Wednesday, June 30, 2010
But yesterday Whiner came to visit and when he visits he wants to make full use of his time and insists on plenty of pats on the heads and scratches behind the ear.
Whiner is very polite about asking for attention. Who can resist such good kitty manners?
So a scratch behind one ear. With plenty of dutiful application...none of this "one little pat" stuff. Whiner insists on full attention by leaning into the touch.
Now a pat behind the other side of the head. Whiner leans into the other side. He does not remain still for a moment and so it is very difficult to photograph him.
Whiner finally sits quietly. But only for a moment. Then he insists on more scratches. He's like that. Whining around for "More!" "More!" Why do you think they call him Whiner?
Finally he is satisfied and plops himself down on the grass which is cool from the evening shade. He surveys the neighbor's yard and wonders if he should go ask Joyce for a pet, too. He doesn't. Instead he follows me to the deck and looks through the patio door at me, wondering if I will come out and play some more. But I have other things to do, so I stick my hand out for a couple more pats and tell Whiner that I really must get back to things inside the house. Besides, the mosquitoes are out even though the city is spraying for them. I do not like mosquito bites.
Go Home, Whiner! Go Home! (said quite gently to this gentle kitty)
Last year this time I posted about how Whiner is called the $800 cat. And how he is not very good at guarding the cherry tree from robins. You can read that post here.
Whiner visited last year in June. This year's visit was in June. I hope he doesn't wait another year for the next visit. He's getting old. And so am I. 'Nuff said about that!
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Perhaps you are too young to remember black and white TV. And definitely too young to remember Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and their horses, Trigger and Buttermilk. And, hence, you have no clue about the smartest and most beautiful horse in show biz. So here's the info....
Roy Rogers' famous horse Trigger died in 1965 one day short of 31 years old. It seemed a bit quirky to me that they had Trigger stuffed and put on display at the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum in Victorville, California. But I'm guessing visitors to the museum didn't question the oddness of that...their point in visiting was to see memorabilia and I guess Trigger had become "memorabilia". After starring in countless TV episodes and numerous movies, he was now just a stuffed animal. On display. Weird. Quirky. But museum worthy to fans of yesteryear's Hollywood westerns.
If you have a few extra dollars in your jeans pocket and a hankering for something unusual in your (very large) living room, trot on over to Christie's and place a bid. Trigger is estimated to fetch up to $200,000. And if you can't afford Trigger, his doggy companion Bullet is estimated to fetch $10-$15,000. A comparative bargain considering Bullet won't take up the space occupied by your sofa/coffee-table/end tables.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
I've been calling Tullian Tchividjian by his first name because frankly, up until today, I didn't know how to pronounce his last name. This morning I was paying better attention and see that he has included the pronunciation on his blog....as follows:
William Graham Tullian Tchividjian (pronounced cha-vi-jin)
This morning Tullian posted the words to the hymn, "O Great God" along with a link where you can hear it sung. Words below. Link to video here. I'm singing this hymn this morning...I hope you will, too.
Words and music are by Bob Kauflin who based this hymn on the prayer "Regeneration" from the book Valley of Vision: a Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions.
O GREAT GOD
O great God of highest heaven
Occupy my lowly heart
Own it all and reign supreme
Conquer every rebel power
Let no vice or sin remain
That resists Your holy war
You have loved and purchased me
Make me Yours forevermore
I was blinded by my sin
Had no ears to hear Your voice
Did not know Your love within
Had no taste for heaven’s joys
Then Your Spirit gave me life
Opened up Your Word to me
Through the gospel of Your Son
Gave me endless hope and peace
Help me now to live a life
That’s dependent on Your grace
Keep my heart and guard my soul
From the evils that I face
You are worthy to be praised
With my every thought and deed
O great God of highest heaven
Glorify Your Name through me.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
A gentleman and his son-in-law in the neighboring town won 1,000,000 smackeroos on the lottery yesterday. In a small town this is big, big news. Even after taxes the two men will each pocket $350,000. And, naw, I still won't go out and buy a ticket. Someone else will have to fund their winnings. (I surely do want you to know, however, that I do not begrudge this bit of good news for the winning ticket holders!)
Last night an on-going thunderstorm rumbled and mumbled and grumbled its way through the area. My coffee-cup-rain-gauge has disappeared off the deck (I think I drank coffee from it yesterday) and so I have no idea how much rain we got. But it rained...and thundered...and grumbled...all night long. Or so it seemed. I slept through most of it but remember in my mind the rumbles in the air. I must have been tired for it did not wake me up. This, too, is not bad news...although we could easily have a few days of dry weather to let the farm fields drain.
The sad news follows.
Up the road, in the city, a man is on trial for murdering a 3-year-old girl. For some reason the local paper is printing all the details of the testimony...how the parents found their little girl lying dead in her bed...what the nurse in the emergency room witnessed when she first saw the child...the extent of blood, injury, bruises, etc. It's ghastly. It's bad enough that this has happened...it's horrible that now the details are being put forth in a manner that everyone will visualize in their minds the awfulness of this child's death.
We think to ourselves...how can an adult human being do something like this to a child? How can they DO that? What is in their minds? What? What? What? My mind reels with the awfulness of it.
I shake my head and remember that sin prevails in this world. Until sin is done away with, until death is no more, there will be this kind of thing happening in this world.
May justice prevail. Now. And at the last day.
I Cor. 15:55-57
"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?"
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Then there are "Christian" fiction such as the Left Behind series. When the first book in the series came out it seemed that all my friends were well acquainted with them. And so I borrowed the first volume from the church library. I made it through two chapters before I put it down, never to pick it up again.
The Left Behind series has since grown to sixteen volumes of fiction. And I emphasize the word "fiction". I am glad I have not read them. I do not want my Biblical knowledge messed up with the things of these books. First, I do not agree with the authors' eschatology (the study of the end times). And if I do not agree with their eschatology how can I affirm all else that they write? And why in the world would I look to them for answers that I can find in the Bible? And if I am willing to spend the time to read sixteen volumes, why not take that time to read and study the Bible itself? Do you know how much time it takes to read sixteen volumes?
In the 1970s I read two-thirds of the way through Hal Lindsey's Late Great Planet Earth. I did not agree with his eschatology, either, and when I got to that part in his book, I put it down, never to pick it up again. It's interesting to note that Lindsey predicted the end of the world would occur sometime in the 1980s. Well, guess what! It didn't. To my way of thinking that ends any prophetic authority on Lindsey's part. Why should I listen to him forty years later in regards to the end times when he loused it up the first time? Doesn't that put him in the category, surely close to the category, of having made a false prophecy? (If you like the guy, well, then I guess you like the guy.)
I once tried reading a Christian fiction book based on Rahab of the Old Testament. Rahab is mentioned in a few short verses and then her name appears again in the New. Because I was interested in Rahab and in the fact that she is honored by being named in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew, I thought I would enjoy the book. But again, I couldn't get past the first chapter or two. There was so much more "added" detail...superfluous things that were simply conjectures on the part of the author. I did not want my mind messed up with additional details that were just...well...just fiction.
My point is this...if you want to read more about the heroes/villains of the Bible, why not go to the Bible itself? Many people read through the Bible every year. Last year I availed myself of a chronological reading and really enjoyed it. (You do know, don't you, that the Bible is not printed in strict chronological order!?)
Or how about using a down-loadable program such as e-Sword to search names and phrases and which offers several commentaries as well!
I really like my NASB reference Bible because it helps me cross reference to other verses that help explain a particular verse or phrase.
I also like the ESV Study Bible and the ESV Classic Reference Bible, and the Reformation Study Bible.
I don't mind if you enjoy reading Christian fiction...I'm just outlining some of the reasons that I do not.
P.S. History channel offers programs on Bible subjects...I just want to say I do not consider them "history" nor do I see them as accurate in their convoluted surmisings of the things of the Bible. Just my humble opinion.
P.P.S. Lying in bed early this morning I'm thinking you probably think I read nothing but the Bible! Not true!
Books just finished:
Perelandra, 1944, C.S. Lewis (liked)
North to Freedom, Anne Holms (supposed to be inspiring but I found it a bit unreal)
On the Beach, 1957, Nevil Shute (Terrifying but interesting)
Large stack of gardening, cooking, decorating magazines purchased for 10 cents apiece at my neighbor's yard sale. (I cut out a lot of recipes and deco ideas.)
Kevin DeYoung's The Good News We almost Forgot.
A nifty 1888 hardback (original) I found somewhere at another yard sale, Short History of the Modern Church in Europe by John F. Hurst, D.D.
And Mayo Clinic: Guide to Women's Cancers (for obvious reasons)
And blogs...I read a lot of your blogs.
Friday, June 18, 2010
A train wouldn't be unusual...we have numerous coal trains go through town every night and every day. The engineer blows that whistle from one end of town to the other and you can hear that train rumble its way from south of us to north of us and then again from north to south as it heads back to Wyoming for more coal. It's amazing that I can sleep through the night and never hear those trains unless I happen to already be up and making a trip to the bathroom.
But this early morning, before sunrise, the roar was outside the window and it wasn't a train. A storm was blowing through town. Not a tornado storm. Just a heavy-duty horizontal wind.
I took a photo out the back window to try to show you how the wind was swirling the branches of our small trees but it's hard to capture wind in a photo. How do you do that? Wind is invisible...I must capture the moving branches...but my effort was to no avail.
I have a tip for you again today. It is this...."Rain before Seven, Over by Eleven.". Yep. This little storm will roar through town, drop a bit of rain, bluster and boast, and then dissipate into a quiet day. In order to be over by eleven, the storm must begin in the early hours of the morning. If it begins at midnight...nope...the saying will not necessarily hold true. But an early morning storm? Regardless of how boastful the storm might be, it will soon exhaust itself and move eastward to bother someone else. In our part of the country, in Western Iowa, the saying is true about 95 percent of the time.
Hoping your day is one of sunshine. Unless you need rain, of course. In that event, I hope your land gets needed moisture.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I think I was eating the stuff before you were born. And so was my Mom. And my Grandma. And so were Per Hansa and his wife, Beret, the main characters in O.E. Rolvaag's fiction, Giants in the Earth. (Per Hansa and his wife and family were Norwegian immigrants who settled in eastern South Dakota after having spent time in Minnesota.)
In 1949 our family was living on a small hill farm in western Iowa. We ate
The photo may be a different model than my Dad's Maytag, but it's similar. A belt ran from the wheel on the Maytag to a similar wheel on the grinder. When it wasn't powering the grinder, he had it hooked up to the wringer washer for our laundry. It made a very satisfying chuggy noise.
We were eating from the bottom of the barrel in 1949 when my mother cooked mush for cereal and then sliced the leftover mush and fried it for the next meal.
Mom says that when she was a child, growing up on the family homestead in Nebraska, cornmeal mush was often on the table. And when my Grandmother moved to California in the late 1940s she (Grandmother) vowed to never eat corn meal again. California was the new land of plenty and I'll bet she kept her vow.
As for Per Hansa and his wife, Berta, in Rolvaag's novel? They subsisted nearly a year eating only cornmeal every meal. For a treat, such as some child's birthday, she allowed them to sweeten it with a bit of sugar.
"Real" polenta is actually a popular food in Italian and other European cuisine. You can read more about polenta here. Alton Brown has a recipe and instructions here.
Now...that is, today...in our country, cornmeal mush has gone from poor man's food to a premium menu item in the finest restaurants. Go figure.
If you haven't tried polenta, think of Cream of Wheat, only in a yellow version with a corny taste. Or if you are from the South, think of Grits, made from white corn.
And You? What are YOU having for dinner tonight?
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Some blades work better than others. I like a serrated, curved edge. If you're a yard sale aficionado you can find great steak knives for a pittance.
Keep your favorite garden "steak" knife with your other garden tools. (I keep one in a flower pot near the back door, but this is NOT a good idea if you have small children living or visiting with you. In that case, keep it out of reach!!)
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Unless you've been following my blog for awhile, you may be unaware of the following:
1) I'm a lot older than most of my readers...except for my mom, who obviously is older than I. *waves hi to mom!*
2) I have ovarian cancer, diagnosed about 18 months ago.
3) I am well into my second series of chemo...carbo/taxol/Avastin... and hope to finish up with the heavy guns the last week in July. I'm thinking my Oncologist may have me continue on with the Avastin. He recently attended a conference in Chicago where results of a clinical trial show that continuance with Avastin has efficacy in extending "stability"...that means it extends the time of non-recurrence. It is not a cure. I'm all for extending time of non-recurrence. On the other hand every drug has it's risks...including Avastin. So I'm happy on one hand to have it available and I'm a bit apprehensive on the other hand as to whether the possible benefits outweigh possible risks.
4) My hubby, who has been bearing the brunt of being "caretaker" during this time has himself now been diagnosed with a major health problem. That means we both are looking at serious stuff in terms of treatment, well-being during and after treatment, and...if you wish to really know...in terms of the end of our lives.
Some of you, being younger, may look at us as "old" and therefore "naturally" close to the end of our lives. But from our perspective, we are still "young" relatively speaking! We have many friends and relatives who are much older than we, and who are still living stable, healthy lives...people who are happy and hale. So even though we may be "old" in your eyes, it is startling to be advised that we have suddenly shifted from "well" to having "serious health issues".
(Some of you, being younger, may be blissfully unaware that either of our two ailments can happen to people in your age bracket...the twenties, thirties, forties, etc. Please be advised that I have become acquainted with many of your age who are dealing with the same health issues with which we are dealing. Youth is not a safety net when it comes to the peculiarities of disease!)
I want to say this...during this time we have had to look at "life" and "death". We've looked at the "what-ifs" and the "whens" and the "why-fores". And I, at least, am astounded that we are moving through this with grace...a God-given grace that precludes anxiety or despair! We're certainly curious about it all, educating ourselves as to the ailments and the treatments, learning to eat in ways that enhance our daily lives, setting aside things that used to be "important", and recognizing a little more truly that "life here on earth is short".
We are almost, but not quite, surprised to be able to look back and see God's providential care (Divine Providence, if you please) through all of this. We see circumstances taken care of almost on their own...or at least in a sequence that has eased us through the past 18 months. Happenings that brought us to good health care and diagnosis at the right time. Responsibilities that were taken off our shoulders at the right moment. We have seen God's providential care for us in all of this. We rest easy in His care.
I'm not saying this past year and a half has been without concern or fret. We (at least I) have been forced to look carefully at our faith, at the promises of Scripture, at the hope we have in Christ. I've been forced to bend my knee in prayer, bowing down to God through all of this. And I have had to conclude that it is not about me. It is all about Christ. It is not about us. It is all about the good and perfect will of God.
I've been reminded of such words as Job's "Even though he slay me, yet will I trust him".
And Isaiah 43:2 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you: and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you."
This past couple weeks I've begun reading through Kevin DeYoung's book on the Heidelberg Catechism. Question #1 in that catechism is "What is your only comfort in life and in death?" The answer to that question could be summed up in "I belong fully to Christ and He provides all that I need, both here and now, and in the hereafter. That is the ultimate comfort in life. And it is the ultimate comfort as we go into death.
The Heidelberg Catechism itself includes scripture references below each question/answer (DeYoung's book does not include the scriptures) and I've been reading each of those scriptures. They remind me and reassure me of the good promises of God. Scriptures such as: (You can hover your cursor over each scripture to read them.)
I Cor. 6:19-20
I John 1:7-9
I John 2:2
John 6:39-40 (I love this one!)
John 10:27-30 (and this one as well!)
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (this one!)
2 Corinthians 5:5
Ephesians 1:13-14 (and this!)
My prayer for you is that you know and understand that our salvation is found in the work of Christ...and that you understand more fully each day the promise of God's providential care for those who are His. This is where true comfort lies.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Still...it was quite exciting when I was recently approached by Marina and Daryl of Quilt Inspiration asking for permission to include a couple of my shirt quilts in today's article on quilts from recycled clothing. (This quilt is not shown there but two others are.)
Their previous articles have impressed me in terms of scope, creativity, and effort! They have spent considerable time researching, gathering, writing. So when they asked if they could feature a couple of my quilts, I fell on the floor and nearly begged, "Oh, please do!" Not wishing to grovel, however, I managed to remain calm. And while I can't remember how I worded my emailed response, I'm certain it was full of graceful decorum...they had no clue I was reaching up from the floor to type my email.
So if you love quilts (or if you are just plain curious) go to their article posted today..."Waste not, want not; Quilts from reclaimed clothing". You will be amazed at the creativity of today's quilters.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
My friend and her hubby run a small clinic in a small town that caters to health situations of a particular dimension. They have a small staff of four or five who have been with them for a long time and who are like family to them. Most of their patients are elderly and on Medicare.
My friend and her hubby are several years past retirement age themselves. They plan to shut down their clinic when he turns seventy next year. In the meantime they no longer are taking on new patients. And, why? Because payments for patients on Medicare have been reduced 21.3 percent.
As my friend says...their rent has not been reduced nor have their staff salary expenses been reduced.
They tried selling their clinic to a group of physicians from a nearby city but the group declined to take on a small clinic 30 or 40 miles from their main office. The doors will be shut. Patients will need to drive 30 to 40 miles to another doctor.
I don't know the answers in regards to national health care. I'm just sharing this one little anecdote. I wish it were an easy scenario but it is not.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
So I wandered around a bit, looked him up, and remembered, "Oh, of coursed! Mr. Kracker is his pseudonym...or is Mr. Kracker his REAL name and Bill Hess his pseudonym." Aw, Shucks. Mystery!
At any rate, Mr. Kracker, aka Mr. Hess, aka Bill of Wasilla, loves cats. And so today's short post is for Mr. Kracker. (Or is it Mr. Hess?)
Years ago, almost 25 years ago, my daughter and I lived in a small apartment on the second floor of a large home. Our windows looked out into the trees, making for a tree-house feeling. At that time it was a good place for us to live. We had a third resident, a gray tiger kitty called "Mouse". No other name seemed to fit her grayness. Mouse was a good companion to my daughter and amongst other games, would play fetch with marbles rolled down the long hallway.
Daughter and I made the mistake (happenstance) of visiting the pet shop in the mall where we just had to stop and pet the kitties. One gray-and-white had a six-toed genetic variation on its front paws. We were smitten. Smitten with the kitten! The owner assured us this was a male kitten. This was important because neutering a male would be cheaper than spaying a female and we were on a tight budget at the time. Even buying the kitten was outside of our weekly budget. But we fell for this kitty. We fell hard. And so we brought it home.
We named the kitty Paddy Paws. (The name should have been Paddy Polydactyl Paws.) We took the kitten to our local vet to follow up with any remaining shots and to inquire when we should bring "him" in for neutering. The vet, too, named this kitty a "he".
Paddy Paws was darling. Paddy Paws loved playing. Paddy Paws even seemed to get along well with Mouse. But Paddy Paws never learned (refused) to use the litter box. Our apartment was small and we did not want to deal with a second litter box. And we did not know how to keep Paddy Paws from sneaking through a small hole behind the bathtub and using the attic space for a toilet. (I never told our landlord!)
So Paddy Paws had to go (pun intended) and where better to go than to the farm where we had acquired Mouse. Farmer and his wife already had plenty of kitties, some of which were house cats and the others well-fed barn cats. All were well attended and we knew Paddy Paws would be safe there.
Paddy Paws showed that vet a thing or two. SHE had several litters of kitties in her short life. Most of them exhibited the six-toe gene. Sadly, along with the mutation she passed on a "short life" gene of some sort. Paddy Paws lived only a few short years. One day her owners found her out on the lawn where she had gone to sleep and never woke up.
Her kittens, too, seemed to die young, even though all were well fed and received appropriate vet attention at various times in their lives. (Not all polydactyl cats are short-lived but for some reason she and her kittens seemed to have this problem.)
I talked to Mr. Farmer a few years back and he said all the neighbors were experiencing six-toed kitties amongst their litters. One or more of Paddy Paws' descendants were toms, and in farm country, toms venture from farm to farm doing what toms do.
And that's my story for the day.
As for Mr. Bill Hess (I think that's his pseudonym and I'm certain Grahamn Kracker is his REAL name)...well, he has a photo on the front page of yesterday's Anchorage Daily News). Click here to read more.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Sorry...I borrowed that line from Debby. Keep reading.
The summer months must be busy ones for most of us. I've noticed that many of my fellow bloggers are skipping days, writing short posts, bemoaning their lack of words. The truth is, we're enjoying summer.
Except for Debby, who is slugging it out trying to keep her nose above water while taking a summer class in Anatomy and Physiology...at least I think that's the class...A&P. With the pressure of school, job, home, she's getting delusional. This week she spotted a penguin in a tree while driving down the highway. In Pennsylvania, no less! I don't know what to say about that except that she just finished up a psych class and I'm certain that had nothing to do with the penguin sighting.
As for me? Last night I had one of those recurring dreams. In the dream I am getting dressed to be somewhere important and I'm rummaging through the closet trying to find something to wear. I find plenty of clothes but they are either dirty or one size too small. Last night I found several nice skirts, none of which were familiar and none of which fit!
And what is this important event that I'm attending? This morning I'll be spending four hours in a recliner while Nurse D administers a series of drugs. Carboplatin. Paclitaxel. Avastin. Plus several more drugs that prevent nausea, fever, allergic reaction. Plus the Benedryl. Which knocks me out for the duration of the four hour infusion. I don't worry about sleeping the night before because I know I'll get a good rest in the chemo chair.
Other things are happening in our lives, of course. Granddaughter M visited from Oregon and brought Great-grandson Marcus. He plans to play baseball in college and told his mom he needed a glove so he could start practicing Now! I've seen some little kid-size gloves but never one so small (and so cute!)
As for my reading of Kevin DeYoung's The Good News We Almost Forgot, I'm enjoying it very much. I'll post about it soon. So keep tuned.