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October 2009

10 entries from September 2009

Birds on the Wires

Birds on wire

(photo by Paulo Pinto)

The ancient Scriptures contain verses like this: "The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands." I'm a literal sort of reader. I was no good in the literature course at a public university where I was supposed to find the hidden (usually nasty!) meaning in poetry.  I don't think that way.  If a writer is writing about a bird, I think it's a poem about a bird, not a drug-he-wishes-he-had, or some other such thing I would never write out loud.  So, when I read that nature claps it's hands, then by golly, I totally think it does!

And so, when I'm outside and the breeze flows by, rattling the tiny oak leaves, brushing the large canna lilly leaves, I hear trees clapping their hands.  And when I see dappled sunlight - my favorite kind of sunlight - I see creation praising its maker.  And so, creation reminds me of God.  All of it. From the spiders to the thunderstorms to the flooding river to the ugliest toad. 

When I discovered the following video last week, my imagination was alive with the thought that maybe there is music - creation praising its Creator - even when we humans cannot hear it with our mortal ears. 

Please listen, too.  It's totally worth the wait to let it load.

Birds on the Wires from Jarbas Agnelli


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Out Camping

We're camping this weekend, a couple of hours to the north, on a big old river that Georgia is filling up to the banks.  It's going to be a weekend of getting to know new friends better, campfires that remind me of my childhood, thrown horseshoes, kids fishing, bacon cooked in a cast iron pan over an open fire, lazily laying around, a Hobo community dinner, and, of course, me taking photos and maybe once getting into one.


I Got Nothin'

I was looking at this blog today and....good gravy, it's been boring lately!  I'm having my own version of "writer's block," but with me it's a Creativity Block.  I think I know where it's coming from...it's school's fault. 

Shopping for new pencils, deciding what classes we want to put the kids in, finding those classes, writing out lesson plans, buying more chalk, figuring out a schedule....I've spent so much energy on the "shoulds" that I'm plumb empty.

Saturday, I realized just how empty.  Our gals and I went to a card-making day at a home with a few other ladies, and you know what?  I could not design even. one. card.  My mind was just ....flat.  Do you ever get like that?

The gal sitting next to me is a mother of 5, so she totally understood my predicament.  She asked, "How do you usually get creativity back?"  I had to think for a minute - I'm that empty - and finally said, "I go outside, look at  favorite creativity blogs, read a book, finger fabric, listen to music, take pictures even when I don't want to, thumb through cardstock...

And so, for about 6 hours on Saturday, I thumbed through cardstock.   

Still, I'm empty.  I got nothin'.


On Money: Losing the Home?

Even in my outwardly "perfect" little town, things behind the doors of homes aren't really so perfect. There are houses for sale at much less than what the owners owe in every neighborhood.  It's a sad scene on any newscast in America, but when those homeowners are friends, it's downright heartbreaking.  More than one family we know is having a hard time getting food on the table and money to the mortgage company.  

For the sake of our children, we need to clean up this mess. The sooner we can start teaching them how to manage money, the better.  This quote sums it up for me:

“If we aren’t careful, our children will come down with ‘affluenza,’
a disease that causes them to confuse wants and needs. We need
to teach our children what my grandmother taught me: Think twice
about spending money you don’t have on things you don't need, to
impress people you don’t like anyway.”


— Michelle Singletary, Washington Post syndicated personal-finance columnist

 




On Money: Christmas Shopping Already?

My man and I were shopping last week and we couldn't believe the Christmas decorations going up!  I feel like they should still be displaying American flags and firecrackers, don't you?  Maybe the weather is the reason for my mood.  When we're in Summer-like September, I don't really feel like thinking about the holiday season quite yet.  Still, I supposed I should start planning now so the holidays aren't stressful.

This Christmas season I hope to go mostly handmade again, but even when I do that, there are always quite a few things I want to pick up for someone, especially those fellas in my life who don't appreciate handmade things quite as much as the gals.  When I buy for those guys, I usually shop online to save time (less time in stores = more time for creating!).  

Not that you really wanted to know this, but we have just 95 days until Christmas (sometimes I wish my calendar wasn't so informative). '

Are you doing any holiday planning already?  

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Mail Delivery by Boat

River Mail Route by you.

See the mailbox?  Magnolia River (Alabama) is the only spot in America where a United States Postal Service employee delivers mail by boat full-time. 

As we floated by this mailbox, I was thinking...if I lived there (lucky me, I'd be), I don't imagine I'd have the kids go out to get the mail anymore.  As often as they drop it on the grass here at home, I'm pretty sure we'd have a lot of mail litter in the water!

Wishing I was that mailman -lady -person,

(p.s. I captured this shot while on that field trip when we saw the wild dolphins)

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My Little Corner is (sometimes) Debate-Free

My man and I were listening to the endless debate-and-argument-fest on the cable news channel tonight when I said something about it being endless and debating and argumentative.  My man said, "Yeah, it's not very...you know, just, pure, lovely. 'Whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, think on these things.'" (quoting Philippians 4:8)

That made me sort of snicker, that he'd say it like that, but it's true - the news, when it's not really helping us out, isn't the best thing we could be doing with our time.  I know, it's good to keep up. But we can catch up with the news in about 5 minutes each day by reading a favorite source online.  And then, with the other 23 hours and 55 minutes of the day, we can listen to the children endlessly debate and argue instead of the news panelists.

When I turn off the news, I notice my little corner of the world.  Here is what my corner looked like last week when the children and I went on a boat tour with 20-something other kids and 2 biologists:

Photos by Lori Seaborg, 2009

In this bay, we saw 7 wild dolphins.  7. Wild. Dolphins.  I cannot describe to you how beautiful that was, nor could I get a photo of them.  They wouldn't hold still.

Photo by Lori Seaborg, 2009

Unlike the dolphins, these little things did hold still for a photo, and so did that water! 

Notice: no bickering.  Learn from the little kids, news people.

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Grandparent's Day is This Sunday!

Did you know that Grandparent's Day is Sunday, September 13?  Well, now you do, and if you don't have a gift in the mail, don't worry.  Grandparents.com has a quick yet heartwarming solution: record a greeting, a story (perhaps self-written?), a song, or what-you-will via phone, then send it on to the grandparents' email address.  Unlike phone calls, these greetings may be downloaded and/or listened to over and over.  It's as easy as 1-2-3:

Record a Greeting for Grandparent's Day 

Tonight, our little gal, age 6, recorded a little "I love you" greeting to her Nana and Popo.  Within less than a minute, the greeting was emailed to Nana and Popo and downloaded to my computer for safe-keeping.  You can listen into her message, here:

Our Little Gal's Message to Nana & Popo

Do you want to record a greeting for Grandparent's Day?   You still have plenty of time!  Click on the Record Now button (or here), for full instructions on recording your message:

Record a Message for Grandparent's Day

While you're there, you may want to share Grandparents.com with your parents or grandparents.  The site is full of resources for grandparents who want to reach out to their grandkids.  Maybe you'll receive a recorded greeting in return!

Happy Grandparent's Day!



Book Review: Fearless by Max Lucado

Recently, I was asked to review one of Thomas Nelson Publishers latest books by Max Lucado, Fearless.  I don't always agree to book reviews, since I have a hard time knowing what to do if I don't like the thing, but I'm familiar enough with Max Lucado to know he's pretty good, so agreed. 

Still, the title "Fearless" put me off a bit.  I wasn't sure if I needed a book called that.  I'm the gal who has learned to be unafraid of snakes (as long as they aren't coming at me) and I find such a fascinating beauty in these gals...

golden orb weaver

  ...that I will often put my nose right up to one to study it better.  Even in non-physical things, I thought, I'm not too fearful.  I've learned through life's hard knocks that most of what we worry over doesn't ever come true.

So I started Max Lucado's book with a this'll-be-good-for-someone sort of attitude.  Not for me, but for someone. 

But.  In chapter 2, I read, "Ah, there it is. There is the question. The Amazon River out of which a thousand fears flow: do we matter?"

Through a poem about The Villagers of Stiltsville and through sentences like, "That's why it bothers us when a friend forgets to call or the teacher forgets our name...," I realized, yep, I do have a bit of fear.  I'm forever worrying over other people's happiness when they're around me, and if I'm ever told someone is unhappy with me, I'm absolutely obsessed over how to fix it.  Why?  I guess it's because I need to matter, too.  

The book covers the fears of disappointing God, of not protecting the kids, of violence, of the coming Winter, and of global calamity among others.  There are a lot of things to be fearful of, aren't there?

This afternoon, while our ballerina was in class, our little gal and I moseyed on to the town library, but on the way we got a sudden urge to browse an antique shop.  Before long, we got to chatting with the store owners, a strongly-accented older couple: he, from London; she, from Germany (they met and married in America!).  He remembers watching the Germans bomb London as a small child.  She remembers the story her mother told of while pregnant with her, caring for their 4 year old and 8 year old , the family barely survived the bombings from the British that leveled their entire town, killing 18,000 that one day. 

They had a reason to fear. 

I don't, really, when you put it that way.

Fearless by Max Lucado

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A Fun Crowd

There are something like this many kids in our house this weekend...

A Pelican Prayer Meeting by you.

Okay, maybe a few less than that.  We have 8 children in the house  - ages 14, 12, 9, 6, 6, 4, 2, and 7 months.  And 4 of us adults, too.  It  has been a passel of fun for the past couple of days, with that much more fun to go through Labor Day.

Happy Labor Day to you, too!

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