Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Salty oysters...

     There isn't anything tastier than big, fat, salty Appalachicola oysters on the half shell ~ raw or baked.  There is a flavor to them that just can't be found anywhere else.  Back in Florida, we could get them for $3.50 a dozen raw or $6.50 baked and loaded with cheese, butter, and jalapenos.  But we're here in the middle of Texas... as land locked as you can be... and Appalachicola is a long ways away.

     Tonight we had dinner at a restaurant called Razoo's.  It's a Cajun place with a N'Orleans theme so you'd think they had that real gumbo and seafood stuff down pat.

     Not.

     We asked if their oysters tonight were salty and the waitress said... "Well, we add salt water to them, so I can ask them to not put salt on them if that will be okay."

     They add salt water to their oysters?  It was all we could do to keep from laughing out loud. 

     We asked if we could try one, and she came out a few minutes later with this itty bitty thing on a half shell.  I'd have said it was imitation oyster like that imitation crab meat, except their shucker didn't know what he was doing and didn't cut it.  David had to pry it with his fingers from the shell.

     Texans need to stick with their beef, barbeque, and cactus.  Leave the oysters and seafood to people who know what it really is and how it should really taste.  Especially if they are going to charge $9.99 for a dozen raw!

     Add salt to their oysters?  They should be shamed.  And to call themselves a Cajun restaurant?  I think Chef Emeril Lagasse needs to teach them a thing or three about oysters and real Cajun food.

  

What treasures do you wish for?

     Treasures... the movies of Indiana Jones' adventures and National Treasure come to mind as I think about Jaime's prompt for us this morning.  But the truth is that the treasures I wish for aren't the material kind.  Those "things" come and go in our lives as quickly as some of the people do... as quickly as time passes.  What remains, however, is the real treasure.  The memories.  The emotions.

Image source
     I wish for the treasure of health, as I wait for the results of several skin cancer biopsies.  Health and healing for my husband, our families and friends.  Having health is better than having bank vaults filled with paper money that will burn to ashes in a fire.

     I wish for the treasure of laughter... my own and hearing those around me laugh.  During my conversation last night with mom, I told her that I had decided I was going to start dealing with the stress in my life like my dogs do.  If I can't eat it, play with it, sleep on it... then I'm just going to pee on it and walk away.  Her laughter was like diamonds falling from the sky.  Later, my husband and I watched Secretariat and hearing him laugh at some of John Malkovich's lines made me feel rich, as if I had a room full of rubies, emeralds, and sapphires.

     I wish for the treasure of a faith-filled heart for I already have the treasure of forgiveness.  Last night and this morning I watched T.D. Jakes preach and his words wrapped around my heart like ropes of gold, platinum, and silver bringing tears to my eyes.  I knew his message was God speaking to me, reminding me that these trials and tribulations we are in now is God shifting us to received His blessings.

      I wish for the treasure of family and friends, new and renewed relationships, healed hearts, forgiveness, words of peace and love.  Not just for the holidays, and not just because of the holidays, but because when we have family and friends... when we have love, forgiveness, and peace...  there are no precious gems or precious metals that can replace that.  There is not enough money in the world that will make us richer than the love of our family and friends.

Join us for Wishcasting Wednesdays!


As I wish for myself, so I also wish for you!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Nobody nose...

...the trouble I's seen... nobody nose at all...
     Mom has today off work and bcuz Trooper wrote a blog she said I could blog today.  Normally I'd be sleepin' lates with her, 'specially since its colds outside, but I wants to say somethin' imsportant.

     Peoples sometimes sees me and laughs at how I looks and that hurts my feelings.  You shouldn't laughs at someone.  Laughs with them, but not at them.  I nose my face looks like I run into a wall, and I don't got no neck, and sometimes if you gets too close to my face when I is excited I can sneeze chunks on you, but I can't help it.

     Everybodys different.  But that don't mean we should laugh at somebody who looks different than us.  It is those differences that makes us each special.  Unique.  One of a kind.  We are all works of art, just maybe not hanging up on someone's wall, but maybe in someone's hearts.  And whether or not you believe in God, we are all created for a special purpose.

     Pugs purpose is to make people smile.  To make them laugh with us.  To snuggle up to them on cold nights and keeps them warm.  To cheer them ups.  Sometimes even give them another reason to wash theys faces.  Pugs used to be palace guards dogs in China so we was once really important.  We still can guard, but we likes it better if you gets a big dog to do the really rough stuff.  But we can bark (and try nots to fart at the same time) when we see something strange.  And even if we does farts when we barks, it helps to scare off the strangers because they thinks it was them that smells so bad and they don't want no body to knows they is there by they smell.

     So next times you sees someone that you think looks funny... just remember this... you might look funny to someone too.  Does you want people to laughs at you?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Look out... here I come!

10 A wife of noble character who can find?
   She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
   and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
   all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
   and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
   bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
   she provides food for her family
   and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
   out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
   her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
   and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
   and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
   and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
   for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
   she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
   where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
   and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
   she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
   and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
   but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
   and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
~ Proverbs 31:10-31 NIV ~

Saturday, November 26, 2011

TaGged...

 
Image source

     The past few weeks we've been hearing message after message about being tagged by God. 

     TaGged... as in Talented and Gifted.   

     Jentezen Franklin talked about "Living Inside Out."   Joyce Meyers spoke on knowing and sharing God with others.  Joel Osteen talked about how our lives are divinely orchestrated.  One of the readings in Our Daily Bread was about the Craftsman's touch.

     I don't believe it is a coincidence.  I also don't believe that where we are to "give" our talents and gifts is here in Texas.  Tennessee also keeps popping up in things we hear and read.

     I've blogged before about David's "gift" of being able to hear a song and play it by ear.  His "talent" of being able to play multiple instruments.  He has had a calling on him since he was a child to minister with his music, and his heart is in the old bluegrass gospels.  Music like what is played in the hills of Tennessee... in the Apalachians.

     My "gift" (which I know is often a matter of opinion) is with words.  To be able to write ... some say like I speak ... and touch people with my books and blogs.  My "talent" occasionally backfires on me because I tend to express myself more through writing than I can with speaking... and I have no control over how the reader interprets my words.  One person's comprehension and perception can be another person's hurt or offended feelings.

     I'm working on that with a lot of prayer and reflection before I hit the send or publish button now.  The blog you are reading now was most likely written two or three days ago, prayed about, re-read, edited, prayed about some more, before finally being scheduled to publish at a later date.  All of which gives me time to wait to hear God's approval on my words.

     Because this TaG... this Talent and Gift... is His.    By all rights, the copywrite on my work should all read © GOD 2011.  

     All that I am, all that I have, all that I have written or will write is because of Him.  I cannot claim the glory on this because without Him, I am nothing.  I have nothing.

     What is your TaG to share?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Challenges...

     I get an email on week days from Mike Dooley and his Thoughts Become Things webpage.  They are his "Notes from the Universe."

     They are often so "spot on" with where I am in my life that day, it is eerie, and I've come to believe that God often uses those messages to remind me of things.  Specifically one that I received last Friday which included this sentence.... "There's nothing challenging that has ever happened in your life, that one day you won't look back on with deep gratitude."

      That one was so powerful to me, that it is worth repeating...

     "THERE'S NOTHING CHALLENGING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED IN YOUR LIFE, THAT ONE DAY YOU WON'T LOOK BACK ON WITH DEEP GRATITUDE."

     Think about it...

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Finally Black Friday...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks...

Our present Thanksgiving tradition goes back to a 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts.

My maternal grandmother traced our ancestry to George Soule, who was one of the original 102 Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620. Born in England around 1595, he was a teacher and got passage on the Mayflower as an indentured servant, probably to Edward Winslow whose children he taught. He was one of the forty-one signers of the Mayflower Compact, survived the first winter in Plymouth, and was there for the first Thanksgiving in 1621. He died in 1679 at the age of 84 years, quite a long life in those times.

When I think about the journey those original Mayflower settlers must have had… months cramped in a small wooden ship at the mercy of the weather and water… their bravery and courage to leave all that they had known to go to a strange new land and begin their lives again... knowing that they might not survive the journey, knowing that they might never return to family and friends left behind in England… and all for the right to worship God.

Religious freedom. The first freedom that was fought for in the New World. To be able to give praise, to glorify God, and to believe in Him without fear of persecution.

On this day that has become more closely associated with parades, football, food, and shopping… we should not forget the sacrifice made by those who celebrated the first Thanksgiving… and those who continue to fight for our freedoms today.

When we give thanks… when we give praise to God… thank Him for all that He has given, for all that He was, all that He is, and all that He will be. Thank Him who gave us reason to believe.

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7 ~




Wednesday, November 23, 2011

And we call ourselves humane?

     Last year I read (my bad) some of the comments readers had left for my book "My Best Friends Have Hairy Legs" on Amazon.com.  I was crushed by how mean some of them were and very nearly took all of my books off the market.  But then I realized that of the 22,000 people who took advantage when it was offered for free, less than 10 of them actually had anything hateful to say.  And those that did, really didn't matter because they just didn't "get it."

     The purpose of the book wasn't to reveal all the gory details of abuse (verbal, emotional, physical, and yes, sexual) I've endured from other people.  If I had spent much time on those people, and times in my life, it would have been giving them more of me than they deserved to have... and they had already had enough of my thoughts and time. 

     So for those who were disappointed because they didn't feel I had been abused enough... I only hope and pray that you never have to experience any of the things that I chose not to share.

     I wrote the book to talk about surviving.  To talk about forgiving.  To talk about healing.  I wrote to purge myself of the burden of carrying those memories around with me, and letting them continue to control and manipulate me even though the people themselves were no longer in my life.  I didn't write to entertain someone.  I didn't write to seek someone's approval.  I wrote because I knew that I was not the only person to ever endure those things, and if just one person found hope in my story, then baring my soul was worth it.

     There was also a comment from a veterinarian who felt that I hadn't done enough (or rather spent enough money) to save my pug, Tink.  That comment probably angered me more than anything and I hope that her patients and their people have sense to find a new vet who is compassionate enough to realize that sometimes it isn't about spending more money, it is about quality of life.

     Tink was in terrible pain her entire life, enduring two surgeries on her bladder to remove stones within a year.  After the second surgery and because it took so long for her to recover from it, I made the decision to find an alternative that was going to be more humane than just getting her cut open once or twice a year.  Because her bladder stones (some the size of my pinky nail) were being caused by her liver not functioning due to shunts, I researched (and spent money) on foods for her that had less 'fillers' and were naturally made.  The last six months of her life, I spent almost $3,000 trying to make her comfortable since there was no 'cure' for her condition.  I found a holistic vet who tried aqua pressure - similar to acupuncture but with B-12 shots - Chinese herbal medicines because her liver could not detoxify regular medicines, dehydrated natural foods, flower essences, and massage.

     Ultimately though, I made a humane decision to end her suffering because I could see the pain in her face and knew that trying to keep her alive was selfish and cruel.  It wasn't about not having enough money to 'fix' her.  It was about realizing that sometimes we just need to be grateful for the time that we've had, to cherish the memories, and to let them go.

     Sometimes, it is the quality of life that is most important... not the quantity.  Tink had six years more than she might have otherwise had, and they were good years.  I have no regrets for my choices except that perhaps it would have been easier ON HER if I had done it sooner.  But I don't regret the money or time I spent trying to ease her pain. 

     So for those 'animal lovers' who think that my decisions to have animal companions that I adored put down when their pain became too great was selfish and based on finances... I only hope and pray that one day if you are suffering and in pain because of health issues, that you might also have the choice to choose quality over quantity.

And this is what we think of your negative comments...

What do you wish to remember?

     Jaime Ridler posed this question for today's Wishcasting Wednesday and it seems so appropriate for the day before Thanksgiving.

      I want to remember being held in my husband's arms on a bitter cold night, and knowing without a doubt that I am more deeply loved and happier than I've ever been before.

    I want to remember one and two hour conversations with my Mom, laughing until tears run down our legs.

     I want to remember my Dad's shocked look, smile, and then laughter, when I told him my doctor told me to quit exercising because my thighs rubbing kept setting my shorts on fire.  Or the time he asked me if I knew how to cope (a carpentry term meaning to cut at an angle) and I responded "not without drugs and alcohol."  {Just kidding!}

     I want to remember how grateful I was to be at Aunt Nan & Uncle Ron's 50th wedding anniversary family reunion, to be able to fly my Mom out for it, seeing some cousins for the first time in memory, and others I hadn't seen in a few years.

     I want to remember kayaking to Grewingk Glacier in Alaska with cousin, Sue.  I want to remember laughing with cousins, Fred, Sil, Sue, Brad, Sal, Tom, Andy, Amy, and Sharon when what we all really wanted to be doing was crying since we were together for Aunt Linda's memorial service. 

     I want to remember every time Uncle Ron told me he loved me and was proud of me, and it sounded just like my Dad's voice.

     I want to remember laughing so hard with friends on a work-outing because we were doing "the wave"  and the "wobble wobble" in a planetarium, that my sides hurt the next day.

     I want to remember the miracle of life when I helped my first pug, Chynna, deliver six fat and healthy puppies. 

     I want to remember the peaceful look on my Dad's face after he died when I bent to kiss his forehead and tell him I loved him, knowing that he would no longer have to struggle to breathe.

     I want to remember the moments...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy 1st Anniversary...

New Year's Eve 2010
Married just over a month.
"People do not marry people, not real ones anyway; they marry what they think the person is; they marry illusions and images.  The exciting adventure of marriage is finding out who the partner really is."
~James L. Framo~

"A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers."
~Ruth Bell Graham~

"In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce.  The trick is to find, and continue to find, grounds for marriage."
~Robert Anderson~

"More marriages might survive if the partners realized that sometimes the better comes after the worse."
~Doug Larson~

"In a time when nothing is more certain than change, the commitment of two people to one another has become difficult and rare.  Yet, by its scarcity, the beauty and value of this exchange have only been enhanced."
~Robert Sexton~

     I've been criticized by some and condemned by others for making a choice to fight for my marriage after a very rocky start.  I say "choice" because marriage is a choice two people make every day.  A marriage takes work every single day, not just when you feel like it or when things are good.  I know because this is my fourth marriage... and his.

     Why this one is different than the three before, I can't explain.  But it is.  Perhaps it is because we were forced to make choices together because we were all that we had.  We live far away from family and friends.  At one point my "friends" began to ostracize me, and my family judge me, for my choices.  There were no other outside influences in our lives.  We've both dropped off Facebook, seldom email and have cancelled our cell phones.

1st Anniversary
     The only outside influence and "third party" to this marriage now is GOD, as He should have been all along.  We still have a land-line phone to call family and friends, and I'm doing my part to keep the U.S. Postal Service still in business.  But we are no longer drawn into the drama that destroys marriages.  We talk to each other.  Pray with and for each other.  Spend time together.

"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person."
~Mignon McLaughlin~

"2...and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.  4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.   5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8 Love never fails."
~ 1 Corinthians 13:2-8 NIV ~

     Happy 1st Anniversary, David... I love you more.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Birds....

     Texas has a large population of Great-tailed Grackles.  When I say that it is a "large" population, I really mean LARGE.  Like something from Alfred Hitchcock's movie, The Birds.
     Leaving the grocery store the other night, there must have been millions of them lining all three lines on the light and phone poles for at least three blocks.  They were on the tops of houses, filling the trees, and covering the grass between streets and sidewalks.

     In one sense it was just incredible to see them.  Landing on the power lines and each shuffling down so that they were all the exact same distance from each other.  Listening to their chatter and calls, we could hear them even with the windows rolled up, and over the horrible noise the car is currently making because it needs new bearings in the power steering pulley.

    But then I think of Hitchcock... and his birds... and realize how Creepy it really is, and we hurry home, looking over our shoulders to be sure we aren't being followed.

     I wonder if Hitchcock had been in Texas when he wrote the script...

Shelter in a storm...


Image source
"20 The tree you saw, which grew large and strong, with its top touching the sky, visible to the whole earth, 21 with beautiful leaves and abundant fruit, providing food for all, giving shelter to the wild animals, and having nesting places in its branches for the birds— 22 Your Majesty, you are that tree! You have become great and strong; your greatness has grown until it reaches the sky, and your dominion extends to distant parts of the earth."
~Daniel 4:20-22 NIV~

      Somewhere on my Florida townhouse was the hobo symbol for "kind hearted woman lives here." Only those with four legs seemed to see it, so it must have been low on a wall or door. I don't have any other way to explain the animals that wandered up to my door while I lived there.
     I'd been watching reports about the approaching Hurricane Ivan a few years ago, my dogs sitting on the sofa with me. The rising wind was making all of us nervous.  I got up to go the front door to see the wind on an old palm tree that leaned over my driveway, I was worried it might fall.
     Outside my door stood a full grown silver wolf.  He was gaunt - I could see his ribs from where I stood, panting in a semi-panic and covered with large pieces of cactus. I'd never seen him before.
     I slowly opened the door and stepped out. He took a few steps towards me and it was obvious he was in pain. I spoke to him in a low voice and told him I would bring him some food and water. When I went back into the house, he moved closer to the door, under the overhang and out of the wind. I set the bowls down, he quickly drank some of the water, and picked at the food. I could tell he was hungry, but could also see cactus spines around his mouth.
     I got a pair of heavy work gloves, a bucket, and a pair of needle nosed pliers. Gently I put my hand on him and started taking the cacti off, and putting them in the bucket. He stood patiently while I worked, listening to me talk and letting me work around his ears and face, running my gloved hand carefully over his thin frame to see if I had missed any. As I pulled the first spine from between his toes I saw him flinch and he pulled his paw back. Silently I said a prayer, and hoped that when I raised my eyes I wouldn't be looking at an angry set of teeth.
     Instead, he stepped back and walked around the corner of the house. He finally came back and put his paw on my knee.  I was amazed. He let me work on all four paws, but whenever I pulled one that seemed to hurt, he would again walk around the corner for a few minutes and then come back. 
     He spent the night in the garage, waiting out the storm with the rest of us. When the weather cleared the next day and life and business resumed, I took him to my vet to get him checked out and the few remaining spines removed from his mouth.
     Someone had spent a great deal of time with him, he was very well trained, but where they were now, or where he had come from I would never know. The vet checked for a micro-chip, but he didn't have any.  A blood draw came back positive for heartworms.
     I called a co-worker who had lost a husky two months prior.  He took one look at him and said he would take him. I explained to him about the heartworms, but he didn't care. The wolf would need to put on 20 pounds before he could be treated, but the vet was optimistic about his recovery.  "Eli" now had a home and a new name.
     That was many years ago. Eli survived the heartworm treatment - despite being an escape artist and not staying "quiet" as recommended.
     I found a wooden plaque not too long ago in a catalog of the cat sign that hobos used to designate a "kind hearted woman." It now hangs just inside my front door, too high for animals to see it, but I don't think that matters.
     They know.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Murmuration...


Image source
"The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply that they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings."
~ James Matthew Barrie ~

     A video taken in Ireland by two young women has become a viral sensation on the Internet.  The flock of what must be millions of starlings that seem to dance a synchronized and choreographed ballet is mesmerizing to watch.  To have seen it live must have just been breath-taking.

     I've seen smaller flocks in Florida, that danced at sunset before settling into trees to roost for the night.  At each pass of the trees, the flock would become smaller and smaller as birds broke out of the dance to rest.

     Scientists say that the reasons the starlings fly this way is a matter of survival.  There is strength in numbers.  Birds of prey, such as hawks and peregrines hunt starlings, and by flying together "as one" they are harder to hunt.

     In this photo, one of a series taken by photographer, Richard Barnes, the flock looks almost like the hand of God reaching from the sky.

     Perhaps it is to His music that their ballet is danced...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Out of the mouth of... dogs?

     When Mom said she was thinking about writing a blog about "essential dog travel supplies" I knew I was going to have to write it myself. Yeah, she's got a really great road trip checklist for me and Henry, but I knew that it would be better if you heard it from me.

     First let me tell you about this great pet travel bag she's got - it carries everything! She's got copies of our latest shot records, and pictures of us as well as our microchip numbers in case we get lost while we're checking out new sights and smells. Not that she lets us off the leash much when we travel, but you never know when someone might accidentally open a door.

     She always carries a squeaky toy for Henry - that keeps him busy when he gets bored, but the squeaker also grabs his attention if he wanders off.  She packs some of our favorite treats to reward us... and just 'cause she loves us! She brings enough of our regular food to get us through the whole trip so that our stomachs don't have to deal with something unfamiliar. If we start running low on food because we've just been having so much fun and stay longer, it gives her time to find some of our regular stuff at a store.

     We've also got these great pop-up pet travel kennels. It's just like having our own tents! Me, I'm kinda a big guy, ya know? So while those hard sided pet travel kennels might be good for some small dogs like Henry, a real manly man dog like me just won't fit in one of those. The pop-up one that she got me fits perfect in the back of her SUV, or slides into an outside pocket of her suitcase so it can go anywhere we go. Throw my favorite blanket in it, maybe steal one of the extra pillows off the hotel bed, and I'm sleepin' like a baby!

     Even when we're riding in the car she has our comfort and safety in mind. Normally I love calling shotgun when we hit the road for some short trips to the park or vet. But for serious road trips, she sets us up in the back seat with our own harnesses that buckle into the seat belt. We've still got room to move around and lay down to nap, but we're safely secured so we won't go flying if some bozo who is texting and driving hits us. We've got a car blanket, favorite old toys to remind us of home, and a no-spill water dish for ice cubes that we can lick if we get thirsty.  Henry just loves to sing along with the radio ... "Who let the dogs out? Woof! Woof! Woof!"

     Yeah, cats just don't know what they're missing when they turn down a chance to travel, but hey, I'm not going to tell them. I'll just let them think that travelin' is for the dogs!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pray for a cure...

     I had a very overdue appointment today with the dermatologist to see if the skin cancer on my upper lip has returned because the scar suddenly started to bleed again.

     My prayer today is that the dermatologist finds nothing in the three biopsies they took from my lip, cheek and collarbone area.  That the blisters heal quickly on my arm where he froze off the spots that looked like they had potential to become cancerous.  Finally, I pray that the sample they sent to the lab of the tissue under my toenail is just an old bruise from a previous stress fracture working its way out, and that I won't need to go to the podiatrist to have the nail removed and toe biopsied.

Freckled...
     I wish that when I was younger, I had known about the damage my skin would get while I was trying to make my freckles blotch together to make it look like I had a tan. 

     I wish that stronger sunscreen had been invented sooner and recommended more.

     I pray that in my lifetime there is a cure found for all cancers so that no one ever has to go through this worry, fear and pain again.

"15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."
~ James 5:15-16 ~

2 December 2011 update... results are in on the three biopsies... cheek was benign; lip was pre-cancerous but the biopsy got it all, if it comes back they can freeze it; but the collarbone (right clavicle to be really technical) was basal cell carcinoma... so more cutting to be done on the 12th. 

Thursday Travels... to the beach...

Panama City Beach, Florida

“The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach”
~ Henry Beston ~

Silently the waves push through
Eternity.  Churning up memories
And dreams long forgotten.
~ Cindi ~ 1979

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What is your greatest wish?

     There are many things circling the drain of my brain with this wish for Wednesday from Jamie Ridler Studios... 

     This morning as I was driving through the guard gate at the military base where I work I saw a truck with this sticker on the window, "Live like he deploys tomorrow."

     I've also got a sermon I heard last night from Joel Osteen that is replaying like a record with the needle stuck in a groove (for those old enough to remember records....).  Praising Your Way to Victory.  He said, "You may be at a place today where you have unborn promises; you have loved ones you’re praying for, but aren’t seeing the change; you may even feel barren. During times like these, it’s tempting to give up and say, “Too bad. It’s never going to happen.” But that’s the time when you need to praise God even more. Praise opens the door for God to move and for breakthroughs to come."

     My greatest wish is that there will come a day when a husband, a wife, their children, and families do not have to live like s/he deploys tomorrow. 
     When we can lift our arms up our hands in praise of peace and in praise of healing... the healing of a nation... the healing of a world... the healing of our hearts and bodies. 
     When stickers on windows won't need to say "Live like He returns tomorrow," because He has.
     My greatest wish is that we all know His love, and in faith we lift our arms up in praise of a new life and a promise answered.

Your love never fails...


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I love Raindrop Kaleidoscopes...

Old tree...

     There was an old tree near the building where I used to work.  I saw it in the mornings, standing large and imposing in the field that was been cut bare around it, as if it was the sentry left to guard the forest behind it. It stood perhaps three stories tall, and almost as wide. If I tried to wrap my arms around the trunk, I would reach only a third of the girth alone.

     Some mornings it was shrouded in fog, as if wrapped in a blanket that was created before man walked the earth. Other mornings the bright rays of the rising sun seemed to dance in its topmost branches and leaves, making it look as if it is on fire.

     One morning I stopped and looked over at it and wondered what it has seen in the decades since it was first just a small seedling.

     It had survived deer that would have grazed on its tender leaves. As it grew, it probably fought for sunlight in the surrounding forest against the tall pines that reached to the sky, and the palmettos whose fronds fanned out to shade anything smaller beneath them.

     Storms would have come, hurricanes, now it stands tall and strong. Defiant. Not bent or deformed from the fury of the wind as some trees can be.

     I wondered about the Native American Indians that might have taken shelter under its branches, before the white man came and "civilized" the land. Maybe children had climbed up into its branches to hide or hunt. Generations of wildlife that lived in its branches.

     That old tree saw the forest around it cut down and plundered for wood, yet for some reason it was spared. It saw buildings go up at the military base that was built around it, and men who came to learn how to fly airplanes that would take them off to war. It heard Taps being played as some of those men came home again, in pine boxes perhaps from the forests nearby.

     I looked up into the branches of this magnificent life force as it stretched to the sky and wondered what it might think of the things it had seen and heard as it grew. How much pain it felt as the trees surrounding it were cut down, and whether or not it felt fear as the men approached near it. I wondered if it felt isolated and alone in the field by itself, or if the wind carries the thoughts of those in the woods nearby to comfort it. It had been able to grow as large as it did simply because it had been without trees to crowd it, but I wonder if it would have rather been a smaller tree and have enjoyed the company and support of the forest.

     Do we strive too much to isolate ourselves, to "branch out" on our own and leave the forest and go where we can "put down roots?" We may be successful in growing and stretching towards the sky, but when the strongest of winds come is it not more comforting and secure to feel the forest of our friends and family around us? Supporting us by intertwining roots to hold us in place when the storms threaten to uproot us? Perhaps there is a reason we cannot "see the forest for the trees." The forest works together for the benefit of all, not just the one.

     I walked to see that old tree one day, and put my hand to the trunk, listening for it to share its history with me. The wind blew and the branches and leaves rustled its secrets. I thanked it for its beauty, and for its survival as a testament to time.

     Old tree... I hope you outlive me.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Finding happiness...

     Happiness, comes with being satisfied with what we have and not coveting things we do not have. Whether this is in our households; our businesses or places of work; or with our family and friends, if we yearn for things we do not or cannot have then it will be difficult for us to find happiness.

    Whenever I have been happy with my life, my job, or family and friends, things have always just seemed to get better. Bigger. More. In considering why this would be so, I realized that when I stopped being dissatisfied with what I had and stopped yearning for something else, it was as if the wall of negativity I was creating in my thoughts of dissatisfaction suddenly crumbled.

     Practice this experiment one day. When you wake up in the morning decide that you are going to have a bad day. No matter what good things you might encounter, decide upon awakening that you aren't going to be happy. You refuse to smile or laugh, and will wear a frown or angry scowl all day. You will carry a cloud over you all day long and will refuse to say anything nice or positive to anyone you encounter. If someone says "Good Morning!" to you, your response will be "Oh yeah? What's so good about it?"

     Keep track that day of everything that goes wrong that isn't directly caused by you. Late trains, late flights, flat tires, broken elevators. A rainy day that gets you splashed all day by cars passing in puddles. A torn jacket, broken heel, or hole in your shoe. Late reports, lost papers, an impossible deadline. Sour cream at the coffee maker. Moldy cheese in your sandwich. The list could go on and on.

     Now consider that all these things, all this negativity, has been attracted to you because of your attitude alone. As if it were a magnet.

I just LOVE this face!

     The next day reverse the experiment. When you wake up in the morning decide that you are going to have an incredibly awesome day, the best day ever no matter what bad things you might encounter. You will smile and laugh at everything, carry a bright sun over you, and make rainbows out of anyone's rain cloud. When that negative person responds to your "Good Morning!" greeting with an ugly "Oh yeah?" tell them that it is a GREAT morning any time you wake up on this side of the dirt!

     Now keep track of all the good things that happen, and all the good things that happen because of an attempted negativity. A late arrival might have kept you from being in the accident that happened right when you would have been there if you had been on time. Climbing the stairs because of a broken elevator just gave you ten less minutes on the treadmill tonight. Torn jacket, broken heel, hole in your shoe? A great excuse to stop and buy that jacket or pair of shoes you saw on sale! Late report or lost papers? Time to review them and catch the mistake that would have embarrassed you or the company. Impossible deadline? An opportunity to prove to your boss that you are up to the challenge and score points for dependability that will help on your next promotion.

     At the end of the day when you are still wearing that smile on your face, look back and consider which was the better day and how many good things were attracted to you because you refused to let the negativity win. You repelled it instead of attracting it.

     You can take this lesson, this experiment, and use it anywhere in your life. Once you see how happiness attracts happiness, you will be astounded at all the good things that begin to flow towards you.

     Be happy!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mark 13:13

"13 Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved."

     Peer pressure can be daunting at times.  From our first day in school, we want so much to be "liked" by everyone... and to be "like" everyone.  No one wants to stand out or be different.  As a result, we often cave in to peer pressure... going along with what the majority says... or wants... afraid to speak up or speak out.  We look the other way or tell ourselves that "everyone else is doing it, why shouldn't we?"  We pretend we don't care... or that we do...

     Groupthink... another way of saying peer pressure in the work environment... has lead to disasters like the Challenger Space Shuttle explosion.  It has lead to changes in ethics, corporate social responsibility, and management techniques.  Whistleblower laws have been created to protect those who "stand firm to the end" in their convictions for truth and honesty at any cost.


Found on We Heart It

     When we have the courage to speak the truth... to not be swayed by what others think or believe... when we can stand firm to the end... we will be saved.  In the end, we will have only One who will judge us for the choices we made.

     Will you tell Him that you were afraid to speak up?  That you wanted to believe but you wanted to be liked more?  That "everyone else" was a non-believer and you didn't want to be different?

"46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness."
~ John 12:46 ~
 
 
     Be the light that does not go out.  Stand firm in your convictions and beliefs.  Fight for the truth.



We Heart It
 


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Housekeeping...

Saturday's child...

... works hard for a living.

     I was born a little after 1 a.m. on a Saturday.  At least in Illinois I was.  Had I been born farther west, I could have been born on a Friday.

Friday's child is loving and giving.

     My birth verse for a Saturday birthday is "Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." ~ 2 Corinthians 5:5 NIV ~

     But if I had been a Friday's child, it would have been "And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away."  ~ 1 Peter 5:4 NIV ~

     Regardless of which day I was born on, which time zone... I love the thought of a promise ~ a "deposit" ~  that guarantees what is to come... and a glory that will never fade away.  While working hard for a living is a fact of life for all of us these days... I know without a doubt that my reward in Heaven will be worth the labors of my body here on Earth, and that the house that is being built for me will be magnificent.

Heaven...
     Come and join me... the door is always open, and there is room for all...

Friday, November 11, 2011

K9 Veterans...


Hug a veteran today...
       Okay... so I'm a little biased and partial to dogs.  But the truth is that the Military Working Dogs have become a crucial part of survival in battles since WWI and possibly even before then.

     Dogs have served alongside soldiers to protect, defend, detect, and comfort.  They are probably the least known members of the military, but become part of a unit... a team... and prove again and again that they will sacrifice themselves to save their handlers and other unit members.

     As companions at home, our dogs become part of our families.  For some of us, they become our "kids."  In a war zone, however, dogs can be the bright side of a bad day.  The one thing that makes a soldier feel human again... something to connect with that reminds them of home.  At home, dogs are becoming a bigger part of therapy in helping wounded soldiers heal... emotionally and physically.

     Hug a veteran today... two or four legged... and tell them "Thank You.  Thank you for your service, thank you for your sacrifice, thank you for my freedoms."

     Say a prayer for those who gave their all... "God, every soldier takes their oath knowing they may be called upon to pay the ultimate sacrifice. Lord, we cannot repay this gift they give us.  Please hold them in Your loving arms and thank them for us, for all that they gave and all that those who come after them will give.  We ask for Your comforting touch and healing on those they left behind... their friends and loved ones.  We ask that there come a day when we will all rejoice together again, a day when there will be no more wars and no more death, only the peace that we find in Your love."


     Become a part of the healing process... volunteer.  Heart of Texas Therapy DogsPaws Across TexasTherapy Pet Pals of TexasFaithful Paws Pet Therapy of Houston.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Long weekends...

Thursday Travels... blog readers...


      Where in the world are you?

     I found a new statistic (yes, I can spell it, just can't say it fast ten times) on Blogger recently.  They track my "audience" by country.

     I was amazed.

     I didn't realize people outside of the United States even knew about my blog, but the stats say otherwise.

     This blog has been read in Russia, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Latvia, New Zealand, Argentina, United Kingdom, India, Austria, Netherlands, and the Philippines.

     So here is my question for today... Where in the world are you?  Please comment and tell me where you are and how you found me.  I'd love to hear about your "world."  I don't travel as much as I'd like to anymore, but I can still "imagine" the world through your words!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Who do you wish to have tea with?

Join me for a cup of tea?
     Who would I wish to have tea with?  The list is long... and so are the teas.  Not long ago I found a wonderful website ~ Cerra ~ and tried one of their tea infusions.  Oh. My. Goodness.  It was delicious!

     Each of their products are tied with an intention, as are their tea infusions.

     I wish to have a cup of Grounded tea with Mary, the mother of Jesus.  She was grounded in her faith in God and faced her challenges without fear, knowing that He would take care of her and His son.

     I wish to have a cup of Creative Energy tea with M. M. Kaye.  It was her book, The Far Pavilions, that turned my love of reading around into a love of writing.

     I wish to have a cup of Gratitude tea with my mom.  I am so grateful for our friendship, for her love, support and encouragement.

     I wish to have a cup of Loving Kindness tea with Mother Teresa.  She changed the world for so many with her love and kindness.

     I wish to have a cup of Courage tea with my friend, Lori, who continues to amaze me with her strength and courage in the face of tornadoes and raising her four grandchildren.

     I wish to have a cup of Wisdom tea with my father, who was always sharing his knowledge and wisdom with me, especially when it came to carpentry and home repairs.  Not that I need any advice on either anymore, but just to be able to sit and enjoy his company would overflow my heart.

     Finally, I wish to have a cup of Inspiration tea ... with you ... who inspire me to keep growing, to keep learning, to keep sharing and encouraging others in their daily walks.

     Who do you wish to have tea with?  Join us on Wishcasting Wednesdays with Jaime Ridler Studios.
  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I'll fly away...

     This morning I'm listening to the memorial service for my Uncle Ron that was held in October.  I wasn't able to attend, but in listening to the CD I can close my eyes and feel the love of family and friends around me as if I were there.

     At the end of the service, my cousin, Tim, his wife, Heather, and their two oldest children, Evan and Leia sang "I'll Fly Away."  It was so beautiful, and so uplifting.

Some glad morning when this life is o'er,
I'll fly away;
To a home on God's celestial shore,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).

Chorus
I'll fly away, fly away, Oh Glory
I'll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).

When the shadows of this life have gone,
I'll fly away;
Like a bird from prison bars has flown,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away)

Chorus
Oh. How glad and happy when we meet
I'll fly away
No more cold iron shackles on my feet
I'll fly away

Chorus

Just a few more weary days and then,
I'll fly away;
To a land where joy shall never end,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away)

Chorus

Image Credit


     What a wonderful promise we have been given.  A hope ... a love ... a peace.

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” 
~ John 14:1-4 ~