Archive for March, 2006
Here are my presents….
An Alan Jackson Hymns and a Sara Evans CD from the kids.
And from Joshua, this pretty rose. He’s starting a flower collection for me….this is my second one!
He also got me a WillowTree figure….
My parents are building me three picninc tables over my mother’s spring break…so I don’t have those yet but will before Easter! And I’ve received several cards from friends….
A very nice birthday….never mind being sick! Hehe!
Heard during bed-time prayers tonight, from a sweet eight-year old girl.
Please help me to be good at school. Help me to not have to move my apple. Please help Landon learn more and keep doing good in his lesson. Be with Momma. Help her not to feel bad. Help her to love the new baby that is coming, even if it is sometimes going to be a brat.
Amen. And Amen! (You gotta love hearing kids pray!)
Here are some pictures I found last summer of a fetus at various stages of development. New technology lets us look closer at these babies in their mother’s womb.
It’s hard to imagine anyone saying this child isn’t human…..it blows my mind.
Okay…just part Irish! But I grew up in a family quite proud of thier Irish heritage….and I must say, I enjoyed taking part in the hoop-la!
My mother’s maiden name was O’Neal. Very Irish. Both her parents have strong Irish backgrounds. My great-grandfather was famous for his Irish jig and many of my family members still have the O’Neal coat of arms displayed in their homes.
And you’ve not seen an Irsih temper until you’ve seen my Grandma O’Neal angry. Whew! She was one fiesty lady!! And red-headed to boot!
So, in honor of St. Patty’s Day and all things lucky and green, I’m going to share an Irish O’Neal story that has been told many times in my family. It’s a rather well known Irish legend. One that has about twenty variations! Here’s one:
Many years ago two men wanted to be King of Ulster. But both could not be King.
One man was Dermot. He was tall and thin. He was a good runner and a very good horseman.
The other man was O’Neill. He was short and quite fat. He had a big black beard. He was a very good fighter. He too was a very good horseman.
For years they argued and argued about who was the best man to be King of Ulster.
‘‘My family has lived here for more than a thousand years. You’re the new people,’’ said Dermot. ‘‘It’s our land. I must be King.’’
‘‘No, that’s not right,’’ said O’Neill. ‘‘There are more people on my side. They want me to be King. It’s our land. I must be King.’’
This argument went on for years and years.
Sometimes their people had fights.
One year there was a fight in the north near Ballymena. More than twenty men on each side were killed in the battle.
The next year there was a fight in the south near Downpatrick. In the big battle more than fifty men on each side were killed.
In the third year there was a fight in the east near Bangor. This was the biggest battle; more than one hundred men were killed.
At last the High King of Ireland called Dermot and O’Neill to his castle.
‘‘This fighting can’t continue,’’ said the High King. ‘‘Ulster is a rich land. It has good farms. It is a good place to live. The fighting isn’t good for anyone. You must agree who is going to be King of Ulster.’’
‘‘What do we have to do?’’ asked Dermot and O’Neill.
‘‘You must stop arguing and agree to stop fighting. You must have a test to decide who is going to be King of Ulster,’’ said the High King.
‘‘Let’s have a fight,’’ said Dermot. ‘‘I’m the best fighter in Ulster. I’ll win and I’ll be King of Ulster.’’
‘‘No,’’ said O’Neill. ‘‘I don’t want to fight. I want to have a race. I’m the best runner in Ulster. I’ll win and I’ll be King of Ulster.’’
‘‘No,’’ said the High King of Ireland. ‘‘I don’t want you to fight. I don’t want you to have a race. You must have a test which is fair to both of you.’’
‘‘So what do you want us to do?’’ asked Dermot.
‘‘What sort of test can we have?” asked O’Neill. “We must decide who is going to be King of Ulster.’’
‘‘I want you to have a horse race,’’ said the High King of Ireland. ‘‘You are both good horsemen. A horse race will be a good test for you. The winner will become King of Ulster.’’
So the two men agreed to have a horse race to decide who was going to be the King of Ulster.
‘‘The race will begin at six o’clock tomorrow morning,’’ said the High King. ‘‘You will start here at my castle. Listen carefully. The winner will be the first man to put his hand on Ulster.’’
‘‘I’ll be the winner!’’ said Dermot. ‘‘I’m the best horseman. My hand will touch the land of Ulster first!’’
‘‘No!’’ said O’Neill. ‘‘I’ll be the winner! My horse is the best in Ireland. I’ll be in Ulster first!’’
‘‘The winner will be the first man to get to the river and put his hand on the land of Ulster,’’ said the High King. ‘‘Do you both agree to this test?’’
‘‘I agree,’’ said Dermot.
‘‘I also agree,’’ said O’Neill.
‘‘Good!’’ said the High King. ‘‘Come here to my castle at six o’clock tomorrow morning.’’
Early the next morning the two men got ready for the horse race.
Dermot had a big grey horse.
O’Neill had a big black horse with white spots.
‘‘Ready!’’ shouted the High King.
Dermot’s grey horse nodded his head, ready for the race.
‘‘Steady!’’ shouted the High King.
O’Neill’s horse snorted.
‘‘Go!’’ shouted the High King.
… and off the two horsemen raced!
The two horses and their riders raced away from the High King’s castle. The horses ran and ran, with their riders on their backs.
Dermot on his grey horse ran fast, and he shouted to make his horse run even faster. O’Neill and his horse ran fast, but in silence.
They raced north, away from the High King’s castle.
Lots of people came out from the villages to watch the race.
Sometimes Dermot was in the lead … and sometimes O’Neill was in the lead.
At Drogheda O’Neill was leading on his black and white horse.
‘‘Who’s going to win?’’ asked the people as Dermot and O’Neill raced past on their horses. ‘‘O’Neill’s horse is winning – but Dermot’s horse is not so tired.’’
At Dundalk Dermot was in the lead on his grey horse.
‘‘Who is going to win?’’ asked the people from Dundalk as Dermot and O’Neill raced past them on their horses. ‘‘Dermot’s horse is winning – but it’s a very close race!’’
The two riders and their horses still had the hardest part of the race. They had to cross the high mountains into Ulster!
The two horsemen were equal as they started to climb the mountain road.
Both horses were snorting and panting as they raced up and up.
At last they reached the top of the hill. There was a narrow gap between two cliffs, with room for only one horse and rider. Dermot reached it first. He was in the lead.
Dermot’s horse was tired – but so was O’Neill’s. The race was very close.
Dermot was in front!
Then they raced down the hill. A minute later O’Neill was in front!
Every minute there was a change and a chance for the other horseman.
The horsemen were not racing for a silver cup or any prize like that. No, they were racing to decide who was going to be King of Ulster! Both riders thought about the great prize they could win. They both shouted loudly to make their horses run even faster.
Then the horsemen saw the river!
The last part of race was on!
The two men and their horses ran faster than ever!
Faster and faster raced the horses!
The two riders shouted louder and louder as they got closer and closer to the deep river!
Dermot got to the river first. He did not stop on the bank. His horse snorted loudly as it jumped into the cold water. The panting horse and its rider started swimming. The water in the river was cold and deep.
O’Neill had a different idea. He stopped and got off his horse. He stood on the bank of the river. He watched Dermot and his horse as they swam across the deep river. Had he lost the test?
O’Neill took his sword in his left hand. He closed his eyes. He lifted his sword high above his head.
He had one chance left!
He held out his right hand and with one great blow he cut it off! The bleeding hand fell to the ground. There was blood everywhere!
Then O’Neill bent down and lifted his bleeding hand high in the air. He ran to the bank and threw it across the river.
The bleeding hand flew through the air.
Which was going to arrive first – the bleeding hand or the panting horse with its tired rider?
Some of O’Neill’s men were standing on the Ulster side.
‘‘We win! We win!’’ they shouted as the bleeding hand of their leader landed on the bank of the river. ‘‘We win! Ulster is ours!’’
And so the story finishes.
Dermot and his men went to live far away in the west.
O’Neill became King of Ulster.
The flag of Ulster still has the Red Hand of O’Neill.
Somewhere, my mother has the history of name change from O’Neill to O’Neal…but I don’t have that handy!
So….Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Hope that story didn’t freak you out too much! I’m off to feast on potatoes and cabbage! (Eh. Not really. Hamburgers actually!)
Psalm 127:3-5 says:
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
We currently have two beautiful arrows in the quiver. They are absolutely wonderful and have been such an incredible blessing in my life.
And soon they will be joined by another. Another tiny life that has already stolen our hearts….
Yes, our family is growing and in October we will add another arrow to the quiver. Although this was a most unexpected blessing, we know that that is exactly what it is. A blessing.
Isn’t is funny? You think you’ve given your children a wide range of experiences….
My daughter has been in a Bahamian straw market. She has snorkeled, kayaked, planted gardens….
She creates artistic masterpieces and has baked cookies, brownies, pies and cakes, roasted hotdogs and marshmellows, danced around bonfires, written and illustrated her own books, made model dinosaurs, and built a bamboo teepee….
She has been to parades, museums, parks, farms, fields of wildflowers, aquariaums, zoos….
She has cruised on steamboats, oceanliners, and been sailing, motorboating, and on a waverunner…
She’s been horseback riding and four wheeler riding….she’s even ridden an elephant.
Visisted mountains and beaches….has hiked through woods, mountains, swam in creeks, rivers, lakes and oceans….
Slept in tents and sleeping bags, and the back seat of a car many a time….
Been to NBA ballgames, many college basketball games (USM, LSU, MSU, NCU, NCS, Duke), The Blue Lagoon (where Gilligan’s Island was filmed), and Disney World (twice!)
She’s looking foward to a mission trip to Mexico in the next year or two.
She’s raised money for her school and tsunami victims in Indonesia.
She’s won a fishing rodeo and reading fairs…
She has done much more than lots of adults have had an opportunity to do.
How is it that she’s never made Kool-Aid?
This morning I was making a fresh batch of Kool-Aid when Shiloh came in from playing with our new pet.
I had only put the sugar in the pitcher when she saw me. “Can I help?” she eagerly asks.
“Sure.” says I.
I let her select the flavor. She mulls over the incredible responsiblity. Contemplates blue raspberry before selecting orange. I show her how to shake the powder into the bottom of the package so it doesn’t go everywhere when she opens it.
She sprinkles the powder over the sugar delighting in the color. “It looks like colored snow!”
I let her fill the pitcher. “Wow! It starts to change color as soon as I put the water in!”
I give her a spoon and she mixes the concoction in complete awe at the ever darkening orange spreading throughout the entire pitcher….
Then she’s done. “May I please have a sample drink?’
We pour her a glass of Kool-Aid. She relishes each drop and determines that it is the best glass of Kool-Aid she’s ever had….
I’m just amazed. A simple pitcher of Kool-Aid….funny what will bring utter and pure delight to the eyes of a child!