Monday, March 28, 2011

Bicycle For Two

My husband and I in our continued quest for healthy living purchased two bikes this weekend. As usual, the sales person had a few laughs asking questions about bikes, “in our day.”

There have been many changes since our childhood bikes. This bike is the first one I have ever owned. Dan was curious how I learned to ride. I remembered an old red bike my sister Gere had acquired. I called to ask what she remembered about the old bike. She couldn’t remember exactly how she came by it--more than likely discarded by a neighbor. She did remember it was red. She used clothes line pins to attach cardboard onto the spokes to make motor noises.

We weren’t really “taught” to do things. If we set our minds to something, we could figure out a way to do it on our own. At that time we lived in the country, serious country, on a rock road at the top of a hill. Apparently I decided to teach myself how to ride. With the wisdom of a small child, I climbed onto the bike at the top of the hill. I think I tried to brake but slid in the gravel. The brakes did not catch but the barbed wire fence did. The scar on my right thumb is barely visible now. We are still trying to remember if I did this completely on my own or if Gere “helped” me by pushing me down the hill. It would not be my only encounter with rock roads, bikes, and scars!

Now there are helmets, knee and elbow pads, computers and such.  I think this is the point the sales person exited trying to hold down his laughter -- they make pillow top memory foam bike seats! Now, I am sorry – my butt in memory -- that is just too funny. Appropriate for me but, really, that is funny!

It remains to be seen just how healthy these bikes will be for us. Dan struggled breaking into a sweat trying to lower and adjust the seat for me. I suggested he just let the air out of the tires if he couldn’t get it low enough. The first sign of trouble was actually mounting the bike. Getting our legs up and over the bike presented a challenge. In the midst of all of the biking gear, no crane was to be found. Neither are there training wheels for adult size bikes. Really?

Anxious to try them out, we braved the spring showers. Dan says as we are going down hill, “Wow, this is easy. I can do this all day!” Then we actually started up the hill. It was a totally different scenario. Well, it WAS rainy so we cut the first trip out short. The thought of the memory foam bike seat was sounding more and more like a great idea.

Instead of the old small borrowed red manual bike, I now have my own brand new baby blue seven speed bike. Not that I will ever get out of first gear, but it looks cool. We are making new memories. I hold high hopes of memories as fond as the old red bike-hopefully without any additional scarring!

There is an apppointed time for everything.  And there is a time for every event under heaven---
Ecclesiastes 3:1 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March Winds

We had a wonderful weekend. There were the March winds but the weather was pleasant and the sign of spring is in the air. Yay! We went to dinner and a rock concert with a couple we don’t get to visit with often enough. Robert and Karen are super fun to be with. Yes, a rock concert. It was so much fun. We are still trying to catch up on our rest though. There was so much energy and excitement in a very loud packed house. It was certainly something different to do. As much as we enjoyed it, I don’t think I would want to experience it again for a while.

Karen and Robert-They run, we walk
Fireflight Christian Rock Group

Later in the weekend we gathered with other friends in honoring our dear friend Donna for her birthday. The food and decorations were definitely befitting to her. There was lots of glamour, lights, chocolate fountain, and chocolate cake we could hardly put down! We still remain in total agreement; birthday calories do not count.

Beautiful Donna at Birthday Celebration

Spring seems to bring a new energy. That is good because there is always the first spring yard clean up. Dan was so energized, he began cleaning out and re-organizing the garage and his “man hut.”

I began the chore of transplanting lilies. They were getting in the way of “Farmer Dan’s” garden so I foolishly offered to help move them. I am sure the root bulbs run all the way to Texas. It has been a chore, but they are pretty much settled in their new homes.

Looking through my kitchen window at the sunny skies, horses grazing lazily in the field next door, trees and flowers blooming I felt a sense of peace. I could see Dan laughing and playing with Angel dog, as he went about his projects.

Dan in his "man hut"

I drifted too far away in a day dream while was drying a knife. I let it slip creating a nasty gash. Only a person with my special gifts and talents could manage this feat of genius. Fortunately for this graceful girl, they now make Band-Aids with duct tape. I plan to do some research to see if  Kevlar gloves are available. They sure would come in handy for this gal and sharp objects.

Often I have marveled at the moments I know God has protected and saved me from great harm. There are countless times we are completely oblivious to His intervention upon our behalf. That is really good news to this one who often stumbles near the edge.

The LORD protects the simple-hearted; when I was in great need, he saved me.

Psalm 116:6

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Peanut Butter

This has proven to be a much better week than the last. Neither Dan nor I were feeling well the better part of last week. He tends to be very testy when I don’t feel well. (Hmm…really?)

Just as little annoyances can spoil the vine of a relationship, the little gestures of love can preserve it. Dan has a few particular likes. Two of his favored are crunchy peanut butter and de-caffeinated drinks.

Try as I may, and sure I have selected his preference off the grocery shelf, I still find the wrong items in my pantry. Upon discovering one of the items, a box of caffeinated tea, I with some hesitancy took it to Kroger for an exchange. I was expecting some resistance but to my surprise, the customer service lady smiled knowingly. Apparently she too has one of those mystery kitchen pantries.

Last week, in between migraine attacks, I stocked up on what I thought was Dan’s favorite peanut butter. You guessed it. Something happened to two jars in the pantry. When I looked, they were no longer crunchy. Before I could remedy the situation, Dan came in from work with the crunchy peanut butter.

Of course the peanut butter in and of itself is of little importance. Dan’s attitude about it speaks volumes. He in discovering the error never complained or even mentioned it. He simple replaced it. That attitude encourages me even more to please him.  When you love someone, your happiness is theirs.

He, as my son said, rather recklessly asked me to help with a healthier eating plan. I have been obsessive with creating delicious healthy meals for him; even in packing his lunch. He asked last night for a meal I had prepared that he had particularly liked. He “thinks” it was chicken but wasn’t sure. He just remembered it had too much garlic, but he really liked it and wanted it again. (Sigh.) So, today I am scouring through my recipes calling for garlic. So far I haven’t narrowed the field by much. The majority of them have that ingredient. Whatever I serve, no doubt he will say it is great and thank me for my effort.

The first several days of our new nutrition journey were obviously a bit bumpy. He wasn’t feeling as well as he had hoped nor had he felt he was losing weight fast enough. He said he was just not going to weigh anymore! Okay. That may work too.

Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
Proverbs 16:24

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reclaimed and Repurposed

You have undoubtedly heard one or both of these terms recently. Whatever a person’s reason, it is fashionable to turn one’s trash into a treasure. Several years ago I happened upon a table at an estate sale. The table was painted a bright fire engine red. I purchased the item for a few dollars. I excitedly phoned my husband who was out of town to tell him about my score. He was not as optimistic as I when told the color. By the time he arrived home, I had removed the layers of paint, re-stained and sealed it.

Absent the marks apparently left by children, the table looked brand new. I was asked why I did not sand out those scars. To me, the history of the family that formerly surrounded the table just added to the value of this piece. Those scars are barely visible but when I run my fingers over them, I am reminded of the times our family gathered around our table for Daddy’s stew and Mother’s yeast rolls. I imagine the previous family too has their own memories.

A few weeks back I was shopping for a side table for our front porch. It is crazy how expensive and flimsy much outdoor furniture is. I popped in the thrift store several times looking for a piece that could be re-purposed. Again, I found a table beaten and worn. The size and bulk was perfect. After a bit of cleaning, sanding and painting, it is a perfect fit.

I complain to my adult children that they don’t call often enough. They remind me everyone lives a hectic life. I realized my life is no where near the rat race they are in, but yet I have failed to stay in contact with dear friends.

There is one particular friend I have thought of many times but had lost contact with. I began searching the internet for her. After several weeks I finally got a hit with her name and address. There was no phone number listed. I sent a post card not sure if it would reach the intended recipient.

I finally connected with my friend LaDonna last night. We talked for a long while on the phone. I was saddened to hear she had lost one of her precious sons. I was further grieved for my failure of a friend in not being there to over her comfort.

My friend has always been a bright, funny and kind woman. She is a gifted entrepreneur. One of her recent endeavors is reclaiming and repurposing items for sale. She says she is into her Shabby Chic phase. No doubt she will do well.

Neither LaDonna nor I are the same people we were when we became friends years ago. Even through the pain of loss, she is still allowing God to reclaim and repurpose her life. I am so happy and proud to call her friend. We have repurposed and reclaimed our friendship. I will make every effort not to ever neglect or take it for granted again.

How thankful I am that God sees the value in each of us. Even though we may be coated with dirt and stains of this world He constantly searches for us just as we are. Every morning He offers new mercies. He too leaves some scars in our lives. Those are to remind us that He has healed us and set us free. Even when we fall short, He is always there. We, His children, are forever His precious treasure. His kind of Chic is in no way Shabby!

 And He that sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” (Rev. 21:5)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Remember With a Grateful Heart

      Today brings both feelings of joy in celebrating the birth of a loved one and remembering the loss of another.  Such is life. We have both days of mourning and rejoicing. God promises "to all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory."(Isaiah 61:3)  Admittedly there are days when that promise seems far away.

     Over four years ago I had a horrible nightmare about my sister Patsy. I dreamed an evil person stepped out the shadows and before she realized he was there, thrust a knife through her heart. I had no idea at the time just how prophetic that dream was to be. None of us at the time realized just how far and devastating the arm of evil would reach.

Barry Mayo
February 20, 1986
March 5, 2007

     A short time later we received the news that her precious grandson, Barry had been murdered in Iraq. Indeed evil had reached its hand all around the world and pierced her heart. While we remember everyday and grief with them, we are totally inept in taking that pain of loss from Barry’s Mom Kimberly and Grandmother Patsy. Only the God of All Comfort can do that.

     There are countless numbers of relatives and friends who miss him. I am sure many, as I do, often wonder what could of, should have, would have, possibly been for his life had it not been cut so short. I will never fully understand the why of many things in this life. Often things seem unfair or unjust. Nothing seems good from his death, but we know Barry was a good young man.

     I learned this week through Paul that lack of gratitude is a sin. We as individuals and as a nation do not always have a heart of gratitude. We are too often self centered and ungrateful. We should never forget or take for granted the young men and women who have willingly sacrificed their lives for our country’s freedom.

Greeting Soldier Home

     More than once I have prayed how to honor Barry’s memory. First and foremost we must never forget his live or his service to our country. We must be grateful every day for all things God has given us. We must live a life of honor worthy of these gifts. We must never forget the evil that lies in wait for all of us and pray for God’s mightier hand of protection.

     I believe these are some things Barry might agree with. What I do know is Barry wants for nothing. I find myself thinking of Barry when I check the mail each day. I have to think he is checking Heaven’s gate everyday, expecting and looking for those he loves to join him at his palace.

      "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."

Matthew 2:18

Birthday Blunder

Some of my most favorite people have March birthdays. One of them is my sister Doris and best friend in Cali. I made an all out effort to get the birthday cards in the mail to arrive on or before the actual birthdays. Armed with my list of things to do and cards, I headed out early. My first stop was the post office. Relieved that I had made the drop on time, I headed off to my volunteer jobs.

At the end of the day, I reached for my list and discovered Doris’ card lying in the passenger seat of the car. Apparently I had mailed my list instead of her card. Sigh! Now we have a wonderful letter carrier. When he has a day off, we notice. He goes above and beyond his regular duties. As good as he is I am quite sure should he receive my list, not even he would complete it for me.

Doris is such a thoughtful person. I don’t know that she has ever forgotten any occasion or been late with her well wishes. I felt badly about the possibility of her not receiving her card on time. That is- until she responded to my face book Happy Birthday wishes. Here we are, again, another cold, dark, dreary day and she emails it is a beautiful day in California. She thinks she will spend the day driving up the coast. Now that is just mean!

Seriously; have a wonderful birthday sis. I really do hope you enjoy your beautiful sunny drive up the coast today. Just think kind thoughts of us in the not so sunny south! I am sure you will let me know when you receive the card and/or the list!

"May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you."

1 Thessalonians 3:12

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


The weather, particularly here in Arkansas, has been especially strange. Local weather anchors knowing we would have snow, ice, drizzling rain, sleet or a combination dubbed the forecast simply, “Expect Snizzle.”

We were excited to have sunny skies and warmer weather this weekend. We went to a movie and dinner with friends we had not seen in a while. They, like the rest of us, had either been sick, weather bound, or fulfilling other obligations.

The sign of spring gives way to the promise of hope for better days. It also rings in the tornado season. Sunday night I stepped outside into a particularly humid and warm night. I knew immediately this was not good.

Around eleven that evening I was lying on the sofa watching a movie. It starred one of my favorite Memphis born actresses, Kathy Bates. (I still cannot remember the name of the movie.) Dan had gone to bed falling to sleep reading Mike Huckabee’s recent book. The sofa began to vibrate. At first I thought it was the result of the violent storms and tornado activity moving through the area. The shaking lasted longer than the usual storm vibration. After it ceased, I looked outside and everything seem to be okay. I returned to my movie.

In Arkansas we perhaps are becoming just as complacent about the weather as we are of other things spoken of in the Bible. Monday morning I awoke to several missed calls from my daughter in Memphis. Alarmed she wanted to make sure we were safe. Apparently there had been several quakes in the area. The largest, a 4.7 in magnitude of the reported 800 quakes in the area since September 2010, was recorded during the night.

Tornadoes, flash floods, and earth quakes all in one night may have been a record for even our area of the world. Once again emergency personnel remind us to always be prepared for at least a 72 hour window for disaster.

We have been warned for as long as I can remember of the “Big One” that is sure to hit the mid south area. It is just a matter of time, experts say. We are not to fear such things, but we should be responsible.

Dan and I were discussing the weather and our preparedness over dinner last night. He said he too had felt the tremors but assumed it was just me coming to bed. Wait!!!! What?????

"For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.

Matthew 24:7 (NKJV)