Monday, July 10, 2017

Hanging in the Hammock 101

First, you must attach the straps to the trees.  
Up... up... up you go as high as you can get those straps...

Not quite high enough.  Try again.

Now that's much better!

Ahhhh the joys of hammock camping.  Watching the trees.  Feeling the warm breeze brush over your legs.   Savoring nature at it's finest.

Is there enough room on there for the dog?  If not, it's gotta go. 

Summer is in full swing.  And now, so is our hammock...

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Life and Death

Dear Mom,

I don't think of you much anymore.  They say time heals and I suppose it does.  The hurt is no longer there.  Just photo's, some videos, and memories mostly.  Memories come and go.  That's okay though.  I believe it's a healthy thing to let go of hurt and move on.

Yesterday was a date I remember...  oh gosh...  I don't even know how many years have passed since your departing from this world.  I just know it was on July 5, hours after distant fireworks subsided.  

Death scares me.  I think it's because I've watched so many of my loved ones go through such suffering upon leaving this world.  And then there's the unknown.  We can pretend that we know exactly what happens after we take our last earthly breath, but truth is...  only God really knows how it all comes down.  

I watched Lindy die.  She did it so graciously.  I doubt that I will be anywhere near that calm about my own death.  I've always been the weak one, the one who lacked faith but prayed hard for it.   Do you know about Lindy's death, Mom?  Is she with you now?  And what about Jimmy?  Are the four of you (Dad, too) guardian angels to those of us who are left and still living in this world?  Or are you sleeping until Resurrection day?  I've studied with way too many religions and listened to way too many beliefs to be clear on how it all unfolds.  

But what I do believe is that God's ways are not our ways and that He knows and that one day it will be revealed to us.  It's okay that I do not know for sure.  I do know God.  I know Jesus.  I know that His Spirit is with me.  

Since you've been gone, our family has grown greatly.  I can't keep track of them all!  Remember Jackie?  Your favorite?  Well, he has two boys of his own now.  You would totally adore them!  Jake is the spitting image of his dad.  And Lindsey, oh how you loved Lindsey!  She has two of the most precious little girls!  You would be in Great Grandma Heaven if you were still around.

Every once in a while I will think I want to call you just to say hey.  But then I remember you're gone.  And Lindy.  and Jimmy.  and Dad.  I'm void of half of my family.  

But thoughts of you all have become thoughts of death and dying.  So If you don't mind, I will stop thinking about the anniversary of your passing.  Instead, I will focus on my life.  My family.  Those who are living.

And as I watch them grow, I will see your kindness and your sense of humor and your honesty and integrity.  I will see your legacy .... through them.  and I will smile.  

I thank God for my beautiful family and for a wonderful Mom like you.  God says we will meet again.  I believe that.  

I love you, Mom.

Your daughter,  
Bobbie Jo

PS  The dog.  She didn't mention the dog.  Oh Gram...  what an inconsiderate, self-centered daughter you have raised.  Let me tell you about the dog then, since she is very conveniently forgetting...  you would LOVE the dog.  White.  Fluffy.  Kind.  Sharing.  Loving. She never begs for food.  Always stays still for ear cleaning.  Takes her meds nicely. Never barks at stupid stuff.   Perfect in every way. If you were here you would be one more sucker who constantly felt sorry for her and fed her food you would benefit greatly from her continual obedience and love.  Gracie.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Anne Frank Remembered

I had watched the movie but had never read the book.  Finally, just recently I ordered the paperback from Amazon.  Usually, a book is so much more detailed and absorbing than the movie.  This book was no different.

But as most of us know, Anne's story did not have a happy ending.

Throughout Anne's writings, she made mention of a couple,  Miep Gies and Henk who were often visiting Anne and her family in the Annex and bringing them food and gifts.  Anne Frank Remembered is Miep Gies story.  

Tonight I will finish it.  It is haunting and troubling as it takes the reader through those awful days of Hitler's attempt to destroy all Jews.  But it is a story of friendship and hope, as Miep helps the Frank family and others who were hiding out in those troubling times.  If you have read Anne Frank's Diary, you need to read Miep's book Anne Frank Remembered.    You can get it here HERE on Amazon.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

It Ain't for Sissies!

I hear it over and over again.  I work with the elderly and so the words ring in my ears often.

"Never get old!"

That's what they tell me.  Those 'old people'.  But I think it is too late.

Guess who is on high blood pressure medicine now?


I can no longer brag that I do not have to take any meds.  I now take a low dosage of diuretic to keep the BP under control.  Mine always ran good to low and now, suddenly out of nowhere...  it is off the charts!  210/136 is what my reading was at the ER a couple of weeks ago.  They put me on meds and I forgot to take it for almost 2 days and 2 days of eating the wrong foods and BAM - it shot right back up!  Last night all I could think of was... oh no!  It's going to be back to the ER for me!!! Anxiety followed.  I used my BP cuff that I have at home and became a bit obsessed with it.   The numbers were going up, up, up.  I was not amused.  I told myself, stay calm.  That didn't happen.  Today it's better.


Another common quote I hear from my customers:

"Old age is not for sissies!"

It's not.  Really.  It's not.

But, hidden beneath the awful reality of growing older, slowing down, health problems as well as wrinkles and aches and pains...  I search for the good.  And it's still there.

In Chocolate cupcakes that represent our flag....

Giggles and sunglasses....

Big splashes...

Saving the grandkids from Jaws...


That can melt your heart....

That is if the sun doesn't melt it first....

And to top it all off, a beautiful campfire that goes into the night, Smores, and sticky fingers ....

The morning after....

Thank you God, for family and friends.  For beautiful summer days.  For good health to enjoy the many blessings.   Hope everyone is having a blessed 4th.

Dear Diary,

It's been crazy around here lately.  The cookie carriers all came over and totally interrupted my sleep. There was no rest for the weary.  They were in and out and here and there and doing this and that and... makes me tired just thinking about it.  The good news is this.  Something called smores.  There were droppings.  Lots of droppings.  I must rest now.  My playful pup days of wreaking havoc and tearing through the house day and night are a thing of the past.  This old gal needs some sleep.  Later. Gracie.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Forever On My Mind

Camp Serenity is coming along nicely.  After our first full night there, I realized I would need some change, such as an air mattress for comfort in hopes of a good night's sleep.  And so, we took our air mattress down and tried it in a spot that would work (the booth/table that pulls out into a bed).  I no sooner laid down on that newly blowed up mattress than a giant bee zoomed past me causing me to scream and run for cover... well... outside was my safe place at that point.  

Bees in a camper = not cool.

G is taking care of that for me.  For us.

So, when I was pretty sure all was safe inside I decided to sit on the sofa that pulls out into a bed (the hard one that I cannot sleep on) and check out the new TV/DVD player that G had purchased and hooked up.  As I was sitting there trying to figure out the remote, a tickling on my leg and then a spider siting on that same leg caused yet another blood curdling scream.  G thought it was another bee.  No, worse.  

A spider!!!!!

It got away.  It will be forever on my mind.

On our way home we noticed (compliments of G having left his car window's open) a plump and huge red ant crawling the inside windshield.  My seat belt prevented me from killing it, and it disappeared.  For a while.  In the corner of my eye I saw him.  This time, I unhooked the seat belt and got him!  RIP Mr. Huge RedAnt.

But that Spider.  He will be forever on my mind.  Him and his family and friends.  Forever.  On my mind.

But I will need to suck it up, buttercup if I wish to enjoy Camp Serenity in the future.  My only hope is that I never, ever, ever, ever, ever, NEVER see a snake inside that camper.   I don't want to have to change the name of our place to Little Camp of Horrors.  

Meanwhile, back at home my little Chicklets ready themselves for Bible School.  They are having a great week with lot's of fun learning about Jesus.  

And in other news!  The pool is now open!!

And me?  I'm busy these days chasing baby bunnies away from eating the clover in my yard.  One day soon I hope to catch one of those little critters and bring it inside.  Dad loves new toys.

Friday, June 9, 2017

My Twenty Insights To Overnight Camping

1.  Prepare to build a fire.  Camping is nothing without a fire.

2. Laugh a lot.

3.  Have plenty of places to rest.  R & R is what camping is all about.

4. Invite a friend.

5. Be still.

6. Savor the campfire smell.

7.  Thank God for beautifully orchestrating the bird/wildlife concert of chirps and tweets and other unusual but sweet sounds for your entertainment.

8.  Notice the tall trees.

 9.  Cook dinner above the campfire.

10.  Choose a heavy and bold patriotic table cloth and feel happy.

11.  Roast your hotdog, don't toast your hotdog!

12.  Enjoy it all.

13.  Savor, savor, savor!

14.  Hold marshmallow's close enough to the fire for a gentle melt with just a touch of outer crisp.

15.  Or, If you prefer burned and black, set that baby on fire!

16.  As night closes in, refrain from telling spooky stories and try to forget about the black of night that encompasses your lone camper out there in those secluded, bear infested, silent woods.

17.  Once locked inside the safety of your camper, ignore all outside sounds even if they resemble that of a hatchet murderer.  Just repeat over and over again,  Freddie Krueger... go away.

18.  Take lots and lots of pictures!  So that when your husband points out the hatchet hanging from the tree beside your snuffed out campfire the following morning,  you can go back and examine those photo's...  one by one...  blowing them up...  and finding that though the scene of the terrifying hatched-in-the-tree eluded you, it was indeed there the night before.

19.  On your way home, be sure and freeze the beauty of it all.  In your mind and on your camera disc if possible.

20.  And think of what comes next.  Amazon.  Research for a softer and more comfortable bed so that your next overnight camping experience will be with actual sleep.

Glad you didn't take the dog on that one.  Just sayin'  ...   no sleep for you means no sleep for me.  Not cool.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Passing of Years

Through the tunnel of time my thought process has changed.  A lot. There are things I have learned while worming my way through that tunnel...  things that have changed my perspective.  I think differently than I did as a child.  Heck, I don't even think the same today as I did yesterday.  We learn as we go along.  Every day can teach you something to grow you as a person.  And if you examine yourself daily, you can learn from your own mistakes which can grow you even more!

Probably the hardest life lesson for me was the disappointment in people who blatantly, repeatedly, selfishly and coldly hurt others.  The world is filled with good and evil.  You will know them by their fruits (not their fake actions.  just sayin'  ... yes, I have become largely skeptical when it comes to people).  

But I was one of the lucky ones as a child and I experienced the love of both of my parents, many siblings, and a dirt poor day to day existence as Mom and Dad worked feverishly to make ends meet and to provide for all seven of us kids.  They were both hard workers and kind-hearted people.  I miss them terribly!  

Memorial Day, 2017 was a perfect day for me.  Eckhart Cemetery is just above the house where I grew up.   Memorial Day pasts haunt me (in a good way) each time I attend the services at that cemetery above our old house.  I reminisce of those warm spring days of old when cars lined the road above our home and a brood of gangly kids stood outside our door watching the goings on.

Memorial Day for me then was more of a celebration of the start of summer vacation.  I did not think beyond that, for my mind was that of a child.

I now look down from the cemetery's hill upon the other smaller cemetery beside our house, and I see things as they are.

Still though, when I visit the flourishing trees and green hillsides of my youth, I recollect an innocent little girl with stringy brown hair and crooked bangs, bubbling with excitement for summer's start, and I'm glad that memory is still with me.

For in that memory is an innocence.  A time of trust that I will never know again.

The sixty-two year old me has obligation and duty.  My skeptical self does not trust easily but the dreamer in me is not ready yet to give up on memories past.  

But I know that Memorial Day is a day to remember the country's people who died while serving in the armed forces.   And I am so very grateful.

God bless the USA

Miss you, Dad