Sunday, June 29, 2008

Car Parts for Sale

As a missions committee, we're trying to raise enough funds to purchase a reliable vehicle for Andrew and Aimee Jo Martin, our missionaries in Uganda. We've divided the responsibility with a couple of other churches and our goal is that our church will collect $20,000 by the end of July towards the purchase of this vehicle.

As part of our fund-raising effort, we had the idea to split the car into parts and ask members to sponsor various parts. Here's a picture of what's been "purchased" so far.

2 weeks down, 4 to go. I'm praying the funds will come through.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Power Struggle

Our family computer has some personality quirks. Like... it has memory problems and randomly shuts down programs when its brain gets too full. And... the USB plugs in the back just went out, so we have to use the 2 slots in the front.

2 USB slots.

1 keyboard cord.

1 mouse cord.

1 printer cord.

1 flash drive.

3 MP3 players.

Which device will get priority? I tend to think the keyboard and mouse should be plugged in (though trying to print something from the flash drive is like trying to get the fox, the chicken, and the corn across a river).

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

37 pounds

  • The weight of my 6 year old before we went strawberry picking yesterday.
  • The number of pounds of strawberries that made it onto the scales after we'd picked for two hours.
  • The amount of strawberries we might have consumed that didn't quite make it into our buckets.
  • How much sugar it will take to process all these berries into jam.
  • How much weight I'll gain if I eat all that jam.

Friday, June 20, 2008


I've got to take a minute to brag on my brother's photo site. If you haven't taken the time to check out, you're missing out. Take a look at yesterday's photo - spectacular!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Neighborhood Grouch

Remember when you were a kid, there was an old lady in your neighborhood that never talked to you unless she was yelling?

"Get off my grass!"

"What are you kids doing?"

"If I catch your dog on my property one more time..."

I might have turned into that lady. I don't mind when kids come over to play when my kids are out with them, but when I catch a half dozen boys up the walnut tree...

"Everybody down! Go play in your own yard."

And last night, when I caught a bunch of them red handed, picking my under ripe strawberries...

"Get over here! Don't you toss that berry off in the bushes. I SAW you pick it."

The problem is two fold. One: what kind of parents are letting their kids play in my back yard without knowing where they are? If one of the kids falls out of the tree, I'm pretty sure that's my fault. Two: (here's where the grouch comes in) I planted those berries, I tended them, watered them, weeded them and have been watching for them to turn red. About 3 more days and the first ones will be ready for tasting. Or-at least-they would have been. Now I'll have to wait another week or so.

I think what I'm discovering is that, while I like to share, I like to do it on my own terms. If I give food to the neighbors, I want to pick it, bag it, and hand it over with a smile.

Is this a pineapple story, where I'm trying to hang onto something that really doesn't belong to me? Or am I just eager to enjoy the fruit of my labor?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Self Esteem

We had a certificate night with some other home schoolers last night. It was a chance to praise each child for an area of excellence. For us, this was a good year academically.

My husband presented each of our children with a certificate, said some good words about each one and we gave them each roses.

On the way home, the youngest asked, "Why do people give other people flowers?"

"To make them feel special," I said. "Do you feel special?"

She didn't skip a beat before boasting,

"I AM special!"

Monday, June 16, 2008


The kids were wondering why every hike we take seems to end at a waterfall. What can I say? When you live near the mountains and it rains all the time, what other destination is more likely?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What a Funeral Should Be

Ira Pirtle died this week at the age of 93.

His funeral this morning was what a funeral should be. He lived a long, productive and happy life. His children and friends and grandchildren(and even his son-in-law) rose up to call him blessed.

People shared stories that made me laugh, that made me cry, that made me remember.

Ira was a joy to know, from his impish twinkling eyes, to his ready word of encouragement, to his insatiable appetite for pie. He lived a full life, loved well, and will be fondly remembered.

He lived his life so close to God that his departure from this life was no great struggle, rather an easy hop across the headwaters of the Jordan into the land of promise.

Well over 200 of us gathered to remember Ira and I know of many, many more who wish they could have been there.

Bon voyage, Ira. And thanks for all the ways you've laid foundations for those of us who come behind.

The Answer

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Used Car Lot

This was our driveway this morning. The cars, left to right, are
  • the totalled Toyota Sienna which will go to salvage later today

  • my husband's 1980 Toyota pickup

  • the rental car, a Dodge Grand Caravan

  • our "new" Honda Odyssey, the replacement for the wrecked van

Someone rang our doorbell asking to buy one of these vehicles.

One guess. Which one?

Monday, June 09, 2008


Yesterday, I did something I've wanted to do for a very long time. I hiked a 4-mile portion of the Pacific Crest Trail (only about 2,000 miles to go). I was a little nervous about parking the rental car at the trail head, but - hey - it's just us good guys out on a lovely spring day, right?

Um, wrong.

While we were on the hike, someone stuck a bumper sticker to the rental car. A good one.

By a good one, I don't mean the sticker's message was one I want to share with the world. I mean it's got great adhesive and it's going to be a pain to remove carefully enough to not damage the paint.

What kind of person goes out of their way to put stickers on other people's stuff? I can't imagine doing something like that... just like I can't imagine attacking someone going into a fur store or spraying graffiti on the side of a house or egging a car or blowing up a mailbox.

It seems like there are better ways to get a point across.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Teddy Roosevelt Speaks

It's not every day you get to sit at the feet of a past president and listen to him regale the crowd with stories of his failures and triumphs. But last night, we got just that opportunity.

Teddy Roosevelt, our 26th president, was a joy to listen to. From leading the Rough Riders in the Spanish American War, to starting the National Parks system, to winning the Nobel Peace Prize, to championing the digging of Panama Canal, this president accomplished so much in his lifetime.

It was my privilege to invite and host Joe Wiegand, Teddy Roosevelt repriser, and his family on their 48-state tour in honor of TR's 150th birthday. In meeting them, I was impressed by their dedication to this dream. They left their home and a stable life to experience God's faithfulness day by day on the road. They trust him to provide the next venue and enough funds for gas and food. And at each stage, they acknowledge God's providence... like the fact that last night's show was dedicated to Andrew Shields, a local soldier who died in Afghanistan this week... and that the chaplain who delivered the notice to his family was in the audience last night.

Joe is not shy in his reprisal about letting Roosevelt share his own faith. He uses the president's own words to express God's faithfulness in the midst of extreme tragedy.

Take a look at his website and see if he's heading your way. His performance is worth an evening of your time. And if he's in the neighborhood but not performing in your town, drop him a line to see about acting as his coordinator for your area.

It's worth it.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Total Loss

A quick update for those who asked about me and my car. Yesterday, the other guy's insurance company called to say they're declaring my car a total loss.

A total loss.

What a sad phrase. We're trying to work through our insurance to renegotiate a settlement that will be enough to replace this van (that I was planning to drive for another ten years or so).

But I'll tell you what has really been a total loss...

My week.

I've spent more time with insurance agents, car rental lots, body shop guys and mechanics, advice nurses and chiropractors than I ever care to again. Even conversations with friends go something like this:

"I'm so sorry your fish died and/or your house was robbed and/or your children are in juvie. Did I tell you they're totalling my car?"

Besides all that phone time, I've lost a week's worth of work. With the older kids farmed out, I had planned to get a ton of writing done.

I've written two pages.

And they're not that good.

So, as you can see, I not feeling very Pollyanna-ish right now. Honestly, I know this isn't the worst situation in the world. It's just an inconvenience (or as Barb reminds me, a light and momentary trial).


Tuesday, June 03, 2008


My friend gave me a sign. It says


Problem is, I've got it leaning up against the wall behind my printer and a stack of books. So, really how it reads is


Hopefully, I'll get it hung soon as a reminder to keep down the clutter, both in the house and in my spirit. On the other hand, if things keep going how they are, soon I might only be able to see


which is old slang for SIMPLETON.

Which might be about right.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Rewriting the Rewritten

Somehow the famous history stories of childhood take on a gilded glow.

In fourteen hundred ninety two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

Doesn't that sound lovely?

Until someone rewrote history to let us know of the atrocities Europe wreaked on the "New World."

But today I stood on the deck of a replica of the Nina, the ship Columbus sailed back and forth 3 times across the ocean blue and, I've got to say... I'm impressed. Only 66 feet long, with no accommodations for the crew other than a piece of deck and captain's quarters that looked more like a foot locker than a place for the explorers of new lands... there is no way I would have set out on that boat into the unknown. It takes a special sort of chutzpah to take on so dramatic a task.

So, whatever bumps in history the famous voyage brought about, I'm still thankful Cristobal trusted this little ship enough to carry out his exploration. I, for one, love it here.
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