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Today as I celebrate a belated Thanksgiving--I leave you with a glimpse of the past week here in the Hood-
Thanksgiving has made another run
And Christmas is four weeks away---GASP!
I went to the "Hood Bow Party" this past weekend. Many of the neighbors gathered together to cut the ribbon and tie the bows for the beautiful street lamps which are all throughout "The Hood".
Black Friday meant shopping for many--but two of my neighbors were out preparing the lamps for the coming Yuletide Season
While you guys were stuffing down your turkey, I spent the day getting ready for Saint Nick. Almost done on the inside--still pondering the outside--I could use a man with a tall ladder!
I have always enjoyed doing my own decorating--and when my #1 daughter walks in the door and recounts years of memories associated with each decoration--I know why I do it myself.
Sorry for the out of focus--I phone pictures are not the best!
I wonder why I do all of this--and then Little Man walks in and stares at the "Choo Choo" for long periods of time. We have talked about each person and each gift on this train from Christmases Past. So I suppose I will continue to decorate as long as there is a gleam in a little eye when they walk in the door.
I LEAVE YOU WITH MY LAUGH FOR THE WEEK
My friend from "Across the Pond", Victor, posted this song this week---and I Could NOT resist stealing it. WHO KNEW THE BRITS HAD THIS STREAK OF HUMOR! THUS the reason for banning of all full length mirrors in "The Bungalow"!
For all of you who love the thrill of the hunt Who seem to enjoy shopping in the middle of the night And do not mind the pushing-shoving-grabbing For the bargain of your life Which you can NOT live without!
Photo Credit: Caller.com
Those who are not deterred with hanging in the long line Standing in the aisle with a buggy to the brim While all those ahead of you are angry and terse Arguing each and every item and the sales price With a poor harried clerk--working for minimum wage.
As I pulled out of Fort Worth to head east last week, I came across this
The trouble began when there was no clearly marked route getting me back on my path. NO PROBLEM---years of running and planning running routes have taught me well. I have a sensitive nose when it comes to direction and following my nose is usually successful. I have been in Fort Worth long enough to have a good general sense of direction. It has come from reading the maps and riding the roads. The handy compass my little car came with is the only tool I really need.
Knowing where I am headed and the general direction it is in, means I can "feel" my way back on route with a little time. I was headed to one of the interstates which heads south, and leads to the home bound interstate which heads east. So I after taking the detour, I begin following my nose. WAA-LAA--I end up entering the southbound interstate 1/4 of a mile before the exit to the east bound interstate.
So it is with life--it takes detours. We are headed down a path, and feeling comfortable with the road and BAM---a road block--and a detour smack dab in our face. To get back on course--we need to have studied the map--and know the direction in which we desire to head. A handy compass in our possession will point us back to the correct path. While driving along my detour, it became a pleasant diversion with new sights to explore. I would have never seen those sights had I not followed my well trained nose and headed off in the new direction. Some detours in life are difficult--but others can be a pleasant diversion from the norm. Difficult or not--we have no choice, but to continue down the path--headed to our ultimate destination. No need for a GPS when you have a GOD---leading you even on the detours. With the clear knowledge, He is never surprised with a detour, we continue on down the path--following His lead with the clearly marked map He has provided--knowing He is our compass.
This Little Man is QUITE the character. He has GREAT potential--BUT we are having to work on a little socialization! Remember--he is the youngest of three boys---and they are ALL BOY!
After being gone for a week, he was so excited to see me. His whole body is wiggling as he ran to greet me. Picking him up, he snuggled into my shoulder and was obviously as glad to see me as I was him. After about one minute, he backed off my shoulder and began pummeling me and laughing with great glee! I am laughing and telling him, "Gentle--GENTLE", but he is cackling and smacking me. He is dishing out what he has learned from the big brothers. His mom told me when they went to a birthday party, he was knocking the other kids down--but so happy about it. No malice in his intentions---he thinks it is all great fun. The rest of us are black and blue from his lack of social graces. He needs a few lessons in "Socialization". We all occasionally need a refresher course in Socialization as adults. Who has never worked to get their own way--daring anyone to stand between us and where we are going? Punching, hitting, sparing, perhaps not physically--but even more deadly verbally. Everything is fair game when we have the mindset our way is the only right way. We place ourselves on the throne and proclaim our right to rule our domain. Perhaps we are just like "Little Man" and need some lessons in socialization. Learning how to put others first is --even if you reign supreme in your own little kingdom--ruling by example works so much better than a heavy hand. I think of Jesus--who seemed to be soft spoken with no need for violence--with the exception of the money changers fiasco in the Temple. We were created to live in community and relationships--filled with peace and joy. The next time you feel yourself on the ragged edge--leaning toward a screaming hissy fit---breathe---and remember your lessons in socialization.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
Dear Santa, It has been a LONG time since I asked you for anything--but this year--I'M BACK! I know how heavy your bag must get with so many wanting so much--but Santa---I ONLY want this ONE thing-
NOW SANTA--is that not the cutest thing you have ever seen in your life??? There does seem to be one problem though, Santa, he has a brother and it seems to be so cruel to separate those boys--don't you think? So perhaps you should bring his brother along also.
Well Santa there is one cause for concern . I do not have a goat pen--so maybe you could also bring along a little house for the boys? It would be cruel after all to not have them a house.
Then there is this one other obstacle for this small gift you are bringing - the city ordinances will not allow me to raise goats in The Hood. So Santa--perhaps I will also need a ranch--for after all- the goats would really be much happier living on a ranch. Nothing big or ostentatious---I could even live in the barn with the boys.
OH and perhaps I would need a vehicle to transport the boys--you know they would never fit into my Camry. So since they are pygmy goats-a small truck should be adequate.
Well and there is one -teeny tiny- more thing. I might need some help with my new livestock--so perhaps you could bring me a couple of stock hands too. I prefer rugged good looks, if you don't mind.
So Santa---I just want this ONE thing for Christmas. SURELY that is not too much to ask.
Most of you know exactly who you are---your identity is no secret. I have spent the past two + years mulling over exactly who I am and what makes me tick. For some deep psychological reason--middle child or some such psycho mumbo jumbo--most of my life I have tried with all my might to be the person you all expected me to be. I watched television, I went to movies, I read books, I scanned every advertisement searching for who I was expected to be. I looked to The Joneses next door, the Mother Theresa's in the news, The Walton's on the tube, and any other important icon of perfection during my lifetime for inspiration as to who I should be. I listened to my mother--I listened to important loved ones---I listened to my friends---I listened to my spiritual mentors---always trying to emulate their desires for me. My need for approval over-rode any self examination and exploration of me. I slowly morphed into the perfect example of all everyone else wanted me to be. WHAM--a huge fall--and a long time in the pit of despair. As I slowly pulled myself back into the light of day, I began to search for who I was, what my gifts were, and who God wanted me to be. After a lifetime of faltering and inability to please man---BAM---I finally figured out---I need to discover "Who God designed me to be" and contentment would begin to emerge. I made a visit to my forever home-Ruston-this past week. Finally I returned with a peaceful heart and joyful spirit. God revealed a wonderful thing to me---I LOVE my friends--deeply. He has lavished me with the blessing of deep friendships and I care greatly for each and every one of you. The light is always on in my window--and in my heart--welcoming all of you. So--Who am I?--I am a friend---a good friend---a friend blessed by our conversations--and privileged to share with you and serve you. A part of the puzzle has been colored in--but I am still searching.
I also discovered my writing has evolved, at times, into an effort to seek your approval by words on the page. There are days my writing is not God inspired, but instead a plea for acceptance and affirmation. All this time while driving home produced insight and insight has brought change. I will blog when inspired by God--and I am leaving the timetable up to Him. I love to write--but when the writing becomes an exercise in seeking approval--the motives are wrong. So there will not be a blog everyday-unless He inspires me. If you sign up as a follower, you will receive an email when I publish a new one. The other alternative is to check my blog. The final alternative is to find one of MANY bloggers who inspire you, motivate you, and entertain you to read instead. The "Real Me" is slowly emerging--and with time--He will show me all I need to know--but for now--I am content with what I know--and discovering I am a pretty good person who surprise-surprise---I would enjoy being friends with.
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
I am headed back to "The Hood" today after a week of Clara Barton duty. I am always in my element when I have someone to boss around and micro-manage. The patient was compliant and I spent the week cooking--one of my favorite activities--and sharing all the worldly wisdom garnered from my years of living. I missed seeing MANY of my hometown peeps, but the purpose of this trip was accomplished--honing my long dormant storehouse of medical misinformation.
OF COURSE, I drug along ALL my equipment to keep me connected to ALL of my WWW friends---an entire bag filled to the brim with electronic gadgets. I arrived to find--the patient is "Off The Grid"----GASP! So for one week I have been "Unplugged" from the WWW and all its wonders except for an occasional glimpse via I phone. I have little patience with my I phone--so the forays via I phone were VERY brief. Totally unconnected from the world and social media--I lived in LaLa Land. I had SERIOUS withdrawal. I found myself lost and having to resort to archaic practices such as looking at Cookbooks for recipes, searching the dictionary for meanings, and even the seemingly forgotten art of face to face conversations. After the second day, I began to twitch and by the my fourth day I was staring into the sky with my slackened jaw agape. All of a sudden I turned the corner and found myself enjoying the break--ignorance sometimes is bliss. Social Media can be a wonderful thing and I have enjoyed reconnecting with MANY long lost friends, but when your entire social connection slowly evolves into staring at some type of computer screen---you have fallen over the edge of reason. I will take some time to re-examine my networking when I get home--and hopefully re-establish some of that wonderful --old fashioned face time--off the Facebook. During the week, I laughed a great deal about being unconnected-but it has made me stop and consider how important connectivity is. When all is said and done--we have our relationships--all the other is non-essential fluff. These relationships mature and ripen when we spend time nurturing them--by spending time together. You have a glimpse of who I am by reading my writing, but you will see the "Real me" only when we spend time sharing life together. Face to face--time sharing with each other. What a shame to live in a cave--staring at the computer or television and missing the joy of loving each other. So it is with God---our relationship with Him will deepen and broaden as we spend time with Him. We will not be connected--unless we pursue Him. Time spent listening to sermons, sitting before great teachers, in Bible Study, and at conferences are wonderful--but not enough. Face to face---communication is the key to a deep and lasting relationship which grows into a deep well of His constant and faithful presence. Staying connected is the key to a maturing relationship and mature relationships are the greatest blessings in life.
I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.
I am AWOL from The Hood for a few days. My sweet friend has called for help following her surgery. FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE TO THE RESCUE!
My time to escape to "Fantasy Island" for a few days as I play my leading role in "General Hospital." Clara Barton and I will take our traveling Red Cross and administer emergency (well no it is not an emergency) aid to the sick and dying (No she is not dying--but allow me some publishing leeway).
If you know me well--you know--my illusions of medical grandeur. I am well known for my ability to pontificate on any and all medical issues. The fact that Dr. SIL rolls his eyes and snorts each time I lecture on dreaded diseases and injuries is a slight technicality to be ignored. I learned from some of the best--including Nurse Ratched. My friend will be glad to know my Electrical Shock Therapy machine is on the blink.
After HUNDREDS of episodes of "Mash", Nurse Margaret Houlihan has inspired me to administer the finest care---with great wisdom---and compassion to anyone who will dare to volunteer to be my patient. UNLIKE Nurse Houlihan---I do NOT have "Hotlips"!
So I may be off the grid--not linked in---unreachable by the WWW---away from my keyboard--as I pull my medical intervention duty. It will probably greatly resemble Patch Adams--when all is said and done! It is a WIN-WIN--I get to play doctor and the patient gets the misfortune of my limited knowledge!
There are some who claim to have the "Second Sight". They claim the ability to see visions beyond the realm of eyesight---a great distance away or in the future. We have all followed cases where a missing person is searched for based upon the information garnered from "A Visionary". How could one see beyond their field of vision? Then there are the gifted who look at a blank page, canvas, mound of clay, slab of marble--or any other medium and have a vision for a great work of beauty they will capture. Truly amazing for me--since when I see a blank piece of paper---I have the need to fill it with words. My artistic ability was thwarted in the first grade when I flunked coloring due to my inability to stay within the lines. It has been downhill since then. I have quite a few really talented friends who are amazing seamstresses. They look at a piece of material and visualize a dress, a curtain, a quilt, a bonnet, or some other beautiful creation. It is a wonder to behold to see a flat-lifeless piece of material become a gorgeous evening gown. I do have the "Second Sight" when it comes to a yard. Given enough assistance and money--I can turn your garden into a work of art which flows with the changing of the seasons. A rainbow of color, texture, and sounds--pleasing to every sense. When you look at the empty yard--you see dirt--I see soil. Dirt is a nuisance but soil provides opportunity. It is entirely in the eye of the beholder. So it is with mankind. We look upon some members of the human race and see a vessel filled with hopelessness, poverty, ugliness, and yes--dirt. God looks upon the same vessel and sees opportunity--for hope, for love, for service, for compassion, for a future. We have the limited vision of what is before us--which is often not very pretty-- He has the clear vision of what we could be---if only we give Him the control over the blank canvas.
Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Did you know that "Risk Management" is a business concept? A concept studied in any business degree, here is what Mr. Wikipedia says about it- Risk management is the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks (defined in ISO 31000 asthe effect of uncertainty on objectives) followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of unfortunate events or to maximize the realization of opportunities That should have made it perfectly clear for all of you! Many courses of action come with risk---risk of failure--risk of loss--risk of "unfortunate events". There is an entire field of study dedicated to the science of measuring the amount of risk tolerated to maximum results (realization of opportunities). I listened to Chuck Swindoll this morning speak of our reluctance to step out of our comfort zones and take a risk as we age. He hit the nail on my head. As I have aged, I have become much more careful in my physical activities. I often say, "I cannot afford an injury at this point in the game." So I forgo--jumping -- in my Power Pump class, I have not snow skied in a number of years, I am abundantly cautious while hiking in the mountains, and my biking is now on a stationary bike. In the back of my mind, I am avoiding injury which with age is much more difficult to recover from. I find myself reluctant to walk into yet another room full of strangers--risk of rejection. It takes great courage to walk up to a complete stranger and introduce myself-risk of judgement. I even find reluctance to insert myself in a discussion--risk of being found wrong. I agonize some days over my opining--risk of no readers. My aversion to risk has short circuited me grabbing opportunity for fear of the "unfortunate event." Some of my most wonderful memories involve the willingness to take a risk. Stepping out of my zone of comfort into the land of adventure has lead to wonderful memories and great fun. When I step away from the safety of the known and embrace risk, I grow and learn and expand my boundaries. Perhaps this aversion to risk comes with age, but there is no reason for this to happen. My challenge is to "Go for the gusto" and "Grab the bull by the horn"--live life to the fullest while riding the crest of the risk involved. No need for foolish behavior and caution is not an entirely bad thing---but OH how sad to miss the joy of the unknown blessing, because of the fear of the possible risk. When all is said and done---I want to have said and done it all!
The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?
Unless you live in a cocoon or a bubble--you have endured pain. Pain comes in a kaleidoscope of forms and from a plethora of causes. Merriam-Webster tells us pain is
the physical feeling caused by disease, injury, or something that hurts the body
: mental or emotional suffering : sadness caused by some emotional or mental problem
Perhaps physical pain is a precursor to emotional pain. When I remember the times of intense physical pain in my life, I automatically tense every muscle--find my jaw tightened, and my heart rate increased. Childbirth--surgeries--illnesses--smashed fingers--sprained ankles--and the list goes on--all cause intense physical pain. The pain of childbirth has a reward--but the other physical pain--the reward is surviving the pain.
Emotional pain ---the empty seat across the table---the silence once filled by the voice of one lost in a disagreement---watching a child suffering the insufferable---standing by and watching loved ones make life altering mistakes---facing a bleak future--financially--the inability to feed your family--the agony of betrayal--the defeat of rejection---and this list is endless. Each and every one leading to crippling--life changing emotional pain---with seemingly no antidote
I recently read this quote-
“It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” ― Rose Kennedy
Perhaps Mrs. Kennedy is correct, but I prefer to stand with Frederick Buechner when he wrote of the "Stewardship of Pain". Perhaps the "Why" of enduring pain has to do with our stewardship of our suffering. Who has helped me most in my most intense pain? Those who have endured the same--and lived to tell about it. The encouragement ---which came with great empathy--shared with great love--allowed me to hope for a better tomorrow.
My choice then becomes---refusing to let go---to heal--to admit I am blessed and today is indeed a good day---or healing through the stewardship of the suffering by sharing--by encouraging--by freely giving of myself to help another. Life is filled with pain--perhaps one of the answers to the "Why's" is not that God does not love us--but that He loves us so much He provides the balm of compassion from others who have gone down the same path.
We will never understand the "Why's" this side of eternity--but we are given the blessing of being good stewards of all that is given--even the pain.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
While searching for a picture of my daddy in his uniform, I stumbled across this--
It is a certificate honoring Daddy following our loss of him for his service to his country during World War II. Daddy died the February before JFK died in November---so this certificate is signed by
John F. Kennedy
I wrote the post below in 2008--I have no better words today to honor all the men and women who have and currently serve to ensure our freedom.
THANK YOU FOR OUR FREEDOM
While running in the Marine Corp Marathon, we ran through the National Memorials. It was unbelievably impressive! We also took the night tour through the Memorials and it was chilling.
World War II Memorial Korean Conflict Memorial
Vietnam War Wall
Today is Veteran's Day. My earliest memory of Veteran's Day was selling Poppy's as a Girl Scout in front of the old Post Office in my hometown. Dressed in my uniform with my badge sash, I sat at a table and sold Poppy's to everyone that came by. It was an easy sale-such a small price to pay to honor all of those that had given their lives for our freedom.
My Daddy served in the Army during World War II in the European theater as a Master Sargent. He never spoke of the War in my presence. There were medals and battle ribbons in his top drawer of the dresser and an Army issue revolver in the drawer. Tokens of a time that he probably would have preferred to forget. Away from home and family for years, the toll on him and our country were great. All for the sake of our freedom. I am glad we speak English and not German today.
My Uncle Bruce served in the Korean Conflict while serving in the Air Force. He never spoke of that time in my presence. He came home and had a family with the bride he married before being shipped overseas. He worked for Eastman all of his career in the lab, even creating new patents for the company. He served our country with no complaint and served it well. I am glad we speak English and not some Asian dialect today.
My peers served in the Vietnam War. An unpopular war with no notoriety for serving. Most of the young men that I know that went to Vietnam do not speak of it. It was a difficult time for our country and those that were called to serve. One I went to school with had his picture in "Life" magazine, but he did not come home. I am glad we speak English and not another language today.
The young men of my children's age have been called upon, yet again. We are fighting a war against those that wish our way of life to be destroyed. There are those that hate America and would like to take over our world or at a minimum cause death, destruction, and fear to rule the day on our streets. The ones that serve-serve well and make us proud of our next generation of heroes. I am glad we still speak English and hope we always will.
Thank you to each generation of Service men and women. Thank you for serving while facing great danger and even death. Thank you for ensuring the freedom I have each and everyday. Thank you for your personal sacrifices and giving parts of your life so that we might all sleep well at night. Thank you to all of The Heroes we honor today-Veteran's Day.
I became a Facebook member to keep up with my children and grands. In other words, so I could snoop around in their lives. NO ---I do not snoop--but I love seeing the pictures they post--when they post them---HINT HINT--of my precious grands. In this fast paced high tech world---join up or get left behind. SO--I am on Twitter---Instagram---Facebook---Google +---Linked In---and in the Wide World of Blogging. I still have not figured out what in the world they all are about--but HEY I'm a member! It is how I keep up with all of you---we share our lives through the world of the Internet. All updates are shared in Web Bites--via Social Media. We live in a hash tag--abbreviated message---best picture- world which is supposed to be the latest and the greatest improvement in communication. Here is what I have discovered-- When we start comparing ourselves--we are headed down the slippery slope of dis-satisfaction. We quickly forget only the best and perfect are shared with the WWW. Guess what---THEY HAVE BAD HAIR DAYS--DO NOT ALWAYS PUT ON THEIR MAKE UP--THEIR KIDS MISBEHAVE--THEY CAN BE A GROUCH---THEY FAIL TO OBEY ALL LAWS--THEY OCCASIONALLY SMELL--THEY HAVE WEEDS THAT GROW IN THEIR GARDEN--AND THEY HAVE MESSY HOUSES---NOT TO MENTION THEY DO NOT ALWAYS AGREE WITH THEIR SPOUSE.
THEY ARE NOT PERFECT
AND----we all do not go on exotic vacations several times a year--nor do our children all graduate with honors--nor is every meal we serve a treat fit for the most sensitive palette. Our family reunions can resemble backyard rumbles and holiday meals sometimes take on the aroma of burnt offerings. My car has two dings in it--my house needs repairs--my social life has fizzled--and my jeans are too tight. I am an imperfect person in an imperfect world.
Do NOT get me wrong--I love seeing your updates---BUT when your update begins to cloud my perception of reality---I am in trouble. When seeing only the best of the best---I begin to get the impression everyone has a perfect life--I am in trouble and headed down the road to depression.
ALL this to say---my life is messy---things are never going to be photo-op perfect here in Crazyville. I do not live in a cozy mansion with a loving husband surrounded by adoring children and grands. My exotic vacations involve sleeping in a room with three other women after hiking all day through the boulders, mud, and mosquitoes. My gourmet meals are mostly baked potatoes and the last family reunion was so long ago my brother had lots of hair. My body is sagging with age, my gray hair is thinning, and my wrinkles are wrinkling. I am in constant state of "Need To's" and "If Only's" and "Sometime's"---all covered with a layer of procrastination and excuses. BUT HEY---I LOVE MY CRAZY, FAR FROM PERFECT, WILDLY BLESSED LIFE!
SO I LOVE YOU ALL--friends far and wide---but pardon me if I do not post any pictures---I could never do justice to my Perfectly Imperfect Life!