Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Popcorn Chronicles

I was looking back through some things I'd written the other day and found forgotten treasures. When I was in junior high, I started writing things down so that I'd have a way to remember them... remember how they felt... how I felt... later on. For some of those impressions, I used my teddy bear, Popcorn, to get the thought out of my head and onto the paper. A decade after he first became my muse, he was adopted by my eldest. Here are some of "The Popcorn Chronicles: A Bear's Coming of Age and Back Again"

Weather Report

Popcorn knows it will rain
when clouds cover the whole sky
so evenly you can't tell they're clouds.

*March 1980*

Music Lovers

Popcorn likes to listen
to the stereo with me.
He likes the music
that I like to listen to.
I can tell he likes it
by the smile
on his fuzzy white face.
I like to listen with him
because he doesn't interrupt.
He just sits quietly...
and listens with me

*March 1980*

Tree Watching

Popcorn likes the way
some trees blush
before they bare themselves.
Some just go pale
at the thought.
But he feels sorry
for those that simply
wither away
with no show at all...

*November 1983*


Popcorn has noticed,
Much to his amazement,
That kudzu can do to a forest,
In just a few decades,
What it takes water eons to do
To a mountain.

*August 1994*
(recalled from a trip to Vicksburg)

A New Beginning

I look at you now, beloved friend,
Recalling days of wisdom without end.
Once was Popcorn my playmate dear.
Now you're my child's "Mommy Bear."

Will you tell her tales of blushing trees
And the amazing power of kudzu seas?
Will you share the songs she likes to sing
And tell her about the rain that clouds bring?

Will you hear her heart's desire
Or how today she swung on a tire?
Will you listen as she says her prayers,
O, Popcorn mine, O, Mommy Bear?

*July 1998*

Monday, April 28, 2008

Leaving Out the Best Part

I have to take issue with our Sunday School lesson this past Sunday. Not that I disagreed with anything that was written in the lesson. It's just that the writers left out the best part. The lesson was taken from the account of the reconciliation of Jacob and Esau. (Genesis 32 & 33) I realize that when an account takes up 2 whole chapters, you can't possibly cover every verse in the time given for most Sunday Schools. but they left out the BEST part completely.

For 11 verses (Genesis 32:22-32), Jacob is face to face, hand to hand with God! (Can you picture it!) And they just skipped over it. What happens later is SO connected with that encounter, but we barely mentioned it, and that mention was only because it's my favorite part of the story.

Now let's apply that observation: How many times do big things happen to us....sometimes happy things, sometimes sad things, but things that are big markers along our lifeline? We almost always tell people about them, the big things I mean. We share our happiness, our sorrow. But how often do we share the encounter with our Creator that came just before or just after. And if you are a true child of God, that encounter was there. Did you miss it? Or are you afraid of what people will say? One way to pass our legacy on to our children is to let them know what is going on in our relationship with the Creator. Don't miss a literally God-given opportunity.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Busy Weekend

It's been a really busy weekend. The vocabulary parade was wonderful. It was so much more fun than the book projects that they've done in the past. Here are a couple of my favorites:





Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (fear of long words!)

Roller Coaster and her friend, Taste BudsAfter all that fun, we still had more to come. We went to the Mobile BayBears game at Hank Aaron Stadium. They played the Mississippi Braves. The Braves won 10-4. We stayed for the fireworks after the game. We had great seats: behind home plate and up high.

Today we cut the grass at our place and across at the Sr.H property (8 acres in all). These are views of there.

Friday, April 25, 2008

L's Favorite Chicken Pie Soup

Last night we had Chicken Pie Soup for dinner. No, there is no pie in it. It got that name because it has almost the exact same ingredients as L's Favorite Chicken Pie:

couple of chicken breasts
can of rotel tomatoes (usually use the lime and cilantro flavor, but last night used chili fixin's flavor)
when the chicken is done, shred it with 2 forks, then add
can of black beans, drained
can of corn, drained
bit of sour cream
spices (chili power, cumin, cilantro)

If you're making pie, grate some cheese in the bottom of the crust before you pour the filling in and again on top before you put the top crust on (rolled Pilsbury crust in a box works great). If you're making soup, add a can or two of chicken stock. It works well in a crock pot or stove top. The soup tastes even better if you add crumbled cornbread or tortilla chips.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

RA Races

Last night was RA Race Night in Agricola. There was support from a variety of sources. our GAs made signs to hang along the track.

Young and old turned out to support the guys.

And they had their eyes on the prizes.

These cars are powered by CO2 cartridges placed in the rear.

Then they are put on the track and are lauched by computer.

The fastest car of the night was clocked at over 40 mph, which is pretty fast for something that only weighs a few ounces!

You can tell who the winner is here.

The more weight you can take off the car, the faster it goes. But if you're going to run 2 heats, you better make sure your car doesn't crack up in the first one.
This happened to Logan's car after the 2nd heat.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

M's artwork

Yesterday, M was doodling on a clipboard. This was the end result:

Pretty cool, huh. Reminds me of a daydream I once had of a giant running through a meadow catching butterflies with finger cymbals. In this case, the butterfly is a giant. I love this.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


L finished her vocabulary parade project this afternoon. The popcicle stick model is attached to the poster that has the word and the definition. Here's the finished product.

I love the little car at the top. I wanted to make little people with their arms over their heads and conversation bubbles saying "Wheeeeee!!"
But she said no. What a party pooper!

While I was at it, I thought I'd put up a picture of her fairy house, too. She got bored watching what her dad and I were watching one night and created this house. The next afternoon, she added the cantilevered roof and the swing. We put a fairy she made a few months ago into the swing for the picture. You can't really see the back wall through the door but the wall is papered, or should I say petaled with silk rose petals, yellow of course to match the yellow box shoe box.

Trace of Home

This weekend my beloved and I got to go for a ride by ourselves. We left Brandon, aimed for the reservoir, and headed down the Trace.

The Natchez Trace, as it runs beside the reservoir, has been a sign of "home" to me since I was in college. Once we could see the water, I was home. It didn't matter that it would still be 40 minutes or so until we pulled into my driveway. That was over 25 years ago, and yet the feeling was the same this Sunday morning. I remembered that I had written a verse about it on a vacation trip home, when we lived in Virginia. I went looking for it this morning and had just about given up. Then right in front of me, exactly where I stopped scrolling through an old journal and was about to close the file, these words caught my eye: "Trace of Home. A drive beside the reservoir on the Natchez Trace on a bright and beautiful summer morning." That was it. I wrote this on September 5, 1984.

Trace of Home

No words will come to this sojourner's mind
that say what wants to be said
of acres and acres of mirror water
and diamond reflections of sunlight stars;
of cool quiet green and secret sunbeams
on mighty oak and slender pine.

I close my eyes and long for this place
though I have not yet left its loving embrace.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Not Like That One, Please

Taking a tip from a friend of mine, I'm going to say what I learned from the bible lately: I don't want a legacy like Jeroboam's.

Last year I started reading the bible straight through. I'm not using any "plan" other than the ribbon bookmark that is attached to the bible. I didn't want to HAVE to read a certain number of verses or chapters to keep up with anything. Now, I'm in 1 Kings, having survived Leviticus and Numbers (you can tell, they aren't my favorites). The two books of Kings are about the kings that followed David and Solomon and how Israel was separated into 2 kingdoms: Judah & Israel. I started noticing that the essence of one verse was repeated over and over: 1 Kings 15:34
"He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, walking in the ways of Jeroboam and in his sin, which he had caused Israel to commit." Those words are applied to king after king.

Wow! How would you like to be remembered throughout history with that thought!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

5th Grade Field Trip

These have been an incredibly busy few days. Friday is my day off. It is usually filled with laundry and checkbooks, but not this week. L's class had a field trip to Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island. We drove down behind the school bus. The fort is really neat, lots to see. The blacksmith was there that day. We saw the sign announcing his presence on the way down. L wondered if he would look like Will Turner from "Pirates of the Caribbean." Actually he looked more like Norm Abram from "New Yankee Workshop."

After the trip, we stopped at a roadside picnic area for lunch. There were some really great trees there. The kids took full advantage of the opportunity to climb. It was amazing to see forty kids all in one tree!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Friends Don't Let Friends Miss a Great Trip

Yesterday was the day our church kids took a church field trip. It was State Bible Drill day. They get checked out of school about lunchtime, ride the church vans up to Hattiesburg, and go through the drill with churches from all around.

When the van came to the middle school to get M and her friends, they noticed that one of them wasn't going. She hadn't scored well enough to make it to the next level and had decided not to go on the trip. The friends decided that this just wouldn't do. They decided to do what they could to get her to come. This child's mother is a teacher at the middle school, so they went to the mom's room to convince her to let the child go. But that class was at lunch. So they paraded to the cafeteria to find said Mom. (It should be noted that these girls had already changed into their bible drill T-shirts and jeans and the cafeteria is full of uniformed students in khaki and maroon or navy. They did draw stares and glares.)

They found the teacher/mom in question, who acquiesced to their proposition, but there was nothing on which to write the required permission note. Someone produced a napkin for the purpose, but still there was no pen. (at this point in the story, I asked M if the note were written in ketchup, and she just rolled her eyes) No, someone else produced a pencil, the note was written (on the napkin) and turned in to the office. The friend went on the church trip with all her buddies, secure in the knowledge that she was loved by those friends and her mother.

Take this a step farther: Are we willing to draw the glares and stares of the world to get our friends on the road to Heaven? Are we willing to use the tools at hand to get the job done? Are they worth the trouble? My child has set the standard for me.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Proud of M

I was taking the opportunity to go grocery shopping alone this afternoon, when I got a phone call from M. She was calling from Temple Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, the site of our State Bible Drill competition. She said that she had done the Quick Drill and only missed 2 and weren't we going to Maw-Maw's house this weekend and since we'd be so close, could she go to the next level being held in Clinton this weekend. (and it came out just about like that!) Wow, I was so proud. Not just that she could do it, but that she wanted to go to the next level.

When I hung up, I must have been smiling from ear to ear because the lady stacking cans a few feet away said, "That must have been a happy call." So naturally, I took the opportunity to brag!


Lots of people in George County don't lock their doors. We trust our neighbors.

But sometimes something happens that makes you hope there were strangers passing through.

The George County Baptist Association building was broken into over the weekend. Yes, the doors were locked. One was forced open. Things were stolen, primarily the peace of mind of the secretary that works there. She has lost records that she can't re-create, as well as the feeling of relative safety at the workplace that most office workers hold.

There is something to be said for the 'fear of the Lord.' I like to think there are some people in the world that, while they might break into just about anything else, they would draw the line at a church or church-related building. What did the criminal expect to get? I think the only thing that would have been excused if taken, was left untouched: the food bank.

I hope they catch the person who did it. I hope he or she learns something that will change his or her life before it's too late.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Blue Birds

We have had a blue bird box attached to a tree in our yard for several years now. Every year they raise several clutches of babies in that box. Until we moved to George County 10 years ago, I don't think I'd ever seen a blue bird. Now they are part of the family.

My first encounter with blue birds happened the first spring we moved up here. At the time, we lived in a mobile home. Our dryer vented on the front side of the house about 10 feet from the front door. I kept noticing a bird flying out from there when we went out the door. I checked it out and found a blue bird building a nest in the dryer vent. I pulled the grass out thinking she'd find another place. Wrong! She was dead set on building in that vent. I didn't want to roast her little babies (or set the house on fire) so I knew I had to do something. I stretched an old stocking over the vent to keep her out and wired a baby formula can directly under the vent. The vent and the can were just about the same diameter so it looked like our house had duel exhausts!

Mrs. Bird didn't seem to mind the substitution and started nest-building again. My girls were 8, 2, and infant at the time. The older 2 were amazed at being so close to real wild birds. The can was about 3 1/2 feet off the ground so they could see into it without much problem. Pretty soon we had eggs and then little babies. Then one day they were all gone. We were sorry to see them gone. But before we knew it, Mrs. Bird was busy again. I never knew that any kind of bird laid more than one clutch of eggs in a season. Blue birds will have 3 or 4 a year.

The next year, we made sure the vent was not accessible and put up a box on the utility pole close by. They made that move with no problems. When we built the house and moved the trailer (along with the utility pole), we put the box on a tree. They have made themselves at home every year. Katrina knocked the original box off, but by that time of year, no one was living there. We put up a new box the next spring. Mrs. Bird flies out of the box every morning as I drive past the tree.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Thought for the Day

This thought came to me so clearly last night:
Every day is a gift from the Lord: it is ours to make it a blessing or a curse for ourselves as well as those whose lives we touch.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Disappearing Houses

Today was another of those really foggy mornings. I was able to get pictures at my house this time, although, there aren't really enough landmarks visible for even me to identify it as my neighborhood. I took some more pictures this afternoon so you can see the difference.

This is the view across the road.

And this is our backyard neighbor. I wasn't exactly sure where to aim the camera this morning. This afternoon, I realized I couldn't see the house from where I was standing this morning anyway. That big live oak is between us.

This is the barn (our neighbor to the north)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Not Where I Was Looking

I put out my hummingbird feeder a few days ago because I thought I heard a hummer buzz by my head. The feeder is right outside my front door so I can keep an eye on it. I haven't seen any takers. Now I know why.

Last week I bought some new hanging baskets for my front porch. Two of them are asparagus ferns and 2 are some sort of purple flower. I was just looking out the window towards our neighbor's house where L and her friend were playing in the yard, and was surprised to see a hummingbird at the purple flowers. I guess, given the choice, they like the real thing better.

I went to get my camera and naturally, as soon as I wanted to get him drinking from the flowers, he moved to the feeder. After a few sips here, a friend of his came along and they flew off together. I tried to get them together, but they were too fast for me.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Non-Living Things Have Gender, Too

I was reading LeagleEagle's blog this morning and remembered I'd seen this yesterday.

You may not know this, but many non-living things have a gender.

1) Ziploc Bags are Male, because they hold everything in, but you can see right through them.

2) Copiers are Female, because once turned off, it takes a while to warm them up again. It's an effective reproductive device if the right buttons are pushed, but can wreak havoc if the wrong buttons are pushed.

3) A Tire is Male, because it goes bald and is often over-inflated.

4) A Hot Air Balloon is Male because, to get it to go anywhere, you have to light a fire under it, and of course, there's the hot air part.

5) Sponges are Female, because they're soft, squeezable and retain water.

6) A Web Page is Female, because it's always getting hit on.

7) A Subway is Male, because it uses the same old lines to pick people up.

8) An Hourglass is Female, because over time, the weight shifts to the bottom.

9) A Hammer is Male, because it hasn't changed much over the last 5,000 years but it's handy to have around.

10) A Remote Control is Female. Ha! You thought it'd be male, didn't you?
But consider this - it gives a man pleasure, he'd be lost without it, and while he doesn't always know the right buttons to push, he keeps trying!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Dr. Cruel Isn't

I took my mom to the doctor yesterday: a podiatrist named Dr. Cruel. She was a little concerned at the name, but she needn't have been. What a nice guy! He was full of smiles and soft words, very reassuring and gentle. I wish everyone I came into contact with was like that and could say the same thing about me. Well, I can at least work on half of that wish list.