Get….

SMART!


That was the movie I saw with my parents.


It was hilarious.


I loved it mightily.


MIGHTILY!


I enjoyed it so much that when it comes out on DVD (No, not “blue ray” whatever in tarnation that is, ya durn whippersnappers. I don’t cotton to such high-falutin’ fancy eelectronical advancements. Country’s goin’ to hell in a handbasket…*grumble grumble*), I plan to buy it and watch it, again and again. And again, even. 


And I’m just so psyched that the two movies I’ve seen thus far into the summer season have been WINNERS! I just love not spending a billion dollars on a loser flick. It rocks!


Of course, it helps that I’ve been sending my family to see them first to let me know ahead of time which ones are worthwhile. Heh. Heh.


Quite a bit of my enjoyment of Get Smart had to do with listening to my father laugh at some of the scenes. He doesn’t generally “do” movies, and it was gratifying to listen to him giggling at Steve Carrel’s antics. Nobody has a poker face like SC, I must say. Did I mention that it was hilarious?


Hey!


I have a birthday coming up.


It’s, um, what they call “A BIG ONE.”


So I have a very pressing question for all of you. I keep getting asked “So whaddaya want for your birthday??”


And I have no idea what to say.


My mom always used to say “a little peace and quiet” and we kids would all get mad at her and say NO MOM WHAT DO YOU REALLLLLY WANT? I’M SO SURE YOU JUST WANT PEACE AND QUIET! GEEZ!


Now I tell my kids the same thing, and they respond the same way. That’s called irony.


It’s also pretty funny.


So, besides a little peace and quiet, and assuming the sky is the limit, what should I ask for? What would you ask for?

Hide and Seek

(I recently discovered this poem I wrote in some papers my mom let me rifle through. It’s about 20 years old)


Hear the little feet run by,
watch the children as they hide;
the game is on, the hunt begins,
the last one found, the one who wins.


Amidst the clothes in closets dark,
behind a tree, hugging the bark,
beneath a bed, ignore the dust,
the count is on, and hide they must!


With pounding hearts and bated breath,
they hear the seeker start his quest;
they hope they are the last ones found
so they can play another round.


Hide and seek, can you find me?
With muffled laughter, shrieks of glee;
the children have their game today–
is hide and seek the game you play?


Hear the feet go racing by
as blast of trumpet splits the sky;
shrieks of terror, shouts of joy,
the whole world over hears the noise.


Descending through the clouds unbidden,
The Seeker comes to find the hidden.
The game is over, time is done,
ready or not, here He comes!


When that day comes, where will you be?
Beneath a bed? Behind a tree?
For at His name each one will bow–
the lost will kneel beside the found.


From depth of sea to wings of dawn
His searching eyes see on and on,
His cry the same to near and far:
“come out, come out, wherever you are!”


I pray you heed the Savior’s call
and kneel in joy with one and all.
Come out of hiding, dark and dim,
into the glory that is Him.

Respite

I spent the last couple of days in my childhood home about 70 miles away, visiting with my parents, solo.

 

Okay, so I had the baby with me. When you’ve got twelve children, taking one with you is pretty nigh alone.

 

My parents live in the house my Dad built when I was growing up (eventually the plumbing did arrive) and stretching out in all directions is the green (holy cow is it green…rain, anyone?) Oklahoma countryside. I did several things while I was there:
 

  • breathed deeply
  • took a stroll
  • drank hot coffee (hot! coffee!)
  • ate some of the best cantelope I have ever put in my mouth.
  • conversed as an adult
  • saw a movie (ask me which one. come on! you know you want to know!)
  • ate at a restaurant

 

Here’s me, being contemplative whilst on my little retreat.

I had to document my contemplativeness. It was that novel.
My Dad is a gardener. He likes flowers. Here’s a gladiolus:

and here’s another:

Here’s some sort of succulent. I can’t remember what it’s called. Hens and chicks? Help me out here, gardeners.

Lantana…

 

Here’s another beautiful flower

 

 

…wait…that’s not a flower. This is your friendly neighborhood box turtle (Terrapene Carolina Bauri). Actually, he (she?) doesn’t look all that friendly. Looks downright curmudgeony, in fact.

 

Did you know that when a box turtle snaps its jaws shut, it produces a sound as loud as 75 decibles? Experts theorize that this is used as a mating call.

 

I have to say, some of us could learn a lesson from the humble box turtle about the inherent irresistability of shutting one’s mouth.

(ahem)

 

My Dad also grows food. Did you know that you can grow actual FOOD right out of the actual GROUND? You can! Really! I have photographic evidence to substantiate this claim!

 

 

These are blackberries, only they’re not black yet. So they’re redberries.

 

 

Here are some grapes. Yes, you can grow grapes in Oklahoma. Although I’d rather grow them in Tuscany. But that may just be me.

 

 

Here are my feet, being contemplative.

 

 

It’s not as thrilling as this:

 

But it’ll do in a pinch.

 

On my way home I slammed on my brakes and squealed to a stop pulled over calmly and safely in order to take some pictures of the little prairie dog town on the way between the past and the present

 

 

 

 

So cute, aren’t they? Oooh….how I wish I could just squeeeeze one.

 

It would probably bite my nose off, though.

 

I’m back home and all refreshed and ready to tackle any adventure that comes my way. Wal-Mart, here I come! Woo hoo!!

 

 

Conflicted

I was a strange kid. Sometimes, when my own offspring are odd, I like to remind myself of this fact. My formative years in the 1970s are a jumble of memories involving velour, cinnamon gummy bears, Wonder Woman, roller skates, the Muppets, stuffed animals, unicorns, macrame, and–because my Dad was building our home on 160 acres of Oklahoma prairie during much of that time–dirt.

 

Dirt was a big part of my life. And sweat. We would get up on Saturdays, leave our centrally-air-conditioned house in town and drive out to the property where my Dad would work on the construction of his dream house. All day long. Mind you, this was years before any pertinent plumbing bits were installed into said dream house, so I learned early on how to utilize the prairie as a toilet. Oh, how I envied my brothers.

 

My older sister turned up her nose at the Great Outdoors. She always had somewhere exceedingly important to be when it was time to head over to the property to get some work done. She was larger than life, my older sister was. This might have had something to do with her enormous permed hairstyle and the 4-inch high Candies that she wore with such attitude, but whatever the case, she was Woman with a capital W to me.

 

I, however, was Girl. Just Girl, with a dirty face and stringy hair and gangly limbs and scabby knees and no interest in shoes at all. Farrah Fawcett was the epitome of all things electrifying about the female form at the time, but it was all just a mystery to me. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be Woman, just that I seemed to lack any shred of inner guidance that would teach me how.

 

My love for Wonder Woman betrays just how earnestly I longed for the power of the feminine mystique to be my own. The wall of my bedroom was bedecked with her life-size image in poster form, and I sat enthralled through every episode of her television show, searching for hints on how I, too, could be beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, swifter than Hermes, and stronger than Hercules.

 

 

I wanted to have the secret identity, to wear the enormous black glasses and work all day long with Steve Trevor (swoon), even though he never recognized the woman of his dreams hiding behind Diana Prince’s demure countenance.

 

Dumb. As. A. Post.

 

Cute, though…Lyle Waggoner and his little toothy gleam always made my heart go pitty pat.

 

Alas, no matter how I twirled, the crash of thunder never came. I could never manage to make the leap into those shiny red boots. To this day I still feel more often like the gangly kid with the scraped knees who is only pretending to be a Woman, even without the Wonder in front of it. I’m guessing I always will.

 
I’m learning to be okay with that. Forget the invisible jet and the bullet-deflecting bracelets; I’ve got some armor of my own that puts that to shame. My life is hidden with Christ, and my identity is found in Him. “Child of the King” sounds better than Wonder Woman anyway. Best of all…it ain’t no secret.

Ya Don’t Say?

My baby, Cowboy X, or Gem-Gem-Gemmy-Gem, or Mr. Baby, or ManCub, or HoneyBear, or FatBoy, or Roley Poley Pudding, or any number of other inane and potentially humiliating nicknames, likes to talk. He is A Talker. And I must say, when he gets going, I’m liable to fall right over from an overdose of The Cuteness.

 

Cuteness, as you may not be aware, emits an exceedingly dense and volatile chemical that interferes with our brain’s ability to form legitimate human speech, or to speak in anything resembling normal tones.

 

The other day I enlisted some help from my oldest son to try to get this enchanting bit of loquaciousness on film, since I was afraid I’d, you know, fall over and damage the video camera if I tried it myself. Oldest son managed to capture the moment successfully before succumbing to the excessively high levels of adorability himself.

 

It would be much safer to have ugly children, but I’ve never been able to accomplish that.

 

If this works, it means I have been triumphant in my first ever attempt at uploading a video clip to YouTube. There may be no stopping me, folks. Who knows what I’ll do next? I just may figure out the settings on my 2 year old cell phone!

 

Or not.

 

(sorry it’s so dark…I’m determined to do better next time!)

It’s only funny the first five thousand times

I’m always behind the times. Always. I blame it on the fact that we have no television reception, and thus I miss all the ads for all the cool stuff that comes down the pike. I have to wait until we take a trip to a house with reception in order to see what’s NEW or IMPROVED. Or both. Be still my heart.

 

Frankly, ads are the ONLY reason to watch television anymore, in my opinion. My Beloved laughs at me because I flip AWAY from the programs in order to watch more ads. I am a product-marketer’s dream. I have a very short attention span, and ads are the perfect length for me. Forget those tiresome 30 to 60 minute shows!

 

Unless it’s LOST. For LOST, I’ll sit on my trigger finger.

 

My wonderful little Sister In Law burns dvds for us of shows that we have a compelling need to stay current on (such as yeah that one I just mentioned) so we are not completely cut off from modern society and have something to discuss with the heathens in our families.

 

Ha. ha. Just kidding.

 

HOWEVER, whenever she burns these shows to dvd for us, she removes the ads. Oh! The tragedy! How am I supposed to know that there is a new chocolate bar that I simply must run to the store for immediately? How will I know when Chilis adds new entrees to their menus? What about the latest eye shadow that will transform my life?

 

Clearly, I am doomed to live in ignorance. I’m just missing out on the lifechanging newness.

 

Take, for instance, these guys:

 

 

Maybe you think they’re annoying, but they crack me up. I never knew they existed until I walked into my friendly neighborhood Hallmark, a store in which I frequently experience some sort of temporal distortion anomoly because even though I go in to buy one simple birthday card, somehow I exit a full five hours later. This probably has to do with my reading every card they have, including (against my better judgement) those with monkeys on the cover.

 

I have something of a card fetish.

 

Lately, as you might have noticed, cards with sound are all the rage. As a general rule, I think these are simply obnoxious and just an excuse to charge $5 for a piece of cardstock. However, I bought one for Rose that features Hoops and Yoyo because it made me giggle.

 

I’m not giggling anymore.

 

I am, rather, about to grow horns and blow steam out my ears as my frontal lobe explodes if a child in my house OPENS THE CARD AGAIN AND I AM SUBJECTED TO THOSE SHRILL PIPING VOICES ONE MORE TIME.

 

Why don’t I simply seal it into its envelope, you ask?

 

Because My Beloved has not signed it yet. And by the time he does, the card itself will be nothing more than a mangled shred of its former glory, batteries exhausted by the eleventy-million siblings that would simply perish on the spot if not allowed to listen to the funny little critters do their thing please mommy please because i only heard it fifteen times, and my brother listened to it sixteen and even though i could hear it with my own ears, it was HIS turn, and thus the listening pleasure was rendered null and void.

 

The card has been relegated, amidst many tears, to a high shelf until it can be delivered to the intended recipient. And when it has, make no mistake, she will be instructed in no uncertain terms to enjoy it on her own time, and in her own house.

 

If you need me, I’ll be hanging out back here, behind the times. It’s quieter.

Bittersweet

(written 19 1/2 years ago…I am officially old…)

She's all of twenty months today
and already the baby's so far away.
Dancing through my days so free,
she pauses a moment to smile at me…

(and I wonder, as I watch her,
as if in a dream)

Was it *I* who wanted her to grow?
Was it *I* who wished she weren't so slow?
So eager I was to write them down:
first step, first word, first smile and frown.

Impatient to see the changes there,
now I can only stand and stare
at bright eyes laughing up at me
"Mommy, mommy, come and see!"
at little hands that tug at mine
the world to see, with enough time.

She wiggles free of my embrace,
too many dreams for her to chase.
Please wait for me, may I come too?
Won't you show me how to be like you?
Oh tarry, time, so I may hold
this child of promise I call my own
before she slips away to be
someone who's too grown up for me!

Oh Father, may she never live
without the Life that You can give;
entrusting *me* with such a prize,
may I not fail within Your eyes!

Sweet baby, can you feel my love?
Is what I have to give enough?
Teach me to let the world pass by
so we can play, just you and I.
The beds and dishes and phone can wait–
my Rose needs love before it's too late.

There is sunshine on a cloudless day,
There is music when a symphony plays,
There is beauty in a forest green,
but of all the things I've ever seen
I never knew what any were
until the day I gazed at her.
For sunshine,
music,
and beauty
all chose
to make their resting place
in Rose

Happy 21st Birthday, Rose!!

I Have Opinions On Stuff

This story relates that a man discovered a hive of bees living in the walls of his home. The hive was so large that the walls oozed honey.

 

Better than blood, I always say.

 

Okay, so I don’t always say that, but it was the first thought that lept to mind. Which is pretty disturbing, actually.

 

Honestly, this whole story confuses me. Do you have any idea how loud 60,000 bees would be? I don’t either, but I’m guessing it’s pretty damn. Loud, that is.

 

He didn’t live alone, either, as his wife is mentioned in the article. So are they both deaf? Or do they watch TV at exceedingly high decibels, 24/7? Perhaps they heard the buzzing but thought it was something else, like a leafblower or a cropduster or a bunch of very tiny people in their walls, all going BZZZZZZZZZ! in unison.

 

So the way the bees were discovered was because the plaster was dripping honey, not because of the noise of 60,000 small winged insects going about their business. The article says that the owner of the house saw the golden substance oozing out of the walls and realized it was honey. How?

 

He tasted it.

 

Sure. Okay. That seems reasonable. If something indeterminate was sliding down the walls of my home, I’d lick it, no problem. 

 

Wait. I mean no, no I wouldn’t.

 

I don’t mean to be uncharitable, but the image I’m getting of these people is rather, ah…unconventional.

 

At any rate, I was relieved to discover that they did not call an exterminator (as might have been the conventional reaction), but instead enlisted the help of local beekeepers to remove the honeymakers by means of specialized vacuum cleaners, in order to safely relocate them.

 

I must take a moment to give you this link about the current plight of human civilization as we know it the humble honeybee, because it is honestly quite troubling. Did you know that 1/3 of the crops grown in the USA depend upon the honeybee for pollination? That’s more than 90 fruits and vegetables. And in the last year over 36% of the honeybee hives were killed off by “Colony Collapse Disorder” which is another name for “We have no idea what the hell is causing this”.

 

Basically, the experts think the bees are very, very stressed out.

 

I don’t blame them. For one thing, there is this.

 

Like many creatures on God’s green earth, the honeybee is often maligned and misunderstood. I feel it is my duty to do my part to set the record straight. Here are a few thoughts for your kind consideration:

  • Bees are valuable. Honey is yummy. So are apples, pecans, strawberries, squash, soybeans, grapes, almonds, oranges, peaches, peanuts, and blueberries, all of which (and this is a highly abbreviated list) are pollinated by the honeybee. Cotton is also pollinated by honeybees, and though I cannot eat it, I am grateful for its contribution to my panty-comfort-level.
  • Bees do not want to sting you. Why would they? They die shortly after stinging, so they are much happier to just go about their business of pollination and nectar-gathering. If a bee is invading your personal space, remain calm. Look as un-flower-like as possible. Do not run and scream and flail your arms about. This may be perceived as threatening behavior, so if you persist in such activities, I cannot help you.
  • Sugar wasps are often mistaken, unfairly, for honeybees. Thus, you often hear people complain about being stung! by! a bee! at a picnic or whatnot, when what they really encountered was a sugar wasp. A honeybee does not want your soda, or pie, or cookies. A sugar wasp does. A honeybee may very well be in the clover at your feet, but she is unlikely to be dive-bombing your head as you drink your root beer.

To further assist in dispelling this confusion, here is a picture of a sugar wasp:

 

And here is our friend, the honeybee:

As you can see, the honeybee is cuter. Okay, so maybe that’s just me. But seriously, the wasp is smooth and bright and menacing! He looks just loaded for bear! He’s looking for root beer, and he’s ready to fight you for it!

 

The honeybee, awwww…just look at her. Innocently stuffing her face with nectar. She is fuzzy, and almost cuddly looking. She wants only to contribute.

 

So do not fear the honeybee. 

 

Okay, if you are allergic and will suffer an anaphalactic reaction to her sting, then you’re allowed. The rest of you, when you see a honeybee this summer, take a moment to appreciate her tireless efforts that make this world (and this is just my honest opinion) a more beautiful and delicious place to live.

Ask again in a week or so

The children returned from RoseandTim’s house yesterday and WOW did the noise level pick up around here. I never really thought of the five that left as being “the noisy five” but apparently, they are.

 

They were full of wondrous things to tell, like RoseandTim have a cellar where Rose has to go to do her laundry, and if you go into the cellar, you can actually see underground.

 

I know!

 

SEE. UNDERGROUND!

 

From what I could gather, underground is dark, and full of dirt.

 

I asked Emma (age 6) if Rose had any bodies down there. Her reply?

 

“No. Not yet.”

Silence is Golden. Not to Mention Weird.

As I may have mentioned, my daughter Rose is a newlywed. As such, she has no children because she’s only been married a week and, well, most sensible people need at least 9 months to gestate before producing offspring.

 

Her cat is about to explode with kittens all over the place, but with the exception of the way they climb your leg with their sharp little claws, kittens are not children.

 

Her Beloved, whom we’ll call “Tim” even though his real name is Tim, has been workin’ on the railroad. Yes, all the livelong day, go ahead and sing it, everybody else does. He had to go back to work yesterday (curse that filthy lucar we all depend upon so!) and Rose was left behind in her new little domicile.

 

Alone.

 

As in, with no one else around.

 

As in, surrounded by peace and quiet.

 

Especially the quiet.

 

The deafening, thunderous quiet.

 

Quiet is not something Rose is especially accustomed to, and her new little domicile seemed downright menacing when suffused with it. So she did the only sensible thing.

 

She called me and asked if she could borrow a few of her siblings. Like, five, or maybe six. To spend the night. So she wouldn’t be so lonely.

 

This offer produced wild excitement among my (remaining) brood. A sleepover at RoseandTims’s house!! A SLEEPOVER AT ROSEANDTIM’S HOUSE!

 

What could be better? Because, you know, RoseandTim’s House has stuff like cats about to explode with kittens! Which is very exciting! And their coffeetable is absolutely covered in loose change. Yes! Covered! There’s at least $12.48, which can be counted and recounted at will! And, most exciting to the littler ones…

 

There’s a bathroom at their house. That they’ve never set foot in before! And we all know just how exciting a new bathroom-utilizing experience is. You just never know what might happen. Makes me all tingly just thinking about it.

 

So RoseandTim’s House is pretty much a magical wonderland of sensory delight. They gathered up their books and dvds and games and Webkinz to take with them because all of those things take on a new sheen when experienced at RoseandTim’s House, obviously, and I trucked them over there yesterday afternoon.

 

They will be back home in a few hours, and thank God for that!

 

The quiet around here with only six at home has been positively eerie.