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Can You Hear Me Now?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

For Grandma...

I got a dreaded call this a.m. My sister called to notify me my Grandmother died last night. I believe she was going to be 95 in August...yes a long, long life she lived. I thought I'd share some of my few memories of this women who gave me my mother.

My mother is a very hard worker and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt she got this from my Grandmother. My Grandparents were a product of the depression and never lost that 'save it all' mentality. They worked very hard all their lives at farming, and my grandmother, in the 50's and 60's (before it was considered acceptable for women) worked as a maid in motels in the little towns they farmed.

My grandparents lived in Arkansas all MY a small town called Mountain View. They lived in an unpretentious home, with 3 bedrooms and enough land in the back yard to raise their own food with some to spare. They also had chickens and turkeys. It always felt like we were going to visit the 'country' when we city-slickers visited from Denver.

My brother and sister and I would get so excited about getting a home grown watermelon straight off the vine in those late summer visits. We'd GET to help grandma can the green beans. To this day, my sister despises anything but home grown green beans. We'd have fresh fried okra and there would always be some kind of berry to be had. There would be vegetables and fruit to consume to your belly's content.

We never had to attempt to wring the chickens' necks for dinner but I always wondered about the excess feathers in the backyard. My mother has since told me stories of her feeble attempts to perform this task at the young age of 4 or 5 and the chicken just flopped back and forth and got down just angry as can be! We did get to go gather eggs and that was always strange too for city folks who 'gathered eggs' at the grocery story. These eggs were WARM!

Sometimes we got to go out to my uncle's farm and he had horses. Those were the best days. He also had cows and we had to attempt to milk them (not nearly as easy as it looks I might add) and then we'd ride horses til we could barely walk!

I remember my grandparents' house wasn't very kid-friendly and it seemed a bit 'cold' at times, but in retrospect I know they were a product of their own generation and the demons that chased them from the times of want and need.

On Saturday evening we'd get to go to the hootenanny (an informal or impromptu performance by folk singers, in which the audience often participates) at the town square (I'm being totally serious). It was a highlight of the week. All these farmers and small town folks would come into town and right in the center of downtown (literally 4 streets surround the courthouse) was a town square where locals sang, danced, played the fiddle, and we all drug our lawn chairs out there or blankets and sat and sang along or just visited with friends and family in town.

As we grew older the appeal to visit was less strong and I skipped some of those later visits during late high school and college. I did attend their 50th anniversary. I was amazed that two people could be married that long! My parents just celebrated their 46th this year. Seems hard to believe they too, will soon celebrate this golden anniversary.

I was not able to attend my Grandfather's funeral...many years ago now, due to schedules. Frankly funerals are not 'my thing'. I have been to only a handful in my life and would much rather attend a memorial service than a funeral. I can't bear the emotional upheaval. I will be attending this one...for my mother.

My grandmother, on more recent visits, had literally been watching a clock across from her bed and chair in her final home. She could barely hear or see anymore and though she did recognize me the times I went, she didn't always recognize my mother, in more recent visits. She did, however; show some of that spunk when people would step in front of that clock with the giant LCD display (probably 6 inches high) telling her the time was passing one minute at a time. She wanted...NEEDED clear vision of those minutes ticking by!

I see some of my grandmother in me. She is where I found the passion to read. She is where I learned a strong work ethic. In that same spirit I pray each day I better understand my mother and her uber-high expectations of each of us...because this is her heritage and we are her legacy...a legacy that was passed down from my Grandmother...may be rest in peace at last.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Speed Bumps & Potholes

Speed bumps have a way of slowing us down. Typically I see them in neighborhoods or around restaurants or schools. Sometimes they are HUGE and you really have to watch out for them or they could damage your vehicle. Sometimes they are smaller and they barely effect the traffic flow.

Potholes also slow us down; but unlike our ability to anticipate the speed bumps, potholes pop up quickly and without warning. You know when you've hit one because typically you're moving along at the speed limit (or a little above) and you feel the ground drop out from beneath a wheel (or two) and you are jarred senseless for a moment.

You can also dodge potholes. I've seen drivers nearly drive off the road in an attempt to miss the potholes that cover our city routinely. It's much harder to dodge speed bumps. I remember in one parking lot it became a challenge to try to hit the speed bumps right in the center where there was a space just wide enough for a small car to get through without going over the bump.

These two nuisances (to the average driver) remind me of our life on earth.
We hit speed bumps & potholes in life almost every day as well. Like the parking lots, the speed bumps in our life are also nearly impossible to avoid, even though we can SEE them and PLAN for them well in advance.

These are the bumps in life that are there to make us think before we act. If we don't choose to slow down, we feel the impact. It could be something as simple as the birth of a new child. You know it's going to happen (within plenty of time usually) and when it does, sometimes you are completely unprepared.

There are also the potholes...those unexpected, life-jarring moments that are sometimes painful, but you do move through a small pothole of an accident or injury or a huge (seemingly insurmountable pothole) of losing someone we love.

I believe these speed bumps and potholes are part of our life to allow us time to prepare or heal. Sure you can avoid them altogether...if you never move forward, but that's not even living it!

Remember to 'drive' carefully on the road AND in life!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Few Good Words

We obviously made it to NM safely and have been enjoying our brief visit with Paul's family. We even had time to hit a couple of shops I used to love. We picked up a couple of souvenirs for home and had some wonderful local cuisine....lots of red and green chile'! Yum-O!

Tomorrow we head out of the Land of Enchantment and back to our fair city...our home. As nice as it is to get away, there is not much like pulling into the drive-way back home after a few hours on the road.

Tonight was the actual graduation party. Paul's sister got her Master's in City Planning and has worked in the field for a few years already. I don't doubt she'll make history one day in her field...she's that bright!

For me the highlight of the evening was visiting with the young lady whose wedding we attending on our visit last May. She and I were able to sit and visit and talk about the first year of marriage; struggles and blessings. We talked about family and life and hopes and dreams. She's such a sweet young lady and one of my favorite NM people!

Paul and both decided we couldn't live in NM again. It's an awesome place to visit, but it just isn't home anymore.

I pray Sunday brings inspiration and peace!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I Met Mary Poppins...

...for dogs that is!

Last night our dog-sitter stopped by. I hadn't even spoken to her on the phone as Paul did all the arranging for this sitter and meeting. She came by the house about 5:40-ish (after calling of course) and I went to the front door to help greet her (translation: control the dogs). The 'girls' can be a tad over-welcoming to all who approach from the front. We actually have friends come in through the garage so as not to be impaled by claws upon entry.

The moment the dog-sitter speaks, the girls while excited, are not overly so. They don't jump up on her as they do most. It could be because she immediately kneeled down to their level and in the sweetest, most charming southern accent she proceeded to love on them both.

She didn't show favoritism (which usually occurs). We have one very 'beautiful' golden/cocker spaniel mix that everyone is naturally drawn to (and she is the Alpha dog), and a little more 'plain' black/white rat terrier mix that is less furry and striking by most standards.

She spent a full 5 minutes in the entry way just talking to them and petting them and 'figuring them out'.

She then came on in and I was almost as mesmerized as the 'girls' as I proceeded to ask her about how she got started in this business and how long she'd been a 'sitter'. She cleans houses as her primary business, but she LOVES much so that she carries a bag of dog biscuits with her to offer to strays as she tries to rescue them from the streets or at least offer some food relief.

I fully expect the dogs to be disappointed upon our return because they won't get to see their new best friend until our next trip.

And so I pack with confidence that the girls will have the best care and we can enjoy this short trip.

I'll write tomorrow from the other end of the road!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Cost of gas in region: $ 2.80/gallon

Price for gas for trip: $ 121.74

Cost of Hotel for 2 night: $ 180.00

Cost of gift for SIL: $ 55.00

Cost for doggy sitter: $ 60.00

Husband attending little sister's graduation party: Priceless

Yes, we're taking another trip back to Albuquerque. You may recall I "Blogged" the entire trip last time and each stop we made along the path as that was our vacation for the year. This year I wasn't sure we would be going, however; Paul's little sister has received her Masters degree and he really wanted to attend the party.

If I were completely honest I'd say I don't 'dig' these short 3 day trips where 18 hours of the trip are on the highway. I'd also say I don't enjoy HUGE gatherings...actually I KNOW I've said that before. BUT...I know how much this matters to my husband, his family (especially his little sister), and I know these are the moment that matter in life.

I'm one of those people who say regularly: "Life is about choices...choose well!" I totally believe this. I don't always practice it...particularly in some of the words I have chosen and in some of the arguments I have elected to participate in, but I do believe this adage.

We hit a pretty big snafu early on in the pre-planning because our current dog-sitters (i.e. my parents) were going on their own 2 week vacation and weren't available for their grand-dogs. We started calling around thinking...'no biggee, we'll find a dog-sitter.' UH....BIGGEE! We started by calling...I guess I should say PAUL started by getting online and calling the 'bonded and insured' sitters first. They wanted $20.00 per visit. Each time they come let the dogs out!!! or $50.00 per day. That's almost as much as our hotel.

Then we started asking friends who love dogs...none available.

We then contacted the vet and went to the pet stores and got a few names. We finally found the one we HOPE to use. We (Paul, me and the 'girls') will be meeting with her this Wednesday to make sure it's a good fit. Before you even ask, we couldn't use a kennel because the girls are 10 years old and have never been away from home (except for walks and moving), and they would FREAK out.

We tried to take one of them for grooming and she cornered the groomer. Paul had to go pick her up. Needless to say, one semi-pro groomer purchaser later, I'm the groomer (with help from my sometimes-reluctant husband).

Suffice to say I've decided this could be a great 2nd job for us. We both agree we could let dogs in and out over weekends and make some extra bucks! We're going to check on the insurance because I don't want any problems, but it seems to be a good idea so far.

And remember if you have pets, take them to the kennels early in their lives so they get used to it. I've already decided all future pets of mine are going at least 6 times a year for overnight visits so I can travel in peace.

I'm going to be sure and take photographs along the way and blog at least once so I can share the experience once again...and it gives me a little 'cool down' period each evening after the family get-together.

Have a pet-friendly Wednesday!

Monday, June 18, 2007

5 Things I Dig About Jesus

I was tagged for this meme by Sally at Eternal Echoes. How could I NOT join in. Jesus and all things Jesus are at the very top of my 'things I dig in life' list!

Here's how it works:
Those tagged will share 5 Things They Dig About Jesus.
Those tagged will tag 5 people.
Those tagged will leave a link to their meme in the comments section of this post so everyone can keep track of what's being posted.. keeping it to 5 things should be interesting!

1. Jesus embodies life and in His death. I dig passion! I dig Jesus' passion. It's something I strive for daily...passion!

2. Jesus didn't wait for people to come to him...he sought them out.

3. Jesus was a great teacher!

4. Jesus got personal. He didn't just talk in generalities...He spoke truth with love. He got in your face and just spoke truth. He even cried out in his own pain and truth!

5. The thing I dig most about Jesus, is his love for us. Jesus loves me. I dig that love!

So now I tag:

& Swandive

I look forward to reading many of these as they travel through the blogdom! This has got to be one of the best memes I've seen out here!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Habits & Facts Meme

Claire Joy over at Flavor of the Month has tagged me for a meme. If tagged (or if you feel like doing this one), and you accept, these are the rules:

1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

I did the 7 random facts not too long ago and I remember the 8’s going around…but I never got tagged. Now I figure what with all my word-lack lately maybe I could just do this.

1. I hate movies that don’t end well. I need the happy ending…or at least the illusion of a happy ending.

2. (I’ll steal from my ‘tagger’ for this next one). At the young age of 40-something, I have had about 20 jobs since I started working: I have been a pretzel maker, an ice-cream scooper, a seasonal ‘actress’ (dressed up as animals for children’s events), Wal-Mart cashier (before SUPER Centers), dorm desk clerk, librarian asst., lab assistant, retail cashier, an answering service operator, muralist, day-care teacher, art salesperson, research technician, phlebotomist, transcriptionist, med tech, computer operator, Q.C. coordinator, ofc manager, receptionist, and bookkeeper.

3. My dream job is to write books that encourage or a movie critic.

4. Until only recently I found great pleasure in debating anyone who felt passionate about something (even if I agreed with them)…just to argue.

5. I used to make up tremendous ‘tales’ when asked questions I had no idea of the answer…just to see if people would believe me…they usually did.

6. I feel closest to God when I feel the sun beating down on my face.

7. I have a gift of ‘reading’ people…but sometimes I ignore it because I’m too drained. People who have to talk and be ‘heard’ non-stop drain me.

8. When I’m stressed I like to bake and create new desserts. I also like to get lost in a good book and read myself away from my stress.

I will not even attempt to tag anyone as I think just about EVERYONE has been tagged…but if you want to share…have at and let me know so I can come see too!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A few days later...

Well, it's been awhile since I've posted...not TOO long...and I just thought I'd post some thoughts I had today.

Paul and I went to a "fellowship group" with the church we've visited a few times. I'm still not completely convinced its 'our' church, but we thought we had to at least go visit some groups and do more than just the Sunday morning experience.

The small group was two other couples...doesn't get much smaller than that. I was a bit surprised because the church is at around 700 people. We purposefully chose a small group that wasn't run by 20-somethings, because we aren't 20-somethings. These 40-something have clearly been together for some time. They know each other. They are friends. It didn't feel like such a great fit, but they were extremely open and inviting.

During the prayer request I shared our request for prayer about the church we are seeking and they asked point blank what it is we are looking for. I looked to Paul and while he searched for his answer I immediately blurted out: "We're looking for a church that lives the mission and vision statement it prints!"

That's when it dawned on me...we've been a part of churches and visited churches that have these incredible and sometimes elaborate mission and vision statements and a 5-fold purpose statement...but they don't necessarily live that out. Sometimes it's due to the evolution of a new or start-up church and sometimes it's timing and it's just too early to see...but sometimes it's clear...the mission and vision are in word only.

I HAVE to be a part of a church with a purpose, a church that truly reaches out...a church that above all...LOVES (like an action verb)! I NEED to be a part of a church that also includes an awesome worship experience (open to interpretation), and has respect and opportunities for ALL God's people to serve. I NEED to be a part of a church of diversity. I NEED to be a part of a church that serves.

Not so long ago I asked my husband what he thought it would be like to be a part of a church full of all the people that had left (or were asked to Leave) other churches...he just looked at me and said he wondered what it would be like to be a part of a church with 100% of the members serving in some capacity, instead of the statistically measured 10-20% of the congregants serving.

And so...we continue in our search and I feel a bit more empty each day. Some days I wonder if it really matters...and my heart says YES and my flesh just shakes its head and so far...I continue to find some reason to stay in the search.

On a more upbeat note...I see how God is using me in the lives of those staff that I supervise. Not a day goes by when one of them doesn't come to me for personal advise or even a prayer request...and so I know God can and IS using me whether I am firmly planted in a church-body or not...and that alone...right enough...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Nothing Much

I'm not exactly sure what's going on with me...well aside from the obvious...I think about things I want to write or share but then I just never sit down and do it.

I guess I'm on a blog-cation of some sort and I hope to get out of the 'funk' soon cause I miss it...I really do...the words seem to be hidden in a place somewhere just beyond my grasp.

I remember someone saying something about a Monday Blessings kind of post and I may try that to help me get out of this place...this pit...I've found myself in lately.

I wish I had words...I just don't

Thanks for your prayers and encouragement and hopefully I'll find some words soon!