Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Nice Try, Fred

You haven’t heard from me in a very long time. That’s because Mom won’t let me in the house anymore. She has threatened to not even let me in the house on the coldest of winter nights, when she and Dad have always let Betty, Ches and me in. I have supposedly committed acts of indiscretion against the entertainment center which are unforgiveable.

But tonight, when Mom was coaxing Dino outside (he commits acts of indiscretion against the garbage all the time, and he gets to sleep on Mom’s bed all day long!), I snuck through the open door. I couldn’t believe I was in!

I was on my way to an ingenious hiding place, when that stupid kitten Alice stopped me. She expected the usual sniff-and-greet. I had to oblige, even though that stupid runt thinks she is hot stuff because she gets to sleep on the bed all day long next to Dino. Mom was still setting her purse and bag down next to the door, but when she didn’t take her jacket off right away, I knew she meant business. I hustled out of the living room and slunk down the basement stairs. Mom was in tight pursuit.

Now, you have to remember that it has been at least six months since I have had the run of the house. Give me a couple months of nightly forays and I will be able to disappear in a heartbeat. Instead I sought refuge under the steps, which is the first place Mom looked, probably because she was in such hot pursuit she saw me duck in there.

She chased me out with the broom and I bound back up the stairs. Then there was that moment’s indecision – living room or the rest of the house? I choked. I trotted into the living room. There are only so many places to hide in the living room, even though I noticed that Mom and Dad have added some furniture. Supposedly my girl Val needed a sofa so Mom and Dad are storing an extra one in the living room. If I had ever been in a used furniture store, I would say this room is starting to look like one.

More indecision, just long enough for Mom’s big hand to reach down and snatch me up. Ohhh, nooo, it is so cold and wet outside.

But, he,he,he, this was just a test. Next time, next time I am in like flint. My devious mind will seek out the ultimate hiding place and Mom will not throw me out then.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Psalm 3

Psalm 3

1 O Lord, I have so many enemies;
    so many are against me.
2 So many are saying,
    “God will never rescue him!”
3 But you, O Lord, are a shield around me;
    you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.
4 I cried out to the Lord,
    and he answered me from his holy mountain. 
5 I lay down and slept,
    yet I woke up in safety,
    for the Lord was watching over me.
6 I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies
    who surround me on every side.
7 Arise, O Lord!
    Rescue me, my God!
Slap all my enemies in the face!
    Shatter the teeth of the wicked!
8 Victory comes from you, O Lord.
    May you bless your people.

(New Living Translation)

Looking east into the Rift Valley, from the road outside of Nairobi, Kenya.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Streets of Hatchet Creek - Day 19 continued

Summer is long past, or so it seems as I look out the window at the fallen leaves blowing around my yard. If the sun comes out and the weather is just right, we might have a few warm days left, but the nights will be just plain cold. There will be frost on the pumpkin each morning.

Yet last week, when I took one of my few last walks around my hometown, even though the temperature was comfortable but certainly not warm, I was reminded of the hot summer days of my youth.

Because we lived in the country, summers were three long months of doing house-work as quickly as we could in the morning and then spending the afternoons and evenings outside, climbing trees, building forts, digging up make-believe treasure chests in the woods. And for me and my sister Pat, it meant very little time spent with other kids our ages.

Except for the Fourth of July. Somehow we always managed to get into town in time for the parade. After the parade, we went to the small carnival at the west end of main street and rode on as many rides as our limited money would buy.  One year I rode the tilt-a-whirl too many times in a row and threw up all over the street. Not my finest hour.

As the afternoon began to wane, Pat, I and whatever friends we were able to connect with would wind our way to Memorial Park for the ski show. Only one time as a kid did I get to sit on the bleachers on the north side of the river, instead we always plopped down on a patch of grass (on a blanket if someone was prepared enough to bring one).

Because I can’t swim, much less waterski, those performers on the water seemed almost magical to me. Then, usually right after intermission, when it was getting dark enough that they turned the lights on over the water, the boat would come barreling down the river towing a skier who was airborne. Strapped into a kite, he flew like a bird above the water, dipping and banking. Then just as he passed in front of the bleachers, he would veer towards the pine tree which leaned out across the river. If he was lucky and knew what he was doing, his skis would shoot between the branches of the tree and he would come out unscathed.

And that, dear friends, is what this stump means to me.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Streets of Hatchet Creek - Day 19

If you’ve been following my walks around my hometown, you may be wondering when I am going to call it quits for the season. The answer is any time now. But whenever there is a day where the sun is shining, the temperature is above 50 and I have an extra hour in the day, I am still going to try it.

Here’s a question for all of you Tomahawk natives. Or if you have spent a lot of your summers here, you might know this one too. Where is this stump and what is its significance? I have a childhood story about it, but I am going to save it for next time. Keep you on the edge of your seats. 
 I heard from my best friend from high school this week, which inspired me to walk this street this time.

The trees are still beautiful. The maples have dropped their brilliant red leaves, but the poplars still have their yellow show and the oaks are clinging to their rust-colored leaves.  
And any picture taken across the Wisconsin River is going to be gorgeous on a sunny day. 
 I don’t know how long this house has been abandoned, but it took the newspaper delivery person a while to figure it out.
 I find it interesting that the satellite dish is still there.
 I forget the legal name of this body of land, but our family has always known it as Boy Scout Island (and it’s not really an island).  My son has spent days there, probably more like months, if you string it all together. I think I was out there twice with the Boy Scouts for something. Never spent the night out there in the dead of winter though. (My son is the one who needs to write a blog.)
 That’s Memorial Park across the Wisconsin River. I still can’t believe how still the water was. They say this is the hardest working river in the country, due to the many hydro-electric dams it supports. It looks pretty laid back right here though.
 Anybody reading this live in a big city? I can’t imagine how awful that would be. We are so blessed here in northern Wisconsin. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Psalm 2

Psalm 2

1 Why are the nations so angry?
    Why are the people making such foolish plans?
2 Their kings and leaders join together
    to fight against the Lord and his chosen king.
3 They say, “Let’s rebel against them.
    Let’s break free from them!”
4 But the one who rules in heaven laughs at them.
    The Lord makes fun of them.
5 He speaks to them in anger,
    and it fills them with fear.
6 He says, “I have chosen this man to be king,
    and he will rule on Zion, my holy mountain.”
7 Let me tell you about the Lord’s agreement:
He said to me, “Today I have become your father,
    and you are my son.
8 If you ask, I will give you the nations.
    Everyone on earth will be yours.
9 You will rule over them with great power.
    You will scatter your enemies like broken pieces of pottery!”
10 So, kings and rulers, be smart
    and learn this lesson.
11 Serve the Lord with fear and trembling.
12 Show that you are loyal to his son,
    or the Lord will be angry and destroy you.
He is almost angry enough to do that now,
    but those who go to him for protection will be blessed.
(Easy-to-Read Version)

When I decided last week to keep my Sunday blog simple and run through the entire book of Psalms, I had totally forgotten about Psalm number 2. Is there a single world leader out there reading that Psalm this day and thinking, “Oh, my, we need to get it together and turn our lives and our countries over to God and stop being so full of ourselves.” Do you think there is just one out there willing to shake up his or her fellow leaders? Just one king or president or prime minister out there who ‘gets it’? 
This piece of pottery is from the Wari culture of Peru, which is older than the Aztecs. Think of how easy it would be to smash this and how impossible to replace. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Streets of Another City

It feels as if it has been a very long time since I have walked the streets of my hometown and chronicled it here. I guess it has been two weeks; that can be a very long time. The bad news is that I am not chronicling any of our streets tonight either. I have, for a single day, become a traitor. But don’t get too worried right off the bat – I have not become a Vikings fan. Nothing that serious.

I had a meeting for work up the road in Minocqua today. The meeting was supposed to get over around one, so the boss told me I could have the rest of the afternoon off. I was psyched. And since it was a beautiful sunny afternoon (the first one probably since I walked last), I thought I would just wander the streets of Minocqua and see what it had to offer.

In the summer, these streets are packed with tourists. Even winters bring snowmobilers to the area. In the colorful fall, though, there’s not much going on downtown and many of the businesses are closed already for the winter. I think that Otto here is ready to call it a year. 
I don't know what is going on at this place and was too afraid to cross the street to find out. 
I also don't know how politically correct these are anymore. When I was a kid every tourist town had a store filled with cheap bead-work, made in China but touted as "Indian".

 The view from Torpy Park is beautiful in any season.

 According to Wikipedia, the town gets its name from "Ninocqua", the Ojibwe name that means "noon-day-rest”. I don’t know about that. I always thought it had something to do with water thanks to the “qua” (which is almost aqua, which everyone knows is water). Let me know if you have thoughts on the name.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Psalm 1

Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the one who obeys the law of the Lord.
    He doesn’t follow the advice of evil people.
He doesn’t make a habit of doing what sinners do.
    He doesn’t join those who make fun of the Lord and his law.
2 Instead, he takes delight in the law of the Lord.
    He thinks about his law day and night.
3 He is like a tree that is planted near a stream of water.
    It always bears its fruit at the right time.
Its leaves don’t dry up.
    Everything godly people do turns out well. 
(New International Reader's Version)
I know that I have whined about this in the past, but I mean it this time. I AM SO BUSY! Yes, I know I do this to myself, and I know that sometimes I need to sit back and ask, “Lord, is this really what You want me to be doing?” He really does occasionally say to me, “No, Christine, this is not what I want you to be doing.” But in general, I get the feeling that He wants me to figure out my own boundaries.

So here is my boundary through the end of the year – Keep It Simple! Which means, taking all the beautiful Bible verses I run across and just posting them here, without spending two hours writing witty commentary. God’s got it all covered. There really isn’t much for me to add anyway. 

(The picture is of the swamp in my yard. It never has water in it by the end of summer, which is an indication of how wet our summer has been. It also doesn't have any trees bearing fruit along its banks. But remember, I'm not dwelling on this, just pulling up the picture that is closest at hand which has some sort of relevance.) 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Still Life? When is my life ever still?

This month's personal photo challenge was "still life". Since I wasn't able to get it together for last month's challenge of "motion", I committed myself to get this one right.

The thing is when someone mentions a "still life", our minds all go to bowls of fruit and vases of flowers, all inside a building where the lighting can be controlled. Well, the weather here was outstanding a few weeks ago and I wasn't about to work on anything inside which I could take outside.

My first inspiration was this leaf which was resting on this fence post. I didn't do any manipulating to get it there, I just stumbled upon it while walking down a trail.
But maybe a few more leaves needed a little bit of help to get in the right position.
And finally I even was able to work in the shadow aspect.
I don't know if I nailed this challenge, but you're not dragging me in the house til the snow flies.

Monday, October 6, 2014

From Wisconsin to India

On the shores of Lake Michigan, Rebecca Meyer seeks escape. Guilt-ridden over her little sister’s death, she sets her heart on India, a symbol of peace.

Across the ocean in South India, Sagai Raj leaves his tranquil hill station home and impoverished family to answer a higher calling. Pushing through diverse cultural and religious milieus, he labors toward his goals, while wrong turns and bad choices block Rebecca from hers.

Traveling similar paths and bridged across oceans through a priest, the two desire peace and their divine destiny. But vows and blind obedience at all costs must be weighed…and buried memories, unearthed.

Crooked Lines, a beautifully crafted debut novel, threads the lives of two determined souls from different continents and cultures. Compelling characters struggle with spirituality through despair and deceptions in search of truth.

I could relate to Rebecca, and not just because we are both from Wisconsin. Ever since I read “Joy in the Morning” (I couldn’t find the name of the author) as a kid, I too had thought about India and was fascinated by it. That’s not where I ended up. God decided to send me to Kenya instead, but I have never completely forgotten India.  

But back to Holly’s book. I couldn’t put it down. Rebecca and Sagai, each in their opposite worlds, ran into so many obstacles. I just wanted one of them to at least achieve their dreams, but in the end, God has it covered. We always do realize our dreams, and I can’t say any more than that without ruining the ending for you.

 If you have ever struggled in your relationships with others, if you have ever felt abandoned, or if you have ever wanted to travel to the exotic land of India, this is a must-read. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Still more proof

“It is like a tiny mustard seed! Though this is one of the smallest of seeds, yet it grows to become one of the largest of plants, with long branches where birds can build their nests and be sheltered.” Mark 4:31-32Living Bible )

I blogged about the mustard seed once before, so am not going to elaborate. But I did discover something this weekend which I need to share to clarify the whole story about the mustard seed.

 First of all, we have been to the Mustard Museum in the past, when it was in Mt Horeb. When we drove through there last spring, we were greatly dismayed to see that the building had been taken over by a women's clothing store or something. Totally unexpectedly, I discovered Friday night that the Museum had moved to Middleton, and as luck would have it we were spending the night just down the road in Madison.

So, on that dreary Saturday morning, I dragged the hubby there. And discovered this:
All along I wondered what the Bible was talking about when it said that the mustard seed was the smallest seed yet produced the largest plant. I happen to only be familiar with the yellow mustard plant. But look - the black mustard plant fits the bill perfectly.

Which proves to me, once again, that the Bible is always right! Imagine that!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Streets of Hatchet Creek - Day 18

The other night, I shared a bunch of the scenic pictures from Frenchtown. Now I should back track and tell those of you who don’t know, just what Frenchtown is.

Highway 86, which is the route to the Paper Mill, runs through Frenchtown on the south side of town. When I was a kid that Paper Mill was the number one industry in town and the fathers of most of my friends worked there, including my dad of course.  

I am sure that Frenchtown was named for the many French who lived in that area when the town was young. It is a known fact in my hometown that the founder of Tomahawk, William Bradley, didn’t like the French and wouldn’t sell land to them. Many of them would go to him and use a false name, an Americanized name which wouldn’t give away their ancestral roots, so that he would sell to them.

Here are just the random pictures I took the last two weeks of September. 
 This is Frenchtown Park, more specifically, the sledding hill. Doesn't look like much now, but I will have to try to make it back when there is three feet of snow on the ground and this little hill is covered in kids.
 The less famous end of Frenchtown Park.
 Just a tree along Tomahawk Avenue that I thought looked so cool.
 I hope some kids still fish on Mirror Lake.
 And there it is.
 Don't know what this is. A trap for a really big critter, maybe?
 The sign on this store front said closed, but I kinda think it hasn't been opened in quite a while.
 And does anyone know if this soda machine still works? I was afraid to even get close to it.
 Aww, and I had to include one more picture of the Paper Mill.
Those streets in yellow are what make up Frenchtown. I walked quite a few of them twice, just to get them all in. I think I would have covered better ground if I had carried a map, but I would be way too embarrassed to carry around a map of my own hometown.