Gotta love a Gillian Welch song done by sweet Steven, (who took my kids on an amazing camping trip this weekend. )
Monday, June 29, 2009
Edit- I have now officially kicked into college prep overdrive. I have lists upon lists of things each of the kids needs, coordinating schedules for moving back, trying to get doctors and dentists and such worked in before they leave. So much of my time and energy is tied up in preparation, that I am afraid I am going to start missing real time with them before they go. So, I think I will allot a certain time of the day just to look over the lists and schedules, but the rest of the time I really want to be present with them while I can.
Add- When the girls came to live with us after the death of their very young mother, they each mentioned several times that someone in their family had told them, “the first star you see each night is your mother looking down on you.” It seemed to be meaningful and helpful to their little 7 and 8 year old hearts. One night I just happened to notice that the world was awash in that sweet light just before the stars start to shine and I suggested we go to the back yard and watch for the first star. After that first night, I don’t remember anyone saying, “hey, let’s do this every night!”, but somehow during those late summer and early fall nights we just kept showing up. The girls could be off in various neighbor’s yards or riding their bikes, I could be working in the garden or sitting on a friend’s porch or inside cleaning up from dinner, and each of us would feel the pull of the moon and head straight for the back yard, somehow not surprised to see each other there when we got there. We would sit low in the lawn chairs, head tilted all the way back, and someone (usually Shameka) would break the silence- “There it is…” and we would all smile and each of us think about Geraldine. The habit fell off slowly after school started and while the girls often mention that as a really good memory for them, we have never re-visited the tradition. Over the past week I’ve started enjoying a short sit in the back after I get everything watered. When the stars popped out tonight, I thought fondly of Geraldine, who gave me the greatest gift of my life, and I made a pledge to sit out there more often and think, about Geraldine and about everything else big and tender on my heart.
Appreciate- My friend Paul has been faithfully leading the music at my church for over 18 years. He finds fresh new songs that have woven their way into our church traditions. He does a lot of special music, he sang at most of our weddings, and I’ve spent more time than I want anyone to know trying to decide what I would want him to sing at my funeral. Today he began a 4 month sabbatical. We will miss him terribly, but I am so proud of him for doing it, modeling to everyone in the church that it is a good and healthy thing to step away for a while. I appreciate his presence in my life- at work or at rest.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Since I am up and dressed so much earlier than usual on a Saturday!!
1. Go to the St. Matthews Farmer’s Market to see Kirby who I miss greatly at the Phoenix Hill Market, to get some of Sunshine Farm’s amazing peaches, and to get the eggs I forgot to get on Tuesday.
2. OR- to the Highlands Farmer’s Market to get the goat cheese that I love so so so much.
3. Ride around and look for a yard sale
4. Enjoy a quiet time with no one else at home
5. Work in my garden since it’s under 80 at the moment
6. Finish reading The Road, the book for today’s book group
7. Make a bunch of vellum flowers that I learned to do on this week’s Etsy How To Tuesday.
8. And finally, the thing I am most likely to do- lay back down for a bit. Going to bed at 3:30 and getting up at 7:00, especially after a lot of sleep deprivation during the week, has left me looking like an old hag and acting like one too.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Sometimes I miss my little self- the one who flew headlong into life with her eyes closed, certain of safety and of being loved. I am forever endebted to my parents and relatives and church friends whose great and tangible love allowed me the gift of a carefree childhood. I am mindful tonight of how few children all over the world have that luxury in this day and age.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
And we already all know I love rainbow cakes!
How good does this look!!!
Another GREAT wedding invitation!
I could offer them my place…..
These are above average evites- check them out.
I want to have one of these! What a great idea!
Larry is an old friend. Shawn bought a pencil drawing that Larry did of St. John’s Day Center (where Shawn and I met!) as a gift for me before we married, and I’ve had a soft spot for Larry ever since.
What’s on YOUR list for today? And don’t you love the name of her blog?!!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
If you are lucky enough to live in Louisville, you have probably been lucky enough to hear Ben Sollee playing around town some. Every time I see him, I am keenly aware that he is getting more and more popular and opportunities to see him around home will probably become a lot more scarce. He is amazing. I'm always a sucker for a cello, but this man takes the cello in a brand new direction.
EDIT- On Friday we had some technical difficulties at our house and in the process of trying to “fix” something on Shameka’s computer, I managed to lose my own internet connection. I am embarrassed now to even remember what an unattractive person I became. Tiny wires in my head melted down, I’m pretty sure. The thought of a night, much less a weekend, without internet completely pushed me out of my mind. Chiayim came home and made all things right, but I am left with a chilling knowledge that I am addicted to the internet. And so, I am going to make a conscious effort to spend less time on here this week. My name is Sue, and I am an online addict. Hold me accountable!
ADD- I had wanted to make Shawn some special hand soap for Father’s Day using a scent I used some years ago that he loved- Tomato Leaf. It’s been so long that I can’t remember which company I ordered that oil from, but I was totally disappointed in what I got when I ordered from my favorite place I get my fragrance oils at usually. I went on though and made a nice cross between a soap and a scrub, and it reminded me of how much I enjoy making lotions and potions. I got enough basic supplies that I’d like to make some more this week.
APPRECIATE- Hands down, my greatest of appreciation goes out to Kendra who is off at camp, leaving little Herbie in my care. He is rotten- Kendra feeds him by hand kibble by tiny kibble. He sleeps in her bed and snores and stinks and takes up a good portion of the bed. She gets up in the night to change his little pants, or to get him a drink if he’s too hot. She holds him for long periods of time each day. This week, he’s mine to care for and it’s safe to say that he is not happy about all of this. The sleeping options are to a) sleep with all of the lights on so he hopefully does’t realize it’s night and just thinks I’ve left the room and will be back shortly, or b) find some way to bring him and his little bed into my room where he will be close to me but not so close that I might step on him in the night. Either way, I think he’s going to be bitter. I’ll let you know.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
This is a letter that President Obama wrote for Parade Magazine to his girls about Father’s Day
As t he father of two young girls who have shown such poise, humor, and patience in the unconventional life into which they have been thrust, I mark this Father’s Day—our first in the White House—with a deep sense of gratitude. One of the greatest benefits of being President is that I now live right above the office. I see my girls off to school nearly every morning and have dinner with them nearly every night. It is a welcome change after so many years out on the campaign trail and commuting between Chicago and Capitol Hill.
But I observe this Father’s Day not just as a father grateful to be present in my daughters’ lives but also as a son who grew up without a father in my own life. My father left my family when I was 2 years old, and I knew him mainly from the letters he wrote and the stories my family told. And while I was lucky to have two wonderful grandparents who poured everything they had into helping my mother raise my sister and me, I still felt the weight of his absence throughout my childhood.
As an adult, working as a community organizer and later as a legislator, I would often walk through the streets of Chicago’s South Side and see boys marked by that same absence—boys without supervision or direction or anyone to help them as they struggled to grow into men. I identified with their frustration and disengagement—with their sense of having been let down.
In many ways, I came to understand the importance of fatherhood through its absence—both in my life and in the lives of others. I came to understand that the hole a man leaves when he abandons his responsibility to his children is one that no government can fill. We can do everything possible to provide good jobs and good schools and safe streets for our kids, but it will never be enough to fully make up the difference.
That is why we need fathers to step up, to realize that their job does not end at conception; that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise one.
As fathers, we need to be involved in our children’s lives not just when it’s convenient or easy, and not just when they’re doing well—but when it’s difficult and thankless, and they’re struggling. That is when they need us most.
And it’s not enough to just be physically present. Too often, especially during tough economic times like these, we are emotionally absent: distracted, consumed by what’s happening in our own lives, worried about keeping our jobs and paying our bills, unsure if we’ll be able to give our kids the same opportunities we had.
Our children can tell. They know when we’re not fully there. And that disengagement sends a clear message—whether we mean it or not—about where among our priorities they fall.
So we need to step out of our own heads and tune in. We need to turn off the television and start talking with our kids, and listening to them, and understanding what’s going on in their lives.
We need to set limits and expectations. We need to replace that video game with a book and make sure that homework gets done. We need to say to our daughters, Don’t ever let images on TV tell you what you are worth, because I expect you to dream without limit and reach for your goals. We need to tell our sons, Those songs on the radio may glorify violence, but in our house, we find glory in achievement, self-respect, and hard work.
We need to realize that we are our children’s first and best teachers. When we are selfish or inconsiderate, when we mistreat our wives or girlfriends, when we cut corners or fail to control our tempers, our children learn from that—and it’s no surprise when we see those behaviors in our schools or on our streets.
But it also works the other way around. When we work hard, treat others with respect, spend within our means, and contribute to our communities, those are the lessons our children learn. And that is what so many fathers are doing every day—coaching soccer and Little League, going to those school assemblies and parent-teacher conferences, scrimping and saving and working that extra shift so their kids can go to college. They are fulfilling their most fundamental duty as fathers: to show their children, by example, the kind of people they want them to become.
It is rarely easy. There are plenty of days of struggle and heartache when, despite our best efforts, we fail to live up to our responsibilities. I know I have been an imperfect father. I know I have made mistakes. I have lost count of all the times, over the years, when the demands of work have taken me from the duties of fatherhood. There were many days out on the campaign trail when I felt like my family was a million miles away, and I knew I was missing moments of my daughters’ lives that I’d never get back. It is a loss I will never fully accept.
But on this Father’s Day, I think back to the day I drove Michelle and a newborn Malia home from the hospital nearly 11 years ago—crawling along, miles under the speed limit, feeling the weight of my daughter’s future resting in my hands. I think about the pledge I made to her that day: that I would give her what I never had—that if I could be anything in life, I would be a good father. I knew that day that my own life wouldn’t count for much unless she had every opportunity in hers. And I knew I had an obligation, as we all do, to help create those opportunities and leave a better world for her and all our children.
On this Father’s Day, I am recommitting myself to that work, to those duties that all parents share: to build a foundation for our children’s dreams, to give them the love and support they need to fulfill them, and to stick with them the whole way through, no matter what doubts we may feel or difficulties we may face. That is my prayer for all of us on this Father’s Day, and that is my hope for this nation in the months and years ahead.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
1. He gives them wings- it was Shawn who ran alongside them as they learned to ride bikes, who let them ride every scary ride they wanted, who taught them each to drive- and even though it makes him a little sad to see them go, he still keeps on.
2. Shawn works with kids. Most of them are not in a good spot in life. He has that perspective, and both recognizes and affirms how great our kids are, even on their worst days.
3. He works so so hard, and he does it because he wants them to have not only what they need, but some of what they want too.
4. He softens my rough edges. More times than I can count, he has followed behind the wide path of hormonal hysteria that I have cut and smoothed things over and helped the kids give me another chance!
5. He cares a lot more about the kids fitting in with other kids than I do and understands that they do indeed want some of the things that normal teens want- like phones and video players and such- and he honors that. I would have them living like the Amish were it not for his intervention, and we all know that!
6. He is very relaxed, and very present with them. When they are laughing and having fun, he’s not worried that they are making a mess or being too loud- he’s just right there in the moment with them.
7. He is so proud of them, and shows it in the way he looks at them, the way he talks to them, the way he brags about them.
8. He LOVES being with his family, and loves to do nice things for us all and he LOVES being a dad.
Friday, June 19, 2009
A Veggie Venture has long been one of my favorite blogs and I've really never made one recipe of hers that wasn't great. This just sounded so simple, and it was. My daughter was oohhing and ahhing over them and said, "whatever spices you used, they are just perfect." Surprise!
AND an added perk to this is that it makes the not so flavorful tomatos of June taste like August.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
The kids and I had a blast playing this game when they were younger……until it got out of hand. Some nameless members of the family took the slugging to a whole new level, so we tried just saying Slug Bug, but it sort of lost the fun.
Sites like this make me really really miss having little ones to read to at night…..
Does anyone know where Becky Christian has gone? I love love love her stuff and would still love to have her set of the 7 Dwarves of Menopause but she’s disappeared from ebay.
Wouldn’t it be fun to set this up at a party? A bolt of fabric and an old frame and there you go…. And while you’re there, scroll down. Lots of great eye candy there.
Walking Tacos look fun for a gathering!
I want to think of a fun way to use some of these!
Well, add Lyle Lovett and brussels sprouts marinated in Italian salad dressing to MY list……..
And a little bit of pug love…..
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
My friend Donna has the most gorgeous blog, filled with not just pictures of her beautiful healthy plants but she knows the name of them all and she knows the history of the plants.
I on the other hand can’t name all of my plants, but I sure can name every piece of “found treasure” in my yard. There’s an old mailbox in the background with 717 on it. My neighbor found it and knew I would love it. It holds my clothes pins and a few gardening tools.
The tall pipe here is off a house in the neighborhood that Shawn tore down when the owners passed. Behind it is a piece that Shawn bought me the first year we lived here. The pots were almost every one picked off someone’s junk pile during my old junking days.
Every stone in my bird bath was found while digging in the very poor soil around my house, and once washed off they were found to be jewels!
So, what I an NOT is a garden blogger, even though I do love my garden. I take as much delight in the junk as the plants, all old friends to me.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Edit- This week I begin carpooling with my son and because it’s his first week on the job, he has to be in 1/2 hour early which means I will too. That puts me at a 5:30 wake up call, and sorely in the need of an earlier bedtime. I have 15 minutes to make my goal for tonight.
Add-I want to treat myself kindly this week by treating myself to something that makes me feel rich and gives me joy each day. Could be listening to music that I love, or doing a little piece of art, or writing a note to a friend, or sitting in my back yard with the candles lit.
Appreciate- In my efforts to reclaim my wild and hard scrabble back yard, I finally decided to let one of the beds lie fallow this year so that I can amend the soil more before I plant there next year. I mulched over one large spot of it and did a little arrangement of pots with succulents in them. Maybe a picture will follow tomorrow. I thought of it after I found a little hen and chick rooted in the crook of an old railroad tie back there. They ask for a little bit of water from time to time and otherwise live very simply on whatever they can find to live on.
Makes me think of my mom, who within 10 minutes of arriving somewhere , be that a tent or travel trailer or a hotel room or a hospital room has to “set up our house” and makes it our very own.
So, today I am appreciating all of the tenacious hens who make homes out of whatever they can find for their chicks, who ask for little and give much.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
1. The Mean Moms are going to rumble this weekend. We laugh, cry if we need to , share wisdom, and commiserate . We tell our tales of just how mean we are- all of the things we don’t let our kids do, or make them do, or we do to them that make us so so so mean, then we affirm each other in our choices!
2. Tomorrow Shameka and I are going to the Unique Thrift Store. I LOVE my trips to the Unique. With a little change in my pocket, I can always walk away from there with a treasure. There are certain things I scope out- table cloths, cloth napkins, men’s hankies, housewares, and sometimes clothes. I get excited as we pull into the lot there like I think some folks must get excited about a big shopping trip to a Gatlinburg outlet mall or something!
3. Sunday is an open house at Sister’s to celebrate my amazing wonderful beautiful sweet nephew. Her house is a very comfortable place to gather with friends and family.
4. The Urban Goatwalker Coffee House is tonight. Come on down! It’s an open mic event where just about anyone or anything might show up to do a set. Our van goes to all of the shelters to pick up folks who want to come which is usually quite a few. It’s candle light and attentive servers taking orders for all kinds of homemade deserts and free trade coffee with real whipped cream. Chiayim’s doing a set. 7:30ish to 10ish.
5. Potluck with our community meal friends this week. For the month of June we had so many vacations and VBS and beginning of summer things that we decided to not do meals other than potlucks until July. I’ve missed my friends and our snappy patter over great food, and look forward to time with them.
6. I worked in my garden tonight but it was almost dark when I finished. I am looking forward to admiring it by daylight.
7. Making the Obama family chili recipe this week. We liked it a lot when we had it election week. I bet we will like it just as much now!
8. A nap tomorrow. Please say I’ll get a nap tomorrow. I have been sorely missing my naps!
Friday, June 12, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Another tender word from the folks at Kind Over Matter.
What a lovely idea!
And speaking of ideas, there are so many good ones here I couldn't pick just one....
I love the look of this basket.
I don't know why I have never found Oilcloth Addict before, but it was my find of the night! And of course, in keeping with my theme of all things chalkboard......
How fun is this?!
In case you didn't see this around the web this week, it's worth reading.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Fire -- Judy Brown
What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.
So building fires
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.
When we are able to build
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible.
We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
simply because the space is there,
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Add- I'm not reading anything! I need a good book. Suggestions?
Appreciate- Today is my sweet friend Lydia's 9th birthday. When her parents were pregnant with her, they asked if I would be interested in being a part of the delivery and I was pretty dang honored. I attended childbirth classes with them, and I got to go when the time came. I got to see my friend Cindy in a whole new light and she became my hero as she stuck out hour after hour of contractions and exhaustion set in. In the end, she had to have a c-section, but not before trying everything else possible. I may never get to be a part of anything so special again, and I so so appreciate getting to be there with them, and getting to see Lydia so soon after her birth.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
- A case of Dr. K
- My iPod, fully charged
- My Bible
- My purse
- My scrapbook bag
Wait........these are the things I took for my overnight stay at the Country Inn. .......Hmmm.....
Well, if paper and pen could be one item- I'd also take my own pillow. I'm picky.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Of course, just holding the watch in my hand brought back a number of memories from my own graduation day. I had hair down to my waist, and I had a waist. I thought I was HUGE and would love to be that size now. I drove a 1964 Chevelle Malibu. I had a very very cool teen bedroom all done in red, white, and blue. I planned to go to vocational school to become a nurse. I opened my first checking account with the several hundred dollars I received in gifts. I thought I knew about all I would ever need to know.
Shameka at 18 does know about all she will ever need to know- she knows herself. I was long past high school before I came to know myself well.
I hope one day she can pass that watch to her own daughter, and that she too will stop for a moment and remember that she had red highlights put in her hair for graduation day, that she was working at the Pie Kitchen, that she and her cousin graduated on the same day so the family as a whole spent a whole day attending graduations, that she went to a big party after graduation and that her amazing parents made the day perfect for her!
Thursday, June 4, 2009
A nice follow up to my mention of Missionary Mary over at Beth's blog.
What's sweeter here- Nellie or her bed?
I want to make one of these with Shameka. Sort of reminds me of gum wrapper chains. I had the LONGEST gum wrapper chain that I kept and worked on for years and kept in a big box.
Ohhhh, I would love to make one of these sometime!
Check out Davey for a little fun!
Two good reads that touched my heart this week:
Donna's story about her growing grandson
And this story from Garrison Keillor made me feel rich and happy today.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
— Anne Lamott
Monday, June 1, 2009
So, for this week:
Edit- About a year and a half ago when my father was diagnosed with lung cancer, a wise friend who had recently lost her own father to cancer reminded me of Anne Lamott's admonishment to "as much as possible, live in the present." When someone has a life threatening illness, your eyes are always scanning the horizon, you are always trying to think through what could be ahead, and you could almost miss the time you have with your loved one. I appreciate that wise counsel and have shared it with others- like pressing a secret into their hand as they start down a dark road. As much as possible, live in the present. Tuesday will mark one year without my dad. This week I am giving myself the very advice that served me so well before. The temptation is great to revisit that exhausting day a year ago, to wonder if we made the right choices about his care, to wish we might have said more or done more. And to do that would be a disservice to my father who loved life and clung to it, and who lives forever in our hearts. This week two of his grandchildren are graduating from high school, one of them being my own daughter. What great joy he took in them, and what high hopes he had for them as they cross this new threshold, and I choose to honor him by being very present with them in this joyful time in their lives. As much as possible, I will live in the present this week.
Add- I will add in more contemplative time this week. Shelling peas, as I did tonight. Carrying water to my plants in buckets as my hose is broken. Honest repetitive work that is quiet enough for me to hear my own voice.
Appreciate: Especially appreciating my sister this week as her sweet boy, my precious and perfect nephew graduates. She has done a million trillion wonderful things for me, but none better than making me an aunt.
In the upper room
swirled like a tornado of grace
and fiery tongues
burned language into stutterers.
stir our passion again!
and spin them past
our tame intentions.
Huff and puff till you blow down
the shutters we hide in,
scarred by earlier zests,
more cowardly and cynical
than once upon a time
when we inhaled your fire
and gulped your windstorms
like tap water
and laughed at those
who counseled caution.
Sr. Patricia Schnapp