Thursday, May 31, 2012

First Days in the Month of May

There I was, mini vans to the left, right, in front of and behind me.  The streets are alive with mini vans, school buses and SUVs because it is the last day of school in the Rancho de Five area.  The shopping baskets moved about Target in a hurried, silent rush with moms picking up last minute things and doing their last quiet, alone shopping trip, well at least for a couple of months.  The Chicky and What a Burger drive through lines, longer than usual.  On a hot May day, the beginning of summer is finally official because in my best Alice Cooper voice, "School's out for summer!"

What is the first day of summer is to so many today  is the first day of chemo for a young friend.  His summer is looking a little different than it did a week ago.  There was vacation plans, camps, and all the fun stuff that summer is filled with.  This young friend has
  • He has Childhood Pre-B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). 
  • The "acute" means that he may have only developed this within the past 2 months or less according to the doctors.
  • Pre-B ALL is the most common form of leukemia among children; therefore, it is the one oncologists have the most experience with treating.  The survival rate for children is nearly 80%, and even higher for low-risk cases (which Braden appears to be).
  • Everything else looks fine so far -- kidneys, liver, etc.
Please join with his family and friends in praying for Braden, his mom and dad, and his brother and sister.  They are strong believers but sometimes life shakes us so hard we find ourselves knocked to our knees both physically and spiritually.  Our Minister of Music and Arts sent an email to the choir this morning concerning Braden and he ended it with this verse:

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:31

Thanks for praying. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tuesday Catch Up on Wednesday

The eveing before we left on our trip, I made the round of all the flower beds and soaked them in hopes we would not return to dead and drooping flowers.  I was pleasantly surprised that the flowers did really well, even the ones that require a lot of water.  Sunday evening I went out and watered everything.  Now I need to get out there and dead head the plants.  The snap dragons are blooming like crazy and I thought they were a spring flower. 

Buddy has been my constant shadow today.  When she first got home yesterday, she snubbed me for all of 10 minutes.  She didn't leave my side last night.  I was kind of apprehensive about leaving her at a new place, but they are as caring and concerned as Memorial Bath and Bed.  One of the staff told Roy that Buddy would play and let her pet her for just a bit and then she would get feisty.  Roy said Buddy has bonded with Nancy and she is the only one who can play and pet her for any extended amount of time.  Buddy has done that pitiful, whinny cry since we got home and I think now she is just milking it for attention. 

While we were gone some dishes were delivered that weren't supposed to be delivered until next week.  I found a really good deal on Royal Essex Shakespeare Country dishes on Joss & Main.  I didn't get the coffee cups and someone beat me to the covered casserole dish, but I did get the dinner and salad plates and small dessert dishes. Also the salt and pepper shakers, gravy boat and butter dish.  Roy laughed when he saw the dessert dishes and asked me if they were finger bowls.  Hey, I am impressed he knows what a finger bowl is.  We have white dishes so the blue and white can be mixed and matched.  So I have been unpacking Shakespeare and loading up some older white place settings we've had for quite some time to give to Christella or KCM.  KCM is Katy Christian Ministries, not Ken Copeland Ministries.  Ken probably doesn't want or need the dishes. 

We brought home from Franklin an antique...either mantle piece or top of a door frame.  Love it!  Since they hadn't hung it up they gave us a great price.  I am using it on top of the mantle of our fireplace, only upside down.  It looks really good with the red gate we have up there.  We also bought an iron stand with lanterns at another place in Franklin.  The lanterns are hanging on the shepherd's hook and the wind chimes are on the stand.  The stand is closer into the courtyard and the chimes catch the breeze that seems to be always present coming in from the south. 

Last week we met one of our neighbors that actually lives a few streets away.  She and her husband built the same style of home that we did and in fact had wanted to live on this street originally but you can't put in a swimming pool on these lots.  They are from Lake Charles.  Lots from Louisiana in the neighborhood.  I am so excited about a new friend and family, that I only know through the blog world who are moving into our area this summer.  Her mom and I have quite a few things in common and although mom isn't too happy about her grandchildren moving away, we are happy to finally meet. 

Also, I'm not going to have to drive in for Bible study in Houston in June.  I've been invited to attend a Tuesday Bible study at a friend's home that is way closer than HFBC.  Although I will miss hearing Emily Skagg's insights into Kelly Minter's Nehemiah study. 

Peggy and I are doing a Mildred and Gertrude thing for the Methodist Conference of Texas, the smaller churches from all over the state.  It is in Galveston and we are looking forward to it.  It has been some time since we have done a M&G, so I guess I'd better go and study lines. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What a Way to Celebrate, Nashville Style...Maybe That Should Be Brentwood Style

Home sweet home.  We got home Sunday around 5:45 pm.  We had left Franklin early, about 3:30 am.  We blew through Mississippi and I wasn't even on 5 Hour Energy.  In fact, for the most part I drove the speed limit.  I think what helped us time-wise was very little traffic even on I-10.  But we had a blast on our trip.  We left early on Wednesday morning and got all the way to Athens, AL.  We had our first dining experience at Ruby Tuesday while in Athens.  We also had about the worst complimentary breakfast ever in Athens AL. 

On Thursday we drove over to Amish Country  in Etheridge, TN.  The drive was beautiful.  We only stopped at one Amish home and bought Amish poison, a term coined by Dena and me ten years ago to describe the carob covered peanuts...addicting, peanut brittle, some forget me not lotion and a hand made broom.  Roy only took a few pictures because the Amish don't like their pictures taken. 

We headed toward Franklin and met up with the girls around 2:00.  Of course one of the first things we needed to take care of was a trip to the Nashville Nordstrom.  Ah, a beautiful experience.  We ate lunch at Pine and Sixth which is their Bistro.  The fries are just as good as home and they even offer sweet potato fries.  The four of us split up to do some shopping and then met up again.  Later that evening my brother Doug came by our hotel and we all went out to dinner.  Friday, Roy and I were left up to our own devices...which was good.  He and I had breakfast at J Christopher's and then headed over to Franklin.  The evening before Doug showed us some great antique stores, so we found them again and made several purchases.  We  walked around the town a bit and then ended our Franklin visit with a stop at a rare/hard to find/ bookstore.  In the Southern lit section, I almost had all the books they had.  Made me feel good about my first edition purchases I've made through the years.  Roy and I stopped at Chuy's for lunch and then headed back to the hotel because I needed a nap. 

Erin's graduation dessert party began at 6:00. Lots of yummy desserts! It was such a nice party and we got to meet and put faces with people we have heard about for years. Roy took a ton of pictures but I will only include several here. 

 I've been told that the hand on the waist is called the Brentwood pose. 

Erin's graduation was held on the Belmont University campus.  They did a good job of keeping the ceremony moving especially with a class of nearly 450. 

After the graduation ceremony and since we had worked up quite an appetite sitting there watching all those students walk across the stage, we went with some of Nancy's closest friends and family to lunch at Nero's.  Wow, awesome food.  Ask Roy about dessert. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

More Thoughts From Past Posts

There has been a little break from the serious and I feel I might need to add one more thought to my friend's friend.  Think I will call her FoF in the post.  So we've looked at guard and fill.  The next word I'm giving her is focus. 

Philippians 3:13
No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,

Focus on looking forward but to help forget the past and really, we don't ever forget, but the power of the past loses it's grip.  We find ourselves in situations that would trigger a poor response or a unhealthy way of handling it but when we are so focus on what lies ahead, when we are looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, when we learn new skills to deal with old rubbish, we will start to forget.  The power of the cross is stronger than the power of hurtful words or actions.  One of the best things I did was find a good Christian therapist.  A set of new eyes looking at an old situation.  We don't realize always that as an adult we have a much better skill set and choices we can make rather than how we dealt with things when we were a child.  My therapist saved my life in so many ways and we still meet from time to time, for 5000 mile check ups as it were. 

In Philippians 4 Paul writes his words of encouragement.  He writes of joy in the Lord, rejoicing, don't worry, pray about everything, tell God what you need and thank Him for what He has done.  Then Paul lets us know  if we do these things, we will experience God's peace and it will guard our hearts....hmm, coming full circle here.  Then comes the next level, fix our thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable.  Think about the things that are excellent and those things worthy of praise.  Put into practice all we have learned, received, heard and heard from Paul's example.  Then Paul says twice toward the end of the chapter, for I have learned.  Interesting phrase, for I have learned.  For a change to happen in us, we have to learn and God gives us so many ways to do that...i.e. look at Paul's example.  Then Paul wraps it up beautifully, For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. 

Maybe instead of talking to FoF, maybe I'll direct her to my blog.  There is nothing to get me off task or go on some rabbit trail of a long, sad story.  Guarding our hearts, filled with Christ and focusing to what lies ahead.  Isaiah 40:14 
God says, “Rebuild the road!
Clear away the rocks and stones
so my people can return from captivity.”

This has been my rally cry and toward the end of the chapter this has given me insight into trying to understand my loved one,
20 “But those who still reject me are like the restless sea,
which is never still
but continually churns up mud and dirt.
21 There is no peace for the wicked,”
says my God.

There is a constant, restlessness and churning.  The mud and the dirt are stirred.  They are like storm-battered seas, that can't quiet down.    The waves stir up garbage and mud.

But those who have put their hope in God, are kept in peace. 


Friday, May 25, 2012

Siri and Sonic

When Roy brought home a new iphone for me, I cannot tell you how excited I was.  Love the iphone and its capability to do so much more and so much faster than my Android phone.  The reception at home seems better too although we are still with the same carrier that got to come late to selling iphones and related products.  There is just one thing that I thought would be so wonderful and has been less than a pleasant experience, Siri.  Seriously, Siri can't seem to understand a word I say.  If I slow down in making a request, Siri times out.  If I talk too fast we are nowhere near close to anything I've said.  Others have written about their frustrations with their personal assistant Siri.  Now I join them.  On the Biltmore trip, we got to laughing so hard at Siri's response or lack of response.  I started saying gibberish just to see what the response would be.  Silly me, I envisioned asking Siri for mileage details or locations of Dreamland Bar B Que.  Good thing we had our trusty 2012 Cracker Barrel map in the car and we didn't need to disturb Siri with such banal details.  Maybe that's it.  Siri finds me boring and is totally snubbing me.  Don't know and don't care.  She's no Lassie that's for sure.  That dog understood everything!  Maybe Siri is really overseas answering questions and instead of me not being able to understand customer service reps from other lands, she cannot understand me.  Siri needs to quit Apple and go to work at her local Sonic.  You can never understand anything on there. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Oberservations on a Rainy Day

My mind keeps drifting back to the Biltmore Bubble.  Roy and I are planning to go back sometime during the holiday season, but I find myself thinking through scenarios of returning in the fall, to see the lovely fall foliage.  It's a dream but perchance it might turn into reality. 

We only had one rainy day during our stay.  The rainy day was supposed to be on Tuesday but actually happened on Wednesday.  So after our delicious breakfast we shuttled over to the house.  For a rainy day it was actually quite busy.  The rainy day crowd mainly consisted of several bus tours of senior adults and several middle school field trips.  On that rainy day many found shelter in the stable area by the house which houses shops, meals, snacks, and the ever busy restrooms.  On a personal note, the restrooms in that area have been remodeled.  Thankfully the stall doors which were rather short, in turn which made me look and feel rather tall and awkward had been replaced.  Anyway, the stable area was filled with guests avoiding the rain and waiting for the next thing.  Oddly, the guests that morning were divided into  the two groups I mentioned before,senior adults and middle schoolers.  The senior adults sat on every available bench and perch and most of them were complaining.  They probably longed for the warm and dry comforts of the bus they had recently just complained about being stuffy, with no leg room and chomping at the bit for their desired release from the cozy confines.  While the senior adults had the benches, all the middle schoolers stood in any available space and those spaces were alive with energy and energetic enthusiasm.  They brimmed with happiness of being on a field trip, with friends and away from the confines of their classrooms.  Their enthusiasm for shopping was only limited by their budget, but they filled the shops buying little souvenir trinkets and some even buying little gifts for friends and family.  Watching them count out the change to buy something didn't bring out impatience but the wonder of watching such happiness and the midst of complaining.  The excitement of youth was wearing on the old folks.  I found myself in between both worlds bothered by the old and amused by the young.

I don't want to become one of those type of old people, doing bus tours just to fill in the time until their ultimate departure.  Yet, I don't want to be one of those who stay at home, sedated and still, afraid of the outside world.  At least if I'm on one of those buses, I hope to still have some degree of dressing well.  Ok, I'll succumb to wearing comfortable shoes.  That process has already begun.  I don't want to be apart of the halt and lame set either, although sadly, I'm already there.  Another observation, all the older type women wear white pants.  What is the deal with that?  The propensity of stainage goes up significantly the lighter and whiter the clothes.  I cannot even imagine that many can't get through the day without dripping or spilling something.  Maybe white pants is what jeans or denim is to my generation.  At least you can spill food on jeans and not everybody will see the wonderful display of split pea soup across the leg. 

Later in the afternoon Dena and I headed off the Estate to Biltmore Village.  There are all kinds of shops in the area.  We were both interested in one store in particular that sold Flax clothing.  The opposite end of the spectrum of senior adult was found in that store.  The well dressed, but too much mixing of animal prints and weirded out glasses.  The store also carried Eileen Fisher clothes.  I actually own one piece of Eileen Fisher, a sweat shirt.  It had been triple marked down at the Nord.  I refuse to pay that much for clothes but a triple marked down dressy sweatshirt, which is probably an oxymoron, was too good to pass up. 

We ate dinner in the Village that night at the Mexican food place that is soooo good.  We drove downtown just to take in the sights and somehow ended in the parking lot of First Baptist Asheville.  I wonder if the architect for Second Baptist got his inspiration from FBCA?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

An Overactive Imagination

After church on Sunday we had lunch with our friends Emily and David at the newly redone Bistro at the Nord.  I think the new name is BistroN.  Anyway, the food was good but the conversation and laughs were better.  You know how it is with good friends, the conversations are all over the place.  Roy and David were having a serious discussion and Emily and I were trying to catch up with each other while lending an ear to our husband's discussion.  David and I share the love of history and both of our spouses cannot understand how we can watch the History/Military channel so much and be mesmerized by the programs that we have seen over and over and over.  I don't watch the tank battle and new gun stuff, just the World War I and II things.  You know, if we don't learn from history, we make the same mistakes again.  Who is our modern Archduke Ferdindad?  I confessed I started watching history because I had to stop watching ID, Investigation Discovery, TV.  True crime shows sometimes complete with reenactments.  ID TV has a new commercial where the voice over says, if only I hadn't gotten into his car, if only I hadn't answered the phone, if only I had been on time...I would be alive.  AHHHHH....!  There were a couple of times that if only...commercial played through my brain while on the Biltmore trip.  One instance in particular was the morning we were leaving Chattanooga.  We were loading the car and a man smoking a ciggie leaned against a car watching us.  If only we hadn't left when we did...if only we had gone out for breakfast...  OK, nothing happened, we got into the car and proceeded with the rest of our journey, but I do think I was kind of rushing the loading of suitcases just a bit trying not to alarm Dena with my 'if only' thoughts. 

Fast forward to yesterday morning....after running errands I returned home to find a car parked cattywhomus close to our driveway.  Strange, no one usually parks there because of the fire hydrant.  Boom...ID TV...visions hit me.  Maybe someone is in our home,  Thus I proceed with caution with the every present voice over detailing all my movements running through my head.  First I turn off the alarm, why, I don't know, and proceeded to the courtyard with my phone in hand ready for the lighting quick 911 call I was obviously going to have to make.  Looked in the windows and walked around the side of the house and then returned to the garage satisfied the car had nothing to do with me.  Reluctantly, I closed the garage door and was met in the laundry room by Buddy. 

Later in the evening when I told Roy about this escapade, he told me our neighbors had weekend guests and the car probably belonged to one of them.  Yes, that makes that information.  Guess I wasn't paying attention to our neighbors this weekend.  Of course ID TV also has the program, The Neighbor Next Door. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Between the Miles You Gotta Stop at a Cracker Barrel

Some people have huge life long dreams.  Some want to visit every Starbucks and others, baseball and football stadiums.  Being the rather simple folks that we are, some might even say "you know, they're good people", Dena and I have decided we want to visit every Cracker Barrel.  When you're driving through Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Tenn, it's a rather easy thing to do.  In fact on one stretch of Interstate in Alabama we could have stopped at a Cracker Barrel every 11-17 miles.  It was like CB is McDonald's in every other part of the nation.  Heck, Dena and I have visited several Cracker Barrels numerous times.  Dena can spot a Cracker Barrel sign like no one else and she has the uncanny innate ability to navigate the the twist and turns to finally arrive.  Who in the world buys the real estate to put a CB on and then finds the most twisty/turney convoluted way to finally find the dang place?  You have to be hungry to stay on course and get to your destination.  Hungry both to want it and well, to eat.  One of the reasons we love the CB is, it is a safe place to use the facilities.  After giving several gas station/conveninece store/fish fry shack and bait shops a try while buying gas; it is just plain nasty and unsafe in many of those places.  Besides if they are frying up some fish or chicken when you return to the car you smell like fish and chicken grease.  Ugh that's a horrible fragrance to deal with if you have a lot more miles to drive.  That grease smell gets on you like a sick kitten to a hot rock.   How lovely is thy selling place oh Cracker Barrel.  Most of the merch is the same state in state out but everyone once in a while you find something that no other store has.  That's more up Dena's expertise, she has found some really cute clothes and accessories at CB.  I just find the stuff that looks like, hey you bought that shirt at CB didn't you?  It was 70% off.  We have met some of the nicest wait staff and some of the slowest wait staff there but when it is of the slower variety, it's just the opportunity to put into practice the devotion we read out of Jesus Calling that very morning.  On our way home we stopped at the CB in Layfette.  There was a wait of 30 minutes for a table.  We weren't there to eat but when Dena was getting a refill on her coffee she heard the most funny conversation.  A couple was waiting for a table and their name was called, only the table was not a window table and the wife had specifically asked for that.  The husband patiently tried to reason with her; they could be seated immediately if they didn't wait for that table by the window.  She held her ground and was adamant about that window view.  The only thing is, the view is of the parking lot and I-10.  Not the Smokey Mountains or the ocean or a lovely vista..  No just a view of a bunch of mini vans, Crown Vics, Town Cars and one lovely beautiful Sequisha.  Guess she was making lemonade out of lemons but to me it was more like making a mountain out of a mole hill. 

Roy and I will be hitting the road in the near future heading to Nashville for my niece Erin's graduation.  He doesn't have the CB love going.  He is almost as good as Dena in the navigation aspect of getting to a CB.  He is not thrilled by the opportunity to make a purchase of CB merchandise at almost each and every exit.  He usually waits for me outside in one of their rockers. favorite CB is in Sulfur, LA.  Maybe because it is the first one we stop at when we travel east on on I-10.  Miss Yvonne works there and she is good people.  Second favorite would be the CB in Hammond, LA just because I've been there several times and have usually had a pleasant experience.  Marie works there and she calls you baby.  At first we thought she was a little slow on the coffee service but she arrived with the fresh coffee.  She didn't want to serve us the dregs of the last pot.  She's good people too.  Hardest CB to get to?  The one in Mobile, AL.  Dirtiest CB's, the one in Jackson MS and the one in Lebanon TN.  Those last three were not on this trip but they do stick in my memory. 

If you are a musician you want to be named a CB artist.  CB sells a ton of CD's.  The CB's were all set up for Mother's Day gift buying on our trip to Asheville.  Wonder if they'll be doing a hard sell for Father's Day?

Well, I need to check my peach candy cane supply.  I kind of got hooked on those on this last trip.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Continuing On From the Post Yesterday

For a Monday, this has been an exciting day.  Errands that were actually kind of fun to run and then a pop in from Peggy.  Trying to get a few loose ends tied up around here and then looking forward to a good book.  I am going to fight the sleepies and not take a nap.  My nap yesterday went too long which resulted in me staying up too late last night. 

I got to thinking this morning about my blog post yesterday and what else I might add to help my friend's friend.  The second thing I would share with my friend's friend after guard you heart is the word fill.  Fill your life with good things.  I'm not talking about shopping or anything along a material bent.  No, I would share this:
Romans 15:13
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Colossians 3:16
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.

If she doesn't fill her mind with the things of Christ, the words and statements she's heard all through the years would be ever so happy to fill her mind.  For years I believed my father when he told me that the only work I would ever be qualified to do was being a nanny or working as the tea cart lady at the cafeteria.  Believe me those words resonated in me all through school and I didn't even think I should give any attention to homework and such because I certainly knew how to put ice in glasses and fill a glass with water or ice tea.  To be told that I would never fit in and that I'd be the type that was on the outside always looking in and had that point emphasized time and again,by locking me out of the house for me to sit in the yard and watch my family get along splendidly without me.  I would think that her loved one probably has all the symptoms of needing control, no requiring control, just like mine.  As a child my father took me clothes shopping, not my mother.  Time and again we would be at a store in Meyerland Center looking at school clothes and he would come to me and say, the saleslady just told me the clothes on this rack are for cute little girls and she told me you were ugly and must shop over there on the sale rack.  Words like that have a lot of power in them, but happily and most thankfully I can say, But God!  When I was saved at the age of 16, He surrounded me with such strong Christian friends and older women who did the hard work of helping me overcome all these thoughts that had resulted in my habit of low self esteem and not wanting God to be my heavenly and loving Father.  I was just fine with Jesus, thank you.  It wasn't an easy journey and it took time for me to actually believe that God was a good God.  He didn't lie, He didn't tell untruths, He wasn't mean just to be mean and that He had a plan with hope for my life.  I would share these examples with her only to show that we all have had hurts and difficulties in life that are hard and certainly unfair.  If needed I would tell her things that aren't for blog publication but only to help her see that God can take those hurts and fears and fill you with joy and peace.  It will probably take time but one day that joy and peace will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus' message, His rich message will fill her and out of that overflow comes wisdom, counsel and teaching...helping others.  Out that abundance one can sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 

Another word I'd share on a more practical level would be, don't hang around people whose lives are filled with fear and insecurity.  People who are not actively seeking God and wanting to be more like Christ.  Some people get too used to the feelings of fear and insecurity and their words, decisions, and actions radiate fear and it will harm her walk in becoming healthy and whole.  I've noticed several things in this, nothing she ever does will meet their high level because if she can be or do anything better than the insecure and fear-filled people, they will pull her down because any victory is an affront to them. 

If she feels like she doesn't have any good or close friends I would share with her to be the type of friend to others like she is looking for..  Don't ever stop sowing the seeds of friendship.  You never know the unlikely friendships that will happen because God is weaving and knitting hearts together.  On our Biltmore trip Dena and I would talk every morning with Edward.  He shared with Dena and then with me that he was a brother in Christ and his heart and passion is to serve others.  Long about Wednesday he asked us if we'd been friends our whole life.  No, we told him we have been friends for about 11 years and Dena also shared with him how unlikely in the natural world that she and I would be friends, much less even want to hang out with each other.  But God, He knew.  What a testimony to God's hope, joy, peace and wisdom to Edward.  What a wonderful way to encourage him.  On our last morning at the Inn, we were having our breakfast and we'd been seated in an out of the way portion of the dining room.  Isn't God so good!  We were able to talk with him a little more without getting him in trouble.  He shared with us that still even in the deep south there is still that line between races and he shared how he felt like God had shown up in our conversations and for him, took that 'race' concern away.  We were so blessed by Edward and really Dena could be telling this story much better than me.  Fill your life with the Word and fill your life with people that glorify God.  Fill you life with the good ways and paths. 

Words of Advice From an Older Woman

This was a pretty nice weekend.  We didn't have definite plans yet we had things we wanted to do and get taken care of.  Friday after Roy got his hair cut we went to Dekker's for a late lunch.  In my heart of hearts, I am really trying to like Dekker's but every time we leave with a little disappointment.  Don't order the gumbo, it was more like beef stew with some cold shrimp thrown in.  The flat bread was great and so was the salad.  There were barely 3 tables full at the time we went and yet the service couldn't have been any slower.  We'll go back but each time we pull in I say, Dekker's I'm trying to like you....

Roy has started going to a men's Bible study on Saturday mornings.  He has really enjoyed it.  The men meet at Holy Apostles Episcopal Church, which happens to be the same church that CBS meets in.  The pastor of the church leads it and Roy thinks that about 16 men attend.  Each week one of the men cooks breakfast there at the church and Roy said it is going to be difficult to top this past Saturday.  They had french toast with brown sugar covering one side of the bread.  These guys aren't the stop at the Shipley's and pick up some donuts kind of guys.  They are studying Romans.  Afterwards Roy met me at Otto's and drank hot tea while I had breakfast.  This morning our pastor preached out of John 21.  John 21 has a special place in my heart and the passage became so special as I transitioned from tennis into eventually working at the church.  Dena and I laugh about different passages in the Bible that on their own, are somewhat humorous.  So like this morning we read verse 12 and it says, "Now come and have some breakfast."  That's a great verse especially for those of us who like to go out and eat breakfast.  We picked up some home grown tomatoes and kettle corn in old Katy Saturday morning at the Katy Market Days after breakfast. 

This morning was church and afterwards lunch at the Nord with Emily and David.  We had a blast and the new look of the Bistro is interesting.  Not too many changes, well except for the bar. 

I had a friend ask me if I could help her help a friend.  The friend has a similar situation with a loved one like we have been experiencing of late.  So I've taken the time to think things through and not just the happenings of recent months but thinking about this 'elephant in the room' deal I have always had with my father.  My thoughts turn that direction because the friend of my friend is much younger and finds herself on the path that I have been on for a much longer time. Really, how can you deal with an unreasonable, difficult and untrusting person?  For most of my life I fought tooth and nail with him.  It is what we did best, argue and point/counter-point each other.  My father told me several months ago he could never get my mother to argue with him.  He said, he wanted to argue but she wouldn't partake.  Guess he found that willing arguer in me in yars past.  I don't know if my father has ever trusted any of us, mom, my brother or me.  Many have volunteered the information that maybe my father has the beginning of dementia and that's where the anger and accusations come from but no I think this has been going on in him for much longer than I have been alive.  It saddens me to hear that he still believes we have stolen money and have taken possession of his stocks.  I'm not sad about how it makes me feel, I am sad that his life has so deteriorated to this point and that his end days are now filled with anger, loneliness, angst and hour upon hour of connecting unrelated facts and circumstances to fit his skewed view of real or imagined slights.  His attention and target before me was directed at his church and at life long friends.  His friend who talked with me before I left on my trip sadly reported to me that my father's heart was very hardened against me to the point of hated.  No surprise there.  So, how do I help this much younger woman facing her own situation with a loved one? 

Proverbs 4:23-27

The Message (MSG)

23-27 Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
that's where life starts.
Don't talk out of both sides of your mouth;
avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.
Keep your eyes straight ahead;
ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left;
leave evil in the dust.
Guard your heart!  It determines the course of your life.  Don't get sucked into careless banter, avoid lies, white lies, and gossip.  Guard your heart with the Word of God.  Don't be tempted to give into what would look to be rightfully vindictiveness or payback, even if it can be justified.  Mark out that straight path, don't get sidetracked or be tempted to join in the sideshow distractions.  Don't argue.  My mother had it right, words and hurt cannot escalate into more than it should be if you don't argue.  Don't be damaged by their hurtful words or have your unkind and mean words said in anger to be used against you for the rest of your life.  Guard your heart with God's peace.  Speak His truth into your life.  Bring your weariness with the whole thing to the Lord, He will give you His rest. 
Sometimes I still find myself wanting to talk about "it all" with friends and I can tell my questions and thoughts and ponderings are wearying and weighs down conversations.  Keep talking to the Lord about everything.  Keep the "it all" talk to a minimum with friends. 
Watch your step and the road will stretch out smooth before you.  Keep a journal.  Keep a prayer journal.  I've been looking up and writing in my journal all the verses that have to do with paths, roads and ways.   Keep praying...leave evil in the dust!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

An ADD Look at Time Away

On Sunday when we checked in at the Inn we were asked if we would like to upgrade to a mountain view room.  Roy and I had done that at Christmas and we were happy that we did.  So Dena and I decided to fork over a little extra to the Inn for the delightful mountain view.  We were not disappointed.  We got a 6th floor room which is almost as good as it gets.  After the bell man brought up our luggage, we were not ones to stick around the room and unpack, we were off to Antler Hill Village.  We perused Traditions and I made mental notes of some things to purchase later and then we headed to Cedric's for dinner.  Cedric's serves the best pretezel bread and mustard butter.  One could almost make a meal out of it.  We had the white pimento cheese appetizer and the farmer's salads for dinner.  Delicious!  Our plans had included stopping by the creamery for dessert but alas, they had already closed.  We took the shuttle back to the Inn and settled in unpacking and planning for our first full day.  When I was in college, I took a lot of classes scheduled 10:30 am and on.  That is how we scheduled our tours.  That gave us time to ease into the day and sup at the breakfast buffet.  Maybe that should be brek at the breakfast buffet.  So you know, I'm a grits girl and the best grits I have ever eaten are on the breakfast buffet, every morning.  Oh yes, there were those who dined at breakfast on oatmeal and granola, but we were not those girls.  We only darkened the door of the fitness center to pick up small bottled waters for the day.  I did think it was ironic that here at the Inn and the Estate are lovely jogging and walking trails, yet some would rather run on a treadmill to no where.  Really, I shouldn't even comment on this since I was neither walking on a treadmill or on the paths.  Just call me Nancy 'I'll take the shuttle' Monarch.  I digress.... OMG, the waffles there are outstanding, come on follow me here, I'm back to breakfast and the eggs, fruit, bacon and various pastries were out of this world.  I'm sure the cereal was as well.  One morning there was roasted veggies, other times cheese binzes and one day I did have to pass by the oatmeal.  Ugh!  If you are a coffee drinker and I am or if you are a coffee gourmet and that would be Dena, the Biltmore coffee is the BEST!  I don't know if George or Edith (Vanderbilt) grew coffee on the estate or not, but wherever they purchase this coffee from, it must be from coffee heaven. 

Maybe I can get Dena to guest blog about our meeting Edward.  He is a busboy and server at The Dinning Room.  He and Dena got the conversation started because my back was to the "clique" of women in the center of the room. Their presence demanded attention.  I did notice that none of them were eating breakfast, so you know I was totally not interested in meeting them.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and by cracky it's a great way to start a Biltmore day  One queen bee and the seven trophy worker bees.  We found out later in the week they were from Texas.  Ah by their fruits ye shall know them and we should have known they were Texans  just from the hair.  I'm thinking Dallas area but most of them were from around the Tomball area.  Most were Aggies, but since I traveled with an Aggie, I'm not going there.  Whoops!

So when we got to the house after the lovely shuttle run, we didn't tour the house then but rather just went through enough of it to get in line to have our pictures made.  Then we were off to shop until we did the Legacy of the Land tour.  If you perchance, purchase anything in the shops and don't want to carry the bags around with you, they will hold them and then deliver them later in the evening to your room at the Inn.  We did grab a quick bite, yes I know we had the big breakfast but hey shopping requires energy and calories, we got one of my all time favorites, a hot dog.  This isn't just any hot dog but a Carolina dog with all the toppings which includes cole slaw.  Don't knock it until you try it and I almost forgot one of the most important parts of the dog, the bun is made out of that pretzel bread that was mentioned in a previous paragraph. 

After a full and fun afternoon, we moszied via shuttle back to the Inn.  We went out to the Terrace, we strolled a bit and finally headed to our room.  We couldn't decided where to eat dinner and since an important episode of DWTS was on, we opted for room service.  You cannot go wrong with a hotel hamburger Dena, who is a world wide traveler told me and she was so right.  We split the burger and the fries and it seems like we had something else and it was all good.  And so was DWTS.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

In the Field There Were Donkeys Guarding Their Sheep by Sight

Every time we go to the Biltmore I always learn something new or maybe I don't retain previous knowledge like I do water.  Anyway, one of the most interesting facts I learned last week was about using donkeys as guard animals for sheep.  Biltmore even used a donkey as protection for chickens.  Talking about the guard donkeys once we hit Antler Hill Village on the shuttles was the main topic of conversation.  On each shuttle ride I learned so much about donkeys and sheep.  Yesterday I wrote about Biltmore's springtime theme, discover the moment you've been waiting for. I don't know if learning about donkeys was the moment I had waited for but guard donkeys gave me lots to think about. Guard donkeys can be referred to as, 'predator control animals or mobile flock protectors.'  A few years ago I read Marilyn Feinberg's book Scouting the Divine and I love the chapters on the sheep.  Well, truth be told I loved the whole book.  Of course I looked for this book when I got home and I have no clue what bookcase it is in.  So I will buy an e-book of it in order to find it instantly instead of doing the time consuming book search.  Now I want to re-read the shepherd and sheep chapters in light of this new revelation of donkey patrol. 

When one thinks about donkeys and don't we all do that, stubborn usually tops the list, then Donkey Kong, all the years of Christmas pageants with uncooperative donkeys for Mary on the way to Bethlehem and Jesus in the triumphal entry come to mind, loud braying, and maybe a tad unfriendly.  Hmmm....even now several people are coming to mind.  No, no, this is about donkeys, not people who act like asses.  I can write ass, it's in the Bible.  :)  Balaam's donkey in the Bible came to mind and the afore mentioned Mary and Jesus rides.  Liz Curtis Higgs says that in the Bible when people rode donkeys it was for a short journey and when we read of people using camels for transportation, it usually means a longer ride and journey.  Isn't that an interesting biblical fact?  Depending on what version of the Bible you read, donkeys are mentioned 140-155 times in the Bible.  In the KJV asses are mentioned 436 times.  Donkeys in biblical times were ridden by kings, a valuable transportation means, and carried the groceries home.  I love this little tidbit I read this morning, donkeys were the choice of ride when people didn't want to bring attention to themselves. 

What an unlikely pairing, donkeys and sheep.  Several of the shuttle drivers and the tour guide for the Friends and Family tour, all the 1895 into the 1900's gossip you would ever want to know, told stories of their own guard donkeys that watched over their sheep and goats.  Of course I went to Google to do some research this week and it is very interesting how one trains a donkey to be the protector and alarm.  For time sake and since probably many of you are now totally bored with my new found fascination of sheep and donkeys, I will finally get to the main thought of this blog post.  Every time I heard the stories of the donkey and sheep, my mind and heart were searching because I knew there was a spiritual application to be found and to apply.  Many of you long time readers of Monablog and those who have known me for a really long time know this about me; in the Luke 15 story of the prodigal son, when asked what character of the story do you identify with I have always said the fatted calf.  Fatted calf, out in the field, minding its own business and out of the blue slaughtered for someone else's happiness.  Then there is the obvious I feel like a fatted calf because it's that time of the month.  Thankfully, the later no longer applies!   TMI I know, but it is a part of my story.  So naturally since I seem to identify with animals in the Bible,  I begin thinking how can I be more like a guard donkey...spiritually and not in the KV vernacular for donkey. 

  •  For the donkeys to protect they must be at the right place and the right time.
  • The more time the guard donkey spends time with the sheep the more likely it will be present when needed. 
  • The donkey's herding instinct combined with its inherent dislike and aggressiveness toward dogs and coyotes makes it effective in doing the job.
  • Donkeys rely on sight and sound to detect intruders.  When an intruder approaches the sheep move behind the donkey and the donkey's loud brays and quick pursuit may scare away the predators but most importantly alerts the shepherd.  In most instances the donkey confronts the predator and chases it out of the pasture but they have been known to use their lethal kicks to injure or even kill dogs and coyotes. 
It is so obvious that this is what we need to do in prayer, you know be a mobile flock protector.  Right place at right time, be present in the moment, those who you regularly pray for, spend time with your sheep.  Skype, email, text, FB or here's a unique idea, have actual face time with your flock.  Be assertive in prayer, surround them, ask for God's presence to be known by them.  And when as a mobile flock protector you  detect those things that intrude and come to kill, steal and destroy, call out loudly to the Shepherd.  With the strength of the Shepherd chase those dogs and coyotes as CeCe Winnans puts it in her song, out my house!

Yep, being a guard donkey is not an especially 'upfront and be noticed ministry.'  It may only involve family and friends.  That's good.  Too often our mindset of ministry is to have a named ministry where we are the founder, teacher, speaker and directer of it, complete with a web site, Twitter, blog and Facebook presence.  We overload social media with our profound thoughts, direct quotes and hope against hope, we will be 'discovered' like the many 2 or 3 that have been before us.  Probably all this donkey and sheep thing doesn't make sense to y'all and with my mind being especially ADD today, I know this is all over the place. I am only writing this today to have it in some uniform thought where I can find it, like books on my Nook.  If it is helpful or just entertaining for you today, happy am I for that fringe benefit.   I do know my little flock that I pray for diligently, regularly and passionately will benefit. 

Here is the Biltmore sheep and guard donkey.

This donkey is in the farm section at Antler Hill.  He was near death but has made a great recovery.  In his area there are a few chickens, I guess to help him practice his herding and bonding instincts.

Donkeys also guard goats and although this picture of baby goats has nothing to do with this blog post, they are just so dang cute, I had to included them.

The afore-mention recovering donkey in the foreground while in the background a mobile flock protector is watching over, kind of, the free range chickens.

Another picture of the flock grazing with its friend and protector Lollipop.  Gee, these donkeys need better guard names like, Terminator or Robo Donkey.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Discover the Moment

Big Brother must be reading my FB, blog and email because on almost every site I go to has Biltmore advertising on it.  In some ways it is kind of scary that social media has this much information to personally design advertising to size just for us.  This morning I looked at Nordstrom, no surprise, and Coldwater Creek trying to find a coral color short jacket.  To get a closer look I clicked on a few jackets on the Coldwater Creek site and now for the next few days I am going to see those kind of ugly jackets in advertising personally designed, for me.  Bless my heart.  The weeks before leaving for Biltmore, I loved seeing those advertisements but now I experience a little bit of nostalgia and sadness knowing it will be awhile before returning.  Roy and I are making some fall plans to go back but first we must endure the hot, humid summer here before returning to the coolness of the mountains. 

Laundry never ends and it seems like maybe today it will be done for just a while.  I'm also cleaning out a few dresser drawers.  While I was gone, a small turquoise chest we had ordered arrived.  Sunday afternoon Roy and I unboxed it, cleaned off the stray Styrofoam pieces and letting the drawers air out from the heavy duty paint smell.  So today, I am moving a few smaller things into the new chest and hopefully will be able to empty out a couple of storage drawers stacked in the closet.  We gave so much away before moving, it is difficult to believe there is still so much stuff.  I haven't read 7 or any of those other books but I have felt the need to declutter and get rid of things for over a year now, not with a spiritual reason to do so but it has been a nice side benefit.  I probably will always have more t-shirts than I can wear but t-shirts are my love language. 

Roy also put together the potting table we had ordered about a month ago.  Let's just say the instructions were a bit convoluted and it took several attempts to put the thing together, but he did it!  The back patio is looking rather nice.  He did great with the flower beds and keeping up watering the plants in the courtyard.  He even got one plant to bloom, I had just about given up all hope on it. 

Dena brought her copy of Jesus Calling and read it out loud every morning.  That devotional is one of the best ever and no matter the circumstance, each day's word speaks to each and every life.  We even experienced it in action, practicing what we had read that day, whether it be to trust or be thankful and to cast anxiety aside.  We met a brother in Christ who worked the morning shift in the dinning room.  That story deserves a post in itself.  Dena kept a journal of those whom we met along the way and she kept up with the funny phrases we heard along our way.  You know you can't get through Louisiana without hearing a few fun ones. 

The spring ad for the Biltmore is, "Springtime at Biltmore, discover the moment you've been waiting for."  Thankfully, I experienced several moments and they had more to do with the Lord but being in such beauty probably prepared my heart even more so.  Basically, my prayer was for rest and respite from the grind life has taken in the past several months and the effects and decisions resulting from such a surprising turn of events.  I do feel like I got that "word" I needed to hear and experience.  It came in the quiet moments and it came in the fun we had.  Every night, sleep came easily.  Even being over-tired from driving didn't affect the deep and restorative sleep each night.  That is until Thursday.  Dena and I came  in from Mount Pisgah and had dinner at Cedric's in Antler Hill.  Once we returned to the room, we turned to packing up everything and hoping for an early start Friday morning.  My mind would not settle down.  I was thinking of everything we would need to take care of in the morning.  Then it would be the route we decided on.  Soon my thoughts had turned to what needed to be done once I got home and then preparing for our next trip in about a week.  Instead of relaxing and enjoying one last night in the mountains, my thoughts had turned to the routine and daily chaos of life that may be real or maybe even imagined.  Not a restful, peaceful, sleeping night.  It took some time to finally fall asleep and then from 4:00 am and beyond, I woke up every 30 minutes to check the clock, you know just in case the alarm didn't go off.  

Well I need to go and wake up Buddy because she was rather nocturnal last night and interrupted our sleep a whole lot.  So today as she takes her 57 naps, I am making sure she doesn't get a full restful nap time.  She's got to be good and tired tonight. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Drive to Asheville

A Monday afternoon nap.  It was wonderful! Now that is something I didn't do last week, nap.  Seems like I have the tendency to push myself beyond the parameters set for me at home but on vacation, a lot of down time was set in between the the sights and things we had signed up to do.  I have also come to the conclusion that no snoring and no nocturnal Buddy helps a lot.  Why I actually slept through most of the night on vacation. 

Dena and I left on Friday May 4 and drove to Hammond, LA.  The secret to I-10 would be, travel on it early.  We hit so many traffic jams and road work, most especially around Baton Rouge.  Right before we arrived in Hammond, there was a huge wreck just past Hammond and we were stopped right at our exit.  There is a really nice mall in Hammond, so after dinner at East of Italy, we discovered this place last year on the way to Rosemary Beach, we went to several of the shops.  Saturday morning we got up to have an early start since we would lose an hour once we got close to Chattanooga where we stayed for the night.  It was Cinco De Mayo and in Houston, I would probably not go eat  Mexican food because of the huge crowds.  But Cinco De Mayo is celebrated in Chattanooga and on a much smaller, more family oriented scale.  We ate at a place recommended by the Holiday Inn Express desk clerk.  She was so funny and dramatic as she told us about El Matador that we had to go.  Oh my, it was delicious.  The chili con queso was as good or better than Escalente's.  After dinner we took pictures of the huge moon rising about the mountains and got ice cream from Sonic. 

Sunday, we were on the last leg of our trip.  We followed the directions from Google Maps to take the back way to Asheville.  There are two ways to go on the back way and Roy and I have driven both.  The way we went on Sunday morning had a huge detour at the Tenn/North Carolina state line.  The blessing was seeing some of the beauty of rural Tenn but it was taking longer than we really wanted it to.  Tenn really needs to work on its detour signs because once we arrived at the main drag, there were no directions or signs to follow. So, I turned right.  Dena wasn't too sure that was the way we were supposed to go and had just said if we hit the Georgia state line, we have gone to far.  Hello Georgia!  That no sooner got out of her mouth that we crossed over the line.  We turned around in an antique store parking lot, which if they had been open I would have really wanted to stop and headed back the way we came and actually go past the road we turned from.  Ah, a sight for sore eyes, highway 64 and we soon found ourselves in the Smokey Mountains and surrounded by God's beautiful creation. 

We were ready for some chicken and we got to Granny's Chicken Palace just in the nick of time.  They closed at 3:00 and we arrived at 2:30. 

Oh the chicken was delightful and so were the veggies.  We had the strength we needed to go the rest of our journey to the Inn on the Biltmore Estate.  I'll continue the story tomorrow....

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Retuning Home from the Biltmore Bubble

What a week!  My little trip to Asheville, NC was everything I needed and more.  God is so faithful and He did some good work in me while at the same time I got to enjoy spending time at one of my most favorite places on earth and I got to spend time with my friend Dena.  Since Roy, Buddy and I moved out to Rancho de Five, it has made spontaneous dinners and conversations that Dena and I have been so used to become almost extinct.  Believe me we had a lot of time in the car to catch up.  We had a blast and now we have a goal.  We are going to try and visit every Cracker Barrel in the USA.  OK, I joke but it is funny to stop at a CB and remember our previous stops at that very one.  Just in Alabama, there were Cracker Barrels just about every 17 miles along the Interstate.

Once we got to the Biltmore Estate, we settled in at the Inn.  We learned so many new facts about the Vanderbilts and even went on the gossip tour that is really known as the Friend and Family Tour.  Oh that Edith Wharton...what we didn't know. 

Of course the tendency when staying with the Vanderbilts... to think one should spend money like a Vanderbilt even if one's fiduciary standing is significantly on a much lower scale.  Actually, I restrained myself this trip but brought home some good things.  Dena and I even left the Estate two times during the week.  Believe me once you get there, you really don't want to go much of anywhere else.  But we did do some shopping in Biltmore Village and got our hankering for Mexican taken care of at the Mexican restaurant there in the village.  On Thursday we did a short trek on the Blue Ridge Highway and went to Mt Pisgah and the Mt. Pisgah Inn.  We thought we might like to eat dinner there but we were a bit concerned about it getting dark and making the return trip a little difficult.  We got some great pictures and they had a little but well stocked gift store. 

As much as I love the Biltmore Estate, I loved the rest and the pace of the week.  We had a few planned things but we were at leisure in between to read, think, write and well of course eat and shop. 

I'll be back later when I am not so tired and when I have hopefully partially unpacked. 

Roy and even Buddy welcomed me home with open arms.  I missed them both!  Roy did so well taking care of my flowers.  They look wonderful!  He has listened to all my stories, maybe even twice.  He and I went out to dinner and then drove around trying to find where a new friend and family are building their house.  We never found their street but we think we found the general vicinity.  They are not that far away from us at all.

Typing this has been hindered just a bit by Buddy.  She's asleep on my lap.

I've returned home with a new perspective and a rest-filled heart. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Time to Rest and a Time to Recoup

It is finished, the study is over.  Such a bitter sweet celebration today.  We had our core group time and then we all gathered in the church's great room for some wedding cake and coffee to celebrate the wedding supper of the Lamb.  Gena, our core group leader, even gave us wedding presents, a bracelet.  Such a special treat to have several women from the Messianic Jewish Church lead several from the study in traditional Jewish wedding dances.  It was quite fun to watch and enjoy.  Then came testimony or sharing time.  Loved hearing these ladies stories of what this study has meant to them and so many sharing how their core group had helped them through some rough times.  Amen to that.  There are always those who don't ever get much attention in life and this is a ready made stage for them to share numerous times  and sometimes even off the subject matter.  The leadership did such a great job with being gracious but firm when they wanted to talk a second or third time.  I don't think I have that kind of graciousness in me.  One lady in particular who wanted to share a lot was in our core group last year.  Every time I see her I think of how she shared with us at brunch one day how to castrate a pig.  You can't make this kind of thing up people. 

Afterwards, several of us from our group went to lunch at Hasta La Pasta.  It was delicious and the conversations fun.  We were hoping Peggy could join us but she didn't have enough time to be able to come on her lunch break.  She has just one more day of her long term subbing assignment. 

Tomorrow I am leaving for a few days away to relax and recharge.  My wardrobe consists of mainly denim...all day...all the time.  Heck, what color doesn't go with denim?  My Nook is full of new books and I'm even taking a real book or two.  This season of life has been physically rough on me but I feel firmly planted on the Rock.  Even today after lunch there was a call from a friend of my father who had an appointment with him and could not find him.  Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.  I had to explain the situation to the man why I didn't have a clue about my father's schedule or where abouts.  Then my dad showed up and I got off the phone with the man.  He told me on the back door of the house there are two letters, one to me and one to Roy.  I feel pretty sure they are there to inform us if we try to come into the house the locks have been changed and the alarm code changed as well.  Since we never made it a regular habit to go into his house when he was or wasn't home, not a problem.  Gee, I hope it all turns out well for that man.

Roy and Buddy will get to have a bonding experience while I am gone.  Buddy has seen the suitcase and she has been my little gray shadow for the past few days.  When I get back, I'll resume activities and things that I have left to the side while doing some emotional healing and just taking a short break and return to resume life in full stride.  This time has been so good and there has been much to learn.  I've also used the time to get several things off my to do list but mainly it has been a time of rest and adjusting slightly the parameters I need to live in to experience better health. 

Not taking a lap top so won't be posting on the blog, but you know I'll be on FB and Twitter from time to time.  Hopefully, I will remember to pack all the chargers. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I Are a Dufi...

Today I am an idiot. OK, lots of days I am an idiot.  Confession is good for the soul. Yes, the same person who just this morning was taking in the brilliance of God's creation and who marveled at the ways of God, sits before you this evening a complete and total dufus.  You see, I always think that technical things are going to be a breeze, easy peasy...plug it in and task is done.  I know better!  Really, whose husband planned out of town trips for his wife so that new cable could be installed or buying and setting up a computer could happen without my hysterics.  It is so frustrating that these things that make life easy and fast and smart take a degree from MIT to install.  See, I am trying to build up the monumental task that this clearly isn't for most. 

This morning I pulled out the ol iPod to juice her up to be able to use on the trip.  Now Roy told me, there's no need for that, just transfer what you want from your itunes to your new phone.  Ha ha...I didn't take that bait but I did believe that I could plug in my iPod and it would magically play from the speakers in my car.  Do you know that it doesn't work without some kind of set up?  At least I opened the garage door while fiddling around with the voice commands.  I know enough about carbon monoxide poisoning.  I'm speaking out responses to the voice command and clearly Sequisha couldn't understand me half the time...lots of pardon, pardon, pardon?  As I dutifully followed directions I came to an impasse, putting in the code.  What code?  How does one input the code?  Clearly I was in over my head and decided to cancel the whole process only when you cancel, the radio presets and the blue tooth phone connection do not go back to the previous setting.  I was so mad at myself and I entered the house and the home phone was ringing.  It was Roy giving me bus progress and I spilled my guts to him about the phone and the mess up and the iPod.  Clearly speaking kind words to me wasn't going to help my mood and I realized the best thing was for me to get off the phone.  My blood pressure must have shot up something fierce because I have the worst headache. 

When Roy got home, he tried to restore everything and he was just as unsuccessful.  He called the dealership, got hung up on and he decided then and there he would take the car to the dealer and get this thing fixed.  He hadn't even had dinner, so he grabbed some power bars and some crackers and headed all the way to Champion Toyota on I-45.  He just called to let me know he is there and he said there very few employees around but he was going to grab someone and have them fix the mess I created.  I love Roy so much, not because he drove all the way out there tonight but because he shows love in the not so usual ways.  He is concerned that it all work well because of my trip that is coming up.  He's not going to act put out with me or give me some kind of lecture on letting the professionals handle things.  No, he is going to I Corinthian 13 it all the way there, home and to the bank.  Not that he is going to go to the bank but people always say they'll laugh all the way to the bank.  The bank has nothing to do with this at all. 

Well, if I didn't feel dumb before, I am feeling a whole lot dumber now.  Roy is on his way home from the dealership and apparently it is easy peasy to plug in the iPod and it plays.  We are going to have remedial instruction when he gets home.  He was trying to tell me what to do if I ever mess up the phone again....and we decided it would be best for him to pay attention to traffic and see how my ADD is when he gets home.  All he told me sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher...wah wah wah wah...

Tomorrow, I conquer the electric toothbrush.

The Letter

The brilliance of the sun moment is just about over and the computer screen is visible again. This week's homework in Revelation has a lot more personal, how did the study affect you type questions. Usually, I tend toward not answering those questions, well at least not answering them in writing. The questions are thought provoking and sadly as I finish up today, this signals our last day is soon at hand. I have totally enjoyed the study and our core group.

So yesterday while doing my homework I remembered that Gena gave us back our letters we wrote to ourselves at the beginning of the study. I wrote like the letter was from the Lord to me. Really, in all honesty I sometimes find writing a letter to yourself to be opened later kind of hokey. You do not grow up a Baptist if you haven't written about 15-20 of theses letters to yourself in Sunday School, VBS, or at women's retreats or conferences. This time was different though, I actually thought about it and then wrote from the heart. And of course I didn't even think about the letter again, that is until last week. I pulled the envelope from the back of my Bible and opened it. I had written this on one of my favorite note cards.

Dear Nancy-
I know your path-I know your heart-your love-your joy, yet I have this against you, INDIFFERENCE! Leaving your first love and being preoccupied with all the distractions that keep you occupied with junk.

Trust me with your dad and his drama. Trust Me with your mom.

See what I can change in you. Let some things go-hold tight to the good and don't grow weary in doing good. Trust Me with your health. I know the heart and I know your heart.

Again, don't be so indifferent!


Wow, I was blown away! I didn't remember that these were the words I had written and how the Lord has been in control of every situation, especially with my parents.  . In November the Lord came and rescued my mom from her Alzheimer's and welcomed her into His presence.  If it concerns my dad there will always be drama, but the Lord is gracious in rescuing me from the drama and all the stress.  Then at the first of the year I received the good news with my heart and no surgery. 

Yesterday, while reading Twitter, there was a link to some conference notes from Catalyst 2011.  The notes blew me away because they applied to indifference and being alert and awake and aware to see God's hand in your circumstances.  Booyah! 

I  am encouraged...I am so thankful...I am, to and in the Lord.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Monday Now Tuesday

 at Target before going to my hair appointment for much needed highlights and haircut.  Then I met my friend Kathleen for lunch at Diego's Cantina.  The food was delicious and as always the conversation interesting and lively.  I came home totally zonked but much blonder.  The month of May is almost over scheduled but I look forward to getting away for a bit and then later in the month attending the graduation of my niece Erin from high school. 
I need to start writing down my ideas for the blog because when I actually sit down to write, of course they are gone.  Our weekend was rather uneventful and really that is just fine with me.  Saturday morning Roy and I did a later breakfast since he took Sequisha for a check up and oil change early in the morning.  We ate outside and it was wonderful.  And the tomato people were at the farmer's market which is always a huge score.  We got some for Peggy too and when we dropped them off .e stain off our fence as requested by the HOA.  He worked on that Saturday and Sunday evenings. 

Tomorrow I will start packing.  Since I am such a mood clothes wearer I have to guess what mood I will be in.  At least I don't take as many clothes as I used to because somewhere I got the idea of being someone totally different on a trip as compared to who I am at home.  Talking clothes wise here.  I'd pack outfits to wear between day and evening lounging pajamas.  Forget it!  At home I usually lounge around in whatever I had on and then changed right beforehand.  My biggest issue packing for this trip is, finding all my cargo type capris so I won't have to carry a purse with me everywhere I go. 

It is now Tuesday morning and I'm anticipating one of my favorite times of the day.  In a few minutes the rising of the sun will perfectly aligned with the window and the desk.  It will be so bright and if one is trying to get anything accomplished, it's difficult,  We are in our last week of Bible study in Revelation and last week we talked about not needing the sun or moon, night or day.  We couldn't even comprehend the brilliance of God on the new earth and the new Jerusalem.  So in a small way, I get to experience the brilliance of light from God's presence and this ain't nothing compared to what it will be like.  In a way I guess it is like looking at a map and studying it before taking a trip.  The map shows information on how to get to and get back from but once you are on the actually road you see the sights and things you'd never see just by looking at a map.  You experience the presence of the road.

Since I didn't water flowers last night, I better get outside and take care of that.  Well, as soon as the sun hits its spot.