Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sunset Hike

Turtle and I went hiking last night out north of town. By the looks of that piled up cloud ahead, we were risking a storm, but that didn't deter us at all.

In fact, if our getting soaked on a hike means rain has come at last, we are up to the sacrifice.

Anyway, true to form for any trip with Turtle, we left a little later than we wanted to, so our planned four-mile endeavor turned into a hurried three-mile jaunt, with the last mile rather nervously trudged along an old railroad track... within the range of coyote yips.

For the first mile, we walked between two pastures: one full of bored black cattle and the other full of the setting sun. I kept stopping to take pictures and getting hit by turtle, who was carrying a twenty-five pound pack.

He's getting ready for a real hike with some friends--a backpacking excursion in the mighty Ozarks, back where there are real streams and roads that go up and down and around bends. So far there are four or five men going, and most of them are in great physical shape.
I'm a little worried about Turtle keeping up with them. However, he assures me that he won't have any trouble. His twenty-five pound pack will be lighter than what he has been carrying on his body for the last five years.

Turtle's lost thirty pounds since January. However, he hasn't been exercising at all, so his muscles and bones were complaining a little yesterday evening. As for the hike? Well, he'll plod along behind, I'm sure, but then he's always been a plodder. We didn't just randomly pick Turtle for his nickname.

This evening we'll try it again, hiking out into the country. Maybe there'll be another beautiful sunset or promising storm. I'll carry a little backpack myself, maybe fifteen pounds or so. There's no use in over doing it.
 So, what will I carry in it? I think some bear mace, a squirt bottle full of ammonia for coyotes, a snakebite kit, and a sturdy stick to knock the rattlers off the railroad tracks. 

I'm a real wilderness gal.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Foggy Morning Blurs the Sun

As I was leaving the house for school this morning, my phone rang. It was Zack, one of the sophomores who drives from this direction toward school.

He said, over a patchy cell phone line: "Uh, you might want to go the south way to school today...down by the bridge... there's some--and then his voice cut out entirely.
Well, I could tell by his tone that this wasn't about a terrible accident, so I knew:  he shares my love of the scenery, and today must be a gorgeous one for a camera.

I took the southern route.

At first I could only see a red glow, then a muffled sun, rising in cloudy soup.

Before long, however, I made out great patches of fog that had settled noiselessly into all the low-lying areas.

Down by the river, I dove into a dark tunnel of the stuff.

Then the road began to climb, and I emerged to the beauty of higher fields--sheeted in thin wisps of fog that reflected the sun like gold.

Such a beautiful morning!

Thanks, Zach. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Where are the April Showers?

It's spring, right? There should be gentle rain and green pastures, not these spiky, dry trees with no energy for opening their green umbrellas
We are in the middle of a drought...a serious prairie fire-hazard that rivals that of the old dust bowl days when acres of farmland simply blew away and deposited themselves in the jungles of Arkansas and Alabama.
I chanced upon this little dugout today--an old house once used by a tough, persistent pioneer.
If he were around, he'd just call this a dry spell.

High up there, the sky is blue and it spawns fast clouds that fluff around empty--clouds without water, like St. Jude's apostate teachers, just great puffs of promise that never satisfy a thirst for life.

Everybody here is praying for rain.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

This is where we all get it...

This is a recent chat from our family page. I guess you can see where we get that compulsion for clarity in language.

Dad has another app't. Thurs. at the foot Dr.'s in Amarillo.He is going to remove the toe nails on  both big toes. He says he knows how to do it so it won't hurt.We shall see!!

I sure hope they have come up with a way to do that. Be sure to keep us posted on it. Is he planning on driving over there and back home again with the newly removed toenails?


Dad says he's driving back without the newly removed toenails. He said he would leave them there. :)

He may not feel so sassy once they are gone! :) I can drive him if you need. Please tell him so.

Funny Daddy. Let us know. It will be nice for him to not have the irritated toes anymore. And yes, I realize that he'll have the toes. Just not irritated ones.

Daylight Savings Time

That means I get to see more sunrises...just when you thought I'd be forced to take pictures of something else or start going to school an hour earlier. I like the fiery look of this one.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Reluctant Messenger

I never wanted to be a pastor’s wife. In fact I’m very sure I told my young fiancĂ© years ago that it was something I could never do. He shrugged it off with a laugh and assured me that I wouldn’t have to worry about that. We would probably spend our days in foreign places, teaching people who were poor and desperately seeking hope, a prospect that held no terrors for me.

Having been raised by missionary parents who valued spiritual possessions more than material, I was never quite at home in America and certainly not ready to embrace a system of values which exalted fashion over character. It seemed to me that I would make an impatient listener, and my confrontational tendencies might wreak havoc should I be presented with a spoiled congregation. The pastors' wives I had observed during our furlough visits were of different types. Some were perfectly coiffed and manicured ladies, formidable, domineering figures, who ran the ladies’ social groups with diplomacy and iron. The rest were still-smiling but exhausted women who balanced the needs of their families and sometimes their jobs with the demands of the ladies’ social groups. It seemed to me that they all played the piano—by ear, in whatever key the song leader requested—and sang alto, or tenor if the occasion demanded. They could cook marvelously, teach any-aged class, organize large groups of chattering women, coordinate “darling” baby showers and fellowship pot-lucks with equal aplomb. They printed bulletins, filed sermon notes, even preached, if their husbands suddenly came down with tick-fever or laryngitis. They visited the sick and left little gifts of home-made apricot jelly.

In short, my list of qualifications was woefully inadequate. True, I could teach any-aged group and sing alto—as long as someone showed me how the notes went, if they weren’t half steps and abrupt, oddly-placed naturals after a cataract of rapid sharps. But my cooking was either burned or doughy, my piano playing repertoire consisted of one song, Amazing Grace—and that one was pretty terribly "amazing". I didn’t really want to preach to a whole congregation, and I didn’t and still don’t like organizing large groups of anybody. Surely God would understand that!

Yesterday, our congregation threw a surprise celebration for our tenth anniversary of being their pastors. Looking out at my closest friends, I thanked God, once again, that they are unspoiled, generous, and simply marvelous folks: they play piano, and organ, and sing alto and tenor. They organize breakfasts, coordinate showers, make quilts, do book work and benevolence work, and make gorgeous coconut cream pies. They let me do what I love to do—teach—and they put up with me in choir.

Years ago, Turtle and I realized that we weren’t called to do everything.
We were just called to be messengers, and the message is more important than our meeting ideal standards. We teach the message…and we love the congregation; everything else just falls into place.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Children's Church Stories

It was Gracie's turn to pick the story today. She stretched as tall as she could and reached Zacchaeus-- I found it rather ironic...

After the older children left, the little ones and I played with play-dough. The girls made birds's nests, eggs and mother chickens.
I know that doesn't have very much to do with Zacchaeus, but hey, he did climb a tree. There might have been a bird's nest up there.

Gavin, however, made a snail...and a nice one too, with antennae and a proper looking tail. He proudly posed for his picture. Then, while I was taking pictures of the girls' handiwork, something happened:

A "car" ran over the snail.  Gavin was delighted. Ah does it go "Tire tread and snails, and puppy dog tails?"

Red Bud Trees

"There sure are a lot of those blue trees beside the road," remarked my husband, as we drove out in the spring countryside.

"Blue? Where?"

"There's one now. Right there."

"Those are not blue. They're purplish-pink."

"That's what Claye said. Still, they look blue to me."

Turtle has a "red" deficiency color-blindness, so I guess if you take the red from purple that leaves blue.

They're called red bud trees. I wonder why. Shouldn't they be pinkish, purplish bud trees?
Turtle would have called them "blue bud trees."