A reader commented yesterday on my flexibility.  They call me Senora Concrete for a reason.  My flexibility boat has rigid sails and a rudder with limited motion.  

When speaking of flexibly, I immediately think of how limber I am--or how limber I am not.  The trainer spends 25% of his time with me stretching the rigidness out of me.  Between old injuries and tendons that have become like tough old rubber bands with age, I have lost a great deal of the flexibly I once had.  There was a point in life when I could put both of my legs behind my head and could do the splits.  That ship sailed LONG AGO!  I might need hospitalization if I tried either of those tricks today.

I am a smart girl---I finally figured out if you want to touch your toes, sit down and cross your legs--they are then within easy reach of your arms.  OH--and standing on my head for the FINAL time last Christmas, to show the grands how easy it was to do, has lead to my neck hurting for now one year.  WHY would I want to stand on my head when I have two perfectly good feet?  Thankfully I can still reach around and fasten things at my back.  Cannot seem to teach Hero, The Wonder Dog how to help me--his lacking thumbs is a problem.  

The comment was actually made about my willingness to try new things.  WELL--there is a limit to that also.  I no longer ride ANYTHING that causes my head to spin for a week.  My last annual trip to the fair was about three decades ago.  I will try new foods--EXCEPT for those which are the texture I abhor.  Traveling is wonderful--except if it is too hot, too cold, in a cave (claustrophobia), more than 10 feet underwater (ear pressure problems), not enough light (no 20 hours of darkness for me), has rides which lead to vertigo, and a few other No-No's.  Other than that, I am good to go.

One of the things I love to do is garden.  You will find me in the yard almost every day if it is between 50 and 60 degrees, not muddy, sun shining, and the ground is moist.  Other than those few conditions, I am always ready to take the shovel and rake and have a go round.

I love the movies--but only go to LaLa Land movies--no suspense, no horror, no heart breaking drama, no espionage, no politics.  Really do love to see all the latest movies, but I also need a small bag of popcorn and Dr Pepper to enjoy my viewing experience.

My friend was extremely kind when she called me flexible.  The truth of the matter--I am pretty set in my ways.  Certainly do not mind trying new things--within a rigid set of boundaries.

One of the things I am flexible about hearing other's thoughts and philosophies.  I do not argue the point, and appreciate their right to believe as they do.  If I do not agree, I do not feel the need to convince them of the error of their ways.  You cannot argue anyone into a change in their philosophies.  There is no harm in politely listening and agreeing to disagree without rancor.  Others are much more likely to listen to our thoughts when we politely listen to theirs.  Making a statement is much different from going on the attack and adding a good dose of name calling.

While I am flexible enough to listen, one thing holds true, my belief in God Almighty and the Saving Grace through Christ His Son is set in concrete.  It is set in stone--who God is, what Jesus did for us, and the God shaped hole they have filled in my heart.  There is no wavering right or left--there is only one God and I am, without flexibility, His.

To you it was shown, 
that you might know that the Lord is God;n
 there is no other besides Him.
Deuteronomy 4:35


I received my first Christmas Card in the mail today.

Some people just cannot help themselves--over achieving is in their gene pool. I immediately went into panic mode, since I had not even begun to think about Christmas cards!  My young friend who sent the card is her mother's daughter and both of them will be the first out of the gate for most occasions.  My goal at this point is to not be last and have them out the door before Christmas.  There is always the possibility of a new trend of New Year's cards.  Something tells me I would be fighting that deadline too!

In April, my exercise buddies and I are run/walking (I WILL BE WALKING--NOT GOING TO MAKE THAT HIP MADDER AT ME) a 11 mile Mini Race during the Big Sur marathon.  The pressure to run is on for the rest of the girls all still run some.  I could cave and begin training to try and keep up, or I could choose good sense and not further tick my hip off.  I will never be in the tip top shape the rest of these girls are, and I forget compared to the rest of the senior citizens in the world, I am not so bad.

I love to cook, but do not spend as much time in the kitchen as I once did.  Several of my good friends are excellent cooks, I am intimidated, to say the least, when placing one of my dishes next to their latest savory offering.  I have friends who cook very little and do not enjoy being in the kitchen.  Never thinking of those who don't cook, I am always measuring myself by those who are fabulous cooks.  

I really enjoy blogging~it is my form of journaling in some ways.  Always writing about what is currently floating around in the deep dark abyss called my brain, it is a form of processing.  The reader count is my worst enemy when it comes to continuing to write.  There are bloggers who have huge audiences and it is truly intimating to know my count is a small fraction of their followers.  Rather than focusing on those who do read my muses and their comments, I wonder where am I coming up short.

Comparison is not our friend.  The only person we should ever compare ourselves with is our self.  We loose our joy when we begin looking around and comparing every detail of our life with someone else.  The jaded conception of the rest of the world being perfect and we are lacking begins to take our joy.  God created each and every one of us uniquely, and yet we are constantly seeking to be like others. The Word points to the body having many parts, we are given different gifts, and we are wonderfully and uniquely created.  Instead of celebrating our differences, we covet what others have.  

John McCain was a very successful man and died a celebrated and accomplished.  He graduated from the Naval Academy fifth from the bottom of the class.  He did not wallow in the cess pool of comparison, but instead called upon his strengths to become a celebrated war hero, great leader, and acclaimed servant of his country.  If he had allowed his failure to succeed in  college to defeat him, we would have never known the leader he became.

SO, STOP comparing yourself to anyone but the person you were yesterday.  Continue to lift the bar higher than it the last time you made it across and take joy in your accomplishments.  I may never be the woman of those lofty dreams of my youth, but I can be the best me of today.  I am not you--you are not me--let us celebrate our uniqueness and cheer each other on to a better person.  No more comparison--only introspection and striving for the best we can be.

Don’t compare yourself with others. Just look at your own work to see if you have done anything to be proud of. 
Galatians 6:4


As I near the beginning of a new decade on this terrestrial ball, I found myself considering who I have become.  Over decades of life, I have slowly morphed into the one who stands before you today.  In any time of introspection, the question becomes are we pleased with our progress.  

Our Sunday School leader told us a story Sunday about setting goals as a couple annually.  Now not only did they set goals, but they reviewed how well they had done at the end of the year in reaching those goals.  He reported 50% was a GRAND year!  It is one thing to set a goal, but then to hold yourself accountable takes real courage.

I am nearing a decade of being alone.  In that decade, I have seen a  metamorphosis.  Going from a life which revolved around marriage and family to being a single mother of grown children has been a huge life change.  Spending plenty of time stumbling around in the dark and trying to find my way, I have slowly seen an emergence of the inner me.  It is natural and good for our lives and personalities to bend when we are in a relationship, but this also bends the essence of the real me.  When faced with only the reflection in the mirror, one must decide to either be purposeful in searching for and seeking to use our God given talents and strengths, or living in want of the past.  I chose to move forward and make the most of today.

Over these years, my friendships with women has deepened and given me great delight.  There is much to be said for a eclectic mixture of friends-different ages, likes, personalities, and persuasions.  These women have influenced the person I am today by giving me the courage to try new adventures, eat new foods, play new games, walk steps I have never trod before.  

The joy of serving another has transferred from my spouse to many different well deserving venues.  I have discovered a passion for children and the least of these.  Experiencing great rewards and, more important, joy from giving of myself has lead to a insatiable appetite for service.  There is no greater reward than the sweet smile of a child.

I have learned how to really play again.  Being silly, dancing for the fun of dancing, laughing until I hurt, and daring to connect with my inner child has been one of the biggest changes.  My entire adult life has been far too serious.  God gave us the gift of laughter for a reason and I have exercised that fun muscle religiously.

Blessed with friends who also claim a wanderlust need to see the glory of God's creation, I have traveled to many nooks and crannies.  When you travel in a group, it is much less expensive.  This has allowed me to see places I had only dreamed I would ever visit.  It has been one of the thrills of a lifetime each and every new sight and experience.  

Looking over this limited list of who I have become, I have decided I like me.  I would be my friend.  Now what more could I want but to realize I have morphed into a good friend, kind servant, fun loving, wanderer?  AND, thankfully, this package will continue to morph and change with each passing day.   The me you see before you today will not be the same me even a year from now.

One cannot help but look at how your relationship with God has morphed with time.  Am I still drinking the warm milk of an infant's needs, or have I bitten into the meat of a maturing and full relationship?  Am I seeking Him and searching for Who He is?  Am I so busy with the world, that I forget to seek His face until the storms of life wash over me?  Am I still crawling along the leaf nibbling, or am I wrapped in a cocoon of self absorption, or have I morphed into a beautiful butterfly delighting in His Goodness?  Am I morphing into sanctification or satisfied with status quo?  The deep questions of life keep me morphing.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
 The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
II Corinthians 5:17


Thanksgiving came early on the calendar this year.

The earliest date on the list above.  In fact more than a month before Christmas.  I have a hard rule that NO Christmas decorations go up until after the Thanksgiving pumpkins are put away.  I have noticed, even though Thanksgiving was really early this year, many put their Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving.  Why?

As I began putting away Thanksgiving decorations today and getting out the Christmas decorations, I came up with an answer~

We have all watched too many Hallmark movies and read too many fluffy Christmas stories and come to the conclusion 

We approach Christmas year end--year out with expectations of living our own version of the Hallmark dream.  Instead of being realistic about man's capabilities of living a fairy tale dream of perfection, we cling to the hope of this year being different.  

I am guilty as the rest!  After my father died, Christmas lost its magic in the home I grew up in.  What is really sad about that is my younger brother was only 10.  We did not celebrate with family, and our own celebration was meager at best.  Though I tried to decorate during my teen years, it was met with no enthusiasm.  The hope Christmas brings had died with Daddy's death.

Fast forward to my adult years.  I worked feverishly trying to create that "Perfect Christmas" for my own children.  I baked the cookies, made the candy, prepared the feast, bought the perfect gifts, visited with all the families.  Everything the world and media tells us makes for a perfect Christmas, I did it--or certainly tried.  Always adding to the list of what needed to be done each and every year, I was on a perceptual quest for the perfect experience.

NOW--here I am in my ripe old age.  The kids are gone and I go see them so that the grands are in their home for the holiday.  Yet, I still decorate.  Many of my friends in similar circumstances, stopped decorating.  As I thought about why I still do, I came to the conclusion it brings back memories of wonderful times and I have friends who regularly visit.  I enjoy their enjoyment of my holiday offering.  

Go back to the Why? of us all being so enthralled with Christmas.  The hope man is able to perpetuate for that perfect Christmas lives on--even after disappointments.  Though we may come up short on the Hallmark ideal Christmas, we do find a way to convince ourselves their is hope that this year we might hit that mark.

Hope springs eternal--when it comes to Christmas.  There is hope to be associated with Christmas and it has nothing to do with what we have made Christmas in to.  That hope comes from acknowledging their was a baby born LONG AGO who brought hope into this world.  He was born to give us hope for a future when there had been none.  He entered this world and lived among men to become the sacrificial lamb to atone for our sin.  Their is hope in Christmas--the First Noel spotlighted that coming, the Heavenly Angels announced His birth and men fell down and worshiped A Baby knowing He would do great things.  Their is hope in Christmas--it rained down upon us all those years ago.  And so--we remember and anticipate each and every year--with great hope--a better day will come and it all began with Christmas--Long--Long Ago.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
 We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, 
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John  1:14













Uncle Gabe & Aunt Liz
Have Everyone's

A Trip to See
The Miniature Horses

Panoramic View
To The Fun

Riding Down
The Neighbor's Hill

Our Family Feast









Today I am in a frenzy of cooking.  Tomorrow we will all sit around the table together--missing some--but thankful for the time to remember.  Before we pass the feast, before we pray, we remember all we have to be thankful for.  As we go around the table and each names one thing they are thankful for, I always smile.  From the simple answers of the three year old to the all encompassing of the matriarch, each and everyone is a heartfelt utterance of all we are blessed with.  Stop tomorrow and remember--and give Thanks.

Praying we become habitual Thankers for all our abundant blessings.


Almost everyone must say,

 at some point in their life.  Recently as I was preparing to board the Self Pity Train, I ran into an old friend who made me realize I should go to the Life is Good platform and change trains.  One thing is for sure, at some point, our life will not look anything like we thought it should.  

Invariably we really get in a wad when things are not going our way.  It is our humanness which drives us to question, "Why?" when things seem to have hit rock bottom.  God obviously has broad shoulders since we are jumping up and down throwing a fit over really difficult occurrences we are forced to face.  We turn our faces toward heaven and scream at the top of our lungs, 


We are quick to hurl our fury toward God when life is the pits.  

Do we also question God as to WHY? He sent His only Son to save us from our an eternity without Him.  Do we question WHY God loves us so much that He would provide the means for avoiding what we deserve?  Do we spend any time throwing the question to the Heavens,


What could we possibly have done to deserve His unlimited grace?  Why would He love us so deeply that He desires us to seek His presence?  Why, when He does not really need us, does He allow us to serve Him?  Why God, have you sent your ONLY SON to be our way to come to The Father?  Why would you allow him to suffer and die as the atonement for MY sin?

The next time, I ask, Why Me, God?, when I am suffering one of life's hard times, I need to turn that Why Me? into a Why me?, for all He has done.  

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
 that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world,
 but that the world might be saved through Him"
John 3:16-17


I love all of my adventure loving friends who are willing to take a walk through the woods at a moment's notice.  This past weekend we took a quick trip to Broken Bow, Oklahoma to see the Fall foliage in the Ozark foothills.  

The hills were a carpet of gold, yellow, red and brown as the final weeks of the annual raining of leaves draws to a quick close.  Winter is coming as evidenced by the hard freeze last week.  The beauty of the first show of color is closely followed by the browns of the final days of the leaf's life before falling to the floor of the forest.

The thick carpet of newly fallen leaves makes the trail almost invisible.  Our long hike on Saturday was supposed to be a loop. It ended up being more of a loop-d-loop.  The trail was so difficult to follow we ended up walking parts of several trails and exiting on the highway about a half a mile from our vehicle.  We stopped several times to discuss if we were following the correct trail and a couple of times trying to decide exactly where the trail was.  The beautiful leaves had made the trail impossible to find or follow, causing us to pause and ponder the right way.  The trail map on a bandanna one of the girls bought ended up being our saving grace.  Though the legend on the bandanna warned it was not to scale, it was good enough to guide us out of the woods.  A cardinal hiking rule is always have a map or a compass.  The direction you are traveling can be almost impossible to determine when you are in the deep woods.

So it is in life as we trek along the path, we need a map and compass.  God provides His Word as our map and Jesus as our compass.  Even when the trail becomes invisible with the trappings of The World, there is help to get back on the right path.  Every turn, every new trail, every option should be carefully considered as we consult the map and look to The Guide.  He will lead us out of the deep woods and into the clearing leading back to the correct path-when we trust The Map and consult The Guide.  I love this verse--the still small voice whispers in our ear.

21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Isaiah 30:21















We are all born so compliant and willing to follow rules and orders-NOT.  Lucy is no exception.  She has her ideas about what we should do, when we should do it, and HEAVEN HELP if it is not going her way!  Lucy is a typical toddler-Willful is her middle name.  She is not an exception to the rule--in fact--wanting to rule is the universal problem with toddlers.  

"Lucy, don't color on the table?"  "BUT I WANT TO!"  Or even worse she keeps coloring and totally ignores what you are saying.  My solution as a grandmother begins with trying to re-direct her attention.  If this does not work, I impose my will over hers.  My will is not intended to make Lucy unhappy, but instead is meant to keep her safe and moving in the right direction. Arguing with a three year old is not at the top of my daily agenda.  Occasionally we have a full blown melt down--which I choose to ignore.   It takes a firm hand  and strong will to over rule the strong willed child.  My goal is being in charge has nothing to do with "Winning the day", but instead has everything to do with keeping Lucy happy and protected.

WELL NOW--we adults are all grown up and therefore follow the rules and laws without hesitation-NOT.  Those speed limits posted on the highways and byways are always meticulously followed by all of us.  The "I thought 70 meant 75 because we are given 5 miles leeway" pretty much means we did not obey the law.  AND after a long career of preparing tax returns, I can testify there is a LOT of bending and stretching of the tax laws to limit how much we give Uncle Sam.   Much discussion has been generated from the concept that Jesus came to "Free Us From The Law."  

For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Romans 6:14

I wrote an entire page expounding upon freedom through Christ, why we have the law, and the Law of Christ.  While mulling it over, it occurred to me I should think as a child.  Shell it down to the basic fact that God loves me.  God wants what is best for me.  His Word is given to guide me down the path of a Joyous and Blessed Life.  He wants what is best for me.  He wants to protect me.  By knowing His Word and following it--I will live life abundantly.  Being obedient to The Word is not about God being overbearing--it IS about experiencing his love and protection.

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
 with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
 38 This is the first and great commandment.
 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 22:37-40


I am pretty sure I have this "Tea Party" thing down pat--look at my nose in the air!  Lucy and her cousin, Ruby, had a tea party at Aunt Kathy's house during her visit.  LOOK at the toy closet behind us--EVERY CHILD'S DREAM!  There was SO much to choose from, but inevitably the girls would focus on the same thing at the same time.  Or one would pick something up and the other would immediately want to play with it also.  Both girls did a great job of "Sharing".

Sharing is not always an easy concept to grasp, and it is one of our mother's first lessons taught.  We are more than willing to share anything which is NOT our favorite, but not so enthusiastic about releasing our death grip on those things we claim as our "MY FAVORITE".  #3 Grand used to entice his younger brothers by showcasing the least favorites before beginning to play.  "Don't you want to play with this broken piece of junk?"  WELL maybe he phrased it more like, "Look at this, my favorite car which is only missing one wheel, BUT it has always been my favorite."  Once the bait had been taken, he was free to play with the PRIMO #1 NEWEST and BEST toy.  When brother began to cry, he would point out to his mother that younger brother had chosen the piece of junk first.  OH--THE TANGLED WEBS WE WEAVE!

Sharing does not come naturally.  Anyone who has ever raised a toddler understands man's propensity to horde and unwillingness to share.  Do we honestly get a big thrill out of giving the human destructo little brother our favorite toy to play with?  What if he breaks it?  Then NO ONE will be able to enjoy playing with it.  SO, we cling to our possessions in fear of loosing them to brokenness beyond repair or disappearing out the door.  Soon we have a room full of treasures, but no one who wants to see them.  Our unwillingness to share them has lead to the isolation of stinginess.  Old Scrooge learned that lesson in a fitful night of no sleep and ghostly visits.

I saw a blurb on television this morning about the homeless needing coats.  I am ashamed to say, I have no less than ten different coats of varying weights and for varying conditions lining my closet. Rain coat, hiking coat-heavy and light, long coat, ski coat, short jackets, on and on.  I live in LA--and do not even wear a coat many days out of the year.  Those days, I tend to grab the old favorite when heading out the door to walk The Wonder Dog.  What is the purpose of hoarding all those coats--I MIGHT NEED THEM!

 I also recently saw this while cruising social media

What a great idea!  There are drop off places galore for winter clothing who serve those in need.  All we have to do is be willing to share the abundance of what we have.  And yet, we are hesitant to let go and share what we have, and hanging it on a light post welcoming someone to take it never occurs to us.

And then there is the most important commodity of all--Time.  How willing are we to be taken away from what we enjoy doing to spend some of our time serving those in need?  Unwilling to break away from the comfortable routine, most of us travel in the same circle of self indulgent activities we enjoy--GUILTY!  I am reading once a week now with an at risk student.  The school is 5 minutes from my home, and I am only allowed 30 minutes with him.  Why would I not leave the comfort of my home and experience the joy of a new little friend. Oh, I might miss reading another chapter in yet another book while sipping tea and staring at the birds in the back yard.  They will all be there when I get back!

There are countless opportunities for serving others--if we are willing to share our time.  I belong to a club who gives books away at book fairs to the local school children.  The delight on the children's faces when we help them choose a few books to take home with them is better than any self directed pleasing to me activity I can think of.  Our small group is participating in ministry with Single Moms and Women in Prison.  Our church is hosting a Christmas Store for those with limited resources who have earned Christmas Bucks to "buy" gifts by participating in various activities.  This is only a small sample of all the ways we can share our time.  When we don't think, we tend to become "Stingy" with not only our "Things", but also our time.

Little Lucy was a great teacher while here.  She is so proud and happy with herself when she "Shares".  There is a lesson to be learned from her smiling face when she reports her share.  She never seems more delighted and content than when she was willing to share.

16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others,
 for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Hebrews 13:16


Having spent the past few days with this Little Darling-

I came away with lessons from Lucy.

While she was here we managed to stuff an entire family sized bag of oreos in our mouths-just the two of us.  She seems pretty happy here--WHAT'S NOT TO BE HAPPY ABOUT!

I was reminded of the childhood lesson of Momma's admonishment to not talk with your mouth full.  To begin with, who wants to see your saliva coated minced Oreo when you are talking?  It closely resembles a mouth full of dirt.  I am always curious about the foods you enjoy, but not so curious as to need to view them before you drop them down the hatch.  Also, if you want me to pay attention to what you are saying, it would be best for you not to have a distracting mouth full of food.  Instead of hearing what you are saying, I will be on pins and needles wondering when that mouth full is going to become a projectile food bomb with the bull's eye on me.

Talking with your mouth full will lead to spitting remnants of your latest snack on the person you are talking to.  NO ONE wants an oreo crumb splattered shirt--and OF COURSE, that shirt would be white!  Those black splatters closely resemble dirt dribbles.  The guilty party is exonerated the moment they walk away, and everyone in your path then thinks YOU have dribbled food down your front.

The other hazard of talking when your mouth is full is choking.  How easily we can become choked up when we try to speak and swallow at the same time.  The two activities of swallowing and talking are not conducive to sharing mutual mouth time.  Without a doubt, you are going to end up swallowing your words and spitting your food instead of swallowing your food and spitting out your words. 

There is a fine line between chewing your food well and looking like Bossy exercising her right to re chew her stomach contents for hours on end.  We as humans should be able to chew things only once as long as we are deliberate and take our time.

SO-what have we learned from Lucy?  Chew your words well before spitting them out.  Don't haphazardly spray everyone around you with whatever you have ingested without carefully chewing it up yourself.  Some things do not need to be shared--some things are best left unsaid.  When we spray those in our path with quickly ingested comments from others without considering the consequences, there is the danger of the mess going everywhere--on us and the one we are talking to.  No one wants to be talked about, and careful--lest you be the one talked about next.  Choose your words wisely and chew them well.  Don't chew with your mouth full and chew your food well are good lessons for a three year old and her Lulu.

3 Set a guard over my mouth, LORD;
 keep watch over the door of my lips.
Psalm 141:3