Monday, January 31, 2011


For the majority of my blogs ( what a weird word...) I do try to keep it light. I do not always succeed. And sometimes, like now, they are intentionally straight.

I have been watching what is going on in of pharohs and sphinx, pyramids and knowledge. And they are fighting for what we fought for in this land over 200 years ago.

I am not stupid...I know the fear is that the Muslim Brotherhood, whose spawn is Al Queda and Hamas....those who see America as the " great satan "...will take over and push the country into what Iran has become...a more dictatorial state than it already is.

That now there will be the power to push Israel "into the sea". That the tepid and tenuous peace that has prevailed in that region for the last three decades will come to a fiery end. That the dictator we know is better than the one we dont.

And yet.....

And yet....arent the people there fighting for what we fought for so long ago? For the right of assembly, the right of free speech, the right to worship ( yes, even this ) as we please....the right of the press...arent they fighting for FREEDOM ????

Arent they fighting for the same thing we fought for ...and are still fighting for??
How can we not support them...and God help this government if they dont.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Signs along the way

When I woke up yesterday morning I had had a dream...the kind that is so real you can smell and taste it. I had been dreaming about Kentucky-fingerlickin'-grease-drippin' Fried Chicken. So real my mouth was watering ( ok...maybe drooling, a petty difference really). I also had an unfinished task....organizing the rest of my closet and drawers...and knew I needed sock boxes. Angel Fire has neither KFC nor sock boxes so a trip to Taos was in the picture and I could have waited another day for the sock boxes but the chicken was an immediate necessity.

On the drive through Taos Canyon there are three signs that I have seen before and that make me chuckle every time I see them and they point to the disparity of a rich county (Taos) and the poorer one where I live ( Colfax ). We dont have signs like this in Colfax county.

The first is a yellow hazard sign with a picture of an elk and the words " Elk Crossing Ahead". I wonder every time I see this sign if the elk know this is where they are supposed to cross. Has someone told them...."ok guys, you cross right here" and if indeed there are so many of them crossing that they warrant their own sign. Never, in all the times over the last 20 years that we have driven this road has there been the slightest sign of an elk but apparently some brain child in Taos decided to spend the money to put a large sign, letting both elk and humans know this is where they should cross. Ok....

The next sign is also a large yellow hazard sign, this time with no words but the picture of a cow. Really? Not a cow to be seen anywhere and no words on the sign, leaving one to wonder if they were just bored in Taos and had extra money and decided "hey a cow sign would be cool" ...out in the middle of nowhere. Ok.....

The one that truly boggles my mind is the third sign. This cautions "Bicycle riders stay right and ride single file". Seriously??? First and foremost we are talking about a road that is a narrow two lane affair...there is no shoulder to pull off on and no place to stop and in many places it is a sheer drop. We drive on the right side of the road in this country. Did the sign makers in Taos have the idea that bicyclists, on this tiny road, would ride on the left, into oncoming traffic?? Or that they would choose the center of the road, which seems to include elk, cows and most frightening of all, Texans?? In reality, if you are riding a bike on this road at all you should probably have a mental health evaluation. You see about as many bicyclists as you do elk and cows.

Someone in Taos has way too much time and money on their hands. At times I do wish we had a McDonalds or KFC here in Angel Fire and the drive is a bit of a drag but at least (do I thank the Taos bureaucrats here??) its entertaining.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

In full retreat

I have given it my best shot as far as staying in the master bedroom with John gone. And its not the bedroom itself that presents a problem...its what I shall now refer to as the Ice Palace (IP) aka, the bathroom. This has been an issue since our permanent move in August but I have no patience left and I am tired of literally freezing my okole off.

Although the shower has not frozen again, the temp in the IP is almost a constant 66 degrees, not a good thing in the middle of the night unless one thinks frosty buns are fun ( I am tempted to say cool but the bad pun is too close to reality to be amusing).

So last night I moved a warm bathroom AND a warm bedroom. Oh the joys of the simple things. All the dogs except Tonka ( not the brightest of them...he is a few fries short of a Happy Meal ) adjusted well. I had to shut the door to the master bedroom to keep him out and figured I would do an experiment with the temp in the IP, shutting its door as well. This morning the temp in there was 54 degrees...colder by far than the garage, which has no heat at all. If the garage had a shower.....ok, maybe not.

I think until the heat problem is fixed I will just stay upstairs

Monday, January 24, 2011

How to thaw when its below freezing

Just when you need it most, He gives you another gift....undeserved like all the rest. My heart and soul have been revived by a book that came the day my spirit froze. One Thousand Gifts...A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are, by Ann Voskamp. Talk about perfect timing...and isn't His timing always perfect? She is a farmer's wife, mother of six, suprisingly normal and amazingly gifted. Showing how to find joy in the simple things; giving thanks when it doesnt seem possible. Read the book. I finished it and will start it again...a short book in numbered pages...deep as the sea in meaning.

But the weather here is still -12 and I decided to warm the house and warm the body so that all, heart, soul and the physical body would be in sync.

Fire is good...building one will warm you in ways you do not expect. Begin by carrying in 300 lbs of wood ( about 6 big pieces ). Make sure flue is open ( I catch on real quick and only left it closed once ), stack logs in the wrong order, meaning put the big one that will not light on the bottom and the small ones on top. Seriously, I do know better than this and wasnt really thinking about anything but a roaring fire. Cough.
Light gas flame starter and wait. And wait. Move logs around with tongs. This puts out what small flames have managed to catch. Re-light with gas. Wait. Move logs around again, again putting out flames, re-light and wait. Add more wood ( why not at this point??) Wait. Blow on tiny flames until you have hyperventilated. Wait. Yeehaw, fire has started. Go outside to cool off. Try and remember why you wanted a fire in the first place.

Would love to write more but I need to go get more wood, which like snow is heavy but with the added bonus of splinters and spiders. Hot diggety....I'm a country girl. Uh....not.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A river of ice

I don't understand the why of it: one day I am filled with the glory and wonder of this beautiful place and then there are days like this. When the gray, freezing is more on the inside than out. Yes, the driveway is a sheet of ice but it is colder in my soul. Why, when I know of His grace and love, do I feel so abandoned and so alone.

It is not Him. It is me. Never measuring up...never sure of what or who I am. Child of God? Who would want a child like this? Inconsistant and insecure, wondering how a God who creates the universe would bother with me. My belief is not strong enough, sure enough, good enough. Would I be one of those left behind for lack of faith?

On these days the ice in my heart chills all.....and I am bereft, knowing my own failures. How do you find your way back to the sun/Son when Satan's dark shadow fills you? How do I go from a place of surely knowing to knowing nothing except my own shallow pain.

I know this place...I come here more than I would like to admit. A place full of "me"...not a good place. And I know He is here, watching and waiting, patiently loving...I just don't understand why He bothers ( if it were me being god, I doubt I would be so patient ).

I just don't understand.

Friday, January 21, 2011

It is called Angel Fire for a reason

Although it isn't very often, there are times when the sky truly seems to be lit by heavenly flame. The view from the back deck never varies...the basic elements are the same, with sky and mountains, valley and the trees..yet it is never the same. I think at times this is my life...the basic elements are constant yet everyday brings it own gifts.

What an amazing planet we live on....where the hand of God shows itself on a daily basis...if we are quiet enough and still enough to see.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A band of gold

This is what I saw last evening and it struck me in more than one way.....first that it was a band of gold...and usually this is connected to marriage: the band one wears to connect us to another. But it also struck me as the connection we have, through Christ Jesus, from heaven to earth. It was surreal....and very real. How blessed we are to have both a love on this earth, to whom we can promise ourselves and how blessed we are to have a love, not from this earth who has promised Himself to us.

Monday, January 17, 2011

He knew I would need this....

We were shopping for a new door....not a cross. Not "needing" something to hang on the wall.....not shopping for a reminder of what Christ gave us. But there it enormous cross, leaning against a wall...forgotten and not wanted. Sitting in the cold, against a wall...someone had ordered it and decided against it.

It was said to be "too big" and it was said something that would not "fit" with the decor. Too much.

A cross...not a crucifix...the symbol of our risen Christ. Almost as tall as I am, though I am shrinking, its still smaller than I am. Yet so heavy that one man has trouble lifting it, to mount on my wall. Which makes me know, in a visceral way, what our Lord must have done, in lifting and carrying it....makes me weep with the knowledge.

And it was no mistake, this cross. Which hangs on my wall...dominating the room and which needs to dominate my life. I am not always there, at this cross. But it is here. And I know it is supposed to be. Dominant in my in front of me where I cannot ignore it, nor forsake it as He has never forsaken me. It's presence makes Him present in my life , every day. I cannot ignore it, which is how it should be.

He knew I would need this constant reminder, flaky, failing, flailing human that I am. I need Him and I need the sacrifice He gave otherwise there would be no me. Not as the person I should be, not as the person He wants me to be.

Scarlet letter stamped firmly on my head, I am washed clean and white in the blood of the Lamb.

Thank you Lord for letting me see this cross and having the grace to bring it into my home. Make me worthy Lord....however you see fit.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Too old fashioned for new toys...dangit

I was so excited about my new toys....a new way to vac/sweep and a new way to mop. Wow, exciting huh? Seriously, when you have been doing things the exact same way for 30+ years, new IS exciting!

I tried the Swifer sweeper/vac and apparently 4 poms are too much for it to handle. I used it on a small part of the floor, immediately filled up the dirt cup, overwhelmed the filter with dog hair and small unidentifible objects and trashed the cloth that swiffs. Sigh. OK, back to the broom , followed by the vacuum.

At least, I thought, steaming the floors will get them a cleaner clean than ever before in the past ( I'm thinking as I write this that maybe I watch too many commercials....). The cleaning pads get nasty and you have to wait to change them unless you want parboiled hands.....and I am not particularly patient. Bigger sigh. I steamed for all I was worth and then got the mop out. And yes, the water was filthy, meaning steamed or not, the dirt was still there.

I am not giving up on the new toys just yet....after all the house still bore the imprint (read detritus here) of the 20 family members who came for the holidays and it might have been too much to ask of these new fangled things.

I am pretty sure I didnt vacuum up any small children but it probably would be a good idea to do a head count if you visited here recently. Will be mailing out packages to each family with various socks, books, toys and hair clips. If I find money, I am keeping it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter is definately here...

It's not like I didn't realize it before now, its just that there hasn't been prolonged super frigid weather like this. Two nights ago, or so the news said, it was -22 degrees. Even the dogs are less than thrilled with it. I don't understand how the birds survive ( they are well fed though: I make sure of that). But "bone-chilling" takes on a whole new meaning...a real thing not just an expression of speech.

Even though I am still pouring hot water down the drain in the bathroom ( I do love my shower....more than I thought!) the house finally seems secure. The new front door makes me feel so much safer, even if I can't see out the speak-easy window. It is solid...a small thing in the grand scheme but huge to me. There is no longer ice an inch thick on the inside of both french doors and the heat in the house, for the most part, is working well. Yayyyyy for being warm : )

It doesn't matter really, these small inconviences. They are petty when one considers the wonder and beauty of what He has created, that sits outside my windows. A blessing I am grateful for every day.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011


After everyone's arrival there came times of breaking....breaking hearts with words, broken machines ( washing machines are very important with so many bodies around ) broken window seals, broken showers....ok not broken but frozen makes showers not work so ..broken. Relationships not formed, ready to break. Old relationships trying not to break....
Bodies not used to cold or altitude snarky and snotty. Fever and vomiting...vertigo and aching muscles.
A bad time ?
Not really. Still a time for bonding and loving. For mending and making.
And really, arent we all broken all of the time? With faults and fizzures....cracks and cervices. Broken but healed in Him.
Thank you Lord...for all of it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Quiet Christmas it was not

John, Zack and I traveled to North Carolina for Christmas, hoping little TJ would have made an appearance prior to our arrival. He had not.

We arrived late on the evening of Dec. 22nd and there was confusion at the hotel...three rooms booked instead of two and none of them adjoining nor connecting. Not possible when traveling with Zack ( not to mention John and Zack were sharing a suitcase and traipsing through the hotel halls in their skivvies was pretty much out of the question...). After a bit of late night drama and the arrival of someone who actually knew how to use the computer we did get rooms next door to each other...the best that could be done at the moment.

By 11:00pm we were in the rooms, by 1:00am showered and collapsed into our beds. At 3:00am the phone rang and Melissa was in labor. Tom dropped Bella off with Nono and picked me up. By the time we got Melissa into the hospital, all the necessary forms had been filled out, checks made (yup, really labor) and into a room, TJ had nearly arrived, showing up at the fashionable hour of 7:01am. Beautiful baby, great delivery....blissful parents, proud grandparents and thrilled big sister.

They came home on Christmas eve and later John, Thomas and I went to midnight mass at St. Michael the Archangel Chapel. What an amazing place to find on an Army base. I know Ft. Bragg is ginormous but who whould have thought they would have a mini-Cathedral!! So very beautiful...with a traditional cuppola and sides flanked by balconies. Finely wrought stained glass...not the modern stuff with huge pieces of glass, but intricately fitted and leaded pictures of art made in glass. Rare here.

Then Christmas day cooking an abbreviated version...all the basics but with so few people and always too much food, this was a good thing. I didnt feel deprived....rather nice to have a small celebration, completely present to His grace and goodness, seeing the fraility of Jesus in the newborn son of my daughter, enjoying His fruits of the field with family and worshiping in a place that glorifies his Kingship.

We were to leave on the 27th and be home in time to welcome the family who were all coming for New Year. On the 26th it started snowing... In North Carolina snow is not a familiar substance and driving on same presents a challenge for the natives. Serious challenge. Hoo-boy.

Also presented a challenge to the airlines and those, like us, who were supposed to fly the fiendish skys with them. Or not. For two more days we didnt. Not all bad, considering we got to spend two more days with the newbie TJ.

But stressful, knowing 1) Tia, Dave and tribe would arrive on the 27th whether or not we were there and 2) They had no keys : not to either the condo or the house. Tessa and Joseph saved the day by leaving Colorado a day early ( no easy feat when dealing with 2 teens, a tween and an Alaskan Huskey !) and got the condo open and warmed up. Tia stopped by Dad's truck in long term parking at ABQ airport and together Tess and Tia got the house opened and the food Tess brought got refrigerated or frozen ( for 20 mouths, we shop wholesale sizes in everything, including toilet paper...).

Melissa and Tom and tribe and Josh and Liz were supposed to fly in within hours of each other. The McKenna flight was delayed and although they were at the connecting gate prior to departure, their seats had been given away. Josh and Liz called to say they were still at the gate and waiting...delayed too. What blessings that they all still arrived that day and only a few hours late.

For the first time in many years, we were all together and wow how we have grown. Twenty. God bless them each and every one.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Exciting times

Once all the family arrived safely, and thank goodness not before, the temp dropped....and continued dropping till we hit -16...lower with the wind chill factor. The shower froze and has remained frozen despite Joe's repeated attempts to thaw it with boiling water. The heat in the condo didnt work....the washer broke while full of nasty towels.....the new propane grill, bought especially for New Year's steak, didnt work. As before, the heat in the master bath is non-existant and the floor in there cold enough to ice skate on. Then there was illness....Jonah and Tia, Tessa and Joshua. Fevers and chills...vomiting and vertigo.

Sounds like this should have been a horrible time but amazingly enough, it wasnt. We are all stretched thin and exhausted but it was still wonderful. The littles got to see snow and lots of it. The crazy men got to snowboard and ski and learned fresh powder is hard work. The women cooked and cleaned but there were so many willing hands that it made the work go fast.

Yes, the house is trashed and the laundry overflowing. And I dont care. It was worth it. Next year we repeat but this time Christmas will be here and I will be prepared. Knowing what needs to be done will ( praying now) make the next go-round better.

Family is flying out to around the country and I hope their memories are good, even with the challenges. God bless them each and every one.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Keeping the fire burning

As we start the new year there are so many blessings to be grateful for. More than I can count...but the most important are family. For their health, for their arriving safely, even if there were delays and frustations. They are all here in Angel Fire and safe.

We are well and truly blessed. Thank you Lord for all you have given us.