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June 23, 2015
bitsofthepast

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A Snail Race

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As I was looking through all the pictures of past summers the other day, I came across these fun pictures.  Last summer, the kids were out pretty late, and being very quiet.  This almost never happens, as they scream and yell through the evening.  All the kids in the neighborhood do! I remember going in the backyard and looking for them, but no kids to be found.  As I walked around the front, Mr. Bit was already out with the kids having a snail race.  The sprinklers had just stopped running for the evening, and the snails were out, so the kids gathered all they could find and placed the snails in a circle.  They had created a circle of sticks so the snails could not get far.  When they removed the circle, the race was on.  Thirty minutes later, the race was still on! It took quite a while for all of them to make their way back into the shrubs.  In fact we had to put many back ourselves!  It was a funny impromptu moment.  Easily forgotten in the everyday, but when reminded, all the detail are there.

We have not had this many snails this summer, but we have had lots of ladybugs!  I have never seen so many, which is good since they eat the aphids from our fruit trees.  I have loved watching Little Bit collect them in a container then dumping all  the ladybugs onto our trees.  I think I have a little gardener on my hands.  She not only does this with ladybugs, but also with worms.  She digs deep holes in her sandbox, and takes all the worms out.  When she has collected them all, she places them randomly in the garden, although I have seen her give them to the chickens from time to time.

Oh well, I guess that is the life of a country kid.

Hope you all are enjoying your summers!

Love,

Suzy

June 18, 2015
bitsofthepast

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Boats

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I love the fact that my kids, although growing, had the bright idea of making boats yesterday!  In fact it was my oldest idea!  He is too old to be playing in the kiddie pool, but he wanted to be outside.  He took the lead on having the idea to help bring out all the equipment to make boats.  The other two quickly took to this idea, and I do not thing the pool was played in by any of the children.  Our dog “Happy”  on the other hand, jumped right in!

The rest of the day was spent with Oldest Bit spraying his brother and sister, jumping on the trampoline, and then reading in the shade.

Oh, I do love summer days like this.  Makes me want to go outside and make boats too!

Hope you are all enjoying your summer!

Love,

Suzy

June 16, 2015
bitsofthepast

3 comments

Sunday Storytelling on a Tuesday: Hospitality

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In 1997, I had the opportunity to go to India for the entire summer.  I was in college, and looking for purpose and adventure.  The group I was placed in had the opportunity to go to a city called Varanasi in Utter Pradesh.  There we would have the chance to work in Mother Teresa’s home for the sick and dying. Varanasi is where many Hindus go to die.  It is said that creation began there, that if one dies on the appropriate side of the Ganges river, you will finally rest with no reincarnating.  It was a beautiful city, and I am sure it still is.  At age 20, I ventured out, to go save the world!  And of course as I quickly found out, India would save me.  Isn’t that what we all learn?  That when we think we will go and do amazing things, others will end up doing amazing things in our lives instead.

Let me tell you how the people of India changed me from the very beginning of my trip.  We arrived when it was early morning, and people were still sleeping.  Not just in their homes, but all lined up on the streets.  The smells were overwhelming, and I can still smell them today.  Mustiness, mixed with gasoline, mixed with every spice you could ever imagine.  The roads and cars were crazy, with no real driving lanes, or rules. I am sure I looked the sight.  A naïve, blonde, American girl. Here to make a difference.  We were escorted to our hosts.  Let me make something clear, we did not stay in fancy hotels, take first class or experience any luxuries.  We were to live as though India was our home even down to the way we dressed, and we were no different than the rest.  Nevertheless, one can be scared to see a place vastly different from the one they are used too.

We arrive at our hosts home, tired, smelly and hungry.  Upon pulling up, we quickly realized that our hosts lived in a poverty we had never seen before.  The house was small, and I know I was thinking about where I was to sleep.  How I was to get clean, and all my comforts were nonexistent.  We walked up to the door, not expecting much in the way of food, showers, cleanliness.  As the door opened, we became so ashamed.  Why?  Because of the way we were greeted.  Laying on the ground in front of us was the word “Welcome” spelled out in lotus flowers.  As we crossed over the flower threshold, we were each greeted with a cold bottle of Coke.  This bottle of Coke may mean nothing to you, and at first it did not to us, until we learned that cold sodas of any sort were considered a luxury and very expensive.  We were each taken to a soft chair and given a wet cloth to wash our face and hands.  As we sat in the soft chairs, our host turned on the overhead fan.  The most magical thing happened at this very moment.  Lotus buds filled with water came flying of the fan and sprinkling us with coolness, and that is when I cried.

I was tired, and overstimulated and I broke down.  I broke down because I was humbled.  Out of poverty, they went out of their way to make us feel welcome.  Out of poverty, they purchased for me an ice cold Coke so I would feel loved.  Out of love, they filled lotus buds full of water, so that I could feel welcome.  My preconceived notions of what I was doing for the world flew out of the window.

Lets be honest, if this happened here in America, it would be amazing, but we would tell the host it was too much.  She should not have gone to all that trouble.  But if I had said that in India, I would have deeply wounded my hosts.  They did it because they wanted to love us, not to make us feel uncomfortable.  We are here to lavishly love others, and yes, that love will make them feel slightly uncomfortable, but it also makes them feel so loved!

Since that trip, I have gone overboard with hospitality, because I have been so lavishly loved.  I do not do it to make others feel as thought they have to, or to make them feel guilty.  I do it because I want to.  I love surprising those who do not expect to be surprised.  I have been told that it is way too much, and you know what I want to say back?  Why not?  Why not make those who need love, feel special.

India changed my life. Everywhere I went, I was surprised and welcomed.  They did much more saving of me, than I could have done.

I hope we all have moments in our lives where we can be surprised and humbled by the love of others.  How amazing this world would be if we could all lavishly welcome others into our home and lives the way I was welcomed that day.

Love,

Suzy

June 16, 2015
bitsofthepast

2 comments

Garden Update

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Two blog posts in one day!  You better believe it!  I feel as though I have a world of catching up to do with you all, and a lot of reading other blogs just to see what is happening!  My goal a week ago was to try and write everyday, and I even made a calendar of some of the things I would like to write about, so I have some catching up to do, and more than anything…..I miss you all so much.  I have been quite lonely with my little injury, and to be quite honest, cannot sit for long periods of time.  So I am doing my writing while standing!

Our garden is finally in!  I was not able to do any of the planting, but I did all the shopping and planning for my husband.  He sat me down, put a beer in my hand and had me watch and boss him around when the planting was happening.  I know I should be loving that, but I do like to get my hands dirty, and I do like to work.

We have four varieties of heirloom tomatoes, four roma tomatoes, potatoes, onions, cabbage, melons, carrots, peas, lettuce, corn, different herbs, radishes and a nice sunflower garden starting to sprout.

We tried to be really thoughtful as to how much work we wanted to put into it this year.  Every year, we get so excited to plant, and then come September, we are scrambling to get all of it preserved for the winter.  So, we paced ourselves on the tomatoes, because quite frankly, we are trying to avoid waste.

We are still in the honeymoon phase of the garden, you know, when it is all new and exciting.  We are hopeful, and not tired of it yet, but I will let you know how it goes.  I guarantee that it will not be shiny, new and exciting forever!

Looking forward to seeing where you guys are at with your gardens!

Love,

Suzy

June 16, 2015
bitsofthepast

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Updates on the Wild Things

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It is summer and it is wild here.  We have not had any huge expeditions, well I take that back.  We had one, that resulted in a big injury for me that has had me going to intense physical therapy three times a week.  More on that later, but because of this injury, and how time consuming it is, we have not had time or energy to go on hikes, the lake etc.  Summer has not been our usual travel, camping kind of summer.  I am finding that this is probably the best thing for us right now, and I am trying to help my kids explore the fun world of home summer projects.  I am feeling a little better this week, so hopefully a trip to the pool is in order because projects are just not fun!

Little Bit is doing well, and we are currently looking for a flute teacher.  Her old one was having too many health issues, and had to stop.  So we are on the hunt.  We are also looking for a girl scout troop close by.  She gets to watch her brothers do bunches of fun stuff in the Boy scouts, so she has been begging for an opportunity.  We have hopefully found a troop, and will be starting soon. She is growing like a weed, and I am looking forward to having this quality time in the girl scouts with her, without any brothers to distract.

Middle Bit is still loving cooking, and just got back from one of his grandparents house.  They call it camp William, where he gets to be all by himself and eat all the peanut butter he dreams of, with no older brother there to have allergies.  He called me everyday and told me what they made, and it all had peanut butter in it!  He got to hang out with his cousin, who will be moving far away soon, so that means they will not get to see each other as often.  So sad, but we are happy for their new adventure.

Oldest Bit is just that…old.  His voice is changing, he is super tall, and he acts so much older.  In fact he did not participate in the sweatshirt monsters up above, instead he took pictures and encouraged the further stretching of their clothing.  I am glad I did not witness this escapade.  I would have been a little irritated by the ruining of their sweatshirts.  Somehow looking at the pictures made me laugh instead of get mad.

We are trying to enjoy the outdoors more, and take advantage of actually being home for a whole summer.  Although we are getting a little wiggly, as evidenced from the pictures above.

Hope you all are enjoying your summer!

Love,

Suzy

June 10, 2015
bitsofthepast

2 comments

Yarn Along-Striped Afghans

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Joining Ginny for the Yarn Along

So I am finally done with making my three kids their striped afghans.  They all picked such vastly different color combinations!  I had a great deal of fun making them, and have even grown to like the brown and green afghan.  It was hard for me to get going on this blanket because I was not inspired by the colors, but my son like the colors and picked them out himself.  I hope that these will make it into their adulthood.  I have so many that my grandmother made me, and I love taking them out!

As for the book, I am just starting this book by Franciscan Priest Richard Rohr called, Falling Upward.  It talks of finding identity, and how when it seems like we are falling down, we are actually falling ‘upward’ to God.  Looking forward to what knowledge I can gain.

Can’t wait to see what you all are doing!

love,

Suzy

June 9, 2015
bitsofthepast

no comments

Summer Thunderstorms

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We had quite the storm about a week ago.  It reminded me so much of my childhood.  During the summers in Oklahoma, we would play all day long outside.  There was so much to do.  We would explore the creek near our home, set up a classroom outside and teach our stuffed animals, color, basically anything we could do inside was done outside.  We never let storms have an effect on our day until the very last minute, and usually in Oklahoma this meant the tornado siren going off, and we would reluctantly go inside.  Many times, the tornadoes would not touch ground, but the storm would still be raging outside.  My parents would turn on the transistor radio, pull out the games and have snacks out.  I remember many nights had no electricity, but those were some of the most memorable nights for me.  Playing hard all day, then instead of being scared of the storm, being thankful that the storm happened and wanting it to never end.

Well on this particular night, the kids were playing games at 8pm with their neighborhood friends.  Hide in seek was the game, and the flashlights were about to come on.  Mr. Bits and I, as well as our other neighbors, were watching a pretty severe storm inching its way to our town.  The emergency broadcasting network did their thing on the television, saying that it was a severe storm and capable of getting worse.  The kids were blissfully unaware, but the grown ups were watching.  At the first crack of thunder, which was loud and the lightning was close, the parents called all their kids in the house, and as expected the kids reluctantly came in with their whiny voices.  We stood as a family on the porch, under what was most definitely a wall cloud, and actually saw a funnel come from it.  As quickly as it appeared, it disappeared.  Thankfully we now live in a place where tornadoes are rare, they can happen, but rare.  The kids were scared, excited, amazed, awed all at the same time.  We ran inside, and I explained tornado safety, but also explained that we had nothing to worry about any longer.  The storm was moving fast and collapsing, so its power was short lived.

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Mr. Bits and I pulled the popcorn maker out, and the book we are reading as a family together, and the kids experienced a night that will be in our memories for years to come.  It was still thundering and raining outside, but their nerves were calm, and the night brought me back to childhood and my fond memories of stormy nights.

I decided to pull out my camera, since I finally remembered it, and attempt to catch them in their happiness.  They quickly realized I had it out, and began to be silly, but that is all part of the fun!

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When we finally stopped reading, the storm had long gone, but the kids still wanted to hang out.  This brought me so much joy.  I cannot tell you how much fun this night ended up being, and how many great memories it brought up for me.  Thank you mom and dad for never making me scared of a storm.  Thank you for helping me see that scary times are what you make of it, and it can be turned into the most memorable moments of your family.

Hope you all are making memorable moments.

Love,

Suzy

PS  The dogs were nervous too, but enjoyed the attention!

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