We All Have Our Gifts

One of the things I love about my big old farm house is the large attic.

Since we don’t have many closets, we use the attic for storage of off-season clothes, Christmas decorations, toys, sleeping bags and other very important things that the children cannot yet part with.

To access this space we have a pull down ladder.

I do not like this ladder. I do not like any ladders. I do not like heights.

But I had come to peace with it’s existence and could actually use it without a complete  panic.

But then it broke.

Just like that.

At least it broke in the up position.

Jan removed it – leaving a hole in the ceiling in the hallway – and brought in a step ladder to provide access to the more nimble among us. Since using the step ladder involved climbing to the top and using your upper body strength to hoist yourself through the hole in the ceiling into the attic – it is valid to conclude that I have not seen the contents of the attic for some time.

Well – except for the one time that Jan brought in a real ladder and held it for me while patiently coaching up me up and then back down. All that just so that I could find the two missing blue flannel pillowcases.

He’s wonderful like that.

Otherwise I managed by bribing one of the children to go up the step ladder and then shouted directions from below.

“The blue pillow cases are there somewhere – keep looking!”

But that all ended last night.

The needed parts had arrived, the pull down ladder was fixed, and it was ready to be installed.

The installation itself proved to be a problem – since both of our big boys have left home to seek their fame and fortune in the big wide world.

And Dagmar was on call at the hospital.

Jan was left with Angel Girl, Buddy and I to assist him – and one of us was deathly afraid of heights.

And claustrophobic.

But my amazing husband figured out an simple solution involving a step ladder, four braces,  2 cordless drills, Buddy, Angel Girl and himself.

Did you notice that I was left out of this installation?

I decided my job would be to call 911 in case of emergency (which would prove interesting since Dagmar would be the one to come rescue us) and got my cell phone to be prepared.

And because the phone was in my hands – I started texting Dagmar a play by play of the action so she wouldn’t be surprised when the 911 call came through.

“So Dad, Buddy and Angel Girl are attempting to put in the attic stairs. Hopefully we won’t need to visit you.” 

Jan and Angel Girl climbed into the attic on the step ladder and pulled up the repaired pull down ladder.

Then they carefully lowered the pull down ladder until it rested on the braces and used the first cordless drill to attach the ladder.

Buddy’s job was to climb the step ladder on the other side, use the second cordless drill to carefully remove the four braces, and pull down the ladder to let Jan and Angel Girl out.

Great plan right?

All went well till Buddy climbed up the ladder to unscrew the braces. As he struggled to balance himself on the step ladder while holding a heavy cordless drill over his head I heard Jan say, “Be careful you don’t strip the screws or we’ll be stuck up here.”

What?

Stuck in the attic?

I send Dagmar a text:

“Your dad and sister are currently stuck in the attic but don’t worry buddy and I have everything under control.”

 Finally a job that I can handle – create drama.

We all have our gifts. ;)

 

No Black, No White

We had a glimpse of how big God is this weekend.

We’ve known about Pastor Ebenezer and his family for years.

We’ve been praying for them and the work they are doing in their native Liberia.

Praying for God’s protection and provision. Praying for strength and boldness in bringing the light of the gospel to a country where there is much darkness.

And this last weekend we were able to meet him.

ebenezzarHe was a guest in our home, broke bread at our table and spoke in our church.

We listened to his stories of God’s faithfulness and were encouraged.

We rejoiced over the building of a church on the rubble of heathen shrine.

We wept at his firsthand accounts of the devastation of the Ebola virus.

Dean and EbenezzarAnd we worshiped together.

Praising the same God.

Knowing that –

“In Christ there is no north nor south,there is no east nor west, there is no black or no white. In Christ we are all one family saved by grace.”  ~ Pastor Ebenezer

And we saw how big our God is.

Il est bon.

He is good.

Crazy Garden Lady

kaleI think I have officially become the crazy garden lady.

This whole “let’s extend the garden season” has become a bit of an obsession.

Case in point –

One evening last week I realized while listening to the late news that the temperature could dip below freezing over night.

How had I missed this?

It was now after dark, Jan wasn’t home and my poor precious plants were ready to die a vicious death in the cold.

I had flashbacks of the poor tender seedlings I murdered in the spring.

No – I couldn’t let it end this way!

I grabbed Buddy and we headed out into the pitch black night to rescue my broccoli and cabbages.

We couldn’t find a flashlight – so Buddy grabbed the little solar lamp by the workshop. And with its feeble light we slowly ventured out to the garden and attempted to cover the plants using tarps and bricks.

In the wind.

And the dark.

And the cold.

I only ran into the electric fence once.

At one point I thought, “This is crazy!”

And it was.

You know those those plants have done nothing all week but stay alive? They haven’t grown or changed or produced huge heads. Nothing.

How’s that for gratitude?

I’m done.

There’s a deep freeze coming next week and I decided to let them go.

That’s it.

No more covering them.

No more worrying about them.

I’m finished.

End of the garden 2014.

Well… except for those few kale plants and lettuce that Buddy and I put in a cold frame we made out cinder blocks and old windows.

I read somewhere that you could keep kale alive all winter…

Yep. Crazy garden lady.

Oatmeal Cravings

apple oatmealI’m not a huge oatmeal eater.

But every so often – like maybe once a year – I decide that for some reason oatmeal sounds really good.

I’m not sure why I think this since the last time I had a bowl of oatmeal that I actually enjoyed was …

Hmmm….

Let me see…

Still thinking here….

Hmmm…

Okay…that would be never.

But still – the urge hit last week.

I wanted a bowl of steaming hot oatmeal for breakfast.

I got the water boiling, added my oatmeal and decided in my foggy just barely awake mind that an apple would taste yummy in this bowl of delicious healthy food.

So I went to the porch to choose an apple – the perfect apple – from the box of “just picked from our very own trees” apples.

By the time I returned to the stove with my perfect apple washed and diced – my oatmeal was scorched on the bottom of the pan.

This should have been my first warning. But did I heed this warning? No. I started a second pot of water, added my oatmeal and apple, and began to scrounge in the cupboard for the cinnamon, because everyone knows that oatmeal with apples needs cinnamon.

I tear the cupboard apart looking – while stirring my oatmeal every few minutes – until I find the jar.

The almost empty jar.

The “there is just a dusting of cinnamon in the bottom” jar.

I pour all 1/120th of a teaspoon of cinnamon into my oatmeal.

This is sad.

Then I remember that we have cinnamon sticks. In my sleep deprived mind I thought surely I could just grate a cinnamon stick on a micro plane and have fresh cinnamon.

Brilliant!

Or not.

After grating for several minutes (while stirring my now done oatmeal) all I had was a few flecks of cinnamon in my oatmeal and two fingers missing skin.

On to plan C.

What if I break off a piece of cinnamon stick and grind it the coffee grinder?!

Brilliant!

Or not.

After several seconds all I had done was break the stick into lots of little sticks.

But I added them to my now overdone mushy oatmeal anyway – figuring they would eventually soften and dissolve. Right?

Wrong.

These are called cinnamon sticks for a reason. They are sticks. Sticks don’t grate. Sticks don’t grind. Sticks don’t dissolve.

Sticks stay sticks and I was picking them out of my teeth for the rest of the day.

So much for this year’s oatmeal craving.

I should be good for another 12 months.

Frost Drill

I’m still gardening.

Isn’t that crazy?

Here it is the last week of October and I’m still picking green beans and peppers!

Not that we haven’t had our close calls. We had a couple of mad dashes to the garden at sunset to cover plants, pick remaining produce and once to cut back all the sweet potato vines – just in case.

Plants got nipped both times – but we’re still gardening!

The melons, squash and pumpkins are done.

IMG_1670I’d say we did pretty good!

Take that you varmint squash bugs! I won this year!

Now to try every pumpkin recipe known to mankind to use them all up.

The sweet potatoes were dug for the first time ever.

They too were numerous – and in some cases – monstrous.

Like this one…

sweet potato It almost looks like a human heart! It’s actually several grown together because our soil was too clay to give them room.

It made a massive amount of sweet potato fries!

And remember those cabbage, broccoli and kale plants I put in for a fall crop?

They’re still alive! And growing!

We had kale for several meals and fresh lettuce again. The cabbage and broccoli are making nice heads – but they need a little more time.

I’m not sure we’ll get it though – the forecast calls for a killing frost Friday night.

Grow little broccoli and cabbage – grow fast!

Maybe my amazing husband can engineer some cold frames or hoop houses?

Or maybe I should just let the season end – thankful it was the best garden we’ve had in years.

Or maybe I should make another new pumpkin recipe while I decide.

Yes,  definitely that one.