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Live Richly, Live Free. Embrace All The Blessings From Our Creator and Marvel in His Creation.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What Is A Christian?

What is a Christian?

Carl was a quiet man. He worked hard all his life. He took good care of his family and kept to himself. Over the course of his life, he shied away from church. He said "it just wasn't for him". After drinking a beer one day in his basement, he bowed his head and acknowledged the Gift of God. Something supernatural happened and he started to slowly change, though he didn't mention it to anybody for quite some time.

Tina was a lonely wife. She felt isolated from her husband all too often. Though she knew God, she flirted with unhealthy relationships. Over time she began pursuing men in an unhealthy way and destroyed much of the peace in her family. After a while, she was too ashamed to go to church. She felt judged, but also used it as an excuse to fulfill her wrongful cravings. Her emotions often ruled her actions in an unhealthy manner. One day, she prayed, cried and asked God to forgive her. The next, she found herself with other men.

John received Jesus as a teenager. He was excited about church and evangelism for a time. As his high school years passed on, events caused him to begin hanging with the wrong crowd. A youthful spirit and the pride of life deceived him into pursuing that which looked appealing, but it's end, destruction. As more years passed he found himself addicted to alcohol and drugs. He still sensed God's presence, but he couldn't bring himself to shake his habits. They clung to him like a noose around his neck. Though he never quit believing, he felt too condemned to spend much time with people who he knew to be Believers.

Haily experienced an incredible experience. A leader in her ring of prostitutes, some one came and told her about Jesus. The encounter shook her very being and she prayed right there to receive Him. Excited, she told all her friends and associates. When she arrived at church that week, tears streaked down her face. She was so excited to be a part of something real. She found a seat right at the front of the church. She was ready to learn. That's when people around her began to whisper and stare. She swallowed with some apprehension, but having child like faith, she held her position, head up. Then an usher approached her piously. "You may not worship with us dressed in that attire. Please go home and change." Someone snickered. All eyes were on her. Suddenly the riveting love she had been high on seemed to dissipate. She felt the all familiar judgement and her old cynical nature told her she was a "sucker". "I'm never coming back here again" she whispered, almost blinded by the tears as she ran out the doors.

Gordon was a baby shaken at birth, though no one knew it. As he grew, it became apparent he would never function on his own. Despite his limited understanding, he could tie his shoes, count to five and preform very simple tasks. He lived in a group home until he suffered a stroke. After that, he lived in a nursing home. By then, he was even more a prisoner of his own body. He had to be fed, turned, changed and bathed. People had to dress him and lift him into a wheel chair where he stared blankly at the television much of the day. One day, as a nurse passed by, he felt the Presence of God. Though he couldn't express it, he felt something when she was around. She sometimes sang songs and when she did, he seemed to comprehend much more than he had before. With all that was within him, he reached for that supernatural force of love he sensed. One day she prayed for him and he felt something so wonderful happen. Despite the fact he was a prisoner in his own body, there was a friend there with him. He lived that last week much more peacefully.

Linda was a very religious woman. She was raised in church and attended the same congregation all her life. She always tithed and gave offerings. She had the pastor over monthly for Sunday dinner. Her husband was well known in the community and he served on the church board. Yes, Linda lived quite properly and looked down upon those outside her congregation. Linda was the first to spot Haily. She made it her business, to bring it to the attention of the usher that morning. She saw John one day in the grocery market buying beer. She recognized him. She approached him haughtily and with mock concern, pried for information which she later relayed to all her friends "to pray about". She also drove Tina away from the few women who tried to reach out to her. They were from another congregation she didn't approve of. Through manipulation and deceit she saw to it those women would not be recruiting Tina into their group. She also had a lot to say about John, though he was smart enough never to darken the doors of her church.

What Is A Christian?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Cat Peed on My Carrots (A Good Excuse To Eat Chocolate)

Cat urine...... That's what drove me to blogging this afternoon. After a taxing morning of getting up early, shooting a 3x3 buck, canning peach apple sauce, helping to process my daughters buck and trying repeatedly to explain the difference between a subject and a predicate to Art Dog, I was ready to relax. That's when I found cat urine on my lovely garden carrots. Well, they really weren't from my garden. As you know, I am garden challenged. No, they were a gift from a friend. There were just a few left along with one beet from outer space. I had been hording them and bringing out just a few each day or two. Wouldn't you know it, when I went to retrieve some today, they sported that distinct ammonia cat smell?! With that loss, I decided to make some chocolate pudding with Super Catman.
I also wanted to say a few words about being resourceful. If you're anything like me, you approach the grocery store with a sense of foreboding along with a little anticipation. You want to save money, but everything healthy seems out of your reach. So you settle with bringing ramen noodles to work...again. This is not the way to sow into your health. Neither is buying a cheap -n- greasy burger in place of a nice salad. There are ways to being healthy, if you choose to do so. Money (or lack thereof) is really not an excuse. Believe me, I've lived on extremely limited budgets many times. Where there is a will, there is a way.
Here are some examples :

Venison : Its a very healthy, chemical free, lean and organic meat. I can hear it now "but I don't like venison". Well, I once didn't either. I did, however, discover that processing the meat ourselves made it much more edible (for real). When you are eating it yourself, you are picky about how you process it. I also add a little fresh garlic to each package frozen. I always know what's in the package - nothing but fresh well trimmed meat. Other lean meats we harvest include fish, grouse, bear and elk.

Berries : It took some work to go out in the forest and harvest huckleberries this past summer, but I'm glad they're in the freezer now. I spent an incredible amount of money last winter buying berries. We also traded labor for harvesting organic cherries. Its going to be nice not having to buy any frozen fruit this winter.

Sprouts : For pennies, you can sprout a healthy organic meal in your window. Yes, even the gardenly challenged can do this.

Making food from Scratch : I am domestically challenged, really. I didn't even know how to brown hamburger when I left home. Just recently, I learned how to make home made tortillas. Its incredibly easy. So is home made spaghetti sauce. I can't believe the money I used to spend on foods that I now make myself. When I make them, I know what is (or isn't) in them. It's safer, healthier and yes, cheaper.

Be an Opportunist: Sorry, I'm not saying "be a bum". I'm just saying watch for deals or opportunities to come. A month ago, somebody brought in all different colored peppers to the hospital nurses station. I had no idea what to do with them, but took some anyway. My friend later told me to freeze them whole. It was excess from a garden. Weeks later, somebody asked me if I wanted some tomatoes. I said "sure". I ended up with 2 peoples excess. All in all, it was three boxes full. Yesterday, I was terrified, but I tried making salsa with help from the kids. It turned out to be the best I've ever eaten (really). I didn't even follow a recipe. I just listened to advice from a couple of friends and used an online recipe for ingredient ideas and proportions. Turned out, those free peppers and tomatoes were just perfect for it.

Once you liberate yourself from normal grocery store shopping expectations, you will find a whole new world of eating cheaper and healthier than you ever thought possible. I think we can be our own worst enemy when it comes to shopping. We carry unrealistic expectations when it comes to spending money. We think it's our right to buy what we think we need. Rather than exploring new avenues, we stick to what's safe and familiar. The problem is, safe and familiar changed a long time ago. I wonder what kind of change YOU can make today :-) Maybe you can give me some new ideas to try :-)


Photos above include : The boys hunting camp (on top a mountain). See the difference between that and the forest behind my house where I got the deer this morning? Also "the urinator perpetrator" and some canning I have been doing.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Plumpercot - A Friendly Gelatinous Alli

Plumpercot : A Friendly Gelatinous Alli
They're coming for me. I know they are. It all started with our Boocoo Billionaire Neighbor's chihuahua, "Walrus", being eaten by wolves, or so they thought. I know what really happened. It was most likely the plumperfruit aka pluots. They looked innocent and juicy. Upon further inspection, you will find that there is an ominous aura about them. The texture of the pluot aka plumperfruit is that of a fatty liver or maybe red jello. I suspected as I bit into the sweet gelatinous fruit that it may be "bugged with a microchip" that would float to my brain. This was all a part of the alien plumpercot's diabolical scheme to take over the world. Then as I continued to slice them, one held up a white flag of surrender, or was that a "certified organic" sticker?
At any rate, my mind was beginning to drift from the task at hand. I had peeled, cut, canned and froze scores of apples, peaches and yes, plumpercots this morning and I was perhaps becoming incoherent with exhaustion. Even the peaches seemed eerie. They weren't the yellow color I was accustomed to. Instead, these were something called "White Snow Peaches". They are either off white and crispy or soft and brown. That's another story, for another day, though. Perhaps it was best for me to break before I lost all sense of reason.
Really, our story began yesterday. It was too rainy to get much hunting done and so my husband determined to take us to town instead. Driven, the two older boys headed up the mountain in the rain, undaunted. As for me, I was craving junk food and town was the only place that was going to happen. With chips in mind, I happily abandoned my post at the cutting board and deserted the fruit crying out to be processed.
As we arrived at expensivemart, I went off looking for canning jars. My husband placed 3 - 12 packs of soda into the shopping cart. Disgusted, my heart sank. "I wish he wouldn't buy that stuff", I thought to myself. Then I saw the chips, making a mental note that it was only fair to add them to the cart of carbs. We found a few other items and headed to the check out in a hurry. We had ordered pizza ahead. The lady at the check out informed us that this wasn't the pop on sale. Suddenly, I got really angry. There it was in the flier. What did she mean it wasn't on sale? The soda I didn't want minutes ago, became something I was ready to argue over. If my husband wanted this soda on sale, then by golly he was going to get it! "Calm down" he whispered. "Ahhh, people have been doing this all day", the lady mumbled. "Its on the end cap with a sale price" my husband spoke softly. "Yeah, I know, but it's not supposed to be". Then he showed her the soda in the flier. She continued "people have been doing this all day". I began to question the IQ of the checker, but my husband gave me the look. I shut my mouth. After a solemn silence, she gave him the sales price.
Later that day in the grocery store, we began stocking up on sugary cereal, snack crackers, fun flavored yogurt and other things we don't usually buy. I got my canning jars. My husband got his extra soft toilet paper. As we walked by the brachs chocolates, I felt compelled to sample one (just in case I ever want to buy some). Then I decided I needed chocolate. When my husband was looking the other direction, I snuck 4 candy bars behind a large box of canning jars. I continued to innocently chat with the checker. This lady seemed nice. As my husband stacked more stuff on the conveyor belt, he spied the candy bars. I got a surprised and disapproving look. I felt guilty. I began to feel like a canning jar under pressure. It wasn't him, it was more the Big Guy upstairs, kind of conviction. I put the candy bars back. I knew I didn't need them.
Later on, at home, I looked at the boxes of canning jars, while eating a handful of chips. I knew there was no excuse. I needed to get the fruit processed. Ever since I caught a glimpse of this scary movie years ago, I have had an aversion to canning. You may have seen it. This homeless guy gets hired to be a "hunting guide". He gets flown out into the middle of no where. He later discovers a room in the cabin with men's heads preserved in jars. He's really the subject of the hunt! Oh scary! Anyway, ever since then, I have had an aversion to canning. It just seems kind of creepy.
Anyway, I did, indeed process a score of fruit today, no men's heads to be found. At no time during my work did I find any aliens or microchips. They also did not, I repeat, did not try to eat our cat. I suppose you could say that the plumpercots are about the healthiest thing I have going right now, what with the chips, soda and such. Plumpercots are, after all, a friendly gelatinous Alli.
Pictured above are my son, Art dog with his bear. Also my daughter, Sock Fashion Expert with her 5x7 buck. We'll be processing her buck this week and I am quite sure I can spin a tale or two about that as well.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Perfectly Peachy, My Place is Polluted with Pluots!

As the clock ticked by, I began to twiddle my thumbs. There's only so much a body can do when she's in between patients at work. I decided to call home and check on the kids.....again. This time there was some interesting news. The food shelf was again bringing in a refrigerator truck full of fresh produce. They were looking for orders with the hopes of again paying for the transportation. This time it was a funny thing called "pluot" along with some other fruit and veggies. God has this way of sending me other worldly produce. He must have gotten a sufficient laugh at my exploits involving beets. I can see it now. He elbows Gabriel snickering and says "watch this". Then the host of heaven section assigned to look after me begin giggling at the prospect of this domestically challenged female learning about how to go about processing a thing called "pluots".
Armed with the idea that produce would be arriving that Friday, I processed yet another case of apples. This time we made plum apple sauce and canned it. It was a busy day and we were tuckered when the last of the jars had been water bathed. My daughter has been pretty motivated to help me. I don't know what I'd do without her. She's really excited about me taking her to a concert in a far away city. We're also going to go shopping and bring along some friends. It will be a totally girly experience. Possibly excitement or appreciation or maybe even an angel appearance has prompted her to get her elbows dirty with me and it's been much appreciated.
Then the call came...... Would we be willing to help unload the refrigerator truck? Of course we would. I have the corner on able bodied young men in the area. Long story short, we arrived to see cases upon cases of peaches, pluots, potatoes and yams. We all jumped in and started stacking boxes. Everybody there was so excited. Nobody buys plentiful cases of certified organic produce these days. Most of us ration them out one by one. What a blessing. When it was all unloaded I was almost overwhelmed. Ok, I was overwhelmed. This blessing would change the entire community. There was surely enough here for everybody to have plenty. What a privilege to be a small part of such a big blessing!
Later on at home, as I began sorting through the fruit, I quickly became overwhelmed again. How would I get it all processed? I stuffed as many trays of fruit in the refrigerator as possible. I weeded out moldy fruit. I sorted soft fruit into bowls to be processed quickly. Notice I spelled "bowl" right this time everybody? I bet you are all relieved ;-) Then something traumatic happened. As I unearthed a pluot from it's plastic resting cup, I detected movement. Suddenly creepy beetle type bugs crawled around quickly in the cupped plastic. I screamed loudly dropping the fruit and backed away. These were no ordinary creepy bugs. They had pincers on front and back. They looked like little crabs or something. Oh they were really scary. They had burrowed their way into the fruit. They gave me the heebie jeebies. The boys took them outside reporting to me that they were quite aggressive and getting one in your mouth would not be a pleasant experience. Thankfully, after sorting through multiple cases, that was the only infestation I found other than occasional pretty colored mold and one lady bug. I could deal with that.
Exhausted from the day's activities I collapsed on my bed with the telephone to consult with my friend. After I came out, this is what I found. Isn't she incredible?! Anybody have any favorite peach or plout recipes? God is Good and I am AGAIN grateful for all His Blessings. My cup runneth over :-)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Obedience and My Daughter is Theodore Roosevelt

This morning, I leaped out of bed and hurdled my way into the kitchen. It was our girls devotional group today, and I wanted to get school done with the kids. I multi-tasked cutting up vegetables on the counter as Moonbeam splashed happily in her bath water in the kitchen sink. Eyeing the clock, I continued to multitask my way through the morning.
As I sat down with my morning coffee, I encouraged Super Catman to start reading, pronto. I listen to Super Catman read to me every school day. To me, reading is the most critical skill a child can learn at this age and I almost never miss. As I savored my brew, I experienced a short lived bit of tranquility. Super Catman began flicking his his book, consequently creating a loud thumping sound. "Stop that" I said gently holding his hand away from the pages. Defiance on his impish little face surfaced and he began flicking it with the other hand. Time stopped. Then I encouraged him to keep on reading, not wanting to take the time to deal with the little act of disobedience that had surfaced itself. As he continued to read, I began to feel more and more convicted. By the end of the page, I knew that I needed to call him on the flicking. I looked at the clock. Then I ignored it. We talked about disobedience. I gave him a choice of discipline. He chose a day without "Tom and Jerry", his favorite cartoon. We went on to read his devotional together. I was surprised to see it contained this Bible verse :
"Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents as believers in the Lord. Obey them because it's the right thing to do."
I realized that I had done the right thing.
After I had carried all my stuff out to the car I decided to stop and pray. I hadn't made time for that. It's a little silly to be running off to a devotional group and not have spent any time in prayer. The verse I had read with Super Catman weighed heavily on my heart. I decided to share it.
Later on that day, with the gals, I started by sharing about how little acts of disobedience lead to bigger ones. Children who don't learn to obey sooner suffer many hardships now and later on in life. I read the verse Super Catman and I had read together. Then I read a chapter from a devotional that we've been reading. I was shocked to find that the Bible verse we would read was this one!
Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.
I was pretty sure we were on to something that God wanted us to hear. As we discussed our prayer requests, one of my friends shared that she was feeling a little distanced in her relationship with God. She hadn't made time to pray or read her Bible regularly. She was feeling kind of down. She felt frustrated wanting to hear God more. I encouraged her to take time each day to pray and read her Bible as an act of faith. It could be thought of as a little act of obedience. Each day when I pray and spend time in my Bible, I get direction for the day. Sometimes the direction feels insignificant, but I'm always glad when I follow it. Other times in my life, I've felt God speaking big things to me. Since I try hard to follow the little things, I'm fairly sure when I hear Him with the big ones. Cultivating the ability to hear and obey has saved me from a world of grief and also opened up incredible blessings. Of course this is a process and I'm always learning.
Then it all became clear. Teaching kids to be obedient in little things is very important. Some day, when you yell out to them to "stop"! You might be saving them from getting hit by a car or from running headlong into some other kind of danger. The word "stop" in itself doesn't mean much, especially if it isn't usually enforced. However, if kids know that there are consequences for not obeying, they will "stop". Obeying God in the little things also teaches us to stop, when there is danger ahead. We are, after all, His children.

Here's Nurse Happy Sunny Day's Suggestion in action : The kids research historical characters and act them out. They dress like them and say famous quotes. The parents have to guess who they are. Its a great way to learn in an alternative way. Can you guess what characters the kids are? Art dog is Daniel Boone. Sock Fashion Expert is Theodore Roosevelt. Super Catman..... well, he just wanted to get in on all the fun.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Working Mom Blues and The Case of The Breakfasty Date

As I pulled up at home after working my 12 hour night shift, I heard "shh, come in through the basement". My first thought was that I was experiencing some kind of alien encounter and that the beet like creatures in there were, indeed, other worldly. I had to look around to figure out that my hubby was speaking to me through the upstairs window. He knew that once Moonbeam saw me, it would be all over. She'd want to nurse and she wouldn't want me heading off to the shower or anywhere else, for that matter. After dropping water bottles and other assorted junk I was attempting to carry in, I eventually made my way up the stairs and into the bathroom. The children distracted Moonbeam and she didn't see me sneak by to the shower. Upon coming out of the bathroom, I was surprised to find that my husband had prepared and snuck us in each a nice egg type breakfast in bed. Oh, it was just like going out on a date, except at home. It was such an oasis after such an incredibly crazy night. At last, Moonbeam had her way and she happily filled her tummy with warm mama milk. As I drifted in and out of sleep, she eventually started laughing and poking at my face. The next thing I knew, my husband came and took her away. It's a bit odd, considering "breakfast in bed" as a date, but hey, you gotta be creative when you don't have a lotta cash on hand. I thought it was romantic :-)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Dysfunctional Relationship with People, Food and Dolphins Part 2

As I was saying, I decided to begin eating healthier and so I incorporated vegetables as my lunch. These were no ordinary vegetables. No. These veggies seemed to come straight out of a horror movie. Perhaps it was because I watched "Fear Tactics" with my Mother in law for several hours. My favorite one, by the way, was the un -conjoined twins. (Oh I just lost it when that midget jumped out of the dog kennel yelling "i'm hungry".) I'm not sure. I just know that there was something spooky about this new leaf that I was turning. I started out having to descend the steps of our dark, creepy basement. It is known as "the men's domain". In my mind, I am not allowed down there much without good reason. When I enter, I hear "yes?" as if he is saying "please state your purpose for entering my domain". Truth be told, its not really that I'm not allowed down there, its more that I can't stand the disorder and mess. Its often so disorganized and dusty that it makes me nervous. And so, I crossed the creepy basement over to a box of dirt that a seemingly nice church lady had given me. Inside this box of dirt, were the buried bodies of mammoth carrots and yes, even a few ugly giant beet looking creatures. I carefully placed them into a bowel and ascended the steps. Feely things and dirt grossed me out, but I forced myself to be brave. Even a spider jumped off of them into the sink where I was attempting to baptise or purify off the dirt. It may have been an omen, I'm not sure. The children were not the least bit sympathetic. Neither was my husband, who, has forbidden me from serving him beets in any type of food dish.
As I cut the beet creature, It reminded me of some type of organ. The colors inside it were very disturbing. Even more disturbing was that it turned everything it touched a bloody red color. I am telling you, if vegetables could try out for a part in a horror flick, a beet would win the part hands down! It even turned the carrots an unearthly red color. Yes, the vegetable is surely a frightening sight. My only comfort was that despite its odd color, uncanny need to hemorrhage and creepy designs and feelers, it does taste a little bit sweet.
After eating brownies and vegetables that day, I was getting hungry, so I decided to make myself some nachos. Wouldn't you know it, but honest to Pete, I got the plate too close to the broiler and my chips caught on fire! It was a very alarming end to the day.
Today, I have again submitted myself to eating beets and carrots. My children are beginning to question my sanity where taste is concerned. They have, however, eaten all the carrot sticks that I've been putting out on the table. This gives me some hope that I am doing something right.

My dysfunctional relationship with dolphins began with my new friend "Skippy Jon Jenn", who has renamed herself "The Dolphin Goddess". As a little girl, her dream was to swim with dolphins. A couple of weeks ago, we spent the afternoon together and she divulged this bit of personal trivia to me. Since then, every time I have walked into a store, I've seemed drawn to the dolphin memorabilia. Its never some nice dolphin ware. Its always some cheap China dolphin figurine, wind chime or other such junk. At first I thought it was a coincidence. "Wow, there's a dolphin clock!" I should buy that for my new friend. Then I thought better of it. The more I shopped, the more dolphin wares seemed to eerily call to me. Suddenly, I began noticing that every aisle contained some kind of dolphin. They began happily barking "buy me buy me buy me"! Store after store, day after day, the same creepy phenomena occurred. It is as if dolphins are out to get me! Selah. Have you ever had a friend who liked some such thing? Did you think "oh i bet Sally would just love that!" The next thing you knew, suddenly Chinese dollar items began to haunt your subconsciousness? Somebody, tell me I am not alone in this new paranoia? Ok, so I'm being a bit of a drama queen about it..... or am i? Perhaps this is some type of conspiracy. Who's to guess? Whatever the reason, there is something sinister about the whole thing. I'm telling you, its fishy. Dolphins are out to get me, or at least I am currently suffering a dysfunctional relationship with them!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Dysfunctional Relationship with People, Food and Dolphins

Today, as I drove home from running with my friend, Mist, I pondered my dysfunctional relationship with people, with food and yes, with dolphins. One always must reflect upon ones own existence when one visits one's in laws (well at least one time any way). At least that one sentence had one common theme. As I was saying, I was pondering. I'm never sure how to go about relating with my husband's family. You see, I came from quite a boisterous background. In my family get togethers, people yell loudly as they relate stories, laugh out loud and make a variety of unusual noises as they converse. They are quite expressive, and always attack you with lots of hugs as you try to exit or enter any gathering. If you've ever seen the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", it reminds me just a little bit of how my family functions. As a child, I was surrounded by loads of food, lots of family and a whole lot of noise. When I married into my husband's family, I immediately noticed something was drastically wrong. When I entered the room, I seemed to be the only person talking loudly. Over time, I eventually gathered that my unusually loud presentations were somewhat disturbing to others. I began to adjust. Ok, so I never adjusted. I guess that's part of my dysfunctional relationship with people. Here's an example : I go out to a store with my Mom or Girlfriends. We laugh loudly. We discuss some personal subject and don't care that the person next to us may be listening. "Yes, John has been suffering from constipation. I think I will try "Happy Man Brand Laxative". Somebody starts snorting with laughter as we retell some silly story. My mother loudly demands that the store clerk bring her a box of "Happy Man Brand Laxative" that does not have the corner of the box crinkled. Then she purchases it with a bad check that she will cover later using some secret fund which she had to borrow from. Before she leaves town, she finds out on a Christian Radio Talk Show that "Happy Man Brand Laxative" caused flatus in one out of four obtunded men. For this reason, she returned the "Happy Man Brand Laxative" and purchased "Groovy Man Brand Laxative". She later discusses this with her Naturopath and with several others whom she considers to be foremost experts on the subject. I go to the store with my husband. We go our separate ways. I happen to see him. I don't yell across the store "Hey Babe!" I quietly walk over to him. I barely speak in a monotone sort of way as to not attract any attention "Well what kind of er, thing should we buy....er....John". He cocks his head to hear me. Then nods. We quietly walk toward the laxative aisle. We hear somebody discussing laxatives loudly and we think they're annoying. My husband examines "Happy Man Brand Laxative". He looks for the generic but decides its too much money so he buys some prunes instead. He happens to walk by a GI Doctor on his way to the check out, but stubbornly refuses to consult him about it. This same example may be applied to dealing in a variety of topics. I just get a little bit confused as to whether I am the boisterous carefree person or the one getting annoyed by them. Because I was concerned about my being "the annoying one". I developed a sure thing technique in dealing with my less boisterous counterparts. I decided to try talking about a subject and then watching the minute hand on the clock. I purposely decided to see if I could let five minutes elapse before I said anything else. This was quite painful and I eventually found myself butting in before my imaginary time limit was up. I also feared that the person would think I was bored or troubled if I kept looking at the clock with pursed lips. I also attempted adapting a variety of personalities, though they caused me far more trouble than being loud and boisterous did. I also pondered my dysfunctional relationship with food as I dropped off some Cinnamon rolls at an elderly ladies on the way home from running. Take this week for example. I found myself making all kinds of things that I know I shouldn't be eating. I love having company though, and its fun to make good food. After days of eating that way, I decided that today I would behave. I started off at 5am with a cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll. By 9am I was digging into the brownie pan. At noon, I decided to get radical. I went to the basement and came back with 3 carrots and a big red thing....... I think it's called a "beet". After washing, peeling and cutting up the vegetables I was planning to eat for lunch, I became quite bored waiting for them to boil enough to soften. I added some salt, then butter, then honey, then more butter. I began feeling more impatient and hungry so I decided to eat another brownie while I was waiting. After eating the brownie, I didn't want to eat beets and carrots for lunch. I forced myself, though, and did enjoy it for a time. As I neared the kitchen, I was planning to get more vegetables, but at the last minute decided I didn't feel like it and the evil coconut pecan brownies cast their spell upon me summoning me to the pan for just one more. By the time I was ready to go running with Mist, I was so disgusted with myself that I wrapped up the last two brownies and decided to give them to her. I told my daughter that she'd better eat what was left in the pan or throw it away before I came home. On the way there, I contemplated eating the brownies I had brought along for Mist, but overcame the urge. Later on that night after I ate the rest of the beets and carrots, I found myself eating another cinnamon roll. I could go on, but you probably couldn't bear it. I had intended on writing about my dysfunctional relationship with dolphins, but I fear I have lost the attention of even my most devoted followers by now, so I will save it for another day. I promise, I won't forget.

Below : Moonbeam Reads with Granny

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fun with "Popeye and Granny"

We have a lot to be thankful for. Here we are in the season of the harvest. Fruit and vegetables are in bountiful supply. With a little bit of labor, much can be preserved for winter. Hunting season is also upon us and the fresh fallen snow makes tracking easier. Just a few days ago, Art Dog got his first bear. I will have to put a photo up on one of the next posts. Also, my in laws have made their yearly visit here. Its been an enjoyable time. They love spending time with our kids and our kids love spending time with them. Time is the best gift they could ever give. Its a precious commodity, and there is no other way to truly impart the legacy of oneself into future generations.
We started out the visit with a trip to the big city, which I have blogged about below. Since then, we've taken many hikes together, enjoyed lots of good food and done a variety of other activities. The past few evenings, the kids have played "pitch" with them long after I couldn't keep my eyes open. Today, they went into a near by town to visit with their youngest son.
Being grateful is very important. It's a tool which helps define our position in this life. Jealousy, discontentment and eyes that lust for more also help to define who we are. We can build a strong tower and enforce it supernaturally, or we can tear down its very existence along with everything around it. Much of who we become, what we possess and how we possess it lie in these seemingly insignificant principles. In short, attitudes that seem insignificant today, will redirect the course of our lives tomorrow and even this afternoon. Thankfulness is one of the most powerful tools you can possibly arm yourself with.

Colossians 2:6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
8See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Moonbeam Learns to Walk (part one)

I can't believe how fast babies learn to walk!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Green Hat Club

Here's some photo's of my mother in law, my daughter and I sporting the knit hats we purchased during our shopping trip in town. Read about the fun and crazy day below.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Trip to Town with The In Laws

At the crack of dawn, my husband awakened me for our yearly trip to town with the in laws. I rolled out of bed warily. One never knows what adventures may unfold on a trip to town with in laws.
For 2 days now, the in laws have been here. In past writings I have described my in laws to you, but for the sake of new readers, I will do so again. My father in law, "Papa Bobcat", is also "Papa Cool". He's no stereo typical run of the mill type grandpa. Nope, Papa Bobcat always means "fun" in a quiet kind of way. What other Grandpa is known for doing wheelies on his motorcycle up and down the highway to his house? This Grandpa takes the kids fishing, shooting and a variety of other really cool endeavors. He is very quiet, but don't let that fool you. As a kid, he was known for being pretty unruly. Papa has always made sure that our kids had access to motorcycles, fire arms and fishing gear. He, like my husband doesn't care for public places much, but will put up with them for a limited time.
Then there's "Grandma Gift Giver". I am convinced that her foremost and most favorite pass time is purchasing gifts for her grand kids. Growing up in a big family and marrying young, she worked hard to purchase a home and put herself through college. Knowing how difficult it was to raise her own kids, she supplies all her grand kids generously with clothing, shoes and a plethora of toys, candy and other articles of entertainment. Shopping with her is probably comparable to shopping with Santa Claus. She has energizer batteries when it comes to shopping.
At any rate, at the crack of dawn, I was up and getting ready for the big day. Though my joe had not fully kicked in, I was scurrying around like a squirrel trying to make sure that we had all eaten a good breakfast and had everything ready to go. Of course Moonbeam didn't want any part of my hurried behavior and demanded to be held. Without another thought, I thrust her quickly into my baby backpack with a kiss and continued my scurrying. The back pack that i pack her in has a pronounced metal bar that goes along the back of the pack. Its purpose is for holding up and supporting the pack while on a surface. Unfortunately, this particular model does not fold in while on. Since wearing it, it has caused me significant grief. Often in stores, I have sidelined shelves knocking off the wares. The only time that I actually appreciated being "a wide load" was when I was at the front of a mosh pit with my daughter this past summer. As I danced from side to side, crowding teens went flying backward into the the sea of bouncing fans giving my daughter and I ample space. Well, on this particular day, my "wide load" did me no favors. As I hurriedly carried a plate of steaming apple cinnamon muffins to the breakfast table, I bowled over my mother in law. Yes, its true. She went flying and eventually landed with a thud on the dining room floor. Oh the agony. Here I am trying to make my in laws a nice breakfast for the start of a fun day and in front of the entire family, I knock my mother in law over. This was not a good start.
Then lets take the drive to the big city, for example. No sooner did we leave the drive way, but "Miss Demanding", my bladder, decided she had to "go". This created a problem because it takes about 2 1/2 hours to reach the city. Add to that the men decided to take "the long way" and stopped each time they saw an interesting set of wild animal tracks. Not wanting them to make a special stop for me, I refrained asking for all of 20 minutes.
The gun show the men wanted to be at didn't start till later that afternoon. Because of this, they dropped us off at a store and we began shopping while they went off to do "man stuff". I saw many things I wanted to buy, but couldn't bring myself to buy any of it. I was reminded that I shouldn't be looking for things for myself, but for things for the Gift Giver. When she walks into a store, she is thinking of the Grand kids. When I walk into a store, I am thinking "oh i want that!". Not getting to town often, I am usually inundated and overwhelmed with bells, whistles, pretty colors and blinking lights. Fortunately, I did purchase her a fluffy, sparkly bat head piece at the dollar store to wear to work at the end of the month.
By lunch time, "The Gift Giver" announced that she was buying us all lunch. She took us to "Five Guys Burger and Fries". This was quite a step up from our regular routine of eating off dollar menus. We knew we were in for a treat when we smelled the yummy aroma. The kids thought it was particularly fun to eat the free peanuts and throw the shells on the floor. There are all kinds of free toppings you can choose for your burger. The patties are hand formed. The french fries are real - not those "fakie type re hydrated fries". As promised on the window, it was a "heavenly" burger experience. Moonbeam decided that she liked dipping fries in ketchup and mainly ate the ketchup. Otherwise, the rest of us left rolling out the door.
After dropping off the men at the gun show, we were off giggling wildly and in search of the nearest mall and book store. After driving around for some time, we found a book store that Sock Fashion Expert and Gift Giver wanted to check out. At my first impression of the place, I wasn't sure what to think. I asked for a bathroom and they told me they had to "make sure it was clean and get the dog out of there". Then another lady came out and profusely apologized that "the girls are taking a bath in there". I gathered that it was one of those "multi purpose bathrooms". I was ready to go, but paced with Moonbeam who had taken up fixation with a bucket that was catching rainwater in the middle of one of the book filled rooms. Just as I was about to take her out to the car, my daughter discovered a room with used home school books. It was full of Abeka, Bob Jones, Rod and Staff, etc.. Then nobody could drag me out.
At the mall, Gift Giver found great deals for Sock Fashion Expert at Pennies. She took Super Catman to a candy store. She knew just what to buy. At Claires we found divine green knit hats and in a moment of weakness, I purchased them. Sock Fashion Expert was thrilled, as she had wanted a stylish hat for near unto a year. After that, we shopped stylishly sporting them. Being red heads, Sock Fashion Expert and her Grandmother looked exceptional in them. Unfortunately, the boys were less than impressed calling them "funny looking" and "poop green". Undaunted, we left them on and kept on shopping.
As the day neared to a close, we made our last stop at Costco. I had noticed a week or more ago, that my glasses had little scratches or cracks all over them making it difficult at best to see clearly. Since I drive a long way to get there and work in an Emergency room, seeing stuff seems to be necessary. Though the lady told me that my warranty was expired, she took pity on me and agreed to send them in, eventually deciding to put them back under warranty. Wow, I was incredibly grateful. The only problem it posed was that I would have to shop and make it home till I could make it to my weaker ones. Since I wasn't driving, I figured I could risk it. Fear struck me, though, as I walked away seeing the world in a blur. No longer could I see prices or read lettering. I saw what looked like a man in flannel walking away. I yelled to him, hoping it was my husband, but he kept on walking. I didn't want to pursue him too much just in case he was a stranger thinking I was trying to pick him up. I continued on, seeing the world in a blur. It had been a long time since I'd been anywhere without my glasses. Fortunately, I ran into my mother in law (not knocking her over this time). It was pretty interesting buying groceries, but with every bodies help, I managed. I even managed to find a large cheese cake which is over half gone now.
Other than a traumatic experience at Target which I will not discuss, we had a pretty good day. All in all, the trip was a success and we had fun. On the way home, the men eyed a coyote road kill, but I encouraged them to leave it there. "The Archer" pined over its hide. I suppose we are a bit like the Beverly Hillbillies, but that's o.k.. I'm not sure what is more entertaining - us experiencing the city, or the city experiencing us.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Working Mom Blues and The Case of The Toilet Trespasser

I should have known it when Moonbeam wouldn't let me sleep in..... It was going to be one of those kind of days. Instead of happily nursing and going back to sleep, she tried sneaking off of the bed. Lately, her favorite pass time has been playing in the toilet. For this reason, we must keep a vigilant watch on her especially when she's quiet. So with a pitiful groan, I drug myself out of bed. I couldn't feel sorry for myself for too long, because, after all, she is sooo cute!
The morning went by in blur of activity. The morning is always the busiest time of the day for me. Its the time when we gather around the table and do devotions. I love having that special time when we're all together before everybody goes off to do their own thing. I love it that we all pray together after reading a lesson from "Sparkling Gems" by Rick Renner. It seems to me a worthy tradition to instill in the lives of our children. While my husband does math with the kids, I cook breakfast. By the time math is over, I am reading and doing one on one work with our 6 year old. Who, by the way, just turned 7. We are celebrating the party for him tomorrow. Any way, throw a baby who is obsessed with toilets and wood stove ash into this mix and you have a recipe for a busy morning.
By afternoon, I found myself exhausted and in need of a nap. Sleep would again evade me though. No sooner had I peacefully begun to slumber with Moonbeam, than the phone rang. I wanted to cry, but instead, I got up and made myself a cup of joe. It would be a long night. My family was in the basement. No, not because of my mood, because they were all madly cleaning. What brought about this sudden new leaf of cleanliness? It may have had something to do with my in laws arrival tomorrow.
Ignoring the mounds of laundry who rather rudely insulted my domestic abilities, and the host of other messes and unfinished housework, I embarked on my journey to the hospital. Before leaving, I had to locate a pair of socks. This was no ordinary feat. I had hoped for my fuzzy ones, but the boys discovered that they slide good on wood laminate, and had confiscated them. Amazingly, I did find just one pair.
Not only did I have five errands to run before work, i discovered that i would have 3 more after work. How much can one girl pack into one day? All of the errands are of my own doing though. I brought this drudgery all upon myself. Here's a list, since blogging about it will some how make me feel better.
1. drop off an apple cinnamon mini loaf at an elderly ladies house on the way. Check on her and spread some cheer.
2. drop off a "thank you" card with a little gift basket for a new friend.
3. pick up my Azure (healthy bulk food) order and pay for it.
4. check the dollar store for a last min birthday present for Catman.
5. stop at the grocery store for a few needed items (its an hour back to town!)
6. purchase fuel.
7. stop at somebodies house who has lots of extra tomatoes and wants to give me boxes of them for free! (gotta get em' while the opportunity knocks)
8. stop at some body elses house to pick plums....... She wants to give me a load of free plums and tomatoes.
What's a girl to do? Learning to be virtuous is really an art form. I'll be home for the next week with my inlaws visiting. I'm pretty sure I will get everything else caught up during that time. Until then, I will just focus on doing one thing at a time. Fortunately, I have just finished one "to do" on my list : constructing warning signs for my bathroom doors. "Doo doo your part! Keep Door Closed to prevent toilet explorations" and "Warning!! Keep Door Closed. Toilet Trespasser on the premises!"
Thanks to supernatural help from "The Big Guy Upstairs", and California Nurse bringing Starbucks coffee beans and chocolate, I'm quite confident I will survive the ordeal.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Embarrassing Urine, Crazed Wood Cutters and Chick Flicks

During Bible Study one night, the boys found a new way to wrestle - rolling around crashing into each other with these laundry bins.

As the day of my "Chic Flick Movie Night" approached, I became more and more apprehensive. Many unusually gloomy scenarios unfolded before me both in my sleeping and waking hours. What if the electricity goes out? What if the kids are too crazy and loud? What if a drunken motorcycle gang crashes our party? What if a hungry wolverine or a crazed wood cutter attacks my friends as they hike up my driveway? On and on these scenarios unfolded until I became almost sick with worry. I reasoned with myself that this would be a great way to break the ice and get to know others. Then worry and fear would plague my mind.
Finally, I decided to take the matter to God with prayer. It was about then that I remembered that I thought the whole "chic flick" idea was His idea in the first place. After all, I had been out kayaking that afternoon, feeling totally inspired. The idea seemed to just drop out of the sky and I deemed it a "God idea". And so, with the big guy to blame, I fervently prayed for the situation. I prayed about having lots of kids there, lots of personalities, etc, though I did forget to pray that no motor cycle gangs or wild animals would crash the party. After I prayed, I felt much better. I felt really peaceful for a day, and then decided I would panic some more. I did what any dysfunctional 36 year old would do. I called my mom. After going over the whole thing with my mom, she assured me that we would pray about the night and that everything would go o.k..
The day of our "chic flick" night came upon me. I cleaned the house from top to bottom. Each time the phone rang, I worried that a national disaster may have occurred. Telemarketers, my job and the IRS all called, but nothing to "write home" about. I decided to clear my head and go out for a hike. Moonbeam dawned in her pack, I took off in the woods enjoying the misty, drizzly day. Then I started to worry that I would get attacked by some wild animal, myself. Another scene flashed in my mind. The entire party of chicks were out looking for me in the woods with flash lights. The night was ruined and i had to be taken to the hospital. That particular scene was disturbing because I had to pee and in my imagination I had peed my pants. I was not nearly so disturbed that I was laying on the ground bleeding to death as I was that the girls found out that I had peed my pants . I began to sing loudly, looking over my shoulder, as I continued my hike.
Another scene flashed in my mind. This one was real. As a young first grader, I was quite shy. I was especially shy in the "going to the bathroom" department. For some reason, I didn't want anybody to hear when I tinkled. For this reason, I decided that I would just wait till I got home. Day after day, it became more of a challenge not to "go" at school. One day I got the genius idea that I would just pretend to be sick. My grandma came and got me. The next day the same thing happened. Pretty soon, I got to be known in the "sick room" well. Our family doctor had no explanation for my unusual symptoms. My plan was going along just fine until that fateful day in the cloak room. I think I must have drank just a little too much juice that morning. Maybe I'd had a soda at lunch. Whatever the reason, I was having a really hard time. Just as my Grandma appeared to pick me up, I relaxed enough for something warm to run down my legs! Oh the agony. The worst part was that my whole class found out. The second graders found out too. Their classroom was right next to ours and some of them happened to be near the cloak room when my Grandma and the Teacher were helping me get cleaned up. Every once in a while kids would hear about a kindergartner having an "accident" but never a first grader. From then on, my teacher made me go "try" and ran water so nobody could hear. To this day, as a nurse, I have kept the "running of water" tradition alive for my "shy bladder" patients.
Anyway, I arrived back at my home unmauled. As women began walking up the hill to my house I ran off into the kitchen to hide. Soon there was a group congregated hiding in my kitchen with me. After some time, we began watching chic flicks. Nobody had to be stunning conversationalists. We just sat around eating popcorn and watching the boob tube. The kids went off to play peacefully. Some of the boys I thought would come turned out to stay home with their foster dad. It was a totally mellow evening. Nothing went wrong. Nothing crazy happened. By midnight, every body was falling asleep and were ready to go home. If I could describe the evening with one adjective, the word would be "mellow". I guess that's good, right? Maybe I should have done something to make the night more interesting. I could have laughed loudly and made animal noises, or maybe I could have encouraged everybody to play "truth or dare". Naw, I guess "mellow" was probably good.