Thursday, May 23, 2013

Who Is That Crazy Lady?

I wonder if our ritzy neighbors across the water feature ever notice me at the windows waving magazines?   I wonder if they think there is a crazy lady that lives here?  Friends, do not answer that in the comment section.  You see at times I post myself at the window to keep all the crows away.  They hog all the food, guard the bird bath with few admitted for all swim and they get in huge fights with each other.  If it wasn't for me and the mockingbirds, those poor doves wouldn't get a chance.  Although it seems as if the doves have figured out to hang out in gang form to persuade the crows to move on, nothing to eat here.  The crows are the only ones who fly away at the least little movement, so I stand at the window and knock.  I also stand at the window and wave magazines like I am signaling planes to make a landing.  My theory is if a little movement makes them fly away, why not go all out to get them to flee?  I try not to do this when it is a popular time on the trail around the water feature.  Buddy just takes it all in.  She doesn't care because there are birds to be watched.  In the world of being on a camera, I think this magazine waving might take over first place thus moving me at the ATM down a notch.  I would think all my gestures and face making is always rather amusing to the people who watch that film at the bank. 

Roy has been at a conference in Washington DC.  It's the annual compliance conference that he really likes and brings home a lot of things he can use, principles not give aways.  No, not compliance on my part, but for his job.  I am very, very compliant with all rules, regulations and guidelines.  Was that just a huge flash of lightning out here in Rancho De Five?  He has sent some beautiful pictures from his phone.  Roy went up a couple of days early to once again tour Washington and see the sights.  He took his smaller camera and I can't wait to see the pictures. 

Roy didn't get home until almost 1:00 am this morning.  The flight was delayed by two and a half hours due to weather in Chicago, where the flight was coming from.  Roy said there is no such thing as customer service at United.  They couldn't find anyone who would give them information and when he asked the price of taking an earlier flight, they wouldn't tell him how much the increase would be.  Last year he flew Air Tran and that wasn't a pleasant experience either.  He knows the way to my heart and he brought home cute t-shirts for me.  He is keeping the compliance ones, which is fine by me.  He also brought home a tote bag and a mug.  No, we love that!  We needed another mug to add to the cabinet and another tote bag to cram in a closet said no one ever.  I tried to stay awake until Roy got home and the talking heads discussing the Jodi Arais trial helped.  They have examined every eye twitch, facial expression and speech patterns.  Of course I am keeping up with the latest coverage so I am just as guilty of analyzing it all.  I once knew someone who is very much like her except they never killed anyone to my knowledge, but I wonder if given the opportunity....  The manipulation, narcissistic traits and detached emotions were so difficult to maneuver through and keeping your sanity was an emotional and physical drain. 

Tomorrow I leave to go to my happiest place on earth, the Inn on the Biltmore Estate.  Ah, I feel relaxed just thinking about it.  I have books that I am ready to dig into, so I don't think I will even take my Nook.  There are only a few loose ends to take care of today.  While I am gone Roy will be here because we are having hardwood floors installed in our bedroom and closet.  Now only our two guest bedrooms will have carpet.  I really didn't want carpet in our bedroom but got talked into it at the design center when we were choosing stuff for our house. 

Last night a freak thunderstorm popped up.  Think we got about two inches of rain but we had some lightning that didn't even give me a chance to one Mississippi before the thunder rumbled.  Buddy, my trusted companion hid under the bed for quite a length of time.  Once the worst of the storm passed she was solidly ensconced on my lap.  Every once in a while I heard what I took to be a distressed chirp from a bird outside.  I looked out all the windows because I had a feeling it was one of the young mockingbirds making that sound.  I never could locate it but maybe that is a good thing.  If there was a rescue situation I couldn't bring it in the house because Buddy would try to add to its distress.  The birds are out there waiting for brunch.  I hope Roy remembers to fill the feeder but I know he will put his foot down at standing by the window and waving a magazine to limit the crows access.  When I return home the baby mockingbirds will be grown and starting families of their own. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Give Me Your Three Best Words

***This was written on Monday and I just now remembered to post it.***

I just had a healthy mid morning snack of purple grapes and cherries.  They were so juicy and tasty and now I am feeling all antioxidant strong.  I love the fruit and produce from Sprouts! 

It was an early morning cleaning out the bird bath and getting the feeder filled.  I neglected to do any of this yesterday.  A morning of church and afterwards running errands and then eating lunch, the afternoon crashed.  Lunch did not seem to agree with me and thus I was out of it for the rest of the day.  When I felt like I had returned to the land of the living, I worked in our closet because next week the hardwood floors are being installed in our bedroom and closet.  Everything needs to be up and off the floor.  So a bit of organizing was called for, not my best thing, but for us, it is rather organized. 

This past week I remembered a conversation I had with a friend who had played baseball almost all his life and several other friends who like me, had played softball.  We laughed because almost every 'saying' in baseball or softball is three words or less.  Yes, there is a generous use of contractions, but still in the three word category.  This is not to be confused with the song, give me three steps, three steps mister...give me three steps to the door.  It's Monday, there has to be a song reference.  We began rattling off sayings like, hit yours, now you're ready, turn two, can of corn, you're so due, and the like.  On the subject of baseball and softball, when you attend kids games or for that matter adult softball games, girl's softball teams are expected to know cheers and chants like, "you've got to want it to win it and we want it more!"  I have never heard a boys baseball team do the cheer, "our team is red hot, once we start, we cannot stop!"  Although I must admit I have heard a lot of pastors and male staff members refer to their smoking hot wife.  What a different meaning this cheer would have if the word wife was substituted for team.  Entirely different meaning for sure. 

We live in a world of three points, a poem and a prayer.  Our lives are filled with three word phrases.  If you're any good at teaching the Bible, most say you can find three points to teach in three verses or less.  Three word phrases are good, we have to have good constructed phrases to convey concise points in conversation.  Having some good longer than three word phrases to toss around, that's good as well.  There are several blogs dedicated to inspiring, encouraging and helping (three things) to find your good phrases.  Yesterday, browsing the formally named Worship Guide, that used to be called a bulletin, the name should probably be the announcement guide, although it is now called the Weekly Guide and yes, hearkens back to the days of yester year receiving the good ol' Weekly Reader, I got really tickled up there on the top row of the balcony at all the three word phrases we use at church. (run-on sentence)  Good phrases, we need them to help define who we are, what we are about and where we are going...(three things again) and sometimes why.  Optimal word,' sometimes.'  Anyway... Maybe we are modeling the three word phrases in honor of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so wanted to write Ghost.  Our church is a biblical, relevant community.  Our work is to be godly, effective and excellent.  We, gather our hearts, grow our souls, and give our lives.  I like that our emphasis of our three word slogans now supports our use of numbers, Mission 1:8.  Houston Project is now known as Houston 1:8.  Can the Christmas program now known as Celebration become Christmas 1:8?  See, even the numbers and I am not counting the colon and not because I am over due for a colonosopy, because now we have one word and two numbers = three.  Easy to remember, easy to say.  The world of three, one Lord, one faith, one baptism. 

I guess I have the three word phrase on my mind because I have been helping a friend write something that makes sense by using three words or less advertising slogans in paragraph form.  The preacher character in Greater Tuna does this with colloquialisms and Peggy and I have done this using all hymn titles. in a M&G program.   I mean who doesn't remember, Where's the beef, finger lickin' good, have it your way, they're great, unleash the beast, snap crackle pop,  breakfast of champions, built Ford tough, and I'm loving it, just to name a few. 

Three words or phrases grab our attention, New Improved Tide!  Again, it seems our world is becoming 140 characters or less.  We are marketed to all day long to think in Twitter thoughts and advertising slogans.  Three word statements, I like them but there is still something to love about a run-on sentence filled with enthusiasm, passion and interest. (three things) 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

What I Did With my Saturday

It is a beautiful morning.  Inside our home we have laundry whittled down and the dishes being washed.  I have tons of things to do around the house, so I have decided to punt the farmer's market and Katy Market Days this morning.  After I get the ton of stuff done I plan to read.  Right now my always growing book pile has some great reads in it.  Lots of non-fiction and of course the ever present Southern fiction that fills every bookcase in our home.  I can't even imagine not to be confused with I Can Only Imagine, how many books there would be if I hadn't sold or given away boxes and boxes of books before we moved.  Also contrast my Nook and Roy's Kindle that are both filled with books.  I guess you can tell that I am really thinking more about books than the work that needs to be done.  Work before reading...well, at least this morning.  Dang, I just looked through my new issues of Garden and Gun and the Oxford American...I ordered books.  What about work?  Well this was in one of my many needed break times or for a lack of a better term, no attention span.

Now it is afternoon and I am pleased with the progress.  Last week lamps were delivered and one box didn't look like the contents has fared very well.  I was happily surprised that everything was there but the little knob thingy on the top of the lamp was missing.  I dug through the box and found it.  I almost put those boxes out for trash pick up yesterday.  Whew...  The new lamps look great in our bedroom.  I have a tendency that if I like something or a color I go overboard.  Our bedroom is rocking turquoise accent pieces and I so wanted to go that way with lamps but I went with a lighter color, rubbed antique white and the lamps look fabulous!  The casita bedroom is back in shape except while the guys installing hardwoods in our bedroom are here, Roy plans to camp out casita style.  So, I put the sheets and blanket back on the bed, but not the decorative pillows, daybed cover and such.  Roy suggested that I go out of town while the work is happening and I gladly obliged.  Buddy is going to camp for several nights.  You guessed it, that does not make her a happy camper. 

Now I am really pleased with the progress.  After almost a year I finally hung two tin decorative squares in our bedroom.  I'll be glad to get rid of the big box one of them has been in.  Since Roy isn't here this afternoon I did it my way.  Eyeball it.  He makes us measure everything and we still don't get it right.  I am a little off, picture wise, no truthfully I can say at times I am a little off, but so glad I am not a perfectionist.  It would be a ton of do overs.  Now I am thinking I will try to hang, by myself, this wooden decorative thing we found at an antique store in Franklin, TN.  We've had it several places but not hanging.  When the Crate and Barrel guys brought the new Bedford chest, they actually moved and centered our bed to the wall.  It has been off slightly since we moved in.  Again, not a perfectionist, so I could live with it but I also knew I wouldn't hang anything on the wall until we did finally fix the measurement.  I do have the yard stick out and I have measured the distance between the predrilled holes.  Can I do this by myself?  Guess I will go find out. 

The answer is yes but it came with a price.  We'll need to do touch up on the paint and I accidentally jammed my thumb with a huge nail.  Because I am on Pradaxa, which is a blood thinner, I have been trying to stop the bleeding.  I finally got it taken care of and I think I am going to live.  Please overlook Buddy's blanket at the end of our bed and the box to the side.  It's as if all those years working for Jason Swiggart at church didn't take.  He is the king of presentation and also Pastor to the Stars and now the Burbs. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Haircuts and Drama

Today really felt like total onset of summer.  A combination of high temps and high humidity and we welcome this state of weather at least until October or maybe beyond.  The heat has never been my friend and I can feel the energy being squeezed right out of me. 

The day began very, very early like 4:30 am.  I've been on the go since then and haven't even taken a little cat nap.  Maybe there is an early bed time in store tonight.  At 10:00 was my hair appointment at the new Emmanuel salon, second location, in Rancho De Five.  It was really nice not having to leave so early and because the appointment was early enough all the parking hadn't been taken at La Centerra.  The salon looks really great!  Very trendy and very cool.  If you live out here in Rancho and you're looking for a stylist, give them a call because Emmanuel, means God with us, so you can never have a bad do.  I go to Stevie and she is only there on Fridays but all the other stylists are good.  I also have to say, they serve the best orange ice tea ever.  After highlights and a haircut, I headed back over to Sprouts.  Picked up some dinner items and cherries are on sale for a fabulous price.  Brought all that home and got things put away to only then leave once again for the Kroger.  Exciting times for sure.

I don't really need exciting times because I have lots and lots of drama happening right outside our windows.  The flowerbed closest to the house, snapdragons and roses, has a bird feeder and bird bath in it.  If a week ever gets slow on news I can go sit in the library or reading room, whatever we call it, and watch life drama unfold between the doves, the mockingbirds and those big crows.  So I am totally going to go on like my mom now, so you've been warned.  The interesting happenings with the mockingbirds is the preparation to see the two younguns fly the coup and build their own mockingbird lives.  At the first of the week those two little birdlings sat on the fence and mom and dad would go to the feeder to the fence to take care of the children.  Those little birds I guess trying to conserve energy, just left their mouths open the whole time.  By about Wednesday, the mom was still feeding them, but not as much.  Yesterday the separation began.  Those birdies chirped and opened their mouths to every bird that came near.  Momma bird was near by and would clear the fence of resting birds if she thought any of them would harm her kiddos.  Today, one of the little ones began to explore and seek out seed on its own but the other bird stayed on the fence.  Once in a while the mother bird would go eat at the feeder and land by her kiddo on the fence, but she didn't feed it.  At one point it was as if the little one was throwing a temper tantrum.  It never relented in loud chirping and the mother just looked up ignoring the tantrum.  The little bird kept getting closer and closer and jumping up and down in front of the mother...nothing.  I just saw that the birds have retired to our back patio but I have a feeling this might be the last night for their mom to stick around.  She has done her job.  It is hard to watch all this happen and of course I want to intervene somehow, but I stay mesmerized at the daily drama at the bird feeder and bath.  I haven't even told y'all the latest on the doves and those pesky crows. 

We loved the three guys that stayed with us on Wednesday night from California Baptist University.  They were a lot of fun.  I even cooked breakfast for them.  On the way home I decided to drive by Dena's lot and see if anything was happening.  Boom!  The frame work was almost completed.  I took a couple of pictures and emailed them to her.  She came out last night, picked me up and we went over to her house.  I couldn't believe how much they had done since taking the pictures a little after 9:00.  I did a video but it didn't turn out so we will have to do a re shoot.  We  went to the new Fusion/Chinese/Japanese/Sushi place for dinner.  It was delicious!  I had eaten there before at lunch but dinner was delicious.  I brought home the leftovers for Roy since he had a haircut appointment at 7:00 pm. 

So, this is where I came in...haircut and this is where I will close, Roy's haircut. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Getting Ready for Guests

We've had a bit of rain and overcast skies already this morning.  Yesterday, there was a fine misty fog that settled over the water feature.  I love those mornings whose beginnings are bright and full of light.  Let's face it, I seem to like mornings out here in Rancho De Five.  The mornings bring the doves and mockingbirds to the feeder.  There are two young mockingbirds just now getting their bearing and wings.  The mother bird is still feeding them somewhat but each and everyday you can see more Independence happening in their little lives.  I found a dove in the backyard yesterday, deceased.  I should have called Peggy but since she is subbing and I didn't know exactly how long the dove had been there, we gave it a proper service and dismissed it into eternity by wrapping it up and placing it in the garbage can.  No, the dove didn't get the same kind of service that we gave the snake, killed and then thrown over the fence onto the green space for hawks.  It seemed ironic that as I read a book:  The Gospel of Ruth, Loving God Enough to Break the Rules by Carolyn Custis James and reading about Naomi, that I noticed a dove standing there looking at what in all probability was its mate.  Yes, I discovered the bird but left that manly job of disposal for Roy when he got home.  I love reading the book of Ruth and books about the book of Ruth, but I think so far this is by far the most intriguing book I've read about the book of Ruth.  Let's see can I get book of Ruth in a sentence one more time?  Yes, mission accomplished.

I should be getting things ready for our CBU guests that are staying with us tonight.  I'm bringing home three boys.  Most everything is done but just have a few things to take care of.  At first I thought girls would be fun but then practicality hit me, boys are much easier to please food wise.  I'm not planning on doing this, but we could probably plunk down donuts in the morning and they would be gone in a heartbeat.  I am kind of nervous because you know I am not the most domestic thing on the planet, but I am looking forward to doing this.   Last night Roy and I pulled out the trundle bed and then had a dickens of a time getting it to set up properly.  Note to self, only keep 2 students next year. 


Monday, May 13, 2013

Rejection on a Monday...the Worst

We all have experienced rejection in our lives.  It seemed to have much more importance to me earlier in life and although it can still hurt, the pain doesn't quite cut through me like it once did.  As an adult we can face rejection and while it still isn't fun and if it hits in a particularly insecure place, you have to make the decision whether you'll be immobilized by it or if in fact you move on because that is what healthy people do.  You have that ubiquitous conversation with your 15 year old self that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt.  Hey, 15 year old Nancy, words can and do hurt and at least words recognize you are present because 15 year old Nancy when someone denies your existence even when you're standing next to them, in that great and grand picture, it really doesn't matter.  Well, that is usually true until today.  Let me tell you my story, my story of the greatest rejection of all that can only happen on a Monday.

My story begins innocently enough on Friday.  Both Roy and I forgot about a 4:30 appointment.  Because Roy had a particularly stressful day he decided to go trek riding Friday afternoon and I highly encouraged him to do so.  While going through some paperwork my calendar reminder notified me we had ten minutes to make the appointment.  Desperately I tried getting a hold of Roy who by now is off on the nature trails of Rancho De Five.  When he finally checked his phone he realized the missed appointment and hurried home.  He came in and went straight to the phone to apologize and see if there was any chance at all to go ahead and go there, even if late.  No such luck and as he tried to find another time that is when I volunteered.  I volunteered to take Buddy to her mani/pedi appointment on Monday. 

Ever since we moved out to the prairie, Roy has been the one to take Buddy for her four week nail trimming.  He had taken over that job because I was dealing with heart issues and had a hard recovery after we moved out here.  Even when I began to feel better he still took Buddy.  It is an ordeal to not tip off Buddy.  You wait until she is sound asleep to move her kennel traveler into position.  If she hears just one bit of kennel sound, she goes into the witness protection program and goes into hiding.  We have become stealth practitioners of the snatch and grab.  If you don't position her correctly over the top opening she puts up quite a struggle to get her in.  Then you hear the sad sound of meows.  Meowing is the cat's language to humans, not to other cats.  Today, I had to do these maneuvers alone.  I couldn't show any deviation of the usual routine to get Buddy alerted to the coming grooming session.  Buddy was out like a light on our bed and she was still half asleep when I put her into her kitty carry all for the quick trip out of town to Fulsher.  Kitty carry all, from the deep recesses of my mind, came from a Brady Bunch episode...I think.  Anyway, we got to the Vet office.  Everyone was kind of shocked that it wasn't Roy who brought in Buddy.  We were taken to a "patient" room and we waited for the Dr.  Buddy wasn't especially loud in her dissatisfaction with the situation but she was letting me know she wasn't happy.  Although we were in a waiting room with the door closed, another person came in, with a cat.  This cat was loud, unhappy, and throwing a wall-eyed fit.  (what does that mean?)  Buddy sat very still and listened.  She was big eyed looking through the little openings in her kitty carry all.  She looked at me and softly meowed.  Of course I took the opportunity to praise her for not making a lot of noise and for not being like that other big cat in the outer office.  Yea, like a cat ever really listens to that, they already know it.  About that time the Dr and the cat whisperer came in.  Roy tells me there are two cat whisperers on staff that are really good with Buddy.  Buddy did well, oh she wasn't happy and she took a swipe or two at the Dr and missed. This is the first time I have ever seen Buddy get her nails trimmed because every other Vet we took her to, took her in the back to give shots or trim nails.  Compassionate or should that be catpassionate as I am, I came over to comfort Buddy during her spa time. The Dr warned me not to get close to her head cause she would bite me.  Me?  The one she loves? The one whose arm she falls asleep on every night?  The one who feeds her?  The one who feeds the birds for her so that she has cat TV all day?  Uh, yes, come to think of it, she would.  She's been known to attack my head in the middle of the night and I am kind of on the watch out for an attack tonight.   Buddy was quiet on the ride home and she didn't stick around when I let her out of kitty carry all once we were home.  She'll have nothing to do with me right now.  Even a new empty box won't coax her off the couch.  When I attempt to sit beside her, she leaves.  I know she'll get over it, but dang it hurts.  I want her to be mad at Roy and a dime will get you a donut, well back in 1952, but she will run and meet him at the door just like she used to for me until I took her for her spa retreat today.  I can take it, I'm an adult....nooooo, it hurts.  I feel like some lyrics from the rock group Nazareth would best express my feelings right now about Buddy rejection:
Love hurts, love scars Love wounds, and marks
Any heart, not tough Or strong enough
To take a lot of pain  Take a lot of pain
Love is like a cloud
Holds a lot of rain
Love hurtsLove hurts
Wow, that felt all Mary Katherine Gallagher-ish....  Anyway, Roy is walking through the door and my heart will break!   Good news, she did the fake end around, she acted like she was running to greet Roy and she ignored him and came to where I am sitting.  Yes!!!
Oh, the big cat in the waitingroom was still around when we came out the door.  My goodness, that big ol cat was nothing more than a tiny, tiny kitten, an orange tabby kitten.  Who knew such big meowing could come out of such a little thing.  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day to You and Yours

So I am in book heaven today.  Two books were delivered this afternoon, Flora by Gail Godwin and The Little Way of Ruthie Leming by Rod Dreher.  I am going to try and save Flora for a trip I'm taking later on in the month but I started The Little Way and can already tell this is one of those books I want to read nice and slow.  I also discovered that I had totally missed out on the second edition of Gail Godwin's journal about her life and writing.  How did this happen?  She is one of my very favorite authors!  Then I remember, we were building a house and I was knee deep in my heart journey.  So guess I was a little distracted.  Amazon could get it for me but the time frame was three months.  I went to B&N's website and found the book from a used bookseller located in Richmond Texas.  Still having it mailed to me but every other used bookseller was up north.  Hopefully, even with book rate, it won't take too long.  I have several good books for summer reading and I am contemplating several re-released books from Elizabeth Spencer.  It will be a summer hopelessly lost in the south and in the Word. 

Tomorrow is Mother's Day.  I miss my mom.  Yesterday, in one of my many accomplished projects I found a few things that were hers.  I doubt we go to church tomorrow, not because I never became a mother, but because it is still difficult at times to remember my mother is gone from this earth.  Several years ago our church was giving out some kind of appreciation gift for all the Mother's.  These books, I think they were books, were to be given only...ONLY to mothers.  So I guess all the ushers and usherettes had to ask each woman as they entered Big Church if they were a mom.  Come to think of it, they were probably given out in Sunday School and that is what it was called back then.  I remember saying I was like a mother to some and a spiritual mom to others but that did not qualify for me to receive a book and was told so to my face.  Really, the reason I even pursued it was for the sport and amusement and maybe the response to me was done in the same spirit.  Come on, how many freebie books and tote bags from church appreciation and retreats can people's homes contain?   Sometime after that particular Mother's Day, there were a lot of those books left over and I was given one...which I believe I left behind for the next person when I retired.

I made Roy promise me today that we will never, ever, never, ever go to Katy Mills Mall on a Saturday afternoon.  The economy is alive and well at the mall.  We needed a couple of things from Bed, Bath and Beyond and a couple of things we didn't know we needed from BB&B.  Then we went to the Polo store to find some dress pants for Roy.  He came away with three pairs of pants.  It is a rough and tumble world in the land of discounted Ralph Lauren.  It had become such a pain that I declined Roy's invitation to peruse Books a Million.  I was ready for my close up of a large Cherry Diet Coke fountain drink from the Shell station.  It was refreshing.  We came home and Roy decided he wanted to go to Sprouts and he strongly encouraged me to stay home, maybe take a nap because Sprouts on a Saturday afternoon would be just like the mall only on a smaller scale.  No problem. 

We went to Katy Cajun for lunch today.  Neither one of us had been there before and it was pretty good.  It is defiantly going on our list of places to go eat.  Roy declared the gumbo good but not as good as Willie G's. 

Well, it is Sunday, Mother's Day.  To celebrate my mom I went out to my flowerbeds and worked with the roses.  Roy and I started the morning at Otto's for breakfast.  We have been working in the garage and in the house for most of the day, except for Roy's famous grilled hamburgers.  We watched Love It or List It and tried to guess whether the people would love it or list it.  Almost everyone lists because there is always some unbudgeted thing like water damage or needing new pipes that eats away at the funds.    Our next big thing is changing out light bulbs and filters and that will mean bringing in the 9foot ladder. 

That's it for now. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Baking, Raining, and Watching

I am getting ready to write something here that I have never, ever said before.  Some might find it shocking, some will think unbelievable, others will merely scoff and others will fall on their knees giving thanks to God.  OK, brace yourself, I don't even know if I am brave enough to write it.  Here goes...  Roy and I made homemade biscuits last night.  There, I said it.  I do feel better not keeping that in for a whole 24 hours.  A friend had posted a 7 Up biscuit recipe and it seemed easy enough.  So together and I might add without a discouraging word and the skies were cloudy and gray, we made biscuits.  They are delicious.  We ate a couple with apple butter and called it supper.  When it is Roy's turn to make breakfast for his Bible study, I think these will be on the menu. 

Rancho De Five enjoyed getting quite a bit of rain yesterday.  The morning became night as the worst of the storms passed through.  We had three really close lightning flashes, one so bright I could have reenacted the Damascus Road experience of Paul.  It's ironic that Thursday evening a great portion of Rancho De Five lost power and it barely rained, more like misted.   Not one flicker Friday morning when our small little part of the world was enveloped with early morning night.  It was rather eerie coming home in total darkness Thursday.  It even affected McDonald's.  Dena and I had gone to see what progress had been made on her home and then ate a quick dinner.  When she pulled up to our house I asked her to shine her car lights on the sidewalk to the door.  Roy had been trying to get ahold of me to let me know about the power outage and if I was somewhere that had lights, to stay there awhile.  Even cell phone service was out.  In about thirty minutes after I got home, the power returned.  The homes across the water feature didn't get their power restored until almost midnight. 

With a rainy morning at hand I began several projects and surprised to report I finished three of them.  Of course the starts of these projects were staggered throughout the day.  I am feeling a little more organized. 

Wednesday night our friends had the grand opening of their second salon which happens to be at La Centerra.  Attire, cocktail.  Uh, let's see...what in my closet could be considered cocktail.  Peggy told me to put a shrimp on any dress and go as a shrimp cocktail.  I had been out and about for most of the afternoon because the housekeeper was here.  I think housekeeper is the more PC term than maid these days.  Anyway, when I returned home she was just about finished and I told her I had to go get cleaned up for a party.  She kept finding things to do and believe me there is a vast choice of things to be done around here, but I needed her to leave.  This opening began at 6:00 and it was now 5:30.  Once she left I scurried around trying to figure out what in the heck in my closet could pass as cocktail wear.  I was hoping that Jesus would miraculously place a dress there or change water into a wine dress.  Roy called because he had a meeting that just got out and he would be late getting home.  That is when I called off the search and resigned myself to staying home.  As much as I wanted to be at the opening, I was relieved not to stress over a dress.  So being the high rollers that we are, instead of going to a trendy, hip salon opening, we went to Cracker Barrel.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen.  I have learned to be content in whatever state I'm in, even in Cracker Barrel.  I was craving some of their veggies and Roy doesn't go to CB unless we are on a road trip. 

This past month I have given time to TV news.  Haven't done that since the OJ Simpson trial.  Until recently you wouldn't find me flipping between CNN, HLN and Fox News but the Boston Bombing, Jodi Arias trial and the Cleveland news has hooked me in.  No wonder ID TV, Dateline, First 48 and the like never run out of material, there is so much evil in this world.  Thank God I know the One who has overcome the world. 

Guess I'd better get on with the morning.  The doves and mockingbirds are sitting on the fence waiting at the bird feeder for brunch.  I've enjoyed watching the two baby mockingbirds these past few days.  Buddy has enjoyed watching them too but I don't think out of 'aren't they cute and beautiful' reasons. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Love Me a Run On Sentence. Not to be Confused with Rerun from What's Happening?

While having lunch with a friend the other day I said, I think I am a run-on sentence type of girl in a 140 character world.  Don't get me wrong, I love Twitter.  I love texting!  I love Facebook!  But I do love me a run-on sentence.  Sometimes because if I don't write or say something with little breath or use of commas and semi colons, the thought will disappear quickly only to be remembered at some point in the middle of the night. when the last thing I want in the middle of the night while attempting to go back to sleep is a thought that left so quickly earlier and now has made a home in my mind and will not vacate the premises.  Ah, yes, a run-on sentence. 

I retweet things all the time.  There are some very funny people and some very deep thinking people out there in Twitterdom.  Sometimes the funny and deep is found in one person.  Imagine that!  But sometimes I wonder if those who write or speak for a living or preach on Sundays make their points purposely for Twitter.  It's like Twitter blows up on Sunday mornings as people all across America tweet a point they are hearing.  It makes me wonder if they tweet every other point because taking the time to tweet cuts into the meat of the subject or the transition into the next point. 

Personally, love a Bible teacher or Bible study with long fill in the blanks.  Even with my attention span of a gnat, you'd think I would fair better with Twitter points but I don't.  For this summer, I think I have found a Bible study that will be perfect.  Making Manifest and it is a devotion book but I read a review that the format is conducive to extending the day and being able to study it overextended time.  Sounds like there is much to ponder and meditate upon because it sounds like it has been put together very creatively.   I was going to do another study that would cover several subjects in a matter of months and I stopped short of ordering it.  So glad I didn't, although I think it is a good study and I'd be interested in it at another time. 

I read this on a blog written by a twenty something man this morning:

You asked me once about my generation and its leaving the church.

You asked me if we should have more activities to reach the youth.

My generation is leaving the church because of the laser light shows and the fog machines. We are not enticed by your sensitivity to Seekers, and your circus theme or fourteen services on Easter do little more than promise that the church like all businesses is in the trade of commodities.*

You forgot to make disciples.

You taught just enough for the ultimate prize that you forgot how to tell of the journey there.

Maybe this isn't all your fault, but you haven't helped.

Aren't you tired? Don't you want to sit here for a moment and rest? Maybe we'll tell a few stories, about the God who is One, about what He hath done, and maybe then we'll circle back, samsara, to one another and to Him.

The name of the blog is 'see Preston blog.'  Very insightful.  Raised Southern Baptist and is now in England.  He calls himself a Bapto/Anglican.  He has a book coming out in 2014 and being published by Zondervan.  I know of several thirty somethings that are looking for more contemplative services and some have found a church that meets that need.  I am not trying to enforce some agenda paragraphs, this just caught me by surprise.  I kind of thought, here I go old people..., that the young people enjoyed the smoke and lasers and production values.  Maybe the generation in their forty's and getting closer to their fifties are the ones that like all that stuff.  Who knows?  I can have smoke or go smokeless, doesn't matter to me.  I like traditional and I like contemporary.  Bottom line it is really about worshipping God, not the bells and whistles, with or without smoke.

But I have totally digressed.  Guess I love the unlimited use of words on a blog and thus adds into my original thought of the run-on sentence, that and the unlimited stream of consciousness thoughts that come and go.  Now that I have expressed my love of words I guess I should get back to the projects I've started and need to finish.  Maybe I love run-on projects as much as the love I have for the run-on sentence. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Where The Boys Are

On Tuesday I got to meet the boys, Pancho, Sam and Lefty.  These are the Alpaca boys that live with my friend Bev and her husband.  They were sheared or shorn a couple of weeks ago. Their Alpaca wool is safely in storage bags that breath just waiting to be combed and spun into wool and eventually some kind of winter clothing.  If I lived in the olden days, we would have all died of consumption or something because fabric, yarn and wool are not words I use too often, you know along with those other ministry woman words such as sweet, precious, treasure, cherish...  It's kind of like my mini van disclaimer.  If you use these words a lot, that's great, but I don't usually, although a sweet just like an amazing are used in sentences that come from my mouth.  But, I have digressed.  Alpacas do not have upper teeth, just lower.  So they will keep grass clipped because they are not able to pull grass from the roots.  This is in case you ever play Alpaca Trivial Pursuit.  I was so fortunate to get the whole Alpaca show.  Bev told me that I got to see some rare Alpaca moves.  They are so beautiful and you just want to reach out and pet them but they don't liked to be touched.  Although they would eat food out of Bev's hand but anytime she tried to pet them, they made the evasive move to get out of reach.  

 This is Lefty.  See that mark on his neck, no it's not one of those things, it is from getting spit at by one of his fellow Pacas.  Maybe someone should develop an arcade game, alPACa Man....

You can see some of the bare spots with dirt and they love a good roll in the dirt.  So in the above picture no Alpacas were hurt during this photograph. 
So, here they are, the boys.  Eileen, a friend from CBS, and I think that Alpacas river dancing would be so cute.  There is a lot of training ahead if that is going to happen. 

Not only did I get to meet the boys but got to see remnants of blue bonnets and other wild flowers along the road.  The day started off right because Bev and I met for lunch at Brookwood. 

This means I had two social days in a row because on Monday several of us had brunch at BWC to celebrate a friend's birthday.  This is the first time in four years I have been able to do two social things in a row without having a nap or putting a cushion of a day in between activities.  And yesterday I was out of the house all afternoon so the housekeeper can work without dodging me.  I feel like I have earned today's "easing into the day."  Later I shall Alpaca up my bag and run some errands. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Big Gulp Experience

*** This is the devotion I gave for CBS leadership several weeks ago.  Thought I would put it on the blog since this is the first time I have ever written the Big Gulp story and the lessons learned.  Also, our theme this year was; Giving a Cup of Cold Water.  Thus all the cold water references.  Hope you enjoy***
Roy and I met working at Pennzoil downtown.  After we married we both went to work for a joint venture auditing firm.  We traveled a lot, some good places Colorado and Connecticut with lots of sightseeing to take in on weekends and then there were the not so good places, like OKC.  I don’t mean to insult anyone who is from there.  One year we spent more time in OKC than we did in Houston. 

Our crazy friend Debbie, who lived in Tulsa, suggested we drive over to Eureka Springs, Arkansas one weekend to see the Passion play.  She thought it would only take four to five hours to get there from the OKC.  There is a reason why I call her my crazy friend Debbie.   About three hours into the trip we begin to realize that this isn’t a four to five hour trip and even though we left in the afternoon there wasn’t any way we would make the play on time.  So we stopped, got gasoline and bought some Big Gulps and try to decide if we were going to go back to boring OKC or if we would adjust our plans and head somewhere else in Arkansas for the weekend.  We decided to adjust our plans and we hit the road once again.  I got behind the wheel and we headed east.  I know this now but back then I didn’t know that Roy is terrible at directions.  He will say right when he means left.  I realized we were on the wrong road thus adding more time to our drive and thus postponing any type of decent arrival time.  We found this little farm road and it would eventually get us to the Interstate we needed.  By this time all the frustrations of this trip, the frustrations of always being in OKC and this new set of frustrations, Roy’s lack of direction.  So it happened, I had a MAJOR meltdown.  I am driving down this narrow road at too high of speeds and I am yelling.  I empathically told Roy when we get back to Houston I am doing to divorce you’re a$$ and take you for everything you’ve got!  We had nothing by the way.  I think I ranted on about other things, ok, I know I ranted about other things.  It really wasn’t Roy I was mad at in hindsight.  I was mad that I didn’t check out the mileage before leaving on this three hour tour, I had been reeled in hook, line and sinker by Debbie, and I wanted to be home.  In the distance I saw this huge tree and I said, “for five cents I would crash into this tree and kill us both”, hey I was just being biblical like Moses and Elijah who asked God to kill them when they were tired and frustrated.  I continued “but no my luck would be that if I crashed the car into the tree I would come out of the wreck unscathed and you would be maimed and I would have to take care of you for the rest of my life, thus defeating the whole purpose of the divorce that is going to happen once we get home.”  Again, I am yelling and driving too fast and that is when it happened.  Roy picked up his Big Gulp of Root Beer and poured in on my head.  That root beer anointed my head and flowed onto my lovely business wear of the early 80’s suit, white blouse and a Kathy Whitmire bow tied underneath the collar of the blouse.  Not unlike Psalm 133;

1-3 How wonderful, how beautiful,
when brothers and sisters get along!
It’s like costly anointing oil
flowing down head and beard,
Flowing down Aaron’s beard,
flowing down the collar of his priestly robes.

Only we weren’t getting along and I didn’t have a beard for the root beer to flow down but like I said previously, Root Beer anointed my head and suit.   After he emptied the Big Gulp on my head Roy asked me, are you done?  Yes, I believe I am and with that we had not one word of conversation until we arrived at the hotel, much later than we wanted to.  We went to the front desk to check in and it was all the clerk could do, to do just that.  I mean really, I am standing there in all my official auditor attire with root beer matted hair (this was in the Farah Facet era with the whole layered and wind look) and wearing a root beer stained blouse and lilac suit like it was an everyday decision.  Once Roy and I got into the room, we just started laughing because it was quite funny the reaction of the clerk to my appearance.   We had a fun weekend and happily, we remain married to this very day. 

God used a Big Gulp to get my attention that day.  It was the beginning of a process and I will add that process didn’t happen overnight, in me.  He used Roy and the Big Gulp to open my eyes to the fact I was heading, no pun intended, down the same road as my father.  I had reacted and acted just like my dad on road trips and truthfully, it could be said I reacted and acted just like my father period.  God’s big cup of cold water!  This Big Gulp got my attention

God can use us to deliver a big cup or a little cup of cold water to one another.  CBS has been a big cup of refreshing water to me.  This is my fourth year and during these four years I’ve been able to study God’s Word, have a lot of fun and God has given me some wonderful friends from this Bible study.  Attending CBS was a HUGE factor in building a house and moving to Katy.  These were little cups of cold water that turned into making a huge cup of cold water.

CBS uses the vernacular of shepherding and calling.  We are called to serve and facilitate those who are in our core groups.  I had made my decision several weeks ago that I would not be returning as a core group leader but just coming as a participant.  My whole decision was based on I wanted my Tuesday mornings back, being tired and I didn’t think I was doing a very good job.  I hadn’t even really prayed about it. I had made my decision being tired and in the chaos of change.  Funny how God used Bev’s devotion, because that morning the same question her friend asked is the same question I sensed the Lord asking me…so what else have you been called to?  OUCH!!!

That Tuesday afternoon after leadership meeting I began cleaning out a drawer.  We are getting ready to rearrange some things in our home and I was cleaning out a drawer to make moving this chest a little easier.  In the drawer I was going through were some pages from a journal written in 2002.  These words written in July 2002 resonated in my spirit and opened my eyes.  I remember that the Luke 10 story of the Good Samaritan really had my attention.  It was little things to care for the man beaten up that made up the whole big picture and lessons of the story.

In my journal from July 26, 2002 I am still in a waiting period because I wanted to stop playing tennis but didn’t have a clue to what I was to do next.  I called this period of life my “frying up fish” season.  I always thought I would just go to another activity after tennis, but I was beginning to sense that life wasn’t about our activities but our callings.  Throughout my life so many have said to me you missed your calling.  You should have been a standup comedian or comedy writer or comedy actress.  That’s not my calling, it is simply one of the few talents that I have.  It’s either talent or acquired survival skills from a difficult childhood.  After reading that journal entry I could see in hindsight what I couldn’t see then. 

A Cup of cold water from 2002 still refreshing and reminding me of God’s calling and gifts in 2013.  .

God’s calling and gifting in my life is in the little things, notes, spoken words, prayer and listening

Kelly Minter, Bible study writer, speaker and teacher, had an interesting blog post several weeks ago; ‘Quiet and Small, It’s OK.’  She writes in the world of BIG, it’s the small things.  Her post was encouraging those of us who are going about the daily business of seeking Jesus and loving others not in front of huge crowds or with thousands of followers on FB, Twitter or blogs but serving in obscurity; serving the Lord by in the quiet, the small and the hidden.  Just like we do here in CBS with women in all stages of life and faithfully guiding children to love the Lord.   “God’s gracious gifts and calling are irrevocable” Roman 11:29.  He doesn’t take back His gifts and calling. 

I know others like Bev; have other places God is calling her to.  Some like Jan, are moving out of Katy.  Others are changing leadership roles and others are stepping down.  The eternal truth of Romans 11:29 doesn’t change, it is our circumstance and situations that change, not our callings.  No matter where we find ourselves, we are to walk in our God given calling and giftings.  Let us all serve cups of cold water wherever God has placed us.

If you find yourself serving with others who lead out of their fear and insecurity, walk in your calling.  If decisions are being made and you have no voice in the outcome, walk in your calling.  If others think you are too serious or dare I say too lighthearted for the work ahead, walk in your calling.  No matter and sometimes it is so hard and you want to turn and go another way, walk in God’s calling.   

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.  Hebrews 6:10

 Because for sure, I know this, you don’t want the Big Gulp experience to get your attention!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Week and A Long Post About the Week

The coldest morning in a 124 years in the month of May.  Outstanding!  The wind has been something fierce and created waves in all the lakes around here.  Never seen that! Even with the cool start, the temps are supposed to reach the 70s.  What an unexpected gift.  I didn't appreciate the temps on Thursday evening because it took quite some time to find an outfit that would keep me warm, be right for May and be appropriate for a visitation. 

This week started with a visit to an Episcopal church out here in Rancho De Five.  All the hard rain last Saturday kept Roy up later than usual watching the level of the water feature and since he is the alarm clock, we overslept.  We chose this church because it is where Roy goes to the men's Bible study and that church lets CBS Katy Bible study meet there on Thursdays.  Roy was warmly greeted by so many who have come to know him through the Bible study.  One of my friends from CBS leadership just happened to sit behind us.  The service was unique with a great band and worship leader mixed into the traditional liturgical service.  The sermon was really good too.  There is something to be said about going to church in the neighborhood.  You can sleep late and it only takes 10 minutes driving time. 

Tuesday we had our last leadership meeting until the fall semester begins.  One of the ladies hosted us at her new home.  It was a bittersweet time because we are saying so long to several for a myriad of reasons.  Jennifer, our retiring Teaching Director, wasn't able to come because of a family member's hospital stay. Those who shall remain nameless got Peggy to do her Ruth Buzzy type roast on the three highest level women leaving Bible study.  It has been a long time since I have seen Peggy do that and I thoroughly enjoyed watching her in her element.  Afterwards Kathleen, Peggy and I hurried over to Dena's to rejoice with her that her new home just had its firm foundation poured.  So it wasn't firm yet but it was being smoothed and leveled.  Such an exciting time when everything begins to start in the building process.  Some weeks will feel too slow and other weeks the construction is going full tilt. 

On Wednesday I had lunch with five of my tennis friends from back in the day.  Cris hosted us at her home which just happens to be on the 15th floor of a high rise in the River Oaks area.  Oh my, the views were spectacular!  We even had the delight of white doves doing several fly bys.  We all thought that Cris had orchestrated that beautiful sight, but alas a family on street level raises them.  Lunch was delicious but the catching up was the best.  Again it was if we had all just stepped off the court and had lunch together.  It was if ten years of time hadn't even flown by, well except their children were grown and some had grandchildren but yet we all looked the same.  How does that happen?   Our next luncheon will be out here on the prairie.   I had planned on sticking around the area to go to choir later but I just didn't have it in me.  Tuesday had been a rough one.  It was the first day of another decrease in my heart meds and coupled that with the news of a friends daughter dying, had the effect on me pre surgery.  I was fatigued with a racing heart.  It was probably a good thing I came on home because we were expecting the delivery of a chair from Grandin Road.  I had an email that it had been delivered but no chair.  I called Grandin and they put a trace on the delivery.  Sometimes the UPS guy leaves stuff outside our gate and I thought someone had taken it because the temptation was too great.  Of course lifting and carrying a 50 pound box is somewhat awkward.  The customer service at Grandin Road was awesome and they assured me that no matter the cause, I would be receiving another chair in about ten days.  When Roy got home he told me that a lady drove up and asked if we had ordered something because it was on her front porch.  A relief to know wrong delivery address and not theft.  Roy got his cart and brought it home.  I got this chair to put beside the fireplace.  So a great gift of having a cool night to sit there and take in the warmth.  I should have been reading a book but Roy was watching Castle on the DVR, which made it hard for me to concentrate on sentences connecting the story, that I might like to comprehend. 

In the past week and a half I have been to a Sears Appliance store, that would be 3 times and if memory serves, that is more than I have ever been in a Sears store my whole life.    But in those three trips Roy got the tool chests he has needed to hold everything since we have acquired a lot of tools and such since moving out to the prairie.  Two out of the three trips had dinner at Tony's beforehand. 

Thursday was our last meeting of Bible study for this semester.  We studied I John, Hebrews and Philippians.  Hands down, I had the best core group!  From our first Thursday to the last, we jelled.  We celebrated many answers to prayer and we walked through some tough times with our sisters in the Lord.  I had to say in the Lord because I didn't want you to think those who have sisters were having problems with them.  I will miss seeing these friends weekly but we do have a June party planned at the ultimate party house and camp. 

Yesterday, I went to see the house that our friends are buying out here in the Rancho De Five.  Loved it!  So spacious and open.  Guess spacious and open means the same thing.  Hey, I stayed up too late watching the recap of the Jodi Arias trial last night, then the ending of Blazing Saddles and through most of Young Frankenstein.   Anyway, lots of storage and a great floor plan.  Then I got a much needed pedi.  Roy had his pedi right after mine and when he got home we had a late lunch at Victor's in Fulsher.  Last night, we crashed, we were exhausted!  But then as I am wont to do, I got this little spark of energy and we finished phase one of project closet. 

If you have read this far, I commend you.  Please keep this particular post handy because some night when you can't sleep, this baby will rock you into lullaby land.  By the way, I did warn you by the title. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Bittersweet Times and Days

There has been a bit of a break for me writing on the blog.  So much has happened this week, both good, bad, sad and dare I say it rad?  Had to keep with the rhyming theme.  So many times I have sat down to write and the words were bubbling up inside of me but putting them to paper was difficult.  I stepped away vowing to write something the next day but the same thing happened day after day.  Even now, which I believe is a Barry Manilow song, getting thoughts into some kind of order is laborious.  This has been a wonderful week in so many ways yet I carry a sadness for a friend's situation and the depth of mourning she'll be walking through the next few days and really for the rest of her life.  I find myself praying for her constantly and there are so many others that find themselves doing the same thing.  This song has been winding its way through the days and through my prayers.  God Will Make a Way.

Must have felt strange to end up stranded between an army and the sea
They must have felt forsaken wondering why God wasn't all He said He'd be
When your back's against the wall
It's the hardest place of all
But somewhere between provisions and impossibility


God will make a way
When there seems to be no way
Forever He is faithful
He will make a road
When you bear a heavy load
I know, God will make a way


When a wall of circumstances leaves you crying in the night
And you struggle til your strength is almost gone
God will gently hold you in the shelter of His heart
And carve a road for you to carry on.
So carry on
We finished up our study of Philippians and wrapped up this year.  Next fall will be a brand new beginning with new leadership but yet it will be the same because we all are in one accord with the desire to study God's Word.  While it is sad to end this year, the break is needed and welcomed.  Because by the time I start thinking I have too much unattended time on my hands, it will be time to start once again and fittingly so, Genesis. 
I will write more in the coming days but for now I need to finish getting dressed to go to a visitation.