Aug 30, 2016

Bear Bait

We have quite the variety of wild animals in our new neighborhood.

We were told that we MUST keep our trash in our garage and bbq grills cleaned because of bears.  Bears are so cute.  Unless they are strolling through your neighborhood rummaging through trash.  We've heard there are bears but so far no sightings.

The first day we moved in we interrupted a snake's nap in the sun in our front yard.
I hate snakes.

Just when the snake headed back into the bushes for likely an afternoon snack, out pops a wild bunny.  It was adorable.  Except there are a lot of wild bunnies in the yard and they crap a lot.  It isn't like you can scoop bunny poo from the grass, so there it lies.

A few weeks after we were in the house G was stung by a wasp and I realized we had a wasp nest in the front bushes.  I destroyed that sucker.  Those beasts were mean.  Numerous kids were being stung so I had to step in and empty two cans of hornet nest spray into the bush.  I'm happy to say that the advertising is correct on the can, I killed the entire family of wasps from 25ft away.

One night while my family was sitting down for dinner I stepped into the other room to grab something.  While in the front room I saw a bizarre sight and had to gather the entire family to see for their own eyes, a family of deer walking up the sidewalk.  NO KIDDING.  They were on the sidewalk.  An odd sight.  The street was empty but you know, safety first.
The deer sightings are almost daily when I'm out on a run and you know they scare me every single time.  I jump a little and then try not to make eye contact whilst stealthily moving along.

Next came the bobcat.  I nearly pooped myself when that sucker came rolling down the alley.  I was cleaning out the garage when I saw a cute cat out of the corner of my eye, but no, it wasn't a neighbor cat it was a giant bobcat.  That dude jumped over the 6ft fence like I step over a pile of legos.
Apparently bobcats are common too.  While Matt and I were on a walk a few weeks ago, we passed a few neighbors talking and I heard one neighbor say "I saw a whole family of bobcats the other night right over there where those people are walking".  Uh thanks for the heads-up before we walked into the den of bobcats.

Last night I was awakened by quite a ruckus. It sounded like a cat vs raccoon or maybe that bobcat was back.  Who knows?  
Then today when I pulled out of the garage I noticed a cat, in my bushes.  Odd little kitty.  His head was toward the fence and back to me when I pulled out.  It seemed weird he didn't startle when I pulled out of the garage.
But then I knew, that cat was dead.
Cats don't just chill with their back to the action.
And I remembered the kitty party the night before and figured I was looking at the aftermath.

I was heading out for a few hours so I told the boys to call dad and find out what to do about the cat.  An hour later they reported the cat was gone.  It got up and walked away.
Wow.  I really thought that cat was dead.

And then I came home to find the cat was moved a bit, but still in our bushes.  I tossed a pinecone on his head just to confirm he was in fact dead.
I think thats the official dead cat test.  
Pinecone to the noggin.

By 4pm I still couldn't reach any of the alleged dead animal retrieval services for the area.  I left messages for everyone to come get that cat.
There dead kitty lies, just outside my gate, inviting bears and other scavenging creatures to my yard tonight for a little snack.

I wish I had a security camera pointed to the back gate because I'm guessing dead kitty is bear bait and tonight might just be the night I have a visit from my local family of hungry bears filling their bellies for winter.

Aug 22, 2016

Last night I slept horribly.
I should have slept great because after a week of super hot temperatures it was finally nice and cool when I went to bed, but Matt had other plans for me.
Around 3am I heard muttered grumbling and then hitting of something and then a giant whooshing sound.  I jump out of bed to figure out what in the world is going on.
Matt's sleepy machine did something he wasn't happy with and next thing you know he is disconnecting, reconnecting and then swinging this tube around like Indiana Jones.  Do you know what sound a hollow tube makes when whipped through the air wildly?  Try it.  Not amusing at 3am.
So, once my heart stopped racing I attempted to fall back to sleep.
I was somewhat successful.
I no longer tossed and turned, but my brain wouldn't rest and I had an extremely vivid, scary, dream.

The family was on a hike somewhere and we approached what looked to be a natural water slide.  The slide looked fun and scary at the same time.  Matt and I decided we didn't know enough about the slide to determine whether it was safe or not.  But Eli insisted on going down.
He just jumped in.
I panicked.
I did not want to go in after him, but I also could not stand by and watch him disappear into the unknown.

Down the slide we went.  
Eli just a bit in front of me.
It was bumpier than we imagined and while it was tolerable it was scary.
Finally, we dumped off of the slide into a pool of water.
Except it wasn't a pool of water.
It was a raging river.
The current was fierce.
We were moving along down the river at high speeds and there was no end to the river in sight.
Other people were in the water, it appeared some were drowning.

I kept yelling to Eli to not to fight the current.
"Relax your body and keep your head above the water!"

Up ahead I saw a place on the bank of the river that had the possibility for escape.
I yelled to Eli and told him to move to the left of the river and get out if he could.

He was doing it, he was off to the side and he was clambering up the side of the cliffs.
I fought hard and followed him.
We grappled our way to a grassy bank.
High above the water we sat soaked, knees bleeding and thoroughly exhausted.

He looked over at me and said "I'm so sorry mom, I dragged you into this".
And I turned to him and said "Eli, a part of me will always go where you go".
I was trying to let him know that I had to jump, even knowing I could perish, because he jumped.

And I woke up.
Scared and confused.

What was that about?
I did have a recent white water rafting incident where I took on some rapids outside of the boat.  Perhaps that was still in my head.

After a few more hours of sporadic sleep Matt woke me up and asked where his shaving cream was.
What is going on?  Does this man hate me?

As I lay in bed getting ready to start this day I was overwhelmed with this dream.  Tears were rolling down my cheeks and I struggled to find why I was so upset.
It wasn't the water, or the drowning, it was my words that were bringing me to tears.

A part of me will always go where you go.

Our kids will unknowingly and unintentionally drag us down raging waters of turmoil. Their understanding of our love for them is so incomplete.  Every bad decision, every rocky path they take, a part of us is there.  Their hurt is ours, their joy is ours, their success, their failure....
Even if we say we aren't going, a part of us will be on those rapids.  Because we just cannot watch them take off from the safety of the edge and pretend we aren't right there.  We hold our breath too, or we jump in along side, or we race to the finish line hoping and praying they are coming around the bend.

In my dream, in the waters, there were two things that went right.  
Eli was prepared and he listened to wisdom.
I had previously taught him to swim, and not to fight the current.
When the waters were rough and I called out to him, he took my advice.

On my run this morning the dream was still in my head.  And I took a few miles to pray over all those mamas out there who have a kid who jumped into that darn natural water slide and found themselves in the raging waters below.  I know, you are in those waters too.
God knows that you are in those waters and he's there with you.

To those who, like me, have a younger kid who hasn't tried to kill us in a river yet, prepare them and teach them to seek wisdom.  So when they do jump in the waters they have the skills to stay afloat.

Aug 17, 2016

Old Testament Wisdom

Since moving back to the U.S., we have had so many opportunities to visit family both here and in California.  I think we have seen them more in the past 4 years than we did in the previous 16 years combined!  We consider ourselves so blessed to have been stationed here upon our return from Germany and to have been provided the opportunity to stay here with Matt's civilian job.

Last Sunday I attended church services with my family in California.  This has become a pretty common occurrence.  My kids are so used to attending services there that they just hop on over to their age appropriate activity, hang out with the friends they see a few times a year, and meet me in the lobby after church.  Although I never attended this church officially, it has kind of become my church away from church since I'm there so often.

This Sunday was kind of pre-determined to be an emotional one.  It was the one year anniversary of my Grandmother's death, the last family day at my sister's house before my niece moved out for college and it was the last day of our summer vacation in California.

Sunday's message, as expected, evoked a strong emotion in me.  
Just not an emotion I expected.
Vindication is the word I'm going with.

2 Kings 5:5 " Naaman left taking with him 10 talents of silver,  6 thousand shekels of gold and 10 sets of clothing".

Finally, I am completely vindicated in my packing strategies!
This is Biblical wisdom here.  You can't argue with that.
10 sets of clothing people!!
Thats what I'm talking about.  Options.

As I drove home on Monday, about 60 miles into Oregon it occurs to me that I don't want to go home.
It is rather poor timing as 60 miles into Oregon puts me almost halfway home.

Behind me was family and no responsibility.
No dinners to make, dishes to wash, floors to vacuum or yards to mow.

Ahead is a pistachio ice cream colored house with stinky carpet.

The worse part is that I have to pass by my beautiful clean house in Olympia in order to get to the new place.  I also have to pass by my amazingly awesome job where I got paid to spent 6.5 hours of my day with coworkers I actually love, and students who I had the opportunity to impact greatly.

With me in the van is a kid who, although nearly 12, insists upon whining and reacting like a 2 year old when things don't his way, and a high school freshman who thinks punching his brother is the most effective way to handle a disagreement.
Where did these rascals come from?  I'm pretty confident I never told them to punch people if they don't get their way and the sure fire way to get what you want is to yell loudly.

In my head is the voice of my husband, who I had a nasty fight with two days earlier, encouraging me to apply for jobs that I don't want because "we don't always get what we want".

60 miles into Oregon and I can't see anything positive ahead.  Crazy children, differing perspectives with the husband, and the Pistachio Castle.

And then I remember Naaman and the actual points of the message.
"I thought"
Naaman grumbled that he thought the healing of his leprosy would be different.  He was actually upset at the instructions that Elisha gave him to receive healing.

Maybe I am a disgruntled Naaman with 10 sets of clothes and a feeling of entitlement.  
I'm too busy thinking about how "I thought" things would go and not humbling myself and looking toward God's thoughts for my life.


Aug 16, 2016

Summer Vacation 2016

The best description of this summer vacation is "a trip within a trip within a trip".
Eli and I drove to California, spent a few days there, then grabbed Gabe and flew to Fayetteville, NC, then I ditched both boys and drove to Marshall, NC, then flew back to California, spent a few more days there and then drove home.
Along the way my rental car reservations were in tact but no car available, I pulled over on the freeway in a panic because of a blinding thunderstorm, I had an unplanned trip down some rapids WITHOUT my raft, was caught in a major thunderstorm/flashflood in Asheville where a kind business owner opened his jewelry store to give my girlfriends and I shelter until we could navigate safe passage to our car and I was trapped on a plane in Duluth for 2 hours in an effort to avoid running out of fuel or crashing due to a major thunderstorm at my intended airport.
I went to Gabe's first musical, Makenna's final show prior to college, spent a day at the water park, attended a AAA baseball game in Durham, went white water rafting, floated for hours in a lake, spent an afternoon on the river, and ate at all my favorite Ca eateries.
I spent time with so many family members I lost count.
Stayed up late and slept late,
Listened to/read 3 books.
I laughed, cried, and lived fully.
It was a solid packed 18 days.

On my last day in California, I walked in to this room.
Sure I passed by a few times over the weeks, but on this day I sat there and looked around.
Last year it was the waiting room of heaven.
It was a sad, hot, painful place. 
A place that I felt compelled to be in, despite the discomfort of what I was witnessing.

But this Sunday, its just the front room.

There is no sadness or pain.
She is free.