Monday, February 27, 2012

Incomplete and Complete

Thursday, after Bible study, Peggy, Kathleen and I went out to Brookwood for lunch and a little shopping.  Lunch was delicious!  I had butternut squash soup and shrimp and grits.  After lunch, we spent quite a bit of time out in the greenhouse.  I came home with some Impatients and more geraniums.  Impatients like shade so hopefully they will like living in the shady part of the courtyard.  Of course I intended to get those planted on Friday, but the day got away.  Saturday, it was too cold.  Meanwhile the Impatients were beginning to droop and not look so lively and beautiful.  So I knew I needed to get them planted yesterday and did so after taking a Sunday nap.  Believe me, I needed the strength to lug those heavy bags of potting soil around.  Took a peek at them this morning and the plants are looking much better, almost as bright and lively as the day they were brought home.  All that remains to complete the task is to sweep up the stray clumps of potting soil that didn't quite hit the target.  And it is because of a trip to Target with Roy, progress halted and now a little clean up is left for today. 

So, how's the Lenten thing going for y'all that are observing?  I have to say the Lord has certainly taken me a direction I hadn't anticipated.  Once in a sermon, our pastor asked, "who drives through Memorial or River Oaks and feels sorry for the people who live there in those big and beautiful homes?" Well, if he was asking for audience response, I would have raised my hand.  There is just as much despair, loneliness, heartache, and disappointment in those homes as is in any other social strata. Maybe more.   I was reminded of a tennis friend yesterday who lived in one of those big homes.  I haven't thought about her in forever.  They are quite wealthy and own beautifully furnished homes all around the country. Her godfather is a well known man in business and society. From time to time they would be called on to "fill in" at galas and dinner parties. She's been hit on by many famous leading men from Hollywood.   They look like Barbie and Ken and people stop and take notice when they enter a room. He is a tall, dark, handsome Irish man and she is a classic beauty with blond hair. How fortunate that he liked to monopolize conversations. That way I didn't have to sneak a peek to look at him but could hold a constant gaze in rapt attention to take in all the handsomeness of this one man. I cannot tell you how many times a restaurant's buzz was silenced when these two arrived.  Like I mentioned, I met her playing tennis. She had this incredible forehand and her style quirky and unconventional. The first few times you played her in tennis, she usually won. It was difficult to figure out how to respond to her shots.  There was a lot of turmoil, sadness, insecurity, anger and undoing going on behind those beautiful doors and windows in that home, perfectly designed, perfectly decorated.   There was one room in their house dedicated to hobbies and projects, in progress and unfinished.  This room had shelves and bookcases that had been built to house and show finished pieces and any awards or recognition.  The lighting in the room had been purposed to bathe these shelves and book cases in light for the perfect presentation.  My friend in particular had many contributions to this room, but sadly there wasn't one completed project.  In one corner, a gigantic loom, with a piece about one fourth completed.  Canvases all about with just the beginnings of an oil painting or a bit done with water colors.  Stacked to one side were all the accoutrement's that would be needed to show dogs, only she never showed or trained one dog.  Her expensive mountain bike got more use out of the stack because it leaned against everything and maybe had seen only one or two miles out on the roads.  I remember being in that room one time and she showed me photo albums of their children, friends, and family.  Each album contained only a few pictures from each group.  She told me that her personal relationships were not unlike her projects, she lost interest.   Funny, she looked at me and said you know one day you and Roy will be in this pile.  You all interest me now, but that won't be true forever.   A room that had been designed for accomplishment had sadly become the room of incompleteness. 

Now you might be thinking, what does this have to do with the price of tea in China?  How does this compare to Lent?  Why are you writing out this long boring story?  Well, you see, the timeliness of potting plants and the delayed clean up got me thinking about that long ago time in life.  Because of the incompleteness of my purpose and tasks assigned and given to me by the Lord.  Now I know I have been made complete in him...Ephesians 3:19
"May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God" and thank God for this truth.  No, I'm writing about the urgency I feel in my spirit to complete and be obedient. 

In my heart I have a room just like my friend with things I have started and not finished.  Study, meditation, prayer, reading, Bible reading plans (I get reminders all the time from the Bible app that I am way behind in my devotion reading) and all manner of spiritual disciplines and things.  In my spirit yesterday, when I stopped mid project to go to Target, I heard, don't let your Lenten vow end up like the project room at _________ house.   To someone with a low attention span, 40 days and nights is a long, long time.  As I look around our home there are several projects we've begun but not completed.  They are fun, good projects, not drudgery at all. Most things to complete really aren't difficult but only need attention.  Same thing in those unseen projects of the heart.   It's having the mind and heart set to see them complete, not for checking off a to do list, but to draw closer to the Lord during this season.  A life designed to bring glory to Him can sadly become the life of incompleteness. 

My friend was true to her words.  Roy and I were added to the pile of photos.  She had lost interest in us soon after and the funny thing is, once she lost interest, you were totally ignored.  The last time I saw them was about ten years ago at a funeral.  I came up to the group she was standing with and she acted as if I wasn't even there.  No eye contact, no acknowledging any conversation I had with the others.   Denying one's existence is a hard thing to experience.  I think it is one of the cruelest acts that people practice and unfortunately I have to say I have done this too many times to too many people.  Maybe ignoring was the one project she had really completed.  

Oh and that forehand and quirky tennis game?  It wasn't too hard to figure out after several matches.  She handcuffed herself to that grip and shot, so you never hit the ball to her in her sweet zone.  It disarmed the powerful forehand and if she wasn't hitting her forehand, you guessed it, she lost interest in the game. 

So how is that Lenten thing going for me?  Today and the days ahead the leading and the journey will be about completeness...all in Him.  Oh and I plan to finish up a couple of projects around the house. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Life Well Lived and Celebrated

There is another name to be added to my list of people whose funerals/memorial services honestly told the story of a life well lived without having to revert to euphemisms, you know nicer words that cover up the less than lovely truth of control freak, angry, bitter, and the like to really tell the story of their life.  You know what I mean, "he was a man who loved to get up early and see that the house was in order.  He liked the beds made before the children left for school and he was the first to greet the children upon their return if the beds had not been made to his satisfaction..."  You see control freak with anger management problems and most probably include a life lived with unrealistic expectation being placed upon his entire family.  Not today.  The life of Mrs. Mary Helen etched within her, servant, kind, gentle, helper, lover of people, consoler and encourager to many.  A service that honored the memory and life of God's gifts to those blessed to know and love her.  The tears today were mixed with sorrow of losing her presence here with us and joy, knowing she is beholding the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  I feel certain that my mom greeted her along with Miss Fanny, Mr. Alexander, Mrs. Thompson and the rest of heaven. 

One of my favorite things to do in Dayspring, Water's Edge and Tuesday night Bible study was to approach her as she was helping others with Beth's tapes, then CD's, and eventually DVD's.  When I was certain she hadn't noticed me, I would ask, "is there anything here that doesn't involve prayer?"  At first, she would look in the direction of that question, with an expression that was so sweet and concerned but yet held an element of shock.  After a while, when she heard that question, she'd know it was me just saying hi.  When I had surgery in 2005, she came by to see me with big boxes of pastries and cookies from Three Brothers Bakery.  She made three trips to get everything in.  Yahoo!  She told me, I remembered you grew up with Three Brothers Bakery and thought you would like to have a few treats from them.  Then she told me how to package them for freezing and we'd have treats for the six weeks I had to stay home.  I loved her chocolate chip cookies.  One time Roy and I went over to her house to help her with something...I can't remember what, but probably since Roy went it had to do something with taxes or math skills.  My skills usually involve heavy lifting or keeping others entertained.  When I was on staff at HFBC, for a time I was staff liaison for LPM Tuesday night Bible study.  All that meant is, if something needed to be fixed or copies made or tasks like that, they knew who to call.  Every Tuesday, I'd mosey down to the main lobby where LPM had set up book tables.  After checking with them, I'd always seek out Mrs. Mary Helen and visit with her for a few minutes.  It was the high light of day. 

It is still difficult to attend funerals even though it has been three months since my own mother found her joy.  Mrs. Mary Helen and my mom were the same age.  Last night, as I was cleaning and rearranging things in our closet, I came across a bag of things that were my moms.  Along with my dad, we went through costume jewelry and just all the stuff she had collected throughout the years.  I brought everything home in a bag and placed it in the back of the closet.  That was a couple of months ago.  In the bag were some pictures from my parent's 50th anniversary and then a picture of my parents at a reception in August 2011.  My mom has that distant Alzheimer's look and she isn't even looking at the camera.  I hadn't looked earlier but my baby book was in that bag.  It almost has the look as if it belonged to a second or third child.  The entries are hit and miss but my mom had lovingly recorded gifts, cards, birthday celebrations, holidays and vital statistics.  My first word was bye.  That seems appropriate.  I also have my parent's Bibles from the 1940's.  There are no markings at all in my moms.  I was hoping for something but back in the day, I don't think it was a standard to mark in one's Bible.  There were however a few pencil drawings lovingly crafted by my brother on pages without too much print.  There was a church covenant card in her Bible along with book marks made in Sunday School by either Doug or me.  I read the card, full of truth and how we should be the church to the world and to one another.  It saddened me to read it and to know how "well" her home church had treated her in the final two years of life.  It is a story not to be told on a blog.  In the whole saga, my mom was the true innocent in the story. 

Thus, emotional tenderness increased today.  It makes me tender hearted in other ways too.  I am so thankful that Roy rearranged his schedule to go with me this morning.  It was something I felt that I couldn't do on my own. I love hearing him pray for me, for us and all the things we encounter in life.  I love that Roy is a generous man and he is a man with a plan, but sometimes I don't appreciate his plan as much as I should.  Hearing Mrs. Mary Helen's story reminded me of dear friends who God has seen fit to grace my life with.  I thought of their kindness, of their laughter, instructional words and the pur-dee fact, that we love getting together.  There were those reminders of sacrifice, care and love.  Friends who rejoice with those who are rejoicing and weep with those who are weeping.  Friends who make space in their busy and active lives.  Friends who save me a place in choir on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings.  Friends who live near and those who live far away.  I also reflected on how I can be kinder, gentler, and patient-er. 

I always told Mrs. Mary Helen I wanted to be like her when I grew up, well except for that cooking and baking part.  To have her heart and effect on others for the kingdom of God, would be mighty nice.  You can't go wrong glorifying God and serving Him. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fat Tuesday and Prairie Ash Wednesday

I came this close to speaking to the HOA spy, I mean inspector this afternoon.  He was noting violations and then taking pictures of a house one block away.  Since I saw him as I was going to the mail boxes, I decided to come around the block and see if he was on our cul de sac next.  No, the guy had moved on.  Funny, I kind of thought the inspector would be a woman and not a fastidious man. 

Today is Fat Tuesday and tomorrow Ash Wednesday.  Some years the Lenten season comes and goes without nary a thought on my part.  Sometimes I have been amused by the choices people make for Lent.  More times than not, I am more amused by the announcement of their Lenten sacrifices.  Others are more subdued and don't make a big drama thing about it.  This morning I read several online articles on lent, what it is and isn't.  There is more to lent than giving up chocolate, sweets or Facebook or Twitter.   So, I began to run through the likes and loves of my life and what precious thing should I give up?  Of course you can be less than honest and give up Downton Abby, (season finale was Sunday night), smoking (I don't smoke but giving up the desire to smoke, which  I don't have), or chocolate (really not a huge fan and it wouldn't be any kind of a sacrifice to give it up.)  Nothing came to me, I wasn't impressed in any big, dramatic or drastic give up.  So, I went on about my day, laundry and picking up some clutter.  I watched a few minutes of Hoarding last night and it is always good for a better than average pick up.  I ran a few errands and while sitting in the car wash I heard what my Lenten theme should be, "get closer."  It isn't so much a thing, but like Pastor Gregg spoke on Sunday, the what.  Lent is about prayer, fasting and alms giving.  Lent is about examining my life and what keeps me from following Christ completely.  I found this quote on a Catholic website and the quote is quite good and sums it up completely,

 "Lent is about conversion, turning our lives more completely over to Christ and his way of life. That always involves giving up sin in some form. The goal is not just to abstain from sin for the duration of Lent but to root sin out of our lives forever. Conversion means leaving behind an old way of living and acting in order to embrace new life in Christ. For catechumens, Lent is a period intended to bring their initial conversion to completion."  I don't know if I am or what a catechumens is. 

Totally, this not a cop out on my part, but Lent will be a time to embrace what pleases God.  It will be a time of prayer.  Fasting will be not just food but a multiple of things.  Alms giving or just plain giving will be a huge part of the celebration of 40 days growing closer to the Lord and not letting those sins that beset and keep me from running the race, walking the path, taking the journey, and watching and listening for the ways of the Lord.  Gratitude and thankfulness will have a huge part as well. 

I know this is nothing new and many, many, many...have celebrated Lent this way in the years gone by but it is a new message to me.  Baptists don't really give much credence to Lent, we don't officially practice it.  Guess I am trying to say, it isn't in the Baptist Faith and Message.  Maybe it should be.    So it will be interesting the next forty days and I assume that includes 40 nights.  I may share on the blog.  I may just keep these things to myself and the trusty journal.  Isaiah 58 is looking really different to me.  It's not just about the giving up and going through liturgical motions, it's about the Lord being our great delight.  This is the kind of fasting God wants,

 6 “No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.
7 Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.

The result that comes from this kind of fasting?

8 “Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your godliness will lead you forward,
and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind.
9 Then when you call, the LORD will answer.
‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.
“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
10 Feed the hungry,
and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
11 The LORD will guide you continually,
giving you water when you are dry
and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like an ever-flowing spring.
12 Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.
Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls
and a restorer of homes.

Those of you who know me well, know the portion of fasting that is going to be the most difficult for me.  Believe me, I'll be quoting, claiming and believing verses 8-12. 

So for now on Fat Tuesday.... I wait for Wednesday.  Think I will go out to our fire pit to find some ash, because I won't find it at the million of Baptist churches out here on the prairie.  It's pecan ash, not palm.  Seems to fit me, being that I am kind of nutty and all. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Busy Week Recap

So we officially worked in the yard today.  Not that we haven't before but today we actually put together some plants in the planters for the front entrance of the house.  Then we replanted some geraniums and trimmed back the illegal bougainvillea.  We ordered some planters with a trellis for the jasmine we bought a couple of weeks ago.  While Roy went off to take some pictures, I swept and cleaned up our mess.  Just messing around with plants made me feel like an official rancho de five resident.  Flags are up on the medians for President's Day.  They are the official flag approved by the Rancho's HOA.  You pay this guy $50.00 a year and he will place and remove an American flag on your property six times a year.  All other flags are illegal and will be reported.  A new neighbor has moved in on the street behind us.  They have placed Fleur De Lise in several flower beds and they also fly a spring/Easter flag.  Wonder if they soon will be getting a letter? 

Last week was a rather social week for me.  Monday I met Dena for dinner.  Tuesday, Roy and I went with Bill and Peggy to Salt and Pepper for Valentines.  The food was awesome, but we had a waiter that doesn't have too much of a future in waiting tables.  We ended up having a dining experience but we were able to amuse ourselves.  Wednesday night choir, Thursday took the night off while Roy went to his photography class and Friday night we had dinner with David and Emily.  She cooked the most delicious dinner and then we all headed over to Stages to see Late Night Catechism.  Two Friday nights in a row of pure fun and laughter.  Roy has a personal record going...he won his 5th prize at a nun themed show.  He was raised Catholic and went to parochial school till high school.  He has won holy cards, glow in the dark rosary, St Francis statue and Friday, he answered correctly what a stigmata is and won a "I'm Catholic, call a priest in an emergency" card, complete with rosary beads on the front.  The actress that plays the nun makes you believe she is really a nun.  Saturday, I was going to go to Waco with Peggy for a Baylor basketball game, but after such a busy week, which included a full afternoon at my father's house, Bible study, celebrating Peggy and Lisa P's birthdays, I was beat.  So very tired.  Roy took his car in for required maintenance on Saturday morning, so I went and had breakfast and then made a quick trip to Home Goods and rested for the remainder of the day. 

I don't know about anyone else who lives in the general vicinity, but the rain Friday/Saturday morning was so hard, I thought it was going to break a window.  The wind was strong. 

The workmen laying water pipe finally got the big machine unstuck from the mud.  Only the chain link fence remains.  The gas leak they were looking for wasn't anywhere near our area, so they have moved on down the street to find it.  Haven't seen any white trucks around, so they must have been successful in locating the leak. 

Tomorrow I make a much needed trip to the land of sugar for highlights and a haircut.  And if I'm lucky I might be having lunch with Emily when I'm blonder. 

Tonight is the season finale of Downton Abby.  Think I will watch last week's episode again at 6.  Have a lovely week. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

In That Day

It's a relatively quiet morning out here on the prairie.  Doesn't sound like a whole lot of construction is going on behind us and the grinding and machinery sound from the pipe layers has come to a resounding stop. Silence...   For one thing, one of the workmen got one of their big digging machines, of course there is a term for it but I haven't a clue right now what it would be called, stuck in the mud.  It is so deep into the hole it dug and with all the rain this week, they had to put a chain link fence around it to keep Rancho de Five children and probably their dads from getting too close.  A new twist to the wait and let the ground dry out is, all the white Center Point trucks lining Rancho de Five Blvd.  Of course when I drove by them all, I didn't give anything a thought but Roy stopped and talked with the men as he came home from photography class.  There is a small gas leak and they are trying to pin point its location.  I looked out the window this morning and trucks are back, so I guess they haven't fixed it yet.  Roy was telling me this morning to get up early, get showered and dressed in case they turned off the electricity or evacuated the neighborhood.  He takes his pipeline safety rather seriously and well we should.  But, I was so tired this morning I had to make the quality decision to sleep in, eat breakfast and then shower.  It's called living on the edge people...besides the odds of being interviewed on TV go up when you're dressed weird and your over all appearance is strange.  My mother would have been worked up and rather worried if there was a small gas leak in the neighborhood.  By nature my mom was a worrier.  She kind of had it backwards, worry without ceasing, worry always,  worry in the Lord always and again I say worry.  Don't get me wrong, my mom was a great prayer but she wrestled constantly with the Lord over trusting Him with the situation.  She would be so glad to help Him though, by taking the worry part for Him.   I know if I was my mom, there would be suitcases packed and in the ready position.  So this is the scene from out front door, flashing lights, white trucks, men wearing orange safety vests and a big digger stuck in the mud.

Contrast that with the happenings in the backyard.  In the serene setting of tree, shrubs and grass that is finally growing, sat a little bunny rabbit.  I stood for the longest time watching it eat, wash and stretch.  The bunny kind of reminded me of Buddy the cat.  I was so mesmerised, I finally remembered I could pull out a dining room chair and watch a little more comfortably.  In the midst of this nature show happening in the confines of our backyard, Roy came home from the office.  I greeted him, but didn't move from the chair.  Now I know that goes against all we are taught about "the greeting" the husband should receive when he comes in the door, but I figured he wouldn't mind the turned back greeting for one evening.  What the heck, the only difference from a normal night when he comes home is, I greet him from behind the computer or sitting on the couch.  Bad Christian wife, Nancy!  Anyway, he joined in with me watching the bunny for a bit and then he microwaved the delicious and loving dinner prepared for him by the good people at T. Jin's.  That little rabbit held my attention till the evening took over the light of day.  After a long, fun and busy day, I settled down and experienced such a quieting peace.  God's hand, His little creation, right there in our little backyard. 

This morning in retrospect a work was happening in the midst of ordinary, everyday life.  I didn't see it at the time but there were two choices, focus on the the thing I cannot control, that causes anxiety and worry or focus on the thing I cannot control, that brings peace and presence.  We have those choices everyday, all day long.  You know, it might even be biblical, that thing of choosing, blessing or cursing and that is not to be confused with cussing. Some people say they cuss others say they curse.  How timely with all this talk of bunnies, I just went on a rabbit trail.  Sunday morning I went with Roy to his Life Bible Study class, LBS class is just relevant church talk for Sunday School.  Anyway, David Taylor, the teacher, is teaching out of Isaiah.  He covered Isaiah 11 and 12.  His emphasis on verses 6-9 in chapter 11 about peace was so good.  This week as I have read and re-read these chapters, something jumped out, this phrase, "in that day."  It is used several time in chapters 11 and 12 and it seems that after the phrase, in that day, it says, the wolf and the lamb will live together.  In that day the heir to David's throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world.  In that day the Lord will reach out His hand a second time to bring back the remnant of His people.  Then in chapter 12 verse 1, in that day you will sing and then in verse 4,"in that wonderful day you will sing; Thank the Lord, praise His name!"  In that day the Lord and in that same day, in that day, we respond.

Today I want to be "in that day."  To see and experience, to know and be grateful for God's presence in my that day.  I want to be "in"with Him.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day! 
Roy is the best at these kind of things.  I always have good intentions but I am happy he got his card today.  Usually, I buy a card for him and then I can't find it.  I have a present for him but I forgot to get it out of our closet before he fell asleep last night and he was so tired from the full day of traveling that I didn't have the heart to get it.  I'll have it here for him when he gets home.

We are going out for Valentine's with Bill and Peggy.  Looking forward to a fun evening with friends. 

I've spent most of the day with my dad.  We went to Los Tios for lunch and then came back to his house and went through a few more things.  There are a lot of drawers he hasn't even touched.  I brought home a few things today, a couple of bowls and a doll that had been my mothers when she was a child.  We laughed when he asked if I needed any pots or pans... 

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Winter Weekend Recap

What a great day to stay in except I have a couple of errands to run.  Overcast skies and steady rain.  Roy had to leave in the early morning for a flight to the OKC.  He'll be back this afternoon and I am so thankful he doesn't travel like he had to when we were first married.  I think the first six years he was on the road quite often but during part of that time I worked with him as an oil and gas auditor for non operating partners in joint venture drilling.  Oh, yea, that job was a perfect fit for me.   Actually, I enjoyed the work, it was like solving a mystery.  Granted when it came to the wrapping up of an audit and we were still looking in the nitty gritty details, I was over the mystery and ready to move on.  What I mostly dreaded about the job was, being in an office for a week or more and not being liked because, well, we were auditors.  I would try to let the office staff know we weren't that kind of auditor but I don't think anyone ever believed me.  Anyway, Roy was up at 4:00 am and out of the house at 5:15.  Of course, I would like to report that I stayed up and was productive, but after praying for Roy and his day, I hit the pillow and didn't wake up until I heard the melodious voice of Charles Swindoll. 

We had a very fun weekend.  Friday, Roy got home a little later than usual.  (they only work half days on Friday)  So he didn't really have any time to de-stress from the office.  We went to Lupe's for  an early dinner and headed into town for the Tim Hawkin's show.  Since we had senior adulted our dinner and we were running way early to arrive at church, we stopped in at Lowe's to get some potting soil and a stain chip to send to the HOA for explanation of our fence.  It was good to get that taken care of so that we didn't have to devote time to it on Saturday.  We arrived at church, where I dropped Roy off so he could go in and save us seats.  He did good and we had seats in the center of the balcony.  We sat with David and Emily.  When the show was over my cheeks and stomach were sore from so much laughing and the eye make up was nonexistent.  The show was sold out.  Now this is something I don't understand beyond the obvious but churches are enablers for late arriving people.  Several times a plea was made from the stage to scoot in if there were any vacant seats next to you.  No one moved, no not one.  A few minutes later, the same request was given, scoot in.  No boot scooting or any other kind of scooting took place.  Now really, the request punishes those who came on time, this was general seating, to pick the seats they wanted and now are being asked to move.  Since Roy and I are tall and aisles are not usually constructed with people over 6' in mind, we like to get end seats for the leg room.  Others like to sit on the end to be able to leave or move about comfortably until the pilot turns on the seat belt sign.  Really, scooting in is biblical, the first shall be last and the last shall be first, but not moving is also know like the tree standing by the water, I shall not be moved.

Saturday morning Roy and I went to Otto's for breakfast.  Afterwards, we went over to the farmer's market and got more tomatoes.  Roy also had to take some pictures of doors and windows for his homework assignment in his photography class.  Now there one has to be a little careful because one could be arrested for being a peeping Tom or something.  We found enough uninhabited places for him to snap.  We went to K T Antiques and took pictures of the display windows.  They are always very cleaver and interesting.  We left Katy and took off for Brookwood.  Needed to get a couple of plants and look once again through the Easter things in the gift store.  Our excursion was short this time because Roy needed to return home and get some paperwork ready for his trip. 

After a two week sabbatical, we were back at church.  Loved the choir numbers and congregational singing, oh and the sermon wasn't too bad either.  I went to Sunday School, I mean Life Bible Study with Roy.  Great lesson by David Taylor.  He is teaching on Isaiah.  After church we went to Goode Company Bar B Que.  I have been craving jalapeno sausage and Goode Company sauce.  We were in two cars because the second Sunday is Roy's early prayer Sunday.  He went to the grocery store for us and I came home to take a nap. 

Last night I met Emily at First Methodist Westchase to Gerald's hymn sing.  I hadn't been to one in a long time.  I was especially looking forward to hearing John Bolin and Jill Hoffer.  It was a pleasant evening.  A lot of hymns that I have totally forgotten about were sung including a couple that were my mom's favorites.  When we sang Shall We Gather at the River, the older lady behind me sang in that quavery, weak, older, slightly off key voice and that brought back fond memories of my grandmother singing in church.  Afterwards it was fun seeing and talking with friends that I haven't seen for a while.  A little sleet and rain greeted me on the drive home.  Roy was going to sleep early and since I was a little wired, I stayed up watched the DVR'd Downton Abby and then flipped between the Golden Girls, the History Channel and Investigation Discovery TV.  Can I tell you I had some of the strangest dreams last night.

Looks like the rain has ceased for the time being, so I better hit the streets and get back home before another wave hits.  Happy Monday!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Feeling the Love

We are so feeling the love from our HOA.  We got a Valentine from them yesterday.  After their last inspection on January 30, we were written up for sealing our fence with a wood sealant that preserves the new look and prolongs the fencing from turning into that aging gray look.  Roy talked with them yesterday to get some specifics from them and he will respond and must do so before the 17th.  I'm surprised they didn't write us up for having a non authorized bougainvillea plant in the courtyard.  Really, I am glad we have a tough HOA but sometimes the things they focus on borders on the ridiculous.  Like why aren't they writing up the neighbor across the street who still has a Christmas wreath hanging on her front door.  My suspicion is she's trying to pass it off as a Valentine wreath but those pesky Valentine pine cones are giving her away.  And her landscaping, well let's just say it looks like she got bored in the middle of it and hasn't completed her project now going on three months.  I mean I understand because of my ADD but dang, I know to get professionals or Roy involved to see something to completion.  I have several on going projects in the house and each of them are in different rooms.  That way when I get off task, I have something new to keep my attention until I go into the next room. 

After a week of quiet the machines are back on the green space laying or lying water pipe.  They almost have the section by us completed.  The noise factor is diminishing each week from the house construction behind us.  There is only one lot left to be developed and it is right behind us.  It is a Weekley lot and usually they don't build until the lot has been sold. 

Is anyone watching Super Nanny on Lifetime after Dance Moms?  Wow, Ms Deborah, the nanny, is awesome and has great techniques.  Today when I ran into the Target to see if they had potting soil I kind of laughed to myself because I saw a discipline situation going south, in a hurry.  I thought if that mom only had a bell, you'll have to watch the show.   The other mom with kids shopping with her kind of had a look on her face like, you need to take care of this situation now and she was giving approving looks to her two boys.  They were behaved and looked kind of shocked that children could get away with such things.  Seems like I am on a discipline observing kick right now.  I will say I so respect and honor you moms.  You do hard work everyday.  I don't think I would have made a good mom but I do make a good Aunt Foo Foo.  Oh, Target is still out of potting soil.  I know I can go other places and get it, but Target is just too much fun.  Also a note on Dance Moms...they are arguing more and almost getting to the Mob Wives scale of bleeped out banter.  I like watching the girls dance and become more confident as they perform.  Some of the moms should take note of the girls because if anyone of those kids talked or acted they way they do, their butt would be so grounded.

Maybe I should go finish up the rest of my homework and maybe complete a project or two before I make dinner.  Yes, sometimes I go into the kitchen for more than a Diet Coke. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

New Stuff and New Mercies...Great is Thy Faithfulness

Some of the things that we ordered several months ago and have been on back order began arriving this week.  The Fed Ex man has made two trips today and the UPS man should be delivering a box by the end of the day.  This is so much fun!  I had kind of taken a mini break from adding anything to the house.  We still have two critical items to take care of, trundle bed mattress and window coverings for the casita bedroom.  For right now stained glass is helping the situation in the casita windows but when we bought them this was not the glass' intended use. 

With thoughts turning toward spring this first week of February, I've really been missing my mom.  Spring was her favorite time of year and she would have already been planning what she'd be planting in the coming months.  My parent's backyard was beautiful with the full on rush of color backed up by the ubiquitous green of shrubs and trees.  She had various vines trailing up trellises and archways.  Her gardening was one of the last things that Alzheimer's took from her.  It's just so sad to see the backyard now when I go see my dad.  Of course bleak mid-winter doesn't help but still it is not even close to the former glory of the garden.  To help me celebrate my mom today, I fixed a grilled cheese sandwich in her honor, complete with sliced dill pickles and baked chips.  A tradition established as a child and carried long into my adult years.  If I came by before, at or after lunch my mom always volunteered to fix me a grilled cheese with tart pickle chips to complete the gourmet treat.  I ate my sandwich in silence today, since Buddy was currently taking her late noon day nap and I looked out the windows onto the courtyard and thought about container plantings and maybe a trellis or two.  Of course I am going to have to consult with professionals on what plants do well with morning sun and afternoon shade.  I don't even know if Roy will let me actually get the yard landscaped because of sprinkler placement and drainage issues that seem to be slowly resolving themselves.  Roy has been concerned about the shepherd hook at the edge of the courtyard near the fireplace.  I decided instead of drilling a hole in the brick, I would hang the wind chimes on the shepherd hook but Roy is thinking of pipeline safety.  That's his natural inclination since he works for the largest publicly traded pipeline company.  For sure there is no lack of pipelines out here on the prairie.  Don't you know that no one back in the day would have ever believed there would be people and huge subdivisions out here on the land.  Hopefully these pipelines are buried deeply in the ground and a 4 inch spike going into the ground to hold wind chimes would not blow us all to kingdom come.

I read this article this morning and found it quite interesting.  Since I don't have a boat in this race there isn't really too much I can comment on and the reality of what works best for discipline.  I remember a conversation my mom and I had when I was probably 8 or 9.  She was trying to make a point to me that she could only remember receiving one spanking as a child verses me on the other hand, who received a spanking everyday for something or other. What was I going to tell my children she wondered?    Don't get me wrong, I was a strong willed child and pushed the envelope from time to time.  OK, pushed the envelope pretty much all the time.   When my mother was trying to covey to me good behavior thus less spankings, I answered back that I guessed I would have to tell my children I was spanked everyday and their guilty feelings of not measuring up wouldn't beset them each step of the way according to the day.  I think I got another spanking for being a smart alec but really, I wasn't trying to be one, I was just answering her question.  Answering my parents questions honestly got me in hot water almost all the time.  Once my mom in exasperation asked me, "who do you think you are?  The Queen of Sheba?"  Well, I didn't know this Queen of Sheba, so I got out the encyclopedia, which I should have mentioned later to my dad that I had actually used the World Books since he seemed to think no one ever used them and commented at least once a week at dinner about the still brand new look of the books.  Well, I used them a lot but during the day while he was at work.  But, I digress.  I looked her up, O Sheba, and did as much research as I possibly could and went to the Bible and read the passages about Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.  Several hours later I came back and reported to her, why yes, I would love to be the Queen of Sheba.  In good conscience I could put a check mark on my offering envelope for Bible read.  In reading the Bible it revealed her life seemed to be pretty spiffy.  I got a spanking for being a smart alec.  Wasn't my intention to be one but after a while, skin and feelings toughen up and getting a spanking for having a smart mouth didn't even phase me because speaking those smart alec words amused me as I got older.  The interesting point in the article I mentioned long ago at the first of this paragraph is, spanking may work for the short term but had ill effects long term.  There was probably a better way to discipline me but I was raised back in the day when no one thought about this kind of thing.  I think I became more aggressive and had an aggressive attitude because I was being hit everyday and there were several spankings, more than I would like to remember, that went over the line and was nothing more than being hit in anger with an object like a belt, hairbrush, switch or board.  Those kind of spankings were usually administered by my father.  What made the whole thing worse, if it could even ever be made worse was; we had to talk about what I had done and why it had been wrong.  These conversations would last usually an hour and I was being given a chance to plead my case.  I never won my case in any of these conversations.  There wasn't any mercy given or shown.  Sometimes I wonder if anything would have been different if I had ever been extended mercy instead of justice, just one time.  At least with my mom, she administered justice at the time of the infraction and didn't put off the inevitable.  And her spankings didn't really hurt. 

I'm so glad that God's compassions they fail not, new mercies are found every morning.  Oh, yes I love the new mercies and in hindsight find the Lord's discipline a thing to be thankful for.  This heart journey isn't one I would have chosen for myself, yet God has done some much needed work on me during this season.  Because I HAD to, to protect my heart, arguing, bullying with words, instant anger or long stewing anger had to go, along with whining and trying to get my way.   There were physical implications when I crossed over into stress and anger land.  My body couldn't handle it.  Thus the reworking of my heart both physically and emotionally began.  That strong will which has benefited me throughout life now had to come into submission of God.  Big lesson learned and still learning, I ain't in control of very much.  In our study of Revelation on Thursdays, it seems our homework and discussions keep coming back to the certainty of God's timing and He has it all in control.  Yet, while world situations play out and chaos and havoc and violence comes from that old dragon Satan, it is God knowing how it all ends and in that big picture, Revelation shows God's compassion and mercy to those who believe in His Son, Jesus.  It is God who wipes away the tears, it is God giving harps to the 144,000 to play and sing a new song and it is God who listens and knows the prayers of His saints. 

Well, this post didn't even go where I thought it would go when I started.  Good timing to end here because I think UPS is coming to the door with a much anticipated package.  Oh good, more stuff to hang on the walls. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hello Monday!

What a beautiful day!  I'm saying this even though our electricity went out again this afternoon.  It just came on a little while ago.  Instead of busying myself with laundry like I planned, instead I worked on homework, finished up a little craft project (hope no one just spit Diet Coke at that news) and took a little nap.  You know how it goes, if I take a nap when I wake up, the electricity will be back.  Right before it went off, there were some loud truck like noises where they are laying water pipe.  Somehow, I think, someone must have hit a line or something.  It took a little over two hours to get the 6,600 of us back online. No that didn't make it happen but, it was a nice nap anyways.  Roy actually called me rather early today and asked me to send him his staff notes.  Since I was up and about I decided to stay awake and begin the day.  So the nap was nice. 

Loving the Home Goods store out here.  Never liked the one on Bunker Hill.  It didn't seem that organized and it has too much stuff that isn't all that interesting.  Also, this one out here doesn't have clothes, so that helps a lot.  Last week I found some really cute Easter things at Home Goods for cheap and I went back there this morning to pick up a few more decorations.  Since I was so close to Target, I made a stop there too.  I was looking to pick up some of the on sale potting soil but they were out.  Guess that means I need to make a return trip at some point this week. 

Roy had some dental work done Friday afternoon.  This weekend's theme; soft foods.  That theme is made a little more difficult by the fact that Roy isn't a fan of most soft foods.  He doesn't like mashed potatoes too much, not a mac and cheese fan and he really isn't that big of an egg eater but dang it, if he wanted something more than ice cream for dinner Friday night, he was going to have to have some scrambled eggs.  So Roy's diet was high in pudding and ice cream consumption.  Saturday, he ventured into enchilada land and by Sunday, he subsided on tamales and of course more ice cream. 

Saturday evening I watched our recording of Suspicion.  Love that movie and then I found myself watching Saturday Night Fever.  AMC was celebrating its 35th anniversary.  Yep, that movie came out the year Roy and I were married.  And in light of the previous post on ugly clothes of the 70's, watching SNF confirmed once again  what all the pictures and memories of the 70's brought back to mind while looking at the FB pages.  While I was watching SNF, it reminded me of the SNL skit, Samari Fever with John Belushi.  It was almost as good as the dance scenes from the movie. 

I had to break away from the Super Bowl last night to watch Downton Abbey.  So glad I did and still saw the last play of the game.  It was a win/win.

Seems like each time I sit down to write and I have a couple of serious things on my mind to blog about, I can't seem to get the words together.  Guess it means, the words are quite there yet and I have more to ponder. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Long, Long Ago

OK, the 70's had to be one of the ugliest decades for fashion.  Why am I thinking that?  I have spent some time the past few afternoons looking at FB pages and websites of Houston from the 1950s and beyond.  There is a page on FB called, does anyone remember Westbury Square?  Oh my gosh, of course.  It was the hangout place.  Even before I was old enough to know how to hang out and be "really cool," Westbury Square was a Camp Fire Girl's sponsor's dream.  We got to make and dip our own candles at the Candle store.  There was Rumplehiemer's, ice cream, candy and limited menu items.  A lot of my allowance was spent at Cargo Houston.  That was a fun store to shop through for all the latest must haves.  Westbury Square was ahead of its time, the mixture of shopping and apartments overlooking the shops.  I thought my dream come true would be to rent one of those apartments when I was older.  There was a pizza place, the Village Inn, I think.  My boyfriend and I would go there for pizza when we wanted to hang out with my friends and we went to the Pizza Hut on Hillcroft next to the Purple Cow when we wanted to see his friends from Bellaire.  The Villiage Inn Pizza place is where we went after going to a James Robinson Crusade and Revival service.  We both were saved that night.  It was our first true test by fire, because we told everyone I knew that happened to be there, what had happened to us at Willow Meadows Baptist Church.  After that night, it was never difficult for me to share my faith.  Westbury Square had great 4th of July fireworks and since our friends had the perfect house for up close viewing, we headed over to their yard each year to ooo and ahhh ourselves silly with the spectacular show.  Even as young marrieds, Westbury Square was trying to hold on.  I never felt so grown up when we ordered personalized Christmas cards from the Pink Giraffe.  Fast forward to 2012 and Westbury Square is pretty much vacant and the civic club is trying to get what's left of it demolished. 

There is another page on FB and it is a remember when of Southwest Houston.  People have posted videos from their childhood and pictures of places that have been gone out of sight but not out of memory for a long time.  Meyer Speedway, 2 K's, Meyerland Shopping Center when it first opened for business and lots of other places like Wee Wild West, Peppermint Park, Kiddie Land and Playland Park.  Amusement parks before Astro World came on the scene. 

I even read through a page dedicated to the Westbury Rebelettes.  I interviewed to be a part but the first question I was asked in the interview was, if I didn't make it into Rebelettes, would I play on the volleyball team?  Even then, I knew my fate was sealed and I would never be a Rebelette, but I had a lot of friends who were. 

Lots of fun memories of places that are etched into the fabric of my childhood and teenage years.  Almost all those places are gone, in ruins or have been re purposed.  It has been fun looking back.  I am so thankful that my brain and emotions didn't stop growing and maturing because there are way too many people whose lives are still ensconced in their "glory" days.  Too bad, they are missing a lot of the present and soon to be future.  The 70's weren't that great of a decade to get mired in, remember double knit, pant suits,leisure suits, polyester and the whole disco thing came from that decade.