Archives

A day at the fair

The Kentucky State Fair holds lots of memories for me. Yesterday morning Sweet William and I made our way there.

Image result for kentucky state fair images

Though we arrived in the morning hours, “Lot Full” signs appeared again and again as we kept driving to find parking. Lot 23 was on the back side of the ball field. But we were here and I was excited.

Sweet William, in his mobile scooter, and me, in my most comfortable shoes, headed for an open door and air conditioning. It was warm already. August, the state fair, hot temperatures. It’s a given.

We came upon the outside mule exhibit first and I love the mules. They were washed, brushed and looking beautiful, strong and muscular. Several leaned their heads for me to rub their faces and talk gently to them. And those ears – long and velvety. Who wouldn’t love the mules?

I recall my dad telling about working with mules on the farm when he was a boy. He had a different way of describing them, but then he had a completely different view of them from behind a plow.

I felt the cool air as we neared the livestock building. First in sight were the chickens in their colorful and exotic feathers. In my younger years, I would have owned chickens and gone for fresh eggs each morning for breakfast. These days I have friends who share their bounty, the colorful shells intriguing me. Blessed are those who share.

We looked at the variety of pigeons and rabbits, winding our way toward the goats. The goats are so sweet. I would have had goats too, milk goats that would give me delicious milk each day.

Next were the cows. Their big brown eyes win me over. I’m told my grandmother always had a jersey cow, a smaller breed that gives rich milk. The thick cream would rise to the top of the bottle. I can only imagine how that would taste in my coffee.

Yes, in my younger years, I think I could have been a gentle-woman farmer.

We came to the items entered for judging. I scanned the antiques, sure that I have things that old at home.

Sweet William and I searched the handmade quilts isles until we found my cousin’s entry, a beautiful gold and purple creation. Though she didn’t get a ribbon this year, her entry hung there for all to enjoy, and I am proud of her accomplishments.

I roamed through the artwork and admired the creativity and time it takes to bring forth a work of art, whether on canvas, with cloth or wood, cooked on the stove or in the oven, or planted in the earth. God, the master creator, has imprinted His image in us, giving people the opportunity to build, design, plant, craft and make something beautiful with our hands.

Food was next on our agenda, and we were looking for the Pork Producers. Bar-B-Que sandwiches and french fries only taste this good at the fair. We found a table near the end where another couple sat. We chatted and discovered they were from Bowling Green. Conversations wound around to children and grandchildren. Theirs live within two hours of driving time. I’m thankful when I hear families living near one another. I can’t help but wish my own were close enough for me to drive there for the day and come home.

God knows things I can’t figure out. I continually remind myself to trust Him with the unanswered questions.

I wanted to go through the exhibits hall where sellers of all sorts of goods are set up. It’s fun to see what items are popular and drawing the crowd. The food equipment displays always seem to attract attention as the demonstrator tells how we simply cannot live without having this vegetable peeler or that pot.

We stopped long enough to inquire at a couple of booths, and wouldn’t you know it, we walked away with some purchases (not the pot or the peeler). I just hope each one lives up to the hype that sold me on the product.

We saw some friends while we rested for a bit. It’s always fun to chat on the spur of the moment.

I people watched and that was entertaining. Some of the outfits folks wear these days are interesting. I had to wonder if we all need to look in the mirror just one more time before we leave the house.

While Sweet William’s wheels were still rolling strong, my feet were getting tired. We paused for ice cream cones, and I was refreshed enough to begin the walk to Lot 23 and the truck.

It seemed longer this time. I was well worn and my legs were tired. I’m pretty sure I got all my steps in today, though I might have canceled them with that cookies and cream waffle cone I devoured.

Image result for cookies and cream waffle cone image

Loaded into the truck with the air conditioner at full blast, I settled in and let me feet relax. I needed a nap.

At home, Maisie was so glad to see us. I washed my face to cool down, drank more water, and was ready to put my feet up and drink a cup of coffee.

Our day at the state fair was a simple, fun adventure for us. Sweet William and I have altered our bucket lists as the years have changed us. We aim for what is less complicated, what will not create undue stress on bodies and minds. We’ve learned to adjust to what we can do and let go of what we can’t. It’s still a challenge some days to be grateful for the good things in our lives and not focus on what we don’t have or can’t do.

Life is like that for all of us, I guess. God provides all we need, though sometimes I want more. I remember that the apostle Paul learned contentment and I can learn too.

My grateful list includes this day full of blessings at the state fair.

 

Advertisements

Smiles for a Monday

Day 27 of 31 Days of October – Roses Among The Thorn

Because some days I just need to smile, you know?

I am not a fan of the common field mouse.  He has ventured into my house on too many occasions, wrecking havoc inside my pantry.  I can fume and fuss for quite awhile as I scour and sanitize the contents and put edibles in glass and metal containers.  Expect a loud squeal if I see one of the little critters.  Just ask Sweet William.

But . . . I can change my opinion even at this age.  As I grow older I want to be open and pliable and able to look at life with fresh eyes.  I want to examine someone else’s viewpoint before I make a judgment.  Especially about something that has to do with my like and dislikes.

[Now if it has to do with my faith and God’s word, there are truths on which I will not waiver.  But we are talking about mice today, OK?]

That said, I came upon some pictures of mice that made me smile.  Yes, smile and not growl.  These small creatures have their purpose on the earth, doing what their Creator made them to do.  I can learn to respect them, even appreciate them.  And yes, smile at them.  Just don’t let them in my front door.

So even if you are not a mouse fan, I bet you can’t not smile at these faces.

mouse

28 Teeny Tiny Wild Mice – Click to see some more adorables.

For a list of the days of October, go here please.

Summertime and VBS

Having been raised in a Christian home, Vacation Bible School, aka VBS, was as normal as hot weather and watermelon in the summer time.

At VBS I was surrounded by other children who may or may not have been churched as regularly as I was.  We invited our friends and our neighbors to come.  VBS was fun, lots of fun.  It was not like grown-up church on Sundays.  It was absolutely geared for the small fry intellect.

There were penny wars between the girls and the boys.  March Madness had nothing on the excitement of this battle of the sexes.  Each group tried to bring the most pennies and the best offering for the week.  We probably robbed piggy banks, searched under couch cushions, and begged for money from mom and dad or any other relative in sight.

I learned to say the pledge allegiance to the Christian Flag and the Bible.  They took their place in my memory right along with the pledge to the American flag.

The songs were kid songs, lively and rhythmic.  We could sing to the top of our voices, move and groove, make motions with our hands, and no one thought it was out of place for the church house.

But the Bible stories were the best.   My childhood memories are of flannel graph figures being put on a flannel board.  The figures depicted the Bible stories very visually and non-abstract so a child like me could understand that Jesus loved me and wanted to be my friend.

One year my craft was making a miniature flannel graph board and story figures.  After the week of VBS, I set up my board in the garage of our house and told the stories to the neighborhood children and anyone who would listen.

It was only natural that when I grew too old for VBS, I became one of the workers, one of the assorted volunteers needed to bring all the pieces together.  I’ve taught classes, worked with the music, and directed VBS.  I give my time so other children could have the same wonderful experiences I had.

The last couple of years at Little Flock, I’ve taught second graders, a bouncy, energetic group of boys and girls who are like little birds waiting to be fed the Gospel.  It has been such a privilege to share the stories of Jesus with these little ones.

In the months that followed the week of VBS, I have joyfully watched as some of the children in my class walked forward and publicly affirmed their faith in Jesus as their savior.  And I have witnessed the baptisms that followed.

I am so aware that the parents, Sunday School teachers, and those who weekly train and nurture this young lives are planting the seeds of salvation.  My part was small, just one week long.  But I rejoice that I had a small part in watering those seeds during a week of VBS.

Tomorrow, June 6, begins Vacation Bible School at Little Flock.  I anticipate hot weather, tired legs and feet, and a weary-to-the-bone exhaustion at week’s end.  If you ask me on Friday if it was worth it, I will say, “Yes, eternally worth it.”

Vacation Bible School will be held at churches all over the country this week or sometime during the summer.  Take your children.  Be part of the volunteer team.  Make a difference in the lives of children.  Do it for the kingdom’s sake.

Did you attend VBS as a child?  Feel free to leave a memory.

It’s March and time for a little fun

 

  March 2011

It is finally March.  And I want to shout “hooray!”

I start anticipating spring as soon as New Year’s Day is over.  I don’t mean to say that I just endure January and February.  I actually enjoy both months and have things I like to accomplish in those first months of the year. 

But in March I let myself feel the excitement of knowing spring will begin in less than 3 weeks.  Joy of my heart, it is my favorite season.

There are other things about March that I recently learned.  Why not share the wealth of information with you?

According to Kids-List.com, March 1st is National Pig Day.  Who would have thought that pigs have their own day.  It isn’t quite up to the status or commercialization of Secretaries Day or Grandparents Day, but it inspires some interesting thoughts.  Pigs are actually smarter than we think they are and can be taught to do many tricks or maneuvers.

You have to admit that baby piglets are just cute. I always hope to see a litter of them with their big mama sow at the Kentucky State Fair.

If I were a farmer, maybe I’d give my pigs an extra corn cob or two, or even a nice scratch behind their ears.  The Kids-List site recommends parents read books with their children about pigs or make a pig mask or study pigs.  Any of those ideas would get children to think and be creative.  What about watching Charlotte’s Web and cheer for Wilbur?

Myself, I think National Pig Day just sounds like a day to pig out on something. Hmm, I’m starting to get a bit hungry.  Anyone for a ham and cheese sandwich or maybe a BLT? 

I hope I brought a smile to your face.  Laughter is good medicine.  Feel free to leave a comment and bring a smile to my face.

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Remember the blog from a few of days ago, Christmas fun – December 8? I wrote about Elyse searching on-line for the perfect Christmas tree. Well, I found it! It was just like she saw it on Walmart.com. There is was at Wal-Mart dot Preston Highway. I spied it in the Christmas section, soon-to-be garden center when New Year’s Day comes and goes.

It was sitting on the corner display with a price tag in my range. It was a bit narrow and small enough to fit in and later be stored in our house. I bagged it in my bas-kart and called Elyse. “Guess what?” I said. We giggled together as I told her about the tree and anticipated how we would soon decorate it.

When I arrived home and unloaded the car of all the things I’d bought (why can I not get out of Wal-Mart without spending $100 plus?), my sweet William started unpacking the tree from its box. I saw its colored lights and was disappointed. I was expecting clear white lights, and I began wondering if this was the tree I wanted at all. 

But Bill was excited, as excited as I can remember him being about a Christmas tree. He was like a little boy again, transported by memories to his boyhood days when the family tree was filled with large colored light bulbs. Perhaps you can remember them, too. The bulbs were huge in comparison to the tiny lights we use today.

Bill reminisced and talked about happy Christmases past as we unfolded and fluffed the tree. I was no longer disappointed in the colored lights. It was well worth not getting my first choice just to see Bill’s delight.

The next day, the grandchildren came to the house. I carried down boxes of ornaments. There are the vintage ones, saved from my childhood, fragile and losing some of their color. Then there’s the collection of plastic bells my dad bought the year after his little girl (me!) broke too many of the glass ornaments. There are ornaments from Bill’s and my first Christmas together, and the yearly ornaments bought as our son, Travis, grew up. Some ornaments were gifts from other people and provoked a sweet memory. The grandchildren had fun hanging them as I told stories of each one.

Better late than never, our tree is finally decorated.  I remember Linus in A Charlie Brown Christmas when he said, “I never thought it was such a bad little tree.  It’s not bad at all, really.  Maybe it just needs a little love.” 

Love makes everything better, doesn’t it? 

Christmas fun – December 8

After an early morning appointment, I went to Little Flock to help set up chairs, music stands, and lights for the orchestra.  The music department and media are gearing up for the annual  Christmas Choir concert.  This year’s “Gloria” promises to be glorious.  I can’t wait to hear the drum line march in and play during “The Little Drummer Boy.”

Afterward, I picked up the three grandchildren to help me with a little Christmas decorating.  Pulling the multiple boxes from their storage area, I was amazed again at how much there is.  The children and I looked at some of the items and remembered them from years before.  I told them the story of the ceramic carolers I painted before I was married and the small village their daddy gave me to go with the carolers when he was old enough to buy a gift himself.  They carefully placed them on the piano.

Celeste found one small box and exclaimed, “The Snow Man Tea Set!  I love the Snow Man Tea Set.”  She took it immediately and set it up in their room.  Later, Celeste took a thow-away box and created a stable.  She set up a manger scene in it.    

Ethan pretended to be a puppy, dressed up like an egyptian sheik, then became Robin Hood with a mask I made him from an old Christmas card.

Elyse got on line to search for a Christmas tree for our house.  No, I don’t have a tall tree this year for all the beautiful ornaments I’ve collected through the years.  But Elyse and I are still looking for the perfect one.

All of us decorated the Jesus tree.  Only two feet tall, it holds small ornaments like a lamb wrapped in a red ribbon, a star, a heart, a tiny Bible, a cross, and other things that remind us of Jesus and tell his life’s story.

We took a break with hot Tazo Apple Red tea steeped in a pretty new green teapot given to me by one of my piano students.

I unpacked the Candy Cane mugs my mother gave me the last Christmas she was with us.  The children already know that story.  The mugs are treasures to me, and I think of her when I look at them.  It just isn’t Christmas until those mugs are hung on the little rack and sitting on the kitchen counter.

After the children left, there were boxes and greenery strewn about.  Dishes needed washing.  Stuff was in stacks here and there.  The house was rather a shambles.  I had to rush off to church for work, piano lessons, and choir practice.  No time to pick up and put things in order.

Back home, I looked at the mess that still waited for me.  I thought about the good time we had today, the memories we had made, the food and laughter we had shared.  This mess represents a little Christmas joy.   And I am so glad for it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a wonderful country we have where a day is set aside each year to remember, to consider how blessed we are. 

From the pilgrims’ simple beginning to the present day, we are reminded that being thankful on at least one day a year is, as Martha Stewart would say, “a good thing.”

My Sweet William and I drove back our lane to the home of my cousin, Candi May, and her husband, Flavius, today.  Hors d’oeuvres were waiting.  Families began filling the house with their joyful noises.  We missed one precious relative this year, my Uncle Leo Lockard.   His death last February leaves his place forever empty.  My almost 89-year-old dad and step-mother arrived last.  The house bursts with people greeting one another, sampling the snacks, talking and laughing. 

We could barely move through the kitchen as we brought in our special food dishes.  Each one added to a bountiful buffet. 

About 1 pm, it was time for the dinner.  My dad prayed, blessed the food, and asked that we all be ready for the Lord’s second coming.  It is his theme and heart’s desire that all his family are ready for Christ’s return.

Then the real eating began.  We crowded around tables, knees bumping and elbows close so as not to jostle one another.  I wonder how we all fit together.  We are a diverse group, different personalities and different opinions.  The thing that binds us is love, family, and our devotion to each other.

The children got lots of cousin-time, eating all the sweets they could stand.  The adults got their fill and settled in for another cup of Flavius’ good, strong coffee.

The dishes were cleared, the leftovers put away for tomorrow’s Hot Browns.  We relax, talk, share, and remember.

Bill and I brought the grandchildren home with us to spend the night.  Bill began playing the guitar while Ethan accompanied him on the bongo drums.  The rhythm was contagious.  Soon Elyse and Celeste were dancing around the room. 

We wound down by cuddling on the couch and watching Kung Fu Panda, while I typed away at the next blog post.

At movies end, we brushed our teeth, and I tucked the three little/big ones  into bed, saying a prayer of thanksgiving over them.

Ethan snuggled in the downstairs bedroom, hugging his daddy’s old pot-bellied bear.  With sleepy eyes, he said, “I love Thanksgiving.”   And I agree.