Friday, September 28, 2007

Promise of the Arches

It was nearly 5:30 pm when Gyps and I arrived at the trail head that would take us to one of waterfalls we hoped to see on our Wild Women's Weekend. We knew that dark was about 7:30 and the falls were only a mile or so in. Plenty of time to get in, take the photos we wanted and jet back out before dark. Hurriedly we grabbed water bottles, cameras, tripods and headed down the trail.

The trail was amazing, the hike was spirit filled and uplifting. The 32 point buck (okay, maybe he was only a 12 pointer), was awe inspiring.

All along the way we found natural arches over the trail. To me it felt as if they were showing us the path to something extra special. Calling out, "follow us, we have something amazing to share with you", and as the waterfall was still ahead we were inclined to follow.

The hike in was all down hill and the impending darkness hurried our steps. We found the stream as it cascaded over a small rock face making a beautiful little fall. It was cool and shady, "wonderful waterfall lighting" Gyps said. She was quickly absorbed in angles and lighting and the special magic that makes her photos so spectacular. While at the same time, I tried to figure out how to get a camera mounted on a tripod and not loose the whole thing in the stream.

It was only a short time later I realized that the sun was gone and it was time to head back if we wanted reach the trail head before total darkness set it. Since every Gypsy step is the equivalent to two Tink steps I started out and Gyps promised to follow and catch up a few minutes later. I packed up my gear, headed out of our little hollow and back to the main trail.

As I clamored up to the trail I happened to look to my left, down the trail and deeper into the canyon. Just down the path was another arch. The best one yet I thought, very oriental and it called to me. I headed down the trail to get a picture.

As I snapped the photo I realized I was hearing water falling ahead of me somewhere. I moved further down the trail and through the arch. The sound was clear and distinct, the sirens song of cascading water.

I ran back to the hollow and called to Gyps. Leaving most of our gear on the trail we followed the sound a few hundred feet until we found the source of the song that called up the trail to us.

There before us, wrapped in the shadows of evening was a three teired rock face being caressed and wrapped in a loving embrace of the mountain stream.

True to their word the arched let us to the bounty we were intended to find on this days adventure.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Answered Prayer

For a mother there is nothing worse than seeing your child in pain and being able to do nothing to help him. As a mother I would say that a child suffering from chronic pain would be pure torture. My dear friend and heart sister Dar suffers this torture daily as her elementary school age son Jackson, suffers from a debilitating hip disease that leaves him in constant, sever pain. He can not run or play or even sleep without being in pain. Even with pain medication he wakes at night crying out and there is little she can do to to ease his suffering. He has lived with this pain most of his life and the doctors are amazed that he can even walk.

Early in the summer the deterioration of his hip joints became so sever Jackson's case had to be referred to John Hopkins Hospital in Maryland. The Doctors there said that little more could be done to help him except for major hip surgery. This surgery is not only dangerous and painful but involves a very long recovery time. Jackson wouldn't be back in school with his classmates until near Christmas.

For the entire summer Dar and her family had carry the burden that Autumn would bring even more pain and suffering upon their son. They are a family strong in faith and they didn't carry the burden alone. They handed it over to their Heavenly Father and trusted their son to His Divine care. At the same time family and friends have banded together to form a massive prayer chain lifting Jackson and his family up to the Lord. Today I received this email from Dar:

Hi everyone,
First and foremost...Praise God!! We had a great report today at Johns Hopkins!! As most of you know Jackson was secheduled for major hip surgery on Oct 12th with a tremendous recovery in store for him. Today we went for his pre-op and they did one more x-ray of his hips...and the new x-ray showed a lot of new bone growth in his hips that they didn't expect to happen. With the new bone growth being so significant the doctor has recommended we watch and wait at this time. Thanks to everyone for their prayers and support, please continue to lift Jackson up in prayer for continued progress. The doctor has "insisted" that Jackson take it easy on his hips and legs and do limited
activity to give his new bone time to get strong. We will keep you all updated!!! love, Mike and Dar

Psalm 103 (1-4)
1 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits- 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,


When wild women get together and rejoice in nature even waterfalls sparkle!
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True Magic

I watch the black belts practice judo throws and see the strength and power that comes from technique rather than tremendous strength.

I watch Gyps with a horse and see her listen and understand as it speaks to her.

I watch my children grow, I see them becoming more unique and independent and I long for the magic, the technique, the whisper that will allow me understand them. To hear their thoughts by looking into their eyes, to feel their pain and joy with a simple touch.

A soft voice speaks to me, it says if you want to hear, take the time to really listen, if you want to feel, take the time to hug, to hold and to just be with them.

A deep sigh is followed by a prayer of thanks.

Never Give Up!

"Think of the frog with its legs hanging out of the stork's mouth and with its hand around the stork's throat. NEVER GIVE UP!" ~ Unknown

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Siege of Glengary - Part I

Bright sun shone down glaring and hot. The sent of leather, steel and sweat permeated the air as the knights passed the pavilion where we sat refreshed with cool drinks and shaded from the mid-day sun. The the ground trembled as the valiant warriors charged towards their foe, swords, shields and armored bodies smashing together in a grand crescendo. As the battle wound down water barers were called in. Beautiful ladies as elegantly and brightly adorned as butterflies bore cool refreshment to the men in arms.

The Tribe's first SCA event was a day that will not soon be forgotten. The sights, the smells, the feast, oh the feast, the kind hearts and new friends. It was with a sad hearts that we had to leave before the drumming and dancing could begin. The Tribe was worn to the point of pure exhaustion. Little eyes, red and glassy and could barely stay open. Belts had been cast off. Hay and dust covered tunics and dresses were piled to be washed. Filthy little sleepyheads piled into beds to tired to shower.

The Tribe is restless now. Counting the days until they get to start weapons training and then to the next event.

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The Siege of Glengary Part II

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The Siege of Glengary - Part III

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Saturday chosen for dojo cleaning was warm but carried the distinct crispness that comes in September. Many students had come the weekend before so I was able to have the morning with Sensei Barbara and Sensei Brett to myself.

We kicked things off with Mr. Barry's amazing coffee and conversation. Then, we went to work. Sensei Barbara and I started on the floor while Sensei Brett scrubbed sky lights. On the floor on our hands and knees we worked side by side, student and teacher. I got to hear about Barbara's trip to the orient during the summer and her broad sword training in China. We swept, washed and weeded. Sometimes talking sometimes silent, (yes I can pull of silence for a few minutes). Before I knew it I had to leave to get lunch on the table for the Tribe.

It was a wonderful morning. I left with a feeling of accomplishment, ownership and wrapped in the fleeing of closeness and friendship that comes from working as a team.

Blue Heron Dojo is a place of peace and tranquility. It is a place of learning and growth for the mind, body and spirit. My thanks to Sensei Barbara for creating such a place and for sharing it with all of us.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Falls, Rolls and Throws

Thursday night karate class was falls, rolls and throws followed by sparing.

A little bit battered, little bit sore and totally pumped up I think, man I love this stuff. My next thought is ohhhh, I can't wait to show Gyps!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Three Cheers for Saddles and Smiles

Last month at the county fair Gyps introduced me to Miss Margaret who heads up Saddles and Smiles, a therapeutic riding program for children with special needs. I had been told my numerous people what a great program it was and what a blessing it was to the children that participated. Tonight was the September meeting so Grandma and I decided to take the tribe and check it out for ourselves.

It was more than I had heard, more than I could have dreamed. The smiles of the children out shown the fire of the setting sun. Everyone was friendly and helpful. Miss Margaret was wonderful and made us feel so welcome. When we started the sun was setting and it was getting dark, the air was crisp and cool but the mood was warm and welcoming.

All of the tribe that wanted to ride got to... even the littlest. The ones that I actually signed up for the program did amazing. All the way home and long after I heard about the little black pony, Socks. Nathan rode Mississippi and has a new friend in the broad backed little haflinger. After we got home and everyone was headed off to bed Nathan came bouncing in to tell me goodnight. His smile was still firmly affixed to his little face and I can honestly say he was glowing. He got to wear his new helmet and sit up so big, he was so proud. Too see him this happy brought tears to my eyes. A door was opened in him and the others. I can't wait to see where it leads.

Kudos to Miss Margaret and all those that make this program possible. If the world had more like them it would be a much warmer, kinder and better place. And to the ponies, you little dudes rock!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Post WWW

Wow, I can't believe WWW, (wild women's week) is already over. What an amazing adventure!

So much to write about, think about, so many great memories. Now it's time to dive into the laundry, homework, doctor appointments, bills, vet visits and all the things that make home a home.

As I drive to the vet's office with the cat and my 'shotgum rider' I look at the mountains with longing. It would be so nice to just stop and start to climb. After five days of hiking it just seemed like the thing to do. I refocused on the road ahead knowing as wonderful as it would be it just wouldn't be the same. After this trip I don't think anything will be the same again! After a week with the twin sister of my heart, her sweetie and my prince charming in one of God's most beautiful settings how could it? My heart sings, It was give wings and how I have to decide where to fly to next.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Journey

It took two days, numerous computer crashes and more than a few headaches to get my video of the Tribe postable and posted. After fearing for the life of my hard drive I had to wonder what drove me to have to get it done? Why is it so important for me to share the Tribe with the rest of the world?

Mulling this over as I head home from at hot afternoon of pony pedicures I realize that they, the Tribe, are the answer to many prayers, they are why I get up in the morning, they keep me young at heart and they keep me dreaming, striving and growing.

I never planned on a big family. To be really honest after my first child I said that was it, there would be no more. The Lord had other plans for me and I am so greatful now that He did.

Adoption and foster care have been the biggest rollercoaster ride of my life. If give a choice I quickly take pain of child birth over being told I may have to send a child that I love with every ounce of my being away to people that nearly killed him before he was two months old. So many times I had to tell myselfy "they aren't mine, they are yours Lord. You created them, you know the plan I am just here to do your work. But please give me the strength to do it".

He has given me the strength plus so much more. The blessings and joy I get from my kids can't be counted. It is so far beyond anything that I deserve. I am so blessed in so many ways and I see now that my drive to post this part of the journey was so that I could share these blessings and all the miracles that came with them with everyone else.

My Kids, My Life


So much to do, so many things that need to get done before I leave for the "Wild Women" retreat. I have it all planned out in my mind, just how much I can procrastinate and what has to be done by when. Then, the schedule changes. It's not serious, no children's appointments or anything like that, but in my over loaded, distracted mind it creates chaos.

I was working so hard at not having any expectations about the tip, only to realize I set myself before it even began. Deep breath, regroup, let it go and start over.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Trees Alive

The trees were alive,
Black wraiths among the leaves,
The sky went dark,
Morning silence shattered by screeches, screams and the beating of wings
The starlings were on the move

Reading vs Posting

The Mouse reads! She reads and she reads. She tells me all about her books, what she loves and what she hates. "Great" I respond, "post on it".

There she goes again, nose in a book. No posting, just reading!

Post Mouse, Post!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Only a few days until departure. Only a few hours down the road, but for me a life time away.

I think about a week with no getting drinks of water at three in the morning or waking up with a little face only inches from mine telling me "mommy, I'm scared. Can I sleep in the middle?". No never ending sock basket or dogs barking when the neighbors walk by, a squirrel goes up a tree or the wind blows.

Ahhh, it sounds like heaven but I'm scared to death. As much as I grumble about the non stop laundry, dishes, cooking for an army and breaking up fights, it's my life, my world, it's secure and safe. I always have a hug waiting for me, someone to paint watercolors with and an "I love you mommy" is only a head pat and squeeze away.

The idea of heading out of the driveway and down the road with no one riding "shotgum" looms before me. No one to sing too or with, no one jabbering away about hay and John Deere tractors, dump trucks or Chinese good. Eleven years ago I faced the unknown of being a parent. Now I face the unknown of being with just me.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Hamster Dance - Pirates of the Caribbean (Piramsters)

BJ had to share his favorite video, rock on BJ!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Road Trip

A gift from my aunt, a week at her time share in the Shennandoah Valley. What to do with a week??

What started as just a thought, "hey you want to come hang out in a beautiful place for a few days?" has taken creativity to a new level.

The end result will be beautiful. I can just feel it!

"Yes Tink, I believe that is rain"

I count on Gyps to keep me on the straight and narrow. I am fully confident that with her I will never accidentally wander into the realms of boredom, commonplace or any other strange places others perceive as reality. She grounds me and keeps me focused on the the critical issues of life such as what a real elephant's ear should look like and staying in tune with your power tools. I still wonder how I ever survived all these years without her??

I love ya sister!

Happy 5th Birthday Nathaniel!

Growing up Despite the Weeds

I'm a mom! There is just something in me that wants to care for, fuss over and nurture what ever I think needs mothering. Mostly it children and critters, sometimes it's family and even friends that despite being all grown up, I mother anyway and, since they love me they put up with it.

The mom in me wants to shield and protect those that I love. I want to wrap them in bubble wrap and lock them in a padded room. But healthy children, animals, friendships and even plants need space and freedom. Mistakes, bumps and bruises are part of life. They are the tools that build character, teach wisdom and build confidence.

Last fall I got a new rose for my rose garden called "Freedom". I worked the soil and carefully planted the little guy. He grew leaves and even had a bloom. This spring I made sure all the weeds were cleared, put out rose food, mulched and weeded some more. As summer came on freedom began to grow strong and bushy. Then, the Japanese beetles found him, the dry spell hit and the heat and gnats kept me from fussing after my roses as I should have. Freedom's leaves were chewed and the last blossom was eaten by bugs and weeds took over the rose bed despite the mulch and weed barrier I'd put down the year before. I promised myself that as soon as I could make the time I would go give him the TLC I was sure he needed.

Last night after a wonderful evening of girl time and ponies I wandered over the the rose bed to see how much work it was going to take to revive my sick flowers. Imagine my surprise when despite the lack of fussing, spraying, coddling and attention I found Freedom had grown above the weeds, strong and straight. He was green and leafy and even better Freedom bloomed.

As much as I think bubble wrap is a good idea I guess I was shown that stepping back, letting go and letting God is truly the best way.