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Saturday, April 28, 2012

State History

Laughing Water and I are going on a home school 7th-8th grade state history trip.  Our group (of about a dozen girls) has been planning this since last summer.  We've been doing fundraising and one of the dedicated moms has been teaching a history class in her home.  It didn't start out as a girls-only trip, but the boys just didn't seem as interested and the one or two who did, were scared off by the prospect of being so outnumbered.

The highlight so far was an overnight field trip to a local historic hotel.  We spent the night and played games and watched documentaries.  The next morning, we had a guided tour of a local history museum. 

That is where this picture comes in.  The gentleman guiding us asked if anyone had ever played a pump organ.  I actually had.  When I was a teenager, we had friends who were an older couple who lived in a very old home and they had a pump organ. Everything about the place held charm for me and I loved these people dearly.  We would occasionally gather there with friends and sing around the pump organ.  I would take my turn like any of the other pianists.  Playing a pump organ is quite an exercise, so the duty is best shared.  Sometimes, we would even team up.  If the pianist got too tired, someone else would pump while she played. 

So when the guide asked the question, I raised my hand.  They brought a chair and I played a song.  It was so fun and brought back some great memories! 

It is hard to believe that we are only one month away from the trip now.  I think it will be fun.  What an amazing group lively, sweet and intelligent young ladies we have in the group.  We're going to have a blast! - Nanette

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Muddling Thoughts

I've been pondering the realities and perceptions of life lately.  I'm struck by the ironic.  I'm puzzled by the idealism that turns to the just-get-through-it.  I can say that in one sense I'm disappointed by people.  And life.  In another sense, I'm truly inspired. 

Take my life, for instance.  When I was in college, I was going to make a difference - a real difference in the world.  I would be the best teacher.  I would sacrifice myself to bring knowledge and wisdom and knowledge of salvation to students around the world.  Here I am,  muddling through my days teaching two young ones how to pick their clothes off of the floor and how to remember their manners.  And yet....I can truly say that I'm happy.  Oh, I'm crazy tired and even frustrated often.  But somehow doing something great is taking the form of doing something infintesimal - like a homeopathic remedy whose power is in its infinitely small dose.  Its like humanity is shown for what it is - raw, seemingly insignificant.  And then, it isn't.  It is touched by God.  When?  How did that happen?  How can what I do matter when everything I've tried to do I've botched with my human - ness?

 Take Thomas Kinkaid.  I was deeply saddened to learn of his tragic passing.  I've always liked his work.  His art wasn't my most favorite because it seemed to be from a world I couldn't identify with.  But I wanted to.  I loved his "Painter of Light"  phenomenon.  It lit something warm and idealistic in me.  I had an ideal view of him after I read years ago that his wife's name was Nanette and that he liked to hide an "N" somewhere in his paintings in honor of her.  I was inspired when I learned that his family of four daughters had a tradition of sitting around their living room in the evenings, each absorbed in their own book.  I tucked that lovely picture in my heart and saved it for what I wanted my own family's evenings to look like - some day.

Then I learned of the most tragic part.  He'd slipped back into alcoholism and was reportedly drinking all night with his girlfriend.  Really?  My ideal was shattered.  What happened to the warm, cosy family circle?  And, really, I don't want to know.  So he was human.  He still touched my life.  I'm sad for him and for his family.  But, it doesn't change what he did to make the world a better place.

Then, take Peter.  I read in the Scriptures this morning about the night Jesus was confronted with His betrayer.  Here he is, standing there, the epitome of God-turned-vulnerable.  By choice.  The mob comes to Him and it seems he is standing there, peaceful, desperately wanting the God-love, the beauty and grace and LOVE principle of his kingdom to shine through.  And suddenly, out of nowhere - SHWAK!!! One of HIS followers, one who has spent the last three years learning how to represent this kingdom of LOVE draws his sword, glinting sickening in the moonlight and whacks off an ear!  Nice!  Just what Jesus wanted - a perfect MISrepresenting of his kingdom.

How can good be so limited by our human condition?  Why, despite our greatest ideals do we let down what we want so badly?  And yet.  Somehow there is hope.  There is good that divinity brings out.  Out of the middle of our broken plans.  Our addictions.  Our tempers.  Not because of these things.  In spite of them.

So, I look at my children.  I look at the grand plans I've failed in.  How does one raise a boy who is so beautifully gifted and so very human at the same time? How do you teach a girl who is fabulous and human?  I suppose, the same way I get through my life, my faulty thinking.  Trying.  Failing.  Trying again.  Brilliant success.  Oops.  Maybe not.  But, its o.k., because we are o.k.  Even in the imperfect.  Thank heaven for grace! - Nanette

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Our Latest Addition

Fluffy is our latest addition and is proving to be the provider of quite an amount of comic relief!
 That's Laughing Water's parakeets under there, poor things!
 Caught in the act and none too pleased!

 Royalty personified....
 Life is just...a pot of pansies.  (They actually survived!)
Let's play dead!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Computer is Fixed!

At long last my computer is fixed.  It is a bit temporary as it is getting quite old, but it is fixed for now.  I don't have to wait for eons for pictures to download now, so hopefully it will encourage me to post more often.

Life here has been filled with so much!  Here are a few snapshots....
 I've been on a bit of a health kick again.  I love my Champion Juicer and have been using it to make fresh vegetable/apple juice.  I love serving my family a glass of delicious, enzyme-rich goodness.  I've also been making "ice cream" in the Champion using only frozen bananas and berries.  (I want to try some frozen peaches.)  Then we top it with walnuts and/or chocolate sauce.
 We continue to do the long-distance family thing.  The wood artist is still trucking in the oilfields.  We miss him terribly, but, after looking at our options, we don't feel that relocating the family there is a good idea, either.  I don't know how long this arrangement will last.  We are thankful for the work and look forward to the day when we can be together again.
 The last time The Wood Artist left on the train, this is what it looked like at the train station.  It was snowing so hard.  He had to shovel a path so he could get on the train.
 We took two weeks for spring break this year.  I had had great plans for creativity and relaxation, but I ended up cooking almost the entire time!  The Wood Artist keeps a small freezer in North Dakota and I do my best to keep it full of healthy food so that he has plenty to eat.  I've learned that he mostly needs food that he can hold in one hand and eat while he drives, so I've had to come up with all kinds of ways to put a variety of food in tortillas and bread.  I've taken to making "hot pockets" and fill them with lentils, spinach/feta, or potato curry.  I've also learned that there are many sandwiches I can make and freeze ahead of time
Last week we filled our car with boxes of freshly frozen food and headed for North Dakota.  We arrived the evening of The Wood Artist's birthday as a surprise.  I  called him and talked to him for about the last 45 minutes of the trip.  Then I told him that I was turning onto the driveway.  He, of course, thought I meant our driveway.  I told him that I would call him soon.  Then we parked the car in a hidden place and raced toward the door with a big birthday cake.  The look on his face was spectacular!  So fun!

Now, he is coming in on the train tonight.  He tells me that during this break, he is going to work on the bed he's been planning for over a decade!  If his plans are an indication of anything, it will be as amazing as the Taj MaCoop!  I'll keep you posted!  - Nanette