Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

Last week Susan, my daughter-in-law, sent me the link to view proofs of my sweet granddaughter's 4 yr. photography session. I pulled up the site, logged in the password and was nowhere in the world prepared for what transpired next. I was a total mess by the time I finished viewing the proofs. Where did little Natalie go? Maybe it was the music in the background as I viewed the slide show. The music is a new addition to the photographer's website and perhaps I wasn't prepared for it. And to top that off, the second song on her play list is the one I used in my Daddy's Tribute video a few posts back...a song that is not well known. I was so caught off guard when it came on. Or maybe it was just one of those days a woman has once in a while...you know, the days that you can just watch a commercial on TV and just burst into tears. I'm 53 yrs. old and not visited by the "Menstrosity Monster" anymore, so I couldn't blame it on that. So, I have concluded that two major things hit me as I watched the slide show -

First - Time flies whether you're having fun or not. Just yesterday my own kids were toddlers. And now, they are adults with families of their own. So Natalie, my first grandchild, is a big girl now.....ouch. Where has the time gone?



And then - I realized just how deeply I long for it to be Sarah's turn to be sending me links to view her child's proofs. Her struggle with infertility has been so difficult for her, but it has also been hard for me...watching her go through it. If I could take this struggle away from her, I would do it in a heartbeat. But it is her journey. I can only support, encourage, and pray, pray, pray for her. Her time will come. I fully trust in this and know that God will deliver (hehe, no pun intended) in His time. Until then, we will wait with great anticipation of the miracle HE will perform for Sarah and Stuart!



So, between those two monumental truths, I crumble every time I watch the slide show. So far, I haven't been able to place my order, but that is going to happen TODAY! Oh yes, I'm pulling up those big girl panties and going to "git 'er done" today!

I wish I had some pictures of those proofs...wait a minute...IDEEAAAA! (from "Pete and Pete")

OK...these are pictures I took of my "computer screen", so they are not of good quality. I am including the Home Page of the photographer. If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, she is a wonderful photographer and a sweet, Christian woman. These are just a few of my favorites -



Tea Party


Natalie - 4 yrs.

Telling Secrets

Photographer



This is Natalie's "First Day of Preschool" picture.
She is such a big girl!

















And now I leave you with a video made when Natalie was barely 2 yrs. old - 2 yrs. and 5 weeks to be exact. Her little brother, Parker, had just been born and she was "performing" for all of us.

Enjoy!


Singing Princess
video

Saturday, August 22, 2009

All My Rowdy Friends

This has been a particularly interesting Spring/Summer. I have met more new friends this year than ever before. My new friends were in such abundance that I began going out every day just looking for another new friend to add to my list. I've had the privilege of meeting famous ones, though most have been ordinary, everyday friends. Some were fascinating, some were rather frightening, while others were just uncaring whether I was there to greet them or not. Some even helped themselves to the use of my pool! The only thing they all had in common was their fondness of laziness. All they wanted to do was lie around and do nothing. Now, I'm not what you would call the life of the party, but I am fairly friendly when given the chance. I am basically a very shy person, but am loads of fun once you get to know me. None of these friends ever even tried...they were very "distant". Thank goodness...



Father Ralph

Chuck Norris


Rambo


Calvin Levels


Dara Torres


Mr. T


Frank and Darla
Michael Phelps


Queen Latifah


Jennifer Lopez


Esther Williams
I did invite a couple of them to spend the week with me. They were kind of quite and kept to themselves the entire week. I thought it was rather rude.


One evening after dark, I was fishing alone (not smart) and a friend unexpectedly joined me - yep...she yanked on my line and I thought I had a fish. I reeled and tugged until I got her! Neither one of us was too happy about that. I screamed at her and scolded her for inviting herself to my fishing excursion and sent her away! How dare she invade my fishing space!

I have to admit, this last "friend" encounter was the most bizarre ever to happen to me. At least I had the sense to be sitting on my mule fishing in the dark (if one can call it that - to be fishing in total darkness with no flashlight) and not standing on the ground. The only way I could tell what was on my hook was to push the focus button on my camera, which you now know goes everywhere I go. This created a red light glow for just a few seconds. When I saw this uninvited on the end of my line, my adrenaline really started pumping! I was taking pictures of it just to be able to see with my flash. Now if you will, picture this...well, maybe not. I called my hubby.


"Hey, what are you doing?"

"I'm about to get in the tub...why?" (erase image please)

"Well, I caught a snake and I don't know what to do with it."

"What do you mean you caught a snake! How did you catch a snake? And why are you still out?"

"On my hook. Well, not on my hook, it is just clamped onto the plastic worm I was fishing with and it won't let go. I was just going to fish for a minute more..."

"Leave the pole there and get home now!"

"Okie Dokie...be right there Dear."


About that time, the snake let go, so I started up that mule and drove home like a bat out of you know where. No more night fishing for me!


I do continue to see at least a couple of my friends every day...crazy summer.






































Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just Another Day

Have I mentioned there is never a dull moment in the Millsap family? Living in the country has definitely promised there is always an adventure waiting to happen. Such was the case a few days ago.

The day had been fairly uneventful...the usual laundry, house piddling and such. It was one of those nice lazy days of just doing whatever. It was late in the afternoon and I was doing just that - whatever - when Rick called and told me to come over to the "East Side". You see, around here we have our pastures named, choosing very carefully and creatively the names, which kind of reminds me of when Sarah was a toddler and had two favorite babies. (bear with me here, for I know I digress) They were those Fisher Price terrycloth baby dolls, which came in several colors. She had two - a yellow one and a blue one. The blue one had been washed so many times, the face was gone and my dad had drawn on a face with a Sharpie, so this one was especially attractive. We were grocery shopping one day and she had them with her, sitting in the buggy seat (before the Germ Patrol existed and invented those buggy seat covers - *gasp*), one baby under each arm. The checker was talking to Sarah about how pretty her babies were. She asked, "What pretty babies! What are their names?" To which Sarah responded, "Blue Baby and Yellow Baby". I rest my case in the naming of the pastures. Therefore, I knew exactly to where Rick was summoning me.

He asked me to please hurry, bring my camera, shotgun shells, and come in my Acadia instead of the mule. He was over on the "East Side" checking his corn feeder and had driven up on a mama bear and her cub. Mama had run into the woods; Baby had scooted up a tree. So here was my dear husband, knowing the photography freak I am, standing guard with no protection, waiting on me to get over there so I could photograph this once in a lifetime event!

The "East Side" is a good 5-10 minutes away because the pasture is very rough and driving slowly is a must. So I hurry as much as possible, bouncing my way over there, praying he (Rick) is still alive and that I don't hit a stob (farm word for a sharp root sticking out of the ground) causing a flat. As I pull up, Rick is standing under this tree, glancing wildly around him, making sure mama bear isn't on the move...all the while clapping his hands and yelling, "Get back up there! No! Don't come down yet!" (now that is true love...putting himself in that kind of danger for the sake of my photo obsession) Yes, can you believe this little bear is coming down with Rick standing right there! Rick could have stretched a bit and touched the thing! I hurry over and give him the shells. *PETA ALERT* The shells were not to kill, just to frighten.

He loads the gun and stands guard as I begin taking pictures. Below you will find the narrative and photos of my most incredible nature experience to date! The cub was smaller than the pictures suggest, as I was zooming for better shots.


Little Bear was clinging to the side of the tree. It didn't
really seem frightened as much as it was curious.


I think I'll go back up...


I believe I'll just sit here a while.


Well...maybe I'll come back down.

Ready or not...here I come!


I'm backing down the tree now.


Are you still there???

This game played out three different times. Up the tree...down the tree...up the tree...down the tree...up the tree...and finally, bless her (we didn't see any evidence of "maleness") little heart, she decided to very cautiously come all the way down and even walked several steps toward us. She was no more than 15-20 ft. away from us...shy, curious, undecided. After studying us for a good 5 minutes, she finally turned and slowly walked back into the woods...stopping every few feet and turning to see if we were still there. I really believe if I had tried and been patient enough, (and if Rick had allowed it) I could have actually gained her trust and petted her.

The truly amazing thing about the entire event was that the mama bear didn't come crashing through the woods after us! They are known to be extremely fierce and protective! That she allowed us to be that close, to stay as long as we did and not attack is just unheard of. Though we couldn't see her, Rick assured me she was closely watching us!


I'm down! (notice the big tic under her eye...I wanted to get it off!)


Maybe I'll come a little closer.
Mmm...guess not. I'll go look for mama.

See ya!


One last look...


I am not a believer of coincidences. I have no doubt that it was a special gift from God.This little adventure brought me so much joy and awe. He is so good like that - not just in the big things, but especially in the small things. Every day God already knows the joys and trials we will face. He shows us glimpses of Himself in so many ways...ways we often miss if we aren't paying attention. As I've said before, it can be in the simple breeze that comes out of nowhere, a beautiful sunset, a night sky full of bright stars, a scent in the air, a call from a friend, an unexpected memory, a special nuzzle from a pet, a song that touches your heart...an incredible afternoon of safely interacting with one of His mighty creatures.

I urge you to start paying attention to the ways God shows Himself to you. He loves you so...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY!!



Friday will be Daddy's 83rd birthday. I wonder what birthdays are like in Heaven. This will be his third birthday there...his second one with Mother. I can only imagine how they will celebrate! Mother will probably cook his favorite meal of brown beans and cornbread, fried potatoes, "greasy" salad (that's a Southern thing), and either ham or fried hog jowl. (that's another Southern thing...and you're going, "Nasty!") For dessert, she will bake him a lemon meringue pie. That's his favorite, but when he was with us, he always chose something else because he wanted everyone to enjoy his dessert. That's just the way he was...unselfish on every level.

He'll be joined by Mamaw and Papaw, Uncle Paul, Uncle Walter, Grammie and Grandad, Uncle Graham, and many other family members and friends. They will have the best time sitting in lawn chairs outside, in the cool of the evening, around a campfire and telling old stories, laughing until their sides hurt. Uncle Walter will probably have them rolling on the floor with his jokes and then he'll pull out his banjo and they'll all sing awhile and have the best time. They might even strike up a game of "Oh Rats", a card game much like Spades. (which is actually called Oh S***, but my family didn't say cuss words, so we changed the name) They could even have their own Rats Tournament. Picture this...Jesus in the group saying, "Okay, I bid 4." Uncle Walter says, "Thinking big are ya? Well, look out 'cause I'm going to set you if it's the last thing I do!" *GASP* Jesus playing cards! Why not?

Whatever they do, I know it will be on a grander scale than anything we ever did here on earth!

If you've ever lost a loved one, you know that there are certain days that are hard to get through...their birthday, their death day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc... I have tried since losing both of my parents, to view each of those days as a day of celebration instead of sadness. They are in a much better place now, and they are in the presence of their Lord. Their celebrations cannot even compare to ours. How can that possibly be sad? I miss them more words can ever describe and I still have little "meltdowns" here and there, but ultimately, I know where they are and I know I'll see them again someday!

So on Friday, August 14, I will celebrate with Daddy. I will ask the Lord to give him a huge birthday hug from me, give Mother a great big hug and I'll ask Him to please tell them both how much I love them and miss them, and that I expect a chocolate cake with Mother's famous, secret chocolate frosting and homemade banana ice cream when I have my first birthday in Heaven!

Happy Birthday Daddy! Thank you for the life you gave me - for being a godly man, a simple man, a funny man, a loving and devoted husband and Daddy! This is for you...

(I've been working on this video for several days now...hope it works! Just remember to scroll down to the bottom of the page and PAUSE the play list music first)


video


*For Daddy's service we put together a video montage of pictures. The first song on my playlist, "How Could I Ask For More", was the perfect background for his video tribute, due to the "simple" ways of life we enjoyed growing up. (see one of my earlier blog posts) To make it even more personal, my Sarah sang the song for the video...recorded in a little studio of a friend. So, this is my sweet daughter singing my favorite song for one of the most difficult days of my life. Thank you Sarah! This will forever be a special gift to me!



"For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just..." Genesis 18:19




Sunday, August 9, 2009

P.S.

Wow...two postings in one day! I couldn't let this one go by. Last night while I had my "critter adventure", Matt, Susan, Natalie and Parker had their own adventure. They went to a WIGGLES concert!!! I really didn't know much about the Wiggles until Parker was born. I had heard of them, but I hadn't ever seen them. When I went to Fort Worth to help out for a week when Susan had Parker...oh yes, that is when the Wiggles came into my life. Natalie loved watching them and I found out pretty quickly why they were so popular. Anthony. You see, I have a little confession to make. I like Anthony. He's got some hip action going down...why do you think all the mommies take their kids to see the "Wiggles"? Duh. Matt says the mommies are drooling whilest their children are enthralled with the Wiggles...of a more innocent nature.

I now have my own Wiggles DVD (for the grand kids of course) and am attaching the link to my very favorite Anthony performance - Dr. Knicker Bocker. In case you aren't familiar with the Wiggles, he is the middle one with the smooth moves...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sDWSSeteYk - (don't forget, you have to go to the bottom of this page and PAUSE my Playlist or it will interfere with hearing the video)

By the way, if you get up and participate during the whole video, it makes quite the aerobic workout!

Wiggles Rock On!

Identity Crisis

Last night at 11:30 p.m., during a very exciting adventure, I found myself pondering a very deep question. Who am I?

We're going to play a little game here. I'm going to post a picture and you're going to think the first thing that pops into your head. Now this won't be effective unless you promise to be honest. I will do the same. I will share my thoughts with you following each picture. You, however, don't have to share your thoughts. In fact, please don't. You realize this could go on forever and ever, so I will try to limit myself to 6 pictures. I think I can make my point with that number. Ok...here we go:
1.

Do you see a nice lady? Do you see a pretty lady?
A prideful lady? A lady at all?

2.

Do you see a classy woman? A slightly overweight woman? A happy woman?



3.

A mother and her baby? (you better say yes) A grandmother and her grandchild? (no way!)



4.

A scary woman? A funny woman? A crazy woman? A weirdo?



5.

A fisherwoman? A hot red-neck woman? A woman of high fashion?



6.

What have we here? A great armadillo hunter? A buff mother? No make-up????


You see, when we look at someone we all see different things, have different perspectives, different perceptions, different opinions. What you really see in these photos is just a tiny glimpse of who I am. There are many me's. I am constantly changing...evolving into different people. You are too.

Basically how I see myself is like this - I can clean up pretty well. I can put on "the charm" when I need to. I can be classy when called for...kind of. I can behave most of the time. I can dress up and give the appearance of sophistication...

But at 11:30 last night the "real me" was out hunting down an armadillo and looking for snakes. Yes, that is my idea of fun! After spotting the armadillo during Buddy's bedtime potty break, I retrieved my hubby, who retrieved his gun, and we took down that armadillo! It just seemed natural to have to go check it out, so we took the mule (not an animal, a farm vehicle) to find our prize. While we were out, I suggested we ride on down to the pond and see if any of the gazillion snakes I've seen out here were out and about. VOILA! We spotted 4 and BLAM...they were fish bait. Oh yes...the redneck girl came out last night! How much better does it get than to be out in the moonlight with your honey, blasting destructive and dangerous critters around your property? If that ain't romance, I don't know what is!

Have an exciting week!

Redneck Me

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

In Honor of Angel

Today one of my best friends lost her beloved 14 yr. old lab, Angel. In honor of Angel, I am posting this 'little dittie' I wrote at least 10 yrs. ago about my own beloved Buffy, who has since gone to Doggie Heaven. (yes, I know some of you die-hard doctrinal folks out there don't believe our pets will be there) I know all too well, the sorrow of losing a longtime pet. Buffy was one (of 4) of our golden retrievers, who was one of the sweetest, best natured dogs we've ever had. Her favorite pastime was floating on a raft in the pool...I kid you not. We would shave our goldens every summer and we had to keep sunscreen on her back because she would get on the raft by herself and float for hours.





Buffy on her Raft


So...to great memories with our pets and to great sorrow for my friend Karla - hope this brings a smile to your face!



*IN HONOR OF ANGEL*



Just Another Day at the Millsap House

I just had the most disgusting thing happen...thought I'd share it with you. I went outside to get some clothes off the line, well actually the fence, but that just paints too much of a “hillbilly” type picture, but anyway here comes Buffy, my 140 pound Golden Retriever with something hanging out of her mouth. It seems she caught a rabbit...maybe a month ago, buried it, and decided today was the day to dig it up! It was sooooo stinky, icky, and had slime, and yuk hanging out of it. Well, being the Buff Mother that I am, I put on my rubber gloves, and the chase was on. I chased her down and managed to wrangle it away from her and tried to hurl it over the fence - only to have it fall short as it slammed into the fence and burst open, producing more…..yuk and such. (Am I grossing you out yet?) So yes, she grabbed it and the game began once again. (are you picturing this as it plays out?) I chased her down again and flung it with all my might, this time successfully slinging the yuk everywhere, but at least the slimy rabbit was gone.

*VISUAL - me running all over the back yard, yelling for Buffy to STOP, finally catching up to her, grabbing the rabbit, holding this nasty, disgusting, rotted rabbit as far away from my body as possible, 140 lbs. of Buffy jumping all over me trying to get it, me screaming at the top of my lungs (saying things a woman ought not to say), my face distorted, contorted, and red due to the smell and general disgustingness (is that a word?) of the whole situation, and madder than all get out...you get the picture? Nothing landed on me, thank goodness, but I was pretty grossed out nonetheless and quite ticked off at my dog. Now I had to bathe her, wash her mouth out with what...Clorox? And try to get rid of any rabbit remnants that were still resting on this side of the fence!

I looked into the face of my naughty dog and see her big brown eyes just looking at me, so pitiful and sad. Poor thing, she was so proud of herself and I robbed her of her joy. Why is it that our doggies can do that to us? They can do the worst things, then end up making us feel sorry for them! Gotta love ‘em!

Now, tell me…am I buff or what? How many females would have touched the slimy thing to start with?

Well, have a nice day.

Buff Mother

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sunsets, Critters, and Flowers, Oh My!

Good Afternoon all 5 of you who follow my blog! God Bless your little hearts. I still marvel that anyone would stop by and listen to my ramblings. Thank you for making my day!

Since I have self-proclaimed myself as Miss National Geographic Photographer, I thought I would share a few of my favorite pictures with you. I only have a gazillion, so this will be difficult to choose 4 or 5, (or 8 or 10) but we'll give it a go. I have three main "nature" passions with my camera - Enjoy the pictures!

1. Sunsets - I promise you, I have at least 1000 or more sunset, critter and flower pictures to choose from! Let's analyze this obsession. When I view a sunset, I see so much more than a pretty sky. I see God. Every sunset is unique in it's own way. Some may think that if you've seen one, you've seen them all, but I disagree 1000% on that! Even Rick says, "Just how many sunset pictures can you take?" I tell him, "As many as there are." Depending on what kind of mood I'm in that particular day, I might see God's majesty. I may see His sensitivity. There have been times that I was hurting so deeply, or have been troubled about something and I actually could feel His compassion and love for me in the picture He painted in the sky. Sometimes I believe He put that sunset there just for me - because I needed to see His power and glory...His love for me...His sorrow with me...His gift to me.



Taken after a thunderstorm rolled through...awesome!



This one was taken on August 14, 2007. I call this one "Daddy's Birthday Sunset". He passed away in January of 07, so his first birthday after leaving this earth was spent in the very heart of this gorgeous sunset with the Creator himself!




Just Another Gorgeous Sunset!



Through the Wagon wheel






2. Critters - Everyday brings another adventure out here! Always a frog, snake, funky grasshopper, spider (my phobia supreme), bear, deer, turkeys...you name it, I have a picture of it somewhere. Even the creepy creatures of the world give me a glimpse of the Lord. Do you know how much pleasure and excitement I have been blessed with to see these wonders of nature? It has brought me much joy and laughter in seeing some of the "weird" menageries of critters God placed on this earth.



Mr. Frog takes up residence in my begonias.



Hungry Babies!




Stare Down With Mr. Grasshopper


Green Doo-Doo Bug Convention




3. Flowers - My dad was a gardener extraordinaire. He could grow anything...yet, I never learned (or cared to) the "Secrets of the Green Thumb". As far as I was concerned, piddling in the yard was for old people. Besides, he did all the work, and we reaped all the benefits of his huge garden! After he died, it became my mission to work on my yard skills. My first order of business was to nurture a few of the plants from his service...baby steps I told myself. It was VERY important to me to keep at least one alive - to make him proud...to carry on the "green thumb" in the family. Since then, I have come to appreciate the nurturing of plants, flowers, and vegetables. This isn't for old people at all! For one thing, it's hard work! Good grief! I dig, I plant, I water, I weed, I re-pot, I clip, I trim, I prune, I water, I water, I water...did I mention that I water? Holy Cow! When it gets up to 100 degrees many days in a row, you better be watering and nurturing! Yes, I have become my father's daughter. I now love playing in the dirt and reaping the harvest! I even grow my own tomatoes, which was Daddy's specialty. As I said...baby steps, but someday I will have a garden full of many veggies. Right now, I'll enjoy my tomatoes and just playing with flowers and plants. If you think about it, our service for the Lord is much like "playing in the dirt". We plant seeds, we nurture, we prune, we water, we trim, we re-pot...and then we reap the harvest of our labors. Sadly, we often let the weeds overtake our "gardens" and the harvest gets choked out. Laboring for the Lord requires constant care!



Daddy's Rubber Plant - kept alive 2 1/2 yrs!



Magnolia


Blooms at Sunset


Pretty Flower





I hope I haven't bored you out of your mind with this post. I warned you ahead of time that I have an obsession with photographs...and trust me, I have not even scratched the surface!




There is something about this valley that is different from anywhere else I know. It just has a sense of peace - of the presence of God like no other. Every person who has ever been here has said, "There was such a wave of peace that came over me as I was driving up your driveway. There is something different about this place." It is not the house we live in, it is not the land we own, it is not the landscaping around our place - IT IS THE VERY PRESENCE OF GOD in this valley! Thank you Jesus for allowing me, my family and our friends to see YOU every time we step outside. Don't misunderstand me. God is everywhere and His presence is around us all of the time! But, this place...this is like a little piece of Heaven on earth. I hope each and every one of you have a special place where you can sit with God and just 'hang out' like old friends. Out here, God and I...we've had so many deep conversations, (sometimes over tea...I don't do coffee), arguments, laughs, discussions, tears, "holy fits" and sometimes even "unholy fits"! This is truly my sanctuary. If you ever need to get away to experience peace, serenity, beauty and the presence of God - call me. The door is always open...



As always,

His