The Art of the Wild Ride

Last week was a wild ride.  It reminded me of a wild ride of my own…

When I was in college, I set out on a quest to entice my earthly father to love me.  Admire me.  Say something.  Pursue me.

As a result, I did some things he shouldn’t have wanted me to do in a million years, but that’s the whole point. I have no idea what he wanted me to do.  Except major in something to do with money.  Not relationships.

So being as dad wore boots and jeans and raised cattle, I thought I should be a cowgirl.

So I bought some boots and went dancing.

Then I fell in with a bunch of kids who wore boots.  And hats.

Who drove filthy trucks to tumble down farms where they kept their own and other people’s horses. (I actually think we flipped a truck that day, but that’s another story).

This one little feller…

Was training a wild mustang someone he knew had bought from one of those protection organizations.

The rest of us stood around and watched him for forever.  While this crazy-eyed Appy on the other side of the barn tried to tear down his pen.  While we got hungrier and hungrier.  Thirstier and thirstier.

Finally, about 4:30, he declared her trained and moved her from the round pen to the arena.

They helped me up and handed me a bicycle inner tube.  Look, I know.  But I was just doing what I was told.  They said to take it.

We did a little figure eight and were pointed away from the house.  I gave her a little tap with the smooth heels of those ropers.

She ducked her head.

By the time I could lean back, she was in midair.

She was coiling for a spring.  The boys were beginning to yell and leap down from the fence.

I was scrambling to reclaim my seat.

She hit the ground the second time.  Front legs stiff.  Back legs spring loaded and ready to fire.

The boys were running and screaming but I didn’t know what the commotion was.  I had my hands full.

Those back legs fired, and we were flying.

One.  Two.

On three, she ducked and I did my first solo flight.  Over her shoulders, through the air.  I landed on the tip of my cute nose with my Rocky butt to the sky.

I scrambled to my feet.

I still had the inner tube in my hand.  I’d never used it and never let it go.

She was standing there with her front feet planted, sides heaving.  Like it’d been done to her.

I tightened my grip.  And started walking toward her.

A hand caught my arm.

When I looked up… three pairs of boy eyes glowed.

I’d ridden her.

I had a little dot of dirt on the end of my nose. But other than that, was completely whole.

I received the back slapping.  The trophy of spurs.

And they took me dancing.

Late in the evening, that horse trainer kid got a couple of beers in him and started crying, and asked me to marry him.

I still have the spurs.  They are on a table right inside my front door.

 

 

 

Was There a Victoria’s Secret in the Temple Courts?

In the Spring of the first year I blogged, a blogger I was unfamiliar with issued a challenge to “Biblical Submission for Wives”.  A blogger who doesn’t hold the same beliefs presided over a firestorm of fury the idea that a blogger would invite those of her same beliefs to join her in practicing them.  It catapulted them both to blog fame and notoriety.

I was offended by the whole mess.  I thought the blogger was a hater and if the submission gal had been of another faith her challenge would have been ignored or thought of as a beautiful expression of a unique system.    I have since re-canted this position.  I thought the challenge was legalistic and simplistic.  And with my own good reasons.

For a long time I strived to demonstrate the kind of submission she talked about.  One where I wore dull old lady clothes, made my home and family look like a photo drawn by a 3rd grader with flowers and birds and a big yellow sun.  Where he was supposed to be the one who called the shots and lacking orders I labored to apply all the “Christian” images of a happy home and family.

It’s just not that simple.  No one ever said what to do if he didn’t participate.  No one ever told him what he was supposed to want to tell me to do.

Oh, I figured out to hide behind him when there was something I didn’t want to do.  And how to get him to command my will and think it was his. Because that’s so healthy.

I even went so far as to attempt to wear skirts and blouses, rather than jeans, because it would be feminine.  I learned nothing.  I looked a lot more like Mrs Doubtfire than I’d started out to do. There is nothing holy about Robin Williams in a dress.

Finally, I abandoned the model.  It was a roaring failure and I chucked it in the bag with all my others.

It occurs to me today, as I am one big raw mess of “I’m-Out-of-Time”, I possibly, get submission a little better now.  Biblical submission is first of all not strictly for women.  Men are to submit to things, too.  That means all of us.  To God.  To the rulers and authorities. To each other within the faith (meaning don’t make conflict by hanging on to something non-essential).  Jesus, Himself, submitted to the rulers of his own people and the national government.  Even when they were wrong.

Oh.  Sometimes submission is easy.  Like in situations where you meet criteria and receive a good thing.  Like in adoption…  I fill out paperwork, collect documents, get medical evaluations, complete reading and classes, pay fees, and wait.  Then, most times, a child comes.  But I have to submit to the process.  I can’t say, “No I think it makes sense for you to do it another way.”  That is an easy kind of submission.

What do I think it looks like?

Deep in the middle of the Old Testament, is a book called Song of Solomon.  It’s racy.  It describes a couple driven by their need for intimacy with one another.  That the voices of all the other demands on their lives are hushed when they are together.  They have no fear of rejection or danger.  They are free to be completely vulnerable and unashamed.

People teach it as a tutorial for married sex.  People teach it as a model for the relationship between Christ and His church.  I am no Bible Scholar, so I am going to launch out here and get in trouble.

In the hidden life of a husband and wife, there is a moment when she abandons herself to him.  Sometimes in reverent awe.  Sometimes in teasing, raucous fire.  Even when she is initiator and taking the ministry to his need.

It is simply no different in the kitchen in the morning rush. Or the Thursday evening “arsenic hour” with overtired kids and overdue bills.

Biblical submission is the moment when I lay all of my defenses aside to let him take over the authority to cherish, nourish and help me maximize my potential.

See, when I submit to God the same is true.  When even when Mickey trusts me to guide a project, because I know more about it than he does. When a child does what a parent has told them because they trust.  Even when you work for an idiot, who can’t find their hind end with both hands, and you do what he or she says, because…  Because.

It isn’t obedience from a subordinate to a superior.  It’s letting go the self agenda for the unified purpose.

It’s serving to receive, to serve to receive, to serve to be fully known and to know fully.

Ahhh.

Everybody gets theirs.

I guess I should also note that if the Bible isn’t something you feel is for you right now, there’s no reason I’d expect this to appeal or call you to anything.  This is just to respond to something nearly three years old that’s a discussion between my own inner thoughts and the thoughts of a person of my same faith who I think has a lot of joy waiting for her when she gets free.  And you are always welcome here to agree or disagree if you’d like.

 

Do You Mind If I Pass?

The girls are in a production about the Civil Rights Movement.  I learned what ‘passing’ was.  It’s when a light-skinned African-American person used ‘white-only’ facilities.  Quietly, respectfully.  Not drawing attention.  Hoping just to sit on a train, for example, if they could.

Oh.

Like me?

I heard my mother and grandmother discussing an event that happened a generation or two ago.  In the process of breaking up housekeeping of one of my great-great-grandparents, a photo was found.  It was a photo of a black woman.  On the back, it said one word…

“Mama.”

At the time, I said nothing.  Sometime later, I referred to that event.  Mother just stared. It was anger and “I-don’t-know-what-you-mean?” at the same time.  Had she forgotten?  Was it a secret?

Nevertheless.

Whose mother? The answer is lost. Only Mother is alive to know it and, she isn’t talking.  There were the great-greats who both died, leaving the little girl who’d be my great grandmother, an orphan.  There is also the great-great who smoked cigars and only changed underwear twice a year–when she put on the winter underwear and when she took them off.  Her son would live 76 years, only to decide to end his life.

Someone kept a photo labeled, ‘Mama’.

My mother was born in the 40s.  My grandmother in the 20s. My great-grandmother died in 2005 at age 93.  If she was still alive, she’d be 101.  Given forty years for the two previous generations, that would place her grandmother’s birth in the year 1867.  Five years after the issue of the Emancipation Proclamation.  If by some chance my forebears in both those generations were older than 20 when my great-great was born, ‘Mama’ could have been born a slave.

It’s possible that the woman in the photo isn’t actually a relative at all, but a nanny.  Someone may have found a photo labeled ‘Mama’, and just never disposed of it.

Neither of those seem terribly likely, as this de-cluttering would have taken place before my grandmother was born.  Would it have been extremely likely that a white person, living in the 1920s in America, would keep a portrait of a black woman labeled ‘Mama”, if it held no personal meaning?

The photo, if kept, wasn’t kept by my branch of the family.  Of whom I am the only descendent.

May I pass?

Feel free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween

She knew she had to work hard.  Not just any freshman was going to be able to hang with that crowd or keep Mike Mathis as a boyfriend unless she showed she belonged there.

Mom was gone to a work function and dad was…  Well, who cared where he was?  His new wife must care.  In his new life.  On the other side of the continent.  By the time Mom got home, she would have changed buses and might just be stepping off at the stop before Cannington Enclave, where the domestics would be stepping on.

She smeared her 14 year-old lips Cherry red. Deep black liner and accidentally perfect purple shadow formed the backdrop for false eyelashes. The hair she couldn’t appreciate shined perfectly, tragically, black, and down to her shoulder blades.  A tight black blouse with princess seams making curves where God had not, topped jeans that wouldn’t have been too tight when school started, but were tonight.  Because she was still growing, just a little.  There was a peaked cap and a long black cape of crushed velvet on the outside lined with satin of the darkest red.  In her black nails, she held a flat, corn broom stolen from the custodian’s closet. Her thrill, though, was the shoes.  Boots.  Laced up, pointed toe black leather in the foot, fabric in the barrel, a kitten heel gave the illusion of height without making her feel she’d fall down.  She had some walking to do tonight.

A check of the mirror pleased her.  A perfectly wicked witch.

The mirror lied.  It didn’t even mention the sadness behind the smile.  Or the beautiful, impatient, woman-in-waiting.

Mike had been anxious to take their relationship to the next level. He told her he’d have to be single rather than continue to be attracted to her like he was.  They had an agreement.  If she dressed as an angel she wanted to wait.  If she dressed as a witch…  She didn’t.

In the purple dusk, cape swirling, hair flying, boots clacking on the pavement; she could have been a character in a movie.  The bus was no joke tonight.  The usual cast of down and outers was seedy. The exhausted working poor were collected in a transport bin and dozing or reading or looking at her.  For the first time, her eyes were opened.  This, was no place for a little girl.

No one knew where she was.  She was dressed to magnetize and her mother thought he drove to pick her up and he thought her mom was dropping her at the gate house.

She felt very, very “vincible”.  Visible.  It was a two-edged sword.  Wanting so desperately to be seen, then realizing you are.  Not just by whom you would like to be seen, but by whom you did not choose.  She felt sick.

There was no escape.  She could only ride it out.  Enclave was the first stop on the other side of  the long, harrow corridor of urban decay dividing the city between the exclusive suburb and the middle class midtown.

When she rose from her seat for the first Enclave stop, she noted that a man and a woman also rose.  The woman she knew from taking this route since she’d been seeing Mike.  The man, she’d never seen, but then, she wasn’t in the habit of noticing men she wasn’t aiming her powers at.

Both of them made the stop with her, yet she forgot them immediately, as she focused on the evening before her.  A Halloween party.  The biggest moment in her relationship with Mike Mathis, National Merit Scholar, President of the Chess Club.  Valedictorian.

Tonight would change everything.

At last, she could no longer miss the looks.  Appreciation from boys who were there with other girls.  Jealousy from girls who were there with other boys.  And something strange from Mike’s Mom.  It didn’t look like the friendship she’d thought they had.

Mike didn’t look at her at all.  He really didn’t speak much.  To her.  He passed out refreshments.  Made sure everyone was comfortable.  Answered the door.  Passed out candy.  He was a great host.  A great guy.

She gazed silently out the breakfast room window, through her reflection to the waterfront. The last line of deep purple light was about to disappear behind a shimmering lake.

“It won’t be long now ’til we can be alone,” came the whisper.

She hadn’t seen or felt his approach.  She lifted her eyes to the reflection of his.  Drank it in with her heart.  Trying to buoy this heaviness.

“Why don’t you walk with me to carry this bag to the can?”

“How could I possibly resist helping you serve your guests?”

An intelligent man knows when he’s been chastened.

“I wanted to show you the dock.  It’s the same way.  Bad planning by the architect.”

She raised her face to see every change in his smile.  His eyes.

“I’ve seen it in the daytime.  What more could I possibly learn in the dark?”

“It’s an entirely new experience in the dark. I promise.”

Throwing a laugh over her shoulder, she ducked for the kitchen door, her boots leaving black scuffs and her hair a flying ebony stain in the thick party air.

In a minute, the cabana on the dock was swaying unsteadily.  She could sense it in the mirror dimly reflecting the half light.

She did love him.  He was smart.  And, God, was he good-looking.

She waited.

“The reflection of the moon on the water is a result of refraction.”

“No, it’s not.”

“Our ability to see things we aren’t facing always is.”

“What?  I don’t think that’s right.”

“You know, I love you.”

“Of course, I dressed as a witch.”

“What do you mean? Glenda, the good witch?”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re an angel.”

“No, I’m not.  I’m a witch.”

“Well, the wings and the halo make that a tough sell.  Not to mention the Clarence from A Wonderful Life that’s followed us everywhere all night.  Why didn’t you tell me you were bringing your uncle? Mom’s way bent.”

“Mike, You’re scaring me.  I am a witch with a broom.  Red lips, black nails.  I don’t have an uncle.”

He reached for the light and turned her shoulders to face the mirror.

 

In the mirror’s reflection, she saw herself.  A witch with terror streaming down her cheeks.

Behind Mike, through the screen she could see the man from the bus.

Who had wings.

“Mike, I am a witch.  I have no uncle. That is a man who got off the bus at the stop with me.”

“You are an angel. And I talked to him myself before he left.”

And he kissed her.

 

~Happy Halloween.  Since we don’t have a big celebration to share for #Blogtober, I hope I gave you a scare.  One way or another.~

 

 

 

 

 

Gritty By Grace

When I was little, we moved off the farm and into the city and mom made me wear dresses all the time.  Short ones.  Remember Cindy Brady?  That short.

I wanted jeans.  The cousin, who supplied all my clothes, passed down a pair of embroidered jeans.  I wore them until they disappeared.  When I was in 6th grade, my mom bought me a pair of ‘straight leg’ jeans. In seventh, Hazel took me shopping to dress me like I belonged to someone. I came home with Calvin Klein Jeans.  Shortly, I’m not exactly sure when, Levi’s Shrink-to-Fit 501s came in style.

And stayed awhile.

Through the years, my mom did a lot of things to give me a better education than she’d had.  We lived in better neighborhoods with better schools.  She kept me in church; finally finding the Episcopalians, with alcohol in church and being cool with divorce and incredible networking.  I sang in their whizbang choir and my fellow singers were from the best neighborhoods and attended the best private schools.  We attended the arts festival for the egg rolls.  We went to the ballet.  We ate at the Magic Pan and shopped (without buying) at high fashion shops.

It was bread and meat to a girl who couldn’t have extra-curriculars because working moms couldn’t pick kids up from practices and needed to spend their money on nachos and vodka (that’s her story and she’s sticking to it).

When I was about 11, this guy decided he was going to get to her by spoiling me (WRONG TREE!!! WRONG TREE!!!).  He profiled me– reader, straight As, wearing rags but knows where Balliet’s is.  And sent me subscriptions to Smithsonian and W.

When I began to dress myself I was strictly tailored.

My soul wears navy blue and pearls. It believes the rules are there to help us live like civilized human beings. Manners are to help others feel comfortable; not to manipulate them into pretending you aren’t being ungracious (Target Line Cutter Lady, I am talking to you). Education doesn’t stop at the 3 Rs, but extends to the arts and culture.

When I was in high school, I heard stories of wild parties.  I never was invited to one.

I dated a college guy at the end of my senior year.  On the outside, he was all conservative Republican, Son of a Fundamentalist Preacher.  On the inside, he was a monster.

Navy blue and pearls girl may have gotten a little damaged.

Lesson learned: The outside is for your mama, the preacher, and the person who watches rated R movies but condemns people who curse. The inside is what you are.  It’s what monsters want to destroy.

One day when I was wearing my navy blue and pearls, my jeans got a little rip.  I liked the little rip. Eventually, I’d find a best friend whose jeans had a little rip, too.

When I was in college, I wore my Rockies or my Wranglers when I was feeling like flying my freak flag. Which good girls aren’t supposed to have. But I do.

Jesus knows about the freak flag.

He made it, so I would not have to carry my own books.

I lavishly adore buttoned down; it goes so well with barefoot, ripped jeans, and hair loose.

Because grace is sometimes gritty and perfect love sometimes sees you in your lucky pants.

 

 

I am linking this post with PYHO @ Things I Can’t Say.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Politics

The presidential election is bearing down on us in less than eight weeks.  Everyone’s on TV acting like the Republicans have a chance.  Like it’s a race.

I don’t know anyone who’s excited about Romney.  I kinda feel sorry for him.  To be running when we all kinda know.  It’s not gonna happen.

That’s just my feelings.  My politics are different.

AN ACCIDENTAL GUIDE TO GETTING OVER MYSELF IN AN ELECTION YEAR

1) No one runs for President thinking, “I’ll be friendly til I get in, and then I’ll destroy it and go down in history as ‘that guy’.”

2) Ultimately, we all want the same things. To live life now, plan for the future and have a little something left to enjoy ourselves a little.  My friends who are philosophically at the other end of the continuum, think the order of priorities is different than I do. That’s all.

3) My life is largely determined by what I do with what I have.  Time, money, health, and education.  Who has been president hasn’t made a lot of difference in that.  He can’t make me be wise with what I have.  He can’t prevent me from being irresponsible.

4) When Bill Clinton was elected the first time, I was teaching in a private Christian school.  On Wednesday morning, I had first graders coming into the classroom crying because it was the end of America (If every guy, who did his job pretty well and had time leftover to get up to no good was the anti-Christ, we’d need an internet database to keep up with them all).

Really, Mom and Dad? Really?

Is that what Jesus would do?

No.

(for extra credit: guess why I don’t teach in a private Christian school)

5) A president is more than his stance on my pet issue.  I want the adoption tax credit to be extended.  Some people have sons in Afghanistan.  Some have children who have medical needs that are no longer covered by  insurance.  Some have children with special learning needs and their district doesn’t have enough resources in special education.

What I need more than a president who agrees with me, is a president who displays character and consistency.

I think either political party would be happy for me to vote, based solely on my pet issue as long as I vote for them.

6) It’s not worth it to me to break relationships.  In the end, whomever we elect is not coming over for Thanksgiving and we don’t have to see them every week.

7) I wouldn’t want to be president.  The secrets they have to know.  The burden of making decisions that will change the course of history, right or wrong.  I respect anyone who is willing to take it on.

8) I have only one vote.   You have only one vote.   I respect your right to decide based on lots of study, his or her position on your issue, or his or her membership in your party.  It’s your vote.

9) We live in a privileged country.  With privilege comes responsibility.  My privilege. My responsibility.  We live in a country with a dream named after it.  It’s the dream of freedom to work to become what you want.  And to help others do the same.

10) We are not each other’s enemies.

 

That Summer We Lived with Grandma

She lived 25 miles from where my mom worked, and gasoline was up to $.60.

Shut up.

It was the Bi-centennial.

Grandpa had retired from the oil field and they’d expanded the garden.  Because there were more people there to help work it.

They had these two old apricot trees.  They’d been there for twenty years. Never blossomed.  Never put on fruit.  Until this year. They made up for all the years of disappointment.

For their anniversary, grandpa had made Grandma a swing.  Like a porch swing, only it sat out in the back under the mimosa tree.

The days were long and hot. In Oklahoma, the wind blows continually, not in gusts, but relentlessly.  My hair was continually blowing everywhere.  So mom kept it short.

She would leave for work early in the morning.  And I would take all Grandma’s berry baskets (collected since the great depression) and go drop on the ground beneath the apricot trees.  I would fill the baskets and take them in.  Grandma washed the apricots and returned the baskets to me.  At the peak of the crop, I could fill them up to six times per day.  Grandma added this to her full time work with the garden.

They also grew zucchini bigger than my leg from the knee down.  And green beans.  There were, of course, tomatoes and peppers.  These grandparents didn’t grow corn(the others fought the good fight for ‘roasting ears’.).  But that’s about all they didn’t grow.  I was never thorough enough to suit anybody as a green bean harvester.  Which was just as well, as my work made it possible to add apricots to the harvest.

It was not without a good deal of noise, that I did my work.  I cried at the injustice and mistreatment. And my wishing for rain gave me the opportunity to wish for the sun to come out.  It was more pleasant to pick up the apricots from the dry ground than to kneel in the mud.

Grandma didn’t love to turn the air conditioner on.  She saw it as needless waste.  Not one living person supported her in this.  Oh, in April, we all agreed.  You shouldn’t need it in April.  But in mid-July?  There were no prizes for being the last one to close the windows and turn it on.

She had her swing.  She worked like a maniac in the blazing sun or the stifling kitchen all day.  When the dinner dishes were back in the cabinet, she’d get a cold drink and her cigarettes, and go outside and sit in the swing with the sun at her back. Under the mimosas, she’d smoke and watch the hummingbirds come to the mimosa blossoms.  Mom would sit with her, too.  She’d put in a day at the medical office, come home and change and join Grandma in harvesting and canning the green beans.

By the time the weather cooled in the fall, I couldn’t eat apricots anymore.  I wasn’t filing it in the ‘great moments of my life’ file. But now, I think about my equal role in the work.  I didn’t sit around nagging about the two activities I was willing to think of as fun.  A lot of hard work made me grateful as a Pilgrim for time to read or write or play or watch tv.

I think I’ll move that summer from the “Argh” file to the “Good stuff” file.

 

 

 

Music Shapes Minds and Hearts

,A week month or so ago, Jennifer @ Momma Made It Look Easy asked a question on Facebook:

“Let’s talk song lyrics. What do you do about sexually suggestive song lyrics when they come on the radio? For example, Flo Rida’s new song Whistle, Katy Perry’s Peacock, DEV’s Dancing in the Dark. Do you change the station? Tell your kids they can’t listen because it is inappropriate? Does that open up the door for more questions? How do you explain it is inappropriate? Or do you just hope that they don’t figure out the meaning or start singing it in the produce aisle at the grocery store?

I started by trying to listen to the link to a video that Jennifer had provided.  Oops.  That’s not one I would even listen to with the kids in the room. By the time I scrambled to stop it, 24 seconds had passed.  Plenty of time.

Whistle, indeed.  It was an oral sex tutorial.

My simple answer: I turn it off.

Is anything that simple?  When your children are small, maybe you can turn it off and if they protest, say,”What?  Oh.  I wasn’t paying attention to the song. I’m just trying to find a station with the weather on.”

Not here.  Not anymore.

When I was a kid, we listened to the radio, a lot.  My husband’s favorite freakish gift of mine is that I have a nearly complete catalog of 1970s pop lyrics in my head, accessible at any time.  Off the top of my head, I can list several that are about  intercourse, oral sex, or masturbation–all hits on the Adult Contemprary Top 40 before 1985.

 I went around singing whatever was on. I wonder what boys thought.  I wonder what random men in public places thought.  I don’t wonder much.  Neither, do I wonder, now that I am an adult, familiar with idiom and euphemism, what men think, when my daughters sing along to the greatest hits of their time.

Periodically, I take the lyric of a song and parce it out for my daughters. They hate this.

Yet, I’ve noticed, if they are listening to the AC station regularly, they become even more oppositional, even more self-centered, and begin to dress with less regard to fashion or self-respect.

Some songs have to do with suicide, stalking, infidelity or one night stands. The middle ground is selfish, self-centeredness and inflated ego, mixed with tales of co-dependency and a search for meaning in mediocrity.

We become what our hearts meditate on.

It’s a parent’s privilege, not only to guard their children from too much information too soon, but also to grow those people’s hearts into unselfish, hard-working, imaginative, healthy adults.

Trouble is, the radio station is marketing to young adults aged 18-24, and they like it dirty.

The strategy that works best in our home is a full toolbox:

–Ask them to turn it off.

–If it’s my option, I turn it off.

–If it’s somewhere that the radio doesn’t belong to us– a)distract,  b)re-direct, or c)leave the area.

— “Please don’t sing that song. I know it’s just a catchy tune, but it says two things and one of them is not nice.”

“What, Mommy?”

“You don’t need to know.  You just have to trust me.”

Just like God says to me, when He asks me to relinquish something mediocre for an excellent promise I will not receive until much later.

Let’s Salsa!

Thursday, last week, we had to be across town and our route took us past the roadside stand where I like to get peaches as often as possible.  Yay.

In addition to peaches, she had a basket of “salsa tomatoes”, meaning tomatoes that were a little too ripe for slicing or salads.

We picked up some of each and on Saturday, while Mickey was at his volleyball tournament, we waded into a totally new experience.  We canned our own homemade salsa.  I used this recipe. And used the links in the post to get the canning information.

First, I threw dinner in the slow cooker. Swiss Chicken.

This photo is a nosehole bad friend and won’t stay right side up.

Then I made some sun tea with a raspberry herbal bag thrown in.

As if I do anything all natural anymore.

To peel, dip tomato in boiling water for 15 seconds.

Then into ice water.

The skin will pull right off. This is fun.

Everyone wants to help.

We chopped onions and green & jalapeno peppers.

Mixed spices.

This child feels that, if she stirred; she is is the one who claims the glory.

Looks like a fiesta already.

And she stirs…. cook for 20 minutes after it reaches a boil.

2 quarts, 4 pints.

 

We’ve never canned before, but we used only jars, rings and lids we had around the house.  That’s why it was economical for Grandma.

It came out good, but spicier than I was expecting.  About half the tomatoes were orange, causing the color to be exactly the color of a tomato sauce stain on your new white Ann Taylor t-shirt.  I substituted lime juice for the vinegar in the recipe and added cilantro.

There are no pics of the canning portion because my help clocked out.  There was porch-sitting to be attended to.

Have you ever canned?  I was surprised how easy it was.  What are your favorite things to save for winter by canning, freezing or drying?

I am linking this post to Wordful Wednesday at Parenting by Dummies.

Flying Surrender

In previous posts, I’ve alluded to my opposition to using medicine to numb an unspecified pain to the neutralization of pleasure.

Week before last I gave up.  In a haze of pain, a clouded mind, I  got the appointment.  By the time the appointment came around, I delivered myself bawling to the doc.  She shares my faith and respects my feelings about drugs.

Mid-week they called me with results and asked it I just wanted to go ahead and start the anti-depressants.

I said, give me until the follow-up appointment next week to decide.

Thursday, I read this post by Diana.  I asked a question.  Got a couple of answers.

Yesterday, I felt better than I have in years. I’ve slept all night every night since Wednesday last week.  My focus is 100% better.  I have a high powered anti-inflammatory and am not yet pain free. Three visits into PT (One of the girls has a crush on the PT’s intern. suh-pri-ize.).

I’m ready to stop being smarter than the meds, the doctors, science and God.  I wrote all that the other day about coffee, sugar and exercise, and the deal is– part of the reason I feel bad is that when things are falling apart I add to the plates I want to keep spinning.

The achilles heel of the good girl.

It’s been nearly a quarter century since I took the medicine.  Science has had time to work on it.  Science, like it or not, produces things that God uses to care for his kingdom.

Friday morning,looking at logistics for next week, I realize it’s not going to happen without moving things around.  So I call and explain my situation and ask if I can have my follow-up visit TO-day.  They said, yes.

I determined to ask all my questions.  And go with what the doc said.

Bend my neck. Humble myself.

Surrender.

The doctor said that based on the results so far, I don’t need them at this time.

(She said she couldn’t believe the difference between the person she saw in office 9 days ago.)

It seems it’s never the insomnia or fear or stressful events.

Maybe it’s only ever opening my hand.

Letting go of what I’m holding onto that I think is keeping me safe.

Handrails, steering wheels, reins, joysticks.  The control.

I used to call it letting go.  Now, I call it surrender.

Surrender.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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