Have been BAD since last Friday and not done much training for my hike---got back at it today---Hiked 6 miles at the park with 20 #s on my back.  I have 15-20 more pounds to add to that load eventually!

Mile 1-2---I am FEELING GOOD---spring in my step--smile on my face---GOT THIS HANDLED

The trail is pretty flat those first two miles---Mile 3-4 prove to be harder--harder trail--harder carrying the load---ankle hurts some---shoulders beginning to tighten up.  Still feel like I can do this---It just may prove to be more difficult than I first imagined!

THEN comes mile 5-6---HARD part of the trail--lots of jumping creeks--WITH all that weight on my back---LOTS of steep climbs---HARD---shoulders feel like I am carrying a boulder on my back---I need to have my head examined!

The thing that is dragging between my body and "BB"---that's my tail!


It is not easy right now---I am just holding on---but I learned a while ago to survive---find a need or a project.  I went to help with a friend's grouting job late today---I may survive emotionally for the evening --but my knees and legs may never be the same after all the bending and kneeling.  It's a GOOD THING to be on your knees!



I started the day by taking "Wilson"--Helen's BAD DOG---(he's a puppy)--for a walk of over a mile--killed two birds with one stone---limbered up my injured ankle that I have been resting--and wore his butt out!  I must admit--he might have walked as fast--maybe faster than I did.

I then loaded up BB and headed to the park---walked 5 1/2 miles with 20 #s on my back.  It gave me a good excuse to cry.  If you see me with that big pack--you just naturally assume I am in pain---I am--NOT PHYSICAL!

There was a time that I crawled in the cave during difficult emotional times---I crawled in the cave--that I call home.  Only thing is--right now---I don't think I have a home--I am still in flux--betwixt and between.  SO I have no cave---to disappear into---check out the Bible---that was the original cave hiding story---today--the trail sufficed as the place to reflect---mourn--and cry over what I am leaving---how life has turned out.

I always crawl back out of my cave---I know I am blessed---blessed with LOADS of great friends--that I am leaving SOON---a wonderful 47 years in Ruston--that I am leaving-- a marriage that I thought would last until death do us part--it didn't---I will get over it--I will do the next right thing---but it's OK to Cry on the trail!


LOVE to COOK!   Love to cook for others----love to cook--I just have a need to cook-the way I like to cook.  Most of the time--I cook in my little kitchen--which I have all arranged in the manner that I think works perfectly.  When in Fort Worth, I sometimes cook at #1 Daughter's home.



Why we all know that your herbs and spices start with All Spice and end with Yellow Mustard Powder.  It MUST be all lined up---perfectly and in alphabetic order--or the cooking will not be as good!

I must say this willy nilly---chili powder, basil, garlic powder, anise---etc etc--seems to work for her---my brain just doesn't function like that---  it's like the cooking utensils have to be to the right of the stove and the pots and pans arranged by size---it just works better that way----SILLY CAMILLE!


I was born VERY picky when it comes to food---got over it--will pretty much try anything now---but as a child---I ate hardly anything.  Momma had a rule---you eat what is placed before you--or you DON'T eat!  I was VERY stubborn---sat and looked at my plates for hours---not eating.

When #1 came along--he proved to be MORE picky than I am---still is.  I did not forget a childhood of being hungry a lot---due to my own stubbornness---SO I changed the rule---if you don't eat what I have prepared--then you may make yourself a sandwich----he grew up on peanut butter .

Now the third generation of picky  has come alone----enter KING HENRY---his mother runs down every item there is in the house and allows him to make the choice-

There seems to be a softening trend going on here---the next generation will just go on line and order what their little heart desires.  Not sure this is a good thing!


I am training with "BB" on my back these days----Elisha guessed right----"BIG BERTHA"---she has received a year's free subscription for this blog---ALL THE REST OF YOU---YOUR CHECKS ARE EXPECTED!  ALSO for those of you that guessed something to do with my anatomy----SHAME SHAME SHAME!  ANYWAY---back on course---this pack with only 25 pounds in it takes a LOT of getting used to.  ALL of the weight is carried on your hips---which in case you did not know are connected to your thighs--which are connected to your knees--which are connected to your ankles--which are connect ---WELL you see the picture.  SO currently I am suffering from sore knees, a sore hip, a sore ankle on the other side where Henry fell on it while on the trampoline (OBVIOUSLY I have NO sense).

I am THANKFUL for drugs---STRONG anti-inflammatory---prescription strength drugs today---After a walking with BB Sunday---I tried again yesterday but did not make it as far----the pain never left me.  Most of the time after I get warmed up--it stops hurting--NOT yesterday--SO resorted to drugs today!

When planning a trip like this--you must be SUPER careful of what you take--always conscious of the weight of EVERYTHING that goes in that pack.  Every ounce is an ounce you are going to be carrying for MILES--in the altitude--up the mountains--  I became a little concerned last night when I started thinking about the drugs I might need to take along to make the trip doable---just not quite sure how that is going to work!


The "In" thing these days is to have a L O N G string of letters following your name.  I actually have a few of those myself---INCLUDING----OCD---don't know what that stands for?---look it up---OBVIOUSLY you are NOT OCD---or you would have known IMMEDIATELY of what I spoke!  Somedays---OCD is a good thing---Other days---it will drive you to the ledge of the cliff!

EARLY this AM--I went over to C's house to stay with the big boys while Baby, as the boys call him, went for his 4 month check and shots.  I walk in the door determined to run a tight ship---the ship sank before I even got the ropes untied from the pier!  HOW in the world C does it is beyond me and I only had 2 of them.  

One of her coping mechanisms is to not get upset about a ship shape house---well that is not in my genes to say the least---so I walk in cleaning and putting away and sweeping and vacuuming----ALL FOR NAUGHT!  The big boys are on a mission behind me to undo what I did faster than I did it!  One of the things I did was clean the kitchen floor.  There is a door in the kitchen that goes to the backyard where the boys were playing---IN the early morning dew--WITH plenty of dirt, leaves, grass clippings-etc back there with them.  As I merrily cleaned and admired my handiwork---I look behind me and the two scoundrels are walking in WITH their shoes on---COVERED with mud all over the section I JUST mopped!

Immediately after peeling myself off the ceiling---I asked "WHY are you tracking mud on the clean floor?"  To which they replied, "We want to help!"

We then went outside to try to rake up part of the things they are tracking onto the clean floor.  H wants me to rake the pile into his front end loader and then he will dump it into the sack.  E wants to hold the dust pan while I rake the pile into it for him to dump into the sack.  After 17 arguments over whose time it was and dumping the trash we just picked up out so we could "Do it again"---I GAVE UP!

SO MUCH for getting things in shape-------I am pretty sure they have drugs for OCD!


Today is Henry's 4th birthday----BIG PLANS---for the family and day----BIG PLANS FOILED---Dr Daddy has the stomach virus.    HOW MANY TIMES must I tell that SIL--take off those nasty clothes IN the garage before coming in the door and go take a shower before touching ANYONE!  He drags home every conceivable malady from the ER when he works a shift---THAT IS A LOT OF GERMS!  SO today he has the stomach virus---GUESS what that means---it will make the rounds of the family---YOU CANNOT WASH YOUR HANDS ENOUGH!  Make NO mistake---love that man--he is an awesome husband and daddy---BUT he does NOT listen to his all wise MIL!

We had the party--it was great--Henry is 4---AND I have done NO headstands today---a couple of eye rolls--but no other acrobatics!


All 5 of my sweet grands are here in Fort Worth with me today.  Tomorrow is #3's 4th birthday--so we had a little family time and celebration today.  When I look at this picture--I am amazed at how different they are---and yet in some ways so alike.  LOVE my sweet boys!

This morning early---for some reason I started telling #1 & #2 how to do a head stand.  I spent a lot of time carefully explaining the technique and they finally got it.  I told them how their dad used to walk all over the house at their age on his hands.  One thing lead to another and #1 son finally showed them how he could still stand on his head.

Wave the RED FLAG ---I then gave them a demonstration of how Lulu could still stand on her head.  I was quite proud of myself when I slowly raised my legs into a straight line above me----WE WILL NOT discuss the pain in my shoulder and neck or the heap I fell into--instead of a graceful dropping back to the floor.  REALLY I'M FINE---BUT DO NOT EXPECT ANY ENCORES!  Just remember though--if you doubt it---I have witnesses!


All I need is for you people to keep the comments coming and I might be able to climb Mt. Everest!  This week I had a really sweet friend tell me that this hiking trip might be just the incentive I need to get back into shape.   YES---YES INDEED  She knew exactly how to get me going----THE TRUTH HURTS!  SO I am now on a mission to get into good enough shape to hike for a week in the mountains---I've got a LONG way to go---BUT all you have to do is keep waving those red flags in my face and I will   CHARGE!

To make SURE that I follow through with this commitment---I bought my back pack today---it has to carry gear & food for a week's trip!  I spent a couple of hours trying on packs and learning the ropes of how to pack and use the backpack.  The weight is carried on your hips---I am just thankful to get the weight off of my shoulders which is where I was carrying it while training with my day pack.  I chose red for ease of finding my body when I fall off the ledge of jump off the cliff--which ever comes first.

It is fitting that I gave my backpack a name---since we are going to get to know each other really well over the next few months---I named her "BB" which are initials for a name.  Guess the name and you win the fabulous prize of a year's free reading of my blog!


During my "white knuckle" trip to Fort Worth today, I received a cell phone call from Mrs. Margaret--my land lady.  "Where have you been?" was her first question.  Mrs. Margaret has missed me!  She must have forgotten that I explained I would be in Ruston most of the time until school was over---it's excusable--SHE IS 92!  QUITE the character---she has a management company to handle her property--but likes to be HANDS ON--when it comes to communicating!  I can't tell you what a delight it is to talk to her ---she is turn of the last century polite and formal but seems to enjoy my conversations with her.  Perhaps it has something to do with Southern manners---since she is a Yankee transplant.  The neighbor that Nancy got all the low down from indicated that she and the other neighbor didn't like Mrs. Margaret.  You've just got to take her for who she is and enjoy the difference.

MEANWHILE---I was FULLY expecting Whipper Snapper to have balloons out welcoming me home--maybe even a BIG HUG when he heard me drive up.  WELL--I was disappointed---BUT he just probably wasn't aware that I was slipping back into town!

To make my day----when I arrived at The Jennings Abode---the big boys are THRILLED to see me---it just thrills my soul to see their glee when I walk in that door.  Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I am on the trampoline with them very soon after arriving.  I am icing the new set of bruises!  We just ALL want to be loved and for someone to be happy to see us!


SOMEHOW today---I managed to fall off my work, walk, run until you drop wagon and fell into the slough of sloth.  Helen and I sat and watched Hallmark movies all afternoon---with a slight intermission to clean the pool and sit on the back patio while I grilled lamb.  YOU KNOW--the movies where everyone lives happily ever after--the man sweeps the girl off her feet--they are dancing in the moonlight---on the beach---with the palms blowing--and the waves gently caressing the sand--while they lovingly gaze into each others' eyes.

THEN as if that were NOT enough----Helen turns on slow country music---about a man and his woman---love you till I die---hold you close in my dreams---you're the one for me--achingly beautiful while I finish up preparing dinner.  

THIS IS EXACTLY what anyone alone needs to do with their afternoon--a not so gentle reminder that you are dancing alone--for an encore--I will be banging my head against a brick wall--JUST IN CASE--I didn't experience enough pain this afternoon!

As my friend---Glenda asked when I went to a chick flick---"HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND!" This is NOT the way to become accustomed to being alone!  


I went for a 4 + mile walk at the Lincoln Parish Park today with my backpack--after the news of the Marathon tragedy was reported.  As I was walking and praying---God spoke to me about a prayer request that I had been given by a loved one----he told me-- tell them to not react from a spirit of fear--but trust me.

As I collected my aching hip up and started home--I was reflecting upon what God had put on my heart.  After the news of the tragedy in Boston---most of the marathon runners probably reacted with "I am finished"---I don't want to risk tragedy for the sake of running a marathon----BUT that is a reaction based upon fear.  We cannot live our lives based upon the fear of what might happen.  God is our protector and we cannot spend  our lives in fear of what might happen.

Here is what I have learned--when the worst does happen---HE will be our provision---we have to live our lives not in the Spirit of Fear--which comes from the Evil One---but in the Spirit of Courage--which God through His Holy Spirit empowers us with.

It is tragic and sad beyond words--what happened today in Boston---but don't live your life under the cloud of what might happen---the enemy wins if you do---but instead continue forward confident in the knowledge--that come what may---He is by your side--every step of the way.


My life has managed to convince me that I am not up to the world standards when it comes to looks.  There is no point in telling you the story behind the reasons I believe this---but all of us women probably struggle with this.  We are bombarded on all sides with what "The World" would have us believe is beauty.  It is an impossible task for most of us to ever reach that pinnacle that we are told is "The Standard"---hard as we try--whatever we try---it is an impossible mark.

Here is what I want you to know---and I will confess that I have not convinced myself of this yet--but I am trying-----"Beauty" is in the eyes of the beholder---and if the beholder is one that truly loves you---YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!  They are not comparing you to anyone else--they are loving you and cherishing YOUR beauty.  We are all individuals---God created us all uniquely---and we are all beautiful in His eyes---Our Creator!

SO the next time you are dismayed about your looks--remember and remind yourself---God thinks you are beautiful---more beautiful than the most precious gem--
and HE loves you and looks at you with those eyes that see you through love.  You are His precious beloved---


Today I called a few of my "Go To" Blessing Buddies " so that we could work together to "Bless A Friend".  We tried to do it incognito--but she caught us!  That's OK---I think God revealed our Blessing--so we could all see her reaction.  It is always a blessing for God to use you.

Before we were caught in the act though, the others were giving me a hard time---"Not going to answer the phone anymore when we see it is you!  Always means work!".  But it was all in good fun and we had a great time laboring together.  We worked most of the morning-cleaning her yard--and then had a late lunch together.  What a great and fun time we all had together--working to serve another.

I've spent the late afternoon here alone thinking-"Who is going to play with me in Fort Worth?"  Love to serve others---love for Him to use me---How am I going to find servant partners? 

I have had GREAT partners here in Ruston from small group to school ministry--there is always someone to call--who is willing to serve.  I know God will use me---I have to trust Him--it's just daunting!


The day is quickly approaching when my move will be permanent.  I began processing that this week when I formally changed my address with the US PO.  So many have told me how brave I am--please let me clarify--this scares me silly!  BUT I couldn't seem to move forward here in Ruston---too many memories at each corner---I began to become concerned about future health issues and the need to be near my children.  I prayed and God seems to have opened all the doors for this to happen---so the day that Ruston will no longer be home is almost here.

Here is what I am asking those that have asked---please help me through this difficult leaving by not calling attention to the reality that I will be gone.  Some have asked to do special things, that is so sweet---I appreciate it more than you could ever know---but it will be painful enough to leave--please don't make a big deal.

LOVE all my Ruston family and friends more than I could ever---EVER tell you---so--allow me to bless you in some way before I leave.  As God places the opportunity in my path---I hope to give you some form of blessing---if nothing else a verbal blessing---just let me leave having loved and served you to the end.  You bless me--by allowing me to bless you and I love you as He loves us all!


Helen left REALLY early this AM and the fun began not long after she was out the door.  With all of the rain---a HUGE tree fell across the lines and the lights went out VERY early---I am alone and in the pitch dark.  I had lived in my home that I sold 2 years ago so long that I never turned on a light--even the home of my past two years--I had learned to navigate.  Today though--I am in a home that is not my own.  I have a faint recollection of the general direction--but I am not familiar with the obstacles--or the way I need to go.  I found myself stumbling around--groping for my way--running into obstacles--coming to dead ends--I was in the pitch black--and lost my way just trying to find my way to the light. 

This reminds me that I live in a world that is only my temporary home---on the stop to my eternal home.  I have a choice to walk in the dark---stumbling around --groping for the way---running into obstacles--painful falls--Lost in the deep dark of the night---OR I can have the permanent light in my life and never walk alone--the light that will guide me along the way and order my steps----I may still stumble---stump my toes---when I turn from thar light--but all I have to do is return to the glow--and the way will be clear.  No need to stumble in the dark---I have "The Light".


Friend Helen is headed out of town on a short trip---she is WORRIED that I will be lonesome while she is gone.  SO when I got home from school today--she had a little surprise for me.

A pillowcase made with THIS material.  WELL---it's been a long time since I had the joy of sharing a bed with a man--BUT  I'm NOT looking for trouble!  The material is CERTAINLY easy on the eye---BUT---it looks like trouble with a capital T to me!  

NOW I will save you from the MANY cute comments from the friends that I shared this gift with--SOME THINGS are BETTER left UNSAID!  I will leave you with this---if I start doing ANYTHING beyond looking at the material---check me into the nut barn--I KNOW BETTER!  AND NO---I don't think I need rescuing from my current state of distress!


After my early AM fast walk, I asked my friend, Helen, "What can I do for you this morning?"  She thought for about 5 seconds, and told me that she had a bed that needed annuals planted in.  GREAT---I am OFF and running---planting the flowers lead to weeding the bed which lead to picking up all the sticks off the deck which lead to blowing off the deck and pool patios.  AS I WAS LABORING AWAY---Helen looks at me and says, "I get a putty knife and clean out between all the boards on my LARGE wooden deck."  I looked at her and said, "I WILL NOT be needing the putty knife because I DO NOT DO CRACKS!"

As I was prone on the floor in the SECOND bathroom that God has given me the opportunity to be blessed by painting this afternoon, I remembered---I painted those two bathrooms AFTER announcing, "I DON'T PAINT BATHROOMS"


SO GOD---I WILL clean out between the cracks with a putty knife---but PLEASE do NOT send TWO friends that want this done to their entire deck---I can learn the lesson with only the one--I PROMISE!


My day began by  walking my 5+miles early this AM in the hilly neighborhood that Helen lives in.  I have a huge bruise on my hip where the weights banged against it after I lowered the shoulder straps.  Then the day really took off:

I had a sweet new friend call me this morning to catch up.  I loved talking with them--sad that I will not have more time to get to know them better since I will be leaving soon.  I found myself weepy after that---grieving leaving my sweet friends and Ruston.  I am down to one more interim trip to FW--and then my permanent move.

I handled my grief--in my normal fashion---I became a spinning top.  Today my spinning top became hazardous to my health.  The first incident was when Helen & I were cleaning out Dales' workshop and I dropped a chest we were moving on my POOR TOE.  Poor Toe---there is only 1/2 of a toenail there currently---fortunately I did NOT drop in on Poor Toe II---there is only about 1/4 toenail on that toe-----Hazard of running---POOR TOES!  I will spare you the picture of my Poor Toe!


I closed my finger in a piece of hinged lumber that Helen wanted thrown away as I took it to the street.  Thankfully it is not my painting hand--since God had me paint a bathroom to ONCE AGAIN show me who the boss is!  Fortunately I suffered no more injuries while painting---but I need to go dive between the covers and not tempt fate any further today!


I am training for my hiking trip this summer.  This entails walking (hiking) with a pack loaded with weight.  I started with a mile and have worked up to 5 miles with my loaded pack.  I am purposefully hiking hills around town.  One of the things I have noticed is that my load becomes a burden the further I go.  As the weight presses down on me and I carry the weight of my burden, I begin to lean forward and find my shoulders rounding with the strain of trying to carry the burden on my back.  Today I discovered that if I straighten up and stand tall and look up---the weight becomes bearable.  It does not disappear--it is still heavy---but it IS doable!

Not unlike the burdens we carry in life---they are heavy--they weigh heavy on us--they cause pain---we think--"I just can't carry this load".  Just like my hiking lesson-I have learned that if I look up-----up to Him--the load is still there--and there is still pain---BUT he lightens my load and orders my steps and carries me down the trail.

Just Look Up!


I was reminded today--how I have learned to deal with the sadness in my life---the remedy to over-whelming sadness---blessing someone!  NOW when I say blessing someone--I am not talking about verbally giving a blessing---though I do think it is VERY important to give verbal blessings.  The blessing I am referring to is a physical blessing that you convey to another by an act of service to them.

What BETTER way to show your love for another than by serving them?  Today that blessing was relayed by yard work--for two of my friends.  When you are not asked--but you just know there is a need--it is so satisfying to perform a service for another!  They are blessed--but GUESS WHAT--you are blessed FAR greater.  AND it's difficult to think about your own grief when serving another.  

God is teaching me--HE served me---LONG before I served anyone else!  He has taught me to get my eyes off my navel--away from my grief--AND on to how HE can use me!  HE is glorified by using me to bless others!  How INCREDIBLE that He would chose to use me--I AM BLESSED!


I have a friend that has insinuated that perhaps someone should be my "Boss"!  HUMM---well this began the wheels turning today as I worked in my yard.

First thought---I am not really particularly "Bossable"-I have been on the other end of that stick most of the time.  Ask my children--my running group--my small group--my volunteers--I can boss with the best of them.  MOST of the time--people listen--I boss with finesse---politeness--AND since I am VERY organized and a planner---it works for the best of most---MOST of the time.  

There are SOME that do not listen to me---MY CHILDREN---BUT in the typical James fashion---we are very passive aggressive about defiance--we just don't say anything and do what we intended without a comment--JUST IGNORE YOU!  NOW---Dr Son In Law--seems to find GREAT satisfaction in getting in my face and telling me I am not in charge--etc etc etc.  As I wrote in a long ago post when H was born---I was ASTOUNDED when he did that the first time---NO ONE had ever done it before.  I found it pretty funny --but ALSO got the last laugh over his defiance when he had to yell "Calf Rope"!

BUT--the mystery to me is that ANYONE would even CARE to be the "Boss Of Me"!  I am amazed that you would not know that might be a pretty impossible job!  

THEN--the wheels kept turning and I remembered who had taught me lesson after lesson about who TRULY IS THE BOSS OF ME---GOD!  He has made me eat my words such as "I will never" TIME AFTER TIME.  It's like He is up there listening to everything I say and then going "We"ll See About That!"  YEP--He's the Boss of Me---and I might add---an excellent boss---THE BEST!


Today while working at one of my schools volunteering, I was telling my sweet volunteer partner about our planned hiking/camping trip this summer.  Probably a decade and a half younger than me---she listened politely until she finally said,

"I am REALLY concerned about you doing this at your age, you need to realize the dangers of this and the fact that you are aging and could become injured---even just getting ready for it."

YOU CAN COUNT ON THIS---IF I HAVE TO CRAWL UP AND DOWN THOSE MOUNTAINS---IT IS A DONE DEAL AT THIS POINT!!!  She waved the red flag of you are too old in my face and I will do it now or die trying.



I went to school today to read with my student.  My student lucked out and both me and my tutoring partner showed up today (we are easily confused).  We are sitting reading HOW DOES A DINOSAUR SHOW HE Loves YOU?  Some child's tutor did not show--so General Hay, the principle asked if I would read with him.  SURE!

We begin reading and he is quite the wiggle worm and easily distracted.  He stops after we had read about 15 minutes --looks at me and says, "You look just like someone I know."     "Really"--I'm thinking--someone he's seen starring in a television show or on some Disney Movie.  I asked, "Who do I look like?"  ALL SMILES---he looks at me grins and says---"MY GRANDMOTHER"  SILLY SILLY ME FOR ASKING WHO! 

I have made this better in my mind by coming to the conclusion that his grandmother and mother married and had children at 15--that would make me a YOUNG grandmother of around 40! 

I requested a NEW student or at least my old one for next week---she has NOT insinuated how old she thinks I am!!!


SO--I am going on a hiking trip this summer with my hiking buds--after a 3 year hiatus--I am really pumped!  AND we are going to camp this year and not do just day hikes ---have NOT camped since I was a Girl Scout---YES--I WAS A GIRL SCOUT!!

I talked with my boys this weekend about my plans and the equipment I would need.  They both said--OH YOU NEED THE LITTLE ONE PERSON TENT that is light and easy to carry--etc.  I asked for them to send me a a picture of what they were talking about and HERE we have it!  I only have 2 questions---



I have a picture in my head of what I would look like folding my body into that tent---

OH WAIT---I have a 3rd question==



Our cars are made to last a certain number of miles.  If you drive a lot---then your car will wear out faster than if you drive a little.  My friend, Steph, tells me we have only so many miles in our legs--so we need to be aware of that fact when we run.  My master gardener friend tells me that plants of all types have a life expectancy--just like we do. It states in the Bible that man is appointed a certain number of years--and then we die. 

WELL---since I am in the car A LOT--these days---living in Limbo Land requires lots of driving---does that mean I will wear out quicker since I am driving lots of miles---or does that just mean my car will wear out faster?  

My conundrum for the day as I drove home from Austin!