Monday, April 30, 2007

18 days-Yes, I'm counting!

Eighteen more DAYS!!!! Eighteen MORE days!!!! EIGHTEEN more days.

Remember (those of you who were there) the communication speaker we had last summer who put the emphasis on each word to change the meaning of the sentence:
I did not say your mother was stupid.

If you were not there just give it a try. Put the emphasis on the red words. Say it out loud!

I did not say your mother was stupid.
I did not say your mother was stupid.
I did not say your mother was stupid.
I did not say your mother was stupid.
I did not say your mother was stupid.
I did not say your mother was stupid.
I did not say your mother was stupid.
I did not say your mother was stupid.

Well, I thought that was a great illustration of communication.
But no matter how you say it,
it is still....EIGHTEEN MORE DAYS!!!!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Enchanted Rock

What a wonderful day we had Saturday at Enchanted Rock.
The weather was perfect for the climb. At the top of the rock, the view was wonderful. We could see for miles and it all looked good. From the distance all the green tree tops mesh together and the bare ground is not visible. Pools of water reflect the sky and you can not see the stinky stuff in it. People are like little ants walking around. It creates a very nostalgic view of the world, sort of a Charles Wysocki look.

I really enjoyed watching my oldest grandson's enthusiasm for the climb. At the start of the trek up the rock he was pretty close to my side but as the climb became more difficult and steep, he got ahead with some of the other younger members of our climb. The distance between us widen as time went on. I'm sure I took more breaks than he did. He made it to the top of the rock several minutes before me and was jubilant, completely animated. A few dogs made the climb with their owners and seemed no worse for the wear.

It was a great time of reflection.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Grass Burrs: How Close is too Close

Here is the first of my lessons. It is the condensed version I will use in class.
I wanted to test it out on you. Sorry it is so long.

Burning the trash was a routine chore at our home. Living in the country meant no trash pick up and burn piles a little distance from the house. That responsibility fell on me most of the time because my children were too young and my husband too busy. I never resented the chore but some days it took a number of trips to get all of the trash out to the burn pile.

Although grass had been planted around the house it still had not grown in completely and weeds grew between the clumps of grass. Just beyond the grass in the yard the most prevalent crop growing was that of grass burrs. Even the youngest in the family knew how painful it was to step on the grass burrs. All had been warned to put on shoes before going outside to play.

Although we worked aggressively to extinguish the offensive weeds grass burrs continued to creep in among the grass especially toward the edge of the yard. At first the green blades looked harmless and uprooting the aggressive plants could be postponed until a later day when I was wearing the proper shoes or gardening gloves but in a coming days the seeds formed undetected, dried and dropped their seeds into the moist soil, sprouted and began to grow for the cycle to begin again.

After a day's work cleaning I was hot and tired. The trash had been piled by the back door until I finished cleaning and could carry the trash out to the burn pile. I had pulled off my shoes and now I was barefoot and wanted to finish up quickly before beginning supper. I decided that I could walk carefully out to the trash pile and watch for the grass burrs thus avoiding their painful barbs. Arms loaded with the trash I stepped out into the yard and walked out past the grass. Slowly dragging my feet carefully like my sister had taught me when we were children, I was pleased with every step I took successfully landing on safe ground. Just a few yards from my goal the first barb pierced my foot and as I winced and jerked in pain, another barb pierced my foot. Jerking again, trying now to balance myself with my arms full of trash and grass burrs in my feet I carelessly stepped outward finding more grass burrs that stung and pierced yet again. I looked around at where I stood and found that the grass burrs like sin surrounded me on all sides. There was no place to go but back to the safety of the yard like back into the arms of the Father.

How had I gotten here?

Looking now across to the grassy area several yards back I would never have ventured out into this unsafe territory unprotected had I known where I would end. Returning was a difficult but not an impossible journey. Everywhere I stepped landed in the painful barbs. I could not seem to right my wrong until finally I dropped the trash, picked out the grass burs and made my way back to the grassy yard.

Sadly this is the attitude we have toward temptation and sin. Pride lulls us in with a false sense of security and confidence in our ability to overcome evil. We place ourselves in sinful situations but justify that we are not acting in a sinful nature. We get as close as we can and ask ourselves, “How close to sin can I get without being affected by it?”

The society we live in has become desensitized to offensive language and violence and seemingly has lost their sense of morality. Although we may not be using the offensive language or engaging in immoral activities the seed planted in our brains, given the proper conditions will sprout and begin to emerge.

We are lulled into a false security that we can walk amidst temptation and never fall prey to it. We dine with the devil but think we will not befriend him. But more times than not we find that we are reeled in slowly like the devil’s catch for the day.

Life Lessons I Learned in my Garden

I accepted the challenge of teaching a lesson in the Wednesday night ladies' class at my mother-in-law's urging and my sister-in-law's encouragement. How could I say no? Even though I am comfortable in the classroom teaching on a daily basis teaching a ladies' class is very intimidating.

What can I offer a class of older women that will be appropriate and relevant to their lives? What can I offer this diverse group of women who have been strong Christian women for more years than I have lived.

Then it came to me. I have to teach something that touches me. Jesus taught in parables why don't I use some of my lessons I have learned from my garden. When I emailed my sister with this idea she had just the devotional book for me, The View from Goose Ridge by Cheryl Bostrom. Her devotionals are inspired by her gardens and events in her gardens.

Life lessons can be found in most anything. Jackie with her horses. Me with my gardens.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Communing with Nature

Another beautiful day to commune with nature.

I have been piddling in the yard this morning. I can not get too involved because for some reason there are no gardening tools here. Hum-m. Must be at the shop in town. I need to make sure they get back to their rightful place in our garage.

Instead of giving my grandchildren tons of chocolate for Easter I gave them zinnia seeds and peat pots and potting soil along with gardening gloves and just a little bit of chocolate. Children need to be taught to love nature. They are so busy having fun they can just miss out. Last night I got a call from Leann. Excitedly she told me how she and the kids planted their peat pots and have cultivated them and now the seeds are emerging. She and the boys are excited over it. It warms my heart.

When I was a little girl my mother loved her flowerbeds and I watched as her plants grew and impatiently waited for the blooms on her Lady's Slippers or Sweet Williams or whatever else she had planted. I remember in the cool of the morning when I would wake up she would be outside piddling in the flowerbeds. As soon as I would see her outside I would scamper out there because I loved her flowerbeds. Sometimes she planted beans and tomatoes in the garden and I loved to eat the beans.

One year she gave me pinto beans to plant in the flowerbed. She went out with me and in a little spot in the flowerbed where nothing else was planted she helped me clear the soil and plant the beans. I watched them and watered them daily and when it came time to pick the beans I took in a small handful of beans. I remember the look of surprise on my mother's face. She had forgotten all about the bean plants in the flowerbeds. The little handful was not enough for a pot of beans but after a few days we had enough for a pot full and they were the best beans I ever ate I thought. I was so proud.

Now years later I am so thankful I was taught to love nature. It represents serenity and peace to me. The garden is a perfect place to look back on your day or your life, problems are put into perspective and it is the perfect place to draw near to God.

Interesting, wasn't it a garden where Jesus poured out his heart and soul in prayer before he went to the cross?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Letting it Go

What do you do to relax?

After a stressful day testing at school I take the kids outside so we can feel the cool breeze, listen to the sounds of nature and draw. When I am at home I just want to put my feet up with snacks at my side and something quietly entertaining on tv. I am content not to talk....I just want to be still and quiet and let the day silently pass away.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Day at the Beach

I am nearly finished with the beach painting. Overall I need to add more details and contrast. One boy's face is not detailed but there. Another boy's face is not even there. I found a mistake in proportions while I was drawing it and had to wipe it out and will start it over again but at least, I found the mistake before I finished it.

Yeah! I am nearly finished with it and am playing with the idea for the next painting.

The Countdown

28 more days!

I think I can deal with 28 more school days with students. This has been a stressful year for me. For the most part of the year I felt my job was in transition. With a new superintendent we have had some restructuring and it took it's toll on my position. There have been good times and bad times. My notorious sixth period class has finally begun to settle down and actually try to learn something. For the last six weeks just for me to survive the class I have put together drawing exercise booklets that we are working from and we are now doing Friday competitions. Their drawings have improved 100% in just a couple of weeks. The real trick is just a change in their attitudes.

Attitude is so important. What can we accomplish with simply a change of attitude.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Woman of Leisure

I love to have a full day all to myself. Is that selfish?

Even if my day is spent in trivial pursuits just trying to maintain a house or prepare for company it is fun not to be on a rigorous schedule of a job. I think that I will enjoy retired life if I ever get to retire. Right now, retirement is only a dream. It seems there are more and more places for the money to go.

I was talking to Daniel and my parents the other day. In the middle of all as far as age is concerned, me 53, Daniel 25 and my parents up in their 70s. Daniel had asked something about my early hours. I made the statement that I want to use every minute. I do not want to waste any of my time. I rise early and I don't mind going to bed late if I am working on something. I wake up during the night. I get up.

Daddy sat listening quietly then said, "You'll get over that."

I guess I will. On days like today, I have wasted my time, hesitating to smell the clean sheets as I snapped them in the air, lingering in the nursery looking at the newest assortment of plants on the shelves, searching the shelves at Walmart for just the right little thing to give the kids for Easter, checking my plants for new signs of life emerging from their seeds, marveling at the yellow and purple irises blooming in my yard I am a woman of leisure.

I think I like it.

Thanks, Linda for the comfort verse. Thought I would share it.
Isaiah 41:13
"For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Johnny Appleseed in Me

I must be a distant relative of Johnny Appleseed.

It must be so because my mother does the same thing as I do. We are gatherers and rooters. She plants acorns and mountain laurels and Esparanzas and all sorts of other things. She roots cuttings of crepe myrtles and dozens of other plants.

My sister roots plants in zip lock bags filled with humus or else roots cuttings in jars of water and gets new plants from her old ones. I'll bet there is a jar of cuttings sitting in her window seal right now--remnants of her home in Athens she left behind.

I can not pass up an opportunity to pick off the dried seeds from a pretty plant at the zoo, a college, an eating establishment or wherever else I will find seeds. Leann did shame me when I picked off the spent zinnia bloom in the nursery but I just knew that plant would have looked prettier without the dead flower on it and thought I could benefit from the dead flower to boot. And if it makes Leann feel any better I must have placed the bloom in a bag and then lost track of the bag and never got to plant the seeds.

Last year on one of my expeditions to find beads for my crosses Caleb and Jennifer and I were eating outdoors at Taco Cabana and I spied the dates in a date palm tree. I had Caleb stand in his chair and stretch to pick off the dates for me. He could only reach four of the seeds. I have two little palms in pots from that expedition.

Recently on a trip through San Antonio we met Leann at Taco Cabana and I spied a palm tree loaded with tons of dried dates-perfect for picking and just the right height and when I reached out to touch one the whole dead stem loaded with the seeds just broke off and fell into my hands. What luck!! Now I have 87 little palms rooting in my studio.