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Seeing Yellow – part 2

Last week, I described how dandelion distress dissolved into a fond childhood memory and promised to share another memory this week. While growing up in the 1960s with my two younger sisters, Mom and Dad designed and built a large addition onto our tiny  country home.  Each of us was given our own room and permitted to choose the paint color for our walls.  My sisters went with the trendy colors of Pepto-Bismol pink and orange.  I felt very chic in choosing Chartreuse green (I learned today that it’s named after a french liqueur!) I couldn’t locate a photo of my bedroom today, but here’s a picture of me in a chartreuse jumper that I made for 4-H in 1972.

 

Those were the good old colorful days. When I was 7, it was wonderful to do my own thing, and Mom happily painted the walls without a thought (as far as I know) of what visitors might think.

I still enjoy choosing paint colors for our rooms. When we moved into this house in 2005, the first order of business was to paint the drab master bedroom in a shade of green, not chartreuse, but an earthy sage.  My husband has also obliged me by painting other bedrooms in Greek Blue and Honey Gold.  During our 12 years here, we’ve changed the wallpaper in our den and gradually replaced kitchen paper with raspberry and cream paint.

I went through a phase when I wanted to get rid of the red French toile wallpaper in our dining room, but it grew on me again after some friends complimented the look.  Our living room has remained yellow since we moved in, even after I had the opportunity to choose something different a few years ago when some cracks in our drywall needed repair. At that time, we were both happy with the bright look of our white woodwork, yellow paint, and white sheer curtains with red floral window toppers.  We had the room repainted in the same sunny yellow and continued to enjoy spending time in our living room.

When it was time to wash the old, more-gray-than-white sheers this year, Dave and I determined that they needed to go to the curb instead of the washer. I was ready for something different, something a bit more contemporary that would still let in lots of light.  We hung two-tone curtains that are black on top with tan sheer panels in all six windows and were happy with the change.

Then one evening when Dave was out of town and I had the remote, I turned to HGTV. I’m barely familiar with the network, but recognized the Property Brothers working with a couple who were renovating a house to sell it so they could purchase a a dream home for their family.  As Drew and Jonathan escorted the man and his fiance inside a prospective home, the first words from her mouth were “Oh! All that yellow would have to go!” All three men agreed with her, of course.  The home was beautiful, but there was a lot of yellow.  And then, what I have known would happen if I started watching home improvement shows happened.

As the on-screen couple contemplated their options, the biggest drawback to this house was the yellow paint.  As I sat in my lovely room, I felt a bit insulted and began to think that maybe I didn’t like yellow walls anymore.  It suddenly seemed obvious to me that my room had too many colors, two many patterns, too much clutter, and on it went.  The next morning I spent a couple hours cleaning, de-cluttering and rearranging until I liked the room again.  But it wasn’t until Mom visited and approved of the way the living room looks with the new curtains that I completely recovered from my Yellow Paint Discontent.

Perhaps more people should paint their rooms yellow. According to Apartment Therapy’s article  “Five Happy Colors to Boost Your Mood”, yellow is #1 and all three of the colors that my sisters and I chose for our bedrooms are in the top 5!  Check out the pictures in the post; the first one reminds me of my living room. Go with greige if it makes you happy. I’ll keep my yellow.

 

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Seeing Yellow

As I pick up my yellow notepad to write this week, I’m pondering two memories from my childhood.  As a little girl growing up in a rural Ohio home in the sixties, I would pick little bouquets of wildflowers from our yard and present them to my mom.  After thanking me, she would prepare a small glass of water to place them in.  The arrangement might contain violets, clover, Queen Anne’s Lace, or, yes, dandelions.

It wasn’t until my husband and I bought our third house that I began eyeing dandelions as an undesirable yard intruder, and then only because I realized that our neighbors were fighting a war against them.  During the summers of the early nineties, little flags were popping up along the curbs to advertise and warn that the lawns had been treated with chemicals. My farm-raised husband and I had no interest in spending money on lawn treatments, and I suspected that the sprayed concoction was giving our son headaches as he walked home from school.  Our pediatrician could find no other cause and said it was a possibility.

Now there are many on-line warnings of harmful effects of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and gas exhaust on pets, people, water, and the ozone layer.  I recommend the interesting (and lighter) Wikipedia article about the history of lawns and how we came to care so much about them.

We’ve made two more moves since dandelions became weeds and now live in a lovely neighborhood filled with friendly people and unassuming homes, most with weed-free lawns. We’ve found that keeping our grass growing has been a challenge here, while weeds of all kinds flourish. When a lawn care specialist knocked on our door a couple of years ago, I admitted that I was not happy with our lawn, but didn’t like the idea of using chemicals. To my surprise, he recommended a natural product made mostly of chicken manure that would (somehow) stimulate the grass roots to grow and to choke out the weeds.  In our third year of treatment, we do have more grass, however it seems to be living peacefully with many kinds of weeds including a bumper crop of dandelions.  And this spring they got to me.

I could put up with the bright yellow blossoms in our back yard, but seeing our front lawn filled with yellow dandelions almost had me seeing red.  Plastic bag in hand, I harvested those heads before they could seed.  However, the next day our lawn was again dotted with yellow as well as tall stems loaded with white seed-filled fluff.  I told my husband that I’d like to move to the country where it wouldn’t matter what grows in our yard.  He bought some weed killer and sprayed the front lawn.

A couple of days later, when our dandelions had shriveled, some beautiful photos taken by my friend, Autumn, showed up on Facebook. With her artistic eye and love of nature, she had captured her little daughter playing in a “field of wish flowers.”

I remembered being that little girl who made a wish and blew on the seeds, sending them into the breeze to find fertile ground. And I felt a twinge of regret for having hated my dandelions and a bit of sadness for how our feelings about simple things change as we get older.  Since my posy pondering has filled front and back of my yellow page, I’ll save the other childhood memory for a part two of Seeing Yellow.

photos by Autumn Dimmerling

“Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.” – Winnie-the-Pooh

 

 

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Transformed

In 1991, I sat riveted in my theater seat watching the tragic defeat and death of the Beast in Disney’s original movie and telling myself that surely a happy ending was still coming. In another seat, a little girl sobbed as she watched the character die while Belle’s heart broke. The child had no hope of a happy ending, and even we who expected it experienced a moment of asking, “Is it too late?” The Beast’s future was not the only one at stake; the cursed castle’s humans-turned-to-objects feel completely defeated and hopeless until the magic begins and love’s transforming power lifts the Prince and them to restored life.  The curse is broken and evil is defeated.

That child’s tears remind me of a story told by a friend of mine. She was sitting with her young grandson during our church’s Easter musical.  The tot paid close attention as Jesus died and was laid in a tomb.  Then, as he watched friends of Jesus weeping, he whispered to Grandma, “They don’t know that Jesus is alive.” It’s just a few moments before the scene changes from the Friday burial to the confusion of Sunday’s empty tomb and then the truth of the Resurrection.  An angel proclaims, “He is not here; he has risen!”

I cannot remember a time in my life when I did not know the story of Easter.  With the simple faith of a child, I’ve always believed that it happened.  Easter mornings in our little country church were the highlight of the year.  Joyful people dressed in new clothes filled the pews. Easter lilies graced the sanctuary, scenting the air with their fragrance. The organist pulled out all the stops as we sang “Christ the Lord is Risen Today”.  After all, the Resurrection of Christ rocked the world and is the only reason why we mortals have hope of eternal life with God.  As Jesus said to Nicodemus, the man who would help Joseph wrap his dead body and lay it in the tomb, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

I flourished in that church among God’s people and made my statement of faith as a young teenager, saying in part, “In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Lord, he has come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the world to himself.”

After high school graduation, I went off to college where I was separated from my church family.  I did not get connected with a local church or group of Christian students.  Life happened, as they say.  By the time I finished school, my heart had been broken several times. I had wandered off of the path a bit and almost given up on some of my dreams.  I was under a spell of discouragement.

Then my Knight in Shining Armor rode in. He offered me patience and understanding, and our friendship quickly became love that led to marriage. We had children and he worked hard to provide for our physical needs and to continue to support me emotionally.  But I needed more than that.  I needed Transformation.

As sure as the Beast was trapped in the curse for being selfish and mean, I was trapped in a dead-end life of perfectionism,  self-centeredness, and anxiety.  We were going to church and I still believed what I had accepted as a child, but I was powerless to find peace in my heart, and I allowed my mind to wander wherever it desired. I needed the Risen Lord’s love and power in my life.

In 1993, we were living in North Dakota.  I got up the courage to go to our church’s women’s retreat with a group of ladies I barely knew.  During the weekend, I got caught up in the love that these women had for Jesus.  It wasn’t just religion, it was real relationship.  I prayed, not for what I wanted, but for God to take over my life.  The Transformation began.

Back in Ohio a few years later, I joined another group of godly women in Bible studies that took me deep into the Bible.  I began to understand dying to self and living for Jesus.  The happy ending is coming.

Jesus proved that he is able to overcome death and darkness.  He promised that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life.  It’s not a fairy tale.

“Mud Church” in Wyandot County, Ohio

He Lives!  He Lives! Christ Jesus lives today. He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. 

He Lives!  He Lives! Salvation to impart. You ask me how I know he lives.  He lives within my heart.

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DEODORANT (at the dentist part 2)

It’s easy to imagine a connection between deodorant and time in a dentist’s chair, but if you’re wondering whose deodorant failed, you’re on the wrong track.

The dental office I visit only has partial walls between chairs, resulting in easily overheard conversations.  In the summer of 2015, I was waiting for the dentist to take a look at my just polished teeth so I could go home.  He was talking with the gentleman in the next room about a needed filling.  The patient had some questions about what type of filling would be used and expressed concern about the mercury in “silver fillings”.  Our doctor’s adamant response was that the metallic mercury found in the dental amalgam that has been used for 200 years is safe.  He explained that studies do not show the blood of people with the fillings to contain more mercury that those without them.  He also pointed out the durability and lower cost of metal fillings when compared to tooth-colored composite fillings.  The conversation continued.  I wonder if the guy was genuinely concerned or was putting off getting his tooth filled.  My dentist was persistent and eventually convinced him to get the silver filling.

After doing the work, the dentist sent the man on his way, then came in to check on me.  He was still a bit worked up about the challenge to the safety of dental amalgam and asked if I had heard them talking.  I admitted that I had, which triggered an unexpected conversation about deodorant.  He expressed frustration that the practice of using metal fillings has been attacked while other proven health dangers are ignored, then proceeded to tell me that the aluminum in deodorant causes breast cancer.  I had no response, which is OK because he was checking my teeth, making it impossible for me to speak.

I left the office with a new toothbrush, a tiny box of dental floss, and a piece of information related to my breast health to chew on.  I had heard of both potential metal-related health risks, and now  a medical professional was implying that I should not use deodorant. Googling turned up some rather convincing articles, as well as alternatives for aluminum-laden deodorant. I started poofing baby powder in my armpits and decided to ask my breast specialist about the risk.  During my routine visit a few weeks later, she asked if I had any questions, opening the door for deodorant discussion.  She took the time to explain that if there was a correlation between deodorant and breast cancer, many more people would have it since we all apply deodorant.  She assured me that I could continue using it without fear.  However, she revealed that they are seeing women develop breast cancer from carrying their cell phones in their bras.

While at the North Dakota State Fair in 2016, I spotted this entry in the Bedazzle Your Bra contest that seemed to lend credence to her warning.

Here’s how I’ve handled each of these three potential risks:

  1. I’ll be happy if the few metal dental fillings that I have stay in my teeth for the rest of my life, and I’m doing my best to avoid needing more (see part 1 of this series: YELLED AT).
  2. Since I had already given up my old aluminum-laden deodorant, I decided to try to keep fresh in a more natural way. After trying a couple of natural stick deodorants that were not quite enough, I’ve begun using a product that I LOVE!  This is a pump (not aerosol) that has no odor and no residue to get on my clothes.  It works all day and all night!  I bought two so I could put one in my travel bag.

3.  A cell phone in MY bra?! Laughable. But breast cancer is no laughing matter, so if you’ve been tucking yours in, I hope that you’ll make your bra a NO PHONE ZONE.

 

 

 

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