Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trunk or Treat

I charged my camera battery.
I had great intentions.
I took a nap but overslept today.
I ran out the door without the camera.
I got no pictures of my own.
I borrowed this post from Briana, my friend and care group leader's wife.
I will post pictures of Joel tomorrow because I'm too tired to upload them right now. (They are two flights upstairs and In a good way.)

For those who aren't yet sure what Trunk or Treat is or looks like, Bri's post and slideshow offer a good description. Our care group did the Lego theme. (Only one person from our group found a way to dress like a Lego. It's pretty hard to sit down when you're wearing a box or posterboard. But thanks to Kristin, we had one walking Lego among us! The rest of us kinda/sorta wore Lego colors.)

In Briana's slideshow, there's a picture of me sitting in the trunk holding Bri's beautiful daughter, who was scared of the clown at a trunk near ours. I can't blame her. I'm creeped out by clowns, too. I tried to convince her that it was just a mom who put on too much make-up, but it proved little consolation.

We had over 900 guests from the community, and the weather was perfect--no rain, not freezing, but with that autumn "nip in the air. " Our youth band sang, we had door prizes, moon bounce, cotton candy, popcorn, caramel apples, and bucketloads of candy to give away!
Trunk or Treat has certainly become my ideal alternative to door-to-door trick-or-treating. I pray that the guests felt the love of God on a night that has traditionally felt like it belonged to Satan.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Memories

I'm participating (one day late) in Friday Flashbacks, courtesy of Mocha with Linda.

What was Halloween like when you were growing up? Did your family participate? If not, was there a substitute activity?

The first Halloween I remember was when I was in third grade. We all got excited about the forthcoming costume parade in the cafeteria. I wanted to be Miss America. My mom helped me find a long, pretty dress, a sparkly silver tiara, and "high heels" (white Easter sandals). Well, the night before the occasion, Mama suggested I carry a bouquet on my arm. But we were poor and it was October and didn't have flowers. I had my heart set on carrying flowers, but how could we make it happen?

My dad, never one to disappoint his daughters if it could possibly be avoided, asked one of his parishioners (a lady with an abundance of bloom all over her yard) if he could pick some of her flowers for me, and she sweetly agreed. The next morning, Daddy took me by the hand to this lady's house a block away. He stooped down among the geraniums, roses, mums, and sunflowers, scissors in hand, and asked me--stem by stem--"This one? Do you like it?" If I nodded, he snipped it. If I hesitated, he moved on to the next. So patient my daddy. It must have taken 15 minutes to satisfy my desire for a huge, glamorous bouquet. But this garden was like Eden to me. I made one last stop at the house to get my lunch, go to the bathroom, and gather my books (and probably adore myself in the mirror again). But somewhere in the transition from home to bus to school cafeteria, I laid the flowers down and didn't have them when the parade music started. All my hopes for waving like a beauty queen in front of the student body turned to puddles of tears. I couldn't wave. I couldn't do that model-walk thing. I could just cry and drag my Easter feet around on Halloween.

Did your school or church have a fall festival or carnival? Our Baptist church when I was a teenager had one. (Daddy was not a pastor at that time.)It seemed odd and kind of wrong to me that a church would go to that much trouble, time and creativity to turn the Sunday school wing into a haunted house. We never put that much energy into serving the poor or homeless.

Were there stipulations regarding costumes? No.

What sorts of activities did they have? I don't remember much. I was kind of creeped out.

What about Halloween parties? Have you ever bobbed for apples or been on a hayride? I remember many a fall party in our youth group. Bonfires, roasted marshmallows, singing praise songs to Christ while dressed like Yoko Ono. Every year we went for a hayride at Mr. Pennington's farm. Every year he pulled the same stunt--pretending the tractor ran out of gas just as we crossed the creek and were starting to climb the embankment. I remember he fooled me into tasting an unripe persimmon while we were waiting on the 'broken down" tractor. Try it. You'll be the center of attention.

What are your memories of "haunted houses"? (I'm not referring to the ultra-scary, secular ones, just the fun kid ones, with bowls of grapes and cold spaghetti!) My mom turned our musty cement basement into a haunted house once. Grape eyeballs, spaghetti brains. Yeh, good ole 1970s ingenuity.

If you went trick-or-treating, what were the rules, both for trick-or-treating and for candy consumption? In our little rural town, everyone knew everyone, so the only rules were "stay together." No adult supervision necessary. We weren't supposed to go to the haunted house across from Newt's Garage, but we did anyway. Scared the punkin outta me! When we moved to Maryland --I was in fifth grade--, living in farm country, trick-or-treating lost its appeal to me. The glory days were over.

Rules for candy consumption? None. My parents were pretty lax at Halloween. If we threw up, we learned our lesson.

What types of costumes did you wear? In fourth grade, for some reason, my mom let me be Marilyn Monroe. I was a PK, remember. Anyway....

Were they store-bought or homemade? Homemade. The most important part of the costume to me was the um...."girls"...made out of L'eggs eggs. One night I went bobbing for apples with other kids at a party and, while my face was in the cold water, one of my "girls" fell out on the ground. To this day, I call the activity "boobing for apples."

Did you carve a jack-o-lantern? Yes. Always smiling faces.

How are your children's experiences similar or different to yours? We had convictions and fears against celebrating it when our older kids were little. Our neighbors were generous anyway, and gave my kids candy AHEAD of time. As we got older, Paul and I relaxed on the legalistic stance we'd taken. He's never been into it; it's always been me taking the kids around the 'hood, which is fine.

And the most important question: Do you like candy corn? Not really, but I eat it anyway. What is your favorite (and least favorite!) Halloween candy? Take Five bars. I just love them. But now that I know what I know (see post below on Cheap Chocolate) I am feeling very differently, restless in my spirit. It's the one thing I've really taken away from this Halloween season: the purchase of cheap chocolate. This is a toughie for me. It's not like I'm wrestling with whether to give up eggplant or tofu.

I still love to dress up and love giving and getting candy. I love to see people's creativity with costumes and themes. But I don't buy spider decor or inflate tacky white "Boo" ghosts on the lawn, none of that. I'm not offended by it, but think it's a waste of money. I prefer to decorate with flowers. It's what you do when your memories of your sweet, handsome daddy stooping to gather pretty blooms for his little Miss America.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Breaking Up is Easy to Do

A letter to Mr. I, a dude I met this morning. Most people call him MRI. But that seems so impersonal. I thought I owed him a letter since I separated from him so quickly.

Dear Mr. I,

It's almost 10 a..m and I am....getting...very....sleeeeeepppy. But I just wanted to write you a quick note that expresses my feelings for you. Or to be quite honest, my feelings against you.

Sorry to leave you alone in that cold, half-dark room, but I just needed more space. I need room to breathe and not feel trapped in our relationship. It's not you, it's me. Well, actually, it is you, too. We're not a good match for each other. You deserve a girl who doesn't need drugs in order to hang around with you,. Someone who loves you for who you are--a whitewashed tomb with a serious thing for grandma's music.

And no offense, but I'm not crazy about your barrel chested physique, either. I appreciate the good things you do for people; you really know how to see into people's deepest recesses, actually into things they didn't even know were there. And not to be crude, but you do give a girl a lot of bang for her buck.That much I can say for you. It's just that I am not into a lot of noise and confusion. I would prefer a massage and spa treatment. Actually, I'd rather have another root canal than spend one more minute with you.

Ouch. I know that hurts to hear. But it's true. I'm just being open. I think you should be, too.

And that is why I thought I owed you an explanation. Don't worry. I'm sure you'll have plenty of other flings. You have a magnetic personality, after all. Take care of yourself.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thinking Twice About Buying Cheap Chocolate

I had no idea that American chocolate comes, in large quantity, from Africa. I thought Hershey bars came from Pennsylvania. I was clueless, until last night, that buying chocolate products such as cheap candy bars, puddings, cake mixes, and so on, actually means I am oppressing the poor children in Africa. I was set to stock up on Halloween candy for our not-a-Halloween-party at church.

Read this post by Heather at Sit a Spell, and see for yourself that children in Africa are forced into working the cocoa fields. Why is this news not reported more? Why has the church at large not heard this news? I feel terrible now. knowing that we are trying both to help the oppressed with our giving, yet oppressing them by purchasing cheap chocolate from Africa. The writer says the alternative is to buy from the fair trade chocolate companies whose employees are adults working by choice. I will certainly be looking into that.

I do appreciate that the blogger reminds us that God doesn't love us more if we buy chococolate from Africa. Not that I'd do it knowingly, but at least I don't have to beat myself up about it. Satan is at the heart of darkness, keeping information in the dark about the oppressed across the globe. If our churches knew, that would be a call to prayer and action. Satan doesn't want that! Anyway, Heather's blog tells the message more clearly than I do.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Walking Cliche' for Halloween: A Repost and Then Some

We had a lot of fun with this post, didn't we, girls?

I thought of a few more:

One friend will dress up as a Monopoly board and another as a Scrabble board. After all, they're game for it.

How about you go as Bells and I go as Whistles?

Or we'll cover ourselves in round, salty, brand-name crackers. Truly, we'll be puttin' on the Ritz.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Up Close and Very Personal in Haiti

A blog I read occasionally, this one broke me:

Go here

Rate Yourself

Anonymously, if you claim to be a Christian, please answer the following on a scale of 1-10 (10 being whole-hearted service).

To what level do you serve God? This includes not just your family, but your local church by doing more than just attending; widows, orphans, neighbors, strangers, the sick, the lonely? And I don't mean simply praying, I mean putting your time, money, gifts, and other resources into action. (I'm not negating prayer in the least; no one can do anything MORE important than pray, but you know what I mean--adding works to your faith.)

Remember...sign in anonymously.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Having Said That...

My last post leaves me wondering if I'm content or complaining about my kitchen. So let me say this: there are many reasons I like my current kitchen.

1. It's open. It flows into the family room without a wall interrupting it, so I can easily see who's doing what and don't feel cut off.

2. The view from my two windows. They both face the woods behind us, and I love to see my little feathered friends come for a bite to eat from my deck feeders. And I like to watch scampering squirrels.

3. My refrigerator. We bought it from the Smiths who were in our church until February when they moved to Belgium and needed to sell it. The Smiths are a special family; I had the joy of teaching their daughters in school. The saddest day of my teaching career was the day they left. It ruined Valentine's Day for me (also my youngest child's birthday) and proved to me that teachers can get just as attached to their students as vice versa. It's wonderful to have precious memories, and to be reminded of those folks really often by the big stainless steel fridge.

4. The table. I love the finish, the design, and the many good things that have happened there--meals, schoolwork, creative projects, conversations, games. It's a "butterfly" style which means it has a built-in leaf that can be slid in and out at will, and doesn't have to be stored elsewhere.

So even though I'd love to change some of the tangible things about my kitchen--the counters, cabinets, and fixtures, what will always be important are the intangibles like love, laughter, and togetherness.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Next Project?

Seems like there's always something calling for attention around the house. All of our "big" projects are pretty much done, except for one: the kitchen. Stuck in the 80s with ugly cabinets, a shortage of drawers, terrible lighting, and minimal counter space, it screams for more than attention. Like a baby, it's begging to be changed.

But it's just going to have to wait. We won't go into debt again for things we want, and right now the big bucks have to go toward college tuition. I am amazed that I have not had a major meltdown about this kitchen since it's the hub of the home, and because I enjoy cooking. That's the grace of God because I tend to become discontent quickly, especially when I compare the spaces I work in with the spaces others work in. I am amazed that I haven't fought a major case of jealousy because so many of my friends have bright, beautiful kitchens where they can spread out, stock up, and swing dance. (Okay, so just a couple of my friends could swing dance in their kitchens, but my imagination goes wild when I consider the possibilities. Not that Paul and I would take up swing dancing if you installed a kitchen the size of the Dallas-Fort Worth airport.)

Perhaps what keeps me grounded about not having my dream kitchen are the myriad decisions that a major overhaul requires. It's easy for me to become visually overwhelmed. I'd rather see 10 choices that I can narrow down to 3, 2, and 1, instead of starting with 35 choices to narrow down to 24, 15, 11, 8, 5, 3, 2, and 1. Paint, flooring, lighting, cabinetry, windows, sinks, faucets, counters, hardware, appliances. (Thankfully we don't need new appliances!) Those decisions drive me bonkers!

Tell me what you love about your kitchen, and what you'd like to change. Then chime in on what your next home project is, big or small.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Job Jar

These are the four jobs I drew from
the job jar on Day 1 of school this
year. Joel drew four different ones.

I'm looking at it now and thinking what a draining chunk of work.

The things you take for granted
when you're healthy.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook 10.17.10

Prompted by this blog:

Outside my window... on the covered front porch are boxes painted like Lego bricks, topped with plastic tumblers turned upside down to be the "studs." Our church is doing a Trunk or Treat and each care group is doing its own theme. A few of us got together here for a painting party on Saturday. I had to work through heart issues with Joel when one of the gals painted a tall box to look like alternating black and yellow bricks. Why heart issues? Those are Steelers colors. " The Steelers are our arch nemesis, Mom!"

I'm thinking...that 1000 mg of an iron supplement sounds like too much. I have to ask the doctor if I misheard her.

I'm thankful for...modern medicine and doctors and a likely diagnosis for all my pain and fatigue of late.

I'm wearing...a black skirt and a green cotton top that has a duck sauce stain on it from lunch.

From the kitchen...a German chocolate cake that Sarah just iced. Mmm. Chocolate is great therapy for anemia, right?

I'm reading...Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. Can't read it without being moved, challenged, shaken, and otherwise changed--and I'm only three chapters into it.

I'm hoping...that the doctor's hunch was wrong, that I get better news soon.

Around the house...many examples of Sarah's love for education: her schoolbooks, notebooks, laptop, fun things for her kindergarteners. On our dining room table is a darling little apron she
ironed on the words, "I AM A CHEF"; a garden of plastic fall plants the kids can "plant" in the holes of an upsidedown wicker basket; a poster called "Pumpkin Patch Match"; apple die cuts ready to be laminated.

I'm thinking...of a joke I heard that is something like "there's been an outbreak of sex with miners."

I'm hearing...Mike Huckabee on TV.

A few plans for the rest of the week...schedule an MRI, get a second opinion, eat more iron-rich foods, get Molly's stitches removed.

From the learning room...multiplication tables . We are working on 4x.

A picture thought I'm sharing (with apologies to my vegetarian readers)...the last line Joel wrote on this page about cows:

"Cows become hamburgers."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Brooks Elijah, New Kid on the Zub Block

On September 15, 2010, a new baby was born into the Zubrowski family. The wonderful
parents are Danny (Paul's nephew) and his wife Lisa. A couple weeks ago Paul, Sarah, and I made a little jaunt over to Danny's house to meet the little blessing, all decked out in Ravens apparel.

I just love the soft, squishy skin and scrawny ankles and floppy neck of a newborn. I missed the way a baby "roots" on your nose or cheek when he's looking for something "else" at feeding time! I love how little they look in a man's arms, and how snuggly they get in a woman's. I love everything about them, except when they cry inconsolably. So far Brooks (named for the famous Orioles third baseman) has not been like that. He's been a very easy keeper.

One other thing I love: Danny, Lisa, and Brooks only live five minutes from us. Lots of Aunt Zo snuggle time, I hope! Makes me long for grammyhood.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Remembering Our Babies

Tonight I join millions of mothers across the world who are lighting candles in memory of a baby (or babies) they've lost either before, during, or shortly after giving birth to them. At 7 pm in every time zone, for at least one hour, we are remembering our babies.

I took two small, new candles, fresh from their wrappers, both similar but each unique, and inhaled their wonderful fragrance. One was buttercream, the other strawberry with buttercream. They represented my babies, Joy Christine and Hope Kathryn. I know for a fact that the first baby I lost was a girl (the pathologist's report noted two X's). The second is only conjecture, but in my heart she has always been a girl.
The dates I said goodbye to them: December 31, 1996, and September 13, 1999, respectively.

At 7 pm this evening, in barefeet, shorts and Paul's brown Myrtle Beach T-shirt, I stepped outside into the brisk autumn air. I carried my candles to the front porch railing, tears already streaming down my face. I then went back into the house for my camera, came out for a photo of my little lights, and sat down in the rocker.

I was alone (Paul is in California on business), but I didn't feel alone. Just like when I lost my babies, I knew that others grieved with me, and some understood firsthand the pain of losing a baby before seeing her face. Tonight I gave thanks for fertility, having known it so well that some people made fun of me, and for having known infertility for awhile later in life. I gave thanks for my four living children, and thanked God for sustaining me through the loss of the other two. For teaching me the difference between wanting a child and demanding a child. For proving to me that I am not in control; He is. And that He is good, no matter what.

He gives and takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

The candles flickered in the wind. How long would they shine in the womblike darkness of this night?

My voice cracked as I tried to sing a prayer to God from my aching heart.

You are my King... and my God...
You love me and're holding my babies
...oh so tenderly..

just like you're ...holding me...
my Savior,
Beautiful Jesus, thank You...
for giving me babies...

some to keep ...and some to give...

Lights of joy...and hope

I rocked and watched the tiny flames fight for breath.

A smoldering reed He will not snuff out
. I remembered that verse given to me from a friend who had had six miscarriages. At the time I lost my first baby, I was struggling to believe that I would not die from grief. I felt like a dying ember, and that God was about to snuff out every last ounce of life from my baby and me. It felt like a punishment which I knew I deserved for all my sins past and present, and yet I screamed, "Don't take my baby, God! Take something else, just let me keep my baby!"

And that is when I realized my personal pronouns were amiss and that I was believing a lie. This baby was not mine. This baby was His. He could lend this baby to me if He wanted, and He could take it back whenever He wanted. The taking was not punishment on me; Jesus had already taken all the punishment at the cross for me. Satan was trying to tell me that One Sacrifice was not enough, that I had to give my child up to death as well. That I should suffer over and over till maybe someday God would accept my tears as payment for my sins. It was such screwy thinking from the pit of hell! Oh, how I hate Satan, and oh, how I love Jesus!

The deep understanding I reaped from the experience of losing the first baby prepared me tremendously for our second loss. We were on vacation at my sister's, and the physical signs I began to notice the first day there pointed to one thing: miscarriage. I cried and told Paul. He held me close to his chest, quietly; what a comfort to hear your husband's heart beating into your ear when you think your baby's heartbeat may have stopped. I lay in bed thinking of whom I'd invite to a funeral on our deck, and if that was too sappy or weird, because there is no coffin, no body, no picture, no shared memories. I decided I didn't want to risk the awkwardness. I would deal with it privately. Within a few days we were in the ER, bidding farewell. But this time I was at peace. The pain did not eclipse my awareness of God's presence. This time I felt He was suffering with me over the wages of sin, the consequences that all people suffer in a broken world: death. I felt a measure of God's heart as a parent this time. He understood separation and loss better than anyone.

As I sat in my rocker, I watched the wind blow out first one candle and then the other. It was all over. I looked up at the sky, the half moon surrounded by a white glow. Mama is the part everyone sees; baby is gone from sight, but still there.

And in the stillness, You are there,
And you are here.
Thank You .

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I'd Be the...

As I sat in wonder and gratitude watching TV coverage of the Chilean miners being rescued, I heard that each person was given (or chose, or volunteered for, or just started doing?) a certain "job" within the confines of their new social setting. One took gas readings, another was in charge of rationing food, another was the joker for comic relief, another oversaw communications with the outside world, and so on. ( I admit when I heard, "took gas readings," I was thinking, Oh, horrors! Just think how much gas 33 miners could pass..." but then realized they were referring to other natural gases.)

I asked my eight-year-old son, "If you were trapped underground for over two months with a bunch of people, what role or job would you do? What would you be?"

Without thinking, he said, "I'd be the calmer-downer. I'd tell everyone, 'Don't freak out so much. Don't worry about everything.'"

I like that. The calmer-downer. It got me to wondering, what role would I play? What job would I be given (or volunteer for, or just start doing)? I don't think I'd be the calmer-downer. I would need a calmer-downer like my son. Maybe I'd be the resident journalist?

How about you? I'd love to hear what niche you think you'd find if stuck in a mine for weeks on end. What would you do that would benefit the group as a whole, probably something God has gifted you to do already?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Postponing the Autumn Tour of Homes Here

Because of health issues, I'm not able to be present at my own Home Tour, so to speak. The garden is half-weeded, the mums not bought, the curtains not hung, the pillows not made. I am seeing doctors to get some questions answered. I'll be back in commission as soon as I can.

But if YOU have pictures to show, please let me know in the comment box. I'd love to see your stomping ground all gussied up for fall.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Simple Woman's Daybook, 10.10.10

Inspired by another's blog

Outside my window...sunshine, blue skies, flowering plum tree, tall pines, birds chirping.

I'm thinking... of how pain can really level a person. I am having trouble moving. Too much back pain to sit for more than 10 minutes or stand or walk. I missed church. Paul had to manage with a spare helper. Also thinking of Amy and her upcoming delivery; my parents who just celebrated 49 years of marriage on Friday; what a cool date today is, 10.10.10.

I am thankful for mobility, which I've taken for granted until the past couple of days.

From the kitchen came a Qdoba burrito which the family was nice to bring me. Goes well with 800 mg ibuprofen.

I'm wearing a sleeveless blue top with roses and brocade that belonged to my Granny, and a pair of brown sweat shorts that ruin the beauty of it. But it's comfortable.

I am creating... a large impression of my body on this bed by staying here to recover with a heating pad.

I am reading... Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream.

I am get a chiropractic appt tomorrow and be well enough by Tuesday to take a meal to a new mom in our church.

I am hearing... the fish tank motor humming, and occasional outbursts from the basement where my guys are glued to a Ravens/Broncos game.

Around the house... I am slowly decorating for fall. I will not be ready for the Autumn Tour of Homes tomorrow. Just can't do it.

One of my favorite things... is a Sunday afternoon nap.

A few plans for the rest of week... if I can sit,walk,stand, that is:
1) buy mums
2) make pillows for the family room
3) teach a second lesson on Van Gogh and have the students do a picture of their bedroom, using oil pastels.

A picture thought I am sharing...These Scrabble tiles were the ones I happened to pick when playing a game with Barb out in Kansas.
My parents met at KU, and I'm sure they're waxing nostalgic since they are in KS at the moment. Whenever I am feeling the need for a nurse, as I am today, I say to myself (and sometimes aloud as I moan in pain), "I want my mommy." She was going to KU as a nursing student when she met and married Daddy. They moved to MD on their honeymoon, arriving on 10.10.61.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Not of Colonial Cloth

This morning a bunch of us from our homeschool co-op went on a field trip to Jerusalem Mill
for the kick-off of their Colonial Craftsmen Weekend. (Pictures coming soon.) Watching all that manual labor going on under these sunny skies sure inspired me to come home and put my hand to the plow also. (Well, okay, so it was not exactly a plow. I had no horses, so I took the easy way out and grabbed a hoe.) I also made up a little song about my hoe.

"I'm just a little hoe,
Everywhere I go..."--

Never mind. They don't pay me enough to write songs that good.

The colonial mama could easily work from pre-dawn to after dusk. Not so this mama. I am not the sheep-shearing, fire-stoking, butter-churning type. But it's fun to appreciate the hard work of my forebears.

My back was aching all day, and so I thought that stretching and bending forward to eradicate my weed patch would help. Wrong. It just made me sweaty. But I am only a third of the way finished and need to clean up the mess I've made thus far because I am getting ready for Monday's Autumn Tour of Homes. Once I've done the hard work of weeding, trimming, and pruning, I will go out and treat myself to some new fall mums.

And perhaps I'll use the gold and purple petals of mums to dye some wool to make some cloth for my sofa which my man made by cutting down a tree and tanning some cowhides and nailing them together from iron he forged in the fire stoked by the eldest son who is courting a gal from a northern colony....

Or maybe I'll just darn some folded socks. Or fold some darn socks. I always get that mixed up.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Kibble Smoothie?

Our precious redheaded Golden Retriever came home from the vet's yesterday, having been a surgical patient. She had an ugly, mushroom-looking cyst removed from her neck, and a total of nine teeth extracted. "They were atrocious," said the vet. "So taking out the teeth was a necessary evil."

As all dogs do when you're giving them medicine and pampering them with soft blankies and "what's-a-matters," she looked extra pathetic. Her sad, soulful brown eyes, now foggy with the cataracts of old age, blinked slowly as she wagged her tail when I mentioned her name.
The smile that usually alights on her gentle jowls is now a bit droopy with the absence of a few molars.

Worst of all, I knew she hadn't had a normal-size meal for 19 hours. Nothing by mouth after midnight Sunday, and only 1/4 of a can after coming home with anesthesia still in her system. I knew today that was really hungry and couldn't eat her hard kibble, so I reached for another can of dog food. I've never bought her canned food, hut I always assumed that one can would be one meal's worth.

My daughter corrected me. "It says one can for every 20 pounds, Mom!" She needs three and a half cans per meal!"

"Honey! No way! At 89 cents a can, that is not gonna happen."

"Well, then," said my creative girl, "put one can in in the blender with some water and regular hard food and make her a smoothie."

That also was not going to happen. I don't think I could ever drink another berries-and-cream type from that blender again. I don't care if it is Pedigree brand dog food. I don't care if I wash it thoroughly when I'm done. I don't care if my dog needs something so smooth she could sip it through a straw. I'm not putting dog food in my blender. Period. End of story.

But I did economize and pamper her at the same time. I boiled 2 cups of kibble till it was soft, and added a can of dog food and stirred an ice cube around in it. Nice warm gravy stew on this cold, autumn night, for my furry geriatric pal. My loyal K9 with the six-inch shaved patch and the five-inch incision on her neck. The ever-pleasant sweetie whose gums are swollen and sutured like the loser of a boxing match.

When the gravy and kibble had come to a satisfying temperature (according to my human paw) I set it down for Molly. Oh, how she gulped it down. It's been so long she had eaten a big meal so quickly, for little did I know that her mouth had been so bothered!

It did my heart good to see her wagging her tail as she scarfed her
stew. Her eyes brightened as she lapped the gravy, and I think if she could have spoken, she would have said, "Thanks. That was the best meal I've ever had. Ever."

I was almost in tears thinking how kind God is to give me a beautiful treasure of an animal, and the joy of feeding all creatures great and small.

---for Tuesdays Unwrapped

Monday, October 04, 2010

Gratitude List

It's been too long since I made one of these gratitude list. I haven't been keeping track in my journal, but here goes one "off the cuff."

1. Rain and all things it provides and provokes: growth for plants, extra body in my hair (read untameable curls!) and my husband's many fine qualities and skills (perseverance, plumbing, and
planning--not to be annoyingly alliterative)
2. Sump pumps and Shop Vacs
3. A new hot water heater and the means to pay for it before it's a crisis
4. Veterinary care to handle the things too gross, too unspeakable for this chick deal with
5. God's watchcare over my doggie, Molly, who had surgery today (one huge tumor on her neck removed plus 9 rotten teeth)
6. Friends and family who care enough to pray for Molly and see how I am doing, too. (Answer: relieved but wondering what her new smile will look like.)
7. A child who loves geography, math, science, reading, art, coin collecting, cats, and the Ravens
9. Homemade applesauce with warm milk atop
10. A new and very good hairdresser
11. 12-grain bread
12. Barb's sandhill plum with jalepeno jelly
13. Learning to make sandhill plum jelly (finally!)
14. People who aren't afraid to speak truth to me
15. Laughing at really low-budget movies with Ben and Dee
16. Hearing stories from Sarah's kindergartners
17. Foot rubs
18. Finding a thread of hope amidst a tapestry of despair
19. Heating pads
20. Protection in myriad forms
21. Newborn sweetness
22. Watching my nephew interact with his newborn son and hearing him tell his wife, "You know you're my hero!"
23. Movable joints
24. Healing of Joel's fractured growth plate
25. Pronto Provencal soup (which I will post if anyone wants it. It's time consuming--ie less "pronto" and more "Provencal" but totally worth the effort.)
26. "Holy Temple Holiness Church of Deliverance, Batman!" and other things that crack me up
27. not seeing any end in sight of blessings to be grateful for

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Funny Email

My dad forwarded this to me:

The economy is so bad that:

I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

I ordered a burger at McDonald’s and the kid behind the counter asked, “Can you afford fries with that?”

CEO’s are now playing miniature golf.

If the bank returns your check marked “Insufficient Funds,” you call them and ask if they meant you or them.

Hot Wheels and Matchbox stocks are trading higher than GM.

McDonald’s is selling the 1/4 ouncer.

Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children’s names.

A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico .

Dick Cheney took his stockbroker hunting.

Motel Six won’t leave the light on anymore.

The Mafia is laying off judges.

Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.

Congress says they are looking into this Bernard Madoff scandal. Oh Great!! The guy who made $50 Billion disappear is being investigated by the people who made $1.5 Trillion disappear!

And, finally…

I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc., I called the Suicide Lifeline. I got a call center in Pakistan, and when I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited, and asked if I could drive a truck.