Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy New Year!

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.  I will be off the blog until after the New Year probably around the 7th or so.  Don't forget to come back then.

Our Christmas was wonderful only it came a day late.  Nancy, Megan and Erin were here today and we all had a blast.  As promised to Megan and Erin, an extensive post on their mother will be forthcoming. 

Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!!!  It's a quiet, wind blowing, intermittent rain kind of morning out here on the prairie.  Our house guests are at Peggy's, Roy has gone back to bed, Buddy is contemplating her mid morning nap and I am drinking coffee and taking in the silence and quiet.  So welcomed after having so many years of deadlines, appearances and schedules at Christmas.  When the nieces were little, it was a joy getting up early to spend Christmas with them.  Back in the day that meant a huge loss of sleep because we went to the 11:00 Christmas Eve at First Baptist.  Ah, those were the days. 

Last night we went to the Bains for Christmas Eve supper.  Very fun!  All the kiddos were settling in, setting out the Santa cookies and food for the reindeer and then falling asleep so that Santa could come.  We left around 8:30 because it was looking rather dim on me being able to stay awake for the 10:30 Christmas Eve service at Holy Apostles Episcopal Church.  So we looked at Christmas lights as we headed toward a church that I kind of remembered had a 9:30 Christmas Eve service.  A Christmas Miracle!  I had remembered correctly but we only had a few minutes before the service began.  Not to worry, still plenty of seating.  What a welcomed change of pace after years of having to get to a Christmas Eve service 30-45 minutes before it began because of the crowds and lack of parking at First Baptist or at St Martin's.  The youth choir did all the special music and there was even an alumni choir of college students home for Christmas that sang one song.The service was simple and meaningful.  It held both traditional and contemporary elements.  They served communion which is not at all unlike St Martin's but it was different from Episcopal style and very, very different from pass the elements style in the Baptist church.  I came away from that service with a timely word.  I also came away realizing I have become accustomed  to high production values and a timed flow of service events.  At first I thought, oh, this is going to really upset those leading the service and instead of getting agitated, they rolled along until the media got straightened out.   It was a refreshing experience to worship God in a different style and setting and it made me appreciative of the style and flow at our home church. 

Everyone (that would be Roy and Buddy) is up and moving.  So I will draw this to a close.  Have a Merry Christmas! 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Our First Official Boy/Girl Party in Our Home

I woke up this morning to the sound of an early tweet that most people use for receiving a text message.  Roy had already left for Bible study and he usually calls if there is a problem.  It chirped again and I got to thinking maybe it is a text emergency from family or friends.  On this particular morning it was more difficult than usual to get out of bed and walk.  I can't even describe how I moved as shuffling.  Several months ago in an attempt not to look at Facebook first thing before getting out of bed, I moved my phone and charger to the kitchen.  So I made the long painful journey only to find the text was from a friend of Roy's at Bible study.  Roy doesn't know his cell phone number and he assured the friend that it was ok to text me so very early in the morning so that Roy would have his phone number.  Roy's friend was very apologetic and I responded back..."that Roy."  You see I really couldn't complain too much because just the night before Roy and I had our first boy/girl party at our house.  Yes, way overdue.  Roy did so much to help, no let me put it another way, he did the majority of the work because I don't have the stamina like I used to have.  Roy also reminded me that I had been giving a lot of emotional energy to the party beginning several days before we had it.  He had not expended that kind of energy. 

To tell you the truth I still feel hung over this afternoon, nay, early evening.  Now I don't know how or where I know this information about hang overs....maybe from the movies.  It wasn't until after 11:00 am that I really could move and not walk like Frankenstein.  But I would do it all over again because last night was a lot of fun.  Roy and I decided on a eclectic menu, tamales from Good Old Boys, chicken pot pie and shepherds pie from Kay Teas Room, chips and queso from El Rancho rounded out with my salad and a fruit salad.  For dessert we had cherry strudel and a Scottish fruit cake (it's not the usual fruitcake) from Kay's Tea Room, coconut cake, fudge made by Peggy and all the fixins for s'mores.  It was just right outside, not too cold and not to warm to enjoy the outdoor fireplace and the fire pit table.  There was even a bit of singing but not an all sing.  It must have been meant to be because everyone I invited didn't have any other holiday plans.  So very thankful to have such great friends, and I'm not just talking about friends in our home last night but we are so blessed with friends that we truly love and appreciate.  And maybe the sentiment is mutual. 

Today, I have kind of been working on getting things ready for my trip to Israel.  I pretty much know what I am taking.  Packing light but it has been good to do consultations with Dena to see if we are packing with the same mindset.  We are going to look like twinners.  We both have the same brand and color of carry on luggage and we both are taking our red all weather coats. 

It was bound to happen but I saw my first rodent on the prairie.  As I casually looked out the backyard window at all the doves and  I saw something scurrying along the fence and then the doves got all worked up and were trying to scare the thing in the yard.  Now this is a miracle, I didn't scream but calmly alerted Roy to the situation.  He went outside to investigate.  He thinks it was just passing through looking for some food but to be on the safe side he went and got some rat poison.  He went to his newly discovered hardware store which has now replaced Tractor Supply as his version of the Nord.  They told him how to put the poison out so the birds wouldn't eat it.  Roy got that set up this afternoon.   Yesterday afternoon we emptied all the bird feeders just to be preventative.  The feeders are no way located where I saw the thing. 

We have been kind of amused with descriptions around here on the prairie.  As you know we live off a water feature, not a lake, or a pond or a bayou or a detention pond or a ditch...a water feature. One of the newer subdivisions on 1463 advertises water front property.  Water front property would be the man made water feature created where there probably once was real water front property, rice fields.  I once went to a church where the pastor referred to the new sidewalks being put in on the property as artificial terra firma.  Hmmm....Rancho de Five has many nature trails throughout the community.  They made something usable and beautiful out of areas where no building can be placed.  Other communities advertise their nature trails but we call them the trails to nowhere because they are located between the property fences and the street and only one trail leads somewhere and this is to the Shell station.

I better get back to packing.  The next few days will be a little hectic and while I am remembering things I need to take I am putting them in the bags.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Knew is New

Yesterday was a monumental day out here in prairie land.  I did two new things.  Every other Wednesday I have to find a way to keep busy while the maid is here.  Sometimes I schedule appointments or have lunch with friends.  Other times I go into Houston, OK the Nord, and do some shopping.  Every once in a while there are various errands or places that I have wanted to go to out here.  Yesterday, I had a few things to take care of but not enough to keep me out of Chris' hair the whole time.  Dropped off a Happy Birthmas gift to Peggy.  It's really her birthday gift so she can wear it before the Holiday Bowl but also included was Christmas candy and a Christmas card.  The Christmas card was a nativity scene made out of iced cookies.  Then the adventure of Bed, Bath and Beyond.  It wasn't as bad as I had anticipated.  It seems that when I bought sheets and blankets last year for the new beds in our home I totally forgot to include the trundle bed.  Since I didn't want Peggy's family member who has drawn the lucky lot of sleeping on the trundle bed to freeze I decided to get some bedding and I had three 20% off coupons, so totally score for me.  Now what to do?  Late lunch.  Off to BWC for grilled cheese and tomato soup.  I read and finished up a letter to a friend.  OK, time ticking down, so I stopped at La Centerra and looked around a bit and that's when it came to me, I should go across the street to the library and get a card.  I cannot tell you the last time I have been in a library, a public library.  To tell you the truth I didn't even know if they still issued cards because it could be an app or something totally digital to use.  Seems like they were still using card catalogs the last time I checked out a book.  So, I walked in, tentatively, reading all the signs for directions.  Since I didn't want to look like Mrs. 1979 was the last time I checked out a book, I prefaced my questions with my vast technical knowledge.  "Yes, do I need to download an app to be able to check out books?"  The guy just looked at me like, are you nuts?  So we went old school all up in here and I filled out a paper application, showed my ID and once he scanned a few things and input the info, he handed me a card.  Not much change from back in the day except it usually took several weeks to receive your official card by mail or pick up, yesterday, instant card.  I don't even know why I got a library card.  The pressure is too much to read a book in two weeks.  My usual pattern is to buy books, let them sit around for a while and then read them.  I guess I got the card so I would be official, you know in case they have an ID check or getting carded.  Although libraries today don't ever live up to the libraries in movies.  There are other things that aren't quite the way that Hollywood shows it to be, but that is a whole nother subject.  Movie libraries are dark tables, chairs and shelving, little study lamps on the it is light, bright and blond toned furniture and shelves in real life.  New to the scene, at least for me since I haven't darkened the door of a library since...that 1979 visit in attempt to be budget minded and not buy books and maybe that should read I hadn't lightened the door since modern libraries seem to be planned and extrospectivly furnished with light/bright in mind.  Oh, I didn't complete my thought or run on sentence, new to the scene...comfortable club chairs by floor to ceiling windows over looking a water feature.  Simply beautiful.  Oh and did you notice me getting usage out of one of the new thesauruses I bought?  One thing that hasn't changed on the library scene, the quiet.  So welcomed!  While it was noisier downstairs in the children's section, silence ruled the second floor.  It was me, some high school students and studious adults sitting around and being all library like.  There is something to sitting in a room filled with books.  Harper Lee's home (To Kill a Mockingbird) is said to be filled with books on shelves all throughout the house.  That would include entrance, hallways, kitchen and bathrooms.  Wow, that would be awesome to see, to experience.   

The second new thing I did yesterday doesn't seem as news worthy as the library but here it goes, I finally went to the new Kroger on 1093 and Spring Green.  Since I've been in grocery stores almost weekly my whole married life, no keen observations or new stuff to report.  I am very happy to see this Kroger has a HUGE prepared food section and a section of fit and healthy meals.  That makes dinner a whole lot easier and wise.  Roy went with me and since he has been there one time, he was as lost as I was.  We did have fun finding stuff.  Did I mention that the Play Grocery store is closing all its locations except one.  I didn't think they would miss me that much but apparently they must have lost money once we moved onto prairie living. 

New, it has been on my mind this week.  On Tuesday I watched some Joyce Meyer funniest stories on You Tube and it was divided into four fifteen minute segments.  I would watch one when I needed a break and the whole time I thought, I am wasting time doing this...I am so glad I took the time because in the fourth segment, not even a major point, Joyce threw in a little part of a verse in Isaiah, behold He is doing a new thing and she went on not missing a beat.  I have probably read and heard that verse hundreds of times and although I thought it was nice, it never caught me attention until Tuesday.  So with these new Wednesday experiences and the fact I was rather wordy with the library, I'm going to hold off on saying anything more about new right now. 

The doves have come back since missing a week of birdseed while we went to Biltmore.  While ago, I heard a bird crash into the window and I felt sure it was dead.  I have orders from Peggy that if any doves die, this is what it sounds like when a dove dies, I mean cries, to call her.  She'll come get it and rustle up a fine bird dinner for she and Bill.  I'm afraid to ask her what she wants me to do if I ever hit a deer. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Packing and Pondering


A beautiful day on the prairie. A home day on the prairie. I like these kinds of days. I am trying to figure out what to pack for the Israel trip. The temperatures have been consistently in the 50-60 degree area during the day and in the 40s at night. I know I am going with the layered look but I am trying to take the bare minimum and that is clearly a challenge for me...I am a mood clothes wearer. Since deciding to go on the trip many months ago, I've been buying things that would travel well but I am coming to the conclusion that I am mainly going to wear Nike and Addidas pants so that I can wear a knee brace for the climbing and rough terrain walking. Only taking a couple of pairs of jeans and going to rotate fleece/sweater like tops over long sleeve t shirts. Not only have I considered clothing but bought a small Bible for the trip in the summer. I've been using it expressly for this time. I have read, prayed, studied, and devo- ed with this trip in mind. In a little over a week we will be on the plane or should I say planes. Sprint does not carry a data plan for overseas travel that is even remotely affordable so...I will be silent for about 10 days unless my roomie lets me use her phone because AT&T has a data plan that is reasonable. As I think of things to pack believe me I am putting them in my stack. These days a thought comes and it doesn't come back as quickly so I pounce on the opportunity.

Roy and I picked up the trundle bed mattress last night and then grabbed some dinner. There is a serious design flaw with our day bed from Pottery Barn. Anyway, once our company leaves we can decide if we will try to put it under the bed or store it someplace else.

I just looked at what Facebook thinks are the highlights of 2012 for me. Looks like friends and Biltmore dominate the timeline. Those aren't bad highlights at all. Roy and I consider ourselves so blessed with such good friends. The other day while I was getting things ready to take to the storage unit I saw a black and white composition book. I knew exactly what it was and deemed it important enough to stop and take a look. My mom had done Grandma Remembers books for the girls. When she did those she also hand wrote one for me. It was fun looking through everything and she had included photographs in it as well. Something caught my attention and this is something I hadn't noticed before. My mom was writing out what she had learned from her mother and father. She said kindness for my grandfather; she thought he was the kindest and gentlest person she had ever known. From my grandmother, her mother, she had learned the importance of friendship. My grandmother taught her to be intentional and thoughtful with her friends. My mom went further in her remembrances saying that she learned from her family integrity and truthfulness was one of the most important character traits to have. Wow, what a legacy. When I was a child spending summers with my grandmother, she and her neighbor across the way, Ruthie Blackburn, talked at least twice with each other every day. In the morning and in the evening before bed. Although Ruthie's voice scared the bejabbers out of me, my grandmother assured me that Ruthie was one of the nicest and kindest people and Ruthie was her good friend. I know I have written this before but one thing I remember, they were both nearly deaf. My grandmother wore a hearing aid and had a volume control for her phone but Ruthie refused to get a hearing aid. She had lost a leg as a child, I believe in a roller skating accident but the story told me by my father is, she lost her leg when she disobeyed her father. Guess I was willing to lose a leg if need be. She told my grandmother, I already have a fake leg, don't need a fake ear. When I was younger I remember my mother being a lot more social than she was later in life. She had such good friends but I think maybe my mother was dealing with dementia and Alzheimer's long before we recognized it. She who was light hearted and fun became a tad negative and complainy about her friends. I think that came about after her two best friends had passed away. Maybe she dealt with their deaths in comparison to her other friends and no one held a candle to Mary Jo and Billie.

I have always believed that I have been blessed with some of the best friends anyone could ever ask for. I am fortunate to have lifetime friends, (not the gym, one would have to be going there to make friends) friends I have known for a long time, friends that have recently become a part of my journey and me with them, friends that I have learned so much from and unfortunately friends that have come and gone because maybe their purpose in my life was; don't become or make their mistakes. You know life lesson friends. I am sure I have played that role in other's lives. I don't really like to think about that.

This tweet has made me ponder;

Margaret Feinberg@mafeinberg

We need a place where we pray for a replenished wonder of friendship and wait for God to answer in unexpected ways

If you are reading this and a little discouraged that you're not making good friends or you feel like your encounters of late have been "life lesson" friends...fair weather friends, let me encourage you to keep planting those friendship seeds. Don't give up because those seeds of friendship will reap a harvest. During this Christmas season I am asking God to give me a replenished wonder of friendship. Friendship is a truly wondrous thing. So on this trip to the Holy Land; I'm expectant for God to answer in unexpected ways. On this trip there are friends I have known for years, two best friends, newly discovered and loved friends, those who I know by name and those I haven; met...we'll become friends.

Just remember to pack baggies and I'd better get some snacks ready too. I am not a fan of hummus so I'd better be prepared with cheese crackers and Pria bars.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Just a Thought

You can feel the edginess in the air today.  We have all cried and prayed.  Our hearts extended to the families affected by the horrible rampage on Friday morning.  In the midst of what will prove to be a difficult week ahead we hold fast to hope, not the hope of wishing things will get better with time but the hope that is in the solid rock.  People more eloquent than I have stated their feelings and thoughts by Twitter, blog, Facebook or actually famous enough to get air time.  As I have been out and about in the normal routine of prairie living I've really stopped to look at kids 5, 6, and 7 years old to get a grasp of something my mind quite won't get around of how little, how young, how innocent most children are in the formidable stage of life, in first grade.  They are on the cusp of still wanting to believe in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny, yet already finding on the field of sports or in the classroom that the good and talented children are treated differently than the rest of the pack. Mostly it is an exciting age because homework is being introduced in baby steps and that folders brought home to mom and dad hold a lot of promise.  They aren't wearied by the enormity of grades, class standings, extra credit and the importance of getting into the college of their choice. 

It is almost like we didn't want to talk of the obvious.  Not that Friday didn't happen but that we are immersed in the deep sadness in the loss of these young children.  We learned about the heroes who stopped the rampage and saved lives. "No greater love than a man or this case women who lay down their life for their friends."

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Worked Hard For No Money

It's official, I'm a nerd.  That shouldn't be too much of a surprise that someone as cool as I seem to be would declare themselves a nerd.  Oh contrair Pierre.  After a busy weekend I have finally found the time to open the boxes from Amazon.  The contents....?  Two different type of thesauruses.  I cannot tell you how very happy, happy, happy this makes me. 

Roy and I are recovering from one hectic weekend.  The past week was extremely busy and full of activities and a little bit of stress.  Friday night we were supposed to go to a Christmas caroling party but I had to make the last minute decision that we couldn't go.  I was weary and starting to get a sore throat with a little bit of a cough.  This may sound like the crud that is going around but for me it is a sure sign that I have overdone it and my heart and body are giving me the warning signs.  I went to bed early and watched the coverage of the horrendous day in Newtown, CT.  Crying and praying for those families.  It is too much to comprehend. 

Saturday we decided to attack a few to do list items.  So we went by the storage place and got a small unit.  With that done, we headed over to buy a trundle mattress.  We can pick it up Monday or Tuesday.  That afternoon we went over to the Katy Christmas festival and stopped in at a little hardware store.  We needed nails and we also got some extra keys made.  They had the little stakes to outline your yard in lights.  Everyone else has been sold out.  We came home and measured the yard.  Don't you know that was a lot of fun with Mr. Exacto and Mrs. Ballpark figure.  Roy came in the house and immediately hit Excel to get the correct calculations of how many feet of light bulbs we needed.  I came in and hit my head against the wall because I couldn't believe that Roy would Excel and I hate Excel.  I should have put the above paragraph in the form of a word problem and show my work in getting it figured out., Roy wanted to remeasure the dimensions and add the flower bed into the equation.  I asked that it be duly noted in the official record that I had suggested the very same thing yesterday and Roy pooh poohed me.  Ha!  When Roy finally finished his mathnasium he declared we needed 100 feet.  I asked how much that would cost, he said over $100.00 and I said let's punt the lights until next year.  That is until I was straightening up the mud area in the laundry room and saw some white lights that I had bought deeply discounted at the end of summer and asked if we could use those.  So we are back in business and may attempt light placement after all. 

We also loaded up Sequisha with boxes and took them over to the storage unit.  Totally favor of the Lord that we got one next to an outside door and it was the top unit in the stack.  We get a little more space height wise.  Roy still has good knees so he got everything arranged and once Christmas is over and the decorations are ready to be stored, we'll go back do that and see if there is any extra room for anything else.  It is not a case of having too many material things, it is a case of being a collector of memories and too old for our attic steps. 

We picked up some Good Ol' Boys boiled shrimp and sides for dinner last night.  Delicious! 

Waking up to rain this morning was rather welcomed but driving to church was a tad hazardous.  We got on the EZ Tag lane so we wouldn't have to deal with a lot of the other drivers.  By the time we got into church, my back and feet were soaked.  So the person who is rarely cold was rather chilled all morning.  We went to Le Peep for lunch.  Coffee for me is early or late, not in the afternoon, but I decided to have some just to warm up. 

Well nerd girl is going to go read her thesaurus and hit the hay early.  Have a busy day ahead. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

More Wonder More Struck

There is a Facebook page that I look at from time to time.  It is a group that formed out of memories of growing up in our childhood neighborhood and surrounding area in Houston.  Truthfully, I have not posted too much on it but I like reading other's observations and tales of growing up.  Seems like most of them are either older or younger than me.  Very few went to my high school but most of them went to the areas rival high schools.  Pictures of places long gone are posted.  Stories of those places told.  Places where we played have been developed and only the few know of the trails and hills we rode our bikes on.  Stories of watching change.  It strikes me kind of funny that all  we were a part of that generation that held rebelling and not obeying authority or giving in to the man as imperitive to life, trust no one over thirty, are now saying, writing and doing the very things that we made fun of when we heard adults in our lives say those sentiments.   Interesting comments reading of people who back in the day ran in the 'popular' crowd and those of us who watched that inner circle sometimes with jealousy and envy and hopeful one day our presence would be noticed.  In a good way, not a making fun of way, but looking back maybe not running with the fast crowd might have been a good thing.  When I first discovered this group there was a man that reverted back to his junior high school mentality.  He was blown away that he was NOW communicating with some of the very popular girls he had known from afar, back in that long, long ago.  Most of his posts took the train to Smutville and comments and some pictures he posted were filled with innuendo and were downright offensive.  Sometimes people would kind of joke with him hoping he would take the hint that his comments were distasteful and rude.  Finally, because this man continued in his trashy filled ways, one of the men in the group, relatively new to the group, confronted him and stood up for the women who were regular posters on the page.  It is scary to stand up for something or to someone in person but it takes a lot of guts to stand up on social media with words written without the benefit of hearing the voice or the emotion or threats of hundreds of "FB friends" who you don't really know.  The rude commenting man left the group and took his nastiness with him and deleted all his postings.  Yay!  Ding dong the witch is dead....  Everyone was so thankful that someone finally said something.

This week the brave man who stood up for decency passed away.   He had been ill, recovered, then found himself back in the hospital.  People who had never met him went to the hospital to visit and sit with his family.  The FB page is filled with loving tributes and deeply thoughtful words for this man.  The majority of people only knew him from Facebook, some had met him at a FB meet and greet just a few months ago and then there are those who have known him since childhood.  They all express the same things about his character, his sense of humor and his delightful view of life, he had been given over a hundred fold in each of those categories.  Stories and memories fill that group page and it has been an awesome and eye opening experience to read them.  His life had made an impact the old fashioned, get to know you in person, way and the 21st century way on the Internet and social media. 

We never know how our lives impact.  Kindness, encouragement, forgiveness and joy leave a lasting footprint on our hearts.  Truth be told meanness, spitefulness and ugly words also leave a lasting imprint on our hearts.  Sometimes when we get older...yes, I am about to go all Titus 2 on you, that grating, edgy, mean spirited, and negative viewpoint amplifies.  We don't even realize it until we see it all over someone else.   We want to be good fruit but sometimes we hang on the vine a little too long and become only fit to be prunes or raisins, craisins, or dried fruit.  Dried fruit is only appreciated on long hikes or for survival.  Really, who would pick dried fruit when one can have fresh, juicy fruit?  I don't know if this man believed or not, but the influence of his life on this group of people has brought awe and wonder in seeing and understanding that even the smallest details in life can and will be used. 

Last night we got to see our friends from France.  They lived here five years and then were transferred back to their home, only their home seems to be fixed and established at least in their hearts, over here with us.  Lots of laughter, tears, kisses (hey, we are learning the customs and gestures from France,) conversations and then long goodbyes.  As we gathered as friends we all rejoiced in the experience of impact, even though that probably wasn't front and center in our minds.  I've never seen a family like Claude's and Ria's that are so loved and so missed.  Their lives and love impactful and the fact that Ria is a master chef and baker adds to that impact and well of course to weight gain.  But, it is impactful weight gain.  :)

All these things above have shown me more of the awe and workings of God.  He is there in the details.  He surrounds us with His love and invites us to be fruitful, kind and impactful for His Kingdom. For us to know the joy of living life through Him and in His strength and power.  If you would like to read more about impact and being wonderstruck with the Creator and Father God, order Wonderstruck by Margaret Feinberg. 

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Some of you might be saying, a lot of your postings have had to do with this Wonderstruck book but those of you who know me also know I would not be posting and writing about it if it didn't impact my life and view of living.  The preview I've been given to read has done just that.  I am so glad several of you have mentioned to me that you have already ordered your copy.  You will not be disappointed.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Wonder of It All

We took another sabbatical Sunday today.  Roy has been participating in Celebration and has done so without taking any days off.  He pretty much drags himself in each night on the last bit of fumes of energy.  Instead of going out for lunch before he left for the remaining two performances today, we decided to go have breakfast.  When we first moved out here to the prairie we ate Saturday breakfast together at Otto's or Black Walnut Cafe or a few other places around here.  When Roy started attending Bible study at the Episcopal church on Saturday mornings, our breakfasting diminished.  It just wasn't as fun to eat out as when Roy was there. 

Last night I met Dena for dinner before we attended Celebration.  Nothing like starting out a fun evening with a bowl of gumbo.  We decided to scoot on over to church with plenty of time before the start.  Sold out shows=diminished parking.  What a great problem to have.  We took our vouchers and got our CDs, wandered around a bit and then headed to our seats.  I cannot tell how wonderful everything was in Celebration.  Just on a technical aspect it was one of the most beautifully staged productions but as always the heart aspect was even more impactful and beautiful.  At home I have watched a video of the processional filmed on Thursday night and each and every time I sit here and cry.  The meaning of the story that never changes but changes everything grabs at my heart each and every time...and when Page the elephant comes in and makes her graceful, yet smelly journey in the cross aisle, it makes me cry even more.  I am not a crier by nature so I came with tissues in case I sat there in the balcony and blubbered like a baby.  Thankfully, I teared up but didn't have the ugly cry going on.  Oh and the choir and orchestra, my friends, they hit it out of the park musically.  The only thing is, I hugged several and that glitter on the tops got all over me and eventually all over my car.  I even found some in the house and my top is in a plastic bag, not opened.   So it was the glitter of the evening that has graced our home.  I am so thankful that John Bolin and his team are so creative and that the Lord is honored and it is His Name that is lifted up.  After the show I ran into several good friends and we had a great time catching up with one another in the hallway.  Believe me when I tell you there was lots of laughter.  Dena and I walked out to the parking lot which had emptied by the time we got there.  So traffic was not a problem. 

Roy beat me home but I when I told him we had run into lots and lots of friends, he knew that will always put a little more time in between departing location and for home arrival.  Going to sleep last night was difficult.  I was wired and so full of energy.  Don't ask me if I still had that same energy this morning.  But as we have just come out of a season of gratitude, well more emphasis than normal and now we are in a season of gifts, I am so thankful and I am so grateful for the friends that God has given me.  Their prayers, texts, phone calls, tweets, FBing, love, laughter...the walking through difficult seasons with each other, rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep, what a gift, what a wonder of God's indescribable gift.    At Bible study on Thursday, Peggy and I were talking with a friend and our friend mentioned how blessed she is  by her best friend.   The kind of friend who don't care if you have make up on, can drop in and not judge if the house is a mess, those friends who we love and who overlook our faults, even when they are bountiful.  We are talking about the kind of friend you don't talk to for a while and can start right up as if no time has gone by.  Friends who don't wear their feelings on their sleeves or try to manipulate or who tell your story, even when it is not theirs to tell.  There are those kind of friends who try to one up you with the, 'you think you've got it bad....blah, blah, blah.  Yep, there is a time and place for that kind of behavior and it is called Junior High.  I read a Jan Silvious quote on Twitter today,
"Drama producers are masters at 'drawing others in' to be a part of their production. Best thing you can do, especially at Christmas in close quarters, is make up your mind you won't take the bait to be part of the play. Avoid discussing anything that is personal. Keep it general."

So glad that in my circle of friends, there aren't drama producers.  Oh yes, we have drama and sometimes we need drama-mine to deal with the stresses and unexpected surprises that can overwhelm if we aren't secure in the solid rock.  Love you dear friends!  Thank you!  I am so blessed!
I'm off to finish up homework.  Tomorrow is a busy day but I am trying to focus on Christ in each day, celebrating the season and the wonder of it all. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

God's Presence in the Middle of Routine

In Wonderstruck, Margaret invites you to toss back the covers, climb out of bed, and drink in the fullness of life. Wonderstruck will help you:

· Recognize the presence of God in the midst of your routine

· Discover peace in knowing you’re wildly loved

· Identify what’s holding you back in prayer

· Develop a renewed passion for God

· Celebrate the extraordinary moments in everyday life
I I've written about the wonderstruck in the beauty of God's creation. I have talked about being wonderstruck by God's perfect timing and in that timing the very clear message that He wildly loves me.  On Sunday in the everyday of life, I was wonderstruck again by God being in the details.  When we got home from our trip it was obvious that we were way behind in getting Christmas decorations up.  Roy promised me that we would pull them out Sunday afternoon.  Since we made a Bass Pro Shop run after lunch, I kind of thought that Roy would talk me out of bringing down the decorations from the attic.  Then he said, we will get them down after you take your Sunday afternoon nap.  That is pretty smart on his part because I can be a little cranky, or so I've been told, when I don't get enough sleep. 
Rested up, We began the process of moving the car and rearranging stuff to be able to pull down the ladder to the attic in the garage.  Roy first took up luggage and then began the process of assembling all the large totes and tubs filled with Christmas.  I kind of thought that I would mainly be 'directing' but he asked me to climb up a few steps to get the first load.  My first step onto the ladder, I missed the step and tripped.  Hard to describe but that is what happened basically.  As I readied myself for the next step I heard someone yelling, "you don't need to be climbing those stairs!"  I looked over to the street and one of my best friends and partner in crime (not really crime, more like running buddies...although neither one of us has knees for running anymore) had pulled in front of the house with her youngest daughter Jaime.  Jaime quickly volunteered to cart and carry all those storage tubs of Christmas to the garage floor.  Well, Peggy and I helped with that.  I thought about this, "recognize the presence of God in the midst of your routine."  WONDERSTRUCK!!!  God knew.  You see I used to be this very athletic woman.  I played volleyball, softball and tennis up into my late 40's.  I moved furniture around our home all the time.  I carried the heavy things and had such great reflexes, agility and balance.  Not so much after a heart attack, a probable mini stroke and a virus that attacked my heart at the age of 54,  My mind and spirit still tell me that I can do all those things like I had done before...body...well, it tells the truth.  But today, I am still thanking the Lord for letting me see His presence in the midst of daily routine.  He sent help. 
I     If you want to recognize the presence of God in the midst of your routine, see what's holding you back in prayer, have a renewed passion for God, give yourself and those you love and maybe step out and give it to someone who might not like you so much, on Christmas Day, Wonderstruck by Margaret Feinberg.  Since most bookstores will be closed on Christmas, so you can order or download from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  Until then you can also Follow Margaret on Twitter: @mafeinberg
Facebook Page: Margaret Feinberg


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Depth of the Day

I got a glimpse into the future this future if my appearance is unattended in the nursing home, but to be culturally relevant, it is now called an assisted living facility.  Truth be told I was feeling kind of good about myself last night as I washed my face and applied my latest purchase of moisturizer that is going to make my whole appearance seem brand new.  How many times has the ad been on TV and the side bar of Facebook that says; 57 year old woman looks 27.  So last night when I noticed a breakout of two pimples, oops I'm an old lady...I mean blemishes I thought I had reached that young look.  It is not fair to have blemishes and wrinkles.  This morning as I began to apply eye makeup I noticed this long eyebrow hair that must have grown overnight that I could practically wrap around my head.  It is almost black where my eyebrows have my natural mousy brown look that would match my hair if I didn't highlight it.  Then on my cheek, facial cheek, there was another one of those wild black hair things.  Of course I got to repairing all the extra brow and facial hair pretty darn fast and that's when it hit me.  When I get old and can't see my reflection in the mirror are my eyebrows going to spout out like a new forest?   I kind of remember my grandmother on my father's side getting that wild hair look, and not in that good wild hair term of doing something fun and crazy.  She just forgot about the fun and dabbled in the crazy her in later years.  The future came today and dang it, I still have the two blemishes that are bugging the crud out of me. 

My friend CourtneyS and I have a contest every year.  We want to be the first one to hear Merry Christmas Darling and call and sing it to the other one.  One of my finest comedic moments came with Courtneys, who has a fabulous voice, at the church staff Christmas party which also happened to be a talent show.  CourtneyS made this sappy introduction and began singing my generations gift to Christmas music, Merry Christmas Darling.  Pre-planned I got up on the stage and attempted to sing it with her.  It was quite fun to do and quite funny.  She sounded so much like Karen Carpenter that I almost didn't come through with my part and would have left her up there singing that 1970 standard.  I have also written many times about our love of In the Bleak Mid Winter...snow on snow, that is how we would answer the phone when we called one another at the office.  She worked at the church as well.  Peggy and I have used In the Bleak Mid Winter many times, rewrote the words once and of course introducing Christmas Carols we'd say now let's sing a really fun and upbeat song...In the bleak mid winter long, long ago....  We actually sang that song in our teaching time at Bible study today.  It was all we could do not to laugh not because of the group leading it, just the history the song has for us personally.  I don't think I have ever sang that song in a worship type setting.  The choir sang it once and only the really musical people appreciated its tonality and the musicality.  It's right up there with Shepherd's Pipe Carol.  The altos get cheated in that song.

I have been performing both the husbandly and wifely duties this week.  Guess I need to take the trash out in a few minutes.  Roy cleans out Buddy's litter box and that job fell to me this week.  Glad Roy reminded me that I needed to take care of that because it would not have crossed my mind. 

Yesterday afternoon I had to keep myself busy and out of the house while Chris was here cleaning.  There were several errands that I crossed of the list and I had hoped I could keep myself occupied long enough to sit through most of the dress rehearsal for Celebration.  I would like to give a little shout out to my favorite store, The Nord.  I missed Sunday night's shopping opportunity.  I went to customer service and told them my story and they let me choose a day for the ten points.  So I chose that day.  They even reminded me I have two triple point days that I can use before Jan 31.  I love the Nord. 

Loved the Duck Dynasty Christmas special last night.  I was howling and laughing so hard.  Also had some fun Facebooking with friends who are new to the program and reading tweets during the commercials.  Glad we remembered to DVR it. 

Well that is the depth of the day.  Got my chores to get done and then I am going to try and finish up the book I am reading. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wordy (me) and Wonderstruck (Margaret Feinberg)

It was nice having a little bit of rain yesterday.  Today the morning begins a bit overcast and when the outside looks like this, I can pretend it is cold outside.  Actually, it is supposed to be cooler this morning but I don't know officially yet because I am easing into the day.  I will have to be out of the house all afternoon because Chris comes to clean. 

Slowly but surely the Christmas decorations are being put out.  Along with the oldies I have bought a few newbies this year.  A couple of cute snow ladies came home with me on Monday.  My snow man now has a lady on each side.  Truthfully, I'm surprised Buddy hasn't been interested in them because they both are wearing some faux fir.  Maybe spending a week at Waggin' Tails with her own ilk,wearers of fur, has made her appreciate her human companions a little more.  Who knows with a cat? 

For over the last ten years Roy and I have a conversation before the holidays that goes like this, "I need new mascara and eye liner."   No, it isn't me making that request but Roy.  He is participating in Celebration at Houston's First Baptist again and for a week out of the year he can empathize with women who have the extra step of taking off make up at the end of the day.  I gave him my new eye liner when he got home last night because his from last year just didn't have the eye POP that a man in a wise man processional who is behind the elephant needed.   

My friend, Margaret Feinberg [], has a new book and 7-session DVD Bible study called Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God [] (releasing Christmas Day)—a personal invitation for you to toss back the covers, climb out of bed, and drink in the fullness of life. To learn more, watch the Wonderstruck Video:

As you may or may not know, I’ve been a fan of Margaret Feinberg and her books for the last few years. I recently received the insider’s scoop about Margaret’s new book. Here are some highlights from the interview:


Where did the inspiration for the Wonderstruck book and Bible study come from?


Have you ever had one of those seasons where everything goes wrong, and when you think it can’t get worse, it somehow finds a way? Most people who have worked in ministry have experienced those seasons—some may be in one right now.


My husband, Leif, and I had just gone through one of the roughest years of our lives. In the aftermath, as we processed the pain and loss, I had an unexplainable desire in my heart. I began praying for the wonder of God. In essence, I said, “God reveal yourself, your whole self to me. I want to know you as Wonderful. I want to know you as I’ve never known you before and see you in places I’ve never recognized you before.”

God did not disappoint.


What do you mean by “the wonder of God”?  

Sometimes talking or writing about wonder feels like tying kite strings to clouds. It’s ethereal, and you can never quite get a grip on it. But if you look in the dictionary, the two main definitions of wonder are: “being filled with admiration, amazement, or awe” and “to think or speculate curiously.”


Those definitions come together beautifully in our relationship with God. That’s why I define the wonder of God as those moments of spiritual awakening that create a desire to know God more.


In other words, the wonder of God isn’t about an emotional experience or having some cool story to tell your friends, but the wonder of God makes us want more of God—to go deeper and further than we’ve ever been before.


Why are you calling people to #LIVEWONDERSTRUCK?

If you look in the Gospels, what you’ll discover is that those who encountered Jesus were constantly left in wild amazement. They were awestruck by the teachings of Christ, the healings of Christ, the mind-bending miracles of Christ. Within the Gospel of Luke we see words like “awe” and “wonder” and “marvel” at every turn. If this is the natural response to encountering Christ, how much more should it be for you and I—who are invited to live in relationship with Christ as sons and daughters of our God Most High?  We even created a free PDF that looks at some of these Scriptures. For a free copy, email us at and we’ll send you one.


Follow Margaret’s snarky, funny, and inspirational posts on Twitter [], Facebook [], or her blog []. You can learn more about this great book by visiting where she’s offering some crazy promos right now with up to $300 of free stuff. I’ve seen the book for as low as $7.57 ($14.99 retail) on Barnes & Noble [] for all you savvy shoppers. 


Monday, December 3, 2012

Peace Out

Monday morning Target and Home Goods shopping accomplished.  The key is going early and hopefully I will not need to make anymore trips that way but I am keeping my options open.  Last night I tried to go to the Nordstrom Customer Appreciation night and could not get in.  Not because I wasn't on the list, oh yes, but because the traffic to get into the parking garage was backed up for miles.  It didn't move.  I tried several other options but could not get in to have fun with Lisa P and CourtneyS, so I went home.  Most years I have shown up early for this event and now I know I will need to do that for next years, God willing and that I spend the designated amount to even get the invite.  The second option is usually not a problem...

A couple of posts ago I wrote about Junior Mint Peppermint Crunch and how addicting it is.  Well, I gave a box to Dena and we became determined to find more of these.  Thank you Target, they have the boxes of the candy crack on sale for 5 for $5.00.  Such a nice deal and it fits within a theme of five since we live in the Rancho de Five area. 

Roy was exhausted from a busy week and a long Celebration practice, so we punted church....I mean we took a Sabbatical Sunday.  We had a really nice day.  Got grocery shopping done, went out to lunch and got there before all the church people.  Made a stop at Gaby's for some gifts and even made a trip out to Brookwood and we didn't come home empty handed.  After a nap I met a friend for a delicious dinner and great conversation and then I already told you about the missed shopping event.  All in all it was a good Sunday.  I also worked on my Bible study homework and the Lord and I had a time!  He was in church and in my reading room.  Big God!

I read an interesting article last week about Charles Stanley.  I try really hard to be awake at 6:00 am to hear him on the radio but since we got back from our trip, I have kind of slept through it.  I loved one of  his answers to a question in the article,

As you come to the close of your own very successful ministry of many decades, what do you see when you look out at the contemporary church?
I'm excited about a lot of new life, but I'm concerned that there isn't dependence upon the Holy Spirit as much as upon music and other things. I've noticed the emphasis is more on leadership than on the Holy Spirit and the work of the Lord.
Theology gets lost in a lot of the fanfare. Who is this God whom we serve? We're to reverence him and love him. I grew up in a Pentecostal Holiness church, and reverence for God has always been a major issue with me. When I talk about praying, I usually talk about praying on your knees. You can pray anywhere, of course, but in my personal prayer life, I just sense that reverence for God, that I want to listen to him
I had actually been thinking about this a lot because of the homework I've had for CBSWhen I was on staff at a church I heard the term, "give leadership" a lot.  Basically it means, I don't want to get in there and do some of the hard work because of my title, but I will just give leadership to the people who are working on this particular project.  Also beware of the term 'servant heart' if it is being used to describe you.  In church speak this means you'll do all the junk work that no one wants to do and because you are so willing to do it, you'll not be considered for anything else since it can be difficult to find people willing to do this kind of work for very long.  Leadership is the buzz word right now.  Hey, I am all for leadership but every once in awhile it would be nice to see leaders really involved in the lowly work for just a little bit of time instead of the 'for show, look at me hand out a plate', kind of work.  Just a pet peeve of know it is right up there with using prayer to quiet a room or using prayer to bring stuff on the stage.  When prayer is abused for that usage, it is hard to take the requests to come pray at the altar and the like very seriously.  I John and now Hebrews really magnifies the work of the Holy Spirit in us and in all we put our hands to in His Name. 
I am excited about Celebration this weekend.  The Choir and Orchestra of Houston's First Baptist Church has been working really hard.  I am kind of sweet on the guy in the processional that come right behind the elephant.  Not only will he have to remove make up when he gets home but he will also have to get some of that elephant stink off of him. 
The last page of homework is calling out to me, so I better respond. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Friday Morning Gift-Wonderstuck

For years I dreaded "the holidays."  If this had been a typical year, Thanksgiving would be crossed off the list and I would bravely push forward to endure the next biggie, Christmas.   I counted the days until life returned to normal in January.  Don't get me wrong, I participated in the church Christmas program, passionately sang Christmas Carols, exchanged gifts, sent cards and attended parties, even gave parties but not whole-heatedly.  The holidays meant spending much more time with family.  It isn't that I didn't love my family, it was the stress, drama, unrealistic expectations (my father's) and heartache (mine) that came along with the holidays. 

There seemed to be a rigidity to our being thankful in November and then celebrating Jesus' birth in December.  Many years there was little variance.  Our times were almost scripted complete with a timeline that we knew even as children; a high price would be paid for any deference or lack of adhering to the stiff conditions required by my father.  When my brother and I became adults and brought spouses into our little family, holiday gatherings, the rules and requirements of my father extended to them.  My father had such unrealistic expectations.  He wanted us to be a family that would gather around the piano and sing Thanksgiving hymns and Christmas Carols.  The only thing, none of us could play a piano and we didn't even own a piano.  So how was this going to happen? Nothing could happen organically. He couldn't trust any of us to do "holidays" right. My mother was a wonderful cook, but he would take over the kitchen and he would prepare the meal because she couldn't do it to his liking.  I have a natural comedic bent and if I was too funny, he would sulk because the attention wasn't on him.  He made fun of everything and everybody and enjoyed knowing he had gotten to you..  There was many a holiday I ran back to my childhood bedroom and cried because of mean spirited words.  On Christmas morning what should be a joyous happy time, was somber and we were on the clock.  Only one person could open gifts and if we took too long our presents were abruptly taken from us until we could adhere to his prescribed script and timeline.  It got to the point that I really didn't care if Christmas presents were taken from me because we didn't receive anything we ever asked for.  My father believed you didn't give any gifts that had been asked for, because where was the surprise?   At some point in the day he would let us all know that all his friends were having happier and better holidays.  It was our fault that his day had not been perfect.  He would turn his high back winged chair to the corner, open his gifts in silence or sometimes eat Christmas dinner in that position.  Funny, as I look back at it, we should have left him there in the corner pouting but we all had that, "but this is the holidays, time for family and joy" mindset and deep down we knew this whole ridged and scripted experiences wasn't right. 

For years I thought God acted just like my father. My view of God was flawed but I still thought don't ask anything you really want in prayer or being cognisant of His presence and attention would be a good thank you.  Sur[prise was not a good word when it came to things with my father, so when I heard that God loved us and wanted to surprise us with good things, I again thought no thank you.  My view of God was based on fear.  I loved Jesus and thought the Holy Spirit was pretty cool, but I didn't really want to have all that much to do with God.  Of course that thought about God was so long ago and I know differently now. 

I have had the wonderful privilege of reading and getting a sneak peek from the book Wonderstruck, Awaken to the Nearness of God by Margaret Feinburg.  In fact I took them with me for this last Thanksgiving week Roy and I spent at the Inn on the Biltmore Estate.  Each morning the sunrise sky was a little different.  Some mornings the sunrise had lots of pink, some had yellow tones and there were several that were foggy and mist laden.  The days were sunny and we enjoyed the antics of the geese and ducks and the gentle peacefulness of the sheep and cows.  The trees still had golden and yellow leaves of fall and some were already in their winterness.  The contrasts, of sky, trees and dried grass were beautiful to behold. We watched the sunset each night and they were as good as the morning sunrise with color, clouds and creativity.  Being there in the Smokey Mountains, how could anyone not see the awesomeness and wonder of God.  He was showing off big time and we took it all in.  Wonderstruck made us more in tune to realize God's nearness and presence.  This is one of my favorite quotes from the book,

"God is not merely at your fingertips but within your grasp.  Live each day like a child digging through a treasure chest, rifling for the next discovery.  Open your arms and your eyes to the God who stands in plain sight and works miracles in your midst.  Look for him in your workdays and weekends, in your meeting filled Mondays and your lazy Saturdays.  Search for him in the snowy sunsets and Sabbaths, seasons of Lent and sitting at your table.  Pray for-and expect-wonder.  For when you search for God, you will discover him.  Live awake and aware because the wonder awaits."

You might be thinking, so why did you bore us with your whole, sad, holiday story?  Just this, to declare, God is in plain sight and works miracles in your midst.  He is not a God who is rigid and scripted.  He has joy and surprises for us, if we will take notice.  Roy and I went to North Carolina for Thanksgiving, to do something different this year.  Roy suggested the trip last year after we had the service for my mom the Friday after Thanksgiving.  You know my father's streak of ruining the holidays and now my mom's service was still in tack.  But here's the thing, the BIG thing of God!  I thought that the wonders of God's creation was His Big thing for us there in the, it happened in the car.  As we drove back home, I changed the channel on the radio and the song He Touched Me was playing.  That was my mom's favorite song and it had been sung at her service.  I looked over at the clock and this song was playing at the same time as when  my friend Lisa sang it for mom's funeral.  Totally amazed and blown away by God.  His timing=Wonderstruck!  He did that just for me.  Oh, how I love HIM!

Christmas Day, Wonderstruck will be available on Amazon and other book retailers.  Come join Margaret and those of us who #livewonderstruck and join in the adventure of awe. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Tis the Season

Tis the season for piped in Christmas music in stores, shops and salons.  I loved getting my pedicure to the sounds of the season instead of the usual spa-like soothing music that is ubiquitous to spas and the like.  In fact the lady sitting next to me began to hum along with O Come O Come Emmanuel and since it is a song I've sung in choir over the years, I know the alto part without having to hear someone else and so we had quite a good time humming next to each other in our pedicure chairs.  We didn't exchange names or ask each other when our next appointments are scheduled.  We had a moment.  It was fun.  Too bad she didn't know Still, Still, Still cause it was the next song up. Yesterday, several of us on the cereal aisle had a moment with Jingle Bell Rock because all of us were singing it softly and that is not to be confused with Killing Me Softly by Roberta Flack, and when we realized all of us pushing carts were singing, we took it up a notch.  I guess it would be like a flash mob, without the flash and no mob.  Just four women in the grocery store looking at cereal.  There is something in the music of Christmas that gets almost everyone humming or singing.  Although the holidays from Thanksgiving to New Years isn't my favorite time of year, the music by far, is. 

And I have come to another conclusion, I no longer have to dislike the holidays.  It seems I have been set free from the drama and histrionics that come with some people.  I did have the occasion today to encounter the convoluted ideas and schemes of the biggest drama king I've known via a conversational text and I shake my head.  Not in disgust but in sadness that this person continues to make the same choices again and again and getting the same results, again and again.  This is when if in conversation I was telling you about this I would add, bless his heart.  Three words just about sum it up.

Roy has gone to get his pedicure so that he will have lovely toes in the biblical portion of Celebration.  I told Lisa, she does both of our nails, to put a snowflake on his big toe so that we can be just alike.  Yea, that's not going to happen. 

I'm reading the best book and if you have read Monablog for any amount of time you know I love the book but can't remember titles.  The Bookstore in Big Stone Gap might be the title or close enough to it.  Fascinating read about who a couple who started a used bookstore in a small rural area of Virginia and the growth and lessons learned through their experiences.  I love how she tells stories of books marking milestones in our lives.  She can go through bookshelves and tell you the journey of your life.  Now, since I have gotten rid of so many books because of our move, I don't know if she would get a true read.  I think she would discover rather quickly that most of my fiction reading takes place in the south. 

A new addition to our outdoor Christmas decor is two lit trees by the front door.  I cannot tell you how many times I have jumped thinking there is someone lurking the shadows of the front door during the day.  Buddy has bristled a time or two when she is in the study. And I guess at Christmas the UPS guy can't bring packages up to the front door like the rest of the year.  We have a gate that leads to the front door and today I heard someone yelling and I got up to check it out.  Only when I saw the boxes outside the gate did I realize he had yelled UPS.  And, I might add, he placed them where I could not open to gate to bring them in without a lot of finagling.  He sat in his truck and watched but got away before I could get to him and ask why he can't bring them to the front door anymore. 

Maybe I should pipe some Christmas music outside and let it work it's mysterious effects of making everyone want to hum and sing.  Maybe he and I could sing a chorus of Joy to the World the package has come.  Please deliver at the front door.  . 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It Feels Good to Laugh....

Roy is on his way home from the car dealership.  His car is finally repaired.  He had a minor accident on October 25.  We never thought it would take over 30 days for it to be taken care of.  I have busied myself with Christmas lights.  Definitely, we are going the outsource route next year.  Last year after Christmas we stopped at an Ace Hardware store and got great deals on Christmas lights and decorations.  Tonight I was just trying to put the snowflakes in the trees.  I shouldn't be doing this kind of stuff because my balance has never returned after all my health issues.  It is depressing because my mind thinks I can still do all this kind of stuff and my body resists.  I kind of hung onto the shrubs for balance. Oh yes, those little bitty limbs would keep me upright and sustain me.  I've rethought this whole snowflake thing.  Really, the tacky decorations across the street include these type of snowflakes and I am trying to go for a more tasteful look.  Well, at least I am trying.  One of the set of snowflakes has a short or something.  It won't turn off.  They are battery operated and kind of tedious to open the battery box, so I'll let it burn itself out. 

After leadership meeting today I headed over to Target to get an outdoor extension cord for the lit trees by our front door.  Of course I found all kinds of stuff that really needed to come home with me.  I went into Home Goods and looked around.  I saw some cute things but the line to check out was so very long, that I decided to go back one day this week much earlier in the day.  The parking lot was a zoo and holiday tempers are already showing themselves.  It has been my practice to swear off visiting Target between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Let me share with you the discovery of peppermint white chocolate M&M's.  They are addictive...they are candy crack.  We took a bag with us on our trip and we really had to practice portion control. 

It is now Wednesday and Christmas decorating is almost complete.  I have storage tubs to go through to decide what I want to put out and what to put away.  It is always fun to put out and drudgery to put away.  Roy promised me we would get a storage unit this year and not have to do the attic thing again.  

This morning I had somewhat of a scare, no it wasn't my reflection in the mirror.  I'm kind of over that as I gracefully age...uh hum...anyway, I couldn't find the little gifts I had brought back for my core group and I had this sinking feeling that when I was throwing away Biltmore bags, I had accidentally thrown them away.  My other little panic had to do with our coupon thing to send in for our first house payment to the new lender.  Roy had given it to me yesterday but I couldn't for the life of me remember where I put it.  These situations weren't worth the anxiety.  Happy, happy. happy (salute to Duck Dynasty) I found both a little bit after praying.  I read an article on how we can sleep walk throughout the day and I find myself in that position a lot and have to be very determined to keep present in each and every moment.

Roy and I realized on our trip home we could have done a reality TV tour of all the shows we love to watch.  We could have stopped in Houma, LA for Cajun Justice, Alexandria for Cajun Pawn Stars, Swamp People in Butte La Rose and Duck Dynasty in West Monroe.  It was a dilemma when we were on I 20 if we would make that southern turn to 55 or would we stay on 20?  We made the 55 south turn but we were tempted. 

Roy got home safely with his  repaired car.  Think he is a happy camper.  He loved driving the Jeep Patriot but not so much the Sonata.  I think Roy regretted his promise of helping me move some furniture last night.  Since moving a heavy chair up some stairs with my crazy friend Debbie and her mother, I am useless when it comes to moving furniture.  I start laughing and can't seem to stop.  So last night when we were rearranging some tables and we were carrying the heaviest one, the laughing bug was all over me.  When Roy carries something heavy he makes these little bitty side steps and it cracks me up every time.  He knows when I start that wheezing kind of laughing it's because of those funny little steps.  If that chest was going to be moved 3 more feet I had to suck it up and not look at him but dang it, he looks so funny.  I thought maybe some of those dance steps for Celebration had finally kicked in for him.   It does seem like I find something to laugh at or with of my least favorite statements to hear is when someone solemnly and probably guiltily says, "sometimes it feels good to laugh."  Heck yea, it's biblical.  Most people who say this are hopelessly lost in the sad and pessimistic outlook on life.  And here is another thing that comes with that outlook, almost always to a T most of these people will tell you they have the gift of discernment.  Well, the gift is actually discerning of spirits but why be biblical?  One time I heard Beth Moore say if someone says they have the gift of discernment and they never discern anything good or positive, they actually have the gift of judgement.  The gift of judgement is not biblical.

These Christmas decorations aren't going to get in the house on their own, so I better finish up now.  I thought it might be difficult to go through everything because so much of my Christmas decorations are from my mom.  She made me a bunch of fabric wreaths and ornaments.  She brought me home an ornament from every trip she went on.  Have lots and lots of Branson ornaments because she and my dad would go there twice a year.  And now thinking about it all, we are no different in that we go to the Biltmore once or twice a year...but as a friend said, our choice is much better.  It hasn't been difficult at all because I remember her love of Christmas.  She put the tree up earlier and earlier over the years because she loved to sit in their dimmed family room and watch all the brilliant lights twinkle.  She made beautiful Christmas stockings and she was ahead of her time.  When we were little and money was hard to come by, she bought pipe cleaners, felt and little Styrofoam balls to make elves.  They sat on the built in shelves in the den.  So we had early elves on the shelf. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Morning Hangover-The Tired From a Trip Kind

There has been a little less blogging in the past few weeks.  We just returned yesterday from a trip to Asheville, NC by the way of Nashville and Chattanooga.  We spent five days at the Inn on the Biltmore Estate and we relaxed, hiked (OK not me but Roy), shopped (that would be me) and had lots of fun together.  Friday both going and coming, were our hard days of driving.  We left home around 3:30 am and spent the night in Athens, AL.  Coming home we got a later start on Friday but an early one considering we were at the Biltmore and we also went back through Nashville to pick up what we had bought the previous Friday at City Farmhouse.  The route home was a bit different as we tried to avoid being on I 10 for a long time.  The east/west corridor driving is much harder on you than the south/north driving.  We criss crossed across Alabama and Mississippi.  Our stop Friday night was McComb Mississippi.  There is a story there let me tell ya and we got up early to hit the road, stop at the Cracker Barrel for breakfast in Hammond, LA and be on our way.  We got in around 1:00 pm and went straight to kitty camp to pick up Buddy.  At least we know she plays well with others because she got to have free time in the big kitty room with other cats.  She also had a cat condo where she slept and ate.  I always refer to this as camp but reading these past few sentences, exercise yard and small enclosure and I know this from many late nights of watching Lock Down, it sounds less like camp and more like prison.  I told a friend Buddy came home singing Nobody Knows the Trouble I Seen and not Kum Buh Yah. 

We have unloaded our suitcases and even done some laundry.  Roy has gone to the grocery store this morning (yes, we are playing sabbatical from church) and then we are going out for a Mexican food fix before all the churches let out in Katy. 

Buddy has been a tad needy and clingy since arriving home.  Most cats are mad and won't have anything to do with you for a long time, to teach you a lesson never put me in prison again.  Buddy has rarely left my side and kept me awake most of the night trying to sleep as close as she could to me.  She even is letting Roy pet and carry her around. 

Roy is going to bring Christmas decorations down from the attic later this afternoon.  After seeing our neighborhood last night, we seem very behind. 

I have lots of stories and thoughts to share, but those will come later...complete with pictures.  We had a wonderful time but it is always good to come home, to the mess you left but didn't realize it was a mess when leaving.  The birds have probably missed us as well.  Maybe the doves and mockingbirds will come back. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thoughts for a Monday

First off let me say congrats to all my Aggie friends for beating Alabama.  Although, I have to think LSU had a part in your victory.  LSU kind of played the role of John the Baptist last week, you know, preparing the way.  I think the weakness, if there are very many, in Alabama's game plan were somewhat exposed by the way LSU played against them.  But a win against Alabama is a win and this was a tremendous kind of game that will become folk lore, I was at the game (but really at home) and Johnny Football will never have to worry about having a job when his football playing days are over, type of game.  Even Roy who rarely ever cheers for A&M was dare I say, whooping and yelling throughout the game.  I think he might have wanted to wear his LSU t-shirt to church on Sunday that says, "Imagine a World Without Alabama."  I also learned something about Aggie tradition or whatever it is called.  You see my greatest concern for A&M for years is their whole lack of parking on campus but I asked my friend Dena, Aggie grad, about that song that in my head plays out as The Old Gray Goose is Dead.  I didn't ever know that what I thought was swaying to the music is actually them sawing off t.u. horns.  Then I asked her why the sudden stop in the song.  Do you know when to stop or how do you know when to stop, abruptly...not even finishing the song?  They stop because the horns have been sawed off.  Who knew?  Well Aggies do, but I have lived in Texas since I was four and never knew this.  To be truthful, I really had never thought about it.  Well done A&M!  Now you all must come up with a song about taking tusks off an elephant or scaring the elephant with a mouse to complete your entrance into the SEC.  I read on Twitter that last week was a bad week for elephants...election loss and football loss.

I am having toast this morning for breakfast, but just not any toast.  Opened my first pumpkin pecan butter from William's Sonoma of the season this morning. Mmm...deliciousness!

We have been discussing over the past few weeks if we should increase my life insurance.  Now right there ID TV fans could be the beginning of  a made for TV story.  Except there isn't a story.  You know most of these shows reveal either an increase in life insurance or sudden strange behavior...stuff like that.  Nope, just an opportunity to increase without much hassle. 

A big shout out and thank you to veterans who have served our country and keep our freedom for us.  On Saturday there was a thirty minute or so segment of patriotic and military songs.  Yes, I got my Sousa on.  One of the songs brought back a great memory.  Some years ago we would sing snippets of the armed forces songs.  So there were always people who stood for the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines but hardly ever did anyone stand when we sang the Coast Guard song.  So in rehearsal Peggy and I would stand during the Coast Guard anthem just to give a little respect and so they wouldn't be left out.  We were never brave enough to stand during the actual church service but then we were already standing because we were in the choir. 

Saturday I finished up the guest room closet project.  If you hadn't seen the before the after wouldn't have too big of an effect on you.  Lots of stuff re-boxed, lot more thrown away, and greater more given away.  But with almost any project done by an ADD brain, there is a lot of stopping and starting.  Actually, this project started in our closet and our closet remains in its original state.  I came across some lovely pictures and had to post a few of my finds on Facebook.  We have decided we need to get a small storage unit to keep a few of these memory boxes that I can't part with yet and Christmas decorations.  Just getting luggage out of the attic yesterday is a tremendous undertaking. 

This morning about twelve doves are huddling together in our yard.  They are not the smartest of birds but I find them lovely to look at.  So does Buddy, but I think her intentions of bird watching isn't to behold God's beautiful creation but to eat freshly caught dinner or in this case breakfast. 

The house across the water feature has the roof completed and the turret that was merely framework is now enclosed.  I believe in early morning light against the backdrop of the eastern sky, that turret will look more like a mountain top.  At least that is what I will think on these early mornings on the prairie.