When you are reading here whether you found me intentionally or accidently, please take time to leave a comment and let me know where you are and what you are thinking. I love feed back. Vondi

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

“The things of earth will dim and lose their value, when we recall they’re borrowed for a while.”  

It’s coming on Christmas and I suppose it is natural to remember all the Christmases that have gone before.  Rachael and Michael have been putting up Christmas decorations. (If they’re lucky, they’ll have the tree decorated by Christmas eve.)  I’ve been remembering all of the keepsakes that have been packed away with the decorations- little things the kids made in school, ornaments left from my childhood and those from Rachael’s growing up years, gifts from my children in preschool and day care. They all bring back memories.  
Sitting here in the quiet of early, early morning, I went from thinking of those things to remembering the pieces of glassware and dinnerware and furniture and other things that I’ve treasured for so many years because they belonged to my mother and grandmothers.  Some of them are packed away still in the basement; some have been taken out and displayed in our house. And I enjoy looking at all of them.  They make me remember my grandma and my mom and the stories Dad told of his mother and step mother.  They bring back thoughts of Rachael and Notah when they were growing up. 
But they aren’t as precious to me as they once were.  It isn’t that I don’t treasure the memories, but the objects aren’t as valuable as they once were.  I’ve been thinking of the song “Until Then,” especially the messages in some of the lyrics.  “The things of earth will dim and lose their value…and things of earth that caused the heart to tremble remembered then will only bring a smile.   This weary world with all its toil and trouble will take its toll of misery and strife.’  The soul of man is like a waiting falcon, when it’s released it’s destined for the skies!”
I’ve always liked the song, but the last few years I’ve grasped the deeper reality of the words.  The things that I used to hold dear have dropped away.  I haven’t thrown them out; they’ve passed into other hands to treasure, but for me I don’t hold them so close.  My treasures and the loved ones they helped me to remember have moved from the earthly scene to heaven.  I only need to quietly to remember the days of work and heartache, happy times and joy, blessings and burdens.  And they are stored now in eternal storerooms.  I sit here in Rachael’s house with very few sit possessions of my own.  I don’t own a house.  I don’t own a car.  Most of the things accumulated over the years have been given to other family and friends. I have my cozy room and my favorite pictures on the wall. And my dogs.  I have clothes to wear and a warm place to sleep. Rachael makes sure I have the right diet available when she does the grocery shopping.  What more can I ask for in life.
    The things of earth have lost their value.  The trials and heartaches and hard places have all strengthened my faith and drawn me closer to God.  I can look back on them and smile because in hind sight I can see the hand of the Lord working in my life. 
    Now more than ever my focus is on things eternal.  And until then my heart does sing.

Friday, November 25, 2011

We Are Come!

 I had a big day yesterday for a knee just 3 weeks out from total replacement.  I went in after dinner to lie down for a while.  I napped a little bit—until Maggie decided it was play time and began romping all over the bed.  Then I asked Rachael and Michael to entertain her a little so I could rest easier.  But my knee kept aching.

I started thinking of Hebrews 12:16 -30.  Actually I focused on verse 22:  22But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,   Then I had to get up and read the entire portion of scripture accompanying it.  What a fantastic place to be in the Lord!  To be taken into the fellowship of the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.  What a fantastic privilege! 

I thought of the respect accorded to the old Mt Sinai when Moses went up to receive the 10 commandments.  Remember how God called on Moses to issue a warning to the people in Exodus 19:9-19.  God declared the mountain holy to His Own purpose for that time and the consequence of ‘dis-respecting’ it was death.  If even one of the animals belonging to the children of Israel touched the mountain it was to be killed.  If you read the account you will see what great fear the warning provoked in the people when Moses went up on the mountain.

In Hebrews, the writer compares the Holy Mountain of the Church to that Old Testament mountain.  He begins by speaking of Esau and how he despised his birthright for a moment of fleshly fulfillment and later even though he regretted it, there was no restoring it. 16Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

We are reminded how much greater a promise we have been given today by Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary!  18For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, 19And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:  We don’t see a physical mountain that is surrounded with fire and blackness and storm.  We don’t hear a literal trumpet or voice.  We might be more careful of obeying our God if that were true.

No, here is the part that thrilled me.  We aren’t come to some literal mountain. But we are come  unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,   And more beautiful than that We come there through  Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. Just think!  We are blessed to have obtained the fullness of the covenant initiated on Mount Sinai!  We have immediate access to all the blessing that those early Israelites struggled so hard to attain.  How fantastic!   We can dwell in the midst of that spiritual mountain, in the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God!  Accepting Christ’s atonement for our sins poured out blessings on us today that are breath taking! 

Think about it!  Christ has given us access to all the righteousness to which the Israelites aspired  by following the Old Law!  His blood has provided us forgiveness for sins and the power to live above sin, free from its bondage!  It thrills me to the very depth of my being!  The Israelites feared to set foot on the mountain but WE, WE, are blessed to dwell in the midst of it!  Mount Sion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, the general assembly and church of the first born! 

It makes me think of Psalms 87 where the psalmist says: The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah. I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there. And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her. The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there.

We were born into that holy city and assembly!  How glorious it is to know that I was born in her!  Not as a literal Jew, but as a spiritual one,  born of the Spirit through water and the blood of Jesus!  When we accepted Christ’s invitation to be born again we were born into that holy city, the Church of the living God!  Don’t those words ring in your soul!  Over and over, pealing out the joy of that new birth!  It takes my breath away! 

And while I was thinking on all of that, I considered how lightly so many Christians today consider the edicts of the Lord.  They play church.  They sit under ministers who present lectures in human values and social enrichment.  They make social contacts.  They give lip service to serving God and use the Love of God to cover all manner of sin! They disregard the tremendous and majestic heritage which God offers His People because they prefer to follow their own sinful and fleshly ways.  In many cases it is even done ignorantly because the ministry they are depending on for Biblical teaching is failing in their calling.

Masses of Christians treat the things of God so casually.  Oh yes, they ‘pay proper respect’ to the church buildings and they call one another brother or sister and refer to their spiritual leader as ‘pastor’ or ‘reverend’ and they go to church services on Sunday morning.  They even pay a ‘tithe’ of some sort or a ‘pledge’ to the local congregation.  Most of them profess themselves to be  ‘Christians’ and are proud of their affiliation with a ‘local body of believers.’ They consider themselves to be freed from following the ‘old law’ but have no commitment to the deeper dedication that comes with complete salvation in Christ. They do all the outward things that proclaim them to be good Christians.  And yet as Christ said they neglect the weighter things of following the Lord.  ( . . . ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Luke 11: 38-42) 

In the religious world today men and women have no qualms about professing themselves ‘born again Christians’ and still living in sin.  Many times their lifestyle is such that even sinners recognize their hypocrisy.  We can see regularly professing Christians committing adultery and living in open sin but still ‘witnessing’ to the saving power of Jesus. 

What a travesty!   What insincerity!  What a trampling underfoot of the Son of God, and [counting] the blood of the covenant, wherewith [we are] sanctified, an unholy thing!  (Heb 10:29)
I thought of the consequence to the people and animals who disregarded God’s warning back at Sinai.   God has similar warning for men and women today who disregard His standards and ignore His Word.  25See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:  26Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

 God’s ministers still have a responsibility to speak as the Spirit gives them utterance, to warn men and women of the Judgment of God to come.  As the prophets of old (Ezekiel 33: 1-7)  had a responsibility to their people so do God’s men today have the same responsibility.
God is still sending His Message of deliverance from sin and freedom to worship Him in righteousness.  He is shaking the foundations of Satan’s prison house and freeing those men and women who turn to him. And mankind still has the choice of refusing His Word or accepting it.   Yet, men still deny and refuse it!  They would have been among those who were very careful for fear of physical death not to touch the mountain while Moses was there.  They would observe all the outward demands and be very careful how their obsequious attitude toward the ‘things of God’ is noticed, but like the Pharisees in Luke they ignore the deeper spiritual things that are more easily hidden from casual onlookers.   They are stomping on the spiritual mountain and considering that their sin is overlooked because the hand of God no longer reaches out to strike them dead for their disobedience. 

But today we worship as spiritual Jews, not literal.  Our death today is not literal but spiritual.
In Moses time all of the worship was focused on outwardly keeping of laws and ordinances; the consequences were literal.  If God said ‘death’ it was a literal physical death.   Today, the Word tells us that we are not literal Jews, but spiritual; our spirituality lies “inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter[of the law]  That life requires a much deeper commitment to the things of God and a more careful walk before Him.  And when God speaks of death now it is a spiritual condition and if we continue in our ways we find ourselves dead in trespasses and sin.  (Eph 2:1)

But, oh! the glory of accepting and following the Way of the Lord!   We are brought into His Church, His holy mountain, His Kingdom which stands sure.  Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:  And we are given grace to serve God in holiness, consistently and faithfully!  Amen!

29For our God is a consuming fire.  That fire consumes all the sin and dross in our life and makes us holy acceptable before God. 

Isn’t that the most wonderful thing!  It woke me up and kept me up!  Our Lord is breathtaking, overwhelming!  Take time to just read Hebrews 12:16-29.  And read it again and again, until the glory of it fills your soul! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What a Mighty God We Serve!

I realized something today.   It has been exactly two weeks since  my knee replacement.  Last week about this time (the 8th or 9th)  I was in a  lot of pain; my leg was severely swollen and had a fever.  Movement was limited and I needed help getting out of bed.  I could walk a short way, but not too easily.
That evening or the next, I sent an email to Notah and Rachael and my sister in law, Helen, and my nieces asking them to pray for me.  What a fantastic God we serve!  And how surely He answers prayer!  On Saturday and Sunday I was able to get out of bed alone.  I was able to use the bathroom and come back to straighten out my bed and get back in.  All without any help! 
On Saturday I tried to do the exercises I’d been doing in physical therapy.  I was able to do most of them without any difficulty.  The whole straight leg lifts were difficult.  The heel slides which are designed to bend the knee were do-able but I could only bend my knee enough to raise it about two inches off the bed.  I did the toe kicks sitting on the side of the bed since I didn’t have the roll to prop my leg on.  Those happened without any difficulty!  
Sunday I did all the exercises again.  This time I could raise my knee in the heel slide a little higher each time so when I reached the 20 times the therapist wanted I kept on going.  My knee was loose and bent a little further each time.   I stopped when I got to 50!  I did 15 whole leg lifts.  And the other exercises I was able to whip out in short order! 
Last night I was so blessed to remember that prayer I asked for on Tuesday or Wednesday last week.  All this progress has been because of those prayers!  Wow!  My leg is now just about the same size as the other one.  The bruising is nearly gone.  There is no fever!  This morning I walked from my room to the physical therapy room! The therapist said it was about 250 feet!  And I wasn’t even hurting when I got there. 
All that may not seem like much to you, but believe me, it is amazing.  And everybody here says so, too.  Last week this time this all looked impossible, but the Lord has made it possible.

And now I'm going home on Friday morning!
Thank you, Lord!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Wow.  What a fantastic, busy, crazy, painful few weeks since I wrote about the end of my days in New Mexico.  On November 1st I had my second knee re-placement.   
The surgery went smoothly-as far as I could tell since I was ‘out’ for the whole time.   However as soon as I was able to see what was happening, I realized that this one had been much more invasive than the first.  I had used the knee much harder since the other leg worked better and was much more dependable.  Over the summer, I walked and went more places than before since I could do so with a cane or staff.  Of course that contributed to more damage to the old knee.  
By the time I got back to Ohio, I had to resort to crutches for the few days before the surgery.  The knee was swollen and I could feel new ‘bumps’ in the deposits around the bone. So, although I didn’t ask the surgeon, I think it must have taken a lot more to prepare the ends of the bone for the new knee implants. 
At any rate, the results of the surgery were widespread bruising and swelling.  My first knee was swollen around the knee and a little downwards to my ankle and foot, but this was seriously swollen and feverish from day one.  It was much stiffer than the first.  
The good news is that now, 13 days after the surgery the swelling has gone down and I can walk on the leg.  I think the progress has been faster than the first time.  The goal, my goal, has always been to be finished in rehab within two weeks.  In April I was here something more than three weeks.     Even though I started out with a stiffer leg with less mobility this time, I knew more of what I should be able to do, so I pushed harder.    Saturday I was able to get out of bed by myself and back into bed alone after having straightened the slide pad and the sheets!  I can also go and open my window and the blind.   I walked from my end of the hall to nearly the door of the Physical Therapy room.
Tomorrow I will go the whole way!  
I miss being home with my old dog and my Maggie.  I wish I could be there to help with potty training Maggie.  Rachael says she will go out with the Big Dogs to potty.  That must be a cute thing to see.  Maxim goes tearing out, Sebastian and Gabriel rush along behind him and then comes Maggie bringing up the rear.  I wish I could see it! 
I’ve been stuck here in rehab while Rachael’s new store reopened with all kinds of good reports.   I saw Michael’s work on re-finishing the cupboards, but I haven’t seen the new face-lift on the dishwasher and trash compactor (we never use it as a compactor, only a glorified trash can!)  It must be beautiful. 
I intend to be home before Thanksgiving! 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

summer is over

I’ve watched the sun come up from behind the Manzanos for the last time this year.  I’ve been startled by Bella’s back passing in front of the window like a small pony for the last time this year.  I’ve ridden with the family across the fantastic desert and up into the mountains, wishing all the time I could get out and hike with them when they stopped to look around for the last time.  I’ve listened to my grandkids say, “Look Grandma, what we found” for the last time this year and sorted through this year’s last array of pretty stones, flint shards, pot shards and broken arrowheads for the last time this year. For the last time this year I’ve been awakened from being almost-asleep by a whispery voice saying, “Grammy, you asleep?” when Seth came sneaking in for one last hug that night.  And I’ve –groan—eaten Kerra’s fantastic spicy hot ribs for the last time until next summer! 
We took some fantastic trips this summer:  a wild route up and along and down the San Mateo Mountains, up through the Jemez Mountains to the Caldera down through Los Alamo and Santa Fe, up a canyon into the Manzanos; and around the foothills of the Magdalenas.   My favorite was probably the Jemez, or maybe the San Mateos.  Both were wild and beautiful.  The road through the Jemez was better since it was all or nearly all paved.  The road through the San Mateos was dirt all of the way, very narrow and rough in places. 
Notah’s Big Red Truck is one of the best vehicles I’ve ever ridden in.  Grandpa Bear would love it.  Notah took that truck through some spots where I simply closed my eyes and other places where I was sure we were gonna leave grandma in the truck while Notah and Pat hiked 15 miles to a highway so someone could come and pull us out!  If anybody is shopping for a truck I can’t say enough good things about a Dodge Ram!!

When we went through the Jemez Mountains we saw the devastation of the las Conchas fire that raged for eight days over the Jemez Mountains.  By the time it was controlled the wild fire had consumed 103,000 acres or 161 square miles.  Hudreds of families were evacuated and it was feared that the fire would engulf portions of Los Alamos National Laboratory.   

For quite a while it was thought that the fire had been started by a camper, but ultimately, several weeks after the fire, it was determined that it had been started by a freak tree falling on a power line.  It was the largest fire in New Mexico history and the leading news item in every broadcast for the entire week.

Of course by the time we drove through the mountains the fire was long out and the road re-opened to traffic.  The acres and mountain tops of blackened trees were as awe-inspiring as the towering cliffs and green vistas.

The greatest thing about the Jemez Mountains was that I was able to climb a little bit of a hill from the trail up to the road surface.  I was so thrilled.  I haven’t ‘climbed’ a mountain in probably 35 years!  Notah had gotten me a wheel chair so I could go with them on some of the easier trips. He thought he could take me a ways down the Hot Springs Trail, and he did; but we finally reached a corner where the trail became very narrow and rocky.  There he had to stop.

Since the trail took a switch-back course down the hill when we came to the sharp corner the trail was actually not far at all from the top of the slope.  Notah took a walk up the hill and came back to say that it wasn’t steep at all and he thought I could walk up it if he helped me.  Sure enough, I did!  Of course, by the time I got to the top my walking steps were used up!  Pat brought the wheelchair up and Notah went to get the truck for me! 
Kerra and the kids hiked all the way to the hot spring.  I wish I could have seen it.  When they started off I went to grab my camera so they could bring me pictures.  But my camera was on the floor of Kerra’s car.  I had forgotten to grab it when we transferred from her car to Notah’s truck!  Rats!  
The whole trip was beautiful!—just like all the other trips we took through the countryside.  
My heart will always be in the desert.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

puppies living and puppies dying

On Thursday night Chloe had six puppies.  They were four days early, but she is little and I think they had to be born because there was no more room inside for them.  They were all born active and squeaking!  :o)  Three gray ones and three in various shades of tan.   I was immediately concerned about the smallest gray one.  I’ve had a lot of little puppies in my years and when they are born with pointy noses and bulgy heads, they are premature and don’t live long.  Kerra was hoping it was because they were ¾ Chihuahua, so I let it go, but the next evening that puppy died.  Then a larger gray one died too.  When I saw it, the puppy had the same head shape as the tiny one.  Their feet were also smaller and the toes were undeveloped.  We all were sad, but it is simply the way of life. 

I only have concern for the last gray one. It seems a little immature yet to be out of mama’s tummy, but when I saw him this morning the face and head had developed a little more and the ears were coming forward  so I think maybe it will make it. 

I get a little girl and I’m praying that the breeders won’t choose my favorite since they get the pick of the litter.  They are all sweeties, but I especially like this little dark brown baby.

Chloe was very determined and efficient when they were born.  She wanted them in Notah and Kerra’s bed and refused to have them in her box.   When Notah came home I told him that I was a little worried because I hadn’t heard a peep out of her all day.  He went in and opened the kennel.  She immediately wanted on their bed, when he put her there she had the first puppy within just a few minutes.  The next five came like pop, pop, pop!   I don’t remember a litter of puppies ever coming quite that fast.  She had them all in about an hour.  I think she had refused to have them until she got under the covers in Notah and Kerra’s bed!    You can tell they are my kids—they just put a towel under her and let her stay.

Kerra had to change the whole bed and scrub the mattress before they could go to bed!  Fortunately the stains came out and they only had a wet spot on the mattress.  Once the puppies were all there she was content to get in the box with them and go in her kennel.

We have two girls and two boys left.  And she polishes them every ten minutes.  No big dogs are allowed near them.  They come and twitch their noses from six inches away when Chloe goes out to potty.  Thain and Bella sniffed and were satisfied.  Sadie would really like to have a baby of her own to love, but Chloe is NOT sharing.  Probably when they are older she will let Sadie love them.  Sadie was her surrogate mama when she came to live with us.
                                                                 Three days old.

I love having puppies!

Friday, July 29, 2011


Seth stayed home with me yesterday.  He’s a sweetheart, even if he is so full of energy and orneriness he drives him Mom and Dad crazy.  I’ve had too many years of really naughty kids in day care; he doesn’t bother me.  And if he does there’s a ‘school teacher’ voice that usually works. :o)  

 We played Battleship and Seth made paper airplanes which he flew out side my window for a long time.  Then he played ball with Thain.  That dog would have chased tennis ball all afternoon.  He is so graceful when he runs after it—not at all like the full tilt gallumping style that Maxim uses.  And he doesn’t do a Victory Lap like Maxim.  There is not much that I enjoy more than watching kids and dogs play.

 Notah called Kerra in the afternoon and wanted to go eat dinner at Sopa’s; so that was good too.  I was tired but it was a good tired, not a depressed can’t-do-anything-else kind of tired. I slept good last night too—went to bed with the light out around 10:30 and slept till 1:30 when I woke up to go potty, then back to sleep till 5:30 this morning.  That’s really good.

So now I’m sitting by my window.  There’s a cool pleasant breeze blowing and the sky is overcast for as far as I can see.  I guess the sun came a a few minutes ago, but all I can see of it is a few bright rays shining through breaks in the cloud cover.  That’s pretty amazing for New Mexico. 

 Thain just came and stood in the window checking the breeze as it drifts through.  His long German Shepherd nose twitches as he stand perfectly still.  Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have such a sensitive nose; he certainly seems to find a lot of interest in the scents that are carried on the breeze.  What is he smelling, I wonder.    Cattle, horses, sage, juniper, coyotes, of course, and maybe even a cougar (the neighbor said there had bee a report of one sited just recently down here on the flats).  Whatever they are, Thain finds them fascinating. 

But we still need the rain those clouds might dump out. The two or three days when we had an hour of good soaking rain (our courtyard actually flooded!) helped the vegetation tremendously.  All of the dry bushes and trees are putting out leaves.  Our locust trees along the road are finally looking like real trees.  There are a couple which might not recover from the hard freeze last winter and the following drought, but most of them are putting out branches full of green!

The morning feels so good. I could probably go back to sleep.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Catching up

I haven’t been here for a couple weeks so it is time to catch up on things.

First off and most amazing, I now have beautiful golden salmon colored TOENAILS.  This is thanks to my grandson who thought that I really needed to have my toenails polished with Keva’s nail polish.  After 15 minutes of wrestling with him to prevent it, I finally gave up and let him do it.  They are a sight to behold!

I never could understand why women polished their toenails anyway.  Most people’s feet are not attractive enough for someone to want to call attention to them!  Mine are not an exception to that standard.   And now they have a pretty golden salmon paint on them, with a generous amount smeared on the skin.  Consider who did it and that part of them were painted while Grandma was vigorously protesting.

How long does it take for nail polish to wear off?  I figure that by the time Rachael comes after me in October it should be gone… I hope.

New Mexico has had a very dry spring and early summer.  When I first got here, Albuquerque weather men were saying that it had ben the driest first six months of the year since the late 1800’s with only two tenths of an inch of rain.  Every day we would watch as dark clouds gathered over the mountains and then moved on without giving us any rain.

Then a little more than a week ago the storm clouds began dropping teasing drops of rain from time to time.  And this week we have gotten two days of good rains during the night and one during the afternoon.  The desert is responding with enthusiasm.  Our back courtyard now has all kinds of grass sprouting; the rose bushes are putting up new sprouts and the wild flowers are popping up everywhere—no flowers yet but the stems and leaves are growing like mad. The sage brush, most of which has been brown and gray looking is getting green.  Many of the trees which had no leaves and only dead looking branches are sprouting leaves and some even have blossoms.  I’ve always been fascinated with how the desert responds to moisture. 

Seth stayed home with me today.  He had been going to work with Kerra this week and I was getting really depressed.  I only have my camp chair to sit in but that makes my knee hurt after using it for a while.  I can’t use the sofa because it is too low for me to stand up from.  Chairs and sitting surfaces have to be at least 22 inches high for me to get up comfortably.  The normal sofa may be 22 inches high if no one is ON IT but when you sit down the cushions compress and you end up 18 inches off the floor!   So I was spending 16+/- hours of the day closed in my bedroom.  I couldn’t open the blinds because I wasn’t able to reach the cord so it was very dark.  I am not able to sit in my camp chair very long at night when everyone is home so I am going to the bedroom shortly after supper.  (That was all right when I first got here and was tired, but when I caught up on my rest, it was different)

Most days this summer, Seth has stayed home and he has kept me entertained, but this week when he was going with Mom every day I was getting really depressed.  I struggled to keep from crying when anyone was around.  Evenings were okay because I went to my bedroom not long after supper and no one except Seth was bopping past.   Yesterday morning it was a real hard thing to do but I managed.  This morning, I went back to the bedroom because there were not people walking past all the time and if I was leaking tears there was not much chance of anyone noticing.  Keva was in and out but she is wrapped up in her own world so she didn’t notice.  Seth was in once and sat down beside me on the bed, so he wasn’t looking straight into my face; he didn’t notice.  I was almost home free till Kerra came in.

 As soon as she saw I was crying and asked why, the flood gates opened.  She first attached a cord to my blind. Now I can open it in the afternoons.  Being able to see the mountains will be a big help.  (Pretty soon the kids will be back in school and I’ll have to cope.)  She talked about figuring out a way for me to be able to sit in the living room where there’s the TV and dogs to distract me. :o) 

 And then my Seth came and said he would stay home with me!  Bless him!  He is very tender-hearted and loving.  So this morning he was outside for a while and came in discouraged because he wanted to build me a box for getting in the cars but the drill wouldn’t cooperate with him!  Then he came in and we figured out how to fix his baseball game.  He glued the ramp on and I figure out how to attach a piece of cardboard to the one guide so it wouldn’t keep catching the marble. 

Now he is playing the marble game and we are both watching a game show.  

 And I was finally able to stop crying. 

Tomorrow we all have eye appointments.  I needed one before I left Ohio, but we didn’t have time, what with my therapies and doctor’s appointments and Rachael’s work schedule.  I think my reading glasses are okay but my distance lenses seriously need replacing.  When Notah said they all needed to get their eyes checked, I asked Kera to make an appointment for me at the same time.   So tomorrow’s the day.

Chloe looks like a little blimp. Her puppies are due on August 8th.  We have a small problem because that is the weekend of camp meeting. So I don’t know what we will end up doing.  We all think she is going to have four puppies.  Her ‘hubby’ was a slender long legged tan Chihuahua so her puppies should all be tan with black points. Rachael said I can have a baby girl.  I seriously hope she has two girls, because I’m afraid the owner of the little male may want a girl!   We are waiting anxiously.  This is her first litter and with any luck she will not have any problems.

So that is all the catching up there is to do today!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


 Notah has a friend; he is such a good friend that the kids call him “Uncle Pat.”  For the last several years, ever since Notah moved out here, Pat has been aiming at getting moved himself.  This year when Notah came after me, Pat came too.  He shipped his belongings and brought enough in his car to live a few days until they arrived.  He brought his dogs; we brought his cats. (surprisingly good cats, considering they had never been confined to a travel kennel for any length of time at all.)

We left at nine am on a Friday morning.  Pat still had stuff to do so he didn’t get started until later in the afternoon.  We didn’t exactly travel together, but he and Notah kept in touch as we went.  By the time we got to Oklahoma, Pat was only about 3 or 4 hours behind us. 

Now there are only two legs left to go from Oklahoma City.  You go Ok. City, Amarillo, Albuquerque, then cut down to Belen.  Simple eh?  I mean there is only ONE ROAD west.

If I hadn’t been so tired I think Notah would have driven on through that day; it is only about 5 hours more to Belen.  But we stopped in Amarillo.  (Remember, we wanted to eat at the Big Texan?)  We were all relaxing in the motel when Notah’s phone rang.  It was Pat.  “Okay, I’m here where do I go now?”
Last exit on I-44 before it ends.  See?  A-b-i-l-e-n-e!

I-44 ends 1 1/2 miles

It turned out Pat had neglected to switch from I-44 to I-40 in Oklahoma City.  Where was he?  WITCHITA FALLS, TEXAS!   Fortunately I-44 ended there.  Pat didn’t know where to go and wanted to know the route to take.  If the route hadn’t ended the man would have ended up in Mexico!   Passport?  I didn’t need a passport the last time I was out here!!

Notah said, “You were supposed to follow the signs to Amarillo and Albuquerque.”

Pat said, ‘I did.”

Notah said, “No, you went south into Texas. You were supposed to be going west to Amarillo.”

Pat said, ‘Well, I was going to Albuquerque or Amarillo or something like that.  The sign said, A-B-I-L-E-N-E”

Notah nearly swallowed his teeth laughing, “Pat!  That’s Abilene!  You wanted  Albuquerque!”  These southwest place names are gonna be the death of Pat.

So instead of catching up with us in Amarillo, as he would have done if he had stayed on route, he was still four hours behind and south of us.  Luckily Notah was able to find routes to angle him back up to Amarillo instead of his having to backtrack to Oklahoma City.   After doing a little online research, Notah told him the routes to pick up and even which little Texas town had motels.  Pat traveled about another hour, found a motel, got a few hours of sleep and managed to find his way to Albuquerque the next day! 

Seriously though, we are really concerned about him losing himself in the desert.  The southwest is a really BIG place and the roads are few.  Pat is as much of a “herpe-phile” as Notah and likes nothing better than to roam around back roads looking for snakes and other such things.  Notah developed a sense of direction when he was just a kid, but Pat—no.  He doesn’t even read maps!  The first thing we encouraged him to do was to get a GPS so he could at least give Notah the coordinates of his location if he did get lost! 

Oh, I have visions of that!

Saturday, Notah had to work a few hours in the morning and when he came home at noon we all loaded up and headed for Wal-Mart.  I was sitting in the truck while Notah and Seth hustled around looking for something. 

Pretty soon here came Seth dragging a huge logging chain.  Seriously the links were as big around as my thumb and the thing was 15 feet long at least.  He had to drag it.  There was no way he could have picked it up.   He put it in the back of the truck and Notah came up, still hunting for something else.  When they both got in the truck, he laid a smaller chain on the center console. 

I said,  “WHAT are we doing with that?”   Pat was stuck in the sand!  He had been able to describe to Notah where so the chain was to pull him out.

Notah has this big four wheel drive pickup that is a powerful machine.  We bounced over some nasty stretches of road (and I say that as someone used to NM roads.)  and found Pat.

The man was well and truly stuck.  His front bumper was about an inch from a hump in front of the car and Pat was on his hands and knees digging.  He had dug out a space to get his jack under the frame, hoping to lift the car high enough to clear the hump. 

Sand can be really deceptive out here.  It can look smooth and solid, but bury you in seconds.  That’s what happened to Pat.  When he told Notah where he was, Notah knew exactly the sand hole he was in.  There were only two or three choices on that road!

Happily it was on our way to Wal-Mart.  We bounced over a couple miles of rutted road—Pat was looking for snakes and  reptiles, you don’t find too many along paved roads.   When we got to the second sand hole, there was Pat!

 Notah hooked that big old chain to Pat’s little Honda.  The first time the chain came off the frame before the pull started.  The second time Big Red Truck just backed up like he was on a smooth road pulling a Tonka Toy.  The Honda came out of that hole and over the hump without a stutter.

I told Pat that I’ve lived out here quite a few years and many of those years traveled back roads, but he had done the Best Job of getting stuck in sand that I’d ever seen.

I hope he is able to afford that GPS soon!

that's entertainment

What do people do who don’t have a pet to bring them chuckles and laughter?  As god’s people most of us don’t spend inordinate amounts of time watching foolishness on television.  We don’t waste our time being distracted by ungodly music and other programs on the radio.  Hopefully we aren’t bringing that same music into our homes on CD’s.   And yet the Lord sends us simple and wonderful things to ‘entertain’ us.

This morning when I finished, or actually as I was finishing, the dogs came to see if there were any scraps they might be interested in.  Bella is so big that her chin can rest comfortably on the table; her shoulders are even with the top. Thain is so big that his chin can rest easily in my lap and with a little bit of a stretch he can see what’s on the table.  Poor Sadie has to settle for stretching her neck to see if I’ve dropped a crumb or two in my lap.  They are all very good though and wait patiently until after we have eaten.  They aren’t allowed to beg.  And things can sit on the table or the counter all day without being stolen.

This morning, though, they were so funny.  Bella came first.  She made it in time to get the discarded white parts of my egg.  When my kids were little I always made them eat all of their egg.  (Sun up!  It’s 6:40 AM!  )  And even though I don’t care for the white of a boiled egg, I generally eat it.  But this morning Bella was starving.  So I gave her a couple bites of my egg.  Then Sadie came but by that time everything was gone except my cherries.  Bella thought those might be good, but after a couple sniffs she decided, no, that wasn’t dog food.  Sadie didn’t care though.  She gobbled hers.  Thain came along and saw Sadie was chewing something and HE wanted some too.   Now HE didn’t really think dogs should be eating cherries ( sweet, ripe Bing Cherries) but Sadie was eating hers and if he spit his out, she would eat it.  So, strange taste and all, Thain ate his little piece of cherry.  The expressions were priceless.
Yes, dogs do have expressions.  Bella was calm and serene through the whole process.  Sadie was ‘oh yes, I’ll try it.’  Thain was “are you sure this is good to eat?”  I loved it!

And then there are the late night calls from Rachael. . . 

My kids grew up with us doctoring all sorts of ailments in kitties, puppies, baby bunnies and what have you, so their first recourse when there is an animal problem is to call Mom.  It doesn’t matter that Mom is 2000 miles away, call Mom. :o)

Sunday night about nine thirty here, ten thirty in Ohio, Rachael called and said, “MOM!  What do you use to get skunk smell off dogs?!!”  LOL  Gabriel and Sebastian had tangled with a little skunk in the back yard.  And of course, Maxim had to go help them.  Fox terriers have NO concept of size or danger; they tear in with flags flying.  Well, their flags flew and so did the skunk’s.
They don't look like skunk killers, do they.
I knew that the one ingredient for removing skunk smell was hydrogen peroxide in dish soap (preferable Dawn) but I wasn’t sure of the other one.  Notah and Pat had gone on a late snake hunt, but I knew Pat had been talking just a few days ago about getting the smell of his dogs so I tried to call them.  Phone service in NM is dicey, especially if you are back up a deep canyon looking for black-tailed rattlers or cruising between mountains.  After a few tries to both of them I finally connected with Notah.  He got the other ingredient from Pat—in between gales of laughter!  Why is it when something happens to someone else it is worth a few chuckles, but when it happens to your sister it is hysterically funny?  Never did figure that out in 60 years.

Anyway,  hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and Dawn dish soap—in generous proportions of peroxide and baking soda will remove the skunk smell from dogs, give ‘em a bath in it!  

At about 1:00 AM Ohio time, I got a text: “dogs bathed, going to bed.” 

I asked Rachael yesterday if they both smelled like skunk when they went to work.  She said no but they did make the dogs sleep in my room instead of with them.   Oh yeah, when I get home in October my room will probably still have a lingering odor of eau de skunk! 

Throw out your TV and get a Toy Fox Terrier or a Labrador Retriever, or a German Shepherd, or a boxer/pit bull mix.  Or even a beautiful, graceful, serene Great Dane.  You will never lack for entertainment.  Or love.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

wednesday morning

Well the sun just popped over the mountain.  It’s 6:32 AM!  In Ohio that isn’t much of an event because the brightness is filtered through and across a myriad of trees, hills, buildings and house roofs.  But here there in nothing at all between us and the mountain that it pops up over.

And that makes for a spectacular event every day.  First the sky lightens of course. And then there is a brighter spot over the notch where the sun will appear.  For a while it brightens and brightens until you can see a slice of the sun peeking over the edge.  But even that is not sunrise.  The slice gradually gets larger and larger then unexpectedly the whole orb of the sun shoots above the mountain and the whole world is suddenly bright. Not just turn-on-the-lamp-bright but turn-on-all-the-flood-lights-in-the-entire-stadium-bright.

Honestly, once in your life you should make an effort to be in the desert and see the sunrise over the mountains.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Yesterday was a great day.  First and foremost, I was able to be in church services for the first time since last year.  I really like the little church Notah and Kerra go to.  The people are sincere and loving.  The pastor and his wife have a burden for the work.  The song service yesterday, rather than being the traditional hymns, consisted of remembering the songs of our childhood in Sunday School. They had to put the words to them on the screen up front because for lots of folks they were lost in time. Those ‘children’s songs’ carry a lot of meaning that we adults often disparage because they are only ‘children’s songs.’ 

 One that stuck with me--We sang ‘Happy in the Savior.’  Now there is a message.  And I haven’t sung it since probably Bible School at Rock Springs.  “Happy in the Savior.  Happy in the Savior.  Happy in the Savior, I am Happy in the Lord!”    Now that’s a chorus that lots of adults could begin to practice more regularly. 

Pastor Chad brought a good message on unity among the church.  Good one! Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: 2Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.   Philippians 1:1-2 was his text.

He pointed out that we are all designated as ‘saints’ so that doesn’t make any one of us better than another and we are all servants of Jesus.   That means that no specific individual’s opinion is better than another’s and we must be humble enough to consider that in our dealings.  Pastor Chad pointed out that Paul prayed grace on each saint and through that we have grace to deal with one another kindly and with love.  The third thing we must remember is that he wished that there might be peace among God’s people.  What can we offer the world if we are quarrelling and fussing among ourselves?

I can’t remember all the texts he used but these two stuck with me.  (Now when a minister preaches, I sometimes have a concordance running through my head, so I don’t guarantee that both of these were ones he cited.  I know this first one was. I think the second one was.  My Bible was buried in my suitcase and I didn’t have anything to write with.  NEXT Sunday will be different. )

   I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  Ephesians 4:1-3 If we are following the Lord as we were called to-as saints of God, we will walk carefully so we are fulfilling the ‘vocation’ God has designed for us.  We will do it with (whew! Get this) ‘lowliness, meekness, longsuffering and forbearing one another in love.   That will keep us joined together in peace.  That is hard to find in a lot of congregations and between congregations.  That hits a little close to home.

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;  Romans 12:9-10  He didn’t comment on it but I liked the concept of being ‘kindly affectioned.”  For me that means not necessarily living in one another’s pockets, but making an allowance for our brothers and sisters in the Lord with kind thoughts and an attitude of consideration in times when we are apart.   Sometimes it is ‘out of sight, out of mind’ among the fellowship of the saints.  If we are ‘kindly affectioned’ toward each other we will remember our family in the Lord from time to time with a prayerful thought or a happy smile. 

Now he did say, that we will allow the others to be before us and favor or permit or prefer their view over ours.

As I thought more on his message, it occurred to me that this wasn’t speaking of doctrinal things but the temporal things that occur in the business of the congregation—the decisions that must be made regarding property upkeep, maybe fellowship dinners or get-togethers that the family of God enjoys having.  I have seen more fussing over the color of the new carpet and the padding on the pews and the menu for the fellowship dinner that you can believe.  What difference does it really make if the carpet is brown or gray, or even if there is any carpet at all?  What difference does it make if there is a planned menu for the fellowship dinner or just a catch all carry in?  But that has all caused a lot of ungodly attitudes among the very people who should be ‘preferring one another.’

Yep I enjoyed my first day back in service!

After service was over Notah had a board meeting.  Keva wanted to go with her fried and ride a four-wheeler or a dirt bike or something.  Seth’s friend Zach had gone to church with us and Kerra needed to take him home.  So we all split up in different directions. 

Kerra drove us into Belen to see if the flea market there was still open.  I want a walking staff to use instead of a cane when I’m out side on uneven ground and she said she had seen a whole bunch there.  As it turned out it was so hot that everyone was going home early.  We stopped and got something to drink and I got some chicken sticks to tide me over till lunch/dinner.  We finally ended up at Wal-Mart, wandering around there until Notah’s meeting was over. 

It’s a good thing I don’t go to Wal-Mart very often!  I managed to spend 50-plus dollars in about 45 minutes.  Of course $25 of that was for books, but still.    Probably the thing that pleased me most was getting tennis balls for the feet on my walker.  (I still have to use it when my right knee is tired.)  On Kerra’s tile floor with all of NM’s sand it made a nasty scraping noise.  The tennis balls slip on over the walker legs and voila! No more scraping noise!

Then we went to dinner at Henrietta’s when Notah caught up with us.

Oh, my legs were tired when I got home.  And we had been driving around with the windows down so my skin and hair was covered with fine NM dust.  So I went straight in and took a quick shower; then I was down for the count.  Surprisingly after all that trekking around, my knees and feet weren’t swollen.

Before I quit, I have to say something about how good the New Mexico sun felt.  It was around 101 or maybe higher, but the heat just burnt into your skin and sank into your bones. Only common sense makes you come in out of it.  It felt so good. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Excitement, excitement, excitement!  Living with Notah’s family is sooo different from living with Rachael and Michael.  There is so much going on! Whew.  In Ohio we have a humdrum existence.   Not boring, mind you, but very routine and quiet.  Notah has two kids and a busy wife.  Seth alone is enough to keep life from becoming dull. Add in Keva and Kerra coming and going, then add two big dogs, one medium sized dog and a Chloe-biscochito in the house AND two more dogs outside…. Well life is very interesting.
Did I write about Sweetie?  I can’t remember.  Notah and Kerra picked her up on a desert road; she was laying in the middle of a dirt road.  When they slowed down she got up and moved to the side.  Of course they stopped and discovered she had been badly bitten all around her neck and shoulders.  There was a huge swelling over the back of her neck from a bite there.  Of course, they picked her up and brought her home.
Sweetie when they found her
Now there is a problem.  She had been used for dog fighting and although she is ‘sweet’ (hence the name ‘Sweetie’) she has problems with dogs that look like pit bulls.  Sweetie herself appears to be a Dalmatian pit bull cross.  That was where the excitement came from last night.
Keva went out to play with the dogs.  As long as she was playing with Sweetie and her buddy Jack, things were okay.  When Keva came into the other yard and paid attention to Bella and Sadie, Sweetie was jealous.  A little later, Notah went out and thought he would let Bella and Sweetie play for a while, but Sweetie was still in jealous-mode and jumped Bella.  Now Bella is a Great Dane and NOT a good candidate to jump into a fight with.
Thank the Lord Pat was here.  I don’t believe Notah alone could have separated them.  As it turned out Bella gave as good as she got, but there were no major hurts!  I think mostly it was a ‘minor’ scuffle, but while it was happening, Kerra was running around all over trying to find a heavy broom to use to separate them.  Seth was screaming to ‘stab’ Sweetie. Keva was crying and I was hustling around without a cane or walker!  Finally Notah and Pat succeeded in getting Sweetie to turn loose of Bella’s throat.  Bella had no injuries that I could see, maybe one or two tooth marks.  Sweetie had a couple bites on her head where Bella had nailed her. 
Bella came in and lay on my bed for a while.  Keva’s room, which is now my room, is her secure place.  She was there for about a half hour or forty-five minutes til she calmed down and felt safe again. 
I wish we could find a pit bull rehab center for Sweetie.  She is exactly what her name says in relation to people, but I don’t think they will be able to trust her around other dogs without constant vigilance.