Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween is Coming ~

The little girls' mom and her niece prepare the pumpkins for carving.

All the "stuff" gets the seeds removed for toasting.

Pretty little grand enjoys both watching the pumpkins change to jack-o-lanterns and writing her own story in her Tooth Diary from school. She lost one the night before.

Drawing before the carving.

Little sister has dad read to her and then they play on his iPad.

"Surprise" faces - matching the pumpkin, creatively carved by their older cousin.

Cousin Halloween

And still up and ready for school the next morning. 
The Mama Susan has had a Wonderful time with all of them!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ask Your Grandchild ~

Two years old. iPad on lap. Little fingers moving over the screen ~ playing something that has to do with Mickey Mouse. She knows. She is being raised in the age of iPads, iPods, laptops, and smart phones. And if she doesn't already, she will soon know how to use them all. Her 5-year old sister plays games on my computer with an ease it took me a long time to develop. 
When I was national president of Church Women United a lot of my time was spent convincing older church women that they could use the internet and computers at least for email and newsletters. My line always was, if you don't know how to use one, ask your grandchildren to explain it to you. This was before I had grands of my own. Now I have them and they are all more adept at computer use than I am. This little lady will soon sigh at how inept her Mama Susan is with technology that is innate in her. Meanwhile, I will enjoy my own fascination at her expertise.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Adults Assume Too Much ~

Young friend born and raised until age 4 in Austin Texas. Her family and ours moved to Virginia the same summer and so we spent the Thanksgiving weekend together. It snowed! The girls rushed out to play - so excited!! The little one turns and rushes back in the house calling, “I need my gloves. No one told me snow was cold!”

Precocious three-year-old asked to be a flower girl in a wedding. Very carefully her mom had her practice what to do. Bits of paper were placed in her basket and over and over she rehearsed dropping them gently as she walked slowly around the living room. The day came and she was Perfect. Rose petals were strewn on the bride’s way. And then with the wedding party in place and the solemn service beginning, she did what she had always done after strewing bits of paper on the living room floor and carefully picked them up - every one. 

Owlet and Puck were raised in the high desert of Carson City, Nevada. Now they are living in Ashland, Oregon with green grass, trees, and seasons. Yesterday they raked leaves for the first time in their lives. They loved it. Wonderful piles of crackly fall leaves. Then mom called them into supper. And very dutifully they spread the leaves out across the yard just as they had found them. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

My Kind of Church

One of my pastors when I was in Virginia was David Edwards. David is now the pastor and spiritual leader of a small congregation called The Church of the Covenant in Lynchburg VA. I have been reading David Edwards’ FB posts and I have decided I need a Church of the Covenant in my life. I need a place where silence is treated with respect and used appropriately. A place where when I say my participation will be to pray for the church and its programs, I am taken seriously ~ as is my contribution because people believe in the power of prayer. A place where fun and laughter can mix with serious spiritual insights, study and  development. A place where something as powerful as a Christ-force healing is seen as ministry and not some way-out funky event designed to take people away from the church community. 

I sent the above paragraph to David asking if I might post it with his name and this is his reply:

“You are welcome to name names and places.  Thanks for writing this.  My experience here is that many people need this kind of grounding in silence and community.  We have shaped worship that is basically contemplative, with spaces of silence for reflection on what has been read, heard, sung, etc.  Centered on the lectionary readings.  With singing, of course.  But it is very simple, and I am happy to see people finding it very connecting, healing, and grounding.  They are not being entertained, stimulated, or told what to feel or think.  They are "on their own", but in a small community of others being and listening together.  I am very happy with it.”

I would be very happy with it too. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

I Have This Knack ~

~ of letting Oso out the back door Just as there is someone walking down the trail in the middle of our yard. The other afternoon, it was an 11 year old boy. Oso ran barking up the hill, the boy stopped, I said, “His name is Oso. He’ll be fine if you speak to him.” Very carefully in the approved fashion, he put his hand out, spoke Oso’s name, and by the time I got to the trail, they were fast friends. 

This morning I let him out for his morning run while I was brushing my teeth - planning to join him later. Up the hill he went to where a couple and their two dogs on leash were hiking through the yard. She turned to Oso and said, ‘no’ and bless him, he stopped. I started up the hill with toothpaste still on my lips. They went on and Oso chased bear smells for a while - different than chasing other dog smells - and we both came in and I finished brushing. 

People Very Rarely walk down our trail. Very rarely. And they have a couple of times in the last week. And I just knew it and let Oso out to bark - it is his job after all. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Morning Musing

To sit in my cozy, comfy chair with my cup of tea and watch the sunrise is one of the most centered, grounded activities I can have to start my day. 

I used to roll out of bed and take my morning walk. I still want to go to gym first thing in the morning. And these days, I like a slow early morning. I especially like time to be, to set my energy, to appreciate the rise of another gorgeous day by the lake.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Final Reflections on Ashland

Is there anything nicer than a front porch swing?

New skirt and tights matched with favorite purple T.

Fun, happy couple. 

Sporting his new fedora!

It was a wonderful trip and I am still enjoying the memories. I love being in the midst of family. 

The trip home was uneventful ~ beautiful, sunny day, not much traffic ~ and a very strange mixture of programs on the radio which I usually use to keep me company when driving alone. Through southern OR and northern CA I had an FM choice of country music (I did listen to Johnny Cash sing A Boy Named Sue), God talk (very conservative God talk) and a "news" program urging me in no uncertain terms to call in and register my complaint about Obamacare. *sigh* Glad I am comfortable in my own head and with my own thoughts with lots of fun memories to take me on my way. And Very grateful when I was seeking once again and found BBC News Hour. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Elevation Makes a Difference

When I lived in the east we raked leaves in the fall. Especially when I lived in Fredonia, New York, we raked a small yard full of piles and piles of leaves. We raked leaves to clear the yard so they wouldn't mold and muck up the yard under the winter snows. 
In the western mountains where I live now (and mountains is the operative word), we lay down chips and rake them to cover up the dirt so that when the snow melts in the spring, it won't muck up the drive and wash the dirt away.

The view is a bit different than the street in front of the house.

Dean brings up a load of chips.

Lays it down.

Spreads it out just a bit and the cycle begins again. I rake while he goes down and brings up another load. Saturday afternoon in the mountains. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What "Government" Shut Down?

When I think of a government shut down there is part of me that wants to say “Yes, just close ‘em down”. The problem is ~ the “government” I am thinking of is still there. Congress isn’t shut down. They are up there earning (?) their huge salaries. The President and First Lady haven’t suddenly become Barack and Michelle who take the family back to Chicago and try to make do on their savings. The IRS is still functioning taking as much money as it can from us. So what “government” is shut down?

Unfortunately as a friend so wisely said, “they cut programs not politicians”. All those folks who work hard to keep certain government programs running have been sent home to live on savings and credit. They are no longer there to buy lunch from the vender on the corner, or groceries from the lady down the block, or flowers from the cart in Union Station on their way home. Oops - what are those folks going to do?

Or the man whose small but profitable company runs the ferries to and from Fort Sumter in South Carolina? He’s trying to make it on harbor tours but his clientele is Way down. 

Or the man in Boston who today was to be the first to try a new drug for his type of cancer at the hospital connected to the National Institutes of Health -- sorry, we’re closed.

Or all those folks depending on food stamps, social security, or one of the already established government health insurance programs? 

These are very ordinary people not some big over-arching “government”. When they close down a lot of other ordinary people are pushed out as well. Somebody didn’t think this one through carefully enough. Hmmm - I wonder who that was?