Monday, October 31, 2011

On the Charger. Not Available.

I don't think I'm supposed to relate to this. But I do. I relate when it comes to those "kids" getting married. (I.E...Johanna is [temporarly] weddinged-out.) I might as well be a Mom, based on my symptoms. Oh, and the ice cream part puts melody to the song in my heart. So, "Thank you, thank you, thank you, Daddy, for putting me on vacation for a few days." That's all.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bag Lady Nails

You’ve heard the term “bag lady nails,” right? Well, I strongly dislike them, and to be honest, I was growing a set on my very own two hands not that long ago. You see, I knew I had a pre-wedding manicure scheduled in just five, four, three, two, and then, just one day, so I was holding out for the real thing. I was eagerly waiting for that perfect setting where they would get done perfectly by a professional. I could wait for that. (The Type A, subcategory “Unusual,” people are now nodding their heads in keen reticent understanding. Thank you for that.)

In the meantime, my nails kept growing. And I pretended no one would notice. There was one problem. Not only were they driving me crazy, I kept getting into “situations.” You know the “situations” where really the only thing for another human being to look at in a given lo-o-ong, indecent moment, is your nails? Or I could have just held things with my knuckles, pointed out wording on a page with my knuckles, demonstrated musical fingering with my knuckles, etc, and all the while impale my hands with my ever-lengthening nails. That was an option, but I missed it. And my nails kept growing. And I didn’t file them. I wanted it done perfectly.

Holding out for that special event where everything would be just right, started to show in my life. The hands that touched everyone’s life, were definitely looking unkempt and downright yuck. Kind of like my quiet times with the Lord...

I crave those quiet times where you have two hours to study your Bible, pray until there is nothing left, and meditate in the peaceful quietness. Or more like even thirty minutes of uninterrupted absolute silence. So, sometimes I simply pass up the daily “filing of the nails,” knowing I’ll get the “real thing” in just one more day –and it starts to show as I live life alongside others.

If we don’t take even those quick opportunities to spend time alone with the Word and the Lord daily, we are missing out. Our life gets ugly. We start turning into a bag lady. Just ask my sister.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Comparatively Off

I glance down at my matching clothing, my belt, my boots. Well, maybe it doesn’t match exactly, but it is clean-ish, mostly. But I still feel over-dressed. All around me in town there were hardworking people who got dressed in the dark, I think. Or maybe they’re in the dark about getting dressed. And I thought I was just using good hygiene or something like that. Either way, I feel dressed-up, the edge of my fall dress catching on the breeze like all soft burgundy floral prints will do.

Then I catch a flight to the other side of the country or just a ferry across the water, and my boots and belt look like I got dressed in a cave with soot from my torch crumbling into my hair. "Yup, folks, cave woman, right here." my outfit screams when compared to the slick new look. But, that is just how it works. Wherever we are, if we only look around us to judge our appearance we will feel “off,” almost perpetually. That is, if you're being your true self and comparing, both at once.

There is a standard higher and different than the people around you. Aren’t you glad? We don’t have to rely on others to judge what we were, and especially who we are. I won’t link you through to a list of fashion rules, but I will link you to a list that doesn’t rely on anyone but the Ultimate Authority on being you. How do we measure up today, right now, right here? I wince, but I need the standard. What would anyone do without one?

Romans 12

1 ¶  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

3  For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

4  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

5  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

6  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

7  Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

8  Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

9  Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

10  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

11  Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

12  Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

13  Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

14  Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

15  Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

16  Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

17  Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

18  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

19  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

20  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

21  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Junior Blogger

My little sis loves to write, even to the expense of other activities. She especially likes writing “like” me or with me. For example, on my last blog post I wrote “shooting at a feral dog,” and she adjusted it secretly to “shooting neibors dog.” I didn’t notice that she misspelled “neighbor’s” until there were about 100 hits. Not to mention the fact that I didn’t notice it at all. Nice.
I think she's pretty huggable, even if the dog doesn't.

But he get's over it, at least enough to laugh about it.

She’s been writing for school, too. So here we have our first guest author on the blog. My little, baby sister, just over a decade old, writes “The Princess and the Pea” from her perspective. I wish I had the unfiltered version: the princess was very purple and the prince was very dazed and/or googly-eyed. For your reference, the author's favorite book is a thesaurus, in case you don't notice that right off. But, this is the completed work.

The Tale of the Princess and the Pea as told by Prince Armond    

by Elisabeth

     Not too long ago on a threatening and tempestuous night in the palace where my mother and I resided; I sat indolently slumped in a settee in front of a boisterous fire, reading a rather tedious book. My mother’s voice droned on in the background about how it was impossible to find me a faultless bride. I yawned, stretched, and shut my book: hoping for a diversion, everything was far too monotonous for my liking. Mr. Hobbs, the butler came in saying something about a young lady at the front door who wished to speak to my mother and I.    “Ah ha a diversion!” I thought and I leapt up and pushed past him, my mother followed at a more dignified pace. Once I had gotten to the door, I saw the young lady. She was drenched, sullied, and trembling from head to foot, and actually quite beautiful for being so begrimed. In an enchanting voice that sent me into a daze she said, “Your most benevolent majesties Queen Thelga, and Prince Armond, I am Princess Adeline. I am fleeing the malevolent reign of my Uncle Renee who wishes to marry me on the morrow. I beg of you please give me a place to lay head this night!”

     I heard my mother in her own cunning way say something as she led the girl out of the room and as they were almost out of sight I came out of my daze. The next morning I sat eagerly awaiting her arrival; finally she appeared at the top of the stairs, more stunning then I had remembered. She looked a little weary and on the multi-colored purple side. When she had at last reached the base of the stairs, my mother, with honeyed words, covertly asked, “So, my precious, how was your night?” Adeline began to speak in her captivating voice, “Oh, my dear Lady Thelga, I am most assuredly thankful.   Nevertheless, I must ask, do the geese in this country grow nails instead of feathers?  Those feather beds were not as comfortable as they looked, and I am now quite purple from the bruises.”

     “Ah, my darling girl, you have passed the investigation! Last night I surreptitiously placed a pea under all your mattresses to discern if you were the one for my lad, and indeed with great pleasure I pronounce that you are the one.” My mother cooed in her singular honey-and-oil tone of voice.

      Soon thereafter Princess Adeline and I became man and wife. And as for the pea, I sent it to a taxidermist to have it preserved for posterity sake and it was put in the family museum under a glass dome. This ends my story: and my dear Adeline agrees, I shall not say we lived happily ever after because I still had that spine-chilling Uncle Renee to take care of.

                                                                  The End

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Random and Recent Rambling

A random collection of recent happenings, completely skipping everything else that was amazing

·     Rumors are circulating as to why and how my dad can grow twelve perfect, gigantic bell peppers on one tiny plant.

·     As a ‘thank you’ for helping with his wedding, my brother brought a gift into the office where I was working Wednesday. “Thanks so much for all you did! We couldn’t have done it without you!” his hand extended with a little package of Paradise Pineapple lotion and soap from their Hawaiian honeymoon.  I was like “Awesome!! Thanks so much!! This is way cool!” examining the little package eagerly when he started laughing at me. From around the corner he pulled a big green box…Inside was something that has been on my ‘wish list’ for years! It is something that I have wished for every other morning of my adult life. Ben and Jess got me an espresso machine to thank me for coordinating their wedding! Now if you come visit me, I’ll fix you a steamy mug of something amazing.

·     When you travel alone to faraway places, do you ever pretend you’re someone else? I do. I always pretend I’m a very mean, hard-to-talk-to, fierce, young woman who is definitely preoccupied. It works most of the time, like when I’m not accidentally making new friends at my airport gate.

·    How can I put words to the facts that my dear friend, Alisa, is now married to the most perfect man possible for her, that I got to be there looking on while the Texas sun set warming my face, that I can feel her radiant joy to be his, that it was the most beautiful wedding EVER, and that I ripped the shoulder-sleeve off my bridesmaid dress during the reception and had to use my hair to strategically remain clothed-looking?

In the photo booth with my little friend Annakate after the wedding.

My mom's favorite photo of me from my photo booth shots.
She says I look "innocent." Perhaps.

·         Traveling both to and from Houston, I was pulled aside by TSA, put through the intensive scanner, patted down, and had to wait for authorization to be released for travel. Whaaat? I never would have even thought of hiding something in my hair, but the lady definitely ran her hands through my hair, poked through my braid, and grabbed at the back of my neck to check for something-that-I’m-to-innocent-to-even-know-what.

·         The problem with being the cook in your home is that you are often thinking of food and what tastes good. And then you are regularly in the kitchen. And then, you are frequently ingesting the objects of your thoughts. This combination can lead to an unconscious caloric overload on very short notice…

·         A couple days ago I drove down the driveway to be greeted by the big, entryway flower bed blocked by a large, burned piece of old wood, set up like a tombstone. Dad asks me later, “So what do you think of the new addition to the flower bed? All I need to do is add ‘R.I.P.’ and it’ll be finished!” Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaddd!?!?

·         Do I know how to cook? Well, I don’t know, but I could tell you how long in hours and minutes it takes to brown 75 pounds of ground beef, and make it into taco meat for 200 people…

·         My doctor is really getting to know me. Without my asking her, she now pauses, smiles at me and dives into explaining the chemical reactions for processes in my body, instead of just saying “take this and stay away from that.” There is nothing like knowing the “why and how”!

·         When someone, guy or gal, gets stuck in my mind and contemplation, I pray for them, and ask the Lord to take them off my mind ‘if and when’ He decides …And lately it seems my proverbial knees are hurting.

·         I narrowly escaped a near death experience of offering to make, and then winging preparation on, a special family recipe for three generations of my hostess’ family for their dinner. I didn’t die only because I didn’t know it was such an important family recipe, that is, until the grandmother, mother, and big sister all told me my version passed and was approved…

·         A few thoughts I’ve had lately

o   Be kind; don’t return in kind.

o   “ IHeart” is what people do online when they pursue others’ attention with self-love as the motivation.

o   A good woman will be ever so slightly complicated, but never conflicted. Her paths should always go somewhere you can follow without double-crossing anywhere.

o   If Johnny Depp makes a Dr. Seuss movie I will so not be surprised. Oh wait. I should have said that a couple months ago.

o   American Economy: If you don’t have money of your own to spend on your own time, you have to spend your time spending money for someone who has it.

o   I hope to always be seen first as “good,” before being called “beautiful.” Because the latter is paint without the former as primer.

o    Basing your life on what is unseen is the best way to prepare for the unseen.

·         Don’t ask me any questions about whipped cream. I now have painful memories in this genre.

·         The pumpkin patch and shop was open for some perfect fall days on the farm and now is pumpkinless, thanks to our little favorite pumpkin farmers.

Beautiful fall greeting by the front door
when I got home from Texas.

·         If you are shopping Kitsap County thrift and Goodwill stores for silver serving pieces, square glass, or ornate photo frames, my apologies. I’m quite sure there are none left.

·         This watch found me. We are friends now.

·         My sister “trains” cats. She has a belief system that you can actually make a cat do what you say docilely, even willingly.  People doubt her, but then she turns out these amazing limp felines that love her to death. She states that her final step in the training process is to have them sit for a “photoshoot” where they must be still and stay in the poses she places them in. She did one this week with “Mouse.”

·         My poor sister. She actually may have to explain to a teacher that the cat ate her homework…This may or may not be connected to the photoshoot event.

·         Mom and I spent all day Saturday shopping for an epic list for the wedding reception. Flats of black-eyed peas are hard to find in the Northwest and black tablecloths are frequently unavailable this time of year.

·         At Cash and Carry, every time Mom left me with the cart I was mentally warming up my jujitsu moves. An mysterious employee asked me all kinds of questions and even touched me with his yucky hands. Whenever she’d come back out of the different refrigerator or freezer rooms he’d leave again. He even followed us outside and waved goodbye. What a memorable creeper.

·         Do you ever have those days where everyone stares at you when you’re out and about? I had a couple of those this week. I even grabbed my face and wiped down a couple times just to make sure there wasn’t anything there. Yes, I checked my back-end in a mirror, too, just to be sure everything was all A’OK.

·         Had a randomly super depressing morning in Texas, and then I called my mom from my waiting perch on a short ladder leaned against the wall in a GAP store. She told me she had been pressed for time that morning and hadn’t had long enough to pray and she hadn’t yet prayed for me. She is such a prayer warrior. I can see the difference in my day when she prays for me!

·         While I was out-of-town, my cat got hit by a car and died. “Smudge” is just  a very fond memory now. She’s the kitten I brought home randomly from the grocery store one busy Saturday morning over one arm, and stood in the kitchen with a Starbucks in my other hand, waiting for my family to react. The cat that caught about four mice a day, slept with the dogs at night, and followed me everywhere—is gone.

·         I went for bike rides, runs, and walks across Texas countryside last week, and it was so exhilarating! Maybe the only thing better than the early mornings, was lying on the white road at night watching shooting stars with friends.

·         Buzzed into an amazing furniture store in Houston and never wanted to leave.

·         The doctor told me that due to my rapid improvement, “someday” –maybe even next year—I will be able to eat eggs, wheat, and beans again. And those are all things my blood tested as allergens earlier this year! I haven’t eaten a morsel of bread in two years…

·         My secret anti-social nature chimed in for my life while visiting friends in Texas, and I grabbed the common baby, Marcus, and went to bed at midnight despite the active and awesome nightlife of the home. I’m told I missed a few up-til-4:30 nights. Truth be told, I would have died if I had tried.

·         Our guinea fowl “Rev” has been single for several years, but this week “Babe” came to the farm. They are so happily in love.

·         Poor mom says things about her cell phone reception…

o   At Costco talking very loudly to overcome the distance, and surrounded by a crowd of people looking on sympathetically, she absent-mindedly shouted to my dad,

“I’m breaking up with you! I’m going to need to move…I can’t hear you. Did you say anything? I guess we’ve broken up, then…”

o   In the living room,

“You keep breaking in and out, here. I’m just going to go out the front door and see if that’s any better.”

o   In the kitchen,

“My phone is breaking out, I better go closer to the sink, and see if things are clearer.”

·         At the thrift store, I looked into a gentleman’s cart at the register, heaped with packages of what appeared to be white rags for using in the garage or lab. The marked price was fantastic, so I complimented him enthusiastically on what a good deal he found. When he looked at me somewhat awkwardly over his spectacles, I realized that the “packages of rags” were…Depends. Wow, Johanna. You are so...just…wow.

·         The world was gracious enough not to ask me why I put whip cream on my carrots for snack the other afternoon. Thank you, that was kind.

·         My dad hurt himself washing buckets of river rocks from our creek for me to use in decorating at the reception. Those precious rocks are making me furious even though they are perfect.

·         You know that weird mood where you realize your two best friends got married within a couple weeks of each other and you realize you are very, very single? No? Well, I confess I got in that mood a couple times over the past week.

·         I stayed up all night talking to friends before I flew home from Texas in the morning. That was the best, bad idea ever. Actually, it wasn’t planned. We looked at the clock and it was time to wake up…

·         Do the handsets on anyone else’s phones have their names across the screen, or is that just our house? Ours say “Kim,” “Bob,” and “Bubba.” Yeah, I don’t know why, either, really.

·         My sister is on the trail double-time trying to get me married. Let’s just say its kind of odd and her suggestions to get me there are bordering somewhere past humorous. She catches my mother off-guard and makes her agree with the strangest things. “Mom, don’t you think Johanna should sell things and stuff and all to rich men in Bellevue, right, Mom, dontcha think?” “Hmm? Yes, dear.”

·         While I was away, my parents purchased an air purifier for our home. Coming home to the farm has never been sweeter in so many ways. They even got me a second, smaller personal air filter to take places with me. That was extremely generous of them, but I insist that I don’t complain that much, they are just extremely kind…

·         Spray paint is just so cool. Thrift store + spray paint = treasures.

·         At work one day, I listened to “Vincent” by Josh Groban over and over just because I could. It is such an amazing song, just to think about the words. It reminds me of Jesus…

·         Since I am told I cannot technically wear men’s cologne, a new favorite perfume found me. Aqua di Gioia stole my heart and we are now inseparable.

Uhhhhmayzeeng. Only thing better is the guy's version...


·         A few of the Random Farm Days’ items this week for me…           

o   washing a pile of pumpkins at night in the cold

o   driving for miles after dark to pick up a truckload of chickens

o   digging potatoes, beets, and carrots

o   sharpening chainsaw blades

o   splitting firewood

o   cleaning roofs and gutters

o   washing dirty eggs for cartons

o   grinding wheat and making bread

o   picking apples

o   laughing at a peahen’s antics

o   sending the old collie to round up the birds

o   shooting at a feral dog causing havoc

o   spraying down rubber boots

o   shooting at a chicken hawk

o   turning the air filter on turbo

o   pointing out to mom that “something” got on her shirt

o   crisp, cold mornings alone with nature

o   working until every muscle in your shoulders and arms aches and is going limp

o   hauling rocks

o   mowing a field

o   wishing I had slave—I mean—big brothers at home again!

o   I’m so fortunate to live here…and that my dad still does all the “mucking”
It's another wedding week at our house! Sometimes I think time is the only thing tighter than the budget, but then I remember what the whole point is. How blessed I am..