One of the decisions to be made when moving is what to move and what to leave behind.  I left behind a wood trundle bed in #1 Daughter's Guest Room-there might have been a slightly selfish reason since I will need a comfortable bed when I visit.  I have replaced it with a lighter trundle for the children's room in my Louisiana home.  It came disassembled----OH JOY!

Actually I am not put off by a long list of parts and page upon page of instructions on how to assemble.  I rather enjoy the process.  Fodder for my OCD at its best!  I methodically counted parts and sorted them into a logical order and then followed each page of instruction - checking it all off as I finished.  I might say there is a great deal of satisfaction in a job well done.

NOW there is always more than one way to skin a cat!  I am sure I probably could have gotten it all put together sooner or later--even without following the instructions.  There is something extremely satisfying with knowing you did it the right way and there are not extra parts floating around.

So it is with the Great Flood of 2017.  Once the waters recede, the rebuilding will begin.  As I learned last year, there is a system in how this has to be accomplished.  It is best to follow the logical plan for first tearing it all out and then rebuilding.  It is a slow methodical process and to complicate you are one of tens of thousands trying to get it all done.  

It will be a trial of patience, strength, and courage which would try the strongest.  Patience and timing are all important and following the plan.  For now--pray--donate if you can--and wait for the call.  To best help--we should all be patient and wait to follow the instructions.

A wise son hears his father's instruction
Proverbs 13:1


Moving between two states would stress the strongest person I know.  EVERYTHING must be packed, given away, or tossed before move day.  I seemed to make daily runs for weeks to the box store, Goodwill, and the city disposing stations.  The last week I was literally living out of boxes and surviving with the bare essentials.  And then the really fantastic news, it was supposed to rain on truck packing day.

Fort Worth has had an unusually wet summer.  By this time in the year, normally everything is brown and crisp due to heat and lack of rain.  For whatever the reason, it has rained multiple times every week this year and we have had a beautiful green summer.  BUT REALLY it has to rain on packing day??  The problem is--when it rains---it pours.  There was no way to pack a truck and not have everything in it soaked.  

Now in the grand scheme of things--this is small potatoes in a world filled with angst, trouble, and woe.  First world problem in all its glory.  As I thought this over, I was hesitant to pray for such a selfish concern.  How could I go to God and ask for no rain until we got packed?  BUT--I did.

You see--the God of the Universe is a GREAT GOD.  He is not limited by our small human abilities to imagine WHO HE IS.  The Word tells us---He IS concerned about our day to days.  He wants us to come to Him with our prayers and petitions--even for the little things that only impact us.  So I prayed--I told God I knew this was not earth shattering--but I also knew He knows my heart.  My heart wanted this trip from my old home to my new home to be as painless as possible.  It was going to be a pain--but rain would have been an even bigger pain.  When I went to bed Wednesday night, the forecast was for rain Thursday early--when we picked up the truck.  When I woke up at 5 AM Thursday--the forecast had changed and it was not supposed to rain until noon.  My target time to leave Fort Worth was noon.

We left Fort Worth only wet from sweat--no rain--and in fact it only sprinkled on us a little while we drove for the next five plus hours.  God heard my prayers and answered them.  Some might say--coincidence---I say God incidence.  He hears our prayers and answers them.

The same God who heard my pleas for no rain also hears our prayers for the REALLY life changing big things in life.  If He answered my prayer for a dry morning, why would He not answer our prayers for our friends in South Texas and Louisiana?  Do we forget to pray or pray without faith or think we have it handled?  What is our reason for not taking each and every petition to Him.  Do we think He is incapable for answering all those prayers being lifted?  Have we limited Who God Is and What He Is Capable Of?

I am thankful God reminded me of His great love and care and concern for each and everyone of us.  I pray we all remember it is His intent to answer our prayers.  What a wonderful God we serve!

 “We do not make requests of you because we are righteous,
 but because of your great mercy.”
Daniel 9:18


The big news here in Louisiana is the flooding from Hurricane Harvey-both in Southwest Louisiana and Southern Texas.  Still reeling from last year's 100 year flood in South Louisiana, the resilience of both states is being tested with yet another catastrophic flood in both states.  The Houston area is reported to have never had floods to the degree experienced in the torrential downpours from Hurricane Harvey.

Rescuing the citizens is a top priority at this time and the Cajun Navy has once again launched a full out operation to pull victims out of the rising waters.  The rescuers are on their way to assist in saving lives.

The full effect of the storm and flood will not truly be realized until the waters recede and the clean up begins.

As I experienced last year after the Louisiana floods, lives will be forever changed following this epic disaster.

The storm has come and the effects are only beginning to be felt by those in the path of this hurricane.  Who knew when this storm began brewing it would be this bad.  Our finite human mind's are limited and unable to fully fathom the true impact of great storms such as this.

As I saw while working the flood recovery in South Louisiana, the spirit of man is difficult to squash.  Most only want to go home and it was amazing to see how many volunteers were willing to aid in that quest.

Into every life, storms will come.  At this very moment, there are several friends enduring great storms of a different type.  A storm is a violent reaction of the atmosphere and it has been my experience the atmosphere surrounding us can be disturbed by more than the weather.  We all need rescuing at times in our lives--not always from flood waters--but just as catastrophic to our being.

We have a rescuer--we have a life line--we are able to call out for help in the worst storms of our life.  He is able--He is always on call--He hears our pleas.

May we all pray for those affected by this huge disaster.  May we help where we can.  May we remember the source from which our help comes.  

I will lift up mine eyes unto the mountains:
From whence shall my help come?
My help cometh from Jehovah,
Who made heaven and earth..
Psalms 121:1-2


I have been approached in the past about being a CASA volunteer.  These Court Appointed Special Advocates serve as volunteer appointees by the court for neglected and abused children.  In a nutshell, they speak up for at risk children who have no one to stand in the gap for them.  A worthy thing to consider, for certain, and perhaps in the future I will take it on.

One of the things I find myself missing, since I have been single, is an advocate.  There are times in life when another speaking up for us is a direct reflection of the regard they have for us.  For a huge assortment of reasons and circumstances there are times when I find myself unable or unwilling to speak up for myself.  It can be a frustrating and sometimes disarming to realize I am at a loss for words and do not speak up for myself.

Recently Dr. SIL spoke up for me--without prompting --concerning the sale of my Fort Worth home.  It warmed my heart to know he thinks enough of me to speak up when he thinks I might need an advocate.  It really was not a big deal-but in the midst of moving-it was creating a stressful situation for me.  The really amazing thing is finding out he had spoken on my behalf was the trigger to help make a good decision about the dilemma.  It is amazing how important it is to us to know someone loves us and has our best interest at heart.

When you think of the children who are out there with no one to be their advocate, it is heart breaking.  What would the knowledge that someone was standing in the gap for you do for one's future health and happiness.  To know someone cares enough for us to speak up for us is a huge lift up.  We all have the basic need to be loved and cared for.

As I thought this incident over it occurred to me Jesus is our advocate with The Father.  He speaks to God for us--because He sacrificed it all for us.  He is our GASA -God Appointed Special Advocate.  Because of Him, we are able to approach the throne of God and receive His mercy.  What a blessing to have the highest Advocate pleading our case and standing in the gap for our eternal well being.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin 
And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father,
 Jesus Christ the righteous;
I John 2:1

Moving update--I am in my Louisiana home and getting settled.  Sure do miss these people-












Science was never my favorite subject, except when it involved plenty of math.  Somehow I have managed to store away a few of those theories learned all those years ago. I well remember the theory of centrifugal force.  When I looked up the correct spelling, I noticed it is an apparent force--not really a force at all.  NOW apparently the writer of that misleading statement has never ridden on the round about on the playground.

If you didn't sling someone off--you needed to at least make them so dizzy they could not walk when they finally stood.

I have discovered scientific principles of my own over the years.  There is the infamous yo-yo theory of raising children.  You get them grown --somehow in one piece---and send them out the door to start lives of their own.  Before you could turn around good---they are walking BACK THROUGH the same door with all their stuff and more.  You throw them out and they come back.  We have worn out furniture moving it in and out of our house.

I am very familiar with the theory of inertia.  The scientific community would define this as doing nothing or remaining unchanged.  My simple definition is becoming a "Couch Potato".  At various times in my life, I have become somewhat of an expert in this practice.  Doing nothing comes quite naturally.

Then there is the late in life discovery of the law of implosion.  It is a direct result of the theory of inertia.  All things will collapse inward if not maintained.  My body is a great example of this.  We come into this world as soft-mushy bodies with little strength.  I seem to be on a mission to return to this original state.  Before you turn around good, you are a toothless-wrinkled babbling baby sucking down pablum.

  I am currently experiencing the boomerang theory.  Ruston launched me out over four years ago.  I have reached the top of the arc--and am slowly making the turn and heading back.  I am returning from whence I came. The phenomenon known as gyroscopic precession is the key to making a returning boomerang come back to its thrower.  I call it the "There's NO PLACE Like Home Theory.

In one short week--I will be making the return trip and landing exactly one block away from where I launched.  It will be good to be home!  Home on this earth---but my eternal home rests with God and it is still to come.

17 And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts,
 living within you as you trust in him.
 May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love;
Ephesians 3:17


The fabulous family and I just returned from a week at the Texas beach.  Our beach trips began a LONG time ago.  We journeyed to the Florida beach and spent a week with our dearest friends The Thompson's for over thirty years.  I have an entire books of stories to tell from those years including the all night evacuation trying to get away from an approaching hurricane.  

Over the years many things about our beach trips changed--the house, the beach, who could come, what we ate...  One thing remained constant--our mutual affection for one another and it being the best week of the year.  We were ---a study of an aging family's dynamics and change was inevitable.  When we are all together there is always some memory of beach trips from the past that comes to the surface.  It was a magical time.

Life is filled with changes---the kids all grew up--they have families of their own and the beach trips ended as the shape of the family became different.  Three years ago #1 Daughter decided to reinstate the beach trip for our clan.  She arranged the dates, made the contacts, and pulled together our first trip to the TX beach.  This year was our third trip as a family to the Texas beach and #1 Daughter has become our official trip planner.  

We do a lot of the same things we have done for the past 40 years.  There is something to be said for traditions.

And new activities are added--sometimes for only a short season.

Many things change over the years, but the tradition of the beach trip lives on.  Camille took the initiative to make sure we continued to gather together and enjoy this time as a family.  It is my favorite week of the year.

The Word speaks of raising a child in the way he should go and they will not depart from it.  I am pretty certain it was not referring to an annual beach trip, but this trip is very indicative of exactly what it speaks.  As we grow our families--the things we do together become an important part of who we are.  We begin laying the foundation of what is important at a very early age and with repetition comes the desire to stay the course.  I never stopped to consider all those years ago that I was planting a seed of the importance of family time.  And yet all these years later, the seed not only took hold but has sprouted into a beautiful family tree.  Sometimes we just have to be obedient and trust--He way is always the best way.

Another year of beautiful family memories made on yet another sandy beach.

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6










Recently my neighbor and I were discussing some services I need performed.  She told me about this organization who will come to your house and perform these services for free--absolutely no cost to you.  Pardon my skepticism but in today's world I find it difficult to believe anything is free!  There is always some price tag attached to everything.

As I thought this over, I remembered a recent conversation about services for the homeless.  The shelters in Fort Worth are run by faith based organizations.  They provide, showers, a couple of meals, and a safe bed for the night.  It seems to me asking that everyone attend a chapel service is not really a hardship.  No one asks you to walk the aisle, but in return for room and board you are expected to attend a 30 minute chapel service.  In my mind this is not really a price, but in another's mind it is 30 minutes of time given in payment for a place to stay and a full stomach.

Timeshare salespeople are notorious for offering "free stays" at resorts --all you have to do is attend their "information seminar" to hear about the resort and all the amenities.  A two night stay in a world class resort and all it has to offer is yours for the small price of 3 hours of your time and a high pressure sales spill.  Can I tell you how many clients I have had who regretted falling prey to the sales pitch and the hidden cost that often come with these programs?  It was NOT a free vacation after all!

And then there is the retail on line gimmick of "Free Shipping" enticing us to buy things we probably do not need.  We seldom consider the fact that if we are willing to dare the retail outlets, there is never a shipping charge.  We pay the price on the sales sticker and often that comes with a discount.  Shipping is NEVER charged.  Yet we think it is a great deal when they will forego charging us shipping on line--but instead it is free.  But is it??

Most things come with a cost--if not fiscal--then physical.  We normally must give something to get something in return.  It is the way of the world.

BUT---grace---it is truly free.

Salvation is a free gift which comes through faith that His grace is enough.  Ephesians 2:8  We only have to profess "We Believe" and it is ours for the taking.  Works are not expected, tithing is not required, and we could never be good enough.  It truly is free---really!

23 Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal;
 24 yet now God declares us “not guilty” of offending him
 if we trust in Jesus Christ, 
who in his kindness freely takes away our sins.
Romans 3:23-24


While in Idaho, we took some time to visit a museum.  We are not usually ones to visit museums, but this particular museum is the small town of Wallace, Idaho's nod to historical cultural anthropology.  For you see The Oasis is a former bordello--NOT from the 19th century, but the 20th--closing its doors the final time in 1988.  Closing the doors might be an understatement--it was more like slamming the doors while vacating on the run.  For you see after a long and financially successful run, the feds were on to the whole scheme.  Madame Ginger had been able to run this illegal house with the help of the local constables--after all they were well paid behind closed doors so they would  close their eyes to the comings and goings through the doors of the town's rest stop.  After all is an oasis not a rest stop?

The girls fled in a hurry  only taking the clothes on their backs and a few personal items.  The Oasis was left just as if they would be opening up for another 16 hour day.  Clothing, bed linens, timers, price list, personal items, and beds--all exactly like they expected to return the next day.  The next day for The Oasis and the oldest known profession were over.  

As we toured the "business" was explained to us.  The girls worked 16 hours shifts--7 days a week--no exceptions.  They were rotated every six months to keep fresh faces in the line up.  There was a chain of brothels through out the west--using girls as their merchandise--and creating an always changing rotation between cities.  The "girls" made over $100,000 a year and the madame in excess of $1,000,000 per year.  It was all very disturbing---very dark---causing me to weep deep in my heart for the loss of innocence--loss of integrity--all for money which you did not have time to spend.

It was the same mourning I experienced in Amsterdam when we walked through the red light district.  The Word addresses women selling themselves---remember Rahab to begin with.  The thoughts which kept running through my head was why would any woman turn to prostitution?  Desperation has to be one of the top reasons.

Human Trafficking is a "hot topic" among The Faithful currently.  #1 Daughter is working with an organization and giving presentations to prevent children from falling into the trap so cunningly woven by those preying upon the vulnerable.  It is not always a choice--it is often a trap--and once the trap is sprung--GOTCHA!  Young girls--and boys are violated and used as human merchandise by the lowest of the low.

As I thought through this, I realized we all think--it could never happen to me--or mine.  I challenge you to consider if there is anything you would sell out for?  Is anything so important to you that you would compromise your very integrity for it?  Fame, fortune, success, power---anything?  Selling out does not always involve our bodies--instead it can be the very core of who we are.  

The experience of touring this museum, though greatly disturbing, was also a huge wake up call to the potential for moral failure in us all.  ONLY with God's help and protection--only with the protection of those who love us and hold us accountable--only by sometimes walking down the right street and not making the wrong turn are we able to avoid the tragedy of becoming a victim.

Once again God has orchestrated a circumstance to remind me of my responsibility to those He places in my path.  He reminds me it could have been me.  He reminds me--He loves us ALL--even those caught in the web of man's depravity.  What can we do?  Pray--take a stand--be on the look out--and allow God to use you-if He will to take care of His sheep.  It is all so deeply disturbing to know this goes on all around us--we must not turn a blind eye.

Confess your faults one to another,
 and pray one for another,that ye may be healed.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
James 5:16


Recently I watched the movie, "The Last Word".  Now I must admit I normally watch movies strictly to be entertained.  There is nothing I like better than a trip to LaLa Land!  Shirley Maclaine's performance as an OCD control freak with personality issues a mile long spoke to me and left me thinking.  I was entertained, but I also was left pondering what my legacy will be.

One of the take away's from this movie is to always looks beyond the surface.  Maclaine's character comes across as a brash-brassy woman of power.  The first glimpse of her exterior demeanor leaves you not liking her--even one tiny bit.  As the obituary writer begins to peel the layers away, she discovers the under layers of good things which make Shirley who she is.  The rough -brash- rude powerful woman did not become successful by accepting the mediocre of herself or anyone associated with her.  While we all enjoy knowing the sweet little old lady next door, that sweet little old lady will leave a legacy only to those who she comes into direct contact with.  There is certainly not one thing in this world wrong with that, but with a big personality and need for perfection from everything and everyone surrounding her, sometimes the legacy is much further reaching in the one who is not only not sweet--but can be down right in your face rude.

The second take away is the rich and powerful can also lead lives of isolation and loneliness.  The lush and extravagant life style enjoyed by those who are wildly successful does not spell success relationally.  Loneliness, isolation, and depression knows no boundaries.  There is a scene in the movie when Shirley washes down a handful of sleeping pills with a bottle of wine.  A desperate cry for help--help she is not willing to accept when it is offered.  Certainly a reminder we all can become desperate.  We all can be lonely.  We all come to a point in our lives when we must examine how we have lived this gift of life we were given.

The third and final take away--it is NEVER too late to change.  The reason my blog is titled "The Final Chapters" is to remind me to live purposefully today.  I recently read of one who no longer wishes everyone  "Have a good day!"  Instead she now reminds everyone to "Have a purposeful day"  Make everyday count!  Be aware of those walking beside you--take the time to listen--take the time to act.  Live life and live it well--as if today is your last day.

This secular movie and message reminded me of God's gift of life and my responsibility to use the gift to its fullest.  Shirley went out dancing and celebrating life.  I pray we all can know when the final word is spoken it will include, "Well Done"!

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant!
 You have been faithful with a few things; 
 I will put you in charge of many things.
 Come and share your master's happiness!'
Matthew 25:23





















































It has come to my attention that Hero--the pint sized wonder dog is not trained--he has ME trained!  Currently he is on a tangent of waking me up anywhere from 5 to 6 EVERY morning to go for his first walk.  In case--you did not realize--it is NOT really daylight yet at 5 AM!

Hero is a canine psychopath with an identity crisis.  You see--he does not know he is a dog.  He thinks he is human---but human with canine characteristics.  Having identified me as the Alpha of our small (two) pack, he makes every step I do when I am in his line of vision.  WELL--until it is bedtime and then I am on my own.  After his final walk of the day, he is out for the count and good for nothing!

Unfortunately Hero is anti-social with others of his own type---IE--DOGS and has never seen a cat he didn't hate.  Our walks have turned into walk about's.  We walk about trying to avoid all the other dogs being walked.  When he sees another dog, he immediately begins this spitting and snorting which leads to an exasperated blowing while his hackles are raised and he is straining to get out of my arms.   I am constantly on alert--because he will literally choke himself pulling on the lead to get to the other dog/cat and the solution is ALWAYS to pick him up.   Part of every walk is spent with me carrying Hero--somehow this defeats the purpose of what we set out to do.

AND--he does not seem to realize he is eight pounds - soaking wet!   It does not matter the size or breed of the other intruder in his path---he is going after him.  He has attempted to put the new puppy in his place as well as the Jennings' lab and boxer while staying with them.  Someone has to step in before he becomes a grease spot on the sidewalk.  

Bottom line--Hero thinks he is something--he is not.  He has convinced himself he can take on the world and tries his best to do so---with no awareness of the consequences.  Not satisfied with being an eight pound wonder--he is going for the gold--out for revenge--settling the score--ALL with a huge chip on his shoulder.  Hero is not a fan of "What the world needs now" or "Peace Like a River"--in fact his favorite song may well be "The Theme From Rocky".  

The trouble all begins with Hero's failure to acknowledge who he is--a hybrid cross of a chihuahua and pompano--he is NO attack dog.  Why he wouldn't even qualify as a threat to the neighbor's cats.  Somehow he has lost the ability to see himself for who he really is.  AND the truth of the matter is there is not one thing wrong with the real Hero.  He has been great company for me, barks when someone knocks, and all the kids love him--he is their size!  Hero though is not satisfied with who he is--and instead wants to project the image of being a ninety pound pit bull-attack dog.  He doesn't seem to realize--I would not have let him come live with me if he had been a pit bull---but--cute little Hero has a place by my side.

We humans are often guilty of trying to be someone we are not.  We convince ourselves the image in the mirror is not what it seems.   Perhaps it all started in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve could not be satisfied with all they had been given--but just HAD TO HAVE the one forbidden fruit.  We are all a conglomeration of our environment, experiences, genes, and education.  I have finally figured out---who I am is NOT such a bad thing--in fact I am rather proud of God's handiwork when I take it all into account.  Who am I to change the creator's masterpiece in any one of us--but especially me.  So-no pretense-no false fronts-no bravado-- it's just me--as God intended.

3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 
4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
I Peter 3: 3-4