Monday, March 31, 2014

Instructions For Living a Life

Today is knee injection day!!!  This appointment makes me very happy because for the next five months or so, my knees will be relatively pain free.  These injections are supposed to last six months, but really the breakdown begins in that sixth month.  The first two sets aren't really painful, but the last one is but for a good reason.  There is something there between the bones.  Getting these started this week couldn't come at a better time.  April and May hold a couple of trips. 

The High Five Kids Choir led worship yesterday at church.  Their energy added a exciting dimension to the service.  At one time a music minister long ago said that children are not able to lead a congregation in worship but I think he was dead wrong.  Through the years children's choirs were more about performance but these kids yesterday sang out of their heart and out of love.  Wish the congregation could do some of the arm and hand movements along with the songs like the kids.  Roy and I went afterwards to The Fresh Market and picked up a few things and then headed back to the Rancho to have brunch at Las Alameda's.  We came home and picked up his trek and took it back in to the bike shop.  The light he bought for his bike is too heavy for the sprocket it attaches to.  We left it for the bike guys to figure out a solution, if there is one.  Since there was a 20% off coupon for Books A Million in email this week, we headed over that way.  Because we don't have enough books or magazines here in la casa.  The journaling magazine I like had a new issue, Roy found a bargain book, and BAM has Hello Kitty jelly beans.  Actually, it is the flavors she likes cherry, sour cherry, strawberry shortcake, cotton candy and bubble gum.  Can I help it that these are my favorite flavors too?

I spent Friday evening and some of Saturday afternoon researching my new project.  The time flies when I am involved in it.  Since the weekend held beautiful weather, I did some research and reading out on the courtyard.  Some of the birds are used to me or maybe somehow they know I am the provider of seed for their eating pleasure.  The mockingbirds in particular show no fear.  I think the mockingbirds have a nest in the trees in the center portion of the cul de sac.  They are the first to know when the feeder is filled. 

I have an email subscription to Robyn Waters Trend/Counter Trend.  Her articles are enjoyable to read yet they hold paragraphs of applicable stories crafted for marketing professionals, but nonprofessionals like me can enjoy.  The article that came to the inbox last night is titled Wish You Were Here!  It is her thoughts on the lost art of postcard sending because we have easier venues of Twitter, Messaging and Facebook to send pictures and update our activities.  She said finding a postcard and taking the time to write, find stamps and a place to mail takes much more energy than we are now wanting to give but she emphasizes it is important to those we treasure and love to take the time and the energy.  This is the poem she used to open her article

This month’s newsletter is a commentary on the final line of Mary Oliver’s poem:

“Instructions for Living a Life.
Pay Attention
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”

 Why haven't I ever heard of Mary Oliver?  She has pages and pages of quotes and poems on various quote websites.  These three things on living life are great.  Especially since I have been reading Madeleine L'Engle books and she emphasizes emphatically that we have to pay attention.  Pay meaning it costs us something and attention, focusing in.  There is so much to pay attention to.  Funny, pay attention has usually had a negative connotation since I have been asked to do this repeatedly during my lifetime.  Well I would have if it had been more interesting.  But that is another story for another day.  I keep thinking that maybe this is the first time I have really ever paid attention to Genesis and that's why I am reaping the rewards of the stories and application. 

Well, got to make another check to make sure my knees are not hairy or maybe that should be not too hairy for an injection. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Catching Up on Thursday

I'm pooped.  Today was a medical fun day.  I went to the ortho to see if I can begin injections again.  They last about six months.  The office has totally redone appointments and it is working.  In August, I spent an hour to an hour and a half in the waiting room because surgery took longer than usual.  Now, Tuesdays and Thursdays are his operating days which opens up the other days of the week.  I had a new adventure which keeps  the ol brain in tune.  I have never had to park in the garage before but the front lot was full today.  Since I had a little time to spare, I drove through most of the garage to see how things work and finally a garage at a medical center that is not too cramped and rather straightforward.  I almost did the whole garage thing without a hitch coming out but I forgot I needed to take the elevator in the garage down to the floor where I parked.  If the protocol is approved, I have an appointment to begin the injections on Monday.

 After that appointment I headed over to the dentist office, my home away from home.  Something on the lab work didn't look right, so she did some work and took another impression.  I got numbed up but not as much as last week, although today when I was to rinse and suck, the little suction thing, I sprouted watered down Lysol like a fountain.  It was exciting getting the bib drenched. 
I came home and crashed.  There is something about dentistry work that wears me out.  I think I'm always a little tense.  OK, a lot of tense. 

Just like so many posts before, it is now Thursday because I was so tired to finish up my thoughts.  I also got involved in a fun project that I will write about later.  Of course I was wired last night by the excitement of the project and from all the rest in the afternoon.  It made me feel kind of good today when several in my core group told me they missed their Wednesday email. 

The okay came today from the insurance company and I can start my series of injections on Monday.  The doctor told me yesterday that I would be a good candidate for the one injection that the FDA is giving approval for but he decided we wouldn't wait on that and just go ahead with the three injection thing. 

Today our discussion of Joseph and the multi flirty Mrs. Potiphar and Joseph in prison was once again multi layered and interesting.  We have similar views and sometimes our answers don't agree.  This is a group that really loves one another and respect each viewpoint.  One of the ladies whose thoughts are deep and well thought out went to get a cup of coffee for an older lady in the group.  As we began the review questions Peggy read her answer.  Peggy seldom does the review questions and as we all marveled at the scripture she referenced and deep thoughts, I noticed that Peggy's book was on her lap.  Peggy was reading the other lady's answers.  Oh my...we all enjoyed that laugh and it was a great answer.  I didn't stay for teaching time because I needed to head into the Galleria to meet Lisa P for lunch at The Nord.  As per usual, we had a wonderful time.  It has taken us so long to find a date where we both could get together.  With the addition of appointments along with Bible study, my days get full.  I am also being diligent to keep some 'be' time for reading and writing. 

The sound of March Madness fills our home, so I'll go join Roy is watching the Bears.  Sic em Bears!  Oh wait....I can't watch because they win when I don't.  Although that didn't hold true for watching the Lady Bears win. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Moments, Memories, Hmmm....

My high school has an alumni page on FB and from time to time I wander over to that page.  The subject matter is usually interesting and the comments sometimes a lot more interesting than the original question.  Today one of the more popular topics is your favorite teacher, your worst teacher and the year you graduated.  In my mind's eye I could visualize my favorite teacher but had to go to the yearbook to find her name.  Mrs. Long, English.  I had her my senior year and our English class was advanced for back in the day.  It was an experiment in using new methods along with the literature requirement.  After years of loving English classes but struggling with the way we learned, the light came on  my senior year and I never looked back.  I made an A both semesters.   At the end of the school year and since we were seniors, we took our final exam early in our regular classes.  English was first period and we were given five various topics.  We picked one and wrote a paper in our 50 minutes of class time.  Throughout the day several asked me if I had written a paper on the topic, 'If I had the word_________, I could change the world.  Because Mrs. Long had read it every class period as an example in developing the topic and writing cohesively.  Each one that asked me that day said, every time she read the paper, she had to wipe tears from her eyes.  The word I picked was love and I wrote about how God's love changes us, how we think and act.  Another teacher that prepared me for college was my civic/economics teacher, Miss Dennison.  Her class was hard and multi-leveled.  At any given time we could have three assignments going and we covered unrelated topics that had nothing to do with our three assignments in class.  Then there are those teachers who I will forever love because they truly helped me by having compassion on me in math.  Miss Berotte, my Algebra teacher who helped me after school and tutored me in just being able to know enough to pass or come close to passing.  I was in school before the no pass no play era but the volleyball coach looked at your report card every semester and if you failed a course, she wouldn't let you play.  This coach was also my homeroom teacher, so I couldn't have sneaked anything by her.  To this day I don't know if I really passed Algebra or not.  Miss Berotte happened to be in her classroom when I came by to check the grades posted outside her door.  I went into the room thanked her profusely and hugged her what seemed like an eternity.  In the 90's I happened to see an English teacher at church that I would have to label, one of the worst teachers I had in high school.  I only know it was the teacher because something was said about her in class.  Afterwards, I came up to her and talked to her about her career being a high school English teacher.  She had accused me of cheating on a test way back when in 1969.  She thought she saw me looking on my neighbor's paper.  For real I wasn't and my grade on that test bore me out.  She accused me in front of the class and requested I stay afterwards to talk with her.  She quoted the proverb, 'a good name should be treasured, higher than riches' and told me I had sullied my good name to her.  I was finished with the test when she accused me, so I asked her to look at the test, grade it and decide if I cheated then.  Of course my grade was horrible but she never recanted the accusation.  I didn't say anything to her that would reveal that she had been my sophomore English teacher.  There is no reason for her to remember me because she probably accused and actually had many cheaters in her career.  So there it is in a nutshell, teachers in high school.  There are a few more, but I don't want to bore you to death. 

I am so excited about my next trip to the Biltmore.  Roy and I were planning to go but he has a work presentation that is keeping him home.  I thought through several scenarios and had just about decided to go by myself when I remembered the nieces.  Megan can't go but Erin can and she wants to stay the whole week!  I am super happy about that.  We are going to have a blast.  For years Erin and I have had the moment, memory, hmmmm.... thing going.  It's a lot of fun for us but annoys everyone else.  We will be making a lot of moment, memory, hmmms and you know we will have to share them with everyone!  Cause that's how we roll.   And then, gosh darn it, since Megan can't make it, we are going to go back in May or early June and take her.  I know, it is a hard thing to do but I am willing to make that sacrifice. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

New Vision, New View After a Bad First Attempt

The tree on the green space, the closest one to our house is nearly leafed out.  Two weeks ago this tree was bare, last week small buds appeared and each day since then the leaves are coming alive with that spring green shading before maturing into the dark green of summer.  This tree has won the first to leaf race with all the other trees but they are coming along nicely and will soon be providing shade.   Since we've experienced one more cool front, we turned on the fireplace and enjoyed the beauty of a fireplace fully alive with color and fire. 

I continue to see how helpful it is to live with fresh eyes when viewing the all too familiar circumstances.  This weekend I saw a picture on FB and was thrilled for the people in it.  Unfortunately, I let the old tapes in my head dictate my further reaction.  I messaged someone who I knew would know the happenings and I was assured there wasn't any malice or mean intent by being left out.  There were backstory circumstances that I knew nothing about.  Because of dealing with a loved one who jumps to conclusions and ties together a neat package of unrelated facts to form conspiracy theories daily, I had fallen into that trap that I have so carefully avoided. In addition to the picture there was a comment that made me think the loved one who turned us in to APS was at their evil work again.  Ladies and Gentlemen, wrapped together hurt and fear is not a good combination.  I read books and articles so often encouraging the practice of seeing circumstances and situations differently.  To see circumstances with the eyes of a child or seeing the handiwork of God.  Trees and flowers, not hard to see with joy and gratitude.  Something that looks like but isn't the same old junk, a little more challenging to see with joy and gratitude.  I flunked on my first shot but have passed on my second attempt of viewing. 

I stayed up much later than usual Saturday because I was thinking and pondering stuff from the paragraph above and praying and asking God for a renewed mind and fresh vision.  Thus, Roy let me sleep in on Sunday.  I so appreciate his concern and love.  We brunched at Las Alamada's and went to pick up my trek from the bike shop.  It wasn't ready then but we were able to pick it up later in the day.  I am ready to ride. 

This has been a great reminder the effect of a controlling and manipulative person can have even when there is distance of time.  All of this was a surprise to find myself going through fearful thoughts and anxiety.  Now I hope to be better prepared and not so quick to dive into the cesspool of conspiracy and fear and hurt.  As we have been studying in Genesis, God uses unusual and not our ways to refine us into His image.  After all of their junk I still have a sense of sorry for them.  Life could have been more delightful but their path is littered with people who they've used and discarded and their mind is filled with hurts and conspiracy mostly imagined.  Slowly but surely their posse is dwindling and is down to one.  Dementia plays a part but I don't know how much of it is dementia and how much of it is their life, who've they always been. 

Roy's journey into the political process is no more.  He went to the meeting Saturday morning, was engaged through the first thirty minutes, wanting to go to the state convention and poof, when they dismissed for thirty minutes, he left and came home.  Grass root adventure over and done with after ensuing boredom.

We had a wonderful Saturday filled with all kinds of fun stuff.  We ate lunch and dinner out which is always a huge plus in my book.  Had some delicious cornmeal fried shrimp and hush puppies.  I felt all southern after that.  We also knocked off a few more to do things Saturday. 

Today is my only ease into the day this week.  I have Bible study and several doctor appointments this week and on Friday, Emmanuel for a haircut. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Lights, Action and Fake Kindness

The morning after the first motion light night.  We need to rethink the placement of the lights yet having them in optimum spots.  Makes me want to sing that old disco song of long ago, I got a night light I've got to bogey in the night time scene.  Buddy's coming and goings and if one of us got up during the night to use the bathroom, the bright lights announce everything.  I think it bothers Roy more than me.  Only this morning in deep sleep my eyes sensed the bright flash of light and responsively, I jumped out of bed only to realize Buddy had triggered the light.  Maybe I will have to continue going on with bumps and painful toe ramming in the dark of night.  *****Last night's rearrangement of the lights worked much better***  I know you are on pins and needles needing that information to make it through the rest of your day. 

In light of our study of Genesis, once again Leadership Freak is straight on right.  The topic is Seven Cures for Cruelty in leadership.  Dan Rockwell quotes Seneca, “All cruelty springs from weakness.”  Yesterday we really discussed the hard heartedness of Joseph's brothers as they ate lunch and discussed the future of their brother all the while Joseph is begging for his life.  The lot of ten brothers make up a rather great bunch with overactive weakness genes.  The other point that bears noticing is, Fake kindness is the beginning cruelty.  Wow!  I was reading an article the other day on kindness and how kindness and gentleness are becoming obsolete in our world.  I would even think that genuine kindness and gentleness is heading toward extinction in the Christian world at times.  They are two of the most overlooked fruit of the fruit of the spirit.  Since most preachers are male and the pervading thought in this macho up man of God thinking, they might be considered a wuss in the church world realm.  So these guys stay away from the churchy le femme parts of the Bible.  Really kindness and gentleness are admirable in everyone, but in men, it makes them that much stronger and Christ-like.  One of the best shots in tennis is the drop shot and yet it is one of the gentlest shots, surprising and quite effective.  For a drop shot, the player doesn't generate the power to make the shot, they merely take the power shot from the opposing player, making the ball come to a slight stop  on their racquet.  Using a flat angle or spin, the ball drops over the net and usually it is a winning shot.  That is my definition of gentleness.  I even used a sports metaphor and since sport metaphors are used a lot in sermon points.... gentleness is taking what comes at you and taking the sting out.  Now there is a man who gets respect, with gentleness and doesn't have to go around all the time emphasizing, 'I'm a leader, I'm a leader, I'm a leader.'  Fake kindness would seem to be found more in women and women leaders.  Lord knows I have been fake kind and Lord knows I have been the recipient of fake kindness and it is true, it is a cruel, cruel thing.  I remember once someone being fake nice and kind to me in a conversation and just when I thought, this is a nice change, then  It wasn't being in pleasant conversation but putting in the fake kind time to ask me to do something I couldn't do and didn't feel right about doing it.  I walked away feeling like I had been used and a lot of time I didn't really have, wasted. 

As many posts go it is now Saturday morning.  The fireplace guy replaced the control component and did a little maintenance on both fireplaces.  We also had him replace the battery in the outdoor fireplace.  Since he came a little early we were able to take my trek over to the bike shop for its yearly tune up.  We finished putting out the mulch when we got home.  We are knocking things off our to do list at a good pace. 

Dena and I planned to eat dinner last night but we both opted for take out pizza and salad.  It was great because we could actually hear ourselves talk and didn't have to deal with the din of noise.  I brought over strawberries and blackberries for dessert.  It has been a while since we've been able to just sit down and visit and do the catch up kind of thing. 

Roy has gone to some Republican grass roots kind of thing this morning and he texted me he is having lots of fun and wants to go to the state meeting.  I can think of nothing more boring but he has felt that way about different activities I've done.  I'm trying to be very encouraging and understanding because spending a Saturday doing political stuff doesn't even make it on a top 1000 things I'd like to do. 

Now to spend a little more time easing into the day.....


Thursday, March 20, 2014


I loved the coolness of the morning.  For just a second I thought that it would be better to stay at home and have coffee on the courtyard but we are in the opening passages of studying Joseph.  Hopefully tomorrow morning will be cool and full of the fragrance of spring.  And nothing pressing on the calendar for the morning hours.

We had great discussion this morning.  Everyone brings up such interesting points and sometimes our bunny trails are just as interesting as our answers to the questions.  We all noted that none of us had ever noticed how passive Jacob gets as he grows older.  For someone who deceived and wrestled quite a change has come about.  And we were mostly in agreement it was not a good change.  You have step sons sleeping with a step mom, you have one sleeping with his daughter in law and favoritism of Joseph which Jacob surprisingly, continued on that family "tradition."  Yet in spite of themselves, God uses everything to bring about his purpose in getting them down to Egypt land to multiply and become a rather large nation in excile.

I made a trip to the grocery store this afternoon.  I found motion activated lights to use in our bedroom.  Uh, don't let your mind take that ride to smutville.  If I go to bed later than Roy I have a difficult time seeing my way into the bedroom and then into the bathroom.  We've been leaving on a light in the bathroom and it helps somewhat, but with the door almost closed, it wasn't helping me that much.  My feet are my eyes in the dark because I can tell where I am by the rug and the hardwoods but dang is sometimes the dresser and the small couch at the end of the bed jump right in front of me.  Add to the equation Buddy and not knowing where she is.  That gray blends in so nicely with the night.  So we will see if these help or if we are constantly awakened by the light of the comings and goings of Buddy.

Tomorrow the man comes to fix our fireplace.  I can tell you once it is fixed the cool weather is over with.  It takes two months to get an appointment.  We are going to have him do maintenance on the outdoor one as well.  The coming week is maintenance on the house or on me.  Next week is the appointment with my knee doctor and hopefully start the injections.

Once again I have had much to ponder from yesterday's post on Leadership Freak.  The topic change and growth.  "Incremental growth is walking down the familiar paths carrying the same assumptions. But, the first-real step toward exponential growth is a profound and dreadful letting go."  He says further, "Individuals, relationships, and organizations grow when they let go of worn expectations and assumptions.  Refusing to let go destroys growth and opportunity."  I feel like I am on a growth path but it is coming about differently than I have ever experienced it.  Today in the devo time at CBS we heard from the national director via video.  She is taking CBS into the 21st century with the new website and all that this will bring both on smart phones and tablets.  We will have the option of doing our homework online or in the spiral notebook.  I love e-books but when it comes to books that I want to underline and mark in, it doesn't feel the same as a real book in hand verses highlighting and typing notes in the margin with an e-book.  It is a big change and it will accommodate so much growth.  Next month we are going to do brunch time differently and I think it will be a lot of fun.  Shaking things up, I like it.  Of course the shake up I sense going on inside of me...well, I am not so quick to join the bandwagon of liking it.  I know that I have learned differently these past few years and experienced life more calmly than before.  In the midst of things I've noticed that instead of the joy I felt previously when I sent out cards, I absolutely dread it.  I don't even look at the card sections very often.  This doesn't seem to be a life change but a seasonal change.  Cards and sending them is a huge part of who I am, but I know this sounds strange but I sense refining in this by The Lord.  Guess I should get Frozen so I can learn the words and sing with everyone else.   Let it go, let it go.....

Roy is taking boudin kolaches for his group tomorrow.  It is spring cleaning time at the office.  He sent me an email this afternoon letting me know he needed to make a butane run tomorrow.  What the heck?  Later he told me he couldn't think of  the correct spelling for boudin and just used another b work, butane.  Come to think of it, he isn't too far off, cause after eating a few of those spicy kolaches tomorrow, there should be some butane kind of fumes going on.  Dear Lord, let those happen tomorrow on the bus as he travels home.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Fun Morning at the Dentist

It was an exciting morning and by exciting I mean at the dentist.  Not that I find a consistency of excitement getting new crowns but today was a first.  Carol had to leave a few minutes and we were at a massive drooling opportunity, so she handed me a suction tube and told me to take care of the saliva so I wouldn't drown.   I was so numbed up on my right side I could barely tell what I was vacuuming and so thankful I didn't stick the thing up my nose. Other than holding my toothbrush, water pic and floss, I have never held an official dental tool in my hand before.  The power was almost too much to bear.  I had to take a picture.  My dental hygienist friend Kavin shared my pic from FB to her friends on FB and I am sure there are a lot of dental hygienists who are her FB friends.  It is really more about entertaining myself.  I am so easily amused. 

 Dr Greer, or as I call her Carol since we have known each other since high school, adjusting the light to be just right.
The suction power was right there in my hand.  Queen of the world I tells ya! 

Other than the appointment for seating the crown I believe this part of my major dental work comes to a close.  There are several other procedures out there to be done but I might get a small reprieve time wise. 

I could barely talk because half of my tongue and my right side of my mouth was numb.  I stopped on the way home at a couple of stores and noticed a few strange looks when I answered a store clerk.  And I just happened to find three more of the notebooks I hoard I mean collect.  I think I have enough to last me the rest of my life, but I don't know...if I see them, I think they need to come home with me. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Genesis, Clutter and Hoarding...This Blog Post Will Really Make Sense, I Promise

What a beautiful day it has been.  I watched the sun come up and color the sky with pink.  I never tired of seeing sunrises and sunsets.  Thanks to the Lawn of the Month guy, our grass is coming in greener and healthier.  The tree next to our fence is leafier and greener by the day.  Maybe spring is really here this time. 

I love our Tuesday morning discussions at leadership council.  We have just started Joseph's story interrupted by the story of Judah and Tamar.  I'm drawn to obscure facts or occurrences.  Jacob and Rebekah deceived Isaac with young goat dinner, then there are the goats and the deception between Laban and Jacob, the brothers soak Joseph's coat of many colors in, you guessed it, goat blood and when Judah is looking to have relations with Tamar, disguised as a high class temple prostitute, he promises her to send a young goat to pay for the services rendered.  What is it about this family and goats?  I know they all owned flocks and were sojourners in this land, but the deceptions usually involve some part or all of a goat.  I have been researching this and today others in our discussion encouraged me to continue on with this goat meaning quest but I have exhausted all the resources I know.  So if anyone out there has some goat info pertaining to Jacob and his family, I would love to know it.  My untrained and not a theologian thought is, generational sin kind of thing.  We all have areas where we are tempted.  Drinking could be a figurative goat to some...or telling lies or stealing.  I don't know but if I find anymore out I will be sure to report in.  I also learned in my research that if you are going to eat goat, eat young goat.  Older male goats are tough meat and female goats back in the biblical days were rarely killed due to their economic value for reproduction and milk.  Gee, I feel like I just gave a 5th grade report. 

One of the verses we looked up was in Mark 7, it is what is inside us and comes out, it what contaminates us.  We were looking at the intense hatred and jealousy Joseph's brothers had toward him.  This morning I read these verses out of The Message

14-15 Jesus called the crowd together again and said, “Listen now, all of you—take this to heart. It’s not what you swallow that pollutes your life; it’s what you vomit—that’s the real pollution.”
17 When he was back home after being with the crowd, his disciples said, “We don’t get it. Put it in plain language.”
18-19 Jesus said, “Are you being willfully stupid? Don’t you see that what you swallow can’t contaminate you? It doesn’t enter your heart but your stomach, works its way through the intestines, and is finally flushed.” (That took care of dietary quibbling; Jesus was saying that all foods are fit to eat.)
20-23 He went on: “It’s what comes out of a person that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness—all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution.”

Wow, all these are vomit from the heart.  Gross word picture but great description.  When one is in the throes of vomiting, there is little we can control and that's how it is with all the above listed.  When we get angry and do or say these things, it gets to a point where there is no control and boom or splash...we cannot take those words back except if you are a dog because it does return to its own vomit.  I hope no one is eating anything while reading this paragraph. 

This doesn't have a thing to do with any of the above but last night I once again found myself watching Hoarders.  These were some of the worst cases ever, so said almost every organizer and Dr involved.  One doctor said something prolific that I have thought about today.  The woman they were involved in helping had been married to an evil, controlling man and his constantly berating words formed who she became.  The house was an absolute horror and her hoarding included lots and lots of rancid, contaminated food.  She could not see why everyone else was so grossed out by it.  The doctor talking to the camera voices his concerns for this woman, that she might not ever be well.  He said, we can help her deal with clutter, anyone can deal with clutter, but she's ill, she's mentally sick and I don't know if we have the time and if she even has the desire to move forward.  She has lost herself in the word prisons of her husband.  He was no longer on the scene by the way.  I guess this has to do with all that I have been writing and contemplating after all.  At one time or another, everyone has told little falsehoods or excuses that justify but aren't exactly the truth.  We can clean up that clutter or deal with that clutter but when it is something so deep inside, like the deceit that goes on in Jacob's family, only God can do the work and the healing to uproot deception.  Still, God loved them and He had chosen them and made covenant with them. 

I must get back to Billy Goat Gruff research.  Another biblical goat fact before I go, goats destroyed so much of the land and vegetation way back then if they were not properly shepherded.  In their lust for grass and herbs, they also ate leaves off trees standing on their hind legs.  They are responsible for the destruction of the land in the Middle East way back.  OK, 5th grade book report for myself, C.  But wait there's more, goat hair was valuable and woven into some of the most beautiful tents and coverings.  Oooh, extra credit...B-. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Little Hymn Memory

My grandparents lived in a white two story house with a nice sized front porch.  I don’t know why I remember the steps up to the porch but they were a smooth white concrete with raised criss crosses for traction in winter months.  That type of smooth concrete would have been wonderful for roller skating.  There was a side door off the driveway with steps up to the kitchen or down the steps to the basement and if you were an adult you had to remember to duck before going down to the basement.  There was a sun porch off the kitchen and going out that door took you straight into the backyard.  I don’t remember playing very much in the backyard.  There was a long sidewalk to the garage and the alley and halfway down there was an arch trellis over the walkway and to either side narrow flowerbeds of roses and rhubarb.  In the summer I do remember summer evenings and the air filled with fireflies.  The adults sat on lawn chairs while the kids captured fireflies in peanut butter jars.  My grandparents lived a block and a half from the church they attended, Riverside Baptist.  My grandfather would go early to church and many times I walked with him on Sundays.  I looked forward to church at my grandparents because the church side door opened to the stairs of the basement which led to the Sunday School classrooms for the children.  Those stairs were alive with happy feet making the loud noises of children scrambling down and up.  I loved that noise and I can clearly recall the sound today.  I knew down those stairs my cousins would be there.  I never got enough time with them and looked forward to any and every opportunity to see them.  When Sunday School came to an end we would rush up the stairs to the sanctuary and look for our family.  When we came in from Houston and joined our grandparents, aunt and uncle and cousins, I loved that our family took up a whole row of those wooden theatre type seats.  They were not fitted for finding a friendly lap in which to lay one’s head to sleep during the sermon. 

What has made me think of that memory?  Last night I went to the Hymn Sing that Gerald Ray hosts several times a year.  It has been quite a few years since I have attended but the added incentive last night was my friend Lisa participating in the program.  Just about every song we sang or enjoyed being played on the piano or organ or soloist sang, reminded me of so many memories, especially from childhood.  My growing up years were difficult because I lived continuously in an atmosphere filled with fear.  There isn’t any reason to go into details but believe me fear of life and death ran rampantly throughout the days, months and years of childhood.  Last night the hymns gave me glimpses of in between times when I relaxed a little from the constant fear of life.  The first hymn we sang last night was I Love To Tell The Story.  In my mind I could hear my grandmother singing this song in church.  She wasn’t the best singer but she made a joyful noise.  We sang Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah, Wonderful Words of Life, and I Will Sing of My Redeemer and those songs took me back to Westbury Baptist, the church we attended while growing up.  It was a struggle for me there at Westbury for many reasons, but I remember lively hymns and choir numbers led by our music minister Ron Lowry.  Pageant memories came back like a flood when we sang Fairest Lord Jesus.  We sang that song in the scene of Jesus on the cross.  I tried to catch Peggy’s attention when we sang Love Lifted Me and Standing on the Promises.  We have rewritten those songs for Mildred and Gertrude thus, singing the real words is difficult and I kept my eyes glued to the program with the words.  Memories of the 70’s came to me when we sang Because He Lives.  Yes boys and girls back in the day the Gaither’s were contemporary Christian Music and there was a ruckus over singing this non hymnal song in church.  We were destroying church music by letting this song be sung on Sunday night.  Funny, now days, this song is a staple in traditional worship.  We sang invitation songs last night, Jesus Paid It All, I Surrender All and The Old Rugged Cross.  Nothing But The Blood, Victory in Jesus, I’ll Fly Away and When We All Get To Heaven were standard Sunday evening songs and we also sang one of my mother’s favorites, He Touched Me.  In all the Gaither songs there is that Gloria Gaither moment when she says the words or tells a story with music gently played till the crescendo of her words.  Thankfully, the soloist sang and didn’t talk in the middle of the song.  Just not a fan of that.  Gerald ended the evening with God Be With You Till We Meet Again and for all those years in choir, that is how we ended our Wednesday evening rehearsals. 

There were so many other hymns sung by soloist or played by pianists and I took them all in, many times not singing up just letting those beloved words wash over my soul and renew my spirit. 

After the past few weeks and finally the culmination of the APS investigation my tank empty but my hope filled to the brim.  That can only come from the Lord.  I didn’t know how much I needed those words and tunes to refresh weary emotions last night.  I know many could say the same thing, the ministry of hymns in their lives but when I have attended Hymn Sing before, it was just to enjoy singing songs we don’t hear too much anymore and to spend time with friends.  There was some ministry going on last night. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Not Much Going On...I Like It This Way

Friday night.  Two dinner invites but we didn't accept.  Both would have been fun but we had eaten a huge lunch, we had run all kinds of errands and when we came home I took a long, long nap.  Even the phone ringing didn't wake me up.  It must have been the combination of a busy day and relief from yesterday's news. 

Roy took today off and his day began with a doctor appointment.  Just like a neighborhood church, he has been looking for a doctor in our area.  After several were recommended, he finally picked a doctor at Memorial Herman.  He loved the visit, doctor and staff.  Good news, they are opening an office in Firethorne which until now has only held slight amusement for us and their trails to nowhere and to the Shell station.  Then he went to a neighborhood bike shop to see if they could do a tune up on his Trek and the answer, yes.  When he got home we loaded his Trek into Sequisha.  On the way to the shop we stopped by Peggy's to leave a red velvet chocolate chunk pound cake.  Since Roy had to do  fasting for blood work, he was ready for lunch.  I had lunch at Babin's on Tuesday with my friend Eileen and after telling Roy how good everything was, he thought we should go today.  The food was delicious but I think we ate too much.  Roy graciously said yes to going to the Hobby Lobby at the other end of Fry.  I was hoping they had a particular type of paper 8.5 x 11 and they did.  There was a better selection of a few other supplies too.  We left and found ourselves at Costco.  Roy is providing breakfast for Bible study in the morning.  And as is the way with Costco, we found other things that we knew we could not live without.  After checking out we ate ice cream at the Costco.  And when we got home, I took the nap I wrote about in the above paragraph. 

Once I got the grogginess over, I finished up a few projects and did some Bible study homework.  I am trying to finish up several books I'm reading and of course catch the latest episode of Cold Justice.  We are plain old boring people right now, but it is just the pace I need. 

We are now into Saturday.  I happily eased into the day but had a sudden change in plans.  Roy called from Lowe's.  He had picked up 10 bags of mulch and he was on his way home. flowerbed work today.  We had planned to go over to Market Days in downtown Katy, then to the Amish Craftsman and afterwards pick up BBQ from Goode Company.  We decided to unload the mulch, maybe put some around the trees and then get on with the rest of our plans.  We didn't do the mulch because it is a rainy day in Houston, so we just made room in the garage for it.  I won an etched mirror a couple of weeks ago from The Amish Craftsman and we went to pick it up today.  It is beautiful!  The young woman helping us asked if we had ever been in the store...Roy told her, y'all practically decorated our whole house. 

It has been a while since we have had Goode Company BBQ.  We brought it home and had a delicious lunch.  I have been working on projects and may or may not have taken a nap.  Rainy day, reading a book....the next thing you know it is 5:30.  One of the projects I am working on is putting together a simple piece that might help others when dealing with a difficult loved one.  I am not a therapist but these are helpful words from the stories in the Bible. 

I love that this one particular tree close to our side yard is like the herald trumpet of the seasons.  It is the first tree in the fall that shows its changing colors.  Now this tree seems to be budding right before my eyes.  There seems to be more green leaves each time I gaze at it during the day. 

HBAC Day Better Known as The Ides of March or Maybe Someone's BD

We have a tradition in our family, we do not acknowledge or even believe March 15th exists.  Really, it is one of those days that only reminds us that it is one month till taxes are due.  But due to a family member who insists this day, that can not be acknowledged, is her birthday.   Last year instead of once again not acknowledging the day, we came up with a new celebration....Happy Bloody Assignation of Caesar Day!!!   To celebrate the day we all have Caesar salad for lunch and red velvet cake for dessert.  This is the day of laundry of sheets remembering the togas worn back in Caesar's day.   Then if you are old enough to celebrate this day, it is also the day of sharpening kitchen knives.  Who wouldn't enjoy HBAC Day?  Newly incorporated this year is the daily message, sending pictures that have anything to do with HBAC Day.  Kind of like a devo/advent calendar in getting ready for this day. 

Well in the spirit of HBAC Day, I am going to acknowledge that this might be my sister in law's birthday.  OK, it is.  Nancy loves her some celebrations.  I love her enthusiasm for gift giving and better yet is when you are opening the gift.  Since she tapes wrapping paper like it is going to go through hurricane force winds, you struggle opening the package but in the background excitedly she's asking, do you like it?  Do you like it?  At first I didn't know if she needed affirmation for the great taping job or if her excitement was about the joy of the gift.  I now know it is the gift.

I love my sister in law, Nancy.  First off she has a wonderful name.  She is a great mom and friend.  I have never met such a thoughtful person.  Her days might be overwhelmed by work but if there is a friend in need, she is there.  It is fun on FB, which she isn't on, that so many of her friends from years ago contact me thinking I am their Nancy.  I happily point them in the right direction and get them in contact with one another.  Her influence on her daughters is profound.  They have a mom who loves them with everything she has. 

It just can't be helped sometimes, but it is a very fun thing to tease Nancy.  She is easily taken in.  She might do her standard response, WHATEVER, but she knows we love her.  She is talented in so many areas of life, but keeping up with humorous responses and scenarios is not her gift.  She tries, but we discourage her in this endeavor. 

Seriously, I love her.  She is kind and compassionate, good traits you want in a nurse, which she is one of the best, but traits you want in a friend.  I count her as one of my good friends even though we are related by marriage and then once removed.  Years ago, my crazy friend Debbie asked me to read her son a book before going to bed.  Sure, I'd love to.  She picked Love You Forever.  I had never read this book, but dang if it doesn't make you cry.  I could hear Debbie laughing in the background as I struggle to read the words through my tears, I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always.  As long as I'm living my baby you'll be.  I could not wait to get this book for Megan.  Nancy is so tenderhearted I knew the tears would flow even freer as she read it out loud to Megan.   Megan once asked Nancy if the mother dies in the book.  Then she asked Nancy what if you died?  Being the thoughtful and loving mother she responded to Megan, I would watch over you and be there with you.  Megan replied, well if you do, you can't stay long because I am going to be really busy. 

Happy Birthday Nancy!  I love you forever!  But I'd love you even more if you would just give in and celebrate HBAC Day. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Case Closed! Praise to The Lord!!!!

It's a beautiful Friday morning.  Abel and crew came yesterday and the yard is looking beautiful.  Paying an extra $5.00 for trimming and weeding is the best deal yet.  Our spirits are willing but our  knees are weak.  I think this cements doing the flowerbed like we did several years ago.  Gorgeous flowers and Abel and crew the warrior of weeds.

Sometimes I doubt God's timing and I know I shouldn't because His ways higher/better/stronger/right.  Going to the doctor yesterday was way better than on Wednesday.  I was in a better mood and my blood pressure wasn't as high.  To apologize for my snippiness on Wednesday I brought the front office red velvet with chocolate chunk pound cake from The Fresh Market.   The visit brought good news I weighed less than last year.  I really thought I would weigh more because of the comfort food eating I've been partaking during these weeks of crisis and unknown.  My blood work was stellar.  I had kind of got on this Hello Kitty favorite jelly beans kick and yes, I am 59 years old.  I cannot help it that Hello Kitty and I like cherry, strawberry and other red and pink flavors of jelly beans.  But the beans didn't put me over.  PTL!  But the doctor also told me I can control comfort food eating.   Yes of course, but I was on a roll with good tidings of great health that I thought I would give the excuse a shot.  Dang, shot down.  Thankfully I didn't have to throw myself or anyone else under the bus.

If you have been a regular reader of Monablog, you know that two years ago on March 27 I received a call from the nurse at my dad's cardiologist office.  She was worried because he had not made it in for his appointment.  That afternoon I searched for him either in his house or his route to the doctor.  The nurse told me to leave a note for him in his house and as I was writing that note and looking through his address book for phone numbers, my father returned home.  From that point forward he believes I was in his office and up to no good.  He talked himself into believing that we had stolen money and stocks from him.  I come from a long line of conspiracy theorists and he took info and incidents that had nothing to do with one another and came up with a dosie of a story.   He had his lawyer serve us with papers severing our relationship in April of 2012.  During these two years we have heard wild stories of my father claiming we drive up and down his street with a bullhorn harassing him.  We come inside his home, we don't have keys or the alarm code and I have NO interest in going there, moving brooms, garbage cans and leaving water on.  In these months he has consistently changed the amount of money and or stocks we have taken from him.  The consistent number is zero, nada, zip, nothing!  There were accusations of tracking him on his cell phone, so we cut him off our bill because we weren't doing that.  There are other oddities that I could write and it would be so funny if it wasn't all so sad.   Several weeks ago I was told we had been turned in to Adult Protective Services and a police report had been filed by my father.  Waiting for those phone calls has been like having a sword of Damocles hanging over our heads.  We got the call from APS on Tuesday afternoon.  I was informed of the investigation and I answered questions.  I also volunteered to send in emails from my father's former attorney and my brother that would further prove our innocence and our lack of ill will.  On a side note, at the time when the attorney sent emails that crossed the boundaries since she isn't a licensed therapist, I was not happy with her.  But now, God's was good to have those emails that told the story and she filled in truthful details and explained his reasoning in the lies he tells.  After I got off the phone, I went into my quiet zone.  Most of this junk doesn't affect me anymore but this hurt because he stepped out once again, last time via the courts and this time the State of Texas.  It rushes in over you the lies he has told you and the lies he willingly tells others about you.  There is the blatant   reminder that he has not loved you since you turned five years old.  But going over the past doesn't do any good, only looking to God and His plans and future for me is my help and salvation.  Yet, even trusting in God and reading His Word for strength, the lies hurt.  The case worker assured me that the investigation would be timely and only drawn out if there was any malfeasance, a word I learned from the Andy Griffith Show when I was a kid.   She told me to call her Wednesday afternoon and she would know something then.  So the non doctor appointment on Wednesday turned into time of going to The Fresh Market and Hobby Lobby.  Yes, you read that right, Hobby Lobby.  I was in my quiet zone.    I called her when I got home and not all of the subpoenaed files had come in.  More waiting.

Yesterday, as I was about to head out the door for my appointment, the phone rang.  It was the caseworker.  The case was being closed.  She needed to get a statement from Roy and she was contacting his doctor to get a letter in the file that he is experiencing dementia.  I asked if we got a letter clearing our names?  No, you only get a letter if you are under suspicion.  Nope, don't need no letter.  I only asked this in the case of him doing this again and she assured me investigation again would be rare.   I have been serious and forthright talking with her but as we were saying goodbye I told her she had been pleasant to deal with but I hoped I never talked to her again.   I thanked and praised God the moment I got off the phone!    There was never a doubt that our innocence would be questioned and found guilty but you think about the things he could screw up.

If you are dealing with a loved one who is difficult one thing that will help you is this, what is their treasure?  If you can find that out, you'll be able to think clearly and not emotionally in dealing with them.  My father's treasure is money and the accumulation of it.  Your worth to him is determined in dollars and cents.   I have more thoughts on this but will write about those later.

Thank you to those who private messaged and emailed me.  Your words, so encouraging to this one who was trying not to grow weary in doing good.  And for those who also included appreciation of telling my story, sharing the difficulties as well as the foundation of God that gets me through times like these, thank you for letting me know this story is helping you in your own situation with a loved one.  I have thoughts on this as well that I will write.

OK, love God's sense of humor, here I sit writing this out when the phone rings and once again it is from the State of Texas....which is APS.  Whew, to close out the case they just needed our birthdays.  Maybe they are going to send us a card or nice gifts.  No, the best gift from them came yesterday, CASE CLOSED!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tuesday Thoughts and Wonderings

I like this picture from the Biltmore Estate, although I have never seen it in person because it is on the trail that few take because shuttle service from the Inn is more convenient.  This is the wire fence that attempts to keep the deer out of the gardens and areas close to the house.  Bunnies and deer would have field day and to go containers.  Roy is getting in shape for the five mile walk to the house from the Inn.  In the fall, too many bears had been spotted and it was not safe to make the hike and when we were there for Christmas, it was way too cold but spring is just right...Wasn't that fun how I tied in bears to the three bears?  I know, it's not that great but I am so easily amused.  This picture of the gate and the anti-deer fence reminds me of Proverbs know guard your heart.  In January I did not pick a verse for the year and I could sound all spiritual and say I knew God was telling me to wait and find it but the truth is, I never took the time to contemplate and read to find my verse.  Since I have had some time to do this, these verses are resonating with me...verses for 2014.  They go nicely with my One Word, Persevere, because verse 25-27 instructs us to stay on the straight path, the safe path and don't get sidetracked.  Uh, I'm really going to have to depend on the Lord for not getting sidetracked.  It seems to be happening more and more.
Yesterday, I did the winter/spring clothes reversal.  All my sweaters, flannel and wool have been stored away and linen and brighter colors have arrived in the closet.  The only thing, I cannot find the rest of my capris and longer shorts.  That's an oxymoron, long shorts.  Anyway, I will continue the search later today.  I think they are in the guest room closet and if we ever had guests with hanging clothes, they might be in a bad way for space.  In the whole process, there are several more bags of clothes for KCM.  Then last night after watching an episode of Hoarding, I went through a drawer in the kitchen getting it all rearranged and neat.  I liked something one of the doctors said last night, this is what happens when you have too much stuff to manage.  Sentimental items that belonged to family members who had passed away destroyed or contaminated and the intense reality that  these items are not even salvageable is a painful thing to watch when the person sees the reality.  Some adjust, others do not.  Bet you didn't think you were going to get a review of Hoarders this morning or is what I just reviewed, The Bachelor?  I do know that Roy was a little upset Castle wasn't on last night because of the After the Rose wrap up. 
It is now Thursday.  Timing is everything concerning the verse I wrote about Tuesday morning because it came into play later on Tuesday afternoon.  Tuesday morning I had my appointment with my oral surgeon.  Then a quick stop to Target where I found 4 more notebooks!  You know it was a difficult afternoon if I am just now getting to writing about those favored notebooks.  A stop at The Fresh Market, Barnes and Noble and then off to meet Eileen for lunch at Babin's.  I've never eaten there and it is definitely going to be a return engagement.  Very good gumbo!  Eileen and I are friends from CBS and we are on leadership council together.  We have an awesome time when we get to sit beside one another in our meetings.  We stayed around after eating for several hours and then I came on home.  I had a phone message that I had been anticipating but really no clue when it would come.  There were a lot of questions and information requested.  After the conversation I forwarded some emails from 2012 and I came to a stop.  I was in shock.  I knew but yet I could not believe.  That day I found 4 more notebooks, I had a delivery from Amazon with three books I have wanted to get my hands on, I had a couple of magazines from Barnes and Noble and a delivery from Nordstrom.  I didn't even look at any of these things.  I could not get warm, so I went to bed until Roy got home.  He knew I had the conversation but he knew it wasn't a good sign that none of the lights were on when he pulled in the driveway. 
Quiet is my MO when there is distress or uncertainties.  Yesterday there was a bit of a misunderstanding with an appointment time, I was snippy about it.  That is not my usual reaction right off.  I found myself driving aggressively which is not something I do much of anymore.  I realized that I was acting out on things where I might have just a tad of control.  Then I confessed my attitude to the Lord and went back into the quiet.  That is where I hear that still small voice.  Proverbs 12 in NLT was especially good and timely yesterday.  My friend Eileen and I had traded some emails and I mentioned this.  She wrote back the words that stood out from that, what a blessing and encouragement that was.  I talked with Peggy, neither of us being in a very good mood to let her know lunch was out on Thursday because my doctor appointment was rescheduled for today but we found some things to laugh about. 
When I got home yesterday, I made the call I had been requested to do.  No real information, no nothing except they had received the emails and forwarded them to the proper people.  Roy and I went out to dinner and ran into Judy R and her mother in law at the happening Luby's.  Then I finally looked at the books and magazines yet I have not opened my Nordy box yet. 
That is it for now......

Monday, March 10, 2014

No Reeling Just Relying

The first week of spring forward.  I have a difficult time adjusting as do most people.  Even when you go to bed earlier hoping that your wake up time will be the same.  Just not happening as of yet.  We did not go to church Sunday morning and it was by design.  Roy was a part of a roll out of a new process and didn't get home until 1:00 am Wednesday/Thursday morning.  He was up and back to work on Thursday.  He had been tired and hasn't really had a chance to recover, so staying home Sunday morning was for him. 

We did the spring forward thing of changing out the air filters and batteries in the smoke detectors.  Always a fun job says no one here, but we are getting the hang of it finally.  We have high ceilings so Roy is up there on a very tall ladder and maneuvering the ladder throughout the house is an adventure for him and prayer time for me.   The winter comforters and extra blankets were stored away too.  And all the cold weather coverings for faucets and sprinkler system were stored away hopefully for the last time.  Last weekend found us getting all that stuff out and back on everything since we had that late freeze.  Today I will tackle getting out spring and summer clothes and getting all the winter togs put away. 

I am so sore from the Friday beat down by the shelves and storage bins in the casita bedroom.  Plus, my knees are ready for the next set of injections and thankfully those will begin in a couple of weeks. 

Last night I was cleaning out my email inbox.  I love being a keeper of quotes and when I don't have time to put them into my journal, I cut and paste, then email them to myself.  I got a huge chunk cleaned out by finally getting those quotes into my journal.  It took about an hour to do that.  I also came across email history that I am so glad I kept as it will prove useful in this ongoing saga with a delusional  loved one.  I also made a call to my retired therapist and she was able to give me some guidelines and structure when it comes time to respond.  There was a day years and years ago that this kind of 'issue' would have rendered me useless.  It would take some time to recover but as I have become more emotionally healthy and with God's healing touch, I'm able to move on and not become mired in drama mud.  Reading the words in one email took me back to Lent 2012.  That year I felt impressed not to give up something for Lent but to do something like Isaiah 59 says, starting in verse 6 but the verse that stung was the last part of verse 7, "and do not hide from relatives who need your help."  So that's what I did and the end result is estrangement and lies spread by this loved one.  But last night as I looked at that chapter I saw something that I couldn't have seen back then and can now look back and see God's hand.  Verse 9 "remove the heavy yoke of oppression."  That's a great description of this loved ones M O and God has removed that yoke.  Verse 8 is about healing, salvation and God's presence and that certainly is what these past two years have been about.  So when the drama raises its head and lies are hurled left and right with no regard of the consequences, I can take strength in God's Word.  Isaiah 57: 20-21; "But those who still reject me are like the restless sea, which is never still but continually churns up mud and dirt.  There is no peace for the wicked says my God."  My therapist asked me if this new situation had made me angry and honestly, it hasn't.  There is that touch of hurt if I stop and think about the lies I have been told and the lies that have been spread by this person.  But there in those verses I understand them, because they are not at peace and the only way they know how to get attention is to churn up mud and dirt.  I am writing this today not for sympathy but hopefully my story will help another.  I may not like the situation but my desire is to glorify God.  One thing, this is not an earthly battle but it is a spiritual battle and that requires it to be fought in the spiritual realm.  When this kind of trouble comes, instead of spending energy into why me, I do like Isaiah 58 says, free, lighten, share and give.  Do the work of the kingdom, bless someone and help someone.  I already know who God has laid upon my heart.  That is what defeats evil and the schemes of our enemy.  That my friends is spiritual warfare and if you are doing it in the power of God's love, you'll be victorious and can shout, it is by the Lord's hand. 

I'm in a good book reading season.  Mainly it is nonfiction and I have several books going.  They are all similar, so it makes it easier to keep up with them.  As for Southern fiction, April is coming up and April and October are the months when most Southern fiction is released. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Help I've Fallen and Can't Find Anyone

Two things off our list, high speed internet fixed and we had someone look at our gas stove.  Getting things marked off the list feels satisfying, so I took on a few projects today and now I feel satisfied and tired.  I have never been happy with the rug in my reading room.  I love the rug but is just didn't fit.  I decided to move it into our large entryway.  The moving and tugging and rearranging would have been easier with two people but the idea came while Roy was at the office.  The whole rearranging thing was just about completed when Roy texted he was finished at Emmanuel and we would meet at Luby's for lunch.  Today they had meatloaf and it was really good.  Love a tomatoey sauce.  We came home and while browsing through a magazine I remembered that I hadn't made my orthopedic appointment for my knees.  While doing that, I also got an email from my doctor and the results of my blood work were in.  Everything looks normal with a few things being borderline but I am happy with the report.  Will I be this happy when I go see the doctor next week?  I don't know.  Not only was I rearranging rugs, I cleaned out clothes in the closet.  When we moved here, we had a lot of clothes in those plastic storage drawers.  At our condo, the dryer was not efficient and it took forever for anything to dry thus resulting in more clothes than we really needed but felt the necessity to own.  My goal was to get rid of those storage drawers and today we accomplished it.  Over the past year we have been focused on meeting this goal.  So, with these empty storage drawers naturally the casita bedroom closet came to mind.  I have a lot of materials to use in my artful journaling.   I have been getting better organized but the number of storage bins is a tad overwhelming.  These larger drawers would fit the closet and the need nicely.  There is a lot of rearranging and sorting.  When we moved here, we bought some shelves at Target that had to be put together.  These shelves really weren't doing the job but as I was rearranging things, all the shelves and wires came crashing down on me and the force of the crashing shelves propelled me into materials that hadn't been assigned a place and the domino effect was shelving, books and storage bins on top of me.  Man, I hurt.  Roy was in the house with Dan the Man who fixed our internet into high speed.  He was not paying attention to his phone, rather the internet and our home phone was offline while Dan worked..  I texted Dena to see if she was around and then just laid there gathering strength to text the next closest person on the list.  Fortunately, Roy and Dan the Man came out to the casita bedroom to look at the hook up of the TV and instead of just getting that info, they found me.  Believe me I was so embarrassed yet at the same time overjoyed to be found.  Getting off the ground is not one of my better looks, so Dan the Man had to leave while Roy and I worked on getting me upright.  It is a good thing that our church doesn't ordain women as deacons, not that I would ever be chosen, but if I was, I would have to remain kneeling or sleeping on those big pillows they use till church was over and everyone was gone. When I was destroying my knees when I was younger, I never thought about the days of getting off the floor like an old granny.   I hope he doesn't approach the subject of getting one of those life alert buttons, you know I've fallen and I can't get up.    The closet and the bedroom littered with glittered, journals and the like.  Stuff everywhere.  I cleared off a spot on the bed to lay down as to recover.  When I finally felt like I could continue on with my chore, I decided to play Hoarding, Buried Alive.  With a trash bag in hand I began sorting through all my paper, pens, scissors, stickers and the like deciding what to keep and what to throw away.  Dang, playing Hoarding Buried Alive is difficult.  You see, I can clean out a closet of clothes without a regret.  Stuff goes into the bags but when it come to journals and pens...  Let's just say I got rid of two journals and a few other things.  Not much, but since I really don't have a hoarding problem, I didn't have that much to pick up and organize.  I would like it to be duly noted that unlike the people on Hoarding, Buried Alive, I did not cuss or swear one time.  No beeping out words in the casita today.  Now, we have a nice assortment of storage tubs and bins.  Now...what to do with them?  That my friends is for another day because Cold Justice came on and I love that show. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Memories, Closings and Repairs

Thursdays on FB are throw back days.  I got to thinking about a Kitchen Konnection we did in 2007.  Everyone else who has participated in these events at different times during the years had true cooking and baking skills.  Peggy and I have skills but we'd rather not think about the kitchen ones.  We titled our time Burnt Offerings and we made dishes that have been popular at the pot lucks at churches throughout the years.  With the exception of one crock pot dish, everything we made was of the cold variety but I'd like to think we made dishes of the cool variety because Peggy and I are cool like that. 

 Peggy doing her best imitation of all the best TV moms, June Cleaver, Harriet Nelson, Florence Henderson...maybe that should be Alice because everyone thought she looked more like Alice. 
 June Cleaver and Aunt Bea
 I am sure Peggy is responding to the oh so many questions we received about our mad cooking skills or it could have been one of the many deep spiritual questions that we tackle while cooking. 
 Mmmmm...pistachio JELLO salad with Cool Whip....sometimes if you're living right, you can find this dish best served cold at Luby's. 
Busy peeling potatoes for Peggy's famous potato salad.  It is the best!!  Really!! 
 Here's our finished product
What says dinner from the 1950s but pears on lettuce leaf, with a dollop of mayonnaise or cottage cheese, topped with grated cheese or a cherry.  Yum yum!

Then the group of us gathered ate everything we prepared and there wasn't one report of food poisoning afterwards. 

We here at Monablog have declared this month, March----the month of household repairs.  At least it seems like it.  Today Dan the Man is coming over to fix and do the work for light speed internet service.  Comcast has done their part or so they say.  In a couple of weeks the fireplace people come to repair the fireplace in the living room and do a check up on the one in the courtyard, we are contemplating having a natural gas generator installed to keep lights and a/c running in hurricane season or anytime there is a loss of power and we are trying to schedule someone to come out and check our gas range.  We had a problem with it before but this time it doesn't seem as serious but nevertheless, we need to get it taken care of. 

Dena just sent me an article that The Fresh Market is closing all their locations in the Houston area.  I cannot tell you how sad this has made me.  It's not like I haven't been trying to do my part.  I thought Fresh Market was much better than The Play Grocery store but that's just it, Fresh Market was just another play grocery store...with play being the emphasis.  I guess we will get back to looking for a church out here in Rancho De Five.  You might think that an odd statement, but many a time the bonus of a trip to the Fresh Market after church tipped the scale in going to The Loop.  Guess when we got to Asheville, we will have to add a trip to The Fresh Market along with our stop at Ingles to stock up on Diet CheerWine for Roy.  Maybe I am going to go drink one of the Diet CheerWine I bought Roy for Valentine's Day at the Rocket Buzz shop in La Centerra to cheer me up. 

Household repair of stove- checked off and done. 

I think I am going to go make a pimento cheese sandwich for lunch.  The fine folks at Fresh Market made it....No lie, I am going to miss that store. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

In the Bleak First Few Days of March

This bird looks kind of sad but in reality he was the victor of a hard fought battle with some crows.  He also scared off a few doves. 

Yesterday was an unusual March day around here, we had ice.  There were icicles hanging from roofs, garbage cans and fences.  The trees were adorned with a lovely layering of ice.  The pine trees couldn't hold the extra weight and branches laid on esplanades and yards.  The ice seemed to burden the pine but the crepe myrtle trees clothed in ice looked like debutantes waiting for the cotillion.  Icy surfaces played havoc with the birds with their take off and landings.  Tempers seemed to flare out on the bird feeder.  One cantankerous dove in particular intimidated other doves wishing to partake of frozen seed.  Soon this dove was taking on other species of birds but the mockingbird would have none of it and put that dove in its place. 

I was late for leadership council yesterday morning.  It has been a long morning even before leaving the house but in the midst of everything I stopped to pray and somehow that prayer time became nap time.  I texted Barbra to let tell her I was coming and I arrived toward the end of prayer time.  After leadership council I ran over to Whole Foods for some oranges, peeled, and came home to grab a quick bite.  I brushed my teeth and was off to the dentist.  I get a one week respite and we are back at it again after spring break week.  I got caught in a bit of traffic and since I was nearly out of gas, stopped in the cold windy day to fill up Sequisha.  I was home just long enough to turn on lights, give Buddy a couple of treats and then I was out the door to meet Dena for dinner.  Meanwhile Roy is trying to make it to Seven Lakes High School in time to vote.  I returned home just a few minutes after him.  He asked if I would mind if he went to the precinct meeting at 7:30.  Go ahead, knock yourself out on that political stuff.  He said it was rather boring and interesting to see how the process works.  He also stated that he was not the only one there interested in the political process and the general agreement is, our nation has taken a wrong turn. 

This morning I was out the door bright and early to go into Houston for a doctor appointment.  Roy suggested using the tollway and taking the back way in.  It was a nice theory but it was rather slow.  I made it to the appointment with one minute to spare.  After that I had a quick breakfast and a quick trip into Whole Earth Provision, looking for Flax clothes and I found some on sale, and The Container Store.  I was very conservative in what I picked out, then it was back to the Rancho. 

Today is Ash Wednesday and I have a Lenten post rolling around in me.  I had written it out and I have no clue where I filed it.  I might have to begin again. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Icy, Icier, Iciest

Here are the pictures from Sunday mornings service.  The 9:30 crowd comes in fashionably late.  Our pastor preached out of Acts 20 but he had a little laugh with the congregation concerning the first part of the chapter.  Paul is preaching in a house and he is still preaching at midnight.  A young man in attendance becomes drowsy and falls asleep and fall out of the window on the third floor.  He's dead but Paul goes out to see about him and announces, he's alive and goes back to preaching.  Our pastor joked it was biblical to preach until midnight and then some.  We all laughed and I turned to Roy and said thus, it must be biblical to fall asleep in church.  Of course I joke but to those around me napping on Sunday mornings...the warning is; we are actually on the third floor at the top of the balcony. 

We experienced a rather exciting morning.  We overslept and by we I mean Roy, but I woke him up at 5:10 am.  Not being totally awake, I didn't realize that Roy was depending on me to help him by keeping up with the weather on TV.  All he needed to do is ask, but you would think in almost 37 years of waking up together, that he would remember morning is not my best time.  I am not a mind reader but alas I was able to wake up enough to help him.  He got out the door and to the park and ride with only one close call when a car swerved in front of him.  There are some minor fights going on at the bird feeder this morning.  Maybe one of the bird wives wasn't awake or aware in the early morning to help.  But Roy made it safely into the office and for this I am glad.

With ice everywhere and the potential for losing power, I stayed up after Roy left and did my hair.  One has to have priorities.  Although if a news crew was in the neighborhood, I would have a better chance of being interviewed if my hair is sticking out like Bozo the Clown or Albert Einstein and many a morning that is my smoky hot look.  I would only hope to be interviewed by Pooja Lodia.  We like her a lot around here. 

I think we scared Buddy this morning because it is rare for me to be up early in the morning.  She was laying low thinking this looked like one of those times when we leave town and she goes to camp or has a babysitter with her.  She has finally relaxed and is now able to take her early morning nap. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Weekend Recap Not About the Oscars

I've been taking a few of the tests offered on Facebook.  All of the sudden there are all these questions of what state are you really from, what character are you in Downton Abbey, Steel Magnolias, and in the Bible.  Are you right or left brained?  What app are you?  Are you on Facebook too much?  Apparently, since I have all this time to take these quizzes.  What soda and animal are you most like?  Pla-leeese!  What iconic boy should I date?  Uh, gave up dating about 37 years ago.  I confess I have taken a few of these quizzes and haven't liked the state thing at all.  I will keep taking it until I get the desired result.

Haircut and highlights happened on Friday.  What a lovely way to spend a morning getting beautimus hair and  experiencing fellowship and encouragement with Stevie.  Genesis and Jacob, Leah and Rachel; ah meaningful conversation on these sweethearts of the Bible.  Stevie had some great insight into Leah and then her daughter Dinah.  The timing perfect, because this week's homework is on that particular chapter. 

We had the first mow of the season on Friday as well.  Abel and his crew cut, edged, trimmed and pulled weeds.  Our front and backyard looks awesome and ready for spring plantings except for this long winter thing going on.  I love the long winter thing, so I am not complaining.  I haven't made the mindset switch for spring by changing out the winter wardrobe for linen and haven't even thought about what to plant for the flowerbeds.  I do know the dreaded spring forward is this upcoming weekend.  Ugh...

Roy and I had project day on Saturday.  We checked off a few things on our list.  Our reward for diligent work?  We ate a late lunch at Tony's and took the evening off.  We have lights for the courtyard and in hindsight, it is good we didn't have the proper materials to hang them.  With the wind gusts last night, those lights might have found themselves blown over to a new home. 

Sunday morning we roused ourselves to get up early and go to church at The Loop.  Last week we had not been definite, so it was easy to turn over and sleep a couple more hours.  This week we made sure we had made a plan for Sunday and I picked out what I wanted to wear to church on Saturday night.  Making that decision early helps Sunday morning move according to schedule.  I love the multi gen service where children, teens and adults lead worship.  Roy and I settled in our usual place on the back row of the balcony and let the Spirit of the Lord sweep over us with the music and worship.  We sang one of my favorite songs, When I Think About the Lord and I am not prone to tears but I could not help but weep as we sang, He'll fill you, He'll keep you, He'll heal you.  I rejoiced and praised God for those words at such a time as this, my one year anniversary of being back in the land of the living.  Bless you choir, orchestra, Elevation and High Five!   During the sermon we could see this intermittent flashing light in the ceiling from our vantage point in the balcony.  It was like the Bat Signal or the flashing of the Bat Phone from long ago TV Batman. After the service Roy and I made a quick dash to The Fresh Market and then headed back to the Rancho.   We had just enough time to put up groceries and then head over to Las Alamada's for brunch/lunch with Emily, David and Dena as we celebrated Roy's birthday.  Such fun and laughter with such fun and treasured friends.  Lots of unscripted emotions going on and not from fear.  (This is a point from the sermon we heard)

Yeah!  I got a dentist appointment moved up.  That just means we are getting a little closer to completion of this long term project.  Maybe it is more of a marking of a milestone but whatever it is, I am happy for the move up. 

Guess I better read the re-caps of the Oscars last night.  I didn't watch any pre or present or post Oscar shows knowing I could read the list this morning of the winners from films or movies I didn't go see and for the most part only know about half of the actors and actresses in them.  Kind of like how I didn't watch very much of the Olympics or Grammy's.  Somewhere along the line, that lost its appeal even for just seeing what everyone is wearing or in the case of some, not wearing.  It isn't that I don't want to stay current, I do, but in the things that are more meaningful. 

Happy Monday!