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

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.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I watched the sun come up over the Manzanos this morning. The smoke from the fires in the west kind of dulled it. One minute it was bright and gray, the next the sun flooded the whole world with light! There were none of the bright oranges and pastels we usually have. I’ve lived Navajo long enough that there is something in me that makes me love the sunrise. I opened the curtains long enough to see the sunrise and then about an hour later I closed them again to keep out the heat of the day.
I had a lot of trouble with my knees on Monday after we arrived. Today I’m doing a little better; I had to use a walker all day yesterday, but today I’m using my cane again, at least for the morning and early afternoon. I eventually had to resort to the walker again.
Seth and Keva were both home today. Like teenagers, they slept till ten and then played video games and watched TV all day.
It’s good to be here.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Playing catch up. Go down three posts. travelling west, Sunday June 19

We left Amarillo at about 6:15 on Sunday morning. Notah and Tamia went in to the lobby and grabbed some breakfast. The scrambled eggs and sausage were good, but the coffee was lousy. We stopped for good coffee at the first McDonalds. We were home by 9:45. Of cours that allows for the one hour time change at the NM/TX state line. So really we were home by 10:45. If you do the math, that’s just about four and a half hours.
It’s good to be back in the desert again.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

travelling west June 18

Packed everything up, packed the cats in and we got started by about 530. It was pouring rain when we were ready to leave. Fortunately Notah already had everything in the car except me with my purse and my pillows. He ran back and forth quick to do them. Then we waited till the rain slacked a bit and he backed the car right up to the step so I could get in fast. I got a few sprinkles, but nothing soaking.
Notah gave the cats their pills so they were mostly quiet for the day, a few complaints but nothing major.
Notah called his cousin Kathleen when we got to Tulsa. She wanted to know if we could pick up Tamia when we came through OK City. Aunt Helen is missing Leonard because it is coming up Father’s day and she thought maybe Tamia would help distract her. The pick up was smoother than silk! Kathleen was at the Sinclair station when we got there and after a quick hug, Tamia was loaded into the two feet beside the cats on the back seat and we were off.
From OKC on to Albuquerque the speed limit is 75 so the miles passed quickly, especially since Notah has a lead foot. We made it all the way to Amarillo. We could have gone further because it is only 4 or 5 hours from t here to home, but I was really tired. I didn’t realize just how tired until we got to a motel and I was able to lay down for a little while.
We had dinner at the Big Texan restaurant. http://www.bigtexan.com/ (wait for the promotional video to load and play)  This is a neat restaurant that is advertized all across Texas and a few times in Oklahoma and NM. It serves buffalo meat and a few other exotic dishes, but mostly just good steaks. The atmosphere is neat and that basically is what you pay for, but if you only do it once every 5 to 25 years, that’s okay.
There are mounted animal heads all around the dining room balcony. There are tables on the balcony. One time when we were there (the kids and I) they even staged a gun battle and one of the bad guys got shot and fell off the balcony!
They are famous for their 72 ounce steak that is offered free of charge to anyone who can eat the entire meal in an hour or less! That steak is HUGE. While we were there this year some man finished it in 57 minutes and 3 seconds. I don’t see how people do it without being sick. You have to eat the baked potato, roll, salad and all the fixings! Never in a day could I do that. ( I couoldn’t finish my pidley little 8 oz. steak. I had to bring some of it home with me for lunch Monday!) Notah’s friend Pat who just moved here wants to try. I asked him if he had the $80 to pay for the meal if he doesn’t eat it!
Go to the Big Texan website and click on the ‘Joey “Jaws” Chestnut’ link beneath the promo video to watch this guy finish the steak in under 9 minutes! I wondered if he had time to enjoy it. And he wasn’t a big guy either! Maybe he went down the road a ways and barfed it all up.

Friday, June 17, 2011

travelling west June 17

Today we started our trip to NM. Notah arrived yesterday afternoon, collected his rats and touched base with his other snake buddies. We had me pretty well packed already but we had to get a few grocery things to snack on for the trip.
It was nostalgic to get in the car this time. It was only Rachael and Notah and me. How many trips have we started with just the three of us? I asked Notah to pray for our trip because I was already on the edge of tears. I think those memories were in all of our minds as we prayed together because we all had teary eyes by the time Notah said Amen.
It made me remember all of the years I had spent time organizing for this trip But this year they did almost everything. Rachael put my things together in the suitcase (I’ll never get everything back in again.) and took me around for the few things I needed. She even cut up the meat and cheese to eat on the trip. And in betwen times, she triple cleaned my room. ( as if Notah would notice a dirty floor!) Notah arranged for the car and did all the packing. By the time we were ready to start all I had to do was go out and get in the car. It is strange how the life moves. It is a blessing how those years of raising kids pays off when you see them tall and strong and responsible. And even more of a blessing it is to have kids that can pray a prayer that you know reaches the ears of God!

End of the day.
We travelled all the way to Rolla, Missouri today. That was a good day considering we didn’t get on the road until nine. And then we had to stop and get dry ice to pack Notah’s rats and put in the cooler.
We had some hard rain a couple times; visibility was nearly zero. Once I saw a sign up ahead but after a few more feet I realized it was a semi-trailer! Once we drove through that mess it was clear sailing into Rolla.
We brought Pat’s two cats along since he is moving to New Mexico. He has looked forward to that ever since Notah moved and it is finally happening. I was a little worried about the cats traveling with us, but they did real well. Buddy complained a while but only with plaintive mews, no yowling. Fat Black slept. We had a handicap motel room so it had a big bathroom. Notah just put the cat carriers in there to let them out. Buddy came out and found himself a corner to park in. Fat Black stayed in his carrier and looked out for a while. But when I went to the toilet at one or two o’clock he came out and wanted to be loved.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

time of the singing of the birds

It must be coming on toward morning. Even though the clock says 4:30 and the sky is still dark, the birds are beginning to discuss the coming day. It is peaceful and I turned my soft music off so I can hear them singing better. Solomon said, “the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;” I know he was speaking of the springtime, there is a little session of that every morning if you are up early enough to hear it.

I wish Louie were here. We could share this time of day together. He was an early morning person. I was never a voluntary early riser. I would get up if I needed to but only if I needed. He was always up trucking around. By the time I rolled out he would have coffee made and, in NM, the fire fixed so that Notah and I were all cozy. When I came out to the kitchen, he would be sitting at the table with his coffee and a book or magazine playing the radio softly. The door would be open and the early morning sunshine pouring in. Those days are past. 

Now I look forward to going to the desert again in a few days. I like Notah’s new house. I can open the door to the east now if I have Keva’s old room and sit there with my book or just sit and watch the birds. It isn’t quite as good as having Louie with me, but it is close.  

Time to get on with my day.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Notah said yesterday that often when they go out at night to lock the gate they can notice a coyote sitting on the other side of the driveway fence, just sitting there looking. How neat is that.

When I spent those few days at the new house last year I wasn’t there long enough to learn any of those things. I knew Notah and the kids had found coyote sign on the other side of the fence in the pasture; I knew there were indications of bear and mountain lions in the area. But I didn’t know the coyotes sat on the other side of the fence and watched the house. That would be very eerie. In fact, it makes the attitude of the Navajo toward coyotes understandable. I would probably be more than a little freaked if I lived in a hogan with a blanket door and looked out to see a coyote sitting at the edge of the firelight. No wonder stories of yee naaldlooshii are so commonly accepted!
People often view coyotes as predators and attempt to kill them at any opportunity. I consider the fact that they were here first. My brother seems to hate them with a passion. But then, he lives in Ohio. Coyotes were not originally native to Ohio so I guess I can forgive him the passion.
I’m pleased with Notah’s attitude toward the coyote. They make sure their Chloe is safe inside. Two of the larger dogs, Sweetie and Jack, stay outside, but they are both rescues from the desert and learned long ago to either defend themselves against coyotes or stay out of their way. Bella and Thain are either as large as or larger than a coyote so the two of them together could probably hold their own. And although they try to make sure the cats are safe inside when they need to be, if they do get out no one attempts to kill every coyote within shooting distance.
The other thing I enjoy about coyotes is hearing them sing at night. I’ve not seen any sitting along the drive, but I have heard them sing.
(This isn't my youtube recording.  I just went looking for the sound I remember best.)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

truth will change us

I was reading a book, not a religious book, just a secular one and I came across the following; Truth is like a fire. . .It never –never-- leaves what it touches unchanged. That really struck me. The author was being philosophical about something mundane, but I immediately understood the statement as it applied to God’s Eternal Truth.
It makes me shiver to think how true that is. The Word of God has endured for more than 2000 years now as the standard for the lives of men and women. Political regimes have tried to destroy it. Religious organizations have tried to revise it. And Man has just blatantly tried to cast its teaching aside. But It has never-never-left the lives of men and women untouched.
I used to have a relative who was raised in a Christian family in a godly church congregation. When she was old enough she left home and pursued a couple exciting careers neither of which were conducive to living for the Lord. Of course she chose to go her own way in spite of the truth she had know from childhood.
She came home after a few years and seemed to repent. She went to church regularly and
professed highly. Within a short time she married a Christian man. They had four children and lived together in relative accord, but she could never completely abandon her desire for the world. After 10 or 12 years she found a reason to accuse her husband of infidelity and sued for divorce. The man, in his innocence, was shattered, but gave her most of the marital property and allowed her to have custody of the children.
A few years later she proved to be not as good a mother as he had expected and the lies she told her young children caused many hard feelings against their father until they were old enough to think for themselves. She followed a sinful life-style and when the children were older they began to tell of the her many immoral actions and the times her friends would bring her home and dump her on the sofa where she remained passed out cold. The ten and twelve year olds were left to try and undress her and get her into bed-or make her comfortable on the sofa.
Her bitterness eventually extended to the children and they left home to live with their father or with friends. Today, the woman lives in a lovely empty house. Her children are gone to their own lives and although they try to relate to her as children to parents, the way is rocky.
Her husband, whose influence she tried so hard to destroy, enjoys a good relationship with all his children. He lives almost next door to his youngest and his grand children. The others also have close contact with him.
Truth touched her life. She chose to walk away from it and deny God in her life. But she was not unchanged. Her end is worse than her beginning.
Truth will change us one way or another… Don’t ever think we can ‘take it or leave it.’ Once we have come face to face with the Word of God, It is there and It has an eternal effect on our life.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

river of peace

I love living for the Lord! It is so wonderful to wake up with a song on your mind and in your heart. What a blessing.
This morning, in that musing time between deep sleep and full waking, the hymn, River of Peace, came running through my mind. It had nothing to do with me because I hadn’t been thinking on peace the night before or even considering the subject, but there it was pouring it’s blessings through my whole being. “Oh, this river of peace Makes me perfect and whole; And its blessings increase, Flowing deep in my soul.:
The Lord spoke through Isaiah and said of His People, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river (Isa. 66:12) That peace doesn’t come in the things of the world. There will always be wars and conflict, but within the heart of the child of God there is everlasting Peace.
Politicians and religious leaders and humanitarians go around talking of Peace and trying to legislate it or shame people into it. But world peace will never come through the auspices of mankind. Peace comes only through our fellowship with the Lord God. Natural men, men living in the flesh and for the flesh will never come to agreements and harmony. Every natural man strives only for himself, his own desire and benefit. Nothing except the love and grace of God within us can cause a man or woman to truly work for the benefit of others.
So the peace that was pouring through my soul this morning wasn’t that of  peace in the world or peace with among my fellow men. It was the Peace of God that passes all earthly comprehension. D.S. Warner wrote of that Peace more than a hundred years ago and it is just as true now as it was then. This kind of Peace endures.
The River of Peace
I’ll sing of a river divine,  Its waters from trouble release; More precious than “honey and wine,” That river, sweet river is peace.
It reaches from heaven to earth,  It issues from under the throne;  Great peace! oh, thy infinite worth! Sweet peace in my Jesus alone.
Oh, wonderful life-giving flood, Thy waters so crystal and pure  Make glad all the “City of God”; forever thy blessings endure.
Oh, Jesus, the tempest of sin  Is hushed into heavenly rest, Since tasting the pure, living streamThat flows from Thy crucified breast.
My moments as angels appear, All gliding so gently along  Each dropping a blessing so rare, Enraptures my soul with a song.
Oh, this river of peace Makes me perfect and whole;  And its blessings increase,  Flowing deep in my soul
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14: 27

(If you don't know the melody here's a link for it.  http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/River_of_Peace/