Monday, March 24, 2008

Overcoming the Darkness

For Christians, the resurrection of Jesus is a big deal, or at least it should be. I mean, it is one of the major foundations of the faith. To paraphrase what the Apostle Paul has to say about it, if there is no resurrection, then there is no hope. I suppose it is because I am studying about spiritual warfare that I have been thinking a lot recently about the importance of the resurrection as the crowning event in Jesus’ ministry of destroying the works of the devil. The devil and his followers thought they had scored a victory by arranging for his death; but it says in the scripture that He disarmed them all and made a spectacle of them by stripping them of their authority. There is a great sense of security knowing that we have access to the same power that brought Jesus up out of the grave in our own personal battles against the enemy. And there is great comfort in knowing that even when the devil wins a skirmish now and then, he will never truly win...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Peter Cottontail Better Watch Out...

I went on the back porch today on my way to the trash to toss a used vacuum cleaner bag and noticed what I thought was a small dog digging in the brush pile left over from when the contractor cleared under the electric line several years ago. It did not hear me, and so I darted back into the house and called for R to come and see. Our Dog was a stray, and I keep praying that God will send the perfect stray dog for us to love. Maybe this was it!! Richard joined me at the door; then it happened to look up, and we both realized it was a fox out and about in broad daylight. R raced for the camera; the battery was dead. He raced to find an extension cord to plug it in. Of course, by then the “perfect shot” had already passed; and I guess you can’t really tell that it actually is a fox, except by the color. My admiration for wildlife photographers who get marvelous pictures of animals in perfect poses has gone up by leaps and bounds. What patience they must have. The creek between the house and where the fox was digging has still not gone down enough after 38 hours of steady rain that started Monday night for us to jump across to go see what it was up to, but it left quite a pile of black dirt. Not sure if it was thinking about digging a den, after a rabbit that was hiding, or digging to get at some other small animal that it smelled. It nosed around the brush pile for maybe 10 minutes before trotting off.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

5 Days in the Life....

The church potluck went well yesterday, I think. To help mitigate the diet disaster that the fellowship meal always is, we decided I should bring what I would normally make for our own meal at home, and that we should mostly eat that and take very small amounts of the other food that is brought. So that is what we did. I carried in Cajun style catfish, turnips in mustard sauce, and gingered carrots. I took a "lime in the coconut" pie, and they ate about half of it. I was pleased and surprised. I have on occasion taken a dessert and returned with the dessert intact. This means I only have to eat half the pie; it is way too good to be thrown away.

The day was so beautiful; it was very warm. We took two walks in the afternoon to try to burn off a few of the extra calories. The wind was blowing so hard that at one point we almost came to a standstill, but it wasn't cold, just blowing. We could hear the Spring Peepers singing at a pond across the highway, during broad daylight no less. Their piping calls always lift the spirits because they are a sure sign that Spring is coming.

This morning I woke up to the sound of rain pitter-pattering. Rain, which is the operative word, at least for now. Had fun at aerobics class. I enjoy my time with those women so much; the forecast on the radio on the trip there and back sounds grim: freezing rain and snow coming. The "book lady" brought me True Love to read, a book of love stories collected by Robert Fulgum. And there is just the right amount of work to do to make me feel good about my job without stressing out.

Daily weather report. It rained all day yesterday. We were both commenting as we stood at the back door that we have not seen this much water flowing through the creek in a long time. I am very glad that we live on a hill of sorts. The forecast for today was that there would be 2 inches of ice on the ground by noon and 6 to 10 inches of snow by late afternoon. They were wrong about that, at least for us. It never did turn to freezing rain, although everything got very slick by the time the sun went down. This morning it is sleeting, rain coming down as small balls of ice and it makes a loud rat-a-tat-tat. This is better than freezing rain, but just barely; at least it is crunchy underfoot. And suddenly the sleet changes over to snow, and it has gotten very quiet, like someone threw a switch and shut off the sound effects.

The True Love book is fun. In one of my favorites, Fulgum writes:
A middle-aged man... [gave] me a pale blue envelope-perfumed-the kind used for personal correspondence. He said "Before you read this, you should know that I've had it for at least 10 years, that it is from my wife, to whom I am still married." Inside the envelope was a matching sheet of stationery, with these [handwritten words]...

My dearest Harry:
I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.
Respectfully, with all my love, Edna.
Rather disappointing that we did not go on our date to the film festival last night; R heard on the radio that the university was canceling classes because of the snow so we didn't bother leaving the house. Today it is about 50 degrees I'd guess and only a few wispy of clouds to mar the bright blue sky. The snow is melting rapidly, and I have sheets out on the line flapping in the gentle breeze. I remember one time some years ago when I misjudged how warm it was and started to hang wet sheets on the line. Within a few seconds the one I was trying to clothespin to the line started to freeze and hung there stiff as a board. In the meantime, the sheet that I had left in the laundry basket froze the way it was--all jumbled up ball--and I couldn't hang it up at all.

I am out of work. I have no copyediting to do, which is something of a switch. Hard to know what to do with myself without something hanging over my head to get done. So I have fiddled around in the kitchen. I made coconut macaroon cookies for R as a way to use what was left in the bag of coconut he bought for the pie (he does 90% of the grocery shopping). What I will do with half a can of frozen limeade concentrate is something else to think about. The cookies required two egg whites, so then I had to figure out what to do with the two egg yolks that were left. I decided to make whole wheat noodles, which I rolled out by hand and cut with a knife. Once upon a time I had a nice little pasta machine, but I don't know exactly where it is now. I put it in the barn when we quit keeping hens because I quit making homemade noodles and it was taking up space I didn't have in the kitchen. Carolina Wrens made a nest in it, and the next time I wanted to use it, I spent quite a bit of time cleaning all the nest debris out of the rollers and the cutters. I have no idea what I did with it after that. It is probably back out in the barn in a tub with a lid. At any rate, the noodles were good.

Aerobics class resumed this morning, with me in charge. A good time was had by all. And some work arrived from my main man in New York (you'll find him in his Halloween costume in the October 2007 archive) just in time to keep me from getting antsy. Then about 2 p.m. comes an e-mail from another issue manager wanting to know if I can do a rush job, a 37,000-word project by Monday or Tuesday. And you know what? I decided that, no, I could not. For the last 5 years or so I have been pretty much operating under the dictum of never ever turn down work. Never. And now and again it has created some very stressful situations, although there have also been many more long-term advantages as a result. I could see no advantage to doing this project. Cram about 7 days of work into 4 days, and give up my day off to boot? No extra compensation is offered for doing a rush job. I decided it was worth losing the money to help retain my sanity. So I told her I would be happy to take the job but that it would take about 5 days to finish. She thanked me and said she had found someone else to work on it over the weekend. Good for her -- and I mean that -- she's a nice young woman.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Keeling over....

Winter drags on... and on... and on.... We occasionally get a hint of Spring just around the corner. The poor crocus keep trying to bloom and succeed for a few days before getting frozen. It was warm enough yesterday that the Spring peepers were singing at the pond; and I heard the sweetest bird song earlier today, when it was still raining. Now that the day has drawn to a close and the warm front has moved through, and everything is once again cover over with ice, and I hear the snow plow grinding and scraping down the highway, and the burning question is: Will we get 8-10 inches of snow that was forecast this morning? Who knows? So, time to trot out one of my favorite winter poems, titled appropriately enough....


When icicles hang by the wall,
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When blood is nipp'd and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-who, a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

When all aloud the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson's saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marion's nose looks red and raw,
When roasted crabs his in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-who, a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

William Shakespeare
Love's Labour's Lost