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    Entries in birthday celebrations (2)

    Friday
    Aug122011

    Days To Remember

    How thankful we are…lots of great rain; cool, cool mornings…a break in the heat.  It’s been a good week.  Projects accomplished always make me happy, but time spent with family is even better.  Our niece, and her friends who were visiting, biked over to the house on Tuesday for a nice chat.  My sister came as well, she drove, and we roamed around, played in the creek, and took pictures.  While discussing area swimmin’ holes (they had already been swimming in an area river the day before), it was decided that they would try to find a place mentioned to me by one of the home school moms.  Blue Hole.  My niece took off work (a spur of the moment decision), they talked me into going, and we called for directions.

    This lovely, secret spot is a truly out-of-the-way place.  Interestingly, Arkansas has several areas called Blue Hole, and GB said he knows of one in Oklahoma.  I guess it’s a popular name for swimming nooks connected with streams and rivers.  After twists and turns, and travel down dirt roads (after passing a lovely, white country church building), we found it.  Or rather, drove right into it.  The creek traverses the road, and only pick-up trucks and SUV vehicles could safely cross.  It was a beautiful place.  And a ‘hole’ it truly was - a natural pond in the bend of flowing water.  Clear and cold, and deep enough to really swim.  There was even a rope tied to one of the trees on the bank.  The girls had a blast flinging themselves into the water and we were glad it was mostly sunny.  After collecting a few rocks, looking for crawdads, and playing with minnows, we dried off some and headed back home.  I’m very glad they talked me into going!

    As a last summer fling for some of our family (my sister starts work today and a niece begins college next week), we met for the weekly bowling game.  Earlier in the summer, my parents started bowling each week, and those who can meet them at the alley.  Several were able to make it this time—sister-in-law, niece, nephew, sister, and me.  Mother and daddy bowled on a league while we were growing up and they haven’t lost their knack.  We laughed, moaned, and made more ruckus than most other groups there.  A family of cheerers, clappers, and advisors, we always have a great time.  After a lovely lunch at a local sandwich shop (with mother and daddy as our hosts), we went our separate ways.  My sister and I for a short excursion to Pier 1, mother and daddy to Sam’s Club, and the others to the house.

    We will all meet again on Monday evening to celebrate another birthday.  A nephew is driving home today, after a summer internship at the Los Alamos Nuclear Facility, and his birthday is next week.  He heads back to college later this month and we’ll all be glad to have him home for a while!

    Yes, yes, great days.  Wonderful days to remember and hold dear.  Respites from the heat and from our work.  They are fun days, important days.  Connections are made stronger and we make memories that will see us through trying times.

    Sunday
    Aug072011

    Dog Days of Summer

    We are indeed, experiencing those ‘dog days’ right now.  The history of the phrase is interesting, but our own hot, dry days are not.  We had a teensy bit of relief last night, with a surprise thunderstorm.  We first thought the lightning we were seeing through the windows was heat lightning (we didn’t hear any thunder until after the rain started), but the sound of rain soon had us running out the front door to see if it was true.  Yessiree Bob, there it was.  Water, falling from the sky.  It was dark, still hot, but what a wondrous sight.  There were two small showers, lasting 30 minutes or so, each.  Four of my rain buckets were filled and I know the vegetable garden was heaving a sigh of relief.  Unbelievably, as we pulled in the driveway after church this morning I noticed the front flowerbed looked wilty…hard to comprehend.  But, with the heat wave and dry days, I guess even the evening rains were not enough to quench the thirst of our dry soil.  I watered a little and promised to do more in the morning.

    We’ve been busy since returning from our lovely vacation.  We started a small remodel job on our den before we left, and finished it up last week.  The home school moms were over on Thursday evening for our monthly get-together.  Friday evening found us at my parents for Fish Taco Night and Birthday Celebrations.  We have several birthdays around the end of July-first of August.  Catfish and bass were the filling of choice, with spiced ground beef for the non-fish lovers.  (Nephew Ben of Arachnophobia fame caught the bass.)  Fresh pico de gallo, onions, cilantro, avocados, limes, lemons, chopped cayenne peppers, tortillas, taco shells, grated cheese, salsa, pinto beans, and cole slaw rounded out the meal.  We enjoyed homemade cheesecake for dessert with excellent toppings - fudge sauce, homemade strawberry jam, fresh blueberry sauce, and an interesting peach-habanera sauce.  Daddy had the fish seasoned when we all arrived and the men-folk braved the 100+-degree heat to grill them nicely for us.  An excellent meal with our excellent family!

    Besides watering, watering, and watering the gardens, not much else going on around here.  It’s sad to see the dead and dying trees, shrubbery, and fields.  Cattle around our area are having their grazing supplemented with precious winter hay stores.  The cotton farmers down in Texas are delighted with the dry weather, but produce farmers are certainly suffering.  We had a short family discussion on the history of the dust bowl of the 1920’s and 30’s and we wondered if we could almost imagine the devastation and sorrow of those days.  No, we really cannot imagine.  I can’t anyway.  Running water, air conditioning, refrigeration, supermarkets, easy travel and transportation, and employment make it hard to rationalize our frustration with this summer weather pattern.  Record-breaking temperatures or no.

    The beginning of another week…one son on two-week holiday in England, another son and his wife enjoying time in TN.  A nephew continuing his work in Los Alamos, NM and another home for a visit over the weekend.  Several of the family preparing to return to their college studies, with one beginning college for the first time.  GB is out in the driveway as I write; working on the air conditioner in his car (he’s so very handy!).  A niece is enjoying friends who came to town for a visit.

    Wet, dry, hot, or cold, life is full of opportunities.  Time to visit, time to rest.  Family, friends, neighbors - there will always be something to occupy our minds and our hands.  Don’t complain, count your blessings.  If you get too hot, stop and cool down.  Enjoy the evening breezes (even the blazing ones) and pray for rain.

    For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
    a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

    Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

    No, the above was not written by Pete Seeger, nor made famous by The Byrds…