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

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Predatory Instinct

Not far from my house a small mountain lion hovers over it's new found food source. Somebody, (most likely not one of our locals), shot a buck and cut his head off leaving the body to rot. The body was left just at the end of our drive about a mile away. Its a place I hike almost daily. The young lion found it, and figuring it for some easy meals, drug it to another spot close by, partially burying it. Each day, my son checks the lions progress. Each day, the carcass is moved just a little and more of it has been eaten. Ravens have begun to eat what parts of the deer the lion didn't get buried well enough. It's slowly being consumed, but exists as a hazard and danger to us who live here. For now, the young lion lingers nearby. Every day, my son reminds me to be careful as I'm out hiking.

Just a year or two back, somebody shot another buck just behind our house a ways. They didn't even bother to take the antlers on that one, let alone the meat. A mother grizzly sow and 2 cubs fed on that one. Knowing they were back there was quite disturbing to me. Again, it was a potential danger to us who live here. Thoughtless, selfish acts of others unknowingly bring an element of danger to our small subdivision without them even realizing it. Predators smell the blood, they find the spoils and they become opportunists.

It occurred to me that spiritual predators act in much the same way. Some times we leave a bleeding mess some place in our life and inadvertently lure them in. Oh, we don't mean to be, but we're careless. We don't try to fix or clean it up. We just leave it there and it attracts the wrong kind of attention.
Anybody whose been reading my blog for a while, has found that Outdoor Mom always finds herself in some kind of crazy scenario! She enjoys high spirited adventures, but ends up fumbling her way along in it. She almost always something embarrassing! Its fun to laugh about, but usually at the time, it's mortifying! For instance, one time years ago, I found myself working in a small rural hospital many states away. On that particular night (probably the only one ever), I happened to be the person with the most experience. The other doctor and nurse I was working with were fresh out of school. Neither of them had ever done a particular procedure, and it was necessary to stabilize the patient. I really didn't have much experience myself in the procedure, but it didn't matter. I needed to be confident and do my best. During this intensive time, somebody pointed out that I was sporting a large piece of tape stuck to - yes, you guessed it, my derriere!! It was terrible! Here I was trying to be confident for everybody else, struggling to make my way through the procedure and a loud assistant had announced this fact and then proceeded to pull it off. It totally broke my concentration. My face turned red. I was just sure everybody was thinking "this lady is a total loser!" Thankfully, I managed to pull myself together and get the job done. Sometimes when others aren't confident about themselves, they try to deflect this by making somebody else look incompetent! Not to say that this person was doing that, but it happens. Anyway, when we project ourselves as not being confident, we attract that kind of attention. The first embarrassing moment that comes along, confirms that we are, indeed incompetent to do the job! Voices inside our head wag along with some on the outside! Soon we shrink back from opportunities that are God ordained. Having been the queen of many embarrassing scenarios, I know it's never easy to regain confidence in ones self during those times. Problem is, that's just the time the predator finds you and tries to devour. Its the time when you most need to reach into yourself and find truth resident. The truth is, it's really never about yourself. It's about others. If our focus is on them (and not ourselves), that truth will prevail.
Here's a good scripture to remind us all how to resist spiritual predators :-) It's a good truth to guard within us......................
Hebrews 10 :35 "Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise"
Till next time, guard your hearts and keep watch for predators ;-)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Thankful Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving started off with a bang! Nothing went like I'd planned, but that was OK anyway. I had thought I'd have a babysitter for putting in the turkey, but there were some miscommunications, and my friends didn't come as soon as I thought they would. I began to panic! Could I put on the turkey by myself?! Mist, my culinary arts friend, gave me some coaching over the telephone. Beads of sweat formed on my brow and I felt as if I were disassembling a ticking time bomb! I retreated to my prayer closet several times, ate some chocolate (since today I am taking a holiday from my sugar fast) and took several deep breaths. As I sat whining in my closet, a light bulb shined on my brain and I remembered that I was surrounded by family - something to be real thankful for. It occurred to me that my friends wanted to come - and spend the day with me. Having non relatives who want to be around me - well that's something to be real thankful for too! I realized that it didn't matter what time the turkey got done or how "gourmet" it would be. I would take my own advice and celebrate the people that make Thanksgiving special! A giddy calm came over me and the course of the day changed for good.
Mist and Fiery showed up with a luscious pumpkin cheesecake! She made best ever potato rolls. She made wonderful gravy. She did dishes. She tweaked with my roasting turkey and elk. She's always like a hurricane in the kitchen.
Elasta Woman and Matthew showed up with their 3 charming golden headed girls. She got right at making a special home made stuffing. She did lots of dishes. She always compliments everything Mist does. Earlier, my husband and kids congregated in the kitchen and we had such a fun conversation. Intermittently, Moonbeam came in "to help" making yet another mess! Quiet Sock Fashion Expert buzzed in and out making her signature pies and helping in too many ways to mention!
When the appointed time came, the 20 year Yaakian Mountain Man knocked on the door as if by cue. The turkey was cooked to perfection. It was the best I'd ever eaten! Mr. Mountain man settled down to the table surrounded by the rest of the men. There was much mirth as this true woodsman spun his tales from yesteryear. The dinner was more than I could have possibly expected. As I laughed and chatted Sock Fashion Expert gulped and looked at me. She whispered "Mom, you have huckleberry - cranberry dressing on your nose!" So I did. No happy ending would be complete without me doing something embarrassing! I also later got creamed playing scrabble - but hey - you can't win em' all ;-)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

To All My New Weight Loss Bloggie Buddies!

I've been thinking about doing a weight loss post since it's been a while since I've blogged about that. Since I've been gaining a lot of weight loss minded bloggie buddies, I decided I should recap a little on my weight loss journey. Why I picked the eve of Thanksgiving (the day we're all licensed to binge) I don't know. I just decided that today's the day to tell the tale :-)

Like much of my new bloggie buddies, I grew up wearing "Pretty Plus" sizes and dieted for as far back as I can remember. Every Saturday, I spent the entire day from dark to dark journeying to and from Duluth to the prestigious "Betty Fuller School of Dance" and every Saturday I drank pop and ate candy bars between classes. Then on the way home I'd throw a temper tantrum if my mom wouldn't stop at the Dairy Queen so I could eat one of those special signature ice cream creations. And so my struggles to be a healthy weight began at the very beginning.
About 5 years ago, I maxed out at the highest weight I've ever been - 176 lbs (non pregnant) on my less than 5'1 frame. I was miserable and couldn't figure out why I couldn't seem to get the weight off. A doctor I worked with told me something very profound (yet simple). He said that I have to eat differently than the rest of my family. Mistakenly, I thought that I should just be eating like them. For example, my kids don't want to eat salads. So feed I them something else, but I need to eat a salad. Slowly, I am teaching them to eat more vegetables. I can't force my husband to stop eating ice cream at night or drinking a soda every day, but I can't do that if I want to be thin. I can't force other people to eat a certain way, but I must eat differently than them. I am responsible and I have full control of what I put into my mouth, So are you. During that time, we had a lot of people eating with us and I was cooking with lots of carbs. Guess what?! It wasn't an excuse for me to live on carbs! I've since found that it is possible to eat healthy and that money (or lack thereof) really isn't an excuse.
In my desperation, I cried out to God and asked Him to help me. I felt like He was telling me to "take the summer off from sugar". This was not possible in my mind. I ate some kind of dessert after about every meal! In monitoring my intake, I realized that probably half my caloric intake was from chocolate and other sugary food items that offered me little nutrition. That summer, being desperate, I followed what I felt was God's leading for me. I lost about 35 lbs! It was the biggest weight loss success of my life!
Since that time, it's been a real challenge to lose more weight and keep it off. Challenges included a miscarriage (and depression from it). Also a pregnancy being on physical restrictions and childbirth. All these things caused yo-yo type weight losses and gains. I have, however, managed to keep off that 35 lbs. I've learned that maintaining weight loss can be even more difficult than losing. Its been a journey and pilgrimage to say the least! This past summer, I trained for my first ever long distance (1.76 mile) swim. I also started running with a friend and have gotten up to 2 miles consistently and at times done 4-5 miles with her using interval technique. I have also discovered that we can't just strive for weight loss. We have to strive to be healthy. That means life must be balanced with healthy foods, exercise and holistic well being. I don't believe in taking unhealthy short cuts. I see too many people who've tried and later suffer for it.
I've found that weight loss and maintenance has to be my hobby. I can't neglect it. I've known many more failures than successes. This last 20-25 lbs seems almost impossible to take off (and keep off)! But I haven't stopped trying and I hope you don't either. Together, we can fight obesity both for ourselves and for the benefit of future generations. It is both our responsibility and privilege to find success. Nothing gained easily is so relished later on. So to all my new weight loss bloggie buddies, even though it's not always at the forefront of my posts, I'm rooting for you and I am being challenged by you daily!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Working Mom Blues - Walking In A Winter Wonderland

Little did I know, as I typed those very words from my last post, predators, indeed were on the prowl. Bright and early that very next morning, "The Archer" burst through the doors excitedly. We were soon to discover that more than one predator had been here for a visit. Fresh Lion Tracks crossed the very walk I had made that night before. Not far from there, a bear had sauntered by as well. Still having a bear tag left to fill, my husband left with the Archer shortly thereafter. Much later I was to hear that they would track down their would be prey only to be outsmarted. A unique black, brown and cinnamon multicolored bear was seen briefly and later doubled back on their tracks. He is certainly a rare find among bears. On he roams now, unhindered for the time being.
Despite my impending Bible Study evening and work night, I made time to take the children outdoors to play. The fresh white snow covered the world as we knew it and the words "winter wonderland" rang true. I had just borrowed the camera for "a few minutes" from my hunter men, but like a fellow sibling, I gleefully marched along the property boundaries with the boys not wanting to turn back and return it. As the boys headed down the trail into the back woods, I went right along in awe and wonder myself. Super Catman lead the expedition, followed by Art Dog pulling Moonbeam in her little sled. She Amiably went along for the ride without protest. "Puma Kitty", Super Catman's faithful side kick ran along after them as well. I took up the rear snapping a ridiculous amount of photographs along the way. Every so often the boys would pause and shake trees to "make it snow" once again. It was like being in a glass bubble and I didn't have to grow up until I returned home to prepare for my adult responsibilities. Every time the boys shook the trees, it was like somebody shaking up my glass bubble. Little Moonbeam gave us her big toothy grin and the world was a much better place. This euphoric bliss lasted a good long time. As we walked each leg of our journey, the children were delighted to discover that some of the very steps they were taking traced the tracks of the cougar and the bear. They also found a resting spot of a raven. The children very much enjoy studying animal tracks and insisted I photograph each set. As our adventure hike came to a close, and we climbed the hill to the house above, I breathed one last sigh of freedom. This was just what I needed before working a 12MN to 12noon shift.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland - Wowsers!

Lions and Ravens and Bears - Oh My!

Tracks from Winter Wonderland Walk include Mountain Lion, Raven and Bear.....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Big Hamburglary Hug - Why I Blog

This is my life...... As I sat down to blog, a strange quiet rested on the house. I told my son, Art Dog to check the baby. More silence. Soon he was scolding Cat Man "Don't slide around in it!". That's never a good sign. As I walked into the kitchen I was to discover that Moonbeam had pulled out the whole wheat flour and was playing in it. It was all over her and the floor. Super Catman decided it looked good to slide around in. Artdog, wanting to diffuse the situation, informed me "Mom, they're just trying to be healthy." What a kid!
This is the same kid, last night, who sensed my growing displeasure. We were processing an elk, which is a lot of meat and takes a lot of time. Everybody works together on different jobs. The older ones are using knives. The younger ones are doing things that they can't get hurt doing. As the younger ones work, they make bigger and bigger messes. Soon the floor is covered in meat scraps and hamburger. Its getting stuck to my sock feet. Blood is dripping down the cupboards. There is mess everywhere I look. I feel anxiety beginning to surface. I look at Art Dog. There is hamburger all over his sleeve and on the back of his shirt. I tell him "You are full of hamburger!" He looks at me and says "Big Hamburglary Hug Mom" and hugs me. The kid shows potential for being a therapist! This is my life. You can see now why I blog. Its a bit of a debriefing process.
Our family is infamous for a few things. One of which is our driveway. It is undoubtedly the steepest driveway in all of our area and quite possibly much of the world. In fact, it is so steep that in some conditions we can't even get up it with chains and a four wheel drive. The fresh fallen wet snow today made driving on it somewhat of a challenge. I made the mistake of trying to back down. It was quite nerve wracking. When I came back, there was a truck pulled across the bottom meaning "don't even try". I got out. Everything was black. I could barely see my feet in front of me. Slowly, I edged my way around the truck and toward the house. The living room light shone out into the darkness beckoning me along. The trees on either side were creepy. I wondered if they provided cover for some predator lurking menacingly nearby. I walked a little bit faster, though the incline can be exhausting to climb. As I continued on, I felt grateful for wearing my hiking boots today. My brilliant husband put sheet metal screws on the bottom giving me super great traction. The closer I got to the house the calmer I felt and I was never so relieved to burst through the door. This is my life.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Day in The Life of A Mountian Chick

It's been such an incredible autumn. We've been busy harvesting and processing the abundance of wild organic game that God has provided us with. The other night, I wasn't quite as grateful as I probably should have been. I was up till midnight cleaning the kitchen after processing and I was exhausted! That next day my men were gone hunting all day. I had agreed to take another friends children so she and her husband could get their hunting tags filled. I wondered how I'd have the energy to keep up with them after so little sleep but they didn't end up coming till late morning. Then they were glued to "Loony Tunes" and "Tom and Jerry". They don't have television, so its a novelty for them. It made for a really easy babysitting day. I had to force them to pause the TV for an art project, food and a little outdoor play! It was no trouble at all and they were perfect angels.
I'm also so excited that a real, seasoned mountain man is coming to our Thanksgiving Day Dinner along with our friends Mist and Fiery. It should make for an unforgettable occasion. The above photos were taken by my son, "The Archer" while out hunting. The below ones are what they brought home yesterday.

Teamwork on The Mountain

My men worked hard to pack out this elk's meat from off a far removed mountain. I didn't want to gross anybody out so I cropped out the yucky part ;-) I'm so proud of all their hard work. They spent the better part of a day and evening packing out meat in mountainous climate and deep snow. It was long after dark before they were home.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What's With The Wafer?!

Today as the communion bread wafer plate was passed around the church I grimaced. We have the most terrible tasting communion wafers I've ever partaken of! I determined to find an extra small chunk. As the plate was passed, I reached for a smallish looking one. It was one of those "iceberg" communion wafer chunks and the top was smaller than the bottom. This created a nauseating dilemma. Hurling would be out of the question. What to do? Hmm..... I reached far. Well, I decided since Jesus "broke the bread", it would be ok for me to do this too. I looked for a hiding spot for the larger part of my "broken" bread desperately. Suddenly I heard heavenly music and a light illuminated around my son, Super Catman's pants leg pocket. He was focused on his piece of wafer with a frown. Would I stoop so low? My window of opportunity was beginning to close and I hurriedly (but slyly) stuffed the wafer piece into his side pocket. He never noticed, not one bit. Sock Fashion Expert gave me a quizzical glance. She suspected foul wafer play, but couldn't prove a thing.
Since I was thinking extra hard during communion today, I decided to share a little about the custom.

Mark 14: 22 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 23 Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many. 25 Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Back in Biblical days, when you made a "covenant" with a person, you sealed that covenant in the blood of an animal. In fact, I have been told that the slaughter of the animal was a part of the covenant process. In essence, Jesus was saying that His blood would replace the animals blood in this new covenant that He was making with mankind. As we all are aware, Jesus allowed Himself to go to the cross to pay for the sins of mankind. By taking communion, we keep in remembrance this sacrifice that Jesus made for mankind.

Taking communion is powerful because :

1. Jesus told us to do it. There's gotta be something said for honoring The Son of God's request.

2. We are once again reminded of the price He paid for us.

3. We are physically demonstrating what God did for us in an act of faith.

If you made a covenant with a person (such as in the act of marriage), you would commit to that person for the rest of your given days. Your strengths would benefit each other and you would share one another's burdens and weaknesses. You'd "have their back". In Old Testament times, their enemies would become your enemies and you would be required to fight for and with them if need be. When we make a covenant with God, we are giving Him both our strengths and our weaknesses. We exchange our best for His. This doesn't just mean that He provided a way for us in the here after. It means that what ever your facing today, He's got your back in a way only The God of the Universe could.

Every time I've ever experienced extreme challenges in my life - physical, financial, emotional or spiritual, I've taken communion as an act of faith in my covenant with God of the Universe. Every time, it's been marked by some kind of supernatural occurrence thereafter. I can't explain it much better than to promise you it works. God always has my back and I bet He'd like to have yours too. Why not take communion today in faith over whatever you are facing? Use a stale cracker and some soda or whatever you have around. The important part is that you put your trust in Him.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Family Works While I "Bust A Move" and Photograph Them

I've come a long way from hysterics when it's time to process meat. Yes, its true. As a new bride, my husband thought to assign me the task of processing his venison. He delegated a leg to me to have done by the time he got home that night. Being a temporarily obedient wife, I went out and dragged the frozen leg in. It made a thud on the counter. The leg looked too much like what I'd seen in surgery rotation that week in nursing school. I ended up dragging the leg back out unprocessed. When he got home, he was frustrated I hadn't followed his directions. He tried again to get me to help him and I became hysterical. Over the course of the evening, his mother had directed me by telephone to take some Valium and go to bed. Then she told me to put him on the phone. It was a long time before he expected my help with processing meat. I spend a lot of time putting flesh back together and it's hard for me to take it apart.
Fast forward 15-20 years. I've come to appreciate processing our own meat. I know what's in every package. I know it's always fresh, lean, organic and processed on clean equipment. The only cost is the hunting tags and the labor we put in. It is the bulk of our diet for the year.
My husband and eldest son cut the steaks, roasts and hamburger pieces. My oldest daughter also started cutting this year. "Art Dog" floats with packaging, helping with hamburger grinding, cutting fresh garlic to mix in, etc.. Super Catman is just learning to run the grinder. What do I do? Well, I do a lot of meal preps. I help with grinding and packaging occasionally. I get jerkey and sausage preps started. Last time, I found the opportunity to "bust a move" to KJ52's "Do Yo Thang". I don't think the kids were very impressed. Oh yeah, I clean up the big messy kitchen when it's all over with!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Super Catman and His Faithful Steed

I've never been impressed with our ugly blue couch. In fact, most times I enter my living room, I scowl silently, as it is truly an eye sore. When company comes over, I am secretly a little bit embarrassed of it. I have long looked for another one to replace it, but buying a new one seems a little bit out of reach. Replacing my old couch with somebody else's old couch seems rather dismal and so I am at a stale mate with no end in sight.
Not long ago, our 7 year old, Super Catman, decided that the couch cushion was his faithful steed. He began roping it, mounting it and galloping it around the house. When he eats, he ties up the couch cushion steed at the table. At night, the cushion is tied to his bed frame. I have never seen any child derive so much pleasure out of an old couch cushion. Due to his heartfelt devotion to his cushion steed, I have consciously decided to no longer abhor that couch. Rather, I am relieved that I didn't spend money on a nice one. I would never have let him gallop around on a new couch cushion. I guess life's lessons are somewhat a matter of perspective.

Hebrews 13:5 (Amplified Bible)
5Let your [a]character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] [b]Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor [c]give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [d][I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor [e]let [you] down ([f]relax My hold on you)! [[g]Assuredly not!](A)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Working Mom Blues, Chanting Charts and Power Cookies

A single red rose sits in a cloudy glass vase on my desk as I wade through assorted papers. The papers know my name and they keep chanting it repeatedly in belligerent attempts for me to attend to them. "No!" I tell them. I must blog to keep my sanity. I smell the delicate rose, who is the only friendly object among all the hostile natives. I am aware that they are conspiring against her, but I promise her immunity if she will just live through my shift. The papers, well, sometimes you gotta rough em' up a bit to keep em' in line. Quite possibly a mile of cardiac rhythm strips look like a snake coiled up in the strike position. They seem to be the most threatening of the bunch. I threaten to spill my coffee on them. They hiss menacingly and hold their stance.
As you may gather, my paperwork is at a hostile stand off with me at this time. I am holding my own, but only because I have the perimeter of the desk secured. My only back up is the rose, who I might add, quite frankly doesn't have the ba... um fortitude to back me up. She does smell good though, and I suppose she is keeping my spirits up some.
Today is kind of day 11 of my sugar fast. I did take the weekend off for my Woohoo Chick Extravaganza. Mist shared a fun "Power Protein Cookie" Recipe with me, which I have modified. It is keeping up my strength along with some strong coffee as I continue my paperwork standoff. Here's the modified recipe :

Hope For The Best (Modified Mist's) Power Protein Cookies
1 cup natural unsweetened peanut butter
1 cup almond butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup granola (home made is best!)
1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 cup raisins
1 dump flax
1 dump cracked wheat
whatever else you want (knock yourself out)!

mix together and form into balls. Wrap in plastic wrap and press into flat cookie like structures. Refrigerate. A great, fast "to go" snack whether you are hiking up and down mountains all day (or in hand to hand combat with cardiac rhythm strips).

Speaking of hiking up mountains, these photos are from my boys hunting trip the other day. My son, "Art Dog" is standing in a fresh place elk have bedded down in, hence the grin. Despite their many close calls, in the end, the elk eluded them.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Audio Unplugged and My Woohoo Chick Extravaganza

Funny how things kind of snowball into crazy fun and outlandish adventures in my world. One day, I am minding my own business reading a blog or schooling the kids, the next, I am innocently thrown into a world of adventure! This particular adventurous extravaganza began with my daughter's need to get to a Christian Concert. Despite the fact that she didn't think Audio Adrenaline was actually going to play at "Creation The Tour", she wanted to go anyway. She's a die hard fan. Many a day, she's frequented their website and replayed their videos (over and over and over - need I say more?) She didn't need much excuse to want to go to the group of gifted line ups anyway.
Just for her, I worked an extra day at the hospital to make it possible. In turn, she babysat Moonbeam the extra day I was gone. As the day got closer, we couldn't help but tell our friends about our upcoming adventure. "Aren't you going to invite Mist?" she asked. I told her that invitations were up to her because it was a special trip just for her. After she decided to invite Mist, I told her we had to invite Elasta Woman because they are best friends. Elasta Woman was just telling me that she was starving for good worship music. Then I saw Carrot Lady, who loves Christian Concerts. I knew my daughter would for sure approve. After all was said and done, it had snowballed into a big adventure needing 2 motel rooms and our Surburban to fit us all in!
Since we were driving far away to a big city with a bunch of girls, I figured a shopping day was in order. Goat Girl wanted to eat at some fun places. Elasta Woman, ever hungry for God, suggested a good church service the next day. Soon the trip had turned into an entire weekend! Let's get this party started!!
Before the break of dawn, we were off on a grand girls extravaganza! We shopped till I (literally) dropped! We ate real good! The Creation tour was such an incredible experience! Though we all thoroughly enjoyed all the bands, "Audio Unplugged" was our favorite. The testimonies they shared were tremendous and powerful. Heaven came to down to meet with a small piece of earth housing a dirt floored arena filled with kids and shook every soul with an encounter of something real. We were also so happy to get to hear their songs, many we knew word for word and treasure. My friends were exposed to lots of new music they had never heard before. They couldn't quit thanking me :-) Elasta Woman bought an Audio Adrenaline CD. She couldn't wait to get home and listen to it! Amazingly, my daughter and I got our picture (see above) with lead singer, Mark Stuart. I told him that it was such an honor to meet him. I love to honor the gifts of God. Its not the fame or the status that speaks to me. Its the people who bring down heaven and he was for sure one of them. He thanked me for making the effort to come. Talk about humility! Wow I was so impressed with the whole experience.
In the morning we went to a great church service. It was one I'd been to conferences at. The worship was awesome and left a lasting impression on all of us. It's a church I always feel free to be myself in. All in all, despite the smorgasbord of activities, all of which I loved, I especially reveled in developing deeper relationships with my friends and pointing the way to good food.
Back at the home front, my son "Art Dog" bagged this big bad bodacious buck (his first) and put some meat on our table. I guess somebodies gotta be working when us chicks are all out having fun!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Roweena's Revenge

Just when I suspected PMS's reign of terror had ceased, a new rebellion emerged from beneath the shadows. Yes, lurking in the shadows was a cowering rebel, waiting to plot her revenge.
Other than a $500 beater which we purchased to get me back and forth from nursing school, I had never gotten to pick out a car of my own since high school. Back in the day, I sported around a red and black camaro and thought I was pretty hot stuff. Little was I to know that I'd someday be driving Roweena. Really, the vehicles we've driven haven't been bad for the most part. Since living in the mountainous country of Montana, we've mostly been driving utilitarian four wheel drives. That's where Roweena came in.
Roweena was a repossession of the Local Credit Union some 8 years ago. She sadly sat outside the bank waiting to be bid upon. Once a metallic blue '92 4-Runner, she still had a little sparkle left in her at the time. Perhaps her self esteem was first injured when nobody made the minimum bid. Who's to know? But at any rate, since we were the closest, they let us have her for a song and a dance.
Roweena, whom I have not so affectionately shortened to "Weenie", then lived a life of high adventure. She would climb the tallest mountains. She would navigate many a back road. After years of hard use, she began to take on more of a "Battle Axe" type appearance.
"Weenie" suffered many encounters with deer over the years. One time I even nailed 2 deer with her at once. She faithfully brought me and my husband to and from work many a day and night. She dragged bottom on many inches of fresh snow and plowed through with the determination of a seasoned Colonel.
Another time, my husband was driving down our one lane drive way. Another man, who I don't think had insurance came up. As they met in the middle on the icy single lane, Roweena climbed the side of a hill to barely hit the back of the offending truck. After shaking hands and deciding nobody was to blame, the man's wife got involved. Despite my husband having the right of way in the incident, she demanded that my husband do some logging on their property "to make things right". Since my husband refused, laughing, she became quite angry. We would forever be flipped off by the offended parties. Roweena, once again marred, didn't bat an eyelash.
A few years ago, "Weenie" and I were driving home from a night shift at work. On an icy, narrow corner, I saw the snowplow, but couldn't get over in time. We hit head on. Once again, Weenie lived on, with her face crushed beyond recognition. My husband rigged a metal thingy on her front, as a mask of sorts.
Then, last winter, my husband was heading back from a hunt with the kids. On an icy corner, they flipped her on her side. Her driver side door was smashed in, with the window shattered. Miraculously, a large rock, held Roweena from plunging down to destruction into the valley below. They hiked home, and came back with a winch and a chain. She then was given an odd colored brown door much to my dismay.
Roweena no longer has a CD player. Her heater is "specially rigged". In order to cool off the car, I have to roll down the window. She suffers many other cosmetic flaws. She cannot any longer be opened from the back. All groceries must be carted over the back of the seats.
In short, though faithful, Roweena has become a bit of an embarrassment to me. You see, no self respecting hospital supervisor drives an old beat up car with an odd colored door. Everybody my age, and even younger, drives something nice. They have remote control starters. They have car phones. They have heated seats. They even have personalized plates. Yes, to be honest, driving "Weenie" is just a wee bit humiliating.
For this reason, I began parking her on the other side of the parking lot. If anybody asked me what I drove, I purposely tried to be a little bit vague. After all, who's going to respect a fill in supervisor driving around a car like that?!
Last night, as my husband was leaving, he said that dreaded thing I was hoping he wouldn't. He told me to drive Roweena. As is my custom with her, I parked her across from the hospital in the trees hoping nobody would notice. Then looking around, I rushed in, my secret once again safe.
I was relieved when my relief arrived early. I rushed out to start Roweena before anybody else showed up. It was that moment that Roweena decided to enact her vengeance upon me. After starting her, she locked me out. As I slammed the door, dread encompassed me. "I can't believe I (er she) just did that!" There she sat purring like a kitten rather smugly. I cased her two or three times. There was no getting in.
As I cooly returned to the front nurses station, other employees had began to filter in. I snuck back to my emergency room post and phoned the sheriff. The dispatcher got on the line. Hoping she would have mercy on me, I mentioned that I was a nurse and that my car was running. She told me due to the newer locking systems on the cars, the police no longer open locked cars for people. I assured her that my car was not one of "those newer models". She still refused to send a deputy over, but gave me the numbers for some local locksmiths.
I phoned my husband who attempted to give me some instruction on breaking into her with a coat hanger. I swallowed. There was just no hiding it. Everybody was going to know my secret about Roweena. To add insult to injury, they would all know that she had locked me out.
Back in report, I sulked through to find myself a metal coat hanger. Nonchalantly, I asked if anybody was good at breaking into locked cars. Pretending to know what I was doing, I continued on toward my mission. Report disrupted, several gathered at the window to view Roweena for the first time. After multiple attempts of doing what I thought I may have seen in a movie, a street smart CNA stepped in to help. Another nurse flashed a light into the passenger side window as I cringed. Everybody and his brother was getting a good view of Roweena inside and out. Eventually, the three of us, well, ok, the CNA, was able to feed the coat hanger through the window and hit the power window button.
Roweena had exacted her revenge upon me fully. Not only did she lock me out, but she drew it to the attention of the entire facility. I suppose I had it coming. Had I appreciated her years of faithful service, I probably wouldn't have been in such a hurry when I, er she locked me out. Well, today, her heroism (and revenge) is known to all.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Working Mom Blues and The Fat People On My Refrigerator

Just as I was contemplating a leisurely afternoon in the forest picking boughs with my friend, Mist, the phone rang. I was on the other line with my neighbor, "Narley Gilson". You may remember my post about Narley and his annual community pig roast. Well, as I was saying, Good ol' Narley was on the other line. He was relaying details about his bout with the flu. I promised Narley I would check in on him and bring him some of the peach crisp that was baking in my oven. Then I checked the caller ID history. It was the hospital. I contemplated pretending that I hadn't noticed this call and escaping into the forest as planned, but curiousity got the better of me. Before I knew it, I had agreed to come in. Instead of the forest, Mist and I settled for a speedy run on the road. Other than my ears still ringing from some yahoo teenagers shooting too close for comfort, the run proved enjoyable.
You may be wondering about the silence after my last post. In the event you aren't, I'll tell you anyway. The fat people on my refrigerator were to blame. No, I'm not hallicinating from having been off sugar these past few days. Yes, fat people on my refrigerator really are to blame.
After my last post, I had determined to come up with a creative way to deter myself from eating too much. Suddenly, just like the unprovoked pizza box, it just hit me. "I know! I'll decorate my refrigerator with fat people!" Yes, this was a brain child of an idea and I was quite smug with satisfaction. I put my kids right on it. "Everybody draw me a picture of a fat person!" I demanded excitedly. In no time at all, fat people began looking back at me from the refrigerator. Of course, the children had to draw what they knew and so unfortunately, familiar faces began to emerge on the door. This created an unfortunate dilemma. This idea disturbed me exceedingly. Suddenly my idea was not nearly so clever as I'd once thought. Instead, I remained mortified. Adding insult to injury, I burned the fat people alive in my fireplace, feeling guilty for all the time the children had invested in their art work. All that remains there is
"Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles."(Pr 21:23)
After this venue, I was in need of some sugar. My mind began to conspire against me. It craftily schemed on how to feed it's cerebellum and cerebrum glucose. A little walnut looking man who resembled a brain conned me into making fruit tarts (sweetened with honey). I was not at all pleased with turn of events because I ended up eating one and then pretending to share another with the children. Yes, it's the oldest trick in the book. You want more, so you pretend to "share" with your kids. They get a token couple of bites, while Miss Belly fat fiendishly exhales a hearty belly laugh. Come on, who here has "shared" with their children?
Other than the "tart incident", I seem to be holding my own. My cerebrum and cerebellum both eventually decided to take a mental vacation. I'm not sure where they are, but they check in every so often from some tropical port. Hopefully, they'll return to base if I need them for something strenuous.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

C'mon Battle Miss Belly Fat With Me!

Despite the fact that Halloween is over, Chocolate continues to haunt me. Thankfully, my friend, "Carrot Lady", named by Sock Fashion Expert, is praying for me. This gives me some measure of hope.
The other day when I opened the refrigerator, the pizza box, unprovoked, attacked me and hit me square in the head. This should have knocked some sense into me, but it only furthered my cravings for unhealthy calorie laden foes.
Miss Belly Fat knew she was in trouble when we stepped on the scale together and I
was 10lbs heavier than I had been at my swim this past summer. Add to that several inches on my waist (4-5 ballpark). Then something really scary happened. My friend, Nurse Happy Sunny Day, returned from Hawaii and I was cooersed into doing a sugar fast with her. Actually she said "I'm going to do a sugar fast when I get back from Hawaii". I said something like "o.k., I'll do it with you." I'm not sure what personality was posessing me at the time, but whoever it was, is still hiding behind that extra tire of fat for fear of the rest of my personalities ganging up on her.
All silliness aside, I'm starting a sugar fast. I'm also going to crack down on more exercise, more water, whole grains rather than white flours, etc.. Who is with me?!

Silence.............................................. Somebody sneezes. I know you're there. "Uhhhhh just surfing - see ya lady!" ................................... Come on - Somebody, anybody?! Aren't you concerned about all the Holiday foods just around the corner?! Need I remind you that we all tend to go a little carb happy these next two months?! More Deafening silence................................................. The guy on biggest loser says that the problem is we all celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas for weeks rather than just over one day. I suppose that didn't convince anybody either.

Well, ok, I haven't convinced the cynical side of myself either. But this one thing I do know - Miss Belly Fat will not win! She may have been winning recent battles, but she will not win the war! I'm pulling out all my secret weapons. I'm dawning something other than flip flops er army boots! I'm putting away my twinkies and taken out some veggies (for real). C'mon bloggies! We can do this!!

Accept the challenge. Today, together we can do something about all those bully Miss Belly Fat's out there. We're in this thing together! I don't know what you want to do, but commit to doing something healthier this month with me :-) Then we can pray for each other.

A Halloween/Harvest/Hallelujah To Remember

I haven't celebrated Halloween in years, well kind of......

Let me explain. For many years, I truly did not celebrate it. This was recognized as an absolute among my children. We did, however, attend harvest, hallelujah parties and other such festivities under the guise as "Halloween Alternatives". Once a zealous young woman, I was quite passionate in my stand. Little was I to find out that one little elderly female would challenge me in a way I would never have thought.
I still remember the "change over" as a child. Some of my first memories were of attending community Halloween parties. I remember dressing up in costumes was such fun. Some times my grandmother threw a big party for the family. Other times we went to "the rich part of town" where my aunt lived, to trick or treat. All that changed after my mother started attending church. "Its the devils holiday". The church ladies told me. Then lots of history on the holiday. Then I was to hear about human sacrifices, demonic power, and an array of other horrors. In the end, I was convinced that Halloween was a day of pure evil.
Living in this little remote community, I held to my stand against celebrating the holiday. This didn't seem to present as a problem at first. That was, until I found out that there was supposed to be a party at the community center. I politely declined. As the years went by, I continued to not send my kids.
Then one year, I found out about the history of the community Halloween party. A little old couple, who lived in the Yaak all of their lives were very instrumental in putting it on. As a matter of fact, the little old man, "Tyme", was born on the home steaded property where he remains to this day. Now in their late 70's or 80's, "Tyme and Binnie" continue the tradition that they have known all their lives. The woman, who took over helping Binnie with the party some years ago, didn't celebrate Halloween. She started helping her with the party out of respect for her though. One year that lady asked me if my kids could come. I told her we don't celebrate Halloween, but if it was a "Harvest" party, we would come.
True to this woman's promise, they called it a "Harvest" party. My kids and one other were there that year. The little old lady shook her head thinking the idea that this was "a harvest party" was absurd. That night, she played games with the kids and laughed like a little kid. When it was time for the pinata, she and her husband played together helping the children. Both of them, animated, grinned and laughed the whole time. It was a side of both of them that I'd never seen. Deep down inside, despite the 1970's cardboard witch on the wall, I knew I had done the right thing.
As the years passed, and this little lady got weaker and older, more women took over to help with the party. I abandoned the idea of making everybody call it a "harvest party" on my behalf. It was what it was, and I was allowing my children to participate out of respect for these founders of our community. I couldn't imagine how incredibly disappointing it would have been for her had no children showed up.
This year, I had to work on Halloween. I figured by now there were enough kids in the community to take the place of mine. On Thursday, I got a call that they had moved the party to Friday, in part because they knew I had to work. Riddled with guilt, I once again made arrangements for my youngest to attend. He was excited. He's just turned 7, and it's become a tradition for him. The other kids shook their heads disapprovingly. "We don't celebrate Halloween" they reminded me. Why are you encouraging this?". Another lady has taken over organizing the party. She doesn't celebrate Halloween either. She was instrumental in getting rid of all the 1970's cardboard ghosts and witches and replacing them with more modern looking pumpkins and such.
That night, we had Bible Study, but we made a special trip to drop Super Catman off there. I sent his big sister along to chaperon him. We had to cut the study short to go pick him up. It was an inconvenience, but I knew he'd have a good time. Five women were present to facilitate the party and had outdone themselves on decor. There were home made popcorn balls, cookies, bottles of soda and huge bags of candy. I was later to find out that Super Catman was the only child who attended the party. The women still did all the hoopla for him, and of course, he was the center of attention for 2 full hours. Binnie wasn't feeling up to going this year.
There is talk that this was the last Community Halloween Party. Of course, I should be a little relieved. I'm not though. I have to admit, I'm just a little bit sorry. You see, with the passing of this party that's gone on all these years, its also the passing of an era. For me, I'll never forget the little old couple laughing and playing with the children. Every Halloween, I'll remember that many of us "who didn't celebrate" stretched ourselves to honor this legendary couple and how much it meant to them.