Sunday, October 11, 2009

Becoming a Student Again

This is what happens when a potter stops throwing for two and a half years. They become first year students all over again. I had to reteach myself how to throw last night. Let's just say I was quite disgusted with the finished product. These will more than likely see the recycle tub.

Relax, don't pinch the clay. Pull to your nose not your shoulder. Have patience, follow through with your pull. Use your body not just your arms. And don't forget to breathe.

Tonight, I started over going slow with lots of patience and focus. I think I finally got back in a little bit of a groove. Grace couldn't keep her hands away from the wheel. She wanted to make a pot too. In due time little one.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Guardian Angels

When I was a child and sometimes in my adult life, I would wake up feeling like there was something in the room standing over me. I would frantically try to make my eyes focus on what ever loomed over me in the gloom. (This is a daunting task considering I can't see the big E on the chart.) A haze would swirl around and then the room would come into focus as my eyes adjusted to the dark. Some nights I would make it back to sleep, some I wouldn't. There were many nights in college I slept with the lights on. Even though there was nothing there in front of me, I could still feel it. It was quite terrifying to be honest.

Last night, in the half sleep still going through my prayers, I was awakened again. This was the first time it has happened in this house. The haze swirled around hovering over my bed. This time I could make out tendrils and tips that my mind played into wings. The old panic started to rise in my chest, but then a very calming thought crossed my mind: this was my guardian angel. I said a quick prayer for my angel and for the first time after such an episode fell peacefully back to sleep.

The Church teaches "From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. 'Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.' Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God."

No evil shall befall you, nor shall affliction come near your tent, for to His Angels God has given command about you, that they guard you in all your ways. Upon their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
Psalm 91: 10-12

As I have taken the time to learn more about angels and their role in my life, I have begun to give much more of my day over to God. If I am open to God's guidance through my angel, things will fall into place. Trying to take things in my own hands and forcing an outcome doesn't work. It causes more grief and pain than was ever necessary.

It is a huge leap of faith to allow God to work unfettered in my life. But it liberates me from unnecessary worry. This realization makes me ponder whether pessimists are control freaks and optimists are comfortable just being in His hands.

In Exodus, God spoke to Moses, telling him He sent an angel before him to guide and guard him on his journey.

Exodus 23:20-22 "See, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared. Be attentive to him and heed his voice. Do not rebel against him, for he will not forgive your sin. My authority resides in him. If you heed his voice and carry out all I tell you, I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes."

All those times the "little voice in the back of your head" nagged you do or not do should have listened. I have become a more trusting listener to that little voice. And my life has become better for it.

Quick verses for your angel:

Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom His love commits me here,
ever this day be at my side,
to light and guard, to rule and guide.

Angel sent by God to guide me,
be my light and walk beside me;
be my guardian and protect me;
on the paths of life direct me.

In honor of your guardian angel, celebrate today with a peace of angel food cake.

Monday, September 7, 2009

About my hiatus....

For my faithful few, here is a status update: I haven't started throwing, yet.

June was consumed by Michael's hospital stay and recovery from meningitis. Then I had to recover from his recovery. When a loved one is sick it takes a toll on this caregiver. There was a wedding in there somewhere too.....I think.

In July we spent the holiday weekend with family. Then I set about sorting and cleaning out the guest bedroom, closet and bathroom. (I turned the bathroom into a temporary storage place after the toilet incident.) This was a very methodical procedure since it included rearranging parts of the garage. I finished the day before our friends Karen and Drew arrived with their little red head Thomas. The kids fell in together like old friends, Mike and Drew wrote and recorded music, and Karen and I...we basked in friendship and the peace that comes from having everyone else in your household happily accounted for elsewhere. We spent a morning at the lake at Oak Mountain and then had a picnic under the trees. It was a nice weekend.

August found us taking our first trip to the beach with the kids. Gabriel and Grace loved the waves. Sean did as well. But he wanted someone to be holding him above them. They tired out easily and so did I. Gabriel began kindergarten mid month. It was more of an adjustment for me to get up early enough to put him on the bus than it was to have him away from me all day. Although, I do miss him.

Here we are at September. My final countdown has begun. I have to be throwing by the second week or I won't make the deadline for the Cullman Oktoberfest. I finally finished the shelf only to realize I could probably stood to have made one more. Then, as I am plotting out the time logistics as to how I can make it to West Point and back in the constraints of the school day with Sean and Grace, Gabriel gets a fever. And not just any fever. I pulled the thermometer out of his mouth when it hit 103.5 and threw him in a cold shower. I rushed off to the emergency room to wait five hours for a verdict. It is the flu and he cannot be around other kids for at least five days. Looks like I will be homeschooling after all. I am too tired to go into the adventure of driving around looking for a 24 hour drugstore all because the second ER doc prescribed a pill instead of a suspension med. Nor will I get into how Tamiflu is not covered by most insurance companies, including my own.

I think my plan of attack for the week will be to install the new dishwasher today, (did I mention the old one's abrupt death in Aug.?), call in an order to Mar-Lynn on Tuesday, hump over on Wednesday, get the electrical set up for the kiln on Thursday and Friday, and finally have dad bring up my kiln on Saturday. I will let you know on Sunday if I made it through without electrocution.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Taters and Trampolines

The potter will be back in business soon!

This morning I ordered my wheel. I had a second of self doubt before hitting the send button. I have never spent so much money on myself for one thing that was solely for me. It was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.

I took the kids to my parents yesterday. We dug potatoes. It was so fun to see them digging in the dirt. Grace kept yelling, "I found one! I found one!" Sean and Mema counted together every potato they unearthed. Gabriel hung back with my mom who was using a hoe to find the ones the kids missed.

Mom's cousin and neighbor had brought over her daughter's trampoline for the kids to play on. They had so much fun. It had been sitting for a while so the dirt came off on the kids. They were so dirty there was a black ring around the bathtub after it drained.

Mom and Mema got on and bounced with them. And I did too of course! As the years go by my grandma has been trying lots of new things. (She slid down a very tall inflatable bouncer with us last year.) I am very proud of her desire to try new things and enjoy herself. It took her a while after my grandfather's death to find her individual identity again. It had been "we" for so long and he had been the center of her life. (which is how marriage should be: getting lost in each other) She was pretty lost for a while, but now she has really found herself again. It is wonderful.

Dad and I built a shelf in the rain. They had told me I could use a chop saw they had borrowed if I wanted to cut my lumber and Dad's nail gun previously. When I got there the saw blade would only cut about eight inches and the brads did not hold very well. So, we free handed with the circular saw and found some screws. It was very tedious and the rain was so loud in the little building that we had to yell in each other's ears. But we had a lot of fun together. It was nice to do something with my dad and laugh at the same time.

I didn't buy enough lumber for the second shelf so I will have to put it together myself here. But I can now start emptying some of the garage space for my wheel. Having a fully functioning studio is going to take a few more months, but I am so excited.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bulbs and Buds

I am looking forward to Sunday afternoon. Wednesday the kids and I went to visit my mother for lunch. While there we divided her lilies. I think I have possibly close to 150 bulbs. We had such a good time, my mother, grandmother, myself and the kids. The kids were pulling up clumps and shaking the dirt over everyone. It was a beautiful day with sun and a light breeze. I hope it was a special day that they will remember.

Sunday is supposed to be sunny. With the rain expected for today and Saturday, the ground should be easy to dig in. Hopefully in a few months I will have a bank of lilies to show off.

I am looking forward to my Burgess shipment to come in. I ordered some creeping red sedum to finish off the hill and elephant ears to add to my caladium bed.

I left all the leaves in my yard last fall in hopes of keeping the soil from eroding too much and adding a healthy layer to my beds. I was excited to see after digging carefully underneath tiny ferns uncurling, the small tops of astible and lobelia. I am anxious for my hostas to return as well. The dogwood is budding out too. Spring is always so exciting to me.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Proverbs 28:1313
He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

When I made my first confession as a Catholic, I was terrified. It meant I must go before a man I would be seeing at least once a week and tell him about all of the dark spots on my soul. I imagined him condemning me every time he looked upon me. It made me cringe and want to hide. But I knew I needed the Absolution received from the act of Confession and Contrition. So I went feeling like a small child, scared and ashamed. (Luke 18:17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.) I did not know how to begin or if I even could. But the words started to flow and the tears streamed. With each moment, my heart grew lighter and this burden dropped away.

On the way home, I stopped at a cemetery on a little country road. Why I didn't pray at the church I don't know, but I felt such a sense of solitude and communion with God in that place that day. My prayers were of sorrow for my sins and thanksgiving for my forgiveness. Not since the day of my Baptism had I felt such elation.

The trepidation of going to confession has dwindled away for me as time has passed. Now I look forward to unburdening my heart. I never want to attempt to live life bearing the full burden of my sins again. Handing them over makes living life so much easier. Every Sunday there comes a point in the Mass in which I have this immense sense of elation, thankfulness, God's mercy and knowing that I am loved. It is during the Consecration. I can only pray that those around me experience such wondrous knowing of the beauty and love of God.

To be able to come to such a communion with our Lord, I believe a person has to first unburden themselves. They must acknowledge the shame and guilt they hold of their sins and put it before Him asking for forgiveness.

1432 The human heart is heavy and hardened. God must give man a new heart.25 Conversion is first of all a work of the grace of God who makes our hearts return to him: "Restore us to thyself, O LORD, that we may be restored!"26 God gives us the strength to begin anew. It is in discovering the greatness of God's love that our heart is shaken by the horror and weight of sin and begins to fear offending God by sin and being separated from him. The human heart is converted by looking upon him whom our sins have pierced:27

And then they must let those sins go. Holding on, by means of not allowing the self to forgive the self, drags the soul out of communion. Holding on in itself is a sin. A horrific sin at that. By holding on, one does not acknowledge that God has forgiven them and thus is an unbeliever.

Consider John 20:19-23
"On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them,"Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, " Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." And when he had said this He breathed on them, and said to them: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained'"

He is saying these words to His disciples,"If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." If we cannot forgive ourself for our sins, how can we expect God to forgive them?

Mark 3:24
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.

We must be united with God, Christ and the Holy Spirit if we are to be received into the glory of heaven.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Laugh for the Day

If you don't at least giggle at this, there is something wrong with you.

We have the standard 6 ft. fence in the backyard, and a few months ago, I heard about burglaries increasing dramatically in the entire city. To make sure this never happened to me, I got an electric fence and ran asingle wire along the t op of the fence. Actually, I got the biggest cattlecharger Tractor Supply had, made for 26 miles of fence. I then used an 8 ft. long ground round, drove 7.5 feet into the ground. The ground rod is the key, with the more you have in the ground, the better the fence works.

One day I'm mowing the back yard with my cheapo20Walmart 6hp bigwheelpushmower. The hot wire is broken and laying out in the yard. I knew for a fact that I unplugged the charger. I pushed the mower around the wire and reached down to grab it, to throw it out of the way. It seems as though I hadn't remembered to unplug it after all.

Now I'm standing there, I've got the running lawnmower in my right hand and the 1.7 gigavolt fencewire in the other hand. Keep in mind the charger is about the size of a marine battery and has a picture of an upside down cow on fire on the cover. Time stood still. The first thing I notice is my balls trying to climb up the front side of my body. My ears curled downwards and I could feel the lawnmower ignition firing in the backside of my brain. Every time that Briggs & Stratton rolled over, I could feel the spark in my head. I was literally at one with the engine.

It seems as though the fence charger and the POS lawnmower were fighting over who would control my electrical impulses. Science says you cannot crap, and pee at the same time. I beg to differ. Not only did I do all three at once, but my bowels emptied 3 different times in less than half of a second. It was a Matrix kind of bowel movement, where time is creeping along and you're all leaned back and BAM BAM BAM you just crap your pants 3 times. It seemed like there were minutes in between but in reality it was so close together it was like exhaust pulses from a big block Chevy turning 8 grand.

At this point I'm about 30 minutes (maybe 2 seconds) into holding onto the fence wire. My hand is wrapped around the wire palm down so I can't let go. I grew up on a farm so I know all about electric fences... but Dad alwayshad those POS chargers made by International or whoever that were like 9 volts and just kinda tickled. This I could not let go of. The 8 foot long ground rod is now accepting signals from me through the permadamp Ark-La-Tex river bottom soil. At this point I'm thinking I'm going to have to just man up and take it, until the lawnmower runs out of gas. 'Damn!,' I think, as I remember I just filled the tank!

Now the lawnmower is starting to run rough. It has settled into a loping run pattern as if it had some kind of big lawnmower race cam in it. Covered in poop, and pee with my balls on my chest I think 'Oh God, please die... pleeeeze die'. But nooooo, it settles into the rough lumpy cam nicely and remains there, like a big bore roller cam EFI motor waiting for the go command from its owner's right foot.

So here I am in the middle of July, 104 degrees, 80% humidity, standing in my own backyard, begging God to kill me. God did not take me that day...he left me there covered in my own fluids to writhe in the misery my own stupidity had created...I honestly don't know how I got loose from the wire.... I woke up laying on the ground hours later. The lawnmower was beside me, out of gas. It was later on in the day and I was sunburned. There were two large dead grassspots where I had been standing, and then another long skinny dead spot were the wire had layed while I was on the ground still holding on to it. I assume I finally had a seizure and in the resulting thrashing had somehow let go of the wire.

Upon waking from my electrically induced sleep Irealized a few things.
1- Three of my teeth seem to have melted.
2- I now have cramps in the bottoms of my feet and my right butt cheek (not the left, just the right).
3- Poop, and pee when mixed together, do not smell as bad as you might think.
4- My left eye will not open.
5- My right eye will not close.
6- The lawnmower runs like a sumnabitch now. Seriously! I think our little session cleared out some carbon fouling or something, because it was better than new after that.
7- My balls are still smaller than average yet they are almost a foot long
8- I can turn on the TV in the gameroom by farting while thinking of thenumber 4 (still don’t understand this?)

That day changed my life. I now have a newfound respect for things. I appreciate the little things more, and now I always triple check to make sure the fence is unplugged before I mow.

The good news, is that if a burglar does try to come over the fence, I can clearly visualize what my security system will do to him, and THAT gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling all over, which also reminds me to triple check before I mow.


Since we have moved into our home in December 2007, we have seen 4 snowfalls. This is quite unusual for our deep south location. The forecasters are calling for 70 degree weather by the weekend. That's the south for you.

Gabriel had a great time throwing snowballs at his Dad. (And Dad had a great time too!)

Grace had to wear my gloves. She has two pair, but in the last week they seemed to have disappeared. She was dressing up she says. That means I will find them after she has outgrown them.

This was Sean's first time in the snow. He ran around the yard yelling "Snow! Snow!" He helped his Daddy make the big snowman.

The snow fell heavier after we came in from playing. Our little snowman became a fuzzy blob.
We had a wonderful snow day.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Yesterday, around lunch I received a call from my very appalled husband. When he opened his lunch instead of meatballs he found raw ground meat. Luckily, his company has a cafeteria on site. Maybe I should have had that cup of coffee before I packed his bag. Oh well. I can't be perfect everyday.

I have also been asked to clarify the colon cleansing post. My curiosity got the best of me when I saw a diet that offered to cut a pound a day. The train wreck ensued and I had to find out more. But this all led to my discovery of aloe vera juice and its benefits. I have to say that after a week of using it as a supplement, I have noticed some positive effects of adding it to my daily regimen.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Building a castle

We have decided to head to the coast in June. Our children have never seen the sands of the gulf. Yes, I know. What southerner does not make a trip to the coast at least once a year. We have been heading north on our vacations to the shores of a lake of the north woods to escape the humidity and heat of these southern summers.

On that note I am aspiring to lose some junk in my sagging trunk. I finally found some moves that really work the areas I'm trying to tone. It took a bit of trial and error, but I felt muscles I haven't felt in years this morning as I walked up the stairs. The pain was good. It meant I am on the right path leading to my goal.

I also searched colon cleansing today. A forewarning: don't venture there if you have just eaten. The testimonies are humorous but the photos are nauseating.

I have also started building my castles. Instead of writing out a bucket list or New Year's resolution, I have begun to set dates for goal acheivement. Included in this are breaking down all of the details. First I start with the castle or end result and work my way back to the beginning step by step. I imagine everything down to what I will be wearing at the exact moment my castle has been completed. It is a nice way to spend my days. Focusing on the future while I sort socks and referee light saber battles.