Wednesday’s Word-Edition 80

March 7, 2012 | My Jottings

I’m thinking about friendship today, and how tremendously grateful I am for the friends God has given me. Some of you I’ve known since I was five years old. Some of you have walked with me through the wondrous/difficult marital and mothering years. Some of you I’ve never even met, yet still hold so close in my heart as true treasures. I thank God for each of you today, with tears….

“Friendship is the only thing that will show up at our funerals…..”

Ann Voskamp

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Okay, now I like bats.

March 5, 2012 | My Jottings

When my sister-in-law Christy saw my last blog post about the creepy, squeaky little bats on the roof of our vacation cabin, she said in the softest, most compassionate voice, “Oooh, I love bats!” And when she saw the dumbfounded look on my face, she pulled up a chair next to me at the computer and led me to a YouTube video about a bat.

This little baby bat was abandoned by his mother, then rescued and named Lil’ Drac (shudder), and as I watched the video with Christy, I was entranced.

You just have to see this:

And part 2:

I would have bet a lot of money that I would never get tears in my eyes over the plight of a bat. I would have lost that bet.

So, are those of you who weren’t fond of bats of a different opinion now? Or are you scoffing at this nutty bat propaganda?

I already knew how bats have an important job to do in the world, I just didn’t want to know very much about it, or have them squeaking within 100 yards of my dwelling.

Now my heart has cracked open a little bit toward bats.

I sometimes like to have deep conversations with friends about what God is doing in our lives.

Julie: So, friend, what is God doing in your life lately?

Friend: He is definitely helping me with my patience with my children, and increasing my desire to spend more time in prayer.

Julie: What a blessing!

Friend: So, Julie, what is God doing in your life lately?

Julie: He’s softening my heart toward bats.


Julie: Hey, don’t leave so quickly…where are you going????

And on an unrelated matter, here are the week’s seven things that have been donated as I give away 365 things during the year 2012:

Six excellent books and a soft throw/lap blanket.

Back to Lil’ Drac — what did you think after watching the videos?

Sometimes all you remember are the squeaks

March 3, 2012 | My Jottings

Sometimes in the middle of winter, when the snow is deep and the temperatures are low, you think of summer.

When you’re sitting in your office and looking out at the breathtakingly beautiful landscape with a foot of new-fallen snow, you’re thankful for the awesome views, but you’re thinking back to the warmth of August and a few days spent in a cabin resort deep in the north woods of Minnesota.

And while you’re sitting in your plaid flannel nightgown looking out at the drifts, you remember what it was like to feel the warm summer breezes of August and to swim twice a day in the resort pool, splashing around like a child again.

And you sigh as you recall how sweet it was to sleep in past 5:30 each morning, and how perfectly fine it was to lay down for a rest (or a snore, depending on who you are) in the middle of the afternoon if that’s what you wanted to do.

And while you’re watching snowflakes the size of feathers drift down from the grey sky, sometimes your mind goes back to last summer, and the anticipation you felt for being together as a family and hearing laughter around a shared meal, and the squeals of happy grandbabies on the swings and in the pool. And you remember how much being near the water calms and renews your spirit, and how delightfully amazed you were to see actual pelicans on Pelican Lake.

And as you pull on boots and wrap a scarf and find the snow shovel, you have a pleasant summer flashback of driving into the resort and seeing your cabin for the first time, and tossing up silent-but-loud thank-yous to God as you carried in your food and your suitcases and your hope.

And sometimes during the long Minnesota winter, when the sounds you hear are the quiet roar of the furnace, the crunch of steps taken in snow, and the scraping of the giant blade of the plow clearing your street during the night, you think back to the sounds of summer at the resort in the deep north woods of Minnesota.

You think of the sounds of water lapping on the shore of the pristine lake, a stone’s throw from your cabin. You recall the crackle of a wood fire after dinner, with children’s giggles as they hold out marshmallows on sticks to be toasted. You remember the better-than-Prozac calming of the soft breeze that rustles the birch and poplar leaves in the million trees around you. The birdsong…the soft splish of a paddle dipping repeatedly as a canoe skims across the lake to a fairy lagoon.


…you remember the eerie, high-pitched creaky squeaks of the bats that live on the porch roof right above your cabin’s front door.

Almost within arm’s reach.

The two dozen little bats that sit watchfully during the day amidst their own guano, following you with their shiny eyes as you come out of your cabin to go to the pool, the back deck, the lake. The bats who’re waiting for dark so they can wing out into the night with mouths open to gobble mosquitoes for hours. The bats with blond furry bodies and dark, jointed legs. The squeaking bats with little cat-like ears, and sharp little teeth that can be easily seen because they’re just a few feet away from your head. The bats with quick, furtive movements as they scurry deeper into the eaves when you stop to gape at them with a mixture of fascination and horror.

Yes, those kinds of bats.

Sometimes, in the middle of a north woods winter, with snow all around and no spring in sight, you think back to your last summer in the north woods. And you dreamily remember the lake, the pelicans, the canoes, the lily pads, the naps, the togetherness, the pool, the sunshine and the happiness. You recall the birds singing and the wolves howling and the breezes blowing, and all the summer sounds that seem designed by God to help keep you tranquil and serene.

And then…you remember the squeaks.

An inch an hour

March 1, 2012 | My Jottings

The blizzard predicted early in the week arrived early Wednesday morning, and it poured blowing snow from the sky for hour upon hour. Our local paper says that for a while it was snowing at the rate of one inch per hour. At our house we got just under a foot of snow, but because of the 55 mph wind gusts, we have places in the yard where the drifts are knee-high, and also a few patches only inches deep. Today it’s still grey out, and another inch of snow is predicted for this afternoon, but the worst is over.

Our Miniature German Schnauzers, Edith and Mildred, aren’t fans of the snow. When we let them out to go potty, they take one tentative step in the deep white cold and then turn back to scratch on the door, hoping I’ll let them in. But I’m mean. Instead I step outside with them, closing the door behind me, and say repeatedly, “Go potty! Go potty!” And they know it’s futile and they won’t get back into the house until they go. So they do.

Millie is generally more adventurous than Edith and eventually she leaped through the snow toward the creek back behind our shed, looking very rabbit-like as she went. (Click to enlarge photos.)

Here’s what our back deck looks like this morning:

Edith wouldn’t venture too far out in the yard, but instead stood on alert as she heard the snowplow in the street finally go by. I can read her Schnauzer mind, and she wanted me to think she wasn’t afraid of the deep snow but instead was bravely focused on protecting us and our property from the huge, bladed, roaring machine.

Below, you can see Mildred in the distance, also listening to the plow and posing for a bark. And there’s Edith’s little stubby tail. Our family has a song we sing about our dogs’ little stubby tails. I promise not to post a video of myself singing it.

I’m off to clean the kitchen, do some laundry, tackle the paperwork Alps and when I’m all done, have a cup of tea…..