954 called Living the Good Life: How to Live Sanely and Simply in a Troubled World. After living that life, Ms. Nearing wrote another book, a memoir, called Loving and Leaving the Good Life. These were her suggestions for living less stressfully:
  • Do the best you can, whatever arises.
  • Be at peace with yourself.
  • Find a job you enjoy.
  • Live in simple conditions; housing, food, clothing; get rid of clutter.
  • Contact nature every day; feel the earth under your feet.
  • Take physical exercise through hard work; through gardening or walking.
  • Don't worry; live one day at a time.
  • Share something every day with someone else; if you live alone, write someone; give something away; help someone else somehow.
  • Take time to wonder at life and the world; see some humor in life where you can.
  • Observe the one life in all things.
  • Be kind to the creatures.
** these I added
  • Be grateful and thankful for everything; you have enough.
  • Pray
Wow, I love those and truthfully if I could live that life…stress and worry would be unnecessary. I'd like to strive to do her suggestions. So let me put a copy of these not only in my journal and on my blog, but on my refrigerator, in my car, at my desk….reminders to live "the good life". They pretty much sum it up.
And as far as the blog….that's what it'll be called "The Good Life" and that's what it will be about!

Encourage One Another