Brasil

I check my blog stats almost daily.

 

For the last several days, I see that I have readers in Brasil.  This make me happy for a couple reasons.

 

  1.  I spent 10 months in Brasil when I was in High School as a Rotary Exchange Student.
  2.  I can now wonder if those readers…. whoever they are… might contact me and help me find the family that I stayed with while I was there and lost touch with 25+ years ag0 – well before the internet era of ease of communication.

 

So… if you are one of those readers from Brasil… I lived in the state of Sao Paulo.  I was in the city of Araraquara.  My family’s last known address was in Sao Carlos.  I can give you full names for all the members of the family and approximate ages.

 

Thanks!!

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Do It Myself

You don’t have to do it yourself… be it painting, cleaning, cooking, organizing, soul searching, or living.

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It is OK to do things with someone else. You hire someone to replace your carpet. You let your brother do the bathroom tile grout instead of doing it yourself. You organize yarn with your sister.

You share dreams and hopes and soul searching with your BFF (or significant other) – in fact it is good to do that together.  When you share life with someone, you grow together, you nurture each other, you are not showing weakness to be dependent on someone, you are showing trust and love and strength,  by dealing with things together.

My oldest daughter used to say that all the time “do it myself” (she mostly said that when she was a preschooler).  That is great if you are making toast.  Not so practical when you are living life.

I think our society has become too egocentric and everyone thinks they have to do it all themselves.  WRONG!

Why shouldn’t you do things with people?  You SHOULD!  Life is about relationships.  When we are in relationship with others, we are growing, learning, and loving.  We are meant to be in relationships – both with friends and lovers (who should be your friend too!).
Bible-verses-for-a-failing-marriage
Working together towards common goals – be they silly things like: cleaning the garage or painting a room – or serious things like: where to live or surviving a family crisis – bonds you and strengthens your relationship.

Take a moment and be thankful that you don’t have to “do it yourself” and reflect on all the people in your life that love you, support you, help you, depend on you, encourage you… the people that you are in relationship with that have become part of your heart.  Pull those people close to you (either actually, physically or metaphorically by staying in touch with them) and don’t let them go.

Expounding on it…

I started to write a long comment on Facebook (well, actually I did) and then had more thoughts so brought it back here.

 

We are not searching for a new church to attend. I just wanted to share something that was on my heart (in response to the door slamming shut comment a couple days ago). It seems that some people just don’t understand how this process has affected me and how it has changed our lives completely without hope of reconciliation. How everything I had imagined and dreamed and planned for has been destroyed because Wayne has been removed from pulpit ministry. Yes, of course, dreams change over time and you have to “roll with the punches” (I don’t do that well) but when the cause was needless, it is harder to overcome. Everything is based on 2 people’s statements and then lies and no grace extended nor even rebuttal allowed. I don’t think the “average Joe” really comprehends how much of a pastor’s life and his family’s life is wrapped up in church ministry. How everything you do is based on the church and when that is forcibly removed how you have a hard time even figuring out how to go on and you have no clue what you are to do with yourself. It has been 3 years (since the removal), 4 years since the mess began. We are making it through most days just fine. The impact damage on our lives and our children’s lives will never be overcome. It is NOT the same as a secular job loss, was my main point. Unless you have been involuntarily removed from your ministry position and thrown out like the garbage and not given a chance to restore yourself and no longer permitted to continue in the ministry roles you have held for decades, then you can never truly understand.

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I do have a grasp on the loss of dreams based on a secular/non-religious loss.  My father.  My father became ill when I was in college.  By the time I got married he was either no longer working or only working very part time (I cannot remember).  His health continued to decline until he lost the battle with Multiple Sclerosis in 1993 just 6 short weeks before his first grandchild was to be born.

 

Of course, that threw my mother’s life into tailspin.  Did she ever imagine that she would be a widow at 51?  Of course not.  Did she ever imagine that she would be the sole grandparent (on one side) to her children’s children?  Certainly not.  She imagined (I can only assume) the same things I imagined.  2 loving grandparents, camping, boating, playing, loving, showering with time and gifts, someone to travel with, sit with and watch TV with, someone to keep you warm on a cold night (OK, I didn’t imagine that one, but I assume she did).    Is it right?  Not even slightly.  Should such a great tragedy happen to our family (any family)?  Never.  But it did.  Her life was turned upside down.  She could do nothing to stop it.  My life was turned upside down.  My daddy is gone.

 

So, yes.  I’ve had that experience too (loss of dreams/future based on a non-religious event).  However, my point remains, there was no loss of a church family.  I had the churches we were part of at the time to encourage and support us.  I had people to minister with and to.  I’m not a public griever so I can’t really say that I had people to comfort me in the churches but I’m sure they would have.  My mother had her church family as well.  She had to continue on and finish raising “the boys” without a father.  I’m certain that was tough (they turned out fine).  She had a church family to worship with.  They supported her and encouraged her and prayed for her.  And she has her ministry there and always did.  It was never taken away from her.  She is not a public griever either (guess I learned it?) but I’m sure they offered her comfort in the ways they could as she got through that time – and still does.  It helped alot, I think that we had Abi so soon after dad’s death.  It gave us something good to hold on to, to look forward to.  In fact we had a baby shower just a week after the funeral.  They wanted to cancel it but we wanted to move on, life didn’t come to an end just because our world was upturned.

 

Can you imagine if during that time of great grief we had been told that we could no longer attend church.  That we were no longer allowed to worship with the people we had been with.  The ones who had been supporting us?  That would be unheard of.  You would not send  a grieving family away from a community of faith just because someone died.

Yes, we have a church we are attending.  I’ve said that.  The people there are and would be supportive of us.  But it is not an active congregation for us to get involved in the types of ministry that we enjoy.  No we are not looking to change.  As I said before.  We are there because of family.  We will stay because of family.  The family aspect, right now, is more important to us.  We are sitting, we are trying to heal, it is hard – especially this week when all the atrocities of the politics of the church are thrown back at us in hurtful ways.    We will get through it.  We are definitely scathed.   (auto-correct tells me scathed is not a word that it is only unscathed – what is the opposite then?)    At this point it is too painful to try and re-imagine our future without the church and activities that I believed were always going to be there.  Someday I will be able to do that.

 

One dream I always had was that our children would get married in whatever church we were serving, surrounded by that community of faith and Wayne would help with the service.  Of course, I don’t have any child preparing to marry right now, but that is one of those long held dreams. I have started to re-imagine that one.   🙂     Now that dreams includes children getting married at Wanake.  I wanted to but because of the age and health concerns of relatives and my father, I did not.  If my daughters were to choose that, I will do everything in my power to make that happen.    See… I’m trying to re-imagine.  I’ll get there… eventually.

Where Do You Go?

Do you know this song?

“Where do I go when I need a shelter?
Where do I go when I need a friend?
Where do I go when I need some helping?
Where do I go? Back on my knees again…”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZzUFei6slA

Do you have a physical place that you go as well?  Is there someplace that you retreat to that is a special place, a comforting place?

For me that place is Camp Wanake.  It has been like a second home since I was 4 or 5.  We came here as a family every year for Memorial Day and Labor Day.  I came here as a camper every summer that I could.  I was on staff for 4 summers.  I volunteered for years after that.  Now that I have my own family, again I come for those family camp weekends.  Our children come to camp every summer.  2 have been on staff (so far).  It is part of my blood.

What makes it so special?  Besides it living up to the meaning of its name “beautiful spiritual place among the hills?”  It is one of those places that never changes.  Sure, physically, there have been changes over the years… new buildings built, old ones torn down, buildings that were bathrooms turned into craft houses… additions to buildings, slight changes to camping programs… new property purchased, property sold, other property purchased…

But what doesn’t change are the basics.  God is Nigh!  The sign leading to Vesper Hill declares this and it is true.  There is a peace that settles over this land.  The spirit is the same from 1946 to today.

The dining hall, while now linoleum (instead of cement floor with shuffleboard triangles and 4 square painted on it), air conditioned, painted and other improvements, is still the dining hall.  The ceiling still has “oatmeal” for insulation.  You still have to “hop” your tables.  The kitchen still cooks the same foods (mostly).  The wood beams, the brick fireplace, the sandstone walls… all the same for the last 60+ years.  A hub of camp and a meeting place for everyone!

IMG_0687What else remains the same?  The smell of the cabins, the dilapidated pool shower house (really?  We were sure that wouldn’t withstand the 80’s and it is still here – it even survived the severe storms this summer that took down 100s of trees… none of which even came close to hitting it!), the smell of a campfire, the joy of children playing games in the yard in front of the barn, the frog pond, the trails, people singing, laughing, playing, making new friends, renewing old friendships, the views from inspiration points (though there are more trees now), the feeling of peace and rest and being home that comes over you when you drive down the dusty gravel driveway.

What memories are evoked as I drive down that driveway?  40 years ago… coming as a family and camping in our tent… my father teaching us about nature and loving nature… my dad singing, he loved to sing and he loved leading singing, especially at camp.  30 years ago… being on staff and meeting and loving some of the best people on earth and growing with them and being able to still call them friends after 30 years… people like Wayne, Kris, Tom, Billy, Russ… to name just  a handful.  There is something about the bond of working with each other 24/7 for 3 months that bonds you like no other.  10 (or so) years ago… bringing my children here as campers for their first time for a whole week (they had already been here as family campers) and then hearing their excitement and joy and chuckling at their tears and “re-entry issues” as we went home because camp is so wonderful no one ever wants to leave.  3 years ago… when my oldest was dropped off for her first year as a summer staff… so proud of her and her choice to be part of the ministry of serving God by leading and teaching children in God’s great outdoors and helping them come to know more about Jesus.  Of course there are all kinds of great memories in between, but those are the primary ones that come to mind first.

What has changed?  I could list so many things that have changed in my lifetime.  But none of them are significant enough to counter the feelings that being here evoke.  Some changes include:  the driveway, the “new/green” shower house, less apple trees, the loss of cabins 1, 2, 3, and 3A as well as the Porcelain Pagoda, turning the Cedar Chest into a craft cabin, building 2 new retreat centers, new pool system,  new caretaker’s house, new Ranch property, …. and so on… oh… and WIFI!   🙂   Some/Most of the changes in the last 30 years have been for the better.  Though, the WIFI could stand to have a booster since this post is now on day 2 of trying to get it to go.   🙂

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I pray that this place remains basically unchanged in the next 60 years, so that my children’s children and grandchildren can also enjoy and grow and love in this special place.

This place has brought me peace through the years.  It has brought me love.  It has encouraged my children in closer walks with Christ.   What more can you want when you “..need a shelter… need a friend?”

Getting to know me

I had a brief conversation with a friend – a mom of one of my daughter’s friends – today.  She told me she enjoys reading my blog.  LOL!  Thank you!  I still find it humorous that I actually write something that people might enjoy reading.  I know that I am not the one in this family that is good with words.  But maybe that is more the spoken word?  It is fun to try and think of things to write about.  Most of what I do on a daily basis seems mundane to me, but maybe it is fun for others to see that they are “normal”  and leading a normal, boring, average, busy, crazy life is OK.  I hope someone thinks that!

Now I’ll tell you what the quilt squares mean or at least what I think they mean to me, they may have meant something else to my mom when she picked out the fabric.  Again… remember if you want a homemade quilt go to:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/ZigZagQuilts

IMG_0552 1.  purple lilacs…. my favorite color is purple.  I enjoy nature and being outside.  Honestly, I’m guessing this was probably just a filler fabric she picked to  put in.  But I like it.   🙂

IMG_05532.  Church… if you don’t know, I am a PW (Pastor’s wife)… well… not right at the moment… but I should be…. long story…

IMG_05543.  Music… music is very important to me and my family.  Everyone plays instruments, is in band/was in band/will be in band…  I play piano and flute.

IMG_05554. TP’s or tents… I think it is because I like to tent camp.  I have my family’s OLD canvas cabin tent and enjoy when I get the chance to camp in it.  I wish we did more of that.

IMG_05565. stained glass crosses… again it has to do with being Christian and spending the best part of my adult life working and living for churches.

IMG_05576. beach umbrellas… I am a trained lifeguard and have been for a very long time.  I enjoy the water and the beach and the sun.

IMG_05587.  Brownie Try-its… because I’m a Girl Scout, of course!  Too bad they changed the curriculum.  The try-its were some of the best curriculum they had, not a fan of the new stuff.

IMG_05598. sailboats… when I was growing up, Dad and I would go sailing (OK, we took the rest of the family too).  I did a science fair project on sailing.  Somewhere we still have my wooden model boat that I made with Dad.  The sailboat is still parked behind my Mom’s garage.  Someday I will get the lines changed and take her out again.

IMG_05609.  girls… because I have 4 daughters!   🙂

IMG_056110.  Junior Badges… that Girl Scout thing again!  Did you know that I am a lifetime member?

IMG_056211. Thread… I’m guessing this is a filler fabric again… while I can sew, it isn’t my favorite thing… it is more my mom’s thing.  But maybe it is for crafting?

IMG_056312.  Knitting ewes… because it is cute and I knit!  If you haven’t seen some of the knitting projects, then look at my photos on facebook or come to the Stark County fair and look at my afghans!

IMG_0564 13.   Girl Scouts mottos, themes, symbols… not only am I a lifetime member but my mother is and so is my #1 daughter.

IMG_056514.  swimsuits on a clothesline… because I am a lifeguard… because I have been a swim instructor… because my girls are all great swimmers…

IMG_056615. cardinals… I enjoy identifying birds and watching them.  Sadly, there are too many cats around my house so I don’t get much variety, but I did take an Ornithology class in college.  Probably my favorite class ever… though the dissecting the cat anatomy class is pretty high up there.

IMG_056716.  Vegetables… I think it is supposed to coordinate with my current job working for Market Day… but really it is probably because I’m not a huge fan of eating some vegetable… most of them in that fabric… carrots are my least favorite of all!

IMG_056817.  cats… because I like cats… we have 3 indoor ones and just  a small herd of 6-8 feral ones that roam outside.

So… how many did you get right??

Nicknames

Nicknames….

Dictionary.com says this:

nick·name

1. a name added to or substituted for the proper name of a person, place, etc., as in affection, ridicule,or familiarity

2. a familiar form of a proper name, as Jim  for James  and Peg  for Margaret.

How do you feel about them?  Do you have one?  Did you have one as a child?

In our family, some do and some don’t.

Let’s start at the top:

Wayne – not much you an do to shorten that one for a “familiar form.”  While I didn’t know him in High School, I do know that he had a nickname then of “Duke.”  I’m not sure I ever got the real reason, but I assume it had to do with the name Wayne… John Wayne… John Wayne was call Duke…  Now he is most often called “Dad.”

 

Patricia – if you go by the second definition, I have a nickname of Tricia.  I have not been a Pat (except for that first grade teacher, but we won’t go there) and some people who think they are being friendly by randomly shortening my name when they don’t even know me… but that was a whole other post.  I don’t recall having a nickname as a child.  If I did, I’m sure my mother will post it in the comments.   🙂    When I was first on staff at Camp Wanake, I was nicknamed Fozzie (as in Fozzie Bear) for that summer because I had a really fuzzy perm and one other lifeguard was called Kermit.  This was 1982 so Muppets were big.   What I am called most often now is “Mom” or Mrs. Scott.  or Mommy Scott – depending on if you are birth child, Girl Scout, or band/swim child.  I’ve often wished to be called Sweetheart, but that doesn’t seem to be something that will ever happen.

Abigail – in utero she as referred to as Wilhelmina (a middle name of Grandma Harding).  Her “familiar form” is Abi.  Being a name purist of sorts (OK, yes I am), we did not want to go with Abby, Abbey, or Abbie.  We went with Abi – just drop the gail.  As an infant she was sometimes referred to as Sweet-pea or was it Pumpkin Cookie?  I can’t remember which went with which daughter.  As she entered the preteen/teen years more often she was referred to as Crabigail or Crabby Abi…. hormones!  She had some friends that called her Abbeh or Abo and even Abi (long i sound).

Elizabeth – now there is a name that you can have your pick of nicknames for.  When she was young she was a Lizzie.  (and probably a sweet-pea or pumpkin cookie, whichever one Abi was not)  As a toddler if you asked her her name she would tell you:  “My name is Izzie!”  She is  a great Lizzie!  When her little sisters came along, she was often called Sissy.  I know several other Elizabeths that have the nickname of sissy, interesting.  Now she is pretty much just Liz.  Nothing that refers to being crabby rhymes with Liz, so she avoided that.

Lydia – again the purist came out.  She is a Lydi – just drop the “a.”  Not a Lyddie, Liddie, or Liddy.  When she was a baby she had a plethora of nicknames.  We called her Bitty.  Mainly because, at the time, she was the baby and she looked so much like an American Girl bald bitty baby.  She was not small, so it had nothing to do with size.  She was, in fact, our largest birth weight baby.  Bitty sometimes got mangled to Bittley or Biddly.  We have a friend that still calls her that sometimes.  When her little sister came along and was learning to talk, Lydia became La-la.  Sometimes, I still catch myself calling her La-la or at least thinking it.   🙂

Esther – we went with Essi.  While not totally able to go purist on that, there is no “e” on the end, more like Abi.  She is still an Essi to many.  Though on most of her school papers she writes Esther.  She was called “Jo” by her father for many years – maybe still is occasionally.  I have called her “bug.”  She is also just “E.”  Grandma calls her “Lester” sometimes, because Grandma gets on a roll and it is easier to just say Liz, Lydia, Lester.   I have heard her called “Pester,” but not as much as you might think.

Pets…. oh the pets… they have some great nicknames.

Going waaaaaayyyy back…
Hannah (cat) was called Hannie
Savannah (cat) was called Sally
Emphie (dog – beloved dog) was called Bubba.  She truly was a Bubba though.  When Abi came along and was learning to talk, “puppy” sounded like Bubbie, so that is what we all called her for the next 15 years.

 

Current Pets:

Jupiter (large black cat) – Jupie, Stupie, Blackie, Jupiter Stupider – and various other names – he really isn’t that bright, please don’t take offense at us using that word for a cat.  When he pees inappropriately sometimes, one just gets frustrated.
Peter (cat) – yeah, he’s just called Peter.  He is aloof and “regal” so he doesn’t warrant a nickname

Genevieve (cat) – Geni (Jenny?) – yeah, it had to do with Harry Potter
Pumpkin Lumpkin (dog) – Punkie, baddog, dumdog – again, don’t judge.  Often those are said in an endearing tone because again, the minuscule bladder she has is an issue.

 

 

Do you have a nickname?  Snook-ums, buttercup… or something equally cutesie?

 

Answer to the question of the other day’s post:  What Dr. Seuss Book did my first line sound like?  Cat in the Hat

Cousins

How many cousins do you have?  I have…. let me count…

…. Aunt Hazel = 2

…. Aunt Jerry = 5

… Uncle Buck = 2

… Aunt Liz = 3

… Aunt Dorie = 4

… Uncle Alan = 3

Which brings the total to:  19 first cousins.

Sadly, of that 19, I only have 13 still living.

I have heard it said that cousins are your first friends.  Not so in my case,  of those cousins only 1 was actually my age and we rarely (if ever) saw her.  The rest had cousins their ages and/or groups of them the same age.  I have one slightly younger girl cousin and she, as well, was alone with friend cousins.   All the older ones were grouped together.  They often tell stories of the fun things they did together.   They may have had all that fun, but they all know that I was Grandpa Dailey’s favorite!   🙂

 

My husband and his siblings tell great stories of the fun things they did with their first cousins who are close in age to them.  My sister-in-law even had a best friend cousin/twin sister like our daughters do.

 

My children have 6 cousins on one side and 5 on the other.  So 11 all total.  Pretty good in this day and age when families keep getting smaller and smaller.   There is one large group of cousins that are virtually the same age – in a span of 15 months each Scott sibling had a child.  However, 3 of them were boys and we had Abi!  Thankfully, on the Zagray side, there was a girl cousin born in that same time frame.   Our Liz has a best friend cousin/twin sister in Emily.  They are officially called the “medium” girls because there was always Abi & Brad, aka the “big kids” and then along came Lydia and Esther, the “little girls.”  The Medium Girls even have a theme song.  They truly were each others first best friend.  Time and work and age and school don’t allow them the time to hang out together as much any more, but I’m sure that “once a medium girl, always a medium girl.”

 

IMG_0233Then there are the younger cousins, “the boys.”  It seems funny to call them “the boys” because I always called my 2 brothers that and still do.  But now, my youngest brother has 3 sons and they are “the boys.”  The boys are visiting with us at the lake for a day or 2 to enjoy the sand and water and cousin time.  2 of them are close in age to Esther.  She falls right between them in age – she’s 11 to their 12 and 10.  Then there is the youngest who is 6 (I think).  They played hard today. They enjoy playing together.  She was so excited that they came out to play.

 

Of course, if you’ve been reading carefully, you see that that leaves Lydia without a cousin her age.  That would be correct.  There is no first cousin her age on either side of the family.  There is a second cousin, but we don’t see him that often and well, at 14 and of opposite genders, they probably wouldn’t be hanging out together anyways.

 

I often wished I had close cousins, but that wasn’t to be for me.  I am very glad that my children do have great cousins and are making wonderful memories with them.   (Like playing in a huge puddle after the storm!)