First Flight

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riding-bikeI have to confess that it really isn’t MY first flight, nor the first I have witnessed for my children. But it was a first for my youngest.  Some time ago he coerced me into letting him ride his bike to the market with friends.  They promised to go straight there and return.  Yes, I stood on the side of the street and watched until they were out of sight.  I know, it was pathetic.

This afternoon, he decided that he was hungry and wanted a candy bar.  He boldly came up to me and asked for an extra dollar (he was unsure of the cost), then asked if he could ride his bike up to the market and fetch it…all by himself.  I said, “Go ask your dad.”  Hey, it gets me out of a lot of decision making!  Inside I was grinning and wondering what dad would say.

When I approached my husband, I asked if he understood what junior was up to.  He grinned and said he did.  Then he asked what I thought.  I thought I had gotten out of it, that’s what I thought!  I agreed, and junior snatched up his extra dollar and dashed out the door.

I waited until he got a block down the road before I jumped in the truck.  It wasn’t that I didn’t think he could do it.  I just wanted to make sure that no one ran over him or stole his bike while he was in the store.  BTW, I drove down a parallel street so he wouldn’t see me, and then I parked far from the door of the market.  He never knew he was being followed.

To cover my tracks, I went to a different store and grabbed some cookies before I went home.  I wanted it to look like I had gotten hungry too!  He never suspected a thing.

As a result of his excursion, my little man now walks about 6″ taller and thinks he is invincible.  I have no doubt that tomorrow will hold some other adventure.  Hopefully it won’t be somewhere I can’t go!

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Sod Sorrows

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I’m quickly realizing how far out of shape I have become over the past few months.  Since I started juicing again, I have been saving the peels and pulp to put in the garden.  So far I have managed two trips out there.  An old farmer told me once that instead of the composte pile idea, he would just take his scraps out, dig a hole at the edge of the garden, and then bury the scraps so that they would rot right in the soil.  I liked this idea because it was a lot easier than managing a composte pile.

I liked it until today!  There is a patch of bermuda grass that is growing along the edge of my garden and I tried shoveling through that today.  Talk about tough.  I think the roots were several feet deep and very dense!  I finally got past them and to the soil, but by then I was exhausted.  I reawakened every muscle in my upper body, and it wasn’t a pleasant surprise.

My daughter has been exercising every morning…I guess I’m going to have to join her!

A Cowpoke’s Unique Humor

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This is a humorous anecdote about my Uncle Al.  Hope you enjoy!
 
 “A Cowpoke’s Unique Humor”

                                                                                                  by Rebecca Garcia

I wouldn’t call my husband, Tony, a cowboy as he does not fit the picture. Though you hardly ever see him out of his cowboy boots, one pair for work, well worn and encrusted and one pair for good. He wears Wrangler jeans, cowboy cut, slightly long and tattered hems, but his shirts are void of the cowboy yoke. He has several handsome cowboy hats but most often wears baseball caps. He loves western music but prefers the swing to the now popular line dancing. No he is not the typical cowboy, he has his own western style and has a few scars to prove it.

Tony loves raising cattle and although he is several years past retirement he is still very active. He very much enjoys “working cattle,” that is branding, vaccinating, doctoring and so forth as needed. While this may conjure up images of cowboys on their trusty steeds roping a steer and throwing it to the ground, that is not the way it is done on our place. The cattle are rounded up, herded into a corral, run up the crowding alley and into the squeeze chute where they are “worked.” Tony often accomplishes this with the help of his good friend, Al Baum.

Now Al is definitely a cowboy, he has that special swagger and mannerisms that says I am a cowboy. He has more than one well-trained horse and his boots fit the stirrups well, his cow-dog does the job of several cowhands and his horse trailer is always ready. Al’s knowledge of cattle is almost as big as his cache of stories. He has a cowpoke’s unique sense of humor often leaving you wondering if his stories are tall or true. Recently while working cattle with Tony he added a true story to his list or at least that is the way it was told to me.

Al and Tony had been working a bunch of first calf heifers but the very last one, as often happens, was ornery. Resisting going into the chute, she raised up on her hind legs, kicking in the air, and as luck would have it she caught her front right hoof in the top of the chute. Al immediately climbed to the top of the chute as Tony made his way up to the side hoping to untangle the dangling heifer but to no avail. They would need a cutting torch to free her leg.

When things go wrong often tempers flair in any business but after swearing and breathing cattle dust for several hours they tend to flair with a capital F. This was now the case for Tony; it would take a half hour to retrieve the cutting torch from the other ranch and a half hour more to get the heifer cut down. He had reason to be upset but that is when things really began to go wrong.

“Keep trying Al, I’ll go for the torch,” Tony yelled as he jumped off the chute heading for the gate that led out of the corral. The events that followed were a mixture of humor and pain for Tony.

Al still on top of the chute heard Tony shout in disbelief, “Al I crushed my finger.” Unbelievably Tony, in a hurry, had grabbed the lower part of the gate latch and when he slammed it back against the metal stop the tip of his right forefinger was smashed off. This day was fast becoming a day you wanted to forget, a hoof caught and part of a finger caught on the gate.

Al found Tony starring at his bleeding finger and then back at the fingertip lodged on the gate. It was hard for Al to believe but Tony didn’t seem to be in a great deal of pain, possibly the shock of it all was protecting him. After a quick discussion of what to do Tony grabbed his fingertip and started out the gate to find water to wash both parts of his finger, hoping the top could be saved. He did not get far when another round of bad luck happened, he dropped his finger into the tall grass surrounding the corral. Tony hollered for Al to come quick and they began to search the grassy area.

Tony somehow remaining in control told Al “Keep searching, I have got to get to water.” Al, in true cowpoke form, replied, “OK, but first wiggle that SOB so I can find it.” Poor Tony, what was he to do, he had to laugh even though the pain was escalating.

Eventually the fingertip was found and Al drove Tony to the hospital where they learned that a cut off tip was savable but a smashed cut off tip was not. Leaving Tony at the hospital for needed x-rays and stitches Al returned to the ranch to take care of the heifer. Sadly it was too late, she had died. This was not unexpected, animals often go into shock and die when put into a stressful situation.

Thankfully Al had been there to help Tony through his stressful situation with his humor and friendship, qualities proven to be good medicine. After only a few days Tony, finger securely bandaged and slightly shorter, was back at the same corral with Al doing what cowboys love doing, working cattle and telling slightly unbelievable stories.

Just Keep Them Busy!

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While watching the movie “Fahrenheit 451” with my class today, I heard a line that had escaped my notice in the past.  Montag was summoned from his teaching duties to a conference with his superior, Beatty.  Two lower ranking officers had just been reprimanded and Montag’s commander followed up by asking him how he felt about sports.  The commander proceeded to list many different sports, all of which Montag found to be pleasant ways to spend time.  The commander, making a reference to the two officers who had just left, told Montag, “More sports for everyone. ..Keep them busy and you keep them happy.” 

I have taught this book for several years now and am still amazed at how prophetic it is/was.  We are so like the world that was created by Ray Bradbury.  Many students no longer read for the mere pleasure of it.  Some brag  that the only time they grace the library is to do research for a term paper, while others (embarrassingly so) don’t even know where the library is!  Paper books have been replaced by iPod, Kindle, and, even worse, movies.  I have students who won’t complete a book report assignment unless they can find a movie based on a novel which allows them to watch it instead of read it.

Another similarity is in our entertainment.  While a parlor wall unit seemed like science fiction 50 years ago, it is as common today as the cold!  Not only does each home have a television set in it (with surround sound), most homes have multiple sets, one for each room.  Children, as well as adults, sit idol for hours in front of these built-in baby sitters and allow the media to dictate what is fashionable, acceptable and holy.  In addition to our wall units, we carry our digital worlds around with us in our purses and pockets.  Students are reprimanded daily for walking the halls and sitting in class with devices plugged into their ears.  They eat plugged-in, study plugged-in, and sleep plugged-in (kind of reminiscent of a seashell?).

The element of the movie that caught my attention today wasn’t a line from the book, but it is true of our society none the less.  “Keep them busy to keep them happy.”  “Increase sports.”  Now why would that be promoted?  It’s quite simple.  In a society adept at keeping the populace from thinking, to allow “down time” or “quiet time” would be terribly detrimental.  In fact, it might lead people to ponder the mysteries of the universe and/or their own existence!  By filling every waking hour with activity, a person doesn’t have time to question or reflect.  He/She merely absorbs what is diplayed before him/her and moves on to the next activity.

This is a philosphy that I have personally witnessed while teaching school.  The idea of getting students involved in multiple sports/activities looked innocent enough when proposed, even noble in its endeavor. The philosophy was that students needed something to do or they would become deviants.  Be in sports or be in jail!  Again, a noble attempt to keep kids in school and off of drugs, but what are some other ramifications of this?

First, if we consider the context of Fahrenheit 451, the idea was that mankind was not to think on his own.  Therefore, to keep the mind preoccupied with television, sports,  or anything else would prevent him from enjoying the beauty of silence.  It would erase the option of having free thought and individuality. 

Second, looking at the outcome of this philosophy, it has effectively helped to disintegrate the family unit.  Not only are the school hours consumed with activities, but so are those before and after.  There are choir and band practices before and after school, ball games and Club activities every other day including weekends.  Sports practices are now being held on Sundays, something that not too long ago was unthinkable!  Sports camps break up the summer.  And parents are madly, blindly rushing from one activity to  another believing that this is best for their children.  How many families still sit down at least once a day and have a meal together?  How many families spend time interacting as a family without outside distractions?  How can children be molded by parents into upstanding citizens when they are never together longer than a commercial?

We have become a society that only relates to one another via technology, even when in the same house.  Every waking hour is consumed or allocated to some task.  We no longer entertain ourselves; we rely on media or other people to do that for us.  We cry boredom because we no longer have the capacity to imagine or invent.  Ray Bradbury’s prophesy has, in fact, become  truth.  People have given away their freedoms in return for ease and leisure.  We have sacrificed generations upon the alter of busyness with the idea that this will bring happiness and prosperity. 

 Several years ago, a girl looked at me in surprise and said, “You’re not a soccer mom, are you?”  The odd part of this question was in the context it was asked.  I was sitting with my three year old son at the time, and he was playing peek-a-boo around my shoulders.  Evidently the relationship I had with my son was not something commonly seen among the other “soccer moms”.  I must admit that I swell with pride at that reflection.  I’m glad I’m not a soccer mom and that I have a healthy relationship with my kids.  We wrestle together, talk together, work together, and when life isn’t going crazy, we eat together.  Happiness is not busyness.  It is not more sports, more television, more…you fill in the blank.  It is less.

To FB or not to FB? That is the question.

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Today, seemingly more than ever, it is easier to make a comment about someone or something almost anonymously and get away with it.  Or so we think.  We have blogs (like this one) where we can write, rant and rave about our likes and dislikes and social networks where we can not only rant, but comment on others’ posts.  Herein lies the dilema.  Do we unleash and empower that urge that strikes when we read an absolutely ridiculous post and make a comment on it? Or do we harness our energy and redirect it toward the common good?

There have been numerous times (add emphasis) that I have read a post by someone and found the perfect snide remark to make in response.  At other times, I have witnessed people openly bashing an “ex” whatever as though the internet provided safety and there would be no recompense for the deed.  Others feel the need to express hurts and longings in their daily posts in order to draw simpathy from any innocent reader.  The question is, “Should we yield to every brain fart that we have and give it life?”

People’s responses to asinine postings vary. Those who have a more base nature tend to retaliate quickly without much forethought, while those who have recieved more enlightenment may at least ponder the decision a while longer before acting.  Probably the most informed among us would fein disgust at the notion of even being associated with such networks.  The answer, I believe, lies in the maturity of each individual.  There is an old adage which says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  This applies to all, no matter what social or intellectual standing.  In other words, think first, act second.  Would you want someone making a snide remark on your post?  Would you want someone writing “anonymously” about you and your decisions?

If we all followed this principle, the world be a much happier place.  In fact, tabloids might even be put out of business!  So the next time that urge rises within, ask the question, “Should I post this or not?  Would I want someone to post this about me?”  Happy Facebooking!

Get Lost!

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Once, as a joke, my dad recieved a fishing hat for his birthday.  On the hat it had a message that read, “I’m lost. If found, please return me to (insert address).”  It was dad’s 50th birthday, and we were terribly afraid that all sense had been lost at that point.

Those were the years before Tom-Tom and Sue-Sue!  Now we have On Star and GPS systems in our cars and on our phones.  The capacity to get lost is nearly impossible! In fact, the opportunity to impose self will over these devices brings strong retribution.  One “wrong turn” or impulsive decision sends the computer into a frenzy and recalculations come streaming forth.

As if this intrusion into our lives isn’t enough, we are further encouraged to “tweet”, etc.  every single time that we breathe.  Then those “tweets” are linked  to every other social network imaginable so that EVERYONE will know where we are at precisely what moment. 

The crazy thing is that most people really don’t care!  Nothing irritates me more than opening my favorite social networking site only to see post after post about someone’s whereabouts.  “So and so is at Walmart.”  “So and so is at home.”  “So and So is at Chile‘s.”  “So and so went to the bathroom!”  Honestly, if that is all there is to blogging or being social, I would rather be a hermit.  I am personally more interested in where people stand on issues rather than where they stand geographically.

While many of these new devices prove to be life saving when a wreck occurs or a man’s ego needs saving, there is a limit.  To those who have an obsession with tweeting every movement (internal or external), I would tweet in reply, “Get a life or get lost!”

The Drawing Board

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Two years ago I tried my hand at writing a fiction novel during National November Writing Month (nanowrimo). While I had a good idea, I had a hard time translating it into a work of fiction. That type of creativity just isn’t my cup of tea. As I said, the idea was good (in my opinion) and I may take it and turn it into a non-fiction book instead. That is far down the road though. In the meantime, I have another project, actually 2, that have popped into my mind, and I plan on trying to write them down before my vision and time fade away.

The first book deals with what the Bible says about childrearing. Many books are on the market teaching parents how to discipline and/or raise their children. So many, in fact, that it seems we do everything in our power to ignore what God established long ago. My goal is simple. I want to record God’s plan for bringing up kids and put the scripture back in the hands of parents more as a reminder that the Bible is the best source around.

The second idea I had was to write about submission. Yes, I know, that controversial, disdainful word. But when looked at through the lens of scripture and God’s plan, submission is a beautiful and liberating thing!

Well, those are the ideas I have, Now to see if it all comes to fruition. I’m already feeling a few doubts, but not throwing in the towel yet!