Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Reading, Nesting, Cookies and Furniture

As far back as I can remember, I have always loved to read.  I don't know if my love of reading came to me naturally or if it is due to my mother's love of quiet.  No matter, every summer there was a constant;, trips to the swimming pool daily to tire us out and trips to the library weekly, with checked out books keeping us occupied quietly in the afternoons. I think my brother and I were nonstop, full of activity and most days would find us having a fight or two or twenty.   My mom told me that as a toddler I would climb out of my crib and get every book I owned.  I would then put all the books into the crib and then climb back in either reading or just sitting there happy to be surrounded by my books.  When Roy and I traveled doing joint venture auditing, what I missed most while on the road were my books.  I couldn't wait to get home and see my books.  In this season of life I'm having to cull through our books and only keep those that are memorable, those that I re-read and those that are valuable.  Oh and I am keeping most of the books I haven't read yet.  What has me thinking so much about reading and books?  I am reading Pat Conroy's book, My Reading Life.  It is interesting the influences that frame us to be readers or non readers.  His mother's early influence of reading became a fully supported love by the time he reached high school and met an English teacher that changed his life.  That English course navigated and determined the direction life would take for Pat, writing.  So this book has gotten me to reflect and ponder my own reading life and that is why I'm wondering if I always loved reading or if reading helped my mother experience her favored atmosphere of quiet.  Who knows, but no matter the source of this love, I'm so glad to be a book loving reader. 

I know pregnant women start nesting, but does a move to a new location mimic the nesting instinct?  Instead of throwing out the Williams Sonoma catalog as per usual, I actually looked through it yesterday and commented to Roy on several cooking pieces that I felt needed to be added to our home.  What???   I even looked through the Sur La Table catalog...  It's not that I don't know how to cook, I just haven't enjoyed it.  Maybe you do feel differently when someplace is fresh and new.  And a lot more spacious too.  When our real estate agent showed us this condo, she commented that the kitchen was so small.  I promptly showed her all I would need to be doing in that kitchen by going to the refrigerator, opening the door and pretending to pull out a Diet Coke. 

This morning I went to Memorial Bakery to pick up cookies for Bible study tomorrow.  First I checked their new location, but they weren't there.  So over to Kingsride I went.  After picking up cookies I went to the Heights to look at Chic Warehouse and this Mexican artist/iron work/antique store.  Doing a little scouting work verifying that the stores were still in business before taking Dani over that way sometime soon.  Saw a few things that looked mighty interesting to me. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What Have I Done?

Tuesday April 26, 2011

What have I done?

I borrowed this from Alyssa who got it from Arsundra. I liked it, so now I am participating.  Hope you will too!

Everything below in bold, I've done. I would like to do many more than I have! Copy this on to your own blog & bold/underline the things you’ve done if you like.

1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland

8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language  (Does sign language count?)

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied  (once  :) )

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business  (I'm counting M&G)

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (Camp Fire candy counts, right?)

62. Gone whale watching

63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check (On accident!!)

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone

78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book Does putting my blog in book form count?  Nah, probably not

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club

93. Got a tattoo

94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a lawsuit

98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter-Service, Lunch, Fun and Eventually a Nap

The song, "Was it a Morning Like This?" brings a little chuckle to me every year around this time.  For the most part Easter mornings are chaotic, full of surprise, and even maybe just a little unexpected thrown into the morning routine.  In this addled brain I have always re-written the words to that song so it includes hair not cooperating, planned Easter outfits a little haywire and of course running behind on schedule thus making an Easter landing into church sometimes as a little eventful.

This year Easter morning came early for us.  No, we didn't have any Easter egg hunters with us.  We were up early because Roy prays for the services before church and he needed to be there at 6:30 am and the choir was singing in all four services and we needed to be robed and in the loft by 7:00 am.  It has been quite sometime since I have seen 5:00 am wide awake.  It wasn't really that bad, but maybe it was due to the excitement that the day held.  Believe me, I do not want to make a regular habit of 5:00 am wake up and get up. 

It was a joy celebrating Resurrection Sunday.  God's presence was certainly there in the worship services.  The music, the worship and the message brought such wonder, hope, assurance and peace.  In between the 8:00 and 9:30 services, the choir and orchestra came back to the Rehearsal Hall for breakfast snacks.  I believe we could have fed almost everyone in attendance with the delicious food that people brought. 

We went to the Bains for Easter lunch and fun with the fam.  Roy and I usually bring several cartons of confetti eggs.  What a mess but what fun!  In fact I was still combing out confetti from my hair this morning.  After lunch the kids iced and decorated the bunny cake.  Lots of concentration, instruction and steady hands went into the resulting delicious and artful delight. 

 Above is the end result of hard work.
 The master chefs and chief decorators with end product
 I sat at the kiddie table waiting to have some bunny ear for dessert
 So fun even after all the eggs were destroyed
A few minor touch ups from the adults before the decorating began.

We left right before everyone headed out to the lake to work off any extra calories that might have been consumed during the day.  A nap was calling my name and I had every intention of making it back to church for the 5:30 service but my body dictated a whole 'nother message to me that staying home and not pushing it would be the better decision.  Regretfully, I finally agreed.  Even today, it has been one of those ease into the day kind of feelings. 

Easter, celebrating that the tomb is empty.  The lyrics of the song that opened our service says, "Jesus has overcome and the grave is overwhelmed...The victory is won...He is risen from the dead!  Hallelujah!  What a Savior!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Life, But Not So Removed From Reverencing the Day and Sacrifice Made For Us

There is a slightly nervous cat sitting in my lap.  She doesn't like to see boxes, bags and suitcases.  Today was a huge clean out day in Roy's closet.  We must have hauled out 2 bags of trash and took suits, sport coats, pants and shirts to the car for Goodwill till we couldn't haul out one more thing.  Roy even parted with his chess set and handmade board while I sacrificed my vintage Risk game.  Got that game in high school as a bribe from  my mom.  Little did I realize as I was drinking Caster Oil the night before the Doctor appointment, just why I was having to drink it.  Once at the appointment and being told I was going to have an upper and lower GI and just exactly what that meant...I was heading out the office and letting anyone who was in earshot know that THAT was not going to happen to me, and just as I reached  the door for my exit, my mom suggested she would buy me that game if I would just go through with the procedure.  Really, I did enjoy that game but in hindsight (no pun intended), I should have held out for something else than just a game.

 Lots of luggage went out the door with everything else today.  We cleaned out all the heavy suitcases that adds too much weight to the weight limit imposed by the airlines thus impeding my propensity to mood pack for trips and now if we fly, we would have to pay for my indecision. 

Roy actually got home early from the office last night.  Everyone was told to go home around 3:00 to begin Easter weekend.  We went out to dinner, ran to Costco and ended up at Academy where we purchased the deal of the day.  Ski pants for $4.88.  Neither one of us ski, but we thought they might keep Roy roasty, toasty while out and about in winter taking pictures.  He is so set for a return trip to the Biltmore at Christmas, but not this Christmas, well unless we haven't moved into our new home yet.  Then it might take a Biltmore Extravagant Christmas to lull me out of any doldrums I might be experiencing. 

This morning we went to breakfast at Le Peep and ran a few errands before returning home for the full de-cluttering work that we accomplished this afternoon.  I also went through the linen closet and then called it a day on going through things. 

After taking over a truck load to Goodwill, we came home and rested.  On my way home from Bible study yesterday, I stopped at the Basset Furniture Store.  Met a very helpful designer and we went through the sofas, accent tables and accent chairs making notes of what caught my eye.  Now Dani can come back with me and confirm or steer me in the correct direction on choices.  But that is how I rested this afternoon, going through the catalog and highlighting the stuff I liked.  Oh, and playing Angry Birds, Easter edition.  Then I hit my bookcase that holds my Southern fiction collection and actually removed books from that case for Goodwill and a few books that I think friends might enjoy.  Now that is something I thought I would never do. 

We just finished dinner.  Delicious brisket, potato salad and slaw.  My eyelids are getting heavy and maybe it is not going to be a late night for me.  Have a feeling we'll hit a couple of cabinets in the kitchen tomorrow. 

Not far from my heart and mind of course is Good Friday, how Jesus was broken for us so that we might live in Him.  That we might live through Him.  That we too might experience resurrected life paid for by His life and sacrifice. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Going to the Car Wash

Saturday morning Roy and I went to breakfast, made a stop and drop at Goodwill, and filled up the car.  Roy had selected a car wash as well, but alas the car wash was out of soap.  So we headed over to Kroger.  As we were readying to make the right hand turn into the parking lot we noticed and how could we not notice, two kids jumping up and down with signs stating they were doing a car wash at the church across the street from Kroger's.  We decided we would make a stop after shopping and get Sequisha cleaned up a little.  We finished shopping and headed over to the church.  There were just a couple of cars ahead of us.  It was hard not to notice the diligent work and effort going into cleaning each car.  A young woman came up to us and asked if we would like a cup of coffee while we waited.  We thanked her and declined the coffee offer.  We were defiantly into Diet Coke hours.  As the gray Jeep pulled away, we were directed to the spot it had occupied.  We got out of the car and their crew went to work.  It was mainly people in their late teen and early 20's doing the work but they were supported by kids who brought them clean water, soap and drying towels.  A couple of lady senior adults dropped by with some supplies and they headed on into their day.  I asked one of the girls what were they raising money for.  I thought for sure youth camp, youth trip or mission trip.  No, she told me they were raising money for expenses to help their church.  Bam, it hit me hard.  I began to tear up.  Here was a group of people giving up their Saturdays, sweating bullets, trying to help their church pay for expenses.  I reached into my purse and handed Roy some more money to donate to the cause.  He told me later if I hadn't of, he was going to pull out his wallet and add to what we had planned to give.  I was so moved by this group of people, the body of Christ, working together to make something happen, to support their local church.  Our car was cleaner and had been worked on with more diligence than the robot car wash at the Shell station.  Both Roy and I were thanking God as we left the church parking lot that there hadn't been any soap at the gas station.  We certainly received a greater blessing. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Random Thoughts on Tuesday

I get to do one of my favorite things today, have lunch with Cassi.  We are meeting near The Pottery Barn.  So, who knows if it will rain or not.  Every time I have gone to the PB it pours down rain but since it is not my ultimate destination, the rain thing might not be in the works. 

Saturday evening Roy wanted to drive out to the lot.  He hasn't been out there since the day we re-signed all the papers.  He brought his smaller camera and took some pictures.  I liked the shadow picture and thought I would include it today.  "If a picture paints a thousand words, than why can't I paint you" lyrics from one of my favorites from high school days, Bread.  Bread was a soft rock group, just not what's for dinner.  No that is beef, but I was never a fan of Meatloaf the singer, but do love me some meatloaf if it is tomato based and smothered in ketchup.  That my friends is how my brain whirls but not As the World Turns. 

Roy and I have officially cleaned out four bookshelves.  Another load of books will be going Goodwill's way.  It is hard to believe that we owned that many books and happily most of the one we are giving away have been read by us.  We have really done a lot around here to get into the ready position to move yet I feel like we have barely made a dent in all that needs to be done. 

Sunday was an exceptionally fun day.  In choir John officially introduced his finance Paige.  Our Sunday School lesson was exceptionally good.  And lunch after church was a blast.  We went with the Bains, Dena and Thuy to Los Cuccos.  After lunch, the Bains went by the Beer Can House and Roy and I made a trip to The Amish Craftsman.  We'd decided to also order a bookcase for Roy's study.  Then the best for last, a much needed Sunday afternoon nap.  I even got most of my Bible study homework done Sunday evening. 

In Sunday School, Dena was teaching from the seven last words of Christ.  But while she was teaching something caught my eye.  The women.  I noticed the role that women played in telling the Resurrection Story. 
  • Luke 23:49-But Jesus' friends, including the women, who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching
  • Luke 23:55-As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed.
  • Luke 24:1-But very early on Sunday morning, the women went to the tomb
  • Luke 24:4-As they stood there puzzled
  • Luke 24:5-they were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground
  • Luke 25:8-Then they remembered that he has said this (what the angels told them at the tomb)
  • So they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples and everyone else what had happened.
  • Luke25:11-But the story sounded like nonsense to the men and so they didn't believe it. 12-However Peter jumped up and ran to the tomb to look.
Love that Peter left the others to go take a look.  I'm not a feminist or a male basher, but I find it interesting that the women are the ones that helped hold everything together until the disciples and others finally came to realize what the women said was true about the empty tomb and the angels.  I find hope and joy that although sometimes as women we find ourselves in a role or place to observe from a distance everything that is going on. But even from a distance, we know.  We watch the details and ready things like they did by preparing the spices and ointments to anoint Jesus' body but by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as was the law.  But very early on Sunday morning they were up, ready to finish their job and...they were the first to the tomb.  They were the first ones the angels spoke with.  In John 20, we learn that even after coming early to the tomb and then running to tell the disciples, that even after Peter and John had left, Mary Magdalene was there alone crying outside the tomb.  A woman was the first to be spoken to by the Resurrected Jesus. 

Just pondering these things and I have no great conclusion or three points, a poem and a prayer.  I'm grateful that we all have a place, things to do, and influences in our life sphere.  So much to meditate on this Holy Week. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday Testamentary

It has been a long time waiting, but finally my hair appointment for highlights and a haircut is tomorrow morning.  Blond highlights to start off the summer, a little brighter and with color comes the added texture to my hair.  So it doesn't go flat being outdoors for 30 seconds. 

We only have two more weeks of Bible study.  Seems like the study ends just as the group begins to gel.  We had our core group brunch today and the conversations were all over the place.  Patsy did her best to rein us in and tried to get us all to discuss the assigned question, but I think only one person answered and the rest of the time we were discussing all things but the assigned topic.  Actually, I like it when we do that.  Sometimes the discussion is more meaningful and edifying when it isn't so structured.  I even got to mention one of my favorite stories that Joyce Meyers tells on herself, when she first became a believer, she led her Bible study in short shorts and a ciggy hanging out of her mouth.  That is such a good visual.  We were discussing why we shouldn't judge just by appearances.  Brunch was exceptionally good today, Peggy brought chicken enchiladas, there was fruit salad, guacamole, fresh strawberries, homemade cinnamon rolls that are awesome and I brought cookies from Memorial Bakery.  Good news is, Memorial Bakery is moving to the shopping center where there is the DSW, Pier 1, Home Goods and Office Max.  When I was picking up the cookies yesterday and I asked when they are moving.  Next week and I was so happy because now they are closer to us...well, that is until we move.

And because I know y'all are as obsessed with our new home as I am...ha'll want this update.  After Bible study I drove by the lot.  The SOLD sign is up and the electrical box that signals a soon to be start was in place.  Ah, now that was encouraging.  I actually remembered to bring a camera and took some pictures and lucky for you dear readers, the camera is still in the car and haven't downloaded the pictures.  Lot is still the same looking dry, parched lot but it has a sign and electrical box!  Maybe next week after Bible study, my jaunt to the lot will have something more to take pictures of. 

Yesterday, I went to pick up the four slice toaster from Crate and Barrel.  You know the one that was going to take 1-2 weeks to arrive?  While I was there I did what C&B hoped I would do, look around on the second trip into the store.  This time I went upstairs to the furniture and saw several things swatch and brochure worthy.  I would tell you I saw a couple of coffee tables I liked but C&B has taught me not to call them by that irrelevant term and to begin calling these pieces of furniture, accent tables.  I love it.  Window coverings=drapes, floor treatment=tile, wood or carpet, and now accent tables.  It takes anywhere from 8-10 weeks for furniture to be made that isn't stock.  Think I will wait till the last minute if we end up buying our accent tables and divans there.  OK, I know they are still called couches or sofas, but I'm trying to get a retro trend started here people.  Because C&B is like God's timing, a day is as a 1000 years and a 1000 years is as a day, that means to C&B, 1-2 weeks is one day and what I hoped to be delivered in July or August could be here next week.  Again to yell out our life motto, don't buy anything that has to be moved!

So Roy is bringing home 2 beach towels from the Mustang Engineering Annual Shrimp Boil.  He clearly is not thinking of our life motto, but how could he?  I mean when it is all the boiled shrimp you can eat, I might have brought home more than towels.  In years past when he has received the invite, he asks if I would like to go with him.  This year he invited a co-worker to go with him instead of me.  Well, he did mention the shrimp boil to see if I had any interest and since it was Bible study day and we were doing brunch, I didn't accept his mention.  He said his co-worker had never been to anything like it and really enjoyed himself. 

Roy is on his way home from the office.  He has been at the West Loop office and it has been nice having him come home a little sooner than usual.  I have no idea what we are going to have for dinner, but he just told me he isn't hungry.  Well that was until I mentioned I brought him some of Mary's homemade cinnamon rolls.  He said, now that a great dinner! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How Many Camisoles Will It Take?

Apparently I believe that one cannot have too many camisoles in their possession.  Interesting facts to learn about one's self while going through clothing that has been stuffed or neatly folded in drawers.  At some time I must have believed like I had eroorently believed that the brand of extra fine point pens that I love was being discontinued.  Found out later that was an untruth, so surely someone must have led me to believe that camisoles were on the short side of the supply chain.  Upon further inspection there were various sizes in the mix, so the larger sizes went the way of the Goodwill donation bag.  Guess this is what happens when the short term memory in clothes buying is on the blink.  Success today in getting three drawers cleaned out in the chest of drawers so that Roy can begin going through his stuff and make the same life changing clothes decisions that have become a part of the routine in the past month or so.  Our victory shout, we don't want to move it!  That helps make a lot of the decisions.  Like this white long sleeve hoodie kind of shirt that I think I have worn once but in the past just knew I would be wearing it with more frequency than previous seasons.  Ha, I always find it at the end of winter and wonder why the heck didn't it make it into the long sleeve shirt rotation.  Because it is stuffed in a drawer whose contents mainly are white t-shirts and the camisoles that I cornered the market on last summer.  Roy says only women's clothing requires one to purchase a camisole to be able to wear the blouses that are on the market now. 

In the closet shelves that I had mistakenly thought I had gone through last year, I found more papers to be shredded and a box of memories beginning in kindergarten and going through the early married years.  The only time I made an A in math, first grade.  My second highest math grade or rather it was called arithmetic back then, a B in the second grade.  Oh it was C, D and F's for me from third grade and beyond and only with the exception of 7th grade summer school where I actually understood the process and could show my work neatly, the grades otherwise were simply horrible.  I remember writing so small and smudging up my homework and math tests thinking that the teacher might give me the benefit of the doubt if it wasn't legible.  It only worked once but that is all I needed to think it just might work again.  When in elementary school one half of the report card was grades and the other side reported on character, neatness and the ability to understand abstract concepts.  My dad's favorite thing to quote to us while we were growing up was, does not use time and materials wisely.  There was the constant chant of this sad fact in our character whether it had to do with school, cleaning up our rooms, or shutting a drawer.  " Does not use time and materials wisely...tsk tsk Nancy."  Upon reviewing my elementary report cards I got checks and pluses in that and the correct reading is uses time and materials effectively.  Man, I so wish I had picked up on that detail when younger.  On second thought maybe it was a good thing my wise cracking, cynical retort never came to light for me to speak it out defiantly.  It seems the minus' came in does neat and orderly work.  Please reference the above subject matter math and know I tried to incorporate this tactic in all school work. Now this is hard to believe but I only had bad conduct grades in the first grade.  I got caught speaking to my neighbor all the time and spent a great deal of classroom time standing in the corner. When my mother found this out at a parent/teacher conference it just about broke her heart.  I figured how to talk and not get caught in the second grade and that served me well into high school and beyond. 

The box had a lot of my GA, Girl's Auxiliary, stuff in it.  Pictures of the GA Coronation.  (Paulette you must have been a princess that year and I was a Lady in Waiting)  Found the GA guide book and sing a long songs from GA camp.  Arise shine for Thy Light has come.  There were some programs from several years of GA Banquets.  I have written before I didn't go any higher than princess because Queen required one to keep a notebook and since I didn't do neat and orderly work, having to keep up some notebook didn't appeal to me.  That is when I begged my mom to let me drop out.  Think that was about the same time I begged to drop out of junior choir too.  Got to love my mom, she was never a joiner or desired to belong to any organization where meetings were involved, so she had my back on these decisions.  My dad wasn't all that happy about me quitting but I think mainly he enjoyed having my brother and me out of the house. 

The rest of my Camp Fire Girls junk was in the box too.  Loose beads that I had earned but never had sown onto my vest.  Again, the doesn't do neat and orderly work enters here too.  WoHeLo!  Work, Health, Love.  Other sundry items, completion of several years of Vacation Bible School, certificates from my Grandma Brownlow's church that I had attended Sunday School.  I don't ever remember wanting to be perfect in attendance for Sunday School.  My red Bible is that box.  It is all worn and tattered.  Not from a lot of use.  One of my favorite tactics to make some point whether it be in Sunday School or at home was to throw my Bible thus showing my disgust for all things religious and I thought that would hurt everyone and God.  I only hurt myself in retrospect.  Also in the box were several Sunday School give a ways, including a  glow in the dark cross, guess it was to make you feel safe in the middle of the night and not scare you that something was glowing in the dark and this said by the girl who thought Mary Todd Lincoln was the monster under her bed.   

If you have made it to this paragraph, I commend you.  This post originally was going to be about the book Plan B.  I finished reading it this morning and I think I am going to go back and re-read it.  Awesome book!  I was going to write about what Pete Wilson says in the book about getting stalled in the process of life.  This post right here is evidence that I got stalled today and will look to writing on this subject matter in the near future.  I will say this, after reading this book I wonder if what I consider in my life to be Plan B might have been God's plan A for me all along.  Maybe some things had to happen to get my attention so that I'd be more sensitive to the direction and journey God leads me on.  Don't know but I am happy after typing all this out that it has been done so in a neat and orderly way. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekend Bullet Points

Monday night and I'm pooped!  Here are just some random things from the weekend and today.
  • Friday, Roy and I went back out to Katy to sign new contract.
  • Saturday, Roy had a field trip out to some of the islands around Galveston with his photography class.  I was supposed to go with him but had to back out because I just wasn't up to an all day into the evening trip...and there wouldn't be any shopping involved to keep me amused.
  • I ended up working around home and made a major dent in getting some bookcases cleaned out and made a HUGE dent in the kitchen.
  • Sunday was church and I contemplated a few minutes in the early morning about playing sabbatical but finally I woke up and some energy returned.  I thought I'd sleep like a baby Saturday night since I never stopped or even took a nap.  Yea, I slept like a cranky baby, awake almost the whole night.
  • This morning it was out the door early to drop off more stuff at Goodwill.  Then I went to Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel and The Container Store.  I had $200 in PB gift cards, so I bought the duvet cover, shams and decorative pillows for the guest bedroom.  Hope Dani thinks I made a wise choice.  I really had another design in mind but fell in love with what I saw in the store.  Also had a $50 gift card to C&B and I used that on a 4 slice toaster.  Container Store had some things on sale that would help us with a little more organization.  The goal is to be able to let Roy have the chest of drawers for his clothes and fit mine in the dresser.  It is do-able only because we bought storage drawers that can keep some t-shirts and things neatly in the closet.  Just as I was checking out, Roy called to let me know he was at the mortgage office and I needed to get there and sign some papers with a notary.  That didn't take long and because Roy was going to the 2727 building for meetings, we were able to have lunch together.  We did it up in style, we ate at the Pizza Inn.  Bet I haven't been there in 2 years.  CourtneyS, I thought of you and our fun lunches there from back in the day.  After lunch, headed back over to the Galleria area to go to the Rack.  Needed to get a set of sheets for the guest room.  When I got home I took a nap.  Tiredness hit like a ton of bricks.  In fact I felt as if I had been drugged.  After napping, got back to work and organized some drawers with the stuff from the CS.  Now it is time to wind down.  Roy will be getting home from BSF in a little bit. 
  • Strangest thing from my visit to the Cardiologist,  He recommended that I go back to playing tennis.  He asked why I quit and I responded politics.  He was a bit puzzled.  I said have you ever tried to play on a team, with women, organize them and the team is made up of individuals who believe they are the greatest gift to tennis?  Tennis is not a team sport!  No matter, he suggested I get back out there and hit some tennis balls. 
  • I had some other stuff I had planned to write about this evening, but I'm calling it a day and Lord willing can write about that tomorrow. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pictures of the Little Lot on the Prairie

Looking across our lot to our side fence

Length of our lot from close to the street.  Notice all the equipment preparing the lots behind us

Another look from the width of the lot

The view from our front door, eventually

On the other side of the fence in the little park and green area

These are the pictures that Roy took today after we resigned the contract.  I will post my pictures later if they are different from these.  Now Roy is having to re-read and check the mortgage agreement.  Because the address changed it is like starting all over again except we already have the pre-construction meeting behind us.  It would be so nice not to have any more major blips.  Sales guy is supposed to put a sold sign in front of our lot.  That will make next Thursday a welcomed trip to Bible study and then to go see the sign.  It will be another couple of weeks before they will begin construction.  This has been a tough couple of months, but we are holding on for dear life to the Lord. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Little Lot on the Prairie

Suddenly I'm inspired to become Nancy Laura Ingalls Wilder Monarch and write a series of stories about our little lot on the prairie. The Katy Prairie to be exact. Peggy and I went out there after Bible study and a delicious lunch at Las Alamedas at La Centerra. Wow, the salsa is unbelievably good! But that's another story for another day. We made a stop at the new model home village to find our sales consultant to give him the revised contract, with new address and we get to do that whole thing over again tomorrow because while lawyer Roy was going through the contract, he found an error in DW's favor but to get the ball rolling or maybe rather the cement pouring, our sales guy needed something to give his boss today so that the process will begin again. Best guess-ta-ment on starting the house, two weeks. Good things come to those who wait...I know it's not in the Bible, but this is and I'm reminded that Isaiah 40 says, those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. And that is just part of the verses that the Lord gave me for this year. Wait...I'm not a good waiter but that's where living life in the power of the Holy Spirit begins. I think it is funny that I have been reading the book, Plan B by Pete Wilson. When I began the book it was merely to help a friend through a rather difficult season in life, because Plan B days seemed like they are far behind me. Ha, love God's sense of humor. The decision to move to Katy and this lot would both be categorized as Plan B. Want to know how funny God can be? I took that book and my Nook for my Dr Appointments and breakfast at Le Peep. Both of my Dr's are really good about running on time. Except for yesterday. At the cardiologist I waited 2 hours before I was even escorted back to one of the exam rooms. The chapter I was reading yesterday in Plan surprise, it was on waiting. Here is a great quote from the book, "Waiting has never been a popular pastime and our culture makes it worse. We live in the day of fast this and instant that, and having to wait is a big frustration. We've started to believe fast is always better. We've become seduced by such words as instant and easy. We've become quick a holics-dependent on getting what we want when we want it. Why do we hate waiting so much? There are many reasons, but I think one of the biggest is that waiting makes us feel powerless... In fact, this waiting may be the most important something you can and need to do." He also quotes Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees), "Waiting is the in-between time. It calls us to be in this moment, this season, without leaning so far into the future that we tear our roots from the present. When we learn to wait, we experience where we are as what is truly substantial and precious in life."

I'm embarrassed to even tell you that I went old school old person after person after person went back behind the sacred dividing door of the waiting room and the inner circle where everything happens. I did it... I went up to the front desk to ask if I really had an appointment yesterday and if so how much longer would the wait be? I was told by the nurse and the receptionist I was next, yet after that conversation, three people went back before me. Finally, they called my name. Oh I have totally digressed. Guess this post could be named Little Diversion at the Condo. Anyway, the area where our home will eventually, God willing, be built is a hub bub of activity. The section right behind our new lot is being cleared and soon the ground will be built up to the level that our lot is. Lots of home sites popping up in the area. While Peggy and I were there a man drove into the cul de sac and began taking pictures. So I asked him if he was with the developer, because I would love an opportunity to talk with them, anyway, he saw our street and the green space and he was taking pictures to show his wife. Peggy and I talked with him for a bit and I made sure he KNEW that our lot was off the market. He was really nice, his kids go to Faith West. I didn't even take pictures today but I might do so tomorrow. Just didn't have it in me although I have a real sense of peace in my spirit.

While at the cardiologist yesterday I got some great news followed by some shocking news. I am going off Coumadin and onto the new med that everyone is talking about Paradaxa. Yea! He cut me back on the other medicine I don't like taking, to every other day. So, I'm thinking, great! I'm good to go but he added this and I would have never believed I would hear this yesterday. I will probably have heart surgery before the end of the year. My heart beat is still too slow and there are several places in my left and right ventricle that needs repairing. He is amazed that I don't faint a lot but really I try not to put myself in situations where that might happen if I pushed it. Like to error on this side of caution. Anyway, that is a wait away and truthfully, that is a wait I am oh so happy to participate in.

Next time on Little Lot on the Prairie, .

The Monarchs want to move to the banks of green space, in Cinco Ranch Texas sometime this summer ok I'm an opptismist, this year. To acquire the deed to his farm, Oh yea house, Charles, I mean Roy, takes several jobs. Eventually, the multiple duties and stress become too much, and an exhausted Roy becomes injured during a picnic with the Bains , breaking his ribs after falling out of a tree from which he was trying to get a kite. When a home sales consultant takes advantage of him to take his oxen, he and his young wife (ahem) and cat, Nancy and Buddy, try to meet the deadline. This sends several of Walnut Grove's, I mean Cinco Ranch businessmen into action to help their new friend. In the end, Buddy reminisces about her father claiming to reap a harvest he did not expect, hence the title of this episode.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tough and Tenderness

To be really honest the past 24 hours have been tough. We found out yesterday that David Weekly didn't own or have the rights to the lot we had picked out. I came across this information accidently when I went to our website on to see if there were any updates etc. Uh yea, a huge update the address on the front of our floor plan had changed. I called Roy and he began calling our builder and sales consultant. The builder said all is well, just replotting by the developer. But around 4:30 instead of sending us the new plot workup we received the cryptic email, your sales consultant will be calling you about this. Roy made the phone calls to find out just what in the heck was going on. It seems that Trendmaker actually has the lot we wanted and Weekly homes have just discovered that information. DW actually has the two lots across the street. So the SOLD sign wasn't really a good sign after all. Two options go see the lot that DW actually has rights to or see if Trendmaker would trade out lots. The thought crossed my mind, dang it was that Trust His Heart post I wrote to see if I still believe what I wrote about from back in the day. Then there is the counter thought of, is this God? Or is this the devil trying to John 10:10 us, kill, steal and destroy? My heart sided with God, Roy thought it was the devil trying to steal our joy. I mean we got this lot by 30 seconds. We have had almost 8 weeks of falling in love with our blue prints and plans. How lovely to have two brick fences... then the news hit yesterday. Meanwhile after some sporadic prayer I called two friends to talk about the newest happenings. Really spiritual people would have spent hours in prayer, but I've never really claimed to be all that spiritual. I did what we all mostly do, talk to friends, then get back with God and relay our thoughts on the whole situation to Him. Yea, I know He just loves that! But it was helpful for me to talk with them especially Peggy because she really talked me through the process to see both the pro and con of each lot. Then she quoted Romans 8:28. Don't be shocked, we do quote the Word to one another and talk of things that are serious. It just comes between other stuff. Anyway, it made me think. In the back of my mind I had some reservations mainly that the brick fence would be so easy to climb over and break into the house being right off the street. She and Roy both mentioned road noise. While Roy and I were getting ready for bed I'd say stuff like, how does stuff like this happen? Do you think our sales consultant dropped the ball? Are you going to go in wearing your lawyer pants? Finally Roy said, it doesn't matter we need to go peacefully and let God lead us. Uh, oh yes...I seem to remember that's how we are to walk in the light.... I gave God the problem, took it back, gave it, shoved it at Him, pulled on it really hard and took it back for about 30 minutes there in the dark. My chest was tightening up, heartbeat racing and eureka, it finally dawned on me that worry wasn't going to add one thing to the situation and I didn't want to be in the ER on Tuesday instead of looking at the new lot. So I reluctantly gave it to God and listened to Spanish programming on KHCB until I finally dozed off. Then I think Roy started snoring and Buddy got restless, but then I finally fell into deep sleep in between the zzz's and the meows.

On the way to my parent's house this morning I played the choir practice CD. I wanted to be so I Chronicles 20 and be singing and praising God while He was defeating the enemy.

Today was open house to realtors for the new section of Cinco Ranch opening. Parking was a premium and severely lacking, so we met our sales consultant at the lots. Before he got there Roy and I walked the depth and the width of the lot...I was kind of Joshua-ing it... The lot is higher than the original, it is deeper and wide, deeper and fountain flowing but the lot is deeper and wide. The houses built behind us will be on a diagonal so we won't be directly lined up with the house behind us. No brick walls, only one hardy plank wall and then two wooden fences. Heck, I figure once we landscape, we won't miss the brick wall, but we will still have the brick house, it's mighty, mighty. We agreed to meet our sales guy back at the model home village and after discussing it amongst ourselves we were leaning toward taking that lot. We just wanted to see the plot drawings etc. So tonight, Roy will email the builder and the sales consultant to let them know we will build on the lot that allegedly they have the rights to.

I drove Roy back to the office and dropped him off. Then I made a quick trip to Central Market. And then I came home and took a nap. I was emotionally exhausted. So now we just have to find out how long this will delay the start of our home but they keep assuring us we will still be in our new home sometime around July 1. We will see. Tonight I remembered that although we cannot put God in a box and He doesn't always have a pattern in how He leads us, I do believe that this latest delay is in the pattern we have experienced since we began this house finding/house building journey. A contract written or a condo taken off the market or changing feels like God shutting doors to get us to our desired haven. We don't get special dispensation of not having to battle for the land, we just don't want to miss God and disobey and then have to wander around for 40 years.

Here is the gift of the day though. Today is my mom's 82 birthday. I went to their home this morning with cupcakes, a card and gifts. She didn't come to the front door with my dad, but was wandering about the back of the house. When she came into the living room she said, "Nancy." My mom has Alzheimer's and hasn't said my name in a very long time. I nearly lost it but I will never forget today, not because of the lot decision but because I got to hear my mom say my name again. What a gift!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Trust His Heart

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I went to a concert at Houston's First Baptist.  It wasn't anything that I had planned to do but my friend Peggy asked me to go hear it with her.  After offering every weak excuse that exists, she finally told me I was going!  I'm so glad she was insistent.  The concert, Azuza Pacific Choir led by Dr. Gary Bonner.  You see, I didn't want to go because I was kind of mad at God.  Wasn't it enough that I would still grace His presence with my Sunday morning going through the motion attendance?  It also seemed that and mistakenly so, that God was mad at me right back.  Just because I had cut off communication I wrongly thought that God had done the same thing.  This was a difficult season of life.  Roy and I flew through the recession of 1983.  It didn't affect us one bit, we had jobs and we were making a nice income.  We were able to go and do a lot of fun things.  The economy began recovering nicely and Roy had applied to and was accepted to law school.  Oh yea, we were on our way.  But then the unthinkable happened in the midst of a recovering economy.  Roy was laid off.  He had been asked to sign off on some paperwork and as an officer of the company it would have held him personally responsible.  He knew he couldn't sign the paperwork, so as they say in cliche' world, the rest is history.  At the time we thought the lay off was hitting us really hard, mainly due to the fact he would be loosing this company car.  Otherwise his severance package was actually rather generous in hindsight, but while in the middle of this, it wasn't enough.  People who we had considered close friends were not sympathetic or compassionate in their response to the news.  That hurt was almost worse than the loss of the job.  Now Roy, he was optimistic and trusted God that He would provide, and I on the other hand took the afore mentioned stance of mad and God is mean.  To be totally honest I was mad at just about everyone and everything.  Mad at God, mad at Roy, mad at friends, and even mad at strangers.  I remember sitting in the parking lot of the grocery store and watching people go into the store who were dressed in business clothes and be angry because they had jobs.  It was not a fun time to be around me unless you were with me in public.  I could turn the ol' "fun" personality on and as soon as I was "off stage" there would be a return to the mad, angry and hurt.  So there is the background and the story of why I didn't want to go to some dumb concert and hear college students sing about the unconditional love of God or the faithfulness of God.

I don't remember many of the songs they sang in concert that night except for one.  Through all the anger and hurt, words from a song pierced my spirit, melted my cold heart and unleashed emotions I hadn't given into for a long time.  There was such a warmth invading me and I could hear in my spirit God saying, I'm not mad at you, trust Me in the journey ahead.  After the concert Peggy and I were heading toward the CD table to look at the selections.  I asked her the title of the song about God not being mean.  She looked at me and said I don't remember any song about God not being mean and she asked me to repeat some of the lyrics.  Well between my sad ability of lyric and note reciting, Peggy, the college student selling CD's and I finally came up with the title of the song, Trust His Heart. 

All things work for our good

though sometimes we can't see how they could

struggles that break our hearts in two

sometimes blinds us to the truth

Our Father knows what's best for us

His ways are not our own

So when your pathway grows dim, and you just can't see Him

Remember you're never alone

God is too wise to be mistaken

God is too good to be unkind

So when you don't understand

When you don't see His plan

When you can't trace His hand

Trust His heart

He sees the master plan

And He holds our future in His hands

So don't live as those who have no hope

All our hope is found in Him

We see the present clearly

But He sees the first and the last

And like a tapestry He's weaving you and me to someday be just like Him

God is too wise to be mistaken

God is too good to be unkind

So when you don't understand

When you don't see His plan

When you can't trace His hand

Trust His heart

He alone is faithful and true

He alone knows what is best for you

So when you don't understand

When you don't see His plan

When you can't trace His hand trust His heart

That song in a concert I didn't want to attend was the turning point in that difficult season of life.  That song began a work of restoration in my life and turned my attention off the circumstances.  It was the catalyst that released me from the lie I'd believed and the start of a new beginning in my relationship with the Lord.  That CD that the song was on wore out because I kept it on repeat all the time on our lovely 80's boom box. 

This week as the choir and orchestra practiced for the concert last night at Broadway Baptist Church the memory of that concert long ago prompted me to pray for anyone who might be in attendance there that was upset, mad and angry over circumstances going on in their lives.  All week I have been praying for that person who sat there, not really wanting to be there.  When we made eye contact with the audience I was asking God to open my eyes to that person who was just like me those many years ago.  Then after a moving testimony from a couple in our choir and orchestra of God's faithfulness on a very hard, emotion wrenching path, we sang I Believe in You.  Monica sang the solo both in English and Spanish.  I know those words  echo the same meaning as Trust His Heart. I know God's Holy Spirit did His work and spoke in the still small voice that is louder than the chaotic thoughts and feelings which rage inside and sometimes on the outside of us.  Lord may much fruit be born from last night in all of us who were there. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

De-Cluttering, Depending and Intentional

"The earth is the Lord's, and EVERYTHING in it, the world and all who live in it." Psalm 24:1. I emphasized everything because I am starting to believe that I have been storing lots of stuff on this earth, behind cabinet doors, stuffed inside drawers and hanging in and on every available space that maybe just maybe the Lord doesn't want stored anymore. It is difficult to believe what we have kept all these years merely due to the fact we have put it away and that's it. Out of sight, out of mind. My goodness I have found First Editions, the former newsletter from church, and I've skimmed over them to see if there was a reason I kept it. So far nothing has been keep it worthy. If it had any meaning whatsoever, I have no remembrance of anything specially written. I'm still overwhelmed even with the major purging we did after Roy's mother died of all kinds of things. We were overcome with the amount of stuff she'd kept. Even overwhelmed now with most of her mail still coming to us even though we have notified ministries, financial advice newsletters and tons of health related mailings of her passing. It seems the only one so far that has stopped sending mail is the Benedictine Sisters in Indiana.

Sometimes it is difficult to make the decision of what to keep when it comes to the little things. Will I ever use that frame again? Did this little knick knack have any special meaning? Did it belong to someone who has passed on or is it a little something that I have picked up along the way on various trips? Today I carefully packed away a clay pot family my mother made for me. Husband, wife, son, dog and kitty cat complete with accessories and lots of Spanish moss. I love that little clay family and it brings me much joy. I wonder if they are even going to fit into the "decor" of the new house or if they will be relegated to storage? I am such a huge fan of folk art. I also want the folk art of my metal collection to be on display. It was so much fun going around on the back roads in Texas and collecting these pieces and I consider them works of art, no matter anyone else's opinion.

I came across a huge box of pens that we bought over a period of months because we were told that this particular style and brand would no longer be offered. Well whoever told me that was wrong. We don't need to purchase or acquire give away pens for a lot of years. Now saying that and with pens and journals being a big part of the books and journals that surely a love language, doesn't mean I will stop getting new pens. I'd make a vow but I have already broken the guidelines I set for myself on books, clothes and hair products.

It is something to ponder all this stuff we have acquired throughout the years. What was the inner need that made me think that my life was empty and needed to be filled with retail therapy? It is stupid but when I played tennis and because most of the women I played with on teams with or had fun games scheduled were rather wealthy. It is funny to me now because I see it for the truth that was so evident to them but not to me...even the stuff I bought to "keep up" or feel accepted by them wasn't of the quality of things that they possessed. I was such a wanna be with them. I always said they let me into their world but I was not of their world. Then there were some difficult years beginning around 2003 that affected me well into 2008. A great part of that time I was dealing with severe depression. It was all I could do to muster up the energy to go to work. I would just do the bare minimum emotion wise and come home crash and sleep until it was time to get up the next morning. Honestly, I don't really remember too much during some of that time. Huge chunks of time with no memories. I do remember that my therapist wanted me to go on some anti-depressants to help take the edge off the emotional turmoil and Roy begged me not to start on them. I deferred to his opinion and so that made living life a little harder and a lot more work. I'm so glad now that I shall I dare say it, submitted to him. And I wonder if I bought stuff then hoping that maybe it would kick start me into life. I have come across some stuff that's I'm thinking, what was I thinking? Realizing this now is almost making me depressed. Those were years that I did hard work on issues and problems that had dogged me for many years and although I had made some good strides in being healthy, I needed that extra help from a therapist who saved my life. She got me back on the correct path and I learned such valuable life changing principles from her. Sometimes even now when I quote her I'll say to the person I'm talking with, I paid thousands of dollars for this advice and I will give it to you for free!

Even now I will come across clothes and wonder why I never even thought of them. Then I remembered, I wore the same things during that really rough time of 2003, 2004 and 2005. Since 2008 I have been too restricted in activities due to my heart issues to really do an old fashined, butt kicking cleaning. That's also when we got rid of our maid because Roy didn't think she was doing that great of a job and he promised me we could keep up with everything. Well of course we know now, that wasn't true. Such high hopes from the eternal optimist.

Yet at the same time there are things I'm so happy we bought, those metal candle lantern tall glass kind of things, a couple of tables, and stuff like that. I think they'll fit in right nicely with everything that Dani has in mind. I must be the most casual style client she has ever worked with. Y'all, we are very laid back and casual. Done formal, moved on... She is in Round Top now and has called in with some fun sounding items.

So, yes I have gone on too long about stuff and it has my attention though spiritually. What stuff am I lugging around now and storing that the Lord would really like me to Spring clean to the spiritual curb? Is He waiting for me to trust Him so that He can begin a work, a construction zone in me? Just like we are waiting for on our house? Am I paying attention to Him and looking for the smallest detail and little things and the end result will be peace? The next few months will probably tend to be on the noisy, chaotic side of life. Will I learn to be still? Will my desire be to delight in the Lord? Will I rest and wait patiently? Will we be ready for that spacious place of the Lord's? I hope to answer yes, so in the meantime I'll continue the war against clutter, be intentional in what's going into our new home but most importantly wage the good fight in His strength against the clutter and intentional in what occupies my spirit and heart.