Thursday, May 21, 2015

Appalachian Trail... Metaphor of Life

Our lives here have been centered around the Appalachian Trail for the last few months, and for a few more months to come.
So I tend to think about it, quite a lot.
It struck me that the AT is a metaphor of life.
We start the trail at given point. In life, this is birth!
As a person starts the long hike, they may not have their "hiking legs" yet. As days go by, stamina is gained. You learn what you really need to carry, and what to let go.
Like a child, every day brings new sights and wonders.
You are on a grand journey!

The Appalachian Trail goes up and down hill after hill. You climb mountain after mountain. Some people say it is full of pointless ups and downs!
Like life, you just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
There are side trails... some you feel compelled to explore, and others you are content to pass by.

You meet people. Some you grow close to, and journey with as long as you will. Others you leave behind as quickly as your legs can carry you. There may be some you would just as soon not see again, yet you are bound to them by the journey itself.

The end of The Trail is your goal... Mt. Katahdin, if your journey began at the Southern end of The Trail, Mt. Springer if you began at the Northern point.
Some people don't make it... for whatever reason, they leave The Trail. Friends are left behind to trudge on.
Some folks make it the entire distance. Finishing The Trail, achieving their goal.
While starting The Trail is likened to birth, finishing it is not likened to death. There are more trails out there.
We just keep walking.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May, May, May

Here it is just past the middle of May. My 'goal' for the year was to be under 140 lbs. by the end of June. Instead, I gained significantly. I made a good start walking during a spate of good weather back in February, but quickly fell off when the snow, ice, sleet, and muck seemed never ending.
I got started again this week... Sunday I got in about 3 miles; and Monday, just over 4 miles. Today, I hobbled from the bed wondering if I can make it to the mailbox. (Over-do much?) (I did eventually make it 2 miles.)
Yesterday's long walk was not for walking's sake, or even the thought of exercise. It was one of those days where I just had to "get away". So I started walking. I took a bottle of water with me, and figured I would head back to the house when the water was half gone. I discovered that nearby Daniels Road is a lovely walk. It is an unpaved lane, with flowered walls of honeysuckle, blackberry, and trees almost meeting overhead. Daisies, bindweed, wild hemp, Queen Anne's lace, and coreopsis are in bloom. There is a flowering shrub that I have never learned the name of, covered in tiny, tiny white flowers... the scent takes me back to being a small child. This is the smell of summertime. (Looking through google pictures, it may be "Ligustrum")
It was a very nice walk, even if I did go too far after being sedentary for so long.

Tom added stakes and fencing sections to the garden yesterday, giving the peas and beans something to climb. The corn and squash just don't seem to want to sprout this year. He planted four hills of squash which is about three hills too many! but only three hills have had any sprout at all. When our abundance of squash starts rolling in, I remind myself.. "$ 1.69 a lb!, $1.69 a lb! We are growing money!". Not that we sell the squash, but we aren't BUYING it. (I am still working on using last year's squash from the deep freeze.)

I am reading my way through Trim, Healthy Mama , the book Becky got me for Mother's Day. Once I have the basics down, Tom and I shall try this way of eating and see how we do. Daniel had mentioned wanting to try it once he and Sam return from the Trail... Out there, you are burning mega amounts of calories. It changes your metabolism, and once off the trail, your body tries to hold on to every calorie. This can cause post trail weight gain. (See, Daniel so thoroughly researched this hike that he even considered post trail pitfalls!) THM seems like a sensible way of eating. Even Mr. C is willing to get on board with it.

It is less than a month before the twins turn 19. My brother Ricky will have a birthday before then, and Becky and Stephen will celebrate their 10th anniversary. This seems to be a big year all the way around... so much to celebrate! Becky and Tom both have milestone birthdays (30 and 60). Tommy turned 25. Benjamin graduated the Firefighter Academy. Connor graduated 8th grade. Grace and Althea will be one before the year is out. Kathie has a milestone birthday. We hope to have an "End of the Trail" party for the twins... Camp CowGranny... LOTS going on!

Remember us all in your prayers, thank you for reading!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Where would 1000 miles take you?

1000 miles is quite a way to walk. Daniel and Sam passed the 1000 mile mark on the Appalachian trail yesterday.
Guess what? It isn't even half the halfway mark on their hike. Many people call it the psychological halfway point. They still have more than 1100 trail miles ahead- not counting re-supply trips off trail, and their side trip to Washington, DC.

For Mother's Day this year, I got some sweet gifts from the kids. A heartfelt card from Chris, a book I have been interested in from Becky, a jar of kisses from Connor and Alana. I got calls or Skyped with all of the kids on Sunday. Sam had told me he and Daniel had found me a fancy rock as they were hiking along the trail, and that he had carried it for 50 miles before he was able to ship it to me. Today the package came!

 
Fancy "rock"

Tommy brought me some rocks from Brazil when he traveled there. The twins have given me some cool rocks in the past for Mother's Day. So I really thought I was getting a rock. I laughed out loud when I saw the beautiful stoneware mug.

Monday afternoon, Tom was helping me trim up my miniature rose bush. It had a lot of dead wood on it. It has grown from the little teacup sized potted rosebush the kids went together and got me for Mother's day more than 11 years ago.

My miniature rose bush, given to me by the kids for Mother's day about 11 years ago.




Mr C accidentally lopped off one of the beautiful clusters of buds in the new growth/ living part of the bush. I am trying to root it using the "potato method" I have seen touted the last couple of years. I hope it works, so I will have a new start from this bush.
(I am certainly sentimental about flowers, aren't I?)



Tomorrow, I head to Claremore to see Connor (Grandson 1.1) graduate from 8th grade. It hardly seems that long ago I was headed to Claremore to witness his birth. A few decades ago, 8th grade was a common dropping out point. Young men left school and went to work. Young women married and had families; unless they went on through high school with college in mind.
I was looking for a baby picture of Connor, but got sucked down the drain of memories that I am still too close to be stirred. Maybe later!
Have a blessed day and thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Small Things

This ordinary iris made my day. When we moved from Marlow, I had to leave behind the irises that I had grown from the rhizomes from my Granny and PawPaws house. I had a wonderful stand of giant orange canna.
I have several purple iris that have bloomed for me in this rental place over the years- some from my Mom from Granny's house, where Mom's DH has done his best to eradicate the roses, canna, and iris stands that Granny loved so much. Mom brought me a bucket full of irises last year- the last ones she was able to salvage from the place. Last year, they didn't bloom.
This year- Not only have the purple ones come out, but this bronzed gold that was always my favorite at Granny's place.
I never expected to see one this color again.
God is faithful in the small desires as well as the large.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Sometimes

On occasion, God brings certain people into our lives. People with whom we may never have had occasion to interact if not for God's intervention.
One family that we have come to know is the Zesch family.
Three of my children and the attached spouses attend a home based church in the Zesch home.
Through visits to this home church, through social interactions involving my children, Through attending a Motherhood retreat, and through an annual hiking event sponsored by the Senior Zesch (Roy)... our families have come to know one another over the past eight or nine years.
For the past few days, Roy Z has conspired with me. Today that conspiracy bore fruit. He surprised Daniel and Sam at an intersection along the Appalachian Trail.
I certainly wish I could of been there to see the looks on the faces of the twins!
To make this meeting, Roy had to fly to Virginia. Whether he had other business there or not, I cannot say. He had to rent a car and deliberately seek the boys out. It involved determination, no small amount of finance, and the physical effort of hiking.
Sometimes blessings and encouragement come when we need it most, and least expect it. The Zesch Family is one such source, through God our Father.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Accomplished!


 This has been my peeve for at least a few years now. This is the main bathroom in the house we have been renting for the last 10 years. It has ZERO ventilation, so moisture has always been a problem.
 The "popcorn" peeling down.
And yes, mold/ mildew growing in patches all around the room.
  I scraped the "popcorn" down,and washed down the walls. Then Mr C primed with KILZ, and painted.


The color is a soft, butter yellow- not as bright as it looks on (my) monitor. The ceiling was not yet painted in the next to last picture, but is finished in a soft yellow beige in the final shot. Our cost was just under $40. (And a number of hours of labor.)
I am so thrilled.... I have detested the muddy, baby poop gold it had been since we moved in.
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The garden is planted. This year we have 12 tomato plants and five pepper plants. Four hills of squash- yellow and zucchini. We have both pole beans and peas, as well as bush beans. We put lettuce, spinach, carrots, and leeks into containers. This is much later planting than normal for us, by several weeks.
Here is a cute little bunny who took refuge behind a board in the shed lean-to. Jaffa could smell bunny, and worried at the board for days before he knocked it over. Bunny wasn't caught... but hasn't returned to his compromised hideout.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

It's better not to know...


Today, my second born son would have been 34 years old.

Daniel, Bill, and Sam
 He was a bright and funny child. Very laid back. He was originally to be named Billy Joe, but when the official came in to fill out his birth certificate, I thought it needed to be a bit more formal- in case he ever wanted to be a Doctor or something. So his name was William Joseph.
By the time he was three, he had had enough of being called "Billy". Stomping his foot, he would correct people- "NOT Billy! I BILL!"

Bill grew up.
He LOVED babies and small children. He was very smart, graduating with honors.

His favorite baby turned out to be his daughter, Nickole.
 
It seems that Bill was always getting hurt. It was the family joke that if Bill called and said "Guess where I am?", you stood a good chance of being right if you answered "In the Emergency Room?"
Somewhere along the way, Bill became addicted to prescription drugs. He alternately denied being addicted with battling the addiction.
April 29, 1981- March 10, 2012
In the end, the drugs won. He left behind a family that loved him no matter what. A beautiful daughter that won't have Daddy to encourage her and cheer her on as she graduates from school. He won't be there walk her down the aisle when she gets married. He isn't there to call when the computer goes on the fritz, or I need to know how to transfer pictures from a card to a disk.
I can't call him to ask if the wild plums are ready to pick.
 
When you bring home your sweet little newborn, you imagine what they will be like as an adult. You have high hopes and grand aspirations.
You never imagine losing them. If you could know how their life would actually turn out, it would just be too much to handle.
 


Dakota and Bill
My last picture of him.

 
 

I am told that some day, these anniversaries will be easier to get through. I am getting better. I can talk about him without tears much of the time. But special occasions still get to me. Just have to live each day as it is dealt.
Thanks for listening.