Saturday, May 31, 2008

Small changes matter...

My hubby and I spent Friday evening at Busch Gardens and I bravely rode the sky ride. Fun...right up until it broke down, it was stopped just for ten minutes but for a coward that seems like a life time. I survived the experience and it was very nice otherwise. I enjoyed walking in the new Jungala section, the tigers were beautiful and amazing to watch. The park has this beautiful mural which they encourage you to buy beads and eventually the beads will fill in all the colored spaces. With each bead purchased money is given to Busch Garden's conservation fund. The symbolism of each bead, is that of a person who is making a small change but all together those changes will change the picture of the world. That idea was the inspiration behind the mural and the beads. I liked the idea that each one of us can make small changes and collectively change how the world looks. So many of us think because we are just one person... why bother? But it really does begin with one person and that one person's effect on another and so on.

We have gifts that differ according to grace given to each of us, let each exercise accordingly.
Romans 12:6

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Baers Summer Vacation

Our family, which now pretty much consists of myself and my hubby are watching our pennies. The downturn in our economy has effected our construction business in a very real way. We will be working very hard this summer trying to play catch up after a slow six months. Which is fine because we are grateful to God for the work. So this year rather than go away for vacation we will be taking some on those "One tank trips" with Bill Murphy( an excellent book by the way,) because about one tank is all we can afford. If you unfamiliar with the book it is 52 Florida adventures that you may get to on a tank of gas. Since we are close to Busch Gardens we did decide to buy a "Pay for a day. Come back all year" ticket with one ticket upgraded for parking. This is something we can do in the evenings after supper, the park is open until 10 pm and we are now 50 so we are considered "Active Adult Visitors" which really doesn't get you anything other than a good laugh and an itinerary. We have always bought Disney passes but because we will be so busy working and because gas is expensive and Busch Gardens tickets were a bargain we decided to do the closer of the two. We have also started canoeing, which is fun and requires not any gas at all. My grandson loved it and we look forward to more times together. We are going to be creative this year with our family get-togethers and our budget but we always have a wealth of love for our time together. I had read in the St. Pete times paper that people are staying home this summer to have "staycations." Let me know what you will be up to this summer unless you are going to Europe and then just go quietly and I will be happy for you and not bitter at all.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Lou!

Today, forty eight years and ten days ago I was replaced as the apple of my father's eye! My sister Lou was born.There is a story about how I pushed her into a cedar chest when she and I were little and cracked her skull opened, actually I heard that story a lot. My take is that she did something that provoked the attack but sane people everywhere don't mention that. I told everyone I really wanted to be an only child in fact I told anyone who would listen. Well, I have gotten bigger and hopefully a little more well adjusted and I am glad I am not an only child. I do have two sisters and a brother who are smart and pretty. Actually my brother is handsome but one of my sisters, Lou has a birthday today and I hardly ever push her into the cedar chest anymore and I am very glad I have her as my sister....Happy Birthday Lou!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What does it mean to be fearless?

I am someone who has said in her blog that she would like to be more fearless so I am pondering the fearlessness of Scott McClellan in his tell- all book. Is this fearless? Speaking up now. I haven't read the book but according to all the news programs he is saying this administration was less then truthful and it makes me wonder about his fearlessness. He is not saying the intelligence was wrong and we were mistaken he is saying that the administration was less than honest. I am Democrat so there isn't anything news worthy for me in this book so, my response would be "Duh?" I guess Republicans may find this book noteworthy, who knows? But, is this fearlessness to write a book after you have resigned and state information that is already established opinion by a good 78% of the population? Alright, that may be an exaggeration but still a lot of people feel like the White House "pulled one over on us." If this is fearlessness, then surely it isn't patriotic? I mean a patriot would speak up when it mattered, wouldn't he? Not just when he may make a buck or two. Real sacrifices are being made everyday by our service people and their families and I wonder what Scott McClellan would say to them. I think fearlessness involves speaking up in the moment, defending what your Christian faith tells you is right and I think that is patriotic. Scott McClellan may be fearless, I don't know but he should be apologetic at this point. Because if he isn't just trying to sell books and make money he is letting people know that in an important time in our country's history he was a coward who kept his mouth shut. He stood there quietly and resigned saying he wanted to spend more time with his family and didn't say a word to the American people about the garbage (I believe his words were propaganda) that was coming out of the White House. Instead, he sold his story. The title of his book should be "I am sorry."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Some rant about comma placement and other atrocities.

So, the only daughter feels that I should change my header because I am talking about the goodness in the world and not "ranting" enough. She is an English major who takes words and grammar very seriously. On her face book page her "flair" says "she will judge you when you use bad grammar." We all know this so there is no need for the banner stating the obvious. She is the only person I know who can get into a heated argument about the placement of a comma. Seriously, the placement of a comma.
So, in honor of my daughter who is very smart, honest and a true dedicated warrior of the English language... I give you... the definition of rant.
rant (rant) v. to talk in a loud, wild way; rave. n. loud, wild speech.
I think I have ranted and raved many times and while it may be true that as I age I'm less wild (maybe), I'll always rant even about the "good things in this world." I think it is important for people to feel passionately about things they believe in even if it is "just" the placement of a comma! You go girl!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Thankful for "those who show up" in our lives.

My friend's mother passed away and tomorrow she will be laid to rest. I have known him since high school daze and I remember his mother as always being "present." What I mean is she was the kind of person "who showed up." The kind of person who thought to ask "How are you doing?" She remembered the bits and pieces of your life when you barely remembered them. I thought of who she was today while in church. It was Youth Sunday at our church and traditionally the Youth group takes over all aspects of music and worship and the graduating seniors give speeches of farewell and gratitude. This year, more than one said thank you to the congregation for asking "How are you doing?" I thought about how much I love these young people and how much I will miss them. These fine people always contribute so much to the life of our church and our church is richer and fuller because of them. I think about my friend's mom and how much she will be missed. She filled her family's life with laughter, attentiveness and service. She always asked "How are you doing?" and "Are you hungry?" We usually were "fuller" because of her. She took very good care of her son and all of his friends!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Axis of evil closer to home.

So, the oldest son said my green tips are "weak." My point was to provide easy things that can make a big difference. We actually do use bags from home or carry out items in our arms when we forget the bags which does happen on occasion. We prefer also to do most of our shopping in bulk, many items are cheaper and have less packaging but it also cuts down on trips to the grocery store. We have set our air conditioner to 78 degrees and turn it off most nights. I haven't seen electrical bills this low in quite sometime. Was this an adjustment to us? Yes. But it has been worth it in savings to our budget and we feel good about our actions toward the environment. The biggest adjustment for us has been from two vehicles to only one. It helps that my husband and I have our own business so often we are going to the same location still this has resulted in quite a few "think ahead" moments. I love saving gas money and dropping insurance for the gas guzzling truck we sold. I personally feel if there was an axis of evil it would involve an oil company and an insurance company! You'll notice the insane profits both are receiving even during this "down turn" in our economy. The biggest change in our lives will be occuring in our business as we are in the construction industry. We would like to start working with like-minded contractors who care about the environment. It is a very exciting time. God is good.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Going Green...Mint Green to start...

Our family through a series of "God moments" has started to be very conscious about our environment. We recently read a book, Everything Must Change by Brian D. McLaren with a group of people who are politically diverse but all with the same love of God and his creation. And while we didn't agree on everything we did agree on many things. I am learning about renewable resources, sustainable practices, conserving , recycling. I have also learned that while free trade is important, fair trade is just as important. I am learning that some changes will need to take place in how we do things for us to have a sustainable life. Now, sustainable means future generations not just mine, being able to do things like have clean drinking water, clean air and non toxic top soil. It is very important we address problems without creating others but I feel if we can put people on the moon we can solve these problems. I am learning how to recycle, I am conserving water and trying to use less gasoline. I am have put a water filter on my faucet so I don't use plastic water bottles anymore and I drive much less. This has cost very little and has actually saved me money but more importantly I feel I am helping save the planet! I am going green, mint green to start.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Our Family Stories

How many of you have been at a family get-together and the family stories start coming out? Painful! It is especially painful when you have a new person in your life and you are trying to convince them that you are normal. We, families have this shorthand speak at these little get-togethers that confuse and frighten new people to our inner circle of hell. My poor sister went through a phase of a about a year where she fell off horses and she has now become the sister who can't ride a horse. When the actual truth is she can ride she just fell off two horses when she was a teenager. At our get-togethers the shorthand speak for this is "Remember(insert sister name) and the horse?" Laugh, Laugh, Laugh and it is funny. It is our family folklore. We have another story about France and green water that starts much the same way "Remember (insert all sisters name) and the green water in France?" Problem is with that one much of it is true. Painfully true. I think about this now, because recently my grandson has created a story that I am sure will be told at his family get-togethers as " Remember (insert grandson's name) and the markers?" Truth is they were washable and his sister cleaned right up.But with family folklore who knows what will be said?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


When you turn 50 you start looking at the past maybe because you are unsure just how much future is ahead of you. I know we never know how much time we have, our lives are precarious endeavours at best. But when you are young, you think you will live forever. My grandmother is 91 and until recently very healthy. Everyone who meets her without fail comments on how young she looks (Dear God, may I take after her!) She has always been hardworking and very independent and life hasn't always been kind to her. She married during the Depression and she and her husband, my grandfather knew difficult times. These times were not just of the financial making but also a difficult marriage, they were very different people who struggled to adjust to each others' personalities. The marriage ended. Later, their first born child, an only son would die, forever impacting my families lives. My grandmother still grieves this loss. My mother and aunt are women who are caretakers, the kind of women who would get off their death beds and fix you a meal. They learned this from the woman they call Mother and I call Granny. I have the privilege of taking care of my grandmother occasionly so that my Mom and my Aunt may have a break. Granny is losing her memory and she knows it. She can recall intimate details of her life over 70 years ago but struggles to remember yesterday. I have had the pleasure of listening to these stories of her life and my heritage and I will always treasure them. My grandmother looks back on her life not with regret but by acknowledging that yes, while this and that was difficult, God sustained her. Each and every story ended with... But God was with me or I couldn't have made it without him. As I age, I too, look back and see God's handiwork in my life. He wasn't always pleased with my choices but he went along with me none-the-less. I am so very grateful for my heritage, God blessed me with my Granny who shared her faith everyday with me. My mother and aunt who continued this faith sharing by deed and word. My hope is that I will leave this legacy with my children and grandchildren.

Monday, May 19, 2008

What a lot of stuff!

The name of this blog is Ronda's this is my first rant. We, Americans seems to consume so much and waste it as we go. I think of how much stuff I have in my life and how many things I have that are "wants" and not really needs. I have decided that I am going to consume less and try to be satisfied with what I have. This sounds so simple but I am like a consumer junkie who has had her supplier cut her off. Not a pretty sight. I had watched the Story of Stuff and realized how true this was for me ( if you haven't seen it...I encourage you to watch it) and how I really wanted to change! A journey begins with a simple step, so for my birthday I told my three grown children "no presents" for my 50th birthday. If they felt like honoring me to please make a donation to my favorite charity, they took it an extra step and invited my friends to honor me in the same way. I can truly say it has been the most amazing birthday ever! I have great friends who are as generous as they are kind. My day has been filled with opening beautiful cards with kind thoughts and generous gifts to people who have actual needs. I am blessed beyond measure with my children, my grandchildren, my friends, my siblings, my extended family and most of all my husband. It has been a beautiful birthday!!! I am less fearful about trying to comsume less because it has felt wonderful to celebrate my birthday this way.

But Jesus immediatly said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
Matthew 14:27

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Biker Mama

That's me on the Harley. So, not me. My friend John said " Ronda you want to ride" and somewhere inside of me a voice said say yes. And I did. It was wonderful. He and his wife Lynn ride all over together and they are just about the "coolest couple" ever. I am going to keep trying to be less afraid but maybe not ever as cool as Lynn and John.

Hear Comes 50!

In honor of my 50th Birthday...I am going to start trying to be less afraid. It occurred to me that I have spent many years being afraid of what may happen if I did so and so. So because of that I have spent a good many years being very careful. Last night at a friend's son wedding which as lovely as it was, my grandson preferred instead to walk up a straight incline and run straight down. He loved it and his beautiful mother and father cheered him on. I noticed he hesitated only when his Gigi sounded like she was afraid. It took me back to when his father was a child and I am sure that I held him back so many times too! Although, the many times I took him to the emergency room makes that seems doubtful. I don't want that for my grandchildren or for myself for that matter. So, I begin my journey of trying to be fearless. I am already afraid.