Monday, December 29, 2008

73 Unread Messages

That's my email inbox--and then there is the big basket full of snail mail that collected while we were living and working in Mobile.

Christmas was wonderful, but now that is behind us and the last minute wedding preparations are under way. I still have MUCH to do before January 3rd.

My father is having surgery tomorrow, then I've got to make my way to Dumas (100 mile round trip) to participate in one last family Christmas get-together on Thursday before rushing back home to welcome out-of-town guest as they start to arrive for the wedding weekend.

It is three minutes until midnight and I'm debating whether I should go to bed or sew more snaps on the wedding gown. (Part of the bustling process.)

What's that you say? Am I feeling a little overwhelmed? Oh, maybe just a bit.

But I am thankful that I still have my father here on this earth and I'm happy to keep my mother company while he is in surgery. I'm glad my in-laws have invited me to join them in their Christmas celebration even though my husband will not be there. I'm overjoyed that my daughter loves a man that loves her back and that they are about to start their new life together as husband and wife.

I am a bit overwhelmed by my to-do list and by God's goodness and life's sweetness. It all brings me joy. Some things bring me more joy than others...
Like the "delete" button!

Friday, December 19, 2008

How to Get Your Christmas Shopping Done In a Hurry!

Okay, just one more post.

I know y'all are all worried about my getting all my stuff done. So I wanted to let you know that the shopping is finished as far as I'm concerned. And here's how you can get it done as quickly as I did!


Ready?



It's a secret, so don't tell...



GIVE CASH!!!!!
If you don't like that idea because it is not personal enough, just include a note that says, "Spend it all on green underwear!" How much more personal can you get?
Merry Christmas!
OOPS! Now if my kids read this, they will all know what they are getting for Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Garden Angle Is Happy...For The Moment

Thanks to all of you who had suggestion about what I should do with my gift from Fay. I bought a couple of plants and placed them and my little angel with my geranium and created a garden of sorts. Now she is happy and looks right at home.

(If you all have the time, you should go over to Proverbs 30:2 and read what "Walter" had to say about my gift. I laughed so hard.) For every one's information, I happened into Hobby Lobby the other day and saw several of these yard decorations on the shelf, so I know it is not a secondhand gift. But I appreciate every one's imagination and input.

But now I'm sad and so is my angel. Rick got notice yesterday that as of January 1 we will be "between storms" again. That means we will be heading back home for a while (which is good) but my little potted garden won't make it in the frigid temperatures and blustery winds that are characteristic of January in the Texas Panhandle. I will probably leave my potted garden here for Fay, and I'll take my angel with me, to add to another garden on another day in another place.
**********************

I will be taking a little break from blog reading and writing.

This afternoon I HAVE to finish making the corsages for Kaleena's wedding then take care of other little "wedding chores." I need to get my bags packed and then the camper packed and ready for travel. I plan to leave here on Saturday or Sunday and head for home with a stop over in Houston to see Kaleena. Rick will fly home in time for Christmas then return to Mobile to work through the end of the month. For me and my girls, the week between Christmas and the wedding will be full of flowers, cake, punch, tulle, dresses, hair appointments, etc.

Rick will hook on to our home on wheels on the eve of the new year, and he plans to arrive in Amarillo on January 1. (Long fast drive.) Wedding rehearsal is Jan. 2 and then my daughter's big day is the 3rd. Whew!

If I have any time to blog between all that and spoiling the granddaughters it will be a miracle. So feel free to peek in on me and see if a miracle has taken place, but don't be too disappointed if the place seems a little abandoned. I'll miss you all, but I bet you are going to be just as busy with the blessed holiday celebrations, food, family, gifts, parties, and such. So, if we are not able to get back together until after life slows down...

Have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed and prosperous New Year!! Stay safe, keep warm, and worship the King of Kings with your whole heart through all the celebrations!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Applause, Applause, Applause

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much!
I am happy to accept this award from Ida over at Losing Myself. What an honor it is to be chosen one of ten people she knows.

I mean, one of ten people she knows who tries to make the best of every one of life's challenges.

Ida has passed this blogging award on to some folks who she thinks shows gratitude or a good attitude from, "If life hands you lemons, make lemonade!"

Seriously, I'm honored and humbled. Thank you Ida!

I guess I've had a few of life's lemons, but God has been very, VERY good to me. I think about what I deserve, (which is nothing better than the fires of hell) then I try to wrap my mind around all the ways God has blessed me, and all I can do is quiver and cry.

Someday I will stand in the presence of Jesus Christ, and if I have earned any reward, if there be any crown upon my head, I will take it off and lay it at His feet, for He is the reason and the power, and the strength, and the ability...behind every good thing I have ever done, am doing or will ever do. I don't know if He accepts blogging awards, but if He does, a glass of lemonade will go at His feet as well.

Now the rules of the award say that I need to pass it along to ten other people. Humm, let me see...

I know AT LEAST ten people who deserve it, but not all of them have blogs. So here is what I'm going to do.

I'm going to start slowly and award it to a couple of bloggers I think deserve this award. Then, as I come across or think of others, I'll have a place on my sidebar where you can find links to their blogs. And I'll keep after it until I come up with ten. How dose that sound?

I don't know these people personally, but I have read their blogs and what I have seen there prompts me to pass along this award. May God bless each of them for their inspiration to us all.

First, I'd like to award Sharon over at The Old Oak Swing the Lemonade Award. This woman is in the middle of a big basket of lemons. She could use your prayers. I am amazed every day at how her attitude remains so sweet in the midst of her trials.

Secondly, I think the Lemonade Award should go to Richard and Jennifer at Surviving Life's Curveballs. Grab a box of Kleenex before you click on this link. I can't imagine (don't want to imagine) the pain this couple has experienced. Only God could put smiles back on their faces.

Thank you both for inspiring and encouraging me through your blogs. May God continue to heal and bless.
Thanks again Ida.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I'm In The Mood!

There's a song that goes, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..." But around here, things don't look much like Christmas. There's no dashing through the snow or Frosty the snow man. A couple of days ago balmy temperatures in the high 70s were non-conducive to the Christmas spirit. The grass is still green (it stays that way here) and though some trees have lost their leaves, most trees, bushes and shrubs are still clothed in summer colors. My geranium even put on some new blooms last week! I've not done any Christmas shopping--simply could not get in the mood.

There is something I learned a long time ago. You might want to write this down and put in on your bathroom mirror or stick it to your refrigerator. Pin it to your sun visor in the car. Engrave it upon your heart.
Attitude follows action.

We'll talk about this on a deeper, more spiritual level some other time, but for now we'll just keep with my Christmas mood--or the lack there of.
What do you do when you want to be in the mood to do something but you just can't get your mind in that place of desire? Apply the attitude follows action principle and get busy doing what you would normally do if you were in the right frame of mind or mood. So that's what I did.
I made Rick drag out our two foot tree, and I spent all day--okay--the best part of a half of an hour--decorating for Christmas. I put a spicy smelling wax tart in my little warmer and turned it on to create the aroma of spiced cider simmering on the stove. I put the rinky-dink tree on the little table by our one recliner, then hung a couple of dozen half-inch ornaments on it.
Martha Stewart I am not!
Next I hung our nativity sun catcher on our big back window, and I was done.Jesus is the reason for the season.
Rick hung some lights on the awning outside a few weeks ago, so as far as he was concerned, he had already done his decorating.
My mood was improving, but it was still not quite there.
Last night we had to go to Wal-Mart to buy a new electric heater. (The old one got to where it would not come on unless you kicked it. Then it got to the point that it would not shut off unless you kicked it. Then--finally--kicking it would not even make the thing shut off.) We moseyed around the store to see if there was anything else we needed to throw our money away on, and I decided I needed a Christmas CD or two. (I think I have some back in Texas, but it has been so long since I've been there, I'm not sure any more.) Listening to Christmas music helped my mood some more.
Today it has been cold and rainy. At one point the rain felt like it wanted to be ice crystals as badly as I want to be in the mood for Christmas.
Again, isn't God good? I think the cold rain was the finishing touch, the last thing I needed to boost my Christmas spirit! Now, I'm in the mood!
I've got some other very important things on my list of things to do that I have to get done first, but now I'm in the mood to go Christmas shopping. I'm actually excited about buying gifts for all the people I love so much. (Well not ALL of them. I can't afford that!) My goal for next week is to power shop until I get 'er done! So look out mall, here I come!
I hope you are in the mood, so that you can enjoy the anticipation of one of the most wonderful celebrations of the year. If you're not, then get busy. Remember, attitude follows action!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's The Thought That Counts, Right?

I have a new friend. Her name is Fay. She's a sweet lady. I think she may be about my mom's age because she has a daughter about my age. Fay manages the trailer park we currently call home, and her husband takes care of the maintenance issues.

For some reason Fay and I have hit it off. It's one of those freaky things where we've only know each other a few weeks but it seems like we've know each other all our lives. Fay is easy to talk to and--well--she's a typical southern lady, so she is hospitable.

I think what makes our relationship seem so familiar is the fact that we both have the same Holy Spirit living within us. Recently another woman who lives in the Houston area stated that though we had just met it seemed like she had known me forever. Again, she and I share one Spirit. I think that is really cool!

The other day the ladies at Fay's church had a "Secret Sister" Christmas party, and she invited me to go. I thought about it for, umm, maybe a half a second before I said, "SURE!" Do you know how long it has been since I got to go to a totally female party? Or ANY kind of party for that matter.

I knew that I might feel a little awkward since I didn't have a secret sister and all, but I'm used to awkward moments.

I got dressed up in a new outfit, fixed my hair, and put on my face--ready to have a good time. And I did! The party started with brunch--Southern style. No fruit trays and mini muffins for these gals. No sirree. We're talking egg casseroles, biscuits and gravy, thick cut bacon, butter and jelly, and grits. You KNOW we had to have grits!

The lady dishing up the lumpy mush asked if I liked grits. When I told her I had never eaten them she stepped back, (I thought she was going to faint) and asked me where in the world I was from? I think she truly believed that every culture on the face of the plant earth must LOVE grits, and if I'd not eaten them before then I must be extraterrestrial. (Awkward moment)

I was a good guest and let her plop some grits on my plate. I discovered one southern food I can live without. But that's okay, because after stuffing myself with all the good food, they served up Krispy Kream donuts for dessert!

After we ate it was time for the secret sisters' reveal and gift exchange. My sweet new friend, Fay, took a gift for me so I would not suffer that awkward moment. You know the one. Everyone but you has a gift to take home. I love Fay and I appreciate the gift she gave me. Really I do.

She had plenty on her mind and calendar--her mother went to be with Jesus just a day or two earlier--and she didn't even have to invite me to her party. But she did. And she bought me a gift to boot. I'm so blessed that she put so much thought into making me feel welcomed and comfortable. And it is the thought that counts...

Because the gift... Well..........


Can someone tell me what it is and what I should do with it?

It's as cute as can be, but what would you call it? And what would you do with it?

An angel sitting on a...humm...a...a ball? And she is holding a ladybug in her hands and there is another lady bug by her foot. So should I put her in the flower garden that I don't have? Or should she remain in the house? I can't seem to find the perfect place in the camper. She just looks lost and out of place no matter where I place her.

Suddenly I can relate.

Thanks to a sticker on the bottom of the ball I know what it is NOT. It is NOT a toy. Okay, so I won't give it to the granddaughters for Christmas.

As I stare at this funny little angel, holding her ladybug, I realize that the real gift I received is the new friendship I have with Fay. And I know exactly what to do with it. I'll cherish it for the time because I never know, from one day to the next, when I'll be packing up and moving to a new temporary home.

Fay and I plan to go to another Christmas party Friday night. I'll tell you all about it later. I can't wait to see what gift awaits me!

Again, I Hope I Win!

Well I didn't do so well with the book give-away. But, if you remember, I really didn't have much hope.

This time I'm trying to win a blog makeover. (Cross your fingers, your toes, your eyes...)

I've looked at those free blog designs, and some of them are really nice. But my problem is that I'm too unlearned when it comes to trying to install the thing, and the way I understand the instructions, trying to get my sidebar stuff into a new layout would be a real pain. And you all know how much I fret over my sidebar!

Anyway, there is a nice lady over at Rich Gifts Graphic and Blog Design that does beautiful work, and she is giving away a CUSTOM (I love that word) let me repeat, a CUSTOM blog make-over! How sweet is that?

I increase my chances of winning by putting her tag in my sidebar and posting about the give-away. So Edie, here's my post!!!

Now, you all need to rush right over there and visit her. She has a good heart, a desire for Jesus, and really pretty blog. Even if you don't have a blog, you will enjoy checking out Rick Gifts.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sunset Over The Gulf

The day before Thanksgiving we took Rick's parents to Gulf Shores to see the beach and then to eat at Lambert's (Home of the throwed rolls) on the way back. The sun sets around here about 4:30 in the after noon (it is pitch black by 5:00) and we made it to the beach just in time to catch God's handy-work. I wish you could have been here too.

I hope these pictures slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, make the corners of your mouth turn up, and inspire you to sing or pray, or both. I wish I knew how to make one of those YouTube videos. I'd make one with "How Great Thou Art" playing in the background! But since I'm not of the know-how, you'll just have to imagine it for yourself!

I took a few more pictures. You can see them in a slide show by clicking here. [Actually you'll see a slide show of ALL the photos I have on Flickr, but you don't have to sit and watch the whole thing. You know that, right? ;)]

Now I need to head to the gym--and it is pouring rain again. My umbrella is in the car, so maybe I'll put a Wal-Mart bag on my head and walk fast. Picture that in your mind and laugh the rest of the day!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Have You Ever Read The Phone Book?

I've been busy!

Rick's parents left this morning after spending an enjoyable week here with us in Mobile. Golden Corral did our cooking for Thanksgiving Day, so I didn't have to wash dishes. That's something to be very thankful about. There were enough sunny warm days mixed in with all the wet, windy, cold days this last week that we were able to work in some sight seeing and shopping. (I've got a few pictures to post--check back later.) Overall it was a good holiday and visit.

Rick didn't have to work on Thanksgiving Day. It was the first day off he has had since October 7th. Saturday was his birthday, and since his parents were here, he took another day off. It was nice having him around.

Now I hope to get back to my routine and find some time to get caught up on my blog reading and writing. To start, I've been tagged by a friend from way back over at Losing Myself. It's one of those "pick up the nearest book" tags. I'm supposed to turn to page 56, go to the fifth line then type the next couple of lines.

Well, the book nearest me at the moment is the Mobile phone book. Humm. Not a real interesting read if you ask me. But I turned to page 56 anyway. There are a lot of people in Mobile with the last name of Brown. Page 56 is one of the 4+ pages of Browns. Line 5 includes Donald, Franklin, and JE (across the page). I don't think I should bother letting you know the address and phone numbers--though they are public information, what's the point? Really.

Getting tagged can be fun, and it can be downright weird when you are supposed to type a paragraph out of--the phone book. I think I'm supposed to "tag" other people so they can blog about their book-at-hand. Some people hate getting forward emails and some love it. Some bloggers hate getting "tagged" and others love it. So, if you like memes and playing blog tag, consider yourself "It." And if you don't like to play blog games, then just go about your business, read your phone book, but don't worry about writing a post about it!

It's bedtime for me now, so I guess I'll get my granny glasses and my phone book and head off to bed for a short evening read before drifting off to dream of Yellow Pages and Business Listings. Maybe I'll wake inspired to--I don't know--call information!?!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for so many things I hate to start trying to list them for fear that I might leave something out. You are just going to have to trust me--I do have a grateful heart. I hope I express that all year long, not only at this time of year. You, my readers, can hold me accountable. If I ever seem to be ungrateful, I expect you to let me know. You have my permission to leave negative comments.

Sometimes I am so overwhelmed by God's goodness and blessings heaped upon me, all I can do is simply say, "Thank You God...for everything."

My prayer is that each of my readers will be just as overwhelmed as I. As we rush about the next few days, and the next few months, let us all remember where every rich blessing, even every breath we take, comes from. And let us all say, "Thank You God...for everything!"

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Company's Comin'

Hey y'all, I'd love to chat but I don't have time! I'm cleaning house 'cause company's comin'.

You may say, "What's the big deal?"

The big deal is, when you live like we do, (traveling about the country) you never have company! No one ever comes to visit.

But Rick's parents are coming for Thanksgiving. Yea! They left Houston this morning and are expected to arrive here some time tomorrow. (They are taking their sweet time getting here, but that's okay--they are old.) LOL Glynda, if you read this, I love ya! (I may have just blown my Christmas present!)

Like most days lately I've had too many interruptions and my day has not turned out like I had planned, so I've got to get busy! The dust rag and vacuum cleaner are not doing their "thang" without me!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Consider The Alternative

If you've spent much time here you know that I'm all about finding joy in the journey. Where you're headed in this life, (or the life after this one) your destination, is important. But Christ didn't die for you and me just so we could reach our destination. He died that we might live, even now, and live abundantly.

When I look to my destination, I like what I see, and I want to be there soon. And as they say, time flies when your having fun. So, I try my best to have a blast, living abundantly as I journey to eternity. That's one reason I look for joy.

Another reason I'm hung up on joy hunting is, though life is short, it is too long to be miserable every day of it.

I'm going to tell you something now that doesn't sound joyful.

I HATE washing dishes!

So that's my word for today--hate.

Defined: v.--dislike intensely

Colloquially--dislike or be reluctant to do something

My favorite synonyms--be disinclined to, aversion

I am disinclined to stand at the sink, and make a soapy, soupy, slimy mess while sweating and cleaning the same dishes I've cleaned before. (Twice today, three times yesterday, and the day before and the day before that and...) You get my point? I guess I'm the kind of person that thinks life, because it is a journey, should move onward and upward. While I'm washing dishes my body is at a standstill and I have nothing to show for my efforts when I'm done. My mind can whiz along, but the tedious boredom of plate wiping is less than inspirational.

I have a theory. It's about hell. Weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth happens over a sink of hot sudsy water and stacks and stacks of dirty dishes. I think hell has enough dirty dishes to keep the damned scrubbing for eternity. (the dishes used by the Groom, His bride, and all the guests at the great wedding feast) Be certain there is enough fire to keep the water good and hot, and the devil doesn't provide rubber gloves!

Repent now and be saved, or forever have dishpan-hands! And don't be expecting any little demons to offer to pick up a towel and dry either!

That's my theory. You don't have to agree, but just in case I'm correct, you might want to make sure you have things right with God now, because you never know when your table's gonna get cleared!

Back to my word--hate.

Like I said, I hate washing dishes. I hate other things too, like heavy traffic made up of crazy drivers, standing in a long check-out line, gum (or dog poo) on the bottom of my shoe, etc. Now I can easily leave it at that because, frankly, I like to hate gum on my shoe--I like to complain about standing in long lines--I love to despise traffic, and hating to wash dishes sits well with me. (And hating to do dishes means I hate hell, and that's good. Right?) But hating things, even things that are good and acceptable to hate, robs me of joy. So, when I find myself in the middle of a hate frenzy, here's what I try to do.

Consider the alternative.

Gum on the bottom of my shoe gives me joy when I think of the alternative--having no shoes and stepping in gum (or dog poo) with my bare feet. What about heavy traffic? The alternative is walking everywhere I go. That might be good for my figure but bad for my feet, especially if I had no shoes! I couldn't get far or do much in a day, so I can be glad about something when I'm bumper to bumper on Airport Blvd. Standing in long checkout lines has an up-side...humm...I'll have to get back to you on that one. And dirty dishes--

I'm thankful for dirty dishes for they have a tale to tell.

While other may go hungry, we are eating well.

So as Thanksgiving Day approaches, think about the things you love to hate, consider the alternative, and rejoice, be glad, and offer thanks to God for those things. Then, help someone else find joy in their journey. Leave your comments here about the things that you hate and the joy that you've found as you considered the alternative.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Want To See Something Funny? or Tribute To A Good Friend

I don't have many friends. Maybe I'm not a very friendly person, I don't know. I try to be. I've never been the popular one, so let's just say, I'm not expecting a crowd at my funeral. But what I lack in quantity I make up for in quality. I've got a few really cool, true blue, top notch, you can't beat 'em, friends. Let me tell you about one. Her name is Debbie.

I met Debbie when I was "the new kid at school" in the fifth grade. My family moved into her community just days before Christmas, and when classes resumed after the first of the year, I stumbled, wide-eyed and scared to death, into a strange class room. Debbie was friendly. She was the first kid to speak to me, offered to be my friend, and has stuck to her word for 35 years.

Debbie was the kind of friend every girl wanted to have. She never stole a boyfriend, never talked about me behind my back, never quit hanging out with me to hang out with someone more popular, and when she was a cheerleader in Jr. High, (that was back in the day before they called those awful years middle school) she let me come over to her house and jump around, waving her pom poms, and act like an idiot. We had sleepovers where we talked all night and ate cold fried chicken out of her refrigerator. When we went on field trips and had to pack a lunch, my lunches were always boring, but Debbie always had one of those huge dill pickles in her lunch. And she always shared with me. I was terrible at spelling but Debbie was a whiz at it. She has always laughed at me about the way I can't spell, but she was a great help when we were doing homework together.

As a kid, and for many years after childhood, I had a reoccurring dream about Debbie. I dreamed we were both walking and pulling little red wagons. Then suddenly I would be walking down a long tunnel alone, still pulling my little red wagon. The farther I went, the more stuff would accumulate in my wagon. Toys mostly. Ever now and the there would be a gap in the wall of my tunnel and I would look through it and see Debbie, walking down her own tunnel and pulling her little red wagon. She was collecting toys too. No matter how long the tunnel was, I could always find Debbie across from me, in the gap.

We went to school together only four years, then I moved away. But Debbie was not the kind of friend that would let distance or time destroy a friendship. We wrote letters and kept in touch. We each grew up, got married, had children...our little red wagons have turned into big boats and they are both fully loaded. But Debbie is still there in the gaps. On the wonderful but rare occasions when we get to see one another or talk on the phone it's as if there is no time or distance between us. Yep, Debbie is a treasure.

One of those gaps where I know I can always find my friend is my birthday. I don't think Debbie has missed sending me a birthday card--ever. I don't know how she does it, but there is always a card and it is never late. (I wish I could be more like her.) My birthday was in October, and like clockwork, a card from Debbie was delivered to my home address (poor girl didn't have any idea where my temporary home might be.) My daughter called to tell me it had arrived, so I was happy.

It took some time for my kids to get all our mail together, then get their act together, then find a box the right size, then remember, then get their act together again, before they were finally able to send it to me. Then DHL decided that my box of mail needed to travel about the country more than a week before it was finally delivered to me here in Mobile. So I finally get to see my birthday card from my sweet friend Debbie.
Here is the front of the Shoebox Hallmark card.
And here is the tender message inside.
What was all that stuff I was saying about Debbie being the kind of friend every girls wants?

Okay dear friends, here it is...my 40 something year-old arm dangle. I've got it but I don't think it is quite ready to be flapping in the wind!
I still love ya Debbie. And I can't think of any other girlfriend with whom I'd rather go "flapping" about the countryside in a red convertible!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fall in Mobile

Boy have I been busy, or lazy, or both. I've attempted to post several times but have encountered one distraction after another. This is not the post I've been working on, so maybe I'm distracting myself. A.D.D.? Na...just scatter-brained.

Back in the spring we were working in Atlanta, then we made our way up the east side of the U.S. to Virginia, remember? I found it interesting that we seemed to chase spring as we went north. Spring came to Atlanta while we were there and as we traveled northward, we were able to see the trees budding again and again.

Fall has happened to us much the same. Though we missed the great colors in New England, some of the trees were starting to blush when we left in September. The trees in Amarillo were starting to show signs of turning during our short lay-over there in October. Baton Rouge was still pretty green when we got there, but as we hooked on and hauled to Mobile, colors were showing a hint in the trees. And now in November, fall has come to Mobile.

There are many trees here--lots of pine and other evergreens, and some changing hardwoods. The contrast between the deep greens and reds and golds is beautiful.
Like Mimi's lip prints left on the precious cheeks of Natalie and Gabriella is the kiss of fall on this maple.

This morning I watched the Weather Channel and thought how diverse is our land--New York had a half a foot of snow, Dallas was under thunderstorms, pleasant temperatures but with cold wind across the plains--and I'm in the middle of beautiful temperatures and fallen leaves...
And if we remain in Mobile for a while, spring will be here before you know it! But today, I will enjoy fall--my favorite time of year.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's All About Hope

I'm back! And you didn't even know I was gone!

It was a quick trip but well worth the drive. Last Friday I packed my bag, threw it in the trunk of my old car and headed west on I-10--some 480 miles. I got to Houston early enough to avoid the worst of the traffic, then savored every minute I was able to spend with my first born. In case you didn't know, my daughter is getting married in a couple of months, so some friends of the groom's family gave her a bridal shower on Saturday. We had a great time and she got some nice gifts. I tried to talk her out of some of them, but she informed me that I didn't have room for them. She's right, but I would like that griddle--if I had a place to use it.
Time with my adult children is one of life's greatest blessings.

***

I left you the other day, hoping to make another "word" post. It didn't happen. That's how it is sometimes--things happen as we would like and then sometimes they don't. So what do we do when things aren't going just like we want?

Flashback

One day, during a very low time in my life, when all things concerning me seemed wrong, sad, and doomed for destruction, I was sitting at my desk at work, thankful for my cubical walls that kept co-workers from noticing my tears. I don't remember everything that was going through my mind at the time, but apparently the Holy Spirit was interceding for me because the Lord spoke to me. He said, "It's all about hope."

The message struck me hard. I had lost hope that my circumstances would improve. I felt trapped, helpless, empty--everything negative. It was a horrible feeling, hopelessness.

I wrote that sentence down on a piece of note paper and placed it on my desk where it was sure to be in my way--sure to be constantly before me, speaking to me again and again. I needed time to digest those words. It's all about hope. What did they mean and what was I to do about it all?

Today

Several times lately God has placed this word before me, so I'm sharing it with you as my word for today. Hope.


Defined: Expectation and desire combined. (I love this definition.)

So much of the time we have a desire for something, and we call that desire hope. For example, remember my last post? I hope I win the book give-away. I desire to win, but honestly, I don't expect to win. So my hope is weak and easily shaken. I think the drawing for the book is on the 7th. I bet that the 7th will come and go, and I'll not think about the book I didn't win until some day when I'm getting caught up on reading my favorite blogs and I come across a post on Lisa's page telling who the winners were. I really don't have much hope about the book, do I?

Concerning life's big stuff, the important things that matter the most--if we desire without expectation, we easily get discouraged and give up our desire. We lose hope.

So the secret of living a life filled with hope? Live expecting to receive those things we desire. I'll admit--easier said than done sometimes.

The other day as I drove home from the gym I saw a sign that read, "The man who has hope, has everything." I'm going to write that down because it is true. And I'll add to it the words God placed in my heart, "It's all about hope."

Yes, I think today it is all about hope. Psalm 38:15 says, "For I hope in Thee, O Lord; Thou wilt answer, O Lord my God." The only one we can take our desires to with expectations of fulfilment is the Lord our God--our Living Hope. (See 1 Peter 1:3-9)

Today of all days (election day) we need to hope. We need to pray with a desire so sincere that God will be moved to act on our behalf. And we need to pray, expecting that God can and will be all-powerful, all-knowing, and merciful.

And no matter the outcome of the vote, we must not lose hope. For without hope we will perish on our own, no enemy needed. We must make Psalm 38:15 our heart's cry. Remember we DO have hope. And that hope's name is Jesus. It's all about HOPE, and the man who has HOPE has everything.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I HOPE I WIN

Hey, you can't win if you don't play. So I'm playin'. Not the lottery though my odds of winning are probably about the same. Lisa, The Preacher's Wife is doing a give-away. And she's starting an online book club to discuss the book she is giving away.
I can't seem to find time to shave my legs these days but the book club thing sounds fun and educational, so I hope to give it a try.

I double my chances of winning a copy of the book if I post and link back, so here's my post and a link to Lisa.

If any of you have read the book, let me know what you think about it. If you want to join in the book discussion, check out The Preacher's Wife and see how to get involved. If you want to try to win a copy of the book yourself, go to Lisa's blog and leave a comment. And if you don't care one way or the other, just pray for me to win. And if you think you shouldn't pray for something so, well, selfish and trivial, then just wish me luck--the good kind. Thanks!
I hope to post this afternoon--a new word for today. So check back later to see how my day went. Have a good one yourself!

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Word for the Day

I like words. I like to read them, write them, hear them, say them, study them, define them, pick them apart, combine them... In words there is power. (tool-man grunt) With words we can change a man's opinion, shape his thinking, encourage him, inspire him, heal him, and bless him. Words can also do the opposite if used in an unwise and evil manner. I can't think of a more powerful tool or weapon than the spoken or written word. Think about it. Once launched, like heat seeking missiles, words can't be called back and they will have an impact. Heavy stuff.

Today my word is cuisine.

Defined: A noun--style or method of cooking.

My favorite form of the word: Southern cuisine

Defined: fried green tomatoes, blackeyed peas, okra, pulled pork, cornbread, fried chicken, turnip greens... I could go on and on.

Don't get me wrong here. One of my favorite things about living everywhere and nowhere is the exposure to different regional cuisines. (Maybe one reason my backside looks like the seat in my hubby's Dodge Ram.) I've eaten the best pizza, lobster, and scallops ever in New England. Everyone knows that if you want good south-of-the-border food nothing beats Tex-Mex and that's found only in, well, Texas of course. I guess Texas and Kansas will always be at odds over where you can find the best BBQ. And if you are craving crawfish you'd better go to Louisiana. But the one cuisine I could eat day after day and never get tired of is good ol' down-home Southun Cookin'. There is plenty of that here in Mobile. Um um good!

After spending the morning doing the laundry at still yet a different laundromat, (I've been washing around to see which one I like the best) I met my sweet hubby for lunch at the Big Time Diner. And yep, I'm ashamed to admit, I ate fried green tomatoes, pulled pork, fried okra, and mashed potatoes. But I was a good girl and had UN-sweet tea. (What-Ev-er!)

I justified my menu choices--I've had a bad stomach ache the last two days and have eaten only chicken-noodle-soup and half of a grilled cheese since Saturday morning. I feel much better today so... And tomorrow?

Did I tell you I joined a gym?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

And Aren't We Glad?

Brittney sent me this really cool link that I've added to my sidebar. You can go there, type in your name, and see how many people have your same name.

Guess what I found out? I'm one of a kind! And aren't we glad? One's enough, right?

Why don't you see how many people have your name and leave your findings here as a comment.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Settling In and An Awkward Moment

So you've been wondering what has happened to me since we arrived here in Mobile. I've not posted here very often. I guess my brain has been in the idle position. I've been busy though, trying to get settled in.

Have you ever been to the beach or even sat on the edge of a child's sandbox and found yourself wiggling you feet down into the sand? You don't have the intention to bury yourself, but you just kind of turn your feet back and forth until they are hidden in the sand and you are slightly planted. I guess that's what I've been doing these last couple of weeks.

I've got my car with me (which I usually don't have) so I've been scoping out the neighborhood. I've not actually driven around the trailer park, but I've ventured out as far as needed to do what I need to do. And, I've not gone far.

Within a mile or less from my camper there is Wal-Mart Super Center, Super Target, Family Christian Books, Hobby Lobby, two Starbucks, a Baptist church, and various fast food joints and restaurants. There is a laundromat less than two miles away, and the gym (yes, I found a ladies only gym) is probably around five miles from me. Oh yes, there is a beauty salon down on the corner, but I've not gone there yet. Tell me, what else could a girl need? An Ulta store! But I'm out of luck on that one. There's not an Ulta in the whole city of Mobile! What ever will I do?!?!?!?!?
This bit of junk mail is evidence that my feet are wriggled down in the sand a little. Not enough to hold me here forever, but enough that I've set Space 81 Green Park Drive as "Home" on my Garmin.

There must be hundreds of catchy little saying about where home is. Some of them are--Home is where you hang your hat--Home is where you belong--Home is where the cat is--Home is where you can say anything you like because no one listens to you anyway--and the most popular, Home is where the heart is.

But even with all the advise about where home is, I always feel awkward when someone asks me where I live. Yesterday I went to church. I didn't know what time the services started so I got there plenty early to ask and not be late. I ended up being there in time for Sunday school and big church.

A nice lady led me down a narrow hall as she asked me if I wanted to attend a ladies only class or a couples class. Rick has to work every day of the week, so most of my Sunday school attendance will be done alone. I thought a class just for women might do, and besides, I was just visiting anyway.

The first awkward feeling hit me when I saw that the classroom where the women's class met was obviously deigned and decorated for little ones. I'm talking creepers and crawlers, maybe toddlers. The entire hour I was there I had trouble keeping my mind on what the teacher was saying because I couldn't help but wonder where the children that belonged in that room were.

The second and more awkward moment happened when I realized that the teacher and I were the only ones who were going to be in class that morning. "Where two or more are gathered..." she said.

Maybe so, but it is hard for two people to make a good discussion group. I was so preoccupied with thoughts of missing children that when she hit me with the question about which one verse in the Bible was my "Life's Verse," I'm afraid I shot her one of those "Are you KIDDING me?" looks. How many verses are in the Bible anyway? And I'm supposed to pick only one that has impacted my life? Yeah, it was another awkward moment.

But I think the most awkward yet so familiar moment for me was when the teacher asked where I live. My first instinct was, and always is, to reply, "Everywhere and nowhere." (For any first time readers of this blog, you're just going to have to read several older posts to fully understand.)

Home is where the family is? Mine is scattered all the way from Houston to the northern Texas Panhandle and into Oklahoma. Home is where I own property and pay taxes? Or is home where I get junk mail? What about the address programed into the GPS unit?

I think about what God's Word says about Jesus' home. (Luke 9:57-58) As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."
Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."


I'm sure Jesus never had to fill out a visitor's card at Sunday school, but if he had, do you think He would have listed his address as "Everywhere and Nowhere?"

When I read Hebrews I see that I'm not the only one who has ever felt awkward about my address. And in 1 Peter, the Bible points out that maybe I should feel awkward and out of place concerning my temporary home.

So where did Jesus and these aliens call home? Their minds and hearts were set on one place--heaven, in the presence of God. So maybe home really is where your heart is.

The next time I visit a new church and they want me to fill out one of those little cards, I think I might just write "Heaven" on the address line.

If home is where the heart is, what would you write?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Spouse Appreciation Day

I love this stuff!
If you've never tried it, you should. It is "the original creamy, chocolaty hazelnut spread." It is great on apples, bananas, strawberries, or toast, mixed with cream cheese, or honey, .... or just right out of the spoon. You can find recipes on the web using the stuff. It's just...just...just down right luscious. Two tablespoons contain 190 calories and 11 fat grams. That tells you how good it is!

But this post is not about Nutella. It's about my wonderful husband. He's top drawer and I want to brag on him. (I think all married people should brag on their spouse.) Oh, he's not perfect, but neither am I. So it works.

What's so great about my man? He spoils me. He knows I love Nutella. I seldom buy it for myself because, well, it is 190 calories of wonderful flavor but little nutrition. Rick doesn't eat it, and I just can't bring myself to spend money on such a delicacy for "just me." But my beloved will buy it for me anytime I have a craving. I think that is special. But you know what else my sweet hubby does? He pays for a gym membership for me AFTER I've eaten a jar full! Now is that indulgence or what? Makes me want to kiss him just thinking about it!

Now here's what I want you to do. I want you to brag on your spouse. If you're human and married, your spouse deserves a little praise simply because he or she puts up with you on your bad days. I'm sure there are many more reasons for you to brag. So, leave your comments here so we can all know what a great guy or gal you are married to. If you blog, feel free to blog about the wonderful person you are married to and link back to this post, but go ahead and leave a comment too. You don't have to over do it--save a little for the next time we have "Spouse Appreciation Day" here at What's Up. Just let us know one or two things you appreciate about the love of your life.

Anxiety in the heart of a man weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad.
(Proverbs 12:25)

Friday, October 10, 2008

HighCalling Blog Community

I've recently joined up with other bloggers at HighCallingBlogs.com. It is a group of people whose faith and love for reading and writing blogs have created a community. There is no city hall or community center. No local watering hole or clubs, but it is community all the same.

One reason I signed on was because community is one thing that is missing in my life. My have-camper-will-travel lifestyle limits my opportunities to connect with other people. I miss being able to minister to others. I also can use some words of encouragement or conviction from time to time. High Calling Blogs help fill these needs.

I'm still learning my way around, just like the way I have to learn my way around a new town every time my husband is deployed. So far I'm enjoying the scenery. If you are not a part of a blogging community, and you have the time for it, I recommend High Calling. Who knows, we might run into each other on the street! If we do, I'll be sure to say "hi"

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lookin' Hard to Find the Joy

I know a lot of negative people, and I don't want to be one. I want to be a source of joy to everyone who knows me. And I want this little blog to be a source of joy to everyone who happens by and stays long enough to read a post or two.

But you know what? Some days I have to work at having a joyful attitude. I'm genetically inclined to negativity and pessimism. When I get lazy, who I am genetically wins out over who I am in Christ. Today I feel lazy. So, I'm having to work hard at being joyful. I've got plenty of reasons to be happy and joyful, but there are some little things that, over the last couple of days, have crawled all over me and stolen my joy.

What are those little things you ask? Okay, I'll tell you. They're ANTS!!! Thousands, no, make that tens of thousands of ants.

Remember my post a while back about ants in my plants? Well, that was nothing compared to the ant problem I've got here at our new "home."

We arrived here in Mobile Monday afternoon and set up camp. Tuesday morning Rick left for work around 6:30 and I went back to bed and dozed off and on while I got my morning dose of the Weather Channel. I got up around 7:30 and headed for the shower.

UGHH! The shower was FULL of ants. The bath mat was covered with ants. The ceiling was covered with ants. Trails of little ants crisscrossed the walls and floor like bad plaid wallpaper and worn out carpet.

I forgot my desire to take a shower and went straight for the bright orange spray can. Tiny black bug carcases peppered my private space and I coughed from breathing in too much insecticide, but I won! Or so I thought.

Then I went into the kitchen and saw more legions of ants making their march over the counter, around the ceiling, across the floor, and by now, up my legs! That did it.

I headed for the lawn and garden department at Wal-Mart where I picked up various forms of ant bait and poisons for use indoors and out. I spent the rest of the day engaged in battle. I was greatly outnumbered.

Today dawned new and I got out of bed with hopes that I had the ant problem under control. I had emptied the bright orange spray can, placed all the bait stations around the inside of the camper and sprinkled all the poison on the ground around our rig. That should have done the trick. So after Rick left for work I peeked into the bathroom. No ants. I went down to the kitchen and there were ants on the window ledge, but they were hard at work on the bait station and not running all over the counter. Things were looking up.

I took my shower then remembered I needed to put out the Damp Rid. (Humidity control is a big deal when you live in a camper on the Gulf Coast.) Now don't ask me how I did it, because I really don't know. But when I squatted down to open the cabinet under the sink where I keep the Damp Rid, I lost my balance just as I opened the door, and I whacked myself on the forehead with the corner of the door. (I hadn't had my coffee yet.)

When blood started to run down my face I checked the mirror. No wonder it hurt so badly! I had a gash across my head that needed a butterfly band-aid. Good thing I had one! I really needed someone to feel pitiful for me. Even if Rick would have been at home I don't think he would have pampered me, though I would have tried to get some benefit out of the purple knot swelling up on my face. But since he was already at work, I patched myself up and decided to find some comfort food for breakfast.

That's when a bad day turned terrible. Inside my pantry every ant in the neighborhood had gathered for the feast of all time. All four boxes of cereal were infested. Even the package of Fig Newtons that had not been opened had ants inside. Everything on every shelf was covered with ants!

My arsenal was empty. Frustrated and fuming I headed to Wal-Mart for more deadly dope. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror before I got out the door, and it was a good thing too. My hair had that "just out of the shower" look which went well with the butterfly bandage on my oozing forehead.

Yeah, I'll admit at that moment I had a hard time finding joy in the journey.

I'm a little better now. My head still hurts and I have no cereal, but thousands, no, make that tens of thousands of ants have lost their lives today. And I still have amunition on hand for tomorrow's early morning attack!
Yep, sometimes you have to look for it, but you can usually find reason to rejoice if you look hard enough!

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Movie

I've been busy. There's nothing like spending a few days with the grandkids! The computer has taken a back seat. I've been soaking up kisses and hugs, reading board books, cherishing giggles, and pulling the little red wagon. In general, I've been having the time of my life.
I hope you all are just dying to know what I thought about the Fireproof movie. It was great. I was very pleased to see how the quality of this film is improved so much over Facing The Giants. And the story line... Oh my goodness. At times I felt like I was a fly on the wall observing moments in my own marriage. Some scenes made me want to squirm in my seat because they were so true to life. Kirk Cameron was better than he's ever been. (That's my opinion.)

I laughed and I cried. If you've seen the movie, you'll understand when I say I loved the next door neighbors! I bet you did too. And if you have not seen the film yet, well, you need to. It is well worth the seven bucks you'll spend. Over the next week or two more theaters are adding the film to their list. Check to see where it is in your area.
Please leave your comments about the movie. I'd like to hear what you thought of it. Would you like to see more movies like this? Let someone know!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

How Old Are The Hills?

You have heard it, “He’s as old as the hills.” Or “She’s older than dirt.” (I think I have a pair of shoes that fit in that category.) So how old are the hills, and how old is dirt?

A couple of days ago while skimming the web news headlines, my hubby busted out laughing. “Here’s a headline that doesn’t make much sense.”

Oldest Rocks on Earth Found.

“Shouldn't they all be the same age?” he said.

If you believe in creation—God spoke, it happened, & it was good—yes. At least I would think so. But of course this bunch of questionable babble was written from the perspective that the earth was “…formed about 4.6 billion years ago from a disk of gas and dust circling the sun.”

I interrupt this thought with a question. If you believe all that hog-wash, where did the dust and gas come from? Better yet, where did the sun come from? Okay—back to the news.

According to the article, the earth has been recycling itself over the last few billion years. You know—plates shift, volcanoes erupt, melt down in the middle—that type of thing. And now some geologists have decided they found some old stubborn rocks that have refused the recycling process. They claim these rocks are 4.28 billion years old.

I don’t mean to be throwing old rocks at these geologists; I’m sure their mommas are proud of them. But I have my doubts. First, the article says that in 2001 geologists found this expanse of bedrock. So now 7+ years later they have finally decided how old these rocks are? I think maybe they should not take such long coffee breaks so they wouldn’t be so far behind at work!

I wonder what kind of a GPA these guys had. The article first says that the rocks are 4.28 billion years old, and then later it states that they are from 3.8 to 4.28 billion years old. There is a deference there of .48 billion years. That’s—well—that’s a lot of years. (My son-in-law can figure it out.) So I’m thinking these guys are neither fast workers nor are they very accurate. (What are they adding to their coffee?)

They may be stretching their story just a bit. The article says that the oldest know rocks (before this discovery) were 4.03 billion years old. These are all big numbers, and I’m fairly simple-minded, but isn’t 3.8 billion younger than 4.03 billion? So are these rocks REALLY the oldest rocks on earth? Maybe. Only if their real age leans to the higher end of our not-too-precise geologists’ estimations. It all sounds a little crazy if you ask me.

As a writer, I’m glad it was not my job to report that story. I would have peppered the page with words like assumes, thinks, guesses, & supposes. I have a hard time writing fiction.

Back to my original question: how old are the hills & how old is dirt?
They might be younger than you think!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Time For A New Picture

Have you ever tried to take your own picture? It's a HOOT!

The picture I've had here on my blog is getting old. Or is it me that is getting old? I guess the picture is outdated BECAUSE I'm getting old.

I hate having my picture made. I always feel so stupid. Well, try taking your own picture and see how stupid you feel!

This is my "Oh Brother!" pose.







Then I wondered what I would look like cartooned. So I put on the granny glasses. (I need them to read because I'm on the backside of the hill.)


Here is my cartoon look. It might be better than the real thing! Except it looks like I've been eating Oreo cookies and have crumbs on my lips.

That's just natural luster I promise. I don't have any Oreos in the pantry. But if I did...










This is my "I've got my eye on you" pose. Put me in a coloring book and I might look like this. They say the eyes are the window to the soul. So what do ya think? Those crow's feet around my windows really show up in this picture!








Here is my "I'm a writer" look. Think anybody will believe me?

I can't believe that I've admitted to the whole world wide web that I've spent the morning trying to take a decent picture of myself.

Oh well, I can rest knowing that only people who already know how nuts I am stop by here anyway.

What I want to know is this. How many of you have ever tried to take your own picture? It's easier said than done. But if you're sitting around with nothing to do, try it. It is an activity that is good for at least a dozen laughs!

The pose I finally decided on is in my sidebar. Wow Brittney, you already noticed! Good for you!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Does Anyone Ever Read My Sidebar?

Okay, so this is my second post for the day. That makes up for one of the many days I've missed in the past because I didn't have anything worthy to talk about, or I just flat didn't have the time.

I want your opinions and input about my blog. #1--Does anybody ever read my sidebar? Last night my precious husband commented on my post, so I knew he read it. I asked if he signed up to be one of my "followers." The blank stare & the weak grin told me that either he didn't have a clue what I was talking about, or that he thought I had lost my last marble thinking that HE should "follow" ME. (Our marriage is the old-fashioned type. You know--he holds the remote, he drives, he brings home the bacon, and I...well...I take care of all the "domestic" issues, and I blog.) Come to find out, he never looks at my sidebar so he didn't see the new thingies I added. One to subscribe to posts and/or comments, and the other to follow my blog.

Right now I have one follower and that is because I ASKED her to sign up. She is a sweet kid and likes to patronize her aging aunt, so she obliged. She also has a very nice blog and a huge heart for God, so you should stop by and visit her there some time.

I discovered that to "follow" me, you have to have a Google account. If you blog on blogger, you already have one. But if you are like most of my friends who have not moved into the age of "every body's blogging," you will need to get a Google account. It is no big deal and it costs you nothing. All it does is create a user name and password (like we all need more of those) and a profile that will let you into any of Google's stuff, and identifies you (if you so choose) when you comment on my or any one's blogger blog. Confused yet?

If you want to admit that you get up every morning and rush to your computer to see if I've got a new post, (okay, even precious hubby doesn't do that) or even if you just check in from time to time and don't mind letting me and the whole world know, then sign up. Please!
I'm proud to tell you that I do practice humility, and I'm NOT trying to create a "following" for myself. Honest! It's just that every good writer knows her readers. I know my kids, my husband, at least one niece, and two precious friends read my posts regularly. But beyond that, I don't know who I'm writing to. When a writer knows her readers, she can better write-to-fit.

#2--Now about the "Subscribe" button. That's kind of self-explanatory. If you want to know when I make new posts or update my blog, then subscribe. It's just like subscribing to your favorite magazine. (I know this has to be your favorite blog, right?) You can have me sent right to your home page. Yeah, the one that you do run to first thing every day.

#3--All the other stuff. My bookshelf. Do you care what I'm reading? Did you know that if you mouse over the books you can read my reviews and ratings? Is that helpful to you at all? What about the trivia quiz? Do you ever take it? Are you sick of seeing it?
Is there anything else on the sidebar you like, dislike, wish to see, or wish you didn't have to look at?

The writer in me wants to go way beyond being amused by my own fancies. I want to reach out to my readers and give you something worthy of your time. There is nothing wrong with online journals. I love reading them, so if you have one, keep writing and I'll keep on reading it. But I want to create something more--a tool God can use for His purposes.

If you are one of my REALLY un-savy-to-the-ways-of-the-web friends, simply click on the "comments link" at the bottom of this post and pour your heart out. You can pick how you want to be identified, and if you want to remain anonymous, that's fine.

Your input will help me minister to you, be a source of joy to you, and give you something to think about, smile about, or praise God about. This is my goal. Thanks for your help.

Chin Up!

Just in case you're having a bad day, I thought I'd share this photo I took a few days ago along with a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I was sitting in my little home on wheels contemplating the meaning and purpose of my life. It started to grow dark and dreary, inside and out. Gloom, like heavy rain clouds, became my blanket. Storms seemed sure to come. Yet, when I stepped out of my traveling abode, and myself, it was plain to see that beyond the clouds of darkness and despair, the sun was bright and promising. Soon the rain came. The rain, and tears, brought a refreshing fragrance and hope, a cleansing of earth and mind. And when the rain ended, the sun shone brightly again.

May God bless your day, and remember to look above the clouds!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

When The Phone Rings

Pay attention to this! You're saying, "Today or tomorrow we will go into some city, stay there a year, conduct business, and make money." You don't know what will happen tomorrow. What is life? You are a mist that is seen for a moment and then disappears. Instead, you should say, "If the Lord wants us to, we will live and carry out our plans.

If you've been following this blog for even a couple of months, or if you know us, you know that when the phone rings these words from James 4: 13-15 come to life. I have probably put this scripture in a post before, and I probably will again. We literally do not know, from one day to the next, what our plans for the future, for the week ahead, sometimes even for the day, will be.

I know some people that would have a very hard time living this way. You may be saying, "I couldn't do it." Believe me, Lavonda can't either, but Christ in me can.

In the last 40 some years God has trained, taught, molded, shaped, filed, whittled, sanded, squeezed, squished, broken, and re-formed me into the still-imperfect but gettin'-there person that I am today. And through it all, I've come to pray, "God, put me where you want me TODAY. And wherever that is, I will trust you, knowing that you will keep me in Your hand. By an act of my will, I choose to be content in that place and in this hour."

The phone rang yesterday.
We won't be spending the next few month here in Baton Rouge like we thought we might. We won't be going to Houston (near Kaleena) to work, like we hoped. It looks like we will be headed to Mobile, Alabama.

The "powers that be" have decided that Rick should be back in the office for a while. It was a year ago to the day that the "powers that be" cut Rick from the office and put him back on the road and up on roofs. Go figure.

This time Rick will be working in a different department, housed in a different building in a different part of town with different responsibilities. We plan to stay in a different RV park as well. Oh, our spicy life. (Variety you know) It is supposed to be an assignment that will be "beneficial" to the overall career. His last stay in the office, which lasted 9 months, was good for the big picture, so we are hoping this time will be too.

Rick is working hard to finish up the claims he has here so we can make a mad dash through Texas to see all the kids and get my car. Just like any other place and any other assignment, we have no idea how long we will be in Mobile, but we expect (here I go making plans again) to be there a while. So, it will be nice to have an extra car so I can find and take advantage of a Bible study group, the public library, or maybe even a gym. (I'll have to think about that last one.)

We don't have a specific date to report to Mobile, just ASAP! (So what else is new?) So, ASAP we will be heading to Mobile from Baton Rouge by way of Houston and Amarillo, Texas. The scenic route for sure! But what could be more beautiful to see than the faces of our children and those most adorable granddaughters?

At least that is the plan tonight. But you never know when the phone is going to ring. "If the Lord wants us to, we will live and carry out our plans."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

We've Got Our Tickets!

I can't wait! I don't know if any of you ever make it all the way to the bottom of my blog posts, but if you do, you've been watching the countdown. Fireproof hits the big screen this Friday! I hope you all go see it.

Because:
1. Christians need to send a message to the big wigs in the motion picture industry that says, "We want wholesome, moral, God honoring entertainment!" The better this picture does on opening weekend, the louder our voice will be.
2. The message of the movie is one we all need to hear.
3. We can have something to talk about here. (That is, if you will hit that little comment button at the bottom of the post and leave your thoughts for me and everyone else to read.)

Just in case you have not done any research (follow the link and click on the about link) or read the Fireproof Blog, this movie was made by Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. They've done a movie called Flywheel and they also made Facing the Giants. I've seen both of their earlier movies and have enjoyed watching their skills as a movie making ministry increase. From script writing, acting, directing, make-up, you name it, these people (non-Hollywood-professionals) have done a great job. It is obvious that God has put together a group of people for His purposes.

We went to church in Baton Rouge this morning. It has been months since we were able to go to church anywhere. It was so good to get to participate in corporate worship again! Anyway, the church we attended had tickets for a private screening next Sunday afternoon. So next Sunday at 4:00, don't call me. I plan to be at the movies!!!! I hope you make time next weekend to go see Fireproof too. Check out the Fireproof web page to find the theaters where the movie is scheduled to open. Then, let me know what you thought about the film.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Foggy Day and Wet Clothes

I'm sorry to disappoint you, but the fizz in the Fresca was just about the high point of my week!

Yesterday I did the laundry and there was not anything exciting there except that one of the washing machines has a glitch. It is a good glitch, because (shhh, it's our little secret) it will start with only one quarter rather than the whole dollar that the sign recommends you to feed into the thing. I was glad of that because when it came to drying, I didn't do so well.

The little laundry room (6 washers and 6 dryers) was a busy place yesterday, and folks were pushing and shoving and threatening to throw clothes out for their turn at the dryers. I managed to get dryers for my three loads, but they were not all next to each other.

Now you have to realize that the day I turned 43 a deficiency of certain hormones started a mental fog rolling in, and it has never lifted. Some days it is denser than others, but I'm always having to go with my headlights on dim now. (It's a good thing because I don't think they could be bright anymore if I wanted them to.)

Anyway, all dryers look alike to me, and after I got my loads started, I couldn't remember which dryers contained my clothes. So, I did the little open the door and peek thing. I forced my brain to remember--first, second, and fourth dryers, starting from the right end.

All was well and I went to the camper to wait out the 45 minutes until the machines were finished melting and wrinkling my nicer clothes. Thank goodness they leave the towels and jeans good and damp! At least everything is not ruined!

I was not going to let anybody throw my clothes out, so I returned to the laundry a little early. I also wanted to hang Rick's work clothes while they were still hot. One man and a woman were eyeing my dryers like a couple of buzzards ready to jump on the last morsel of roadkill. "We thought you would never get back!" The guy was standing there with a Bounce sheet in his hand.

I smarted off and told him I took a nap while I was back at the camper. Then I pulled open the dryer door to start hanging Rick's pants. Well. What'd ya know? I must have forgotten to start the dryer back after I peeked in on them--almost forty--um--humph. Sheezzzz! It was that mental fog again!

You know the timer just keeps on ticking down time even if the machine is not tumbling. So there I was with an expired dryer full of wet clothes and Mr. and Ms. Gotta-Dry-Mine-Now racing to see which one of them could shove their stuff in that little cold opening first!

Sometimes it is hard to grin, but you just have to. So I did. I decided to be cool about this--I nonchalantly pushed the start button and the tub began to turn. Good thing I came back a few minutes early! There was just a couple of minutes remaining on the timer, so I left it going while I tended to the other two loads.

As soon as I emptied dryer number one, I had to duck to get out of the way of the Bounce sheet and an armload of wet socks. I don't know who got dryer number two, I couldn't bear to watch.

When I was finished folding and hanging the first two loads I turned back to dryer number three which was being closely guarded by the woman, who, by the way, was still in need of a dryer. It was no longer running.

At the speed of light I thought through my options. (I may be driving in the fog, but I do it as fast as I can.) With that hard-to-muster grin on my face, I pulled four more quarters out of my pocket, put them in the coin slots and gave the plunger a shove, then pushed the button. She looks just as far over the hill as I am. Surely she will understand mental fog, I thought.

I explained to her that the load was not dry because--well... She didn't understand as well as I had hope.

"You didn't start it?" She was frowning, and suddenly I wanted a Fresca--and a nap. I headed back to the camper to hide out for another 45 minutes.

I thought I'd never get all the laundry done yesterday. It seems like it took me all day. I think it had something to do with the fog.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Fizzy Day

So what happened to YOU today?
The most stimulating thing going on around here today was the fizz in my Fresca!
Some days are like that. The whole day, now history, just taking up space on a calendar page. But let's look on the bright side. At least my Fresca had fizz! That made it a good day. Tomorrow will be even better. Maybe. But I'm not sure--I drank the last of my Frescas today. Tomorrow I'll have to look for new excitment. I'll let you what happens.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Floatin' In A Storm Surge

The world is a crazy place

Have you read the news or watched the TV lately? It's enough to make me want to move to Mars. Democrats and Republicans, the Left and the Right, wars, storms and destruction, the price of crude, and now the news about AIG and more devastation on Wall Street. I wonder if there will be anything left of our 401K when we get our next quarterly statement. I doubt it. I used to work for AIG, so I know how bad things are when a company like that needs a bailout. When a giant stumbles and falls, I promise you, the earth will shake.

I try not to think about it because doing so gives fear a big spot to stick its foot to climb all over me. It is not easy to be a concerned citizen without being a fearful one. I catch myself asking what are we going to do? Really, what can we do? I can't change the price of oil. I can't tell the banks how to run their business. I don't understand most of what is going on down on Wall Street, and if I did, what difference would it make? I can't change the hearts of men nor the policies of nations, so therefore I can't bring about peace on earth. What can I do?

The other night Rick and I were watching The Weather Channel (are you surprised) as Ike approached the coast of our beloved Texas. The guy holding the microphone and repeating himself every 15 minutes started talking to the not-to-bright but gutsy Texans along the coast who chose not to evacuate. He told them that after 9:00 p.m. no emergency calls for help would be answered. He was blunt when he said something like this. "After 9:00 if you decide you need help, you had just better find something that floats, tie yourself to it, and ride out the storm."

That's exactly what I can do! I can't evacuate to Mars, and there is only one thing that I know for sure will float. Psalm 102:25-28 says it like this. "Of old Thou didst found the earth; and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. Even they will perish, but Thou dost endure; and all of them will wear out like a garment; like clothing Thou wilt change them, and they will be changed. But Thou art the same, and Thy years will not come to an end."

God alone will float when life's storms threaten to wash us all away. So, I think I'll tie myself to Him and do my best to ride out the storm. I'm not sure what time it is, but I don't intend to wait until after 9:00. Excuse me while I go find some rope.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Passing Storm

The clouds are still thick, heavy, and on the move, but the wind is calming. We made it through just fine with only a few strong gusts of wind and (at this point) only a little bit of rain.

Our daughter in Houston made it through the storm as well. She's without water and power right now, but that is only an inconvenience compared to what many in the area are facing. She still has her windows and doors and flooding is not an issue in her neighborhood.

We've not been able to get in touch with Rick's brother and his family, but we are hoping all is well with them too.

I'm thankful for God's care and protection. My prayers and concern are offered for all the folks whose lives have been drastically altered by Ike. I also pray that God's presence be known and His grace and love manifested through His children as clean-up and recovery take place.

Too bad we are working here in Louisiana at the moment. It would be cool to get to work in an area where we actually have family. But not this time I guess.

Life goes on. I know it does because there are dirty dishes piled in the sink, patiently waiting for me. So I guess I had better stir up some of what my granddaughter calls "Mimi's bubbles" and get them washed. So until next time, keep looking for the Son, knowing the storms of life will soon blow on by.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Outer Band Action

The Gulf is full of Ike. We started feeling him last night. The winds are kicking up and rain blows against our windows occasionally. We are under tornado watches and warning. Water is standing in some places around the campground, and the little lake behind our camper has white caps. The swans are on the bank with their heads tucked tightly beneath their wings. We've packed away all our loose camping gear, firmed up the stabilizing jacks, and have the weather channel on.

Rick is trying to get as many inspections done today as he can because we expect the next few days to be rainy. I took a walk up to the dumpster to carry out the trash. I wanted to get out while I could. All my life I've called the Texas Panhandle home, so 30 and 40 mph winds don't bother me, but as the winds and rain increase, my desire to take a stroll diminishes.

Our big concern is for family living in Houston. We appreciate your prayers for their safety and well being.

We've had a few power surges this morning. Many people in the Baton Rouge area are still without power from the last hurricane. If we are able to keep power and don't blow or float away, I'll try to keep you posted through the weekend. But until you see a new post, know we are doing all we can to stay safe, cool, and dry. You do the same!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Be Careful Who You Choose as Friends

I made friends with the swans yesterday. Even Snowflake. I sat at the edge of the lake, chatting with one of my girls on the phone. The birds came closer and closer until finally they were out of the water and within reach. Snowflake hissed at me then reached out and bit me. I smacked him (not hard) and threatened to break his scrawny neck. After that, we were great friends. He and Midnight had that look that said, "Please feed me," and the poor little duck and the coot just stood back, hoping for a few crumbs of sustenance as well.

I've got a soft spot for hungry critters so I went to the camper for some bread. In a couple of seconds they gobbled up all the pieces I crumbled for them, so I told them to wait right there while I went for another piece. This time when I came out of the camper, both the swans were right there at the door like a couple of trick-or-treaters. I fed them and they ate greedily. My fun with them ended when Midnight relieved herself two feet from my door mat.

So I leave you with this bit of wisdom.

Be careful who you choose as friends. They might just come begging for bread and poop on your porch!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Somebody Prayed for Power!

And God said, "YES!"

I had prepared myself for the worst. When we left Arlington, the last word we had was that there was no power at the campground where we were able to get reservations, and power was not expected to be restored for at least 10 days. We do have a generator, but it burns costly gasoline, is noisy, and it can run only a few things at a time. So to live on generated power meant no morning coffee, no blow dryer, (which with my curly hair and Louisiana humidity, that was no big deal--you can't tell that I try to fix my hair anyway) no washing dirty clothes, no microwave cooking, .........

But praise the Lord, power is back on in the area and I've had my morning coffee! Last night when we checked in, the lady at the desk said that the reason they were able to get power restored so soon was because the owner of the campground "knew somebody."

Yeah, me too! ;) God is good isn't He?

So here we are in Livingston, LA just a little east of Baton Rouge. We're all settled in (except for some major cleaning I need to do, and I still have to talk Rick into putting the awning out for me) and Rick is hard at work.

Me? Like I said, I have some house cleaning to do. I already scrubbed the toilet this morning! And I've been out to take a few pictures so you can have a look around too.
The campground is full of insurance adjusters. We are camped next to some we call friends. Amarillo is home for them too. It is always a pleasure when we get to work a storm with people we know. Our rig is way down at the end of this row.We know we are in the coastal south when we catch millions of love bug on the front of the trailer as we go down the road. Rick spent 3 days washing and waxing our "house" while we were home. Oh well...Love bugs are SO annoying! If you've never encountered them, let me know and I'll get you a close up picture. (of live ones in action) But if you really want, I can snap a close-up picture of the dead ones caught on the camper. lol. It's up to you.You know we've settled in when the chairs and little table and BBQ are set up. We've been on the move some much lately, and when we were in New Hampshire it rained every day, so we've not had the chairs out in a while. (Rick never takes time to sit and relax, but one chair looks so lonely.) But...we are watching Ike and hoping that we won't have to bug out.Do you remember my single-pot flower garden? The whole time we were in New England (practically all summer) it never got enough sun. So it pouted and refused to bloom. In just the few days we were home, with the nice bright Texas sun and hot temperatures, it came out of it's funk and started putting on new leaves and blooms. It is glad to be in the South again!

This is the view from my chair on the patio. We were lucky to get a lakeside spot. The campground has a few pets. This is Snowflake. He is quite taken with himself. The last time we stayed here (passing through almost a year ago) he chased us, but today he was happy to pose for me when he saw my camera. He turned his head to the left, then to the right, then back to the left...Talk about a bird with an attitude! I expect he will chase me again before our time here is over.Snowflake has a friend. Midnight is a little more humble and hospitable.Then there are these two little guys. I don't know if they have names, but they trail along behind the swans peacefully. Wanna-bes I guess.

Okay, I've killed enough time. It's time to drag out the broom and mop and dust rag. Or maybe I should have lunch first. Ya think? Yeah, me too.