Sunday, May 31, 2015

DELIVER ME

THIS SPEAKS DEEPLY

TO MY VERY HEART

MY PRAYER & PLEA

REMIND ME

TO BE CONTENT

BLESSED SABBATH,

DEAR FRIENDS!



Saturday, May 30, 2015

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD

Contrary to what the media would have you believe--we have not floated away or been swept into the land of OZ here in the hood.  It HAS been quite unbelievable since it has rained almost every day for weeks now!  Following last night's downpour during the daily thunder and lightning show, I spent two hours this morning scraping my back yard off the drive and putting it back where it belongs.

The internet has been down, due to a thunderstorm--which threw me out into disconnected cyberspace-but "The Man" came and got me hooked back up to the WWW and you will be forced to continue to listen to my ramblings--unless you choose to click that evil X on the screen.  Not to worry--if you got this far--you are in the day's count!  

With all the rain and storms, things are relatively quiet here in the hood.  Why the dogs don't even want to get out in this mess to poop!  The only negative email this week was concerning construction workers' cars parking in front of a  house here in the hood.  We get a little territorial and testy when others invade our space---even when it is the public street.  While helping #1 daughter move, I made the mistake of parking in front of one of her neighbors.  Between the painters and the movers trucks, there was no room in front of her house.  I received a polite? note  asking me to NOT park in front of their house. Unfortunately,  I lack the highly developed sense of smell to recognize the territory markings at every corner!  WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD!

The big Hood news this week is the date for the Hood "Block Party" during June and the beginning of movie nights in the park.  The weather needs to cooperate for all the fun and festivities to commence.  Unfortunately, I will be out of town during this year's party.  SIGH!  Here is a picture of the "Hood musicians" at the last block party two years ago.



NOW FOR THE REALLY BIG NEWS--

I heard on the Christian Radio station I listen to they were giving away tickets to a Caribbean cruise with the Duck Dynasty clan.  Why it seems all big celebrities have one of these vacation or cruise trips they lead.  WHY--I could do that!  Due to serious funding limitations and of course, my limited fan base, my trip will only be for one day--BUT imagine--I will be with you and what fun we will have as we tube the Trinity River which runs through Fort Worth and Dallas.  My first two summers here I claimed it was the Trinity Creek--or more like a mud hole.  With all the rain---I am pretty sure it now will be akin to white water rafting.  Stay tuned as soon as I get the float permit, I will post the details of the contest--



Last but not least---somehow between storms the painters have transformed my bungalow from here




to here




Sorry for darkness but when the painter is still here at 9 PM-
-well it is getting dark!




Thank the Good Lord and Uncle Sam for returning my over payment of taxes to make it possible to get rid of the hated gold!  Everyone knows the gold here in Texas is the color of oil!

Living life large--here in the hood!


Thursday, May 28, 2015

ONCE UPON A TIME

Once upon a time, a LONG time ago---
The favorite beginning of MANY a fairy tale---a story from the past---an oldie but a goodie----memories---a song writer's delight--yesterday-

"But that was yesterday and yesterday's gone"

If you live in the present, then what do you do with the past?  Does it become like an old shoe, cast aside and thrown to the back of the memory closet?  Or do you refuse to cast the worn and faded aside and continue to plod around in that which begs to be left behind?  



The past is gone, but it also is an important component of how you live today.  Hopefully lessons learned and wisdom gained are benchmarks for a better future,  if you are willing to leave the past where it belongs-in the past.

We have all known someone who seems to be stuck in a better time.  "Glory Days" when life was filled with success.  We all run from those "Back in 19__" stories.  Those stories so often repeated, you could tell the tale for them.  "Why when I _________, we_______" fill in the blank.  The rose colored glasses of the past might bear closer examination.  It becomes one of those mirrors which distort the image when peering backwards.  In the mind's eye, the truth becomes blurry with the fantasy of the better day.

There are memories --which we leave behind---and never allow to bubble to the surface again.  Many of my peers who served in Vietnam, never speak of those days.  My daddy never talked about the horrors of World War II in France.  Painful and tragic days are stuffed back in the memory archives with refusal to ever talk about the pain still bubbling on the back burner of our heart.  Do not let it out of the box for fear of reliving the horror we beg to forget.

So what do we do with the past?  I read a passage in a book recently, "The past has no bearing on the present."  NO--I disagree--for fiction purposes perhaps--but the past shapes who we are today.  Like the closet filled with family portraits--it is a part of history.   Accept memories for what they are--some to be cherished and others to be left behind--but all a part of our past which marks how we live the present.


Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
Philippians 3:13


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

SMOKE AND MIRRORS

I have never been a huge fan of magic.  A realist to my core, the tricks to fool my eye always have an explanation.  I have seen perhaps a handful of tricks that defied explanation, and even then I turned my nose up--knowing the truth would prove once again someone was just trying to fool me.  The slight of hand, smoke and mirrors are all tools of the magician in his practice of deceit.  Entertainment for some, but I prefer a song and dance.



Life is filled with smoke and mirrors.  Make up is a great example.  We women-me included--put on our make up in an effort to look better to those who might glance upon our faces.  I have laughingly called it my war paint and my disguise, but suffice it to say--it is all smoke and mirrors.  Enhancing the best features and detracting from the worst, we spend untold money and time working on fooling the world.  Why you can even buy water proof and permanent make up-so others will never see what lies beneath.  We become experts at "looking natural" while we are actually disguising the natural when donning our mask.

Writing has its own bag of tricks to fool you into thinking I am someone I really am not.  Those closest to me, with a couple of exceptions, very rarely comment upon my musing.  Why the truth of the matter is that I have family members who do not even read my opining.  They really know me---have seen the real me--so perhaps they have read a couple of times and laughed--since they see beyond the smoke and mirrors.  Knowing all my faults, all my short comings, and the truth of who I am perhaps discredits what I say.   I write what I would like to be--who I wish I was, but the sad truth is many times it is filled with disguises and exaggerations.  The smoke and mirrors behind the pen are just as deceptive as the magician's box of tools.

Why, you might ask, do we go to all this trouble when the truth would serve us better?  One of the realities I forget so easily is the best received posts are the most truthful posts.  When I leave off the make up, put away the smoke and mirrors, and reveal the real me, the readers clap.  Most of the time, I get responses of "Someone is like me" or "Someone understands".  How easily I forget and fall back into the trap of thinking I am fooling you into believing I am someone I am not.  Even when I fail to admit it, you know the truth.  My secret life is really no secret--my warts and blemishes are impossible to hide forever.

Thankfully, there is One who understands.   I stand naked before Him and He knows me better than I know myself.  No need to even attempt the smoke and mirror act, He knows all the tricks and never falls for my lame attempts at disguising the truth.  Yet He loves me still, when I run from the truth, He still loves me.  There is hope--at the final curtain--when all the smoke has dissipated and the mirrors are all removed--He will love me exactly as I am.


For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.
Romans 7:15





Tuesday, May 26, 2015

CLOSURE


How and when to close a chapter are one of the most difficult aspects of writing for me.  Almost everything I write, I walk away wondering, "Did I say all I needed to say?"  And then there are those days I walk away wondering, "Did I say too much?"  Writers are a narcissistic lot.  We like the sound of our own words, and it thrills us to know you are reading them.  It is the introvert's answer to the extrovert's pleasure in hearing their own voice.  Attention without the first hand experience of knowing we are getting the attention.  The limelight in the lowlight--an introvert's delight!

During the process of writing a book, my editor spent a lot of time culling my repeats and condensing far too much verbiage into the modified Reader's Digest version.  I know from personal experience, I tend to not read or loose concentration if an article becomes overly wordy,  Say what you need to say and leave it at that is the best plan.

Closing out a chapter is all about picking the right place to stop, and wrapping up what you said as briefly and concisely as possible.  A one sentence synopsis of what you just said in a nutshell.  If I am not careful, the length of my sentences can rival some of Paul's in the New Testament.  Run on would be an understatement.  In summary--find the stopping point, close the subject and move on.

It is not surprising I have a difficult time with closing a chapter or paragraph.  I tend to also have a difficult time finding closure in life.  When the topic has been exhausted, and there is nothing to be gained by staying the course, turning around and walking away appear as failure.  What is the old saying, "I am riding a dead horse."  Recognizing it is the right time and place to turn and leave and start again do not come easy and failure is a bitter pill to swallow.  Admitting those times when I should yell, "Calf Rope" and begin again becomes an allusive target.

I forget--though I may have to accept defeat---I have learned--I have grown--I have endured--and walked away a wiser person.  Closure comes in all forms, shapes and sizes and requires varying lengths of time.  The gift of closure is a new game--or trying again.  Taking what you know and moving forward with a better chance at success from what you learned in defeat-a do-over.

There are no accidents---there is purpose in everything---and opportunity is always around the corner.  Recognize when it is time---close the door---and walk away--knowing when the sun rises tomorrow you can start anew.


And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

  

Monday, May 25, 2015

ON THIS DAY

I live in a beautiful place on the top of a mountain.  A deep river runs along the base of this mountain and a path of bricks winds slowly up the side. The path allows easy access to enjoy all the beauty one eye could ever behold.  I enjoy the best of all the world by following the road through the mountains, to the valley, and the hills beyond--on to the plains--the desert--the bayou and the swamp-the road will take you all the way to the ocean shore.  




Lush forests, beautiful gardens, desert cacti, fields of wildflowers, and every conceivable bush and tree line the roads in my travels.  Vast and deep lakes, mighty rivers, small ponds, and streams of every size and shape are around every bend and corner.  The richness and lushness of this land are beyond my mind's comprehension.

Riches beyond my wildest dream are all at my fingertips.  Food a plenty in every type and form and no thought of hunger ever enters my mind.  Comfortable housing, clothes for my back, and any service your mind could desire are at my beck and call.  All my needs and many of my wants are met in the blink of an eye as I live a rich and full life of relative ease.

Free to come and go as I please, free to speak my mind, free to do or not, and free to pursue any dream or scheme, the possibilities are limitless here on my mountain top.  The land is filled with a wide ethnicity and the full spectrum of philosophies,  all creating a beautiful tapestry of a vast and rich variety.  Free to believe or not---free to pursue God or not---free to worship in any manner you choose---with no worry or fear for reprisal.

The land is here to be enjoyed, any resource is at your fingertips, and a plethora of peoples to befriend or not fill this vast land.   A land filled with riches and plenty surrounds me as I travel through this life.  What did I do to deserve all of this--what is the cost of all that is available--it all seems too simple--so easy--but there must be a cost.


Letter from my Daddy to Momma During WW II

I look down from the ease of my mountain top --I look closely at the view from my perch.  The path of bricks is not actually bricks--but letters which have been written to soldiers sent away from home to protect this land.  Letter upon letter as far as the eye can see to those removed from their loved one's presence, as they protect my right to have all of this.  More letters of love, more letters of loneliness than my mind could ever count are the bricks that make up the path to this mountaintop.



As I continue to look with a gaze of intent, I notice the river has  an unusual shimmer.  As I stoop down to observe, I notice a salty fragrance of the water as it flows.  Gazing deep into the waters, I finally see, the river is filled with tears for those who died, who were maimed, or disappeared.  The tears of loss, the tears of dreams shattered, and the tears for tomorrows which will never dawn.  The river of tears for those who sacrificed so that I might live in this rich land of plenty fill the vast river which flows to the sea.




My last glance with my eyes finally  widely open reveals the hills and the stones on their sides.  The hills of graves for the brave heroes of this land and the stones which mark their final resting place.  As they sleep the sleep of the courageous, I am reminded of the great cost of this land where I live.  A cost beyond money, a cost beyond measure--the ultimate sacrifice of their lives so that I might live with so much.  My life of ease, my life of plenty, my life of untold opportunity, my life filled with freedoms---all paid for with the lives of these brave men and women to whom I owe so much.  My thanks, my gratitude, my admiration, and my salute to all those who have entered rest and those still with us who have served that I might live in this beautiful land of freedom.





HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

HALLELUJAH !

I AM SO THANKFUL

I AM SO BLESSED

WHEN I THINK OF 

THE MIGHTY GOD

WHO CALLS ME HIS OWN

MAY YOU SABBATH 

BE FILLED WITH BLESSINGS

AND PEACE-

DEAR FRIENDS


Saturday, May 23, 2015

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD!

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!

I am in Austin---Deep in the heart of Texas---watching the rain fall, attending my #1 Grand's WONDERFUL High School Choir Concert, and enjoying sweet family this weekend,

BUT LIFE HAS NOT STOOD STILL THIS WEEK IN THE HOOD

You do remember the suspected "Safe House" across the street.  Well perhaps I was wrong.  I met the new neighbors when I was out working in my yard.  A sweet young couple with two small children--they do not really fit the profile of being in the witness protection program--BUT is there a profile for the program?  The WONDERFUL news---they are taking out all the overgrown bushes which are hiding their beautiful little house.  SO looking forward to seeing them come and go with their little family.


Daddy is moving his "Princess" into this house two doors down.  The college student who Daddy says is quiet and studious and just had to have this house.  All of the neighbors are a little concerned about having our peace and quiet (if there is such thing in the city) turn into party city.  NOT to worry--I have Daddy's business card with his phone number.  I will stroll down and drop the information in a neighborly fashion that I have Daddy's phone number.  I would HATE to have to call and ask if he was aware of the toga invasion at his daughter's house!

  

And then there is my next door neighbor, who I have affectionately named "Mother Earth" for her great love for all animals and nature.  She told me this week, she is training to be a "Certified Wild Life Foster Home".  BEFORE you ask--I have no idea how you get certified to have homes for wild animals, but she has a soft heart for any animal,  I asked her was she putting in a new flower bed in the backyard where she was digging,  "No, I am digging for grubs and worms."  The puzzled look on my face led to the explanation of fostering a possum.  WHAT!  "Do you know those things have sharp teeth???"  She seems to have no worry about being bitten by the latest member of her animal family.  Obviously she has never cornered a full grown possum before and gotten sharp toothed snarl!  CITY GIRL!

She then told me she was hoping to foster an ARMADILLO NEXT--GASP!

I tried to explain about this spawn from Satan.  How they would destroy your yard and the only thing they were good for was target practice.  She stared at me in disbelief.  I am just saying-she better keep him penned up--my trigger finger gets itchy just thinking about it.  SILLY CITY GIRL!

Living Life Large--Here In The Hood!

Friday, May 22, 2015

PERILS OF LULU

I am back up and running after the sad demise of "Old Betsy" the laptop.  She took a bad fall and left for her reward in cyberspace after many long hours of service.  May she rest in peace!  She has been replaced, as we all are replaceable--by faster and lighter--but with a learning curve attached.  NOT how I intended to spend my tax refund!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

#1 Daughter left the Little Man and his oldest brother with me today while she and the "Tiny Screamer" and the "Sweet Middle Child" went for a play date.  No problem UNTIL, The Little Man decided he needed a poop break. Any time he disappears and all grows quiet-there is something stinky going on!  WHAT--I am out of diapers--COMPLETELY- TOTALLY out of diapers!  Now you might wonder why I didn't let things chill (so to speak)--until his mother came back.  WELL obviously you have never smelled the poop of a two year old---or there would be no question in your mind as to the urgency of a change!



SO--we load up and head to the near-by Walgreen's, with the promise of a toy for the oldest, if he will just cooperate and get in the car with no fuss.  As we walk in the door of the local drugs plus, I am holding the hand of the Little Man, but there seems to be a cloud of stink hanging around as we slowly saunter in the building.  To prevent further spread of the contamination and smell, I gingerly lift him into the buggy  AH--there is nothing quite like the mixture of medicinal and poop smell co-mingled!  Off we go to the diaper aisle--mission accomplished---EXCEPT  THE OLDER BROTHER--has NOT forgotten my promise of a toy and he needs to look at each and every toy in the store before making a decision.

By this time, I have noticed anyone who makes the mistake of turning down the aisle where we are investigating the mysteries and nuances of the 2,000 choices in the toy section, quickly moves away after coming within 10 feet of our little entourage.  The smell is beginning to form a fog bank of stink which drifts across tall displays and into the far corners of retail drug land.  Big brother is undaunted and discussing the pros and cons of each possible candidate for his treat. Meanwhile I am trying to act nonchalant with no evidence of smelling a stinker anywhere near me.

THEN The Little Man decides he needs to get out of the buggy and also touch each and every toy in the store.  At this point, I have had enough of this stinking mess!  I give the firm ultimatum--"Pick now or leave empty handed!"

We approach the check out and thankfully there is no one ahead of us.  The clerk begins her usual slow process of checking and chatting--until she gets the drift of the stench.  I have NEVER had a faster check out in any retail establishment. 

Thankfully we are back in the car and headed home and I spot a homeless woman sitting on the bench in the cool damp Texas air.  I know I should give her money for a meal, but the more pressing need to get home and get this taken care of sends me on my way.  I head home, and God begins to convict me.  I have to sit at the red light and see her in my rear view mirror--face down--her belongings around her--alone and homeless.  

OH WELL---it could not possibly stink anymore in this car--so we make the block and I head back to give her some money for a meal.  As I hand her the money, I ask does she know where the Shelter is.  She then proceeds to tell me they are all full and she is sleeping on the street.  It is raining cats and dogs daily over here--and today the temperatures are in the 50's and she has no roof over her head.  So glad God would not leave me alone, until I went back---Jesus loves her--and so do I.






But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
I John 3:17-18




Sunday, May 17, 2015

BROKEN

When I listen to this song

I remember where all the roads

Have led me

Straight to Jesus

Blessed Sabbath, Dear Friends


Saturday, May 16, 2015

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD

OK--perhaps I have an active imagination after all-


The moving truck finally showed up and these people are out of here--well actually they are one street over on the "Rich Side" of the main thoroughfare that runs through the hood.  SO perhaps it is not a "Safe House"--BUT the new people are not in yet-so there may be a story there yet!


And this guy--who disappeared--turns out he is a butler--YES-you read correctly---A BUTLER--move over Downton Abbey!  There are some extremely wealthy folks here in Texas.  He works six weeks on and six off--sort of like off- shore work--but with a coat and tie and a bow and a scrap (Texas square dance).  I like this story even better than the alien abduction.


Meanwhile the emails are flying again--new subjects---we are leaving the dog poop alone for a week.  The company hired to trim the trees off the utility lines is giving advance notice of coming.  There are those who will not allow these butchers on their properties or near their trees--no matter what.  Then there are those who accuse the others of allowing the possibility of power outages from storms (WE HAVE HAD PLENTY OF THOSE LATELY) and the suffering of mankind & the babies when the lights/AC go out. This got even testier than the dog poop barrage.


 And then there was another series concerning a homeless person trying to find work in the hood.  Some warning you they were coming and some telling the story of the man walking up and taking a rake and naming the price for doing the work.  Then there was the less than subtle one that stated they hired the man and he did a good job and their neighbor would also like to hire him if anyone had them knock on their door.  

OH MY---
Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

It has been a busy week with getting #1 daughter moved--BUT look


36 hours later


AND all it took was Dr SIL, #1 Daughter, The In-Laws & Me to accomplish this little task and all done while corralling the 2 year old and holding the baby.  We will NOT go into the garage--saving that fun for another day!  Meanwhile the boys are all in their new beds, in their new rooms.

The last text I had Dr SIL was trying to keep them in their beds while they were to the point of howling.  Could be a long night!

Living life large -HERE in the hood!


Friday, May 15, 2015

JUNK IN YOUR TRUNK


This, my Dear Friends, is the TIP of the iceberg.  This iceberg could sink an entire fleet of Titanic's!  It has been a LONG day--and I am sharing my bed with my favorite Little Man tonight.



Imagine my dismay when I discover there is already a "Junk Drawer" at the new house--while there is still one to be unloaded at the old house.  DO NOT act like you have no clue what I am talking about!  We ALL have our junk drawer!  Somewhere in the kitchen or close to the door you normally enter --there is a drawer--a catch all drawer.



It contains a hodge podge of the valuable, useless, might need it someday, and do not have a clue what this is.  My junk drawer ALWAYS has keys in it---keys which I have no clue what they open, but I might need it someday to open that lock which must be hidden in some obscure spot that I overlook ALL the time.  I would go take a inventory and give you the list, but that would mean cleaning it out.  NO THANK YOU, done enough of that for one day!

Periodically I clean my junk drawer out.  A lot of it gets thrown away---it all gets neatened up and those mysterious keys always go back in it.  If I did not go through the drawer, it would soon be so stuffed it would be impossible to tell what was in it.  I can only deal with so much junk in my life--or it will end up taking over my life.

What junk am I carrying around with no possible good purpose?  Grudges, envy, anger, and even hatred begin to accumulate and obscure the blessings when I refuse to throw it away.  What incident am I storing in my hard drive--cluttering up the memory and slowing down the processes?  What useless keys to long ago slammed doors do I refuse to throw away?  What junk am I storing in my trunk to the point it becomes such a burden I cannot lift it?  Time to clean it all out--and start afresh---a new day will dawn tomorrow.  Lighten the load, ditch the junk and add new spring to your step.


Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective 
prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
James 5:16

Thursday, May 14, 2015

CHAOS!

Can you control chaos? 

The little family is in the process of moving--AGAIN!  I tend to forget how out of control I feel when moving until I am right back in the middle of it again.  I have this delusional idea I am organized and on top of things and never miss a beat---AS IF!  What boat did I get off of?


#1 Daughter has moved 9--count them-NINE times since 2001.  I have moved 3 times in two years.  I should be an expert--AND while I am good---there are some things you cannot control while moving.

Let's start with 4 children---6,4,2 and 3 months--and the baby has colic.  There is a need for full time supervision of these 4 by 2 adults since the baby has to be held a great deal of the time.  Couple that with Dr. Daddy who works shift work.  The move begins to look like an ant pile that someone stepped in the middle of---everyone is going their separate way and no one seems to be accomplishing much.

Add to this scenario rain---not just rain but torrential downpours and thunderstorms and tornado warnings.  After a long day of packing Monday, I came home to a neighbor waiting in the front yard to trim a large shrub and a cellar that was flooded in one of the gully washer rains that day.  I started laughing and looked to the heavens with "Really God?"  He must be having a great chuckle at my stumbling attempts to appear in control.

Oh--the move will get done--somehow.  We are working on it and tomorrow is the big furniture move day.  Did I mention the interior of the house is being painted WHILE they are moving in?  OH YES--somehow in the midst of this confusion and chaos--order will be restored.  Well- in all honesty--order is relevant when you have four children this age, but there will be an illusion of order.

Why would I be bothering to give you a detailed description of trying to control the chaos this week?  It has me thinking about my quest to know God better--it can be quite chaotic.  My quest becomes all about me--and not really much about Him.  I am making a list--following the rules--serving others---attending church---and all the other self imposed attempts for me to find God.  AND all along--He has been right here---right by me---I was so busy running around the ant hill--I lost sight of how truly easy it is to "Know God" by just being still and listening.


“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 46:10

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

WELL SEASONED

My dear friend accused me of being wise and I laughed and told her, "Not wise, but seasoned."  This short conversation became the catalyst for today's blog.  There was a time in the deepest of holes that I said, "All the best of me has been used up and I have been cast aside."  It has taken a while, but I no longer believe this to be true, in fact it is FAR from the truth.




In the eyes of the world, I am a senior citizen--physically things are beginning to go south.  The mirror reflects sags that have morphed into bags and wrinkles that have become deep valleys.  My fast mile now resembles a slow stroll and all exercise has become a test of endurance.  I need more rest, but can't sleep past 2:00 AM and Aleve is my BFF.  I am not what I once was---

Instead I am the best I have ever been and firmly expect to continue to get better.  When I finally learned, with God in the center of my life and my willingness to allow Him to direct my path--I began a transformation into the best I have ever been.  I like the person I see in the mirror almost all of the time.  Through life and life experiences, God has taught me a great deal.  I have more compassion, more sympathy and empathy, and the biggest heart I ever had.  Life and all that life has thrown at me--and all the blessings mixed in have changed me into a well seasoned lover of life.

With time--wines become better---beef and cheese are best when they are aged--art and books are sometimes appreciated more with time---and with age, I have become much wiser, a better friend, closer to my family, more appreciative of the beauty of God's creation,and able to love more deeply. Like that favorite pair of jeans--with wear and tear--they soften and conform and become our favorites.  Like the cast iron skillet--with seasoning and time--I am at my best.



So no the best is not used up--the best is a work in progress--and by allowing Him to be the potter---he is turning the wheel and creating a fine work of art to be loved and cherished--as only He can do. 


for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Philippians 2:13

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

WHEN?

When did it become okay to slam, berate, ridicule, lambaste, and demean others for their beliefs?  I have almost discontinued watching television news and news channels--when it stopped being the news and became a forum for pushing agendas.  Extremely interested in the world and what is happening in it, I am not interested in the increasing lack of civility. 



I have always told those who enjoyed watching their favorite politco's argue--they are making a living by stirring you up.  Appearing on national television and carrying on a shouting match over political ideology is the way they pay their light bills.  I strongly suspect they walk away from those shows--go have supper together and talk about the spouse and kids. Somehow James Carville and Mary Matalin mange to have opposing political viewpoints and still maintain a marriage.  Something tells me when the lights are turned out at night, they are not screaming at each other over politics.

Our political beliefs come from the place we find ourselves in life.  It is influenced by those who most closely line up with our needs and beliefs.  In an effort to not be attacked, I will just broadly say, many times it follows along with our professions, family system, and inherited ideological legacies.  Those who do not follow our ideologies are not necessarily idiots- nor should we consider it a personal attack when others do not agree with us.  Somehow mass communications and social media have released all inhibitions and destroyed good manners as we go for the throat on all who dare to disagree with our beliefs.

Jesus did not seek out those who were from the same political persuasion--he even performed miracles for the hated Roman occupiers.  He sat down and ate with the despised tax collectors.  He spent time with those who were like Him--but He did not shy away from those of opposing views.  In fact, in many cases He sought out those who "differed" AND he treated them all with respect.  The only mention of shouting was in the temple with the money changers--to keep the temple pure--Jesus drove them away.  The lesson Jesus gives us is we are not required to change our beliefs, we are required to treat all with respect.  

This is the most you will ever hear me say about politics--but this is not really about politics--this is about common decency.  I have very strong political views, but have no intention of sharing those views on this blog-that is not the purpose of the blog.  My only reason for approaching this touchy subject is my deep concern for the manner in which treat our fellow citizens.  Think before you speak--take a deep breath before you scream--and agree to disagree without the need for hatred and malice.  There is plenty in this world to become distressed and anxious over---look around at what is happening all around us---why not point some of that excess emotional energy at helping those who desperately need help instead.  In every action--in every instance, always ask yourself---"What would Jesus do?"

But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.
Titus 3:9

Monday, May 11, 2015

THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD


The weather here in Fort Worth has been quite the story in the recent weeks.  The past few days have been filled with tornado and thunderstorm warnings--and RAIN---frog strangling rains.  How much rain would it take to strangle a frog?  I have felt as if I might wash off the side of this hill my street is built on.  Thankfully I am at one of the highest points in Fort Worth---thus the name--Mistletoe Heights.  

What if I did wash off this hill or get blown away by a tornado?  Would I find my way back home?  Does a house and my things make this a home?  If all were blown away---destroyed beyond recognition--would I no longer have a home?  As you watch survivors shuffle through debris looking for their things, I wonder--would finding something help?  I understand their pain---we mistakenly identify home as bricks and mortar and things.  This very weekend, I told my daughter, how much I missed my home on Old Wire Road. It has seemed at times, I have never had a home since moving away.  What if instead of moving, the house had burned, or a tornado destroyed it, would I feel the same way?  This process began the wheels turning.



While volunteering at the shelter for the homeless, I have noticed one thing--their family is their home.  They have no desire to continue to live in a dormitory setting, and certainly would like a place of their own--BUT these people love their children and family is important to them.  Family is all they have in many cases.  Watching these moms and dads bring their children for tutoring, I see they want them to behave, they want them to do well, they drink in words of praise for their children.  They have no bricks and mortar--but they have a family and it is home.

I came to the conclusion, home is in my heart--not in those bricks and mortar--not in any one location.  Home is the deep abiding love for my family--my friends--my God.  Home is not confined to the walls surrounding me, but instead forever lives in the deep recesses of my heart.  Those memories will always be there---oh I might have to go around the track a few times to dredge some of them up--but they are there.  Memories of not places--but occurrences that happened in places. 

So when the storms of life come--and they will--is your home going to be blown away?  If the walls surrounding you do not look the same, have you lost your home? Will your home be destroyed and you with it, if all is washed away?

No-- There is a yellow brick road---a path--that God provides to show us the way home.  Home within the confines of a deep protecting love of the Father.  God gives us a home--a safe and secure  home which will never be destroyed--the home He provides by His grace.  So keep your eyes on the path--the yellow brick road to the Father, and live in the peace of your forever home---God's deep abiding love.


We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
I John 4:16

Sunday, May 10, 2015

DEEP-DEEP LOVE

For those who are missing their mother today

For those who grieve a broken relationship with their mother today

For those who never knew the love of their mother

For those who celebrate today with a mother still present

May this song bless and remind you 

May you remember the deep-deep love of Jesus

SABBATH BLESSINGS, FRIENDS!


Saturday, May 9, 2015

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD



We have not blown away here in Fort Worth, but there is still a possiblity this weekend.  I have a cellar, but you have to enter from the outside--and the door does not latch from the inside--FAT LOT OF GOOD that is doing me!


There is the door--right by the shelf


While walking home from a neighbor's house, I met the man who bought this house.  Remember the story--bidding war--paid $30,000 over asking price?  He is buying it for his daughter who is a TCU student and just HAD TO HAVE IT!  REALLY---he was such a nice man---who obviously lacks good judgement when it comes to his princess!

The poop emails are flying again.  You will be on candid camera if you walk your dog in The Hood.  I would not doubt DNA samples being collected from the mysteriously dropped poop and all dogs having mandatory blood tests to find the culprit.  For an area that absolutely goes ape crazy over their dogs--the poop outrage is amusing.

Thought you might enjoy seeing a few of the friends I have made at the Y.



We do a good job of holding down the back corner of the room.  The instructor is less likely to see your poor form way back there.  The friend in the top picture on the left still has her port in from the chemo she has finished after a round of radiation.  She was diagnosed with lymphoma when her baby was a month old and delayed treatment until he was 5 months old to give him a good start with mother's milk.  SO---NO EXCUSES--if she can do it---the rest of us CERTAINLY CAN!  I missed getting the young friend who was to her left in the picture.  She is having a baby in June---NO EXCUSES!  

I will leave you with the story from today's visit with my neighbor two doors down.  She told me she was going to her kickball league game this afternoon.  I was patting her on the back and complimenting her on this great exercise when she gave me the rest of the story.  It seems this is a Beer Kickball league.  YES--BEER!  You are required to hold a beer the entire time you are playing and if you spill any--it advances the other team.  I PROMISE---I could NEVER make this stuff up!  Sports seem to take on a different look here in the city.  I was so aghast, I forgot to ask does the loser buy the beer!


OH PEOPLE, I have lived in a BUBBLE all my life!!!

I am sure there is more to report, but it would be mundane and disappointing after this.  HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY--ALL YOU MOMS!

Friday, May 8, 2015

IF YOU HAVE A MOTHER


We all have our minds on Mother's Day this weekend and I am no exception.  Thoughts from our maternal legacy, redemption of motherhood, my personal journey as a mother, mother figures---have all rolled around in the vast empty space in my head.  I have thought about those of you who obviously had Saints for mothers and those of you who have struggled with the relationship with your mother.  I remembered all who were blessed to have their mothers a really long time, those who lost their mothers far too early, and those who have watched those last years when they were not so good, to say the least.  Mothers and motherhood is a vast subject, but one thing we all can agree upon is we all had a mother. 

My mother and I had an interesting relationship.  She loved me---I never doubted that for a moment--but I never really felt like she approved of me.  It was difficult to please her and she was very vocal about sharing when I came up short.  If you knew her, your immediate reaction is she was charming and sweet and yes, she could be, but there was another side reserved only for her children and it was--different.  I came to a place of peace with my relationship with my mother, when I realized she did the very best she could.  Her own mother died when she was two and she was raised for the next few years primarily by an aunt who was extremely demanding and never afraid to tell you like it was.  Those important formative years when a mother's love makes us who we are--she missed out.  My father struggled with alcoholism the last few years before he died from lung cancer.  She ran the business, ran the family, and kept us all afloat during some extremely difficult times.  He finally turned the corner and was doing great--when he became ill and died two months later.  She then was left to raise 3 children alone.  So I reconciled myself to how difficult her life was and yet she raised three children who all graduated from college and one from law school---all three had successful careers---all three raised beautiful families of their own.  So, yes, she could jerk my chain with the best of them, but she obviously did her very best and with her best came three children whom she was proud of---in her own way.

I came next in the line of maternal legacy.  I also have raised three wonderful children--all are doing extremely well and two are raising families of their own and I am praying for the third to do the same.  Every decision concerning them was always made with their best interest in mind.  I was no Saint--far from it--but I can tell you I did the best I could and it was all done in great love.  I found during those years of active motherhood, raising children is NOT for the faint of heart.  It is the toughest job I ever had and though you could never tell from the outside, I tottered on out of control a lot!  What a blessing that out of control was!  Despite my inadequacies, my children have fared well.  It just goes to show you--they grew up in spite of my floundering attempt at parenting.

In the years since my children flew the nest, I have invested myself in several children in different venues.  I am not their mother, but I am attempting to portray the picture of maternal love by investing time with them.  I am also blessed to be grandmother to 6 fine grandchildren.  The best of all worlds--love them, spoil them, indulge them--send them home.  I love them not for what they have done, but instead because of who they are--a child worth loving.

What am I saying?  Do the best you can--that is really all you can do.  Somehow through God's grace, He takes our futile efforts and redeems our failings and most of the time--they grow up.  Happy Mother's Day, Friends.  I pray you honor your mother this weekend whether in person or in spirit.  I also pray for those with troubled relationships, you forgive the past and remember we all have feet of clay.  Cherish the memories of the past or forgive the pain and most important use the present day to do the best you can.  That is all God asks of us--our best.



“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 
I Peter 4:8