Sunday, February 28, 2010

Flood season, at Pizza Hut

So tonight while on our way to take my brother Jacob back to Union Springs Academy, we stopped at a Pizza Hut for a special supper, and I found how I'm gonna "make my fortune!" We were given our menus, and we stared and debated for at least 15min, almost as if we didn't all already know that we were going to get a large mushroom pizza just like we always have. Common knowledge by all, but still a part of the pizza hut ritual we all have come to enjoy over the years. So our drinks are brought to us, and within moments of delivery Jacob managed to dump his all over the table and on to my mothers lap. Yet another Pizza Hut ritual, Lol (mom says she can remember at least 7 different times that she has been soaked by someone at pizza hut! 3 of which was by waitress'.) So there is a great rush to evacuate our booth as every eye in the room is riveted to the excitement, and the waitress VERY begrudgenly brings us a stack of napkins to mop up our mess. Finally things begin to calm, and Jacobs cup is removed from his reach, it looks like we might be able to finish our meal. We all finish with our embarrassed laughter and joking, and the subject turns to more serious things. I don't even know what I was talking about, but it must have been pretty important because my hands were flying all over the place. And I need not say any more do I? I was polite enough to only soak myself. ;) We all jump to our feet again like a buncha Pentecostals, and all of those around us begin to slowly inch towards the doors. Lol So I go alert our delightful waitress to my perdicament with many apologies, and she starts steaming and turning red. Now I wouldn't go doing this again, but I am considering cornering the market on seamless gutters for those pizza hut tables. Lol, I just need to compile the spill statistics from "Huts" across the nation, and the contract is MINE!


Come around here, and I'll hit ya with the book! ;)

I've have always loved to read and was extremely interested in studying everything I possibly could, so my Grandparents on both sides did their best to supply me with GREAT amounts of books. But my very favorite as a young reader, was an Orange encyclopedia set. There was always something new to learn, and I spent hours and hours pouring over them page by page every evening.

I was thinking of this last night, and that reminded me of something I used to do when I was quite little. As soon as visitors would show up, I would hurriedly count heads and rush to my book shelves to find the exact encyclopedia volume that would most interest each one. Lol. Once everyone was seated in the living room I would emerge with my stack of orange books and hand them out to everyone, Lol. When I think back, I am amazed at how often so many people would act interested and would point out little facts from their book for me. This made me feel so good! And of course if they didn't read their recommended volume, I still felt obligated to entertain, so I would go look for a more proper volume and give them pointers on which pages they should be focusing on. :) My vast array of Indian and Nature books was my last resort, and I wasn't above reading to my chosen illiterate slacker in my quest to educate those around me. :)

Now I'm kinda curious about what happened to those encyclopedias. But for some reason we don't seem to get any visitors anymore? Hmm...?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"Rocking" w/ John Denver? An oxymoron? I think not!

I can still remember that day in particular, just like it was yesterday, and after we talked about it today, I guess she can too. It was such a beautiful warm and sunny early summer day, just a little under 20 years ago. My mother and I was spending the day at my grandparents home just across town (listening to old records and playing on the floor). Then I can see the light streaming through the old farmhouse livingroom windows, and hear my mothers voice singing to me. Songs that didn't seem quite as familiar to me as they do today, but nevertheless were calming, peaceful, and beautiful. I still feel the discomfort of the arms of that old wooden rocking chair prodding me as I squirmed around trying to find a softer place in her arms.(I was a big baby, I probably was barely 6 months old in this picture! ;) Lol) It seems so funny to think of now, Lol. I don't think I ever found that comfortable spot that I was looking for, but thats O.K. because I guess I was awake to form these happiest of memories for all of these years later.

As I was growing up, my mother listened almost exclusively to "John Denver," and I believe that the values expressed in much of his music became one of the biggest influences of my life,(his goofy 70's "Folky Westernish" style of dress is quite another story altogether. ;) Yeah, I got my own goofy style!) . He most often sang simple songs about life, love, family, farms and the biggest thing that seems to set him apart was that they were filled with images from nature. My family had always encouraged me to notice and study all of the things out in nature, but I think his music is one of the first things to make me think that there was something special about the woods and to create an irresistable pull for me out there. Maybe I am biased growing up with it, but it seems to be true to all of those I know who listen.

So I still remember so clearly most of the songs that she sang as she rocked me on that day. And either directly, or indirectly, some of my favorites have come to be about children, or songs that my "Mommy" adapted to better fit her purposes as she sang. ( for instance, "My Sweet Baby", might be much better known as "My Sweet Lady." But we won't have to tell anybody now will we. Lol ) All of these years later, and now I often play them to her in the evenings. Lol, but I skip over the whole rocking thing, I remember how uncomfortable that was. Now I am just starting to get over a cold, and I just about lost my voice this morning and can still barely breathe, but I find it irresistable to sing when the urge hits me, so at least I am sure ya'll will enjoy the funny faces I can't help but make when I try. Lol

"Zachary and Jennifer" is one of my very favorites, especially the last line of the song.

"Annies Song" was a love song for his wife, but my mother seemed to think that it fit well enough for her baby, Lol. I think I can agree.

"My Sweet Baby," not the actual title, but I still like it much better. This is something along the lines of a lullaby, kinda-sorta. (This is the one I remember the clearest)

And "For Baby, for Bobbie" yet another love song that also became a song about children. Makes no difference anyways.

So if ya survived at least a few of those, here in lies my lesson for today. Don't ever think that children won't remember, enjoy them and spend time with them when they are still young and impressionable, fill their little minds with love and they won't ever forget that you did. I don't know about you, but I really feel like I had my life all figured out by time I was 3, Lol, what things I care about and strive for, haven't hardly changed a bit. And #2 if you ever find your self rocking your own child, be sure you sing a song you wont mind hearing in 20 years, over, and over, and over...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My Life Through Rose Colored Glasses, (subtitled) "What Teddy does when no ones watching"

So this last fall I was picking through the garbage barrel looking at all of the wonderful things that my mother had thrown away, and I came across a pair of red tinted sunglasses. I was never one to lower myself to wear such things, but I had some experiences with the sun being in my eyes while driving in the mornings, so I thought hey why not, no one will ever see me! I tried them on, and it has changed my life forever....... (fades into a story, this very morning in fact!)

So once there was a certain carpenter who had a big green gas guzzling truck, so he put on his grungy green jacket, buckled his seat belt and began to drive his big green truck. Now don't get me wrong, it was a great green truck, but it just liked to guzzle more gas than this certain carpenter would have enjoyed pumping. So he was sad, can you see how sad this grungy green jacketed carpenter was! It's so sad!

Well, then out of no wheres, this little car came flying past the great green gas guzzling truck! "What!?" Exclaimed the sad carpenter, as he looked at his speedometer! "I'm doing 57mph just like always! You know, slow enough to not get a ticket from the nice policeman, and fast enough where traffic won't be piling up behind me! Ya know?"

So this certain carpenter began to get angry! Grrrr, why he could just, could just!!! Then a thought came into his head, "Thats right, I have my sunglasses! Everything is gonna be O.K. !! Yeah!! Well at first not much happened.

But slowly he began to be immersed in a happy world full of pinks, purples, and deep reds. "Why there isn't even any cold white snow in this pretty place he thought." This especially seemed to soften his raring road rage, he was back down to 57mph again, with at least 3 car lengths between him and the little zippy car.

With each passing mile the Rosey colored glasses worked their magic as the certain grungy green jacketed carpenter in the great green gas guzzling truck tootled along happily behind the zippy little car. Finally as the little car had no other choice but to turn down another happy highway, the smiling carpenter waved his last goodbye to the speedy little sporty car. "I'll miss you! Have a very nice trip!" He yelled out the window as the operator of the tiny vehicle stared on in confusion.
So once again the crazy carpenter, and the terrific truck rolled away in the distance. Visiting every hardware store they passed on their way into the sunrise... Such a happy ending, I love this story, and I KNOW you do too! Hurray!!!

O.k. So now it's official, I am certifiably insane. I not only wear pink sunglasses that makes me feel cheery, and very possibly might be womans for all I know, but I take pictures of myself, and write Dr. Suess books about myself in the third person. Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't be publishing this post? Oh well, I have no pride anyways.... and by the way, no little zippy cars were harmed in the making of this blog, and any and all resemblances of the characters to me or my truck, are strictly coincidental. copyright 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Man after God's own Heart

What must you do, or be to succede in life? How do you live to your fullest potential? Does it have anything to do with your dreams? Your bank account, how or where you live? etc, etc... I've been driving again, a time that inevitably for me is filled with deep thought, questions, and prayers. Often times I tend to forget that I'm actually heading somewhere, and that can get kinda interesting too, but that surely could be another post altogether.

My grandfathers name is Luther Lamont Skinner. If you have ever met him, he was likely either busily working around his old farmhouse or quietely sitting out of the way grinning behind those squinty gentle eyes. ;) But if I must pick one person that I would model to live my life like, without hesitation he would be it. He had dreams too, he wanted to be a pastor, and I know that he dreamed once of being a pilot. (He even made a pair of glider wings out of cardboard as a young teenager, and bravely ventured to jumped off the peak of his fathers barn roof. It had some kinks to be ironed out still. Lol) I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is so much more that he has never told me, or probably anyone, not usually being one to discuss such things. But before nineth grade he quite school to help his father out on the farm. He married my grandmother Dorothy Jean Larock I believe at 23, bought their first home, his old school house and rolled it down the road behind the tractor on logs for a couple miles, and up a rather steep hill and set it down on a basement he had laid. He spent most of the rest of his life farming, or working as a carpenter when ever he could find an odd job. Later in life after he lost the farm, he spent several miserable years working in a wire mill in town. I remember him coming home night after night with his shirts cut to shreds because of some mean spirited guy with tin snips he called a "friend." When I would ask, he would just laugh and joke about it and sew them back up again, I just though it was funny until I got old enough to really understand. My grandparents had 3 children, my mother and 2 uncles. I know it wasn't easy, but they were always provided for. When the bank took the farm (which God miraculasly worked out to give back a couple years later) they went out into the bean fields after the harvest and gleaned and canned enough green beans to live on through the winter. As bad as that might sound to us, now they all think of it as a wonderful memory. " The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand. I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; And his descendants are blessed." Psalm 37:23-26 I can't begin to say how very much this promise means to me!

Growing up, I spent every single day I possibly could with my grandpa. I would follow him around and observe how he fixed things up, or remodeled the house. A thing I am so very greatful for now, to have a good career passed on to me without ever a single thought about what I was doing, or paying a dime for it. I always had a plan for a new invention, and he would always leave his never ending list of things to fix, and join me in the cellar workshop to build seriously every and anything you can imagine, we even build an elaborate little "cotton gin" that you put milkweed fluff into, and it seperated the seeds from the fluff when you cranked the handle! Just so that I could try my hand at spinning it into yarn, and weaving on a homemade loom. The blanket never turned out as good as the "gin" did. Lol. And I know he knew that, but that never stopped him from being there to help me work through the technicalities of my contraption. He helped me build bows and arrows, crossbows, goat wagons, a pack saddle, knives, re-haft dozens of axe heads, motor bikes, a 2 person bicycle, wooden sleds, snowshoes, wooden boxes galore (each with a secret compartment), furniture and shelves, a real wooden lock to put on one of my cabins that only opened with a special wooden key!, when I was 9 he gave me a room of his barn to turn into a museum and helped me fill it up with farm antiques, he even dammed up his little stream to make me a pond to float my boat in that he made for me out of an old mortar pan and lots of tar. There wasn't any idea that my young mind could come up with, that he didn't straight way go to the farthest reaches of his ability to make into reality for me. He has always shown the greatest of selfless love and endless patience, always without complaint. I don't know how many times I dragged him into the woods to help me pick the perfect tree for my next project. His love and interest in my life has been such a perfect example of what Jesus is like to me.

It is nearly 1am, and I probably should finish up, so I will try to get my thoughts across now. I have recently heard grandpa in a rare moment of opening up, say that he feels like he was a failure and didn't take care of his family how he wanted to. But I am here to tell you that when I look at life, that I don't believe that our ideas of success or how things should be, are hardly ever in line with Gods. I really think that we sometimes need to step back and surrender our lives and plans to His will. As much as I struggle with this, our idea of what we should become, or accomplish, is usually quite a ways from the mark. Grandpa is not a pastor, but I believe with all of my heart that he has touched more lives for Christ in his gentle, oh so quiet way, than he ever would of in that position. A Godly man or woman glorifies God by every action, and I know every one who has spent any time with Grandpa, has seen the character of God without him ever having to preach a sermon, or utter a word. His testimony is in his life. Things will never be perfect on this earth, Thankfully!! It gives us so much more to look forward to in Heaven. Although I forget this principle daily ( as often as I do where I left my tape measure or pencil, ;) I have come to at least sometimes learn to rejoice in trials. God brings So many beautiful things out of this ugly life. I love the stories of David, and my greatest prayer and desire has been for so long, to have God mold me into a man after His own heart. I've felt for so long like that prayer wasn't heard until just a couple of days ago while reading, it hit me just how much trouble David went through! That is Gods method of character development, I knew it all along, but it just makes sense now. There were so many times that David felt like God was not listening to him, had abandoned him, and so many times in my own life when the loneliness becomes unbearable and I begin to wonder if He really is there for me. So, I know this is not as well written as I want it to be, and I hope it makes sense without too many trails running in every direction, but I just want to remind everyone to live your lives to glorify God right were you are. You probably won't feel like you are accomplishing anything of worth, but you are where you are for a good purpose, and all you have to do is build up your relationship with Him and the world won't be able to avoid seeing Jesus in you. And your life faithfully lived is you at your greatest potential, everything else we think we need in this world is temporary and worthless. I really gotta sleep now! lol