No, the blog hasn't died. I just haven't felt like blogging boring random things. We are parked here in Florida and I think God has put us in time-out for a spell.
I don't think it's necessarily that we've been naughty. God is a much better parent than us and knows how to effectively handle the concept of a time-out. It's when you have a child who has just sort of lost his sense of control and needs a moment to calm down and focus. This is in contrast to a good swat on the behind to the child who is being deliberately insolent or insubordinate. I don't get the feeling we're gettin' a whippin'. Whew.
Personally, I think God handles parenting much better than we do. I've been doing some reading in the book of Joshua lately and thinking through the full history of the Israelites. God does give them a well deserved whippin' but not until He's given them warnings. That's probably why I've never been good at the "obey immediately" mindless child training and I give my kids a chance to think about their choice before pouncing. I see God giving a moment for them to consider the folly of their choices and turn back.
Other times a good parent simply redirects, which is something I see Him do with us at times. "Quit looking at that toy, it's not for you. Here, have this. It's better." However, sometimes He puts you in time out so you can quit running around like a crazy person and refocus on your school work. "Sit down in that chair until you've gotten back under control. When you've calmed down and are thinking straight again, you can go back to work."
Yep, we were in time out. When we hit Florida earlier than planned we thought we could use the same techniques for filling the schedule we always did. Problem was, God foiled our attempts. Promotional materials lost, illnesses and changes in personnel at churches that originally thought about having us changed their minds, budget cuts at retirement places canceled gigs when corporate cut the program, and a larger number of blow-offs than we've ever had in any given area. It had to be Divine Providence. It was that weird. Either that or we contracted a serious case of cooties.
We ran out of ideas and just decided to quit and assume God would provide enough for us to eat. He did... barely. I almost got to the point where I refused to buy coffee because it was a frivolous expense that we could survive without and would provide two servings of chicken thighs for the week, but thankfully it never quite got that bad. The coffee held out until the next time we had a show. I get that you don't get toys in time-out, but the coffee? I think God loves me too much to take that away. I hope so anyway.
Is it wrong that I really kind of liked being in time-out? Shouldn't I be in a panic and frustrated as I see our bank account shrink? Strangely enough, it's been really nice. The last few months will likely go into my someday-book as a fond memory, not one of concern. I have felt His hand on all of this and not a bit of it was ever out of His control. We are still a couple of weeks out from relief in the schedule. That's the beauty of it though. God gave us a timer. We can see our time-out lifted and the dates on the calendar the signal this, just in time to get in Christmas shopping and buy another can of coffee, but not enough to keep us from blowing off preparing our winter programs or indulging in frivolous stuff. Plus there is still that long trip back to Texas and the huge cost of diesel that goes with it. Coffee, yes. Starbucks, no. Eh. Starbucks just makes you fat and sick. Except the blonde roast. I want blonde roast for Christmas, please.
During our weeks of time out we did 5 new Christmas songs with some of the best new arrangements we've ever put together. They are going to be AWESOME! We had the time because we were not bouncing around going from place to place. I am going to be sad when the Christmas shows are over because we don't have quite as many shiny new things for our winter show. I hope to get a few in, but time will be a bit more restrictive and our winter audiences mostly want the classic stuff we already do. They aren't as adventuresome as we are, but hopefully we'll have time to put some new cool ideas into a CD... if God decides we get one. We wanted one in the fall but landed in time out. We'll see how spring goes.
I have neglected this blog because it would be boring to read the last month or so, but is a collection of one-paragraph blog posts I could have written, since none of them were worthy of their own individual post.
So far so good on the very modified, bus-friendly, no-I-can't-afford-raw-cheese, no-I-can't-make-sauerkraut, and no-I-won't-soak-then-dehydrate-my-nuts GAPS diet we've been trying with Mary. She was sick over a week ago but when she got a fever I almost rejoiced because it meant the nausea was likely viral related and not her overall digestive health going down hill again. I modified an awesome recipe for stewed prunes that we all love, even us anti-prune people, and I am pretty sure they are the key ingredient. Even if they're not, I love them and will be pretending they are. Prunes. Who knew?
It was going to be turkey cutlets in the toaster oven and mashed potato flakes on my single burner in the bus, with a possible GAPS friendly pie made the day before, but Grandma Susan came to the rescue and will be treating us to a full turkey dinner, provided to us by the park's kitchen. Last year we purchased tickets to their turkey dinner and it's pretty good. I'd have done so this year, but we're in time-out remember? Coffee? Yeah, like $7/ticket was going to get through the budget. Just one ticket is a canister of coffee. So, I only have to make a few Mary-friendly side dishes instead of making everything... or nothing, which was really the plan. Yay!
We're working on Christmas music and have new stuff. I already mentioned that. Did I mention I love the sound? I did? I get to play my flute on two of them, and one is not really a Christmas song so we can keep it in our regular sets. It uses a tambourine and Mary sings it. Yeah, we're not really in bluegrass territory anymore. It's about time too. We do it well, (ok, with our own personal Colorado BIG mountains sound we like, but never did get that nasal little mountain sound right...[oooo, I'm gonna pay for that comment if it ever gets out!]), but bluegrass has simply never been the passion of the twins, and I prefer the creativity one can do in music arranging when you break free of the genre shackles. Now, if only someone would please give me a snare drum, or a 18th century field drum. That would be awesome. Someone gave us a keyboard. It's collecting dust. I really want 18th century field drum. A hurdy-gurdy would be cool too, while I'm dreaming.
Nothing specific to report. We did go to the beach and they have had some fun at the park with some of the kids that stay here over the winter months. This causes some drama because kids come in rotten shapes and sizes as much as nice sweet shapes and sizes, so there is the occasional set of "he was being mean to me" tears from my youngest. Sean has had to step up to the plate once or twice and put a young man in his place who was picking on her. That's my boy! Most of the kids are just wonderful though. We've met some nice families and both kids have picked up some new friends. The twins haven't. They hide. Always. It's just them and they're happy that way.
Ok, that's all. Here are pictures, and maybe something interesting will happen in the next month worthy of a blog post. If not, I'll probably write at Christmas time.