Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My second day to ramble

We just got back from a horse ranch where Derek rides throughout the year. We are volunteering there this summer as we did last summer. I have been volunteering all year there and have gotten pretty good at cleaning stalls and grooming horses.
Today we learned how to put the bridle on the horse and how to clean their hoofs. I didn't grow up with horses but I would now like to own my own. I have been reading up on breeds. There are hot, cold and warmblooded breeds. It has nothing to do with the horses temperature, actually, but whether they are a heavy draft horse (Clydesdale, Shire, Percheron etc.) or a light spirited one (Arabian, Thorough Bred). Most horses are warm which is to say they possess any percentage of the previous two.
I often wonder what sort of horse I would get. I think the Quarter Horses are beautiful because they are so powerfully, yet sleekly built. (For all of you that don't know their name comes from the fact that they can run a quarter of a mile faster than any other horse. They can explode into a sprint from a standing position.) If I got a paint I would name him Van Gogh or Vermeer (after a painter, get it? Paint, painter? Never mind.) I think the most beautiful horses I've seen are the Shire crosses. That is a horse that is crossbred from a shire and some other breed.
There are two horses at this ranch that are Shire crosses: MiLady and Sir Benjamin. (They title all the large bred horses.) They are not as big as the purebred draft horses but are still larger than the average warm blood breeds. Their most lovely aspect, however, is their beautiful manes. They are long and flowing and wavy. They remind me of something out of a PreRaphaelite painting.
Not only that, but the larger breeds tend to be more docile. So really, I would be wise to get a big friendly horse like a Belgian Draft or a Clydesdale. You know, I've thought it would be funny in a rodeo during the barrel races to have a huge Clydesdale come running out and whip around those barrels just as a joke because nobody'd be expecting it.
Okay.... I've exhausted that subject...

Monday, June 29, 2009

How I am spending my summer

I believe this is my second post although I can't seem to find my first post.
What is the first thing to write about?
Since it is now summer vacation I am on my own "sabbatical" if you will. In other words I am spending most of the day stretched out on a sofa reading.
What am I reading? I'm glad you asked. I start out in the morning reading the Bible. I am currently using a very good commentary on the book of Matthew by Oliver B. Greene. He wrote it in the early seventies but you'd think he wrote it now because his comments on the condition of our present world and even the church is relevant.
After that I am reading "The Spiritual Man", by Watchman Nee. This is a heavy read and I can only digest small bites at a time. Consequently, I am only half way through this book even though I started last spring. Watchman Nee was a Chinese Christian during the early part of this century. He was imprisoned for the last twenty years of his life which no doubt gave him plenty of time to reflect. This is apparent in his book. He elucidates on the difference between the spirit and the soul, both of which coexist inside of us. He differentiates between when we are acting on our spiritual intuition (which is our spirit communing with the Holy Spirit) and our soulish inclinations (our carnal thinking). Nee offers great insight to Christians on how to discern when we are acting spiritually or soulically.
Then I write in my prayer journal. If anyone out there wants me to pray for them let me know.
I'm currently praying for my sister as she leaves here (the reason why I moved here in the first place) for the great land of Grenada, Mississippi. (Wah!!!) If you like to pray for others. Pray that she make good friends.
Afternoons, I bike twelve miles, then work out at a gym while my son is at swimming practise.
Evenings we read together. First the Bible-we're reading through Leviticus. That's a surpisingly good read, by the way, but I can comment later. Then we read fiction. We're currently reading, "Solomon's Mines" by H. Rider Haggard. Haggard wrote the book as a bet he could write a story just as exciting as Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island". So far, so good. By the first page I was hooked. I've never understood why people think they have to settle for all the "bubble gum" (sweet to taste but no nutritional value) reading out there when getting their kids to read. I always hear the excuse that there isn't anything out there for kids. That's just pure ignorance. There is so much wonderful reading out there for kids that if they read all the good stuff they wouldn't have time for all the mediocre reading that's so popular nowadays.
I think that future posts will be reviews of the books that Derek and I are reading to hopefully encourage others to seek out the rich assortment of really good literature that is available for kids.
In the evenings I visit with my sister (for now) and good friends. I love to sit around and talk with good company. I also call and write friends who live far away (a Japanese friend who lives in North Carolina and an East Texan friend who now lives in China).
The day ends with me reading the morning passage of scripture in Spanish (I'm reading through the Bible in Spanish) and then my fun reading until I drop off (around midnight). I'm currently reading an anthology of short stories. This book has reminded my of how much I love Henry James- I'm going to have to buy a collection of his works. I've also read a great short story by Pushkin. I'm going to have to buy a collection of his prose as well. Not any time soon, though. I've already got a pile to go through.
What else to add to this already considerably long post?
I'm training to be a foster-to-adopt parent. Getting all my ducks in a row for that. I will be posting that experience periodically and will certainly welcome any positive and encouraging comments from anyone who has been a foster parent, becoming or thinking of becoming a foster parent,or someone who is or has been a foster child.
Finally, in a couple of weeks. Derek and I are going to visit good friends out in west Texas and go camping in the Guadalupe Mountains. Anyone who likes to camp and knows of great undiscovered places let me know.
Well, I will sign off for now.