Saturday, October 31, 2009


Mom: All right, we're passing out candy tonight. Only give them ONE EACH. Last year we ran out, remember?

Kelly: Yeah, that was embarrassing.

Glenna: I'm not passing the candy out. Everyone asks me why I'm not out trick or treating.

Himself: Just tell them it's because it's a pagan holiday and you don't want to burn in hell. Oh, but tell them that it's all right for THEM.

Mom: No one is burning in hell! Now remember, ONE EACH.

Glenna: Daddy can pass them out!

Ding Dong!

Mom: Daddy, remember . . .

Himself: I've got it, I've got it.

Door opens revealing cute little kids in costumes

Himself: Wow! Look at YOU GUYS!

Cute Little Kids: Trick or Treat!

Himself: Here you go, honey. Here; have two . . .

W Girls all shake heads

Mom: Daddy, WHAT did I say?

Himself: Oh come on! Did you SEE them? The cute little wings and the Storm Trooper . . .

We are so going to run out of candy.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Wednesday Night at AWANA

. . . we made sculptures from oreo cookies.


Do you have a better idea?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yes, Mother

I have driven back and forth from California to New Mexico many, many times.

I have done this with just my husband and myself. I have done this with my husband and small children. I have done this by myself, but with a friend along for support.

I have driven to Arizona from California, found my friend's house, and slept there overnight. I then drove home.

I have driven with my husband from southern California to northern California. We even made this drive with a toddler once.

I have driven for six days from California to Florida in a small pickup truck with one of my children beside me and my husband following in a moving van with our other two children and the dog.

I have flown by myself, navigated airports and shuttle buses, and arrived safely at each destination.

I have homeschooled my children for the past 12 years. This means that I alone chose their books, courses of study, and (if any) outside teachers.

I have taught English classes from my home, and I have taught AWANA JV for nine years.

I have been married to Himself for 23 years. I have three children, one of whom is 20 and going to school in Tennessee, and another who is looking at colleges for the fall of 2010.

I have gray hair. Lots and lots of gray hair.


When I told my mother that I would fly into Albuquerque, borrow a car from my uncle, then drive to her home, here was her response:

"I don't know, honey. Are you sure? You can't miss that turn at Reserve. Maybe I could meet you in Socorro."

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you - Reserve, NM.

Population 387 in the year 2000. County seat for Cotham County.

It has one turn.

Mom, I've got it, though I do love you for still thinking of me as a baby. ;-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Better Mouse Trap

Caution! This post is not P E T A friendly.

When I was visiting my mother in the Gila (pronounced HEE-la) wilderness in New Mexico, we learned that almost everyone was having trouble with rodents.

Mom trapped one in the kitchen, then bought more traps at The Walmarts. When she and my brother went to get a load of hay, however, they stumbled across this ingenious trap that worked beautifully for one rancher.

Here's what it looks like:

Take a 5 gallon bucket and run a wire from one end to the other, stringing a soda can along the wire. Fill the bucket half-way with water. Put peanut butter on the can, and leave some kind of ramp leading up to the top of the bucket.

Mouse smells peanut butter.
Mouse runs up the ramp.
Mouse jumps onto can to eat peanut butter.
Can spins, plopping mouse into the water.
Mouse swims . . . until it can't swim anymore . . . then it stops swimming. For good.

We were so eager to try this, but we didn't have true 5 gallon buckets.

With a true 5 gallon bucket, this works incredibly well.

Ask Mom!

**Note: I feel the need to make a clarification from my last two posts. Jeff was my step-dad, and not the one who visited here at Christmas. Still, he was in my life from the time I was three years old. When he married my Mom, I began to refer to him as Dad.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Farrier . . . conclusion

There, beneath the saddle blanket, was Dad's shoeing box. My eyes filled with tears immediately.

Grief hits people in different ways and at different times, but grief must run its course. Driving to the funeral home to pick up Dad's remains was difficult but not unexpected. When I saw the box, however, the loss hit me fully.

He wasn't coming back.

He wasn't just on another part of the ranch or watching rodeo or baseball in the house.

He was gone.

Everything was as he had left it. The metal box had various handles sticking out of the front and other handles in their special holders on the sides. The top had two compartments filled with horseshoe nails. Neatly rolled, soft leather chaps were tucked on top of the files, rasps, assorted clippers, and hammer.

How many times had I watched him perform that task?

The chaps were the first to go on and the last to be put away. Several times per day he'd lift that heavy anvil from his truck to its stand (that he had made himself) and fire up his stove. When my brothers and I were younger, Dad would pay us twenty-five cents for each horse we held. We knew we would be earning our money, too, because he never needed anyone to hold the gentle ones.

With lead ropes in our hands and dire warnings to pay attention, we'd watch Dad remove old shoes, clip overgrown toenails (and toss them to the waiting ranch dogs who loved him for that), file everything smooth, measure the shoe, heat it in the stove, pound it with the hammer to shape it perfectly, then nail it onto the hoof. After clipping the horseshoe nails shorter he'd use a special tool to bend them down, then he'd hammer them in so nothing stuck out. More filing and neatening, then he'd be finished.

One by one he would put his tools back where they belonged. We'd be thankful when the anvil went back into the truck, but when he reached down to unbuckle the chaps, we knew we were moments away from our reward: a soda and a candy-bar.

The last time my girls and I saw him, I was thrilled when he carefully watched them ride, calling out instructions in a calm voice, just as he had with me. I had no fear for them because he was there and I knew he would stop that horse.

He also tossed horseshoes with them and gave them a roping lesson.

I loved it.

I think Dad could do the math and realized it was unlikely we'd see him again this side of heaven. He made a point of connecting with his granddaughters (Ty wasn't with us) and recording the visit with photos. I'm so thankful that he did.

My life with Dad can be summed up with some words from a song by Reba McEntyre, though not all of them fit (her song is a little harsher than it needs to be for my situation). I've included her lyrics in italics, but the end was changed by me.

The greatest man I never knew . . .

Lived just down the hall . . .

And every day we'd say hello . . .

But never touch at all.

He was in his paper,

I was in my room.

How was he to know I thought he hung the moon?

James J. Dutton
January 31, 1921 - October 3, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Farrier

I was doing fine until I found the shoeing box.

Mom, my brothers, Jenny, and I were cleaning up to make a dump run.

It started with Dad's broken recliner, comically (because Mom got stuck behind it) shoved into a walk-in closet in order to make room for his hospital bed. My brothers quickly agreed to haul it to the dump so Mom wouldn't have to deal with it.

Might as well fill up the truck, right?

The chair was soon joined by a broken chest of drawers, now holding nothing but rodent droppings. The old, bottomless burn barrel could go, and we needed a box for the shovels of broken glass it left behind. Where could we find one?

Off to Dad's shop. A box was indeed found, but then began a series of events much like the ones recorded in the "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" story. One thing continually led to another!

Might as well get the trash off the tool bench. . .

I could clean out this area . . .

Soon, all five of us were tossing out bucket after bucket of odds and ends; cut pipes, scrap wood, scraps of carpeting, and anything else we didn't think Mom could use, give away, or sell.

My 23 years with Himself made me a poor judge of what was valuable and what needed to be tossed; I left that to Mom and my brothers because I would have tossed entire boxes instead of going through them. We did end up filling two truckloads and hauling it off.

Some treasures we found were the various tools that Dad would make for himself.

He'd need something for a one-time purpose, make it from a piece of metal or horse shoes, or horseshoe nails, baling wire, foam, wood, whatever, then he'd keep the tool "just in case" he needed it again.

We had more fun trying to figure out what he needed it for, though sometimes Mom could give us a clue!

See the ropes? This was just three of many hooks holding stacks of ropes. A cowboy can never have enough ropes.

Or horseshoes.

When a cat wandered into his shop and had kittens, Dad built this threshold to keep them from wandering out and becoming coyote chow.

He really was a softie when it came to animals. He couldn't stand to see an animal starve. Many times I'd watch him sneak food to a malnourished dog that lived next door to us. It was as natural to him as feeding our own animals and simply became part of his feeding routine.

Everything was stored in coffee cans and labeled, but he'd have three cans for the same thing.

Cans and cups were screwed directly to the wall.

Long nails were hammered into the end of the tool bench, then bent to make a holder for a screwdriver, or hammer, or pliers.

Overwhelmed with the monumental task, I finally used the same method I used for the children's bedrooms. I grabbed a broom and began in one spot along the wall. I'd throw out the trash, then I'd shove everything else to the center of the room for Mom and my brothers to sort. I worked my way around the shop and then headed out to the covered area where the trucks were parked. Using the same method. I worked my way down the line of tools, tanks, saddles, and ropes.

When my hand moved a saddle blanket tossed on a chair, I froze.

(To Be Continued . . . )

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Brothers are people who may not be in contact for months or even years. But when they come around . . .

. . . it's as if they never left.

My brothers are mine, and I love them. Having a brother is one of the most important gifts God could give a gal. Just ask my daughters!

My brothers are as different as different can be.

This one kept his cowboy roots:

He loves to swing a rope, ride horses, cowboy, tickle his daughter, cherish his wife, and is a working machine who never stops until sundown.

This one rides a horse of a different color:

He was a BMX champion, loves to ride motocross, fearlessly tries the craziest stunts, drives trucks with 18 wheels, and is a hard and meticulous worker.

Brothers don't care if you haven't worked in a salon for 20 years. They'll still ask for haircuts.

They're also not as picky as they were when you were fresh out of cosmetology school. They just want it short.

Brothers also help their mother with a beautiful but difficult task, staying with it until it looks just right.

They sit at a table with their mother's friend while their mother sneaks off with the camera to capture the moment.

Time can't erase a most crucial fact about my brothers:

When I need them, they'll be there.

God bless brothers!
(But especially, please bless mine.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Oh No She Didn't!

This is JP (short for Jack Pot):

JP is the dog that did not get hit by the skunk spray when I foolishly flipped the black container.

This is Trevor and his owner, Jenny:

Trevor is the dog that did get hit by the skunk spray when I foolishly flipped the black container.

Here, Trevor is receiving the first of his four baths:

Bath 1 - tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce (don't laugh! It's all we had!).
Bath 2 - Feminine hygiene product.
Bath 3 - Vinegar
Bath 4 - Dawn dish washing liquid.

Any questions?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday is Guest Star Day!

This post from Laura at 10,000 miles really spoke to me today. Actually, she posted on Like a Warm Cup of Coffee.

Enjoy and ponder, people!

PS Everyone pray for the traveling L's today. You can do it, BA!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hi Mom

Here's a taste of what's to come:

See? I told you we didn't need a flash.

I miss you.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Bit o'Break

Headed to New Mexico to be with my Mother and Brothers. Won't be blogging for a while!

Thank you to all of you for your prayers and support. It means everything.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

And the Rest

Yesterday, I received this photo:

Today, I received these two:

Himself's sisters, Julie and Mary Ann.

Prince Robert, Heir to the Throne

All five siblings in the same place again. This hasn't happened for years!

I can guarantee there's a LOT of laughter happening. Oh, and the noise decibels have certainly risen to ear-damaging proportions.

(Not to worry; the guys all have damaged hearing anyway.)

Himself comes home today! Can't wait to hear stories, tales, and fables. =)

Saturday, October 03, 2009

I Didn't Think I Wanted to Be There

I was doing fine with Himself in California and me at home until I received this photo:

This is my brother-in-love, Dan.

I wanted to cry when I saw this! I miss him so badly. He lived with us for 18 months (until Kelly was 3 months old) and he and Himself were in business together for so long with Poppa, then just the two of them. They worked together beautifully and made such a great team!

I love you and miss you, Uncle Dan! Give my love to Becky!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Mexico Video at last!

It made me so happy to watch this video!

Whoever thinks a trip to a Mexico mission trip is a vacation needs to watch this. These students work HARD.

Thank you to all of you who made this trip possible for Kelly and the rest of the team.

It's so neat to watch and see familiar faces at the brickyard. We can almost do a collage of how the children have grown. I think it's so great that they're able to go back to the same place each year and keep those relationships growing.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Someone's Up Early

And he sent me this photo:

Hello, Desert Beautiful. Take care of my fella.


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