Thursday, October 29, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Public Service Announcement - They Mean It....

I don't have pictures of my big mistake and subsequent public service announcement. But I do have pictures of my dogs. The pictures have nothing to do with my very serious topic of the day, however they are cute and these shots were snapped right before the safety/common sense breach. 

What might that serious topic be? Well, you know when you watch TV cooking shows they mention that you should wear plastic gloves when chopping hot peppers?? Well that's for reals. You see. I had no idea what peppers Rob planted and since neither of us like to have out tonsils burned out didn't think he'd plant anything hotter than jalapeño. And while I was dicing up all the tomatoes that were still viable I thought I'd go ahead and harvest the tiny peppers and chop those up as well. 

Turns out the peppers were habanero. I should've remembered the important information that the size of the pepper would be a clue as well. Anyhow. I chopped those bad boys up and tossed them in a ziplock and washed my hands. That's when I first noticed the heat. My hands warmed up real nicely and tingled. Then Rob said, those are habanero not jalapeño. Since we had a Bible study at Toad Boy's house and Toad Boy loves hot I decided to take them over. And I washed my hands about three more times. In the car I touched the outside corner of my eye. Yeah. Raccoon watering followed. I entered the house, handed him the bag with the warning that they are HOT and washed my hands two more times. While eating popcorn an hour later I noticed a tingle and burn. The stupid oil was still on my hands clearly. 

This is why they recommend that you use gloves when slicing or dicing hot peppers. And they know of what they speak. That is all. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ When Morning Comes...

My dogs, and who am I, have been suffering from the struggle of becoming conscious when rolling out into the dark, cold mornings. They lay curled into a perfect puzzle of warm doggieness and I do things like snooze my alarm, then set the 2nd alarm instead of shutting off the 1st. And taking 5 solid seconds to try to figure out what the very clear text message means. Fortunately, God created coffee. And gave dogs a keen sense of smell. And gave us all bladders. If not I get the whole hibernation thing. Great idea.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Just So...So...You Know..

Spent last evening with the bigger grandkids while the boy went to Boy Scouts with his mama. In between reading and policing the sometimes arguing girls and keeping them out of grandpa's way while he installed a new kitchen sink, I saw a few childish art and learning projects. The third-grader is learning cursive. The four-year-old drew the family and has mastered the letters in her name plus 4, 8, and 5, so all of her scribbles include a mishmash of those conquered letters and numbers. There is nothing cuter than kid drawings and the oops of learning. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Squirrel Patrol and a DUH! Bonus

We have a few squirrels that torment Gladys and Gertrude. You know THOSE kind of squirrels. The once who know that there is a chain that lets a dog only so far, and that there is a big french door that looks out into the squirrel playground for while-the-grownups-are-at-work kinda torment. Yes, those kind of squirrels.  Its no wonder my girls are on the squirrel warpath 90% of the time. 
And this morning, bright and early I discovered something. Now this thing might have to do with the fact that I'm not fully awake most mornings when I get dressed. Should any decision before coffee count? I'm pretty sure there is a legal defense that uses lack of coffee. Right? Or I might just need to blame it on the squirrels.  Anyhoo, that said. I just now, in my 53 year of living realized that I don't have to actually follow manufacturer suggested guidelines. 

See this shirt. I love it. But a) too clingy and scoop necked to wear comfortably alone. b) long sleeved t-shirt material layered with something else equals flaming hot discomfort 48 weeks out of the year for me. Solution. Don't throw or donate the stupid top, cut the darn sleeves off and make it a layering tank. So happy. I'd take a smiling selfie but I haven't had my coffee yet.  

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Life Lesson #5

It's been gifted to us. We have some ownership over it. And we have a huge responsibility to not waste it. 

What is living life, Alex? 

Yes. My number #5 is that life is given to be lived. Embraced. Wrestled into submission. Owned. Whatever that looks like for each individual person, or not, life is a GIFT. 

Working in health care has introduced me to a whole lot of different people personalities and commonalities.  My 90 something patients that come in to see the doctor are more likely than not fully confident in their state of being. They actively pursue their interests and vehemently refuse to compromise. I think those who reach way up there on the age chart are those who are stubborn enough to stand firm on what they believe and feisty enough to tell it like it is, in their "humble opinion" at least.  Not that all 90+ have lived their lives giving, loving and being a friend's 90+ year old mom is a piece of work who just keeps on a ticking. But. I'm guessing my friend's mom will more than likely be stubborn and argumentative until the day she breathes her last. But it might be that stubborn spirit that is the key. So many compromise, lay down, give up and concede. Whether the war of life overcomes them, or treading water in someone else's expectations, they give up, give in. 

The past fews years have become transitional for Rob and I. The kids are out of the house, we are alone for the first time since early marriage and are discovering exactly what being alone means. Then we became Beagle parents, then overnight grandparents to three. I've found myself growing more and more stubborn and outspoken. I'm no longer trying to be nice and just get along, when that means compromising on something that is important to me.  I've struggled through music lessons that still haven't made me a comfortable musician but dang it, I'm stinking trying. I'm less inclined to play the game of growing a readership even though I have some platforms to do so. I'm still cooking and creating but sharing less because that's just a part of me and either I've done what I set out to do for me and mine or others do it better. 

There are so many parts of me.  I want to be authentic and real. And I think it's okay for me to admit that I have very few answers. And spouting off religious or popular platitudes isn't what I want to offer to the world. I want to tell the truth, maybe truth you don't agree with, but that's okay. I want to grow and embrace the relationships I have with my kids and their kids. I want to not play church but be part of the church, the one that changes lives. I don't want to give all my energy to crap. That way I have the energy required for someone else's need. More that half my life is over. I want to live it well and I want to wring all the life and love and joy out of it. When I'm dead, I want there to be a clearly empty shell of a life lived to the fullest. And I want the lingering fragrance of my life to be that of sunshine and rain and hope and love. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Life Lesson #4

#4 One of the biggies I've figured out, or caught or at-this-second understand is that I cannot live anyone else's life.

This is empowering and terrifying. I can't will, manipulate, shape, or pray anyone I love into being someone I wish they'd become. (Note...I said I can't, doesn't mean I haven't exhausted myself trying, ya know?)

My husband answers for himself, bears his own consequences (which are often shared with me and filed under number 9 in the marriage vows).

Our son and his wife are financially light years ahead of us when we were their age and kinda, for the most part, now. He didn't get that from our example.

Our oldest kids are spiritually discerning and mature, again far beyond who we were and what we grasped at their age. Again, not caught from our pristine example.

One kid went to college and now teaches and is so good at what he does. Another tried a class or two and works with her hands bringing joy and caffeine through the art of coffee roasting. The other just became a mommy and has embraced breast feeding and child nurturing way beyond what I ever expected.

Two of three of our kids have tattoos, one of them even has a sleeve. One of our children had to go through a lot of hell on earth to learn some basic truths. Two of the three children we've had the blessing of raising into adulthood have given homes (or are preparing to) to kids in need of a safe and secure place to grow. The other is a stepmom who loves her little guy bunches. These kids of mine give their hearts away over and over to people. 

Each of our kids is a curious and delightful blend of genetics, nature and nurture. And I don't know that I could be any prouder or feel more blessed that they are in my life. And had I been able to shape them into people who I thought they should be the world would have lost out. My kids are who they are because they aren't an extension of me. They weren't mine to sculpt, shape maybe, but not sculpt. These human gifts were only for me to take care of for awhile, never meant for my use or keeps. The blessing of their presence in my life on any level is beyond payment enough. 

And, at 53 I have come to the realization that loving HURTS. And there is no absolute security in any earthly relationship. That those we invest in, try to train, pour into, love and love and love, have choices and sometimes those choices might break our hearts.
But there is hope even then. (I have proof, powerful proof in my life and these have become Ebenezer stones where I can look back and say "God was with me then, and I know He's with me still.) The responsibility I have is to speak truth, love as and beyond I am able, to set boundaries if needed, forgive and hope. Even in the hardest of cases, there is always the hope I have in Jesus. Since He's proven Himself to me I am able to rest in the knowledge that I am not the king (or queen) of anyone's universe, and I'm good with that.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Life Lesson #3

# 3 I try to focus on the the Whatevers.

I'm prone to be a Pollyanna. Really I am. And I've decided to embrace that. Because when I plunge into the black swirls of melancholy that lie in wait, I am miserable. Cynicism, hopelessness, greed, jealousy, bitterness...I've been there and those attitudes are tight blister-gnawing shoes to wear for even a few minutes.

I know that being uninformed of the current events around us can make us seem self-absorbed or simple-minded to our peers. But when the focus on current events causes fearfulness or hopelessness doesn't it become self-absorbtion? Or single focused. Some who spend hours gleaning the bad news of the fallenness of humanity use it to accost others with dark and pessimistic facts, or use their knowledge to argue and debate.

I know there are horrific things that happen all around us. I know that goodness has limits and seemingly evil does not. Three of my grand babies are mine through foster care. I have friends who've lost someone too early and have seen mean-spirited people live long and hurt those around them. Darkness had its way with my family and my life for far too many years. I'm not sheltered. I hear, I see, I know that evil exists. But knowing doesn't mean dwelling, sleeping, drinking and steeping in heart shuddering news.

My whatever isn't denial. It's scriptural and hopeful. 

Philippians 4:8Living Bible (TLB)

And now, brothers, as I close this letter, let me say this one more thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.

These things to think on are characteristics of God. And God loves people, and He gives hope, and He gives life.

So, if I choose to not watch three hours of news but choose silly animal videos or pictures of babies, or just things that make me laugh, maybe that makes me simple. But I like simple so much more than depressed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Life Lessons #2

#2 Focus on and glorify what I am for rather than what I am against.

This seems like a strange one in the lessons of life I've picked up in 53 years of living it. And it's kind of a recent one. 

I've always had trouble with big mouth Bible thumper "Christians" (the quotation marks are because I don't believe most of them are). I think now it's because the tactics they use when thumping that embossed leather cover of their well used Bibles are not telling the truth about God. 

The word glorify is so religious speak but it comes down to telling the truth about something. 

Like taking an accurate news video rather than tweaking and enhancing and adding some creative filters, sound effects or narrowing the focus to change the picture. We all know about airbrushing and have likely seen the videos of how much airbrushing changes the looks of a normal person into an unattainable cartoonish ideal. Or one recent photo spread that showed the whole picture in photos that seemed to share one thing but in reality did not. The sleeping beauty style photo showed the full picture including her selfie arm holding her phone reflected in the mirror. Or the couple standing on the beach that was really just a billboard behind them. Bible thumpers or grace riders (those who look at grace as sweet ocean waves there just to keep covering those fun sins so they don't have to feel bad about their choices) do the same thing with God as those folks who do the creative cropping. They don't tell the whole story and by doing so they mislead and dare I say it? Lie. 

I can not live my life hyper focused on either the free grace or the righteous judge part of God without considering that there are both of those in Him. And that there are hundreds and thousands and millions more things about Him that no one understands. 

I want to live my life glorifying God by being able to say I don't know when I don't. I am not going to hate someone for having different opinions. Because I'm responsible for my actions, my relationship with God and my obeying and being true to what I have been given the insight and wisdom to believe in. I'm going to focus on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. Not only am I told to do so, but it's where I am able to see the reality around me for what it really is. In the light of the Son I can see other people as humans struggling along and learning as they go and dearly in need of a Savior. I am for Christ. I am for life. I am for hope, peace, love, forgiveness, joy, kindness, gentleness, self-control, patience, faithfulness. Life is too short to spend pointing out failings and weaknesses and errors just so I don't have to own up to my own.


1) reveal or make clearer the glory of (God) by one's actions: "God can be glorified through a life of scholarship"
2) describe or represent as admirable, especially unjustifiably or undeservedly: "a football video glorifying violence"
synonyms: ennoble · exalt · elevate · dignify · enhance · augment ·

Powered by Oxford Dictionaries · © Oxford University Press

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ 5.3 #1

5.3 things I've learned about life in 53 years.

#1 There aren't many shortcuts. Of all the interests I've pursued I can honestly say its those tiny baby steps that get us down the road, up the hill, or around the bend. Sure, some people seem to be more naturally talented in areas. But even natural talent needs the fine grit sandpaper to finish the work. And that's tedious. Oh so tedious. To become good at something requires pain and repetition, trial and error, failing and try, try againing.

Value comes in the practice, the trading of time, blood, sweat and tears. If something comes too easily, it can become a burden or resentment or even a curse. Think of money inherited or won. Or genius artists who descend into darkness. 

I'm not trying to overthink or overgeneralize. But, bottom line, everything that has cost me time, sacrifice and trouble is often the thing that becomes very rewarding once I get over the hump. Take into account the different way our brains work this is going to look so different for each person. When I took training on Bible study I remember slaving away at taking the verses apart and looking for the obvious meaning and the historical context, different cultures and language nuances. I had to write everything out just to help my mind absorb. One of the instructors kind of shook her head and said "you are doing way too much work" and I just shrugged because it was work I needed to put in. While I was struggling, God was writing a lot of that scripture on my heart. I began to understand things I have never even considered, and began to be able to find connections and aha moments left and right. Even now, after not teaching heavy inductive studies for years, I have a grasp of the Bible I wouldn't have any other way. And I wouldn't trade that season for anything. 

For me, and this is my stinking blog...haha, whether it's music (still working on that by the way) cooking, art, raising children (or puppies...I say puppies because cats are not trained, they are trainers), sticking with relationships that are important, writing, wellness, wisdom, these paths have cost me. And I was naive in my tiny, stick figure goals in each of these areas, and as the steps unfolded in front of me the dream/goal/reward grew bigger. 

My dreams/skills/hopes/experiences are still morphing as I write this. 

.3 in action. 

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles - Life Lessons 5.3

I turned 53 yesterday. On some level that freaks me completely out. Not the wrinkles or gray hair part...but the part where I stop and say "Wha! Where did time go?" 

Because while I've been living this life one day after the other, time has been ticking right along.

I'm going to attempt to come up with 5.3 things I've learned about life...and let's just say the .3 is going to be first. 

Why .3? Kind of like an upgrade in computerville there are always bugs that need to be corrected, things to learn, software and hardware reboots, right? I'm so far from being done. And maybe one of the biggest things I've learned is the .3....I don't have anything really figured out. And the more I learn the more I realize that I hardly know a thing at all. 

Monday, October 05, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Fun Links

Remember when my friend Sandi hand raised raccoon kittens a couple of years ago? Oh they were cute. She kept them in her upstairs bathroom. When we visited they were pretty small and just discovering that the shower curtain made an awesome Tarzan-style vine swing. After they were released into the wild Sandi got to fully redecorate her bathroom. Got to? Had to is more like it. 

Gotta love there brave animal rescuers in the world. Check out the raccoon link below. One photo shows no knobs. I'm thinking there is a reason for that.

And this, this is just because. Because it's Tuesday.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Tipping Toes

You know I subscribe to the blog Becoming Minimalist.  Right now, it's kind of a what if for me. What if I did make some significant changes? Do I want to? Is the outcome greater than what I'm giving up? Am I willing to change the way I think? And am I willing to become a different person if I take Road B rather than stay on Road A? I love the idea of being a minimalist. After all, I've purged a couple thousand things in less than a year and I love the feeling of owning less, moving less, dusting less, laundering less. And I continue down that path. But I'm not going to kid myself and say I'm a minimalist. I own way too much creature comfort to make that claim. 

However, I read an article at Becoming Minimalist about Tipping Points. The author talked about the vastness of society. He has a huge readership yet his readership is a tiny single digit percentage of society. A mere spit in the wind of doctrines and teachings and thoughts. He cited Malcom Gladwell's The Tipping Point which summarized says small things do make a big difference. Joshua Becker (Becoming Minimalist) wonders if his focus needs to be on a smaller scale...his circle of influence...the people who know and interact with him. And when circles begin overlapping -- maybe the small things, the one person at a time making one or two decisions that change their lives and help others to see that they can too, maybe -- that becomes a world changer. 

I can't help but resonate with this thinking. Because that is kind of the bottom line. We are all shaped by thoughts and opinions and desires of others when we are young, and then we are tested in the school of the BIG POND of life and are forced to sort and grasp and purge those thoughts, feelings and opinions and use those and the tools we find in the pond to become who we choose to become. Because we do have a choice. Most of us. Even if we've been oppressed, victimized, hurt, abused, belittled, discarded, unloved...we have a choice to not let that conquer us or destroy us. We have a choice to get off the out-of-control-Ferris-Wheel-of-dysfunction even if it's going to hurt when we hit the concrete. 

When we get patched up, we become sharers of what we know to be true. We can give testimony, personal experience, hard-won wisdom gained, and we can share it with others on our way. Think of the people you know who have made huge life changes. The alcoholic who stops drinking and can spot someone else who is struggling and offers hope to that person. Or the person who experiences a miraculous healing. That story just bubbles out from a place of gratitude. Leaving behind a glimmering wave of hope for those who have possibly given up on their own miracle. The liar who has been forgiven who refuses to ever lie again becomes an expert on the benefit of trust and speaking truth. The woman who bitterly hated someone for years and finally forgave changes outwardly, her whole countenance softens and does that ever have an impact on her circles. Jesus said that one who is forgiven much, loves much. And He also blasted the religious teachers for loading people down with burdensome laws to follow to the letter. When we experience something (sometimes tiny) that changes us, we can't help but radiate that change. And those tiny personal choices do shape our world. One tiny step at a time. 

Will I ever become a minimalist? Will I ever become totally healthy? Will I make a positive difference in the lives of people around me? I don't know if the answers to those questions are important. To continue towards those goals, to strive to choose life, health, wellness, kindness, hope, love and joy, self-respect, forgiveness ....I'm pretty sure those things are right answers to any question.