You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2006.

Whew, what a week. We had so much fun over the Thanksgiving holiday. Including our five, we had fifteen people over. It was such a divers group- my siblings and parents, two guys from out of town, my in-laws, and a guy from Ireland. Dinner went off great, except for the 30 pound turkey cooking in half the time it was supposed to and therefore being cold. I even woke up at 4 am to get it cooking because according to cooking turkey rules, it should have taken 9 hours to cook. Oh well, some things have to be screwy or it wouldn’t be my life.
We went and shot skeet down by the river after supper, which was fun, but at least for my part, nearly futile. I hope that someday I will be able to hit something with a shotgun that is right in front of me. I did manage to hit a tree with Dad’s revolver, but about seven feet higher than I was shootin‘ for. So if I am ever in a situation needing to shoot a very tall person, I will aim for the feet.
On Wednesday night all the youngin’s came over and watched a movie. It was bad, but made me think about a good movie that I seem to have forgotten- Memento. The only thing I remember is that it was cool and the main character forgot things much like I did the movie. I will have to watch that again sometime, and if I remember, I will tell you if it is good.
On Friday, a bunch of us went backpacking. I had never done this, so it was great fun for me. I succeeded in starting a fire, and cut down a tree all by myself. My campy husband has taught me well. He stayed home with the girls, so he earned big points for letting me go. G. and I froze in our tent, so I am never going in the cold again without a down sleeping bag. But what an amazing experience- I felt like a hobbit on a journey with all my stuff in someones else’s pack. Yeah, my analogy breaks down, unless K. from Ireland is my Sam and carries all the pots. I only had a small bag with food in it, but it still felt cool…
I realized on Friday that I have too much stuff. I hate the feeling of knowing that I have totes full of mysterious stuff that I never use, but still need for some reason. I had a shed full of stuff, not to mention a house full of stuff in cabinets and closets, and a barn full as well. So yesterday I cleaned out everything that was in my house that I don’t actually need. It feels great. E. and I did the shed on Sunday, so now its just the barn, and away it all will go. I am going to donate it all to an organization that provides for the poor here in Jessamine County. I feel so free and happy for it all to be gone. Now when I look around, all I see is things we need or use regularly. I should have done this ages ago. But the bigger question is, why did I collect all this stuff anyway? And how do I avoid id in the future? Well, at least for now, this will do, but I am thinking about how I want my life to be much more radical. I don’t know what form It will take, but I want to make the most of the short time I have to make a difference in the Kingdom. I don’t want all that crap I just got rid of to be the sum of my reward. So here’s thinkin‘- watch out for the new rad me.

Ever since I was six and saw a black baby doll at the fancy department store, I have wanted a black child. Then when I was older, the famine in Ethiopia became world news. Seeing the starving children there watered the seeds in my heart and gave me the dream to adopt children from Africa. Since I have become an adult, I have seen the need in so many parts of the world, but the faces of African boys have stuck in my mind. When you read about the culture in many parts of Africa and its effect on men there, it makes you want to do something. The practice of having several families in different parts of the country as a result of traveling to find work, gives men little sense of accountability for their actions. Couple this with the still circulated idea of curing AIDS by sleeping with as many virgins as possible, and you have a recipe for disaster. And so many boys are being taken into militia groups that teach them to kill, rape, and destroy. There is little hope for a boy in Africa to grow into a godly man with these influences, and it is a miracle that so many do. But the plight of orphans is even worse. Knowing that so many children there have no hope for a good life here on Earth saddens me, but the knowledge that they have no eternal hope is the worst of all.
Adoption also reflects the heart of God. He uses this metaphor to describe our relationship with Him. We are adopted as His sons (Ephesian 1:5), and given an inheritance and a hope. He also cares for the orphan, and anyone practicing true religion, does to. (See Isiah 1:17 and James 1:27). I think that when you understand (as much as we can understand) the heart of God toward us in this way it drives your heart toward adoption. I know that many people do not feel a burning desire to do this, but we are all called to care for orphans.
In the Old Testament, God made provision for orphans and widows part of His law. His character is the same today, and so I know that He still desires this. That is why I am not as afraid as you might think about coming up with the $30,000 that we will need to adopt two sons from Africa. You can join with me in praying that God would provide this money so that we can show two boys from the other side of the world that there are people who love them, and most of all that there is a God who still provides for orphans in their distress. You can also pray for the boys; they might be alive already and their suffering may be terrible.
There are many needy children right here in Kentucky. It is hard to know how to pick which child needs us the most. Children in the US that are disabled or addicted to substances at birth are also falling through the cracks. They may end up in a good foster home, but they could be subject to neglect or abuse. This is an option for us, so we will have to pray for wisdom regarding the direction we choose. I hope that you catch our vision and will pray with us.

So, I got bit by a flying squirrel last night. It was about 11:00 pm and my beloved was going outside to get a last log to put on the fire before bed. Then I heard him whisper “April, what is that?” I ran to the door to see a tiny animal looking at us through the glass. It had huge eyes, the tiniest feet and a large busy tail. We stared at it, frozen. It stared at us. We had no idea what it was. So I decided I had to catch it.

img_0953-wince.JPG
I got a towel and snuck out the back door. When I rounded the corner to the front porch, it began to scamper frantically about. It lept off the porch, with me in quick pursuit. It ran up inside the siding, and then fell out. At this point, my husband was out cheering me on and attempting to corner it. Finally, I was able to capture back on the porch. We could not believe it. I had it in my hands, whatever it was. After taking it into the house and putting it in a pot, we decided on a large clear tote for its new home. Yes, it was so adorable that the man of the house began to beg to keep it! I heard “No, honey, it is a wild animal and it belongs outside where it can be free.” coming out of my mouth.

We looked it up on line and discovered that it was a Southern Flying Squirrel. They are not rare; in fact if you were outside looking in the trees for flying squirrels at night, you could probably find one. It was eating lichen on our logs which it appears, is a meal of choice. After waking the girls up to show them our latest midnight capture, we decided that we needed to hold it. We took the tote outside and carefully put our hands inside. It was so silky, and crawled up on E.’s hand. So I decided to actually grab it. This is the point where you begin to wonder about me, unless you know my history of catching wild animals that began when I was a little child.

I first remember capturing a “wild” parakeet. Then came various injured birds, a baby squirrel without hair that fell from its nest (it died after my mom agreed to take it to the vet!), snakes, several rabbits (one snatched right out from under the noses of a few dogs trying to kill it), and lots of frogs and turtles. I always feel a twinge of excitement when catching wild animals, but now I have even more fun showing them off to my girls. E. likes to do this too. One night he woke the girls to show them a tiny toad. They all liked it except for the youngest who said “Daddy, Mama doesn’t allow us to have things like that in the house!”. This morning, my middle girl asked why I had a band aid on my finger and I told her the flying squirrel had bitten me. She replied that she thought that had been a dream which made me wonder if waking the girls in the middle of the night to show them wild animals in the house is that great of an idea.

So, the squirrel- the FLYING squirrel, bit me and had to be let go. E. watched it for a while, took some pictures and actually got to see it glide while I looked up rabies on line. Too bad that by the time you show symptoms, there is nothing to do but chain you to a tree. The good news is squirrels don’t get rabies (at least it is very RARE, which is hardly comforting). Now, I can add a new creature to my list, and wonder what else we will find in the dark.

So, here is an interesting video that I was recently sent. I guess we all hear about how the images of beauty we see are very distorted, but this really demonstrated that in a way I have not seen before. I guess the ideals of beauty we have in our culture are true in some ways, but are also a product we are being sold. I read one time about how until modern times (I took that to mean the last 100 years) most people had limited exposure to other people. Since life was for the most part rural, people might only see several hundred other people in their lifetime. The chances that any of these people would be astonishingly beautiful, was slim. And even if someone was naturally beautiful, the amount of hard work they endured, coupled with the lack of cosmetics and time to take care of themselves would lessen it. So I think the article was saying that the exposure to so many beautiful people who have so much help looking the way they do (trainers, artists, computers) makes us think that we should look this way too; which would not have been the case until recent times. This is interesting to me and makes me wonder if people maybe would have felt that other things besides physical beauty were important. If all you saw was Jane, Mary, Leah… who all worked hard like you did and all looked about the same as you, what would distinguish between you? Would you focus on clothes? Not unless you were rich, I would think. What about your figure? Well, the standards of modesty would have prevented that in large part. So I wonder, would your personal qualities like your work ethic, your gentle nature, or your love for life be what people noticed about you? I do not know. Human nature was not better 100 years ago, so maybe I am just imagining; but maybe things would be different if our expectations were a little kinder.

Well, so much for writing every day! This week has been hard for me and I felt that anything I wrote would be too emotional and not anything someone would want to read. But when so much time goes by, it feels hard to nail down what is really going on in my world. Being a person is very complex, and this week has been full of personal complexities.
A trip to the Gap outlet helped me to realize that I was having a mid-life-crisis. I hope this isn’t really my mid-life, but going out at 60 wouldn’t be that bad. So what do I mean? Well, I have begun to realize that I have moved beyond some very big things in my life. I think as a child one looks to the future and imagines falling in love, getting married, finding your work, and having children as the big milestones. After all these have happened, have you not really already experienced the best of what life has to offer? I mean, even my body is beginning to fail me. Not only am I experiencing the pain of aging, but the side-effects as well (like wrinkles and hormone problems). O.K., I know that I am just now 30, but THIRTY, come on. So I have begun to see that I have already done all the things that I looked forward to.

So where does that leave me? Do I just die now, or ride the downhill train in resignation? I now see that this is not it at all. If my hope is in this world, then yes, it is all downhill now. According to our cultural standards, I am no longer the model of beautiful perfection I once was, so I might as well just give up, or look to money, or personal gratification (like retirement) at this point. And I guess that would be true, except for one big thing. And this is THE THING- I am not created for this world. I have these deep longings- to be the beautiful princess who has great adventure and romance and lives happily ever after. And this desire is not bad, in fact, God gave it to me- for heaven. I know I am not saying this very clearly, but I think that in my own life a remarkable awakening is occurring. I am seeing the need to cut the strings that tie me to this world, because my hope is not here. This world is beauty, love, and joy- yes; but it is also pain, heartache and bitter disappointment. So how can this be fine with me? How can I realize that all that I hoped for and dreamed of is not going to happen? I am not fine with that, because it is going to happen- when I finally am free of this world and its sin.

Sometimes I feel so impotent in regards to politics. I know, I vote, but when it comes to discussing things with people, it feels as if it has already been said, and better said, by someone else. But I just have to tell you how much I support what you are doing. I feel that there needs to be a record, somewhere, of the fact that I was not one of the blind ones. That I saw the danger threatening our society and way of life. That I knew that there was only one way to defeat those who seek to destroy us- to destroy them. I will never forget the horrible day that I made myself watch video of Islamic terrorists cut off an innocent man’s head as he screamed. I knew at that moment that what we were fighting was evil on a worldwide scale. I would no longer be able to be neutral, or even just apathetic. I would have to care. And I do. I will continue to support all those who love our country and what it stands for; all those who fight for our freedom and for others to have it as well. So, brother, when it feels like “death-by-powerpoint” and you feel insignificant- remember that you are a part of something much greater. Sure, this side isn’t perfect, but we are right. I am so proud of you, and it is with great honor, that I align myself with those that give of themselves for the sake of freedom.

So I took Jill to the Humane Society this afternoon. It was terrible, I almost cried and she was so scared. It just had to be done, though. Because of the danger she was in, I was putting her in her crate sometimes when I could not watch her. This made her very mad at me and she was beginning to run away from me when I called her. And then, this afternoon, I forgot and left her outside and she would not come home. I called her for ever, and then realized that she could probably hear me (Jack had come back after all and they were always together), she just did not want to come. So that was the last bit, and I took her this afternoon. I feel like the worst pet owner in the world, and I will sure miss her sweet curiosity and playfulness. It didn’t help that my youngest daughter told me she would give me all the pennies in her piggy bank so we could build a fence! Sometimes doing the right thing feels awful. I just hope there is someone close by who wants a sweet German Shepherd and will rescue her for good.

Well, last night was fun, we trick-or-treated in my parent’s neighborhood and at at retirement home nearby. The old people were the best. One lady with a clown outfit (sort-of) shuffled-a-rug to the karaoke music another resident graced us with. The most wonderful was “spider grandma” Her entire face and neck were painted black, she had little funny glasses on, a black net over her white hair, and a web cape. It was awesome. The rest of the folks sat in a circle and passed out candy to my girls while swooning over their adorableness. I just love old people. They were so sweet and put a huge smile on all of our faces. I was glad my girls made them smile too.

I do get very confused sometimes as to when old people are telling me truth or fantasy. I remember not realizing that the outrageous stories a lady in my Grandmother’s nursing home were not true until the nurse told me. I just don’t have much experience with the process of dementia and I wonder when the lines between memory, wishful thinking, and escapism become blurred. A lady last night asked if my girls were adopted (granted they look nothing like me, but they are the spitting image of their daddy who was standing next to me). She then confided that she had adopted her daughter, but that she didn’t tell everyone that. She told me it was long ago and that she hadn’t brought any money to give the people, but that she just gave them candy. Huh? Was she now talking about tonight’s festivities, or had her experiences from long ago (real or imagined) become entwined with the present? I just smiled and squeezed her hand and told her adoption was wonderful.

Sometimes this aspect of aging scares me. What does it feel like to not know reality? But considering that so much of how we perceive reality is really a product of our own minds, maybe it is not so scary after all. In the end, what difference does it make if our memories get screwed up? It just seems like it does make a HUGE difference. It is our life, after all, and by the time I am that old, more will be in the past then the future on this Earth. And not being able to identify how that life was lived is sad. What if I can’t know that the faces I see love me? Or that my life was lived for anything worthwhile? But maybe, they don’t know that they don’t know and life is great.

I would like to forget all the dogs I have failed in my life. First there was Odo. He was “great”, but made the girls cry in abject terror, so off to a farm for him. Then there was Elsa. I could just never like her, and neither could anyone else. She wasn’t bad, just weird and distant. She is on at least her fourth home, and she’s not sticking there either. Then there was Caspian. He was adorable and sweet but dug up my plants and puked on the floor in the middle of the night. After stepping in a big pile at 3 in the morning, I gave him some Imodium AD and sent him to his next home. (They love him, so that was a good thing.) Then came Jack (who I am determined to keep), and now Jill. I am in the process of failing her. She chased the neighbor’s horses (and they will shoot her), she tears up things, teaches Jack bad habits, and makes me miserable. Miserable because I like her so much, but she exasperates me. After she made a poop pile on the carpet again this morning, I just felt that I can never win with dogs. Who else has had this many dogs in only 3 years? I thought I was a dog person, but maybe I just need to admire them from afar. I hope someday I remember that I was a dog champion and ran a rescue or something. That would be great