Why did God make Bats?

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Every morning, without fail, I sweep the silk tree droppings from the deck and water the potted plants.

I wipe off the table tops and chairs.  Then I open the umbrellas. 

One morning as I unfurled this umbrella there was a surprise waiting.

A bat.

A big bat with a huge wingspan and giant Dracula teeth.

At least that was my perception… as I ran screaming into the house.

Moments later I returned with my trusty broom.  I gently lifted one corner of the umbrellas.   And found …

… a tiny brown bat that looked to be about 2 inches square.

It appeared to be vibrating.

Gently I swept the broom near the target.  It obliged by extending it’s weird webby wing and launching itself.

Towards me.
I thought. 

So again, I ran screaming into the house, certain it was aiming for my hair.

When I returned it was nowhere to be found.  Poor thing probably died of a heart attack at the sight of a screaming giant with flailing arms.

So, what did I learn from this?

1) I do not know why God created bats.

2) My overactive imagination is not helpful.

3) Always carry a big broom.  Bat check is priority #1.

P.S.  I’m also pretty proud of myself as this is the first blog post done entirely on my phone. Including photo.  Anxious for the healing of my computer.

A Collection of Days

Today was a good day.

Every day is a good day.  I choose it to be.  The alternative is unacceptable.

Every day is a good day even when there’s too much work, my knee is stiff, and I must cook dinner for the 80 millionth time (slight exaggeration).

Even the day that arrives with unseen pressure lightens when I remember to add to the list of “thank you”.

Every day is a gift that arrives without guarantee… while I sleep.  That alone is worthy of thanks.

The sameness and smallness of each new day, brings a million tiny gifts tucked in unexpected places… gifts that really aren’t tiny at all, but blessings so big one 24 hours can’t hold them.

Starting with quiet morning… ending with evening sky… and every good thing in between – – food on the table, a trip to the beach, children at play, a son returned home, tea with a friend, flowers in the garden, coffee, a walk – – all a gift.

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end of day

Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right.  Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:8-9

WordPress Photo Challenge: Today Was A Good Day

Forty-six and beyond

My five year-old granddaughter redecorated the doll house.  Then she placed the family on the roof for a picnic.

While the seating arrangements don’t look particularly comfortable, it is original.

I love the whimsy of it.

I love the out of the box thinking.

Forty-six years ago today, I married the original out of the box thinker.

If I could figure out a way to get up there, we would have a picnic on the roof.

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doll dining

Solid Footing

Some days the ground must feel like sand or mud or sludge to you.  Your feet shuffle and stumble and stub up against things.

Some days you ask me if you need permission to go outside, or if there’s a sign-out list, or who it is you need to pay for breakfast.

I know you rarely remember, but you used to take me to the roller rink at the old San Francisco boardwalk and whisk me around and never let me fall.  You rode bicycles mile after endless mile with me.  You walked me down the aisle to my husband.

But some days now, you’re afraid to put your feet on the floor.

You’re afraid you will fall.

You’re afraid.

Dementia did this.  It took you away though your body is here.

I see you every day and fix your meals and wasn’t aware how fast your were leaving.

I didn’t say a proper good-bye.

But today…

You can hardly wait to go out in the sun.

Today you found the door.  And even opened it by yourself.

Today the deck is solid beneath your feet.  You lift each shoe completely up.  You set each shoe firmly down.

And I see the walker left behind.

Good for you, Dad.  Good for you.

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge – Beneath Your Feet

Finishing Things

My Sunday Post is almost a Monday post.

In fact, I’m trying to talk myself out of posting at all.  But I will not listen to that voice any more.

Last Thursday we made another two-hour trip to the dentist.  Three trips in three weeks.  But this time, since Doug wasn’t under the influence of pain killers or bleeding profusely, he drove.  So we got there faster.

To me, speed signs are the law.

To him, speed signs are merely a suggestion.

When he spotted a copper and cream Cougar on the road, we went even faster.  Because, you know, he had to check it out.  So I grabbed a couple of pictures for him to drool over later.

But it was all good.  Stitches out.  Healing well.  And we got to have lunch with youngest son who works near there.

We took the back way home… up and over Chehalem Mountain.  It’s not a big mountain, but it is a pretty mountain.  And on the other side, it dropped us into Newberg, where we lived for 22-ish years.

It surprised me, but I got a little choked up as we drove through.  We were only there to close out an account and stop at a store, but suddenly I was overcome with emotion and memories.  Young sons growing up, football games, wrestling tournaments, family visits, parades, church events, weddings, trips to the hospital emergency room and chats with the school principal.  (You do a lot of the last two when you raise boys.)

And this youngest son we’d just lunched with, lives there still.  With his childhood sweetheart and their three children.  The family saga continues.

It’s been four years since we lived in that town, but I guess we never officially parted ways.  For a long time I thought we’d be back.

But we haven’t.

It looks unlikely.

So it kind of felt like a sweet good-bye.  And the memories were a gift I get to keep.

For some odd reason, I’ve been full of energy since that day.  My list of unfinished projects has loomed large for too long.  I decided to knock them off one at a time.

For example, it’s been over a year since I painted our bedroom… partially.  Well, almost completely, except for about one fifth.  Paint ran out, along with my will to continue.

But as of Friday, the tired pinky color is gone.  It is now 100% Woodlawn Colonial Gray.  I like it.  My husband is happy.  And that’s always a good thing.

And in the kitchen, peeling wallpaper has bugged me forever.  So it’s outta here and in its place is Farm Green.

My budget is set for August.  Calendar is filling up.  We’ve been eating cucumbers from the garden.

Those irritating unknowns are floating about like they always do.  But I’m just not going to worry.

I am blessed beyond measure.  I’m thankful for another day and another chance to finish.

And that includes this post.

Refreshment

It’s overcast today.  Warmish, but not too.  Just the way I like it, actually.

I opened all the windows this morning, as always, then sat down with my journal and coffee.  The breeze rolled over me.

And so began my list of thanks.

I ran through the names which impressed themselves upon me, including the one so far away in a sandy, hot place.  I prayed cool refreshment for each one.  Body. Soul. Spirit.

Because sometimes, you just need to be refreshed.

This week I went lunching with a son.  And then we did a little shopping.  And since we weren’t finished talking, we went coffee-ing.

On several cool mornings, I culled through the overflow of stuff which still exists in this place where I live.  Another dump trailer one third full and a stack of boxes labeled for give-away was my reward.

We made an emergency trip to the oral surgeon for more stitches on Thursday.  When the doc says do nothing for several days, to not bend over or lift things… there is a reason for that. I think the guilty party got the point.  Right???

And then, unhappy words were spoken here this week, which is to be expected when you’ve blended two households.  And because I am who I am, I spent time wondering what I did wrong… until I realized the answer.

Nothing.

Because some things can’t be fixed and you just need to stand steady.

And then do the next thing you know.

Like laundry.  Or dinner.  Or wait.

I read a great book this week, Love Does by Bob Goff.  It made me smile and think, all at the same time.  Can you imagine?

I like what this Bob guy says,

“There is only one invitation it would kill me to refuse, yet I’m tempted to turn it down all the time.  I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does.  It doesn’t come in an envelope.  It’s ushered in by a sunrise, the sound of a bird, or the smell of coffee drifting lazily from the kitchen.  It’s the invitation to actually live, to fully participate in this amazing life for one more day.  Nobody turns down an invitation to the White House, but I’ve seen plenty of people turn down an invitation to fully live.”

I’m often tempted to turn down this invitation as well.  I mean, how many ways can you make spaghetti, or change the sheets or wash the towels or listen to the same words that push every single button you have, without thinking this is getting old?

But if you skip the invite, you also skip the cool morning air and the great cup of coffee and the lunch with the son or the healing words and the promise of what is yet to be.

It’s scary, but I’ll continue to take the unknown behind door #3.

I didn’t take many pictures this week.  So in honor of today’s refreshing breeze, I’m posting a few taken a couple of months back.  Doug and I went to the Oregon coast for my birthday.  It was foggy and beautiful and not too cold and all the perfection that sand and ocean offer.

It was refreshment.  And my happy place.

(Click on the pictures for a better view!)

A Tale of Two Teeth

A long, long time ago, in a place far away, I married this great smile.a001a

Somewhere during the 2nd or 3rd year of “for better or for worse”, and because of a night out playing ice hockey with the guys, it morphed into this toothless version.

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Over the years an interesting variety of bridges and “flippers” and pegs and posts have found their way into that grin.  An early version of implants got him thru our years in Alaska.  But they finally met the beginning of their end in an Army-Navy Surplus store in Seattle.

Deep in animated negotiation for an item he thought too expensive, I watched, along with my father-in-law, Cliff, as Doug’s two front teeth simply fell out of his mouth and plopped on to the sales counter.

Cliff stepped behind a merchandise display in an unsuccessful attempt to hide his laughter.  I watched, amazed, as Doug just stuck the teeth back in his gums and continue to haggle.

Nothing much stops Doug, which is what I like most about him.  And also the least.  But probably the most.

So now the latest version of modern implants have failed and he’s mid-way thru a 3-part plan to get him some new teeth.  This week was the big surgery to remove the posts.

And goodness, drugs do amazing things.

Doug has no memory of going into the pharmacy, even though I begged him not to, where he staggered around like a drunk person.

He has no memory of the ride home and conversation about how much he wants to shave off his mustache because… “I like my face”.

I told him I like his face too and that shaving off the mustache is a great idea.

He has no memory of stopping at a Denny’s because he “really, really, really” needed some soup.

And he has absolutely no memory of his mildly inappropriate remark to the waitress.

I left a big tip and continue to extend my sincere apology to anyone at the Denny’s off Highway 22 who may have been offended.

So he’s got a couple of days of healing under his belt and is doing well.

He thinks I’m lying about the shaving of his mustache, but I’m not.  And I think he should keep his word.

I’ve wondered if he regrets the cost of that hockey game so many years ago.  But I know better.  He’d rather do things than wish he had.

~~~~~~~~~~

In other news, the vegetable garden is growing well.  The fence we put up to keep deer teeth and bunny teeth out is doing its job.  But mole teeth keep finding their way up from beneath.

Other than providing dental shuttle service, my week has been quiet.  My Dad shuffles up and down the deck with his walker.  We sit for a while.  I read.  He watches the birds and falls asleep.

I think about my military son in a dangerous place far away, then read the news of others’ military sons who died on American soil just doing their job in an office building.

I watch my Dad and remember it wasn’t so long ago he rode bikes with me and created beautiful gardens and fixed cars and gave wise advice… and now he occasionally doesn’t know my name.

Time is a valuable commodity we share.

It doesn’t come with a guarantee beyond this moment.

It almost makes a little sense to risk a tooth or two doing something you love.

Instead of wondering if you should.

Or finding out it’s too late.