Sunday, May 30, 2010

Papa's Got a New Ride!

          Since Dan spends more time in his vehicle than his own bed, we decided it was time for a more comfortable ride. I will hasten to add that forgetting to shift gears had nothing to do with this decision. Formerly in the automobile industry, he is privy to some inside info. At least the salesperson leaves him with that impression.

Negotiating stance!

           When it comes to car shopping Dan knows what he wants and nothing else will do. Fortunately we do not trade vehicles often. When Dan is in the market, we shop for weeks on end. Finally he decided it was time to strike. He declared he would be making a purchase on Friday. I did not know if we would be traveling to Little Rock or Memphis on this venture.

          Keep in mind when Dan changed from white crisply starched shirts to actually wearing light blue ones, it was a life changing event. He was still adamant about driving white cars only.

          Little Rock had the audacity not to have his color choice, so we were off to Memphis. The game was on. I chose to stow away in the waiting room during the intense negotiations. I can’t handle the speed, so I just stay off the track.

          Giving instructions to be summoned after a truce had been made; I retreated behind the safety of a book. Several hours later, Dan came for me. He was ready to leave the table. As we headed for the door, the sales manager decided he would meet all his terms.

          When we finally headed toward the exit with keys in hand, I was sure the drama was over. Not so. Dan had decided to take a walk on the wild side and bought a silver vehicle!

          Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19

          English Standard Version

Friday, May 28, 2010

Purple Petunias


      Our Bible study group has been doing “Women of the Bible” by Jean E. Syswerda. Last week we looked at Jael. She was the feisty lady who drove a tent peg through the skull of an enemy of Israel bringing about forty years of peace. Even with this seemingly brutal act, the Lord never looked upon her other than a lady. His lady!

      As you can imagine, the discussion times can be very interesting. One of the questions was, “What impossible things has He accomplished in your life?” There was a particularly unique answer.

       Karon said she had always loved and wanted to grow Purple Petunias in her yard. She planted and replanted only to have them wither and die away. Karon prayed, “Lord, I just want one purple petunia to grow in my yard.” As winter approached, Karon noticed a green plant growing at the end of her driveway. It flourished all winter and in the spring bloomed; you guessed it, purple petunias! She did not realize that these plants do not live in the winter months!

      It is a beautiful story of our Father’s love for a daughter. The smallest desires of our hearts are monumental to Him. Just like God, in the winters of our lives, often without our realizing it, He is growing us to be a witness to His love and mercy. Should we be surprised that Petunias are also called Morning Glory?

      Be reminded guys and gals! God loves His ladies!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. II Corinthians 1: 3-4

Thursday, May 27, 2010


      I had a list of things I had planned to accomplish today. Then life happened and rescheduled my day. I did manage to get a set of documents we had been working on for weeks off in the mail. A little weeding was done. It is a job I am not fond of but a necessary evil to keep the house from looking like the Addams family residence.

      Thankfully I don’t stress like I use too, but  today I found myself growing more and more anxious as the day seemed to rebel against me. Our dear friend Becky, as always was a good sounding board when I had my crazy moment. Upon arriving home, I found a voice message from another friend, just calling to say we were missed and loved. The day began to reshape. I once again was reminded, when you awake not feeling well, stop. It makes for a more peaceful and productive day.

     So, like a good Southern girl, we resorted to comfort food. On a recent visit to the country sister in law Ruthie gave us several bags of breaded okra. Dan loves fried okra but we try to avoid fried foods.

     Tonight we fell off the wagon and had a Southern Soul Food Comfort dinner of fried okra, fried green tomatoes and steak. Even with my cooking, we decided it was the best okra ever. Thanks Ruthie!

               I said we should perhaps consider purchasing a Fry Daddy for these occasional grease binges. Dan said, “A Fry Baby or a Fry Momma is okay. Fry Daddy, no way. Daddy doesn’t fry!” Any day that ends with a smile, is a good day!

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  Philipians 4:6

Friday, May 21, 2010

Two and A Quarter Dogs

Things have been deafeningly quite at our house the last few days. Normally our back yard is filled to overflowing with commotion from our Two and A Quarter Dogs.


On a cool November day near our lake house, we happened upon Angel injured and abandoned. She quickly became a loyal member of our family. I had previously shared a dream of God sending an Angel to Dan. Being part lab, Angel chewed everything, even air conditioning units leaving Dan to wonder if I had heard the name “Devil” not Angel. Just as all things do, she grew and passed through this phase.

Angel and Taco

A few years ago we inherited my mother in law's Chihuahua, Taco. He was a gift from father in law Neil to wife Mary. After Mary passed away, Taco meant even more to Neil. When Taco went to visit Neil at the nursing home, his face would light up. The older he gets, he seems to get more spunky and comical. And yes, he is our Quarter Dog. And compared to the other two, just barely that.

Last summer son Michael brought our German shepherd Grand Dog, Sarah to live with us. Sarah was a part of our family before the arrival of grandchildren. Living fifteen plus years, she was in ailing health and grieving over the loss of her long time companion, a Rottweiler named Bo. Unexpectedly, there were major territorial issues at the beginning. Further surprising, typically the sweet non-aggressive personality Sarah claimed her place as head of the pack.

One day, Angel was trying her best to engage Sarah in a game of catch. Angel would run up and drop the ball and race away. Sarah just looked at her like, “Hey man, it is YOUR ball.” Even when Angel dropped the ball right under her nose, she just looked at her and lay back down.

When Taco became just too annoying, Sarah would just simply place her relatively massive paw compared to Taco’s size, over him which held him firmly in place until he calmed down.

Sarah was not a fan of thunder storms. Her first stormy night with us, Sarah, frightened lay in front of Taco and Angel’s kennel rather than taking safety in her own. Amazingly, the turf war came to a halt as Taco and Angel both left the security of their beds and lay on either side of Sarah to comfort her.

The last few weeks Sarah’s health took a sudden downward spiral. It was decided it was time to let her go and she slipped peacefully away in my lap. We love our other pets and they possess special personalities. Sarah however was uniquely sweet and loving. You might even call her high maintenance as she craved and gave constant affection.

                           "Okay which one of you broke the light?" "What light?!"

We miss her greatly and so do her best friends Taco and Angel. They have been still and quite since Sarah’s passing. They are grieving as we are in their own way for their friend.

I was awakened by a storm this week, and my first thought was to check on Sarah. Then I realized with mixed emotion, she would never be afraid or hurt again.

What a peace and joy to know we all have that promise!

In my Father’s house there are many mansions. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” [Jn. 14:2]

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Old People Smell

I have heard if you hear the same thing several times, perhaps the Lord is trying to tell you something. Lately I have heard a lot about "Old People Smell". I have heard the expression at least enough to make me paranoid. Well, a BIT more anyway!

My sister in law vacuums and dusts her home every morning. (Everyone that thinks this is an illness shout "911".) She declares that to actually be clean and not just looking it, everything must be shiny. I hate to say that seldom will you be blinded by glare in our household!

In the midst of a paranoid cleaning frenzy Dan calls to say his brother was on his way. A visit from Alan is always welcomed but I was not prepared for unexpected guests. Everyone knows to clean a mess you have to first make a mess, right? Upon arrival Alan asked shivering why we had the ceiling fans turned up so high. We jokingly replied (kind of) we were dusting. Since he failed to understand the humor, I am guessing his house doesn't have an old people smell.

After dangling from a ladder cleaning ceiling fans, Murphy soap for wood, then furniture polish, Windex for glass surfaces, SOS, Pine Sol and Bleach wipes for other surfaces, moving all the furniture to vacuum underneath, the thought crept into my mind. What if the smell is actually from too much clean? Oh let me dream for a while!

We find that family and friends are perfectly at home in our not always so shiny home. And that is a greater blessing. Or maybe, their houses smell like old people too?

Acts 9
(28) And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean. (35) but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right, is welcome to Him.”

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Rockin' Momma

Lawrence and Mom Dancing
Michael and Becky's Wedding
November 4, 1995

While the picture is no longer clear, the joyous memory of this evening is vivid.  This snapshot was taken at son Michael's wedding to his bride Becky. Accustomed to Southern Baptist nuptials, Mom was certain they were not really married at the end of their exchanging of vows.  

Mother's take on her Southern Baptist doctrine was you don't dance, drink, swear or hang around folks that do. The Catholic reception that followed was really a new experience.  Once the cake had been cut she donned her coat set to call it an evening.  Not so fast!  The disc jockey put on Aretha Franklin's "RESPECT" and one of the groomsmen, Lawrence scooped her up and spun her around the dance floor. She, even with photographic proof of her in a champagne toast, giggling she adamantly denied this occurred. Oddly, this photo disappeared.

We were recently reminiscing about how this night was one of the happiest in her life.  We seldom have seen her so happy and full of laughter.

Parents and children's relationships can be painful and complicated at times.  With grandchildren, it seems God gives a do over in life.  Imperfect as they are as human beings, children always miraculously produce the most perfect, smart and beautiful grandchildren ever.  Apparently, a grandchild holds the power to convert a protestant at the drop of a tune.

As a proud grandmother, I can certainly respect that!

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness.  Psalm 30:11

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Just Like Home

     Last winter Dan felt a sense of urgency in connecting with his childhood friends. The agreed meeting time was this past weekend at one of our favorite places, Petit Jean Mountain. She is outranked only by the presence of children and children's children!

              Typically I am an extreme introvert and uncomfortable in unfamiliar environments.  I was uneasy about this trip. What could I possibly talk about with folks I had little or no history with? Would they resent my being there?  Would my presence be a hindrance in their freely sharing memories with each other? Another curve ball was thrown when Dan was summoned to a mandatory company meeting on Saturday leaving me alone for several hours. I reasoned, since it is one of my favorite things to do, I could spend the time hiking our beloved mountain. As it turns out, there was only time for a very brief walk.

            Even absent of make up and flat iron for my curling hair in tornadic weather conditions, I immediately felt a part of this closely knit group. Friends and spouses alike were genuinely excited and happy to see each other.  They are loving folks with quick wit and deep moral fiber.  There was a general consensus each had a reverent fear of their parents.  Not a fear of punishment, but of disappointing those held dear to their hearts. Clearly a mutual love and respect for parents and each other still remains.

          Their tales of "rowdiness" consisted of riding their bicycles past time for church services. This caused such alarm, a search party was dispatched. Another told of packing into one vehicle and test driving the newly constructed interstate. It was truly a more innocent time.  Those were the days when things were black and white. There was a very distinct line between right and wrong.  A time when children played outside from sunrise until the street lights came on without concern.  The community was a family unit.
           When Dan and I met, it was like coming home. True love and respect is just that. Home is a place you can let your hair down or take it off.  At home you can wear those cut off jeans and t-shirts you had in junior high and still feel like the king or queen of the manor!  It really should have not been such a surprise to love these friends. Just as with Dan and I, this group was like coming home.

          This group of friends recognizes what a unique and rich blessing they possess.  No doubt they will forever hold a reverent fear of each other!

He that is a friend loveth at all times: and a brother (sister) is proved in distress. Proverbs 17:17

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Name is Jimmy

     Often times I find myself thoroughly frustrated with the lack of common courtesy and customer service these days. So many times cashiers will dispatch an employee to help load packages, etc. When and if one shows up they can be surly and resentful.  Not so with a young man I had the pleasure of befriending at a local retailer

     Jimmy was busy retrieving shopping carts across the parking lot when he spotted me struggling with my purchase. He raced over calling, “Stay right there Ma'am and I will help you.” I expressed my appreciation at his attitude. A broad smile came across his face as he pointed to his name tag. “My name is Jimmy. Anytime you need me, just call for me and I’ll be there.”


     Society may label the “Jimmies” of the world as developmentally delayed, but their hearts are anything but. I have other friends and heroes. Stevie always warmly greets me at the grocery and “Boots” at the garden center. They almost take offense if you decline their offers of assistance. All three take such joy in serving others.

     So, who is truly handicapped? Those of us who are “normal” could learn much from these truly special folks. Their minds may be considered simple but they possess pure love and devotion to all they meet. They are indeed special folks with a message and a challenge for us that are not quite as special as they!

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” 1st Corinthians 1:27 NIV