Friday, November 25, 2011

I'm a visual person

I'm a very visual person.  I have to see it in my mind to fully comprehend something.  An idea, directions, whatever.  This is probably why I hate books on tape, I don't want to be read to, I need to hold the book and see the words myself.  I also fare much better trying to find someplace with a map than oral directions. But I digress.

I was thinking in my very visual way about difficulties and trials we have to wade through sometimes. About how some strong and beautiful women in my life who have had to endure and struggle through so many things, whereas I have been spared any catastrophic losses.  Why is this?

I hate the saying "God doesn't GIVE us more than we can handle."  Bull.  Look at all the broken people in the world.  Look at those who have been beaten down and never come back.  Plus, God doesn't GIVE us any of that pain and heartache.  He isn't up there going "ok, well, she can lose her son, her husband, her twin brother, and oh yea, I can crush her leg and make her fight her way back from the edge of death while I'm at it.  But she can handle it."  Misery and pain aren't FROM God, they are from evil, not love.

He doesn't then look down at me and say "we can't let her lose anyone because she is too weak and she can't handle it."  So I wonder why the sweetest, kindest woman I have been honored to know in my life was stricken with so many losses and tragedies while I have been spared most of life's harshest pitfalls thus far.

Then my visual part of my brain started seeing pain and struggle as a raging river we have to wade through.  We are on this side of the water, dry and standing safely on the shore.  Everything is good. Then suddenly we are shoved into the roiling, angry morass of waves and a violent current pulling at our every limb - whether it be a loss of someone we love, or maybe a terrible illness.  Whatever our struggle, we are dumped into it unawares and just trying to get our head above water to breathe at first.

The shock of the cold water, the power of the violent waves, the chaos of being shoved off the safe shore into this unknown environment fraught with unseen terrors.  Its all we can do just to survive at first.  Struggling against the waves and the water, sometimes flailing all alone feeling like you aren't going to make it. 

Then, there are others in the water with you, holding you up, helping you stay afloat.  Perhaps taking over for a wee bit so you can rest your cramping muscles.  Maybe you even hit an island where you can rest, recoup, and dry off for a few moments, fortifying yourself for the rest of your journey.  You might encounter a few floating logs you can cling to as well, until you are sucked back into the frothy waves, and fighting to get across this huge dark expanse of water....or pain. So when we see others flailing in the water, that's when  God can use us to wade in and hold her up for a bit, give her a towel, hold her head above the waves so she can catch her breath.

I hope I can be that person...perhaps I have been so abundantly blessed and spared such huge losses of my own so I may be an island for those in the water.  Perhaps I do make a better log in the water for others than being the one in the water.  Perhaps I need to work harder at making my log big enough for someone to hold onto, my island dry enough and well stocked enough to help her to fortify herself for the rest of the journey....since I have been so incredibly blessed with my beloved family in tact, my beautiful friends and my strong and dear husband.  I am called to use my blessings for those who need a dry place to rest.

Perhaps when she finally reaches the other side of her pain, the other bank of the river, I can be there to help her step onto dry land.  I can wrap her in a towel and help her find some new, dry clothes.  She is the same women who was shoved into the river on the other side, yet she is different, she has been changed during her journey.  I remember who she was from the other side and I can help her remember that person as well as discover and redress the new lady that has emerged on the other side. 

As I think of the dear lady who has struggled through that river so many times, I can hold her hand as we continue to walk down the road...away from that river.  We shall encounter more rivers in our journey, but I pray that we can help each other to reach the other side.  I think some of our biggest blessings God bestows upon us are those that hold our hand during the walk down the road of life, and jump into that river with us during the struggles across the river.  I have been so incredibly blessed with hands to hold...and I hold on tight.  For them I am so thankful this year and every year.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Killing for Fun?

Let me start by saying, I don't believe that hunting is a sin.  I never said it is wrong per say to go out into the woods and kill something, bring it home and eat it.  God says in the Bible we may eat the animals for food. I eat meat, I love a good hamburger, chicken, and pepperoni.  I buy it at the store, but if I had to go out and hunt it down, I guarantee I'd never eat it again.

I don't understand how someone can go into the woods and kill something.  I can't imagine getting close enough to a beautiful deer, look into her big brown eyes, aim your gun at her and kill her.  Watch her fall, witness the life drain out of her, and high five your buddies about what a good job you did.  Repulsive.

Such amazing creatures as the majestic bear, elk or moose...I'd love to go find them in the woods, get close to them, but not to hurt them.  I would want to interact with them, talk to them, learn from them, help them, nurture them, shelter them, enjoy their beauty. 

When an animal dies, I believe it deserves respect and dignity.  So, if you must kill it and then eat it, so be it.  BUT to HANG HIS DEAD HEAD ON YOUR WALL????  Makes me want to vomit.  I think that buck deserves to go back to the earth as nature intended.  "Lets make him look just like he did when he was alive and even give it eyes to stare at us!"  What??

Some idiot once said, "well that's why we hang it up, so we can appreciate its beauty." Well, I think my Grandma is beautiful, but I'm not going to chop her head off when she dies and mount it over the fireplace!  I have PHOTOS of her on the wall.

Another idiot said, "we HAVE to hunt them, its natural selection." No, natural selection, survival of the fittest is driven by the idea of culling out the weak and the sick, not going after the biggest and the strongest.  When someone goes out hunting they chase the best ones, not the slowest and the smallest.  Try again moron.

The best, or worst one is, "Its a sport." Oh yea, how hard is it to win when you are the one with the gun and your prey has no idea of the game in the first place?  Don't sports have to have some kind of a challenge or some kind of actual skill for the player to master?  Oh gee, you can shoot your gun and kill an innocent and unsuspecting animal that never did anything to hurt you are quite the accomplished sportsman.  I don't care how much fancy and expensive equipment you think you need to buy and all the sitting in a tree waiting for them to walk by, it is NOT a sport.  It's an ambush, especially when they start at one end of the forest and 'flush' them all out the other end where some idiots with guns are waiting to shoot at whatever comes running out!!  When your opponent doesn't have a chance of winning, you aren't really playing fair now are you?

Well, if we don't thin out the population, then they will get sick and die off.  SO???  This is nature.  That is what is supposed to happen.  If you have a HUGE overpopulation of cats on the farm, what happens?  They get sick and they all die out.  Then new ones move in and start over.  That's what nature does, on her own and its natural.  Let it happen.

Again, I don't think its wrong, I just can't understand how someone can do it.  Do I think we should let all the cows go and not have farms?  No.  If done in a humane and properly respectful way, raising beef and swine, chickens and whatnot for eating is ok.  I could not be the one to slit their throats or cut them up, but if the butcher does it with respect and quickly, I don't think it is wrong.  If it were up to me alone to butcher, then I would never eat meat again, as I couldn't do it. 

If killing something is "fun" for you...well...I don't get it. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Stronger in the Broken Places

Its late, I should be sleeping, but I keep thinking about what a delicate and beautiful thing a heart is.  So fragile, yet strong...when someone breaks it, or gauges out a big ragged piece of it, somehow it keeps on beating.  When a beloved friend or grandparent dies, a lover breaks their sacred vow, or a dear friend blindsides you with malice, we wonder why we ever let ourselves love them so much.

You take such a risk when you let someone inside your heart.  You are exposing parts of yourself that are precious and delicate.  Its a wonder we ever do it again once someone scars it badly.

That fresh wound, that raw and bleeding place, it hurts.  Whether blindsided by a shocking disappointment, or crushed by a devastating loss, it cuts through that soft and sensitive tissue, leaving a slash, or a hole awash with first it is dripping with sorrow and pain, with tears.  It's all you can think about and must be dealt with immediately.  Everyone hugs you, helping you to put slight pressure on your wound, as pressure helps staunch the flow....a fragile scab eventually seals in your tears.  The tissue slowly starts to knit together, ever so slowly and softly, healing with time and with care.  You treat it tenderly and gently, but it might get bumped with a memory or a might even break open a few times, awash with fresh blood...only to have to knit together again...

As the wound begins to heal, the swelling goes down, the bruises fade...and the hurt isn't the focal point of your heart as much anymore.  The scar will remain, the hole might not fill in.  You kind of make a little box to keep your heart in for a want to protect it from such pain in the future, you don't want to risk such a crushing, debilitating wound again!  You might even have to nail the box shut for a bit...self preservation and fear drive the nails in.

But as time goes on, as the scar makes that broken place stronger than it was before, hope and renewal will come along with a pliers and slowly take those nails out of your heart by one, perhaps you might get scared and replace one or two in the process, but eventually the nails come out, and you get brave enough to lift that lid off the box.  Perhaps someone helps you to lift that lid off...You might leave some of the sides on the box, you aren't that brave anymore, it hurts too much.  BUT you let someone inside your heart again.  Perhaps they reach in and fill that hole, maybe that hole never gets filled.  Perhaps they decorate a new corner of your heart and make it shine and bounce and glow with happiness.  This bright love and shine of hope outshines the darker spots, it radiates more powerfully than the bleakness of the scar did.  Perhaps a new friendship, or a place for forgiveness.

The point is, we all get wrecked.  We all get slashed to pieces sometimes, but then we are stronger in the broken spots, it will heal as we let others shine their light in to overshadow that disappointment, that scar, that sorrow.  If you keep your heart in the box too long, it will shrivel up and no light gets in at all.  It's hard to believe in that light when your heart is crying fresh blood, your pain is so raw.

Its been 6 months since someone slashed a wretched crevice into my heart.  I was completely devestated by the blow, shocked by someone who I thought was a dear friend and then she revealed her true self and I am still trying to let that wound heal.  It bled for a long time...I think it might be scaring over now, and I'm hoping for a big strong spot to melt that hole back together.  I'm struggling to make the choice every day to forgive and let it go.  Learn from it but not let it scare me into not letting other dear ones inside my heart.  That is hard as I don't want to take my heart out of my box - I want it armored so I can't bleed, but yet I want that connection that only can come from an open heart from me to my dear sweet friends.  And there is no room in there for hate or resentment, so as I choose every day to forgive and let that scar become stronger, I try to fill up with the joy and love borne of true friends and genuine relationships built on trust and faith.

Monday, August 15, 2011

We cant all be roses

Our Ladies Ministries group at church recently were discussing renaming our "serving groups" to something more inviting, or something that sounds more like something fun.  I thought about it a bit and sent the following to the president of the group.  Everyone wants to read it I guess, so by popular demand, I thought I would just post it on my blog.

I humbly submit for your perusal...consideration if I may. I recognize your authority in such matters but would like to propose an idea for your Majesty's approval...
I know you are busy, so in the interest of trying to help out, I was thinking about the dilemma you are facing with naming the 3 groups of "servers". Some people say I think too much, but then again I often hear that I should think more, usually before I speak, my bad. I don't really see how thinking too much should be a problem, as we are equipt with brains - they are muscles, and must be exercised to make them strong...but I digress...Anyway, I was thinking, ok so we have 3 groups.
We should call them "Stink weed" - I could be the mascot really, I have tons of natural ability in this area (if you get my drift, no pun intended).
The next one should be "Venus Fly Traps". See the reference with they eat, and we are serving food...get it...I think that is very essential for the literal picture there. Plus its fun to say.
The third one should be the "Onion smelling one" (sorry I don't recall the name). Also has to do with food, we do eat onions...
Then I propose (you can even sell this as your very own idea, I wont mind) that we have a 4th group. Call it the "Poison Ivy's". If you chronically don't show up, or give your leaders grief, you get demoted to being a Poison Ivy. Nobody wants to be poison ivy....give everyone a little bit of an incentive to show up and be good. (we could even make them wear a poison ivy button or something to cause shame and regret).
Then going with the whole flower idea, the "chair" sounds kinda dumb, so we should call her something else. I think she should be the Gardener. (I personally like the idea of the Fertilizer, but that might not go over so well, especially with the idea of food again). Plants need a gardener to flourish and grow strong and beauteous. Or even the Blossom - she would be the head of the plant....reminds me of a show in the 80's tho...of the girl named Blossom who was kinda weird and now she's gay...but I digress....
Then we can break down the group into seeds, roots, stems, petals, thorns, oops - whatever if we want like different job assignments like cleaners or setter uppers or servers or sit in the dark and be quiet (those would be the seeds). We could even have ppl who don't show up or who need some discipline be the
It does take all kinds to make a beautiful garden. We can't all be roses...amen.
Respectfully submitted,
Kathryn Riehle

Monday, August 8, 2011

separation of church and state?

One of the main reasons our ancestors broke away and started this wonderful country was to be able to start a country based on freedom.  Freedom of speech, freedom of religion.  We hold dear the right to be able to make our own choices and voice our own opinions in any way we choose.  Men died to earn that right for you as an American.

We have the freedom to believe in and worship whatever Deity we choose.  We can worship God, Allah, Buddha, or even Satan.  We have the right to do that.  We can even choose to reject them all and become an atheist.  We are proud to be able to say we can freely worship our god in any way we choose.

I can be a Christian and you can be a Muslim and Joe down the street can be a Satanist.  That is our right as Americans.

Ok, with me so far?

My husband and I CHOSE to get married in a church.  We CHOSE to believe in God, we CHOSE to invite God into our lives and our marriage.  We CHOSE to be married by a pastor and we CHOSE to read scripture and pray during the ceremony.

We could have just as easily CHOSEN to get married by a judge in city hall, never utter a single prayer and we would still be just as married as we are today.  LEGALLY both options get you the same LEGAL rights in the eyes of the law.  All you have to do is get the licence, get someone legal to sign it and boom - you are married.  You are afforded all of the LEGAL choices and options that any married couple has, REGARDLESS of your religious views or beliefs.  You can be an atheist and still get married.  God does not have to be involved at all. 

Ok, so I CHOOSE to believe in Jesus and that the Bible is a guideline for which we are to look toward to live our lives.  This is MY belief, but I cannot force you to believe it.  You may believe just as strongly in satanism as I do in Christianity.  That is our rights as Americans.

I may believe that the Bible is true, but you might think it is just a book.  You might believe in the Koran or another book I may not have even heard of.  Take Bob down the street, he is a member of a group that worships the sun, moon and the stars as his gods.  He is free to do so.  He has a book that he calls the book of X.  He believes that the rules and the set of guidelines in it are holy and meant for him to live his life by.  In this book of X, it says that it is a sin to eat beef.  It is in fact an ABOMINATION to eat beef.  Bob truly believes this in his heart because that is what he has been taught, that is what his life is built around.

Bob's group gains a lot of notoriety and press.  They want to enact a new law that says nobody in the whole country can ever again eat beef because it is wrong.  They are telling all of us that their belief is the right one, and that it should be outlawed to eat beef because it is an ABOMINATION.  Most of us would think this is unfair.  I don't believe that, I think it is totally ok to eat beef, my set of beliefs and guidelines that I have chosen to live by say it is perfectly fine to eat meat, so you shouldn't make me subscribe to your ways of thinking just because your chosen set of beliefs are different than mine.

Bob's group's only reason for this new law is that it is based on the book of X. I don't believe in the book of X, but Bob does.  He doesn't believe in the Bible but I do.  Who should say whether we eat beef or not?  Shouldn't each of us get to decide on that issue as we see fit?  Based on the book of X it is wrong, but based on the Bible it is ok. making a law to say that gay people cannot wed based on what you have chosen to believe in the Bible is ok?  You don't have to be a Christian to get married, so why should you have to believe in the Bible to regulate it?  Isn't this the ultimate separation of church and state issue?  Don't we leave religion out of the argument?  You are free to worship and believe in whatever you want, but isn't outlawing gay marriage infringing upon their right to believe or reject whatever they want as well?

I can believe whatever I want based on whatever I want.  I can personally believe it is right or wrong but LEGALLY it shouldn't matter what my personal beliefs are when it comes to the law.  I don't want Bob's group to force all of their beliefs on me anymore than he wants me to force mine upon him!  What if they wanted to enact a law that would forbid me to take communion or to sing hymns?  Those are intrinsic to my worship and my religion.  Perhaps they want to make everyone bow down to the statue of Buddha in the town square....once you let religion govern legislation you are getting into some dangerous territory.  I want to have the right to always practice whatever religion I want.  But don't others have that same right as well?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Angry at Ignorance

I was angry when I went to bed and jumped right back into it when I woke up.  This is not good, you should never go to bed angry, but how am I supposed to make up to a tv show??

Here's the deal.  KGAN news had a segment about "taste testing brand name pet foods vs. store brands."  WHAT!!  DUH!!  Dogs will eat anything.  They eat poop. They eat that festering pile of old deer carcass in the back yard.  They will eat rat poison too, does this mean we should let them?

When you are sitting at a news desk, you kind of have some authority.  You need to especially practice responsible journalism.  Some people only get their information from you and don't use their own brain power to research and to discern if what you say is accurate, they just take you at your word. "I saw on the news that its ok to feed Fido cheap food because he will eat it." By doing this ridiculous piece, they were doing a HUGE disservice to their viewers!  They can't even do their own research and ask just one professional about the difference between cheap food and the brand names?  They can't even look into why one is better than the other?

If you put a pile of candy and chips and pop in front of a child and a pile of fruits and veggies, which one is he going to eat.  The junk food of course.  Does this mean that it is good for him?  Does this mean that it is ok to feed him a diet of cookies and sugar because it is cheaper than quality, nutrient rich food? 

The benefits of a high quality pet food are so enormous that there is no question as to the difference between crappy food and good food.

1) by eating a quality diet filled with real meat, veggies and vitamins, a dog will flourish and live a longer, healthier life just like a person would.  Look at the bag.  Read the ingredients.  The first ingredient should be real meat, not by-products or meal.  By eating a balanced diet, they will get sick less often and it will help prevent more trips to the vet, therefore more money to the vet.  A balanced diet will give them all the correct nutrients they need.

2) they will be able to process and USE more of the good food than the crappy food that contains fillers and bulk that they will not be able to use and it comes right back out as feces.  When they have a food that is all fillers they have to eat more food to get more nutrients out of it, therefore, you have to BUY more food.  If given a complete diet and a quality food free of fillers, dyes and preservatives, they will eat LESS to get what they need out of it.  This also will produce LESS feces, less gas.

3) there are lots of harmful colors, dyes, preservatives in less quality foods.  Those colorful pieces aren't in there for Fido, they are meant to appeal to the owner.  Many dogs are allergic to fake dyes and colors, some of them are even toxic.  Fido doesn't care if his kibble is red, yellow and green so it looks like veggies and fruit...he only cares that you love him and feed him.  There are already so many things in his environment that he can react to, don't give him more. 

4) proper nutrients will give Fido a healthier, shinier coat.  They will not only look nicer, feel softer, but they will SHED less!  Crappy diets result in more hair loss, more dry itchy skin.  You want less shedding, feed him a good diet. 

So if you care about Fido and want him to have a longer, healthier life, less trips to the vet, less poop, less shedding, why wouldn't you give him a high quality diet?  Price.  Ok, you don't have to get the most expensive one.  There are many QUALITY diets that won't break the bank.  READ the LABEL -  look at the ingredients.  You don't want colors, dyes, fillers like corn.  You do want real meats, veggies, foods you can pronounce.

I feel very strongly about this subject.  I often see consumers in Walmart with bags of crap in their cart and I have to hold myself back not to go up to them start telling them how bad that stuff is.  Many people aren't trying to cheat Fido, they just DON'T KNOW.  They aren't informed of the differences between quality and crap food.  KGAN would have done a MUCH MUCH better piece had they done this research and reported on the differences between name brands and store brands rather than just doing a worthless taste test.  DUH.  I'd eat junk food all day too if I thought I could be healthy while doing it.  Ignorance of the subject only hurts Fido.

BTW, I did post on KGAN's facebook and website last night as I was yelling at the tv. No response.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bidet Bliss

Last evening, my girls and I went to the movie Cars 2.  (it was very enjoyable although not really geared toward kids, but it was quite an exciting road trip but very exhausting) I thought this was going to be the highlight of my evening, until we went to a restaurant where I had my first bidet experience.  Everyone should get one of these babies.

So, we went to the local Japanese eatery to eat some monkey brains. (side note: no actual monkeys were killed to provide us with this treat, it was stuffed mushrooms but it does trouble me some that someone who named them does know what monkey brains do look like).  Anywho, I remembered the last time my friend and I were there she commented that the toilet seat was warmed.  Hmmm...since then I had regretted not checking this out.

When we were munching, my dining companion went to the bathroom and when she returned she commented on the warm seat as well, so of course I had to scurry in and investigate this phenomenon.  There were a lot of buttons. (notice that the word buttons starts with the word "butt" and these were next to your butt...hmmm...)

I love buttons...they can do so many things.  Well, I think the potty here should have a warning on the door "do not use toilet unless you have your reading glasses on, pushing the wrong button could result in undesired effects."

See there were lots of buttons with tiny print on them.  There was the one that said "bidet". Got it.  There was one that said "massage" and one that said "pulse". Ok you can control the water that way.  There were buttons for the temperature of the water, and the temperature of the seat.  Awesome.  BUTT there was one button that scared me a bit.  If someone of a somewhat more advanced age were to sit on said potty and not have their their readers on, they might not be able to decipher this one and I would hate to have them accidentally push it.  I could read it and my finger stayed as far away from it as it could.  It said "enema." I am NOT kidding.  Who in their right mind would want that service?  Especially in a public restaurant??  I'm a bit worried that some half blind or unsuspecting lady would be all atwitter at the big strip of buttons (as I often am when I encounter a bank of blinking, or glowing buttons just waiting to be pushed) and full of ignorance, push the enema button.  Shudder.

Would we hear a scream from the bathroom?  Or perhaps she just wouldn't be able to rejoin her party for quite a bit of time because she accidentally started a big job that she now is forced to finish??  Ooops, once certain flights are launched, there isn't any returning to the runway till your destination is reached, if you get my drift.  Oh and where was the air filter button?? 

If I hadn't had my friends awaiting me back at my table I might have spent an inordinate amount of time in there.  That thing was awesome.  I only tinkled, and the light spray of warm water on my bum was quite pleasant, but I shudder to wonder how it would perform if I had had to leave a somewhat heavier load.  I am pretty sure that little trickle of water wouldn't do much for the clean up area.  Then there was a button that said "dryer".  This was a nice stream of warm air to dry my netheregions.  This also did not quite do it for me, kinda like those air dryers for your hands, only you can't just give up and wipe your butt on your pants now can you?  Thank goodness they still had good old toilet paper available!  I still did my paperwork despite the high tech drying button.

I did not see any button for music.  I have seen this available on-line when I saw the world's most expensive toilet on yahoo once.  You could program your music preferences into it and then when you were getting the job done your soundtrack would play for you.  Hmmm... interesting.  I would of course need certain ones for number 1 and certain ones for number 2.  Different kinds of inspiration are needed you know.  Although I tend to read while on the porcelain throne.  I have been known to finish whole novels - never say I'm not multi-tasking!  There should be a complete library on the other side - oh I know -  there should be a pop-up nook loaded with a variety of choices.  Oh wait, not in a public restroom.  They don't really want to encourage you to stay that long. 

I wonder if they would notice if I came back every day to take my daily constitutional there....

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Small Towns

I grew up in a very small town.  A lot of people will say they did too.  No...I'm not talking about a small city, with a few thousand people, I'm talking about a tiny little  hovel with 300 people.  I'm not exaggerating, I never in a million trillion years ever exaggerate.  We maxed out at 300 at best.  We had to change the sign when someone died.  We never had to when someone moved in, because that never happened.

My class had 8 people in it.  Yep.  Four girls, four boys.  Two were twins.  None of the other 3 girls lived in town, so I was the only one that didn't ride the bus.  I lived one block from school.  My mom was the secretary, so I couldn't do anything bad or she'd find out about it before I even got in trouble for it.  BUT even if she wasn't on the premises, she would have heard all about it for sure.  Basically sports were the measure of a person's worth.  Sportsmen were gods and goddesses.  If you were good at Football or Basketball, you were it.  If not, you were worthless.  I wasn't even on the scale!  LOL.

If you sneezed and there was a speck of blood in it, the lady two houses down would call the lady next to her and tell her that you had lost a ton of blood and were being rushed to the ER.  That lady would call the other lady across the street and tell her that you were in the ER and barely clinging to life and in need of a blood donation.  That lady would call the neighbor guy and tell him that you were in dire need of a kidney transplant and you were offering millions of dollars for someone to donate one.  It would go off in various directions from there.  It would develop a life of its own and some would have you dead, some would not even have a shred of something correct left in it.  Men were NOT immune to this either.  Men are sometimes worse than women at spreading dreadful lies and gossip.  They have coffee three times a day at the local eatery just like the women do and they can't even talk about sewing and cooking.  One can only ruminate on the state of the corn and the high price of gas for so long until they make something up to impress each other.

If Matilda knew you had sneezed but you didn't call her and tell her, she'd just make it up.  "I know something happened over there, I am pretty sure I saw blood and the ambulance.  She must be almost dead....or some old ladies even felt they had the right to know what was going on.

My father still lives in the house I grew up in. Smack dab in the middle of town.  He is in the thick of things when it comes to gossip himself, but when he was starting to date my now step-mom, she came the first time to visit him and parked her car in front of his house.  Nosey Nora across the street honed in on the strange car and had the nerve to call my dad!  She insisted she had to know who that car belonged to and why is parked in front of his house?  I'm not sure what Dad said, but if I had answered the phone I would have said something like "oh that's my lesbian lover who gave me the Clap and she told me she got it from you."  Good thing I wasn't around that day.

I have come to despise such invasive and hurtful gossip.  They don't even keep the story straight, it just morphs into a saga all its own and the more juicy, corrupt, and hateful they can make it, the better.  These idiots need hobbies, they need a life.  When my parents got divorced, you can just imagine the stories that flew about town with such speed and such utter filth I was nauseated.

So, coming from a tiny hovel of 300 old gossipy geezers, I was THRILLED to move to a city of 9,000 people for college!!  I was amazed at how you could live in a place where you might not even know who your neighbor was, let alone who their parents were and where they worked and what they ate for supper.  There was a Walmart, Pizza Hut, and Dairy Queen within walking distance!!  What else could a person want?  Our closest of any of those was a half hour drive away when I was growing up.

I could even walk down the street without anybody peering out from behind their curtains to see who I was and make up where I was going!  Wow.  This was great.  Nobody even cared what I did or whom I might have done it with.  I could wear what I wanted without anyone critiquing it, go out without doing my hair without an alarm going off, and I could be me.

When you only have 3 other girls in your class, and you are not exactly like them, you feel alone in the world.  I never met another person like myself until college.  The day I met another girl who felt exactly like I did with my mother and the divorce, I sobbed.  I had found someone else who knew what I had gone through.   I had felt like I was abnormal, weird, odd.  Now I KNOW I am a little odd, but I'm ok with it...giggle.

I just wasn't the same as anyone else in my school.  (we did join with a neighboring school in HS, but our graduating class was 35 people so still slim pickins)  I was ok just the way I was, as were they, we were just different.  Different

In college you can and are encouraged to explore who you really are, what you like and what you don't like.  How you really want to dress, it may not be how the other girls are all dressed, you might want to try something new.  It was mind boggling.

I now live in a HUGE city of about 8,000 and I am so happy!  I would never go back to any small hovel again.  I don't even enjoy going back to visit very much.  All those beady little eyes peering out at you and making up lies about you to each other.  I feel so sad for those kids from my school who never left that environment.  But as long as I don't have to go back there, I'm good!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Totally in Love

I have the bestest nephews ever!  I have been so blessed with sweetness I cannot even tell you.  My 3 1/2 year old nephew is the light of my heart.  He is so excited to see me when I come, and sad to see me go.  We have so much fun and he knows he's my little sweetie.  I want to be the auntie that he knows will be there for him no matter what....he can tell me anything and I will help him and keep his secrets and pray for him, and wipe his tears, share his joys, and get him stuff his parents can't afford.  Nothing bad, just stuff Mommy and Daddy would like to get him but they can't afford it, cause they have two kids.  Enter Auntie Kathy and she can make it happen.

I have nightmares sometimes.  You know the snakes in your hair, or the guy chasing you in slow motion.  But the worst ones are when I dream that my brother and his wife break up.  I love my nephews so much that I would be devastated for them if something would happen to their parents.  Having been there, I know the pain and the unfixable anguish of your parents divorcing and ripping the family apart.  I never want that for my boys.  I want their parents to be happy and I pray for that every night when I pray for my boys health and happiness.  As that is all intertwined. 

I understand how you can love someone so much you wouldn't even hesitate to die for them.  I love my parents very very much, but I know they wouldn't want me to die for them, they would want to go first, and have me follow many years later as nature intended.  I would give my life without hesitation for my boys.  Given the chance, I wouldn't need to even think about it, take me not them.  I wouldn't want to live in a world without them anyway.  I would also give myself in place of their parents.  I want a mom and a dad for them.  My brother and his wife are much more important to their well being and their happiness than I.  So, I would also not hesitate to trade my life for theirs either, as they are much more important for my boys.

If some evil monster were to hurt one of my boys, I understand how parents can't stand it and kill the evil that did that to their kid.  You hurt my boys, I want to hurt you...I see how it would be so hard NOT to go after the devil - but then I couldn't be there for them, but it would be very very hard not to hunt them down and take them out.

Sometimes I dream about playing with my boys.  We are running and swimming and sliding and racing down the road.  I think he will like theatre like his auntie and we can go to shows and then I can watch him star in all the school plays.  I will go watch all his races, as I'm sure he will share Daddy's love of racing.  Maybe he will be a writer like me.  He will ask me to edit his beautiful and thoughtful essays.  Maybe he will be an artist or an inventor.  He could invent things and let me try them out!  I'm sure whatever he does, he will be awesome at it.  I will support him and encourage him and remind him he can do anything he wants.  If he can dream it, he can do it!!

Now my newest little boy, he is just 3 months old - I don't know much about him yet, but I do know his smile is enough to light up the room!!  He smiles all the time!!  He is a good cuddler too.   Maybe he will be my fellow animal lover.  We can go to the zoo and he can come to work with me to see the puppies and the kitties.  He grows so fast, every time I see him he is so big!!!

My greatest blessing are little boys that I never knew I could love so intensely, so fervently, with such passion and protectiveness.  I'm so glad its not up to me to raise them right, I'd only screw that up, but I get to love them with such complete unconditional love that I'm so lucky. I also get to go home and sleep in a nice quiet house and recover till the next visit!!!

ME: how did you get that scratch on your face?
3 yr old nephew: A lion bit me
ME: Really?  Did  a lion really bite you?
3 yr old nephew: was an elephant.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Athletically Challenged

I am severely athletically challenged.  I am not exaggerating.  I do not have one iota of athletic ability in me.  When God was deciding how to design me, for some reason in his infinite wisdom decided I didn't need one drop of athleticism in my entire make up.  Someday I will be able to ask him about this, and just what the deal is with that, but until then, I have to cope with my lack of ability in this area.

God didn't see it fit to give me any coordination, speed, agility, or that ability to hit the softball with a bat.  None.  Didn't get any of that.  To this day, I don't believe I have ever hit a softball with a bat.  I couldn't even hit a tee ball on a tee (I am NOT lying).  Even if by some miracle (divine intervention would be needed) I would hit the ball, I'd never make it safely to 1st base.  I am slower than Yertle the Turtle.  Any race - I'm the one lagging a few laps behind, the one everyone feels sorry for...ohhh look at her, at least she's still -- well, no...she's down....oh how sad...get her some water....

In PE (the worst class ever) when we were told to run laps, I'd just run until everyone else was done.  So if everybody else ran their allotted 10, I probably did about 6.  When they stopped, so did I.  Otherwise we'd be there till next week and I'd be the only out there.  My high school PE teacher hated me, I'm sure.  He'd yell at me to run faster and I'd say, "you cant make me run."  I didn't either, it was more of a fast walking jog.

PE - pretty much hell on earth.  For a kid like me, before I was able to reconcile my condition with who I was as a person and realize my talents lay far far FAR away from a gym, it was very emotionally hard for me.  By high school I didn't give a rip, but before that, being the last one picked is hard enough, but for me it was "we HAVE to have HER again...we had HER last time, you guys take her, no you, no you...." they would fight over who was STUCK with me.  No lie.

I would like to take aside the guy who invented volleyball and explain to him just how terrible he made my PE classes.  Because of his little invention, I suffered many hours of volleyball hell...I was the girl who just prayed not to get hit by that stupid ball.  There is no way I was ever going to hit that torture device with my arms.  At that time I tipped the scales at like 90 pounds, so my twigs that passed for arms were very tiny and very weak.  If by some divine intervention (again) I might actually get the despised ball to hit my wrist where you are supposed to meet with the ball, I NEVER could wack that thing hard enough to get it to actually go anywhere....wack...immediately drop to the floor with thud.  That was only like the 3 times in my life my wrist would actually come in contact with said ball, usually that ball was no where NEAR my wrist.  I was just relieved it didn't wack me in the head. Again.  

Lets see, basketball was a joke.  I would be stuck on a team, and nobody would ever throw the ball to me (like I could catch so I would stand there looking like a doofus with nothing to do.  Nobody worried about guarding me either.  Never had to worry about me making any points. My PE teacher would yell at me to get moving...umm...where?  If that divine intervention would ever show up and I would actually get the ball in my hands - forget about getting it into the hoop.  Yea right.  I don't think I made my first basket until like lie.  You think I'm making these things up?  Nope.  That is how sad my affliction is...its real.

If we were to play dodge ball where the little foam balls are placed in the middle of the gym, everyone runs up to get them and you try to hit the other guys with a ball to get them out - I would walk up to the balls and wait for someone to get me out and sit down.  I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a ball, no way was I ever going to get someone out, I was on my way out soon enough, so might as well get it over with and sit down.  Again, my PE teacher would yell at me I had to try harder, and I'd say "I tried, they got me out fair and square."  Take that one PE teacher!

You name the sport, I SUCKED at it.  I was the worst player ever.  Even if I would be trying my hardest, it is like even more embarrassing cause I still fell on my face.  I was the worlds worst cheerleader (when there are only 5 girls who show up to try-outs you get in).  I actually did try pretty hard in this area.  Honestly I only did it cause two of my best friends were doing it and they talked me into it and I thought it would be cool to get thrown up in the air. It was.

I practiced for hours at home, trying to get the motions to the cheers right.  This action and this word and do this with your feet and clap.  I am the most uncoordinated person ever, and this required a lot of that.  Ooops

I think I called in sick the night we had to perform that one....either that or I've blocked it out because I can't stand to recall such horrible nightmares.

I don't understand running.  Why?  It sucks.  Why would you run on purpose?  I only run if someone is after me (but get real he's gonna catch me) or if I have to go to the bathroom really bad.  Otherwise...I don't understand the notion.  Marathons?  Those people have to have something wrong with them...sane people don't do that do they? 

I will never understand people who love sports...but then again they will never understand me...but I'd rather have a brain and excel in academics than at being able to throw a ball into a hoop...but that's just me.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Pen to Paper

I'm a writer.  I savor the feeling of a pen clutched in my hand, the nib scratching on paper, the feel of the pen in my fingers, imparting my words onto the paper.  I love pens...the ink dribbling out onto the paper, putting the words that are tumbling out of my thoughts onto something permanent.  You can't erase ink. Its forever.

I love paper.  The feel of it, the smell of it (much better in a book with ink on it).  I love the stark nakedness of a pure white sheet of paper in front of me...the promise it holds that I can fill it with whatever I choose.  The possibilities of what I could put on that paper abound!

I have been forced to type, forced to jump onto the computer-run society train.  It is much faster to type something, hit a button and send it quicker than lightening to the recipient.  BUT - the prose loses some of its character, some of what makes it yours in the typing.  I am doing the sendee a huge favor though, as I have such atrocious handwriting, they might not be able to read it is as well if I did hand write it.  I feel like my thoughts are coming so fast I cannot write them all out as fast as I can think them...and I find I can also type faster than I can write.

I still have a love of the written word...the ink on the page...the words wet with authenticity.  My curl of the c, my crossing of the makes me feel good.

I also love books.  Books have been my greatest pleasure for as long as I can recall.  I can learn, escape, laugh, and cry in a book.  A good book makes me happy, a GREAT book can catapult me into a state of pure ecstasy, lost a million miles away, living with the characters, loving them, hating them with an authenticity that makes me want to know more.  When I am forced to turn that last page, put that book down and my journey has ended with that author, I am often a bit sad...and looking for a sequel!

In my hardest times, every one of them, I can remember escaping with a book.  When life gets too hard to bear, to tough to think about one more minute...I can open a book and let my thoughts journey to a place where I don't have to think about myself, don't have to worry about my loved ones, or focus on the here and now.  I can get lost somewhere else and I can get a break for a bit.  This has saved my sanity more times than I can even count.  A brief respite, a break to let my heart rest before it bursts open with the pain or ache. 

I love the physical feel of a book.  I want that book in my hands...the feel of the cover, the pages.  I want to put my nose in the pages and smell that inky smell.  The best ones are the old books with the really old musty papery inky that!!  I want to turn each page, I want to savor the words as my eyes rove the pages, drinking in the wonderful story that I have become entrenched in.  Nothing can replace that physicality of a book in my hands.  I will never bow to the ever popular Nook, or Kindle.  Whatever the newest craze of electronic book may be.  I can't see myself holding yet another electronic device and reading from yet another screen and scrolling through the pages.  I dearly love libraries and I pray they will remain for a long time to come.  Books are more than just words - books are pages bonded together, ink applied to the page, magic coming alive through the beauty of words....such a joy!!!!

Someday I will have my own book.  The cover will read "By Kathryn Ann Klatt Riehle....." and it will have all of MY words in thoughts, my ideas.  I hope others can derive some escape through my words someday...and I can give back some of that joy....

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Puppy Love

There is not much in the world that is cuter than a basket of little puppies snuggled up with each other.  My heart melts at such things....their tiny little bodies all rolly polly and twisted up with each other...their precious little paws curled up and tiny eyelids squeezed shut.  I just want to snuggle up with them, their warmth and their love enveloping me and my tired soul.

One rough little tongue on my cheek, a whiff of puppy breath....and I'm smiling.  I'm warm and gooshy inside.  Soft fuzzy puppy fur on my face, tiny little paws on my arm...little whimpers of love.  Those big brown eyes, softly gazing up into my own....full of trust.  Full of pure, unmarred, perfect love.

Soft round pudgy body splayed out on my chest...tiny heart beating against mine.  Puppy dreams frolicking in her little head, her paws twitching.  Heaven...pure joy.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fido Feels too

Make sure you have somewhere cooler for your pet to go....even if it is a big shady tree.  Also make sure they have lots of fresh water available at all times.  It's so hot these days that dehydration can hurt our pets as well.  Regular temps are pretty easy for them to adapt to, but extremely hot or cold isn't as easy.  Don't take them for a long run or anything either, you take water for yourself, do you take some for Fido?

Some people think a dog with a longer, thicker hair coat should be shaved, as they are hot.  Nope.  This thick coat, such as on a collie, works both ways.  It serves as insulation for them in the winter to keep them warm and as an insulation of sorts to keep the cooler air close to their body in the hotter weather.  Unless they get a lot of hair mats that don't allow the air to flow through, this system works well for them.  Now, if they are covered in matts, their skin can't breathe, and they get "hot spots" or sores under the matt of hair.  Very painful and can cause bad infections.  The matted hair holds moisture in and doesn't allow for the skin to dry.  Lots of bad stuff can grow in there.  Plus, if you shave their beautiful coat, they do get embarrassed.  Don't tell me you haven't observed an embarrassed dog!

Of course animals have feelings just like we do.  You can't tell me they don't miss us, grieve us or their pals when they die.  They are pure emotion, without as much cognitive ability to reason through it.  They are super happy when we come home - and sad when we leave.  They are proud when they accomplish something great and they are sorry when they are bad.  They love us - a real, true love....innocent and unconditional, without boundaries, without exception.  They believe in us when we have lost the belief in ourselves.  They don't care if we have a lot of money, they don't care if we dress right, say the right things at parties, or have a huge zit growing out of our foreheads.  They love us for who we are and help us aspire to be better people.  The innocence of their wholehearted, boundless devotion to us is something we can all aspire to.  Want to learn about true love?  Watch and learn from your pet.

Which brings me to another subject I am passionate about.


God is all about love - pure love.  What better example of love than your pet. What better example of God's love can we find???  How many times have you felt God's love through your pet??

I know that you have to believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and choose to believe in him as your savior to get eternal life in Heaven.  So how can Fido believe in that?  Well, how do we know he doesn't?  God created the animals.  How do we know that they don't talk to him in their own heart every day?  How do we know that they aren't closer to God than we are?  Who are we to LIMIT God or anything in his creation?  I think my dog, Abbie talks to God as often as I do.  I think she has the faith of a child...God calls us all to have the faith of a and certain without doubt.  I think Abbie has that.  We let our cognitive and thinking skills get in to way too much - to reason ourselves right out of faith.

I also believe babys that die - before they can willfully decide to follow Jesus - go to Heaven.  By the grace of God, they are saved.  I think animals fall into that category as well.  Even if they don't communicate with God, they are innocent as a baby.

How many times in the bible are animals mentioned as part of the heavens and earth?  The lion will lie down with the will that happen if they aren't there??

If there are no animals in Heaven, I think there are a LOT of people who wouldn't want to go there...I don't know if you (or even if I do) buy the stories of people who say they have visited heaven and come back, but if you do...almost all of them mention animals.  Trust me, I listen very hard for the mention of animals.  Not everyone I have researched mentions animals, but more often then not they do.  So, that's just another kernel to chew on.

I have no doubt in Jesus love for me - and for Abbie.  I know she will go there before me, but she will once again greet me with all the purest of love when I join her someday.  My cat Cassie is already there, pain free and healthy - waiting for me to come and scratch her just the way she likes it....

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fashion Failure

I think a lot of people think I am totally ignorant about whats "hot" or whats trending right now.  This is not true...I notice lots of things people are wearing, I don't like them.  For instance -

Absurdly huge and outrageously large rings - UGLY

Also huge and over-sized sunglasses that make you look like a bug - UGLY

Peasant blouses - oh my ugly and make a person look pregnant

Parting ones hair on the side and letting it fall in ur face - drives me NUTS, even watching others constantly flicking said hair out of their eyes

Low rise jeans - hello, can't stand not feeling they are there and worried they might fall off, I like my pants to fit thank you very much

Capris - pick a length - shorts or pants - don't waffle

All these cute little dresses that have you bare from your boobs up, showing your shoulders and arms - I have ugly arms - I have to have sleeves.

My style is comfy and easy.  Don't pinch me, poke me, make me look fat, show too much or make me chilly, and for heaven's sake don't make me iron it.  Throw it in the dryer and then hang it up.

I wear my comfy sweatshirt, jeans that fit, sneakers that are comfortable and my hair isn't in my eyes.  Is it too much to ask to have shirts that don't balloon out, pants that don't make me suck it in and then not be able to bend over, dresses with sleeves and sunglasses styles that actually fit your face?

I guess I'm just too old.  Wait...I dressed the same way as a teenager...hmmm...I guess maybe I am a fashion failure...

Spay and Neuter!!!

If you really love your pet - real, genuine want-the-best-for-her-love, you will spay her.  By spaying her, you remove all chances of any kind of cancer in those parts later.  You also usually have a more easy-going pet.  If she is a cat, you will be able to live with her in much better harmony.  Cats go into heat and drive everyone crazy with loud whining, crying and weird behavior.  Not to mention that both cats and dogs bleed while in heat.  Drops of red blood all over your carpet. Nice.

Besides the health aspect, spaying is the responsible - yes I said RESPONSIBLE choice for you and for society.  Have you ever toured a humane society?  Have you ever witnessed the killing - the murder - of an innocent, healthy pet for no other reason than nobody wants her?  The over population of unwanted pets is a huge problem, and everyone knows about it.  You may choose to ignore it and say you aren't the problem, you find homes for your puppies.  Well, you are continuing the problem when you provide another pet that needs a home rather than those people going to a shelter to adopt a pet already here and days away from death just because they have no one to love them.

I've heard it all..."we want our kids to experience reproduction":...WHAT??  If you want them to witness the cycle of LIFE, you MUST let them witness the DEATH part too.  They also should have to go to a shelter and witness the killing of unwanted homeless pets...a whole litter of puppies that are unwanted and never given a chance to live, murdered because they aren't the "right" breed, color, shape, size...etc.

"I've always had shelties" (whatever breed)....they are so sweet (whatever trait)....dogs are like children, just because they are the same BREED doesn't mean they will act exactly the same, have the exact same temperament or be just like the Fido you remember from your childhood.  You can take one black lab that is sweet, and calm, loyal and very smart.  You can take the same parents and have another black lab and this one is hyper, won't calm down, runs amok, won't listen to a word you say.  You can take this for all dogs in general.  If you REALLY GENUINELY want a dog for the RIGHT reasons -- to love and to be a companion - you can find that in any good dog.  A good loving dog that will fit your lifestyle, whatever that is, at a shelter that needs you more than you can ever realize.

You can find one that has the traits you recall from Fido in your childhood.  The loyalty, the fetching, the hunting, whatever you loved so much about Fido can be found in many dogs - if you care enough to look.  There are also rescues - you can search for a Sheltie (fill in breed) rescue - they rescue unwanted, abandoned, mistreated, abused, needy Shelties and re home them to people who can step up and do what's right for that dog.

"Well, I'm responsible, I have a boy dog and he wont have pups."  What about that one time he slips his collar and finds a sweetie next door in heat and it only takes once.  Besides, you also remove the cancer risk in boys as well and they usually settle down more when neutered.

"I can make a lot of money breeding" This is the biggest lie ever!!!  If you breed responsibly and do what you should do, and do it right - YOU WILL NOT MAKE MONEY unless you have a huge operation - not just a few dogs.  You have to budget for all emergencies, C-sections, or other birthing problems.  You have to have them all checked out and vaccinated for at least the 1st puppy combo - some breeds have to have their dew claws removed at 3 days or younger.  You have to worm them, you have to make sure they are healthy.  You have to be aware that if the mother would die, you have puppies to bottle feed every 2  hrs...for weeks.  And that's if you are lucky and they will take a bottle...not as easy as it sounds.  If the mother would die in childbirth or refuses to nurse them or has complications - you are in for a heck of a ride tying to keep them alive - and a HUGE vet bill.  Even if everything goes perfectly, you still have to have them all checked out, dew claws removed, vaccinated...perhaps travel fees if you are selling them around the country.  DON'T let yourself be sucked into the myth that all you do is get the dog pregnant and then boom - pups to sell for big bucks!  They can have all sorts of problems too - cleft palettes, hernias, failure to thrive, malnutrition, mom can lie on them - only to name a few.

I've heard them all.  I have an answer for all of them too...

"He will be mad at me if I don't let him BE A MAN and make babies"...uh no.  They don't care about sex, like men do.  Its all instinct and frankly you can take all that away and let them relax if you neuter him.  He wont even know what he's missing and won't be looking for a woman all the time.

"They need to go through 1 heat cycle before they get spayed, its better for them" also not true.  It is in fact BETTER to spay them before they ever even go into heat once, you prevent all those hormones from ever circulating in their body at all.  The sooner around 6 months, catch them before ever going into heat, is ideal.

"She will get fat after I spay her" also not true.  If you pay attention to her diet, like you should anyway, and feed her according to her weight and watch treats and no people food, she will tip the scales like any other dog.  If you let her eat as much as she wants and feed her a lot of people food, she will get too many calories and get fat, like any other dog.

If you think you MUST have that certain dog - that one breed you love, then go to a shelter FIRST - I challenge you to go there and look at all the unwanted, homeless dogs in their kennels - wishing for a home and a real chance.  You look them all in the eye and tell them they aren't good enough because they aren't a (fill in breed).  You then go and witness the killing of the animals that didn't make the cut that week...they have reached their limit on waiting, and they are being euthanized only to make room for more homeless and unwanted pets to come and wait as well.  If you can do that, and still want to breed your dog, or get that special breed, then I guess you don't have the heart to love a mutt...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Leaving for a week

We went to a cabin for a week to fish in the lake.  We couldnt bring my dog.  It was so hard to leave her in the kennel for a week.  My regular dog watcher was unavailable so she had to go to the kennel.  I felt like such a terrible mom!  When I came back to get her she was so happy to see me!  I cried a little.  She took a little while to warm up back to normal when we got home.  I gave her a bath, she smelled a bit funky and then she was back to her old self.

I told her when I left I would be back for her in a week.  I really hope she understood me and didnt worry about being back in a kennel.  I also hope she knows how much I love her.  I rescued her from the kennel when she was 6 months old, that was 10.5 years ago but I am sure she recalls it.  But we have a connection so strong that I'm sure she feels my love.

I am so blessed to call her my baby!!