I Can’t Make This Up! Worst Nightmare Parent Call

As I go to answer my office phone today, this is the caller ID that comes up on my phone.

As it is almost always parents who are calling this line, I took a deep breath and made sure to smile as I spoke my school name and introduced myself.

Even though I couldn’t help with the request, this mom was no where near MY worst nightmare, but I am going to get a lot of mileage from this photo I snapped just before hanging up. 😉

I didn’t know it was possible to change your caller ID, so I learned something new today! Maybe you did, too!

Bangles & Cuffs

What messages do you give yourself each day?

Maybe you stand on your porch with your coffee in hand and drink in nature to start your day.

Maybe you spend time in God’s word asking Him to light you way.

Maybe its your mirror that speaks to you each morning as you glance at the verses and quotes before you rush out the door.

Maybe it is the music or podcast you listen to on your commute to help you put all you have to do into perspective.

Maybe it is the bald eagle, wishing you luck, as it flies across your path, bringing not only majesty and wonder but also a hope of what the day will be.

Maybe it is what surrrounds your workspace – photos of your lovies, quotes or work from children – your own and those from years in the classroom who claimed you as their own. Or those reminders, the Scrabble board of adjectives, the tissue paper bouquet, and the Yet sign – all from experiences that helped shape you into who you are today.

Maybe it is your screensaver, page-of-the-day calendar, or mousepad, all specifically chosen to help you produce the kind of day you desire.

Maybe it is the bangles and cuffs that remind you to demonstrate patience with others and also yourself, to reaffirm where you come from and of the love that travels with you, and to state your mission, which you strive to live out each day. Maybe they center you each morning, as on your wrist they come to rest. And then throughout the day, they help you see the way through each of life’s tests. And as the day turns to night and you give them a rest, those messages help you know you lived this day best.

And maybe too many bangles & cuffs are noisey and your desk is cluttered and your drive is hurried and your prayer is a quick one for safety and sight.

And maybe, just maybe, you are okay with that because the messages are for you.

It sometimes takes a dog . . .

I found this photo of our dog, Buck, on my 7 year old’s phone. I love the picture, because it is a seriousness I rarely see in him. It makes me wonder what the picture taker was doing to get this reaction.

Did J have Buck’s rock and would not throw it or give it back? That’s right, Buck fetches rocks instead of balls and always knows which rock is his.

Was Buck getting scolded for chasing the calves when it was not time to work? He is still in training and getting better all the time, but sometimes he forgets.

Was this right after the pups were born and his sidekick, Bridgette, had more important things to occupy her time?

Or does J, my 7 year old truly know how to speak to his bestie furball and asked Buck to pose for a serious one? Who knew our rock-fetching cattle dog is also a dog model!

All I know for certain is that I was less than enthused to get him and have rarely considered animals really a part of the family, and yet they are. And it is like they know what is going on and have been here to help with all the heartache whether by herding the cattle or putting his head under my hand – which I know is Buck’s form of a hug. And when Buck gets really serious, he needs to raise up on his back legs so he can be closer to your eyes and look into them, which is his way to tell you it is all going to be ok – never the same, but we will one day be back to ok . . . sometimes it just takes a dog.

And the craziest part is that Buck is on the porch and as I typed those last words, he started howling – not barking – but howling like crazy! I can’t make this up! Better go see . . .

Day 1 SOL: Since last March

So much to tell – will 31 days be enough time? How best to choose? Should they all rhyme?

So much loss and grief and pain, but so much love and life and gain.

I think of my sweet niece born. And one the farm our first litter of puppies. Both so cute in very different ways.

But then the losses, first of work and school and play. And then onto loved ones whose loss is so great I still find it hard to say.

It does my heart good to reflect upon where I have been since last March, even though it has truly been some of the toughest months of my life, I can also see God’s weaving in it all. I hope to explore this and much more in Slices of Life through this challenge.

A Surprise from My Yard

As I walked to my flower bed that sets down by the road, I saw the cutest little four petal flowers covering a large portion of my yard. I don’t remember these being here in the past. I don’t remember seeing this small flower before, which is strange because I know many cool season flowers/weeds, but do not recall this one.

No matter their name, these friendly little flowers made my day and so I thought I would share them with you, too!

This coffee cup always reminds me

On Saturdays, I often use this green coffee cup that was my Grandpa George’s. My mom made it for him and when he passed, I somehow got it. It is not very pretty, but it is one of my treasures.

I would love to have a cup of coffee with my grandpa. I was just in middle school when he passed away. He was a business owner and worked with so many farmers in our community. He raised 10 kids and was a leader in our town. He was a man’s man who loved to fish and hunt and had a great deep laugh.

This coffee cup always reminds me of my grandpa.

The Magic of an Ordinary Afternoon

Today felt more normal than the past couple of weeks. I have been so crazy trying to tie up loose ends as school closed this past week, and at the same time, I was the main organizer of the meal delivery list for our kiddos that started this week. And in the meantime, I was striving/struggling to respond to/reassure my staff. And felt guilty with my own boys getting behind in their lessons here at home. It has been a busy 8 days!

It is days like today when I am so grateful to live where I do and how we do.

I came home to a couple of very excited boys who could not wait to tell me all about Brownie, our new bottle calf. Brownie will be Judd’s 4-H bottle calf to be shown at the fair in July. He was purchased today at the cattle auction.

Judd did a great job with Brownie’s first feeding. It helps that the calf was already bottle trained, but it was still new for Judd.

After the calf got settled in the trailer, (it stays separated for a few days in quarantine as well) we went to check the cows to see if we have any new babies. We seem stuck at 5 spring calves, but the others should calve any day now. We check on a couple of our young mothers – one that did not make much milk and we had to bottle feed her calf last year, and the other that is still just a bit spooky and unpredictable. Both of those mommas and babies look good. With the sunshine today, the grass looks greener and growing – great news for cattle ranchers. Good grass makes healthy calves.

For the entire afternoon, I wasn’t worried about the distance I was from someone or about wearing rubber gloves. I was thinking about toilet paper or milk or egg shortages.

This afternoon, it was just my family, here on our farm, and everything was right with the world again, or at least right in our small world for this moment.

I hope you can get just a few moments of distraction this weekend to just feel right again.

All dressed up with no where to go . . .

When I arrived home this afternoon, I was greeted by my youngest, with a big hug, which I relish as hugs are getting rarer with each passing year.

I asked him what he was doing in his good shirt and jeans.

He said he just missed school and wanted to dress like he would if he was going to school. My little first grader takes his fashion cues and much of life’s instructions from John Wayne. Not only was he in his pearl snap shirt and cowboy boots, he had his belt, with the big buckle, on and had combed his hair, even using mousse.

‘Mom, will we get to go to school next week?’ he questions me.

‘No, Buddy. We are out until at least April 6.’ I don’t have the heart to break it to my boys that we are likely not going back this school year. Better to hold onto the hope.

‘Well, at least I can dress like I am going to school.’

‘You sure can, and your hair looks really nice. I bet Mrs. Robinett could use a smile today. Let’s send her a picture.’

We have to focus on the sunshine each day! In case you are running low, I will share mine with you. I hope his little grin brings a smile to you as well.

My Obsession with Hot Beverages

Thanks to Watching My Garden Grow for the inspiration for this slice. Day 25 of the SOL20.

Coffee or Tea?

That should be a simple answer, but instead this leads me to many stories.

First, it was tea. Living with my Gram in high school, I learned that comfort can come in a cup. Gram drinks all kinds of tea, all day long, and for all sorts of reasons or for no reason at all. Our favorites to share are Lemon Lift and Earl Grey.

I still love those old favorites, but my favorite for many years has been jasmine green tea. I first had this tea as a gift from a student during a short trip teaching English in Fuqing, China. The tea is native to this part of China. It continues to be a gift.

I also love the sleepy time or dream easy tea. It is so helpful on nights I just can’t shut my brain off.

So I was firmly a tea drinker. ‘Have electric kettle, will travel’ could be my bumper sticker.

And then I studied in Costa Rica for a semester. You just cannot turn down some of the best coffee in the world, especially when it is served at a roadside cafe from what looks like a dirty sock connected to a wire hanger bent into a holder. This original ‘pour-over’ is how each cup is made. I had to put about a third of a cup of sugar in it to drink it. But it was delicious!

When I returned to the states, that is how I would continue to drink it-very strong and very sweet. It was not until we lived in my in-laws basement for a spell that I became a regular coffee drinker. I don’t really know why, but I did.

Today, I drink my coffee black. I like to have a cup on the way to school and then the rest of the pot goes in my thermos to drink before ten. I want a real mug and have a few favorites at both home and work, but that is for another slice.

My favorite way to drinks coffee or sometimes hot chocolate is with my youngest on our front porch. He is very serious when we start our weekend on the porch watching and listening for birds and sipping our special drinks. Things I love all together, a warm drink in my hand, my sweet boys, and the view from my front porch. (The photo on my blog page is of m coffee cup on my front porch)