Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Joy!


This morning I made the drive to Baton Rouge from the west bank. Traffic was sluggish, but not the nightmare that it is sometimes.  I didn't used to look at the Mighty Mississippi as a great obstacle. Years ago we crossed the I-10 bridge unhindered by any congestion, and we didn't think much about the big river below us.  Now the bridge is hardly ever trouble free. The congestion these days has put me in touch with nature. As I creep along in bridge traffic and gaze down at Old Man River, I realize just what an obstacle he is!


Life flows like a river. There are worrisome times, hard working times, carefree times, times of leisure, and all those in-between times. My last few weeks have been hard working and worrisome - finishing up an online course on the New Testament with its comprehensive final exam - and sharing a family member's health scare. 

I finished up the course work with good grades and the health scare turned out not to be as serious as we were imagining. I am immensely grateful to God.  But stress is a peculiar thing. Sometimes, even when the things that you have stressed about are happily resolved, the stress lingers for a while. Feeling stressed almost becomes a habit, and it can take a little while for the joy of happy resolutions to banish the clouds. But the clouds are receding today and I feel the stirrings of joy.


No health worries for the time being. No more Tuesday noontime homework deadlines, no more lecture notes, no more assignments, no more tests!  I’m tempted to behave like I did when I was a kid and school was out - take my shoes off and run around in the yard barefoot, relishing the carefree summer ahead.  I'm glad to finish this New Testament course, but it has been a great blessing. I'll miss our online class meetings where we had good discussions and developed some new friendships. 


I stopped at the post office on my way home and was delighted to find a letter from Spain, a postcard from Pennsylvania, and one from California.  More joy!












Saturday, May 4, 2019

About White Privilege & White Guilt



How many times have you heard about "white privilege" and "white guilt" this week?  I've lost count. Instead of talking about white privilege, why don't we just talk about privilege?  There are privileged men and women of all races. 


Instead of talking about white guilt, why don't we talk about gratitude?  Whatever your race, if you have worked hard to succeed, you know in your heart of hearts it wasn't just you. You had at least one or two lucky breaks. 


You have the health and the smarts to work and to earn.   Your good health may be partly because you eat right and go to the gym. But in your heart of hearts you know that your health is in large part a gift from God or the force or your lucky stars - whatever you believe in. Be grateful for lucky breaks and benevolent powers. 


Gratitude is the anecdote for greed. I don't think I've ever known a grateful person who wasn't willing to share some of what they have. Grateful people know they've had lucky breaks, and they want to be somebody else’s lucky break. They know they've been blessed and they want to be a blessing to others.


The world would be a far better place if we were all grateful instead of envious and covetous. No matter what your race, sex, or condition, you have something to be grateful for. Share that something, whatever it is. Be somebody's lucky break.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

May Day

 
May Day has fallen on hard times.  The communists have claimed May 1st as their holiday, and many Christians denounce May Day as pagan.  But I have fond childhood memories of Maypole dances and preparing little baskets of flowers to hang on neighbors' door knobs.  In my mid-20th century childhood, we weren't communists, and we weren't pagans.  We were welcoming spring and appreciating God's glorious creation.  Is it my imagination or has the world grown snarky?  Even if it has, I'll go out on a limb and wish you a Happy May Day!

Saturday, April 6, 2019

In the Crow’s Nest

It’s a pleasant day at Bywater Farm. The sun is shining in spite of predictions of rain.  It’s a breezy 83 degrees.  I did the minimal housework this morning and baked a loaf of bread.  Now I’m in the Crow’s Nest, my upstairs craft room.  It’s a good place to be.  There are windows on three sides, and I have a good view of the bayou from my desk. The birds are busy today - flying in and out of the nearby maple tree.  There are mocking birds, red-winged black birds, blue jays, and - of course - sparrows and wrens.

The Crow’s Nest is pretty tidy right now.  Work spaces have to ebb and flow, it seems to me. If your work space has to be ship-shape all the time, you never get anything done for fear of messing it up.  If it’s a mess all the time, you don’t get anything done because you can’t find anything.  If things are tidy, and I can find the tools and supplies I need, it’s fun to do stuff.  And I’ve been doing stuff.  I finished this rock painting last week, and Jerry hid it (in plain sight, of course) somewhere in town.  Nobody has posted a photo of it on the Judybug Rocks Facebook page, so maybe it’s still waiting to be noticed.  


I’ve also been doing some paper crafting.  I have quite a stash of 12 inch square scrapbook paper.  I’ve accumulated it over the years because I was going to do some - you know - scrapbooking. Ha! I can count on one hand the number of scrapbook pages I’ve done.  But you can do other things with scrapbook paper.  While looking around on YouTube, I discovered directions for making a nifty little book with one sheet of 12 inch scrapbook paper.  (Blogger is being contrary today and refuses to let me include a link. If you want to watch this video, go to YouTube and search for "Mini Book with Pockets using Only One Sheet of Paper.") The little book turns out to be 3 inches by 4 inches with handy little pockets inside.  What do you do with little pocket books like this?  I don’t know, but they sure are fun to make.  Maybe I’ll keep my postage stamps in this one.


Part of the fun of making these is decorating the front and back covers.  I added some scrapbook cardstock weight paper to the front and back to make it a little more sturdy.  Then I rubber-stamped and embossed a butterfly, cut it out, and glued it to the cover.  Here’s the inside of another little book - with a tiny envelope tucked in one of the pockets. 
 


When you fold the paper to create the pockets, the wrong side of the paper shows.  This is no problem if your paper has a design on the front and the back.  But if the back of the paper is plain white, it will show.  You might want to leave it white or decorate it somehow.  I used a rubber stamp ink pad to create a design of sorts on the white area.  

When I folded one side of the paper up to make pockets, I discovered that the manufacturer’s name and the price was visible.  I covered it will a scrap of gingham paper.  These little problems just lead to more creativity!

Now I’m off to start a new rock painting.  ‘Till next time . . .


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Mystery Soup



 It’s time to replenish the meat supply around here.  Mother Hubbard’s freezer compartment is almost bare.  I found a package of some kind of meat with this cryptic label -  “4-5 BF.”  No doubt a gift from some hunter friend of Jerry’s.  I thawed it out and sautéed it.  It turned out to be some kind of spicy, ground-meat sausage.  I made soup out of it, and it was delicious!  Wonder what it was - exactly?  I’m thinking the “BF” must stand for beef?  But it could just as well be the hunter’s initials if they were dividing up meat at some hunting camp in the woods. I guess it could be  anything from alligator to rattlesnake.  Well, whatever.  It was good!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Bright Side


I set out this morning with a list of errands and the determination to find a bright side to the inevitable annoyances.  Here goes:


  1. You can get your food quicker in McDonald's drive-thru than you can by going inside - because all the employees are focused on the drive-thru, not the customers at the counter.   Bright side: I have a car.
  2. No matter how sure you are about what you want at GNC, the clerk will try to talk you into something else.  Bright side: You get practice in sticking to your guns.
  3. Hobby Lobby is too BIG!  Bright side:  You get plenty of exercise.
  4. Michael's small size makes finding what you want easier, but sometimes they need a bigger store just to accommodate the long lines.  Bright side: You develop patience (maybe).
  5. Kids' latch hook activity kits have 1400 little pieces of yarn in each one.  Bright side: I don't live with the kids I'm buying these for. (Tee Hee)
  6. Nice boxed sets of stationery are not to be found - not even at an upscale establishment described as a "papeterie."  Nice boxed stationery used to be everywhere - from department stores to dime stores.  Bright side: A lesson - don't take anything, especially good things, for granted.  Nothing gold can stay.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

August Resolutions

“Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful’ and sitting in the shade.”
Rudyard Kipling

One of the few joys of a flaming hot August in southern Louisiana is the flourishing potted plants on our deck.  Of course, having them flourish means a religious dedication to getting out in the heat to water them.  I haven’t always been so dedicated, but I’ve resolved to water and to sweat, and the pay-off is worth it.  

I haven’t set foot off Bywater Farm in seven days.  I was looking forward to going to church this morning and having lunch with my middle daughter.  But I have some kind of virus, so I’m home again today.  I’m really a home body, but after seven days or so, I’m feeling the effects of cabin fever.  And for me, cabin fever means too much thinking - too much naval gazing.

I wonder why resolutions come to my mind in August?  Aren’t they reserved for January?  Maybe so, but I think it might be a natural result of the stifling August heat.  The mind can’t help but ponder what might make your own life and the world in general a little better.

The fourth commandment says, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” It was an easier commandment to keep back in the 1950s when I was a child. Stores closed on Sunday. A few drug stores and gas stations were open, but retail stores were closed.  I’d venture to say that some people back then went to church simply because there wasn’t much else to do.
 
The fourth commandment makes it clear that God doesn’t think it’s good for all seven days in a week to be just alike. But it takes concentration today to make it different.  Few stores close on Sunday and neither does social media, so distractions are everywhere.

I feel another resolution coming on. Social media is full of angst - political posts and depressing news articles about rape, murder, and abductions - not to mention the airing of personal dirty laundry.  I’m too private a person to ever air the personal stuff, but I do make political posts, and I share depressing news stories.  I am resolved to stop making these posts on Sunday.  On Sunday I’ll post cute kittens, uplifting poems, and photos of beautiful scenery.  Maybe I’ll post some creative writing about a fantasy world free of political corruption and mankind’s inhumanity to mankind.  If I was a better person, I’d probably resolve not to make any posts on Sunday, but I have to start somewhere.