The Night the Tree Fell

Tonight I sat and watched an old tree being felled.  It was dead, I was told, and could have damaged something or hurt someone, so I understand.  In my mind, I get it.  But my heart was breaking.

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Death and endings make me sad.

And I was thinking about this–

If we don’t plant more trees than we cut down,

if we don’t praise more than we criticize, listen more than we speak,

if we don’t hug more than we point fingers, create more than we destroy,

if we don’t stand up for what we believe to be right more than we stand back and watch things happen,

 

we have done our children, our world, and indeed ourselves a great disservice.

 

I have a sweet friend who rescues daffodils from construction sites.

Think about that for a second.

Some might say, Oh they’re just flowers.  You can always plant some more.

But not her.

And I think that’s such a precious story–her love for things that grow is akin to sacred to me.  She is a good steward of the land.  And people.  She sure knows how to love on folks too.  It’s her gift.

She’s a gift.

 

I guess that’s what I was thinking about while I sat in my roost watching the tree that wasn’t mine being prepped to fall to the ground with a mighty crack and thud.  The gift of life.  The tenderness of it.  How frail it is.

Tonight I’m thankful for those, like my friend, who care so much for all life that they go the extra mile to protect it.  For those who plant more than they destroy, for those who share kind words easily, I give thanks.  And I’m also thankful for some precious little baby trees my Uncle gave me.   When he gave them to me, I had no idea how much they would soothe my soul, knowing they would be in the ground as the mighty tree fell not far from their new home.  New life is always filled with hope, isn’t it?

And tonight I’m most thankful for that.

May we all find a way to leave the world a better place when we lay down our heads to sleep than it was when we awoke that morning.

Love and happy planting season to all.

 

 

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You can read more about my sweet friend and her adventures in loving living things here.  Y’all go say hello.  She’s good people.  

On Buzzing Bees, Balance and Joy

The past two mornings as I’ve taken Sophie out for her morning constitutional I’ve been delighted to see bees.

Yes, bees.

See, I’m worried about them. I have friends who raise bees, and I’m really worried.  I’ve heard lots and lots about how the bees are disappearing, and folks don’t know why or they do know why and it’s not good news.  I’ve seen the pictures of all the food we would NOT have if we didn’t have bees.  It’s not a pretty picture.

So yes, I see bees dancing around in my front yard and I want to dance too.

I didn’t see them much as I walked on.  I think that’s the case for two reasons–one, our grass hasn’t been cut as recently so it’s a couple of inches high and there’s something tiny flowering out there.  Two, we don’t spray.  For weeds or bugs or anything.

I’m so confused.

I see folks asking about spraying for mosquitoes or other insects.  I pass folks’ yards on our walks with the signs in the front yard.  The name of the company happily emblazoned in big bold letters and in tiny print “Insecticide applied–stay off grass.” Or “weed killer applied, keep off.”  Oh me.  True confession time:  I am terrified to walk on their grass–even days later.  When the children were very small I made them cross the streets to get away from the “sprayed” yards.  And now, with Miss Sophie, I don’t let her near the sprayed yards either.

I was traumatized years ago by a large can of industrial strength insecticide used for cattle in the pastures.  It helped keep the flies down.  Only this was being used indoors, and…..I still shudder when I think about it.  I can’t and don’t do bug sprays.  That’s it.

We do have some all-natural sprays made with essential oils.  And if the fact that the mosquitoes circling around on July 4th, big enough to tote off a cat or small dog, didn’t bite us once is any testimony, it’s good stuff.  And it smells so good.

The word balance keeps coming to mind.  And not because my Cousin and I were just speaking about it.  I despise spiders.  Actually I don’t despise them, I am terrified of them.  When I was little, Mama read the book “Be Nice to Spiders” to me to show me they are our friends and we need them.

Spiders, flies, bats, frogs, rats, snakes, and so many more…..

all of them part of the balance…..

we need them all to be part of the world we live in.

They keep each other in check.  Making sure nothing gets off-kilter, out of balance.

I’m no scientist.  I don’t know a lot of the facts.  I get that mosquitoes can make people sick.  I get that the spray can take care of them, ridding the possibility of the disease.  But what else are we opening ourselves up to when we open that Pandora’s box? It scares me so much that I’m pretty sure I’m not ready to find out.

I have no answers.  So maybe I’ll just sit out on my porch and think on it awhile, as I listen to the bees buzzing or the frogs singing at night.  If you don’t have the answers either and just want to sit too, come on up.  I’ll be at the end of the street on the porch with the unmanicured yard and the bugs flying around.  You can swat at ’em if you want or use some of my lemongrass spray.  Because for now, that’s as hardcore as it’s going to get around here.  My soul needs some balance and I’m thinking that keeping it in the nature around me is a good place to start.

Wishing you a place to sit and listen to nature’s symphony.  Love and balance to all.

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If you are interested in learning more about bees, here’s just one link among the many I found when I looked them up.  http://www.buzzaboutbees.net/

I’m using a bug spray made by a local company that doesn’t have it on a website, but I have used this and it worked great too.

http://www.amazon.com/Skedattle-Natural-Anti-Bug-Spray-8-oz/dp/B007P5AJV8/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1405739483&sr=8-8&keywords=natural+bug+spray

A couple of cool tips for caring for your plants naturally–  http://www.9news.com/story/life/home-garden/proctors-tips/2014/07/10/proctor-keep-pests-away/12422437/

And finally this:  http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=125636  “Why We Need Insects, Including “Pesky” Ones”

Just a little food for thought.

Making Do

Black bean burgers.

Yu-ummmmm.  I was so craving one.  On account of my sister Mess Cat talking about making her own a few weeks back, I made up a recipe and cooked some last week.  And they were some kind of good.

And I wanted more.

I went to the pantry in search of black beans.  Are you kidding me?  I ate them all already?

Well shoot.

This is what I get for not keeping a running grocery list like my Mama did.

All I could find were pinto beans.

I shrugged.  Well, when that’s what you have…..

"Making do" with pinto beans instead of black beans.  Use what you got, right?

“Making do” with pinto beans instead of black beans. Use what you got, right?

As I was mixing them up, I thought about something Mama said all those years.

They weren’t black bean burgers, but we’d “make do.”

Not looking too shabby actually.

Not looking too shabby actually.

And I laughed.

Maybe that’s why Mama said she was flexible.  She had a lifetime of “making do.”  In the first year she and Daddy moved to Peach County when I was quite small, they didn’t have a stove.

Just think about that.  No stove.  No microwave.  She had a little electric hot plate that she used to cook on.  A whole summer of this.  And then they got their first stove.  She was happy about her new stove, but she’d gotten by–because she made do.

When one of vehicles went kaput and they couldn’t get another one right away, I remember Mama driving Daddy to work so she could pick us up from school later.  They made do.

She sewed a lot of our clothes in the early years, and she made do with what fabric she could get.

When it came time to make something and she didn’t have a certain ingredient, she would figure it out and make do.

Sounds like she was into sacrificing, doesn’t it?

But she wasn’t.  She was so joyful most of the time.  Not Pollyanna exactly, but probably a first cousin.  She could find joy in the simplest or smallest of things. She did it with grace and a thankful heart.  On Mama “making do” looked like appreciation and ingenuity.   And her example of making do is a gift that I’m just now really growing to appreciate.

Because of her, I don’t take things sitting down.  If I have it in my head to do something, and I don’t have exactly what I need, I can come up with another way to make it happen and “make do.”  I think “making do” might be the mother of creativity.  Making do has created some pretty awesome school projects and costumes over the years.  Don’t have something?  Okay, let’s take what we have and make it work.

Tonight I’m thankful for a Mama who taught me the gift of making do.  I think it’s close relations to “appreciating what you have.”  A few of the thrifty folks out there have a tagline–“shop at home first.”  Mama was all about that way before it became the “thing” to do.  Making do was all about being frugal, a good steward, and being responsible.

Making do–it’s not a sacrifice, it’s a beautiful way of life.

 

My "Make Do" burgers.  Delicious.  And look at Miss Sophie photobombing, hoping for a bite.  Sweet girl.

My “Make Do” burgers. Delicious. And look at Miss Sophie photobombing, hoping for a bite. Sweet girl.

And by the way, the pinto bean burgers more than “made do.”  They were delicious.

Love and just enough to make do to all.

 

 

 

Nowhere to Call Home

Last night our Princess was really feeling bad as bedtime came and went. We cuddled on the couch and watched TV. As she grew sleepy I tucked her in on the couch and moved over to the loveseat and pulled a blanket over me. I drifted off myself.
During the next hour I dreamed some weird stuff. We were in our home which didn’t look anything like home. Someone knocked at our solid wood door. I assured everyone it was okay, but I soon realized that the people behind the door were full of ill will and mal-intent. We gathered everyone (and I think it was more than just me and the crew) and headed toward safety the only way we could. Out the back. It was a sunny day filled with the darkness of the evil coming after us. I knew we wouldn’t be coming back to this house.

I looked back in through a window as we were about to leave. What came to my dream mind was my scarves. My flannel plaid, big, comfy, and warm scarves. I was sad. I knew I could not risk going back in after them. I think I’m so drawn to them in real life because they remind me of shirts Mama made for Daddy over the years. As I took my first step off the porch to safety while carrying a little one, I thought, trying to console myself, Well I can always order another one sometime.
And that’s when the realization hit me. I wouldn’t have a home. There would be no address to send anything to. Ever. Again. No home.
I woke up then.
Blinking.
TV on.
Our Princess was watching the screen quietly from her nest on the couch. Awake. I looked at the time. An hour had passed.
After I got her situated comfortably and tucked in for sleep, I was finally ready for sleep myself. My Fella has a theory that if you sleep somewhere other than your own bed, you will have strange dreams. Maybe. But my dreams the rest of the night–in my own bed–were just as strange.
And while they were full of the threat of danger too, none were as troubling.
I have been bothered by that first dream a lot today.
Because that must be what some of my friends without a roof over their heads feel like. Nowhere to call home, nowhere to get mail. Nowhere to let their guard down and just be. They also have to walk away from their things sometimes. I have heard numerous stories of one friend or another having his few possessions stolen, confiscated, thrown away, crushed under rubble, destroyed in the rain, or blown away by the wind.
And I was tempted to go back in after scarves? Of all the stuff to have been upset over? Not pictures? Not books? Not a gift from my parents? Scarves?
I don’t even know.
And if that didn’t feel shallow enough, I also had that thought–oh well, I’ll just get another one. Sigh. Where did that come from?
I was not raised like that. We were taught to take care of what we had. Fix what was broken. Mend what was torn. We did not replace things easily if ever.

I know I could probably sit down with my Psych 101 book and interpret every last detail of this thing. The loss of home…..makes sense. Loss of something I find comfort in…..yeah, that sounds about right. Surrounded by darkness threatening me and those I love in broad daylight–maybe a stretch but I think I’ve got it.
But my comforting myself with “it’s okay I’ll get another”…..it just troubles me.
I’ve been hoping and looking for a positive spin on this. Perhaps I’m trying to tell myself it will be okay? That I will make sure that it is?

I do find it interesting that what woke me up was not the paralyzing fear of what was coming. Instead it was the idea of having no address and realizing that I know the names of people and I love folks that have that situation to live with everyday.

I have no solid answers tonight. Just pondering what it all means. I’m running on a lot less sleep than usual tonight so please forgive my wandering thoughts. Tonight I am thankful for a much earlier bedtime and clearer thoughts tomorrow. I’m also very thankful for an address. Not so I can have stuff sent to it, but because it means I have a place to be, to belong, to laugh, to love, and to lay my head on a pillow (or couch) each night. Most of all, I’m thankful to be thankful. It’s good to be reminded to appreciate what I do have and that it’s not a given for everyone.

Love to all. Sweet dreams. Here’s hoping.