Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday-Nuff Said

I really should be getting dressed and ready to tackle today but I'd rather sit here in front of the computer catching up on blogs and Facebook.  Not just to see the happenings of our everyday lives but to see any updates for the two Jens we've been praying for who are in Egypt.  Looks like good news on both fronts but of course there is still much prayer to be engaged in for their lives and safety.

We have been home hunting this weekend.  It seems odd to go into other peoples home, who you don't know, open the closets, go into their garage and of course I'm always looking to see what books they read.  We saw one place yesterday that we LOVED, but if we were to pursue it, that would hold a future of just being able to live there, pay the electric bill, maybe buy groceries and hopefully have left over cash to fill up the cars.  So, with great sadness, that property had to be axed off the list.  We love our agent and she attempts to get us to think outside of the box on some of these properties, but for now we kind of have set in our minds the boundaries and area we want to live in.  After seeing the gorgeous home we went to three other places and we saw nothing we would mildly be interested in.  One time Peggy and I were talking about their home in Nottingham and we both agreed that they had lived a lot of life in that home and now it was time for another family have that same experience in the home they had outgrown.  After seeing yesterday's fare, most of the homes had all the life lived out of them.  Our agent showed us a quiet complex on Bering, I'm not a fan of living on Bering and neither is she, but she thought we might like this one area.  Little did she know but she was putting us back into flashback city.  The designs of these town homes were so similar to the town house we owned when we were first married.  Very 1979 construction.  The details like the small windows on either side of the fireplace, the window on the stairs, the narrow stairs and the design/look of the outside nearly threw me into post traumatic stress disorder.  I still have dreams about that town house and they usually aren't happy ones. When the economy fell in 1983, our area of town went from quiet, nice neighborhood into a crime infested hood.  Even the town home we looked at off McDuffie had hints of the former town house.  We will go out tomorrow afternoon and look some more.  I'm glad we don't have to rush a decision but there is a silver lining in all of this.  Roy wasn't aware of the choices out there in the condo/town home market.  The three bedroom we originally looked at is starting to look so much better to him.  We may revisit one of our options tomorrow.  It is just about move in ready and I can visualize improvements easier than Roy.  Yesterday in Sunday School Dena was talking about how God asked several in the Bible to measure Jerusalem.  I think she said Ezekiel was one but I didn't hear the rest because she referred to him as the measuring man.  Immediately Roy came to mind with his tape measure as he measured garages, garage doors, and kitchens.  He is the measuring man! 

We have come into the exciting world of 4g phones.  I can't believe how much faster they are than my Blackberry.  New learning curve but it is fun.  Roy can now text on his personal phone instead of always emailing me from his work phone.  He hasn't spent as much time playing with the new phone as I have.  He did a lot on Saturday, took the Camry in for service, went to Sprint, met me for lunch,  had his photography class, went back to Sprint for phone transfer, stopped at Goode Company for brisket, did homework and then vegged.  He's been too tired to have any fun with the phone yet. 

Our Pastor is in Spain on a mission trip and filling in yesterday was Curtis Jones.  His sermon was awesome!  And I'm not saying this just because he is Beth Moore's son in law or because he is Amanda's husband.  He preached a hard passage of scripture from John 6 and his heart for God beamed through every word.  Roy and I have talked through and pondered the message several times in the past 23 hours.  We don't always do that. You can go to and click on webcast if you'd like to hear it.  Then our teacher and my friend Dena taught a powerful lesson on evangelism.  It was a good, full morning in the House of the Lord yesterday. 

With that full heart I head into Monday.  And now it will be full of laughter, meeting Peggy in just a bit.  We go to the same eye doctor and you can always use a friend who will tell you the truth about the glasses you try on with dilated eyes.  Then it's back to thinking about real estate again. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Whirlwind Updates

This time tomorrow I should be the owner of a 4 G phone, not an iPhone because we are with Sprint, but one of those Google Android type phones.  Good thing I have had my Nook to practice touch screen.  Too many times my email doesn't come on my Blackberry and it is so slow.  We've needed to upgrade Roy's personal phone, so this is as good time as any to make all this happen.  Now Roy will actually be able to text instead of always emailing, which you have already learned doesn't always make it to me.  He is going back tomorrow to get the contact info changed over and all that kind of stuff.  You cannot believe Sprint about their rebates.  We have sent the paperwork in every time and we have yet to see a check in return.  I mentioned this to one of the salesmen standing around.  His solution, they will staple everything together for us.  What?  You think that is why we haven't gotten the rebates?  Me think that Sprint takes the chance you will forget all about it.  So, Roy is addressing that with the Sprint person helping us.  Roy went there after taking the Camry in for maintenance and before meeting me at Pappasito's for...lunch.  :(  Oh pecan pancakes, how you are missed.  Anyway, after our delicious lunch we ran by Sprint a few minutes for me to look at the phones and make a choice.  Then Roy headed onto his photography class. 

Lunch at Pappisito's was different but good today.  For the first time in a long time, Nathan actually had to wait while we made our food choices.  I went with the soup and a lean pulled pork taco, which by the way was muy bueno!  Roy went with the tried and true chicken fajitas.  I'm trying to make good food choices because my cholesterol was up this time.  I was so surprised that my blood glucose readings for the past 3 months were really good.  I was more nervous about that.  For so long they have had me concentrating on carbs, but now I will need to be more attentive to fat and fat content.  Too bad it can't be contented fat. 

Yesterday afternoon we looked at several town homes in and around where we live.  Most so far have been too small.  We looked at a big one and it is the one we have really liked, it needs so much work.  Original avocado green stove and ancient dishwasher, in the same lovely hue.  Love the vintage crown molding and back patio but the family room is 1970's panelling.  It felt so Brady Bunch.  In fact I felt so young and alive being surrounded by the 70's.  Why it was as if we had gone back in time in Mr. Peabody's "way back" machine.  (vintage cartoon reference)  It was high school, college, first real job and marriage all in a moment of time.  Then reality hit.  Bathrooms need to be brought into 2011, lighting fixtures with swag chains, and the little 70's built in desk which has no room for modem cables to hook up a computer.   The kitchen needs upgrading but that is not a deal breaker for me because we all know how much time I like to spend in the kitchen.  The MOST dangerous room in the home and where the majority of accidents happen.  It's all about safety people.  Tomorrow we are going out with our agent to look at several other properties.  While we are looking at all these different places, House Hunters is playing through my mind.  You know we are standing there looking at the homes saying stuff like, oh this is my closet.  Or this isn't open enough for us.  Oh granite counter tops...OK, I don't think we saw any yesterday, so we didn't say that except when we were telling Cassandra, we would like granite counter tops.  When it took a lot of muscle and effort to get the door open on one of these homes, I thought this would not make the cut if we were on the program.  I like how the lady says dollars.  "the Smiths are looking through this charming neighborhood and their budget is hundreds of thousands and millions of Dah--- lars. 

So with house hunting going on, I'm trying to get us in the ready position stuff wise.  We did a major clear out last year and this year it is more fine tuning.  Just went through a bunch of costume jewelery and a lot of it is going to Goodwill.  Ours is a never ending culling of books and I'm trying to decide if I want to keep my china that looks like a 22 old picked out or do away with it all together.  Not so much into having fancy dinner parties.  We are also contemplating what furniture is not going to make the move with us and making a list of what we will need to purchase.  And because Roy is an attention to detail guy, a spread sheet that will help us be good stewards and budget for furnishings accordingly.  We are like First Baptist, debt free and we would like to stay that way...and I assume First wants that as well.  Well, we will have a mortgage payment but thanks to Excel and Roy's tedious patience with all things numbers, he is designing a plan for that to be eliminated too. 

Life is going by quickly here in 2011. Lots of changes, new adventures now with new glasses that I can really see out of, I actually feel like I'm experiencing everything clearly; not through a fuzzy haze.  Oh that is not a continued 70's reference.  I didn't ever do drugs.  So my fuzzy haze is organic. 

Oh and just this week I upgraded my blogging program.  Why didn't I know this had been added?  It is so much easier to add photos now and you can move them all around.  Love it.  I do miss the "no misspellings found" though.  It was always a goal to be encouraged by seeing that at the top of the posting box.  Oh didn't happen that often anyway.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Embarrassing Moments

I had just finished reading about embarrassing God can use them, how embarrassing moments can bring humility into life.  Believe me, I have had plenty o embarrassing moments.  I learned a long time ago to turn them from well, embarrassing, to a wouldn't you know moment, duh I could have had a V-8 type of thing.  There seems to be a recurring embarrassing moment through out my adult life and that is, back of skirt being tucked into Spanx, thus revealing my less than perfect side of me.  Looks like the full, prairie style skirt is not going to be popular this year, so unless I wear some skirts from the recent past, this could be the first spring/summer this embarrassing happening event(s) will not take place.  Numerous times, more than I would like to remember, the ol' skirt stuck in the Spanx happened while working at First Baptist.  Fortunately, a friend or a woman in the hall would see me, warn me and then help me return to a decent, modestly dressed Christian woman.  One time, I made it all the way into the Education Suite with my moon shining all over Miami and thankfully the outer office is (wo)maned by women and they helped restore my dignity.  Whew, catastrophe avoided.  Except one person who witnessed this incident, would not let it go.  She went on and on about it, how embarrassed I must be, she was going to call my friends to tell them what happened.  It almost bordered into unkindness.  Seemed a little more malicious than others might see it to be.  It was direct and agenda driven...maybe due to insecurities.  Who knows?   During her diatribe I remember thinking, if I teased you like this, you would cry, tell on me and maybe even run home and be sick for a couple of days.  It was at that point the perspective had to be turned and I admitted that skirt in the Spanx usually is a fat girl problem and since I'm fat, this will always have to be something that requires a little more attention to detail.  I have since found out that the ol' skirt in the Spanx isn't necessarily a fat problem, it is an attention to detail issue. 

On the road back to eating healthy, and I think I am up to eating healthy about 85% now, I've needed to find something that helps me with my rediscovered and oh so upset by the lack of attention, sweet tooth. While going through our junk drawer and I hope everyone has one of those, I found a Cool Whip dessert recipe from my First Place days. Added fresh fruit, some some sugar free Jell-O, and instant dessert, it seems to help. Sometimes I even add a slice of Angel Food Cake to the mix and it is oh so delicious. Today, I was making up a batch of said dessert and instead of using lime or orange, I went wild and used sugar free wild cherry. So, after a peanut butter sandwich came the dessert which is pink. Oh, so good. Some clean dishes and laundry then took my attention, so it was about 45 minutes before I brushed my teeth. Can you imagine much to my surprise while rinsing, all the water was pink. Stink, those blood thinners have made me start bleeding. Should I call the Dr? Is there some way to apply pressure to stop this incessant bleeding? Just about the time I was calling the Dr, it dawned on stuff dessert!  That phone call was cut off quickly.  Potentially embarrassing moment averted.  Whew!

From time to time I run into people I played tennis against, not with.  The conversation comes around to, are you still playing tennis?  NoWhy not?  You were such a good player, I was always afraid to play you.  My focus and attention to life changedSo, you never get out on the court and hit?  You had one of the strongest serves and your forehand was devastating.  No, don't play and your remembrance of my serve and forehand has grown grander in scale with the passing of time.   Although today in the laundry I did see a t-shirt that I wore when I played tennis that said, "For your own safety, please do not feed the forehand."  That grand statement of a t-shirt is now one of my lovely cleaning the house frocks.  Many times while talking with these former opponents, I remember their bad line calls, the too quick call of a wide serve and maybe several different ways they conspired to win.  I'm embarrassed that those thoughts flood back to mind.  Tennis has no meaning now, but apparently there is something still there for me to go to in my mind.  Thankfully, there is a filter in place and those thoughts aren't expressed to them, but sometimes it is only by the skin of my teeth.  There is a huge lesson for me not to recall specifically the bad but remember the whole true picture and the good that came to me from the Lord through all those tennis years. 

To me the best tennis players were those who could take the power generated by opponents and create a winning drop shot.  The key is not to add your own power to the shot, but positioning the racket to absorb the shock and gently placing an nonreturnable shot two inches just past the net.  Power was not my problem in tennis, but developing a gentle drop shot was.  It came through concentrated work, lessons and finally experience to use it in the match. 

Walk in the paths he shows you: Follow the life-map absolutely, keep an eye out for the signposts... then you'll get on well in whatever you do and wherever you go.  I Kings 2:1 The Message

I'm learning on the path He shows me to let embarrassing moments do His work.   His signposts are all around me.  Let those things from the past that meant so much to me, teach me today in the lessons He has me practicing and studying presently.  May I have a gentle and quiet spirit.  May this be my prayer and desire.  May His Word penetrate deeply into my heart.

 Proverbs 4:20-22 (New Living Translation)

20 My child, pay attention to what I say.
Listen carefully to my words.
21 Don’t lose sight of them.
Let them penetrate deep into your heart,
22 for they bring life to those who find them,
and healing to their whole body.

This week's posts have looked back quite a bit but remembering the lessons from the past are just a part of the forward leaning of the present and future.  I have no clue why I've wanted to write these things.  Maybe it is due to ordering Monablog 2010 in book form.  Reviewing last year while editing the book was enlightening.  There is so much I had totally forgotten about, but so much to praise God in and for when being reminded.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chilly Bowl-Celebrating Celebration

 Last night the Choir and Orchestra of Houston's First Baptist Church celebrated Celebration along with the cast and crew of the production.  So, welcome to Chilly Bowl.  After an awesome rehearsal, we all gathered to celebrate not what we did, but the Lord Jesus Christ.  We gathered to honor Him and lay all accolades and praise at His feet.  Now of course you have to have a little fun along the way and there was a little humor added to the festivities. 

Our wonderful Director John Bolin.  I love this guy.  Our time with him is always a worshipful time through song and he can preach and teach with the best of them.  Many a night I leave choir refreshed and encouraged by the Word he shared.  I know many others feel this sentiment too.   
Peggy, Debbie and I got to participate in the less than spiritual part of Chilly Bowl.  In 2009 the camel in the production had a little fall not unlike the 2010 version that happened in West Palm Beach, but there just happened to be a camera catching that camels debacle.  The camel was not invited to come to Bethlehem and see this year.  So, we did a little take off of that and John interviewed the camel aka Peggy.  Camels these days are getting a bad rap.  They have been the show stopper of Christmas Pageants since the early 70's.  I mean now, when you go to some Christmas programs you leave thinking, oh, they didn't have a camel.  Too bad.  Since First has started bringing an elephant to Nativity, the camel's role is being diminished and soon will face what many in this economy has faced, job loss.  Really, when you think about it, camels have performed their regal walk to Bethlehem without their own music.  Camels are not mentioned in any songs, not even We Three Kings.  Donkeys, cows, sheep are mentioned, the night wind gets a shout out in Do You See What I See and the Little Drummer Boy has his own song and he wasn't even there!  Besides you know how people are about drums.  If you must play it should be before 8:00 pm.  Why?  Because all God-fearing, senior citizens are getting ready for bed in order to be awake to start the day at 3:00 am.  So, I am sure the guests at the Inn wouldn't have appreciated the rat tat tat of a drum in the middle of the night to accompany the sounds of a crying baby and cattle that is lowing.  Oh, maybe Jesus wasn't crying because Away in the Manger tells us no sound did He make.  You can't tell from the pictures but Debbie was the pooper scooper person who walks behind the camel.  Peggy had some Milk Duds in her hand which was the tail part of her costume and at the right time, she dropped them.  It was fun surprising John with that.

Here is Peggy, I mean the camel telling John about the misunderstandings of the multiple mishaps and the no camel songs for Christmas.  Maybe John will write a camel song for Celebration next year and dedicate it to Peggy, Debbie and me.

Peggy up close and personal.

Here we are two happy friends that make each other laugh. 

The evening ended with the video of Isaiah's song and Jesus Saves.  When we met with John last week and he showed us the video on his computer screen, tears couldn't be stopped from falling down my face.  It is a powerful visual!  Celebration tells the story of Jesus and His invitation to have life more abundantly.  I saw on Facebook this morning that a young girl accepted Jesus after seeing the video last night at Chilly Bowl.  It all came together for her and her need for a Savior.  How exciting and wonderful is that story?  Like Stephen Smith prayed, Jesus Saves and All is Well.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Long Lost Friend

This has already been a productive morning.  Early appointment with the Dr and then breakfast at Buffalo Grille.  After eating a pancake and some eggs, I settled in with Soul Print and began marking and writing away.   While reading and relaxing, I got a phone call that my second pair of glasses were ready for pick up.  Yahoo!  I picked up my other pair yesterday and what a difference really being able to see crisply, especially for distance.  For just about a year most everything has been a little blurry and fuzzy.  So I am praising and thanking God for vision this morning and feeling a little like the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, you know the whole what big eyes you have.  The better to see you with my dear. 

I'm still taking in what we learned in Bible study last night.  Beth pretty much camped out on James 1:1.  Who knew, well God does, there is so much meat and insight from that one little introductory verse.  So Joy to You, my dear friends.  I told Lisa P afterwards that this little snippet of a song was running through my brain...I am a slave of God, I am a slave of God, I am a slave of God, He calls me James (or Jacob.)

For years I have been searching for a long lost friend, my crazy friend Debbie.  The last time we had any contact was probably 1993 or 1994.  About 3 or 4 times a year I would try doing an Internet search for her but nothing, no information on her where abouts was to be found.  This year as I began one of my annual searches for her, I got the crazy idea to look to see if her son was on Facebook.  He was!  I sent him a message asking if his mother's name was Debbie and that I was looking to get in touch with her.  Several days later he responded that yes, the friend I've been looking for is in fact his mom.  He gave me her email address and warned me she didn't get on email very often.  So I waited to hear back from her, no response.  I sent another email just in case she missed the first one and after waiting for over a month I received an email from her on Monday January 17.  I cannot tell you how much joy and happiness filled my heart hearing back from her.  We've emailed back and forth since then and she tried to call once but I didn't have my phone with me.  Debbie, sometimes Roy and I had some fun times and wild adventures back in the day.   I can still go weak with laughter thinking about our "helping" her mom move a chair from the downstairs living room up to her second floor bedroom.  We hosted bridal luncheons, drove all over town for the least little thing,  laughed at her mom's idiosyncrasies, moved Roy's car to another parking spot when he went to the grocery store for us, and well I could go on and on about HOT SHIPLEY DONUTS, lady fingers and the like.  When Roy and I were first married, he traveled quite a bit and since our apartment was just down the street from the office where Debbie worked, she'd come and spend the night with me while Roy was gone.  We took an exercise class at the Post Oak Y and this is how far classes and costumes have come, we wore black leotards and black thick tights/leggings for the class.  So did everyone else.  We hardly did any of the exercise because we were too busy laughing on the back row of class.  I think that is the fondest memory I have of our friendship, the constant laughter.  We wouldn't say a word and just bust out laughing while we shopped, ate, or exercised.  In fact her mom would say to Debbie every time after I left their home, that Nancy Monarch!  She does nothing but laugh from the moment she comes in and until she leaves.  Little did her mom know we laughed about her quirky ways and the minute I hit the door, it was all over but the crying.  Roy called Debbie's and my conversations Martian Talk.  You know how they say twins have their own language?  Well, we kind of did too.  We would talk so quickly that we began leaving vowels out of our words.  Many commented that they couldn't ever understand us when we talked with one another.  Oops, I have been so busy remembering such a fun season in life I have forgotten that y'all will be bored with most of this.  But I think you can tell how excited I am to be back in touch with Debbie. 

On Friday while getting highlights and haircut, I ran into a friend from elementary school.  In fact her sister is my age and she is the only one I attended kindergarten through senior year with.  Such fun catching up.  Then last night after Bible study Lisa P and I made two new friends as we played taxi cab to the parking garages so they wouldn't have to walk alone in the dark. 

I have always said God has gifted me with the greatest friends in the world!  Love having friends in all ages and stages of life.  Makes this journey very interesting and bearable.  Peggy and I did a Mildred and Gertrude thing for a women's retreat and I think I have posted this before, but our rewritten words to Michael W Smith's song, Friends

Friends are friends forever, so don't get bored with them.
And 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.
Oh a lifetime not's too long to live as friends.

Joy to You Today my friends!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Long Time Back Grateful and Thankful Remembrance

I've been working on homework for Thursday Bible study.  We are studying I and II Peter.  Some weeks I really enjoy the homework and there are other weeks it is a grind just to get through it.  When one of those grinding weeks happens, I'm surprised when others in my core group got so much out of the lesson. It makes me go back to the questions and look at the study with fresh eyes.  This week I'm enjoying the homework and in turn the homework gives me much to ponder as I go about my day.  We are in I Peter 3, which is the submissive wife chapter or at least it is at the beginning.  Many would think that would be a problem but it's not.  Roy is a verse 7 kind of hubby, "treat your wife with understanding as you live together.  She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life.  Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered."  No, the Word is speaking loudly about suffering for doing good.  Right now there is a side situation in our life that fits under that subject, but that really doesn't have our full attention.  No, these verses have reminded me of a different time, in the long ago, back in the day of my college years.  And that time was hard, difficult, filled with many shed tears and indecision.  But God comforted me in that time just how II Corinthians 1 says He will.  It was such a significant learning time and that experience helped in defining thoughts and actions that have served me well all through my life.  Through that time comes the rest of that verse 4, being able to comfort others with how God comforts. 

We go back to the year of our Lord, 1972.  I had only been a Christian a little over a year.  My grades were in the pit before I became a Christian and through new eyes and understanding the Lord gave me insight into seeing that good grades and having a decent education was quite important.  I began to study with a fervor and brought my grades up to graduate in the upper half of my class.  It was a HUGE jump and only God, and my algebra teacher, could have made happen.  Now back in the day we didn't even start applying for college or thinking about college until the second half of your senior year.  One of my new Christian friends invited me to go to San Marcos with her to be her roommate and so I applied.  I had never even been to the college, which back then was known as Southwest Texas State University, and they actually accepted me.  In hindsight, I don't think my father thought I would ever be accepted into a university and it came as quite a shock when I received that letter.  My grandparents were visiting us at the time and as soon as I read, congratulations a whole lot of jumping and screaming filled the house.  I no longer care to jump but a good scream once in a while is just what the Dr orders.  My grandparents were so proud, mom was totally happy, but my father went back to his desk and returned with a folded piece of paper letting me know how much money I would have per semester.  No congrats, no joy, just a number.  You know it is kind of like one of those scenes between salesman and buyer in a car showroom. 

So the summer after graduating high school, my friend and I made plans for our dorm room.  We decorated with a Noah's ark theme.  It was colorful, biblical and cute.  We thought what a great way to begin conversations to introduce our hall mates to Jesus.  My mom knew the dollar number my father had given me would not cover any part of the getting ready for college experience, much less a semester costs.  So she helped me as much as she could to buy clothes and supplies for college.  When I went to SWTSU, I was a happy and excited about the future kind of girl. 

All went well with my roommate at first.  We were on a fun hall in Falls Hall.  About the third week into the semester, my roommate came to me with some disturbing news.  She had given this a lot of thought, but she had been a good "church" girl for all her life and if she was ever going to experience life, college was the best time to do it.  So she was chucking everything Christian in search for the good life.  Wow, that news shocked!  The rest of that semester was one of the most difficult times I had experienced.  I was afraid to mention any of this to my parents because I knew it would be the right excuse my father needed to drag me home.  College was not his will for my life.  I made the best decision of falling into the Word and letting it heal my broken heart and spirit.  On top of the obvious strain in the dorm room, my roommate began telling lies about me to our hall mates, making fun of me because I was a Christian and wreaking havoc in any way to destroy my confidence in Christ.  God was so gracious in His comfort, because He sent me a friend who walked through this whole mess with me.  Her name is Mary Madeline.  No she wasn't at SWSTU, she was still in Houston finishing up high school.  I've written before of the tremendous impact she has and continues to have on my life.  I think I had a letter and sometimes two every day encouraging me.  When I came home for Christmas break, she prayed and counseled with me on my approach to the next semester.  She gave me wise advice and I returned scared but hopeful in the Lord.  My roommate moved next door and my new roommate spent exactly one night in our dorm room.  She lived with her boyfriend in a mobile home and occasionally stopped by to pick up messages or just hang out in between classes.  Basically, I had a room to myself, and that was a special blessing.  I began hanging out more with friends in BSU, Baptist Student Union, threw myself into my FBC of San Marcos activities and never spoke badly of my former roommate to our hall mates.  That second semester I was busy dating my former boyfriend again, who was at Southwestern in Georgetown and began dating a young preacher boy at Southwest.  I had never dated two guys before at one time in my whole young life and oh they knew about each other and it kept life very interesting for me.  I kept myself in the Word and was continually encouraged by Mary Madeline in how to walk out the faith.  I have packed and toted her letters in every move we've made.  I still have them and can glance at the letters in the box even now and pick out the letters that came during such difficult times and were a word to the situation. 

As the spring semester was coming to a close and we were packing up our things to return home, every girl on that hallway came to me, apologized for how they treated me and acknowledged the fact they had seen Jesus in all my responses and actions toward them, but especially toward my former roommate. 

That freshman year was so long and difficult yet it was the most fulfilling and deep time I've ever had with the Lord.  Girl, I knew His presence was with me and He never left me alone or forsaken.  Although to outside and unbelieving eyes for a time it might have looked like He had.  This long blog post is a testimony to the faithfulness of God when we are suffering for His Name and mistreated for our belief in the all knowing and all loving God.  His comfort and His gift of a friend helps me today in how I approach comforting those who hurt and need just a little encouragement along the way. 

"If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.  Turn away from evil and do good.  Search for peace and work to maintain it.  The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right and his ears are open to their prayers.  But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil." I Peter 3:10-12

Funny, I prayed to God for deliverance that year.  In fact my favorite verse I quoted often, daily, hourly, minutely was, oh that I had the wings of a dove that I could fly away.  But now, in grateful thankfulness to God, I wouldn't trade that year of life for the world. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday Rememberings and a Give Away

***Did I forget to mention there is a little gift card surprise in the journal?"  Now you have to read to the end of this post to see what I'm talking about.

Monday, Monday, glad I can stay in today. Gray, overcast skies do not depress me. Don't get me wrong, I love the sunshine but wintry type days help contribute to my cleaning and putting things away. If I am going to sit down and read a book or write a letter, I like to have things around here a little more orderly. Both Roy and I create piles of papers and books. We are both really trying to be better about clutter. No,we aren't hoarders! One evening this week Roy went through his previously untouchable book case for a bit of book purging. I am so proud of him. I filled a box of Cd's that I've put onto itunes and added a few books of my own to Roy's sacrificial offering. My suggestion was just take them to Goodwill but Roy decided to load everything up and take them to Half Price Books Friday afternoon. He came home with a grand total of $14.00. He figured with his time and gas usage, it would have been more economical to just drop them off at Goodwill. But hey, $14.00 is $14.00. Feeling so flush with cash, we went to Grand Luxe for a late lunch, early dinner.

Saturday morning wasn't as sad as I thought it might be. With Pappasito's out of the breakfast game, we had to make a decision if we were going out for breakfast. We even thought about driving over to Pearland to eat at Mimi's but we opted for Buffalo Grille. The Toasted Cinnamon coffee was the consolation of the morning.

Lest you think this whole post is going to be what I ate this weekend, it won't be. I've been reading Soul Print and have been highlighting passages like no one's business. Only the highlighting has been on the Nook. I decided I would also need a print copy of this book for quicker reference and better highlighting. One particular subject has given me much to ponder, defining moments. Several months ago I began a post here on the blog on a defining moment in my childhood but I never published it because it was more a cathartic exercise for me. But I am realizing that this moment has been working undercover and very much in the background in my everyday life since the time of the moment. It has stolen life from me and it shouldn't have because Jesus came to give abundant life. This moment isn't thought about every day now but it has influenced decisions and characteristics in me. Sadly I have given this moment way too much power. In my childhood I stopped trusting adults and consequently physical and emotional scars were bottled up inside. It was too much for a child to carry. Not until I began seeing a therapist to help me deal with a recent disappointment in life several years ago, did we step back into this defining moment. Today I can tell you I have been set free from the hurt and damage I let this have. Sometimes I thought about it and replayed it too many times when I found myself down or depressed. There is nothing I can do about the past, well except surrender it to Jesus which is the best thing that I could ever do. With that I surrendered the pain, hurt, distrust, anger, hate, and most especially the "what if" the moment had turned out differently. Was I going to John 5 it? Did I want to get well or would I rather be like the man by the pool who would rather offer up excuses than answer Jesus' question. DO YOU WANT TO BE WELL? Yep, I do and so this mat of a moment that should have never been a defining moment has been taken up and a healing in me has taken place.

While picking up the paperback of Soul Print, I also found a journal. Yes, I know I have too many journals but this one is quite special. It has a travel theme. There are quotes and journey or travel Bible verses all through it. I would like to give this journal away. So, just leave a comment on this post by February 1st to be in the drawing. Oh, and your comment can just be, I would like the journal. Please do not feel you have to comment about my disjointed ramblings about giving power to moments that should not be defining moments.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Such a Fine Wintery Day

When I left for the eye Doctor this morning the temperatures were mild and the air felt a little damp. When I left the eye Doctor and went next door to Collina's for lunch, the wind had picked up a little and the air still was damp. I left Collina's in the rain. It was windy and rainy when I went into Barnes and Noble. It was downright windy, wet and cold when I came out. Now less you think that I was in there for a large amount of time, oh no. Contrary to belief I can be in and out of a bookstore. It was fun to look around and download a book. Also picked up a much needed journal. Oh, friends, if you believe I need another journal you are very naive.

I learned something really interesting at the eye Doctor this morning. With dilated eyes in the exam room I saw that what I thought was gray plaid on my blouse is actually a sage/military green plaid. Macy's needs better light and I need to pay attention. There is a little gray in the design but not as much as I had been misled to believe. I questioned if I really had on gray pants and fortunately, I did. So, it is not too much of a mis-match. While navigating slick streets with dilated eyes I bet I was one of the few who wore sunglasses while driving in the gray overcast day. Some of the lights in my vision seemed huge and distracting, but they were just normal, it was me who wasn't normal. Please, no comments on that sentence. You know I had a little spiritual moment there in the exam room when I realized my blouse is not the color I thought it was. How often do I mistake things around me as a crummy distraction when in actuality if I would let the Lord open my eyes to the real value He has in it, what would I see? What changes would I make? For me, getting dilated eyes is an ordeal. It takes several attempts to get drops into my eyes. Often after the drama of drops is over the person who had to administer the drops says, you should never ever consider contacts. Am I willing to go through the ordeal of God opening my eyes to see what He sees and because then I will see differently, will I make myself available and be a willing servant to be used. Or will I talk myself into believing it is something of my imagination and dismiss it with a oh it's not too bad, like I did with the realization of my blouse actually having military green in it? I would hope my spiritual heart, ears and eyes would know the handiwork of God...

Why do they have you pick out glasses with dilated eyes? You are at the mercy of the person fitting you for glasses. I think between the two of us I made a good choice or rather choices. They were having a special on the second pair of frames. So I went with some normal, functional looking glasses and then a pair with some colorful flare. I told her I don't mind being 56 and picking some younger looking glasses but I didn't want the look of that older woman who wears flamboyant, wild, over the top glasses. All I would need is a bunch of animal print tops, gold skinny jeans, and gold glitzy peep toe shoes.

On Tuesday, I met Cassi for lunch. Did the old person thing and went a little early to do some shopping thus insuring I had a close by parking spot. Found a couple of bargains at Pottery Barn. We had a wonderful lunch and time is always too short while we try and catch up on each other's lives. Tuesday night, Bible study started. I got to sit with Lisa P and it seemed like old times. We love repeating what Beth tells us to say to one another. I also met some ladies from Dallas who happened to be in Houston for a Mary Kay deal. They kept saying, you get to come to this all the time. You get to come to this all the time!!! We are indeed fortunate. I have even printed off the homework and intend to really do it for this study.

We continue our search for a new place, well new to us. We started to make an offer on the condo we looked at but began feeling too much pressure to move quickly from the owner. We made that mistake back in the day and don't want to repeat that one. So, we've been looking at places on HAR and we need to find a real estate agent. All in good time. I have heard Charles Stanley on the radio talking about God's timing and reading Soulprint by Mark Batterson is giving direction but this I know, unless the Lord builds the house...or condo...or townhouse....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Nooks and Books

If you've been reading the old Monablog for any amount of time you know I have written often about my addiction, books. I love to read! There is something about holding a book in your hands with a highlighter close by just in case a quote needs to be highlighted and noted. So right before Christmas when Roy suggested I might like to go with him to Barnes and Noble to look at a Color Nook, I went with just a tad of a cynical spirit. I was thinking how can I make notes on a Nook? What if I want to highlight a paragraph? There were a lot more what ifs rolling around in this little brain of mine. The salesman was so knowledgeable and helpful. He answered all my questions before I could ask them. Needless to say we left the store with a Color Nook in the bag along with a Nook cover with the quote on the front: "books like friends, should be few and well chosen," Samuel Paterson.

So set up of anything technical is not my forte. I'm so fortunate that Roy loves the challenge and is quite good at doing these set ups. Of course he normally sets up the computer or smart phones with me out and about. It is a lot easier on his nerves. First sign of a problem and my inclination is to throw the thing across the room. Of course I have never done that but the thought crosses my mind. Yes, that is the answer to all technical set ups, throwing the thing. Roy and I begin to "set up" the Nook and the first sign of it not wanting to log onto our Wi-Fi had me leaving the room. It was too late in the evening for me to head out. When it was working correctly, we downloaded a few books onto it to see how it went. Wow, loved it! Quick, better than two day shipping. I was so very happy with my Nook until I wanted to download a couple more books because Lord knows I don't have stacks of regular, hands on books stacked around the house to read. Again, it balked at hooking up with our Wi-Fi. Also, I could not remember how to highlight passages or how to send myself notes or post the quotes onto Facebook. Back to Barnes and Noble and the man who sold us our Nook was so patient and willing to refresh memories of what to do. At the time there were four of us standing there with various review questions and he held a little mini clinic right then and there for the four of us, who by the way, were all over the age of 50.

Since that visit I've been downloading books, set up my email so I can read and reply on my Nook, listen to Pandora Radio on it and just this week set up Facebook. Now I can read and be distracted by my friends lives with background music. Just about the best combination for me and my ADD. The Nook has an app for chess too. Uh, yes, I will be playing chess only if I can play it like checkers. When Roy and I were first married he tried to teach me how to play chess. He loves that game! In fact his chess playing friend came over once a week for dinner and a few games of chess. Shocked? Well, early on I cooked on a regular basis, but soon discovered the whole cooking dinner thing is overrated. I found chess tedious, moved the pieces too quickly without any regard of said piece moving consequence,and wanted to talk when the other person is thoughtfully considering their move. Chess playing for me just personified how I lived life. Roy gave up trying to teach me how to play chess because of the aggravation, but he didn't give up on me, Evie lyric, (and how aggravating I could be. Notice I put aggravating in past reference)

The Nook is so easy to take with me to appointments. There are all kinds of choices to read and I'm not stuck with one book that may or may not be holding my interest in the midst of people watching. On Monday when I had lunch at The Bistro reading became a simpler task because book placement and turning pages wasn't awkward.

The ESV Bible was a free download, so I have it on my Nook. Roy asked if I was just going to take my Nook with me to Tuesday evening Bible study and look up scripture on it. Right now my speed of quick reference and look up is not that fast, so I would be desperately trying to look up the passage only to get to it and it would be time to look at something else.

Yesterday, Soulprint by Mark Batterson was released. So I downloaded that puppy post haste. He has been putting portions of the book on his blog and I was hooked. The following quote is just in his introduction;

All of us start out as one-of-a kind originals, but too many of us end up as carbon copies of someone else. Instead of celebrating our uniqueness, and the uniqueness of others, we're too often threatened by it. We forfeit our uniqueness because we want to fit in. Instead of daring to be different, we sacrifice our soulprints on the altar of conformity."

The term soulprint refers to who we are, who we will be and just not who others see as they look at the outside in. It is a testament to God who has created us. Uniqueness is God's gift to us and our gift to God. We are created to worship God in a way that no one else can.

I'm reading and highlighting so much in this book. The life that this book is based on is David's. I cannot recommend this book enough. It is created for a purpose but also how to dig out from all the past mistakes and false persona's we have buried ourselves under. It is letting God show us how to do the archaeological dig to get back and discover to the real us, the person that God created and artfully designed us to be. Get or download this book!

With this sun beamed day, I must stop blogging and get out into the sunshine and out of the rain...oops another Evie reference of a song from long ago. Heard on Channel 13 weather it is back to cold and cloudy tomorrow afternoon, which sounds like a Nook afternoon. Nooky has taken on a whole different meaning now.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Uncomplicated, Simple Life

Once again Buddy and I are bonding. The few times I have been home today has been an opportunity for Buddy to jump into my lap and take a winter's nap. I love it when she is like this. Although she is not a fan of my attention to typing a blog post.

This morning I had an early appointment and since I was in the neighborhood, I stopped in at The Bistro for a quick lunch. I forgot today is a holiday so the Bistro was busier than usual. I had my Nook with me, so I had a crab stack and a good book for lunch. The mango tea is like the pecan pancakes, via con Dios but it has been replaced with peach ginger tea. Have to say I love the peach ginger tea more than the mango.

Today Roy began driving to work again instead of taking the bus. It was a nice break for him, taking the bus. He got a lot of reading into his schedule and he didn't come home stressed from driving home in traffic. His after work schedule kind of made the decision for him and he decided if he was driving into work, he would check to see if any assigned spots remained in the company parking garage. He got his old parking place back that maybe has been empty for over a year.

My life should be Real Simple for several years to come. I paid for the magazine subscription twice, thus simplicity will be extended into my life for several years to come. At the fore mentioned Bistro lunch I was reading several articles on how to simplify life and experience more peace in the process. I've got to get control over my new found energy to be cranky over little things. If I don't stay in those given preset parameters, I will find myself back at the beginning of this journey and have to begin the process once again. So, back to the simple thought...anyway one of the things I read today is to have simple friends. No not simpleton friends, but friends who are easy going, light hearted, not extremely insecure, basically uncomplicated friends. Face it, if we are friends with those who are always stressed out, always angry and impatient, and negative, we can pick up those same traits and complicate life even further. The Bible says several times in Proverbs and I am sure in other books, although I'm not too sure where those verses might be, but they are in the "Book" people, that we should chose our friends wisely. :) (another people reference which means I am watching too many reruns of Toddlers and Tiaras.) Choose your friends wisely that's all it takes. Yea, like look at Job. His friends complicated his life big time when he was going through a very rough season. Rough season is rather understated but that's all I have right now. If you find yourself with friends who seem to complicate every event, conversation, and plans you have together, you might want to take inventory and manage the friendship differently. I'm fortunate that I don't have friends who are like this. Oh there are other people in my life that complicates things, but not my friends.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Via Con Dios Pancakes de Pecan

January 15, 2011...the day the music died? Now I really am dating myself, but I'm so fun and have a great know blind date kind of words. Ann is going to love this rift and ADD trail. Anyway, it is the day that the pecan pancakes at Pappasito's died. We knew this day was coming but we held out hope that the pancakes would make it to the five entrees that would be chosen for Sunday brunch. They didn't make it. So today we went for our last Saturday brunch at Pappasito's. We even went a little later than usual just to delay the inevitable. Nathan tried to keep it light and really so did we because in the big picture of things going wrong when others right now are fighting for life, it is minuscule in importance. Breakfast at Pappasito's had become our Saturday morning ritual. We enjoyed it whether we were with friends or just by ourselves. Breakfast there was worth a lot of blog posts and a lot of status updates on FB. Now we are adjusting to the new reality that we will have to do an early lunch if we want to continue our Saturday trips. Roy will begin his second semester of photography classes next Saturday, so we will have to see how this works for us. Today, was the slowest we have ever eaten our pancakes and I left the last bite on my plate for the longest time. Then the moment came where I needed to take care of it. There was a bit of silence and then it was done. Last bite. Oh so tempting to sing Last Dance by Donna Summer, but I will refrain.

Breakfast at Pappasito's was a good run. May through January, we didn't miss too many Saturdays of pancakes. There is a little bit of hope though. There is a recipe and I think I will have my hands on it soon. We learned that they can be made, then frozen and can be popped into the toaster like frozen waffles. Even so, we'll be lacking chips and salsa, but that's just fine to me.

"Have You Seen Her"
(Eugene Record - Barbara Acklin)
One month ago today
I was happy as a lark
But now I go for walks
To the movies - maybe to the park

And have a seat on the same old bench
To watch the children play (huh)
You know, I thought pancakes were in the future
But to me, just a no pancake day

They all gather around me
They seem to know my name
We laugh, tell a few jokes
But it still doesn't ease my pain

I know I can't hide from a memory
'Though day after day I've tried
I keep sayin' they'll be back
But today again I lied

Oh, I see pecan pancakes everywhere I go
On the street, and even at the picture show
Have you seen them?
Tell me, have you seen them?

Oh, I see the butter and the pancakes oh
In the sweet sweet taste on the go
Have you seen them?
Tell me, have you seen them?

Why, oh, why
Did they have to leave and go away (oh, yeah)

Oh-oh-oh, I've been used to havin' something to eat on
And I'm lost
Pappasito's, I'm lost (Oh)

Oh, they left syrup upon my lips
And ate those eggs so good for my heart
Have you seen them?
Tell me, have you seen them?

Oh, I see their steam reaching out to me
Only wish they had been free
Have you seen them?
Tell me, have you seen them?

As another day comes to an end
I'm lookin' for a menu or somethin'
Anything that says it wouldn't end
With all the people I know
You'd think that could have helped
You know, it's funny
I thought I'd always have pancakes in the palm of my hand

[Repeat to fade:]
Have you eaten them
Tell me, have you seen them (tell me, have you seen them?)

Adios pancakes de pecan. Muy bueno! Via con Dios.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Catalogs, Discounts and New Words

Good News! We may have just received our last Auditions catalog if they don't hear from us soon. The catalog is actually in the name of my deceased m-i-l. Of course Auditions is lying because Carol Wright and Casual Living have made the same threats, yet they just keep on sending unwanted catalogs. Last year we went online to a website that helps you get off the mailing lists of catalogs, so that has improved the deluge. We have been receiving a bunch of cowboy and Indians related catalogs, clothing, furniture, books and the like. Me thinks that our name has been sold by the fine folks at the magazine, Cowboy and Indian. Just an observation, but it takes a lot of money to play cowboy and Indians these days. Nothing, not one thing in those catalogs is cheap. The leather chairs they show are drool worthy but too pricey for our budget.

The other day in my F book status I wrote about receiving all kinds of senior discounts on the groceries I bought at Kroger. My self centered self reasoning's went right to; I must look really bad and very old today even though I am wearing a cute workout clothes. The outfit still looked fresh because I hadn't done any stinking workout that morning. When I told Roy about the discounts he told me he had asked about them once when he was checking out and they put senior discounts in effect on our loyalty card. Of course, with his gray hair he is a shoe in for senior discounts. When we are together we get them all the time and of course once again my self centered reasoning had to do with his looks not mine. Well, his hair verses mine which is probably has, OK according to my hairstylist there isn't any maybe about it, some gray hair here and there which is covered on a regular 3 month basis. I take Paul's admonition to women to have their head covered in church as hair hi lighting because hi lighting covers a multitude of sins and gives a little lift and body to the hair. OK, this might not pass in King James but I bet this reasoning would pass in The Message. On our Christmas trip we received AARP discounts on all our rooms except for the Inn. In fact, Roy booked a suite one night at a Hampton because with the AARP discount it was the same price as a regular room. Now before anyone gets jealous and envious, a suite at the Hampton means a little bit more space and a couch instead of a chair. Ah, the life of senior discounts...

Speaking of AARP, we got the bulletin in the mail the other day. I have 50 new words that I need to learn and add to my vocabulary if I want to be relevant and able to communicate with younger generations and young people. Young people, the term that instantly ages you when you use it in a sentence. Like; "we were so happy to see so many young people at the meeting." Or this sentence which will really age and grouch you up; "there are too many loud and boisterous young people at the pool!" Fortunately, I already use some of these 50 words so the learning curve won't be that difficult. I have a word to add to the list, reshrederator. The definition would be a document too thick for your shredder that has to be forcibly removed and then re-shredded piece by piece. So if you are said person who does this on a regular basis and has to wait till your husband gets home so he can fix it, Roy, I mean he would be the reshederator. Really the only new word out of the 50 for me was "sheepie" which means unquestioning followers and the word comes from combining sheep and people.

Well that's about it for today. We are going to look at a condo that is for sale this afternoon. Don't have too many high hopes that this will be the one. So I'm just going to chillax and try not trying to be a hater. If the place is too sad we will have an exit strategy to get out from too many questions by the Realtor. We don't want to tell her it's cheeseball. We are so ready to change locations but I don't want to castastrophize. But who knows it may be more bargainous that we think. We could totally pimp it up and rock it. We know a cool hunter to help design and style the place. If we do find something we will have a open house or flash mob invite when everything is completed. Thankfully our bank isn't a zombie bank.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I Remember Why

I remember why and since I've been asking that question, here is the answer to this why question. Why did I think I would like to make homemade soup? Because it is cold and it is soup weather? Because we are trying to eat healthy again after our diet wrecking trip to The Inn on the Biltmore Estate? Yes and yes. Then I remembered in the midst of preparations why, I HATE (yes I know that is a very strong word) to cook. If you read my previous post I told you I have been a little on the cranky side, well soup preparation totally took me to the other side. How I wish I could report it was like the Bible when Jesus said to the disciples in the boat, let's go over to the other side and then I would fall asleep just like the Lord. I think my ability to rest and sleep might be my best Christ like quality. WWJD? Sleep. Anyway, I assembled all the ingredients to make Pumpkin Black Bean Soup. I knew I had everything because last Friday I took a stinking grocery list to the store with me. Funny but ( it's true I could so go Carpenter's right here), I couldn't find the vegetable broth. I looked all over the place for it and since Roy had put up the groceries last Friday, I did what everyone else in the world would do, call him. He answers the phone, "can I call you back?" and dense headed me, not taking a hint that he might be busy or have someone in the office, blurted out...WHERE IS THE VEGETABLE BROTH? He told me he would call me back and hung up. I knew better than than to ask right then, but I was desperate and cranky. I had just chopped green onions and red pepper people, I had rinsed the black beans, measured out the spices, had the pumpkin ready to roll and the can of diced tomatoes open and ready to be emptied. But there wasn't any broth to be found. Roy called back and told me where he thought he had put it, nope not there. Suggested several other locations where it could be and thank goodness he is not me, because these were all legitimate places to look, not a smart Alec response like I might have been tempted to make with the words sun doesn't shine at the end of the sentence. He said and I think maybe a little sarcastically, "I would love to come home and help you look but I can't." So, the process of turning stuff off and getting my purse plus my mink coat since I was going to the Play Grocery Store to buy over priced vegetable broth began. I looked one more time and found it on the top shelf with the tea bags and coffee. Guess that is logical, some people like to drink broth...personally, I'm not a fan. So crisis averted and thankfully I didn't have to wear my mink and sweatpants to the Play Grocery Store. I resumed said preparation. Did I mention that Buddy was having an attention getting fit at my feet during all of this? I talked to her but didn't pet or in any other way pay any tactile attention to her. She can get loud. Once I had finally assembled, prepared and boiled the soup and only then turning it down to warm for simmering did I give her a snack. That's all she wanted. How do you young women with small children ever prepare any food products? Maybe I should go back to My Fit Foods next week. Maybe we aren't that tired of it after all.

Why, oh why, do fools fall in love? Have no clue, but why, oh why, do I think I want to make baked homemade, low cal, low sugar donuts? Maybe I'm not craving donuts as much as I thought I was...

There is a biblical lesson to all of this. I don't want to be Martha, don't have the attention span to sit still and be Mary, so I'm probably more like Lazarus, dead to the world asleep until the call to wake up and come forth and then visit with everyone. Yes, I see myself more social in the story.

For those of you still reading my ramblings, here is the recipe for Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup from the Jan/Feb Experience Life magazine.

Makes 8 servings

1 tbs olive oil
5 green onions (white and light green parts), thinly sliced; slice dark part and save for later
1 red bell pepper chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tsp of ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz) pure pumpkin puree
1 can diced tomatoes with juices, preferably no salt
1 can (14 oz) of HIDDEN vegetable broth...emphasis HIDDEN added
1/2 cup water
1/2 salt to taste
1/8 cayenne pepper to taste

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add white and light green onion, red bell pepper and garlic; cook stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes or until soft. Stir in cumin and thyme; cook;stirring occasionally for 1 minute.

Add beans, pumpkin, tomatoes, and juice, broth (I'm over the broth now), and water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to love, cook for 10 minutes. Stir in salt and cayenne pepper. Top each serving with green onion tops and serve.


Why do I love cold temperatures?

I love cold weather. Since I don't do well in hot temperatures, so why do I live in Houston, and when it is cool to cold my energy level is up and I thrive. The downfall? I layer clothes and wear a coat but when I get inside a store or business, I begin sweating like a pig. Although I have never seen a pig up close much less know if they sweat. The perspiration begins almost every time when checking out. So this normal type person, that would be me, all the sudden begins to sweat profusely. So it doesn't matter if I am paying with cash, it may seem to the cashier that I'm nervous because I am passing counterfeit money, or with a check, cashier probably thinks I'm sweating because the check is hot or if I use a credit card, I'm sweating bullets because I don't think the card is going to go through. Yesterday, I was in the Rack and the built up heat hit right on time while checking out. There was a delay in completing my purchase because the cashier answered the phone and wasn't sure how to page over the loud speaker. I almost said, look I'm going outside to cool off and I'll be back to pay in a minute. Luckily, I didn't have to resort to that.

Why does Roy eat almost the whole bag of ____________, fill in the blank only, to put it up with little bitty crumbs left in it? So when I go to portion out some of ______, fill in the blank, I get a tad aggravated because my taste buds are all set for a snack and there is nothing there. I have told him I don't care if he eats it all, just tell me so I don't think something is there for me to eat. Is this a man thing or what? Roy will also drink almost a whole bottle of Gator Ade and then put it back in the refrigerator with a fourth of an inch left. Why couldn't he finish it?

Why do I save different clothes to wear and then never wear them? I'm not talking fancy clothes for special occasions, I'm talking about everyday sweatshirts, workout pants and t-shirts. Seems I think, oh yes, I will wear this when it is __________. So I have decided to wear things that I love and if they wear out, so be it. Something else will catch my eye along the way.

Why am I crankier now that I feel better than when I was feeling my worst? I've noticed and I know Roy has noticed that with a little more energy has come a little more discontent with little things. Things that don't matter. Maybe it's because I now have more energy to be cranky. Emotions take energy. I really don't know but I intend to change this as the days go by.

Why can't I consistently have a morning quiet time? Why do I buy books and let them sit around a long time before reading them. Why do I hate to unload the dishwasher and put up dishes? Why all the sudden do I have this urge to cook and even try baking?

Why are so many Christians afraid of laughter in church settings? I'm not talking about serious times when laughter might not be the best medicine, but other times when humor, laughter and dare I say joy would open hearts to receive the seriousness of having a relationship with Christ and trusting Him. I don't know the answer to this one at all. Maybe since I lean more toward humor I see it in a different light than others.

Guess my asking why is the 2 year old inner child in me wanting to express herself. So the solution would be going to my room and taking a nap. Now that doesn't sound bad at all.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

We Will Remember...A Tribute

Ah, it is one of my favorite kind of days, easing into the day. For the first time in about a week I don't have anyplace that I have to be. I may head to the grocery store in a little bit but I kind of doubt it. I'm sitting here at the computer with my coffee that I just made from my new French press. It's a little strong but it is good. Last week I stopped at the Bayou Bend Museum shop and got some Southern Pecan and Cinnamon coffee. It is delicious! Buddy has been a fixture on my lap these past few days. She is on my lap right now purring and vying for my attention. Of course I would love to think that she is doing this out of pure or purr love for me, but my common sense tells me she is just trying to stay warm. Well, maybe just for a little while, I will live in fantasy land and believe she cannot get enough of me.

Last night was such a memorable and special evening. Not because the Auburn Tigers had a last second win and that was very exciting, no it was a night to remember a friend who has been organizing heaven and the angels to process in an orderly processional for the past five years. Peggy read about a man who honored his friend who had passed on before him by inviting a few others to go and eat ice cream on his grave to celebrate his life. Now Peggy, she is one smart cookie seeing that she graduated from Baylor University, knew that eating homemade banana ice cream on a cold and blustery January day was not the way to honor this friend. Instead, she came up with a brilliant idea of hosting a small gathering of this loved one's friends and making their friend's favorite dishes for dinner. First I must expose the rumor that Peggy can't cook. She fixed a delicious dinner of chicken enchiladas, Mexican salad, frozen fruit salad but never got the recipe right on the lime ice tea. Everything was so enjoyable, I don't think one person missed the ice tea. For dessert there was the famous chocolate cake and home made banana ice cream. If you were still hungry and no one was, there were Snickers,Heath Bars, and queso and chips to help the hunger subside. Another first for Peggy, I believe this is the only time I have seen burnt orange and UT decorations in her home. WHOOP! (if non Aggies aren't supposed to do that I am truly sorry but as I am married to a LSU graduate, I'm not sorry about the Cotton Bowl) I mean sic em bears...

We settled ourselves in front of the TV to watch some videos from days gone by...but since none of us are very technological, we remembered and reminisced until we got to the part we had waited to see. What a fun way to pass the time. Peggy had made a trivia game about our friend's life. Then the stories came and I will never forget the impact of this friend's life on others and upon me. The stories covered all gamuts of life, trips, etiquette, adventures, camp shenanigans, choir, and well, just life. Many of those gathered have known our friend for years and even known her before she came to Houston when her husband was called to First Baptist. The evening reminded of the old hymn, "sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life." We were remembering and singing those words of life that she had imparted, generously poured out and graced our lives with.

I came late to know this friend and except for the fact that Peggy wanted me there, I doubt I would have been involved if anyone else had planned this fun and honoring affair. So I consider myself fortunate. Yesterday, as I thought about our friend, her life, and the moments that stood out for me, I could not help but think this. Although I didn't know her as well as the others there, I really did know her. Her life and legacy, her ideals, thoughts, graciousness, and love is being lived out by her friends and family. It is true, you can tell a lot about a person by the friends they keep. Just looking around the semi circle last night confirmed that thought. Here were people who had shared loss, joy, plans, fun...just had shared everything life had given them or thrown at them. Friendships of thirty and forty plus years. Many today can't even count on one hand the number of good, close friends they have. This is the one thing I'm concerned about for the younger generations, making friends and keeping them for a lifetime. Many consider friendship a luxury and something they don't have any time for. Make time! I love Facebook and email, texting and whatever other social media that is offered, but nothing is like face to face time and walking through joy and not so joyful times together. God knits and weaves lives together, always has. Look at David and Jonathan, Ananias and Sapphira (oops, not a good example),Paul and Silas, Peter and John Mark and Jesus with Peter, John and Andrew. That is some mighty good company to keep and to be influenced by. I think our beloved friend followed that example and pathway.
I Corinthians 16:16 The Message

I want you to honor and look up to people like that: companions and workers who show us how to do it, giving us something to aspire to.

Thank you friend, thank you Trevelyn Ray. Your life did and is still showing and being an example to those of us who remain behind but look forward to that day when we are all back together, with each other but more importantly with the Lord.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Now Maybe it Ain't So

This morning with a sad heart and depressed spirit I got ready for my last Saturday pecan pancake breakfast. Roy and I have been referring to it as "The Last Breakfast" since Thursday. Hey, I am willing to wash feet if the powers that be keep the breakfast going on Saturdays. Please Lord, I don't want to stand in line with all the other chumps at 59 Diner, Denny's, Buffalo Grill, and La Peep on Saturday mornings. I even dressed up a little more for the occasion. Roy and I prepared our hearts for the final Saturday breakfast at Pappasito's on our drive there. The staff greeted us with big smiles and such happiness. How could they? Oh yes, they won't have to be at the restaurant so early on Saturdays anymore. Nathan waited on us as always and we asked him to confirm what Roy had been told on Thursday. He said there are rumors all over the place on what is or is not going to happen but the general consensus is, they will open later but still serve breakfast on Saturdays. Now that we can live with. I am so hoping this is the case and not the total absence of breakfast on Saturdays. We shall see what develops. Alyssa joined us for breakfast today but we also saw Cindy, Ricky and Jennifer as well as Erin D and Matt at breakfast. So how convicting is it that your dietitian sees you eating your last bite of pancakes and she and her husband split their order? Well, I was not convicted in the least...or at least that is what I am telling y'all.

After our delicious, lovely breakfast and delightful visiting with Alyssa, we headed over to the Toyota dealership to get our license plates and to have my phone synced with the blue tooth system in Sequisha. Got my most talked to peeps on the preset and I'll have to add others in as I go. Now if Roy and I update our phones we will truly be technological in the twenty first century. It is so sad to watch others use our phones and try to use the touch screen, which doesn't exist on our oldies but goodies. You have to say, uh use the roller ball thing there in the middle. You are just leaving your fingerprints all over the front of my phone.

Yesterday I booked all my upcoming Dr appointments for the month and rescheduled one. I am finally getting my eyes checked and I'll be able to get new glasses. 2010 was the year of not seeing clearly... If it takes a village, then it take three pair of glasses to help me get around. It all depends on whether I'm driving, or reading or need to see distance more than up close. At times it was too much for my ADD riddled mind to keep up with.

If the world seems a little off kilter this week, once again I may be to blame. No, I didn't got back to Hobby Lobby or Michael's, although I was near a Hobby Lobby on Wednesday. After my massage on Tuesday I went to Sur La Table or whatever it is called, the other William Sonoma... anyway I bought a few things and then for a moment contemplated going to William Sonma, but I didn't want to be responsible to any unusual world effect happenings. I might have pushed the possibility a bit more to the edge by my trip to the Kroger yesterday. One, I had a list...a grocery list...I was this close to buying pantry staples. But, my right mind came back to me on the Diet Coke aisle. But, I did buy stuff to make a couple different kinds of soup next week to help celebrate colder temps, or the predicted but we will see colder temps next week. One soup is Pumpkin Black Bean Soup. I'll let you know how that turns out. It sounds really good to me. Roy went with me to the store and he was in shock the whole time we went up and down the aisles because I shopped in an orderly and organized fashion. Not once did we have to back track clear across the store because I forgot some critical ingredient. Now if anyone is panicking that the world may turn upside down let me assure you, I am getting ready to run to the Play Grocery Store and get sides for our Five Buck Cluck I bought for our dinner tonight yesterday when I was there. See, two or three trips every couple of days keeps everything in order. Today will be my 3rd trip of the week to the Play Grocery store. All is well.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

No, No Say it Ain't So!

Roy just called me with the bad news. I was sort of prepared for this but didn't think this day would come so quickly. With great sadness I must announce that this Saturday is the last Saturday to get brunch at Pappasito's. They will only be serving brunch on Sunday. We had heard the rumor that Pappasito's would be opening at 11 on Saturdays but they would still serve brunch. That rumor was wrong. I suggested to Roy that we leave Sunday School early every Sunday in order to beat Tallowood over there but Roy isn't that gung ho on that suggestion. So I compromised the offer of leaving early one Sunday a month and he seems to be more agreeable to that. I'm sadder than sad and will probably have to go through all the stages of grief. I may have to have a double order this Saturday...healthy diet be darned...for one day. Anyway, if you want to have pecan pancakes one last time on a Saturday, I suggest you make it to the I-10 Pappsito's this Saturday.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Same Old Thing? I Think Not

Same oh thing? I think not, well not to this warm weather, flat land, and two season Houston resident. I think from time to time in the next few weeks, I will post some of Roy's pictures he took while we were at the Biltmore over Christmas.

We paid Sequisha a visit in the parking lot. I was making another small snowman or snow person to be P C.

Of course this is right before I made the snow person.

I was pitching snowballs to Roy. Struck him out standing, no swings. Guess it is due to the fact he is taking pictures that he didn't participate in the impromptu snow ball game.

All things new since we are in the year 2011 but some things remain the same. The same isn't always a bad thing. We really need some things to remain as they are with opportunities for growth. Today I met Lisa P for breakfast and it is a same thing, but a wonderfully fun thing. We celebrated her birthday over french toast and pumpkin pancakes. We laughed and talked through breakfast and most of the lunch rush. Don't worry that we tied up a table because we tipped the waitress well. Afterwards, I ran into Barnes and Noble to look around, then headed over to Academy which I told myself I wasn't going to buy anything. BUT, the sale rack was just too tempting with great it is true somethings do remain the same.

On the way home I did do something different. I stopped in at the new shop in the Bayou Bend museum building. Found some coffee that is not only southern pecan but it has cinnamon too. Museums, hotel and hospital gift shops are a treasure trove of interesting items to purchase.

For the past several years I have asked the Lord to show me verses to pray and watch over for the year. This year seemed like a struggle. Oh, the struggle was on my part, not God's. Anyway, I was growing a bit weary and I thought I would never know the verses. Of course I am on my own timeline saying, oh it is Dec 31 God, don't have those verses yet. On Sunday morning, during worship through music, God let me know the verses. I was so excited and familiar with the passage. Then being ungrateful for the revelation, I'm like...God, why such a familiar passage? Don't you think there is something meaningful in the minor prophets or something for me? I repented quickly cause my attitude stunk. So below is my verses for the year and thought The Message would shed new light and vision on the familiar. The Message came through.

Isaiah 40:28-31 (The Message)

27-31Why would you ever complain, O Jacob,
or, whine, Israel, saying,
"God has lost track of me.
He doesn't care what happens to me"?
Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening?
God doesn't come and go. God lasts.
He's Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don't get tired,
they walk and don't lag behind.

Once again I am drawn to a quote by Erwin McManus and this too is a goal I would love to live out not only in 2011 but for many years, "A life of gratitude makes us WHOLE, overwhelms us with LOVE and moves us to LIVE generous lives." Mark Batterson has a new book coming out on January 18, Soulprint. I'll probably find a lot of good quotes in his book as well...I'm banking on it because I've got quotes from him written all over notebooks and my Bible from his three previous books.
Now we are having the same old thing tonight for dinner. Leftover barbecue sliders from last night. 2011 could be the year of the slider for us.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year, a Few Days Late

A pair of slippers gave their life to help put out the fire. They were just like Smokey Bear.
A lovely sunset on Bain Lake

Another shot of beauty.

It was a big photo op on the front porch while the light was just right.

This picture has just about some of my all time favorite people in the world in it.

The four friends posing for their pictures. I loved watching the process of getting the perfect picture.

It's already January 3rd! Where has the time gone? Usually I make it on here to close out the year and then to welcome the New Year, but not this year. First it has been difficult getting any time on the computer. Roy has been researching new lenses and all the accoutrement's that go with photography. I try to ignore the sounds of Free Cell as he plays more than he researches. This morning I was thrilled that I would have the computer all to myself today and of course that whole idea crashed and burned because the computer would not cooperate and when I tried to use the lap top I was informed it could not connect to the Internet. What the heck? When Roy got home tonight he looked at the computer, unplugged it and presto, it works...

I'm only here for a quick minute. We had a blast out at the Bain's on New Year's Day. On Sunday Roy played sabbatical and went to the zoo to take pictures but he met Dena and I for lunch. We all had way too much fun laughing and Dena and I exchanged Christmas gifts. What can I say? I LOVE my gifts from Dena. She is the main reason I'm so nicely accessorized. I owe a huge debt to her in this endeavor.

I was going to write something spiritual and even though I suggested the lap top to Roy, I can feel that he would really like to get on the computer and play Free Cell, I mean continue his lens and camera accessories research.