Thursday, February 22, 2007

Green Thumbs

It's spring. Well actually it is still winter but with 70 degrees outside I can have my fantasy. My mom is probably spending the whole day outside pruning her trees and flowers. She has a bright green thumb...mine is brown so I really am amazed at what she can do with plants. She has been known to stop along a roadside in Colorado, dig up several baby Aspen trees, plant them in her yard in Oklahoma and have them survive Oklahoma weather! At one point she had a small grove of Aspen in her front yard that turned a beautiful yellow in the fall. She said my dad wanted a little bit of Colorado at home so she planted Aspen. Anyone who knows anything about plants knows that this is almost impossible to do. Aspen in Oklahoma. It's like snowballs in a could happen but not likely.

But back to the pruning. Mom prunes dead branches off all her plants. The dead can cause disease, she told me. But she also prunes live branches. This enhances the look of some plants and the fruit of others. Looking back on her canning lists she knows her stuff. And one look at her yard in spring, summer or fall will convince you to listen if you want to grow plants. But right now it all looks hopeless. The winter has not been kind to things outdoors. The ice storm was beautiful, in a way. The light playing off the ice could not be described adequately! But the damage left was awful. Large trees split down the middle. Smaller trees bent to the ground, never to stand straight again. Azaleas with holes where, in years past, there was an abundance of flowers. Mom has her work cut out (literally) for her. She morns what is lost knowing it will never be the same again in her lifetime. But in the middle of the loss, she will pick up her tools and go to work to make the destruction beautiful and productive once again.

I feel pruned. Yesterday left me wondering if I will ever get all the dead stuff off and really be productive for God. I am hoping to have a wonderful time helping and encouraging people but in past experience I know the challenge will be great. (I will be the object of 99 percent of the Jerks in our area :0) My daughter reminded me of a scripture we both struggle with in 2nd Corinthians 10:5...taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ. Pruning off the thought process so that Christ's thoughts can become mine...oh that it were easy! But it is a battle against the storm of negative self talk and negative outside influence...and like the ice storm it leaves me thinking that the damage is too great to even try to clear out and clean up, much less that anything positive could come of it. But in the middle of it all, God throws another scripture out...that He is the vinedresser and pruner (John 15) and that any branch that does not bear fruit he prunes away and He repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit. So I guess in my mental pruning I am pruned if I do think Christ-like thoughts and I am pruned if I don't. But it is God doing the work...not me! Taking out the negative and causing the positive to grow even more positive. All I do is abide and live in the Vine, Jesus.

My mom doesn't label her fruit trees. She knows what they are by the fruit they produce. They just stand there, through the storms, letting her lop off the bad and sometimes the good, and allow her to even dump manure on them occasionally. And at the right time the flowers and fruit appear. Oh that I can abide and stand in Jesus, Messiah, trusting the Father to produce the crop that He already is planning in me at just the right time. All I can say is thank you to the wise pruner who has the greenest thumb of all!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Giving up Jerks for Lent

My daughters' blog inspired me to change my own blog from "Does God Really Love Jerks" to the above title. After reading the Wikipedia description of Lent though, I decided that my attitude needed an adjustment...(ouch)....and my yucky day of dealing with (ahem) people should be turned around for the glory of God. (Ok...for those who are going "What in the world happened?" I will explain with two words...Insurance Referrals...'Nuff said.) Instead of giving up something though, I liked the idea of actively doing something: giving, volunteering, etc. So my Lent is Random Acts of Kindness. I will look for the person or persons throughout the day that I could easily ignore or, worse, be rude to, and ask God for a way to bless them. So in the reality, I am 'Giving up Jerks for Lent' by making them a focus of Gods' blessings...thus they become 'Kindness Opportunities'. Seriously, this will be a total attitude check for me! For those of you that are giving up things like coffee or french fries, when you crave those and start praying, be sure to include my name in your prayers. This is gonna be hard (but good :) and hopefully will be the beginning of a really cool habit.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Blender on High

We are living in an itty-bitty apartment for anyone who doesn't know. We have been having a great time camping here while we are watching the dirt at the site that is suppose to have a new house being built on it. We were told that something about the weather was holding things up...ok...that's probably true. In the mean time, we have discovered that our neighbors behind us smoke. The smoke travels through the walls in our kitchen and bathroom (the bathroom is actually bigger than the kitchen). We decided to take things into our own hands to solve the problem (having asthma and smoke in the apartment is not a good combination). We bought an air purifier. It worked great but we could still smell smoke. So we bought a plastic painter drop cloth and a roll of duct tape. We have completely stuffed every hole, nook and cranny in the bathroom and kitchen with the plastic and then duct taped over that several times. It works great! And if we have severe weather we are sure that the kitchen and bathroom will still be standing even if the rest of the apartment is blown away! A virtual safe room of duct tape!

Something different: Sunday Ethan (our grandson, age 2) pulled two chairs together and sat on the crack in the middle of them. "I'm sitting beside me!" he declared.

Some people have asked if it is true that I can actually retire as Supermom. It's kinda misleading, I suppose, to say that I am retiring. I am really just changing my super-focus. I will be known as "Mighty Mema" and probably do all the super-work I did before plus all the super-work for the super-grandkids! But some of my super-work will be taken over by my super-kids-in-law, thank goodness!

I spent a Saturday at Kaleb (6) and Hannah's (4) house a few weeks ago. I was changing the trash bag because we had filled it up with trash from McDonald's. I asked Kaleb "Where are the new trash sacks for the trash can?" "In the pantry, Mema." I proceed to look all through the pantry. "I don't see them." "Maybe they are at the back." I look all the way in the back of the pantry on several different shelves. "Still don't see them." "Maybe they are in the garage." I look in the garage in places I would have put them, still nothing. "Are you sure they are in the garage, I still don't see them." "They are probably up high." Again I search everything that could hold the box of trash sacks. "Still don't see them!" I yell from the garage. As I walk into the house I ask Kaleb once again if he knows where the trash sacks are. "Maybe they are in Mommy and Daddy's bathroom." I look at him closely and see a trace of his daddy in his eyes..."You really don't have a clue where the trash sacks are, do you!" "Nope!" he giggled and ran out of my reach! Hannah in the mean time had gotten in a bit of trouble with Papa. As I enter the living room I hear Papa say "Looking at me with sad eyes is not going to get your toy back!" "What if I move my eyebrows up and down like this?" she asked in the sweetest voice you have ever heard! Guess I had better get a PHD in manipulation to keep up with these two!

Jeremy: "Mema, can I go to your compartment?" "You mean 'apartment?" "Yeah, an partment!" later...."Mema, Yu-gi-oh has a 'do list' on his arm!" I need a hearing aid...for you who want to know..Yu-gi-oh is a cartoon that has a very serious game of cards going on that the players duel with....thus the 'do list' (duel-ist)......... Yeah...I know the feeling!

Firsts for Nate: Nate finally got to see his new cousin, Zachary, a month after Zachary was born. "Finally! Zachary came out!" and on the first time seeing our apartment..."Mema, are you sure this is all of it? You ARE camping!"

Then there is poor Jacob (2)...He is learning Spanish since both his parents were missionaries to Mexico, Okie from his dad and Aussie from his mum. He speaks very clearly for a 2 year old...just never know if the sentence contains just English or not! "Si, Mema, I like tannins (raisins) fo' a snack with agua."

Mighty Mema signing off....(cue super-music).....

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Return of the TPD

'Tis true...Supermom jumped into action once again last week. Another frantic call from the lowly son, Derek, in distress once again in the dreaded North Tulsa area. This time it is 36th and Harvard (*whining* why so far!!!). His truck stopped...not stalled...not out of just the right turn lane of 36th turning onto Harvard (I truly think the poor vehicle gets scared out of its wits sometimes. I will let you guess the why.) Supermom jumps into action once again...oh...already did that part. Grabbing my coat (yes it is still cold here) while talking to Derek, "Did you try to push start it?" "Yes, Mom, been there done that..." when I hear the unmistakable sound of a car horn, screeching, and a crash. I stop in my tracks, and I swear I hear my son say, "Hannah just got rear ended!" "Who's Hannah?" I ask. "What? No not Hannah...ME!" "Oh! are you okay?" "Yeah, I will call you back!" I grab more Elixir of the Gods (coffee, remember?) for obviously the cell phone needs extra power! Hannah...I'm thinking...why did he say Hannah...OHHHH...'Ann uh jus got rear ended'...good old Okie-speak for 'And I just got rear ended'. With that mystery solved and the extra dose of adrenalin I head out onto the highway. No foes in sight because it is past rush hour by now. Derek calls back. "Did you get the other drivers information?" I ask. "" "Did you call the police?" "Uh...yeah. And I pushed my car out of the road with the help of a city worker. He saw the car hit me." "So are you going to get the insurance info?" "No." "Why not?" "The guy just hit me and left." "A hit and run!?!" I yell in disbelief. It is a C.O.P.S. episode once again!

(A little while later...) I arrive at the scene to find my son shivering in the cold. He runs to my car, jumps in and proceeds to turn the heat on high and stick his ears in the vents. Teeth chattering he tells me that the police are on their way and the guy in the yard beside us is the one that saw the was a blue station wagon, old, and the guy was black with a hoodie on. That describes the last 12 drivers that I passed while driving there. The police arrive and we get show him the damage while Derek tells him the story. I notice the police officer, Officer Griffin, is wearing short sleeves, has a buzzed haircut, and acts like he is in the middle of Tropics. No shivering. No jumping to keep warm. Just strolling along looking at the poor scared truck like it is 80 degrees (it is actually 24 degrees with a wind chill, I'm guessing, about -30). He offers to push start the truck and I accept his offer. No go...the poor truck is not budging. A backup policeman arrives and we are told that finding a guy that fits that description is like looking for hay in a haystack...they suggest not even filing the report because they know they won't catch the guy. But they would be glad to call a tow truck for thanks. I still have the number from our last episode. Really nice officers, though...and the back up officer has short sleeves and a buzz cut too....and he's not shivering either. The two of them push the truck further off the road for safety and laugh about the 'work out'. Those are really tough officers! But in all honesty they were helpful and really nice guys!

We had the truck towed (again) to the auto shop, paid for a new gas pump ($500 this time), and went to eat at Mexico Viejo. Their salsa can warm you up quick! And there is nothing better than drowning your sorrows in enchiladas! This report was not on the TV and all in all was just an expensive misadventure of the way, Supermom is retiring June 16th of this year. Derek gets married on that date. Poor Michelle...guess I need to introduce her to the Elixir of the Gods. She's going to need it.