Lampyridae

It was just starting to get dark outside.  I don’t typically go out at this time of day, but Hannah was pacing and I thought maybe she needed a break.  As I stepped into the yard, I saw them – fireflies!  I could see a new one every few seconds, the air was thick with them.  Hannah wasn’t quite sure what to make of the flashes of light, though I’m sure she’s seen them before.  She never did do anything while she was out there, but we both enjoyed watching them.  It reminded me of being a kid, how my brother and sisters and I used to go out and catch fireflies and put them in a jar so we could watch them glow. It seemed almost like magic as we watched, mesmerized by their intermittent glowing. 

I did a little research on fireflies and learned that the population is diminishing.  Scientists aren’t sure if it’s because their habitat is being destroyed, if it’s the increased boat traffic and pollution in the waterways where they live, or if there is too much light at night that prevents them from being able to attract each other and mate.

Fireflies aren’t just useful for keeping kids entertained in the summer – they are also considered beneficial insects.  They don’t bite or carry diseases and their larvae feed on other insect larvae, slugs, snails, and other garden pests.  They also contain two chemicals that are being used in research to cure cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and cystic fibrosis.

If you’d like to see more fireflies where you live, turn off exterior lights and close your blinds after dark.  Firefly larvae like rotting wood and the debris from trees.  Consider keeping a small pile of wood to create a habitat for them.  If you’re in an area with a stream, pond, or marsh, it’s especially important to make sure they have dark and quiet to live their firefly lives.

Catching fireflies is a rite of passage, at least where I grew up in Michigan.  I’m sure it’s the same here in Tennessee and in other states and countries where they are native. There’s a little stream that runs behind my house.  I’m going to make sure there’s some rotting wood back there and I’m going to keep the lights low and the blinds drawn when it starts getting dark.  I want my grandkids to be able to experience the same sense of wonder that I did watching fireflies in a jar.  Let’s make sure we do what we can to make that happen!  

Squishy

Last week I had the pleasure of spending time with my three grandkids.  They would greet me at the door when I came home from work, then one of the two boys would grab my purse and the other would grab my lunch bag, the baby girl would fall in line and we’d go off to the guest room so I could change my clothes. 

I must have been looking particularly fetching one day, because the oldest, who will be five in a couple of months, said, “I wish you could leave your dress on, you look really pretty.”  I loved the little guy before this moment, but that comment just might get him a little extra in my will!

After I changed, we were sitting together on the couch and he was patting my hand.  Then he started pushing on the veins in my hand, which are somewhat pronounced at the end of a long day.  He said, “G (they call me G instead of grandma), you’re squishy.  Is that because you’re old?”  Yes, yes it is and thank you for noticing!  I think his poor mother was somewhat horrified, but I assured her he was right, my hands are a bit squishy. 

I had a bit of an epiphany a couple of weeks ago.  If I’m honest, I tend to be pretty critical of my physical appearance.  I could give you a long list of things about me that are not ‘beautiful,’ at least in terms of societal standards.  I’ve still got some skinny parts, but I’ve got some other parts that aren’t.  I’m a little on the short side and in some areas gravity has taken it’s toll.  But here’s what I realized one day when I was lamenting my shortcomings.  I’m actually perfect.  Really, truly perfect.  I was able to get pregnant, deliver, and nurse both my kids, I can see, hear, talk, my two legs get me where I want to go, and it’s not Dancing with the Stars dancing, but I can dance.  My arms can throw a ball to Hannah about 100 times a day (though it sometimes ends up in the woods instead of the yard), I can type this post, and I can cuddle, hug, hold, tickle and squeeze my grandkids. 

Deciding that my body is perfect has been very freeing.  I don’t have to stand in front of the mirror with a critical eye, trying to attain a standard that only exists in glossy photoshopped magazine pictures.  I don’t have to compare myself with other women my age to see how I measure up.  Most important, I can be grateful that my body works the way God created it to work. 

I’m okay with being squishy. In fact, maybe that’s exactly how God designed Grandmas to be. 

On Vacation

It seems like ages since I posted something here on Naked on the Tundra.  It was not because there was nothing happening, but because so much was happening.  Every night I fell into bed more exhausted than the night before! 

I have all kinds of stories to share and of course, there are a lot of new things that I’ve been thinking about.  I can’t say enough positive things about the healing powers of a week of vacation.

Last summer I started a new trend – I didn’t check email or voicemail at all while I was on vacation.  I clearly stated on my out of office message that I would not be checking email and you know what?  It was all just fine.  True, I did miss some things and there was a lot to catch up on when I got back, but I’ve learned that it’s not necessary or beneficial to be available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. 

The thing I like best about taking a real break from work, is that when I go back I feel not just refreshed, but I have a new perspective.  I’m not as easily irritated, problems don’t feel as overwhelming, and solutions to complex problems seem to come more easily.

Randy and Roxanne Frazee wrote a great book about the importance of having a balance between work and home.  It’s called Real Simplicity, the expanded version of Making Room for Life.  The Frazee’s introduced me to the Hebrew Day Planner, which I do my best to adhere to.  After reading it, I realized that while I could go, go, go all day every day, that I shouldn’t, and in fact, I can actually do a better job in every area of my life when I take some time to rest.  Since reading the book, I’ve made a point to keep the Sabbath, resting and relaxing after church, eating simple meals, taking naps, reading a book outside, playing with Hannah in the yard and talking to and visiting with loved ones.

I’m pretty sure this is how we were designed to live – to be productive but also to take time to rest.  It’s not complicated, but it is hard to practice.  How do you keep a good balance between work and rest?  I’d love to hear from you!