Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mob Rule- Rice University/ Parking Lot After Tuesday Night Bible Study

Saturday night, Roy and I went to the Vanderbilt vs Rice game. I was texting Peggy during the game and she said there are a lot of smart people in that stadium. She is right. Roy loves Rice football and I have not gone to a game in a long time. Such great memories of the MOB, Marching Owl Band. Love how they come onto the field, unlike any other college band I have ever seen. This band is complete with violins and cellos. It is going to be a long season for Rice, but they offer a great evening of entertainment. That night's give a way was insulated grocery tote bags from HEB.

Here is the Rice MOB beginning the evenings festivities

They are playing the Rice school song. Lauren, you might want to make an audio copy of the words for everyone.

The National Anthem

Now this is really cool. They let families with little kids come out onto the field to cheer the football players as they run onto the field. You can see below the beginnings of the lines forming.

They had a lot of people out on the field and once the football team arrived through the line, the families dissipated quickly back into the stands. I was watching kids streaming out of the east side of the stadium onto the field. Some of them Vanderbilt supporters. That is a really cool thing that Rice does.

Rice University knows how to make MOB's dissipate with ease. Oh how I wish it were that simple on Tuesday nights after Bible Study.
If you are my age or a fan of old movies, there is a great movie that was made in 1962, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. All the comedians of that era are in it and the film contains some of the funniest chase scenes ever produced. Transpose the car scenes from the link below into modern 2009 in a church parking lot where 4000 women have gathered to worship and learn about God and you'll pretty much have a good picture of what happens right after the last amen.

*****What the police man says at the end of the clip seems like it could be said on Tuesday nights as well**********
I am a fan of waiting around afterwards to let the traffic die down. The time is spent visiting and laughing with friends. Last night, was an exception to my usual practice. I needed to leave immediately after Bible study to take care of something. So I was with the masses making the quick exit from the building. What an experience! You would think that after studying about Revelation 4 and 5, the Holiness of God we all might be a bit different in spirit. So like Paul I might say, I don't know if I was in the spirit or the flesh when all the pandemonium and chaos took place but baby, it took place. I parked in the North lot and exited from the Facilities Hall with about 50 of my new best friends. One of my new best friends forever tripped me and I will give her the benefit of the doubt that it was done unintentionally, but something deep inside me thinks she did it on purpose. We exploded out onto the parking lot where several found themselves with a car trapped in the parking place, because women had pulled up behind them and parked. And guess these late parkers weren't as quick as the early birds. One woman stood there in the parking lot, mind you she was an older woman, older than me, much older than me, dressed in a tailored pantsuit wailing and flaying her arms above her head. She was madly spinning in a circle yelling...No really....YELLING, S#*t, s%$t, sh#$, sh#&. Wow, maybe she hadn't been in Bible study. Maybe she had been playing basketball in the CLC and was upset that someone blocked her signature dunk! Hmmm.... Probably not. She continued jumping and cussing as I walked by. Luckily, no one had parked behind me, so I began to pull out and I thought the SUV sitting there was being polite and letting me out. Uh, no she was in her car talking to a friend standing by her car and when she saw that my little Camry was going to get ahead of her in exiting the lot, she totally blew off her friend and tried to block me from backing out any further. Only problem, at this point neither one of us could move, but I maneuvered in the tight space and got backed out and in line. At this point I am considering abandoning my car and joining the older lady in a hissy fit. I see the error of my daydream and continue on. A woman gets into her Porsche and begins backing up and is going to crumple my brand new passenger door. I would have let her in if she had been getting into her car when I moved up in line, but no one was in that car when that transpired. Again, I am wondering if I should get out and start a new hissy fit because finally older lady is able to back out. I hurriedly exited onto the feeder road, all kind of swerving and maneuvering going on. Women are pulling out like it is all clear. What the heck? Made it to Post Oak Road and averted more problems. I quickly prayed for the police officers and wondered if they get combat pay. I know they don't, when I worked at the church that invoice came across my desk. Someone should take up a love offering for them. I was able to turn onto N Post Oak Lane which is a major cut through street but I live on it and encountered more crazy, crrraaaaazzzzzzyyyyyyy women. I didn't feel safe until I pulled in and parked my car at home. Whew...what an experience! And I only thought the ladies who gather early for front row seating were aggressive.
Who knew that mob rule means two different things to two entirely different groups. Only it seems that the meanings should be reversed.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Testify and Clarify

I experienced something this morning that I have not experienced in a long time. I slept till 10:00 am! Last night I went to sleep around 8:30 pm. If the old lady in me hadn't kicked in, I think I could have slept till noon, but stuff started hurting and that is what woke me up.

We drove up and back to Arlington yesterday for Gene Brooks funeral, Peggy Bain's father. It was such a wonderful service because PeePaw was such a wonderful man. Someone wrote on Facebook to Peggy that it is one of the few memorial services that everyone left smiling. What a tribute and what a joy to honor such a gracious and funny man. I knew the apple didn't fall far from the tree, but I have a greater appreciation and love for Peggy as she carries on the legacy of her dad.

This morning it occurs to me that I might need to clear a couple of things up. I have written and been wondering about scripture memorization. Believe me I am all over it and desire to memorize more and to hide the Word in my heart, that my words are acceptable and pleasing to God. It just has seemed like I have encountered numerous individuals who seem to be flaunting their memorization rather than pleasing God with it. My question and thoughts have been, how do you memorize scripture and use this in everyday life without seeming prideful about it. When I question stuff, it may come across as acerbic and sarcastic, but that is not my heart. I am truly trying to understand, how does this work? A couple of weeks ago at Tuesday Night Bible study with Beth Moore, I saw the answer. She quoted several verses from memory, but instead of announcing she has memorized this verse, she easily shares it. I also love that she has us look at verses throughout the study and we are probably looking at verses that she has memorized but seeing the words helps the Word come alive to visual learners like me.

And weird prayer time. Y'all sometimes that is exactly what it can be. Years ago at a women's retreat, our table totally misunderstood the instructions of our table prayer time. The prayer time was getting stranger and weirder by the moment and several of us were rather uncomfortable in the direction this activity was taking. The leader of the retreat walked by and I asked her if we were doing the correct thing. Of course we weren't and she made us start all over again to do it correctly. Which made the whole experience weirder and weirder. Thus that is how I came up with the term weird prayer time.

I have not received any emails or comments that have disagreed with anything written. In fact, I have received many emails and comments affirming what I have written and pondered over. But I do not want to offend anyone or have anyone misconstrue what I have expressed. It may seem strange coming from me, but memorizing God's Word and Prayer are not activities that should be bantered about lightly. I feel this now more especially as I have been involved with Community Bible Study and our studying the Divided Kingdoms. Just seeing how truly spectacular Solomon's temple dedicated to the Lord was and studying how Solomon slipped away from the things of God little by little has reinforced my belief that we simply do not honor God with what He has given us to love and please Him. Corporate prayer is not another form of announcements or the way to quiet a group. We shouldn't use prayer to re-set a stage or give time for the next thing to happen. Knowing and loving scripture that we have hidden in our heart is not just another way to teach a class, write a book, seek speaking engagments, seem more spiritual or continually announce achievements in this arena. And I don't want to get legalistic about prayer and scripture, just honoring them and the sacredness that comes from them. When I was a kid somehow I got the idea that if I threw my Bible that I would hurt my parents and church. One day my mom took me aside and said, when you throw your Bible across the room, it doesn't hurt me or the church, but you are dishonoring God and the great price He paid by sending Jesus to die for our sins. That little talk has never left me and I guess when I see God's stuff being thrown around for other intentions than what it was meant for, I think we are dishonoring God. We should pray cause we really want to listen to Him and talk with Him. Memorizing His Word is because we love Him and want to know Him and out of the overflow of speaking with Him and knowing what He says should be an overflow of a grateful heart full of His love.

Thanks for reading this long post. I appreciate your patience with me as I learn about and love God. My desire is to be like Psalm 92 fruitful and useful in old age.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Friends Make Weird Prayer Time Go So Much Better

****I need to get pictures of Cynthia, Dana, Marcia and Denise. Also Linda S because she would so fit right in with this, but she is serving the Lord with the students. She probably needs a lot of weird prayer time! :) ***********

We had weird prayer time in Sunday School this morning. Those in charge play the prayer card because it seems they are fearful of letting people just sit and talk. Tons of ministry gets done in those kind of moments too. Well, it wasn't weird today but that is what I call it when the teacher finishes the lesson early or it happens at retreats and special events. That is when I really don't like weird prayer time because you've been forced to sit with people you don't know well under the guise of getting to know one another and then you are asked to share and pray about things that only those closest to you know or may know about. My ace in the hole at one of those awkward table talk group prayer things is, I am fearful of small group prayer time and that lets me off the hook of having to drag up something meaningful to share. Now I am not saying God doesn't use weird prayer time, He does, but it is such a slam dunk ending to an event anymore that the wonder and anticipation has left the building on this one. It is also my observation over the years that those who "make" us have weird prayer time usually don't participate in it. I'm just saying.

OK back to this morning.... anyway, great lesson by Carole Lewis, but she ended early and then weird prayer time. Most of the time our table doesn't pray together at these scripted times but we do share things going on in life, the majority of us are friends and have known one another for some time, and we use this time to learn about the happenings in lives so that we can pray during the week. People are so busy and when an opportunity for relative quiet is made available, we jump on that opportunity to hear the heart of the matter. Since we had a couple of newbies at the table today, we prayed. We were praising God for the news on Joan Brunson, we prayed for our friend Peggy in Ft Worth this weekend, we prayed for one another, we prayed for our Sunday School teacher and family but almost everyone who prayed this morning at our table, thanked God for friendship. Friendships that help bear the burdens, friendships with those who have our back, friendships that have survived years with spotty contact and now we see one another on a regular basis in this season of life, friendships that are more than hugs and pats but deep down caring, loving, praying and crying together in life.

After class I really began to ponder those praises and thanksgivings for friends. I have some of the best friends and I regularly thank God for them cause they are friends by grace. I do not deserve such wonderful people. Years ago when I taught Sunday School or led a Bible study, I think about those who desired to have good friends and friendship but regrettably and at then end of it, they would rather collect injustices and slights. They would rather mull and punish rather than letting go of those hurts and opening themselves up to the delightful that sometimes comes with a few pebbles mixed in.

Our lesson this morning was on hope. Carole quoted one verse that has carried me through a lot of tough times, "I would have despaired if I had not believed I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Psalm 27:13 The goodness of the Lord in His Gracious Character so many times has come through friends who let His gracious character live through them in the land of the living.

I am a horrible Christian because I do not know the real words to Friends are Friends Forever but I do know the lyrics that Mildred and Gertrude used at a women's retreat and friendship was the theme.

Friends are friends forever, so don't get bored with them.
A friend won't throw you in a river just to see if you can swim.
Oh it's hard to say no to the invite of let's go.
A lifetime's not too long to live as friends....

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sales, Sails and Storms

Oh Academy, how I love you. Let me count the ways... This morning after working out I dropped by the friendly Academy store, just to do a look see. Not only did I have a good look see, I hit pay dirt on bargains, mostly for Roy. There on the on sale racks were the cargo shorts he likes marked down to $2.88 and t-shirts for $4.88. I found a pair of capris for me, $4.88 and a pink Astro cap for $2.88. I might just wear that little hat even if the Astros are horrible this year. OK, I didn't buy the hat to support the team, I may be able to wear it if I keep growing my hair out a little longer. Then when the coolish temperatures continue, I can wear my little pink hat in Mustang Sally and not look like a boy. A couple of weeks ago I hit pay dirt at The Nord. Everything I bought had been marked down twice and I stayed below my budget of $200.00. I did take a list and held to it mostly, but dang if there wasn't the cutest pair of pajamas that called out to me. So I celebrated the find and bought them.

Several months ago I blogged on celebrating, because sometimes we forget to do that in the midst of difficult days. Last night a friend and I had dinner. With everything that is going on in both of our lives, but especially hers, to make the time to catch up was certainly a cause to celebrate. While having dinner, we did partially celebrate her birthday that happened to be in August. We have been able to meet for several dinners, but I wanted to hold off bringing her gifts because I thought it would diminish the celebration when we actually go to the birthday dinner place. But we needed to be joyous and celebratory, what better way to celebrate than to honor her. We had great fun and calm in the midst of our particular storms.

Peggy's father died early Wednesday morning. The family has sensed that his time to leave the earth and go to heaven was imminent. She made it back to Arlington to say her last goodbyes until then... Our conversations have more of a serious tone to them this week, but we have still been able to celebrate her dad and the legacy he has left in so many lives. She texted me Thursday morning to see if I was going to go to Bible study without her. Yes, but not to the very first part. We get tickled over a couple of things that happen and I can't endure the time without Peggy there. Our laughing together through texting celebrated that life continues and we honored her dad in that laughter.

There are other friends Dana, Marcia, Denise, who are enduring difficult days. Roy walks through this time of life, along with his brothers and sister in laws, wrapping up the finality of their mother's life. The work has been hard and really very little time has been taken to deal with the emotions of her death. The realization of being without their parents hasn't taken hold yet. But these friends and family find small moments to celebrate something, anything. Stormy times off and on from the horizon.

I am re-reading today, the storm accounts in Matt 8, Mark 4 and Luke 8. Jesus fast asleep in the boat, storm comes up, disciples worried and cry out to him, Jesus rebukes the wind and the waves, the storm ceases. Until today, I had never noticed a particular thing in this account. The wind and the waves, the rain and the storm didn't wake Jesus. He slept through all that but He heard the voices of His disciples crying out. He heard them in the midst of that raging noise. We can be so sure that He hears us when we cry out to Him. He hears us crying to Him in our storms, no matter what kind of storm we are experiencing.

Last Thursday after Bible study and lunch, I drove out to Champion Toyota to pick up our license plates. I-45 was full of traffic storms. Too much lane changing and indecision going on the Pierce Elevated. In all that traffic storm, deep in my spirit I heard, be alert, avoid the trouble up ahead for you, pay attention. So you know I followed the lead of that still small voice. I was on point and just as I was coming up to the Hobby Airport area, I heard in my spirit again, this is it. At that moment a truck with all matter of poles and ladders protruding out the end of the pickup bed. made a tight move to get in front of me. In front of him, there was another truck and a big black bucket or two sailed out of the back of the truck causing the truck in front of me to swerve and brake. I begin furiously braking and the rear of the car is sliding like we are going to make a circle. It was only me, I guess I am saying we cause I might have been thinking, Jesus Take the Wheel. In back of me was a big ol' truck, braking hard just like the rest of us. In all that screeching of tires I cried out to the Lord and He heard my cry. I didn't want to get smashed in between trucks. And dang it, it is a brand new car that we worked so hard to save for to be able to pay for it without car payments. NO ONE hit anything or anyone. The cars in the other lane swerving to avoid the buckets didn't hit anything. Me and trucks stopped within inches of one another. Believe me, when I got home I celebrated my traveler's mercies and took a long nap.

I don't know what storms might be raging in your life right now, but it is true, there is peace in the midst of the storm and Jesus hears our cries above all the noise we find ourselves in. I have a feeling I may have created a small storm here on the home front because Roy wants to go to more Academy's to find more great deals on cargo shorts. Oh may we find enough on our first Academy stop.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I'll Take My Chances

The other night I was reading and had the TV on as background noise. I heard something that got my attention and couldn't believe everything I was hearing about this drug to help you stop smoking, Chantix. Below are the possible side effects.

Important Safety Information
Some people have had changes in behavior, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal thoughts or actions while using CHANTIX to help them quit smoking. Some people had these symptoms when they began taking CHANTIX, and others developed them after several weeks of treatment or after stopping CHANTIX. If you, your family, or caregiver notice agitation, hostility, depression, or changes in behavior, thinking, or mood that are not typical for you, or you develop suicidal thoughts or actions, anxiety, panic, aggression, anger, mania, abnormal sensations, hallucinations, paranoia, or confusion, stop taking CHANTIX and call your doctor right away. Also tell your doctor about any history of depression or other mental health problems before taking CHANTIX, as these symptoms may worsen while taking CHANTIX.
Some people can have serious skin reactions while taking CHANTIX, some of which can become life-threatening. These can include rash, swelling, redness, and peeling of the skin. Some people can have allergic reactions to CHANTIX, some of which can be life-threatening and include: swelling of the face, mouth, and throat that can cause trouble breathing. If you have these symptoms or have a rash with peeling skin or blisters in your mouth, stop taking CHANTIX and get medical attention right away.
The most common side effects include nausea (30%), sleep problems, constipation, gas, and/or vomiting. If you have side effects that bother you or don’t go away, tell your doctor.
You may have trouble sleeping, vivid, unusual, or strange dreams while taking CHANTIX. Use caution driving or operating machinery until you know how CHANTIX may affect you.
CHANTIX should not be taken with other quit-smoking products. You may need a lower dose of CHANTIX if you have kidney problems or get dialysis.
Before starting CHANTIX, tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or if you take insulin, asthma medicines, or blood thinners. Medicines like these may work differently when you quit smoking.
CHANTIX is a prescription medicine to help adults 18 and over stop smoking. You may benefit from quit-smoking support programs and/or counseling during your quit attempt. It’s possible that you might slip-up and smoke while taking CHANTIX. If you do, you can stay on CHANTIX and keep trying to quit.

I don't know, but I think I would rather take my chances going cold turkey or just keep on smoking.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Fall Y'all!

Happy Fall Y'all! It will officially be fall at 4:18 but I will probably be getting ready for Bible study then, thus the early greeting. I won this beautiful fall plaque at Bunko the other night. When I got home from playing, I put it on my front door and have been wishing Happy Fall to all my neighbors along our hallway since.

I have some pictures from the weekend. I had thought about doing some before and after pictures but decided just to post after pictures, such as they are. Something that so saddened me while doing all this cleaning is the fact even in death my mother in law didn't have a voice. Her pictures from high school and early married life shows a woman with very few smiles. As we cleaned out drawer after drawer of ministry magazines and her notes from sermons and classes, she never made a personal note on anything. Sometimes I hear something and as I am writing it down, I will add wow or at least write something down how this point is effecting me. No such notes in her Bibles. Just copious note taking. She seemed to like teachings and sermons that had action or steps to them. We were surprised that as close as Jack and Rosemary were that their cards to one another didn't reflect that in their own words. They chose the card to do the talking, they didn't add their voice to them. Mostly all cards were signed Love, Rosemary or Love, Jack. I happened upon her workbook from the Bible study Breaking Free. Since that is such a powerful Bible study, we hesitated to open the workbook but Roy wanted to see if he would gain anymore insight into his mom. She only answered the questions directly related to a verse. Not one time did she answer or use a code answer for the application and personal reflection questions. I did find it interesting that I found some little booklet type things that one might see at the check out in the grocery store in her bathroom. One was how to change your personality and the other was helpful hints for dealing with clutter. She also has several landscaping books and we found 6 or 7 catalogues complete with business cards from Pennsylvania House and Ethan Allen. Throughout the house are tapes and books all dealing with nutrition, health, self help and the like. There were a couple of miracle prayer cloths from several well know TV evangelists.

Nothing really is there that says who she is, but we saw who she wanted to become. I do know that Rosemary didn't get played. She was careful with money and investments. She knew things about her sons and their families. She may not have said it much out loud, but if given the time, she did have a voice and opinions of family, the world and God. Rosemary and I got along, there really wasn't too many conversations between us. She and Roy had great conversations in person and on their Sunday night phone calls. I don't ever remember her laughing or smiling too much and of course my personality is the exact opposite of hers. So if I responded with a funny, she would look at me and say, What? I'd respond, oh I am just being funny. Sometimes she would respond back to me, why?

Roy's father was always on the move, wanting to learn new things and taking up all kinds of hobbies and interests. Almost all the collectible stuff in the home is from him and his passing interests. You hear a lot of his voice in the things he left behind. Maybe that is why Rosemary couldn't bear to part with anyone thing that had to do with Jack.

This pic is of Roy eating ice cream after our fabulous dinner at Outback. We were upgraded to a suite at the Holiday Inn Express. Who knew that HIE had suites?!? Of course staying at a Holiday Inn Express is supposed to make you smarter. I think I got dumber. Saturday morning I told Roy that there wasn't very much hot water. Then I waxed poetic and all spiritual that this time last year we didn't have electricity or hot water because of Ike. When I found out that Roy had tons of hot water and there hadn't been any problem with the plumbing at all, but the problem was with me and my inability to read instructions. Let's just say, all that poetic and spiritual stuff went out the door soon after that.
Here is the kitchen with a bunch of dishes and the like on the counters. There is still a bunch of dishes in the cupboards.

This bookcase looked like it had vomited its contents all over the floor before I began organizing around it. When Roy saw the living room for the first time on Friday night, he looked so overwhelmed and sad. Peggy thought he might just cry and so did I. On Saturday I began arranging stuff in some semblance of order. All that work at the church trained me to organize with a big picture and end in mind.

This bookcase also is more organized than when we found it. I decided all the books needed to be in one place. This is only the beginning of the books. There were a lot more before we finished.

Peggy will vouch that this is totally a 100% better than what she saw on Friday night. Of course I did not add the office picture or any of the bedrooms. The realtor is having an estate sale person contact us soon with info and dates.

Monday, September 21, 2009

May All Who Come Behind Us Find Us Faithful

Years ago, we sang a song in choir, Find Us Faithful. Here are some of lyrics of the song.

We're pilgrims on the journey Of the narrow road And those who've gone before us line the way Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace
Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses Let us run the race not only for the prize
And our children sift through all we've left behind May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover

Of course I always laughed at the line above that is bold and italiced. Those around me are thinking of finding wonderful letters or things that give a clue to something about their loved one. My thoughts always turned to, "what the heck was dad thinking when he saved this?" I keep seeing in my mind's eye, amusment from those who have to go through all the junk and dare I say crap that one accumulates in life. You know those kind of weird and offbeat kind of thoughts.

My mother in law was taken to the hospital in January and she never returned home. That got me to thinking, not only should one take care of their eternal plans, have a valid will, all necessary instructions for burial and the like, but one's personal junk should be left in order. Cause you never know who and how many will be going through your stuff. I think Peggy and I just made a vow once we are able to move after receiving the news of untimely demise, to go with haste to the other ones home and throw away all underwear. No need to be laughing about what one has been wearing or at one time wore.

This weekend I was able to have just that type of experience as I helped Roy clean out his mother's bedroom and bathroom. No, we didn't find anything kinky but we did find the weird. Roy and I threw out 20 bags of trash into the dumpster just from those rooms. We barely touched Roy's fathers side of the bathroom.

I will write a longer post on this but right now I am busy cleaning out my own drawers. In light of the recent cleaning out the house of my mother in law, I became aware that I don't want to have a bunch of junk around to amuse the cleaner outers around here. Already I know I have way too many V-5 Precise pens, extra fine and un-used journals coming out of the wazoo. The literary journals are getting thrown out. They only mean something to me and I doubt I ever re-read any one of them. The only magazine I keep all the copies of is The Oxford American. I do go back and re-read those. After seeing how many never used eye shadows and blushes from Estee Lauder bonus time in her drawer, I think I may need to go through my bonus makeup I have received and not used in the past few years. This weekend clearly effected Roy and his desire to keep old magazines from different ministries. I believe we will be seeing a huge trash bag of those going out to the dumpster. I cannot tell you how glad this makes me. We have had several "discussions" about this. For goodness sake, he doesn't ever read his legal journals that come. He claims he will read them for CLE credit, but he never does. I pitch them before he even sees them and not once, no NOT once has he ever inquired about them.

So you will just have to wait for the next exciting post of our weekend in Shreveport and some fun things that happened before we left.

I just found a box of love letters from an old high school boyfriend. Yep, those are defiantly heading for the trash.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Word is Alive and Active

Just wanted to do a quick update before running over to the Nord. It is triple points time and I have a few things on my list to look at and I am sticking to my list.

This has been an awesome week of CBS Bible study homework, Pastor Gregg's sermon on Sunday and Beth Moore last night. There are so many things to meditate upon and to let Jesus disclose Himself to me. There is so much from last night but two things are prominent:

  • We will never live in the Spirit on our own, we have to make that decision. We will default to the flesh every time.

I think about our team workout and lessons when I played tennis. Our pros never let us goof around during this time. They also played at their level not ours when teaching. They were attempting to train us not to fall into our default setting of where we were comfortable on the court. They wanted us to hit the correct shot and be at the right place on the court and with enough practice, the correct and most victorious way to play tennis would become our default setting. I want to make the correct decision to walk in the spirit not in the flesh. Flesh, not the place for victory.

  • We are constantly unraveling the rainbow instead of beholding the beauty, beholding the moment.

There are times I forget to behold the beauty of the moment. I would rather dissect it like an episode of Seinfeld... when Jerry would ask for the voice inflection in a conversation...did she say, Oh, I forgot about Jerry or ohhhhh, I for-got a-bout Jer-rrrryyy.

The story Beth read at the end was riveting! I have often wondered what it would have been like for John to know Jesus so well when Jesus walked on the earth and then seeing Him in all His Glory in Revelation.

Monday night was Bunko and we all had a blast. I love that group of friends and the nuances and interactions with deep love and joy we have with one another. Tonight is choir. Fun and worship mixed in with hard work. It is the best.

This morning in my prayer time, I brought a whole lot of friends to the throne of God. There are so many going through a difficult path. I thought of my friends when I read this devo from Charles Swindoll this morning and I am going to put it here in case there are others who are needing peace. It is lengthy but so worth the read.

September 16, 2009
Peace . . . in Spite of Panic by Charles R. Swindoll
Isaiah 26:3-4
I invite you to focus your full attention on one of the rarest of all virtues. It is a virtue that everybody pursues, but very few possess on a regular basis. I'm referring to the often-longed-for but seldom-found virtue of peace.

Peace---something that is needed between nations just as badly as it is needed between neighbors. We are a warring people. Deep down underneath our placid plastic cover we are fighters. Most people don't live at peace with themselves, so it stands to reason we don't live peacefully with others. We are basically critical and intolerant. We are in an endless wrestling match with insecurity, a lack of confidence, a struggle with a purpose and place in life, and the pursuit of freedom from worry and anxiety. That's true among Christians as well as non-Christians. How very few live a life that is calm, deliberate, free from anxiety.
Tucked away in the twenty-sixth chapter of Isaiah are two verses we need to dust off every once in a while---verses 3 and 4.

I'd like you to take note not only of what these verses are saying, but also of what they mean to you personally. I want to draw my remarks from the colorful Hebrew language, which is the original text of Isaiah 26:3-4. Remember, the prophet is not writing about international peace. He's talking about an individual at peace with himself, with God, and with others. Let's take a closer look at those two verses.
The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,Because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever,For in GOD the LORD , we have an everlasting Rock. (Isaiah 26:3-4)
Steadfast is from a term that means "to lean, to rest, to support." It's the idea of being sustained as a result of leaning on something supporting you. The words "of mind" come from one verb that means "to frame" or "to fashion, to form." In the original Hebrew language, this particular construction has the idea of "a frame of mind."

If you put the two thoughts together, they convey this: "A frame of mind that is receiving support from leaning and therefore is being sustained." That brings us to the main verb, will keep. The term means "to guard from danger, to watch over." It is so rendered in Isaiah 42:6.
The frame of mind that is being supported as a result of leaning: You, Lord, will watch over with "shalom, shalom." Not literally "perfect peace," but "peace, peace." In the Hebrew, a term was repeated for emphasis. So here the idea is of an unending security, a sense of uninterrupted, perpetual rest and calmness. It doesn't come from some human being. According to the prophet's words, it comes from the God upon whom the person leans.

How does God know when to give us that rest? Well, it says in verse 3, because we trust in Him. In the Arabic (occasionally closely related to the Hebrew), the term for trust has a very picturesque meaning: "to throw one's self down upon one's face."
I think of a trampoline when I think of that imagery. I think of jumping up and down and letting all of my weight fall in an almost relaxed manner on a trampoline. You can just feel yourself bouncing off that stretched-out piece of thick vinyl.

The thought here is that you abandon all other crutches you could lean on, and place all of your anxiety, all of your being, and all of your circumstances on the only One who can support you.
Can He support? Good question. Read on . . . it says that He is an everlasting Rock. Now it would hurt us to fall on a large, solid rock. But it's not the idea of falling you must remember. It's the idea of leaning. It's the thought of leaning on something that will be perpetually supportive, solid enough to sustain your weight.
Putting all the above together, the paraphrase would read like this: "A frame of mind that is receiving support from leaning and, therefore, is being sustained, You, Lord, will watch over with infinite calm. Because he leans fully and relies upon You and none other, You, Lord God, are the everlasting support."

This is the scene of a tranquil, restful mind in spite of circumstances. What a marvelous, limitless promise!
I recently came across Isaiah 26:3-4 and am I glad I did! It's been a sustaining force and source of strength in my own life, particularly during a recent week I endured. What a week! I hardly know how to describe it. There won't be another like it. (Hear that, Lord?) Maybe I should pray, Let there be no other! There were disappointments. There were jolts. There were surprises. There were family illnesses. There were constant demands.
But behind the scenes . . . there was a great measure of peace in my heart. Yes, there were times when I became anxious. Three or four times I was really anxious, but for the most part, when I claimed the truth and entered into a personal experience of verses 3 and 4, there was a distinct difference. When I said, "Lord, I consciously now lean on You and abandon all of my strength for this situation," He held me up.

This is not merely print from a page in the Bible. This is a biblical principle that works in the trenches of life. It begs to be applied. It reaches out from the page with long arms and stretching hands, saying, "Take me. I'm yours, Christian, please take hold of me. You have to claim me." That's what I want you to do as a result of reading this Scripture passage and today's devotional.
This devotional is part one in a four-part series.

Excerpted from Stress Fractures, copyright © 1990 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Monday, September 14, 2009

It Just Ain't Right

It just ain't right. There is too much territorial movement happening and I feel that maybe, just maybe, I am the only one paying the price. What price, precious, precious sleep. Roy and I finally got smart several years ago and bought a king size bed. Two people over 6' tall should not try to share a queen bed, especially if one of us, me, hates to have her feet touched during the night. I also don't like them to be touched in a swimming pool. Getting a pedicure doesn't seem to have a phobia attached to my feet. But of course, I digress. When Tiff the Wonder Dog was alive, she slept smack dab in the middle in between us and maybe a tad closer to Roy than me. Tiff was in love with Roy and tolerated me. If I got up in the night to go to the necessitarium, I would return to Tiff being in my place in bed. I'd tell her that I would give up my right of sleeping in that bed if she Tiff, would perform all duties that comes with being Mrs. Monarch. Didn't seem to move her.

Now we have Buddy who is somewhat consistent in her nightly routines but will throw in a difficult night now and then just to see if we are paying attention. Buddy sleeps right by me. Doesn't want to have anything to do with Roy. She does do a look see on him checking out where he is. Buddy is more particular to how she sleeps between us. My arm and the pillow have to be arranged correctly or she will make the trip several times until we've adjusted to her full comfort. She sleeps on my arm or beside my arm. Of course I can't stay in that position for the whole night, so eventually I turn over. That is when she readjusts and puts her rear end up against my back and my space on the bed is drastically reduced throughout the night. Roy must get to feeling left out because he migrates to my side and soon Roy, Buddy and I are sleeping in a space that would be more comfortable for ONE, me. Except for anytime someone touches my feet, usually Roy and I send them scattering for cover, because I start kicking. It is effective, I get more space on the bed after an episode.

Buddy attacked me a couple of times last week in the night. Don't know if she has a bad dream or she's mad over something that happened during the day. She isn't biblical at all and totally blows off the verse, vengeance is mine, thus sayeth the Lord. Usually when an attack happens she is quickly banished from the bedroom. So far she has just attacked my arm and hand, but I get a little nervous thinking about all her little toys whose faces have been ripped off.

Look at her, she has just awakened from her mid morning late nap.
She still has the sleepies in her eyes.

Take this look and add big eyes and that is what she looks like right before an attack.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Job Was Sick So Long, Till the Flesh Fell Off His Bones

First off, I really appreciate the comments and feedback from my last post. Thanks CourtneyS for mentioning Eulalia because I instantly had the picture of what overflow from the heart looks like. And thanks anonymous for your input on how memorizing scripture is to minister to us. In Sunday School today as the teacher was referring to different verses, she knew them by memory and you could tell that knowing them so blessed and ministered to her but I never opened my Bible to look at those verses she referred to and I am such a visual person. Peggy and I concluded that memorizing scripture, tons and tons of it, should probably not be talked about to others, so a natural overflow happens. The Word ministers and you're not standing there thinking, oh this must be part of the 1000 verses he/she are trying to memorize this year.

OK, so I did use some of the announcement time in Sunday School, since it went on much longer than usual, to try and find a verse in Job that I had seen this week. Job is a funny book and I think I have more trouble reading it, more than the book of Revelation. It's like, you shouldn't read anything that the three friends said to Job since God chastises them at the end for what they said. So, I find myself just reading Job's replies and then what God says. Anyone else think these kind of thoughts?

Anyway, I found the verses I was looking for. These verses would have been great to know and have memorized as a kid for not cleaning my plate. I tried to share this verse with Carole Lewis, National Director for First Place for Health, this morning. I think it would be a great verse to know in First Place. But, I am going to memorize these verses for such a time as needed. You know those times, table talk, small group sharing, and the like, especially when you aren't sitting with friends or people who should know better than always believe what your sharing.

Is tasteless food eaten without salt or is there flavor in the white of an egg? I refuse to touch it; such food makes me ill. Job 6:6-7

Wouldn't it be fun just to answer some deep, deep theology question with verse 6?

Learned Person: So I believe that Calvin would back me up on this and of course we are all familiar with what happened on the plain of Dura.

Me: ah yes, of course. It is written, is tasteless food eaten without salt or is there flavor in the white of an egg? Why do the birds go on singing, why do these eyes of mine cry? Don't they know it's the end of the world and it ended when you said goodbye.

Learned Person: oh yes of course because deep calls to deep at the sound of Thy water falls and we should not forget His benefits.

Me: I wake up in the morning and I wonder why everything's not the same as it was. No I can't understand, no I can't understand why life goes on the way it does. I refuse to touch it; such food makes me ill.

Only in my imagination, that is running away with me, would any of this happen. But hey, we need to dream and have BHAG type of goals.

Since there are all kinds of lyrical references in this post, I cannot sign off without leaving you with this. I have written that I end my workout with the song, I'm Not Tired Yet. Well, the second to last song I listen to is this

Job was sick so long till the flesh fell off his bones. You know his wife, cattle and his children, everything he had was gone. But Job in his despair, he knew that God still cares and He may not come when you want Him, but He's right on time, right on time.

You can't hurry God. No, you just have to wait. No you can't hurry God, you just have to wait. Oh oh, you can't hurry God, you just have to wait. He may not come when you want Him, but He's right on time, right on time.

Actually, the song is wrong. He still had his wife, she said curse God and die. Job responded very piously and thoughtfully to her, is tasteless food eaten without salt, or is there flavor in the white of an egg?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Just Some Thoughts, Both Silly and Pensive

**** I have loved your responses and I have much to think about. I want to clear one thing up, I am all for memorizing scripture and knowing it to share. I am more thinking about those who make sure you know that they are memorizing lots and lots of scripture, complete books and I wonder how they might be more effective if they didn't make the big deal about how much they are memorizing and let the overflow be the fruit.*****

It is a gray, overcast day in Houston. By the looks of it others are getting rain and our area of town is just experiencing the atmosphere of rain. I had great plans to getting so much accomplished this morning and so far getting into a new book has been my only accomplishment. We had thought about going to Shreveport this weekend, but Roy needs to do some catch up around here with rest and with stuff at the office. So, he is at the office today but he totally vegged out on the couch last night til about 1:00 am. He has needed to just kick back. Although when this happens, I will need to do an inventory of the pantry later today. I'll think there are pretzels to be had, but just like Sherman going through the South, Roy goes through snack items when his favorite shows are on and he has taken to the couch.

We decided to go to Lupe's for our anniversary dinner. Thursday evening I picked Roy up from the office and we went to Lupe's on 59. He had steak and I had chicken. It was all so delicious. We had a wonderful time talking about things, reminiscing about things and talking through things. Roy was in such a good mood, he even let me take home leftovers, which included some of my chicken. He never lets leftover chicken come through the door. We even stopped at Central Market after dinner...with leftover chicken in the car. Wow, that is so not Roy. Love Central Market. We did some damage there getting all kinds of good stuff, even healthy stuff.

Thursday morning I went to Bible study in Katy with Peggy. Even had my homework done and so did she. Our core group seems very friendly and everyone seemed eager to answer questions or make some thoughtful comments. Before we go to our small group, we gather to sing a couple of songs and have a devotion type thing. I still kind of had the giggles from Wednesday night. Peggy, Marcia and I got tickled over something silly and then the March of the Tin Solders song didn't help matters. So I got the giggles in praise and worship time Thursday morning. The group of women who lead it are so serious and intent on doing a good job and I so appreciate that, but some of their practices and mannerisms make me laugh. I know it is not a good thing but like I said, it seemed to be a hangover from Wednesday night.

I have something else I have been thinking through. How does something so simple, it seems, take a false kind of effort. Maybe false isn't the term, but staged or unsupported might be. OK, here's the deal, I have heard so many in the past few weeks explain how they are loving God with all their hearts, minds, soul and strength. It is an assignment in Sunday School and we also had a sub one Sunday talk about memorizing scripture. Many answered the assignment by saying, to love God with everything they need to know God's Word, more specifically, to memorize scripture. I'm all for that but how is that lived out? Other than quoting scripture, how does that become an overflow of what is happening on the inside? Seems like those who I know and those who I am just acquainted with in person and from books, who are devotees of massive scripture memorization are those that have that bent of legalistic types. That seems harsh and I don't mean it to be, but I am struggling with the right words and I am also trying to understand, not just give commentary. Other than saying scripture to one's face, I don't know how it all overflows into life, good fruit and living it out rather than just quoting it. How do we live, speak and encourage without just spewing memorized words without compassion to serve others and love God? It is totally understood by me that using scripture to speak to the enemy's temptations and cruel words to us is a given. I see how that works and the overflow from knowing the Word. It seems that God wouldn't want a formalized scripture memorization system that does not spring from a thankful heart and that His desire would be forming His heart within us which transforms our actions. Of course knowing His Word starts all that and His Word aligning our heart and purposes with His is a life long work within us. So someone memorizes the book of Ezekiel, how is quoting that to me going to minister in an ADD addled mind and attention span? Truly I am not writing these words to be critical, I am just trying to learn and understand this whole massive memorizing and quoting thing. I'm not talking about hiding God's Word in our hearts, I am trying to understand how to use this to minister, love and serve the body of Christ and unbelievers.

I hear the laundry calling to me and then I need to go through this summer's clothes and give away the things I did not wear.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

09-09-09 and We Are Doing Fine

Today, 09-09-09 is our 32nd wedding anniversary. Wow! When we picked our wedding date all those years ago, who knew we would get two chances of neat date, month and year alignment. Back in 1999, we had 09-09-99.

Roy and I met while we both worked at Pennzoil. He being an auditor and I worked in the treasury department. My roommate introduced us at a Pennzoil weekly Bible study. Roy and I had a few false starts into finally dating. When he returned from working in Brussels, he took me out to lunch at Charlie's 517. He thought I was the shallowest person he had ever met and I thought he was the most arrogant. But there must have been something because he asked me out to a Daniel Amos concert...way back in the day Christian band, and I already had a date to it. He asked me to a UH football game and although I had plans, I changed them and that small change in plans, changed the rest of my life. Oh I am so happy I did. We had a blast at the football game and we began dating in earnest. We started dating in October, engaged in January and married in September. Two opposite people if there ever was...but after all these years we are more alike and dang if it isn't true, we look more alike too.

Let me tell you, Roy is my hero. He is a man after God's heart. His desire is to walk in love and do good. He takes such good care of me. He loves me like no other. If it is in his power to do so, he would give me the moon if I asked for it. There are times he is rough around the edges but the gentleness of his heart makes those edges a little smoother. He is not a macho type of man, but I wouldn't cross him if I were you. He says all the time, what blesses me, blesses him. I love him so much! I am thrilled that we still love to tease each other. We love to walk hand in hand. We say I love you at the end of almost every phone conversation. And we still listen, maybe not as patient as we should at times, to our boring everyday life stories of dealing with thorn in the side people and situations. We listen, give our opinions trying to help but then do the best thing, pray. We ask each other to pray all the time. In fact I just got off the phone with Roy. He is asking me to pray for a meeting he is organizing at 11:00.

Last night when I came in from Bible study, he was working on his mother's estate and all the problems were just a little overwhelming at the moment. Of course I am full of good news and the Word I heard and received. I knew right off the bat, sharing our first session wasn't going to be the way to go with him. So I listened and helped him with his thoughts that will soon be turning into his actions. I did get to share "drop the ball " and God used it to minister to his spirit. He asked me if I could take him to work in the morning so that he wouldn't have to get up as early to catch the bus. I told him of course... This morning in the elevator Roy looked at me and said this is the first anniversary that I haven't had a card for you. I looked at him and said, too bad I can't say the same thing. Oh, I have a card, it's just that I can never find the one I bought for him. I put it someplace for safe keeping.

Last night at the Revelation Bible study, Beth challenged us to take the next 10 weeks and ask Jesus to reveal Himself to us everyday and then journal it. It could be through a song, a sermon, book, word, sunrise, sunset...a person, a leaf...whatever. This morning on our 32nd anniversary Jesus revealed Himself to me through the radio, Andy Stanley was talking on staying in love with our spouse for all of our lives and through Facebook, Jerrell Altic's open letter that blows your socks off and blesses at the same time. Jerrell's words so speak from Jesus' heart and faithfulness. Thank you Jesus for revealing your heart and giving me such a great anniversary present.

09-09-09 is starting off just so fine. It is somewhat ironic that tonight Roy will be attending mergers and acquistions scholl at Fulbrightand Jaworski and I will be at choir taking care of the final night of points with Peggy for the choir contest. Roy and I plan to celebrate this weekend.


Like he is even going to read this. He doesn't read my blog.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Walk LIke an Egyptian and Song from the Go Go's

I just realized today I have not been on the computer since early Friday morning. That my friends is a tad unusual for me. I hope you didn't think that my addiction to rosemary bread had done me in. Happy to report I haven't had any since Wednesday when I wrote about it.

This post is going to be way random... I can feel it in my bones. With Roy in Shreveport doing his executor type duties, I worked on the den/closet yesterday. You can actually see the couch in there, but now seeing it, I realize it is so 80's, white with pastel pillows of pink and blue. Can someone name any good couch songs from the 80's, cause this thing is screaming, Good Will or Salvation Army. It's not that I have forgotten this beauty but when Roy has it covered with files, papers, boxes and junk like that, one tends to forget..."don't stop believin" That sounds like it might be an 80's lyric. I am seriously considering loading it up again. Not only did I clear off the couch, I hung three pictures that I have said I would hang for 16 years. This set of pictures is straight out of 1983 and I remember I paid $500.00 for the set. Stupid is as stupid does. I think I need to take pictures so you'll believe me. Be right back.

This is such a deep couch that anyone short will have their legs sticking straight out and not able to touch the floor.

I can't believe I paid so much money for the above. I'm thinking I might even be able to whip this up with what little artistic talent that I have. What can I say, it was the 80's and we wanted to be Yuppies and we were flush with a little bit of money... flush might be an appropriate term to what happened to that money.

Now here is the strangest thing. Yesterday when I was hanging these pictures and yes I know they aren't even, but they are close enough. I am not a perfectionist and I will not be beating myself up over this. Now here is something different than how I usually hang pictures, I actually did some math and got out the tape measure. Just as I was about to hammer in the first nail, a nano second before I do, the people downstairs have just started hanging something on their wall but they make the first hit. Of course I'm responding a beat behind them. Oh my, they are going to think I am knocking on the wall like, stop the hammering. I wait for a few minutes before I begin to hammer in the second nail. Unbelievable, they are again a nano second ahead of me. It wasn't too much later, I heard a little knock at the door. The girl from downstairs was there...not saying I'm sorry, were we disturbing you, but she had a little bit of a fight kick in her. I explained to her what was happening and I had the third picture in hand as I was talking to her. She probably thought, oh great, the old lady is living large in the 80's. It has just now dawned on me, if she is prone to give condo names to people like me, I have just become Pat Benitar to her. Great... Anyway, it all turned out good, well except for the hugely embarrassing 80's thing that is going on around here. Now where are my Joan Collin shoulder pads?

I hated that we had to miss Amy K's birthday party Thursday night. Here is a sign that I knew things were not going well from the old bod... On my way home from Bible study and lunch with Peggy, I could barely keep my eyes open because this terribly heavy weight of exhaustion hit me. In fact when I came home, I threw down my stuff and headed straight for bed. Even after a nap, the tiredness had not lifted. So I had to make the tough decision to stay home.
Thursday, I went to Community Bible Study in Katy. But Nancy, don't you live by the church? Thanks for asking, yes I do, but I am going to the Bible study in Katy because it gives me a chance to learn more about God's Word...hey, I am trying to be all spiritual all up in here, but mainly to spend time with Peggy. Only Peggy didn't make it to the first week. So, I was that alone person only I didn't want anyone to come over and "comfort" me in my aloneness. I did get a person who was concerned, but that's OK. I love answering those questions like are you new to the area? Have you ever studied the Bible before? Is this your first time to attend a Bible study? There is homework involved and for once, so far, I am doing it like you are supposed to do it, thoughtfully and not just skim the passages in question. I have found with Living Proof homework, Beth almost always gives the answer in the next question...but not these Community Bible study folks. Uh, no one told me there were going to be memory verses... I guess I should have known that from all the previous Bible studies I have attended. In our core group, we went around telling something about us. Since what church you attend and denominations aren't to be discussed, I had to kind of get around the fact that I had recently retired from working at a church. So I just said, I'm not able to tell you where I have just recently retired from since it is on the list of things we cannot discuss...then I got all nervous that they might be thinking I had just retired from, God forbid politics or being a pole dancer at some strip club. Of course the second thing that everyone said is, and I'm married to______. I forgot to say Roy as my second thing and got all nervous about that. Maybe they are thinking that Roy doesn't rate to be second mentioned.... he does of course, but I got all muddled thinking about the retired from thing. Then everyone told about their hundreds of children and/or grandchildren... Since we never were able to have kids, I think I have to qualify that I am not going to cry at the drop of the word child or anything like that. These ladies don't have a clue about this or our history, and I didn't want them to be uncomfortable. Thank goodness I didn't trip all over myself and tell them I was sad about it one Christmas for about 15 minutes. Hopefully, they will let me return to the group. I was just kind of happy I had showed up without Peggy being there and I am happy that when I was telling this story to Dena, she made a big to do over that very fact of my showing up without a friend. Thanks Dena, that made my day.
After Bible study, I went to Chicky to get lunch for Gertrude and me. Then she and I ate lunch and giggled and talked for over an hour before making the trip home. Of course you know from a previous paragraph, that is when exhaustion hit me straight up...isn't that a Paula Abdul song?
I haven't been to the Nord in about a month. That is until today. Went to the Bistro for lunch. On Sundays it used to be all quiet and not even busy. The place was hopping! Yesterday I had lunch at Lupe's, just me and my book. On Friday I was at Fu's with a book companion. Not bad eating for Roy to be out of town. He said they have barely made a dent in all the junk at his mom's house. He is bringing home some good stuff but he said there is so much more to do.
I have other stuff I want to write about, but this thing has gone on too long and you'll need time to recover from our lovely 80's room. So until later...peace out.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Seriously, I'm Addicted to This Bread

Seriously, I think I am addicted to the rosemary bread at the Play Grocery store. The love of this bread has overtaken any and all desires of something sweet. No ice cream or lemon cream pie can tempt me like this bread. The bread, I have them slice it, comes soft in the middle with pieces of rosemary all throughout the bread and crusty is so good. I toast it and have tomato and mozzarella sandwiches. I dip it in oil olive or just put some butter on it. Every time I say, only 2 slices but I end up eating 4. I think I could eat the whole loaf in one sitting if I let myself. I know we don't live by bread alone, but I think I could if it was this bread. And if my daily bread was this rosemary bread...I'd give shouts of praise and thanksgiving in between each delicious bite.

Now that I have told you about this bread, please do not be tempted to go to the play grocery store and try it out. Don't get the bread that is found in the bakery in a glass display case and ask for it to be sliced. No, don't even think about warm toasty rosemary bread.

Hi, my name is Nancy and it has been 5 hours since I last had a piece of rosemary bread.