Land Ahoy!

the rock ledge is starting to peek through

The water is receding and land is beginning to emerge.  I actually saw roads today that I hadn’t seen in a couple of weeks.  All our water is moving down to Memphis wreaking havoc on those poor people down there.  Our poor people up here are now in the throes of starting over:  either moving to a new home or tearing up floor coverings, cutting away walls, and pulling out insulation.

They are throwing away things they didn’t have time to salvage and cleaning and bleaching what they think they can.  The trash that was floating all over the place is now getting left behind on the roadways and in the yards.

a small amount of debris

Today I saw some tires, huge trees, a swimming pool, and general debris.  The trees and shrubs are all brown where they were sitting in water, and now the water has gone down.  I’m not sure if that is mud or dead leaves.

It’s going to be odd to see the Fish Dock, as we call it, the floating restaurant in the photo to the right, back down to it’s normal water level instead of eye level with the homes.  The road actually goes down a steep hill to the river, and then there is a plank that people walk down to get to the boat.  Right now it may be higher than the homes.

God speed to those who are rebuilding.

When It Starts Coming Together…

the tongue helps... really, it does

Giving piano lessons is one of the neatest things about getting the baby grand.  Of course, I wanted the grand for me, but I also didn’t want to give piano lessons on the little spinet I had.  (won’t give a brand name of the little spinet, but it’s just not a good piano)  And I did want to give lessons.  We need some new piano blood in our church.  Vickie and I aren’t getting any younger.

totally focused

Emily is eight, and I am priming her for the church pianist.  She just started a couple of months ago, serious lessons, and she’s doing great.  I love to watch her throw her hands out to the sides to calm herself down for the new pieces.  And I love to watch her when she’s really practiced hard and knows her lesson well.

now she's getting it

Today’s lesson, the new lesson, was the theme from the Mickey Mouse Club.  It looks hard at first until she plays through it a couple of times.  Then she sees that really can get it.

oh, yeah!!

And she really  likes it when we play the piece together.  We played a duet of Old McDonald today.  She was fantastic and very happy as she played it with me.

It’s just such fun when it all starts coming together.

Workin’ the Dirt

I think I did more work than Kate did

Kate and I were out planting and digging and got very dirty.  When we came in, we compared feet to see who got the dirtiest.  She says she did.  I think I did.  I even got a blister on my baby piggy!  I don’t know how that happened because I was wearing flipflops.  We used to call those thongs when I was little, but now if you say you wore thongs to the store, people look at you kind of funny.

I had to take the bottom to prove she was dirtier

Ah, feet.  Some of the most useful things around.

Plant Lessons for Life

If you read my blog, then you remember the post about the death of my beautiful plants. (boohooing at this point)  Today I finally took the dead things out off the porch into the backyard for burial.  It was actually going to be a cremation after I had salvaged all the dirt from the pots, and then pulled the useless, lifeless roots out and shook the remaining dirt over the yard.  (my Mom taught me to be frugal)

In memory of their once vibrant lives that brought such pleasure to me and other visitors to my backyard paradise, I took pics of them.

my once green, full-leaved rubber plant

They used to have full green leaves until I left them out to freeze to death while I sunned on the Florida beaches.  I’m still somewhat ashamed, perhaps, a little.  That sun just felt so good; those waves were so wonderful.  Those plants were so far from my mind… until I got home and saw the little darlings.  I cut them back, ready for the dirt dumping.

I could wire a fake plant to these branches

As I was digging out the dirt, I noticed in the big pot that had held the rubber plant a small green thing.  What in the world?  A bug?

I couldn’t believe my eyes!  It was sprouting a new little leaf, way down at the base of the plant.  WOW.  So I checked the other corpse also waiting for cremation, and there it was:  LIFE.

the rubber plant putting out a sprout

As I stood there amazed at these little plants I had given up for dead, deemed useless to me and the world, was about to throw them out like the trash I had decided they were, God’s gentle, loving presence infused me with the knowledge that we are those dead plants.  Our lives can be destroyed to the point of death, and we still fight to live, beginning anew with the smallest step.  We decide who is useless to the world, who has had enough chances, who is too irritating, ugly, mean-spirited, drunk, drugged, or needy… and throw them out like trash.

But… (I always love this “but” part in the Bible) God is the giver of life, and though we see something dead or useless, God sees a sprig of beauty and new growth deep within the marrow of the soul.

Let us not throw away something precious until we look as closely as God looks.

the new beginning

Tina Fey in Time for Mother’s Day

from “THE MOTHER’S PRAYER FOR ITS DAUGHTER”

. . . May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not  the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half and stick with Beer. Guide her, protect her. When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off  escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel  intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.

What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, dammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers. O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with this little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

Amen.

~ Tina Fey

I absolutely loved this and had to put it on here for Mother’s Day.  So, to all the women who have mothered someone along the way, whether it’s a child or an adult (as my sis does me), then have a great day May the 8th.  The world needs mothering.

Matilda Hogbottom and Friends

Tonight was a fun-filled night full of good food with a bunch of good ladies.  Little Chapel Church was host to a bunch of women who got to enjoy hearing Matilda Hogbottom give us three defense techniques.  They were great and were accompanied by the defense moves (Karate Kid comes to mind).

Matilda Hogbottom

She came with her floaties on her arms, her water mask on her face, and her pool noodle.  After all, there is a flood going on up here.  She had the rather remarkable boots to go with the rest of the get-up.

Matilda explained that gossip discussing people’s problems was “Perfectly awl riiiight” because it helped us to pray for them better.  She then proceeded to regale us with tales from the preacher’s wife to the church secretary that were as far-fetched as they were funny.  My cheeks are still hurting from laughing so hard.

Her friends, Vergie Faye and Eugene, were there as well.  Two old farts who were discussing their newly acquired knowledge of the internet, their salsa dance lessons in keeping with the spirit of “Cinco de Mayo” as in mayonnaise, complete with the jar of mayo.  They, too, had me in stitches.

It feels good to laugh… to laugh at wholesome comedy… my endorphines are happy.

Back to the Flooding…my basement to be exact

It could be that I’ve mentioned this — that my basement flooded really badly about three years ago or so, and I have not yet recuperated from that horrible experience of staying up for three days to empty shop vacs, sleeping 10 minutes at a time — but in case I didn’t,  it was absolutely horrible!

no sleep!

And then it did it again a week later.  My beloved sister came that time and helped me, or I would have had a major nervous breakdown.  I will never get over the trauma!  So now every time there is a drop of water on the basement floor during a deluge, I freak totally out.

Except for tonight.  When I stepped on the throw rug at the bottom of the stairs and it went squish, I didn’t even freak.  Just asked God, “What do you think I’m made of?  Why do you think I can handle all this?  Because, truly, I cannot.”  Still waiting on the reply.  Right now I’m too tired to care… plus it is barely leaking, just soaked all the rugs and a few other items.  Nothing like the river that ran “the other time,” as I think of it.

Still, that is nothing compared to sandbagging and more sandbagging to try to save your home, and the water overtaking it anyway, before you have a chance to get everything out that you needed to get out.  Our high school kids have been volunteering their time to fill the bags and help any way they can.

let's hope they hold

The ground is so soft, full of water.  There is nowhere on the face of this earth that I would consider “safe.”  Earthquakes, mud slides, floods, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, lightening…

I’m glad I know Jesus.