Monday, August 29, 2011

Be Safe

Have you ever heard a parent or teacher saying negative things about a kid? Something like “you can’t do anything right,” or even worse, “how stupid can you be?”  People hear what is said to them and it seems as if words are like seeds, they fall on the imaginative and fertile soils of our souls and take root.  At least for some of us.leaves strewn on sidewalk after Hurricane Irene
Years ago, someone I knew presented a personal theory that some children succeeded based on being “in favor.” We’ve all seen kids like this. Teachers think the best of them, always give them the benefit of the doubt, dream up special awards and scholarships for them just to proclaim how wonderful the child is.  There are also kids who can’t seem to get any attention. And even worse, they are suspected of immoral behavior unjustly, scolded, slapped with detentions and therefore put in the position of continually struggling to have one good day.
I’ve heard many people praise certain teachers or coaches as being the person who changed the course of their studies, and even the path of their lives saying, “she believed in me,” or “he helped me realize I had potential.” These are people who were rescued from a pattern of failure.arbor and bench with fallen tree behind Books like Children are Wet Cementdiscuss how people can be encouraged and even strengthened by the words spoken to them and about them in their hearing. The Bible describes the importance of blessings being spoken. Words are important to me, and because of all this, I believe in the concept of “blessing.” And this weekend, the idea came again to mind.roots of uprooted tree
In preparing for Hurricane Irene, I went in search of D batteries for our flashlights. Giant didn’t have any, but when I bought the food we needed, the young man who ran the cash register said, “be safe this weekend” as I wheeled my cart away.
Target had not a single D battery, but I took a weird LED flashlight with wavery blue light to the cash register.  It was the only one I could find in the entire store.  I asked the check-out person about it and she said that she’d found some good, bright flashlights at Office Depot. They came with batteries and were very inexpensive. “Be safe,” she said as I headed toward Office depot.
The flashlights were where the Target employee had described. This saved me time.  I took it to the register and when my purchase was complete, again I heard, “Be safe this weekend.”tree on top of garage after Hurricane Irene
People I didn’t know wished me well. Neighbors I’d never met spoke a blessing. I’m grateful.
Sometime in the middle of the night as Irene’s winds roared over our house, my neighbors’ tree was uprooted. We heard it crash, felt the thunder of it’s fall and rushed to the windows to see.  From upstairs I could see that the silhouette of the trees, so dear and familiar, had changed. “It was the big tulip poplar next door,” I said as we rushed to open our garage door and see.”
Leaves and branches were everywhere and the first thing I noticed was the fresh scent of the trees. Pine and apple and the scent of green, vigorous life met us when the door opened.  The tree’s trunk and branches reached all the way down our driveway, stopping just before the junky old car that saw our kids through high school and college.trees crashed from Hurricane Irene
That enormous tulip poplar could have  hit the family room where we’d been sitting shortly before. It could have crashed into on my neighbors’ bedroom, but it didn’t.  The tree, 80 feet tall, fell right beside my arbor, missed the beautiful carved, teak bench my husband gave me when I graduated from college.  Though our slate patio was a bit tumbled, the clay firepot, which we’d forgotten to take in, was completely unharmed.
The tree did hit the far corner of our garage. So far, we know that it knocked off the down spout and dented the siding and the flashing. But this turns out to be a blessing, too. Evidently if the falling tree hits your house at all, then household insurance pays to have the tree cut up and hauled away. This is great, but not as great as the fact that no one was hurt by its crash.tree crashed into downspout, which is dripping
The tree also demolished two of my apple trees. Anyone who knows me knows how attached I am to my apple trees for whatever unexplainable reason and I confess that tears welled up in my eyes when I realized they were broken. But then I had a cheerful thought—I’ve read, but never experienced, that apple wood makes the most wonderful, fragrant fires in fall and winter! I must confess that I have always wanted to try this, but didn’t have the heart to chop down a living tree just for sensual pleasure.  Now I can have a neat stack of apple wood and enjoy the warmth it provides!
My neighbor lost a pine tree, too.  It was their very first Christmas tree and it has been growing there ever since, but it has been leaning and we’ve been worrying about it.  The pine tree was split in half when the other tree fell on it. The only good thing about this is that we had been talking about landscaping this area between our two yards. Now we can work together to make a beautiful garden. I’m looking forward to working together onfire pot near upheaved patio this.
As well, my neighbor is stuck with cleaning up the enormous root system, which was wide, but not at all deep.  The roots were horizontal, shallow! No wonder the tree was uprooted!  They are talking about putting a pond in the hole that the tree has left; this sounds like a beautiful plan to me.
Maybe you experienced the same out-pouring of well-wishes and kindness that I did due to Irene’s coming here.  It’s what I love about Annapolis is one of the things that makes this precarious earth feel like home.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Conversations with Joey and Jack

We had the privilege of taking Joey and Jack to Dutch Wonderland, so it was a bit of a drive.
On the way up there was plenty of time to talk. Here's how it went.

Pop explained about the Pennsylvania Dutch area and the Amish, the buggies, the farms without electricity, buttons or wireless Internet.

Joey explained the names and powers of every Bakugan  ... more than once... wait,  more than ten times.

I tried to include Jack, who was quietly playing with Cobra Commander.
Me: "Are you happy playing, Jack?"
Jack: "Yes, I'm gnashing my teeth." He grinned to show me.

Joey: "What's the opposite of fire?"
Me: "Ice."
We played that game for many miles while Jack's eyes got droopy.

Me: "Are you tired, Jack? Why not close your eyes. You'll have plenty of energy for the park."

Jack (speaking with his hands in dramatic gestures -- he is part Italian--): "I close my eyes and sleep. Dreams come into my eyes with colors. Right into my eyes!"
Me: "Right. Me, too. What did you dream?"
Jack: "I dreamed that all the frogs camed to the river."

Joey: "My daddy is a toilet paper snob."
Pop: "Do you know what 'snob' means?"
Joey: "You have a strong opinion about it."

Me: "What kind of a snob are you, Joey?"
Joey: "I'm a Bakugan snob."
Me: "What kind of snob are you, Jack?"
Joey: "Jack is a french fry snob."
Pop: "Let Jack answer. Jack, what kind of a snob are you?"
Jack : "I'm a french fry snob."
Joey: "What kind of a snob are you, Grannie?"
Me: "I'm a tea snob.

Pop: "Joey, do you remember the name of the community we're visiting today?"
Joey: "Hmm, let's see... Smurfs?"
We had a wonderful time. The rides were clean and age appropriate. The staff was friendly and helpful to the children.  I can't imagine why people go to Disney with such a place as Dutch Wonderland so close. If you've never been, I would recommend a trip! You'll become a Wonderland snob.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Weekend Words

Do you know what this is?
When our granddaughter spent the weekend, she told me that it is a flumbingo. Yes, that's right and when it takes a bath, Grannie is supposed to use "shampipoo" to clean it. 

That's right. She says it with authority and confidence. Shampipoo for the flumbingo.

When we prayed at dinner, we thanked God that our granddaughter could come over. She liked this and kept bringing this up. The funny thing with Clare though is that she isn't clear on pronouns yet. She calls herself "you" and she calls me, "I."
So the conversation goes like this
Clare: "I have a granddaughter. I so glad you camed over."
Me: (pointing to myself).  "I have a granddaughter and I AM glad you came over. You are my granddaughter."
Clare: "You are my granddaughter."
Me: "Right. I know what you mean, but you mean 'Clare is my granddaughter.'"
She smiles. Looks like I (I mean me) finally understand.

We went for a walk to check on the osprey nest there.  The osprey babies, which are actually HUGE creatures who squawk loudly, were a bit scary so we hurried away.   Pretending that she was Maria from The Sound of Music,  she said to us, "You twirl like Maria," and showed us how with arms out wide. We took this as a command and shamelessly imitated her, forgetting the pronoun confusion.  Clare laughed and laughed at us; I guess neither of us looks much like Maria.

The biggest of the dolls is named "Suga Buga." Pop couldn't get this right and kept calling the doll "Hunca Munca," which brought peals of the happiest laughter.  Everyone, including you, knows who Hunca Munca really is.

We went to the farmer's market and saw all the sights.

The farmer's market is just wonderful, crowded with people and the freshest food.
Who could resist these flowers? Not I, so we picked some for you's mommy.

And marveled at so much else.

Clare got a pumpkin and decided to "crunch" it.  Hmmm.

We also discovered why she knows so many words. When asked to pick out a book to read, she chose "that big book." What can I say? You inherited the love for reading dictionaries from I.

It was hard to say good-bye when her parents came to get her. I hope "you" comes back soon.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Something New At Sewing Camp

This year after enjoying the first week  of sewing camp, called Sewing Through The Seasons, we held at AACS Summer Camp, we offered Level Three Sewing In Style
Many of our girls returned for a third or fourth year with us! 
And look what they brought.
What did we ever do without cell phones?
The girls have worked hard, they've been cheerful and I haven't noticed one of them using their phones.  
This year, the teachers have been especially wonderful. They are each patient, carefully instructing, always encouraging. You have to understand that with sewing camp, lots of crawling on the floor is required and the teachers did so without one complaint.  I have loved working with them. 
The girls had lots of room for creativity.

I love seeing their careful work.
Everyone loves embellishing their finished projects! 
Don't you love how this student chose the perfect button to compliment her flower.
We learned how to make all sorts of fabric flowers. Ribbon from the ribbon factory came in handy for embellishing, too. 

Everyone made wonderful, colorful things and learned so much! 
Thanks to Andrea, Barbara, Jen, Julie, Karlene, Valerie and Wendy (and all the wonderful babysitters). Thanks to the children for sharing your wonderful mommies and thanks also to Josiah, Colleen and the other camp workers. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Beads of Courage Bags...

My friend Robin helps people make little bags for kids who are suffering from serious illness.
The children are given beads when they face milestones in their treatment. The Beads of Courage website says that for example a child is given one color bead when he or she must spend the night in the hospital and perhaps a glow-in-the-dark bead for radiation treatment.
When the kids must face further, difficult treatment they can look at their beads and see how far they have come. They have a tangible representation of their bravery and their hope.  What a beautiful idea.

Robin inspires others to make little fabric bags where the kids can keep and collect the beads.

They are easy to do!

Robin showed us how to make them at the recent Annapolis Quilt Show- Quilts by the Bay.

Here's what you do:

Take 4 rectangles 9 x 12 inches. (two for the lining and two for the outside of the bag). Sew on the special Beads of Courage label.

Place them right sides together and sew the long sides together, before flipping the bag and sewing the edges. 
We learned to make the bags together, but they can be made anytime you have a few minutes and a little bit of fabric.
Robin's mom came to help, and so did many others.
Here's a picture of my first bag. For directions and more information on how to donate or get involved, see:
 Beads of Courage

Let me know how it goes!