Unsatisfied By Average

The Musings of a Stubborn Believer

Category: community (page 2 of 2)

The Gift of a Song

It was more than 25 years ago that my brave mother and father decided that their boisterous urchins would learn the art of song…

And we sang alright. Wailed, in fact.

Lots of times…

And the noises could hardly be called music at first.

But we’ve fallen in love now… And we wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Maybe that’s why our house is full of boisterous urchins from across the county every Tuesday.
(If you telephone, don’t do it on that day.)

Not really.
We think they’re angels… 🙂

Spring Recital – on the lawn
neighbor girl
They don’t all fit in the living room any more…
teacher’s violin
unfortunately, photographer doubling as pianist, the performance photos are thin.
that’s the musical genius behind Sweetwater Musical Institute. 
love that hair!
neighbors and beyond…
more neighbors

Ten Dollars for Joy

Ok, so… I’ll just drive up like the wind, and give her this box, tell her I’m in a huge hurry, and she can take it to them when she takes the rest of the stuff tonight. 
Best laid plans of mice and minnows.
“Hey Sheena, do you know where Rosemary is?” 
We’ve known this girl as long as we’ve lived here. It’s her dad that keeps our veteran fleet of vehicles mission-worthy. (Quite a feat, by the way.) We’ve called him more than once from 3 states away…
[quizzical look] “She’s not here…”

Not here!? This was not in my best laid plans…
“Nope. She’s in town. Can I help you with something?”

I stare stupidly while my brain twirls like a little girl in a new dress. 
Listen, this was not my idea! Going up to the rodeo grounds to hunt up some perfect strangers crossing the United States in a covered wagon, and offering them a random box of fruit? They are probably both allergic to pears. Where are you when I need you, Rosemary? This was your idea after all. And the box isn’t even from me! So I’m supposed to go up to them (whoever they are!) and say: hey, Rosemary told someone else about you, and they decided to send you this, which I brought? Wow. Oh, and by the way, I’m Seán. 

The girl at the gas station is still staring at my quizzically. (little wonder why.)
“Oh, uhhh… No, no. I had some things to drop off for her to handle, but I’ll just take them myself.”

Um. Hello? Did I just say that? 

I jump back into the van and put it in drive. Of course the moment I do, things don’t seem so daunting. Until, that is, I am actually putting the van in park beside said covered wagon way out at the rodeo grounds. Then once again that voice inside me (which I despise) demands: So here you are. …and just what do you plan on saying? 

I don’t know. I shoot back. (Maybe even out loud.)
And I shut the driver door behind me.  

20 minutes later, my new friend and I are still learning against the hood of my van in animated discussion. His wife had long since hauled the box of peaches and pears into the back of the covered wagon, and is seated in the lawn chair under the juniper tree on her second or third piece of fruit. We on the hood are somewhere halfway through our life stories, when I mention I was born in Chicago… 

“Ahh, I knew you weren’t from around here.”

I looked down at myself. Red Izod sweater with sleeves pushed up, a watch that’s definitely not the cowboy edition, dark blue denim, dotted dress socks and casual leather shoes I brought home from Germany… But what do you wear every day? I was just going to the Post Office. 
He launches back into the tale of taxi cabs in Daytona. 

45 minutes. I finally decide I’d better go. (I was in a huge hurry, remember?)
I’m ready to bid my new friends farewell, but he wonders if I’ll be back. I ask what he needs, and he gestures towards the gas can that supplies their little generator. Of course I’d be happy to take him into town to get some. His one leg and crutches won’t get him and a gas can there and back any too easily. (Never heard if he lost the other one while on US Navy’s SEAL team 6 thirty years ago, or thereafter.) He’s hunting for spare change in the back of the covered wagon.

So it is that I return to the gas station 45 minutes later. 
He follows me in. 

“Hey Sheena, we want 10 dollars on pump 3.”
Poor girl. There she is looking at me quizzically again. But I’m having a scattered day. 
(No Nebblett every pre-pays at that gas station. If we don’t use a card, whoever is in the office recognizes any Nebblett-mobile at a glance, and the pump turns on.)

I dismiss the need for his change. He counters, but I tell him it’s my joy. 
He puts the fuel into his can, and I return alone to pay.

“Do you take AMEX, or only VISA.”
“AMEX. American Express. Do you take it?”
“Oh, yeah. Of course.” 

That quizzical look again.
“87829, right?”

Why did she ask me that?
Suddenly it dawns on me. 
She hands me back my card. I tap it on the table. 
“Uhh, I guess I could have done that out there, couldn’t I?” 
Quizzical look, this time accompanied by a suppressed smile.

“Uh huh.” 

Now I tip my head back and laugh. She laughs too. When we recover, she asks: 

“So what’s he doing with you?

I glance out the window at the stranger with the graying beard, wearing a tattered sleeveless t-shirt and one-legged jeans, in animated conversation with her mechanic-dad working on a car out in the parking lot. 
And then back at Sheena–

“Oh, he’s my friend.

–   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –

20 minute later, and finally heading back towards home, I realize:
I almost missed that one, you know. But for Tia’s box of fruit, and Rosemary’s trip to “town.” (Albuquerque) 
And still, I could have missed it… 

Because of selfishness. 
Because I didn’t want to look dumb.
I’m so, so ashamed.
You can’t reckon joy in minutes or dollars.
Joy comes from sharing life. 
Life temporal, and life eternal.
Tell me, of what use is life that’s not shared? 

Sermon in Three Words [and photos of the week]

“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.” Romans 1:1

I set out to read Romans 1 today,
and I never got to verse 2.

Here’s the sermon in three words…
Paul– Called; Separated.

— * — * — * — * —

Just to set the record straight, I do like taking pictures. 
The reason I don’t call myself a photographer is because I lack in the hardware dept.
But every once in a while, some friend puts their Canon (sorry guys) strap around my neck, and I go to town…
up in the fire tower, getting the briefing on the last conflagration
10 cents if you can identify that logo. 
view from the tower
faces: my favorite shots
the county seat from above
more briefing in the tower
pretty faces
making merry with the dogs leash
another Canon friend
to turn chain into ribbon…
attentive eyes and a friendly face
that would be her Canon strap around my neck. (thanks Jessie! :))
[Seán’s] photo of the week 
the top

a few more photos in the web album

It Seemed So Far Away…

Just a few days ago, it seemed so far away.

I know the smoke is making eyes water in Iowa, 1,000 miles away. And I know that the flames have left blackness half the size of the state of Rhode Island, (and counting fast) where last week were the most beautiful forests to be found a day’s drive in any direction. 
It makes me sick.
But it still seemed far away.

Even two days ago as I stood in uniform with a stethoscope around my neck, eyes and throat burning in acrid smoke and blowing dust, watching 10 trucks and two dozen men battle 300 acres of flames while 4 other fires burned simultaneously in our district with less attention (from one brief dry thunder storm)– even then, I could look past the crest of Arizona’s third tallest mountain where the aspens put on their show right after the first frost, and see the smoke… 

But distant is changing.

My lungs are on carbon overload. 
Ash falls like snow from time to time.

All day we listen to the radio call signs of people we know by first name, in gear for the inevitable.

A fire that started 70 miles away is now barely 30.
And most of the time it is too horrendously windy to use the 20 helicopters and 8 slurry bombers at the disposal of the thousands of brave men trying to fight it.

The Nebbletts flew over the fire themselves tonight. (thanks, Google Earth) and then over to the place they call home, and then back again.

And then they fell serious.

And in a moment, it was as if everything around me came into focus.
–Like all at once I could see things I wasn’t able to, when the fire seemed far away…

Treasure. Simple. Things.

Treasure the frying pan you’ve scrubbed so many, many times. I looked at ours long and hard when I pulled it out of the suds this evening. There are plenty of people that left home this week wishing they had room in their car to take theirs as they fled. 
Treasure the worn corners of the cozy rugs that testify of life lived in your house.
Treasure the dandelions that audaciously grow in the gravel of your driveway.

Dandelions are better than ashes.

Treasure the steaming bowl of soup.
Treasure the down in your pillow.
Treasure the eye’s twinkle.
Treasure the blue sky.
Treasure life.

Treasure life.

Tomorrow it might not be here.
Or at the very least, it might be very very different…

and if you think about it, please pray for rain…

Mother’s Day at the Park

Yesterday was a day of rejoicing…
For one, Joshua turned 22. (More on that in another post.)
For another, Mother’s day was twice the fun with Grandma in the mix this year.
For another, this weekend marked 12 years since God turned our little world upside-down and landed us on these 5 acres we call Sweetwater…
And then, just when we thought the day couldn’t hold another drop, we got into the car(s) and headed off to Pie Town for a special community Mother’s Day picnic our little church was putting on.

It’s going to take a while for the blogs to catch up.

I guess we’ll work backwards. 🙂 Here’s just a part of the picnic.

75+ friends and neighbors later… We love Catron County, and the people that call it home.

Mother’s Day at the Park from Sean Nebblett on Vimeo.

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