Apr 3, 2015

Days Like This..........

We have been blessed with some rainy, stormy days lately.  I love rain.  I also love storms.  My 50th birthday is looming on the horizon, and I have been watching baby calves come along in impressive numbers, flowers bursting forth, and petals showering down all around me.

Forsythia through a rainy window in March, 2015.  Pregnant cow in background.
One day you get up, and it's rainy and chilly. 
The next day you get up, and it's foggy but the sun is coming out.
The next day it's beautiful and 80.
After that the wind blows everything like crazy and all the leaves you thought you had raked up are right back where I guess they must belong.
I leave that to God, largely.  There is just so many things that I can handle on my own. 
Leaves do not make the list.
I am not even sorry.
This is a picture that didn't turn out very well, but the sun was coming up and the cow's breath was making misty clouds that I could see much better than I got in this picture.
I took the picture just to jog my memory. 
Sadly, you, my friends, will have to imagine it.

I guess maybe you had to be there.

Then the sun came up and I went ahead and looked right into it.
After all, I am 50 now.  Well, almost.
I can do what I want.
I told myself the camera was a filter.
I probably could even have used some kind of different setting.  Perhaps this is the year I will learn about that.
Perhaps not.
We will just have to wait and see!
It'll be a surprise.

Go ahead and look, kid.
It was the week before my birthday, I was just feeling great.
We were headed over to my brother's for the day to cook out and work on the yard.
The boys were driving their own truck with both dogs loaded up, thrilled for a ride, and it was a beautiful day.
I just felt so very blessed, I had no idea why.
The fact that my dad was calling wondering why I wasn't in church and my new-found neighbor/aunt I never had was texting me asking the same thing began to give me clues, though.

My flock.  I would be lost without them.

Unbeknownst to me, my church family had planned a surprise birthday party for me, complete with dead flowers and everyone dressed in black.
It was a God wink to me to find this church.  The pastor's name was Rob Wood.  Those of you from Browning, Mo will recognize this name, carried by one, and carried still by another, unforgettable people.
How could I miss another Rob Wood?
That would be crazy and I can't even go into explaining why.
Those who know, just know.  ;)  It's a Browning thing.
But I digress.
This church, led by Rob Wood, is so laid-back and comfortable, it's more like successful group therapy than church.
I mean that in the best way possible.
If you feel the need to throw something in, well, you just do.
Rob said someone once asked him about what "program" he used to get the congregation to interact with each other, and he just laughed.
It's a family.  You would just have to come and see for yourself.
Highway O. Newton Co, Mo.  Wanda is the name of what used to be the town.  You can't miss it.  Just come see and tell me I'm wrong.
Heck, I dare ya.
Yes, I missed my own surprise party.
That was really disappointing.
And embarrassing.
But since it's not my fault, because I didn't know, we went on with our day.
I would later come home to find these thoughtfully wrapped bouquets on my front porch, where I had just sat feeling so blessed that morning and not knowing why.

Look at the care they took with the ribbons!  :D

But that would all be discovered later.
At this point we were headed to my brother's place with the dogs proudly tasting the wind all the way over.

Once there, I dropped the potato casserole into my sister-in-law's arms and headed straight to the bathroom, where I was proud to have made it without peeing my own pants.
Because, hey, I am almost 50 now.
Comes with the territory. Prepare yourselves now.  I speak the truth!
Within a minute and half I can hear the sounds of a dog fight in the front yard.
My heart is pounding, but what can I do?
Because I am almost 50 now, absolutely nothing but sit there and wait for my poor old bladder to be done and hoping fervently that our next stop is not an emergency room or the digging of a grave for a beloved dog.
Maybe two!!
When I finally get out, I rush to join my sister-in-law at the front door.
We observe my own Shadow and her sweet Patch at each other's throats, with Jack frantically barking.  Jack seems a little unhinged.
Apparently when my dogs came into Patch's yard, he was all like "OH NO YOU DIDN'T"

Both my boys had one of our dogs each, my brother had Patch, all the men were straining to hold a dog back and all the dogs were barking and making noises like they were, in fact, killing each other.
At least, that's how it looked to us from the safety of the doorway.
Suddenly, at some signal, my youngest baby just picks Shadow, bodily, up, and she just lets him.
She does not bite off his head, or claw his face into shreds, or scalp him, or anything.
She just lets him pick her up, possibly because she is the queen, and he calmly walks back to the truck and deposits her, where she stays.
It was like a miracle.
My oldest baby follows suit with Jack.
Once again I am so thankful and happy for my brother.
He can fix anything.  He really can.
His presence around my boys, and I believe their presence around him, is a blessing that just keeps giving.
In the most unexpected and surprising ways.

So, it is decided that I will take our dogs back home.
Thank God I peed.
So into the back of the amazing HHR go the dogs.

Shadow is tired.  Jack is staying as close to his Mama as possible.

Shadow seemed a little confused and a lot tired, but still regal.  She made herself comfortable and had nothing to say whatsoever.
Queens do not concern themselves with the opinions of peasants.
At least not once they are safe on a feather bed in the back of their mom's car.
Jack stayed as close as he could get to me the entire way home.  He was a little amazed to find that Shadow let him have the middle.
This is why the "princess" syndrome is a bad idea, people.
Shadow is not, in fact, the queen of the world.
She was very disappointed to find this out but I think she got a good picture of what can happen in the real world.
Live and learn, Shadow.  Live and learn.
I am very happy to have your company in this endless journey of lessons learned the hard way.

Jack has my six.  Or something.  If you have never traveled with a dog sniffing the air behind your head, I feel sorry for you.
So I delivered the dogs back home, told them they were the best dogs in the world, and treated them to a big bowl of leftover stew.  Why not?  Nobody even got hurt.  
I took it all in stride, as 50 year old's do.  We've seen it all before.
  I sang a few bars of  Days Like This, and I gloried in being flexible.
Oh, and on my way back to my brother's for the second time, I saw this little mister, who had recently joined us.
His eyelashes are about 4 inches long and I do believe he batted them at me a couple of times.
I could have snuggled up with him and just lay in the sun the rest of the day, to be honest.

Is he not adorable?

Back I went, over the rivers and through the woods, to my brother's house.  We had a great meal and did a lot of yard work, and laughed about dogs and territories and life in general.
My sister in law confessed she was in heaven.
So was I.
All around us our boys were working.
We went over all her flower and vegetable beds, I got some honeysuckle starts, and many, many leaves were destroyed.
Don't get excited, these are pin oaks we are dealing with, and many 
leaves also remain.
But we do love to burn.
It's how God made us. *shrugs*
Meanwhile, all the bulbs I had been waiting for.....

Early blooms but many more coming.......

Really got to going!  Blooms were bursting forth!  Music was playing!  (Ok, that was just in my head.  I think....)
Every day there are more!

A fairie's view from inside the flower basket.

Within a few days, that flower basket looked full and overflowing.
Purples, pinks, yellows.
Hyacinths, Pansies, Jonquils, Muscari.......
Tulips are on deck.

I still haven't removed the leaves.  We still have some frosty mornings ahead.

So, the crazy day came to an end.
What a day it had been!
I even made it home with a few barrels my brother cut in two for me.
I think I will put vegetables in them on the South side of the house.
I thought, that morning, about the last six months of our lives.
I thought, if someone would have told me last year that all this would happen.........what would I have thought?
I thought about fireplaces, and the twins getting snowed in at my brother's, and having my nephew in our home.

I thought about the night I had to cut him off of pop and hilariously heard "I'm All Out Of Love" blaring from the boys' room.
It had somehow found it's way into a show they thought was "cool" and later that night my nephew complained about it being stuck in his head.
I told him he now knew what it was to have survived the 80's.
Don't believe me?  Just click on the link I thoughtfully included for your listening pleasure.  Ah cha cha.  You are welcome!
I thought about what the next 6 months may hold for us.......
The twins will graduate next year.
I am going to Germany with my brother's family for 3 weeks.
The last year has brought a lot of change, almost all good.
I thought about the people I was so sorry to leave on a daily basis, but how I was so glad not to have that job anymore.

I thought about this crazy, mixed up day, and all that had happened.
Whether I was there or not.
This was just one day.
I thought about how my family would function without me, and how life has a rhythm that goes on with or without us, and what a comfort that is as I get older.
How much I love watching the seasons change and how much better life is when you put those things in your mind
and just let that be your world.
Let the flowers bloom, the babies come, the children grow, and the dogs grow old with me.
I can't wait to see what comes next.
50 is looking awfully good to me.
But the best part?
The best part is that I do get to be here.

My present to myself this year is to be more present in the moments I am here, and to worry less about what comes tomorrow.
Because what comes to tomorrow is still going to come.
Whatever it may be.
My grandmother's would have said this as "No need to borrow trouble."
They would have been right, and I love getting to be the age where I can offer sage advice, knowing it's true whether anyone believes me or not.
There will come a moment, someday, when they will remember what I said and know.
They will just know.  That I was right.  That I knew what was coming, even when they did not, and that I rested sure in their abilities to handle it.  
How much I loved them.  How you can dance in the rain, enjoy the storms, live to see the next day, and live that by the seat of your pants, too.
Life will go on.
With or without me.
Now get out there and dance.  Greet a newborn creature.  Watch the seeds  you have planted bloom.
Make a cup of tea when you hear that thunder and get out to the porch to watch the storm.
You might be surprised how much you enjoy it.