Friday, February 29, 2008

Just Stuff

I am not good at ATM's. I kind of keep an eye out for America's Funniest to see me at the bank's ATM. If bank employees are having a bad day I think they must watch the video of me withdrawing cash. I don't do it often enough to get the flow of it or at least act like I get the flow of the whole process. It always begins with me putting the card in wrong. No, wait, it begins before that. I never drive close enough to the machine to process the transaction. So, here I am hanging out the window of my car, meanwhile choking myself on the seat belt. Of course being a cautiously trained citizen to be aware of my surroundings, I am hanging, choking and looking around before I put in my pin number. At some point I get tired of the seat belt giving me a thin, side edge hickey against my neck so I release the belt and usually open the door just a bit to lean out and push all the correct buttons. None of this is done quietly. I am talking to myself and feeling old. Some time I'd like to quit....oh it is late, I went Carpenter's again on ya. But I do talk to myself and I answer my questionings in a slightly sarcastic manner.

Normal me: Dang, I did it again. I am not close enough to the ATM

Sarcastic me answering: Idiot! Why don't you remember to do this correctly when you pull up? It's not like this is your first time of getting a withdrawal.

I think you get the idea of the rest of the conversation. Waiting for the receipt gives me trouble too because I can't remember which slot it comes from. It seems to me I pick the windiest days to do get cash and fear that the receipt will blow off like dust in the wind, all we are, are dust in the wind.

Multiply the stress level x6 if there happens to be a car or cars behind me.

The other night Roy and I watched Parking Wars on A&E. It is about meter maids and booters ticketing the scofflaws who park where ever they will, whenever they want to or maybe it is just the fact they owe tons of money on outstanding tickets. What is wrong with us that we are mesmerized by this show? Several are passionate about their jobs and what they do for the city of Philadelphia, which is the city of brotherly love. Seems like all the kinfolk of love like to cuss big time and sometimes you only hear a conjunction or an article here and there between the beeps.

I called Barry, the best in the, West to see if he could find some comp tickets to the college baseball classic at Minute Maid Park on Friday. He did good, really good. For the noon game on Friday he got Roy 4 tickets in the Diamond section of the park. That means he is right behind home plate with Uncle Drayton. Roy and his friends will have to slum for the next game with general admission tickets. Roy is beside himself with joy. He LOVES college baseball. After the 3:30 game, he and Dana Martin (I need to explain that this Dana is a man, but he is married to a woman named Jaye) will leave the park, take the train over to Reliant for the Bar B Cue cook off. Roy was invited by the Deloitte Touche d team and he has moved up in the rotation cause the invite is for Friday night. He is usually invited for Thursday night. So he and Dana are going to go there eat some tasty Texas Bar B Cue then head back downtown to catch the end of the evening game. Roy is pumped!

Today is my outsourcing day. Having my brows done and hair cut. I will be dodging trail riders. Several ride by on N Post Oak Road and then Salt Grass usually comes down Memorial.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Another Give a Way to Celebrate Roy's Birthday

Today is Roy's birthday. I took him out for lunch today. We ended up at Los CuCos because his day became much busier than he had anticipated when we discussed eating at Massa's. I could sit here and write and sing Roy's praises, but I noticed that Blogger is going to be out around 8:00pm CST. I will save that for another post. So you may be asking why The Nord picture. Because this is the kind of man he is. He said don't get me much but do another give away on your blog. To celebrate his um er...ah...his 29th birthday again, we are going to do another give away at The Nord. Instead of doing a Spa gift card, we are going to do a store gift card. This way, it can be used any way you want. Spa, clothes, make up, or shoes. You don't need to live near a Nord because you can use a gift card online. So, all you need to do is leave a comment so I know who you are. The drawing will be March 17. And to honor Roy my sweetie, let's roll out the big bucks.....


Happy Birthday Roy. I love you with all my heart. You are a godly man, a praying man, a faith man, a giver of good gifts man, the man who loves our cat Buddy just like you would love a dog (he is a dog kind of man) and a man who walks in God's love. You love me so well. I love you! And so will my blog friends.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Weekend, Weakened, Stregthened Warriors

When I was in my mid 30’s I had a test run to determine the actual age of my body. Since I was exercising and trying to eat healthy, my body age came out to be 26 but the age of my knees in my 30’s was 65 years old. Of course Sally O’Malley is going through my head…cause my knees are 65; 65 years old. Now at the age of 53, I can only imagine what age my knees would test out as. If I wasn’t so tired of the song I Can Only Imagine, I would do a tie in and re-write the words to describe my knees, because they are near death and soon to be in heaven.

I am mad at how my knees feel. Too much abuse from sports when I was younger and I thought I would always rebound from the stiffness and soreness like one can so easily do when one is young. Friday night, after a delicious dinner at The Nord Bistro, I helped Dena pick up her TV from Best Buy. We had a much easier time getting it back in her apartment than we did taking it from her apartment. Before we could lift it into the armoire I needed to rest my knees. There was a day I would have done all the lifting and arranging of that set. Before I left I told her how humbling it is to feel so weak when I have been so strong my whole life. Yet, I find in my weakness, here comes the biblical punch line, is when I feel the strongest because I totally have to surrender and depend on God. This applies to my knees and applies to my emotional life too. As children, my brother and I were taught not to be weak. We learned the fine art of arguing circularly. Doug and I learned if we hesitated or even took too long of a breath, we would be beaten down. Always emotionally, but sometimes physically too. I think that my Dad prepared us for life in how he had always dealt with it and never even conceived the thought that our hard earned training would one day be used against him. For years I loved to argue and would provoke arguments. I loved it when I beat my dad at his own game. You see to be good at this, the mind constantly whirls with all manner of what ifs or how comes or finding the smallest hint of weakness to complete the destruction. Anger we learned is the only good emotion. We learned to hold close to the heart our hurts and anger and when a person least expected it, lash out, ambush and hurt them back with more fervor than the original slight.

After living life in this vein for years, even after becoming a Christian, I got mad at how I made people feel. Taking someone down a notch or using hurtful, powerful words to prove a point (and too many times it wasn’t even anything I cared about) I thought I would always rebound from the emotional exercise of sticks and stones may break my bones and words will never hurt me, as one is apt to do so easily when one is younger.

God used a patient husband and a good friend to open my eyes to the evils and hurts of the path I was traveling if I continued to be argumentative. It was a tough recovery and in some cases it took some friends years to believe the change that God had made in my heart. God also brought me a good therapist and counselor. She made me so aware of what anger, even cute funny anger, was costing me.

This brings us to this past weekend. Before I write anything else I must stop and give God praise and thanksgiving that He delivered me from this generational pit of anger and harsh hurtful words. Only coming from His strength, His gentleness and His peace found in His Word. He brought me out and stood me up cause it ain’t no thing that I can do on my own. I only can make bigger mud pies from the muddy pit when it is my puny human attempts. I love Him and declare with my heart and mouth; His mercies are new every morning!

On Thursday evening my baby brother Doug came to town. He planned to spend three nights at my parents. He hasn’t been back to Houston in over three years. There wasn’t any buffer zone of other people; it was just Doug and our parents. Apparently, I am the only family member who saw disaster written all over this. Without going into details here is the blue print, Doug announced several years ago that he was coming out to participate in a lifestyle that my parents don’t accept. They love Doug, but not the choice he has made. My dad has a morbid curiosity of asking about things that are none of his business. My brother has an autoimmune disease, ITP. My dad is easily agitated and remember he taught us how to fight. My mom is in the early stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s and doesn’t follow conversation or thoughts like she used to. Does anyone else see all these facts for a recipe of disaster? Mix in too much time and too loud of TV. Stir in boredom and agenda driven conversations. Bake for year’s unresolved conflict, anger and bitterness. And what do you get…a big mess. Serves 3-5.

So out of this mess, we did not all go to dinner Saturday night. Doug came over for about an hour before leaving town on Saturday night. Actually, I was a little scared about this not so sacred moment coming up. I called several friends and left messages to pray. Got a hold of wonderful counselor Cheryl and she did a ten minute mini review for me of how to handle any conflict that might arise from the visit. Roy and I ran around here doing a fast pickup and throwing behind closed doors of stuff so that our home would look halfway ready for company. All the while Roy was praying for the visit. I was praying not to get angry and tense before the visit because I am out of my comfort zone. The visit went well. No rage. There were a few times Doug threw out a line to see if I would take the bait, but Praise Him, I didn’t. Little red flags went up in me, but didn’t go down the path of arguing and making my point. All through the visit I did what I have been practicing, say something but don’t say nothing. And when someone is saying all manner of stuff, all I had to say was, “say what you need to say.” Those two pieces of advice cost me a lot of money, but today for the special price of nothing you can have them free. This is free as well, take the high road. Oh baby, Roy and I were hiking at high altitude. Late Saturday afternoon there was a lot of time spent on the high road. It must have been altitude sickness that drove me to bed at 8:00pm.

Kind of a funny side note to all of this, I had been cleaning out magazine on Saturday morning and I came across my workbook of When Godly People Do Ungodly Things. I had left it on the coffee table in order to put it on a bookshelf later. In all the rush, it never made it. I wonder what my brother thought and if he thought that it was left out intentionally. God certainly has a sense of humor.

I knew Sunday was a coming. And just about 24 hours since the initial phone call informing us there would be no family dinner, comes the call from my dad. He needed to tell his side of the story which of course I let him. Basically he could not get past two minor incidents that happened in the past. All the rest of his anger was fluff. It was timely on Friday that I read an email from TAG…Think About God. Each day an attitude is taken, thoughts given toward it, ideas how to live it and then a verse to cement the importance of it in our hearts. Friday, the word was courage.

You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.
Ask God for the courage to focus less on "the way things used to be", and to find ways to live more fully today and to look forward to tomorrow.
When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.
Ecclesiastes 7:14

Good words for a weekend don’t you think?
As a woman, you know I needed to process everything that had taken place. Roy told me on Saturday, he did not want to talk about it. He needed time so we talked through it all last night. This morning before leaving for work he told me that even with all the subplots that were going on with my parents and Doug, the main theme was the enemy creating disharmony and discord. Roy is correct and right on with this fact.

Last night as much as bad knees and my lower back ,which was hurting more as the day clicked away, I did a little praise dance. I actually was dancing around like I have seen Ella **dance on her Disney videos. Except for the part of trying to attempt a hand stand since it isn’t a good look for an adult. God kept me from falling back in a pit; a pit He has delivered me from, anger. My hope is that one day I will totally surrender to the deliverance instead of getting a high blood pressure headache and backache after the whole traumatic weekend was over. But I didn’t go to the pit…Yahoo!!!!! I went to the rock of my salvation, to the stone that the builders rejected.

** I don't know Janelle and Ella, but have read their blog. Ella reminds me of one of my nieces when she was Ella's age.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Sillary and Kooky Sunday Afternoon

Sunday afternoons got to love them, mine usually include a nap. This particular Sunday afternoon found me venturing into The Galleria, more specially Nordstrom's. My personal shopper had called to let me know some Flax pants and tops were in. She doesn't work any nights, so I had to venture into the church/shopping and crazy traffic of Sunday noon. It was worth the venture because I did find a pair of Flax pants but that's not all. Found some Michael Kors jeans that are actually 35 inches long. Much as he hangs out with the skinny Nina and Hedi on the Project, he designed jeans for the ample, read fat, tall woman. I lurve him! I also found a yellow swing jacket and two red jackets, one of which will go back. Two different shades of red, which one will go best with several pairs of pants I have in mind? Don't know yet.

As I left The Galleria via Westheimer and Post Oak, I ran into some of these on all four corners of the street.

Since Sunday was a beautiful day, I had the top down on Mustang Sally. So in the midst of Hillary lovers, I am vulnerable to all of them approaching me. The people were yelling honk if you love Hillary. Honk if you support Hillary. I merely turned up the tunes on 92.1 to drown out the noise. That is when it happened. The car in front of me took too long to respond to the green light, so I honked. That sent the crowd of supporters into a frenzy. No, that honk wasn't for Hillary I am yelling at them, it was to move this slow Subaru in front of me. Don't take nothing supportive about the honk, I am apathetic and don't really care about the political process of life. I know I should care, but I am too busy with determining which shade of red jacket goes well with my pants.

This week we received a letter from The Play Grocery Store otherwise known as Rice Epicurean. It seems a woman was attacked in front of the River Oak's store. We were being assured of the security in place and to continue shopping at Rice. I didn't think it would happen to me, but I was attacked outside of the San Felipe store. I believe this picture will identify my attackers...

They wore green and the assaulted my taste buds with this

Not only did I buy several packages of Thin Mints, I bought 2 boxes of their new cinnamon variety packaged in 100 calorie bags.

I cannot really identify any of my attackers other than to say, they were sweet, polite and knew how to give back change without using a calculator. Made me want to buy several more boxes, but I am sure I will see them next time I go to the Play grocery store.

I cannot indulge too much in the Thin Mints. I don't want to return the long tall jeans for a larger size. Or have to keep both jackets due to some minty chocolate found on the sleeve.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

My Hero

Friday morning I was back in our bedroom reading when I heard a noise of something hitting a window. I came out to the living room to see Buddy on point or as on point as a cat is going to get. She was stalking and hunting something and I hoped whatever had her attention was outside in between the window and the screen. No such luck, a wasp was buzzing around the window. I hate bugs! Buzzing,crawling or sitting still minding their own bug business, I hate them. What I hated even more is the thought of Buddy being bitten by a wasp. Wasps bite, bees sting. I could not get Buddy off the window seat to some place safe. I didn't want to use bug spray around Buddy, so I did the next best thing. I ran back to the Tressmee Hair salon, Project Runway reference, which only means I ran back to the bathroom to get my Tressmee hair spray. And that is how Buddy and I killed the wasp. She had it trapped and I ratted, teased and styled that wasp to death.

Buddy cuddled up in her basket to bask in the sunlight coming through the window and fell fast asleep. Her nerves were probably shot from all my screaming and styling. Buddy probably had the situation under control on her own. She is my hero.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Just Some Thursday Thoughs

This has been one long week of work. There is so much to be done and just one of me to do it. I am juggling Spring Loaded, Broken for You Service, getting the committee spreadsheet set for Deacon approval, the various odds and ends of working for Jason (this deserves its own post) and taking RSVP”s for lunches, meetings and all other manner of work associated with being the Ministries Associate. This doesn’t include all the changes for the March listing of Bible Studies classes on Sunday and helping Jason get ready for his Ministries staff day retreat. In between all of the must do things, I have set up counseling and therapy talks with friends and co-workers alike. No, I am not a licensed counselor, but I have spent enough money seeing one to be one. My role mainly is a listener and head nodder. I have a Milestone spreadsheet hanging over my head that needs dedicated time to work through, but with so many interruptions, I can’t get the work completed. Today Jason asked me to find out some information about the Anita Renfro Momsense DVD…I panic thinking it is something that Pastor Gregg needs this Sunday. Nope more like Mother’s Day.

Every church, organization and business has one of these, a person who though means well in all their suggestions, drives everyone batty because of all the calls and or emails which are non- stop, on how everything from growing plants to moving a kitchen to plasma TVs should be handled. . Nothing ever positive, always negative and wonder of wonders, this person has the solution to this and all your problems in this little bottle. Vitameatavegimin. Oops, went I Love Lucy for a moment. Extra portions of God’s agape love are much needed in dealing with people like this, although to almost a person it is agreed, whether it be a church, organization or business it would be just so much easier to knock them upside the head. These are people with much too much time on their hands. They need to get a job. Yes, a job where we could all take turns calling them and making suggestions that no one can take seriously. These kinds of people need friends whose top spiritual gift is mercy. That would not be me.

People have this misconception about me, that I am totally adventuresome. They think I am a free spirit. That I would take off and travel Route 66 just for the heck of it. Or that I would drop everything for the chance to travel in third world countries. No that person is not me. I am more adventuresome in the area of speaking my mind or saying things that everyone is thinking but has the good grace to keep their mouths closed. My therapist named it my fearless zone. Even the Birkman test I took backed up this fact about me is. When I see something unjust or wrong, I question it. I have a tendency to be adventuresome in my questioning of it. Then saying something about it usually in a funny way. Thousands of dollars later spent in counseling, I am not so quick to say an off the cuff remark. It can happen though. The fearless zone is kind of a fun zone for me, but the emotional energy it takes, has a toll. I am living dangerously near the fearless zone these days. Need to step back from it, but dang, I haven’t done that. Some may think, oh fearless zone at work??? Nope, just in life in general. OK, I did go fearless and tell someone they need to stop wearing pantyhose with sandals. But they asked me my opinion on it and I gave it, maybe a bit too gleefully.

Today, there was a luncheon for adoptive parents. No, we are not contemplating adoption at this late time of life, it was sponsored under Ministries. I had ordered the tea, water and tablecloths. When I came to the room to get things set up, the drinks were there but no tablecloths. I went back to my FSR to see if I even had remembered to order them, I had. Went down to the kitchen to pick them up and they told me an older lady had picked them up. You see the only older lady who should be picking them up is me. Several had seen her and heard her say she was picking up the cloths for room 143. She left running down the hall. I am thinking that some old lady just got some free tablecloths. Stranger things have happened.

Maybe this is why I have been thinking about my tennis days so much this week. Strange and odd happenings have increased. Is there a full moon this week?

This certainly has been a week of ordinary. Some moments very sacred, some moments scared and many moments of keeping my eyes on the Lord cause my flesh was screaming for attention. The calm moments are easier to embrace and the aggravating moments quick to be dismissed. I keep on the journey, my heart set on pilgrimage.

Oh, I finally made an appointment to see a new orthopedic about my left knee. Well, really both of my knees. I have a March 11th appointment.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More Tennis Talk

It has been interesting talking with some of you all about the people I met while playing tennis. To tell you the truth, I have tried to be discreet in relaying some of the oddities of the people I knew. It was a hard group to break in to. The oddest thing opened doors for me. Like I posted before, they didn’t quite know what to do with me. When I first began playing I didn’t wear the traditional tennis skirt, I wore shorts. They didn’t know me from their social circles, so how could they be sure I was ok? It was a pen that turned the tide for me. Not a tide pen…ha ha… Roy had given me a Waterman Opera Pen for my birthday. The quickest way to my heart is a neat pen and journal. I had it with me after a match and as we booked another game, one of the women, in fact she was one of the mafia women, asked to borrow my pen. She looked at it approvingly and then to the others in the match and nodding their heads in agreement, it became clear, I must be ok if I had one of these pens.

I learned to get a calendar to schedule games. Most were not patient with those who didn’t have instant access to their schedules. I found myself booking matches 2 and 3 months out. I told Roy if I die, the first thing you do is call and get subs for my matches. I will not be able to rest in peace.

Having lots of money does not buy happiness is one lesson I learned during my time at the Club. I can count about 3 Doctor’s wives who were over-medicated and alcohol was included in the mix. I’ve been in homes of people whose names you would recognize from the society columns. Most of those homes were not happy ones.

I wish I could write in accents because there were many. I had friends from Lebanon, Italy, Mexico, Chile, Egypt, Costa Rica, Scotland, South Africa, Brazil, and even a few Yankees from the northeast. I always got the impression that if one had an accent, the call of out or in was more authoritative and wise than a plain ol accent from the USA. One lady claimed to be from France, but her accent was defiantly South American. Her best friend was from Italy via South Africa. The first time I had a conversation with both of them, I didn’t understand a word they said and yet I smiled and nodded my head like I totally knew. I told Roy I may have promised our first born to some strange ladies. Alexison and Vonda that is their names. Only Vonda pronounced her name like Bonda.

Alexison-you know Nancy, I love to eat at the confeddy house. The steaks are soooo gooooood. They are bery thick and uicy. One time I had a steak at a casino…it was not so gooood. I was gambling and lost track of time. My group left Bonda and me at the Lafayette. We got a ride on a bus with a group from this Baytown. I do not know what a Baytown is. I asked the driver to take me to my Mercedes in the Galarrrrria and he said no. You take a taxi from this Baytown. So, Bonda and I ride back with these people who were odd, not like us. They dropped us at a Holiday Inn in this Baytown.

Conversations were funny and always odd.
There was a woman who was a Christian, only she was one of those out there and strange Christians. She was always casting out devils and demons from her racquet, the court, her partner, the water…you name it. If she was losing she was casting out. Our ladies association had these big deal lunches twice a year at someone’s fabulous home. My friend Mary opened up her home just once. It is an awesome home. Her closet is as big as two bedrooms. When Jeanie saw it she was casting out the spirit of jealousy. She also drank like a skunk, so who knew when she was sober or not.

I had a friend who wore wigs to play tennis. When she made a good shot, she would tug on both sides of her wig.

There were kept women who played tennis. Their “boyfriends” kept them cash poor. Most would pick up the check with their credit card and wanted to be repaid in cash by those at lunch. It was their only way to get their hands on cash. I had a friend who married a man for his money. Her life was horrible. When he’d get mad at her, he would go in her closet and cut her clothes up to little pieces. She had to account for every moment of her day. He finally quit working to dog her steps all day long. She is an awesome tennis player but other than tennis people, her husband forbade her to have any other friends. She couldn’t even come to team lunches after league play. I always said I played tennis just to eat lunch with friends. Sometimes I see her and her husband at the play grocery store. He told me since I don’t play tennis any more I wasn’t allowed to talk to her.

One of these days I will tell you about some of the best moments of my tennis life. But, the people became more interesting to me than the game sometimes. My Sunday School teacher of many years, Cecilia Talley played tennis. She played with friends who belonged to River Oaks Country Club. We would talk about our games, more importantly we talked about how to live the Christ filled life in front of these women…who seemed to have everything going for them on the outside. She always told me be a real friend to them. Most don’t have any idea of what real friendship is all about. That is the way to share Christ with them. That is what I tried to do day in and day out.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

More Tennis Memories

The remembering of tennis days combined with watching The Sopranos on A&E and The Godfather on AMC has had me ruminating on whom I have known during my tennis “career.” To tell you that people I played tennis with were interesting would be a major understatement. I once took a creative writing course and we spent a majority of time on character development and description. There wasn’t any making up people for me; I had a bountiful and ample supply at the tennis club. They were a writer’s resource. I believe I played tennis with two mafia connected women, a woman whose husband had been a major contributor of the savings and loan scandals of the 80’s, women who had more money than sense, women whose husbands were on the run from the law and a variety of kooks and weirdo’s of various strains of oddity and strangeness. There were women who were celebrity hounds, their own and seeking to bask in the radiance of the famous. I am thinking in particular of one friend. The celebrities she hounded ranged from local newscasters and even onto the Enron scandal. She was there front and center, seen on every newscast. I had a tennis friend whose godfather, the religious kind not Mafia kind, is Oscar Wyatt. She and her husband were fill ins when someone didn’t show for the elaborate dinner parties that Lynn and Oscar threw. I played tennis and lunched with women who thought that money could be thrown at any problem and the money would take care of everything. It was a field white unto harvest. When we first joined the club, no one quite knew what to do with me because we didn’t run in their social circles. But they liked me and kept me around as entertainment. They let me be in their world, but I was not a part of it. I don’t think I was always a good witness because I could become enamored of what they had and were able to do. One day in the pro shop I witnessed the head pro; he was new to the club, patronizing a woman shopping for tennis clothes. He teasingly said something to the effect of; does your husband know you are spending his hard earned money on clothes? He picked the wrong woman. She comes from a lot of money, think one of the founders of Humble Oil and she just happened to marry an equally rich man from the same beginnings of oil. That pro was gone in a matter of days after that remark. As I ascended through the ranks of leadership at the club, I knew the importance of keeping everyone happy since they were all used to being made happy when and where they said it. God kept telling me that all my years in tennis were a training ground for me and ministry.

Since I’ve been watching The Sopranos and The Godfather off and on this week, my thoughts have turned to one of my tennis partners who may or may not have been connected. She never really came out and made that statement, but she said enough to let me know if I had to ask… Anyway, I watch these shows and think of the fear she constantly lived under. Who could she trust? As much as she had possessions and a masquerade of a happy marriage, she was miserable. I have no idea where she is today. I don’t know if she moved back to New York after her divorce, but I think of her often and pray for her each time she comes to mind. She so wanted to be generous and was and for the most part we her friends accepted none of her gifts knowing that something stronger, meaner was attached to it. The only thing I ever accepted because I thought it was a joke was a long black silk scarf and big Jackie O type sunglasses. She asked me to wear them when we went to her fund raisers together and her charities she supported. She always had this playful sense of humor and I thought we were just playing the clichéd part of Italians. Someone once saw how I treated the scarf and sunglasses, because to me there were a costume, and let me know how much those sunglasses were worth. I almost spit out perfectly good Diet Coke when I heard the amount.

Another woman whose husband was and is now convicted and serving time, mafia related just up and left town one day. She left a message with her friend that if she was in a game with anyone, they needed to find a sub. She told her don’t ask where I am and you probably won’t ever see me again. We didn’t.

I once was invited to a tennis friend’s summer home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We were going to take tennis lessons in the morning and then enjoy the rest of the day doing fun Colorado activities. In my naivety, I envisioned myself sleeping on the living room couch. When I arrived I was escorted to my own floor and a bedroom with amazing views. The sound of Hot air balloons woke me up every morning being rather near to my window. When it came time for me to leave, my friend was a nervous wreck because if my flight were just a little late and her husband’s on time…it would not be good for her. He didn’t like anyone being able to identify him. About a year later, he was arrested for hiding ill gotten gains in her name and in their children’s names. I don’t know what became of her after he was convicted and sentenced. It was as if she knew she needed to slink away in shame because tennis friends are not the most loyal group. A lay off, loss of status, illness and you were history. It seemed almost as if being identified with loss would transfer over into their lives.

One day I had just finished a lesson and was sitting at Center Court with a Diet Coke. There was a woman sitting there and she began a conversation with me. She liked that I was a hard hitter and powerful server. At that time I had one of the fastest amateur serves in the women’s game in Houston. My claim to fame was serving three straight aces to a well known tennis pro. She asked me to hit some balls with her and happily I did. Our conversation afterwards turned very strange. I heard through the grapevine who she was and the sordid story that was her life. She wasn’t around too long because she was on the run from the Feds. It seems her husband was a gun runner for a group in Ireland. He had also been caught smuggling gold to the Cayman Islands to an offshore account. Only thing, he was her ex husband because they had divorced for tax reasons and she could testify against him in a court of law.

These are just a few of the interesting characters I met while playing tennis. Tennis life was an interesting life and it was a life I could not be done with quickly enough when it came time for me to leave. Matches were no longer fun and the politicking for teams was exhausting. I loved the game while I played and had fun adventures and truth changing moments in my life all from hitting a yellow tennis ball on a tightly strung racquet.

In doubles it is always good to have the combination of two styles on the court. You need the set up person and the person who puts away the shots. Most people would take me for the put away person due to the strength and power of my game. Actually, my power set up weak returns and an aggressive partner at the net meant fast and easy points. Over the years, people began to depend on my game more than developing their game. I was asked to hit harder and deeper shots. I was asked to add speed to my already fast serve. Soon I was hitting swinging topspin volleys at the net. And because I don’t like to be put in a box in life, I developed devastating drop shots that had people on their heels. The talk about my game was I could carry anyone and we should win. In reality during tough, hard fought matches, both partners need to be playing at the top of their game. Over time I resented that I was being asked to be the strong one, to carry the load, to be prepared at a moment’s notice to play with anyone on our team. The joy of the sport became the bane of my existence. During the last few years of league play, I could feel myself checking out of tennis and just going through the motions day after day, match after match. Even checked out success wasn’t daunted and the last year I played, I was on the top of my game.

Matthew 12:28-30 came alive for me during those last months of tennis. The joy gone, indecision of my next turn and the overwhelming burden crushing my spirit was more than I could bear. I had too many people depending on me and expecting me to stay on and finish out league year after year. One Sunday, I was still in choir, we were singing because He Lives I can face tomorrow, because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know who holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives. That song meant nothing to me, it was a Gaither song, a song over sung back in the day, and the words came alive to me there in the loft and I cried like a baby through the rest of the service. I was crying over a league tennis match the next day and what would be expected of me because the stakes were high. But God let me know I could face the day because He lived. Lost the match in a third set tie breaker but it was there God let me know He had plans for me beyond the court.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden
And overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. I will
Ease, and relieve and refresh your souls.
Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am
Gentle, meek, and humble in heart, and
You will find rest (relief and ease, and refreshment
And recreation and blessed quiet for your souls.
For my yoke is wholesome (useful, good, not harsh, hard, sharp or pressing,
But comfortable, gracious and pleasant, an My burden is light
And easy to be borne.

I would think that promise of rest and quiet is as good today as back then when I played tennis.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Tramaine Hawkins - Changed

This happens to be one of my favorite songs. More songs for posted for Lisa P.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Yesterday at Nordstrom’s I saw several tennis togged women shopping. Seeing them reminded me of days gone by when I was one of those tennis women running loose in the Galleria with time and money to burn. Well, truthfully, I had more time than money. Even though it has been 6 years since I gave up the game, politics, and frustration of playing competitive tennis, people inquire if I still play. Most make the assumption it was my knees that no longer could take a beating, but it was actually my heart. Not my physical heart, but my heart attitude, spirit and love of the game. When I quit playing tennis I played at the Open Championship level. It was about as high as I was going to go playing league tennis. If I had been more into my own game and glory, and desiring to climb up the ladder, I could have played more HTA tennis which led to state and national levels. I didn’t do that because my ego was assuaged, it is due to the fact that I had played softball and volleyball traveling all around the state and country. That path held no allure for me. To put it biblically, I was content in Jerusalem and could not care less about going to Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the world to play tennis. I only went out of state once to play in a tournament and that was at Hilton Head. And if you know me very well or know the Hilton Head area well, I was more into the place than the tennis. Tennis was the vehicle that got me there and whether I won or lost, I would be in Hilton Head the same amount of time. I quickly did away with the tennis (lost matches) to take in the beach and shopping. I have totally digressed, but seeing those women yesterday reminded me of the days when time decisions, my coming and going were mine to make. They reminded me how emotionally worn out I had become from the stress of staying at the top of the league, keeping my game sharp, and smoozing the captains so that I didn’t have to play with teammates that clearly weren’t as good as me, she says sarcastically now. My role on the team had become one of peacemaker and glue. When you have that many women together who have athletic abilities but never played any kind of team sports, you gots to have some glue and humor to hold the whole mess together. At the University Club I had been involved in all the leadership positions of our in-club group, beginning at Secretary and moving on up to being President. I was nominated to be on the Board of Directors for the whole club and lost by ten votes. The scuttlebutt had been I had actually been elected but the powers that be didn’t think I would bring enough power i.e. money to the post. So it was thought the significance of the 10 votes is the ten fingers or two hands that destroyed evidence of my victory. I was on our Tennis Committee and played a part in some major decisions for the club and probably contributed to the inevitable ouster of the head tennis pro and all the incompetence that came with her.

You can see from that long paragraph that nothing is as it seems on the surface. There are always tensions, give and take, heartache and despair playing havoc deeper beneath where most people don’t take notice or take notice and fain ignorance. The thing that had brought joy so many years had gone joyless. The situation had deteriated into the fact; I couldn’t even choose joy when it came to tennis. It had become a weight and burden too much to bear. I was looking for a way out and saw none. Of course there came the Word from the Lord asking me if I could “fry up some fish” while waiting for further direction from Him. (John 21) And I answered of course. That answer, that step toward God made all the difference in my attitude as I finished out my time on the court. Because I made the one step, God put into motion a series of steps that resulted in a huge life course change for me. And as they say, the rest is history.
I am feeling the rumblings of change again. I don’t know what direction they are taking or from what the sense of change is coming from. One sign I can see is in me. You would not know it from the length of my posts lately but I want more quiet, more time, and I find myself less socially active. Just looking at my cell phone bill, the minutes are down considerably. It is a season and as in all seasons, you have to know what part of the transition you are experiencing. I think I am coming to an end of this season of quiet and hibernation. These feelings certainly can be from a sense of the actual seasons and spring seems to be right around the corner here in Houston.

The message of sacred ordinary and embracing the moments seem to run hand in hand with those feelings and sense that God is about to do something. I just noticed it is the placement of an a or a c that marks the difference between sacred and scared. Only, I haven’t made that scared first step to see the sacred for the entire God ordained steps to fall into place. I am still trying to seek direction from Him on what that first step needs to be. So I find myself being asked, “Can you fry up some fish, can you serve breakfast while you are seeking a direction?” And of course I am responding with a yes, but maybe not so much with the same gung ho yes I made several years ago. My decision is, am I facing a sacred ordinary or a scared ordinary?

I think seeing those tennis ladies also reminded me of friends who I played tennis with. There was one friend who I think of quite often and wonder what if anything she is up to. She left tennis before I did. Tennis was one of her longer endeavors. In reality she began a lot of things that she never finished. She had a whole room in her house dedicated to lost interest. I cannot tell you how many times I talked with her about the Lord. We had great discussions and moments of almost clear clarity in understanding the Good News, but she would never accept Him. She told me that if she did, I would no longer be her friend because she knew I would be off to another conquest for the kingdom of God. I thought she knew me better than that. She had seen it happen to many friends who became Christians only to be abandoned by the person who introduced them to Christ. She never saw any evidence of change in her friends lives. If the truth be told, I think she was afraid of making any kind of commitment because her choice of jumping from thing to thing to thing. Because materialism and money is her love language, that is a huge reason she stays with her husband and doesn’t look around. Besides the fact he is drop dead gorgeous. Well that spiritual thought just disintegrated didn’t it?

I heard someone this week make an absolute statement about something that isn’t an absolute. Just the sheer assuredness of this person making the statement jettisoned me back to a much younger and idealistic time in my life. Just because someone says something forcefully doesn’t make it true. (Look at the resigned DA in Houston and Roger Clemens if examples are needed.) I questioned the absoluteness of the statement and the person did concede reluctantly there were other factors that could play into the situation being talked about. It did surprise me because this person is more of a monologue person than a dialogue person. I thought surely my comments would be dismissed or maybe by conceding somewhat was my dismissal.

Dana shares a change coming up for her on her blog. The funny thing about losing weight, it doesn’t make as many people happy as you would think it would. Even skinny friends aren’t that happy for the change. Weight loss is one of those funny things, it shows outwardly all the work that has been done inwardly. There is something about weight loss that reminds people they are stuck and haven’t made a change, whether is weight related or not. So Dana lean in for the blessing God has for you.

The skies are clouding up, there is going to be a weather change here very soon. I have been writing in stages having just returned from the Play grocery store. I bought some stuff for dinner tonight and perused the discounted Valentine’s candy. Didn’t see anything I could live without.

Dena emailed from the Mumbai airport. They are beginning their journey home. Just from the emails she has sent this week I see that this trip is a marker on her journey. I look forward to hearing about her trip and the insights she has gained from this travel.

Oh, go to Ali’s blog. She is doing an Irish give a way that sounds wonderful and her posts are good reading. I will be giving away another SPA gift card soon. Maybe a change will be in order…maybe a gift card for a massage. Dana’s imaginary friends will probably try to enter. In a comment on Ali’s blog, Diary of a Reformed Workaholic, Dana has threatened me (teasingly) with her Uncle Tony. Don’t forget Dana, I have a friend who has an Uncle Vito. And of course that makes me think of a song…everyone was Kung Ku fighting….well, it seems like I’ve only just begun, to blog. White paper and promises. A kick for luck and we’re on our way….. OK, this must stop right now. Oh, I am talking to myself. Talking to myself and feeling low…sometimes I’d like to quit seems like I’ll have a fit. Hanging around… OK…I really need to stop…wait a minute Mr. Postman…wait….Mr. Postman… Must fight urge to write and parody old songs…Fight it… I fought the law and the law won.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Thoughts on a Friday

Friday morning at home and experiencing that little bit of quietness before hitting the day full on. Buddy is asleep on a soft throw and for breakfast, I didn’t practice any good guidelines of Resolve. My breakfast today consisted of a Valentine cookie, banana and Diet Coke.
The bad choice of breakfast must be the remaining hangover from too much free food yesterday. The kindness of church members buying our breakfast and other members stopping by with sandwiches, cheese, fruit, and the making for ham or roast beef sandwiches. Our office suite celebrated Secret Saint during the days leading up to Valentines. The big reveal was yesterday afternoon and we had so much fun with that. Days like yesterday need to be remembered because a lot of days I feel like my job is nothing more than being a maid, cleaning up messes or a messenger and they shoot the messenger don’t they? In our staff meetings we are playing Mystery Guest game again. We answer a bunch of questions and when it is read, we have to guess who it is. The last question was what Bible character do you identify with? I almost put John the Baptist. Why? Sometimes I am the lone voice; I prepare ye the way and then get my head taken off over miscues or misunderstandings. Doesn’t happen often, but it happens often enough.

Happily, I am able to tell you of a good choice I made yesterday. I left the office loaded down with extra stuff from Valentines which included my flowers from Roy and a lovely arrangement of miniature roses from Carolyn. My thoughts were to put everything up before going to the mailbox and to the office to pick up a package. I never know how to say this but I heard in my spirit the Lord directing me not to go upstairs, but to go through the courtyard to the mailbox. He said the widow lady will be sitting there at a table by the pool all by herself. You are to give her that little bouquet of roses. I debated for a second whether or not I should do that. I stopped debating and obeyed. I found myself lugging all my junk through the doors to the courtyard, past the may or maybe not phone sex condo to see the widow sitting at the table with her back to me. She turned her head and looked at me. I came up to her and wished her a Happy Valentine’s Day. And then I said I would like to give you this bouquet. It is from my friend Carolyn and me. The widow was overjoyed and she gushed over the beauty of the flowers alternating with the question, are you sure? Of course. She must have said three times, oh thank you. Nobody remembered me today. Idiot girl that I am, I should have said well God remembered you. He knows all about you. I hope I didn’t miss an opportunity to share the Gospel with her or maybe it is a seed planting experience.

I need to remember that moment. Being obedient was so joyful. I came in and called Carolyn to share with her how her thoughtfulness to friends and coworkers was used in God’s economy to bless a lonely widow. It was an ordinary moment in a day. God has laid on me these past few weeks the importance of excelling in the ordinary, embracing the moment.

We hear so much these days of being purpose driven, to dream big, to believe God for the Big, and all that is fine and good. Seems to me I should be focusing on the daily whether I am walking life out purposeful or not, with dreams large or small, and in the midst of the ordinary seeing how big God is in moments. A lot of those moments you will find me being impatient, annoyed, put out or angry. Moments that all too often string together to make hours of me thinking only of myself and how is the outcome is going to effect or affect since I can’t remember which one is correct right now, me.

**I am now home after being out and about most of the day. When I left this morning, the widow walked past me, stopped and thanked me again for the flowers. When I came home she was sitting at the poolside table working a puzzle. I went into the office to pick up some deliveries. Fern was there along with the office staff. They all said, we hear you are giving out bouquets of flowers. Such a small gesture has made a big impact. I know that God will see to it that I run into Marie, I found out her name, again and again. I hope she sees Jesus in me and I look forward to telling her about Him or it could be even reminding her that He loves her so much. Honestly, I have always avoided her, she seemed so needy to me. And you know what, she is. She needs just a little attention now and then. We all do. The Lord is reminding me it takes so very little to be ordinary. **

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

I love Valentine's Day. Just being about all the love. Roy did good with the flowers, candy and teddy bear. It is really more than the gift though. I am thankful for a wonderful and loving husband. He works hard, loves me a whole bunch, takes good care of me and Buddy and he walks in love, God's love. Roy would be embarrassed if he knew I was telling you this, but every morning in his quiet time, he reads I Corinthians 13. And reads I John too. If I ask him to bring me a Diet Coke or help me carry in groceries or just about anything, he says I would love to. The past five years he has helped me with every extra event or special program I take part in that is connected with my job. Last year we quite didn't know what to do with ourselves cause we didn't have a Married Young Adult event to help put on for Valentine's Day.

Roy is the romantic between the two of us. He is thoughtful and plans wonderful surprises. One of the most romantic things he does is make dinner for us. My salad has the words I Love You written out in cut tomatoes. He stays true in the tedious and doesn't loose his patience. He has successfully untangled so many necklaces for me. He is generous and I think would give me the moon if I asked for it. He loves that I love The Nord.

I have come home tonight from work tired. It is now 8:30 and he is just getting home. The first thing he asked if there was anything he could do for me? No, I am good. So he is watching Fox News.

Valentine's Day is also a fun day to let our friends know we appreciate them and love them. I have much to be thankful for.

(please overlook any typos)


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Thematic Deliveries Today

Pay dirt on deliveries to the home today. My Nordy makeup order, my Bumble and Bumble Thickening Spray for my fine hair, the herbs I take for knee pain and my second order of Stop Pain Now all arrived for my pick up. Seems to be a theme here, you know from the books I am reading, don't look old and for goodness sake, don’t act old. Add all the knee junk for don't walk old. I did just that in my journey down to the office to get all this stuff, well actually I have been doing that all day. Cue Arrowsmith...walk this way... Some walk tall, some walk proud, some walk like a man, I walk like an 80 year old on a good day. Almost every Sunday I get inspired to actually do something about my knees. Many Sundays I am in our 9:10 which is more traditional in nature, which means lots of older folks in their 70’s and 80’s stumbling and bumbling along and there I am in the midst of them. It’s just sad. I will have several good knee days in a row and I become all confident that all the meds I take have permanently kicked in, but reality always has a different plan.

Actually, I am hoping all the Smashbox cosmetics will kick in. How can I go wrong with Photo Finish, Artificial Light, Photo Op and new eye shadow? Not very likely! Consistency of use will be problematic as it usually is for me.

Last night I was seeing if I could put a You Tube video on my blog. I always could put the link, but didn’t know how to actually do the video. So, when I saw I had Karen up and posted, I decided no words were needed. Karen speaks and sings for herself. I am glad so many commented of their affection for all things Carpenters. I have posted this on Mildred and Gertrude, but I re-wrote Superstar for our Preschool Minister.

Long ago, back in a distant day
I said I'd volunteer
but only for the day.
Your pleadings, they were so sweet and clear
now that just one day
has turned to twenty years.
Don't you remember you told me
it's just a few babies.
I said I'd think about it and say maybe.
Now it's babies, babies, babies oh more babies
they're everywhere
even in my hair.

Someone in our office suite is not turning off the toaster oven in our workroom after they use it. Thankfully, the place hasn’t burned down and the quick action of young sniffers has prevented anything from coming of this. Looks like we will have to post another sign. Any ideas of something witty that will get our toast burner s attention?

Have to give some props to the hubby, he sent flowers today. Not only red roses but a cute little teddy bear and some Godiva chocolates. Roy always points out the name should be Go-Diva. I shared the candy and put the roses and teddy bear on the table next to my desk. If I remember to bring my camera tomorrow, I will take a picture of them. And he is bringing home pizza for dinner. I love that man!

The past few weeks I realize that I have been too "big picture" in my walk with the Lord. In my spirit I hear Him speak, Embrace the Moment and excel in the ordinary. Seems like I have had the tendancy to rush through the daily and mundane and not look for Him in those moments. Oh, dinner has arrived, so I will continue this thought on a later post.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Faint, Intimidate, Brunch and Such

This morning something very unusual happened in the 9:10 service. Maybe unusual is not the correct word, but it was déjà vu only this time I experienced it, not Lisa P. Let me give you a bit of history. Last year about this time, Lisa texted me from the 9:10 service that someone had fainted in the choir loft. The person fell forward and as she did so, the sopranos, not known to be a hardy group, caught her as she tumbled forward. As Lisa watched this happen from the back of the worship center, she immediately stepped out into the aisle as if she would rush onto the stage and help. Lisa and I have had quite a few giggles over this. We are not laughing about the lady fainting; we laugh because Lisa’s reaction was to step in and determined to act from all the way in the back of the church. The cause of the fainting spell was determined that the lady wore wool when the temperatures outside dictated lighter apparel.

Fast forward to this morning. It is Roy’s Sunday to pray under the altar at the 9:10 service. So I find a seat in a back section of the worship center. As we are singing hymns, I am looking across the choir loft. I know Peggy is in Shreveport this weekend, so I begin to look for other friends who are sitting in the loft. Altos are all in place and I begin checking on the soprano section. I always look for the fainter every Sunday. (I do not want to use her name) She is not in her regular place, but I find her…she is sitting down, fanning herself in the choir loft while the rest of the choir is standing. And just as Lisa had seen her do last year, this lady falls over in a dead faint, only this time instead of going forward, she just lays over to her left. In that moment, I jumped into the aisle as if I were going to run up to the stage and help. The giggles hit me as I returned to my place, remembering Lisa’s reaction to the same incident. The volunteer medical response team and appointed church staff took over the situation in a highly organized, excellent and effective manner. The lady had arm surgery on Friday and maybe had rushed her recovery to be in her place…in the loft.

Yesterday, I was coming home from the Play Grocery Store. I had a 250 E Point coupon to turn in for the bonus points and I wanted to get something special for dinner. I will take a side step for a second. Roy works really hard and during the week he can be in back to back meetings all day long. So the normal stuff he needs to take care of gets pushed to Saturdays. On top of that, he is hiring more staff as his area continues to develop and expand. Ok back to the Play Grocery store trip. I wanted to get something really good and special for dinner. I picked up some tilapia covered in a sauce with pumpkin seeds on top. For a veggie, it was acorn squash. For dessert, hand painted Valentine cookies and ice cream. Since the day was beautiful, I had the top down as I drove home. Here is the thing, I did not pull out in front of anyone, I was not speeding, I hadn’t acted foolishly or recklessly or done some random thing, but I had a policeman begin to follow me. He would stay back a bit and then come up almost on my bumper. He turned when I did and I thought, he must be going to the Mounted Police Patrol Padlock located across the street from the Houstonian. As we approached the stop sign, he pulled up next to me. I knew he was looking at me, but I did not make eye contact. I checked to see if anyone was at the stop sign to the left…no, so I proceeded. He pulled in behind me again. We stopped at the light and he kept inching up very close to my bumper again. It wasn’t that I was going so slowly and he couldn’t get around, it seemed to be some act of intimidation. Green light and I begin on my way and I approach the entrance to our condo parking lot. So, I signal and turn. He stops his car in the middle of the street and watches me as I drive in and then gunned his motor and went on down the street. It was as if he was intimidating me into making a mistake in order to pull me over. I was so conscious of his activity, I almost forgot to do just normal driving things. Pulling in our assigned space, I called Roy to tell him all about it. He listened and said it is intimidation. Let it go. It was unnerving and as I thought about it later, I knew the Lord spoke in my heart that our enemy does the very same thing. If we aren’t walking on the wrong path, he makes his presence known to keep us from continuing on God’s path or doing right. We get nervous and fearful to walk in God’s best way for us. Don’t let the enemy deceive you into a season of inactivity.

Before Roy went into the office today, we went out for brunch. We loves us some brunch. One of our favorite Simpson episodes has a line we have oft repeated to each other… “It’s not exactly breakfast and it’s not lunch but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end. You don’t get exactly what you want, but you get a good meal.” Brunch was awesome and efficient! You are eating two meals at one sitting. For the most part we chose healthy options except I chose several biscuits and Roy chose cinnamon rolls and then he had dessert. Oh baby, we brunched it up today.

This weekend I did get one little project taken care of. Let’s just say I have more things for the Mission Training Center. I now have one empty dresser drawer and I am deciding what will go in it. I am more about having space these days.

Guess this is what happens when I don’t have time to blog during the week, I go on over load on the weekend. Feel free to use this post as a sleep aid and bore you into snore land. Remember, if you are going to faint; don’t faint around Lisa and me. We will only respond with a step forward only to take two steps back from where we came from.

Since spell check is not working, I am writing in Word then copy and pasting it into blogger.

I've Been Tagged Twice

Lauren and Ali have both tagged me to do this. Lauren tagged me days ago. The books beside the computer are my Amplified Bible and the workbook to Stepping Up. Since I didn't want to seem all pious and holy, I decided to pick up the next closest book which is The Bad Seed. Before I did that, I looked at a novel I am reading, "Family Acts." Wouldn't you know it, there hasn't been one iffy word in the whole book. But it is there on page 123 on the 6th sentence.

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).

2. Open the book to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the next three sentences.

5. Tag five people.

The Bad Seed

She gave her party on the last day of June. She arranged that Rhoda stay with Mrs. Forsythe across the hall; but Rhoda wanted to come in for a little while to meet her mother's guests. Christine conscented, and while all the guests were all there, Mrs. Forsythe brought in the child. Rhoda was dressed in white lawn embroidered in yellow, a frock her mother had made her a few days before.

I love this movie, The Bad Seed. It was filmed as if it were a stage play, which it was. The acting is over the top, the movement of the actors is playing all the way to the back of the house and the little girl that plays Rhoda...she's good.

I think everyone might be all tagged out, but I will ask Jenny, Jennifer, Sherri, Lori and Ebay. I am too lazy to link them. It is Sunday and I am just up from a nap and not all that awake.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Here and There, My Thought Process is Everywhere

Just a few random ramblings from this past week.

Stacy mentioned during my massage yesterday that the SPA should know of planned fire drills. Now you know that set off alarms in me. I have written before of irrational fears and now this can be added to the list, fire drill during a massage. You just have to put on the robe and go outside for a fire drill. Yea, while everybody else is clothed. So for a moment there, I began to plan my future of always having my wallet and keys with me so I can make a quick exit in case of faux fire. But reality got a hold of me, really, what are the odds that this will happen when I am there? Of course by just writing about a fire drill probably made the odds go up considerably.

Whenever I have a few free minutes and I want to be nostalgic, I go to and look at the town where I was born. There is a bird’s eye view feature and that gives the ability to get close to landmarks I search for. I look at my Grandparent’s house on S. Illinois street. An addition has been made to the house, but the surrounding homes I remember from childhood look the same. Gone is Riverside Elementary school across the street and what we cousins affectionately called the junk store on the corner. In that store a quarter could go a long way in purchase power of candy. I think I always bought wax lips and wax bottles that had some kind of sugar flavored water in them. Fizzies was my drink of choice. Two tablets in a glass of water, they fizzed like Alka Seltzer which made the drink entertaining before drinking and the choice of flavors seemed unending. My least favorite flavor was root beer. I would rather have the real thing. I have seen Fizzies at the Play Grocery store for $2.95. I don’t think I will be purchasing Fizzies any time soon, but would rather remember childhood memories of a great and refreshing drink. I noticed the Shell station around the block from my grandparent’s home is gone too. I am remembering summer nights and falling asleep to the ding of the cord that cars drove over to let the attendants know there was a customer who needed a fill-up or some other kind of car service. Down the street from my grandparents is John’s Hill School and Park. It is still there I learned how to throw a baseball like a boy there, being taught by my grandfather. We spent hours playing there because of the swings, merry go round, jungle gyms and slides. My grandparent’s church was in walking distance of their home. I loved going to VBS with my cousins there and Sunday School. A couple of years ago, I was in Baptist Temple here in Houston. As Peggy and I were looking for the Fellowship Hall, I could not get over that the floor plan of Baptist Temple was very similar to Riverside. All I needed to complete the memory were the heels of my patent leather Mary Janes hitting the linoleum floor. The last time I was in that town, I was 23 years old. I move the mouse around the map to see if I still remember how to get to my grandma’s home across town. Yep, 51 to 121. My Grandma B’s home is still there too. Although all the trees cover most of the house from an aerial view and the orchard that was behind the house has been cleared away. Spending my growing up summers in that town are some of my happiest childhood memories. I guess thinking about my Aunt Leah and Aunt Guyneth this week prompted me to go back and visit It was a very nice aerial visit on Tuesday night.

In preparation of the Worship Center construction, the music ministry has been cleaning out storage areas and nostalgia has free rein from those of us who remember Pageant from days gone by. I picked up a few things for Peggy and I got an orange hat out of it for Mildred. I think Peggy laid claim to the bigger than life costumed dog heads and a few other things. In fact Gerald was at the church this week and I don’t know if it was to lay claim to some pieces or just for a visit. There have been periodic cleanings throughout the years, but I think this was the biggest wholesale cleaning of them all. I heard that the dumpster was filled in no time. It is good to clean out and begin anew. Pageant days are over and to be honest with you and I thought this while I was a choir member and not on staff, I thought they should have been over long before Pageant was let go. In hindsight, Pageant should have ended when Gerald retired. It would have made dealing with the realities of the future not be so long and ongoing. Granted, it would have hurt at the time, but the wound would be healed by now. To the choir’s credit, they have made the biggest and most adjustments of any group in the church. In many minds it is tempting to hold on to the past and the glory years. People do this all the time in their appearance, especially women. They keep the same look as in their glory days but in reality their appearance looks dated, passed by and oddly out of place.

That is a great transition into the books I have been reading. Dena let me borrow two of her books, “How Not to Look Old” and “Forever Cool.” So far this is what I have put into practice, pink lipstick not dark, bangs to the side, and current eyewear. Also, the scent of grapefruit takes 6 years off you age in a man’s view. Stacy told me a true story that happened to her. She had sprizted on grapefruit scent before a date. Problem is, it draws fruit flies. So be careful where you wear it. Also before reading the book I outsourced my brow work which to keep up with your brows is how not to look old. Hi-lights are helpful and less is more on eye shadow, two shades max. “ Forever Cool” is a visual book of what not to wear if you want to keep current and not look outdated. I like these books because you don’t lose yourself in the process. Mainly it is little things you can do without much expense or time. I love the advice of not looking too matchy matchy. Basically, I am downright lazy when it comes to changing out purses with outfits etc… Since my hair salon is moving, I liked the idea of going to a different stylist to get out of the routine look. Last week when I saw Veronica, I told her I thought she had morphed my haircut back into how I used to wear it. I wanted the New York cut she gave me several months ago. She did a great job, but I think I might go to Cassi’s friend next month to see what she would recommend. By the time Dena gets home, I should have the books read and some of the tips in practice.

I better get a move on. Have things to do and a few errands to run. Thanks for reading my randomness.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Fabulous Friday

This has been a much anticipated and needed day. Slept in a bit, had a leisurely breakfast, paid some bills, and then got ready for my appointment at The Nord. My original plans had been to arrive at the Galleria around 10:00, but it didn’t happen. I arrived a few minutes early though for my appointment with Stacy. She is the best and she did my massage a little differently today. For a good part of the treatment, she and I talked. I thought talking wasn’t allowed, but she said she has clients that talk through the whole thing. We talked of life, God being more than someone we just talk to on Sunday and SPA related subjects. She tells me I would love the Vichy shower. The Vichy shower is the carrot I have put out in front of me as a reward for losing weight. I like my challenges to scare me just a bit and the Vichy does just that. I don’t know if I am up to the vulnerability of that treatment. But what interested me were the coffee exfoliation and the mocha wrap. She says the staff stands at the door just to take in a fragrance reminiscent of Starbucks. It might just be too much for this coffee lover to take.

After a good sit in the relaxation room, I was out into the store to take back a blouse and then find a cute linen jacket and pants for summer. I also checked out shoes and cosmetics. Lunch was a lemon peach smoothie.
Everywhere I went today, the top of Mustang Sally was down. A gorgeous day for sure and after making a brief stop at home, I was off to Memorial City. There were coupons burning a hole in my pocket. Before I left for home, I stopped in the handbag department in Macy’s. The purse I bought at The Nord a couple of weeks ago was marked 25% off. So, I bought the purse and will take the Nord purse back. In doing so, I am saving about $140.00. I have not used the Nord purse and in fact, it has not even left the bag it came in. I am pretty happy about that savings.

On the way home Roy called and his dinner tonight has been changed. So, he was on his way home. Miracle…it was before 5:00. We ate at China Love and it was great as usual. Now he is here working on some contracts, but it is very nice to have him home. He doesn’t usually read his fortune cookie, but tonight he did. It said, “You’ll accomplish more later if you take some time for yourself.” Truer words were never spoken.

Yesterday afternoon I had a very nice surprise, Dena called from Dubai. She had a three hour layover. Her Blackberry wasn’t working, so she called just to let me know she had arrived there safe and rested. This morning I had an email from her. They had made it to Mumbai and they had been in the office most of the day. I thought their big party was last night, but it is next Friday night. The IT Dept got her Blackberry working internationally, so she is able to communicate from the hotel.

If you think about it, please be praying for my cousins tomorrow. My cousin Becky sent me an email today. There had been a devastating tornado in their area and it touched down a half of a mile from her florist shop. In its path it destroyed five restaurants and her competitor in the floral business. So not only is Becky taking care of her mother’s funeral flowers and service, she has 3 other funerals to prepare flowers for. Family begins arriving today, her sister’s family from Atlanta and her brother’s family from Iowa. My cousins are Becky, Lois and Mark. The understatement is, Becky is a tad overwhelmed.

That is it for now. I will probably post more tomorrow.

Top Reasons for Being a Woman

These are the top reasons that I gave Gregg for being a woman. I was playing around with a Proverbs 31 type thing about being the only ones that get called blessed in the morning, but I never could come up with wording I liked. One that I didn't send him because his being a man, he would never get is, how a new lipstick can change our whole outlook on life or even just by putting on lipstick our whole attitudes change. I will bold the ones that he picked.

* We can get out of speeding tickets just by crying
* One word: Oprah
* We can watch one channel at a time and not be bored
* No one expects us to know or be able to fix anything underneath the hood. We don't have to change flat tires either.
* We got off the Titanic first
* Waiters always give the check to the man
* We understand the need for multiple pairs of shoes in the same color. It's not about the color, it's about the style
* We know 20 ways to fix chicken

* We can go to a movie with a friend without needing an empty chair between us
* We can blame everything on hormones
* If the house is a mess when company arrives, we can always blame our husbands
* If we get a pimple, we have makeup
* No comb overs

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Too Busy to Blog

This has been a full and busy week. Many times I thought of sitting down to blog because writing energizes me, but time got away. I thought, I will post tomorrow and in the words of The Winnan's, "tomorrow I'll give my life tomorrow."

Over the weekend, I had two aunts pass away. Aunt Leah was 90 and my Aunt Dee or how I always knew her, Aunt Guyneth was 78. I keep thinking of my cousins and what emotions they are dealing with this week. I know Aunt Leah was right there welcoming Aunt Dee to heaven seeing that she beat her there by about 20 hours.

Monday was exciting in that there was a fire here in our condomaniums on the second floor. Aimee sent an email about the fire and the second and third floor evacuation due to smoke in the hallways. From the description it sounded as if the condo with the fire was below us and to the corner. I told Jason about the smoke and I needed to get home to check on Buddy and begin to air out our home. The hallways were thick with all too familiar scent of burnt. It smelled like a big ol' campfire. When I came in, Buddy didn't leave my side. There was smoke in the air so I opened all the window and got big fans to draw the smoke outside. Our guest bedroom was the worst. Because Buddy was upset, I stayed at home for the rest of the afternoon, airing out and Frebreezing things.

Monday evening I helped Dena get her TV in for repair at Best Buy. Their policy is; for pick up, repair and delivery, the TV has to be at least 26 inches. Dena's is 25. I brought over a small dolly we use and we loaded up the TV and took it over to Best Buy. We went to dinner afterwards at CPK. So, by the time I got home I was emotionally and physically worn out.

Tuesday was exciting in that Retreat Staff toured the CLC and surrounding rooms that will be used during the remodeling of the Worship Center. What was even more exciting was Stephen Smith, our new Worship Pastor, was there. Lots of walking, standing and praying...which took a bit of a toll on my all too feeble knees. Afterwards, on to another meeting about Spring Loaded. Spring Loaded is in its third year and each year gets better and better. We use Houston Christian High School for the event, with egg hunts, petting zoo, pony rides, inflatiables,food, 42 tournament and things like that. Marsha Taylor is our Volunteer Coordinator and she is doing a fabulous job. From the meeting she and I went to lunch to further discuss Spring Loaded. I thought about staying for Bible study in the evening, but I opted for home. I should have stayed. Beth used Nordstrom's in her teaching. Lisa and I would have probably been standing up giving the Lord and the Nord some praise. Roy got home late-ish and he wanted to go to Sweet Tomatoes for gumbo. So we ate and when we left, we encountered rain and by the time we got home lightning and thunder. I headed straight to bed and missed Lisa's excited phone call about Beth, The Nord, and how God blessed the praise and worship time.

Wednesday is a long day because of Midlink. Had a lot of projects to finish up at work. While I was away from my desk taking care of some things, Pastor Gregg called and asked me to come up with reasons why it is good to be a woman. He read his reasons why it is good to be a man. They were to be humorous in nature. So, that was a ton of fun. I sent him about 10 out of the 20 or so we came up with in the office. Then he chose his top 5. Since I rarely have my cell phone on my desk but in my purse, I had missed several phone calls from Dena. I was taking her to the airport for her flight to India. She wanted me to come earlier and also bring my turbo charger for iPods. With her traveling over and beyond, the messages were Pauline in know bring my cloak and the parchments. So, I ran home at lunch to pick that up and also get some Choc/Peppermint Luna Bars for Dena's trip. She had packed a lot of snack items and I was telling her how good the choc/peppermint is. I picked her up, we prayed and then loaded up the car. Dropped her off and was back at church in no time. When I was able to leave later in the evening, I knew I needed to run to the grocery store. I opted for the play grocery store because of its close proximity to home. Once again the light is out of sync at Memorial and Post Oak. So once I finally got through the light, done my shopping and headed home, I was too pooped to post.

Today, another full day and then of course the exciting drawing of the Nord SPA card. Finished up a little late and came on home. Instead of posting, I opted for a little nap. Orginally Roy had a dinner tonight and I was going to run over to Memorial City. His dinner was changed till tomorrow evening. So instead of Memorial City, I waited till he got home around 7:00 and we went to Buffalo Grille. And to insure I would be awake enough to post, I had their fully leaded cinnamon coffee with my eggs, grits and pancake. Then we ran to the Kroger for a few things Roy wanted to get.

So, here I am finally able to post. I am looking forward to a 90 minute massage tomorrow. And then beginning my study of Get Out of the Pit that I am facilitating in April for the Women's Ministry. And I will have a little more time to post. So that is all the happenings and why I haven't been able to write this week. I have been memed by Lauren and I will do that soon. Not to sound all spiritual but the books beside my computer is my Amplified Bible and the Stepping Up workbook. You'll see why I am saying that when I do my post.

The Winner is

Dana won the drawing of the Nordstrom Gift Card. Be watching for another give a way very soon.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Don't Forget Nordstrom Gift Card Drawing 2/7

Don't forget to leave a comment for the $ 50.00 Spa Nordstrom gift card being given away on February 7. Read here for the details.


It has been a quiet Saturday. I like 'em that way. In a little bit we will need to get ready for the wedding of the week-Steven Murrary's. The wedding is at First, but the reception is at Minute Maid Park, in the train depot. It should be a lot of fun.

Roy is interviewing someone over lunch for an opening in his dept. We were talking this morning that this has been a busy time for him in this season of life. He just about has all his openings filled.

Buddy just woke up, well she was actually forced to wake up because I began cleaning.

This has been an interesting week. Found out there were several classes being offered in Milestones that comes under our department on Monday. I had no clue cause somehow Jason and I didn't communicate. I was able to get rooms booked and there wasn't a need for work requests. Whew... I am still trying to knock out this cold. I was up most of Wednesday night hacking up a lung, so I stayed home on Thursday to take some stronger medicine that knocks me out. So, I think I have turned a corner on the cold. Seems like there are a lot of little things to juggle and balance right now. More than usual. It will all work out, it always does, but sometimes waiting out the solutions is not my best thing.

A couple of months ago, Dena and I went and got our Gaither on by going to the Gaither's Christmas Tour. In that same vein, we went to see Ernie Haas and Signature Sound last night in Clear Lake. I love all kinds of music. I am even beginning to like Courntry and Western, sort of. Anyway, back to yesterday. Dena is my time mapping friend, ya gots to have one of those kind of friends, but she is also in the throes of getting ready to leave for India on a business trip. So, she wasn't sure if we could do our normal thing of going early, having a relaxed dinner and then getting to the concert to check out any shopping opportunities. She checked in around 9:00 am yesterday to say, she didn't know how the day was going to go, but she would call. I went on about the day, getting my hair cut, grocery shopping and running errands. Even took a nap. She called around 4:00 letting me know she was trying to get out of the office and we made our tenative plans. Traffic being what it is on Friday, delayed her trip back into town from the wes- si-ede. She came here, I picked her up out front and headed onto North Post Oak Road where we found traffic backed up. The lights were not cycling correctly. We finally made it to Los Cu Cos, but time was not our friend. We couldn't decide whether to make the trek out to Clear Lake or not. What was decided was not rushing through dinner. Nothing like salsa, chips and Cu Cos to cure all the woes of a week gone by. Once we were full and of course could think much better, we decided to head on down to Clear Lake. We caught the HOV lane downtown and was at Nasa Road 1 in no time. Got to the church and come to find out it was just a few minutes before intermission. Perfect timing for shopping and some coffee and we still heard about 45 minutes worth of the concert. On our way home we decided to stop and get a Coke. We thought we had seen a Sonic, but we were mistaken. So we hopped on over to Lisa P's Chicky. I missed the drive through lane, so I backed up and got in the lane. Just as the Chicky people come on the mic, an officer pulls up beside us. He lectured me on not doing the safe thing and driving around the building. He talked for quite some time and the whole time I was looking at the logo on his truck, Blue Moon Detective Services....oh my gosh, they were the ones that Clara Harris had hired to follow her husband only for them to find him at a hotel where she proceeded to run over him with her Mercedes. With all that going through my head, he kind of sounded like an adult in Charlie Brown, waugh waugh waugh waugh.... Dena and I finally told him we were not from the area. Just as he finished talking with us, the lights went out at Chicky. To his credit, he did try to get them to let us order, but they had been closed for 15 minutes anyway. He told us where we could find a Sonic, but I exited at the wrong place and was afraid to back up, which is what got me in trouble in the first place, to go the correct direction. We just got on the feeder road and got back to our side of town and did the McDonald drive through.

I better finish up around here. My spell checker is not working, so forgive me for any misspellings. Has anyone else had this happen to them on blogger?