Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Unfriendly Skies"

      We   returned this weekend from a much anticipated vacation with family.  Unfortunately, thanks to the "unfriendly skies" of Delta Airlines, almost two days were stripped away.  Our son along with his wife and five children were to make a connecting flight out of Dallas at Memphis.  Being consumer hostile rather than friendly, the flight out of Dallas was delayed and boarding was denied at Memphis International.  I said denied.  The plane was still at the gate but the attendant refused boarding as the gate had been closed.  The only option offered was a flight seven hours later and $6.00 meal tickets. Diapers were supplied at a cost to parents of $3.00 each. On the later flight, the children were separated from the parents and dispersed throughout the plane among strangers.   

Connor's Mega Meal!
      The family finally arrived at the Orlando airport after midnight, without luggage!  After much checking and more delays, it was discovered part of the luggage including a necessary child restraint had been sent to Germany.  I can see how they could easily confuse the two destinations!!  Really??! We finally settled in at the house around 2:00 am.   Part of the luggage arrived at the house around mid-afternoon the following day.

      Still we had a wonderful though exhausting time at Disney.  The stress and frustration with the airline gave way to shrieks of joy and excitement from the grandchildren.   Even with rainfall the first day out, it was still Disney.

On the return flight the saga of the dysfunctional travelers continued. Upon check in the airline could only produce one boarding pass for daughter in law Becky.  Even with receipts and confirmations, they could or would not guarantee seats for the remaining family members.  So, did they expect a mother to fly off and leave her babies in the trustworthy hands of Delta? I don't think so.

     Finally, one among dozens of indifferent Delta employees offered us compassion and competency.  Very quickly he issued boarding passes with the entire family seated together. He was not assigned to this gate but discovered in passing that it was not staffed.  With our plane scheduled to depart in minutes, he realized there were passengers stranded on the arriving plane without staff to let them off.  Do you think Delta has it together?  Dan tried to get this employees name to write a letter of commendation.  But, understandably Delta employees provide first names only.

     Thankfully the entire family finally arrived home together absent a car seat floating about somewhere in Germany.  With our experience with Delta, that in and of itself is a miracle!


    We were so exasperated at one point; Dan questioned why God was not answering our prayers.  In retrospect, perhaps He was. Who knows?  Without Divine intervention, our grandchildren might very well be lost in a foreign country!

Psalm 17:6-8 I call to you for you will answer me, O God Listen to me! Hear what I say! Accomplish awesome, faithful deeds, you who powerfully deliver those who look to you for protection from their enemies. Protect me as you would protect the pupil of your eye! Hide me in the shadow of your wings!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fathers and Days

Dad and Mom Early Years

     Fathers’ Day weekend is soon approaching us. The Lord willing we will be spending it with children and grandchildren. We have planned and looked forward to this time together for months. Too many days pass between visits with the loves of our lives; children and grandchildren.

Son Michael, Grandson Connor, Napping Papa!
     Special days as these often bring ambivalent feelings our way. My father left this earth far too early for my liking but apparently not soon enough for his Heavenly Father. Daddy was neither a perfect man nor a perfect father by any means. He was human and flawed as we all are. He did not leave a legacy of monetary wealth.

     He did leave behind a valued gift in a letter. It was slipped into my suitcase as I packed to strike out on my own at the tender age of 18. In it he expresses his sorrow, in his mind, at his failure as a father. He also expresses his love for me and blessings for my future. It was his prayer that I forgive him of his shortcomings and understand that he loved me dearly and prayed for a rich Godly life for me. As the days pass, the letter grows in meaning as I come to understand more fully. It is tattered and worn from the many times I have read and re-read it. With each reading I gain newer understanding and appreciation of parenting.

                                                              Son in law Neil with sons
                                                                     Riley and Sully

     As I observe my children interacting with theirs, my heart grows tender. They all, in- laws included, are such wonderful parents. I am so very proud of them as I am of the spouses God sent them. It is those times when I observe them with their children; I am reminded of Daddy’s letter. We see both our successes and failures as parents within our children.

Michael watching over his
children at play
     I miss my Daddy and realize more each day that he did the very best he knew. Regretfully, we often relate to our parents as children rather than as adults. Our behavior can be hurtful and childish. My prayer has become that of my Father’s. Through him, I have learned the value of forgiveness and learning and gaining wisdom in our mistakes. Finally, I have come to a place of peace and acceptance that we can only do our best and trust God for the rest.  Forgiveness; a wonderful legacy from a father!

Papa and grandsons
Connor and Joshua

     The following quote was chosen recently for friend’s memorial. While the author is unknown, I wonder if it also was slipped quietly to a father's child.

“No matter who your father is or was,

Whether a great man or someone who

Left a lot be desired,
There is something in him that you can

Learn from, something that will make you
A better person”

Author Unknown

                     Happy Father’s Day!

Proverbs 1:8-9 ESV Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, (9) for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


      O n occasion Dan and I take what we call mini vacations. Recently we decided to let the grass grow and the dusts settle as it may. Just for a day, all chores and responsibilities were put aside. We hiked, picnicked and just spent a leisure day together.

      Then I spotted it; a stack of firewood. For very obvious reasons, Dan was puzzled why I was laughing so hard at cut up trees. Probably this is one of those stories where you would have just had to have been there.

      What he did not know was my mind was carrying me back to Dallas years ago. It was one of our first of many trips to the city. The children and a couple of sisters were touring the sites and sounds of the city. We were having fun and just enjoying being together. I have a particular fascination for architectural design. In the Dallas area, there is much to admire.

      Like most Little Rednecks as brother in law Mike calls us, we were excited over many things. (By the way “BIL”, at my stage in life I am happy to be called most anything preceded by “Little!") All of a sudden our youngest sister points and shouts, “Look!” As we all eagerly turned to see what new beautiful structure was attracting her attention, she says, “Firewood!” What??? Dead silence; then hysterical laughter.

      To answer the question that undoubtedly popped into your mind. No. None of us are blonde. We do lay claim to platinum over the last few years though. Well, I did say you probably would have had to have been there to appreciate the humor!  Thankfully, that is one thing that is not lacking in our family!

Proverbs 15:13 - "A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit." (NIV)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


                                                        Sully and Riley
                                                      The Birthday Boys!

Last week brought a joyous day filled with precious grandsons and Mom and Dad.  It was truly a "Nanabration" for me!  Sully's first birthday was last month and Riley's fourth this week.  So, a special celebration day was in order.  We went to the Pink Palace Museum, lunch and ice cream. 

Riley asked if I had ever been to Toys R Us.  "Not with you, Riley", I replied.  "Well, that just makes me angry!" he says.  As you can well imagine, Toys R Us was our next stop. Dare devil Sully loved the scooter.  Much to Mom's distress, we had a great time riding it around the store!  Until.......a shiny red car caught their eye.  

It took a little convincing from Mom it could not be driven home.  With a simple phrase spoken, "Dad will fix it for you when we get home" they were confident it would be so! 

Good job Mom and Dad!


Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Privileged Life

Many of my “Sisters” have attended the Casting for Recovery retreat at the world renowned Gaston’s White River Resort in Lakeview, Arkansas. Their enthusiasm for the trip has not waned. At our last support meeting one sister revealed that she had just received a call but had to decline. I was “encouraged” to call back in her place. Actually they picked up the phoned, dialed the number and said, “TALK." I will forever be grateful.

Only fourteen are selected by lottery for this annual event. For the last two years I had been placed on the alternate list. You know; just like Miss America. If a person is unable to attend, you may be selected to take their place. Happily I received a call three days prior to the event.

At our first group gathering we were asked to introduce and describe ourselves with one word beginning with the first letter of our name. This simple exercise allowed the walls to fall creating life long friendships.

Our fortunate fourteen were, Happy Heidi, Merry Marilyn, Karing Kermie, Looney Linda, Guilty but Grateful Gloria, Sensational Sandy, Just Plain Jane, Just as I AM Janice, Joyful Jackie, Grateful Gwen, Willing Wilma, Be Bonnie, Menopausal Mary, and my personal favorite, Living Laura!

Sister Maurice a nun of 65 years attends every event but chooses to remain in seclusion and intercede for everyone around the clock. She says she is God’s girl and just nags Him until He gives her what she wants! Other than her friend Sister Carol Anne, few have ever seen her. This is only one example of the love poured over us for three days.

Most of us had never been cold water fishing before. Upon arrival we were fitted with full gear; waders, vest, boots, fishing tackle, and most importantly, lipstick! I mean really, we are Southern ladies after all! Our Retreat Leader, Emily Whitlock says the fish like it and can be helpful getting fisherman to lend a hand with bait! Just one reason we love this special lady!

Along with emotional, physical and spiritual workshops we were given instruction in casting, knot tying, lure making and what fish like to eat. Sister Carol Anne Corley played an Oscar winning role as Emily’s baited fish. There were mounds of food mostly made by loving hands of the hostesses.

At one point our group was split for different events.  As seven women began to exit the lodge, one screamed, "SNAKE!" Comically it was like a freeway pile up as the door was slammed shut and women came to an abrupt halt.  It was a harmless black snake and with Sister Maurice's prayer, hopefully survived this traumatic event.

As the BIG day on Sunday approached I was a bit apprehensive. As predicted, the previous two days were just a preview. We each had our personal professional guides. The dam was shut down just for us. The water was clear and cold; the sky a perfect blue, the temperature was in the 80s with a mild breeze. I would say it was a very good indication that Sister Maurice is indeed, God’s girl!

The fishing guides, some local, others world renowned were so patient and just down right fun! I even reeled in several rainbow trout by myself. Beginners luck no doubt. As this was a catch and release sport, my personal guide, Clint, a Memphis transplant as myself, did this for me! I just commented on how cute they were. In spite of the lipstick, perfume and earrings, don’t you know they have to volunteer for these events out of love!

The three hours of fly fishing flew by. Our guides accompanied us to brunch at the restaurant. Even after putting up with novice fisherwomen for three hours, they continued to shower us with gifts.

This is just a very brief account of my personal experience. Professional photos are to be sent to us at a later date.  No doubt the guides will want to edit them! Participants have written books and produced song albums about theirs. It is just too awesome for words. I would say it is a preview of what heaven must be like.
There was much hugging, laughter, squeals and tears. As Laura so simply stated, life is a privilege!

Laura and I practicing casting ....uhh.... wrapping ourselves with fishing line.....

 “Cast your bread upon the water, and you will find it.” 
                Eccl. 11:1