The cat photographer

Last week Terry had a photo shoot so he left his camera case on the dining table. Since the event was a breakfast, he would be leaving early and wanted everything ready to go when he walked out the door. The calico cat decided she would like to be his assistant.

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Eat well, take care of yourself, and do good deeds

A friend who has just endured her second hip replacement in the span of three months called Sunday afternoon to ask if I could drive her to physical therapy this morning. Although I had plans to do laundry, shopping, and other chores, I was sure I could fit her pick-up and drop-off into my day. I would sure want someone to do that for me if I had just had similar surgery. Oh, and during the last hip replacement, she suffered a minor heart attack (is a heart attack ever minor?) during her recovery.

This friend and I attended the same church for a couple of years. We taught Sunday School together for one year. This was all before things drastically changed at that church and I pulled out and went elsewhere. My friend was a fairly new member of the church when I met her. She had made a few friends in the congregation. Later on, she would be part of a small group. As far as I have been able to tell, none of them have visited her in the hospital, brought food or sundry supplies to her as she recuperated, or offered to transport her to doctor and therapy appointments.

Last week, on the last day of the chaplain academy, we had a bit of celebratory lunch with different people providing dishes. The lady who sat next to me brought fried chicken. It was so good, especially since I had not had any for over a year. I only ate one piece, a wing, with a spoonful of potato salad and some of the raw veggies from a platter brought by another attendee. After consuming a heaping plate of fried chicken, rolls, and potato salad, the lady next to me returned with two large glazed doughnuts. She asked if I wanted one and I declined. She proceeded to eat both. I would have been sick if I had eaten them. An hour or so after lunch, when we were learning about missing children and violence towards children, the lady next to me fell asleep. And we were in the front row. I chided her later about too many carbs making her sleepy. She asked if I never napped in the afternoon. No, usually not. For one thing, I’m  away from home three afternoons a week and on the others, I always have something to keep me occupied. Nor, do I eat a heavy lunch that could make me sleepy.

Today, after groceries had been purchased, errands had been run, laundry was washed and put away, and my friend had been deposited back home after therapy with the latest John Grishom book to tide her over, I made juice from apple, beet, blueberries, carrot, kale, and blood orange. Just the perk-up I needed to keep me going. No nap today.

Throwing some words at the screen

I feel like I’ve been gone on a long trip, far from home. Instead, I’ve been inordinately busy for the past nine days, driving straight east, from my side of town to a neighboring city, for four of those days to attend chaplaincy training. I headed south two of the days, to a whole different part of town, across the freeway, to smile with and coax small children  to eat their vegetables, behave themselves, and learn a lesson or two.

The chaplaincy class was geared towards being a police chaplain, which after four days of training I know I  don’t want to do. I cannot stand the idea of seeing murder and mayhem such as we learned about over the 32 hours of the course. It was a harrowing, draining experience that caused nightmares. Probably some depression in there, too.

There were 15 of us, all in it together, pulling for one another, and we all walked away changed. Our reward–knowing we had learned something new and stepped into a world that few will see and experience. We also got a certificate. Those who can deal with the gruesome details of police work will be better chaplains for it. I, on the other hand, will not be going out on calls to suicides, murders, missing children, domestic violence, or even making death notices. That one alone gave me nightmares. How do you tell someone that a loved one is dead. Quickly, we learned, very quickly, so as not to prolong bewilderment as to why a chaplain is at their door.

I’m glad I am a school chaplain, and even that is hard enough. Children see and hear more than they should. It changes them, and they bring those changes into the school. That’s where I will meet the gruesome details of life. I will work with a calming voice, lots of care, stories and stickers. I guess I’m doing something right as the police chaplaincy office came out last week and videotaped my classroom presentation to use in training. Hopefully, what I am doing can be of use to others.

For now, though, I am tired. I am feeling overwhelmed. I am behind in so much–chores, errands, preparations for this next week’s classes, reading, and especially, writing. So, while the laundry has been spinning in the washer and dryer, I have been sitting here, collecting my thoughts, throwing them on the page, so to speak.

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26 must be the new 17

We are always hearing that older ages like 50, 60, 70 are really the NEW 35 or 40 or 50. I think not, but recently something came my way that made me wonder if the ages ARE going backwards as to when and where we accomplish certain life-markers.

An acquaintance sent out invitations to a party to celebrate their 26th birthday. For the sake of this blog post, I am going to call this young person YP, for young person. YP suggested that instead of the usual birthday gifts, they would like to receive certificates of deposit at a certain financial institution. The desire for this gift suggestion came from the fact that at age 26, YP felt they should be considered an adult and begin saving money for the future. I wouldn’t argue that, but I would think one would do that saving with one’s own money.

At 26 I was working at a job that paid into a retirement plan for me. The company also paid my health and life insurance. Although I wasn’t making a big salary, I was making enough to buy a home. That was my savings plan.

At 26 I had completed college, gotten married, had that before mentioned job, bought a home and had a child. I can only guess that times were different and today’s 26 year old does not have the same opportunities. It seems that they are living more like a 17 year old.

We know several young people in this age group who have not finished college. They are working for minimum wage in a service or retail job. Some are living at home, some with roommates. A few don’t have a car. And that retirement plan? Their employers are certainly not offering them anything like mine did. Forget about sick leave, paid vacation, and health insurance.

At 37 I changed careers, using that previously mentioned retirement plan to bankroll the change. I then went on to a new career that paid better, provided a pension plan, health insurance, and my summers off. I was able to retire at 58 with a house and cars paid for and enough saved to live in San Francisco for 15 months.

I wonder what today’s 26 year old will be doing in 32 years at age 58. Will they be able to retire? Will they have a house and car paid for? How about children? Will 58 be the new 38 at that time?

 

Wow, what a week!

Terry bought new pruning loppers for our Valentines gift!

IMG_8644 We are quite romantic around here.

The next day we went to San Mateo to see our kids.

IMG_8647 This is Pastor Jen telling the children’s story at the church where she has now worked over 10 years.

Jen and Chad were going to a dinner party with friends in Marin so we took Judah and Leeya to dinner and then to our hotel to spend the night with us.

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IMG_8654 Back to Fresno for chaplaincy duties. I handed out penguin stickers for the story about a very odd bird, Tacky, who saved the day. The lesson being, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

IMG_8692 Friday and Saturday were very long days. I attended a chaplain academy on the other side of town from 8 to 5 each day. It’s been a long time since I’ve “worked” those kind of hours. I have two more, identical days this next week. Then I will get a certificate.

Today, after church, we had “Soup for Lent” lunch where we discussed the devotional for this season.

IMG_8695 I love food and fellowship around the table. The members of our new church are such delightful people with whom to visit and get to know better. This soup lunch will continue through Lent. I signed up to bring chicken tortilla soup on one of the Sundays in March. But after the chaplain academy is finished.

Everyone talks about it…

…but there is nothing we can do about it–the weather.

Here in California we have no rain. Temperatures have been warm for the season. Trees and flowers are blooming, yet there is no idea if water will be available for irrigation during the summer. A summer that may be hotter than usual.

Then, I sit and watch in amazement the national weather news on television. All this cold, all this snow. I cannot even begin to imagine what life in these places must be like. To be so cold for so long. The snow so deep that one cannot open the front door and go outside. No end in sight as another storm is forecast, day after day.

I hate to be cold, and to me, cold is anything below 45 degrees. There are so many who would be thankful if the temperature could be that high. It must take a lot of clothing to stay warm in those kinds of temperatures. Must take a lot of heating fuel, too. Our Pacific Gas & Electric bills increase in the winter because of my dislike of cold. I don’t think we could pay the bill if we lived where it’s really cold.

Now I’m hearing of leaking and collapsing roofs. How do the elderly and handicapped get the snow removed? And beyond the winter storm, how will they get maintenance on limited incomes? All these things bother me, yet what can we do about the weather except talk about it. Just like the cold days, it is depressing.

 

Have no fear, the mulberry will reappear

My last post showed the pruned mulberry tree. Some of you were startled at such a severe pruning job. Have no fear, this happens EVERY year. If it’s not pruned like that, it produces mulberry fruit which is so messy.

We love this tree in our front yard as it keeps our living room shaded on hot, sunny, summer mornings. Here is a view of the tree last summer:

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And yes, it was pruned back the year before. In the fall, the tree provides a canopy of gold:

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I keep a record of the tree on my Instagram account if you want to see other seasonal views.