Wednesday, December 26, 2012


What a difference a day makes! After our sunny Christmas Eve weather, Christmas morning brought rain, sleet, and then snow.  It was either a triple decker Christmas gift or a sock of coal depending upon your point of view. Against my better judgment, we slipped and slid by auto to a friend's house for Christmas dinner.  I reasoned if her family could make it from Springfield, MO and Little Rock, surely we could make it a mile.

Taking photos on our blizzard walk.

We had a wonderful dinner and fun with our village friends and their extended family.  Thrown into the mix were two Asian exchange students.  They were loving experiencing an American Christmas. As our friend Joyce read the traditional, "T'was the Night Before Christmas" they listened intently.  It was first explained to them the REAL meaning of Christmas was the birth of Christ.

Dan measuring 8 inches....
 As the snow kept pelting down and the sun setting I grew more and more anxious.  The guys laughed off the gals' apprehension. Finally we departed for home.  As feared, the icy hill to the main street was not to be breached.  After three men strategized to no avail, (I will leave that to your imagination) I decided we should walk home.  I was so annoyed at that point I was sure my frustration would fuel any needed body heat on the cold walk home.

Our little snow covered cottage
 I fumed up the first hill.  Upon reaching the main street, my humor kicked in and giggles started.  I suggested we were making a Lifetime movie event.  Dan, I am sure, was just happy not hear an ear full of, "I told you so!"  Several folks offered us a ride but we (I) were still  more comfortable walking than riding. I was confident with the knowledge emergency rescue was just a few minutes away.

Taking a break from shoveling snow to visit with neighbors
 We made it fine and actually got too warm. It was a beautiful night. And yes, this excursion should be subtitled, "Do not attempt this at home."  We are accustomed to walking long distances.  However, a forty minute walk in a blizzard was surely the makings of a Christmas memory to recount for years to come. 

The first hill at our friend's and the one on our street were the only true trouble spots.  Much to Danno's surprise and maybe slight aggravation, I asked him to fish out his cell phone. "Why, what's wrong?" I wanted to take a picture.  Really? And with that, the score was even. The tie may have been broken when I asked, "Do 'ya wann walk around the lake this morning?" Dan;  "Ummm.....NO!"

 Praise the Lord from the earth,

you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
 lightning and hail, snow and clouds,

stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
 wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,
kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,
young men and women,
old men and children.
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
And he has raised up for his people a horn,[b]
the praise of all his faithful servants,
of Israel, the people close to his heart.
Praise the Lord.
Psalm 148:7-14


Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Hike

We tried a new trail today.  It was awesome. It may have bumped the former favorite Cedar Creek, back to second place. It will be a close tie.  The only thing that threatens this new Desoto Spillway trail is that is is very steep and a bit treacherous in contrast to the relatively flat but equally beautiful Cedar Creek. 
Oh dear...Considering who goes down the mountain must go back up the mountain.

We discovered a new path that was not on the map.  As we rushed against the setting sun, we figured out why.  It is tricky but has great mountain and water views.

Beautiful waterfall trail between lake Desoto and Cortez

Sun is getting sleepy...walk faster!

Dan holding onto a tree to brace himself....looong way down.
  Winding up, down and around between two lakes today, we reminded ourselves to take a hiking back pack--safety first and all.  We realized how easily we could get caught up in the beauty and lose track of time and direction.

Silly me and my "wimpy weights"

We paused at the trail sign pointing up and down.  We decided to venture off the mapped trail and take the high road; just this once. 

Just in life, when the trail gets a bit rough and confusing, there is the One who always guides our way.
Christmas blessings with love!
Happy and safe trails always!

Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.  Matthew 2:2

Friday, December 21, 2012

Making Room for Daddy

It’s official. Danno is home full time. He is both excited and anxious about the future. Once he has his project list done, he is not sure what he will do with himself. Since I have been a full time resident for a few months now, I have no doubt there will be plenty to keep him busy.

Last night we went out to celebrate his homecoming. There is much to celebrate. Living apart for even a couple of days of the week is no fun. Today I am busy making room for all his “stuff” from his part time residence.

A happy Danno!

Today he is running his own errands. The first stop was the health food store to pick up his vitamins. The fun couple that owns it makes an awesome rum cake. I must learn to overcome the temptation to stop in every time I am in the shopping center. Last time I succumbed to the temptation, she greeted me with a sly smile. As she hands me my cake she says, “I must make a disclaimer, the healthy ends here and by popular demand, there is extra rum!” Now that I have let Danno in on my little secret, we will see how often he makes a run.

I think pounds are adding just by looking!

He promises to have a “Man Cave Sale” but now is wavering on that a bit. Again, we will see when we tackle that project. Regardless, we will be doing it together. That is why we are celebrating!

This weekend we look forward to the Jackson clan gathering at our home. We will have Christmas dinner with lovely friends and village family. Then we get to visit with grandchildren. Yippeee!

And as we speak (type), Danno just popped in to kiss me goodbye. He is making a second run to the health food store. Well okay---we are celebrating life together aren’t we?

Enjoy life with the wife you love all the days of your fleeting life, which has been given to you under the sun, all your fleeting days. For that is your portion in life and in your struggle under the sun. Ecclesiates 9:9

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Joys

Gere's table

There are many things to love about the Christmas season.  One of our neighbors has a Christmas tree forest glowing in their yard.  It is a beautiful sight.  If that doesn't get you into the Christmas spirit, your string is broke!

Family:  Celeste, Rema, Cheryl, Patsy, Melinda
Ruth, Gere, Me

Ship table

My sister Gere's Corinth, MS church hosted a woman's night out.  The ladies decorated their "Tables of Testimonies" for the occasion.  As our table host, Gere chose "He calms the storm so that the waves are still." (Psalm 107.29) as her ship inspired decor. It was a wonderful time of fellowship with our family of natural and spiritual sisters. We were all impressed with the creativity and hard work put into each table. Each was truly a labor of love.

Friday night our church choir presented Joel Raney's "A Thrill of Hope" to a standing room only crowd.  It is a Christmas miracle and fire marshal secret as to how 400 people were seated in an auditorium that doesn't seat that many! Sunday morning we celebrated the lighting of the advent candle of peace.

Last night, perhaps our favorite, the children's interpretation of Christmas.  They selected "Show & Tell" as their worship.  Adults were included in show and tell.  One adult shared her favorite Christmas ornament. Her family's original Christmas star was broken the first Christmas.  A star was made from cardboard and aluminum foil.  It has been a family tradition to place this special star on top of the tree since the sixties.

The children performed with all of their hearts.  Simply, pure and sincere as only a child can be.  As the unexpected is expected with children; the chicken had to make an emergency bathroom break.  Love, love, love these precious little ones!

Children worship Jesus -- including little chicken!
 Christmas simple as a child born in a manger; complicated and heart breaking as the baby growing up to die on the cross as our Redeemer.
It is our church's practice to have the youth pastor dismiss in prayer.  At the end of the children's performance he chose to read a scripture in lieu of prayer.  Our hearts were filled and broken.

Jesus Blesses the Children

 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.  I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”  Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.  Mark 10:13-16

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ducks to Water

Last week Dan and I traveled to Mississippi and Tennessee to visit with friends and family. It was a fun but whirlwind trip. A friend asked if I didn’t write anymore. Not purposely. Life has been well—life lately consuming too many things I enjoy.

With Dan gone during the week and work on and around the house in his absence has been very time consuming. That along with my full time part time job has been keeping me busy. The largest project and concern has been completed which takes a big load off.

Yesterday was a sunny but very windy day. Our plans to take the boat out on choppy water turned sour. This morning on the way to church the sky was gray but the lake was smooth as glass. Several small wakes began developing over the water. Several ducks were busily cruising for food leaving a pattern of wakes behind them. Nothing seemed to be of concern to them as they followed their natural instincts.

On our walk around the lake this afternoon we sat watching the ducks for a long while. We marveled at no matter what their environment, they kept doing what came natural to them.

Christmas is here and the New Year is rapidly approaching. Dan and I have discussed our plans for the coming year. Number one on the agenda is healthier living. Sadly we find ourselves getting caught up in busyness and overlook the important things in life.

We will slow down and take time to reevaluate. We will find the time to spend with friends and family. We will make exercise a daily priority. We will not be too busy to pray together several times a day regardless of the tasks before us. We will laugh at our human frailties. We will endeavor every day to forgive and let go.

Now that we are Village People, we have the best place in the world to enjoy God’s creations as we exercise our bodies and spirits. We will remember to be thankful every day. You will remind us won’t you Lord?

Humor does seem to find its way into our lives everyday. Yesterday I told Dan I wanted a face lift from Santa this year. “That’s no problem at all. Let me help Santa along.” He steps behind me and gives me one of his best wedgies. Funny. Very funny. That’s not the end I wanted lifted but I suppose it is a start.

We will pray for love, compassion and genuine concern for others. We pray all of these things will become as second nature to us as the proverbial duck to water whether smooth or rough waters, sunny or gray skies.

 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,  but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her

Luke  10:38-42

Friday, December 14, 2012

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Jacksons and the Chipmunks


Tiny but entertaining chipmunks.
 Thanksgiving was a bit different this year.  We were fortunate enough to spend it together; just the two of us.

After visiting neighbors and over eating the traditional Thanksgiving foods, we decided to take a walk along the lake.  It was such a beautiful day. Families were spending time together in different activities.  Some were fishing off the pier; some braving the wind boated around the lake.  Some families were just visiting sitting on their boats still docked in the marina just visiting and enjoying their surroundings.  Others were grilling outside visiting around campfires and picnic tables.

Brother and sister Chipmunk watching.
 We came upon a mother and her two children hiking the same trail.  She explained she had visited the area for the first time as a single person.  After marriage and two children, she and her family still come every year and spend the entire Thanksgiving week.  She says she wanted to share this experience with her children.

They invited us to join them in their present activity; chipmunk watching.  They were sitting quietly and patiently as a tiny chipmunk popped shyly in and out of its nest. Mom said the yard of their rental was filled with chipmunks.  The family had brought “Louisiana acorns” all the way from their Baton Rouge home to feed them.  Apparently the chipmunks have some Cajun blood because they were devouring them.

Sharing the joy of nature is truly a gift—for young kids and the not so young kids!

"Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours." (1 Chronicles 29:11)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gotta Eat Your Veggies

I know better. Wal-Mart is always crowded. It is especially so on Monday mornings. Letting the weekend get by without grocery shopping, I was forced to make a run into the maddening throng.

It was much worse that I had anticipated. Factoring in the Thanksgiving holiday, the slew of shoppers was so thick you could not walk at a normal gait. One lady started saying, “I’m stopping now, I’m stopping now.” Responding to my smile she said, “I keep getting rear ended.”

Another lady and I were navigating down an aisle together. She apologized for reaching over me for a package of chocolate marshmallow cookies. “I just want my cookies and I am done. I know they are bad for you but I have to agree with my sister. My sister says we should eat what we want. We are in our seventies. So what if we die a day sooner? It is worth it.:” I feel pretty safe in saying, my sisters would agree with that reasoning as well.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Leaf Storm

We have thoroughly enjoyed the weather this week. It has been sunny and clear. The leaves of crimson and gold shimmer through blue skies the mountain air clean and crisp. The usual mundane chores were mostly pleasant.

Kicking back, feet up, cruising.

One of our projects this week was excavating our small back yard. Under years of dirt and overgrown ivy lies stone work I have claimed as a water feature. Even through the years of neglect, you can see the loving care with which the stones were laid. Dan is not really on board with that as of yet. He is holding fast to a lovely rock garden. We will see how it plays out.

Coming soon....rock garden or water feature?

While Dan manned the weed eater in the back, I tackled the leaves in the front and side yards. I long since learned it is best to make myself scarce when he is in project mode. It had only been a week since I had blown, raked and mulched. Still, the leaves were knee deep. We laughed at the seemingly effort in futility. As quickly as one leave came up, a dozen fell to the ground. There was a storm of leaves pelting upon our heads.

Things were going pretty well; until we ran out of line. The hunt began. “What does it look like?” “Where was the last place you saw it?” You know those “helpful” wife questions. I did manage with some effort, not to say, “Are you sure?” After an unsuccessful search, Dan headed out for the hardware store. By the time he had found what he needed the sun was getting sleepy as were we.

This morning we took our yard debris to the local recycling center. As we twisted and turned around the mountain roads we were sure we were headed in the wrong direction. Surely a landfill would not be in such a beautiful area. We were pleasantly surprised to find it tucked away in the middle of the mountains surrounded by parks and hiking/biking trails. While strict, they are extremely well organized. Items that can be recycled are taken without charge and given away for free. These people know how to respect our environment!

Ouachita do not do them proper justice!

The afternoon found us at the marina cleaning out the boat. We discarded several pounds of items no longer of use including an old stereo and speakers. We did uncover some needed items. Perhaps the best part of the marina visit was meeting new friends. Our next door marina neighbors stopped and visited with us. On our way our, yet another couple asked if we wanted to join them for a short cruise. While they were folks we had never met before; they did not feel like strangers.

We ended the day picking up a set of golf clubs for Dan. This retirement thing, for us anyway, has a learning curve. We are making preparation. We have the boat, fishing gear, walking shoes and golf clubs. Of course most importantly, we have each other and friends to show us the ropes. With a little (lot) of help from our friends, we can do this!

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:10-11

Friday, November 2, 2012

Lazy Stick

Lately Dan has expressed concern over my climbing ladders and such. One day he was obviously really annoyed when he came home to find I had been painting on the high side of the house. I asked why he was so upset. He explained it worried him that I might fall when I was alone. I resisted speaking the thought that came to mind. “Is it okay to fall when I am not alone?”

I will have to admit my balance does leave something to be desired. I am prone to vertigo. My eyes are and always have been a big problem. On the outside chance he might be right in his concern I bought a lazy stick this week.

One of my most challenging chores inside the house is cleaning the ceiling fans. The playhouse also has a lot of high windows with hard to reach sills. I tried out the stick yesterday. Judging by the dirt that stuck, it wasn’t a minute too soon.

In some places it seemed to be more trouble than it was worth. Minus the climbing on ladders and the like that is . Over all I think it will work out fine once I get the hang of it.

What is this lazy stick? It actually is one of those dusting contraptions that advertisers claim make any chore seem like a breeze. Don’t they all? Maybe I will call it a stick of convenience. Better yet, a safety stick? That sounds better doesn’t it? Now--about those floors. Maybe a roomba?

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience....Colossians 3:12

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Vote 2013

It seems everyone is expressing their opinions on which candidate will change the tide of our country. Your opinion does not offend me; the open animosity over politics among family and friends does. Each person should have at least a platform that impassions them on how to cast their vote. I find those who choose not to vote at all extremely upsetting.

Frankly, I am not particularly excited about the election. I know that will come as a shock to some. I am sick to death of hearing all the empty promises from opposing sides. Friends witnessed one overly excited voter this week.  Seems a gentleman was so elated after he cast his early vote he turned and planted a big kiss on the lady behind him.  Yep...square on the lips! I don't recommend kissing strangers but I do commend his excitement.

We are registered Republicans but we do not vote strictly along party lines. We vote for the individual based upon his character, ability and willingness to fulfill their job description competently. They are applying for important jobs. Their resume is important.

It seems gay and abortion issues are particularly hot buttons. I am very open about my personal abortion experience. My personal agenda in that regard is to be of help and healing to those who like me live with the pain of that decision. I do not hotly debate the issue as some see fit to do.

We have friends and family that are openly gay and others who wish to remain private. They are just as loved by us as they were when they were known to us a “straight”. We do hold true to our faith and belief on this issue.

While abortion and homosexuality is in stark contrast with our faith, so is hatred. To disagree is human and it will always be. It saddens me that we cannot in our differences choose to love and accept each other as Jesus did.

I am not perfect. My “robe” is tattered and stained….maybe even more so than most. I know the pain of rejection because of choices I have made. It is not pleasant. It stings.

It is my prayer that we seek the face of God in voting for our candidate. It is my hope that we work together in holding each elected official accountable in their positions.

After all, it is God alone who truly sees the intent of heart. He alone can judge it. Thankfully, we do not receive what we deserve.

“He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” 2 Samuel 23:3

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Appreciating Life

Amgel pushing Dan out the door for a walk!

Dogs taking owners for a daily boat ride! 
 There is a particularly beautiful tree in a neighbor’s yard that Angel and I have been enjoying the last few weeks.  It's golden leaves with the backdrop of the sun seem to light up the entire street.  Each time we pass I make a mental note to take a photo to share.  I. Want. A. Tree. Like. That!

I finally remembered to take my camera along on one of our morning walks. Much to my disappointment the tree had shed most of its leaves.  The yard was deep with the colorful leaves leaving the tree looking mostly like a snaggle-toothed pumpkin. Yet another life lesson-never put off for tomorrow what is needed today.

We turned our attention back to boat shopping today.  There is a boat that caught our attention.  We both like it immediately.  It is moored at the “ritzy” pier.  She looks very much out of place among all of the larger more expensive ones surrounding her. 

Dan in his thinking pose!

As much as we would like to make her home ours, we are having some difficulties.  We have met with the owner.  He has as he says, “Grown old here in the Village.”  Apparently he has not used the boat in a long while.  It took a while for him to find the key and how to find his way to the pier. He asked us today to give him another week to remember and locate where he has stored the trailer. 

We don’t mind the waiting.  The gent and his boat have found a place in our hearts.  They, like the golden tree has shown brightly during their time in the sun. It is a reminder for us to appreciate, embrace every day and to live to the fullest.  The leaves on our trees of live are beginning to fade as well.  But as long as we have one or two on the branch, we intend to strut and flutter them as best we can!

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. Revelation 22:1-3 (NIV)

Sunday, October 14, 2012


We continue to enjoy our little village. The villagers are amazingly warm, smart, and friendly with loads of humor and compassion. One new friend described them as “greatly accomplished” folks. I think that is a perfect description.

Grass does not grow under feet here. Folks are always on the move. They are active socially with golf, cards, water sports and such. Even more so they are active in serving others. As we have said before, they don’t ask to be your friend, they insist upon it. They do an exceptional job with that. No doubt they have been honing that skill for a while. Sometimes it is almost overwhelming.

Recently I attended an AACC (American Association of Christian Counselors) conference in Branson. Work it was! There was very little down time. I was blessed to travel with an exceptional group of dedicated co-workers. The workshops were held by individuals well respected and highly distinguished in their fields. One valuable reminder I brought home came from a breakfast shared with the leaders of the newly formed Post Abortion/Sexual Abuse Trauma division.

As I sat among this group of doctors, authors and lawyers, I made the statement I often felt too ill equipped.. Without a beat, they all agreed, “We are there everyday of our lives.” Regardless of what station in life, we have those inner personal demons to contend with.  Only through and for the Grace of God is anything of lasting value.

Our worship service today was on legacy. Reference was made to the woman that bathed the feet of Jesus with expensive oil and wiped them with her hair. Though only Jesus understood, this solitary act not the years of failed living, became her legacy. Why? To quote the words of the pastor: “It is not what she did; it was who she did it for!”

During the week I have been working, like the crazy person I am, on the playhouse. This week was spent repainting the red porch white. Once again, as much as I hate to admit it, Dan was right. It makes all of the difference in the world. Maybe before the end of next week, the outside will be done. Maybe!

The weekends, are for play. We took advantage of two beautiful days to take long leisure walks. We are excited to see the leaves changing. Hopes are still high the colors will be beautiful again this fall inspite of the drought.. One of our walks was along the golf course. We soon decided perhaps we should wear safety hats next time. The call of “fore” has taken on a new meaning.

After church today we walked through the neighborhood with Angel in tow. Not everyone in the village are senior citizens. We were immediately greeted by the two cute little kids next door. “Hey, you live up there don’t you?” Yes, we do in deed. Our house overlooks their house so to them we live in a tree house. Appropriate. These two innocent ones further brightened our day.

We asked them what their favorite treat was. In unison they replied, “Chocolate! Who doesn’t like chocolate?” In answer of what kind, they said; “Black of course.” Oh to live with the sincere directness and simplicity of a child!

I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Matthew 26:13

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Attic

In preparing for our move to the playhouse, I took advantage of a somewhat cooler day to attack the attic. I have often thought the reason we love second hand stores and flea markets is because it is much like rummaging through grandmother’s attic. Among the dust and cobwebs precious memories are stored away.

There were boxes left unopened since my parents passed away. All these years later, I was able to venture inside of them. Instead of sadness, there were smiles and even a few happy tears. In the midst of cards and other milestone documentation of my life, I found Mom’s treasured pink compact. It no longer held her scent but I could still feel both their presence.

I next tackled my children’s things. Some of the toys still had the price tags attached. Other items like cheerleader pom-poms were simply falling apart. There was a stock pile of cabbage patch dolls once treasured by my little girl. One still bore the marks where an attempt was made to pierce the ears to match hers.

There were sweet notes in my little boy’s kindergarten scrawl. I uncovered a sun catcher he had made for me, in his favorite color of blue. I remembered his admonishment when he gifted it to me to make sure I took care of it always.

Much to my surprise I easily gave a way the majority of the attic treasures. I felt it fitting to donate them to a local children’s shelter. They were delighted. Maybe they will find a fond memory or two tucked away in their attics some day.

Still there were some things I could not let go of.  If….some day….. ..They are again discovered by their owners in my deserted attic—I pray they too will find happy memories to cherish.

......but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.
Luke 2:19

Monday, August 20, 2012

In a Minute

Dan knows to give me a five minute warning when we are leaving for a set appointment.  It is innate in me I suppose.  Once I have sounded the ready to go message, the stop watch begins.  There is always just one more thing I need to do.  I get easily distracted in that long walk from the bedroom to the garage.  It is amazing how many things I find that need to be done along that trek.  And of course, it needs to be done at that exact moment.

Rest break!

Here in the Village we are just minutes away from the basic necessities of our life.  We are a two minute drive to church, five minutes from drug, grocery and hardware stores and our favorite restaurant.  Police, Medical, Fire and Paramedic services are two minutes away.  I timed this distance driving at residential speed.  We hope and pray we never have need of their services but good to know they are seconds away. Surely between the two of us we can remember the number for 911!  Again, I hope we never are tested.

One of our neighbors raced by us in her golf cart....left us in the dirt! :)
 There is a walking-golf cart trail that begins at the end of our street. Our last trip here, we took a stroll through the woods alongside Desoto Lake and down to the marina. It took us about 35 minutes. Dan is barely able to stroll these days.  Thankfully for both of us, there are resting spots along the way.

I have been really concerned about Dan’s health as of late.  He had his fourth heart cath procedure this week.  He did have some blockage in the existing stints but the main concern is his irregular heartbeat.  Hopefully this can be treated with medication.  The staff at St. Bernard’s Heart Care Center is wonderful.  They were professional and compassionate; even through my melt downs.  It was a scary day for us.  They promised to check with me every few minutes and they did just that.  Dan would not allow me to tell anyone about this last hospital visit.  No doubt to alleviate some of his anxiety.

Of course, I did confide in close family— none of which were named “anyone” just for the record. When the need arises, no doubt their response time is within a minute.  As always, there is much, much to be thankful for!

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:28-29


Wednesday, July 25, 2012


For many years traveling staple has been McDonald's French fries.  Since we have been shuffling back and forth for the last couple of weeks, it has given me some time to write.  It suits Dan better than my backseat driving.

Last week we stopped at McDonalds along the way for a pit stop.  Dan ordered his usual chicken nuggets. I noticed he did not have his normal side of honey mustard.  When bringing it to his attention, he immediately replied, "You know I can't dip and drive. I can drink and drive, yes, but dipping no."  The little girl behind the counter lost it.  Guess she hadn't experienced any humor in a while and had a good laugh stored up.

We signed a contract for the sale of our house this week.  Although I am truly grateful I am having a bit of seller's remorse. We had prayed the house would be a blessing to both us the sellers and the buyers.  It seems a good fit for the soon to be owners, the Lord willing.  This house was built to be enjoyed by young families.  It is our prayer they enjoy it happily for years to come.

I don't know if it is normal to have such ambivalent feelings.  Dan was teasing me yesterday about how I get attached to tangible things.  My last van he had to pry out of my hands.  The point had been reached where he was embarrassed to have me drive it.  I was perfectly content to putter around in it as long as it would go. He sort of tricked me.  On the way to the airport for a visit with my daughter in Colorado, he drove me to the Honda dealership on the way to the airport.  Not wanting to miss my plan, I was compliant.

The Honda is now eight years old.  We had it serviced this week for the first time outside of the usual routine maintenance. The brakes needed pads. I lamented over the fact they no longer manufacture my model of Honda. As Dan feared, it is yet another excuse to hang onto it until I drive into embarrassment. I will have to at least concede as long as it goes; it does need to stop as well.  I guess she deserves a new pair of shoes after eight years.  I hope we have at least another eight years of happy McTravels together.

"With a long life I will satisfy him and let him see My salvation."  Psalm 91:16

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Village People


We have begun to meet some really neat folks in the Village.  Today we visited a church of a new friend who too hails from Memphis.  We were pleasantly surprised with the church.  It has the most friendly and happy group of folks ever.  The grounds look like a botanical garden equipped with fountains, fish ponds and a rose garden. This labor of love, mostly by volunteers, is a good indication of the care for each other.

There is an internet café behind our playhouse.  We have wanted to try it out but they are only opened for breakfast and lunch. Today we dropped by after church and ran into a neat couple we had just met at church.

They explained they were both widowed and hung out with each other all the time.  He said,
“Except, he said, at night….I have to go home.”  She said, “Yes, he has a curfew.” We found them both funny and sweet. Even though we were hoping to leave early, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit. They had much information to share about The Village and their lives with their spouses. The time flew by.  We look forward to visiting with them again soon – if they have the time.

Today we learned to identify where we hail from by state. Everyone hears is from someplace else.  Few folks are from Arkansas.  As a retired military family expressed, “The Village is very much like a military base. Since everyone is from another place, we look after each other.  We are a close knit group.”   We are finding that to be true. With each visit, we look forward to our life there as Village people!

There are many activities and clubs.  One caught my eye in the paper today.  It is called ROMEO with stands for Retired Old Men Eating Out.  I thought that was a perfect fit for Dan.  They meet once a month just to visit.  In keeping all things fair and balanced, I think I should start a RODEO group—Retired Old Dames Eating Out. What do you think?

He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harms.  Proverbs 13:20


Sheer Joy!


We were excited about a Fourth of July visit with the Texas kids!  The day before we were to leave, Dan decided to take an early morning walk.  All of a sudden he heard a loud crack followed by severe pain in his knee.  We did make the trip but for the first few days Dan slept most of the time.  Dr. Son put him on crutches so he could get around.  So who says this eating healthy and exercise is good for you? We are not so sure in our case. Thankfully the knee is healing and no surgery will be needed!

Lily: Sheer Joy !

Dan was disappointed he was unable to romp and play as usual with the kids.  He did manage to get into a water fight with them at the pool.  Texas is usually hot and dry this time of year.  It did not disappoint. We attended a Fourth of July celebration.  The crowds were heavy. The air was thick muggy and miserable. There were bouncy houses for the little ones, entertainment booths for the older ones and an antique car show for the antique ones. The girls “shopped” with Papa Dan and Dad for their cars while Mom rustled the little ones at various rides.

Girls shopping for cars...Megan wants a TRUCK!

You would think with the environment and Dan’s injury we would have a miserable time.  That was not the case.  The expressions of sheer joy and excitement of the little ones made the night a pleasure! Lily wanted a "horsey" balloon and Joshua a sword.  They jumped up and down with glee anxiously awaiting their turns.

Joshua and his sword jumping up and down over the fireworks excitment
 The grand finale of the night was the traditional fireworks display and patriotic music.  The little ones danced and shrieked with excitement. It was a beautiful night of sheer joy for all.

You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.

Psalm 3:7

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Season of Misfortunes

Proud Grandparents with  Grandson Chad
Masters Graduation Ole Miss

Our petite but feisty sister in law Ruthie went through a series of misfortunes.  A customer at the bank she worked at accidentally set off her canister of pepper spray.  Ruthie took a direct hit.  Later at the same bank, she was accidentally locked inside the vault.

Grandson Weston was hurling toward the house in his go cart.  With motherly instinct, Ruthie reached out to catch him to save him from impending doom.   When she grabbed the back of the go cart, he never slowed leaving Ruthie handing on and airborne.

Her son was going to instruct her on the use of her new treadmill.  “Oh I can handle it.” She hit the button and again was jerked off her feet leaving her face bouncing a trail down the treadmill unto the floor.

These are just a few of the mishaps that have befallen Ruthie over one short period of time.  The stories are often revisited and embellished for comedic effect. Even though each of these accidents could have been serious and life threatening to her, Ruthie took them all in stride and chooses to laugh along.

As if our family shenanigans are not enough; poor Ruthie, her pain is the subject matter for family humor. We really are happy to have you as part of our family.  We promise we are not trying to do you in—not purposely anyway.  

But then again, she has been married into this family for over 50 years now.  Could it possibly be she finds humor and great relief in the fact she is not genetically linked to this crazy Robinson-Robertson-Roberson-Robinson family? Perhaps she does have the best and last laugh after all!

Congratulations Ruth and Norman on your Golden Anniversary!  May you have another 50 plus years of happiness together!

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.

Proverbs 1:8-9

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I am sitting at the tiny house we purchased for retirement.  We have dubbed it “Our Playhouse.”  Dan has been working on remodeling the main bathroom. I came over a day earlier to clean, straighten and set the house up for temporary living. He is now taking a power nap.  As I look out over the screened porch it almost appears we are in a tree house.  Nothing but quiet surrounded by trees – no internet, no television or radio.  It is just me and nature enjoying some quiet time.

As in other parts of the country, we are suffering from a serious drought.  The HOA has banned any watering of yards or any water usage unless needed for survival.  The vines are taking over the trees not doubt in search of moisture.  We will tend to the landscaping with cooler weather and the Lord willing, a renewed supply of water.

Our playhouse is not perfect.  It has survived many years of both loving care and neglect.  The previous owner obviously took pride in his man house/cave. The family rented the playhouse for several years after his passing before deciding to place on the market.

We looked at several places but as I explained to the realtor, this house is a happy house.  Looking past the dust and dirt and overgrown landscape, we sensed the presence of happy memories.  We often find ourselves smiling when stumbling across little personal touches from the previous owner.

The playhouse is slowly taking shape.  It is amazing what elbow grease, soap and paint can do to a place.  The outside desperately needs a bath but that will have to wait until the drought passes and the greatly anticipated rainy season arrives.

Seasons pass.  Some are filled with plenty other with want.  We are entering a new season of our lives—hopefully within the next few months.  It has taken us both by surprise just how excited we are with this new transition.

Just as this little house, we have weathered much.  We too have been through seasons of sorrows and joy.  With some sprucing up from our Father, family and friends, we make it through each season. Thankfully our mending is not just surface. It goes to the heart.  For that and for our little playhouse we feel gratefully blessed beyond measure!

And in Him, you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.  Ephesians 2:22

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sunday Service

Those of us who have sold houses before know how stressful it can be. Well, actually more of an annoyance than anything-but a necessary evil. We were tired Sunday and didn’t hang around for our usual round of visiting after church.

We decided to have brunch at a small coffee shop. The noon rush had not yet begun but it was packed out. There were just a few servers available. I don’t know why they had a small number—could be the space would not accommodate more.

They were working very hard and being very cordial and polite. Our server apologized for our having to wait even though it was just a few short minutes. Our wait time was probably shorter than a drive through.

There was a very nicely dressed couple behind us. We assumed they were in there Sunday best; at least from outward appearance. I overheard them ask the frazzled server if she would give them a complimentary meal because they had to wait. She was taken aback for a second but never stopped smiling. I on the other hand was irritated and ashamed for them.

Dan and I have always tried to be extra sensitive to service people. Even more so on Sunday. Admittedly we don’t always succeed. Generally they work very hard for very little. They may not have the luxury of leisure Sunday of worship, eating out and visiting with friends. As I am constantly reminded, “But by the Grace of God, there go I.”

We never know where life will lead us. I pray that should I ever be on the serving side of the table, I will be treated with respect and common courtesy. Sadly it is the “church” people that often are the most offensive. Dare we in our piety leave a salvation tract written on play money rather than a real monetary gift? Or do we in humility treat them in a fashion befitting a child of God?

Should you spot us behaving in a manner that would embarrass you or the person we have just worshiped, call us on it. Let us pray for each other to remember to treat others better than we think we deserve. Help us Lord, to not just go to church, but be the church to everyone we meet.

And as you would that men should do to you, do you also to them likewise.
Luke 6:31

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

No Mo!

"Owee Boy" in the beginning---smiling!

Our church family and community swung from anxious days with fervent prayers to a great day of celebration.

The Family Church

A precious young man, Owen at the ripe old age of six was "kicked out" of St. Jude’s hospital with great fanfare. Just a few short days before, his future was unsure. Arriving at St. Jude’s with high expectations for his last treatment, there was disappointing and frightening news. His little body’s immune system was virtually zero leaving no defense against an infection raging within him.

Celebrating with friends.

Elders, pastors and friends gathered at his bedside as countless others around the world prayed for Owen’s healing at a specially appointed hour. His Mom’s faith remained strong. She was confident God was doing something even though there were not yet any physical signs. There were questions about whether or not to cancel the “No Mo Chemo” party planned.

Owen's face flushed with excitement vs. fever!

God did indeed do something and He did it fast. An outdoor person as he is, Owen awoke to tell his Mom, Kelly, he wanted to go for a walk in the park.

Not only was his “No Mo Chemo” party held as planned, it was a time of worship and praise to our Heavenly father. We as a church family particularly were encouraged and have grown closer to each other and God during those last few days of his hospital stay.

Fun in the bouncy house

Photo journals of Owen’s journal stretched two walls of the church gym. This display showed more than his treatment stages. The gym was filled with laughing children and adults. There was a bouncy house, magic show and Owen's favorite foods. Dan and I choked back tears as we viewed this labor of love of his Mom. Her faith rang through as she logged each moment of their family’s journey. You see, she had faith of how the journey would end.

The incredible photo journal walls!

As an adult cancer survivor, all of the treatment decisions were frightening and overwhelming. I cannot imagine how much more they were for their baby. No doubt there were many nights of tears, stress and sorrow for the suffering of their precious Owee Boy. Owen, never once complained. God did indeed perform a healing miracle for him. We rejoice in that.

We also rejoice in the love and faith of this family. In the midst of all they have been through, their home has always been open to anyone at all times. This church family named Church just has too much Love to be contained within them. It overflows with healing to others. Now, that too, is a miracle.

Hannah's prayer. 

 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.” So they worshiped the Lord there. 1 Samuel 1:27-28