Metaphor Monday

It’s been a while, but welcome to Metaphor Monday once again! Remember to share your own metaphors in the comments, or leave me a link, as I do love and adore a good metaphor.

 

 

Have you ever done anything that flies in the face of the American Mentality? You know, the one that goes “spend freely, get credit, don’t deprive yourself, buy new”? We live under a daily barrage of messages that tell us we deserve the latest and best of everything, and that anything less is deprivation.

 

It is good to live on a budget, to buy used, and to spend wisely. Most of us would agree that, although it is difficult at times, it is worth it in terms of peace of mind.

 

I know a family, however, who is taking it a step further.

 

This family, the wife/mother of which I am priviledged to call my very best buddy in the world, has recently decided to do all they can to get out of debt. Not because they HAVE to, but because it is a dream they believe God is spurring them towards.

 

This means they will leave their lovely and practically-new modern house in the suburbs of Tulsa, to forgo the community swimming pool and the walking trails and the abundant storage space and the multiple bathrooms…and the sizeable mortgage…in order to live in a derelict double-wide on ten acres in a less than tony area.

 

This double-wide, when I went with her a few weeks ago to look at it, sat forlornly on its moorings in the middle of a scrubby field long untouched by human improvements. The north side was covered with mildew. The back “deck” was of uncertain stability. A chain link fence circled the perimeter rather drunkenly. Once inside, the distinct smell of uncivilized doggy habitation was immediately overwhelming, as was the color of the ancient pink carpetting.

 

Everywhere, the neglect was readily apparent, in grime and holes and peeling linoleum. Add to that the ubiquitous mobile-home “elegance” of brassy fixtures and “stained glass” panels, and you can imagine that the faint-of-heart would have gotten into their comfortable SUV’s and peeled out like the Dukes of Hazard.

 

But not so my friends. They saw something different. What the world would call junk, they called potential. Where most people would say “not worth the work” they said “let’s get to work” . What the world would call crazy they call vision. What the world would call a used-up mobile home–tear it down and move on–they call…Bessie.

 

You can read Bessie’s whole ongoing story by clicking the link above. It is a story well-worth reading and I love it so much because in it…I see my story. And your story. And the world’s story.

 

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 5:8

 

“For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Sam. 16:7

 

What was called worthless…useless…abandoned…forgotten…ugly…dirty…not worth the trouble…smelly…hopeless…unstable…unlikely…abused…Jesus called My Bride, and died to make her new. He saw past the broken facade to the Glorious Possibility, counted the cost and called it worthwhile.

 

 

There was nothing Bessie could do for herself but sit alone, sinking further into ignomy and decay. Her rescuers swept in to snatch her from a fate she could do nothing about.

 

Sounds awfully familiar to me.

 

My friends work for financial freedom–they work in joy and hope because of the vision in their hearts of a life unburdened by bills and worry, so they can give more freely and reap unsparingly.

 

Jesus came, and for the joy set before Him, died on a cross for our freedom, so we could live our lives unburdened by the weight of sin and the sorrow of death.

 

It’s my favorite metaphor of all…so true and tangible and full of Him.

Oops

What with all the doggy-related trauma going on here, I clean forgot to pick a winner of the little conch-girl I talked about in my Beach Party post!

 

Without further ado, I declare (or rather, random.org declares)

 

Commenter #29, Glenda, the winnah! 

 

Congratulations, Glenda! I’ll get that to you asap!

 

For anyone wondering, Mini is feeling much better today. She is still blind as a bat, but instead of cowering in her crate, she came out on her own today and has been cautiously investigating the house, bumping into walls and people but for the most part maintaining her terrier-tail-wagging cheerful attitude. Anyone have any suggestions for helping a newly-blind dog cope with the world?

A Quick Question

I was pondering something today, and I wanted to get a little feedback. Given that a blog is a public forum (that is, unless it is private, in which case never mind), one expects and hopes for a fair amount of comments from those who read. However, knowing that more than a few troglodytes populate the internet ether, one also might expect to get the occasional nasty comment, too, especially if one ever posts anything of a controversial nature.

 

My question is, if you have a blog, have you ever been the unfortunate recipient of an outright hateful comment? If so, was it in response to something you wrote, or was it basically the ravings of a lunatic? How did you handle it? Respond? Delete? Go private?

 

When I started this blog, I was braced for ugly comments here and there simply because I have an obscenely large family, and that right there can be like waving a red flag in front of the proverbial bull. However, in two and a half years, I have never received anything resembling vitriole. I have been misunderstood, to be sure. I have been challenged. But as for outright ugliness, notsomuch.

 

If I ever did receive such a comment, I think I would pretty much shrivel up into dust and blow away. I’m not exactly thick-skinned. But tell me true…what would you do?

Kitchen Sink Saturday

Welcome to another edition of KSS, where I forcibly eject all the random bits of flotsam and debris swimming about in my gray matter in order to begin anew when the new week dawns.

 

I have had a rawther stressful couple of days, my people. Let me just say that if your little rat terrier has been under treatment for a bad back over the past 6 days and you let her out to go potty late one night and notice that her eyeballs are bulging out of her head and she doesn’t seem to be able to see much of anything…her pain was most likely not a back issue to begin with.

 

Have I mentioned that if there was ever a Most-Likely-To-Hurl-Under-Mildly-Disturbing-Circumstances award, I would win it? So seeing our little Mini looking more like this:

 

 

Than this:

 

 

Was not good for my blood pressure, to put it mildly.

 

After panicking, running around in circles, shrieking, and jibbering incoherently didn’t work, I called an emergency vet, since all the regular vets had gone home to relax after misdiagnosing dogs with back problems when in fact they are suffering from some sort of head issue. The emergency vet said her eyes most likely wouldn’t pop out of her head completely before morning, so I decided to pray fervently and wait until then.

 

And not sleep all night.

 

Because that helps a lot. Except when it doesn’t.

 

The next morning (yesterday) I took Mini out and commenced having another panic attack because, against all the laws of physics, her eyes were bulging even farther than before and she was obviously 100% unable to see anything. Happily, we were able to get her into the regular vet before this happened:

 

 

We were at the vet for 2 hours. Glaucoma was ruled out, a veterinary opthamologist was consulted (didn’t know there was such a thing), and a diagnosis was reached. Apparently our little 3 year old doggie has some sort of autoimmune disease which decided to manifest itself in attacking the muscles around her eyes, causing them to become inflamed and swell and thus push her eyeballs outward.

 

I know. ew.

 

Long story longer, she’s on 4 different meds to get the disease into remission (steroids being the main one) and this morning, God be praised, her eyes are much, much better, she doesn’t seem to be in anywhere near the world of hurt she was obviously in before, and she is wagging her little terrier tail again. She is still blind, but we are hopeful that once the swelling is gone she will regain her sight because the eyes themselves were healthy.

 

I think my heart may finally be beating normally again.

 

After I gathered my scattered wits about me late yesterday afternoon, my beloved and I managed to go out to dinner for our birthdays (today is his) with our very best friends in the bulgey-eyed world and let me tell you, the meal I had was like a balm. A balm, I kid you not. Laughing, talking, eating…sweet fellowship…these are the things that patch up the world-weary heart. I highly recommend The Bonefish Grill for the best butter-bathed scallops anywhere, by the way. Melt in your mouth delicious. And chocolate dipped strawberries to finish me off completely. I actually slept peacefully last night.

 

To reward you for wading through my enormous tale of woe and misery, here is the funniest dang review of a book that I have ever read. Whether or not you have ever actually read The Sound and The Fury, I defy you to try not to laugh at this admirable attempt by an honest joe to comprehend Faulkner’s twisted mind. It’s amost enough to make me dig out my 11th-grade copy and read it again.

 

Almost.

Perspectives

My almost-4-year-old loves anything electronic. The computer, the cellphone, my Flip camera, the DS, the Nintendo, you name it. If it beeps and boops, Toby’s all over it. He loves to be the subject of my camera and is always begging me to “picture” him, but lately he has learned that if he hits the right buttons on it, he himself is the master.

 

Consequently, the last time my camera disgorged its contents onto my hard drive, I found myself with a Toby-eyed perspective on life. It shows my home from a decidedly different angle, and the sorts of things he wanted to “picture” made me giggle a little. I hope they do the same for you.

 

**note: these pictures were taken at bedtime. My children do not, in fact, wear shapeless muumuus all day long. Those are their jammies. Just thought I should clarify**

 

 

The carpet.

 

My beloved rocker and beloved ratty footstool that I otherwise might never, ever have had documentation of. 

 

My jacket. On the floor. I have no idea how it got there.

 

A lone wipe. On the floor. I have no idea how it got there.

 

I have no idea who that woman is. But she looks like she is being extremely productive, and I admire her work ethic.

A closet doorknob. Have you ever seen a closet doorknob on a blog before? This may be a first…

 

Brother Josiah, reading. Laundry lurks in the background, ready to devour.

 

Emma’s knees.

 

Emma, herself.

 

Cowboy X. I don’t know what he’s saying, but it looks remarkably like “duuuuuuh”

Emma and Xavier, remarkably centered and in focus. The boy has an eye.

 

It would appear that Emma decided to take the reigns and “picture” Toby. Who, if I have not mentioned lately, has the cutest smile in the universe, even when blurry. Amen, infinity. hallelujah.

The end.

Guest Poster: My Darling Dotter

Being as how it’s my birthday and I already celebrated in grand style by scrubbing the bathrooms and taking the recycling to the center,* I thought I’d forgo typing my fingers to nubs and instead present for your approval a recent post of my daughter, Rose’s.

 

Rose is my eldest; married to Tim and mother to my one grandchild, whose descriptions, by the way, run the gamut from cutest to most brilliant and all the superlatives in between. Here’s a recent picture of the little nipper.

 

(meet mr. dimples)

 

He’s only 4.5 months old, and he’s already speaking Mandarin Chinese, scooting around the room, studying
Ancient African cultures, sitting up for entire moments at a time, stealing everyone’s heart clean away, and reading Hebrew.

 

Okay, so he’s doing 3 out of the 6 items mentioned. I’ll let you figure out which three.

 

Rose’s blog is private and locked away from the general poopulace populace, but I secured her permission in copying here a piece of her most recent post because I thought it was an example of excellent writing with well-fleshed out descriptions and character development.

 

Also, it made me sniffly.

 

I hope you enjoy it too.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

On our way home [from a walk] we were waylaid by a person small in stature but huge in terms of personality, joviality, general friendliness, and boundless energy. A little girl who stood no higher than Tim’s hip stood excitedly in the sidewalk as we approached and called out when we were still a good half-block away: “Hello! Is that a baby? Ohh it’s a baby! Can I see the baby? I want to see the baby!”

 

I squatted down and let her wake Mr. Dimples from his slumber. “Ohhh it’s a cute baby!!” she cried delightedly as she busily patted him and brushed stray hairs out of my face. Her mother apologized profusely for her enthusiasm, while she and her husband watched from the safe distance of their front porch steps. The girl’s younger sister came to have a look as well, and together they made an adorable pair; chattering eagerly about their tiny smidge of a puppy and all the little things in life that children so new to it find so captivating. The mama dog’s name was Tater (and she looked like a tater, too), and the puppy (no bigger than a guinea pig and just as squeaky) was called Annie Oakley due to the dark patches of fur on her back legs that bore an uncanny resemblance to assless chaps.

 

Shortly after our meeting, the little girl grabbed hold of my hand, shook it up and down vigorously and declared, “Here’s your present!” I thanked her, laughing, and she moved on to Tim, who was trying to say something to her parents and not paying quite as much attention to her as he had been previously. Not to be deterred, she hopped up and down insistently in front of him; “It’s your present! It’s your present! Hey! Hey! Here’s your present!” her small voice piped as she grabbed hold of his shirt and shook it to get his attention.

 

“Oh! Um, thank you!” came the desired response, as her parents explained, ever apologetic, that she likes to give pretend gifts to everyone. They “don’t know where she got it”, but they seemed somewhat mortified by her unusual habit.

 

It’s a rare thing to come across a person who radiates sunshine so very bold and bright. It fairly burst out of her as if she was the sun itself. I, for one, was every bit as delighted with my invisible present as I would have been with mounds and mounds of real ones. Tim remarked as we were leaving, “I wonder what it is that she’s giving people…maybe it’s joy.”

 

Indeed.

 

The only thing that I found sad about the encounter was the comment from her mother as we were departing. I told her how adorable her offspring were, and she responded without hesitation: “You can have her! Both of them! Do you want them?”

 

 

I have to admit I was somewhat taken aback. How can she think that it’s okay to joke like that? And within hearing of the same dear little girls that she’s freely offering to a complete stranger? No. Never.

 

But if the offer stands…

 

Hell yes, I’ll take them. In a heartbeat.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

*don’t worry, I’m getting a real day out tomorrow. yippee!

DIY Day!

I hope you guys don’t mind the sudden appearance of several bloggy carnivals in which heretofore I had not been a regular participant (whoa, check out that gnarly grammar!), but life being as draining as it is lately, they are giving me much-needed thought-fodder!

 

In other words, they are easy.

 

I’m sure eventually I’ll get back to my normal pattern of blither, but for now, it’s DIY day again!

 

 DIY Day @ ASPTL

 

My kitchen sink sits in the corner of my kitchen, with two windows framing a view of our back yard. The windows are ancient aluminum, and the countertops are ’80’s country blue. The type of blue that was usually accompanied by geese wearing matching ribbons around their necks.

 

Ah, the 80’s. When geese were synonymous with “welcome”. Because geese are so welcoming. Sort of like rhinocerouses.

 

Unfortunately (?) I have no “before” picture. I am absolutely terrible about taking “before” pictures. I think it’s because I don’t WANT to remember how hideous things were previous to their improvement. I want to forgive and forget. Which is admirable when applied to humanity, but not so good for DIY projects.

 

At any rate, we have no dollars for new windows, or new countertops, so waddayagonnado? Work with it, that’s what. Employ the age-old method of distraction–of smoke and mirrors–so popular with every successful magician the world over.

 

First of all, the windows were half-covered with some drapes bought on sale at Wal Mart. I think they were $7 each. Then I propped my little ocean paintings on either windowsill. I figured I might as well accent the blue rather than fight with it. After that it was a matter of buying a cute little ivy plant, propping it up with a cake plate, tossing on some seashells and whatnots, and augmenting with roses.

 

(please excuse the photo quality. It is remarkably difficult to get a properly exposed picture when taking against bright windows, apparently!)

 

 

 

Roses that, I might add, were EIGHT. DOLLARS. ($8!) at Wal-Mart. Could the $40 types at the florist be any pretttier? I think not.

 

 

The little vases were picked up at garage sales for $1 each. The avocados were considerably more expensive.

 

The final and most wonderful part of this scheme was the little chandelier. Oh my, it just makes my heart smile. It was $80 at Lowes, and worth every penny. At first, it sported a hideous “rusty” finish, which I know some people like, but I quickly slathered it with creamy white paint. Installing it was like indian wrestling with an octopus, but it was worth it. It’s exactly what I envisioned.

 

 

So there’s my little corner of dish-washing happiness. If you can use those words together in a sentence, that is. It certainly makes the chore more pleasant if you have something pretty to look at!

 

 

Be sure to check out Kimba’s homeplace for more DIY delights!

You Know I’m There

I recently discovered Gina’s blog, The Shabby Chic Cottage, and it’s quickly become one of my favorites for eye-candy of the makeover/decorating/garage sale-ing/dumpster-diving ilk.

 

(I love the word ilk. It doesn’t even sound real.)

 

Anyway, Gina said she was having a BEACH PARTY on the 26th, and so of course I wrote it right on my calendar so that I would be sure to be there with bells on. Yes, I write bloggy things on my calendar. I have become one of those bloggers.

 

 

The idea behind the Beach Party is simply to bid adieu to the summer with some of our favorite beachy crafts or decorating ideas or whathaveyou, so I thought I’d show off my little entryway display. I have a shelf right inside the front door that I like to gussy up in a seasonal manner, and of course for summer that means the beach. IS there anything else??

 

 

The shadowbox is an old typesetters drawer that I’ve had since I was a little girl. It used to hold my thimble collection (yes. I had a thimble collection. that seems very odd to me now…) but I repurposed it with some beachy scrapbook paper and glued on some of my shell collection.

 

 

I especially like this guy: a piece of bleached coral from the Caymans.

 

 

The strange blue thinggummies are old electrical insulators from power poles. I bought them at a garage sale for $0.50 each because I *loved* their colors. Aren’t they amazing? I love that even utilitarian items used to be so pretty back before plastic took over the world.

 

The necklace wrapped around one of the insulators is, of course, compliments of my fabulously talented SIL, who creates these gems because, well, she simply can’t NOT be creating something. And the key/heart combo (heart from my BFF in the big fat world) is a nod to the whole “key to my heart” theme.

 

 

This little girl here is one of my favorite gifts ever. Her designation is “Thinking of you…keeping you close in my thoughts” and she was given to me in the wake of one of the miscarriages that has rocked my little world. She makes my heart sigh.

 

 

And just because I’m especially fond of her, and especially wistful about leaving this sadly beach-less summer, I thought I’d give one of these sweet conch-listening girlies to one of you. Just leave me a comment with your contact info and you’ll be entered. If you’re a first-timer, thanks for stopping by!

 

(Be sure to check out all the links to more beachy heaven over at Gina’s place…)

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Favorite Poems

1. Beautiful Things

 

2. Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

 

3. The Jabberwocky

 

4. Sea Longing

 

5. Leisure

 

6. Prayer for This House

 

7. I would gather children

 

8. Doorways (couldn’t find a link but I talk about it here)

 

9. Maggie and Milly and Molly and May

 

10. Anything by Ogden Nash

 

Feel free to play along! Leave me a link with your top ten, or just your favorite poem, pretty please?

Do It Yourself Day!

DIY Day @ ASPTL

 

It’s no secret that I miss the beach. The ocean. The sound of the surf. The feel of the sand beneath my feet. Sometimes it’s like a physical pain.

 

I know that sounds silly. Don’t judge me.

 

Silly or not, however, I was recently mooning over some of the ocean-y paintings at Etsy and wishing I could afford some of them to bedeck my walls, when the thought occured to me that p’raps I could paint some my ownself!

 

 

Since I am the sort of person who never listens to those nagging, doubtful voices of doom and despair (heh. yeah. right), I chose to ignore the uprising of you never had a single lesson! and you don’t know the first thing about painting! sorts of thoughts, and went rummaging through my closets until I found a few odd canvasses lying about.

 

I also had quite the assortment of acrylic paints in my cupboards, so all I had to do was augment with a few more $0.99 bottles from Hobby Lobby and I was all set to become the next idiot-savant artist (emphasis on idiot).

 

 

I started with a couple of 5″ X 7″ canvasses, and just sat right at my desk with several internet windows open to finished paintings of the type I was lusting after for inspiration. It took me a couple of hours to complete each one, but I would be lying if I said I was not chuffed to bits at the results.

 

 (click to see larger, if you wanna)

 

The top one is called “The Caribbean” and the bottom is called “The Atlantic”. I really like how one of the clouds in the top painting turned out looking somewhat squiddy.

 

They are hardly professional quality. They are quite amateurish. But they’re mine. I created them! And so I’m inordinately fond of them. I slapped a coat of mod-podge on each one to protect it from sneezes and peanut-buttery fingers, and put them on my kitchen windowsill.

 

Bolstered with confidence, I then tackled a rather large canvas I had. It’s 2′ x 3′, I think. Besides the ocean, I’m fascinated with clouds, so I decided to try to paint a really impressive storm cloud over the ocean. This was a lot more difficult than I anticipated…the larger scale seemed to demand perfection, so I put it up several times over the course of many days and would just study it…trying to decide what was wrong and what was right. I also consulted lots of other paintings, and spent a lot of time gazing at real, honest to goodness clouds in the sky outside my house.

 

 

Finally I decided to stop futzing around with it and just call it good instead of perfect. And it is good, or at least good enough for me. Although I coated it with mod-podge like the others just to insure that I would stop “improving” it.

 

So there you go. My offering for DIY Day over at Kimba’s A Soft Place To Land. I cannot tell you how therapeutic it is to just give yourself permission to play with paint once in a while (painting your baseboards does not count)! Please do pop over to Kimba’s place and check out all the fabulous creativity going on…you’ll be inspired!