Wednesday, July 27, 2011


We came back from boating, and this is what our bedroom looked like.

Clues: Doolie greeting us in the driveway when we know we left him in the house, the open window sans screen, a toppled chival mirror, my jewelry and lotions totaled all over the dresser and the floor, and finally, the many tall and deep vertical grooves decorating the inside of the door and the door frame.

Conclusion: Doolie got locked in our room. Sherlock has nothin' on us. Have no idea what the whole dresser thing was about or why he was even in our room, but he so ninjaed out the window. I went outside to see how far it really is, and it's a really decent jump. Fall, actually.

Did he hear a noise that piqued his curiosity? Did he follow the cat in there? Was he thirsty? Or nosey? Or just thorough in his watch of the whole house?

We'll never know. We do know that the wind often shuts our door, and the noise can be frightening because it seems to happen so suddenly.

Messes are no fun to clean up, but nothing was broken, and it tidied up pretty quickly. I found myself feeling so sorry for Doolie. No one around for comfort or reassurance, Guido in the garage, and his fine desire to please now hacked. Poor guy... It'll probably be the only time a dog ever caused trouble, only to receive hugs and a jerky treat. Love that Dools.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

So THAT'S What You're Really Like

Jylle has had a pen pal named Emily for six years. They connected through what was then Brio magazine and proceeded to get to know each other the old-fashioned way through letters for the first couple of years. When they got Facebook pages, things sped way up.

They'd done everything but meet in person until last week. Emily's folks bought her a nonstop ticket from Minneapolis (her first time flying), and she stayed with us for a full week. A small town girl from the flat lands of South Dakota, only 15 minutes from the Minnesota border, she loved it here. From the get-go, she expressed such appreciation for our mountains and trees, and we heard about "nothing but corn fields and cattle" as she answered people's questions about her region.

The first evening she was here Jylle invited a few friends over, some of whom knew Emily from Facebook and took advantage of the opportunity to meet in person. Killer Bunnies is always their game of choice. I made a Filipino dish of noodles and pork and went to bed way earlier than they did.They spent the next day at Riverfront Park, and I didn't take my camera with me. Jylle was excited to show her the garbage goat (did you know it has its own Facebook page?!), and they used their day passes until it rained. They made their way to the Flour Mill at my suggestion (did you know it's mostly just law offices now?!) and ran out of things to do way more quickly than we thought.

These photos are a quick glance of what they did during the week. There are vignettes and tableaus that drift in and out of my thoughts all day of which I have no actual pictures. It's bittersweet how much someone can come to mean to you after such a short time. Seeing them gel as well in person as they do online and on the phone, watching them as comfortable in silence as in nonstop chatter, knowing this visit is something they'll talk about to their own daughters someday, brought on a sense of something deeply satisfying as a mom--and as a friend. This time is precious, I kept thinking.

Time is precious. What a gift. I have my Jylle here, my Jamara 45 minutes away, my Lydia in Little Rock, and now my Emily in South Dakota. And those are just my girls. I am one rich motha (I sound so gangsta.)

Saturday, July 16, 2011


For the longest time I've thought my love language is gifts. I like to get them,and I like to give them. I also like to give words of affirmation. Spending time with Ryan this summer has given me cause to reassess.

He said a number of things to me that really blessed me. One was really simple. He walked into the kitchen and just said, "I sure do love you!" He thanked me for making lunch and for doing his laundry, and again, it was just simple but so sincere.

Kev was telling him one afternoon when I wasn't around some of the things he loves about me. Ryan asked, "Have you ever told her this stuff?" Kev replied, "Mom doesn't really care about words." Immediately, Ryan sensed his BS meter spike! He stayed calm and quiet though and reassured him that I would probably enjoy hearing those things from him.

I don't know if I have, and that's okay. I haven't heard any compliment or statement lately that I haven't heard before. That makes me sound snotty and bitchy, but I'm just saying that Kev gives me lots of compliments--they're just the same ones, which is fine because he's generous that way, praising and thanking me for doing and being...

All the love languages have their place in my life. I love when someone cleans the kitchen (acts of service). I'm blessed when someone wants to spend time with me (quality time). I appreciate hearing that I've encouraged someone (words of affirmation). Hugs embrace my insides (physical touch). It's immensely sweet to receive a gift that showed some thought was put into it (gifts). Every time someone puts effort into letting me know I'm thought of fondly, it's a gift, and I feel loved.

All this talk of love has made me want to go out and bless someone now. Too bad y'all can't line up so I can bless some socks off! I shall ask Him for some divine appointments in the meantime. He speaks every love language thoroughly, does He not, as He is their creator and inhabitor... xo

Thursday, July 14, 2011

not right meow

          Goober is emaciated.  I googled his symptoms this last winter and deduced that he has either a thyroid problem or diabetes.  He’s hyper, drinks a lot, is very vocal, and has only gotten skinnier, no matter how much he eats. I tried feeding him raw ground beef (one of the suggestions online), but he lost interest. I tried feeding him canned food, but that wasn’t very much, and he started leaving even some of that in the dish. Now I’m taking some dry food, adding hot water and 1/3 of a can of canned food, and letting it soak to soften it and flavor the dry stuff with the canned. I’ve been doing that for a couple of weeks, and he finishes it by the end of the day.
Seems like he’s always pulled out patches of his hair, mostly mid-back, but lately he’s taken to pulling it out in his front left armpit and back left hip at the thigh joint.  It freaked Jylle out to see it.  I saw him walking around the backyard just now, and he looks terrible. When I pet him, I can only bear to pet his head. The rest of him is just fur-covered bone. He looks like a feline skeleton example from an animal teaching hospital.
I pray for mercy everyday, that one day we’ll just never see him again. I pray for him too, that it’ll be instant and painless, like maybe just dying in his sleep—but way out in the wilderness somewhere so we don’t have to bury him. Yes, I pray for a very thorough mercy.
Just watching him out back, he ventured into the tall grass, and suddenly I thought Maybe this is it. Maybe he’s going out to some mystical burial ground like the elephants do. Maybe this is the last time I’ll see him. G’bye, Goober…
          When I went to the garage a minute later though, there he was, all high-pitched meowing and head popped out from the top of the garden bench so it’s the first thing I saw when I opened the door. I fluffed up his breakfast with the knife I keep out there and set it in front of him, then closed the door. The day will come when he won’t be there to feed anymore, and a legend will have passed on. He really has been a great cat for us.
           (A tip of the hat here to Doug Demmert who gave him to us, even though he tricked me by saying this kitten was a tabby when clearly he was a solid gray. Dropped him off at our house in a box when we were gone. He was from a barn litter, so he was absolutely terrified and tore around the house like Taz until he finally fell into an uncovered heating duct. We let him stay there all night because it was super late, and we were exhausted. In the morning, Kev unscrewed the ducting mount, and we slid him down into the box. He never did stay in the barn though, always the garage. Goober, Garage Cat and Mouser Extraordinaire.)
I walk around ants so I won’t squish them. I relocate tree frogs to keep them safe from the too warm temperature of the hot tub. I cried when I hit a rabbit and when I saw a deer get hit. I’m not an animal rights activist—I just have compassion toward them. It's a decent thing to respect life.
Death is so not where it’s at. Sounds inane to say, but I hate death. It’s just not the way it’s supposed to be. Everything about it is wrong. Every dealing with it is depressing, and I mentally turn away from memories of past business with it.
It’ll be six months on July 21 since I lost my mom. I used to take a big inhale everyday of her pajama top that’s precariously sealed in a grocery bag in the washroom. I don’t do that very often anymore. I also used to say Hi, my Mom, at the picture on her Costco card that’s on my dresser. I had to stop doing that because it made me tear up. Both those things I thought would bring me some small measure of comfort, tiny as they are. They don’t though. Even seeing her picture pains me.  She died, and I am suffering her death.
This is not new—death’s been around since Genesis.  It’s new to me though. Death sucks, and that’s all there is to it.
Okay, maybe there’s one good thing about it. It’s the doorway to Life. Here, we live and strive and balance and walk and sweat and work and cry.  There, we truly live. We know life as He’s provided in a world where there is no death. Maybe there’s one more good thing about it. It’s knowing we’ll pass through that doorway too, and in the meantime, we know we have people there who’ll jump into our arms when we get there. It’s the faintest measure of hope and peace to me personally right now, because honestly, I just want my mom back. Since it’s idiotic to go there though, I discipline my thoughts to be reminded of the hope we have in heaven.  And that is only ours through death.
Having read Heaven Is For Real, I feel safe in believing there will be animals there, something I’ve thought my whole life. I have loved every animal I have ever had, and I have given thanks to their Creator for the marvel of their innocence, beauty, and affection.  If they bring glory to Jesus, then why shouldn’t they be a part of that eternal plan…

Finish strong, Goober.  We’ll see you there some fine day.  Give my love to Gulliver, Muttnik, Midget, Sham, Scooter, Bear, Fallon, Parker, Gadget, and Jake.  *paw bump*

Sunday, July 10, 2011

In the Name of the Father, the Son...

We were honored not only to be part of a friend's baptism, but a part of it as well. This is a quantum moment for anyone who's chosen to do this public act, so we could relate to what he was about to participate in--only we didn't have 26 other co-baptizees and 400 people watching.

Large churches are used to milling people through, and large, successful churches can do that without accentuating the mill feeling. We're from small churches (<100 people), so while we enjoyed the change of pace and anonymity, we had our concerns about how they'd take warm and proper care of people doing something as personally eventful as getting baptized.

Suffice to say, it was well done. Great big tarp under a great big tank, slight climb up a ladder, sit in the warm water, pray with your trusted dunker, and enjoy the applause as everyone watches your immersion on the big screens up front.

A little worship, a little baptism (okay, maybe a lot), and as much of a spirit of investment and community as a small city can bestow on its residents, it was a sweet experience to see all those faces, each one beaming, as they proclaimed in action their identification with the One they'd come to love and follow because He first loved them. As many kids as there were adults, inside this act that requires you to reappear in front of everyone completed drenched--as in a wet t-shirt contest--this was a level playing field. They were each one my brother and sister in Christ, from the tiny four-year old girl, to our friend, who was the oldest.

God bless them, every one.