Tag Archives: Small Town Life

Small Town Life: A Question of Morality

images (3)I read a passage in the Bible the other day that said, “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” – 1 John 4:20

So my question to the world: Is the inverse true? If someone says they hate God (whatever the name they use for him or if they even believe in a higher being), but loves their brother, are they a liar? Is a person who doesn’t have any solid belief in a god but is kind and loving to their images (1)fellow man still going to go to heaven?

I think so. I think that as much as the God I believe in wants to have us include Him in our lives, if some human uses the idea of Him to hurt someone and that someone rejects that idea of God but continues on in life in a loving way toward their brother in humanity, they are a follower of the true deity in their heart.

What do you think? Do you have to have thoughts on this verse? Do you believe in a deity who is loving? Do you not believe in a loving deity and why? What are your thoughts on loving your brother?

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Small Town Life – Independence Day

4th abby flat 4th firework ring flat 4th firework ring2 flat 4th fireworks flat 4th fireworks2 flat 4th fireworks3 flat 4th with grandpa flat4th cate flat 4th fireworks4 flat 4th fireworks5 flatIf you live in a small town, it may be hard to find out what the schedule of events it for special days like the 4th of July.

When we first moved to Small Town my parents and siblings and I drove around that year in search of fireworks hoping we would just see some and drive in that direction. It was rough. There were a few here and a few there but it was disappointing to say the least.

Over the years we have figured out the Small Town 4th of July drill. Parade down main in the morning. Snack at a local cafe. Hotdogs and other BBQ on the back porch. Fireworks on our block for the kiddos including at least one person being burned by a sparkler. Then off to the fair grounds for the big fireworks.

When we were teenagers, and mom and dad got the hankerin’, we would skip the whole Small Town thing and go up to Itty Bitty Tourist Town. It was a mining town and now just a little tourist trap. There is a street fair complete with turkey legs and a fireworks show that you can basically just stop where ever you are in the town and watch as the fire department lights it all off from a cliff overhanging the town. Itty Bitty is little ways away though so it’s a drive.

Now that I have kids, I’m realizing what poor timing all this celebrating is. The parade is in the morning so we have to get up and get ready. I like to paint the kids faces because I’m “that” mom. Then we eat all day and then wait and wait for the sun to go down for the fireworks and toddlers are basically a mess by the time the good fireworks show is going.

I seem to remember a time when seat belts weren’t such a crime to forgo and my dad put a mattress in the back of the pickup and we all watched the fireworks in our PJs and sleeping bags and he just drove back home with us all asleep back there and left us in there all night. We loved it. Now, you would think we were abusing our kids if we did that but… that’s how I grew up and in Small Town, it was GREAT!

Small Town Life – Love at First Sight?

Recently I was reading Kylie’s blog and she wrote asking whether love at first sight existed.

The answer is no.

Like at first sight exists. Sex appeal at first sight exists. Attraction at first sight exists.IMG_9963 8x10

I remember reading a romance novel (Don’t do it. They are full of lies!). It proclaimed that the lovers had been together for years and heatwaves still engulfed the heroine every time she touched her hairy chested man.

Lies.

When I first met Andy, I wanted to kiss him. When his hand first touched mine, there was a shock that went through my body. But none of that was stuff that hadn’t happened before with other boyfriends.31987_1486326247153_5297469_n

Attraction is not a choice. Attraction is an instinct and those shock waves will subside like they do with every other relationship.

What makes my relationship with Andy unique from all the others is the CHOICE to love him. I choose everyday that I’m living with someone other than me in a manner that is not my instinct to LOVE him. To cherish him. Our LOVE is not shocking. It’s comfortable.

It’s him getting up in the morning and making coffee for me because he knows I can barely function without it. 405776_10151962178803475_1628966439_nIt’s me taking time out of my day to look at his photos every time he posts them. It’s him setting up the tent, doing all the camp work, and then taking down the tent all while I sit in the car with the kids because he knows I hate camping. It’s me tolerating camping. It’s him cleaning up the house when it’s not what he wants to do. It’s me not getting mad that our work and leisure hours rarely line up. It’s us snuggling in bed with three wiggly children together. It’s me ignoring hair in the sink, socks on the floor and food left out on the counter.

It is him sacrificing himself for me and me sacrificing myself for him. If I’m giving 100% and he’s giving 100%, we are both getting 100%. Love is not 50/50.5060_98478695901_5897601_n

Love is a conscious choice. It’s not hard… at least it isn’t for me. But it is a choice every day because infatuation wears off and what is left can be tossed aside as you search for those fireworks again in a different relationship or you can stoke the embers of love (there is still hot and heavy every now and then, it’s just not the same) with choices to sacrifice yourself everyday.

Small Town Living – Street Fair

Small Town has a street fair that is popular with EVERYONE every year. It is the one even where you are assured to see anyone and everyone. We live within walking distance of the venue so every year we invite people to bring their kids to the house and I paint their faces (because the face painting at the event is woefully inadequate and outrageously expensive.) Then we walk over and peruse the booths, get a turkey leg, pretend like we are pirates and leave, completely broke.image

This year is an election year and we saw every candidate that was up for election handing out flyers and recruiting votes. It was very interesting. The republican booth was clear across the park from the democrat booth. istockphoto_6017958-us-political-party-logosHowever, everyone was in the middle of the park kinda hanging out and chatting. It was all very amicable.

It’s nice to see that however strongly people may feel about their politics, they can still interact kindly and just have a nice conversation.

Summerfestbooths

Small Town Life – FFA

We live in an agricultural community. This small town has always elevated FFA (Future Farmers of America) to a status that I can only compare to… Olympians maybe?FFA_Emblem I don’t know. I’ve never lived in a big city and I don’t know what makes an organization cool for kids there. But here, the FFA is the thing to join. The other day, all the future farmer’s were out on Main (and this is saying something about the smallness of our town), sweeping all the downtown streets and washing the windows of all the businesses. Yes, the got all the way down the three main streets and did all the downtown windows. Can you imagine that happening in a big ‘ol city? Nope… These kids are awesome but the smallness of the town made what they did seem even bigger because EVERY business benefited. It was kinda awesome to see all the kids littering the streets while cleaning up the litter.

Small Town Life – Circus Circus

Every year in the beginning of summer, the circus comes to Small Town. Because we are a small town, we get a small circus mostly staffed by Vegas show girls that haven’t gotten a break yet and ex convicts. However, it’s the Shriner’s and the proceeds go to fund children’s something or other and the kids love it so… we go. What else do we have to do here in Small Town America? This year the 4 yo opted out and the infant is just way to young to expose to the disease infested masses so it was just the 6 yo and me. As we are driving to the fair grounds, I notice the sky is looking dark.

We soldiered on.

There was a multi-animal bit where the miniest of mini horses escaped the ring and started to run off into the fields beyond Small Town. Better yet, it was running toward what looked to be farmer Brown’s horse yard where The Black Stallion was running like a mythical creature, tail in air. Pretty sure Mini horse thought he was going to run free with farmer Brown’s amazing beast… until he was chased around the field for half an hour and finally recaptured during the clown set… by the clowns. Seriously! The clowns actually saw Mini horse coming back toward the fair grounds and added into their little bit his recapture.

The whole show, a lady behind me insisted on using her smart phone to look up all the citations the circus had received and read each and every one loudly, putting more of a damper on the experience than the rain.

I wanted to deck her.

I didn’t.

Be proud of me.

 

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This Oriental Trading Company horse was marked up 1000% to $15. I asked Abby to choose one thing and this is what she chose…even over snacks including cotton candy. I’m broke and pretty sure I should own an elephant after the tickets and this purchase.

 

Abby's reaction to the clowns. She doesn't do slapstick.
Abby’s reaction to the clowns. She doesn’t do slapstick.
These guys are all over because it's a Shriner's event. What is with the hats?
These guys are all over because it’s a Shriner’s event. What is with the hats?
This clown was giving away the only free thing at the circus, stickers. We got two.
This clown was giving away the only free thing at the circus, stickers. We got two.
This cotton candy was $5 a bag. I drew the line here. It's sugar and I found a machine that came with the stuff to make the cotton candy at Walmart.com for $35. I'm actually thinking about getting it just for the summer as there are so many events at which they sell outrageously priced cotton candy, the thing would pay for itself in a week. I could add it to my birthday party stuff...
This cotton candy was $5 a bag. I drew the line here. It’s sugar and I found a machine that came with the stuff to make the cotton candy at Walmart.com for $35. I’m actually thinking about getting it just for the summer as there are so many events at which they sell outrageously priced cotton candy, the thing would pay for itself in a week. I could add it to my birthday party stuff…
Here are a few of th
Here are a few of the ex-Dallas cheerleaders. No… Not really.
I was sooo happy to see that we were going to see tigers. After the horse show that I didn't even take a picture of because it was just horses... going around in circles, I was concerned.
I was sooo happy to see that we were going to see tigers. After the horse show that I didn’t even take a picture of because it was just horses… going around in circles, I was concerned.
Pretty sure this guy stole this piece of equipment from Cirque du Sole. The most awesome part of his act was to walk on the apparatus with a blindfold. I was just glad he didn't die. It did not look effortless. Just sayin'.
Pretty sure this guy stole this piece of equipment from Cirque du Sole. The most awesome part of his act was to walk on the apparatus with a blindfold. I was just glad he didn’t die. It did not look effortless. Just sayin’.
Who knew all that Hoola Hooping in the 80s would turn into a career?
Who knew all that Hoola Hooping in the 80s would turn into a career?
This ladies only job during the elephant show is to advertiser her plastic surgeon. "He do amazink verk, no?"
This ladies only job during the elephant show is to advertiser her plastic surgeon. “He do amazink verk, no?” Best part was when all the elephants were lined up and the one right behind her sneezed (an elephant sneeze is basically a shower of water and snot) right on her back. To her credit, her smile never wavered but her teeth clenched a little and the trainer laughed hysterically.
This trick wins best in show. Having just been pregnant for 9 months, the fact that they are willing to lay down knowing they are going to have to return to a standing position is AMAZING! I should know.
This trick wins best in show. Having just been pregnant for 9 months, the fact that they are willing to lay down knowing they are going to have to return to a standing position is AMAZING! I should know.
Two things about this photo: 1. You are seeing me only 3.5 weeks after having a baby IN A PHOTO! Be proud of me. This is not how I want to be immortalized in your reading mind, however, my daughter wanted to take the picture and had acquiesced to my many photo requests that it was only fair. 2. Seeing that I have cotton candy in hand, you may notice that this is at the end as we were leaving but that in no way was the reason this clown looked, shall we say, HARD UP! We took the picture just so we could show you all the reason coulrophobia is a real thing.
Two things about this photo: 1. You are seeing me only 3.5 weeks after having a baby IN A PHOTO! Be proud of me. This is not how I want to be immortalized in your reading mind, however, my daughter wanted to take the picture and had acquiesced to my many photo requests that it was only fair. 2. Seeing that I have cotton candy in hand, you may notice that this is at the end as we were leaving but that in no way was the reason this clown looked, shall we say, HARD UP! We took the picture just so we could show you all the reason coulrophobia is a real thing.
After the show, the ring master asked if anyone wanted FREE COTTON CANDY? Abby nearly had a heart attack. HOW DO WE GET THIS FREE COTTON CANDY? They handed out trash bags and said kids could trade a full trash bag for cotton candy. She picked up trash... voluntarily... in the rain. I made her bring the cotton candy home and wash her hands with the most stringent stuff we could find before she was allowed to eat it. I only made her share a little with the 4 yo. Best part of the circus for me was seeing her connect the fact that she had worked for something and actually getting it in her hand.
After the show, the ring master asked if anyone wanted FREE COTTON CANDY? Abby nearly had a heart attack. HOW DO WE GET THIS FREE COTTON CANDY? They handed out trash bags and said kids could trade a full trash bag for cotton candy. She picked up trash… voluntarily… in the rain. I made her bring the cotton candy home and wash her hands with the most stringent stuff we could find before she was allowed to eat it. I only made her share a little with the 4 yo. Best part of the circus for me was seeing her connect the fact that she had worked for something and actually getting it in her hand.

 

Small Town Life – Unexpected

This week I was traveling to California and with the new baby to boot. I spent about 2 days in the airports from here to there on standby with our newborn and because she is still soooooo small, everyone and their husband asked how old she was and what her name was and how much she weighs. I’m telling you, the best conversation piece is a new baby.Wed B&W 1 flat People are in love with a baby. I sat with a nice lady from Hawaii who told me about her life and 4 children. After the 4th was born, she had a pregnancy scare (ladies… you know what a heart attack those scares are. The peeing on the stick… the waiting…. the ABSOLUTE TERROR!!!!!)

“I actually considered what it might be like to get an abortion. I couldn’t afford another child. I couldn’t deal with another life to nurture. I was already feeling like I was neglecting the kids I had! I was never one to even consider abortion but in that moment, I knew what I would do.”

I have never been one to consider the termination of a pregnancy an option. My thoughts were, “Why don’t these people plan better?” Until I was there.

Andy and I didn’t plan to have another child after Cate. We were happy with two and DONE! But stuff happens. A little wine… some bad math… a little overconfidence about how well I know my body and BAM! storkWe were pregnant and STUNNED!

Of course, because of previous posts, you know we never even considered termination but… it tickled the back of my mind with a question: If I wasn’t me – a girl with a husband, good job, supportive parents, a strong spiritual connection, a church family that loves me and has helped me in ways I can’t even describe – what would I do? I can’t say that I wouldn’t seriously consider termination as an option.

I would normally consider myself pro life. I’m very against termination but the older I get, the more I open my mind, the less I feel like I can judge.

3 sisters flat