April 2008


We are heading out for a week. We are going down to the hills of Southern Saskatchewan, to our friends’ ranch. Lyndon and his cousin Kent are going to play cowboy for a few days. So I’ll likely be out of touch for awhile.

Just found out yesterday that a story of mine will be published in a book that will be called Pages of Canada. It is a small press, but exciting for me nonetheless!

You could have a few words with the Big Guy if you have the time, asking for safety as my guys work with these horses. Have a great week.

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Sometimes my life just seems to go down that path, you know the one, where a whole pile of little things take over until it seems like I’m walking barefoot down the gravel pathway of life. (I’m really into these “journey” metaphors lately). So, in an attempt to banish the grumpies, and to restore my sense of humour about it all, here is my list of things I find annoying. (Does annoying have one n or two?)

I find it annoying when:

1. The poodle gets poo stuck on her butt and I have to resort to nasty and disgusting measures to remove it.

2. The kids yell at each other, and then I yell at them to try to get them to stop yelling at each other.

3. The work I am doing on the computer is lost when my dial-up internet decides to kick me out.

4. The dinner, or the book, or the sermon, or the movie that I thought was fantastic garners an “It was okay” from my husband.

5. The temperature is still below zero in April. It’s April, for crying out loud.

6. I rent a movie and the language is so bad I can’t stand it.

7. We are travelling and I ask my husband if he wants to stop for a coffee and he says no and keeps driving.

8. I drive into town and then realize I forgot the library books I was supposed to return.

9. I get to the grocery store and I can’t remember that other thing I was supposed to pick up.

10. While I am trying to remember what I am supposed to get at the store, a friend comes by and for the life of me I can’t remember her name. And then another friend comes by and I have to try to introduce them to each other with out actually using their names.

Whew. I just realized there are a lot of faulty memory type situations in the above list. The plus side of that is that most of the annoying things that happen get forgotten by the next day! Now, what was that other thing I was going to write about…

Because of the Lineman Boot Camp this week, Lyndon had to work today as well. Usually he has Friday off, but he phoned a few hours ago to say it would be a short day, and he would be home sometime this afternoon. The week went okay for him. They had nine guys finish the week. I think they started with fifteen. He also said that John J and Al are coming over tomorrow to shoot gophers for the day. The boys will like that. I think they are ready for a break from Mom.

Yesterday morning, Colton had to go in to the hospital to have the dressing on his hand changed. Carter wanted to come along. Martha, our friendly outpatient nurse, unwrapped, checked, bandaged, and rewrapped Colton’s hand. Carter was totally into it. He had a ton of questions, and Martha was very patient with us. She had a bit of the gauze bandage left over, so she gave that to Carter while she finished up with Colton. Carter soon had the bandage wrapped around his own hand in imitation of his brother. Martha laughed and taped it up for him, and he was as proud as if he actually had an injury.

We had to stop at the grocery store on the way home, so both of my bandaged boys came in with me. Everyone kept asking Carter what had happened to his hand, and then laughing when they realized it was a “pretend” injury. I think Colton was a little ticked, as his brother was upstaging him. I mean, what’s the use of having an injury if people don’t fuss over you about it because your little brother is being funny and cute. Poor Colton. I so often see the “Middle Child” thing happening with him. So, I am trying to give him some extra attention this week, but he still is rather out of sorts. He is especially looking forward to his dad coming home.

Today is my mom’s birthday, so in her honour I dedicate this, my fiftieth post, to her. (Wow, what a cheap birthday present!) When I phoned her this morning to wish her Happy Birthday, she said, “Oh, I guess it is today.” My dad, bless his forgetful heart, phoned me later in the morning to remind me that it was her birthday. Apparently it had slipped his mind, until he received three phone calls from well-wishers while Mom was at the gym. I told him that I had remembered and had already talked to Mom, and asked him what he was going to come up with for her birthday at the last minute. He wasn’t sure and I wasn’t much help.

For some reason I always have a hard time remembering Mom’s birthday. One year I actually mailed her a card in March, thinking her birthday was March 23 instead of April 23. I was so proud of myself for actually getting a card in the mail, and then I was a whole month off. When I was talking to Mom this morning she said my sister Kathy had wished her a happy birthday on the 21st. We’re a hopeless bunch.

Mom is an amazing woman. She is gifted in so many ways: hopitality, gardening, cooking, entertaining, friendship… As the oldest girl in a large, Norwegian farming family, she learned how to work hard, and she still does. Mom is waiting to have a hip surgery, so my prayer for her on her birthday is that the surgery will happen soon and be so successful that she will be back to her old self before long!

Happy, Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you!

***

Today was an eventful day in the Ross household. Well, the morning was pretty ho hum, except that when I went to do dishes I discovered we were out of water. No prob, I thought, we can get some this afternoon after it warms up a little. During lunch we listened to part of a cd series called What in the World’s Going on Here? by Diana Waring. This is the third in her World History series. She is very entertaining and the boys enjoy listening to her. We listened to Diana talk about the Victorian age, and the rise of Imperialism.

After lunch, the boys were finishing up some school work and I went to fire up the computer. As I was waiting for the computer (dial-up, need I say more) Colton poked his head around the door, and as soon as I saw his face I knew something was wrong.

“Mom, you better come here,” he said.

“What’s wrong?”

“I was doing something stupid and I cut my hand.” He stepped into the room and I could see the blood soaked cloth covering his right hand.

“I’m sorry. I was being stupid. I’m sorry,” he kept saying as I swallowed and peeled off the cloth to have a look. (That is always the worst moment for me, when I know something will be bad but I don’t know how bad yet.) Anyway, it was obvious, even to me, that he was going to need some stitches, so I grabbed the keys, told the other boys to behave, and hustled my boy into the truck. On the way into town he told me what had happened. He had been cutting the arms and legs off a plastic toy (?) and the knife slipped. I wanted to say WHY WERE YOU CUTTING THE ARMS AND LEGS OFF A TOY??? but I knew he would say I don’t know, and he already felt so bad that I held my tongue.

“Do you think I’ll have to have a needle?” he asked, and started to cry.

“Maybe,” I said, and tried to make my smile and my eyes as sympathetic as possible.

Well, he did need a needle, and stitches, and he is supposed to take it easy for a few days. He is a little ticked off that it is his right hand. Since he is left-handed he can still do school work.

Okay, fast forward to later in the afternoon. I load all the kids in the truck and head into town to get water. We pull around to the hose at the back of the water treatment plant, line everything up, and then Carter puts in the loonie. Nothing. No water. I try another loonie and… more nothing. I am feeling very frustrated at this point, especially when I try all the doors of the building and they are locked. I walk back to the truck, and Tyson is laughing as the water gushes into the tank. He just jiggled the coin box, and it started. Yeah!

So, in a much better mood, we start for home. All is well until I go to make the turn into our yard. I braked too suddenly and the water tank slid all the way to the front of the truck. I knew I was in trouble. The hose to unload the water into the house is not very long. I tried backing up several times, at several different angles, but nothing worked. I looked in the garage for a longer hose but couldn’t find anything. I was ready to pull out my hair.

Tyson, my hero for the second time, seeing my distress, said, “Why don’t you just drive the truck backwards and stop quickly, and the tank should slide back again.” It worked, and he has not let me hear the end of it yet! As a reward for saving the day he thought he should have one page taken off his math assignment. “You got it, baby!” I said.

So here we are, a little battered from the day’s challenges, but with a 150 gallons of water in the basement and a boy who still has all of his fingers. Victory!

Another Tuesday is on it’s way out. The boys had their first Hunter Safety class this afternoon. Sounds like it went well. There were around twenty students, including some adults. The boys are excited. And, for the first time in their lives, they have homework. Carter and I bumped into Audrey McCrea and had coffee with her while the boys were in their class.

It’s cold and windy. Really strange weather, actually. Every so often, this crazy swirling snow happens, big flakes everywhere and blowing every which way. No moisture to speak of, though.

Lyndon called this evening. He said they are down to ten guys at Boot Camp, and he expects they’ll lose another two or three tomorrow. He is loosing his voice.

The boys were looking up “interesting facts” the other day. Here are some of them:

– No human can lick his or her elbow.

– Turtles can breathe through their butts.

– All of the human blood in the world could be stuffed into a cube less than one-thousand feet on a side.

– A pregnant Goldfish is called a twit.

– Marilyn Monroe had six toes.

There’s lots more. I’ll save some for another time!

P.S. Did you try to lick your elbow?!

We were lucky; we had great weather the whole time we were away last week. We arrived home last night, and today I had to put socks on for the first time in a couple of weeks. There’s a storm blowing in. We are supposed to get snow and rain this week. Lyndon is packing up to head back to Weyburn. They are running the Induction Camp (or Boot Camp, as it is called) this week. This is a tryout week for guys interested in being linemen. He thinks they’ll lose a lot of guys just because of the weather. They typically lose about half of the guys throughout the week.

The week after that, Lyndon is off. The plan is to spend some time at Clint and Dawn’s. Lyndon’s cousin Kent is also planning to be there, and the guys want to break some horses. Should be interesting. I have reminded them that they aren’t kids any more, but I guess I’d rather they were doing this kind of thing than sitting around getting old! I’m looking forward to spending some time with Dawn. Such a good friend.

The boys start their Hunter Safety courses on Tuesday. They are so excited about it. Carter and I will have to find some things to do together while the boys are in class.

Yesterday we were so privileged to attend Danny Dunn’s funeral. What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful, humble servant. The service was full of songs, chosen by Danny’s grandchildren and their spouses. Scott presented a beautiful lesson, not preaching because, as one of Danny’s daughters said, Danny’s life was a sermon. He just spoke about Danny’s love and his life of service. Then he played an audio recording of a little talk Danny had given at church after he had found out he had cancer. It was so amazing to hear him say in his own words that he was not afraid or worried, and that he knew where he was going. I’ll never forget it.

Last night, after the funeral, we were invited over to Danny and Dorothy Wieb’s. We had a lovely visit. I could have spent a few more hours with them, talking about family, church, Christian living. I love to “sit at the feet” of those who have lived and served for as long as they have. It makes me feel funny when I disagree, though.

It was nice to be home for church today. Wendell, our preacher, is beginning a new series on Revelation. We have had a quiet afternoon. Lyndon brought me some water, and the boys had a friend over. I had a little nap after lunch. It is nice to have a slow day once in a while.

We are sitting in Lowell and Darla’s kitchen. The boys are doing some school work. Tyson is working on prepositional phrases in English, and Colton is dividing and multiplying. Carter is playing Super Smash on the Peterson’s Nintendo 64. Not sure what the educational value is in that.

We have been camping out in the Peterson yard. It has been kind of fun. Makes me want to do some “real” camping soon. We plan to go to B.C. for a while toward the end of May.

We ended up coming to Weyburn Tuesday. It was a rush to get ready, but we managed to get the dogs, sleeping bags, school books, etc. packed up in the little camper, and arrived Tuesday night around 10:00. We had to get everyone up at 6:30 to drive Lyndon in to work as his work truck was in town. We spent most of the day just doing school work and hanging out. We did go in for the Wednesday night Bible study. Mr. Wieb is doing a series on the Fundamentals of Faith. I have been here for a few of his lessons. Last night he was talking about church. Seems like everyone is talking about church these days. He spent some time exploring the idea that there is a tension between holding to sound doctrine, and loving people. He suggested that too strong a leaning either direction causes a lack of the other. As a church, he said, we are trying to walk the road between those too ditches. Hmmm.

I found Colossians 1:1-8 very interesting as we were going through the class. Paul is writing to believers in Colossae and in his introduction he is thanking God for them. He is thankful because they are living in faith and love (how I want to live!). They are living in this faith and love because they have a hope of Heaven, which is the hope they have had since they first heard the Good News. And then, in verse six, he clinches it with, “Thoughout the world, this Good News is bringing blessings and is spreading. And that’s what has been happening among you since the first time you heard it and understood the truth about God’s grace.” That seems key to me. He doesn’t talk about doctrine, he talks about grace. Then he goes on to commend them on their love, and then shares with them his prayer for them… about what living a life in grace looks like:

-Fully know what God wants, and that with that knowledge they will be wise and understanding about spiritual things. Why? So they can live lives that bring honour to the Lord and please Him.

-That their lives will be full of good works and they will grow in their knowledge of God.

-That God with strengthen them with his power, so they will be patient and not give up when troubles come.

-Why? So they will be happy and give thanks to God, and receive what He has promised for those that live in the light.

That is a beautiful prayer, one that I am going to pray for my boys.

Tyson, Colton, and Carter. I thank God for you. I pray that you will live your lives in the freedom of God’s grace, that as you grow you will each fully know what God wants, and that with that knowledge you will gain wisdom and understanding about spiritual things– so that you will live lives that bring honour to God. I pray that your lives will please God, that you will fill your lives with good works, and that you will grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that God will strengthen each of you with his own great power, so you will be patient and will not give up when troubles come. I pray that you will be happy and give thanks to the Father, and that you will receive what He has promised to each of you as you live your lives in the light.

I think I need to spend some time in Colossians over the next few days. I continue to be amazed by how the Word speaks. It is indeed “living and active”.

Speaking of the Word, I laughed out loud the other day while I was doing my Bible reading. I am trying to read through the Bible using The Daily Message, where Eugene Peterson has divided the Bible into daily readings using the Message translation. Anyway, I was reading in Joshua about the exciting journey of the Israelites across the Jordan River. The priests, carrying the “Chest of God”, step into the Jordan and the water stops flowing so that the people can walk across on dry land. “The people crossed; no one dawdled.” Okay, that made me chuckle. So then, the people are camped out at Gilgal and God says to Joshua, “Make stone knives and circumcise the People of Israel a second time.” Truly, I laughed. My first thought was, stone knives– ouch. And my second thought was, I didn’t think you could do that twice?! On reading further, I realized that the boys who had been born in the wilderness had never been circumcised, and so God was asking Joshua to arrange a mass circumcision of His people. Still ouch, but not the anatomical miracle I was imagining when I first read the passage. But the final amusing part of the passage… “So Joshua made stone knives and circumcised the Pople of Israel at Foreskins Hill”. How would you like that for an address? I can relate to any poor residents of Foreskins Hill, as my address is Box 666. That raises enough eyebrows. But Foreskins Hill? I couldn’t do that one. I’d have to move.

The boys and I are going to McDonald’s for lunch. We were invited to join our friend Helen Peterson there. Tyson has a date at the Olson’s this afternoon. He asked Mr. Olson if he would help him build a birdhouse. Tyson wants to go into the birdhouse making business. His goal is to sell birdhouses and donate a portion of the proceeds to True North Helping Hands, the organization that we went to Mexico with last Christmas. So, a busy afternoon awaits!

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