Friday, February 27, 2009

My Friday Evening Report

When I start the day with a Venti Skinny Cinnamon Dolce, you know I am thinking it is going to be a long, long day. It was long and maybe a grande would have seen me through, but the Venti was oh soooo good.

This morning I went to sit with my mom while my dad went to MD Anderson for his appointment. Surprised them by being early. It is non stop people in a hospital which is really good. Who wants to be in a hospital and no staff coming by, it would be worrisome. Several Dr's and nurses came in to ask questions and take vitals. John Young from First Baptist came by and that so pleased my mom. We talked and then he prayed with us before leaving. God's presence filled that room. Mom told him some funny stories and one in particular is worth noting. She is the first person to be a baptized member of Westbury Baptist Church. Since Westbury was a mission church of River Oaks Baptist and because Westbury was meeting in an elementary school at the time, my mom was baptized at River Oaks. The pastor was really, really old and very, very short. Put that with Mom's paralyzing fear of deep water and it could have been a worrisome event. Mom told John I knew he could get me under the water, I just wasn't sure he could get me back up.

There were several times my mom needed help getting to the bathroom or to the portable potty they brought in for her to use. Mom isn't too steady on her feet right now, so I helped her there then she made me turn my back to her and then help her back. Once she arrived in bed she said, thanks for helping me but oh you owe me for so many times of my help when we were potty training you. You've barely even started to pay back that debt. She is funny. I think she is serious.

Hospital gift shops always have great cards.

This morning I so pulled up to the front of St Luke's and valet parked. The parking garage looked to be a huge mess of people trolling for parking spaces. Dad told me I would wait forever to get my car. Not true, it was only a few minutes wait.

I returned home a little before 3:00. Roy is at the college baseball games at Minute Maid Park today and tonight. That is what he wanted for his birthday. He has called a couple of times and he sounds like he is having a great time. Since he won't be home till later, I met Dena for an early dinner at McCormick's and Schmidt's. Oh my, dinner was totally awesome. We both did the surf and turf thing... steak, stuffed lobster, garlic mashed potatoes, carrots and asparagus and creme brulee for $30.00. The lobster was so good and we were trying to decide how far one can go to dig out every bit of lobster from the shell. I was going to twirl that baby around by the tail and let those little pieces fall out on the table, but thought better of it. We almost used spoons. We tried to convince the waitress we needed a second serving to make sure the lobster was really good. Didn't work. Dessert was unbelievably heavenly...just the right crackle of burnt sugar to the soft creamy goody below the surface.

Supremely satisfied with dinner, we went over to My Fit Food. Of course we had just eaten food that could be described as food that makes my clothes not fit. My Fit Food is located next door to Crave Cupcakes and down one store from Starbucks. We decided to go to My Fit Food first before buying cupcakes. Everything looked so good and I bought several selections for Roy and me to try. Then I went next door and got cupcakes for Roy's birthday. We did all that and left the parking lot by 6:20. Don't tell us we don't know how to do this old person stuff really well, and still be back home early.

I hope I can still be awake by the time Roy comes home. I am checking my sweater for any lost flicks of I ate daintily tonight.

Friday Morning

I'm so glad we went to the medical center last night because that trip has taken some of the anxiety about going there today. We got so turned around and we followed Google Maps to the T and that's what happened we ran into a T. University ends at Fannin and the only options are to go right or left. We went left but we should have gone right. We had a nice tour around the area and eventually found St. Luke's. We found one of the few available parking spots in Garage 2 and we headed across the sky walk into the hospital. This morning I am so valet parking.

My mom was getting platelets last night and they gave her a Benedril shot right as we got there. She stayed awake longer than I thought she would. She is in good spirits and ready to be home and done with the hospital for awhile. My dad has made a file folder of everything from the past week so he has her organized. This morning he has an appointment at MD Anderson which is right across the way.

The funny thing about Roy at hospitals or any medical situation is, he gets queasy with the talk of medical procedures or situations. I am opposite, I get queasy if I see medical procedures or situations. I was careful not to watch anything they did with my mom, but there was no way Roy could jump up and run out the door every time a nurse came in and talked about what she was going to do. Roy was getting very pale and I was fanning him. When we got to the car he suggested we stop for ice cream on the way home. It would settle him a bit. We stopped and got a little Chicky shake for him. It did the trick. He was settled and stabilized enough to be able to put gas in my car.

Today is Roy's birthday. He is going to the college baseball thing at Minute Maid Park today or he hopes to. There is a chance he will have to stay and work today. This has been a long week for him at the office and until last night, got home after 9:00 pm each night. I hope he gets to go tomorrow to the games. He loves college baseball. We are going to celebrate his birthday on Sunday.

Well, I better go pick out some books to take with me this morning. I have a feeling my mom will be sleeping most of the time.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Quick Catch Up

Early morning phone call. The ring tone is set as an alarm sound because many times when I get a call from my dad's cell phone, I want to be alert. He and my mom were at St Luke's ER. Her meds didn't work. St Luke's is probably where she should have been taken in the first place except as I have written before my parents think everything even maybe a's cancer. The wait wasn't nearly as long as MD Anderson and she is in her own room. She has seen a Dr from the Dr's office they called yesterday and never heard back from. Mom will be given some platelets to help stop the bleeding and on Saturday morning they will do a procedure. She should be home by Saturday afternoon. This is a temporary measure until they can schedule surgery for her and take care of everything. Whew, what a major relief. This week has been full of drama, most of it unnecessary.

Roy and I are going to grab some dinner then head over to see them. I'll be back tomorrow to stay with my mom while my dad has his appointment at MD Anderson.

I've needed to get to the grocery store and finally made it today. I even have a few meals planned out, well as planned as I can do, for the next few weeks. During the drudgery of shopping I got a phone call from a friend. The trips up and down the aisles were much more pleasant. Except I forgot a couple of things. Maybe Roy will make that trip later this weekend.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lots of Words on a Wednesday

Ash Wednesday and although I have no ashes on my forehead from a palm frond that came from a church service but in a pinch I could use some soot that has accumulated on a candle to mark, uh, to honor Ash Wednesday. Growing up Baptist we neither could confirm nor deny the validity that we should celebrate or commemorate such a day. I mean, 40 days was good for Jesus and being tempted or Noah at sea, but we Baptists already were doing the Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday night thing, we could not be asked to do one thing more. In elementary school days it meant fish sticks on Friday for lunch and that is about all I knew.

When I was a freshman in college I gave up Dr. Pepper for Lent. Just about killed me or so I thought. Yeah, I was being all wild participating in other denomination's celebrations.

Since then Lent hasn't been anything too pressing on my mind. I have used the time to do 40 day books or devotions that leads up to Easter but didn't sacrifice or give anything up. The past four years my brain was occupied with the details of Spring Loaded and not much else.

I have read other blogs and some are giving up blogging or Facebook. I don't feel called to do that, but when I have thought about giving up something for Lent, something that I love, the cookies from Memorial Bakery come to mind. They fit the bill for something sweet, that is if you only eat one cookie. Many days, no problem, one cookie, but then there were other days, stressful days that oh maybe I needed 3-4 to fill the sweet tooth cravings. In reality it isn't a sweet tooth, but a stress tooth that causes me to indulge. Instead of going to the sweetest name I know with my anxiety or concerns,I found myself going to the sweetest iced cookie dough. So, that's it, the cookies from Memorial Bakery. I don't think I will substitute anything for the cookie cause I crave the cookies. It should be that I will be heading straight to the Lord.

On another note, my mom was released from the hospital late last night. She was really tired and worn out. My dad misunderstood some things so they are going to have to find a Dr to help take care of her issues or issue since she doesn't have cancer. Her platelets are up but now her hemoglobin is down, which could cause her to faint or loose her balance. My dad is doing a great job taking care of things. The past few weeks the voice of my therapist Cheryl Simmons has resonated deeply within me, to ask God for wisdom for when I really need to step in and take over. Long history with my father that is water under the bridge but it is a fine line not to be taken in by untruth. It has been some tough leaning in to the Lord days and if I was still feeling a little stressed, a couple of cookies fit the bill.

I listened again to Mark Batterson talk on routine and I'm thinking of hearing it several more times. There is such a great word from the Lord in all that has been spoken. He talks of Moses and I am learning from Moses but also Martha.

Several friends have posted recipes of late and I'm thinking about posting my recipe for Tortilla Soup, the very easy way. It is awesome. I've also wanted to fix poached salmon with dill sauce, but I'll have to wait till next week. This has been a week of late nights for Roy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

All Over the Place Type Thoughts

***** Update*****
My mom will have a partial colonoscopy at 1:00. Seems to me a colonoscopy is an all or nothing type of deal. Anyway, the Dr is going to go in and see what he can find. Hopefully, he will find the place that is causing all the trouble. For once my dad seemed to think there is light at the end of the pun intended.

I am waiting for my dad to call, because I haven't a clue where to find them this morning at MD Anderson. He took my mom back there late yesterday. Her bleeding returned over the weekend. I realized this morning Roy and I are smack dab in the middle of Bible stories. His mother is like the man at the pool, she needs to take up her mat and walk and my mom is the woman with an issue of blood. Believe me, we are asking the Lord for His touch and healing in both situations.

Roy spent the weekend in Shreveport. His mother needs to be moved into a rehab facility by the end of the week. He and his brother Mike spent most of Saturday looking at the choices. Roy's mom is resisting the exercise, so that results in her not walking, which is crucial to her recovery. He returned on Sunday tired. There isn't any time while there for down time and he returns to Houston facing deadlines and projects at the office. I made dinner last night and he didn't even get home until 9:00. He is happily taking dinner for his lunch today and asking me not to be discouraged and be encouraged to continue fixing dinner. Sunday night, after his XEE class, we went to Collina's. At the table next to us sat Cardinal DiNardo and a couple. The Cardinal was not wearing his white collar. Nancy Taylor wrote on her Facebook status that she saw a cardinal on her windowsill so spring is not far away and I wonder if seeing a Cardinal in Collina's means six more weeks of winter? Also, since the Lent season is nearly upon us and in the spirit of Lenten Holy Cards, does a Cardinal beat a Pastor? We saw Pastor Gregg in Collina's a couple of months ago.

Sunday was the last page of the bookstore, but not to worry the series will continue with the multi purpose use of the library and the new "resource" bookstore that will occupy part of the space. There hasn't been much of a public outcry for the loss of the Garden Bookstore, but there has been plenty of private mumblings among the church members. In this case most know public outcry isn't going to do any good, because the decision has been made. I love how God is prompting the church to give and that my friends is truly the way to wage warfare against our enemy, give and love. Two very powerful weapons in the Kingdom of God. I love this quote; "A life of gratitude makes us WHOLE, overwhelms us with LOVE, and moves us to live GENEROUS lives." Erwin McManus

My dad called and they are waiting on the Dr to come talk with them. They will probably do another colonoscopy on my mom to find the source of the bleeding. My mom is in good spirits. She is in one of the ER rooms again. My cousin Becky called right before my dad. She and her husband John are on their way to Florida for a much needed vacation and had a layover in Houston. It was great getting caught up with her.

Guess I will continue on doing stuff around here until I get a call letting me know I am needed elsewhere. I am thinking and reading about storms, Mary and Martha, and Rehoboam and Jeroboam. Yep, my mind is in the whirlwind thinking again. Think my pills have lost their effectiveness... well, that's not totally true. I am more focused but the whirl has come back in my thinking. That means it also comes out in spoken or written form. In the words of George Costanza, Baby, I'm back! Which is totally different from baby's got back or baby back ribs.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Meditations for the A.D.D.

Picking up Roy from the Westin Hotel cost him some money today. There was a line at the Hertz counter and instead of my circling the busy blocks of Hildago, Post Oak, Westheimer and Sage forever, I parked in front of Barnes and Noble and waited for his phone call to come pick him up. I pulled into a space on the front row and seeing that I had the top down, people might assume I would be vacating the parking space. So, I would have to wave and let them know...keep on moving. How distracting! The most natural solution to the problem is to step into the wonderful world of books and book accessories. Even though I have collected Southern fiction for years, I've never been a fan of the "old school" but after several references made toward Walter Pearcy, I needed to see what he is all about. Several weeks ago I bought one of his novels and I've been hooked ever since. This Barnes and Noble had everyone of his novels, so I picked up two, a magazine and a really fun looking journal. I know what you're thinking, another journal I do not need. But it is fun looking! About the time I had paid for everything, Roy called...hey I am thinking God's will and timing. He got home in time to attend XEE at church, but he is dragging butt tired. He and Mike (brother) looked at a lot of rehab places for his mom to move to. Her time is up at the hospital and she hasn't been all too motivated to really start walking again. Roy talked with her and told her she better get motivated. When he told me this I thought, she is probably thinking, oh my goodness, he could unplug me... but she isn't plugged into anything, yet it has to cross her mind.

Buddy and I kept ourselves busy while Roy was gone this weekend. Yesterday, Dena and I had lunch at Lupe's. She got beef tacos al carbon and I got the jalapeno and cilantro chicken. Then we gave each other half in order to get the full culinary juices feeling to our Lupe's experience. After lunch we went next door to Academy and found some work out clothes or they might turn into couch potato clothes, whatever... we found some bargains. We began our search for My Fit Foods or something like that at Shepherd and Westheimer. How hard can it be to find something on that corner when two corners are St. Anne's and an Exxon station. We drove around the Randall's parking lot assuming it would be located in that center. We circled around the block intent on finding some Fit Food, it's frozen and you take it home, when we realized we were oh so close to Empire Cafe...cappuccinos and cake began wooing us to make a right instead of turning left. So much for fit food. We split a slice of Berry White cake. On our way home Dena saw the sign for the fit food but we had so lost interest. Besides how can one go into a place like that and probably have white icing and white chocolate slivers on your chin and discuss eating healthy?

Today I got to have a serendipitous lunch with Dena. I had planned to go to Fu's Garden for some orange chicken after church, but I forgot to bring a book. I decided with no book in hand to go on home and find something there. But Carolyn asked me to go back into the classroom after Sunday School to help Dena get out of a too long of conversation...that is when Dena said, are you going to Fu's? Well I am now, a friend to talk with is much better than reading a book while munching on orange chicken. They seem to always seat us by the large tables where groups of singles or large families from Second are seated. It is so loud, we have to yell to visit. Yep, we were by the big table today but all the big groups were seated elsewhere. I love friendships where you just pick up where you last left off and so Dena and I are never at a loss for words or laughter.

I am going to re listen to my Mark Batterson podcast on routine and this time seated where I can take notes instead of riding a bike at Lifetime. There is so much meat in what he taught. The thought of God is constant, but He is never routine has taken a hold of me. I wonder if Martha's routine was to over do and over produce meals? Jesus wanted to help her get out of the routine. This morning as we were reading Psalm 103 I noticed some verses in Psalm 102: 25-27. The thought is you God are the same and your years have no end. Last night I went back over Exodus 3, the story of Moses and the burning bush. Since Josephus was right there beside the bed, I took a look see to see what the historian had to say. Most shepherds didn't graze their flocks on Mount Sinai because they thought that is where God lived. Moses let his sheep graze there because the pastures were generous with grass since no others came up that way. The NLT starts the story off with the words, One day Moses. One day, doesn't that give hope? Was Moses tired of looking after his father in laws sheep? They weren't even his and all day long it was the back sides of sheep. Was he bored? Had he quit noticing God? Paying attention changed his life. He might have though he was destined to shepherd sheep for the rest of his life. According to Josephus, Moses had quite an exciting life in service for the Pharaoh and now he is being given the opportunity to have an even more exciting and purposeful life in service for I AM.

This is too long so I will wrap it up. I did have this thought today and will leave you with it. Distraction is not a destination. Distractions keep you from arriving at your destination. When we finally arrive, distractions have caused us to arrive tired, poorer, and not likely to listen. A burning bush could be on our big toe and we would never investigate it. We would just kick it away without another thought.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday Surprises

It has just turned to Saturday afternoon. It has been a full morning of cleaning, like mopping the kitchen floor and then attempting to keep Buddy getting in there before the floor dries. I had to scare her with a mop, and truth be told a mop can scare me too, and then putting the vacuum cleaner in a strategic position. Once the floor dried and she was satisfied she had food and water the kitchen held no allure for her. Now she is interested in where I hung some pictures and once she discovers her new window pillow, she will be all into that.

Also the opportunity lends itself to getting rid of stuff that Roy says he will take care of and never does. His Bedouin clutter will no longer roam and has found a final resting place. In about 3 months he will notice it is gone and thank me. A trip to the dumpster is in the future, but not until I get cleaned up. There is no way I would go outside right now looking the way I do, complete with no make-up, scary hair, and mismatching clothes. Speaking of not looking great, casserole lady hasn't been keeping herself up in her classic manner. She doesn't look sick just very disheveled.

I love surprises, well you know good surprises. Not a fan of you wrote a hot check surprise, didn't pay a bill surprise or all your investments have gone south surprises. So, my first surprise was a card, family picture and letter from my friend Mary Madeline St John Whittinghill. We have been friends since high school and what a wonderful effect she has had on my life. During the holidays I wrote several people thanking them for loving and helping me in those early years of walking with Jesus and she was tops on the list. She and Al have a beautiful family with beautiful grandchildren. I loved seeing how her children have grown into adults. So that was total fun and I am going to email her sometime today.

The second surprise was getting a Facebook invitation from my friend Lori in Dothan, Alabama. She and I met online as she emailed First asking about Women's Ministry when I first worked at the church. I gave her Carolyn's email address, but Lori and I kept corresponding and found out we both came off the tennis courts in almost the same way in order to better serve the Body of Christ. We had lived very parallel lives and with both of our husbands being CPA's we thought what are the probabilities? Only God could have brought such a divine appointment. The past several years we kind of lost touch, but Facebook to the rescue!

Yesterday, a wonderful blessing was my mom getting to come home from the hospital. They moved her to a room in the middle of the night, giving us quite a scare when she couldn't be found in the little room in the ER. They have her blood stabilized and she has several appointments next week with Drs. I went over to see them last night at their home and she is in good spirits, happy to be home and knowing the bleeding was not from cancer.

I was able to get a much needed pedicure yesterday at The Nord. Thanks to the King girls and Nordstrom Notes. The last few times I have missed Julia. She usually does mine and we both got caught up. She has been having some health problems and her home was damaged from Ike. It is just now being repaired. After my pedicure, I went to the Bistro for lunch/supper. It was good and I was not disappointed in the least.

Later today I'm going to Lupe's. Ah, yes, got to have a chips and salsa fix now and then.

While working out this week I have listened to some podcasts that have been so encouraging and thought provoking. The podcast has driven me to the Word to find out for myself. I have been so blessed. I mean really, me reading Josephus has to say something. I love how God is constant but He is never routine. I've been listening about shaking up the routine helps us to grow closer to Him. Even in workouts you have to mix it up or your body gets used to the same old, same old and doesn't respond like it once did to the workout. More thoughts on this later, but that is where my meditation has been, especially in Exodus 3 and Moses' reaction to a burning bush.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


No, not the Jack show, I am writing about the last 24 hours of our life. Around 4:00 pm I received a call from my dad letting me know that he and my mom have been in the MD Anderson ER since 5:00 am. She has been having a few health problems and even seen a Dr but things became much worse. No room in the inn for her as they wanted to admit her, so she slept in one of those little rooms in the ER last night. Today she had tests run and we have received good news and troublesome news. The polyps they found are benign, but they are keeping her overnight because her palettes are so low. She will see a hematologist tomorrow. Now she is waiting to see if they can get her in a real room. My mom is in good spirits and my dad is doing well through all of this as well. Roy and I await room information and we will be with them tonight.

Roy is getting ready to head back to Shreveport to check on his mom. She is still in the hospital but is doing well. She is looking forward to being able to walk on her own. This morning, I have been running around town taking care of things for Roy and helping him get stuff ready for his trip.

We are running the gamut in emotions around here but through it all God steadily reminds us He is in control and knows everything. I love that today Lisa P encouraged me again with words from Tuesday night, Thank you Healer and He knows it is scary to be us. I am thankful for everyone who is praying for my mom. My mom tends to fear the worst, well as a matter of fact so does my dad. They had themselves so scared by telling themselves, it is all cancer, every symptom, every thing... I'm reminding them that they don't know the whole story so before things look darkest before the dawn, let's know exactly where we are at. We are in the beginning of the story.

OK, I am a total dork or geek, maybe even a nerd. Yesterday morning I heard on the radio someone reading from the book of I Kings. The story really got my attention. Later in the day I pulled out my ESV study Bible and a couple of commentaries. That was a good start, but I still didn't have all the information. So I asked my walking Bible commentary, Roy. He had taught Prophets and Kings in Precepts and he had some answers, but yet there was something lacking. Frustrated he brought me his copy of Josephus and told me to look it up. Well, I had no clue how to use the book, but knowing he was giving me busy work to keep me out of his hair and he is always of the belief that what you work for in looking up, will stay with you, I took the book. Uh, Roy, that is taking a chance with me... Anyway, I found what I was looking for and my questions were answered complete with little fill in details. A friend called while reading Josephus and she asked what I was doing. Told her, knew it would blow her out of the water. I might read some more this weekend. Love all the history and love even more how God's hand was in it all, the divided kingdom.

I am waiting on Roy to get home. I am going to lovingly microwave our leftovers from Goode Company Barbecue for dinner. Then we'll head out to the hospital.

My 24 has no cliff hangers and no one got shot, well no one to the best of my knowledge.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday Words

Let's face it, I am not the most organized person in the world. Although reading some helpful tips and buying some things at the Container Store are helping my world become a little bit better. Even paying bills has become more efficient and organized until this morning. I was reading and heard from Roy's cell phone a voice that said, message received. I looked at the text and realized I hadn't paid this month's bill. So I got online to do so, I am not organized enough to remember our password and log in information. I grabbed my phone and made a call to customer service. The Lord gave me favor with such a nice representative as I explained that I was an idiot and merely overlooked paying the bill. It was due in that now I am retired and have no idea what the date of a day is time line. She got everything processed and we are good with Sprint. Whew... This afternoon I called Sallie Mae after repeated attempts to access our online account and it would not let me in. Roy took out student loans when he went to law school and because he was self employed during his law school years, we took out some pretty big loans to pay for school and living expenses. Through the years we have paid down a significant amount of the balance. We've also saved up some money and now are going to pay those loans off. You would think getting an amount in these bad financial times would be easy, but it was difficult to get any information out of the representative. I answered ALL the secret questions to verify that I am who I say I am yet no dice on an amount. While talking to her I kept playing around with the online account and finally just as I hung up the phone, the pay off amount appeared. Praise Him! I'll go old school and write a check because I don't know if I will ever get back into that website and I think it was God parting the waters on the Internet for me to get the balance.

I am reading this awesome book, The Attentive Life by Leighton Ford. Actually, I am on the second reading of it. It is that good. I was re-reading about Mary and Martha last night because he used them as an example. The ESV Bible has been my Bible of choice for about a year and was surprise to read this, "Mary has chosen the good portion." Suddenly it all began to make sense, Luke 10. I mean I have no problem understanding Martha at all and I get what Mary is doing, but not the full effect like Martha. Then reading portion and doing Beth's Bible study on inheritance, it all began to make sense. Mary is getting her inheritance listening to Jesus, she is getting HIM. Wow!!! Martha is just getting pulled apart and torn up. Jesus is telling Martha not to live on the circumference of life, merely reducing her activities but telling her to live at the center by refocusing her heart. This is why I am trying to pay attention and not miss the most important things like Martha was just about to do.

This morning was a good workout and I increased my time and level on the bike. Then in strength training, a few more machines were added to my regimen.

Buddy just woke up from her morning nap. She'll probably be up for 20 minutes and then it will be time to start her afternoon nap. I might just join her.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine Vespers

Valentine's Day has come and gone. We kicked it old school and had a simple yet fun day. Roy always hides his Valentine card for me. Usually it is found around breakfast food or Diet Cokes. When the card wasn't in all the usual places, I began searching for it. Roy got home in the afternoon and I let him know I still hadn't found the card. He responded I guess Buddy didn't help me this morning. Of course, the shelve. There it was on the top shelve and the card proudly proclaimed me to be a Proverbs 31 woman. So now I am proud to be a card carrying member of that group. Roy is sad that the Garden Bookstore is closing at church because that is where he always bought his cards and he was thrilled to get this year's card at 75% off. Roy was surprised to receive his card on Valentine's Day. I am notorious for finding a card for him early while the choices are good and then forgetting where I put it.

We did a late lunch at Fu's Garden for our Valentine dinner. I am still in the Orange Flavor Chicken mood and since we went before 4:00 we got the lunch time price. We seemed to be all about celebrating on the cheap this year. After our lunch we went to Macy's in Memorial City. Now here is the kicker, I can go during the week and not be subjected to weekend crowds, but we found a parking place rather quickly so that sealed the deal to stay. We bought towels and some sheets. I think we should all periodically give each other showers on significant anniversaries so that as things wear out, they are replaced and at a party. Just this shower idea alone could be an incentive in keeping marriages from falling apart. Roy is debating getting a memory foam pillow, but I don't know... they didn't feel all that comfortable. I would be interested in getting a pillow that keeps cool during the summer. We left Memorial City and headed to the Play Grocery store for ice cream. By now, the rain is coming down rather hard and sweetie went in the store bought me a French Vanilla in a waffle cone, brought it to me in the car and went back in to buy his pistachio cone. We headed toward home for a quiet Valentine's evening of TV and playing with Buddy. We also folded laundry.

For those of you who think Valentine's is always about romance, surprises and chocolate, it can be, but mainly it's not, I hope you are not disappointed in our old school style of celebrating. There were years we were barely even speaking to one another and we would go all out with gifts, dinners, surprises, faux romantic gestures (remember we were mad at one another) and chocolate. In just a few days we realized we were still aggravated and now a lot poorer trying to do Valentine's dictated by the culture so that we could brag to our friends what we each had done, but we dare not share the tone and tenor of the evening. Once we realized that love is an everyday occurrence and not something to celebrate once a year, we were much happier in life and with each other. We started studying God's love in the Word and what that means, to walk love out daily, walking in love with one another, with our friends, neighbors and family. Walking in God's love is one of the hardest things you'll ever do, but we don't have to do it in our own strength. Walking in God's love is one of the most powerful ways to live life, remember love never fails...God is love, so God never fails. The subject matter of God's love unfortunately gets lumped in with very familiar biblical subjects and well known, but not well studied familiar passages of scripture, like I Corinthians 13. It is worth the time and study and remember God's love is not an emotional feeling, although it can feel that way, it is a decision and a willingness to be obedient to follow the Lord and His Word.

Dena joined Roy and I at the Nord today for lunch and we love it when she does. Her conversation is fun and delightful. We were all in good spirits because our menu selections were perfect and so tasty. Other than me making an appointment to have a pedicure later in the week, none of us shopped. A nap was calling me to come home. Sunday afternoon naps are always the best naps of the week.

I think Valentine's is just about my favorite holiday. Well, it isn't really a holiday, but I love celebrating it. Little Valentine cards are so fun to send and I love giving gifts with a heart being part of the theme. I love to celebrate because it is another day that unbelievers will accept it more willingly to hear of God's love. Hope your Valentine's was 2 sweet 2 B 4 gotten.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Weirded Out!

Strange little happening today. I have been a believer in all type of silly sports superstitions, wearing the same outfit if you're winning, lucky underwear, not stepping on the court lines when walking onto a tennis court for a match and various and other sundry things. I have never been afraid of Friday the 13th and even after today, I am still not a believer.

This morning I had a haircut, Target and Border's out in Sugarland. I stopped in at Town and Country too. The morning started foggy, which turned to mist and soon all this developed into much needed rain. No matter where I was I never heard any thunder or saw any lightning. Well, that is until I got home. I pulled in and had popped the trunk but before getting out of the car I decided to look at my emails before getting out. So the car door was open and there was this huge flash. I began counting, a thousand and..... BOOM!!! Lightning and thunder out of no where. I so shut that car door and set there a few minutes deciding whether to get on in or sit in the car. Since I have a convertible, it is not safe from lightning like regular cars. I made the decision to get my few little packages and pray, pray, pray to get across the lot and into the safety of the hall. I quoted the song to the Lord, you tell lightning bolts where to go...and I asked they would not come near me. The skies opened up after I got in the door and in the 30 minutes of rain I only heard a faint bit of thunder off in the distance.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thursday-Another Workout Day

I keep forgetting to load my pictures onto the computer. So today I finally did and here is a mish mash of what has been going on in life. But before the pictures I think this morning may have been a first, I went into Target and came out without buying anything. Boxed Diet Cokes of 8 are on sale and of course Target never has them on the shelves. I passed the carts and went straight to the Diet Coke aisle, there weren't any. So I turned and walked out. Then I ran to Memorial Bakery to pick up a few Valentine cookies. I was there with every mom who has a school Valentine party this afternoon. Off to the gym where I added time and a level to my bike riding and I did more on the machines. Little by little, step by step. Then I went to Kroger's who also have Diet Coke on sale and yes, they had what I was looking for. It was a good morning.

Buddy has discovered the shelf I was given as a good bye gift from the office. It can either hang on the wall or stand on a table. Right now it is on a table but I think this is going to change. Buddy is driven to knock everything off that shelf. We were sound asleep and I heard this crash. I knew what it was and ran out to the living room. The sound was worse than the crash and Buddy comes running to me like, wow look what happened and I had nothing to do with it. Yea, right. I squirted that cat till she couldn't absorb any more water. She did it again, so this time we shut our bedroom door with her in the bedroom. She wasn't happy about that. Needless to say Roy got up 30 minutes sooner for his quiet time and I was up at 6:30. Buddy is testing the waters again right now. She watches to see if I am watching her. She'll grow tired of the shelf and I hope it is soon.

This is the statue in the prayer garden at First Methodist in Sugarland. It is a beautiful place to pray.
Here is the famous Lisa P signing her CD for her fans. She ran out of them and there were a few very disappointed women.

Lisa and Julio singing love songs. They were not singing just another silly love song. I am so out of it when it comes to musicals. They sang the famous duet from Phantom and I thought it was the love song from Shrek.

This is my friend Beth from Seattle. We've been friends for a long time. Although we have lived a lot of life since high school, we can get the giggles that turn into laughter and tears at a moment's notice.
I loved spending time with Lisa yesterday. Lisa was able to use several times one of our private jokes in serious conversation yesterday. She was cracking me up. Before we left for Emmanuel's she asked if I was going to speed and I assured her just around the curves. Memorable from our trip to San Antonio a couple of years ago.
That's about all for now. I am thinking of hanging a few pictures and work on some Valentine stuff.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Little This and That

This just in, I received my first magazine of Garden and Gun yesterday. I subscribed several months ago and I am thrilled with this oddly titled magazine. It is the magazine of the New South. So, along with reviews, beautiful homes and gardens, you get a little gun knowledge thrown in. I mean really, only in the South would there be a magazine titled as such. Before you make fun of it know it is a great magazine with the articles being very interesting and the photography first rate. I have an extra copy in case anyone is interested.
This has been such a wonderful and fun day. Lisa P invited me to Sugarland to hear her and Julio sing for Merry Ministries Bible study. Heck, if I can drive out there for hair cuts and shopping, how much more to enjoy a friend, worship God and get some Word...oh and some delicious lunch. It was worth the trip and much more. Actually, in my thinking, it ain't that far at all, but you know I tend to the dramatic. After lunch Lisa and I went over to Emanuel Salon so that she could meet Sherry. We had such a blast laughing and dare I even say fellowshipping with one another in the hair salon. Just as Beth said last night, you can love the Lord, love lip gloss and we added cute shoes and still be serious about walking with Him.
The workout capris I bought a little over a month ago are too big. I still can wear them for walking but not for the machines and such at the club. I could hardly work out for worrying about coverage factor. I am going back tomorrow and spend a little more time on the bike and add a few more machines to the workout.
My problem person...well, on the way home today I called to let them know I needed to get back on this side of town. Y'all I was so tired but good tired. I had such a great time in Sugarland but my body still doesn't know the difference between fun and stuff. So, I drove home with the A/C blasting in my face to keep me awake and when I got home I settled into a much wanted and loved nap. I appreciate the emails and comments and there seems to be a good distribution to everyone to have problem people. I caught mine unaware that our little meeting wasn't to be today. They threw out well, I guess we will have to eat those cookies we made you and I replied, oh please have them since I limit myself to those kind of treats now. I was telling a friend that encounters such as the other day on phone used to put me out of commission for days, but I will tell you God is faithful. It is hard at times to love and deal with problem people but God will show you how to love them and yet still maintain some sanity without being worn out by every wind of drama. By the way, this is a family member. I'll let you know more as the story continues.
I sat with Peggy in the balcony last night at Bible study. I don't pay attention as well up there, but I got a lot out of worship and the Word. This is an incredible study.
Roy had just called letting me know he wouldn't be home until 8:00 pm. I hung up and thought what to do about dinner when the phone rang, it was Dena. She happened to be in this part of town earlier than usual and was looking for a dining am I Lord, send me, send me. We ate at Buffalo Grille. I had to have the pancake, but I didn't eat but half of it. Of course what is a pancake with out Toasted Cinnamon coffee???? Delicious! We had a wonderful dinner and great conversation. When I called Roy to tell him I was going out to dinner he said, well your tune has changed because he asked if I was going to church tonight and I said no way, too tired. I had to explain that dinner with a friend revives one, but dinner at church would be work because small talk is involved and that exhausts me.
This wraps up this and that. I need to continue my reading of Garden and Gun. This kind of reminded me of one of my favorite lines from Greater Tuna. Bertha Buemiller is praying, "Lord, today I bought a gun. Give me the strength not to buy bullets."
Until next time...goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Gymboree! Yipee! Ouch my knee!

Noteworthy event, I worked out at the gym today. Probably the first time since oh maybe about six years ago. It is always a bit intimidating to begin something new, at a new place, by yourself and not be a skinny mini. With the little bit of rain yesterday, I totally talked myself out of going by telling myself grocery shopping was more important. Today I had some help from the enemy to not workout. Scary thoughts of heart attack he threw at me, the lie of totally embarrassing myself, a broken earpiece on my headphones and several all too familiar phrases he throws at all of us. But I went. To make myself feel more comfortable, ahem, I made an appointment next week with Stacey for a massage. Then I walked up the steps and went to the counter to ask for help in finding the recumbent bicycles. The trainer walked me to them, showed me how to get started and I was on my way. I rode for 20 minutes and burned 71 calories. It was like getting back in the saddle again and it was very tempting to over do it, cause it was feeling so good. I stuck to my plan. I worked out my legs and shoulders on machines and called it a day. As I was leaving I ran into a friend from church who works out there. I think seeing Shelly was a total gift from the Lord. In fact we thought we recognized each other earlier but when you get people out of their normal environments where you see them, you kind of doubt it is them. The gift from Him came after I had done what I had purposed to do.

Instead of rewarding myself with a cookie or something like that (we all do that sometimes, don't act all innocent) I went to Barnes and Noble. I was there to buy a gift, but I rewarded myself while there. I also decided to get a Barnes and Noble card since I might find myself there from time to time after a workout.

There is something I am thinking through and I'll write it out over several posts. If anything I write might help you in a similar situation, all glory goes to the Father. A World Lost by Wendell Barry puts some of my thoughts about my particular problem person so well;

"Aunt Judith always asked you for affection before you could give it. For that reason she always needed more affection than what she got. She would drain the world of affection, and then, fearing that it had only been given because she asked for it, she would have to ask for more." "And her demand was inevitable in that hopeless economy of hers, always outran the available supply. As she strove forward with her various claims on other people, she more and more destroyed the possibility of a genuine mutuality with anybody. Her need for love isolated and estranged her from everybody who might have loved her and from everybody who did."

My problem person drains love, life and the want/need to help them out of me and most others who are relatively close to them. Circumstances and situations are so amplified and trumped up that much thought and time goes into any intervention or step into their world. Two of those types of phone calls came yesterday and out of the blue. Really, in my thoughts toward this person I thought they had made a turn and presented a much better behavior throughout the holidays. Yet, I knew I could not fully trust those actions and of course these conversations yesterday bear this out. The ring tone I have given this person is a piercing alarm type ring and it went off as I was checking out at Kroger's yesterday. I let it go to voicemail. Once at home and more composed I listened to the rambling, repetitive message. I prayed and asked God for wisdom. When I called back, it went straight to their voice mail. I gave my opinions on what had been presented and put everything back in their court. Of course a follow up call ensued later in the afternoon. I didn't let it go to voicemail, although I should have. Now a situation has been trumped up, with a little bit of truth involved and the result if their actions follow through will be total pandemonium. When Roy got home we talked through everything. I reviewed notes from my therapist, prayed and let it all go. This morning I have a clearer vision after a good night sleep and Googling the "condition" problem person has. It seems to be a call for attention, making something much bigger than it is. Since I was considering visiting problem person tomorrow since I would be in their part of town, I have decided not to go. When I call them tomorrow afternoon to let them know this news, I am also, as gently as possible, going to recommend different action. Now whether they follow this or not, it is up to them. We all have those people in our lives that push buttons, say words and convey how much more attention they need than what they receive. Just like Aunt Judith in the Barry novel. If I reacted to every attention needing moment from them I would be worn out and not able to help when a real moment comes.

It has been some time since I have had to think on a whirl with this person. Every scenario has to be processed mentally so quickly to be prepared in what direction this person will go. Believe me this person can go all ways at all times. This person is one of the more mean-spirited people I have ever met. I am thankful that the Lord gives wisdom and because of that wisdom some stress filled, horrible times have not had the impact that was intended. And those times where the impact was driven home as intended, God has always been my strength and that which was meant for evil has turned to good.

Monday, February 9, 2009

An Overcast Monday-Love It!!!!

It is a gloomy, overcast day in Houston. One of those days where you want to stay around home to read or take a nap. Usually I am at work on these type of days where I would wistfully look outside my windows to check for rain or watch all the cars passing by on I-10. But, I am at home today and love taking in all this day has to offer. Buddy has been zonked out on the bed for most of the day. I ran to both Kroger and Play Grocery store, gassed up the car and went to the Post Office early this morning. Taco Soup is simmering on the stove and one more drawer has been organized. I have several books going and it becomes difficult to narrow it down to one choice. This is good and feels so right.

Last night I went to the Hymn Sing at Tallowood. Before you think I have gone old on ya, I haven't. Really, I enjoy all types of music, with country western probably my least favorite. It has been several years since I've been able to attend a hymn sing. Last night we were treated to hymns we love to sing, choir,a trio of tenors and sopranos. OK, as an alto I would like to ask, why wasn't there a trio of altos? It was kind of strange to look at the Tallowood choir and see so many familiar faces that were once a part of HFBC's choir. And there was a Sarah Palin look alike on the top row of sopranos. If you wanted to feel young this was the place to be. 50 was the new 25 last night. There wasn't a spare piece of pew. If car thieves wanted their pick of Lincoln Town Cars, Cadillacs, Crown Victoria's, and Grand Marquis this would have been the place to score. Probably what was the most fun about the night is seeing friends and acquaintances you haven't seen in a long time. In fact, one of the soloists last night looked so familiar to me. Who was she and I finally realized it was Cindy Robinson. :) Well, she was a soloist but that isn't who I am talking about. As this woman sang I kept thinking she reminds me of someone...and then toward the end of her solo I realized it was Karen. We went to Willow Meadows together and went to Southwest Texas together in college. In fact, when she left for the green and yellow of Baylor at Christmas break, I was going to move and room with her former roommate, but SWTS would let you change dorms at mid term. On the drive home I cranked up Mary, Mary and some Chris Tomlin just to even out the night.

Roy and I watched the end of one of our very favorite movies last night, Moonstruck. Roy and I can almost do all the dialogue from the kitchen scene where all the family gathers and everything is resolved. Just thinking about all types of music,then technically, I got some opera in last night as well.

On Saturday afternoon Dena and I took care of our Molina fix and afterwards ran, no it would be more like waddled, over to Border's Books. She being inspired by all my blogging about cooking wanted to get a new cookbook and I was looking to replace my iPod case. Roy accidentally threw mine away. The case not the iPod. She didn't find the cookbook she wanted and Roy and I returned the iPod case I bought yesterday. But, I did get something fabulous out of the deal. In 2002 Dena went with me to Nashville to visit family and then she and I took a side trip through the South. That whole trip deserves its own post. Anyway, while we were in the Nashville area we went to Amish Country. The exit is the same for the Jack Daniels factory and Amish country. Guess you could go visit Jack, get a little sloshed and then drive on over to see the Amish. This group of Amish put a sign at then end of their drives letting you know what they sell. Then you drive up to their homes and make your purchases. We had such a good time driving and buying, in fact we kind of followed the tour bus cause you know they've got to make the best stops. We did find ourselves returning over and over to a particular Amish home where they made peanut brittle and carob covered peanuts. We just called those goodies Amish poison cause we couldn't get enough. But I have digressed. On this trip Dena bought an Amish cookbook. Now she promised at the time to have Roy and I over for cottage cheese burgers using the recipe from the Amish cookbook. She hasn't ever fixed them... I am not complaining. With all the talk of cookbooks, I asked her if I could borrow the Amish one and she brought it Sunday morning. The Amish don't use electricity or modern appliances, so how do they know to cook something at 350 degrees? I borrowed the cookbook because I can't think of anything new to cook. I have now made all 4 of the things I know how to cook and thought the Amish could jump start me with delicious family recipes. I'll let you know how it goes. A tidbit that goes with our Amish adventure is Dena was enamored with some of the Amish men and she was even contemplating the simple life of a man, a farm, horses, buggies and no electricity. I realized I needed to do an intervention and on the way back into Nashville stopped at a Dillard's. She came to her senses right there in sportswear. It dawned on her that flat irons need electricity and no man and his farm can come between Dena and her flat iron.

Tomorrow I begin my adventure at the gym. I'll let y'all know how that goes.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cleaning, Sorting and Rearranging

It was one of those things I just had to do. I've been thinking about this since last fall. In fact with the time to contemplate I had several plans in mind but finally settled on the one I would fully be able to do. I rearranged the living room yesterday. Some have already suggested that I need a job or I have been alone too much to even begin to think about this. But I reminded my friends, I have been thinking on this for quite some time and didn't have the strength to carry out any of my hard thought plans. As it turned out, I just moved a few things and didn't do the massive overhaul. It is probably a good thing because last night, in the middle of the night, my body was reprimanding me for all the punishment I put it through earlier in the day. At one point I was getting kind of worried and thought I should wake up Roy to let him know. The man would not wake up! He turned on his side and mumbled something and went right back to his peaceful snoring. Note to self: never have an emergency in the middle of the night. All is back to normal this morning and I have just a few odds and ends to put up or decide if I am going to hang pictures or not.

The quilt and pillow shams I ordered came yesterday. What I ordered is just a stop gap until I find how I really want to re-do our bedroom. The colors in the quilt match the colors we are already using. The quilt we had as our bed cover has had it. In this stop gap time I ordered a slip cover to go over my comfortable big blue chair. I want to have it reupholstered but won't until I make my decision on the re-do. Knowing me I'll be happy with this for a while. I don't like to get caught up in the trap of redecorating every few years. Our home style is mission/arts and craftsman style which is considered a traditional style and I don't have to deviate from it too much. For some reason this style reminds me of my Grandma Brownlow and it makes me feel very close to her. We have also been on a declutter cycle around here. Roy is finally catching on that means getting rid of stuff, not just moving it to another room. Roy is taking clothes to the Mission Training Center this morning and a bunch of blankets and sheets to a homeless shelter.

So I have been home one week and feel like I have made major progress yet there is still much more to work on. All this cleaning and sorting goes hand in hand to paying attention. I get so used to how things are, but sometimes it is good to go through your home with fresh eyes, as a guest, and see how things really look. Now I have to admit, my sense of style and living is not clean and minimal, well clean as in cleanliness, not as clean lines. I love being surrounded by books and mementos, but it can become overwhelming if I don't cull and go through things. I am feeling this way about my walk with God too. What can I pay attention to and do away with? Am I presenting myself as a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable to God? Are my times with Him more than just "feel good" times for me? Are my times with Him pouring out of my life in the small, mundane, and everyday extraordinaries? My desire is to be more attentive to God and the invitations He extends to me to come have the time of my life with Him as I grocery shop, eat out, cook, clean, and shop at the Nord. Moreover, if I look at these activities as times in my life and submit myself to the thought pattern of drudgery, well except for the Nord, I will totally miss what He has planned. Nord is joy! Also, I don't want to get settled in my stop gaps in walking with the Lord. All this cleaning, sorting and rearranging is great, it needs to be done. The trouble comes if I keep on with these stop gap tasks and don't move on to the reason I am cleaning, sorting and rearranging, which is having our home conducive and not distracting to study different subjects in the Bible that God has placed on my heart. Does this ring a bell with y'all too, we have some big thing we have to do, say you are having a Bible study in your home. Instead of cleaning up the living room, bathrooms and kitchen where most people will be, you get involved in the big project of cleaning out the garage and give to much time to that task. Then we hurriedly do what really needed to be taken care of in a sloppy way, complaining we never have enough time. We tend to put off what really needs our attention. This is where I find myself thinking this morning. Kind of like blogging right now instead of getting cleaned up and dressed for the day.

The verse that has come to my attention in the past several days through different books I am reading is this:
"in returning and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength." Isaiah 30:15
This verse has been my meditation during the last week, yes some thoughts have come while I sit and reflect, but most have come while doing the work and knowing God is right there, speaking to me and showing me there is joy.

Thanks for letting me reflect and thanks for reading this really long post.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Someone's in the Kitchen but it's Not Dinah

Oh my goodness, I feel like a newlywed... OK, that's all I have right now.

On second thought I better explain the above sentence. I feel like a newlywed cause I actually planned dinner for tonight. Not only planned it but I have prepared it and its now cooking in the oven. I guess to really feel like a newlywed I should be in the kitchen wearing something other than my jeans and a t-shirt, but Roy has those fond memories he can always recall from those fun filled newly wedded days. Besides, I can't show all the cards on my first attempt at making dinner. I thought about cleaning up all the dirty dishes but then... he wouldn't have anything to do after dinner. I did empty the dishwasher so I am cooperating here. Got to leave in some surprise down the road or I won't want to cook anymore.

To make the atmosphere a little livelier and joyful, I am drinking some sparkling French Lemonade in a fancy little glass. Too bad I'm not really very hungry. I met Lisa P for lunch at the Nord today. I had the crab stack and she had a salad but we did split the White Chocolate Bread pudding. It was slap your momma good. We sat at the booth, my favorite booth, and laughed and got caught up on the happenings of life. We did a little window shopping and I found a brown sweater, on sale, and used some of my Nordy Notes to purchase it. Then we went to The Container Store to get a file envelope for Roy. Lisa hadn't been there before so we did the little tour around. I would have introduced her to my friend but I think today is her day off. Then I went next door to get some refills for Roy's and Buddy's pop gun. They will play that game for the longest time.

On top of it all today was a beautiful day. I mean I would have missed it if I was at work. The temps were perfect. Peggy and I had an actual conversation yesterday not three words, a text and a voicemail. Gee, I am finding out I have been missing a lot by working. Of course I'll be missing that paycheck on the 15th.

Well, Roy just got in and he already has the kitchen cleaned up. So, I'll serve up some din din for my hubs hubs.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Virgil, Be-Have! I Mean It!

No one would believe this even if they saw it happening. Peggy and I just got off the phone and our main conversation was concerning Luke 18, the parable of the persistent widow, Peggy explaining to me the fine art of boiling chicken and then we exchange some recipes. See, I told you it is totally unbelievable. It's not that we both don't love The Bible and we've been known to cook from time to time but those topics aren't on our top 10 list with each other. I mean really, we have never had the time in the middle of the afternoon to discuss or exchange this type of information. Not working is doing us both good.

Buddy is loving my presence at home. In fact I never really thought through the term copy cat until Buddy. She mimics me. One way she does this is so sweet. Sometime in the middle of the night Buddy joins us and she sleeps in the crook of my arm and on top of my arm. She is kind of spooning with me. Lately she has started stretching out her front paw just like my arm is stretched out. She gently puts her paw on my hand. It is just so cute and I woke up Roy last night for him to rejoice and celebrate in the sweetness. In conversation this morning he doesn't recall anything about this and said he would rather catch it some time other than in the middle of the night.

Roy is rejoicing in my cooking, what little I have done so far. Today I am doing the prep work for Chicken Tetrazzini and I will actually fix it for tomorrow's dinner. On Monday I made some soup. Reading other's blogs about meal planning just totally overwhelms me. People plan out meals a month or beyond at one time, make a grocery list and stick to the program. First all that planning feels like math to me and second I am a mood eater. What if I am not in the mood for Sloppy Joe's on the 25th? It will throw the complete axis of power off.

I am a great observer of patterns, no not the sewing kind, but life and personality patterns. Every morning leaving for work the young Dr, the older gentleman returning from his walk and I were on a similar time pattern. We could judge whether we were early, on time or late from our patterns. One morning I left earlier than usual for work and as I drove past the older gentleman on Memorial, he immediately looked at his watch to see if he was running late. There is much to learn in the following of patterns. I am learning to pay attention to these patterns to see God. Of course God is bigger than any pre-set pattern, but you can find Him in them cause He wants us to find Him everyday in our moments and experiences of life. This will come as no big surprise, but I am reading a book on paying attention. There isn't a day that I hear my parent's voices in my mind saying pay attention, sit/stand up straight and behave! If you have seen Greater Tuna, those familiar words of "Virgil, behave. I mean it" play through my mind as well. Paying attention and inattention are both learned, only one requires discipline, inattention comes naturally. Many times what we are not attentive to says more about us than we would really like others to know. Although, others would have to be paying attention to notice this. Luke 14, the parable of the great banquet, keeps getting my reading and attention. You know it's the parable that has a song, "I cannot come, I cannot come to the banquet. Don't bother me now, I have married me a wife and I bought me a cow. I have fields and commitments that cost a pretty sum, please pray hold me excused I cannot come." What invitations is God extending to me during the day and my distractions of life tell Him, I can't come. I won't be there. Maybe another time Jesus. Really, let's do coffee or lunch soon. Same old excuses. I don't want to be one of those inattentive ones so wrapped up in my everyday concerns that I make every conceivable excuse to stay away from what could have been the greatest night. I don't want it said to Him, Nancy Mon is sending her regrets. Where is He calling to me to get off the beaten path and do something out of the routine? If Moses hadn't explored the burning bush, what would have happened? What if he kept saying, my job is to tend sheep and that is what I'm going to do, tend these sheep. Believe me I thought about this at work too. In the mundane tasks is where I saw God so many times when I took the time to explore and see what's happening.

I read something the other day that I can't get out of my thoughts. The Magi came from a far country looking for a king. Theirs was constant attentiveness to interior and exterior landscapes. They were watching the sky and the signs and landmarks along the journey got them to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem they were told of the scripture that the shepherd of God's people would come out of Bethlehem. The star was not enough. The star got them to Jerusalem but God's Word got them to Bethlehem. The Word got them to the King of Kings. Wow! Isn't that an awesome thought!

The events of life show God reaching out to us. I can watch for Him in my quiet time and have everything prepared to meet Him. I can give constant attention to the interior and exterior landscapes of my life, even paying more attention to the signs and landmarks, but it is paying attention to the Word of God that gets me to the Light and reveals gets me to the heart of the matter. I am where the Word works and I can believe God.

Today I've been looking and paying attention. I am dressed in my most favorite and soft with wearing sweatshirt. I am paying attention today of God's tidings of comfort and joy. I've seen Him today here at home and in all the errands I ran. He is there in the patterns of friendships. He is there in the familiar.

Word of God speak!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday Brief Check In

It is Tuesday and I am at home. I've had breakfast and am texting with a friend. So far so good on this adventure of retirement. Actually, I worked really hard yesterday. The back of my closet has not been touched for over a year except to add something to the mess. I pulled out all that stuff, thrown some away, giving some away and this morning I will go through the undecided pile. Don't know if this is considered nesting or not. It seems really important to get everything settled and in its place.

On Sunday I got to have lunch with my friend Beth. Beth and I have know each other since the sixth grade. We became friends in high school and have been satellite friends for almost 30 years. It is unusual to build such a solid foundation to a friendship at such a young age. We packed in a lot of fun, thoughtful discussions and time in those few high school years. We got our wires crossed and didn't hook up Saturday like we had planned but we were able to grab some lunch and time on Sunday. We got a lot covered and discussed in those few short hours. We had some great laughs as well. I really wish we could live in the same area again. She moved to Seattle right after college, got married, raised their family and now helps Don in his business all the while pondering, contemplating and working through life in her free spirit way. We have always written each other, hardly ever emailed or called. That caught up with us this trip cause neither one of us had cell numbers for each other. Facebook to the rescue. Her son got a message to me that way. We happily caught up over Lupe's Tortilla beef fajitas. Beth was instrumental in my coming to know the Lord. In fact on January 30 I celebrated 38 years of walking with Him and knowing Jesus as my Savior and Lord. After lunch I took Beth back to her car and then went to The Galleria to pick up Roy from the Westin Hotel. He was getting in from Shreveport. We got caught up over the weekend happenings with his mom and then I grabbed a much needed nap. It was a busy Sunday. It was a great Sunday!

Yesterday I tackled my closet and started several other projects. I am easily amused and easily distracted. Thanks Jerrell for that line. I even made some home made soup for Roy to have for dinner last night. I had dinner at Bunko. We had a blast, as usual. I was the biggest loser so I won a gift. I rolled two Bunkos and I was happy about that. It has been a while since I had seen three sixes on my own roll.

Monday, February 2, 2009

25 Things

Since almost everyone I know is doing this, I am not posting the rules. Since my blog goes into Notes on Facebook, I am killing two birds with one stone.

1. I collect and read Southern fiction. It is difficult for me to even read any other type of fiction. Recently I have been culling through the books I've collected and only keeping the ones I really like and will read more than once. While going through my collection I am realizing I have a lot of books to read in my collection. Many times I buy and then shelve.

2. Most do not realize how sentimental I am. I keep way too many notes and letters.

3. I made the ASA All American team (softball) as a catcher.

4. I can answer the question of the sound of one hand clapping. I can actually do this with my right hand.

5. Until yesterday I have not been to the movies in about 10 years or maybe longer. I think the last time I went to the movies a matinee cost $5.00.

6. Since I can remember, I have always had the ability to see through reasons, excuses, stories, media campaigns, spin etc... I received a lot of punishment as a child for nailing adults in lies. I have learned as an adult not to expose the fallacies and duplicities so readily, but to wait till the right time or not reveal at all. I was sick to my stomach the first time I had to tow the company line in my job when I knew what was being done was wrong and full of lies. Since those incidents happened a couple of years ago, I never put myself in a position to know anything, thus I was not asked to tow the line cause I never knew the line existed.

7. I am not good at family things. Maybe it's due to the fact we weren't around extended family as a child. Or it could be what I observed growing up. Many times it seems family feels they have the right to tell you what to do or what you are doing wrong without knowing or understanding the circumstances of your life.

8. Try to put me in a box to figure me out and I'll change boxes quickly.

9. I am not mathematical at all. If something fun begins to involve math, it has stopped being fun.

10. I can rewrite words to songs in a heartbeat.

11. I have to touch the outside of the plane when I am boarding.

12. I was an oil and gas auditor for several years and yes it did include math, but I avoided the math part. In fact I usually found the biggest monetary exceptions and it was always a fluke. Then I would use that finding as an excuse not to work hard by saying, "hey I found my millions."

13. Love to sing, not a good singer. It doesn't stop me though. My experience comes from years of practice singing into a hairbrush or curling iron in front of a mirror.

14. Fall, all two weeks of it here in Houston, is my favorite time of year. Since there is very little fall around here, I create it in our home. No there are not leaves all over the floor.

15. I worked at Astro World when I was in high school and college. By far it has been my all time favorite job.

16. I just recently retired from my job at Houston's First. And no I wasn't one of the ones forced into early retirement. It was all my idea.

17. I taught aerobics briefly in the 80's.

18. I have taken all types of gourmet cooking classes and I hate to cook.

19. Most would think I love to have all kind of noise and activity going on around me, not really. I prefer quiet and don't need TV or music as background noise. Well except at night. The radio is on softly all night long.

20. Roy and I have never gone to bed or sleep mad at each other. Early on in our marriage there were times where we went without sleep for days.

21. I met John Denver in an elevator

22. I love to send cards. I love writing thank you notes because it is an opportunity to tell someone how grateful you are for them. I love receiving cards and notes in the mail.

23. As much as I love The Nord, I love Target just about as much. I can go to The Nord just for the peace and quiet and not buy a thing. There are very few times I have left Target empty handed.

24. I love having friends of all ages. Friendships bring me much joy.

25. I hate brussel sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower

I think everyone in the world has been tagged and everyone knows the rules. It has been fun reading the 25 or in the case of Steven Murray the 165. Just kidding Steven and Happy Anniversary.