Sunday, July 31, 2011


This past week we had Vacation Bible School.

So a part of each day was spent preparing some part of the night's lesson. And then we were at the church until almost 9:00 each night.

VBS - it's one of those things I dread all summer long. But during the week I always decide that it isn't as bad as I had expected.

 Don't get me wrong; I am always tired and so busy, but it is a fun week.

This year the thing that got me through was watching the teenagers work. They act as team leaders, class room helpers, sound system operators, and fill in wherever needed.

They were


this week!

I am blessed to be a small part of their lives and to see God working in and through them.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

GPS needed

All of my life I've heard the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

In May, I had such grand intentions for the summer. Most of which involved cleaning and organization. But some included spending time with family and friends and getting a headstart on the next school year. Then June came. And those days at the lake. Where I forget what day of the week it is. And suddenly it's July 4th. I have a love/hate relationship with that holiday. That day has flashing lights and caution signs.

Warning! Warning! You are now on the downside of your summer! It's all down hill from here. School will be starting before you know it!

After all these years of teaching, I know it. I dread it. And still it catches me.  All those things that I intended to do during my summer can't possible be squeezed into these few short weeks. This year there was a new baby and a family wedding. And those took precedence over all other plans.

And this week there's VBS. It's at night, so technically I have all day to do what needs to be done. But part of that day is spent preparing for the night's lesson. And then I leave early to get things set up. I have a great partner. She reminded me last night that I promised to come swimming with her this summer, and now summer is over, and I haven't been to her house even once. I even promised her a few weeks ago, "I'm coming swimming next week." But it was the week of the wedding, and I didn't have time to poop that week much less go swimming.

I intended to have lunch with coworkers. Get acquainted with the new teacher before school. But it hasn't happened. I haven't even managed to get her phone number. And I have tried several times. So instead of jumping in and getting real work done those first few days back, we'll be doing that awkward getting-to-know-you dance. I don't have time for being nice when school starts! So I'll end up saying something bossy or demanding or worse, and it will take weeks to get past it and just work.

I intended to make it for sisters day at the Country Store. My mother has nine brothers and sisters. Every Wednesday the majority of them meet at the store for lunch. It is quite a crowd. Kids, grandkids, aunts, uncles, and cousins all join the fun when possible. And since I can't go during the school year, I had intentions of going several times this summer. I've made it one time. Next Wednesday is my last shot. Dare I say it?  I intend to be there.

My truck came with a GPS. It talks to me. I have named her LaTisha. I can map my destination, and Latisha guides me along. "Right turn in one quarter mile." Right turn in 100 feet." She keeps me on course. And if for some reason I stray, she reminds me. "Please make a legal u-turn." "Please make a legal u-turn." Over and over until I get back on the designated course or am at least headed towards my original destination. I need a Latisha to guide me through my summers. To guide me all year! Someone to remind me to make that u-turn and get back on track. Sometimes I need to be reminded of my intended destination.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I've got a sick baby

He came in at an odd time yesterday to get something for a headache. And that was unusual. He sometimes makes a quick trip back from the chicken houses for forgotten allergy medicine. But this time he just wanted something for a headache. When he came back at lunch, he didn't want lunch. And I knew he was sick!

I made him take a cool shower and drink a cool glass of ice water. I wondered if maybe he was a bit dehydrated. He crawled to the couch for a quick nap and then returned to work. An hour or so later I was on my way to finish setting up for VBS and stopped by to check on him. The vomiting had begun. Lovey had just returned from raking hay and sent him home to rest. I went on to the church.

Later I had a missed call and then a text. "Are you done yet?" He was still throwing up and now running a fever. And he wanted ginger ale. So, it was a late night run to Walmart for momma. Ginger ale, Gatorade, Tylenol, and ingredients for magic potato soup. Oh, and cat food - always cat food, but not for Baby Jus.

After a ginger ale, some Tylenol, and later a Gatorade, he went back to sleep. This morning the fever is still here. And he is still in bed. Under his tuddly blanket. The dinosaur blanket I made him in elementary school when the tuddly blanket made for preschool no longer covered the legs and body at the same time. And he was disappointed that I wouldn't just add extensions to the worn and faded favorite.

Later today I'll be making magic potato soup. And delivering ice cold glasses of ginger ale. And tucking in that almost 19 year old baby of mine.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saturday Confessions

I plan to link up with Melissa for her Saturday Confessions again, but who knows if I will ever get the link to work. Either way, I'll 'fess up.

1.  I like to think that I have a certain amount of technological savvy. The last few weeks have made me question that idea. There was a complete hard drive crash, replacement, and reloading of everything. I did this. But apparently not very well because I'm still working out the kinks. Nothing like a computer issue to humble a person. I have felt so helpless at times. Seems as though others are also experiencing problems with Blogger and Facebook, so maybe it's not all me and my computer after all. But things just seem to be moving so slowly and so disjointedly - any suggestions?

2.  I'm blaming the heat for my mood lately. People have just been on my LAST nerve. Not all people; just a few. Lovey is at the top of that list. And not everything he does is driving me crazy - just a few of his tendencies. Like being so picky about food. He would say that he isn't at all picky (and that would drive me nuts.) Really? The tip of the okra tastes different than the middles? Really? Eat the damn okra! I'm tempted to cook okra, tips only, for the next week.

3.  School looms heavily on the horizon. Big changes are coming. For the last several years, I have taught 7th and 8th grades with an occasional odd grade thrown, but always 7th and 8th. This year it will be only 7th grade, and I'm having mixed emotions about that. I'm really excited about the new assignment but not about giving up those 8th graders. I get attached. I like having them for two years - it's amazing to see the progress made over a two year period. I am also scheduled to teach a creative writing class. It's completely new for us. I have nothing to start. Any suggestions? Any ideas? Any lesson plans?  It's one of those Be careful what you ask for things. For years I have told my principal that we need to add some English electives. He finally listened. Or he finally decided to punish me for pestering him about it. We'll see. I'm excited and panicky at the same time.

4.  Later today, I am helping my mom, sister, and niece host a baby shower for a cousin. You may have read somewhere that I don't particularly like showers. It may have even been said that I hate them. So know that when I attend one or co-host one, I really love the honoree.

5. I woke up really early this morning. The TV was one and early morning GMA. There was a story of a woman who has 700 cats. At her house. I'm not feeling so bad about this now.

Yep, that's my back steps. Most of them are a little lot on the wild side. Lucy Mercer, Great American Wrangler, is to blame for that. She has even convinced Jake to help her on the chase. They don't want to catch them; they just want the cats to run. When the dogs go outside, the cats scatter.
 Don't you have something you need to confess?

Friday, July 22, 2011

How To Beat The Heat?

It's July.

In Arkansas.

It's HOT.

How can you beat the heat?

Find some water.

Invite your friends.

And splash around!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Two Weeks Old

Caution! This post surpasses all usual cuteness levels!

What's better than a two week old baby?

A two week and one day old baby!

Today my mom, my niece, and I went to Little Rock to get supplies for next week's vacation Bible school. We had originally planned to ta Baby E with us, but we decided it was just too hot to have him out all day. So Grandnanny changed her plans and stayed home to keep him. And of course his Nana stopped by for a visit too. His daddy did manage to steal a little time with him this afternoon. He's just so stinking cute and such a good baby. None of us can go very long without stealing a little Baby E sweetness.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

When It Rains

These puppies go a little crazy.

Our Arkansas weather has been so strange this year. This spring we had tornado after tornado. And while the rest of the state experienced horrific flooding, here in South Arkansas we have had drought conditions. And summer's heatwave hit early. Instead of being lush and green in June, the hay field was brown and crispy. And in spots completely bare. But just before the end of the month, we woke to a cloudy, humid morning. The dogs cut their morning run very short. With his thick coat, Jake just can't take the heat and humidity. Then around 8:00 it start to rain. And it poured. I mean really poured - we got almost 4 inches of rain in less than an hour. We lost power; the road flooded. And just for a short time, the heat wave broke. The dogs could feel a change in the air and begged to get outside.

 They made a beeline for the water backed up around the pond. Nothing like a romp in a giant mudpuddle. When I realized that they weren't coming no matter how loud I called, I ran in to get the camera and noticed that other animals were also enjoying the cooler temperature, lower humidity, and fresh water.

Lucy and Jake noticed the other animals too and were in immediate pursuit.

I panicked just a bit. Several years ago Jed Mercer (Lovey's boxer) had a close call with a mama dear after he found her baby hidden in the hay field. She and two of her doe friends came running when the baby cried. I have never seen deer cross a field and clear a fence so fast. And Jed couldn't get away. I was on the back deck screaming for him to run, calling him to me. Until I realized the doe was hot on his tail and he was almost to me. Then I moved pretty fast myself. Anyway, I just knew Lucy and Jake were about to get themselves in a whole lot of trouble.

I was calling them to me. Screaming for them to come to the house. They were oblivious to my pleas.

But having so much fun chasing each other that they became oblivious to the doe also. It was hard to keep up with them.

After a few circles around the yard, they ran right to me and in the house for some water and A/C.

And that doe, who had readied herself for battle, couldn't decide what to do next. She pranced around for several minutes. Running towards the house, then back into the field, then towards the woods. I think she wanted to play with the dogs.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Help Me Up Weezy

I bet you've needed one. I bet you've done one. I did, just this morning.

The story goes something like this:
Many years ago, Poppa Mercer had three women, a grandmother, a daughter and granddaughter, who worked for him on his farm. The women were hard workers. They pruned, tied, and picked rows and rows of tomatoes. Filling buckets as they crouched, picked, and scooted along. The women would talk as they worked in the morning heat. Occasionally Eloise, the daughter, would get ahead of her mother. When the work grew long, and Eloise finished her row, her mother would call out, "Help me up, Weezy." The older lady hadn't fallen; it was a call for a favor, "Help me to catch up."

Over the years, the women have been fondly remembered by Lovey's family. And one of the most repeated stories has been, "Help me up, Weezy." So, often when that phone rings, it's someone needing a help me up Weezy. Lovey ran to check on something at another field this morning, and Baby Jus called me for back up. I picked up one line of eggs before Lovey returned. When he came in he asked what I was doing there, my answer? "Jus needed a help me up Weezy."

The morning that Jus and I were trying to leave early for the lake, Lovey called in a help me up Weezy. The evening before, he had been checking a cow about to have a calf, and decided that he was disturbing her more than helping her. So early that morning he went to check her progress. The calf was still not out. And he called for backup. By the time Jus and I got to the field, Lovey had pulled the calf.

The baby had made it part of the way out on his own. And buzzards had quickly moved in, pecking his tongue. Lovey gave him a tug, and out he came. The mother ran off, so Lovey had to do her job and wipe him dry.

The plan was to load him into the back of the truck, and I would drive slowly so that Lovey and Baby Jus could ease the momma cow along to the barn. It does occasionally work. And things started nicely. She even went ahead of the truck.

Lovey gave Jus directions to just ease along. and keep her moving. He would walk and "steer" her in the right direction. Instead of leading her along, I followed behind.

We were almost there. Just a few more yards and Lovey would have her in the barn lot, when the crazy heifer decided she was NOT going to cooperate any longer. Isn't that the way it always goes? And the chase was on.

Notice now that Lovey is riding, and Baby Jus is doing the running. How did that happen? They ran that crazy cow all over the place. I even got out and did some blocking - not much running, just blocking and turning back so that they could chase.

Poor Jus had to chase her through some sticker weeds, and he had shorts on. Lovey was not happy by this time and couldn't understand why Jus wouldn't move fast enough. They chased and chased, but she would not go to the barn. She would have nothing to do with that baby either. Of course, if I had been chased around all afternoon, had something trying to get out of me all night, buzzards pecking my rump, and Lovey yanking my insides out - I might not be too cooperative either.

It was before 8 a.m. and already very hot. She hadn't had water or food. She finally just refused to move. Lovey decided it was getting to hot to continue the chase. We brought her water and put the baby nearby, hoping he would be able to suck. Later that day, Lovey moved the baby to the barn. His tongue was swollen from the buzzard pecks, but he eventually took a bottle. Sometimes the mother just won't take care of her baby. She didn't realize that when he tried to pull her calf, and again when he tried to get her to the barn for a few days of R & R, Lovey was just doing her a favor. Cows don't understand a help me up Weezy.

Monday, July 18, 2011

During the three weeks or so that I was unable to blog I had such great ideas for posts. I started so many interesting, intelligent, intriguing posts in my head. Did I put pen to paper? Did I record any of those ideas? No. Today I spent about two hours riding the lawn mower. When my sister-in-law mows her yard, she puts in her headphones and jams; I never do that. I have always used lawn mower time to collect my thoughts - plan lessons, dream up the plan for carrying out whatever endeavor looms on the horizon. I have discussed this a bit before. My family sometimes accuse me of being a huge procrastinator, and I am a bit of one. But much of the time that I am doing other things, like riding the mower, I am thinking and planning. When I was trying to finish college, I often had several papers to write and more than one novel to read. I usually can't just sit down and write; I have to mull it over while doing something else. Many of my essays were planned as I cooked dinner or went for a walk. Today when I got on that mower, I might as well have put in the headphones. My mind was blank. Or maybe spinning so fast that nothing could drop out enough to focus my thoughts.

I have had a very busy week helping to decorate for my nephews wedding. And I am moving into my it's-almost-August-school-starting-what-am-I-going-to-teach panic mode that hits me every summer even after almost 20 years of teaching. There are some other issues just buzzing around in this head of mine. I am blaming all of this for my lack of focus. Am I the only one who lets so much get to spinning around in my head that it can't fall out? Like that ride at the fair where you stand up and the thing spins so fast that you are held against the wall and couldn't move no matter how hard you tried. It affects my sleep. I wake up with a million things running through my mind. I feel like I could think clearly if I could just get a good night's sleep; but I can't get a good night's sleep because I can't clear my thoughts. It's a vicious circle. Are there any men out there who do this? Is it a woman thing? A momma thing? A crazy thing?

So many ideas are lost when I am in one of these sleep deprived phases. I wake up in the middle of the night with a great idea, or I think of something when I am nowhere near a computer. And when I can finally get to the computer, the  idea is completely gone or is missing a key component. In hopes of grabbing a few of those potentially brilliant moments, I bought a cute little journal last week. And it has been on the kitchen table since I brought it in the house. Until yesterday, I honestly haven't had time to even think about it, and as I've said already, today was a total blank.

After mowing, I worked on some lesson plans for the new school year. I managed not to take that much wanted nap this afternoon, and now I am very sleepy. I am going to take that journal and put it on my bedside just in case I wake up with a great idea spinning around in this head of mine. And if I don't wake up, maybe I'll get enough rest so that I can focus on one particular thing instead of not focusing on a million things.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I've Been Feeling a Little Disconnected

Finally! I am posting again. My life has been a tad crazy lately and through it all there was a crashing of computer. After my two week camping trip, I had to take Lovey for his final checkup at the doctor whose office is almost 5 hours away, later that day my great nephew made his arrival, after getting mommy and new baby settled, we all shifted into wedding mode. I spent my afternoon napping to recover from a very busy week of decorating. It's sad to say, but my porch is still cluttered with camping things to put away. Craziness! I am looking forward to a much slower week. And am sad to say it will be my last "free" week of summer.

Here are some of my favorite pics of the last few weeks.
an early morning rodeo with Lovey

a crazy romp after a cooling rainstorm

 an amazing sunset

jumps on the 4th

 my great nephew

mini lemon ice box pies on the groom's table - yummy!

Yesterday after the wedding, I crashed. Then I woke up around midnight and couldn't sleep until about 4 a.m. I had to nap this afternoon too. Now, I'm not sleepy. I've got to get my sleep schedule back to somewhat normal.  

There are still some bugs to be worked out, but I'm hoping the computer works for the next post.