Friday, May 30, 2008

Standard definition of phobohillbillitis- an unreasonable fear of mountain dwellers.

A more politically correct definition of phobohillbillitis- fear of Appalachian Americans.

One of my dearest friends suffers from a crippling terror brought on by the mention of scraggly beards, flimsy big brimmed hats, missing teeth, corn cob pipes, ragged shirtless overalls, shotguns, and banjo music. Apparently, it is well known fact that these shiftless and shoeless folks jump from their delapidated shacks onto the cars of innocent northerners in search of Pigeon Forge.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

garden pics

first squash
cherry pie fixins'
asparagus after all
bell pepper contemplation

Monday, May 26, 2008

I'm a little late on the draw. I just finished the memoir The Glass Castle though I heard the buzz about it more than a year ago. There's nothing typical about the family in the book, but the author, Jeannette Walls, generously invited us into her everyday unbelievable experience with parents who defied every rule of social logic. Imagine having a father completely capable of repairing the wooden porch and steps, who let them rot such that the family had to enter and exit their home through a window. Wonder how a mother would not bother to supervise her three year old daughter boiling hot dogs on the stove for lunch in the name of building her daughter's independence. Think about rummaging through trash cans in secret at school for lunch though her mother owned a million dollar piece of real estate.

Yet, miraculously, I felt the author didn't approach these subjects as painful judgments against her family; Jeannette Walls stated her life as matter of fact. I could feel her love, compassion and, yes, even a kind of respect for her parents and herself. Walls painted a tragic landscape somehow without victims or gall. A good read.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Just saw Prince Caspian with ze boyz, and I must say I expected something else.

I loved the first Narnia film. Mr. Tumnus and Lucy superseded my expectations of how well actors could capture the intent of a gifted storyteller. Not to mention the fact that I could have eaten their clever cuteness with a spoon. The White Witch clinched perfection of the most beautiful, convincing and enticing villian ever on screen. Aslan exhibited majesty beyond words.

Nothing of this movie struck me in such a way. My thought is that Prince Caspian was simply adequate. No colorful ticker tape parade or cause to bake a heavily frosted cake. In fact, the hints of disingenuous attitudes of the children clashed with the characters found in Lewis' book.

I do hope you go see the movie for yourself. Perhaps you won't be disappointed as I am.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I've been waiting for this day for a long time. My last student, Peace finished school yesterday. Pooh Bear's last Keepers meeting concluded too. My garden is finally weeded and mulched and is ready for more planting. Dear friends are visiting over the weekend. I have twelve books on queue for personal summer reading; I'm on the last few chapters of The Glass Castle by Walls. I now have time to implement proactive therapies with my children I couldn't imagine squeezing in between school schedules.

With all the loose ends of the school year tied up,here's my summer work:
1. Gardening
2. Reading
3. Swim team
4. Phonics with Pooh Bear to make sure this year's work is not lost.
5. Vision therapy with Pooh Bear and Wise One
6. Summer camps
7. Adoption attachment focus with Tater
8. A garage and attic purge (overwhelming)
9. Well child check ups
10. Obligatory woman's health check up
11. Family read alouds
12. Swap family clothes in drawers and closets for summer
13. Animal vaccinations

I feel like I can breathe out from under the rigorous academic requirements of the home school year. I'm ever so grateful for healthy and vibrant children who are willing and able to help like never before. Once the brush is cleared, my oldest is up for mowing the acres of land. It's lovely to have free time to just be.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Is there anything more precious than a tender-hearted grandpa who adores Jesus baptizing his granddaughter? Thank you Grandpa Joe for sharing this cherished moment with us.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pooh Bear is baptized by her grandfather in the mornin'.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

After six laborious hours of weeding in the drizzling rain this morning and afternoon, my garden is still not finished. My right hand thumb, which must do the majority of of pinching and pulling, is shaking. Note to self: Next year, immediately after tilling, I will mulch!

I don't know about you, but with the rising cost of groceries, I want to put more away for winter than I ever have before.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day

I was moved. On a car ride yesterday morning, I caught a glimpse of a stolen moment for someone I don't even know. A thin young woman sat on the ground indian style in front of a grave outside a little white church in my small country town, her head in her hands. She wore a flowered blue bandanna around her hair and a faded blue t-shirt and military green shorts. Before her a gray concrete headstone splayed with magenta flowers loomed. The door to her little white truck hung ajar, indicating she'd something more pressing on her mind other than the detail of closing latches. She pulled me from my own happy mommy thoughts to a distant place of grief for all those who have lost their mothers to death and no longer had the luxury of spending Mother's Day with them.

"If not by the grace of God, that could have been me," fleeted across my thoughts recounting the sight of my own mother after the necessary horror and violence of brain surgery a few short months ago. I'm so grateful to have the peace now that my Mom has nearly fully recovered (she tells me she has a few leftover side effects), and everyone here spoke on the phone with her. We couldn't get down to Florida just now after so much travel of late.

I wondered if the unnamed young lady by the grave suffered a recent loss, regret or remorse of some kind. I'll never know, but she spurred me on to consider that every moment with family counts. No time to lose or grudges to hold- just the present.

The formative period for building character for eternity is in the nursery. The mother is queen of that realm and sways a scepter more potent than that of kings or priests. ~Author Unknown

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I'm decluttering, and I ran across the quote I remembered liking so very much concerning ministry to the least of these.

Ministry with these, the most broken of our society, often become a ministry of waiting, of endless patience, offering help again and again, and knowing that only the victim can make the transformation.

Through this profound growth into the meaning of ministry, we also experience a reshaping of the being and the nature of God. Gone is the wrathful, judgmental God who supports the hypocrisy of society towards its victims, especially sexually abused women,. And gone is the God who infantilizes us, does everything for us, and makes us dependent on forces outside ourselves.

The God that the quality of divine love and power...This is a God whose power does not compete with our own best energies, but who enters into our best energies to enable our fullness of life...”

God of the Forest I Hear a Seed Growing God of the Streets

Edwina Gateley

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Aunt Francis' homecoming was held yesterday. I treasure the memories made with her. My first recollection involves her entire house being transported on the back of a tractor trailer to some family land. The story goes that the house got stuck for hours on the bend in the road down at the bottom of the hill close to it's final destination, and visitors still might spy a crack in the ceiling running down its' middle from the moving adventure.
My lasting impression of Aunt Francis rests in her always smiling, laughing, singing as she worked with her hands on some project. She's one of eleven of my dad's siblings- the one that every brother and sister ran to for comfort and a gentle and kind word. She quilted, cooked southern, sewed lovely clothes, read voraciously, listened to soothing classical music, avidly worked crossword puzzle, and she faithfully prayed. These things were were celebrated in her funeral service. Her pastors also honored her by referring to her as a "spiritual momma" assuring us that there aren't many of those out there. Her church family prepared a meal for the scores of our family afterward. How generous. I'd never heard of such a thing before, but Francis told her preacher to give an altar call at her funeral. She wanted to make darn sure to have us all with her in heaven one day. I know she'll be waiting for me when I get there.
Francis loved deeply,and her funeral reflected that love. Daughter, sons, granddaughter, brothers, sister, cousins (first and second), in-laws, out-laws, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and friends flocked together to pay last respects. When the funeral director asked friends to head to the chapel and wait for the family to have a last moment, the room remained packed. Made us all chuckle a bit when the funeral director asked a second time.
"This is all family."
My cousin, the pastors, and her daughter, explained to me that Aunt Francis left them notes in her Bible for them to find upon her death. The letters all said something like this, "Jesus is calling, and I'm finally going home. Don't ever forget how much I love you." The family placed the messages around her in her coffin. Isn't that stunning?
Her daughter talked about how difficult the next few weeks will be with Mother's Day commercialism saturating the culture. Whisper a prayer to preserve her precious heart if you think of it.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Gardens wait for no woman. Nothing productive grows if nothing gets planted. In fact, yesterday I found my garden infested with tiny weeds. I suddenly realized I'd entirely missed every single piece of asparagus, since it's bolted like a young colt from a stable. Sad, but it's a direct result of my own neglect. I've been collecting tomato, pepper and other sundry delights inside as if they were postage stamps to be admired rather than stuck down dirt to thrive and sprawl. The consequence of my inactivity on the behalf of the seedlings resulted in several root bound, on the brink of death, spindly plants. I witnessed physical relief thirty minutes after sowing them into the fertilized prepared soil of my garden. Their wilted leaves began to rejuvenate and stick out toward the sun like the arms of many babies reaching for their mothers.

I found myself planting among weeds, something I've never done before. Desperate times call for desperate measures. My intention is to weed and mulch later.

Tater wandered outside to check out my work.

"Look here, son. See all the weeds I've allowed? I also can see some volunteer zinnias among them. Do you know how I can tell the difference? The shape of the leaves tell me. Here's one. Can you show me another?"

Tater seemed interested. "Who knew that this mess had anything good coming up? Look! Here's corn sprouts!"

"No such luck, sweetie. That's the side of the garden I must always fight Johnson grass. Looks like corn but has a very different root system, and believe me, no corn will come from it," I replied.

He lingered a few more minutes and headed for greener pastures.

A thought carelessly jogged across my mind. Why don't I get a Blue Tooth, so I don't have to stop gardening when someone calls? I was expecting a call from a friend. "Ummm. No," I chide myself. I garden for the quiet experience of nature. Same reason I kick the ipod to the curb when it comes to my yard.

If the draw to the tranquility of creation from the chaos of life isn't enough to push me to pretend farm, then the climbing prices at the grocery store on produce, milk, and eggs would do it. Anyone else thinking about that out there?

So now, I'm jumping off my computer to shanks pony to the soil. A dear aunt of mine passed away this morning, and peace with the news is waiting to be found in the silence and sprouts contained within the confines of my Peter Rabbit garden fence.