Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday ramblings....

I was out walking this afternoon. I had to get out of the house for a little break. I had spent the morning proof-reading the sale catalog, answering the phone, calling the vet about importing and exporting bulls, washing the laundry (which takes no brain power, but it sounds busy!) and answering a few questions from my students. I needed to walk away and soak in a little sunshine. I decided to take the road to the Old Shearing Pens. I thought it might not be quite so windy walking down that way since it's a little bit "downhill." There are no trees, just prairie, but somehow, it seems the easier road to walk. My usual walking path is to the mailbox and more "uphill" in nature. As I was walking downhill with a strong wind to my side, instead of head-on, I was thinking about so many things. First of all, we're right in the middle of planning for our Annual Bull Sale. It's something like planning a wedding, year after year. I never thought of it like that before until I actually helped plan my daughter's wedding this spring.

The bull sale is an EVENT that has many of the same elements:

~The date
~Reserving the time and place
~The "guest" list -- we call it the mailing list
~The invitations --catalogs and ads
~Photos --for the catalog and advertising and video too!
~Attendants --the bulls
~The preacher -- the auctioneer
~The noon meal
~Getting a head count of guests who will attend
~The vows -- "I DO...take this bull to be mine. I will love him and take care of him for as long as he lives. And I promise to pay for him in full."
~The bills at the end of the Big Day.
~The sigh of relief when it's over.
~But wait!!!! We need to get them to their new homes. U-HAUL? Penske? Cattle Drive?

See what I mean? I guess these life-experiences really do cause us to see things in a whole different light, don't they? Which brings me to another thought. Change. Now you're gonna think I'm Way Out There, but do you remember coffee cans? You know, Folgers in a 3 lb. can? What's it in now? Plastic container jug thingy? You can't even get a plain old coffee can anymore. My parents used coffee cans for everything -- freezing cookies, storing pesticides, as protection for young tomato plants, as nail storage, toilet paper containers for the outdoor toilet, and on and on the list goes. Now, when you need a coffee can, what do you say? "Go out to the garage and get me a coffee ca___, container, thingy....?" Coffee has changed.

I'm probably just like you, I buy my coffee in bean-form and grind them fresh for my morning pot of java. We've changed, haven't we? What used to be commonplace is now A Thing of the Past. Could you even imagine your grandparents driving into Starbucks and ordering a grande' latte or cappuccino for $3? Back then, it was coffee -- black with sugar or cream. But again, once upon a time, folks had to used those old crank grinders to grind their coffee and percolator pots on the stove to boil it in, and they were more than thrilled when Ground Coffee came into existence and they could do away with that little time consuming job of grinding. Now we've come full circle, back to grinding our own beans, but I'll keep my electric grinder.

Oh, and remember mayonnaise jars? (the one pictured is a 1984 antique model) We don't have those anymore either. I used to save mayo jars for canning tomatoes and peaches and for other odds 'n' ends around the house. Would you even save a jar nowadays? I don't.

Could it be that I'm getting old? Don't old people talk about the way things used to be? I don't feel very old. I'm 46. But I remember when I used to think "All Grown Up" was 21. I had my first baby when I was 21! It's a pretty grown-up-thing-to-do to be married at 19 and have a baby at 21. Sheesh, that seems like a long time ago.

I was thinking about change as it applies to the US Election. Both candidates are proclaiming that they are all about "Change" and yet, I wonder if we will be able to see anything different when it's all said and done. One thing is certain, we're in for a change. Economically, change is upon us -- drastic stock market dips, global market drops, failed mortgages, failed financial institutions, plummeting home prices, banks being bailed out by government, Rescue Plans, Stimulus Packages, and now gas prices falling (now, that's a good change!). The other day my UPS man told me he's not going to retire as he had planned. When consulting his financial adviser recently, she told him to keep his job. So it's likely we're going to see less folks retiring and more of them holding onto their current jobs in hopes that their retirement plans will recover and that they can continue to work a little longer. But what about young people and their need for good jobs? How will a young graduate be accepted into the workforce?

Do you ever think about why you live in the place and time that you are? I've often wondered why I am so blessed to live in America, in a nice warm house, electricity, clean water, working on a ranch with my family, having plenty to eat and then some. Why me? Then I start thinking about how God made people to withstand the troubled times they've lived through. I think about people who have been persecuted for their faith or who live in conditions where they don't know whether they'll have food to eat tomorrow, or about people who lived through the Great Depression, seeing their livelihoods swept away in the dust. How did they do it? And then I wonder... am I made of the same metal that those people were? Only God knows, and only God can give me the strength and wisdom to live out His purposes here and now. But I wonder about these things.

Lastly, I am always thinking about my kids. I'm getting close to being all done raising them. Three of five are on their own. I wonder how they are going to do in this life and in these unstable times. What will their relationships will be like? How will they make a living? How are their relationship with God? Today, a friend shared these tidbits of wisdom from Ruth Bell Graham:

We mothers must take care of the possible and trust God for the impossible. We are to love, affirm, encourage, teach, listen and care for the physical needs of the family. We cannot convict of sin, create hunger and thirst after God, or convert. These are miracles, and miracles are not in our department. My Part (the possible): love -- love expressed to pray intelligently, logically, urgently without ceasing, and in faith. To enjoy being a mother, provide a warm, happy home, and minister to their physical and emotional needs as I am able. God's Part (the impossible): conviction of sin, creating a hunger and thirst for righteousness, conversion, bringing to the place of total commitment, showing us ourselves as we really are (without discouraging us!), and continually filling us with His Holy Spirit for our sanctification and His service.

I think this is good advice for anyone, in any situation, in any time, in any place. When everything around me changes, I am glad that with God, there is no variation or shifting shadow. He never changes. When the talking heads speak despair and trouble, He says to me, "Be still and know that I am God."

For Top Kitchen Tips for Austere Times, go see Dulce Domum at Bread and Roses.


  1. Mom~
    I do declare! This looks like the beginning of your book...I can see it now... Gumbo-Lily: A prairie woman's Journal. Sounds great. I think anyways. I loved reading this post and you really do write well. Hey, if you ever want any coffee cans just let me know. At work we get our chocolate syrup out of a can that is the same size as that old folgers cans. Let me know if you have a need!

  2. Grace, you are much too kind, but thank you for your encouragement. Now...a question about those Hershey they have lids? Thank you for your offer.


  3. Jody,
    I quickly skimmed what you've written today and will be back to read it again. You wrote on all that I've been mulling over the past few weeks. I'm sure I need your words of wisdom.

    I *love* the new header at the top of the blog! That's the pic you took on your walk, isn't it?!

    Jody, I hope you have an absolutely wonderful day! Oh, and about coffee, I usually don't partake (several doctors have recommended that I not) but this morning my hubby left a couple cups of perfect coffee in the pot that were waiting for me when I woke up. I enjoyed every drop. I'm so glad he drinks it regularly and he grinds his own beans (in an electric grinder!). I love the way my kitchen smells! Oh, the simple joys of life are the best, aren't they?!

    Hugs to you today!

  4. We still get the coffee cans and the mayo glass jars - I use them for my strawberry jam. I've been recycling my coffee cans (except in the summer when we put them around tomato plants) but I may use them for cookies. I never thought of that. I usually use plastic ice cream containers or bags.

    PEI is probably behind the times - we had a law that we could only sell pop in glass bottles up to this year :)

    I love your Ruth Graham quote- I think it's from her book on prodigals which I have read and re-read. It's a deep comfort.

    Thanks for your thoughts today Jody - I'm going to check out your Kitchen Tip link. BTW have you ever watched Depression Cooking with Clara on youtube? Here's the link

    She is 91 years old!

    Have a great day Jody!

  5. I find your musings so interesting and so true too. Thanks for sharing from your heart. Dianntha

  6. I think you need tt write a book about what to do with all the plastic mayo jars xoxoxox Clarice

  7. I love the point about our job as mothers not being to convict our children of sin. Well, of course when they're very small they need us to say, "no," but if we keep convicting for them, it eventually gets in the way of their hearing God, doesn't it?

    I liked all the things you said about hard times and change, too. No great insights here, just thinking along the same lines and thankful for each day.

  8. You know, I thought I commented already, but I suppose my thoughts have been eaten!

    Do you think we feel more entitled to luxuries nowadays? I've been doing a bit of voluntary work in which I come into contact with older people. They seem to live their lives in balance. I don't know if this is because they're old and wise OR that they've been taught to lead more balanced lives. They seem to able to enjoy themselves without being overly indulgent, they save stuff and re-use, they buy new clothes when they wear out or if they need a new outfit for something special, they focus on their friendships...Perhaps depression era folks were more able to cope because they felt less entitled to the finer things in life...I dunno, really.

    Anyway, thanks for the link! Oh and mayo jars are still glass over here, brilliant for chutney!

  9. PS. Thanks for the Ruth Bell Graham quote, lovely!

  10. I too miss the glass mayo jars and metal coffee cans!...and then there's the shrinking size so many products, but I won't get started on that... :)
    Thank you for the wonderful quote, as so often I agonize and fret over the 'impossible'. I need to save those words of wisdom as a daily reminder!

  11. I to married at 19 and had my daughter at 21. I thought that I was so grown then. Now my daughter will make 20 this year and I can not even think of her getting married yet. My grandparents saved coffee cans and used them for everything. When my grandmother passed away we found tons of McDonalds Big Mac boxes. No idea what she was gonna use them for or how she got them, she never ate fast food.LOL


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