Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Day 21: Questions, questions

I picked this big boy up from school this afternoon, and when he stepped out the door of his school, I almost didn't recognize him.  


For one, he was in his war paint.  

Second, he's growing like a weed!  

We went to the grocery after school,  and he was very attentive to the items on the shelves.  

Always curious and asking questions, that boy.  

He asks "why" a lot. I remember being that way-still am, I guess.  

According to Gretchen Rueben's book profiling personality types, I'm a questioner. 

Ha! Who knew?

And apparently Clay is too.  

He's gone home with his momma now, and my thoughts have turned to which cookies I want to bake for the holidays this year.

Why?  I have no idea why I'm wondering that already, when I haven't bought the first gift, card, or hung the first bough-or bow.

But I'm thinking I want to make gumdrop cookies this year.

Why?  Because I ate some once, years ago, and I've been craving them ever since.

Why?  Because they were sweet and chewy.  Gumdrops by themselves, I can do without. Gumdrops in a cookie, however, taste pretty exotic.

So, I've been agooglin' to see what kind of gumdrop recipes there are out there, and I came across one featuring coconut, oatmeal, and gumdrops.

Now how could a gal go wrong with a recipe like that?

Maybe I'll report back later on how they taste. I'll bet Oaklee would help me test them.

Why?  Because she loves sweets even more than I do.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Day 20: Worn to a frazzle

I left the house this morning as the sun was rising on the hills across from my drive.  

The view was restful and calm, and I wished I had extra time to admire it while drinking my first cup of coffee. 

But, an early deadline loomed, and we had a larger than usual paper. 
I headed on out to work.
When I got there, the server was down.  Then I discovered our internet wasn't working. 
That's not how ya wanna start an early deadline day with a larger than normal paper, let me tell ya. 
But want to or not, that's how it began. 
It took an hour or two to work out all the technology bugs, and we began to churn out the pages. 

But man, it's been a long day. My muscles are burning with tension, and I'm not in the best of moods. 

Why is it that hard physical labor relaxes you, but brain work while seated wears you to a frazzle?
I could have dug a row of taters and not be this exhausted.

Anyway, we got 'er done. 
And I'm hoping for the chance to admire another beautiful frost in the morning. 

Maybe I'll eat some shredded wheat biscuits while I do. 

Don't these hay bales remind you of shredded wheat biscuits, or do I think too much about food? 

You don't have to answer that.  ;)

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Day 19: The Reckless Way of Love

I've been reading The Reckless Way of Love: Notes on Following Jesus by Dorothy Day. 

Dorothy Day was founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, and spent most of her adult life devoted to serving the poor and fighting for justice for those whom most might deem unimportant. 

I'd read about her in history books, (she was a little bit controversial because she challenged the status quo in both religion and politics), but this book is just short musings written by her about her own personal faith journey. 

Very spirit-enriching reading.  

She writes: "One must be humble only from a divine motive, otherwise humility is a debasing and repulsive attitude.  To be humble and meek for love of God-that is beautiful.  But to be humble and meek because your bread and butter depends on it is awful.  It is to lose one's sense of human dignity." 

Think about that.  What does it mean to be humble from a divine motive...for love of God?  

I think it means we are to respect everyone as a soul created by God.  There are no exceptions.

No matter how much money they have or how moral.  No matter how poor and immoral, they are worth much to God, so they should mean a little something to us. 

Dorothy Day deeply applied herself to living by those truths.  She fed the hungry and housed the homeless and spoke out against exploitation of the weak.  

But think about how humility can be a debasing and repulsive attitude.  

Have you ever met someone who wallows in their "humility" to the point that they seem a bit proud of it? 

Yeah, me too.  And it is debasing and somewhat repulsive.

Or, think about how undignified it must feel to be forced to be humble "because your bread and butter depends on it."  That's where the oppressed are coming from.  Not a good place to be. 

So, here are two realizations we need to be humble and meek.  1) We are all human, but we still matter.  2) We all mess up sometimes, but we still matter.

Nothing glamorous about it, but isn't that a reckless way to love?  

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Day 18: I think I'll just stay home.

I went to town this afternoon to take some pictures for the paper and did a little shopping while I was doing so.  It was fun walking from store to store on Main Street.  I vaguely remember doing that way back in the old days when I was just a kid.  

Back before towns got turned inside out, and all the businesses moved to the outskirts of town.

After several years of nearly all the buildings looking deserted on Main Street, it felt good to meet a few people on the street, to chat with the shopkeepers, to see the storefronts all decorated for Christmas.

Now, if there had been a few snow flakes blowing around, I think I might have caught the Christmas spirit.

I came home, squeezed in a walk before dark, then the hubs and I got an invite to go to town for a bite of supper with some neighbors.

                (Random photo that has nothing to do with my post, once again.) 

It's so convenient to have the option of visiting a good restaurant just minutes from home.  Otherwise, I'd probably have been like, meh...who wants to go to Richmond.  I think I'll just stay home.

And we did. We spent our time and dollars in our hometown.

I know.  It's crazy! But I like it.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Day 17: Clay meets his surgeon

When I saw this picture earlier today it absolutely squeezed my heart.

Clay had a check-up this morning with Dr. Draus (not sure if I spelled that right), the surgeon who operated on him time and time again during the first couple of years of his life.

The appointment went well, and Hannah said the doc was impressed with how well Clay is doing.

I remember waiting...and waiting...and waiting...during those surgeries. I remember the relief when Dr. Draus would come out and tell us the surgery went well.

I recall looking at his hands, those long slim fingers, and wondering how in the world people have the nerve to slice open little bodies and probe around inside them.

But just look at this.  It must feel like a million bucks to this doctor to see the fruits of his labor, his and many others.

It sure felt like a million bucks to me to see them smiling together.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Day 16: Be a person of value

I like quotes that make me think.  I came across this one in my journal, while I was obviously still in my pajamas.  

"Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value." Albert Einstein

The quote is attributed to Albert Einstein, but I think a lot of stuff is attributed to Einstein that he didn't say.  I have no idea if he said this or not, but it gave me pause. 

What's the difference in being a success and being of value?
Winning is usually considered being successful, but does winning make us valuable?  
To a professional sports team, yes, if money is the objective. 

But winning just for the sake of coming in first place? What does that get us?  Envy? (if we aren't the winner)  
Or arrogance (if we are)? 
Would we be more valuable if we helped someone win?  Or if we helped someone compete in the first place?  

Valuable.  Worth something, not necessarily money though.

"He ain't worth two cents."  
That usually means "he" is lazy.  Or tired, and only temporarily worthless.

I've said it myself: "I ain't worth two cents today." 
But my self-esteem is higher than that.  I think I'm worth more than that. 
Maybe not too much more, but a little bit more.

If something is of value, it's usually of substance, of good quality, dependable, reliable, etc. 
Real.  Not phony or plastic. Weighty. 

But what's wrong with being successful? I guess it all depends on how you define success. 

Some define it by how much they can acquire, or how often they can come out on top.   

Some define success by how much they can give.  

I met someone like that today.  Interviewed him for the paper.  His name is Santa Claus.  

Seriously!  Pick up next week's paper to read my exclusive interview with Jolly Old Saint Nick.  

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Day 15: Punkin' chunkin's

I've had a few pumpkins and cushaws lying around since I decorated with them at the end of September. Now that it will soon be time to undecorate for fall and put up Christmas stuff, I've been eye-balling those big gourds and thinking I ought not let them go to waste.

So, while I was cooking supper tonight, I put one of the smaller pumpkins in the oven on a cookie sheet and let the heat from the oven soften it up enough to cut it into chunks.

I scraped the seeds out to save to plant next year, then roasted the pumpkin pieces until they were fork tender.

I didn't get it done this evening, but my intention is to use some of it to make a pumpkin casserole.

To me, pumpkin casserole tastes pretty much like a crustless pumpkin pie.  I like it cold for breakfast with coffee.   And it's so easy!  Here's the super-simple recipe.

Pumpkin Casserole

You'll need:

2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar (I only use about a half cup. I have added a few spoonful of molasses too, which changes the flavor a bit.)
1/2 cup self-rising flour
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
Two pinches cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all the ingredients and spoon into a casserole dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

P.S. Was a good day for strolling with the dogs too.  And the girls. 

And for visiting with Dreamer.