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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bigger than Senility

I'm a very forgetful person. I don't remember names and faces. It gets worse as I get older. Yet, I can still remember lyrics to old songs that weren't even my favorites. I remember jingles from 70's commercials. But half the time, I can't keep my grandkids' names straight! Memory is funny that way.  

Why do we remember stuff from commercials and not our loved one's birthdays? I had to stop and think back... How many grandkids did I have ten years ago? Which house was I living in? But I remember very well... where my chair was at work... where the radio sat when we all gathered around, trying to figure out what had happened to the world we knew.

The lab I worked in was inside a factory. We had no idea if it was sunny or snowing.  Everyday in there was the same. The outside world didn't exist while we were clocked in--until that day.

It was business as usual when the clerk yelled across the room that my daughter was on the phone. She called to tell me that a jetliner had crashed into the World Trade Center tower. Bizarre. Horrible! It seemed a bit weird that it should happen there.  

I shared the news with my co-workers. "Wow." "How sad." A few moments later, it was business as usual, once again. Then the second call came.

Suddenly it wasn't just a news item--it was bigger than we could imagine. The guy closest to me pulled out a portable radio and placed it up on the file cabinet. A few gathered around, but some stayed at their benches keeping an ear turned to us. Then, another plane hit the Pentagon. Nobody was working! We didn't know what to do. I remember feeling isolated--trapped in this prison of four walls that didn't let me see the outside world.

Hubby worked in another department at the other end of the building. I headed that way. Along the aisle, at every break area, there was a crowd gathered at the monitors that hung there. They usually had slide shows of company news, but that day--THAT day--the monitors were tuned to a news station. We couldn't hear what was being said over the sound of the machinery running, but the images were burned into our memories forever.

I finally made it to Ray, but I didn't know how to explain what I had seen. I didn't know what was going on. Terrorist? From where? How did they do this? And lastly, what did it mean? My step-son was in the Army.  Suddenly, we were fearful.  We knew this wasn't just a bad day in history. This was big. This wasn't over. More lives would be lost...

We didn't go to work the next day. Ray was so worried about his son that he just wanted to go up to the farm and cut wood. We had this property, but hadn't built on it yet. We had cleared some trees from where our driveway would be. Peace was to be found out here in the solitude. We loaded some tools and headed out.

It was a beautiful day. The sky was bluer than I had ever seen. There were no jet trails to cloud it. Even though it was clear and bright, it was eery. Every time I looked to the sky, I thought about the reason for the blueness.

Watching other countries react to the latest acts of terrorism had never hit home before. We were safe! We were the United States! That stuff didn't happen here!  But it did happen here. 

Something else happened here that day. Heroes were born of common folk. Everybody had something in common. For once in a very long time, the people had common ground--a reason to pull together. Everyone focused on the same outcome. We were one. One nation, under God, indivisible.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

And the WINNER is...

First, let me thank everyone that entered my giveaway.  Those that opted for two prizes - one for each blog - far outnumbered those that wanted one 'winner take all'.  So, I have two winners to announce!

The winning entry from this blog came from Rhonda over at Shellbelle's Tiki HutWhen she replied with her snail-mail address, she told me there is a Bath and Body Works just down the street from her home!  How nice... especially since her prize is a $25M gift card from there!  

Oops...  TYPO!  $25 is the limit on her card.  Sorry, Rhonda.

 I sure learned something from the survey on this one!   

I learned that I have two kinds of readers... one type hates making decisions, and the others want it all!  Yes,  when asked what you want to see more of, most of you either said, 'whatever you like' or checked every box on the list!  So, I guess I will continue with a similar mix to what I've been posting on here.


Susan, over at Christian Writer/Reader Connection, was the winner from my writer's blog.  She will receive a $25,000 gift card... whoops!  Another TYPO... a $25.00 gift card from Borders / Waldenbooks.  (Sorry, I couldn't resist having a little more fun.)  She can finally buy that much wanted book that didn't show up under the Christmas tree!

 The survey results from this contest told me you mostly enjoy reading about my journey and random essays, along with book excerpts from my WIP.  But everything on the list was checked at least once, so I'll try to include all those things in this year's posts.  I will keep my focus, however, on those topics you said you enjoy most.

I love giving gifts!  
Perhaps I'll make this an annual event. 

Thanks again to all that participated.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

One day left to enter!

This is your last chance to enter my give-away .  The deadline is tomorrow January 28th.  I'm SO excited to announce my winner!  Hope it's you...

PS  be sure to scroll on the entry form

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Pony for the Freezin'-a** Winter?

When I was a small child, I discovered the joy of reading.  This was one of my favorite books.  It was given to me by a teacher for my achievements.  It may very well be the first indication that horses were in my future!  I'm going to see if I still have this one.  It's overdue for a  re-read.

Keeping a pony for the winter sounds a bit romantic, doesn't it?  My best recollection is that a little girl wanted her parents to allow her to board the pony for a carnival that used it for rides during the warmer seasons.

Oh, if only I could talk my dad and mom into that!  As a child, I can imagine that I thought the only hurdle for the little girl was convincing her parents how cute they were and having a fence around the backyard.  HA!

Well, now I'm all grown up and have two ponies for the winter!  (They're not really ponies, but full-sized horses, and last winter there were three.  R.I.P. Buddy.)

Talk about a fantasy world... True, I don't remember much about the book; but I do remember there was no mention of carrying 5 gallon buckets filled with water through ten- inch drifts of snow and ice, being extra cautious not to spill any on her for fear of frostbite from the below-zero windchill!  Nor was there any mention of pushing a wheel barrow through that deep frosty mess.  Or how about trying to dump said wheel barrow only to find the cargo frozen to the bottom of the cart?  

I'm fairly certain there was nothing written about miles of extension cords trailing to heated water buckets, or having to clean out those hanging buckets when that cute little pony decides to use it as a port-o-john!  I'll bet that sweet child never twisted her ankle by stepping down wrong on a frozen... uh... dumpling.  I don't recall if the girl in the story had a dog.  If she had, it would have been fun to watch her little dog running from the stall with... uh... dumpling stains on his pretty white face.  

Yes, keeping a pony for the winter isn't exactly a romance, but I do enjoy the break from the heavier smells of summer and the biting flies.  I like that I can clean both stalls without stopping to wipe the sweat from my brow.  And there's nothing better than a horseback ride through fluffy white snow on a sunny winter day.  A big plus is walking through the paddock without sinking ankle-deep in muck.  

Now, if only we can get back to normal temperatures and I can dump this cold... I will ride off into the sunset on my pony for the winter.

Before you go...

Rae, over at Weather Vane is having a give-away!  See what I've got my eye on...

Don't you agree it would look lovely in my blue country kitchen?

I used to say, "I never win anything!" but not anymore... I won a signed book last month!  Maybe I'm on a roll.  Or maybe I'm just wishin'.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Spotlight: Two Local Homeless Ministries

Last week I posted a story about a local minister that has gone 'homeless' for the month of January to draw attention to the plight of the homeless, and particularly foster kids that 'age out' of the system.  If any of you have ever spent a winter in Ohio, you know it's no picnic.  We've had lower than normal temperatures and more than normal snowfall.  

I've been following his vlog and tweets on facebook as he attempts to learn what it's really like to live on the streets.  Last night, Pastor Ryan was featured in another local news story from our CBS affiliate WHIO TV.  In this video, there is a short interview with Cindi Stevens of Target: Dayton.  Yes, THE Target: Dayton - the one whose link is on my sidebar.  Even though Cindi's comments were brief, you get such a good feel for who she is and how she feels about those she ministers to.  In his interview, Pastor Ryan shares his impression of his trip to another local church that serves meals to the homeless, although on a much smaller scale than Target: Dayton.  His feelings mirror those I experience when I serve at TD.

I encourage you to follow Pastor Ryan as his eyes are opened to what it's like to be homeless and cold.  I also pray that you will be encouraged to seek out a ministry in your local area and find out how you can become involved.  Prepare for you life to be changed.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Opportunity to Care

Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 
James 2:15-16

If you've followed my blog in the past, you know that homelessness is a problem I care very much about.  As much as I enjoy the snow and cool weather, my heart aches for those with no shelter as I watch those first winter flakes drift downward.  There is another group for whom I feel equal, if not more, compassion... teenagers in foster care.  I never thought about how those two groups are linked... until our church was visited by Pastor Ryan from Shelter Church, and he told us about New Family Tree ministry.

Did you know that 60% of teens in foster care end up homeless when they turn eighteen?  Did you know that one out of four homeless adults spent time in the foster system?  These are local statistics, but I'm fairly certain they are similar in other areas of the U.S. 

Pastor Ryan is attempting to draw attention to this problem, and raise funds for  a solution!  For the month of January, he is living in a van in Dayton, Ohio.  He is twittering his experience, as well as doing a daily vlog entry.  You can follow Ryan on facebook, or on his website 30dayshomeless.   He is hoping to raise funds to help support the New Family Tree ministry that will provide housing and guidance for those teens 'aging out' of the foster system.  His hope is to help these kids adjust to life in the adult world, enroll in college, find jobs, and provide shelter during this transitional time in their lives.

Please, take the time to watch his vlog and read the webpages.   Share this event with others.  If you feel the call to do something, your reward will be great.  Think what a difference you could make in the life of a young person... a person with no one else to turn to...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Blahwg's Give-Away!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!  It humbles me to think that God chose to come and live among us, experiencing life the way we do. 

Here is how I spent Christmas day...

Might as well show you how Maggie Mae, 
Sadie and I spent the day after Christmas...

Well, you've waited long enough... I'm ready to hold my contest.  What a great way to start a new year!  Just in case you didn't get all you wanted, I've got some gifts for you...

Everyone needs a little pampering.  And if you're all stocked  up on this stuff, the card is also honored at The White Barn  Candle Co.  You'll definitely be able to get rid of the barnyard smell!

I know lots of you got e-readers for Christmas. (My daughter got a Nook Color!)  Others got some good 0ld-fashioned actual books.  If you didn't get enough, or didn't get the ones you wanted, well, here's your chance.  This card is good at Borders, Waldenbooks, and Brentano's.
I'm also including a little something from the farm.  (I like surprises, so I'm keeping that secret for now.)

Here's the best part...  you can enter more than once, and YOU determine the prize package!  This contest is also going on at my other blog.  I couldn't decide whether to award the bookstore gift card there, and the other one here, or to have one winner get everything.   That's where you come in...

On the entry form below, you get to vote whether the contest is a combined prize package with one winner, or two separate prizes with one winner from each blog.  So what will it be?  Double the odds, or double the prize?