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Monday, January 31, 2011

Gray Skies

I like long stretches of gray days.  When it is sunny, I feel like I should be "doing" something...something productive in the eyes of others.  But, on a gray day, I feel like I am being given permission to snuggle in, cuddle up and rest.  Gray days seem quieter and calmer...two of my favorite things.  Maybe that is why I enjoy all the shades of gray in the dawn.  It is quiet, peaceful and full of the promise of what is to come.
Gray days, too,  are full of the promise of what is to come...the sun will come out (maybe not tomorrow) again.  The trees will bud and the flowers will bloom.  It is part of God's vast eternal plan...seasons, cycles, rest and growth.  Enjoy your gray days and rest up - for the sun is coming!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fun Snow Creatures

Here's the kind of thing you can see when you are looking!  Love the way winter and snow changes all things.


This little guy was caught looking in the window at school.  He got furrier and furrier as the snow continued.



And this little lamb was found on my front porch when I let Mercy outside this evening.



Keep your eyes open...they're out there....

Aaarrrghh! Me Hearty-Pirates!

Usually we have Fun Friday, but this week we had to have a Marvelous Monday and it was all about Pirates! We dressed up, we had treasure hunts, Pirate snacks and found a treasure chest!After all the preparations Stevie and I had most likely spent a Pirate's fortune and I realized that I can live with a cut in salary in my retirement, since I won't get to be throwing these fun events for 25 kids on a regular basis...or buying books or buying supplies or buying snacks...yeah, a cut isn't going to hurt as much as it might. :-) So, after we got settled in with a 2 hour delay and an adjusted schedule, we divided them into 4 teams. Each team was responsible for reading one of the clues and leading all the rest of the pirates to where they thought the treasure was.The first clue lead them to bandannas for every one. Here they all are where they found them.And as soon as we put on their bandanas they began to look much more piratey...just wait.The second clue lead them to eye patches and earrings!This team was not too keen on going under the deck to find their treasure, but here they come finally.Now we are starting to really look good.Oh, yeah. Everyone got to make a hook hand, too. Arrgghh. It's a dangerous life, me matey!~After lunch, when we didn't have to go outside and put our coats on anymore, so we put pirate parrots on our shoulders.
Here's the side story of the parrots. We made them last Thursday, but as soon as we put the feathers on them and the kids went to the bathroom, those crazy parrots "flew" away! What fun it was to see them almost believe our story...I leaned out the door and pretended (pretty dang convincingly, I thought) that I saw them flying away. Then today when they came in the parrots were back perched on their tables with a note left on the chalkboard.
Loved hearing them say, "Hey, the parrots came back!" :-)

Clue #3 got us some rope belts.
And the last clue was where we found out daggers...stubby little things made of flimsy paper, of course...Don't you love the little mustache?While we were tracking down our daggers, the treasure chests were put out on our "ship". There was much rejoicing at the booty we had scored!
We learned a pirate song (I'm a pirate, that I be. I sail me ship upon the sea...) and we had a fun pirate snack! Swords and cannon balls...
So, it was a fast and furious day. I heard reports from a couple of mommas. One couldn't find her daughter at After School Explorers because she was still in full pirate gear! Another, who is a teacher, said her daughter came rushing into her room after school giving them all a big, "Aaarrrrggghh!"

Ahoy, mateys! Captain D here!
Check out the booty I scored!



Yep. This is a great job, Matey!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today I am officially old enough to retire and get the Double Nickle discount at Uno's!  A banner birthday.  It was another of those bittersweet moments.  Last birthday I will be celebrating with a room full of little munchkins.  They sang to me several times today.  Once it was spontaneous on their part...I stepped out of the room and when I came back in they sang.  Awwww.  Sweet.  They told me Happy Birthday almost every time they passed by me.  It was a fun day...not very healthy, but fun.   Seriously, I ate about 1/4 of a homemade pecan pie...several homemade cookies...a muffin....and an ice cream bar!  The tights I had on today needed a more descriptive name than "tights".  ouch



Tasted even better than it looks with the cool candles!



My sweet husband surprised me at lunch with birhday muffins and he even remembered the candle!  I had perfect little surprises all over the house this morning and when I got home.  He's a pro!


See the guy trying to blow out my "candles"?  It took forever to get this photo and all I am thinking is, "Yikes.  We sent one home wiht strep today and this guy is blowing (with a fine mist) all over me!   I'm sure we will all be fine...

So, it was a wonderful birthday and I still have Zumba to look forward to...or maybe dread...after all those yummies today!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Weird Mind Moment

Have you ever had this happen? 
Today when I got home, there was a note on the door from my little husband.  It said several things, but the thing I saw first was this, "Grace is fed."  Now that doesn't seem to mean anything except when you know that our golden retriever, Grace, died a short while ago.  But, just for a moment, oh so brief, this is what crossed my mind..."Oh, I have been thinking that Grace was gone, but I must have been mistaken."  And for just that brief, oh so brief moment, I was happy. 
It was a weird moment for sure.
He meant, of course, that our dog, Mercy was fed.

Basket Making

I got the great idea to give my friends, Stevie and Connie, a basket making lesson for their birthdays this year.  Connie's is in October so we started them then.  Stevie's is in December...baskets still not done.  Mine is in January and I told them that for my birthday I wanted them to finish their baskets!   My birthday is Tuesday and after a couple of months of gentle reminders and a pitiful birthday request,  all but the lashing on Stevie's rim is done!  Here's the proof...


Connie hard at work.

Me hard at work on my basket and Stevie's basket.


Three finished berry baskets and Stevie's that still needs a lashing!
Next is a little more "artful" display of the finished products.





Aren't they lovely?  Can't wait to go berry picking next summer!

And then, the best part maybe...Connie's homemade cinnabuns! 



I do not care to tell you how many I ate while there.  Hey, they were fresh out of the oven!  With cold milk.  You couldn't have resisted either.   But I did manage to bring 2 home and with any luck I will manage to save one for my little husband...
See?  I am not going to have trouble finding things to do when I retire.  I might have trouble fitting into my pants if Connie and I work together too often, but we'll cross that bridge when the time comes!
Let me know if you want to go berry picking.  I have an extra basket!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Please Pray...

That was the request that came across Facebook. 
No details or reasons given.  So, in wondering what to pray for, I came up with this list: 
  • strength
  • courage
  • wisdom 
  • peace
I am so amazed, humbled, and thrilled that we have a God, a Father, a Friend who wants to know.  So, I am praying these things for my friend.  Believing.
Faith and Grace.
Love.
Amen.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Let's Go Herb!

or The Joys of Invented Spelling...
Last night was the ever interesting cross state rivalry basketball game between the 2 big universities in the state.  West Virginia University is, of course, the "state's" university and Marshall University is just that crazy wanna be upstart down south...where I went to school first...did graduate work at WVU for a well rounded experience, don't you know?
So, we have never beaten them in football, but we do beat them at the most unexpected times in basketball.  Last night was one of those nights!  I get to wear my Marshall green again today!
Anyway, to the spelling...one year, Marshall, the Thundering Herd, was playing for the National Championship in their division for football.  Stevie and I went to the game.  Just for fun we had the kids make signs for us to carry while we were there.  There were several cute ones, but the classic was, and evershall be, "Let's Go Herb!" 
Invented spelling gets you licked alot, too, as in "i lik u  do u lik me?"  I know I have a smart cookie on my hands when they come up to me all indignant and demand that I spell "hope" for them.  Here's how the conversation went..."How do you spell hope?"  me: "Use your sounds."  she a few minutes later:  "OK, you have to tell me how to spell hope, because everytime I use my sounds it comes out hop!"  Well, there you go.  Time for the silent e lesson.
Yep.  It's a great job.
Maybe I'll do a post about the interesting spelling in letters/notes from parents...
Hop u lik yor da.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bluebirds and Purplebirds

Everyone knows of the Bluebird of Happiness, right?  Well, when that bluebird of happiness happens to fly out the window, as we know he is wont to do on occasion, then just look around for the Purplebird of Possibility!




Happiness can be fleeting and fickle, but Possibility is full of promise and always available!  You just need to look for it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

This Moment

To Laura and Jason, Molly and Mallory-Although I cannot truly imagine where you are tonight, I wanted to say this to you:

Sometimes this moment seems too heavy.  Sometimes the moment I am to be living in and savoring tastes bitter.  Sometimes this moment makes my heart hurt.  Sometimes the moment is stretched longer than I could have imagined possible.  And sometimes the moments are fleeting and furtive.
But the nature of moments is that they are, well, momentary.  So, I will stand and hold the heaviness until it lightens.  I will taste the bitter and remember the sweet.  I will share the pain I feel in my heart and take comfort in my blessings.  And I will live in this moment and the next and the next.

You are loved in this moment and all the rest of them.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Creating

Yesterday I was looking at Sue Spargo's blog.  She creates quilts and one day, after I retire, I will create a quilt...hers are lots of fun!  Go and have a look, but come right back!
http://suespargo.blogspot.com/  One of this sort of quilt is for sure in my life!  Anyway, one of her readers commented, and asked why we feel the urge, the need to create.  I do believe that lots of people don't think they are creative because they don't create art or craft, but there are lots of ways to be creative...thinking up a meal to cook every single night for years!...thinking up cool names for your kids or pets....creating a peaceful home....creating connections between folks...creating space for people not like us...creating new hairdos...finding a new way to teach kids where to put punctuation...really, how do you get up and go through a day without creating something?  I believe it is part of the human condition and here's why I believe that. 
Are you ready?

The first glimpse we get of God, in the Bible, is of Him creating!  What fun He must have had creating all those animals and plants and bugs and fish and stuff.  I mean have you looked at some of those things?  Bilbys and lionfish and passion flowers.  We humans were finally created in His image.  We are creators at our core.  We are called to create and we feel most fulfilled and whole when we create.  I know it is my best me.  I know it is when I feel closest to the Creator.

What do you think?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Velcroed! (Is that a word?)

I am loving the beautiful snow outside that makes my yard look as good as everyone elses for a change.  I don't even mind shovelling most of the time, even though I did fall on my butt today!  The good news is my butt can take it and Zumba is working just the right muscles for shovelling.  I just have to remember not to put my hand down to try to break the fall.
But, any way, all this lovely snow made me think:  FLANNEL!  I have these really groovy flannel jammies:

 
See how groovy?  I mean, really...flamingos and a vintage Airstream?


And I have these really cute flannel sheets, perfect for this mini-snowpocalypse:




What's not to like with these cute little snow guys?





So, what is the problem, you may be thinking...
Well, when I put on the totally groovy flannel jammies and get in between the oh, so cute flannel sheets, I CAN'T move!  It is seriously like being velcroed in place!  Seriously!
Wonder which I will have to sacrifice?
Hope you are staying warm in your jammies!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Homesick ?

“The Kingdom of God is what all of us hunger for above all other things even when we don’t know its name or realize that it’s what we’re starving to death for. The Kingdom of God is where our best dreams come from and our truest prayers. We glimpse it at those moments when we find ourselves being better than we are and wiser than we know. We catch sight of it when at some moment of crisis a strength seems to come to us that greater than our own strength. The Kingdom of God is where we belong. It is home, and whether we realize it or not, I think we are all of us homesick for it.” 
http://www.joshuagraves.com/

Josh is the kind of preacher person that makes you want to go to church.  He makes you think.
He is also the kind of person who is making me yearn to be homesick. 
For too long I have prided myself on being able to feel at "home" quickly in faraway places.  Pride...a prickly word. I have ignored the fact that this world is not my home.  The Kingdom of God IS where I belong.  I want to be a good citizen of that Kingdom as I have tried to be a good citizen of this world.
I love glimpsing my better and wiser self...and being stronger than I knew I could be.  Now, to realize and recognize that these moments come when I am living as a citizen of the Kingdom of God.  Now, to figure out what citizenship in this Kingdom means to my living in this world...
I love adventures so this must surely qualify!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Grandma, What Big Feet You Have!

This is our girl, Mercy.  We went to western New York to get her 3 years ago this April.  She is a Shiloh Shepherd.  We bought her from the breed developer and she had a genetic defect that almost killed her.  It was a long 1st year, but she prevailed and look at her now. 


You don't really get a feel for her size in this photo, but just wait.  She loves the snow and will stay out there longer than I am comfortable leaving her out there.
She was a great friend to our  Grace and although she was much larger, she never really got the hang of being the alpha dog.

Get a little bit of a feel for her size here...Grace was a 70lb. golden retriever.  She is beautiful and smart and gentle.  Really, Grace did almost all of her puppy training by example.  She learned sit, stay, come and beg...oh, no, not beg...she learned to lay down while we eat and keep her eyes on each bite we take!
Beautiful...
Smart....

...and gentle.



Sometimes I take her to school with me and as we go down the hallway I can hear kids asking their teacher if they can see Mrs. Lohr's wolf.  teehee. 
This next picture is not a good picture, but check out the size of those feet!  I have my hand spread as far as I can and she doesn't....




Love our Mercy Girl.
(thanks for the photos, Connie)