Friday, February 25, 2011

Experiencing the Way Back Machine

Today I hit the mother load of memories, elementary, junior high and high school.  There was one big box left in the back of the closet that I hadn't gone through and decided to tackle that last box this morning.  If I was so inclined to read everything that was contained in the box, I'd still be back in our bedroom engrossed with my wise self, she writes sarcastically.  My parents must have boxed up every coloring book I had ever owned, along with some Jack and Jill magazines.  There were a couple of vintage Mad Magazines, a Tiger Beat magazine, and a Mickey Mouse Club book.  Most of the coloring books went to the dumpster but I kept the others.  Who knows, I might sell them on eBay or something.  There were a couple more dolls, some perfume bottles, my portable reel to reel tape recorder, letters, and scrapbooks.  Oh and the all important autograph book.  Unfortunately, there were a few report cards mixed in with all the other stuff.  I knew math had never been my strong suite but seeing my report cards today just let me know HOW BAD I was.  Science wasn't a top grade either, but English, History, Speech, Drama, and PE were almost all A's with a few B's here and there.  It was really quite nice to see those grades.  I found my folder that keeps the poems and short stories I used to write as a child and soon to be young woman.  Looking at that childish writing but reading stories that had depth far past my sixth grade self was somewhat eye opening.  These stories and poems were written out of my love of words, not assignments.  One paper in particular from school had a note from the teacher that basically said, you have a very quirky way of writing.  You must conform and your writing will be correct and what you write about will be of more interest to your reader.  No surprise, I didn't change, except for papers that were graded.  My early writings have the same pace, run on sentences and ADD thoughts very much the way I write today.  I'm glad I didn't take the teacher's advice.    Of course I kept some "forbidden notes" that were passed in class.  My friends were all over the, "I like James" phase of my life.  He and I actually went to AstroWorld together, a school play production and had a picnic at Miller Theatre.  James was my next door neighbor for a short period of time.  In junior high we all ended our notes with Luff Ya.  Luff ya must have been the relevant terminology of the time.  When I was in high school girls who played sports weren't able to order a sweater or jacket to display their volleyball or sport letters, but I found my W from my sophomore year and then my two H's when I lettered with HISD my junior and senior year.  There was my sports achievement ribbons and letter from junior high school too.  And here is a surprise, an award in home economics from junior high school.  Found my original smiley face button and my AstroWorld button from my time of employment that said, "We Make People Happy."  Among in all these growing up mementos; vintage Sunday School and Vacation Bible School books. Programs from the new on the scene, youth musicals.  Oh and my Girl's Auxiliary things that includes the map of Southern Baptist missionaries serving around the world in 1963.  Bunches and bunches of school pictures of friends and prom pictures from high school, spirit ribbons and copies of the school newspaper.  I didn't realize I kept some programs and the like from Expo 72 that was held in Dallas.  Expo 72 was the Passion Conference back in the day. 

I was telling Dena about my adventures in box sorting today by email.  She asked if I saw my destiny in these boxes I've been going through.  Yes and no.  I kept many letters that affirmed my encouragement to others, my love of sending cards, my love of writing letters, my sense of humor and the adage to stay as sweet as you are.  Then the affirmation to stay out of accounting, lab work, or anything else of a tedious math and science nature was as big as life back then as it is now.  My insecurities and my attempts to win love and approval are evidenced in some of the things I kept.  It seems as if these things are screaming that I wanted  to be loved, you must be lovable, and love will come as a result of what I do and accomplish.  I was so aware that any love I was experiencing back then was conditional and to have deserving love based on accomplishing or doing something was required.  I wanted to be valued as a good girl, I wanted to be a valued winner and desired the applause from those I wanted to love me by being successful in endeavors where my talent and giftedness lay.  If I was to be loved and have approval, if it was totally up to me, I must acquire this by my own effort.  Sadly, what I didn't know then was, it is impossible!  I had no idea that the God of my childhood is the same as He is today, He loves unconditionally.  There is nothing I can do to earn His love, He is love.  Somewhere along the line early on I figured out that trying to win approval and love from others wasn't going to happen for me.  I didn't fit the bill, I didn't have the look and I didn't have the smarts.  Looking at my journals from back then, I can see where the tide changed and my outlook became a cynical, critical, and sarcastic one.  One who practices and develops the above skills is funny, sometimes witty, humorous on the outside, rebellious but full of sadness, disappointment, and bitterness on the inside.  I am so glad that Jesus kept knocking on the door of my heart all those years and finally at the age of 16 I let Him in.  Of course it has taken years and years to finally understand that His love is unconditional.  Well it took years and years, not because of Him but because of my hard headedness and stubborn I can do it streak.  So back to the original question from Dena, did I find my destiny in these boxes...yes!  If I kept on the path I was on I was destined to be continuously disappointed, bitter and biting and no one would ever want to spend much time with me, and I was usually mad about something...but in that box I also saw the people and things that God used to deliver me from that duplicitous destiny to the full, abundant and bright life He has for me, for all of us. 

The past few days have been hard work sorting through my life, deciding what stays and what will be shredded or thrown away.  The past few days have been fun reliving good and even the painful memories of growing up.  Tomorrow's sorting isn't going to be that interesting because it will mainly involve socks and underwear, Roy's socks and underwear.  Back to the reality of life but my brief visit in the way back machine has been nice. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Jogging a Few Memories-This Has Nothing to Do With Running

Box number 2 this morning has had my attention for most of the morning and early afternoon.  The first box was filled with my baby clothes and the like.  Nice to look at but everything was quickly refolded and will soon be transferred to a much sturdier container than a cardboard box.  Oh but box 2 held letters, both received and those I never sent, birthday wishes, happy law school graduation for Roy, and thank you notes from those who I do remember and some who I haven't a memory clue who they are or were.  There were essays I had written in Jr High on what makes me happy, my biggest problem, my favorite season and why my parents don't treat me like a baby.  Average grade B reading.  Among the memories is a birthday card from my Grandma Brownlow and the $2.00 she sent me are still in the card.  Those dollars will stay there once I get everything sorted and put up.  I also have a letter from my Grandma Doss.  It wasn't a letter to celebrate anything, so no found money there.  Again letters from old boyfriends were scattered here and there.  I really thought I had thrown those away long ago.  I read a couple of them and I was whisked away to seventies with the most severe problem being, Keith not getting home on weekends from college because he had joined a fraternity.  Of course reading between the lines as a 56 year old I see what was really going on.  I did read one letter from Keith and I must have confronted him DTR.  I had come to think of him as more of a friend than a boyfriend.  That great conclusion came about because I had begun dating someone else.  We decided that we would casually date, whatever that meant, well I guess it meant we would date each other and others.  Keith was the one who broke the news to me that the love of my life was getting married.  No not Keith, but a guy named David.  On paper we looked like the perfect couple and mate for each other, but we just couldn't work it out.  I was heart broken and it took a little while to heal.  In fact I had just made the decision I didn't want to date anymore unless it was to the man I was going to marry.  Funny thing, Roy just happened to come into my life several months after that decision.  Now what is even funnier to me, until I read this note today, time had erased the love of my life's last name.  I mean really, this is the last name I had practiced writing with a Mrs and my name in front of it.  And for the life of me, for years it just didn't come to mind.  Now I know but heck, I've just about forgotten it since reading it this morning. 

Also this treasure trove of memories included letters and cards from my crazy friend Debbie.  She had married and moved to Tulsa and then to New Mexico.  I read just about everyone of those letters this morning and laughed until I cried.  They also helped bring back some memories that I had totally forgotten about.  One thing I hadn't forgotten was our love for Hot Shipley Donuts.  Pronounced-HOOOOOT  SHIP-LEE doNUTS!  I must have been so inspired by them I wrote a poem.  So for your reading pleasure and since I get my blog put into book form every year, I would like to write it for you now.

She was known very well in this place-
the shop in which she filled her face.
The table is set with such grace and care
for there is so much to prepare
Sugar, jelly, cream-filled is the demand
as she grabs them up with her hand.
These donuts she begins to seize-
but there must be much more than just these!
With much gusto the plate she attacks
and as she does the chair goes crack.
But she doesn't care, she doesn't mind
it's just a little extra weight on her behind.
In her desperation, she tries to restrain
but when you love donuts, it's all done in vain.
This was a wonderful, stupendous, glorious day
she'd eaten all the donuts before the plate was whisked away
Miss Donut Queen she was crowned
but she couldn't wear the formal, she was much too round.
People crowded around-they knew she wouldn't fail
because that girl had the ribs of a whale.
They wanted to erect a memorial, a shrine
She could be the queen forever, she'd never resign.
As she pulled herself off the floor
and headed out the wide load door.
She was heard to say
you can have your cookies, tea and such
but just give me, HOT SHIPLEY DONUTS!

There were several notebooks in this box.  One of them was my Bible study notebook from my freshman year in college.  You see in my spare time, since I was on the Baptist Student Union's Freshman Council as the Bible Study Chair Woman, I wrote Bible studies.  Some of them are in this notebook.  Lots of good memories there.   Also are my prayer lists for the year of our Lord 1973 which includes my own requests and my prayer lists that I had for others.  One of those who I prayed for is my friend Mary Madeline.  She and I are still in touch with each other, Christmas visit, and I can't wait to share with her what I found.  I also have the letter she sent to me when she had met Al and they knew God had made them for one another, but they hadn't announced it to the world yet.  I cannot tell you how happy I am that I have that letter and so many other letters from the years that have been tucked away in that box. 

Lots of memories from choir, celebrating the year of the Ray's.  In the bulletin from their last Sunday I saved the Klennex that caught my tears from that day.  Of course if anyone goes through this after I die, they just might wonder why I kept a Klennex, a used one at that.  There are Mildred and Gertrude scripts from the early days and even the script from the funny production that Bob and Pam, Peggy, Drew and I did for celebrating Pageant's 25 anniversary. 

When Roy traveled so much when he was an auditor, and since boys and girls, this was back before email, texting and cell phones, and long distance calls cost an arm and a leg, he wrote letters and sent me postcards from all his travels.  I saved them all.  I read them all this morning again.  Roy was quite the romantic writer. 

Of course with all these precious memories and precious treasures of my heart there were some strange inclusions.  Several coupons, much out of date and I think some of the products aren't even made anymore.  Bank statements from 1982.  How did we live on so little?  I also have a letter from a Sunday School teacher who I can't even remotely remember, but she sent me a scathing letter due to the lack of my participation in Sunday School class and missing a Sunday that I had been assigned a portion of scripture to read outloud.  It seems that someone I had confided in from class had ratted me out to the teacher and she quotes conversation that she and Cheryl, who I confided in but couldn't even tell you who she is, I have no recollection of her, discussed at length.  Uh, looks like I got a scathing letter that was based on gossip.  For shame Sunday School teacher who I can't remember.  The whole letter is to address my weaknesses. She didn't nearly touch half of them.  For goodness sake, she even pulls in Billy Graham to shame me.  This is a four page, hand written letter, with Roman numerals, subpoints 1 and so on, and sub sub points a,b, and c.  I received this letter in 1984, why did I save this, and it kind of riled me up today...yes even though I don't remember one thing about this whole ordeal or the people involved.  Really, she should have been happy for me not to participate, because many times my pariticipation is just to disrupt a class when I am bored.  Of course this letter should be shredded with a bunch of other junk, but I just might keep it.  I don't know why.  I do know that this was a period of time that we were so far away from the Lord and only attended church when it was a rainy Sunday.  We were out sailing with our friends on the sunny Sundays. 

Well, I better start warming up the old shredder and get back to the work at hand.  Thanks for stopping in and reading all these random thoughts that are provoked by boxes from days gone by. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Going to Take a Sentimental Journey

***This afternoon while going through another box I found my childhood Bible.  I thought that it had been lost along the wayside.  I cannot express how happy and excited I am to find the Bible I remember using and reading as a child.  On a side note in the same box I found my Ken doll, naked.  Well, he has on shoes, my Swiss Miss doll and a wild looking Hawaiian doll that I don't ever remember owning.  I also found some money, mainly pennys, dimes and nickels, but there was a dollar bill.***

This morning has been a sentimental journey.  In the never ending quest of an organized closet and now getting things in a ready position to move in five or so months, I've tackled three boxes of memories today.  Among the junk I kept, really what was I thinking, I have found my grandfather's Bible, scrapbooks of my parents, letters from people I remember and from people I have no clue who they are or why they were thanking or thinking of me.  Even came across photos that I thought had long since disappeared.  Well in one sense they did into the bottomless hole in the back of the closet.  There is art that our nieces created in their much younger years, several letters that I wrote home as a child while visiting my grandparents or attending camp and many many letters my mom wrote while they lived in Georgetown.  I even came across some letters from my high school and college boyfriend.  I thought I had thrown those away long ago but in finding them I did find a blessing.  Richard had sent me a picture and article about him from the newspaper about his internship with a compassionate ministry.  My sometimes faulty memory thinks that this was the only copy he ever had of the article.  So I Googled him today knowing he is a pastor, found the church he shepherds and mailed him the newspaper clipping with a note, but no return address.  Hope that it is a pleasant surprise for him.  Even came across a letter from my crazy friend Debbie.  It is as funny today as it was the 25 years or so ago that she wrote it.  Among everything is one of my grandpa Brownlow's five year diaries.  He mainly reported on the weather, but I must get my love of journals and journaling from him.  Lots and lots of cards and notes from Roy that were tucked away.  When my parents were cleaning out their home many years ago, I became the trustee of old newspaper articles about man landing on the moon, JFK assassination, the seven day war, World War II reports and one very strange article that doesn't seem to fit at first glance.  It is an article about a woman who had died, but no one could find her latest will.  So, her niece received everything that is until an older will had been found.  The lady had left almost everything to the local Methodist Church.  So the niece had to relinquish the land and money to the church.  That clipping is in a high school scrapbook of my father.  Strange thing for an 18 year old to hang onto or give attention to.  The ol' shredder has been working overtime this morning because not only did I keep sentimental things, I also kept a lot of junk.  What probably happened is, I got tired of going through things years ago or I had no idea where to put stuff, so lots of junk was thrown in with treasured keepsakes.  Those three boxes have now been compressed into one large plastic storage container.  Just a little worse for the wear from all the dust, but it has been a, dare I say it, a sacred moment today going through all these things that have recorded random aspects of life so far.  Much of what I read today is the impacting words from those who have loved me, thought of me (even if I can't remember who they are now) and encouraged me.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Fun but Exhausting Weekend

As morning starts and nail polish fades, a 9:45 am appointment at the spa been made.  What a great way to kick off the start of a Monday morning.  Monique did my pedicure this morning and she is awesome!  I think I will be a repeat client.  I know many won't believe this but I had my appointment at the Nord and left...without shopping.  Really, I can do that.  So many of y'all have expressed your unbelief that I would move a far distance from the Nord.  West Park Toll Road will make the Nord more accessible.  What I think I will miss more than the Nord is...The Play Grocery Store.  Egads!  I might have to cook.  Of course I'm telling myself that with a gas cook top, I will be cooking and happy to do so because of the even temperatures that gas cook tops provide.  Yes, I also tell myself those size smaller jeans are going to fit one day, very soon, very near future, maybe even tomorrow.  Oh the stories we tell ourselves.  Since Dena works close by to our new abode she teasingly volunteered to pick up those things I need from the Play Grocery Store and I can pick them up from her at the office.  She was being funny.  I'm taking that offer seriously.  For now it looks like the closest grocery store to us is a H.E.B.  Don't hate, but I'm not a big fan of H.E.B.  There is a Kroger over yonder a bit on 99, so I may make the long trek there until something else is built closer to us.  But I'm not saying I will never stop at the H.E.B.  It is close to Hobby Lobby and you know the amount of trips I make there.  Well, I have been there once and it was that Hobby Lobby. 

In the previous post I wrote about the hectic Friday afternoon we had.  Even as tired and happy as we were when we got home Friday evening, it took a while to settle down.  Both of us were so wired and excited.   Saturday I went to Catha's wedding shower.  It was such a fun gathering of friends.  Love these times to catch up with those whose paths don't cross mine very often.  Before going to the shower I stopped in at Le Peep for pancakes. I enjoy breakfast with a good book, although my first choice of companion for pancakes is Roy.  Roy was at the zoo with his photography class.  The zoo opens up for photographers every once in a while at 7:00 am.  You pay for this perk, but it is great because the crowds aren't overwhelming.  He took some awesome pictures and I will probably post a few later this week. 

Saturday afternoon Dena and I had a late lunch/early dinner at Pappasito's.  We had a blast getting caught up with each other's lives.  We drove out to Katy so she could see our lot and then headed back in via the West Park Toll Road to the Nord.  I had a couple of things to return and of course we both wanted to peruse a few departments.  I did buy a new purse.  I had Christmas money, a gift card and a Nordstrom Note to use for the purchase.  Of course Sunday is church and after church we had lunch with David and Emily.  Lots of fun and laughs with those two.  Once we got home I grabbed a quick nap before we headed back out to Katy to see if the lot we wanted would really be ours.  Praise the Lord, the couple on the lot next to the one we want, who are building the same style of house as ours decided to move to the other lot that had become available so they could have a pool.  The section we are in due to easements, can't have pools in the back yard.  We also went over paperwork and the contract that Roy had read and noted.  We made our design center appointments and we were good to go.  We have made quite a few trip back and forth this weekend.  Certainly it is good training for all those times we will have to do those kind of trips.  Come Sunday evening we were tired, but it was a good and satisfying tired. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Looks Like the Play Neighborhood Will Become Our Real Neighborhood

I can't believe it!  This summer if all goes well I will become a Cinco Ranch Lady!  When I played tennis we used that term in a sarcastic least I won't be playing tennis in Cinco Ranch.  I am still sitting here several hours later blown away that we actually committed to build and live in Cinco Ranch.  The great benefit is being close to my partner in crime, Peggy.  We are just a few minutes West of the Bain Compound.  Guess we will be the Royal Ranchette. 

 The green space right outside our front door

 The side brick fence

 Our 99.9% sure, our lot

 Another view of the green space

 Our 99.9% lot

We were almost 9 for 9 today.  Last Sunday we saw the home and the lot we liked but you know we needed to pray and think this thing through.  I went back on Tuesday and looked at the model home again.  Today Roy and I met with the salesman and talked through details, then took a little tour to see our choices of facades and we had just come back, and the sales guy is putting the information into the computer.  He tells his associate that the corner lot is off the market and the man replies, oh this couple wants the same lot.  Since our guy had already logged in and was doing the paperwork, we had first right.  30 seconds...of being 9 for 9.  I no more thought we would act on anything today so I didn't even bring the check book.  So we rushed home in 5 o'clock traffic, got the check book and got back to Katy right before 6.  Thank you Lord for the HOV and EZ Tag lanes.  I let Roy out and went to park the car but I noticed our salesman had met Roy, without any of the paper work that we had initialled and signed.  Seems there was a little problem.  On the lot next to ours a Madrid style home was being built but the couple buying that lot had wanted to install a pool and because of easement issues, pools can't be built on the four lots to the front of the subdivision.  On Thursday the original lot they wanted but had been sold came open again.  So we are about 99.9% sure they will move to the other lot and then we can have the corner near the green space.  So if you feel so led and I hope you do, please pray that all this settles into place.  We have a second option of a corner lot but it isn't really the one we want.  God is so good for so many reasons but as we were trying to introduce Christ into the conversation, we found out our salesman is a Christian and goes to a sister Baptist Church in Katy and it isn't Second West. 

After everything that had happened, we were too tired to go sit in a restaurant and eat, so we celebrated with some ice cream and then returned home to eat dinner. 

So now the process begins...we are so excited!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

In the Play Neighborhood and a Playful, Maybe Vengeful, Cat

Today I did something that I did before we moved to where we live now.  Before we moved to our condo and when I found myself on this side of town, I would drive around and do a little stop and shop in the neighborhood.  Just kind of wanted to get the feel of it and did it feel right. The Play Neighborhood.  Did that today in what could be our new Play Neighborhood.  In fact I almost didn't take my exit on 99 for CBS and was going to go on a little further down the road like I was going home.  This was not a conscious decision, it just felt right.  Quickly I swerved for the exit and made it just in time to miss the devotion portion of the study.  I can miss devotional time but never an exit.  I always miss music and devotion and arrived just in time for core group.  After Bible study today, I found myself doing that very same thing playing in the neighborhood.  Since organizing for a probable/possible/surely it will happen move, I am trying to get things cleared out and put into modular plastic containers.  Yesterday I brought home four and a few other storage type things.  Ah, I am no professional when it comes to organizational terms.  Well, the four modular plastic storage drawers were filled in no time with t shirts and sweatshirts.  Here of late I like wearing work out togs, but just haven't had the desire to actually work out in them.  Besides the way to my heart besides journals and pens is a t-shirt.  Roy thinks I am high maintenance and maybe that is sometimes true, but when he goes on a trip, I just want a cute t-shirt from wherever he has been.  That is low maintenance any way you look at it.  It was serious clear out yesterday because I'm letting go of some t-shirts that have been in the collection for quite some time.  That's how serious I am about getting into the ready position.  So I went to the Katy Super Target hoping to pick up 4 more modular plastic containers and there were only 2!  Who else is getting organized?  Now I am going to have to make a trip to the dreaded San Felipe Target, it has not been my first choice of a Target in a long time but have heard it has improved since remodeling.  I thought about driving by the lot where we might build again to see what the neighborhood looks like during an early dismissal day, but decided just to head back into Houston. 

Buddy has been a bit feisty of late.  The other night, out of the blue she attacked my forehead.  Now I know side bangs may not be her favorite style for me, but I think the attacked stemmed from the fact that I had been laying on my left side and didn't turn over and change to the right side when she sat next to me and meowed into my ear.  I finally gave in because Buddy has me trained so well, and when I thought she was going to settle down on my arm, like she wants to do, she lashed out with one big old swipe of the paw.  My cry woke up Roy, who I call the enforcer when it comes to disciplining Buddy, he got me a Kleenex and he wanted to put a big honkin' band aid on the cut.  Yes, that will feel great riping off the band aid the next morning and half my eye brow going along with it.  Hmmm...maybe that wasn't such a bad idea at all.  But he didn't act all enforcer like with Buddy and he decided he would rather go back to sleep than chase a cat in the middle of the night with a spray bottle.  Where is the love?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monday Afternoon Catch Up

Happy Belated Valentine's Day!  Roy skipped BSF, that right there is probably 25 demerits, and we went out to dinner.  Very rarely do we go out on the actual night of Valentine's because of the massive amount of amorous couples that crowd every where and every place.  But we had reservations for the Bistro at Nordstrom Valentine Dinner.  It was delicious and not even crowded.  Heck, the store was practically empty.  It reminded me of what we used to do on Halloween night back in the day.  We would go to FAO Schwartz and play with all the toys.  There weren't any kids around so we could play and play at will.  So Roy and I had a very nice time.  After dinner we stopped in at the men's shoe department and Roy ordered some hiking boots.  That's love, because shoe shopping with Roy is one long tedious experience. 

Sunday morning I subbed for Dena Lee in Sunday School.  I don't think I scared off the class with my lesson.  It was enjoyable to teach again and I am deeply humbled in how God took the words I studied and turned them into a way to minister to women and their spirits.  Sunday after church we had lunch with Peggy and then she showed us around some neighborhoods in Katy.  I'm kind of surprised, but we are actually thinking that a move out that way could be possible.  I went back there today and looked around.  I was able to go through the model home with no one there and take notes of what it would look like if we built that particular model.  We may go back on Friday after Roy's eye doctor appointment. 

Thanks to Linda S and her mention of the game angry birds at un bunko last Monday night, I am now hooked.  I may have to have an intervention I am playing it way too much, but it is so much fun.  I am stuck on a level and guess I am going to look up how to  use the birds Strategically to take care of those pigs. 

Let me state right off the bat, I do not consider myself a senior adult, well only if a discount or close parking is involved, but I have participated in the choir for the senior adult revival.  It has been a lot of fun singing a lot of old songs.  I wouldn't want to get stuck in a time warp and only get to sing these songs, but it has been full of memories.  It is a joy to see some in the congregation so joyful in their worship and expressions.  Others just look like they have given up or are just too beaten down to find some joy.  My desire to is to live out whatever time Jesus has left for me on this earth as a joyful, non cranky, complaining old person. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Twenty Three Hours of Healing...

Oh it has been about twenty four hours since hearing the town house news and thankfully the past twenty three hours have been healing.  The hole in my spirit is just about repaired.  I know there is a reason for everything going off the market the moment we are interested and I'm at peace with that.  I think it was the fact that I had to act like a grown up when hearing the news and not throw a fit and maybe just maybe I remembered I am filling in for Dena tomorrow and God's just cementing the freshness of His peace in my heart and spirit, ya know because I'm teaching on peace tomorrow. 

We took back the dishes to Nordy last night and then we dropped into the Bistro to grab a little dinner.  That was a nice treat.  As we were leaving Roy ran into someone he works with from Deloitte.  Great, I had on my Houston Zoo shirt, workout pants, and tennis shoes.  My hair wasn't the greatest either. They were dressed rather nicely, so I was very quick to volunteer the information that our trip out had been a last minute type thing to return damaged dishes.  I'm never prepared to be Mrs. Monarch.  

This morning I got online and saw Nord still had those dishes.  So I did the customer service chat thing to make sure the new ones would be sent from the warehouse, not from a store.  Kelly B was awesome, she ordered for me with instructions to double pack and they are paying for second day shipping because of the issues.  There is one of the reasons I love the Nord.  Their customer service is the best! 

Tomorrow I think we are going to drive around the Heights and look at some Open Houses just to see if there is anything of interest.  And this week Peggy is going to take me around to some of the neighborhoods in Katy to see what's out there.  Moving to Katy might involved some culture shock, but think we would get over it quickly.  Most are concerned that I wouldn't be near the Nord.  West Park toll road... besides, I'm not there as much as people think I am. 

This morning we went to an early breakfast because Roy needed to go to the office before he went to his photography class.  Went to Le Peep for pancakes.  They were good!  Could be a new tradition for Saturday mornings.  Who knows? 

We stay in the getting ready mode.  We need to load up Sequisha with several boxes for Goodwill.  Then I'll begin again...going through stuff. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Worst Post Ever...I Know Too Dramatic

It is a struggle this afternoon to chose joy, to chose God's peace, to chose hope.  We had found a town home that we really liked and had gone back for the second visit.  We were in the midst of double checking storage and those kind of things when our agent came to tell us the bad news.  The town home had gone under contract that very same hour that we were there.  I don't know, it made it harder to digest because we were standing there in the midst of some one's home that we wanted to be our home and now it going to be another's.  I don't know, I just wanted to get out of there and return home.  I'm remembering that Isiah 40, waiting on the Lord is the theme verse of my year, but we are now 8 for 8.  I wish to remind everyone we are supposed to be in a recession and housing plentiful.  Well, I guess it is, the ones that no one likes.  I have started in earnest looking in the Heights area and will probably begin a search in Katy.  Of course any open houses we go to on Sunday will insure the seller of a quick contract.  We are discouraged but it is nothing that can't be overcome.  We will continue the search.  But man, this one really hurt.  I emailed and texted some friends with the news.  Peggy offered to lease us her cabin, but she will probably lease it before she gets home from Ft. Worth.  At least she made me laugh.  I don't cry often but it took everything within me not to burst into tears while standing in the town home that wasn't an option any longer.  In those hours afterwards I looked for consolation but nothing...nothing...nothing...  Roy just helped a little.  He has a hat that he bought at a photo trip he went on with his class.  The sun was hotter than hot and he and another guy in the class bought straw hats to give them some relief.  Only thing, when he came home with his hat, I had to give him the bad news that it was a woman's sun hat.  From time to time I would picture Roy driving Mustang Sally, top down, with that hat on.  Just that thought would crack me up.  He was helping me vacuum and when I looked up, he had put on that silly hat just to make me laugh.  Mission accomplished!

Now I have to go to Nordstrom.  Some dishes I ordered came broken to pieces and they were going to be some Valentine Day gifts to some.  So, we are going to make the trek tonight...while I'm in a subdued mood.  I am really disappointed that they arrived broken to bits.  Unfortunately while Roy was helping me dust, he broke a plate my mom had given me.  Lots of sentimental value in it...  Guess bad things come in threes and we got them all taken care of in one day. 

That's it...worst post ever. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Overslept and Returning to Normal

This morning was like many mornings, wake up early and decide to sleep for just 10 more minutes. Only the timing of 10 minutes went slightly wrong when that short sleep of 10 minutes became a two hour nap. I awoke at 8:45 am. Not enough time to get ready for Bible study in Katy, especially since it is a hair washing day. Buddy is usually a great alarm clock because she doesn't let me sleep peacefully, but today she never even bothered me because she stayed warm in her blankey at the end of our bed. She hasn't gotten up yet and she usually wants to sit on my lap while I eat breakfast. OK, I just had to go check on her to make sure she's fine. She is. Really, who wants to get out from underneath the warm blankets on such a cold morning?

I'll try and use the time wisely this morning. I am filling in for Dena this week in Sunday School, I mean Adult Bible's still rock and roll to me...I mean Sunday School. Anyway, she asked if I would teach an expanded version of my peace talk at the women's Christmas banquet in December. So, that's what I'm doing and I have so enjoyed restudying everything because the Lord is speaking to me differently than what I taught before. Maybe because it was Christmas the point of unrealistic expectations had my full attention. This time I am more attune to Jesus, He is our Peace. Of course I haven't found the answer to my question, if Jesus is referred to as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, why is He called the Prince of Peace instead of King of Peace? If anyone has this answer please respond.

Tomorrow afternoon Roy and I are revisiting a town home we looked at previously. I liked it from the moment we saw it, so this visit is really to confirm this with Roy. If he says he doesn't think it is a possibility, that's fine with me. The good news is the town house we looked at and loved but is a little out of our budget will no longer be a temptation because it is under contract. I knew it wouldn't be on the market for very long.

Houston should be getting back to normal today. It is ding dang cold out but with sunshine. No more ice or ice possibilities. When we are languishing in 110 degree heat in August, I will think fondly of these cold winter days.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Weather Related Fun and Pancakes

Once again winter weather is shutting down Houston.  Choir and all Wednesday night activities are now cancelled.  Guess it is better to be safe than sorry.  I'm upset that I did my grocery shopping early this morning while it was pouring rain.  The place was nearly empty and no one knew we would have to panic shop this afternoon because lord knows we have already run out of everything we just bought for the last bout of wicked weather coming this afternoon.  Oh well...  I had the brilliant idea of loading up a grocery cart with...uh, how do I say this...male birth control packages and then do my grocery shopping while telling everyone that it could be a cold blast that could last at least 24 hours and they'd better stock up.  Then maybe, just maybe, they would be wondering why my grocery cart is filled with prophylactics?  But ding, dang it, they keep those things behind locked glass doors.  So there went my perfect fun at the grocery store plan.  Oh, I would have been a good person and put everything back where I found it and would only purchase my food items. 

This morning I had to get out into the dark, cold, rainy morning for a Doctor appointment.  Afterwards, I had planned on going to the old regular stop, Buffalo Grille.  Everyone else must have had the same plan because the parking lot was full, so I decided to do something new and go to the La Peep that has opened near by.  They have cinnamon-sugar pecan pancakes and I just have to share, they are so good!  They even make them with whole wheat, which makes them a tad healthier, but the buttermilk ones are the best.  Tony, my waiter, saw my indecision and offered to have 2 buttermilk and 1 whole wheat made.  Delicious with the French Roast coffee.  So, for now, I think I have found a pretty good substitute for the pecan pancakes from Pappasito's. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Taking It In, Basking In the Word

This morning I can't help but smile thinking about last night.  What a blast!  Last year our Bunko group decided to change it up a little, you know keeping it fresh, keeping it real.  We decided when we cannot get 12 of us together to play Bunko, we would have alternate plans.  Really, we're such a fun group it is a shame to let the lack of numbers encumber our love and laughter.  So last night we did the new thing.  There were only 5 of us who could make it, but my friends, we had a very wonderful time together.  Our hostess made a fabulous pot roast dinner with all the trimmings and we laughed and played Phase 10, way past our usual deadline of ending the evening at 9:00.  My sides hurt this morning from laughing so hard.  Yet in the midst of laughter we weren't remiss in acknowledging the hard, difficult and emotionally exhausting seasons we find ourselves in.  Youngsters, approaching weddings, ageing parents, seriously ill loved ones and the sometimes monotonous and mundane daily grind.  In between the snorts of laughter, there were real life conversations and freely given encouragement to one another.  Love how that happens when the family of Christ, sisters in the struggle and friends gather together...there is love. 

We experience so much static and noise in life.  There are distractions good and bad.  We are over scheduled, time wasters who are running a little late for everything.  We live lives of good intentions and sometimes a lack of follow through.  All is not hopeless, isn't that encouraging news!  I am reminded of this very familiar passage of scripture... but I'll share it from The Message Bible, Matthew 11:28-30"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Now this comes from one who struggles with having a daily quiet time.  Very rarely do I have my quiet times at the same time of the day.  I hate to blame my sanguine personality for it, so I will just blame my ADD.  Most days I do get to take a relaxing break from everything and just read, meditate and ponder God's Word.  I've been using a devotional book I found last fall at the Family Christian Bookstore.  I'll be honest, I don't really like to shop, it is not the shopping I don't like, it is the fact it takes forever to check out and purchase things.  So I have to be really strengthened by the Holy Spirit to stand peacefully in line, I cannot do it on my own strength.  This devotional, The Message Solo New Testament, was so worth the long wait in line.  (Family Christian, along with Hobby Lobby need to program their registers with the sale merchandise for that week which would result in less catalog look up and calling for a price check at register 3)  I digress.  The book is designed not to teach us how to study the Bible but rather to develop a converstation between us and God.  It is based on the classical lecto divina.  It is more Bible basking than Bible study and teaches us how to absorb and meditate in scripture, to converse with God openly and live out what has become a part of us, His Word. (loosely paraphrased from the introduction of the book)  I love the happening of reading a verse or verses and each day something new comes alive, a different word or thought.  Oh so thankful that the Word is alive and takes us on a new adventure each day, if we let it and let God do His life changing work in us. 

From the Matthew 11 passage is coming alive in seeing that this is how Jesus ministered and lived His life.  Not in a rush, intentional but also knowing God's timing.  He invites us to come to Him.  He shares with us how to recover our lives and experience real rest.  He asks us to walk and work with Him, He shows us how to live and how to do life and then keeps us in His company while we live out life by His personal attention and example He's been to us. 

Last night there, amidst the food, laughter, and the conversations His presence was with us.  Showing us how to live and encourage and love one another.  We weren't cognizant of it but we were basking in the Word. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

I'm Serious

I am so serious about hiring out to property owners who've had difficulty selling their places.  Once again Roy and I have found ourselves viewing property and considering it only to be told the day after seeing it, the property went under contract.  This has happened about 7 times so far.  Now either we have really good taste or God is speaking loud and clear and we seem to be a tad dense contemplating that just maybe that's not the place.  Seven is a holy number, at least it wasn't 6 properties.  I'm taking a break from the whole search thing this week.  There is one place that I really like, so probably it only has a half of contract on it that Roy likes OK.  We make a good team.  He sees the potential problems and what needs to be avoided.  I see past the decorations and limitations to what could be.  Tonight, I am going to draw a diagram, and you all might want to pray about this and the ensuing interpretation of said diagram, for Roy to see what I see.  No, I don't see dead people but the way I draw, stick people is my best thing art wise,  and will need a lot of imagination and true description.  That contract is as good as done on that property if I am half way successful in getting Roy to see the advantages. 

We do have peace about the process and we are very fortunate we don't have an unreasonable looming deadline to buy.  I can see now the grace of God giving me Isiah 40, waiting on the Lord, as my verse for the year.  After several years of life draining out strength, I'm excited for renewed strength from the Lord.  So, we continue onward, no binging but lots of purging. We have also been considering whether to sell furniture we won't be moving with us or give it away.  We are leaning toward giving it away especially to college students, young singles or marrieds that might need a piece here and there as they get started on their life journey.  When it comes time for that I will be posting pictures on Facebook and even maybe here on the blog.  We aren't that far along yet. 

Last night we went to a Super Bowl Party and had so much fun.  I'll be posting pictures later.  Today I went to the funeral of a dear friend's mother.  What a powerful service and I am happy to be able to claim that my life was dearly and deeply touched by Jody Unruth. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

We Were Totally Snowed...

The big snow show of 2011 never happened in Houston.  We got ice ice, lots of ice.  It has been downright painful to watch the coverage that all the local channels gave to Snow Show 2011.  Desperation in reporting is showing a frozen umbrella at a local Starbucks.  Roy had been dubious that the snow would even come.  The reports were ice and snow by 1:00pm, so get all your errands done.  It became 6:00 pm and rush hour traffic in the snow mix.  Even later we were told it all begins at midnight.  I woke up about 3:00 am very briefly, looked out the window and reported the only white stuff covering anything was the sheets protecting the delicate plants.  As it turned out, snow or no snow didn't make any difference to me.  I went to bed early feeling a little under the weather, so to speak.  This morning I wasn't feeling any better but took my time and eased into the day.  Our plans were for taco soup tonight and Roy ended up fixing that since I felt the huge need to return to bed.  His soup was very good, maybe even better than when I fix it, but as Dena pointed out when we talked on the phone this evening, it could just taste better because I didn't have to fix it.  That could very well be.  The meteorologists are reporting a big Arctic blast toward the end of next week...I'm not getting my sled out yet.  And when I say sled I mean cardboard because it will do with some candle wax on it.  Or get a tray from a cafeteria.  Those make good sleds too.  I learned that at SWTSU one wintry, snowy night.  But that my friends is another story. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hurrican Preparation, Uh... I Mean Snow Storm Preparation

Some people love the excitement of the mall on Black Friday.  Others love to be involved in the day after Christmas hoopla.  Me?  Well I love going to the grocery store and participate in panic buying for storm preparation.  Only the snow is only supposed to last one day but the nevertheless, that didn't stop shoppers hoarding, I mean storing up goods.  Many at the Kroger were a bit puzzled on really what to buy.  The silly ones were the people loading up on bottled water.  Others debated on purchasing ice...uh, put your stuff outside, it will stay frozen in 19 degree temperatures.  The parking lot and the procurement of a cart had the feel of Tuesday night Bible study in the church parking lot.  It is that sense of I'm going to beat you to that space, then grab a basket because there aren't any carts in the store, every man for himself.  Really for a snow storm it seems that comfort food would be the thing to purchase.  Stuff from the bakery, chip aisle, maybe some fruit and the bakery.  Oops, bakery got the double mention, but that's because baked goods are an important part of Snowmaggeden 2011.  Now why I like going to panic buy at the grocery store?  I like to get things stirred up a little.  Like fake talking into my cell phone loud enough for other shoppers to hear something like, "should I buy bananas?  They just told me these were the last load delivered to Houston for maybe a week.  You should have seen the run on the bananas.  I did the same thing in the store bakery area.  Of course I did that after picking up some cinnamon rolls for our anticipated snowed in status tomorrow.  I also picked up some Goode Company Bar B Que for dinner tonight.  Now I'm home and in for the duration.  I do have snow boots ready in case we get snow.  I've also worn my new winter coat that was deeply discounted on  I thought I would buy it for next year.  Score!

Already schools and businesses plan to be closed tomorrow.  What if the snow doesn't come like how projected paths of a hurricane lands far South or East and everyone has lost a productive work or school day?  When that happens it only sets up for failure for another emergency at a different time.  The thought being, fool me once shame on me, fool me twice, you have to come to school or work even when there is 7 inches of rain pooling on the highways and byways. 

Today we haven't experienced any rolling black outs like we did yesterday.  I was so healthy and took the stairs here at home and shunned the elevator in case one rolled our way.  Laurie M and I met for lunch at The Bistro yesterday and The Nord didn't experience any black outs but we must have had several more happen here at home.  All the appliance clocks and settings were flashing.  Last night before Roy and I went to sleep, he put flashlights in all the rooms so we would be ready.  That insured the stop of rolling black outs.  We were too prepared. 

I had high hopes for a town house on Briar Forest that I liked.  Roy met the agent last night to look it over.  He was dreading telling me the news of what he had found and didn't think this was a place for us.  No, I was happy he found all that. Been there and done that before.   I tend to get emotionally involved where as he takes the tedious check and recheck approach to anything and everything that could be wrong.  I do notice the widths of stairwells and whether our furniture would be difficult to be moved to a second floor.  Now he is going to go look at 2 town homes on Chatsworth that I looked at the other day.  I'm so glad we are not in a hurry. 

Hope all my Houston friends are ready to hunker down for the snow day ahead. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Toughing Out a Tuesday

I have a new job!  Looking at real estate.  It doesn't pay anything but it consumes most of my waking thoughts these days.  We started out today around 2:00 and I got home a little after 6:00.  We saw 7 properties.  There are at least 3-4 possibilities but one in particular stands out to me.  I think Roy is going to go with Cassandra tomorrow to look at it.  I would talk about it more but it seems that we are the lucky piece that most people need to sell or lease their property.  If we look at it, like it and are considering it, believe me it is under contract likity split; to someone else.  In our short period of time of looking at homes, we have had that happen to us three times.  As much as I am trying not to, I get emotionally involved when we look.  I can't believe I made it through all 7 this afternoon.  Since I didn't get home until after 6:00, I didn't go to Bible study tonight.  There wouldn't have been any parking left and I'm too tired to walk.  Besides it's like 25 degrees or something out there. 

This morning started out right, a massage.  It was great!  Maybe that is what gave me the stamina to make it through this afternoon. I almost had a major embarrassing moment while changing into the comfy spa robe.  The benches are marble or granite, some kind of stone.  You'd think I would know by now after looking at all the kitchens today.  Anyway the comfy robe made seating kind of slick and scary, I nearly skidded into the opening in the middle of two of the benches. That would have been a little awkward.   Maybe it was my Uggs that kept my feet so roasty toasty or my new deeply discounted coat that I thought I wouldn't get to wear until next year.  Who knows?  But I made it!

It was quite exciting yesterday.  I heard from my friend Debbie!  We actually talked on the phone and it was as if no time had ever gone by.  We are trying to figure out a time to meet.  She has remarried and that kind of shocked me.  Don't know why, guess it was more of a good surprise.  We got going in our Martian talk right from the get go. 

All by myself I set up my blue tooth in the car.  That is quite a feat for this technically challenged one.

So that is the happenings that I have energy to write about.  So more later!

And the Winner Is....

The give away of the great journal along with a $30.00 Nordstrom gift card is Amanda!  Congrats!  I'll be doing another give a way soon.  Amanda, we can talk when to meet up later.  I might not be at Bible study tonight depending on how long we are out this afternoon looking at homes.