I’m No Angel and Never Will Be

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Snapchat is such fun!!!  I have been having a ball posting those short videos to Facebook about the deer committing suicide (deer season) because they wait on the side of the highway until a person gets right up even with them, and then they bound out either in front of the vehicle or smack dab into the side of it.  W.E.I.R.D.

My deer motto:  Kill them all!  Eat hearty!

There is a reason I dislike deer so very much.  Too many people have died as they tried to avoid these animals or from the result of hitting them.  My friend, Bob, an Indian motorcycle enthusiast, was killed by a deer doing one of the things he loved most:  riding his Indian motorcycle.  It came out of the trees as he cruised along one morning and either ran into him or right in front of him.  He laid that beloved motorcycle down trying to get away from the deer.  But the deer won.  The trauma was too much for his body.

Now, here is the whole purpose of telling you about Bob and why I will never be an angel.  Bob was a believer and a follower of Jesus the Christ as am I.  He struggled with stuff as do I and most other believers that I know.  Those things range anywhere from saying something we know we shouldn’t to you name it.  Those things break the good relationship, the good friendship, the joyful association, between Christ and us unless and until we acknowledge that, yes, that was sin, and we are sorry.  It does not, however, take away my salvation nor take away my assurance that what Jesus did for me, and what I accepted as truth and embraced for eternity, can ever be jerked away.

God the Father, our adopted Dad, forgives and gives us peace about making that wise choice.  God the Son is joyous that his sister or brother has made a leap in her/his faith and walk with him.  God the Spirit breathes easy for his work was accomplished, that nudging to recognize sin as sin, no matter how large or small.

And so, you see, when I die, I will be in Heaven with Jesus.  I will be walking by his side and talking with him and enjoying in the most profound sense his essence, his glory.  I will not be an angel.  I will not gain my wings.  As a believer and child of God, I will be so much more than an angel.  Scripture says believers will judge angels for we are the sons and daughters of God.  Only we human beings are made in the image of God; not angels.

If you have someone who has moved to Heaven already, as I have, then you can rejoice in your great sorrow because you know without a doubt that they have surpassed getting wings.  They are in the presence of Jesus in a very close and personal way as we cannot experience here on this limited earth.

And sometimes… perhaps those now unfettered by time or space people we love check in on us now and then.  Or perhaps they send angels to do that job for them.  Either way is fine with me.  I just know that someone is.

And when they are not, this little angel is:  my Ava.

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My little angel

 

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May you have a happy new year!

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Open Letter to Mr. Warren Buffet

This little blog doesn’t make much difference in the world.  Not like your billions can.  All those billions you are dedicating to philanthropy.

Will this money go to better schools and universities?  I’ve read where some of your club members — for that really is all your giving pledge group is, a club for billionaires to pat themselves on the back that they aren’t really keeping all that wealth –have already given to the sports programs at universities.  I’m sure their name is on a building somewhere as it rightly should be.  They did give the money to that sports program.  I’ve also read where some have already given to Harvard for molecular causes of disease research and another to Cornell for medical research.

Will this money be given to the arts?  Perhaps to the schools in rural counties that can’t afford any type of art program, or music program, or dance program, or, well, any program except basic classroom classes.  Will there be a head honcho who decides who is in more need of these pledged billions?  Say, Harvard or Gallatin County K-12?

Will this money go to provide a stronger foundation of learning where it needs to be strong:  In the elementary schools, in the poor communities in dire need of funds,  in the high schools in these same types of communities?  These areas are where you will find your future Americans that will one day buy the products and use the services that made you the billionaires you are today.  Perhaps one of those industrious persons will become a hedge fund manager themselves someday and boost their rags to riches stories.  Anything can happen when one is given opportunity and has a drive for the bigger and the better.

The word “opportunity” is why I write this open letter that you will never see.

Most of the giving of the $373.25 billion dollars in private giving is given by U. S. citizens.   (http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm/bay/content.view/cpid/42)

The giving per income level and amount given may rival your mighty pledges.  The boasting of your wealth sickened me from the very first media outpouring.  The fact that you are proudly giving your money away to charity also sickens me.  I and my friends give to charity.  With our paltry earnings we give substantial sums to charity.  We will never have a wing of a university with our name emblazoned on it, but we may have given a child in our local school system a chance to go to Washington D.C.  We may not be able to help with finding a cure for a dreaded disease, but we may have helped a family who has someone with that dreaded disease to eat and pay the bills.  We may not be able to provide opportunities for those in the arts to progress and sell their wares so to speak, but we have provided those who have lost their jobs with smaller, less-paying  jobs to provide for some of their needs.

This country needs less of your charity, Mr. Buffett, and more of your ingenious money-making ideas that will benefit its citizens, not just you and your chosen few. My first thought when I heard of your glorified club was Why doesn’t he take that money and provide incomes for people?

Build factories wherein  you don’t make one dime, but the people working in it do.

Provide those gum-selling opportunities where people are given the chance to sell their wares with less risk and more gain.

Give children the chance to learn well: The chance to use new books instead of the hand-me-downs of classes and classes before them; the chance to see the world with a field trip that’s beyond the public park; the chance to embrace those arts you speak of so highly with an arts program in their school.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.  A man with your mental acuity, your influence on your billionaire buddies and their mental acuity, and all those billions you all are just eagerly waiting to give away should be enough to create jobs as well as promote all those things you want your billions to promote.

We need jobs, Mr. Buffett.  Can you and your cronies not come up with this fantastic Giving Pledge to constructively help the backbone of America?small town 2

You want a museum in which to give a billion?  Visit any small community whose coal mines are closing and businesses have dried up and blown away.  Visit any river town whose docks are closed and boat traffic floated off.  Visit any rural county.  Visit any rural school.

I thought this article by thedailybeast right on point.  I’ve been thinking this sentiment ever since your high and mighty giving pledge.

“Perhaps the most troubling issues posed by the Gates-Buffett crusade is its potential to intensify the inequities that exist both in the nonprofit world and in the rest of society.” wrote Pablo Eisenberg, senior fellow at Georgetown’s Public Policy Institute, in a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy column. “Foundations, corporations, and other forms of institutional philanthropy tend to favor the nation’s most-privileged citizens and neglect the neediest people and organizations.”  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/08/06/buffet-pledge-where-the-billions-will-go.html

my sis and her stickie self

My sis has a selfie stick.  She got it last year and tried perfecting her selfie skill while we were in Hilton Head.  So we got all kinds of cool selfies.

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She got really good at it by the time we left as evidenced by the above pic with our bikes.  It was rather hilarious on the first selfie shoot though.  Notice the subtle differences from beginning to end.IMG_0916 IMG_0917

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You would think we were a bunch of old grannies trying to figure out some new-fangled gizmo.  And how did Mom get in that picture?

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I think she gave up after this one.  The kind waiter snapped these of her valiant effort to accomplish a miracle.  She could do a mean two-gal selfie, though, by the end of the meal.IMG_0925

And now I think she should go selfie pro!  Look at this shot:IMG_0932

 

A Delightful Day

It’s not often I can get the wild ones to hold still for a photo or two.  Ava usually cringes and puts her hand in front of her face.  Kate shows me her, um, backside.  So when we accidentally wondered into the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique in Disney when we were down there in May, into the Photo Opportunity portion of the Boutique, the girls lit up.  This wasn’t any old picture-taking by their old granny!  This was the real thing!

There was a photographer there (older than ME I might add) and a fainting couch to pose upon with a blue backdrop.  Oh, yeah.  They had hit the big time.  So they posed and smiled and never once acted like they did not want their picture taken.  And being the good granny that she was (I am almost certain) the photographer asked me to join them on some pics.  And they were actually happy to have me in them.

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I guess this was the highlight of my trip!

Girls hugging I mean… they even HUGGED!!!

Posing.  Unbelievable!

The new plan is to get me a vest like the ones they wore in Disney, hang my camera around my neck, and see if I can’t get them to do this for me.

If I had known we were walking into a photo shoot, we might have doodied up a bit.

Scooter Scandal

Kate on scooter

She flies as fast as it will go.  If it had a pedal, it would be on the metal.  I have a real premonition that she is going to take after her Gigi and her momma.  Kate has already received her first ticket from one of our observant and kind and considerate police officers  (which I must thank for doing such a good job) as  she was scooting around on the mall, being her nosy little  self.

Kate and ticket

The defendant looks like she’s been in the pokey all night!

Isn’t there some saying about being nosy getting one into trouble?!!!

On Being A Gigi

This past New Year’s Day, almost all the family was able to get together.  In a previous blog I wrote about that and let you see for yourselves with some pictures.  I had planned and prepared, everyone shared talents or enjoyed watching someone else’s talent, games were played, food was eaten, presents passed out by the little ones, and the day was just great.  All the wee ones were happy as well as the not-so-wee ones.

As the day progressed,  there were nine grands (ten if we count little Will who is just starting to say words — I claim them all) yelling “Gigi” for one reason or another.  “Look at this.”  “I have two talents.” “Thank you for my gift.” “Watch me.”  “Can you get me (insert anything you can think of)?”  “I have to go to the bathroom.”  “Can you help me (insert anything you can think of)?”  “How do you (insert anything you can think of)?”

Way back in 2002 I became a Gigi (pronounced geegee not jeejee) when my sweet Jack was born, my great-nephew.  I didn’t know I was going to be a Gigi; I just knew I loved that boy and he loved me and we were going to have something very, very special.

And we did.  So I began to search for a name for the special relationship, finally settling on Aunt Granny.  I saw it at Dollywood, a restaurant or snack shop.

Food =  Comfort = Aunt Granny.

Then my sweet Sam came along, and I fell in love all over again.  I had two sweethearts instead of one.

It was about that time that little Jack started trying to say things such as “Aunt Granny.”  Only it came out Gigi.  At least that’s how we spell it.  The two grannies in his life, his Aunt Granny and his great-grandma who everyone already called Granny were now Gigis.  His grandma, my sis, was to be called Mawmaw which worked out very well because he could pronounce that.

From then on I was Gigi, and when my sweet girls, Kate and Ava, came along they picked up on Jack and Sam calling me Gigi, and that’s what they called me as well.

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In the big teacup five years ago.

We are a close family and spend as much time as we can with each other (which was quite a lot at that particular time in my life) so it was very common for my grandgirls to hear the name Gigi often; thus using it themselves.

These little ones brought such joy to my life, and we played and played and played and… you get the picture.

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My little-to-big Punkins

The Last Tide

my sweet nephews

Along came Charlotte, Owen, Maci, Henry, Nia, and now little Will.  Each one has enriched my life and brought me great joy.The Last Tide

I have had the opportunity to play with them, spend time with them, have lots and lots of fun with them.  We swim in the backyard, dance on holidays (or any time because I love to dance), play board games or make-believe and dress-up, make tents, spend time in the sunflower house, play tag or hide-and-seek, read books, have sleep-overs.  If I can’t think of something, they can.

Oh, the make-believe!  Jack has my fun, make-believe gene, and that boy can lead the pack in superhero play or make a jungle out of a blah backyard or create ninja warriors (girl and boy ninjas) or have an awesome hide-and-seek game.  Anything he starts, the rest of them follow.  Our own pied piper.  He is older now but still takes time to play with them.  And they all love him.  The superhero cousin.

He has all the makings of a Gigi.

At the end of all the New Year’s Day festivities, as we were all settling down, packing up presents and food, Maci turned to her Mawmaw and said,

“How do you get to be a Gigi?”

Maci and nails

 

 

Putting Together Memories

For Christmas, I went to Shutterfly to make a really cool Christmas gift for my brother and two sisters.  Since so many of our memories of Mom are surrounded by her cooking for us, I wanted to make a cookbook of some of our favorites of Mom’s cooking.  It turned out great!

Mom's cookbook

Mom was a really good cook and cooked for whoever would show up for lunch, or she would bribe us with fried chicken and dumplings to come on weekends.

Surrounded by grandkids at Christmas 001 Her utmost joy was derived from feeding and caring the best she could for her children.  And her grandchildren.  And her great-grandchildren.

She might mutter and complain about Jillsurprise party 1972 with Jill 002 not knowing what good food was as she made her the requested grilled cheese while bowls of delicious food (mashed potatoes and dumplings and home-canned green beans and Mom’s  coleslaw to name a few) sat on the table ready to be gobbled up by the rest of us.  Just her way of saying, “I love you.”

Those were hard words to say by a little girl raised in the depression to become the hard-working woman who didn’t have time for frivolity.  Not often anyway.  Every once in a while if we begged she would get up and do what she called “The Shawneetown Stomp” with my older sister.  It was great!!  She would laugh and dance, and so would we.  At least try to dance.  Mom was a great dancer.  So is Tish.  And they looked awesome together!

Mom used to tell stories about growing up in her family, the hardships.  As it does most people, that upbringing weaved its way into who she became.  It caused her to worry about having the money for a home and food.  She was frugal, very frugal.  Yet I still had a beautiful dress for prom and homecoming that she made from royal blue velvet material.  We still managed to get high school class rings, probably wanting us to have one because she didn’t make it through high school.  Each of the girls had piano lessons, something she would have been good at considering her lovely voice when she sang and her rhythm when she danced.

And, of course, the only boy in the family received a really cool car on his 16th birthday.  (No, I’m not mad about it anymore.  Not that I ever was, really.  Well, maybe a little.  But not anymore.  Hardly.)

A few of Mom’s recipes, most in her own handwriting, were included.  This dumpling recipe was from the sessions Mom and I had as she tried to teach me how to make them.  She was too weak by then to roll them out, but she sure enjoyed sitting there teaching me, smiling ear to ear.Mom's Dumplings 001

There was a little bit of history of Mom’s family because they were a close bunch of sisters.  And like my own family, one boy in all those girls.  (Did I mention that my brother wrecked that really cool car by jumping over the levee and breaking it right in half?”  Not that that bothers me or anything anymore.)

So along with pictures of kids and grandkids and recipes, I included a few pics like this one:Logsdon Siblings circa 1930s 001And just so we wouldn’t forget that once upon a time our Mom had a Amy & Churnie 1947 001real life, a life with laughter and flirtation, I included some like this one.

Being the middle child in a family of four children, my characteristics and qualities have been woven in ways such as those that made my Mom into who she was.  And that is why on the back of the book I put a really good picture of me and a not-so-really great picture of the rest of them.

My brother is the one in the silly birthday hat.  And I only used that picture because it was one of the best I had of him.  Not at all because I may still be just a tad incensed by the fact that he got a car on his 16th birthday, and I did not. Mom's cookbook back

If you want a free book, here is the link for you to get one.  https://invite-shutterfly.com/x/SOm1IE

Noaming

No, the title is not supposed to be “roaming;” however, it is sort of like roaming.  When we go a “roaming,” we learn all sort of things, discover wonders, revisit once-discovered favorites, learn something new, see something we haven’t seen before… the list is long.

So as I have moments of time during this day, I plug in my earphones and listen to/watch Noam Chomsky.  I may or may not agree with all he says, but listening to his perspective and educated opinions causes me to question some of the opinions I may have had or bolsters some that I still have.   Those opinions that we make based in feeling, tradition, or the biased/ distorted media.

Here is just a little sample:

One video leads to another to another to another.  And from Professor Chomsky, I then want to see the opinions of other learned people, people that really, truly know what’s going on in the world and know  who is/are making the decisions.  I want to find out just exactly what the decisions are that are being made and how those decision affect the world.

I will warn you:  It’s addictive to watch these types of things that inform and develop independent thinking, perhaps provide a thought outside the box of memes on Facebook.

But so worth it.

 

 

The Clan

checking the photo booth

checking the photo booth

We are Scottish, Irish, English, and some sort of ancestry with high cheekbones in their DNA from somewhere.  Our sense of humor and love for pranks and making up musical ditties attest to at least part of the origin of the clan.  The DNA test that Ancestry.com offers may solve the mystery to the rest.  I’ve been contemplating swabbing my mouth and sending my DNA off to be analyzed just to see where my ancestors trod once upon a time.  Just for the heck of it, the fun of solving the origin mystery and maybe creating a couple more mysteries.

All of us, the siblings and the young’ns, (most of them anyway) got together for a New Year’s Day Reunion/late Christmas Get-Together.  It was great!!

Ava unloading presents

Ava unloading presents

Santa had left a bunch of presents!!  So Ava helped put them under the BIG tree.  It was a madhouse for just a bit as the girls passed out gifts to everyone.

Darla with hubby Dave

Darla with hubby Dave

The talent show was exceptional this year with blues singers accompanied by the guitar as well as acapella; original songs written by the participants; a hover board exhibition; Watch Me Whip/Nae Nae dance routines; a chorus of girls singing Jingle Bells; gymnastics and ballet.  I am expecting more to be on the program for next year.  We are a talented bunch in this clan.

It took a little coaxing to get some of the kiddos out there while  others had two or three things planned to do.  We had no agenda and no idea who would do what.  Most of it was spur of the moment and turned out awesome!

Kate and Nia

Kate and Nia

Hover board hotties

Hover board hotties

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Charlotte, Kate, Nia, Maci, Ava

Blues Player Dave

Blues Player Dave with Henry taking everything in.

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“Sant Won’t You Give Me the Scoop”

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This girl rocks!!

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watch me whip

Stanky Leg

Stanky Leg

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Maci gets down to Watch me Whip.  Her brother, Owen, was awesome as well, but somehow I don’t have his picture.  Charlotte, the ballerina in the clan, was also  whipping and nae-naeing.  Yeah.  That doesn’t look like a word to me either.  Even little Henry, the pre-K kid, was stanky-legging!

Then there is always the game of “Write Down One Thing Nobody Knows About You.”  Little Ava won this year with her “I have been a mile underground.”  We have a few coal miners, so of course everyone guessed all of them first.  Nos abounded.  They were clueless, and would never have guessed if not for the big grin on Ava’s face and her sister seeing it.  Sisters just know when the other one is up to something.  We had gone to Ruby Falls in Tennessee last summer which had taken  us deep into the earth. Darla used the same one she used last year (she has to have some excitement in her life this year!).  And we should have all gotten “I am a word Nazi” right off the bat (Keely) but had to guess a while for some reason.  We all know how she loves to read!  Mike returned the joke “fact” Davy put in the pot about Mike last year with a “fact” of his own about Davy this year.  We were all staring at Davy in disbelief for just a brief minute!

Rutherford clan

Rutherford clan

Donny and Keely

Donny and Keely

Benna and Amanda

Benna and Amanda

Part of the Martin clan, Wes, Darla and Will

Part of the Martin clan, Wes, Darla and Will

Nate and KaLee

Nate and KaLee

Mike, Steve, Julie, Amanda, Benna eating, drinking, and being merry

Mike, Steve, Benny, Julie, Amanda, Benna eating, drinking, and being merry

Turning the garage into a party zone wasn’t too hard with the help of the cheap 25-cent red plastic tablecloths for the “stage” and some white disposable tablecloths for covering up all the garage junk.  Wah-la!!  Pristine white temporary walls!

There was enough food for the 30 people and enough desserts to fill our tummies.  We started the year off right with black-eyed peas and cornbread and cabbage on the menu as well. (Thanks to Donny, the cook, for the latter two.)

It was good to catch up, to see how the kiddos had grown, to reminisce, to laugh at each other and with each other, to tell tales of old and some of new on one another, to meet some of the new people in the clan this year and yell a little louder at some of the older people in the clan.

We are a clan of game players, a clan of laughers.  So after the last game that involved some  fast and furious thinking up sounds, one-word clues, and actions, we were beginning to settle down.  That’s when the grown-ups ventured over to the photo booth.  The kids found it early on and had already created images and movies galore!  I would so love to put the video of Nia on here with Owen:  he pretending to pick his nose and she, well, it was just interesting.

And kind of gross.

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Nia putting on her mustache

Nia putting on her mustache

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Looking back… Taking Kate to School

It’s the end of yet another year, and I am going through WordPress, looking at anything left undone.

Because I am very very good at undone whether it’s leaving a project in such a state or getting myself into such a state.  Here is what I found, and I thought it worthy to post.  Even if it was nailed up and left to linger on the blog tree — oops — I mean post for, um, about four years:

 

Hula Hoedown

Kate in the first grade

This week I have only taken Kate to school one day.  It is a treat to take her… but I suppose it wouldn’t be if it was my job every morning to get her up and fight with her about her clothes and try to get her little sis ready to go as well.

She came bebopping out of the house, all pink and brown, with her little skirt and boots with the tassle balls, .  Her boots were pink with the Disney princesses.  We had gone shopping a few days earlier and she had new clothes and new shoes.  Adorable.  I should have taken a pic, but didn’t have my camera.

On the way to school we sing “Hi Ho Hi Ho It’s off to school we go.”  Then I make up verses, but her favorite part, she says, is the chorus.  We walk in the school together — unless she sees some of her friends.  Then it’s a kiss and hug and off to walk in with the other kids.  Kate is very social this year.  She started last year in Pre-K getting a little more social, wanting to talk to people.  She will be the traveling reporter who finds out all kinds of things about people because she is full of questions and interested in them.  She also has a concern for everyone.

The trees will talk to us as we travel down the road; sometimes in a voice that sounds a lot like Gigi and sometimes in a voice that sounds a lot like Kate.  They say things such as, “oooh, what a pretty little girl; I want her bear.”  Because sometimes she takes her little blue bear with her in the car to school, leaving him to wait on her return trip home.  Then a tree will respond with “No, I don’t want her bear.”  Those trees are real talkers.  And on every curve the wheels on my vehicle go “Errrrk.”

This year, she loves school.  She loves her teacher and her classmates, and she loves learning the letters and numbers, sounding out the letters, making rhyming words.

Kate this year with Santa

Kate this year with Santa

We still hear the trees talk to us every once in awhile.  Not as often as before because Kate is now in the fourth grade and Ava is in the first grade.  Little blue bear stays at home now, replaced with her Ipod or IPhone.  She is still very social.  I am thinking politician.  So is Ava.  I am still thinking politician.

There are now two little girls bebopping out to the car.  Kate has chosen the comfy jogging pants and comfy shirts over her cute little first-grade outfits.  Ava choosing her cute little first-grade outfits.  They both love school:  A tribute to the teachers and staff at our school.  And they both are good students, although Kate is still more interested in what’s going on around her, I think, than the school work, itself.

It is still a treat to get to take them to school, and we still listen to our Sunday School songs on the CD and make up little ditties to go along with songs we know, and  we still look for things of interest along the highway.  Of course, this is mixed in with the bickering.  Ugh!!

Now, instead of one little girl there are two.  Now, instead of walking them both in like I have up until this year, I stop at the door, and they grab their stuff and hop out, catching up with friends, forgetting they have a granny in the vehicle watching them with a heart full of love.