Thursday, October 28, 2010

Roses from Heaven

Mother was the last of her generation to leave this earth. For many years we had the only two surviving sisters, Aunt Lizzie and Aunt Eula, from our father's side. We affectionately dubbed them our “Golden Girls.” As often as we could we visited with them. They were always included in any and all family functions.

Aunt Lizzie and Eula Christmas Card 2007. They had so much fun doing these cards.

I would never describe them as sweet little old ladies. Stubborn, independent, spunky and strong willed would be more accurate. They were always great fun to be with. They could and would say whatever was on their mind ending with a smile and “honey.”

In their senior years they lived in the same apartment building. Aunt Lizzie was their chauffer. My husband blanched at the sight of their vehicle. “But I bought it new. It works just fine, honey.”

Aunt Eula being the younger always told on Aunt Lizzie. One day Eula pointed out to Lizzie she was driving the wrong way on a one way street. “That’s okay we are only going one way, honey.” They were stopped on many occasions by the Corinth Police. They could always give and win convincing argument. When scolded for not wearing a seat belt, she explained to the nice policeman, “My bosoms are just too large for those things, honey.” They drove on the same tags and inspection stickers for years. Up until they were persuaded to bless someone else with their car, the residents of Corinth and law officers, just made way for them.

Aunt Eula greeted me one day with greater excitement than usual. “This morning I got up without a dime to my name, but look what I got in the mail!” She waved a check in the air. “God will always provide, honey.” I asked what she was going to do with her windfall. “Well, I am gonna declare it a Eula day and priss myself downtown and get my nails done and shop.”

The girls were strong in their Pentecostal faith. In the last few years, Aunt Eula started an exercise program with a group from First Assembly. She for the first time in her life bought and wore a sporty pants suit. “It’s okay to wear britches, honey.” First Assembly folks have more fun. I like hanging with them.” Aunt Lizzie never budged.

The Golden Girls had affection for their pistols. One day out of the blue Aunt Eula explained she had lost her little finger in a firearms accident. “One day I hurriedly reached into my undie drawer where I kept my pistol and it went off taking my finger with it, honey.” I don’t know why she offered that explanation, but getting a raised eyebrow; I knew that was the end of that discussion. I noticed a hand written last wishes list in Aunt Lizzie’s Bible. The first item on the list was her pistol.

I remember another eyebrow raising event. This time it came from Aunt Lizzie. In their younger years, she and her husband lived and operated a business in downtown Memphis. The family home later became the historical home of the “Four Flames Restaurant.” They also owned and operated a successful service station.

A young man named Elvis was a frequent patron. They were obviously not impressed with him. His presence began to hinder business as he was flocked by screaming women, blocking customers from the gas pumps. He was asked to take his business elsewhere. I don’t know if the “honey” was dropped from the request or if Elvis simply ignored it. Fist flew among them. We only heard of this altercation through a nostalgia program on a Memphis radio station. When Aunt Lizzie was asked if this had happened, she just replied, “I didn’t say it didn’t happen, honey.” End of that discussion.

A friend and I had a facebook conversation yesterday about roses blooming so late this year. No one knew just how special these roses were to me. The Golden Girls and I had a conversation when I was very ill. We made a pact that whichever of us got to Heaven first would send a sign in the form of roses that we had made it. I was just not ready to share it.

Recently due to failing health, the Golden girls were separated. Aunt Eula was being cared for by family in Arkansas and Aunt Lizzie remained in Mississippi.

The Golden Girls were to celebrate their birthdays next month. Aunt Eula would turn 87 on November 8th and Aunt Lizzie, 95 on November 9th. Actually we are not clear about Aunt Lizzie’s age. She insists that she was not as old as her birth certificate declared.

Sadly we had to break the news to Aunt Lizzie that her beloved sister Eula had joined her brothers in heaven on October 16. As she sat in our living room, it was apparent her heart was broken beyond repair. Aunt Lizzie said, “I am the only one left.”

As we expected Aunt Lizzie’s health spiraled downward. From her hospital bed she told the doctor she wanted to go to sleep and not awake. She did just that. She went to sleep last night and awoke in heaven this morning. As grief stricken as we are, we rejoice that she and God could decide that together. Her family is complete in Heaven.

Scheduled to leave for California on Saturday, we discussed postponing the trip. I remembered a discussion from last night on God’s removing our sins as far as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12) East and west never meet; they go for eternity. We and our west coast family will have a special memorial for our beloved aunts. Roses are to be released in their honor into the ocean. As is the east is from the west, they will live and be remembered throughout eternity.

There are two rose bushes blooming in my yard today; one from each of them. Thanks girls for letting me know you are safely home!

2 Peter 3:13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.  Psalm116:15

Monday, October 25, 2010

Roberta's Billboard

As I was driving to a meeting early Saturday morning, I thought I saw a familiar vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.  A glimpse into my rear view mirror was confirmation.  It was in fact our friend Roberta on her way to Hebrew class.

My mirror reflected the bumper stickers covering Roberta's car. Those and her pro-life license plate are causes near and dear to her heart.  Thankfully, Roberta is an intercessory prayer warrior.  She is not ashamed to stand up for what she believes and bombard heaven for Divine intervention.

Dan and I hold the same conservative views.  He is much more outspoken about his convictions.  I am more introverted and do not like confrontation.  It is a stretch for me to display signs, a bumper sticker and pass out literature in our neighborhood.

With the upcoming elections, it is vitally important that we stand up for and support our positions.  It is a personal challenge for me.  I and this nation can no longer remain passive.  It is a time for faith to take action. It is not about political parties.  We vote for the candidate who best represents His values.

I have asked God to give me a portion of Roberta's and Dan's boldness.  Silence is permission. God help us to seek His face and stand up for Him and His children.

Please.  Seek God and vote!  It is a privilege and a responsibility.

Then the LORD answered me and said, "Record the vision And inscribe it on tablets, That the one who reads it may run. Habakkuk 2:2

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Smart Family of Four

     When we moved into our home, there were two unoccupied houses in the cul-de-sac. The one next door was newly constructed. We prayed that God would bless us and a special family with this house. As he often does, He showed up and showed out in a big way.

Family of Four Celebrating Fall!

     We have the sweetest, hard working and most fun loving family living next door. They are a young couple both in the medical field. They have two adorable children. Nothing makes our days sweeter than hearing the sounds of children laughing. It thankfully is a sound we hear often. Either mom or dad or all, are outside playing as often as possible.

Gotta love that bling!

     In a world gone crazy, we are grateful for loving parents as is in this family of four. No doubt their children will be well equipped to not only function but serve this world well.

     We thank God for the joy of this family. We pray God will bless them as fully as their presence is a blessing to this community

Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, O Sovereign LORD, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever."

2 Samuel 7:29 (NIV)


Tuesday, October 19, 2010


This week has had too much stress and sadness. (Blog to follow)  I thought we could all use a little humor!

Why God gave us sunglasses.

My eyes NEVER leave the road....

Really, really!

It makes Nana smile........

'Cause I am cute like Daddy....

Pre-teen forced into public with parents AND grandparents...

Just 'cause I am totally cool....

Going public with naked face minus coffee....

And then there are days you  just feel like a DOG!

In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see
Isaiah 29:18


Friday, October 15, 2010

Forever in Blue Jeans

Several years ago Gail and I were new employees at a major brokerage firm. As the new kids on the block and both having “funny” names, we became fast friends. On the surface, it would appear that it were the only things we had in common.

I was a single mom of two, one just an infant. Scared to death and forced into survival mode, there wasn’t time to cope with depression, anxiety, feelings of worthlessness and abandonment. Yes! I was a total wreck. Looking back I recognize friends, heavenly angels unaware sent by God, helped me through. Some things in life seem too devastating to get over, but by God’s grace you can make it through. One poor choice can impact the rest of your life. Like most of us, I have made many. It is difficult to fly with broken wings. Encouraging friends can help you regain your strength, make better choices and take flight.

Gail was a newly wed with the world her oyster. Or so it would seem. She confided in me she had met, fell in love with and married someone she thought was a middle class serviceman. He simply said his family owned a rubber business back east. On her first visit to the in-laws home she found the family business was actually an empire. The expected middle class home turned out to be an estate. In her shock she fixated on the huge mail box at the gate. Many questions were spinning through her head, “What else do I not know about this person I married?” “Why did he not trust me?” “Can I trust him?” Her mind kept wondering back to mail box. “Who needs a mail box of this size?” Even in the midst of storms, God seems to throw in a lifeline of humor.

The young groom wanted assurance his bride was in love with him and not his wealth. Of course, many of us might say we would love to have this kind of surprise. As Gail and I discussed many times, every port of refuge has its price. Relationships are based on mutual trust and respect. Once that bond has been broken it can be difficult if not impossible to restore.

While it offered little consolation for his behavior, Gail soon learned why her husband was so cautious. “People I have known forever treat me differently now. I am the same person. I don’t understand. Either people expect me to snub them or people that didn’t care for me before suddenly do.” As is marriage there were other issues to be conquered, but genuine love and commitment won out.

Gail gave birth to two beautiful children and became a stay at home mom. I, again with the Grace of God, continued in the brokerage business for over 25 years. I was blessed to pass the General Securities Representative Stockbroker, National Commodities and Futures and state licensing exams. These were obtained by self study. I did not have the usual in dept training needed, but it did allow me to receive commissions and bonuses. I did wear out co-workers with many questions. I am so grateful for the favor of God’s provision through those years. Neurological and other issues prevent my continuing in this field. God is blessing me in different ways now. I appreciate my life today even more. Any and all things are by the Grace of God and His favor; nothing on our own.

Baby's treat from my Baby! He knows me well!

As Gail and I commuted to work one day, Neil Diamond’s song “Forever in Blue Jeans” came on the radio. “I will always think of you when I hear this song, Linda.” I hadn’t thought about or heard this song in years until this week. After all of these years it brings a smile to my face.

Forever In Blue Jeans Lyrics by Neil Diamond (in part)

Money talks

But it don't sing and dance

And it don't walk

And long as I can have you
Here with me, I'd much rather be

Forever in blue jeans

Honey's sweet

But it ain't nothin' next to baby's treat

And if you pardon me

I'd like to say

We'll do okay

Forever in blue jeans

And if you pardon me

I'd like to say

We'll do okay

Forever in blue jeans, babe

And long as I can have you

Here with me I'd much rather be

Forever in blue jeans, babe

The Bible talks of “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of any enemy are deceitful.”(Proverbs 27:6) A friend is always honest and faithful. A friend is one that when you are struggling with clinical depression, will look you in the eye, shake you by the shoulders and remind you, “The day you were born was a great day.” The same friend will tell you to get over yourself when you get too big for your britches! I’ll have to admit I did not make things easy for them. I have a life long habit to break of hiding out when I am wounded; even from those very few individuals who really know me.

In an effort to keep my children from feeling badly about my not having birthday gifts for myself, I led them to believe it wasn’t a big deal. There was seldom enough money for such frivolity. I genuinely loved the paper clip and contact paper necklace made by my son. He insisted I wear it to work everyday, to look “priddy mommy.” I did so proudly. I still have my daughter’s gift; her tiny hands on construction paper signed with backward letters. Those gifts will always be treasured by this mother’s heart. There are truly some things that money cannot buy.

However, now that you kids are on your own and successful, I can now confess. It is my birthday! It is a very big deal to me. It is a great day! It is okay to ante up and let’s celebrate!

For it was not an enemy that reproached me;then I could have borne it:
neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me
then I would have hid myself from him:  but it was thou, a man mine equal,
my guide, and mine acquaintance. 

we took sweet counsel together,
and walked unto the house of God in company.
Psalm 55: 12, 13, 14

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Connor’s Prayer

      I received a wish list from grandchildren this week. Knowing their different personalities, most of the items listed were expected - except Connor's.

Connor June 2010

      Connor will celebrate his seventh birthday on December 1. He was the first born son in his family. His two older sisters Haley and Megan adoringly treated him like a new toy. He was their favorite baby doll and dress up friend. His father came home one night to find him dressed in a pink tutu. Speechless dad turned and retreated.

Haley and Megan playing with "Baby Doll Connor"

     Even the arrival of younger brother Joshua did not ease Connor’s mind. He constantly expresses his fear of being outnumbered by the girls. When he heard there was another sibling expected, he bombarded heaven for a brother. Even though his prayer was unanswered he was still happy when God sent baby Lily.

Connor, Haley, Lily, Megan, Joshua Christmas 2008
Still all smiles!

     Connor’s wish list consisted simply of cotton candy and a baby brother. His mom told him to continue to speak to God. No doubt he will do exactly that!

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14

Monday, October 11, 2010

Our House

Our house

      As friends gathered in our house this week, we silently offered a prayer of thanks for each of them. We both realize how blessed we are to have so many awesome friends. There is such a wonderful array of gifts and talents among them. We are truly honored to have them in our lives.

      Their situations in life are just as diverse as their gifts. Some are happily celebrating new beginnings, others struggling with pain and trials in their life. As much as we rejoice in the good times in the lives of our friends, we grieve with them in the difficult times. They too are a comfort and challenge to us.

      If we had the power to bring peace into their lives we would happily oblige. We obviously cannot but we do have a Savior that can. Our Heavenly Father longs to hold us. He is always a safe tower. Even when we only see pain and disappointment in our lives, He knows what great plans He has in store for us. As much as we love having friends in our house, He invites us to His home.

      My prayer for all of us today is to run into the strong shelter of His arms; trust Him that He will never leave or forsake us.

His home!

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10

Friday, October 8, 2010


     Last weekend Dan decided he would like to head out for the Current River and spend the day hiking. One thing is for sure, whatever else you may think of her, Arkansas is a beautiful state. We were surprised at the sudden change in temperature. We left home with warm sunny skies and arrived at the river to find cooler grey skies.

     Just as everyone else on the river, we decided to make the best of it. We pulled out our emergency jackets and headed out. We waved and chatted with fellow river rats as they floated or canoed wrapped in blankets and any other cover they could find. When it got too cool and breezy, we stopped for a bite to eat. (Well, as good an excuse as any.) After lunch the weather had changed back to sunny skies. Before we knew it, the sun was beginning to set.

     Unlike my husband, I do not adjust to changes well. We have undergone, for us, major changes this year. The very painful decision was made to leave a church family and ministries we love dearly. God doesn’t change our missions in life, but He does change the venue. He doesn’t generally ask us to give up things we dislike. I mean really, not even I would complain about that. He calls us to trust and obey Him. Just as children are, we don’t always understand that He does know what is best.

     Just as the sudden changes in the weather, there are spiritual seasons of our lives as well. Just as suddenly as the storms arrive, the Son breaks through. Thankfully, He sees the big picture. Paul said, “What I hate I am.” It was a surprise to us to discover we had become the complacent and comfortable we were often critical of. God has enlarged our area of ministry outside of the church building. He once again reminds us, we are the church. The building is just a meeting place.

      We do not claim to have all the answers. Nor do we believe one denomination holds them. God just tells us when we seek Him we will find Him. He is just as omnipresent on the river as He is in a building. We are the ones who build the walls that separate us from His fullness

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me... and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23