Lunar Perigee

(pronounced with a hard “g” as in juice)


We have just changed the time again.  I love getting the extra hour back, and bright mornings again, but evenings now feel like we have slipped into a pocket of darkness for the winter.  Sort of an emotional hibernation.   So we look up. 

The Moon revolves around the Earth in an elliptical orbit.  This means it is sometimes closer to the Earth than other times.  The point of the orbit closest to the Earth is called the Perigee. Conversely, the point of the orbit furthest from the Earth is called the Apogee.  The moon will be at Perigee on November 14.   This would be a very ordinary event, since it happens about each month, but it is notable that this particular time, it will be closer than it has since 1948, and won’t be again until 2034. 

Lunar phases do not sync with its approach to Perigee or Apogee.  When a full moon occurs close to the moon’s perigee, it is known as a Supermoon.  This particular one will become full within about two hours of perigee making it sort of an extra supermoon.  Moon rise will be the best time to go out (or look out) to see this night’s moon since near the horizon, illusion mixes with reality to make a low hanging moon that appears unnaturally large.

These regular rotations and revolutions give order and balance to our universe.  This is so necessary on so many levels, the least we can do is watch, pray, appreciate.  We sometimes struggle for order and balance to our lives and our thinking; so to look to our Creator to help us maintain that order and balance is wise.  We look up in gratefulness, for what He has done, not so we can imitate the balance and order on our own strength, but to ask Him to accomplish that in our hearts and lives.

Tides are mostly generated by the moon’s gravitational pull, so at the perigee, the moon pulls harder, producing a Spring Tide.  Don’t get too excited though, it doesn’t mean we get spring, nor does it (necessarily) happen in spring.  The word”spring” in this case is merely a synonym to “jump”, or “leap”.   So until the “season of spring” returns and we are released from the pocket of darkness, we will look for other fascinating occurances in our universe.

So now the mystery has been snatched away :-) , enjoy the upcoming supermoon.  Meanwhile, I have just entered perigee to the coffee pot. I think I can reach it now.

Quite Sincerely, Pam.

Quite Sincerely, Pam.

He that is first….

The Justice  system here in the United States, is based on the Ancient Roman Republic, in structure.  But its basis for specifically being allowed to face your accuser (no anonymous tips are allowed in a court of law), and to be cross-examined (so his side of the story doesn’t merely stand on its own) is based on Proverbs 18:17 “He that is first in his own cause seemeth just;  but his neighbor cometh and searcheth him.” (kjv).  In a more current vernacular: “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” (esv)

See, the justice system in this country cares about , well, justice.  Hearsay is not allowed, and in fact if it is not actually true (as in- only his perception of events and not the whole truth) it can be called slander and is prosecutable.

The Media does *not* care as much about justice, as about revenue.  They want to not be in trouble for libel, so they check their sources and facts.  But it is fairly clear that most media is very biased toward a liberal slant (to the extent they nearly touch the ground in many cases).  They control, to a large degree, what the country thinks about things.  This then controls their actions.

Many people do not recognize the difference between a factual piece and an opinion piece.  We need to understand where our “news” or “facts” come from.  Are they from Joe anybody on YouTube, or a blog or editorial place where people can say anything and publish it, making you believe the news is true?  If you come across an odd sounding story, do you run it through “Snopes.com” before you just buy into it?

Maybe you do none of those things.  But do you listen to someone complain about someone else, sometimes even as they “ask for prayer” so they can “handle them”?  Do you just buy into it, passing it on to others?  Do you treat the victim differently without even going to them to ask for their perception of events, and instead mentally file it into the “sounds like them” category (sometimes based on the last thing you listened to and believed without checking into it).  Do you “get concerned” and embellish it just a little so your slanderous gossip sounds holy and good?   Are we more like the justice system or the media?

The Holy Spirit will give us grace to forgive others.  But if we have told a few more folks and they buy into it, taking on the offense for you, they don’t receive that same grace to forgive.  I have seen people still hanging on to a grudge that was not theirs to hold for years after the original angry one had forgotten about it.

These seem like simple things.  Why are they not practiced in that simple way?

“The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.” Proverbs 18:17 (niv)

As a ‘man’ thinketh…

Some days are like that for everyone, I suspect.  Days where you feel as though you dangle by a mere thread and wish someone would reach down and hold on to your hand.  When I finally got around to mentioning it sort of vaguely (to God), the answer was immediate and stark.  “If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.” (Heb.11:15)  The preacher read it, and expounded.  It was sort of a “so you want to go back to Egypt?!” moment for me.  Of course I don’t!  I know that country and chose to go away from it.  My eyes don’t really want to look toward Egypt, but do they want the promise?  Have I been actively living for that?  Some days I admit, I don’t.  I am only looking to get my stuff done so I can read a book or finally get to bed.  Or I feel on the verge of whelmed and someone adds a straw, and then I am overwhelmed.  This is really nothing new, nor is it unique to me.  It is what life is, and quite often the distractions and interruptions *are* what we should be doing.  So for whatever reason we get our focus wrong, we do.  And we need each other to help us get back on track.  Not with a rebuke necessarily, but by encouragement, or reminder, or sometimes a hug.

Some excerpts from Hebrews 10: “…let *us* draw near to God…”; “Let *us* hold unswervingly to the hope we profess…”; “let *us* consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…”

We are *us*, not just *I*.  So with all our self focused thoughts and deeds, *let us* focus on caring for each other.  For some of us, we are all we have.  I’m putting my focus back here (the promise), where it belongs.
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IMG_1538IMG_1539     “Earth laughs in flowers”(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

 

Cold Brew

If you’ve known me very long, you have probably heard me say I don’t like cold coffee, and perhaps you’ve noticed I tend to heat it hotter than just plain hot.  I do love it extra hot.  And black.  I never liked those fluffy cold coffee drinks they need a blender for or even iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk etc…  nothing cold.  Not even a little less than very hot.

Until now.  Cold brew is ground course (my preference anyway) and brewed on your counter in cold water for 12-24 hours, then strained and put into the refrigerator.  THIS is good.  It smells good, it tastes good, with not a hint of bitter.  It is almost too easy to drink too much.  I never thought I would say that about cold coffee.  Cold brewed black coffee.

I dIMG_1210ragged my feet regarding the garden, earlier this spring.  Even when it wasn’t raining or storming, whenever I thought “I really should go out there and see what they’re on about”, there was immediate and thunderous disinterest.  My usual seriosity about flowers fell on a deaf heart.  My whole being radiated the message (to the garden) “go away, I am busy”.  Being as old to this world as I am, I didn’t worry too much about myself or the garden, and sure enough we are back on friendly terms again.  All things planted that are needed and the roses and I are back in each other’s good graces.

After today’s battle, I walked back into the house and it smelled like fresh coffee grounds.  Usually when you walk into our house, you smell coffee.  It lingers nicely.  On a fishing day though it may smell like fish.  It’s worth it. Summer is on.

“Quick now, here, now, always-
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.”
(T.S.Eliot)

 

A Tale of Two Gardens. Eventually.

It is inevitable that at least once each year I will discuss gardens and flowers.  So for all you indoor people, be forewarned – worms ahead.  Worms are good.  Actually a lot of things are good in their right places.  For  example, worms are good in the garden but not as good in my refrigerator.  In a way:  The worms do keep longer in the fridge, and they’ll wake up when they warm up, in time to be put on a hook and eaten by a fish.  But I really don’t care for when they escape the container inside my fridge.   Snakes are also good in their ecosystem.  They eat an abundance of bad bugs and mice.  This keeps the population of those things in check.  But when they get in a house and multiply, nobody is happy.

The trick in the flower garden, is to pull out the actual weeds, but to leave those tiny seedlings you want, that have grown from last year’s flowers.  This is why I can’t just assign someone else to go out to do it unless I am going too.  Not that I would. Just saying.

It is also time to bring all overwintered plants outside with the understanding that they can come back in if it freezes.  This gives more space in the living room to reorganize and wash the floor and windows.  All projects lead to more projects.  There are also plants that want to be repotted, or divided.  I prefer doing this in the fall but some won’t wait.  It’s nice when it isn’t terribly windy, but here in Southern MN, spring is wind.  You just have to find a secluded spot so the dirt doesn’t blow away while you’re working on it.

If you haven’t gotten out to trim vines before now, it is probably too late to benefit the plant, but you can still do it if you’re willing to sacrifice future flowers.  Roses that are runaway, can be left to stab you all summer, or you can trim them even though they clearly have leaves and possibly buds already.  It’s a difficult thing but experience will tell you it may be better to just clip them.  Had the dead vines from last year been trimmed off of the clematis, it would have sent the energy into new ones this year.  But the old ones will suffice and they’ll all look sort of eclectic out there.  In other words: things don’t have to be perfect, to be wonderful.  So in your “survival of the fittest gardens”, don’t worry too much, just do what you can.  The plants will take care of themselves, or they’ll die.  Either one.  But you can look at it and decide what to do each year and that is fun.

I have an older garden, that has taken on many forms and border changes through the years.  It looks like I don’t have a clue, right now.  But soon it will look like it was all planned out to every detail, and I’m always happy with it.  I have another garden that has also gone through forms and border changes and it never quite is what I want.  It’s newer, so that may be partly why, but I also haven’t fallen in love with it and involved my children in its photography over the years.  It may be those things, but I just don’t know.  It’s hard to feel motivated about this garden, and it usually looks scruffy.  If you judge me by one, you’ll feel one way about me.  If you judge me by the other, you’ll feel another way about me.  My recommendation is to not judge me by either.  It’s easier for you.

“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils…”

(From “The Daffodils” by William Wordsworth)

April Showers

April is a fickle month in MN.  One never knows one day to the next if it will rain, shine, sleet, (sometimes snow), be warm, cold, or in between; Unless of course you read the weather report, then you may have some idea.  I generally prefer to step outside and take a look around each morning.  Life should have some wonder and surprise, and a sunrise and weather are always a wonder.

April also has a few special days in it.  Forget April Fools Day – I hate that one. I like having fun, but I tend to shy away from doing so at another’s expense.  Seems like practical jokes come back to bite.

Lillian and Kim have birthdays this month, but it seems like quite a few of their friends do also, which is kind of fun.  Thomas Jefferson’s birthday is on the 13th.  We don’t tend to celebrate it but it seems worth mentioning.  Square root day was the 4th, for obvious reasons.  Arbor Day is somewhere in there, as is the Turkmen racehorse festival (in Turkmenistan anyway).   One of my favorites is Day of Silence (April 15th – Makes me wonder if it’s related to tax day).  We could perhaps even pull it off except that it’s one of our birthday days here.  I remember the day she was born.  It was warm enough to walk around outside.  There were dandelion greens all over and I remember thinking that if I felt more like bending down and picking things I could make a salad with them.

Last year I reminded all those who read this (mark) that April is National Poetry month.  I go through rare periods of inability to grab onto inspiration, as in now, so this year I’m reminding myself.  For what it’s worth, it is also National Mathematics awareness month, so maybe I’ll be more aware of that instead.

Here’s hoping all of the above will lead to May flowers,

Mostly sincerely, ~Pam.

Mostly sincerely, ~Pam.

 

Caspar Milquetoast (historical comic trivia as therapy)

Caspar Milquetoast is a wimpy comic strip character created by H.T. Webster from 1924- into the 50’s. Caspar’s last name is a deliberate misspelling of a bland and fairly inoffensive food appropriate for someone with a weak or nervous stomach. Webster described Caspar Milquetoast as “the man who speaks softly and gets hit with a big stick”. The modern dictionary definition of milquetoast (meaning a very shy or retiring person) comes from Webster’s cartoons.

Now there are obvious elements of this kind of person that are good;  We don’t want to be offensive, sometimes someone who is nervous is cute, speaking softly with our indoor voice when we’re indoors is a good thing.  But I submit that there are some areas where this will get you average or below average goods, services, or worse.  Sometimes if we say something (nicely), we can get the group rate, correct calculation errors or receive discounts, etc….  Kind of a “you have not because you ask not” concept.  Also (the “worse” I refer to), Caspar was a timid soul; A man who was easily dominated or led by a proverbial nose ring.  He was so easy to convince – The girl who chased him simply made her moon face at him as she chased him around for a few years until her father went after him.  Of course Caspar wasn’t man enough to say no (plus it was flattering and he didn’t know that flattery is like perfume: nice to sniff, toxic to swallow).  So he never got around to (and was too timid) pursuing and winning the heart of the one who secretly adored him but would never chase him.  But then perhaps he wanted a dominant obnoxious woman, who knows.

Spring keeps peeking at me.  The March that came in like a lamb, looks like (at least in my neighborhood) it will go out like a lamb as well.  The snowstorm that was announced, was further south so we got a mere 2 inches of soggy snow that melted with the sun.  The swans have paused their travel north to the Arctic Circle so that we can observe their graceful beauty up close in our own waterways.  The swans, of course, are charmingly ignorant of how beautiful they are, which, I suppose makes us all the more grateful.  The Buffleheads (small American sea duck) are also passing through, and their noise makes me smile every year.  No Pelicans yet.  Hilariously comical, we love to watch them but always hope they don’t stay in our ponds (they’d destroy them worse than a large population of geese).   I find my energy returning with the length of days.

Happy Easter.

Quite Sincerely, Pam.

Quite Sincerely, Pam.

Suddenly, the days are longer.

Ok I realize it wasn’t suddenly in real time, but when you look here, we go from getting shorter pretty quickly, to now it is 6:17pm  and still pretty light out.  Miraculous really.  A lot of happenings between then and now, but also a lot of being sick.  I don’t like excuses though and really it is only myself that misses posts here. :-)  Actually, what I really miss, is the stream of events that brings a thought to a series of thoughts, to writing them down until I like it, to posting it on something permanent.  It’s been falling flat on the writing them down part.  I hope any who stumble on this will forgive me for that bit of self-centeredness (the thing I just said).

IMG_7382Kim is big in the news here at our house.  She is sorting and making lists, sewing dresses for her uniform and generally vacillating between being excited and nervous.  It will be her first time moving from home for longer than a few months and that is scary for her.  And we will miss her (!)  But we want our children to have good,normal, happy lives and this was an event that was an answer to specific prayer.  Well, that and she passed her boards (nursing test). Go Kim!    Mountain View in Aroda, VA will soon have a new nurse.

The snow in the yard is almost gone.  The snow on the nearby ski hills is not almost gone.  Yet it gets a dull sheen to it that indicates spring is near.  It seemed like a brief winter.  Late in coming, early in leaving.  Perhaps I will retract that in March.  Some of our worst snow storms happen in March.

Jonathan is at Bible School and loving it.  He wants me to bring his unicycle :-0 .  The Trumpeter Swans are migrating again, and we plug along each day doing all the needful things.  And I am realizing that I got as far on “the stream of events”, as writing them down.  I’ll probably also even get it on my site (such as it is).  But clever has taken a vacation.  I hope it returns in my lifetime.

As always,

Mostly sincerely, ~Pam.

Mostly sincerely, ~Pam.

“I don’t know how you do it”

I have stated before that I can barely get my native English language right, and have found myself the village idiot, in a few other languages too.  But if I’m not mistaken, the phrase “I don’t know how you do it”, usually is the speaker’s way of saying something nice right?  As in “you’re amazing”.  My mom is over here a lot, which is nice.  Today I was trying to make some breakfast and discuss the potato project afterwards, while fighting kind of an unusual mess even for a Monday.  I know what you’re thinking.  Something like “I can’t go to bed without making sure the kitchen is clean and ready to use in the mornings”, or “Mondays are so hard anyway I sure would never leave it messy the night before”.  Yeah, I know.   So anyway, while we are fighting the stuff, she sat down and said it:  “I just don’t know how you do it”.  And what *she* meant was, “I don’t know how you can think or do anything in this mess”.  I know her better than you so I know this is true :-) .  Now she actually thinks pretty highly of me, it’s just that she was commenting on something she just couldn’t handle right then.  I laughed to myself and just kept on going, but I felt it a bit too.  Some things just can’t be helped though and now I’m at the end of the day and things have worked out.   But the comment reminded me of when I tell people “You could eat off my kitchen floor”.   (the reason for that is that there is usually food on it).

Oldest daughter unit is visiting with her family.   While Lauryl and the 2 year old were playing in the girls room, Lauryl started shooting a hair band at the window.   The 2 year old then told her to “grow up”.  So Lauryl comes out to the kitchen to tell me this and laughingly says that if a 2 year old is telling her to grow up then she may need to take it seriously now.  We’ll see :-D

Well that’s all the news for now that I’m willing to part with anyway.  Some things should stay in my head and heart where they are safe.  Life has a way of working things out anyway.

Have a peaceful Christmas Season.  It was meant for that you know.  Not for stress or striving.

Quite Sincerely, Pam.

Quite Sincerely, Pam.

 Deep roots are not reached by the frost

Mark has been growing vegetables in the basement, hydroponically.  Also, he has continued the garden after the frost (back in September) using cloth over bended poles to cover things like broccoli and cabbage (pretty easy) and lettuce (not as easy).  I have a potted cherry tomato that I brought in to put under his lights.  With all this, I’ve noticed a few things:  The lettuce that grows inside is beautiful, but it’s leaves are thinner, not as crunchy as the lettuce grown outside in the cold.  It is also cleaner.  Mark prefers the outdoor lettuce because he likes the crunch.  I prefer the indoor lettuce because I like that it isn’t dirty.  It seems the cold hardens them- makes them stronger.   We have a number of tomato plants in the basement.  Mine that I mentioned, is doing pretty well under regular lighting and is well in the basement where it stays fairly warm. But again, without the winds to strengthen the stalk, it is weaker than summer tomatoes outside.  I water it and deadhead the marigolds and pretend I have a garden there (in my little plant pot).  There are also some that Mark cloned from my garden favorites, near the window where they only get natural sunlight (such as it currently is).  It isn’t cold, but it also isn’t as warm there.  These plants are spindly and tall and cannot hold themselves up and the leaves are beginning to get wilty even though they have everything else they need.  They also prevent the curtains closing in the master guestroom down there so my apologies to those visitors who have had to sleep with cats or coyotes peering in the window through the tomato leaves.  Then there was a tomato plant out in our new greenhouse.  The floor heat wasn’t connected in there yet so while there was a bit of sunlight low in the sky, and it wasn’t freezing in there, there was no wind and the floor wasn’t warm.  This tomato plant produced quite a few tomatoes just before it died for no apparent reason.  It turns out that the roots on a tomato plant need warmth. I keep thinking about that one, along with the hardening of the lettuce.  I believe I’ll keep thinking on it because there is a message in there somewhere.  

In case you are wondering about pollination for those tomato flowers, Mark uses a toothbrush.  :-)  We’ve been kept in plenty of salad for a couple of months now.  It’s great.

On an even more fun note, Jonathan is home again after over 3 years in Haiti.  The first Sunday he was home, he woke the other boys up with a fog horn/siren/revelle medley through a loud speaker.  Mark and looked at each other in the kitchen and said “Jon’s home”.   Jonathan has a different way of looking at life, or perhaps just way more of how we look at life, but we like him that way.  We also like that he listens to us and adjusts.  Welcome home Jon!

As we prepare for another family wedding, there is much to do.  Between all that though, the children made a snowman and the hunters keep hunting. Normalcy continues and we strive for peace.  The fabric of life is woven deep.  Life doesn’t have to be perfect, to be wonderful.

Have a great week,

Quite Sincerely, Pam.

Quite Sincerely, Pam.

 

All that is gold does not glitter
Not all those who wander are lost
The old that is strong does not wither
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
(J.R.R.Tolkien)