The Good. The Bad. The Squirrely! ;)

A few years ago, we tried desperately to find the best ‘squirrel-resistant’ bird feeder we could. As most of you know, who have had experience with these creative and persistent critters, this is almost impossible! They just DO NOT give up, but alas, most of us humans DO! When we first moved into this house, we had a wooden frame around the front door (which we eventually replaced along with a double door); squirrels were attempting to eat away at the wood (paint and all). I had never seen anything like that, was beyond irritated, and tried rubbing different smells on the exposed wood, including Tabasco Sauce! Absolutely, nothing worked!

We were beyond excited when we moved to this house, envisioning all kinds of birds flocking to our bird feeders. We were going to become avid bird watchers, but alas, that was not to be, for after a few years of trying, we quit calling our bird feeders, ‘bird feeders’, and started calling them ‘squirrel feeders!’ Once we tried hanging one such ‘squirrel feeder’ on the end of a tall plant hook next to the tree, thinking surely they could not maneuver the metal hook with their claws. Wrong!! We did have a good laugh when a friend of ours was visiting and decided to spray the pole with a vegetable spray. We watched in glee, as that wily squirrel tried to scamper up the slippery pole, then slowly slide down. He attempted this several times. The shocked look on it’s squirrely little face gave me a some satisfaction that we had finally got the upper hand, if only but for a few sweet moments! Eventually, though, we gave up, and now have no ‘squirrel feeders’ out front; we moved them to the back of our house, where we have less of an issue, though we still see them hanging occasionally, peering into our living room window, with a look of defiance. Boy, can they jump! Truth be told, when it comes to these critters, it’s a love hate relationship, and I have been known to throw out scraps of bread or such during the winter. I’m seriously thinking of placing another ‘squirrel feeder’ out front again. If nothing else, it was pure entertainment, and sometimes, one would jump on the ledge of my office window, look in and check me out, and of course, I started putting little tidbits on the ledge. Yeah, birds are great, but not at all as entertaining…;)

The first video, “The Good, the Bad and the Squirrely,”  came about randomly, as I was still trying my hand at simple video’ making. The song just happen to fit musically, and I just went with it. The song of course is, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.  It’s up to the viewer to decide who is who…;)

The Good, The Bad and the Squirrely

This second video, was actually an Albino squirrel, that came around for a couple of years. I named him ‘Sugar,’ and caught him raiding the feeder. I did not discourage him at all, and was in fact, amused and fascinated by this ‘BIG’ fella. I chose two favorite songs of mine, “Sugar, Sugar,” and “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

Sugar: Our White Albino Squirrel

Published on Jan 22, 2014

(heehee, I think the Fed Ex guy is going in circles)!The White Squirrel (an albino, 1 in 100,000 chance), a big fella, at first I was going to call him Frosty, but decided to call him ‘Sugar’, because he is white and sweet (kinda/ sorta as long as I don’t make him get off the bird feeder). Since this video was taken (and I may redo this at a later date, just don’t have time right now) Lee brought the bird feeder in. I asked him why? and He said because until he fixes it, it is a ‘Squirrel Feeder! ‘ HA! He is right…poor birds have to fight to get any seeds. I decided to put up songs that would not NORMALLY be seen on a Squirrel Video or animal video…and the Archies: Sugar Sugar just made me ‘smile’, and made me happy and brought back so many memories. Got my foot tapping, and then Don’t Worry be Happy was to remind myself what the Bible says about worrying…God says worry is a sin…because it is the opposite of Faith, and as a Christian we are to trust God to take care of us. I KNOW He has everything under control…I hope you all enjoy our White Sugar Squirrel :). He’s chubby…lol. And ANYONE notice the Fed Ex guy? lol, I think he was lost or maybe he noticed our SUGAR!!! He IS Quite Spectacular….;)

The Hula Hoop Challenge; And the Winner Is….;)

I’ve been feeling a bit blue lately, and decided to go through some of my old video’s.  I have a few gems such as this one.  Recorded and uploaded in 2015 I couldn’t help but laugh! Laughter certainly IS good medicine. 😀

My husband is an engineer, but there is this ‘little boy’ in him that comes out around our grandchildren, especially our oldest granddaughter, but ALL the grandchildren gravitate towards him. I do have a cameo appearance here, but my granddaughter and I both lost it when Papa took up the challenge. I was trying so hard not to laugh behind the camera. I treasure these moments in our lives, they pass so quickly.

So, who DO YOU, think won the Hula Hoop Challenge? hahaha

😀

Aging Gracefully

Hi, there folks.

This is me through the years starting as a baby – high school graduation (last picture). A lot of life, love and laughter. I look at these pictures and wonder, where did the time go, and who is that ‘stranger’ looking at me in the mirror every morning and every night: Okay, okay…sometimes I look more often, but at my ‘age’, I see every line and wrinkle; perhaps against all odds, I’m hoping  that the latest ‘anti-wrinkle’ cream I am using is REALLY going to produce a miracle like it says it does. So far, no such luck. Nope. Not til Jesus comes to take me home will I be without ‘spot’ or ‘wrinkle’, says so right there in the Bible. 😉 Well, maybe I’ve taken it out of context…but sometimes if I don’t laugh, I think I might cry, and believe me, after the cataracts came out a couple of years ago, I came close. One day I thought I was looking  pretty good for my age, and the next day ‘bam’, right between the eyes…, I mean right between my eyes, those little crinkly lines, not to mention every crevice and spot on my face suddenly became much clearer! Of course, the up side was seeing colors and everything  more vibrant and alive…who knew that the ‘orange’ facial scrubber I was using, was actually ‘hot pink’, and the shirt I thought was orange was a ‘hot pink’. Thinking how many times I thought I was wearing black with matching black shoes, to find out one was black, the other blue?

Let’s be real here! In a few days I’m going to turn 64 years old. I’m trying to embrace who I am NOW, not yesterday, bite the bullet (we really don’t have a choice), continue to laugh, love and live. The Bible says there’s enough trouble today, so don’t worry about tomorrow (paraphrased), He’s going to be there for all my tomorrows as He was for all my yesterdays, and today! I think it is wise to plan for the future, but it’s never wise to worry (and this is something I have to lay at the feet of Jesus daily…some days I win, others I really struggle).

Forgive me for rambling just a little bit today (you know us ‘old’ folk do that from time to time, eh)? I got to looking at some of these old photos today of myself through different stages of my young life. I started out pretty cute; chubby and wrinkly…and I was thinking to myself, how ironic that I’m probably gonna end up that way too, yeah…chubby and wrinkly, though if someone calls you ‘cute’ when you get older, it’s usually more about your ‘behavior’, or some quirky habit you’ve picked up unknowingly as you’ve aged . Not too long ago I read a police report about an ‘elderly’ woman, 63 or 64 years old, whose car was rammed into by a desperado who was driving a stolen car. I thought to myself, “Elderly?”  What were they ‘talking about?’ I was 63, and that sounded so foreign to my ears! Never would I consider myself or call myself ‘elderly!’ I cringed at the mere thought of being called  elderly at the ‘young age of 63.’   NO WAY was I going to accept what the dictionary (and some of our society) labels ‘elderly!’

eld·er·ly
ˈeldərlē/
adjective
  1. (of a person) old or aging.
    “she was elderly and silver-haired”
    Synonyms:
    aged,
    old,
    advanced in years,
    aging,
    long in the tooth,
    past one’s prime;
    gray-haired,grizzled,
          hoary; in one’s dotage, decrepit, doddering, doddery, senescent;
          getting on,
          past it,
          over the hill,
          no spring chicken
         old people,
         the aged,
         senior citizens;
         geriatrics,
         seniors;
         retired people,
         retirees,
         golden agers;
         oldsters,
         geezers
 ∼

Hmm, Some of these descriptions I can accept, but long in the tooth? Getting on? geezer? decrepit, doddering? I think NOT! Doesn’t sound like me at all, nor most of my ‘elderly’ friends! Not yet anyway, and when that time comes, and I do see it coming, I’ll let you know, or as my sister once said to me, “Don’t call me, I’ll call you!’ 😀  In the meantime, I’m going to dance the dance of life, and celebrate everyday as a gift from God. As His Word says…I will rise up as an eagle, and my youth will be renewed as I wait on the Lord.

In all seriousness, though, aging gracefully is a struggle for many in our youth oriented culture, and has been for me too at times, especially when you feel ‘young’ but the ‘number’ keeps creeping upwards. Inevitably, we all age but one of the most beautiful of women I’ve ever known was my mother…she was graceful, her smile, the way she moved, gentle. She was always there for my siblings and I, and knew when to call and when to come. This is true ageless beauty; to love others and have a giving heart.   God’s word says it best in 1 Peter 3: 3-4:

 3 Don’t focus on decorating your exterior by doing your hair or putting on fancy jewelry or wearing fashionable clothes; let your adornment be what’s inside—the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights.

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You Are So Beautiful To Me

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The wrinkles on a time-worn face
Can be symbols of God’s grace,
If through our laughter and our tears
His love has freed us from our fears. —D. De Haan

“Even to your old age, . . . and even to gray hairs I will carry you!” (Isaiah 46:4).

Yes, we can be assured that God will always be with us through every season. My advice: Love Deeply, Forgive Quickly, Laugh Loudly, Be Thankful. In our lives things are constantly changing, but we can be assured that our God NEVER changes and that His love for us is not dependent on our performance, nor what we look like on the outside, or even the crud on the inside. He just loves us. God used this song, ‘I Am’, along with the picture of mama touching my heart gently, to reassure me when I was in the throes of grief, that He is always with me. He is the one constant in life. The words to this song say it all.

I Am

 

Oh gently lay your head
Upon my chest
And I will comfort you
Like a mother while you rest
The tide can change so fast,
But I will stay
The same through the past,
The same in future, same today

CHORUS:
I am constant; I am near
I am peace that shatters all your secret fears
I am holy; I am wise
I’m the only one who knows your heart’s desires
Your heart’s desires

Oh weary, tired and worn,
Let out your sighs
And drop that heavy load you hold
Cause Mine is light

I know you through and through;
There’s no need to hide
I want to show you love
That is deep and high and wide

CHORUS(2x)

Oh gently lay your head
Upon my chest
And I will comfort you
Like a mother while you rest

View From the Bottom Rung (the life of a scribe)

By Vander H. Atwell.  August 20th, 2016

Hmm. View From The Bottom Rung must be running nigh onto five years to date. Let’s see now, how does one express his heartfelt gratitude for the chance to appear here on this page every other Saturday? Welst, the well-worn old phrase, it’s an honor and a privilege pretty well nails it. A lot of water under the bridge since it began but still ambling along despite the roiling of rivers. Not always easy but we manage.

I do have the best, most approving critic a man could ever hope to have review the final draft before sending over to the good folks at the ’Courier. Each time an article is finished my gal reads it, graciously nods her approval and asks what the next will be about.

You wouldn’t know what a tough question that is to answer most time, and invariably the reply is “I don’t know.” It’s hard for an old guy with only a couple of stories to tell when it all began five years ago to come up with fresh material every two weeks, what with distractions so numerous and interesting that he postpones scribing long as he dares, or simply extends the current project out by making it a bit wordier than perhaps it should be.

Oh, you noticed, eh? The great cowboy philosopher Will Rogers (not to be confused with my friend, local sage and musical entrepreneur Mr. Bill Rogers) once said “Never miss a good chance to shut up,” wise advice one supposes after all rambling on and on means more likelihood of wandering off onto sidebars and less time to began and finish the next text. Despite the uncoupled and misarranged prose we do manage to persist despite an arthritic neck and shoulder compliments of my long career as a logger; hunching over this infernal word processer only serves to agitate and exacerbate a condition brought on by 45 years using myself as a pack animal, forcing the keeping of the pain reliever Tylenol close at hand.

Recently the hocus pocus of politics has been a major distraction from the primary purpose of simply “jawing” with my friends and neighbors. “Hocus pocus” by the way, is a term ordinarily applied to the realm of politics and means ‘tricks used to hide what is happening, especially by distorting the situation and making it difficult to understand’; the constant buzz tends to pull the old gentleman’s focus aside from the chase like a fox hound distracted by a cotton tail rabbit.

There was a time early in life political distractions just didn’t happen, working too hard and much too tired for politics; come election time no question asked, like a loyal and dutiful son I just went to the polls and voted Democrat. And why not, my heritage was Democrat, the political landscape in my place of origin here in the South was Democrat, my grandparents were Democrat, my father, mother and three siblings were Democrat: (well, there was that one sister married to a Republican, a World War II veteran and survivor of the Battle of the Bulge). ’Just say I was “habitized” by tradition into a political philosophy, no hard choices wherewith my conscience to contend. Rather than choosing a political ride by raising its hood, kicking its tires and examining the chassis, t’was the only franchise in town and only modal on the lot.

But now, 17 years into retirement sitting beside the boulevard of humanity’s dreams, watching chariots running to and fro, observing the industry and strivings of my fellow citizens, I sit’s and ponders the debits and the credits of unquestioning obedience to “the faith.”

It’s not that my conscience or philosophy has changed all that much through the years, rather that the political landscape shifted beneath my feet, even before I walked off the job to feast on the fruits of my long labors.

My disputation with the change tends to show up in the heat of this election year battle, where the constant buzz of bizarre machinations tends to distract from sane discourse. Yes, yes, I realize that involving in the chaotic tangle makes me just as zany, but t’was born with a fiery competitive feistiness, and the embers are slow to fade.

No, there’s not a thing to be done about the folly of it all, except “to thy self be true. A song by Larry Gattlin allows that “All the gold in California is in a bank in the middle of Beverly Hills in someone else’s name” still, one remains “involved” even as coastal tides sweep inland consuming every sacred value and conscientious tradition that made this country and its people great.

Eventually though, we try getting back to more mundane things and focus upon the community around us; things that sustain the soul as life, love – or is that liberty – and the pursuit of happiness; take it from someone on the latter end of a long trail, “pursuit of happiness” becomes more important the less time allotted to the “pursuit.” Admittedly there’s not a whole lot of human interest in such mundane topics as lawn mowing, tree trimming, house washing and flower gardening, yet, in chaotic times we should all be happier to channel our lives in more tranquil directions and occupy ourselves with the comfort of the common and the familiar ere the last embers die and cold of darkness chills flesh to the bone.

Does not the scriptures say that ‘Man does not live by politics alone’? Well, perhaps it should, considering the distracting brouhaha seeping from every crack and corner of our own little domain these days. Then there’s the scriptural suggestion that we “eat, drink, and be merry” for tomorrow, well you get the gist.

Many retirees take up vegetable or flower gardening as a hobby, and as a relief from the tedium of idleness.

When I bought my house in Alma, the appeal of it was a large yard that would need my attention, keep me occupied all toned up and out of trouble. But the main distraction, hobby, whichever we shall call it is/ has been music, especially in the years looking forward to retirement and what to do with idle hands.

But music itself can be a distraction sometime with serious potential for hurt by drawing attention away from demanding activities at hand.

Yes son, some jobs are so dangerous that daydreaming (preoccupation with other things) can be deadly.

Early on in life I fancied myself a guitar picker playing my first gig with a Country Dance band at Susanville California ’way back in 1953. It soon became apparent that I would never become another Chet Adkins, and the fancy only distracted from the responsibility of raising a family. The bars we played were no place for a young man with a start-up family to hang out, and having a wife and child, domestic and financial stability overruled any fanciful strivings or sacrifice for fame and fortune out ’neath those neon lights. I quit my government job, left my budding musical career behind and hit the timber trail, the bluest skies, the freshest air and the most lucrative employment a kid of my humble raisings might find. In retrospect, the danger of it made it a dumb thing for a young greenhorn to do, but then a yearling is never easily advised and what the heck—I did survive.

Today with time on my hands to make music an enjoyable and satisfying hobby, it again becomes a distraction of sorts at least in relation to my uh, “literary contributions” here at the PAC. So much time and effort dedicated to musical venues, projects, practice, etc., and further, the old scribbler has recently been “domesticated” and there’s all those social activities divided betwixt two families and a passel of friends each vying for time and attention within the heart and soul of me. Not much leeway for a column written by a slow plodding thinker and one finger “typer” and no time for thumb twiddling over on social media though admittedly I’m often inclined to that direction. Some might even say addicted.

It has been said that procrastination is the thief of time and lord knows there’s been times I’ve wasted so much time there was little time left to finish an article and get it in in time for publication.

Yes, the laptop upon which I scribe, itself is a major distractor from things more important in life, but I’ve yet to reach the point of insanity: Had lunch over at Chili’s a few weeks back and watched as three different couples came in, ordered, then brought out their iphones and proceeded to ignore each other the entire meal. So much precious time lost when one becomes lost out there in the endless reaches of cyber space.

Today I finish this column five days ahead of schedule, a luxury I tell’s ya! Next due Sept. 3. Time’s a wasting.

When The Struggle is Real

I haven’t blogged for a few days as it’s been a real struggle, not because of a brain freeze, or lack of oxygen (low blood sugar), or writers block …but mostly because of health issues stemming from Type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes. I am on an insulin pump, and was actually one of the first 700 people at the time to get hooked up. The pump was huge compared to what I share in the video below (see the picture at the left of your screen, that’s me in the blue, and that SONY DSCblack thing on my side is my first pump). It was so big, people asked me if it was a pager (that’s a big pager), or some kind of radio. You can see in the video below, how much smaller the pump has become. I was thrilled as the size of the pumps began to decrease in size and the technology became more and more fine tuned.

I was probably about 28 or 29 years old when I first started on the pump; our eldest was about two years old (pictured on my husbands shoulders). Our first baby, born 8 lbs 4oz, was stillborn, which had left me wondering if I would ever be able to have a healthy child . In the video below, after sharing some humorous  idiosyncrasies about myself, I shared a bit about that time of loss in our lives. I had not expected to feel the emotional wave that hit me as I recalled the day of delivery. We had known for a week that our precious baby was gone before the scheduled delivery date at the hospital.  Needless to say, it was an extremely sorrowful time. Thank God, we did not give up, and we were finally blessed with two boys, albeit 7 years apart. I am ever so grateful to be a mom (for the most part, “she said with a wink and a smile”). 😉  Motherhood hasn’t always been easy or a ‘breeze,’ especially as they entered the teen years and beyond, but that’s another story or two, for another time. 🙂 Just being real here. Would I do it all again? 100 times over, “YES!”

So, back to why I haven’t blogged, and my own personal struggle…having used insulin pump therapy for about 30+ years, and having wonderful results, I now find myself plagued with all kinds of issues that I never really had before: Extreme highs, and extreme lows.  It started a few months ago, and my overall A1c (blood glucose average over a 3 month period) was hanging around 7.0, which is relatively good. I can’t even imagine what it is now after all I’ve been through these last months. I have never had to call the ambulance except once in all my 50+ years of being a diabetic, but at the end of last December my sugars dropped to 21, and knowing if it drops to 0 you are comatose, your out for the count, no longer here. I could feel myself blacking out, and as I looked up at the nice paramedic, I kept saying over and over…” Please don’t let me die.” He assured me I was going to be fine, but in the back of my mind I thought, he has to say that even if he doesn’t mean it. I have never felt so out of control and vulnerable.  I ended up in the hospital the next day for about three days. From that point on I’ve had trouble stabilizing my blood sugars. In January it happened again, and I ended up in the hospital as my blood sugars kept plummeting no matter how much sugar I had taken by mouth or how much glucose they stuck in my veins. Talk about a ‘sugar rush!’ Since that time, the blood sugars have been extremely high. Last night, my blood sugars reached 490, and target rate for my sugars, being I’m diabetic, are between 100 and 150.  Rarely has my blood sugar been lower than the 200’s since my last hospital visit. Long term health issues can result from poorly controlled blood sugars. I’m eating what I should eat, I’m testing several times a day, and still sugars are climbing,  though they tend to drop some during the evening. Night time is one of my biggest concerns if and when my sugars happen to drop while I’m asleep; this is what had happened the first time I called the ambulance. I can tell you from experience, fear can come in from such traumatic episodes, and it can rob you of your joy and peace in a very subtle way. That’s where I found myself lately…

This week I was so overwhelmed that I told my husband I would not be going to Mid week services at church. I knew what I had to do, I had to go to our room, close the door, put on worship music and cry out to God. I sat there with my head back and I sobbed all my frustration and grief out to the Lord. One of my friends had told me that she had felt God saying to me, let go, free fall, let God carry me through this time and just trust Him.

As, I sat in my room that night, A song by Bethel Worship, began to play called ‘It is Well With My Soul.’  As I listened, I continued to weep and pray. I told God, “I can’t do this by myself anymore”. I hadn’t even realized until that point, that I was carrying the weight of so many losses and unmet expectations from the last several years. All I could muster was, “Help me Lord, I Need You.”  I felt this ball of grief and sorrow come up out of my heart that I know had been stuck there for a long time. God began to bring to my mind those things that I had been holding onto; grief over my mother who had passed away two years ago, losses and unmet expectations, wounds that were still like arrows in my heart, concerns about my grown children and grandchildren, and so forth and so on. When the tears subsided a bit, I grabbed my ‘Passion Translation’, of the Psalms. I felt led to begin a prayer journal with at least one Psalm a day, where I can just pour out my heart to God. I am more than hopeful for what lies ahead. I already feel a sense of release from the burden of what I was carrying, but I know that it is one step at a time, one day at a time. I’m learning to ‘free fall’ into His loving arms; He will always and HAS always been there to catch me.

 

God has always used humor to help me through many difficult times. Learning to laugh at myself, to be transparent and real is a must for me.

Love Lifted Me: Life, Love and Laughter

I have spent the last few hours trying to figure out some of the technical aspects of this WordPress Theme. The technical part of this is a real challenge for me, but I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of it. I worked with the widgets again today and figured I was safe, that not too many people would see my Gravatar traveling all over the pages, up, down, center, right, left. I’m dizzy just thinking about it! The real challenge for me today came with trying to figure out pages. I thought I had really messed up big time, but then came that ‘aha’ moment, and voila, here I am (I think). We shall see. lol

‘Love Lifted Me’ is the underlying theme throughout my blogs and my life as I  share my thoughts, heart matters, funnies, poems, and other things, along with family memories. In reality, I’ve been putting bits and pieces of my life’s story all over the internet for awhile, and even have a Blogger site that I haven’t really blogged on since 2014/15 http://www.pureheart2heart.com/2014/05/memories-here-i-sit-tears-flowing.html , but it just never really felt like home. I also totally embarrassed myself as a YouTube Partner around 2010, raking in a whopping $100 dollars by the end of the ‘year’, after which they canned me, along with 1000’s of other YouTube ‘stars.’  See one of the video’s below for a good laugh, which my husband so graciously edited, and wonder along with me, ‘What in the world was she thinking!!?? God has always had ways of keeping me humble, and I’ve always been a more than willing participant. lol (can I use lol in a blog?) I have also journaled on Facebook,  with friends and family over a spattering of about 5-6 years as my mama battled Alzheimers. It was a difficult journey for all of us, especially my father. My hope is that I can use all these various places that I’ve scattered myself, my thoughts and memories and plant them here to take root.

Last but not least, I am a Christian minister, and I love to worship Jesus. He’s my best Friend, Savior and the Lover of My soul. My heart’s desire is to connect heart to heart with God and then with humanity: to laugh, to  cry, to bring a word of encouragement and hope, to be a light in a dark world. As you watch the video below, I hope it brings a smile to your face, may not be funny to you, and I myself am totally aghast, but my younger grand kids just love it. lol

God Bless…Karen

A merry heart does good like a medicine… Proverbs 17:22