Four reasons to be thankful -
- and I am!


Setting Out Bulbs

Putting bulbs in the fall is like giving yourself a gift. Especially for me, since I tend to forget everything about the garden beds over the course of the fall and winter, spring flowers are always a wonderful, colorful surprise!
My Wonderful Husband is also my Yard Man - glory to God! He takes over the tasks that require extended bending, crouching and/or reaching, all in the interest of my freaky back problems. (Thank You, Yard Man!) So, after puzzling about which end is supposed to be UPward facing*, and consulting the bag and tag, he placed them in a 4 inch trench.
Aren't they full of promise and hope? That something so dry and dead looking will eventually produce beautiful blue spring blooms - now that's amazing!
"...the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being." Romans 1:20 
The sign is likely to be trampled by men or eaten by the dog, but hopefully it will remain through the fall and winter to remind me of the pleasures to come - sky blue lilies!
*  plant most bulbs by scooching with the widest part DOWN into the soil, leaving the smallest part pointing UP at the sky


Sunday Nap

I love Sunday Afternoon Naps...
when I get to have one!

(sloth photo taken at the Cincinnati Zoo while playing the 'Animals Look Like People Game'...)


Animals Look Like People

Homeschooling allows me to do some really fun stuff, currently with My Youngest, in the name of education. Doing school at the zoo is one of those. Spending the day exploring the animal kingdom and finding new wonders of His handiwork is certainly not sloughing off. I have a hard time resisting adding 'tasks' to the day: find five adjectives in sign text and list them, find a sign you'd like to keep as information and copy it (see poor boy below), take three photographs from an unusual point of view, list five animals from South America....on and on - I can make up task after task! Much to the annoyance of my companion.
For myself, I get a great day out of the zoo every time. Since our zoo is also a botanical garden, I get to enjoy gardens, plant tags and wide sweeps of colorful bloom! I love the entertainment of people watching, especially when toddlers are involved. In the name of solidarity, I do the same school tasks that My Youngest is busy with - I sketch, copy, photograph and search for the right part of speech on every sign. Inside my head, though, there's another game going on ---some of those Animals Look Just Like People. I try not to involve My Youngest in the pastime of recognizing familiar folks as played by zoo animals: "Look at that, son! That naked mole rat looks just like your Cousin Benji!" (of course, he does NOT have a Cousin Benji)

What new baby in the church nursery have you seen lately that looks just like this bonobo babe? You know it's true!

How about its mother? Have you not seen this same blank, bewildered stare on one of those moms killing time at a McDonald's playland?

Could this be a teenager you are familiar with putting on all his cool to impress his friends?
His life in the jungle display is sooooo booooring!

You've got to click on this photo to enlarge - that face! The lips! Those eyes cutting sideways...
I will refrain from telling you where I've seen this (ahem) 'person'.

Lest you think only monkeys or apes can be players in the Animals Look Like People Game, have you met this elderly gentleman at church recently? Maybe in the pharmacy line at the local drugstore? I have.



An interesting conversation had on the way to church, just My Youngest and myself, teens and husband in separate car for (dangerous)driving practice:

Mom, what does 'wife' stand for?

Sorry, what?

What does 'wife' stand for? I know the F stands for female, and the E is for envertebrate, but what about the W and the I? (add the word invertebrate to his spelling/definitions list....)

Hmmm....... How about if you think about it all the way to church, and I'll tell you when we get there? (simply can't resist dragging this conversation all the way out)

OK. W ------- uuummmmm, willing? Yeah, maybe that. I ------- hmmmm......incompetent? Is that it mom, incompetent???

(swerving) Do you know what that means, son?

No, but it sounds like it might be right....

(yes, very possibly right...)

It means useless, not able to perform a job correctly, not skilled....

OOHH. OK, hahahahahahahahaha, then not that, Mom.

I had to give up then and tell him that wife is a word of it's own, not an acronym, WIFE, as he was thinking, like FBI or NASA. He got a huge kick out of the swerve and the new, now never-to-be-forgotten definition of the word incompetent.


Thyroid Scan

The scanning machine at the hospital :
(thanks, google images)
These are the images that appear on the technician's screen as the machine slowly,
oh so slowly, passes over your body:
(more google images - not me)
How thankful I am to have gotten a clean scan - third year in a row!

Psalm 35:18
I will
give You thanks in the great congregation; I will praise You among a mighty throng.


The Hobo

I know that Halloween is long gone, and some of us have already moved on to enjoy the Christmas season...

But I want to share a photo of My Youngest which keeps catching my eye when I'm scrolling through the cache. He was a hobo for Halloween, which was something we often dressed up as when we were kids ourselves. We lived rurally, just as my family does now, and Halloween costumes were not something we thought about preparing until the day of --- or the night before, if we got really excited. Big neighborhood trick-or-treating didn't happen for us, so it wasn't something we obsessed about. We only envied our friends their pillowcase-FUL candy wealth and their tales of door-to-door glory from the big night as they were being shared on the bus the next morning.

Anyway, we did get to go to a few houses out here in the boonies, and on arriving home from school after our Halloween school party, we'd ask desperately, "What can I be???" Standard reply: hobo or gypsy. No plastic masks or nylon costumes required! Supplies at the ready in the house! Just a little effort and off we'd go.

That's not exactly how it went for my boy, the only one still willing to dress up and go trick-or-treating.
I'd bought this mask, actually labeled 'Fool', at Walmart as soon as the Halloween stuff went on the shelves. I buy some masks and disguise items every year, just for fun and games around the house. Last year, it was an Old Man latex mask along with an Elvis pull-over mask. So he had alot to choose from, but went with this newest mask, renamed 'Hobo'. In the company of his cousins (Storm Troopers - with plastic masks and nylon costumes), he got to canvas a whole neighborhood, door-to-door with the other fools, and he got .............. a pillowcase-FUL of candy (hanging from the end of his hobo stick) and a lot of laughs about his costume.


"That Healthful Shore"

This song, again on my iPod, ministered to me this morning as I was getting ready to go begin a series injections/pills in preparation for my yearly thyroid cancer scan this Friday. During this same week, in '07, '08, and this year too, I am reminded of the fraility of our lives here in this place. As I sit with others in the very small waiting room of University Hospital's Nuclear Medicine Department, sneaking peeks into the faces of the others waiting with me, it is easy to be highly aware that no guarantee is given to us on the length, or even the quality of life while we are still on this side of "Jordan's stormy banks". I do have a guarantee on what I have to look forward to, though, but it's not over here - it's over there. Not because of anything I have done to deserve it (absolutely nothing) but only because of what Jesus did on my behalf!

The photo copy above only has three verses, but in the original writing by Mr. Stennett, there were eight. I like this one, especially this week:
No chilling wind nor poisonous breath
Can reach that healthful shore
Where sickness, sorrow, pain and death
Are felt and feared no more

You can listen to the Jars of Clay version that I've been enjoying, here. Just drag down to the titles section and click the play arrow of "On Jordan's Stormy Banks I Stand".

For further study of this hymn (or other hymns), along with a nice history of it, go to this blog.


Pods to Share

Plump purple pods -
Now frosted and all dried up -
Anybody want some seed pods for next year's hyacinth bean vine?
I've got plenty to share!


Monkey Bread

This breakfast treat is a family favorite, saved only for special occasions. Recently, on My Oldest Son's birthday, this was what he was willing to wait for as his choice for special breakfast - Monkey Bread. A dear friend during high school and college taught me to make this sweet bread, and we ate more than our fair share during those years. I carried the recipe into marriage and then into motherhood, and my guys get excited when I get out the bundt pan! hahahaha
We were all shocked to see this in the freezer section, actually called "Monkey Bread" - how could this obviously homemade wonder be in the freezer case in a box??

In a pan, melt together and stir occasionally:
1 stick butter or margarine
3/4 cup brown sugar
Then, in a separate bowl, combine:
2 tubes of biscuits, each biscuit cut into quarters
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
cinnamon to taste
Dump melted mixture over the sugared biscuit pieces and stir to combine gently. Don't over stir, since the biscuit pieces will lose their shape.
Bake at 350 degrees in a well-greased bundt pan until the top looks nicely browned - around 30 minutes or so. Allow to cool just a few minutes, then turn the bread out onto a greased plate, or a plate covered with wax paper. (just to save scrubbing ... for those of us surviving without dishwashers)
As soon as it's cooled enough, you can dig in!

(Some I know add nuts to this - yum!)



I felt as light as this bubble leaving the Women's Wellness Center (Mashing Mammo Station) yesterday. What they had found six months ago was smaller, instead of larger, and I was allowed to walk away with no further tests recommended! Dear Husband and I waited together for the radiologist to read the images and report on the findings - if you ever had to wait in The Room, you'd be glad to have this man with you. Somehow, he makes it all seem funny and easy. Lots of joke material was available, since I was still in my pink, velcro, examination shirt. He is certainly the Lord's richest gift to me!

Many, many thanks for prayers you may have sent my way, and all the encouraging words! I'm sure glad that's over!

The Lord is my chosen and assigned portion, my cup; You hold and maintain my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good heritage.

Psalm 16:5-6


THE Fall Day

We had the nicest weather this past Friday. It was The Fall Day - the one when you know that it's probably the last day for beautiful leaves on the trees, the last day you could possibly go barefoot, right? I made it outside for a little while to take some photos and even shot a short video of the wind blowing the leaves away.
The Japanese maple through the sweet gum tree with a yellow maple in the foreground -
Sweet gum prickly balls (that's what we call them) with the banner grass in the background - thanks, Tammy, for that grass!
Sweet gum leaves close-up. Just like stained glass!
[BTW, all the swine flu seems to be gone from our house, and no one else has come down with it --- so far!]


Something Looming

Something is following me around. I'm trying not to dwell on my upcoming mammogram, but every now and then, it reaches out to tap me on the shoulder and smile grimly at me from the corners of its eyes by way of reminder. Maybe as I'm picking up the kids from school, getting clothes out of the dryer, or today on the drive to church. My stomach clenches up, and I have to turn my care over to the Lord again. He takes it and reminds me that all my days are written in His book; that His plans for me are to prosper me and not to harm me; that He is willing to be my front and rear guard. The worrying knowledge of the upcoming appointment fades into the background then, and I can continue with my day, or night. Even as I let myself think about it right now, I feel the tension knot in my belly. Wish I could say that I can't wait for it to be over, but I don't even have that! It's just looming out there on Tuesday, and I'd do almost anything to escape having to take this test.

I'm going to keep holding on to the One who is holding on to me.