Sunday, June 26, 2011

Suzanne’s Formosa Tree

Several years ago I attended a women’s retreat. As an ice breaker, we were each asked to think of and describe a tree that stood out in our childhood memories. I watched as a smile crossed all the ladies faces as they reminisced about their special tree. A very large oak tree immediately came into my memory as a favored tree.

One very special story was told by Suzanne. She grew up in Southern Mississippi. I don’t know anyone that would not give Suzanne a perfect score on the Southern Belle scale. She is all that and a bag of chips!

Formosa Tree Flower

Suzanne told of her favorite tree. Hers was a large Formosa tree. The Formosa tree I have learned is really a Mimosa tree from China. She told of how she would climb high in the branches of her tree, day dream, and make bracelets out of the Formosa flowers while she kept a sharp lookout for signs of her father’s approach.

We have a very large beautiful Formosa tree in our neighborhood. After all of these years, every time I see a Formosa tree I think of Suzanne’s sweet story and smile.

It is true that we may never know of the impression we leave on another’s life. I do believe each person crosses our path for a reason and a season. Shortly after this retreat, Suzanne had a terrible accident. As a treat for one of her son’s birthdays, she and the family went horse back riding. The horse Suzanne was riding was spooked and fell on her breaking her pelvis. She was not expected to fully recover. Even through immense pain and therapy she in true Southern Belle style recovered much more quickly than ever expected. And, I might add, with lipstick always on hand.

Suzanne lives in another state now. Through the gift of Facebook, I sent her a picture of our neighborhood Formosa tree. Another friend Sandra saw the post and also remembers a Formosa tree from her childhood. Her memory was not as pleasant. She remembering having to clean up those lovely flowers Suzanne made bracelets with! It, to her, was not a fond memory.

And so it is. Different memories evoke different emotions for different folks. Some of us have precious sweet childhood memories, other of us not so many. In the midst of childhood melancholy or joy, God provided us with trees to sweeten our memories. Strong limbs to cradle and shelter us as we dreamed. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for your gift of and on the tree.

For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and [that] spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. Jeremiah 17:8

Thursday, June 9, 2011


It seems there are ever changing rules for airport security. While we welcome necessary precautions in keeping our skies safe, preparing for a trip can be tedious. One such requirement is the amount of liquids which can be carried on board. These items no more in three ounce sizes in a clear plastic bag no larger than quart size must be presented for inspection. I have witnessed travelers aghast at having to discard expensive cosmetics. As if the thought of travelling with a naked face was not stressful enough!

airport security1 New Airline Restrictions from TSA, What You Need to Know

We have a small box in the bottom of our linen closet. As we collect them, we toss travel size toiletries into it. I began our stash over a year ago as we prepared for a trip to Florida. I have rummaged through this box untold number of times since either adding or retrieving items.

Last summer Dan’s glasses came up missing. We have searched high and low for them. We finally concluded we had left them in the Florida rent home. That was the last time he could remember having them. After a year long search, he conceded to getting new ones.

Today I for the umpteenth time was rummaging through our travel stash. My eye caught something unusual in the bottom of the box. As I removed the box from the closet I realized it was the missing glasses. The ones we replaced last week.  How they were stashed away and undiscovered for so long will most likely remain a mystery.

I could not wait to call Dan. I asked him to take a wild guess as to what lost item I had uncovered. These finds are fairly commonplace in our household. This item, however, was an expensive one which had prompted hours of endless searching. Of course we both had a good laugh as he immediately guessed the glasses.

There is always a bright side to things. Dan now has an extra set of glasses for emergencies. They were not found inside of the refrigerator-- a common successful end to a search in our home.

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. John 6:39

Friday, June 3, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

Memorial Day weekend, Dan and I took a concealed weapons class. The trainer, Keith, a State Police Officer himself, was recommended by the Jonesboro Police Department. Keith asked how much experience we had with fire arms. Thankfully, our response did not scare him off. “Well, we have actually never loaded our guns.” He didn't exactly laugh out loud.

The inside class was most informative but oh so very long and dry. The best and most fun part was the actual firearms training. We have a newly acquired interest in the sport of target practice. Who knew, right?

Keith did have some dumbest criminal stories to tell us. Inquiring about outstanding warrants is part of the interview and certification process. He has actually made arrests when students affirm they have outstanding warrants. It is further incentive for law abiding citizens to take concealed weapons classes. Obviously the criminals are!

 On Memorial Day friends gathered for a cookout. In spite of the heat, it was so great to visit with everyone. Of course, the food was great. Our dear friend Atchie is an awesome desert chef. We were particularly glad to see her arrive with a delicious cake especially made for the occasion. It was decorated with an American flag using grapes and blueberries. When she left, she asked if we wanted the left over. Whatcha kiddin me?!!! Yeah! Dan did not buy my story that the dog ate the left over cake. Neither was he amused with my explanation that I was just having my fruit. We won’t even discuss Kelly’s awesome brownies! (What brownies?)

Dan and Rodney grilling

Me doing nothing...just showing off my "Nana Apron!"

Becky doing all the work and fielding calls.

Ed, Lamar, Atchie, Becky, Rodney


Dan is getting a late start on his garden this year. The man loves digging in the dirt. He has begun with peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes and such. Angel dog and I help. She keeps him company as she naps in the cool soil. Hopefully she will not help by digging more holes for him. I tell him what a great job he is doing. It is a tough job but someone has to do it.

Side kick Angel girl.

Dan hard at work.

So begins the dog days of summer. Simple times, filled with sunshine, laughter and love.

Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord!  Psalm 40:4