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In the saddle     

Posted by Katherine Putnam on February 5th, 2013

“I’m back in the saddle again.”

Long, long time, no see.

It feels like a lot has happened since I last blogged, yet at the same time it feels like a lot of NOTHING has happened.

December came and went. We went crazy-town-banana-pants with another year of White Christmas shenanigans (click here for pictures and a recap on Aliza’s blog). And yes, we do constantly worry about how the next year will live up to the current year. Christmas came and went, with all the requisite travel, work parties (mostly in January), and stuffing of stomachs. Also, there was that time that my darling brother gave us a onesie for a Christmas present. You know. A not-so-subtle hint that he wants to be an uncle ASAP. Can’t promise it will be filled by next year, but we’ll…uh…keep it in mind?

January came and went with family New Years visits, an delightfully unexpected visit from the Thompsons, less delightful visits from tissue-destroying winter illnesses, and more car drama than we could ever want.

Yes, the Jetta is dead. “It’s not pining, it’s passed on. This Jetta is no more. It has ceased to be. It’s expired and gone to meet its maker. It’s a stiff, bereft of life, it rests in peace…It’s rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is an ex-Jetta.” So, you know, dead. The plan was always to run it ’til it died, but I have to say I had hoped we would get a few more years out of it before figuratively putting it out to pasture. It gave us a bit of a fright when the battery died and refused to resuscitate, but that was easily fixed with a new battery. And then the cooling system failed and left me stranded barely off the road from a major intersection for a fun night of waiting and towing and causing much concern for rubberneckers and police officers. Managed to get towed to a VW dealership and later got the word that the engine was officially deceased. As the bill to put in a used engine definitely made us go “ouch” (came close to “wow” but didn’t quite hit “boing”) we decided to sell the corpse for what we could and ended up with my Mema’s ’95 Taurus.

Which brings me to my realization that we are amazingly, undeservedly blessed.

For serious.

I mentioned last post how thankful I am for all our blessings and (let’s face it) privileges: loving families, freedom, opportunities. But when Mema refused to take payment for her car, it struck me (not for the first time) how much our family and friends bless us.

Hospitality: Clem and Kristen kindly host–more often than not–our weekly dinners. Sure, we split up food duties, but letting people constantly occupy your space is different, and I appreciate how at home I feel when visiting. Steve and Andrea–again, more often than not–host our semi-regular visits slash gaming weekends. They share their Riffs and patiently teach us new games (trust me, teaching me a complex board game takes a LOT of patience), and allow me to fulfill my cat-needs by snuggling up with their kitties. And then there’s Mom and Dad and Aliza and Jeff and countless others who constantly let us gorge ourselves on their hospitality.

Jobs: Other than my campus job, there’s not a single position I’ve held that didn’t come about through family or friends. Kristen told me about my current position at the church. Chris introduced me to SIM and Carachipampa and Bolivia. Mom hired me (despite having raised me) time and again to work at the doctor’s office. Mom and Dad encouraged me to stop by and ask a friend of theirs if she had any openings at her restaurant. Whenever people talk about networking and “it’s all about who you know” I usually think along the lines of, “who do I know that can hook me up with a paid writing gig?” or “who do I know that can get Joss Whedon or some amazing web series to cast me?” The answer is currently “no one.” Le sigh. But, who knows, maybe those things will happen some day. Daydreams aside, I am certainly more practically aware of the power of your “network.” It’s because of mine that I’m employed. So, yay network!

Big Ticket Blessings: You know. Things I would hesitate to spend money on myself. Things that we probably would have waited and saved for that, thanks to the generosity of others, instead came sooner through an unexpected gift. Like Mema’s Taurus. (I’m referring to it as a boat because, compared to the Jetta, it feels so large. I need a proper boat name for it, though. Maybe the SS Wentworth?) Or the free grill that Dawn offered to us when her mother-in-law decided she no longer wanted it. Or any number of the more-than-generous gifts our parents gave (give) us (like a dining set or a vacuum cleaner).

Kiddos: Our friends and family sure do have some fun, cute kiddos. And boy am I grateful that they trust Chris and I enough (or pray hard enough, perhaps) to let us get some kid-wrangling practice in.

Shared Wisdom, Know-How, and Talents: I think I could ramble for a fair while on this subcategory. But I’ll keep it short(ish) and sweet(ish). I don’t know a lot. But I do know that, if I’m unsure about something (and Chris doesn’t know the answer), I can turn to my family, friends, and co-workers for advice and expertise on any number of subjects from carpentry to cars to Christian faith to children.

We are so blessed. So provided for. And I have to constantly remind myself that we didn’t earn it, and we don’t deserve it. Everything we has is a blessing from God and–more often than not–He blesses us through our loved ones.

Maybe it’s about time I figure out how to step up my game (assuming I have any) in blessing others.


Katherine Elyse

3 Responses to “In the saddle”     

  • sherry kane says:

    As the baby of the family for 5 years until your dad came along, self-pity because of my dad’s alcoholism plus being self-centered I have been more a recipient of good gifts than a giver of them. Often in a new year I feel God giving me a theme for the year. This year it is to act on the “good” ideas that go through my mind. Ideas that too frequently I have but talk myself out of acting on them. These ideas are ususally small and doable; things like sending a card, making an I care about you phone call, a small favorite food gift. Since being a blessing is on your mind perhaps you’ll think of me and pray that I obey that voice that directs me to be a giver. As always I’m so glad when you post.

  • Beard says:

    Thanks for your list of thankfulness, good for the soul to step back and realize what we have. How many miles on your VW? They usually last ages.


  • Katherine says:

    It just topped 140,000 when the cooling system failed and murdered the engine. I was hoping to get several more years out of it (it was a 2001), so now those hopes will transfer to the 96,000+ mile (1995) Taurus.

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