Thursday, July 31, 2014


I got up way too early this morning because Consuelo called last night and asked if she could come today and I asked her three times morning or afternoon.  She said morning all three times.  So this morning, waiting for her to arrive I busied myself with a few things and more time went by until it was the time to check in with her.  Oh no, she said afternoon.  She knows I HATE Wednesday afternoons.  So I am leaving written instructions and added be done by 5:00.  Not a happy camper at this moment and I need to leave before she gets here because I don't know if I would be able to mask my aggravation.

So on my last Wednesday of my fifties I got up early and acted a little cranky.  But I have gotten a couple of needed things done for our trip.  Buddy knows something is up and she is my little gray shadow.  I think I have taken care of the little details that sometimes get over looked or rushed through at the last minute.  Not time to pack clothes yet but getting stuff gathered.    

On my last Thursday in my fifties, I am really tired.  Since the schedule got messed around I ended up doing something I have escaped all summer and that is staying out of the afternoon heat that is until yesterday.  I stepped out of my parameters and I am paying for it today.  My cardiologist told me that if I stay in the parameters I will feel good and have energy...step out...boom.  Unknowingly I stepped out.  Today I am taking Gena and Kathleen to the Nord, but I am not spending any extra time at all in the great outdoors with a heat index of 108.  When my heart went out of rhythm last night I knew.  Thankfully I awoke this morning to it being back in sync.  

Last night I got an email from the owners of the cottage giving details about checking in etc...  I love their signature, "Arrive as strangers, Leave as Friends."   The route we are taking in from Georgia has a wonderful produce stand that opens tomorrow for the season.  It is the beginning of apple season in the mountains.  I think we might stop at a little shop I have always wanted to visit but since we are usually in Waynesville on Sundays, it hasn't been open.

Just like God's compassion, my thoughts on different houses is new every morning.  Only my faithfulness to the homes isn't the same thing as God's compassion and new mercies for us.    We started at condos and townhouses, then added single family homes to the mix.  Then we thought about homes at high elevations to get killer views but killer views plus mountain fog and wet roads and older eyes screams, 'what in the world are you thinking?'  At first we wanted to live either east or north of Asheville.  Now we are heavily favoring west and south.  Love the arts and craftsman style look and there is one home I really want to see, another great home got nixed because we are ruling out every home with crawl space.  The term crawl got my crawling here on these knees.  Again, we are good for the economy because the fourth house we had high on our list has been sold.  A couple of days ago I came across a home that looks to have motivated sellers, huge wonderful upgrades, a great view of the mountains, A/C, built in 2010 and living is all on one level with a partially finished basement and a completed workshop.  Even has a parlor.  I think that is just fancy talk for living room.   It also has a formal dining room, which we would make a little more casual and great built in bookcases in the great room.  We've been considering two story houses with a finished basement thinking of our guests comfort.  One level home wouldn't bring that comfort, but it is still a great house to stay in for free with good friends.  The reason the house is being sold, the grandparents moved to be closer to the grandchildren.  Yes, an older couple with good taste and disposable income built this wonder we like it so much.  Sadly the outside of the home is drab, no arts and craftsman style.  So here is the dilemma...arts and craftsman with great view but minimal upgrades and $20,000 higher than the other home or a home with great upgrades but not the arts and craftsman style.  The upgraded home was originally listed $100,000 higher and has now come into do-able range for us.  Ah, the dilemma continues but I hope to keep y'all somewhat updated.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Stretch And......

So what do I find myself doing the last Tuesday of my fifties decade?  Laundry.  I had this fabulous idea to wear everything I think I might want to take with me the past few weeks, thus cutting out the middle man which would be the closet or drawers.  This way once everything is dry, I fold it and take it into the guest room which is the staging ground for trips.  In there I have also started the blue storage container of books, journals, journal materials, pens, pencils, glue, scissors and scotch tape.  The lime green storage container is food, not for the car, but for the cottage.  Yes, I know Asheville and the surrounding areas have groceries but there are a few things I'm concerned with that might not be carried in their stores.  There also is dishwasher and washing machine detergents to bring just to get the whole clean thing started.  It's not that I am going to jump right in and start washing clothes, but when I do, I'll be ready.  We bought a Keruig to take with us because the cottage just has the coffee pot thing and I have never, ever made good coffee in a pot.

This is where I plan to spend a lot of time in the mornings out on the screened in porch with pastoral and long range mountain views.  With my coffee.....

This is why if we don't find the home that we absolutely love, I know that we can rent the cottage for the summer next year and be just fine with that or if we find a home north of Asheville, this will be the perfect place to stay when we need to be here for remodeling and stuff like that.  

Then when I feel like doing a little rocking, I will head to the front porch.  

I totally got off subject for my last Tuesday in my 50's but maybe going this direction really fits in with the title for today.  

Monday, July 28, 2014

I Like To Kick......

Today begins the official count down living out the last week of being in my 50's.  Funny, ten years ago when facing my 50's I was upset, depressed and out of sorts some of it due to turning fifty but there were other things happening in life that just about shut me down.  I experienced the worst depression in my life and barely could get myself together to go to work because I came home and pretty much slept until the next morning when again I had to pull myself together and get into the job.  At some point I decided that I was going to go into my first day of fifty looking the best I possibly could, so I scheduled Lisa, Peggy, Dena and I for an afternoon of Spa Sanctuary at the Nord Spa.  It was the best day as we had treatments, facials, mani/pedis and massages with lunch in the relaxation room.  Then after the spa, we went downstairs and had makeovers.  We finished off the day at Lupe's Tortilla.

Facing sixty, doesn't seem to have had the same effect on me.  Maybe it's because of the Asheville house hunting distraction but probably not.  I think it has more to do with gratitude to God because I am still alive and by most accounts, I shouldn't be.

I have been healthy and active most of my life, until my fifty's.  What began as scheduling a quality of life surgery became something more on the drive home from the Dr office.  They saw something in the ultrasound, a tumor, and they wouldn't know if it was malignant or benign until they did they surgery.  The Dr even scheduled the surgery on a day the oncologist could be there if it became something more.  Thankfully, it didn't become something more and those weeks awaiting surgery were filled with faith, then fear, back to faith and then some more fear.  I will always be so thankful for Cynthia C waiting with Roy during my surgery and then while he took care of getting me a private room, she escorted me and the gurney to the room.   Then in 2008 right before Ike and after a misdiagnosis, I found myself in a cardiologist's office learning that a virus had attacked my heart and only ten percent of it was working.  Thus began a five year odyssey of healing along with three cardioversions, two echo cardiograms and one ablation and one Revel implant ...and good recovery because the cardiologist helped me come back from near death, twice, I'm alive and enjoying life here in my last week of being in my 50's and looking forward to my sixties.

In my fifty's, I traveled more than I had before.  The love of Western North Carolina grew in my heart and spirit.  Buddy Lee Beardsley swept me off my feet.  We built a home and moved out to the prairie.  My mother was released from the prison of Alzheimer's and into Beulah Land.  My father severed his fragile relationship with Roy and me.  I've experienced life in unexpected ways with unexpected results meaning I have learned a lot in my fifty's with the Lord and the ways He prepared for me, while I questioned, those ways were truly for my growth and good.  Roy and I continue to grow closer each year and really have had a lot of fun in my 50's.  Long lost friends from the long ago have come back into my life and for this I am thankful.  In my fifty's I have come to appreciate friendship even more and so thankful for friends near and far.  Community Bible Study for me, started in my 50's and I have loved studying God's Word with Peggy but also making a whole bunch of new friends in the past six years.  Living in my fifty's has brought treasured friends from the inner loop to Rancho De Five, Dena and Emily and David.  And now in these past months studying, researching and looking online at homes in the mountains of North Carolina.

A constant all through life, laundry.  So here on this last Monday of being in the decade of my fifties, I must complete my task and begin the sorting of what's going with me on my trip.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Weekend Updates

It was rather exciting on Thursday after reporting in for jury duty we were told the dispute had been resolved five minutes earlier and we would be free to go in a few minutes.  They brought us into the courtroom and the judge talked with us a few minutes.  He was quite entertaining and a veritable fount of information for all things countywide.  That was the easiest $6.00 ever earned for fifteen minutes.

When the invites went out to celebrate Carole Lewis and honor her work and retirement several months ago Dena and I made plans to attend and not only attend but to make a fun shopping time too.  She suggested we get a hotel room, come into the Galleria, shop the Nord and then check in and get ready for the deal at the Junior League.  Sounded like a great plan to me, so that is what we did.   She picked me up and off we went.  Both of us had good shopping days at the Nord and we ate a later type lunch at the Bistro.  Since this was a First Place event we figured dinner would lean to the healthy side so we better lay a good foundation.  That foundation would be steak and Bistro fries.  Yum!  We timed it perfectly finishing shopping and checking in at the Omni to get a little rest before attending the dinner at 7:00.   As we watched the news on a situation with a high rise crane in the general area, we didn't realize until later that we could have watched the scene unfold from our room window.   We had a fabulous time at Carole's celebration and had lots of good conversations and laughs with friends.  Saturday morning we did the continental breakfast at the Omni and then headed out to Home Source and The Amish Craftsman.  After a vigorous shopping expedition, we ate at Molina's since we hadn't eaten there in quite some time after moving out to Rancho De Five.  Everything was delicious!  We also took a little drive around Washington and marveled at all the changes the area is going through.  A quick stop at the produce stand to show Dena where it is located and she dropped me off at home.  Buddy greeted us since Roy was out and about running errands.  Both Dena and I realized that just a little break from the routine can be so refreshing although I took a little nap later on.

Buddy expressed her displeasure of me being gone for a night in the middle of the night.  She is not as gracious as Roy.  Oh, she started off well but sometime around 2:30 am she decided it would be the opportune time to bite and scratch me letting me know how she feels.  I caught her before she could get a good whack at me and Roy chased her out of the bedroom twice.  On her third return, she had settled down and was content to once again sleep at the end of our bed.

I am so thankful for a husband that believes that what blesses me will bless him.  He has always been so good about letting me go places and on trips with friends.  I count that as such a wonderful attribute in him.   This morning we attended home church and by home church I mean he rode his trek early and then we changed out A/C filters and light bulbs.  Slowly but surely I am working on little details for our trip that might be overlooked in a last minute rush.   We continue to trim our list down of houses we'd like to look at around Asheville and for a brief ten minutes or so, we contemplated a townhouse community in Weaverville but in the end we knew we wanted more room.  We continue to think long range and we are also taking in the facts that we will want our friends to come and visit.  We would like to be able to offer guestrooms that don't feel like a quickly worked over computer room or office.  I would say craft room but most of you would laugh at that.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Small Facade....Big House

When Laurie and I make plans for lunch, I so look forward to the day.  Our conversations are fun, serious, peppered with a few confessions and lots of solving the world's problems with our observations.  What made Tuesday's lunch have a little more pop?  Roger B was sitting one table over from us and he threw a balled up piece of paper at us.  In those fleeting seconds of recovery from having someone throw a dry spit wad at you are insightful.  I harkened back to school days and came up to the present as I began scanning the room for unruly children and I found him...only it was unruly Roger B.  Great fun seeing him.  Laurie and I got each other caught up with our lives and I showed her a couple of pics from our online mountain home search and she showed me a couple of pics from their latest find.

Laurie commented on one picture of a home we are considering that it looked so small.  That is the mystery of NC mountain real estate.  What is behind that small looking facade is usually one big ol' home on three levels with wider sq footage that isn't visible until you look to the side and the rear view of the property.  When we first began our search, those homes got a quick dismissal but on the second or third look through I began to explore the value beyond a front facade and in most of these homes with basements, that sq footage isn't included for the total number in the house. So for us it has been a discovery of depth and surprise.  One new listing Roy and I discovered last night truly was one of those mysteries of the landscape.  While we read the overview we saw it is a home that possess the top three wants on our list but what a pleasant surprise when we began to look at the photo gallery.  Instead of the usual dark woods of the arts and craftsman style, which I absolutely love, this home's colors are muted grays and whites.  Gives off such a cool feeling.  It has shot up into the top five of the homes we would like to see.  Of course so many homes on paper, I mean on the Internet, look like they are perfect but we all know the pictures are supposed to show the good and best qualities of the home.  Unfortunately most have not been schooled in the Jason Swiggart Art of Presentation and as I look through their photos I am so surprised at what has not been put away.

Looking at homes has become an addiction and researching has become my hobby because we want to be as informed as possible before looking at NC homes.  I couldn't help but think as I have looked at several homes we'd like to see that started out on the no way, too small list, that we all are like that... judging a book by it's cover.  Yes, I realize I have mixed metaphors but you know....I kind of like doing that.  Also, I saw a documentary on how book covers are chosen.  Lots of research goes into many covers but alas once a particular cover works, all others are apt to copy the look instead of developing their own unique cover.  Deeper and surprising, like right now...commentary on book covers.  Some of my closest friends through the years have been people I might have dismissed as too different.  My goodness, Roy and I started out as total and complete opposites...I almost wrote  total and complete idiots and that might be true too but we are more alike now after being married for nearly thirty seven years whether we be idiots or not.  I love how Jenny Johnston can see older homes with good bones and make beautiful, modern homes from them.  We are toying around with letting her do just that if the no updating needed houses don't work out for us.  That's what we have to do with people, see beyond the present and look to help their future unfold into something beautiful.  You know, something good.  All my know what?  Someone should write a song with those words.  

I am reading a wonderfully interesting book, a million little ways by emily p. freeman.  I remember reading an advance on her book and since it would be sometime before it was released, I pre-ordered it from Amazon.  When it came I was like, so what is this book?  Then I remembered.  The book is all about uncovering the art you were made to live.  She has insight into such familiar passages like when Jesus washed the feet of the disciples.  Along with her brilliant insights, my less than brilliant thoughts coupled with her.  She writes descriptively of the bowl and dirty water as Jesus moves down the line of his friends, washing their feet.  I could not help but think...did Jesus kind of laugh to Himself when he saw the dirty water thinking, hey boys, this is just the stuff of what you are made, dirt and water.  Right there in that foot washing bowl a potential human being.   Did He think about the blind man that we read about in John 9?  Just a little dirt made into clay...healed the man's eyes.  I also wonder if just but for a moment the formerly blind man thought...with all this fuss about gaining sight, blindness is better?  He didn't really get a chance to rejoice or tell those who loved him...I can see and that biblical robe you're wearing is so BC.  I mean really, the Pharisees are more interested in the inth degree of who and when, his parents throw him under the bus constantly repeating to the Pharisees, hey, he is old enough to tell you....don't bring us into it and he is asked to repeat his story over and over again.  I love that when the whole shenanigans with the synagogue leaders  are over, Jesus seeks the man out and tells him who He is and why.  So much better than the Pharisees' who and when.  Last Saturday Roy led the Bible study he attends at the Episcopal church and they were in Acts 7, Roy shared with me his thoughts on Stephen's stoning that it was those who he knew and had studied with that were the ones who killed him.  The same practice and group is true for the blind man only he wasn't killed and sadly so many times in our modern era, this is still the painful truth, it's the ones we go to church with that can hurt us the most.  David in the Psalms knew about this too.  (Psalm 55:12-14)  Oh, no one has done this to me...recently...just the thread that is weaving through my thoughts.   Nor do I think I have done this to anyone recently...again the thread thing.

Well, I am off to get ready for jury duty.  My first out here in Rancho De Five and it is the JP Court.  I am so thankful we don't live in Harris County anymore and have that drive into downtown with the nightmare that is the parking garage.  On my drive through on Tuesday, it was a wide open parking lot.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Friends and Mission 55:6-7

It's kind of appropriate that one of my favorite bloggers and authors wrote a post that spoke so directly to the core of my being.  I read it this morning and thanked God that she was able to pen the words that have rumbled about in my spirit and mind but the words weren't building and crafting the thoughts and emotions I have felt so deeply in the past couple of weeks.   Then in the inbox this morning,here comes Ann Marie Miller with, Redefining Friendship. Several years ago I found myself overwhelmed and weary from trying to treat every friend the same as I do my closest friends.  Even Jesus didn't do that!  He had his three, then the disciples, the women, Mary, Martha, Lazarus and all the other followers.  Jesus spoke and experienced life on a deeper level with Peter, James and John.  Learning how to do this was life and energy changing.  We all have a lot of people we call friends and they call us friends as well...but we all know each one of us has a core group that we are not a part of with each other, but dang that doesn't stop us from having wonderful conversations and great times together.  Here is the link to her blog post.  For those who don't have time to read her post, here is a brief part of what she wrote.  OK, in my world the following is brief....

To me, the word friend has become as sacred as the word love. 
This is not an attempt for exclusivity; rather it's an attempt to define expectations. I have met Billy Bob and perhaps we've even shared a conversation about Africa or Jack Bauer. He's a great person. I will speak well of him. But I will not call him my friend because he does not know the secrets my heart keeps or the fears my mind perpetuates. I do not tell him when my mom is sick or when I got accepted into school nor does he know my regular drink at Starbucks.
I do have friends that know these things. They are a small group: humble, beautiful, diverse and there is nothing loud or proud about them. But they love and they know and they reach and I reach back.
And I think this is okay. Choosing to use the word friend carefully is wise.
It does not mean you love less or even that you love fewer and it does not mean a new acquaintance cannot become a friend. It simply means your relationships are more intentional, more vulnerable, and more committed. It reaches far beyond clicking a button on a website and is about sharing life instead of sharing a status.

Social media aside, a friend is a thing to cherish, to lavish love on, and to lean on (or sometimes give the gift of being somebody to lean on.)
Thursday dinner with Dena and Peggy, Roy and I had dinner with Emily and David Saturday, took Peggy to the airport Sunday and are you ready for this....had a home cooked meal Sunday evening at Dena's.  Lisa P and I talked and texted over the weekend about all kinds of subject matter from the sacred to the sucky.   I love doing life with these friends and I am so thankful for them.  Now if we could only get Malcolm and Lisa out here to Rancho De would be a perfect world in the burbs.  
These friends have been on the "let's find a house in Asheville" journey with me.  They've known the highs and the lows, the ifs and whens, and the sadness when any one of the homes we like goes off the market or is sold. The count is three, so it is not as high as 9 when we found our lot and builder finally.  Roy and I are having more and more House Hunter type conversations.  What will it be like once we are finally there and walking through the homes?  Yesterday at Willie G's we were talking about a particular home that is in the top part of our budget and if we did buy it, we would have to delay some of the remodeling to save up some bucks to do the extras.  What is strange is Roy and I have changed places.  He is all about, let's get it if it lives up to online pics and I am like...well...I don't know... the budget.  Our named budget like the one at our church is Mission (Psalm) 55:6-7
“Who will give me wings,” I ask—
    “wings like a dove?”
Get me out of here on dove wings;
    I want some peace and quiet.
I want a walk in the country,
    I want a cabin in the woods.
I’m desperate for a change
    from rage and stormy weather.
Yes, for once it is me talking budget.  That in itself is a miracle!  
Yes, thankful for the best hubby, the best close friends and Mission 55:6-7.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Letter, The Gift...The Bears

In 1973 when I received my acceptance letter from Baylor University I stepped outside and ran and cried at the good news, a dream come true.  Yesterday, when I read that I had been nominated and invited to be an Alumni By Choice from the Baylor University Alumni Association, I cried.  Oh I would have run but my running days are long gone in the distant past.  I sat in Sequisha right there at the neighborhood mailboxes and cried great big tears of happy.   I must have re-read that letter five times before moving on.  February 28, 2015 is the luncheon complete with a certificate presented by Baylor President Ken Star. Yes, I am totally aware this is a ceremonial thing but in my spirit the feeling of having something restored from forty one years ago that had been ripped away from me is a welcomed and very satisfied feeling.  I have cried more in the past few days than I have in a long time...happy joyful tears.

It is strange that I can't remember how and with whom I traveled to visit friends at Baylor while I was still in high school.   Back then I don't remember anyone making the formal visits to campuses like today but I was there on the Baylor campus taking it all in.  It felt so Ivy League to me, not that I would have even known what that was, but it just felt right.  Maybe I knew because the book and movie Love Story was so popular at the time.  The huge trees with limbs almost touching the ground, the red brick contrasted with white trim and green was one of the most beautiful sights I had ever experienced.  A couple of times I visited my friend Lynnie and she lived in Russell when Russell was new and I visited her a couple of years later and she lived in Memorial.  I remember thinking if the chance to go to Baylor ever presented itself to me, I would never chose to live in an apartment, I would want to reside in those beautiful old dorm rooms and I didn't exactly think that cooking for myself was really worth the whole apartment thing.  Each trip to the campus a mandatory visit to the bookstore was paramount in my book and I returned home with t-shirts and spiral notebooks with the old school Baylor Bear on them.

I was late to the dance in making a decent GPA in high school but it rose significantly enough for acceptance to SWTSU now known as Texas State.  The plan, attend SWTSU my freshman year and make decent grades and then transfer to Baylor my sophomore year.  I didn't think my grades would be good enough to get in as a freshman at Baylor. I also planned to live in the freshman dorm at Baylor as a sophomore so I could have a true Baylor experience, a sense of belonging.  A sense of being a part of something steeped in tradition   So I began my college career and maintained a high B average, with which I then applied to Baylor and waited to see the outcome.  This is truly one time in my life I had clear cut goals and with them in front of me, working hard for good grades wasn't a chore, it was a joy knowing the prize that was set before me.  That letter from Alton B Lee, the registrar at Baylor, came bearing the great good news of acceptance. There came the running and the crying.  While home on spring break  I went to AstroWorld and interviewed for a summer job. Got the job and I was so excited to learn I was hired to run rides at the amusement park with the chance to work double shifts.  The way everything was falling into place just seemed to confirm God's will and pleasure.   I thought my hard work of getting a high B average and planning for a summer job with a great opportunity for overtime would get my father's attention and approval because I hadn't ever been this driven in my whole schooling career.   Summer came, I worked hard and worked double shifts at least 5 days a week and a regular shift on Sunday so I could go to church.  I saved over 90% of my earnings only spending money on gasoline and necessities.

Just like John 10:10 there is the abundant life plan and the plan the thief has, to kill, steal and destroy. A thief plan was being crafted and shaped during that time unknown to me. When  its presentation came, it came with unreasonable demands.   I was devastated.  All I will say here is it was mean spirited and hurtful meant to rip joy and hope right out of me and in doing this it gave great pleasure to the dream taker.  The future planned for me by my father was sparse, dismal and hopeless.   I had to write Baylor and my roommates and let them know I could not attend.  I finished working that summer at AstroWorld but I never worked a double shift after that.  I enrolled at U of H and didn't care.  I dropped out the spring semester of my junior year.

Any chance I ever had, I would go visit friends at Baylor thinking of what might have been.  When I dropped out of school, I got a full time office job and through a series of God ordained moments, went to work at Pennzoil and met the love of my life and married him.  Roy knew how much I had wanted to go to Baylor and told me he would send me there if I wanted to go but that season of life had come and gone.. I was married at the ripe old age of barely 23 (I thought that was so late to be married)   I still didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up.  So for forty one years I have gone to football games, worn Baylor t-shirts and told Roy my usual once a quarter Baylor dream I would have.   I lived all things Baylor through my Baylor alumni friends, rooted for all the teams, visited the campus every chance I got and finally after being so bitter about what had been stolen from me for too many years, came to a reckoning and acceptance.  I began looking at the good that had come out of not going to Baylor.  I would tell you about that, but previous blog post on Losing Your Treasure....thing.   Then I heard about Alumni By Choice.....

Tons of Baylor friends were excited and offered to help me and after many years of just talking about it, Peggy did something about it.  She filled out the paperwork and wrote a recommendation of why they should ABC me.  They included a portion of what she wrote in the letter they sent.  It is beautifully written and lovingly poignant.  I had totally forgotten about her filling out paperwork and writing a letter to the Alumni network until the our neighborhood.  I called Roy who was in a meeting and left a message...  But in the midst of telling him, I started crying again and could barely talk.  I was even more happy because I just happened to be on my way to meet Peggy for dinner.  God's timing, what a gift!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dang, Just Lost That Treasure

My new workout contains recycling and up-cycling....take the 12 lbs of RH catalogs to the recycle container in the garage, then take them back into the house, place them on the floor and repeat workout.  It's like doing something good for me and the environment.  I'll repeat this till Tuesday when the recyclables go out for trash day.  

I was feeling a little down about the home we have been thinking about in Asheville going off the market.  Then our spirits revived when our Realtor told us it should go back onto the market once the current owners find a home where they are moving to...with one undecided buyer in the wings, we might still have a chance.  Then yesterday, other homes on our top ten list had price!  Only, I wish they could have waited to do so closer to the time we will be there.  Maybe the three other homes that has our attention will go down in price as well.  We were told that homes close in to the center of Asheville are selling at a good pace and the farther out, a slower pace.  Since we are not interested in being part of the scene in Asheville, that works well for us.  

This summer my attention has been drawn into reading Proverbs.  Proverbs is kind of like the OT version of a celebrity how to book, only you know, it is inspired by God not greed.  Because, uh Solomon was the richest and wisest person.  I believe Proverbs was on the best selling scroll list of the New Jerusalem Times back in the day.  The depth of the verses makes it difficult to pick a verse to really give it time and meditation because just when I have chosen the verse for the day, I continue reading and find another really good verse...then it is decision time.  These next two verses are not ones I chose to meditate upon but they got my attention:
"A person who promises a gift but doesn't give it is like clouds and wind that bring no rain." Pro 25:14

"Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow." Pro 25:18  Wow Solomon....tell us how you really feel.  Hitting with an ax wasn't enough of a description?

But the verse that got my attention and apparently it has gotten my attention before because it is highlighted in Bible yellow marker, is:

"Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised." Pro 27:21 NLT

    The purity of silver and gold is tested
    by putting them in the fire;
   The purity of human hearts is tested
    by giving them a little fame.  Pro 27:21 The Message

I know there are references in the Bible to being refined like silver and gold.  We kind of feel brave and oh so biblical when we reference our trying experiences as God's refining fire.  Of course this is true.  But here in Proverbs it is saying our refining thus purity is tested in being praised or flattered or having a little fame (Fame!  I'm gonna live forever....Fame!  Little song shout out to the 80's) thrown our way.  There is so much legacy talk going on now...guess it is the season of reflection with graduation and the like, but instead of talking about legacy so much why don't we just let the overflow of the abundant life be our legacy?  We don't have to talk about it, we just live it.  If God uses us that is so fabulous and even more fabulous when we don't even know about it as when we actively curry favor and approval of our legacy leaving antics.  When I played tennis one of the best ways your opponent would try to beat you before even stepping onto the court and playing was just this kind of thing....for example I had a pretty wicked forehand and a rather lethal serve and those opponents experienced in the way of sports psychology...getting into your head,  would compliment and praise your strengths in the game a little too much. I just thought of this, the term getting into some one's head would have a whole different meaning for a brain surgeon.  If you started believing the PR, you found yourself losing the match.  Others used the wow, that is a huge knee brace tactic, making you think about how much you hurt while they commended your bravery to just get out there on the court and try.  Boom, match lost.  If someone started talking about my strengths, I just walked away acting like I was preoccupied with my racquet or getting a drink of water.  When it came to the knee brace and asking how I hurt my knee I'd reply kicking an opponent when they made a bad line call.  That pretty much shut them up.  In church world, we see the same kind of thing.  You know, someone praises you, so you grab your most serious eyes closed, head shaking, point to the Lord look.  Stop it!  Or another posture is after being praised, your next sentence starts with, 'you know... I was....' and you complete the sentence with your most holy accepting praise look with a head tilt.  Stop It!  I mean we have all done both of those things...whether in truth or in just keep it in mind, be thankful for that refining fire of praise and don't lose your treasure in heaven with a bad response.  

You'll thank me in heaven....dang, just lost that treasure! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Another reading from Brilliant Thoughts for Women, circa 1893...I totally have used the word expedient wrong.  I thought it meant quick or it means: 

1.    a means of attaining an end, especially one that is convenient but considered improper or immoral.
:  suitable for achieving a particular end in a givencircumstance
:  characterized by concern with what is opportune;especially :  governed by self-interest

From the book; "It is a sad thing-avoid it-to be reduced to live by little expedients, daily expedients."  Maria Edgeworth.

I mentioned our worship service on Sunday and I would like to add that the music led by the choir and orchestra was so powerful.  Up there on the back row of the balcony I teared up while singing When I Think About The Lord. What a word!  The wellspring of exuberance and joy flowed out of my spirit in gratitude and thankfulness.  Thank you friends!  Also along this vein of thought, while looking at churches in the Asheville area, I find it funny that many of the more trendy style services mentions a choir and orchestra led service but people on some risers and a band is not choir and orchestra.  Love singers on risers and a band but that is what they are.  

The days are dwindling down living in the 50's decade.  It actually has been one of my more favorite decades when in reality it should not have been.  I am going to blog about it but I am writing this all down for me and if you enjoy the observations, that pleases me.

Yesterday seemed to be the paramount day of emotions and I was rather cranky.  Seems maybe I shouldn't have been after Sunday but just maybe I let the birds eat the seed before it was planted deep into the soil of my heart.  It seems that here of late I feel like I am just background noise.  No one, not even Roy, noticed my new glasses.  It feels like I am on auto repeat having to repeat stuff that I have already said and thought had registered with others.  Then while doing the old pick up around the house routine I had to erase some messages on our phone.  We have been advised to keep the messages from APS, the mental health division of the police, and my father's threatening message he left while I was in NC.  So as I deleted everything else, I heard those messages, just snippets...well, actually I shouldn't have but I listened to my father's message again.  That kind of put me in a cranky state of mind. 

In my vast research into homes around Asheville, it seems that yellow and this strange green is in just about every home...oh and a bright blue.  What's with that?  Guess all the beige and neutral of Rancho De Five has left me a little underwhelmed by this huge use of color.  Also as we search Zillow and, if people haven't taken the time to make sure you can see the pictures instead of just dark with a window or not even fixing the pic to be the correct view...gone. Even if a house has good bones, if there is a copious amount of wallpaper or green or blue carpet... no lookie.  Pretty much goes for neutral color carpeting in the great or family room.  Preferring hardwood or engineered wood.  Think we are not going to consider anything that isn't a slab foundation.  Too many problems arise if crawl space isn't done says my research.  We have also decided that if on this trip nothing wows us, we aren't pressured to just get something.  We have a window of opportunity with interest rates, so we don't have to rush.  It is a buyers market there for the most part.  We are narrowing down the houses we want to see with our Realtor in the two full days Roy will be there with me.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Persevering With Brilliant Thoughts From 1893

If only life were half as exciting as the emails that land in my junk mail folder.  I am sure many have received the same good news of an inheritance from someone we have never heard of or maybe the emails informing us that only we can be trusted with this huge amount of money again from someone we have never heard of and with all these offers of free money, we would be fools not to buy prescription drugs from a highly reputable source on the internet thus saving even more of our inheritance and funds designated just for us if only we will send in some very basic information.  Life in the junk folder holds all kind of surprises.  How did I start getting email gun alerts?  Somehow I don't think those who take up the fabulous offers from their junk email folder live an enviable wild with abandon life.  Those who take up those offers usually find themselves on the opposite end of fabulous because they are living with great fear.

Pastor Gregg sent himself and us into his sabbatical with a great sermon on worship.  The service format was nicely done with his thoughts partnered with music.  Psalm 95 will not look the same to me now.  After the service we got to catch up with a few friends and then we were off to The Fresh Market.  We planned ahead and brought a cooler so we could bring home some prepared dinners.  Then once we got back to the Rancho De Five, we ate brunch at Las Alameda's and we were so happy to have one of our very favorite waiters.

I haven't forgotten my word of the year, persevere and that's what it feels like with the healing of this cyst on my back.  It is located in no man's land, I can't reach it myself to apply bandages and such.  The only thing I am able to do myself is take the bandage off.  I did just that Saturday morning before Roy got home and panicked by the results of said bandage removal, I was on the phone to Roy asking him to come home quickly and help me persevere in this hour of despair.  Yesterday was much better and so is today. September will not come soon enough to get this thing removed.  Just get to keep checking stuff off the list to get done and health check ups caught up.

The other night while showing Beth around the incredible downstairs at Lake Bain, I got to do a little book shopping from an estate sale Bill had been to.  I found two books, well I liked more than two books, that needed to come home with me.  One in particular got my attention, Brilliant Thoughts for Women, published in 1893.  It's very interesting yet I don't feel quite like I have obtained brilliant thoughts from the readings divided by by months and dates.  That could be due to the flowery language that one used to describe the simplest of thoughts.  I do love this quote from a Friday in October:

"There is a noble and an ignoble anger.  There are moments and situations in life when one requires a burst of anger to be able to grapple powerfully and lend justice a strong helping hand.  But such moments come seldom; and the danger of falling in the annoyances and little vexations of everyday life, from a noble into an ignoble anger is so great that we ought to do all we can to govern and conquer this emotion and its eruptions."  Selections from the writings of Fredrika Bremer 1801-1865.

 Her writings are the ones for October and having just read through the month, she is profound.  Her questions in life and her grasp of the danger of anger is downright astonishing for 1893.  Guess that is why she is a brilliant woman with brilliant thoughts.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

And That Was the Week That Was.....

It is a quiet moment out here on the prairie.  Roy is at Bible study and Buddy has reposed in early morning nap posture.  I even took advantage of sleeping in just a little.  In just a while the day will need to begin in earnest but while there are these moments to ponder over the last week I will take advantage of the opportunity.

Several weeks ago I bought an air floss device.  It's kind of like a water pic but kind of not.  This seemed to be the perfect commercial dental product to use to floss back teeth.  It feels awkward at first but in a short time you master it....well kind of.  The first time I came away with the look of paintball mouthwash all over my pajama top.  I went to bed with the fragrance of mint lingering in the air.  Since then I have been able to keep the shooting mouthwash in my mouth except for the other day when I accidentally shot the sheriff, but I did not shoot the deputy....oooooooo.  I mean the other day when I shot myself in the eye with a blast of air and mouthwash.  Painful experience yet refreshing, you know because of the mint.

We were all about procedures yesterday within our household.  I am trying to catch up on things I had to put aside during the whole heart journey.  So tackled big dental issues this year and on a pause for procedures until later in the year and yesterday it was dermatology day to check that off the list.  Truthfully, I had not been nervous about the appointment but in the middle of the night I began to fret and lose the peace that passes all understanding.  This fretting so affected me that my heart went out of rhythm.  Before going to see the Dr I needed to settle down and get everything back to normal.  I nearly lost that perfect rhythm while wrestling with the paper gown.  There is a new Dr in Rancho De Five and she looks like a high school intern.  When she came into the room the brief thought of oh this must be high school career day or something but since her picture was on the website, I knew this to be the Dr.  She is very good.  So we did the mole patrol and happy all moles and skin were accounted for and behaving but I also needed her to look at a cyst on my back...a gross cyst on my back.  Without giving the gross details I will just say that after her preliminary work if I were to take one of those buzz-feed quizzes on FB on what movie are you, I'd probably be The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  If this cyst doesn't calm down I could go by the name of Cystaly Tyson.  Ha!  When I get back from NC, we will schedule surgery and have the dang thing removed beyond the cystal sea.  At the conclusion of the appointment while getting dressed a familiar tune that didn't seem to be in the right place played on the satellite radio there in the doctor office, In Christ Alone. Such a great reminder that it all went well and if I hadn't begun to fret in the night, and instead kept on trusting in Christ alone...well you know...

  Roy had his eye appt Friday afternoon and since dilation was taking place I drove him to and back.  Of course several weeks ago no one drove me to and from the same type of appointment but that's ok....  I didn't want to sit in the office and wait so it seemed a good idea to make a quick trip to Books a Million and promised Roy if I didn't find a close parking spot, the bookstore trip would be punted and I would return.  As it would happen I scored a really close parking spot at the entrance and since it was so close I checked for signs making sure it wasn't for handicapped, emergency only or mothers with children parking.  No sign anywhere... and as I got out a maroon minivan pulled behind me and stopped.  Before the lady got out of the car I could see frustration illustrated all over her face.  This is what I put on FB:

 This maroon minivan pulls behind me and blocks me in. The irate driver jumps out of the van spewing and spitting as she yelled at me you can't park there! Calmly I asked why not and she was all too happy to call me an idiot then tells me this space is designated for moms with children. She jabs her finger wildly in the direction of where she thinks the sign should be. As she recounts how difficult is to be a mom etc I point out to her there isn't a sign in front of my car. My my, is this anyway to act in front of her children? I was all too happy to show her where the designated spot was and it currently had a silver minivan occupying it. And it was with glee for me to point out to her that the sign says mothers with infants. Her rowdy bunch looked nearly jr high age. I was pleasant and kind and she was mad and sweaty. At the end of it all she still had to drive a minivan and I did not.

There was a day I would have been all over her but those days are over.  It was too hot and and too easy to go out of rhythm, so I remained calm.  She was probably in the midst of a not so good day and her frustration poured out when she thought she had caught a non-mother using designated parking.  She didn't apologize, only got back in her car and return on the search for a decent parking spot.  I joke so much much about minivans being an arch nemesis and if she had been driving any other type car, maybe with the exception of a Highlander because those look like minivans to me, I would have been nervous, even a little scared but upon seeing the beginning of this whole situation, my thoughts go first to, it's a minivan!  All fear was gone.

We had a wonderful visit with my second cousin this week as she drove through our area on her way from Atlanta to San Diego where she is moving.  Beth and our two doggie cousins Waffle and Cobia spent the night and after dinner we were able to go over to Peggy's where Cousin Camp was in full swing.  The kids loved the doggies and had them doing their tricks over and over again.  I fixed dinner and breakfast for Beth, so you know that proves just how special she is to us.

It was special having Beth here and her presence helped me when I found out Thursday morning the number one choice of a house in the Asheville area had been taken off the market.  It is disappointing but we are not despairing.  This seems vaguely familiar in how we went about the process in finding a home and lot in Rancho De Five.  We are trusting God and looking for His direction.  New searches and a few new ideas of locations....we will see where this goes.

Since Roy is totally out of it after having his eyes dilated, we both took Buddy to the vet for her mani/pedi.  Then Dena and I grabbed some sushi for dinner and did a little shopping at Hobby Lobby.  Frosty's to end the was all good.

So after a shot of mouthwash to the eye, doctor visits, being reamed out by a frustrated mom, having a wonderful cousin to visit and new online search adventures for a home in NC, it is all good.  We are thankful.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Just Another Day in Ministry

Many years ago a friend married a minister.  There were several showers for her, one of course from her friends, a church-wide shower and a shower from her fiance's friends and church.  You would have thought they would receive the mother load of useful gifts...alas and sadly no.  They did get a few place settings of dishes and silverware but almost exclusively they were gifted with tons and tons of scripture plaques, little decorative dishes with scripture, and a whole lot of what I call Jesus Junk.  It was pathetic because they needed everything in the worst way to get started out in life.  Can I return this hot pad that says "four men in a furnace" for a blender?  Several years later I made a visit to see them on my way to Colorado and beside the door in a huge basket were all the plaques and junk wedding gifts.  She made a fun game out of it because everyone had to reach into the basket when they left their house and take whatever they pulled out, home.  She had another basket ready to go in the closet.  I don't know what I read on Twitter just now that made me think about this but it does make me thankful not to be officially involved in ministry and on the receiving end of well intentioned people.  Oh the humanity....oh the junk... I am kind of feeling the same way about Restoration Hardware.  I think I have bought Christmas stocking stuffers and hand lotion there.  Never anything major and several weeks ago I received twelve pounds of catalogs shrink-wrapped and delivered by UPS.  Twelve pounds!  I need to put them in the recycle bin sans address label.

Another story about this same friend who married a minister that I love is about spiritual gifts.  The church where they were serving had 'team building' among the staff and their spouses each month.  The teaching pastor and his wife were in charge of the monthly building.  You couldn't fool my friend too long with making something spiritual out of something that was obviously to the pastor and family's benefit not so much for team building.  My friend said it started out as making lasagna, King Ranch Chicken and other kinds of casseroles, the concept of everyone working together to make something.  Only thing once they made everything it was all wrapped up and put into the freezer for the family, everyone pulled out their pot luck dishes for dinner and spiritual application time afterwards.   The next month was laundry, ironing and packing the family for a 'ministry related' trip.  Same ending to the night, pot luck and application teaching.  My friend said after making dinners, packing,and  cleaning their house as team building, she put her foot down when it came time for the monthly team building theme of the summer which was re-landscaping, pouring concrete for a patio and building a gazebo for the teaching pastor and family.  She called them on it because not only were they getting free labor but the budget for team building did not come out of their pocket but out of the church budget.  It was at that point my friend declined the invite and said a classic line, I know all about spiritual gifts and my spiritual gift is lying and deception...and it looks like that is yours as well.  That went know accountability is always better for the other person, don't ya know.  Funny, everyone was shocked when they caught the TP embezzling about a year after my friend and her husband had moved on in ministry.

While I am thinking on these things I will tell you my last story of the day about this friend.  She had gone back to work to help support the family and she wasn't always around when decisions were made or logistics changed when it came to church work.  She knew that a missionary was staying at their house for several nights and when she returned home, her husband's car was in the driveway.  She came in the house, no missionary to be found in the guest bedroom so she began to prepare their light dinner of salad and grilled chicken.  Because the ministry world can be so topsy turvy  she figured the missionary was staying somewhere else.  That's when she heard the shower come on in their bathroom and she figured she would go back and tell her husband not to take too long of a shower because dinner was ready.  She reaches inside the shower curtain without looking and just imagine what she grabs and says ding dong, dinner's ready! and goes back to the kitchen.  Upon returning to the kitchen, the back door was opening and in walked her husband.  She turned a bright red and grabbed the chair to steady herself.  She asked, who is in our shower?  Oh, it's the missionary.  We dropped him off and then I rode with ______ to make a hospital visit.  Then the missionary came into the kitchen a little sheepish and said, wow, you sure know how to give a guy a friendly welcome around here!  

Monday, July 7, 2014

Throwing Your Heart Over a Fence

Our conversation at brunch yesterday came straight out of House Hunters the difference being we are discussing more than three houses and we haven't seen any of them in person yet.  It is the constant realization of what we need, what will be a deal breaker, location, location, location and views.  It is always about the view with me.  We printed out the particulars that our agent had sent and while going through the details and history, we saw something on one house that had been in the top three that caused us to re-think and then of course re-arrange.  We are researching stuff on Google almost daily to be informed on normal house things in NC that aren't necessarily something we see in our area.

In the course of looking through the different cities and areas around Asheville for houses, more times than not, I also look at churches in the area.  Being a member of a tech detailed church it is alarming then refreshing to read through the different church websites.  Can you believe that there are churches that don't even have websites?  Ugh!  Go to church the old fashioned way not knowing what you might be getting into? Really?  Uh, no.  There are some websites that are very relevant and others that give just the basics.  More than one church has a young pastor and the music minister is older than the hills...just reading through the newsletter lets you know what's going on there.  No thanks, don't want to go through the whole music thing again even when the young pastor's sermons are really good.  Most, not all, of the Southern Baptist Churches have tons of info on the Baptist Faith and Message yet many Episcopal churches mentions Jesus and ministry a whole lot more than the Baptists.  A very pleasant surprise.  While pursuing an Episcopal church website, the link of stories from the congregation interested me.  They weren't testimonies of church attendance or programs but narratives of God's direction or love or peace...all things God in their lives.  The articles are well written and grab you right into their story.  One in particular told a story of a group making a decision that by saying yes to an interested party this would lead to a financial windfall to most in that group.  I've taken some highlights from the story and they are as follows:

During this discussion, a friend shared something that was later explained to me as a metaphor, but I’d rather believe it to be metonymic, a way of using language that (rather magically) substitutes a part for a whole. Anyway, my friend said that when he was a boy, he’d taken riding lessons, and in the process of learning to ride, he’d learned to teach a horse to carry him across a fence.

“When jumping a horse,” he told us, “we were taught that the first thing over the fence should be our own heart, and that’s what the horse would follow. And if we didn’t – if our attention was off, or our hearts were afraid – that the horse would know it, balk at the fence, and send us flying....After the discussion ended, we took a vote. In spite of the possibility of sorely-needed financial profit that might have come from agreeing to the proposed project, we decided against it. Because, we realized, our hearts were not there; and ultimately, without a heart-felt commitment, none of us were prepared to take on the remainder of the work....The thing about throwing one’s heart over the fence is that it’s not, entirely, a mental decision, but, I believe, an act of grace. I can’t decide where my heart might be thrown; I can only follow."

I've been thinking about this, when in life have I thrown my heart over the fence and everything followed?  What of those times I thought my heart was in it but time and interest proved it wasn't.  Several years ago we had started the process of looking at condos in Maggie Valley.  After looking around for a bit, I knew my heart wasn't in it.  Maybe it was the Biltmore experience more than living in the area.  So happily we continued our trips to the Inn and the estate.  This time is different and my heart has already jumped the fence.  Roy's heart has jumped the fence....too.

Yesterday, after Roy had read his daily Bible reading, he asked me to really think about Proverbs 17:22, a cheerful heart is good like medicine.  His thoughts being, after getting away from dealing, working or having contact with several of those who if I let them, make my heart not feel so cheerful, how much better I have felt of late and gosh darn it, doing stuff with a cheery attitude.  I always think more about being funny or laughing with that verse, which can be included in a cheery heart but never considered what Roy was asking me to think about.  The hard realities of attacks and negativity and grudges and I have been given relief from them in this season for me=a cheery heart.   Because there have been many a day that my broken spirit has sapped my strength.  A broken spirit caused from gossip, grudges, and hatred.  Broken because of insecurities and lack of trust, not my own (cause I can do that in any season to me) but from those who wear the mask of kindness.

Really, it is better to throw that heart over a fence than to have to throw up over a fence.