Thursday, April 29, 2010


Funny how that when history is being made those current events don't seem all that important. The women's revolt that resulted in the fairer sex securing the right to vote, the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations, and the very beginnings of the Civil Rights campaign all began quietly in someones living room. And today we have the Tea Parties sweeping across the nation. I'm thinking that during that original Tea Party most folks slept and heard about it a few days later. Some guys throwing tea into the Boston Harbor to protest taxation without representation? Who knew? And who cared? At the time, anyway.
The Tea Parties today consist of people protesting big government, the soaring national debt and higher taxes. That's my understanding anyway. I went to a couple of gatherings when all this first began, just to see for myself what it was all about. It was a little boring actually. Honeybuns and I joined others at a park in Tulsa to listen to a few speeches and then quietly returned to our car. The most impressive thing about the whole event was the fact that as it started to rain folks just stood there listening, determined to make their views known simply by their presence. Now there are bands playing, balloons flying and picnics enjoyed as the speakers gather their thoughts. As more and more "parties" are organized and well attended the media and the politicians are a little confused as to what to think of it all. Without the traditional methods of fund raisers, telephone panels and precinct committeemen some are dismissing the movement as powerless. Others are touting the gatherings as pure democracy on display in part because of it's lack of political structure. I suppose this next November election will decide that debate.
It truly seems to be an uprising from the grass roots of conservative middle America. A still small voice that is silent no more. I'm thinking that our leaders and politicians might want to take note. Time will tell, however. Hind-sight is so very crystal clear. There is a sense that this movement is going to take us somewhere new. It's history in the makin' and it's happening all around us. Something is brewing!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


For the past ten years we have been making the trip to Durango, CO to visit Andy's family at Kanakuk Kamp there. This year will be no different, except the name is now Camp Kivu. The teenagers that attend there will be similar to those of past years. They all have bright shiny eyes, strong bodies, and smiles as big as Texas as they have the time of their lives. They take on the rapids, climb the rocks, bike the mountains, dance, play and laugh for 13 days. It's fun to watch, but it's even "funner" to participate! Floating the river with six 13 year old girls as the rapids approach can be (and was for me) a life changing experience. On top of all the activity is great food, friendships that last forever and classes on "Worldview" that bring a new awareness of God and the plight of others into their hearts. Stunned and delighted parents testify that their teenager has been transformed from the inside out because of their 13 day term at Camp Kivu.
One of the most beautiful adventures of Durango is taking the train that chugs its way up the mountain to Silverton, a 4 hour trip. We've donned our striped engineer hats several times and made the journey. The steam engine blows black smoke and the whistle blows at the station to announce that it's time to quit gawking and get aboard. On our first trip we took just one grandchild along, this year there will be FIVE. 5 times the fun, no doubt. Maybe we'll qualify for a group rate! We will again sit on benches with windows open taking in the magnificent view of trees, valleys, rivers, snow and an occasional hiker. Keeping all hands and heads inside the train car becomes the main task. The visual picnic is breath-taking.
Not all train rides are so delicious. When starting any new life adventure I'm often very aware that the "train has left the station", out of my control into an uncertain future. When stuff gets hard, I wonder if I'm on the train or on the track!! But every trip transforms me in some way. I look at things or people differently, many times with a new appreciation. Life itself is an adventure and life is grand.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I woke up this morning with "beach thoughts", dreaming of the hot sun kissing my face, sand between my toes, and the sounds of sea gulls over my head. I love the beach which is kind of odd since I can't swim a lick and today the idea of putting on a swim suit sends shudders down my spine. It wasn't always like that. At one time, back in 1974 I actually looked great in my cute little navy polka-dotted one piece. Honeybuns and I took a little vacation to Tybee Island, GA that year and it was there we were first introduced to the pleasures of the ocean. I was SO cute and he was SO handsome! Aw, sweet memories. Well, most of them were sweet anyway. That first particular beach trip nearly ended in disaster. We were having a great time playing in the waves with our little yellow and red life raft. As the waves grew so did the fun. We'd push our way out and ride'em in to the shore. That continued for hours, such bliss! As the day worn on the waves got bigger and bigger. Being very ignorant of such things as "tide" we played on! At one point while floating farther and farther out to sea we both turned our eyes toward the horizon. Coming straight for us was a wall of water like we'd only seen on the pages of National Geographic! Honeybuns yelled out happily, "It's the BIG ONE!" That wave crashed over our heads and sent our bodies spinning, causing that unwelcome sensation of end over end. Inside that monster was pitch blackness and complete silence. I was amazed at the lack of any noise whatsoever, no children laughing, no sea gulls screeching, no shrimp boats chugging in the distance. Who knew? The power of the water continued to toss me around. Swirling, I held my breath and realized that this was it, I was going to die! Looking death in the face I knew it was only a few more moments until my lungs would fill with dirty, salty sea water. My body began aching for air as time stopped. Just as I began to suck in that instrument of death I felt something BIG grab my behind and I was lifted into pure sweet oxygen. The BIG ONE had tossed me up onto the beach positioning my face submerged in a small pool of water and my rear end was sticking straight up into the air. My body was free of that powerful wave but my face didn't know it. Honeybuns had spotted the BIG ONE, mooning half of Tybee Island, and came to my rescue. He was laughing hysterically, I was overcome with relief. Breathing felt so good! I call this my Jonah experience. The Atlantic Ocean had spit me out to live another day.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Several years ago I developed a plan! Each January of each new year I would challenge myself and learn something new. (The most memorable new skill was roller skating, but that was years ago and a distant very bad memory.) A couple of January's ago Oklahoma experienced a particular cold and dreary winter, so I decided to take up knitting!
I signed up for classes and the teacher and my new best friend patiently showed me the "ropes". That's my slang for yarn! After purchasing the classes, books, needles, needle carriers, stitch counters, special scissors, row counters, cable knit holders, more needles, more patterns and a darling little bag to carry all this, I was officially a knitter. I did not know until much later that usually beginners started out with something a little easier than socks! But...I was hooked. All that beautifully colored yarn added to knitting needles the size of toothpicks plus a few hundred hours of actually knitting, produced fun, comfortable and conversation stopping socks. My sock drawer was full! My family thought I'd gone off the deep end this time. Our youngest son remarked, "Mom, do you know that you can BUY socks at Walmart for $2.49?" I paid no attention to that rationale! I began to carry yarn, needles, patterns and various knitting paraphernalia with me everywhere. Car trips, long waits at Dr's. offices, boring movies and particularly airports were now opportunities to knit a few, purl a few. One particular day we were waiting for a flight at some distant airport and I was furiously knitting away with the most recent had-to-have sock yarn. (YES, grandmothers are allowed onto airplanes with knitting needles even if they ARE metal and the size of pole vaulting poles! Go figure!) I was concentrating on my self-striping sock when a gentleman approached me. He said, "My wife and I were watching you and we're wondering what you're making." I proudly held up my tiny sock..."socks, aren't they great?" "Unbelievable!" He was impressed. "Your husband must be very happy with you to be able to do that and save so much money on socks for your family!" I nearly choked but just smiled and nodded my head. He returned to his spot on the other side of the room. That's when Honeybuns who was sitting next to me reading a magazine first started calculating the expense of my latest hobby. Finally he croaked out his thoughts, "Should I tell that man that according to my calculations we spend about $600.00 per sock?" "Nah, let's let him think I'm thrifty."
Now we have a specific line item in the household budget. Honeybuns has titled it "Hobbies", I call it therapy! Sometimes the goal is not the end product or the cost but the joy of the journey! I continue to knit and Honeybuns just smiles and each winter proudly dons his stocking hat hand-made just for him. It was one of my first projects and source of much laughter. We call it his stocking hat slash sleeping bag! He's ready for a walk on a snowy day or a summertime camp-out in the woods. It's a reminder to me of the importance of "gauge"...that's knit-talk for SIZE. I learned about that at another special class.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Gabby Braner turned 3 yesterday! Now 3 yr old birthdays happen throughout the world all the time. It's a fun celebration of life for the sweetest most innocent and cutest little people on the planet. BUT...this little girls special day is particularly momentous. Gabby came into the family in a most unusual way. She did not arrive in a sterile hospital birthing unit surrounded by all the modern technology known to woman. She entered this grandmothers heart through the long corridor of the Tulsa International Airport. On that day her mommy was returning WITH her after a long flight and a several week ordeal of meetings, tears, paperwork, more meetings and more tears in Rwanda, Africa. I caught my first glimpse of her lying in her stroller, wide eyed and very content in her new surroundings. She was 6 months old and very tiny. I was in love with her from that first moment!!! Her new very white and very American siblings swooped in on her to meet her for the very first time. I watched the birth of family right there in the airport at the baggage claim.
For whatever reason, shortly after she was born her birth mother left her at the gate of an orphanage. Perhaps that was all she knew to do to keep her baby girl alive. The guards heard crying on that cold night but dismissed it as the usual sounds of nearby children. The next morning baby Gabby was discovered and delivered to the caring staff. She spent her early days waiting...waiting for a new mommy to wrap her arms around her.
Gabby is now 3, absolutely delightful and I cannot imagine this family without her. She is still tiny, but healthy and happy. She thrills us all with her big liquid eyes, bright smile and lightning speed vocabulary! How did we live before Gabby?
During those first few months as I held her and squeezed out all the joy I could possibly absorb, I sometimes wondered, "where did you come from sweet baby girl?" The answer? "From heaven!"

Friday, April 23, 2010


What WERE they thinking? I just learned that the Pentagon has dis-invited Franklin Graham to speak at the National Day of Prayer, a day set aside to pray for the nation, it's leaders, soldiers, President and Congress. Rescinding his invitation is like driving to the store WITHOUT the car, taking a hike WITHOUT your shoes, or attempting to mow the lawn WITHOUT the mower! Evidently he made an "offensive" statement back in '91 that has now drawn a complaint from one organization. The statement made was that the teachings of Islam are violent and abusive to women. He's not apologizing or making excuses for that observation. Well, that's a good move since his words were and are absolutely true. Islam does teach violence... and shall we review again the videos of those women in the burkas being led to the center of town so they can have their heads chopped off? Oh, my! Once again, political correctness has run amok! And all that aside, why would anyone want to disgrace this "Good Samaritan" man who has at this moment a son in Iraq on his 4th tour of duty, not to mention the legacy and history of this family.
I'm thinking that this "politically correct" decision will back fire and hopefully give Mr. Graham more press than his critics ever imagined. He'll have the repeated opportunity to look into the cameras, flash that movie star smile and share his faith including his famous line, "in Christ alone." I'm sure there won't be any anger or vindictiveness expressed or even experienced in quiet moments in that very peace loving family.
Perhaps the offense is not in insulting Islam and the millions of peace loving Muslims but that one phrase that seems to light up passions wherever it is spoken: Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God! I'm always stunned by the intensity of the anger ignited by those words. Mr. Graham speaks those words as often as he breathes. Well, he does and we DO have freedom of speech in the good old USA....for now. Seems as though it's just not popular to be Christian right now in this nation founded upon Christian priciples and by Christian men. That whole plan has served this nation so well for so long, compared to the Third World countries and their citizens that are so oppressed. Those poor people would do anything to have the opportunity to live free in America. Makes me wonder why people fear Christianity.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

WWII Photos

Pictures tell the truth, don't they? And a few weeks ago I recovered some very old pictures from a box in the top of my closet. It was a plastic box that I'd not opened for a long time and I'd almost forgotten about the treasures it contained. Deep down toward the bottom was an old, old photo book and a handful of tiny envelopes with faded ink. They are of WWII vintage. The letters were written by a handsome soldier stationed in Germany back in the 40's to his almost new bride, the woman that would become my mother. Much was written on those small sheets of paper, mostly dreams of life that would come true once the war was over. Reading them is a travel through time to say the least.
The pictures were not so promising. They are shocking! I've long forgotten how my father came to possess these snapshots. I'm certain he never owned a camera during those days. The images are historic. The Allies had evidently just arrived on the scene of one of Hitlers German death camps. Hundreds of Jewish men, mostly skeleton-like were laid out along a railroad track as if they were stacked wood. The American GI's faces were preserved on the old photo paper, all of them in shock as they walked along the dead. It's a piece of the Holocaust, right there in my closet.
I wonder how many other closets hold such horror. I've recently heard that the number of WWII veterans is diminishing every day and thus many old houses with such closets are giving up such historic finds. I'll probably contact a museum somewhere to see if they would like these. I don't think my children or grandchildren are interested in these just yet. I'm convinced that these artifacts are absolutely necessary to teach the future about the mistakes of the past. No pictures, no event, right? And many in our world are insisting that the atrocities of WWII never happened. Politically correct folks are trying to "go along" to "get along" with that thought. But, pictures prevent history from being re-written! And it is critical that history be taught and understood correctly, so that such an event will never happen again.
BUT...what about Rwanda? What about Darphur? What about Uganda and the Congo? What about Cambodia? Did we learn anything from the great war that was fought to end all wars, but didn't!
Will we ever learn how to stop that God-awful cycle of man's inhumanity to man? Evil certainly exists and must be confronted. I've got the pictures to prove it.

Just Defending Myself

I'm living in the Twilight Zone...or an Alfred Hitchcock movie, or a Dean Koontz novel, or a Disney cartoon! It started last week. A BIRD, a Robin I think, has gone berserk! This big fat bird perches on my bedroom window and pecks at the glass to get my attention. He's got it! At first I thought, no big deal...just a crazy bird...making a nest...looking at himself in the glass....whatever! He starts this routine very early while it's still dark and continues off and on during the day. Now, here's where it gets weird! Are you ready for this? Get ready! You won't believe it!
As I ignore him and move on with my day he FOLLOWS me. Yep...I can go into my office and there he is, staring at me through the OFFICE window, peck, peck, peck. If I go into the dining room there he is, peering thought the DINING ROOM window. What's up with that??? Same thing in the living room. I'm sure it's the same dumb bird. He's watching me, circling the house looking for me! EGADS! I'm being watched. Is he a spy, a CIA agent, Big Brother with a camera in his beak? Is he going to turn into a vampire right out of the Twilight series? Well, he's dealing with the wrong person! I'm developing a plan of attack. Don't breathe a word of this to PETA, but this bird is going to "bite the big radish", "go out in a flame of glory", and "meet his maker". There will be no mercy. I'm putting on my cowboy boots and hunting for my gun! Where do we keep that water pistol? No jury will convict me! But, first I may need to sell tickets and invite the public to witness this bizaare behavior.
If I were to write a book about my observations of life it would no doubt be categorized as FICTION.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cheering from the Stands

It was a fun and poignant sight. Our youngest son and his 5 yr. old daughter had a plan. Today was the day that he would remove the training wheels from her pink bike. He held the back of the seat as she wobbled down the driveway and out into the street. Aimed in the right direction they headed off. She pedaling, concentrating, trying to get the feel of balance, he trotting along beside ready to catch the weaving frame. They turned around at the end of the street and headed back. I plopped my chair at the end of the driveway to watch the progress. After what must have been miles and miles of back and forth, he was soon just running alongside. No hands! The idea of balance had "clicked" under that helmet and she was a pedaling success. My "job" was to clap whole-heartedly each time they passed my perch at the end of the driveway. She beamed brighter each time she rode by, so proud of her new ability. Soon she'll be out there racing up and down that street without him being near at all.
When this same boy entered college a few years back I remember revealing a similar plan. I would buy the house across the street from the "frat house", plop my folding chair in the front yard and just watch him come and go. He protested...."Mom, that is called stalking, and it's illegal!" Maybe it is, but what mom hasn't thought of that same position. Then and now I had to learn to keep my distance. There comes a time when the training wheels have to come off. I could "run along beside" occasionally but no touching. He had to learn to do life accompanied by the scrapes and bruises it brings. He came through the process just fine! And I still have the position of cheering, clapping and encouraging as he passes by. It's called "cheering from the stands". It might be a little restrictive, but it is simply a grand place to be. The view offered from being seated a little higher up on the bleachers of time is priceless.
He is now a fine young man, loving husband and terrific daddy. He's still pedaling and he gets hurt now and then, but each spill makes him stronger and kinder and wiser. He is highly respected in his field and his community. I count him as one of my closest and best advisers on a myriad of subjects. Funny how that works.

Friday, April 16, 2010


(This story comes to you by popular demand! Yep, it's got to be the strangest!)
As was his habit, our youngest son liked to sleep in on school mornings. No surprise there! It was a common sight to see him rushing down the stairs, shoes and belt in hand so we could race out the door for me to quickly drive him to high school which was about 7 1/2 min. from the house. And as was my habit, I sped up the driveway leaving the garage door up. I'd be gone such a short time, no need to bother with hitting the button that would lower that creaky, heavy barrier. He jumped out of the car on a run, still adjusting his belt, shoe strings flapping in the breeze. I smiled and proceeded home. We'd beaten the tardy bell one more time! I parked the car in the garage and lowered the door. Time to get some morning chores done. It was a pleasant fall day and there were dishes to do and ironing to finish before a friend was due over for a quick walk around the block together. The phone ran, my long distance mother-in-law checking in, chatting about the news of her neighborhood. We talked about 15 min. when the front door bell rang. I laid down the phone, expecting to see my friends smiling face through the window. As I rounded the corner of the kitchen heading to the front door I was met face to face by a STRANGER. A young man, about 35, nicely dressed, blond, about 6 ft tall was inches from my face. Startled, I cried out..."WHO ARE YOU...AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY HOUSE??" He'd been locked in my house, with me for about 25 min. He stammered and stuttered as we stared each other down. I continued in my loud mother of teenage boys voice..."WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?" He continued to ramble some weird story about searching for his girlfriend and his girlfriends child. He confessed that he and his partner had been watching me over the past days as I left my house every morning leaving my garage door open. He'd entered through the garage and was trapped in the house with me when I came home, lowered the door and locked us in. As I continued to rant, so did he! (You know, you just never know how you're going to react with this type of surprise!) He started crying! YEP...the man had tears streaming down his face!! I remembered the door bell. Outside the window peering in was ANOTHER STRANGE face. It was the intruders buddy! He had pushed the doorbell in order to get me to the front door to let his friend OUT. I opened the door!!! I had TWO INTRUDERS STANDING BEFORE ME!!! I lit into him. "WHAT IN THE WORLD DO YOU TWO THINK YOU ARE DOING, COMING INTO MY HOUSE!!" I felt my heart start to race. He looked down sheepishly. I continued, "GET OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW!" They slowly proceeded down the sidewalk and down the road. Good grief! Who has time for such nonsense.
I then remembered my poor little mother-in-law still on the phone. She'd heard the whole encounter and was scared to death, not know how she could possibly help me from 3 states away! I calmed her down, hung up the phone and called my husband at work. His knees gave away and he fell into his office chair as I related the story. My friend showed up and I related the story to her. We were both just dumb-struck, that such a thing could happen. We took our morning walk and shook our heads at the audacity of criminals!
The police man came, heard my story and declared me...ONE LUCKY WOMAN! A few weeks later they got the bandits. They had been stalking the neighborhood, entering open garage doors, stealing golf clubs and anything else of value they could find. I couldn't wait to go to court to tell my story. I'd been violated and wanted to face them one more time. The night before the court date the officer called so say that they had plead guilt and were sentenced to 8 years in the big house. I was disappointed to be "relieved" of my testimony. I wanted them to see my fury one last time. Foolish, foolish young men!
Surprise encounters! They happen all the time and some are not as healthy as others. Well, you can bet that I keep my garage door down now, MOST of the time. But even after that, I refuse to live in fear. My Grandpa laughingly told me when I was a child that I didn't have enough sense to be afraid. That's probably right.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Instant Connection

Yesterday I met an incredible woman. She is 10 years older than me and is going to be a new best friend. It was a God-ordained moment. She'd called the day before to ask for a ride to an event we were both going to attend. A mutual friend gave her my number, and she lives near my neighborhood. I found her house and there she stood in her driveway waiting for me, dressed to the nines in a beautiful navy dress, pink straw hat with a navy ribbon. Her gray hair peaking out from under the brim was shining and sparkling as were her eyes. She's a petite little thing with a broad grin. She hopped up into my red truck and we were off. The next 15 minutes were filled with quick, constant chatter as we learned much about each other. The similarities were almost identical. She too has two sons, both of hers are living in Colorado! One is in full-time Christian ministry! She loves them dearly and doesn't get to see them as much as she'd like. She was married to her first husband for 35 years and together they worked in Christian Camp Ministry! She'd put in many hours of duty in the camp kitchen. Her passions include fashion consulting (no common ground there) flowers, junk shopping, jig-saw puzzles, parties with her friends, and much much more. She and her present husband of 15 years moved to this area 7 years ago to care for his aging parents. What a sweetie! On the drive home we made plans to host a "tootsie" party on my back patio for a group of friends, (complete with foot basins of luxurious oils and cream-sicle floats for dessert) an antique shopping trip and a future flight together to Colorado. As we said good by, she smiled and replied, "Where have you been these past seven years?" I wondered that myself.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I stepped out the back door onto the stoop that led from the house into the garage. Out of the corner of my left eye I saw something skinny, black, and shiny "slither" under those steps. Was it the wind? Had a leaf, twig or black ribbon blown under there? NO! It had to be a SNAKE, my most feared enemy! After much squealing, jumping up and down, and shouting "help"...I realized that I must act. Who knows where that monster was heading.... under the house, coiling around the pipes to the bathroom, there were endless possibilities. Panic set in! I ran into the house and dialed 911. The local sheriffs dept. dispatcher answered the ring. "Quick", I breathlessly panted, "get someone to my house immediately..WITH A GUN..there's a snake in my garage." She paused for a LONG time and then replied, trying to calm down my racing heart, "you'll have to call Animal Control, lady. Officers don't take "snake calls."
She gave me the number and I contacted the "Alligator Man". YES, that was his name, that's how he answered his phone and that was the sign on his truck when he pulled into my driveway about 20 min. later. The truck was red, old and dilapidated, covered with mud bearing yet another sign that read,"Stand back, Live Alligators!" When the drivers door opened a wild man emerged. He must have been 7 feet tall, bushy gray beard and hair, sporting a 100 year old hat and waders over his mud-green jacket. In a deep voice he greeted me, "YOU THE ONE WITH THE SNAKE." My eyes must have been hanging off my face. "yes"
He tore into that garage, opening all closets and drawers and finally crawled under those tiny steps. He must have expected a Burmese python to meet him in that dark place. All the while I was doing the "snake dance" about 200 feet away while yelling "Got him yet???" Got him yet???" After about 25 minutes he exited the garage holding the culprit by the tail. The monster was about 15 inches long and as thick as a yellow lead pencil. That was HIM!!! Mr. Alligator Man's fee was $25.00. I would have paid $500.00 if he'd asked for it. He threw his catch in the back of the truck, alongside the alligator I suppose. I didn't look! They were soon gone heading down the road in pursuit of other scary creatures. End of story, right??
OH,NO! The next day we went to church and in the Sunday School Class we were attending a lady reenacted to the whole group her previous workdays experience. With as much drama as an academy award winning actress, she explained that as she was working as the dispatch lady for the Sheriff's Dept. the day before, some crazy lady called 911 and asked that an officer be sent to her house WITH A GUN to retrieve a snake!! Riotous laughter all around. Why DID that woman have to be so dramatic??? Don't you just wonder why SOME women are so adept at exaggeration?? Well, I couldn't let that go by with a clear conscience, I had to raise my hand and admit it. I'd learned long ago that it's o.k. to make a fool of yourself and fess up. I've got a lizard story too, but that's for another day.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thank Heaven for Little Girls

Having nothing but boys in the house, it was a real shocker to learn about girls. For years it was nothing but dirty socks, Boy Scout patches, bugs, sweat, and clear communication. There was tons of fun, too, don't get me wrong. It was simply the male version. Even the dogs we owned were male. There was not a lot of emphasis on sissy stuff! After a time I think I actually started thinking like a member of the opposite sex. Tea parties, lace, pink fluffy anythings, white frilly socks were never on the horizon of my mind. That all changed somewhat with the arrival of our daughters-in-law but the big realization came with the first granddaughter. What a wonderful education she provided in the first few years of life.
I think she was 2 the day that Papa attempted to help her put her coat on over her sweater. She refused! Flat out! He cajoled, bribed, begged and proceeded to put her little arms into the sleeves. After about 15 minutes he blurted out, "Whats wrong?" That's all it took. She burst into tears, stomped her little foot and declared in her loud as possible voice..."It doesn't MATCH"!! What a shocker! What kid cared if their coat matched their sweater or kid in our house! He looked up at me, tossed the coat to me and in resignation surrendered, "You'll have to deal with this, I don't know how to deal with this." It was hysterical. This man that could wrangle million dollar deals sometimes with foreign entities was beside himself.
We found a coat that matched and all was well. Since then 3 other little girls have joined the family (and 4 little boys) We've got the boy thing down, but the girls continue to amaze! So delightful, so creative, so unique, so emotional. So fun!
Papa still has that glazed over look every once in a while and begs my help, "This is a girl thing, you'll have to deal with this, I don't get it." Well, he might not "get it" but he sure adores those sissy, prissy, little creatures.
Women are different, no matter what the age...and we have to offer some grace to the guys. They just can't think like us, nor we like them. At the very time we are trying to discuss an important anniversary dinner or romantic vacation they are usually obsessed with changing the oil in the car. And what wife has ever conversed with her husband when the Super Bowl is on the TV! On the other hand, I don't understand the need for chain saws or a riding lawn mower the size of Texas. I DO know that little boys come from the womb with their little red fists curled into a "makeshift" pistol, index finger pointed..."bang, bang". Not surprisingly, their first word is usually "va-room". This life would certainly be boring if we were all alike! As frustrating as it is sometimes, today I think I'll celebrate our differences.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Well, it happened again just yesterday. A very distinguished, looking all put together Mom about my age looked me right in the eye and asked, "Will you teach me how to be a good mother-in-law?"(I hate that title, because it has such a negative reputation, the butt of all late night comedians.) Because I'm involved in several women's groups I hear this question at least once a week. And I love to encourage moms of grown children. For it seems that there's not much said about this particular season of life that comes to all moms eventually. I'm certainly not an expert on the subject, no indeedy. My two beautiful daughter-in-laws have offered me extended grace MANY times over the years, I'm sure. But I try hard to be the best mother-in-law that ever lived. I want to go down in history with that title.
I think I would like to develop a special connection for Moms of grown children, perhaps a website, a blog, a newsletter, a series of meetings, a conference, a retreat, a logo, etc. Can you see it?? We could title it Mothers of Grown Children International. We'd have to go international of course, for moms are the same everywhere. And we'd have the finest speakers and resources available to Moms. We could develop chapters all over the world. Wouldn't that be neat? We could learn from each other and the experts how best to "mother" from a distance. That's the key, cheer from the stands, quietly, smiling, always encouraging. It takes a strong determination to allow your children to take their turn at "making the world turn" with closed lips.
We just want to still protect them from all things that would harm them or make them suffer. Yet, growing into adulthood requires some pain, some lessons learned. For some kids, experience is their only teacher. And some just take a little longer to grow up.
But when that perfect someone is found, it's a time for great celebration. Moms are very wise to love that new family member unconditionally, always being ready to model a servants heart, a listening ear, a funny story, or a well needed hug and word of encouragement. Time and shared experiences knit people together.
Maybe I just need to hug one mom at a time and tell her that she's going to love her grown children and their spouses more than she ever imagined.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Mahogany Wasp

Never heard of him before yesterday! He was hanging out in my flower bed and as my un-gloved hand grabbed a handful of weeds, he grabbed me. Instant, searing pain...right there on my right thumb! After a couple of deep breaths, I made my way into the house for all the home remedies I could find. Vinegar, baking soda, ice. I was madder than a wet Mahogany Hornet. After a time my whole hand and arm looked like the one attached to the Incredible Hulk, minus the green. A call to my nurse practitioner sister convinced us that I better get to a Dr. Alas, the local walk-in clinic closed at 6 pm...we got there at 6:13. to the hospital ER! My swollen-minus-the-green arm moved me to the top of the list of sufferers. They took my info, temp. and weight and moved us back into the waiting room. It was there that we experienced a full blown education of humanity. Everything known to man was in that room! All kinds of people, ages, races, sizes, & genders (male, female, trans-male, trans-female) The children were particularly pitiful, hot, crying, scared. There were sneezes, coughs, vomiting, heart pains, broken bones, tummy aches, fever, got the picture! One young man arrived with a Crocodile Dundee knife stuck in his pants! AND an old lady with a swollen-minus-the-green arm! Ambulances kept arriving, one about every 10 minutes with another crisis. After an IV and careful monitoring we got out of there in a record 7 hours. One man complained that he and his wife been there FOURTEEN hours, waiting. Well, the medicine is working, I'm not having any breathing attacks, and they tell me that after a few days of more medicine my arm should be back to normal, and the Mahogany Wasp will be a distant memory. All that to say, it's taking a while to process what I witnessed in that very confusing place. We were living inside a tv show!! When we left 1 a.m. there were still 50 people waiting to be seen and more ambulances arriving.
There are SO many people suffering physically! And so many brave and good nurses and Dr's. working patiently and kindly (most of the time!) I'm amazed at the dedication and mental stability that it takes to work in an ER! I'd last about 2 minutes as a care-giver instead or a care-taker! I've vowed to NEVER go to the ER unless bleeding profusely, a bone is sticking out somewhere, my heart is attacking, or a wasp has caused me to stop breathing. They've got their hands full there! I think I'll go hug a nurse, or a cute doctor! AND remember to arm myself with a can of RAID when I go to the flower garden.

The Masters

Augusta, Georgia is a beautiful place! We lived there 6 years, back when the boys were small. Dennis had to work that particularly Sunday when the Masters Golf Tournament was being played at the Augusta National Course... so I had plans to stay home and putz around the house.I was 7 months pregnant with our first-born. No big excitement. WHEN..out of the blue a friend from church called to say that she was headed to the Masters Golf Tournament that afternoon and had an extra ticket. Would I like to go? Well, sure..nothing else to do and it was a pretty day. We trekked over the course and my breath was taken away. The flowers, the greens, the crowd, the "distinguished" atmosphere is intoxicating. It was the essence of "true southern gentility". We walked the course and picked a spot on the 14th hole, sat down and the golfers came to us. I had no idea I could be so interested in GOLF! I'd never held a club in my hand, never interested in chasing a little while ball over miles of green grass. turned out to be a fabulous day! I was back at the house smiling smugly at the "gift" of that introduction to GOLF, of all things. When my honey got home and I related the events he was beside himself with envy. How could it be that such a surprise would come my way, when tickets to this event are impossible to get. They are family owned, handed down through generations through wills! We were newcomers to the town, Yankees even! It was unheard of. And I cherished my day even more. Since then I've LOVED the MASTERS...we actually attended a few times after that, also as guests of friends. Today's tournament was wonderful. I watched Phil Mickelson pull it together and end his day hugging his wife and children. Its' been a hard year for that family, as his wife and mother both struggle with breast cancer. They needed some good news after all their challenges. As he embraced them it was a picture of "pulling together" during the hard times and rejoicing together in the good. When both parties are committed to each other that can happen. It DOES take two! I tell my sons but need to tell my husband more often that NOTHING will ever separate my love from them. Nothing ever! I think the Mickelsons are rejoicing in their "pulling together" tonight. Congratulations to them. Tonight they are the Masters of devotion to one another.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Grace & Truth

She was startled awake in the wee hours of the night. Who could possibly be calling at such a time? Sleepily she reached for the ringing nuisance. Hello... Immediately the young male voice on the other end began spewing profanities like this pastors wife had never heard before. Sexual threats, offers and disgusting words flowed easily from his lips. She was wide awake! When he paused to catch a breath, she cleared her throat and in the sexiest most provocative voice she could muster replied, "Sounds like you're in the mood for love. I'd like to meet you." She had his attention. Silence. She continued slowly, "I can introduce you to love like you've never known before. You think you can handle it?" More silence. "I know just exactly what and who you need, I've had experience in this sort of thing." He was stunned! She continued, "Shall we meet?" "SURE", he replied. They agreed upon a date and a place, her suggestion. The tryst would take place the very next Sunday, in the foyer of a local church, AFTER the morning worship was long over so no one would be around. She convinced him the side door would be unlocked. He showed up! She introduced him to her pastor husband and it was there that they introduced him to the lover of his soul. That young man began attending their church, actually went on to become a deacon and most valued member of the congregation. He became a role model of forgiveness and grace. No one ever knew where he'd come from or how he'd just happened to choose that particular place of worship. They grew to love him and he them, it was a match made in heaven. True story!

Friday, April 9, 2010


It happened again, and I missed it AGAIN! The earth in Oklahoma shook, rattled and rolled. Another minor number on the scale but evidently big enough to register with the experts and the news folks. Earthquakes are happening with greater frequency all over the world. And those poor folks in Haiti are struggling to live minute to minute amidst the rubble. The pictures are a reminder to the rest of us that life truly is uncertain and we control none of it.
It makes me think of other things that often "rock" my world. So far, no devastating tragedy like our friends in Haiti, but there are events and things that cause a long pause and reflection. At this time of year its the red bud trees in OK, the forsythia in my backyard, and the lilies blooming on the church altar. Those beauties of nature are screaming, "look at me, I'm gorgeous". How such beauty rises from the dirt and mulch is nothing short of miraculous. Then there's babies laughter, the sound of the garage door opening announcing my honey's homecoming, a telephone call from an old friend, a bright blue bird checking out the new bird house on my patio, or an e-mail announcing good news. Small but important tremors.
Other events that register are the fender benders, the computer crashes, the relationship blow-ups, business deals gone awry, coal mines exploding, terroristic threats and the unexpected illness that also bring on the shakes. The "off the scale" reading comes when one of our children or grandchildren is hurting.
It's one thing and then it's another and that is life.
All the tremors make me very glad that we have a strong sure foundation of faith that never quivers or splits. The pillars get tested often but they never give way.
I've discovered that I have nothing to do with the strength of that foundation, it was established under my trembling feet. The cornerstone is Jesus Christ. The building stones are the principles of scripture and all those very human saints that have lived it out throughout the centuries. I love reading the stories of how they experienced the shakes of life, resting, on the "rock of all ages." I remember a quote from years ago, "When your knees start trembling, kneel."
It makes me think that perhaps the purpose of life-shakes is to remind us to kneel.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Trip to the Hospital

No, not me! It was a drive-by visit done as a favor to my sister that lives in Illinois. She called all a-flutter, saying that her brother-in-law was hospitalized in a Tulsa hospital while on vacation here. The rumor was spreading over AT&T that he was suffering a heart attack. Oh, my. After a few more phone calls back and forth it was determined that he was in Hillcrest Hospital downtown. Her plea to me was, please go there, take a look, ask some questions and call back with a report.
SO...being the dutiful younger sister, I took off. Having never been to a downtown hospital before it was a little confusing. After finding the parking deck and making my way into the entrance I was promptly told I was in the wrong place. (You knew that was coming, didn't you?) Then a very polite and helpful young woman whipped out a map of the complex and instructed me to walk about 2 miles north, turn left, go up the elevator to intensive care, round the corner, and watch the signs. Her last words were "good luck". I was sure I would NEVER see my car again. In fact I made her circle the spot on the map where my car was "probably located" so I could find my way back. Well, the visit went well, the gentleman was waiting for tests to begin and it looked like he was going to be fine in a day or two. He was encouraged that I would come visit him and offer to help any way that I could. His family was relieved that some "blood kin" had laid eyes upon him and could personally testify of his well being.
The major event of the day was finding my way BACK to my car. (Have I mentioned that I have NO sense of direction?) When will I learn to carry bread crumbs in my purse?
I always try to remain and LOOK calm in this type of situation. Within my chest my heart is pounding, racing actually, my brain is whirling as I try to remember where I parked the thing, and I'm about to sweat! Are those heart attack symptoms? I think so! EGADS...I'm the one that needs the Oklahoma Heart Institute experts!! I had visions of "code blue" right there in that massive hallway and my immediate family would forever wonder what I was doing there in the first place, after they were found and notified that is.
After circling the place like a buzzard eyeing roadkill, I happened across a little park. It looked familiar. I remembered watching children playing there when I'd parked my car a few hours ago. Yep..I was on the trail. Well, not long after that I was standing at the back of my car, checking the license plate, and pushing the unlock button on my key listening for the click and un-click, just to make sure that it was MY car. Relief! Once again I was reunited with my big red truck. It looked like "HOME", the end of every parking lot wandering.
These episodes happen to me regularly and only once in my life did I call security in a panic because I was sure someone had stolen my car. Actually I'd parked it a deck UP!
My travels IN the car are not much better. I thank God for GPS. My car has one, her name is Loretta, and her constant message to me is, "make a LEGAL U-TURN"
Life is a trip, isn't it? Full of wanderings and u-turns. I've heard it said that when you die your life flashes before you. Some sort of re-wind. Well, I don't believe that, BUT..if it were true, my movie would be a comedy of errors. My husband calls me Mrs. Magoo.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


One of my most favorite memories of being raised by my grandparents was the sometime more-than-weekly card game. It involved setting up the old green card table in the middle of the tiny living room, 4 chairs around, the jar of pennies in the center ready to be divided out as chips. The deck of cards was well worn but it had all its parts. Just the suggestion of "let's play cards" sent excitement through the house, because these games were unlike any others ever played, anywhere! It was usually gin rummy or maybe poker, the title didn't matter because the rules were always the same, THERE WEREN'T ANY. The goal of the night was to see who could "out cheat" the others. read that right! And as I've grown I've learned that such a plan was never, never allowed, let alone "taught" in other households of pliable young impressionable minds. Granny was the master, my sister and I and our grandfather were her students. You see the purpose of the night was "hysterical laughter", not points, scores or piles of pennies. She would hide an ace under her arm, in her hair, in the pocket of her apron, in her shoe, or perhaps even stuck atop her left ear. With a "poker face" that would cause a Las Vegas dealer to shudder she would wear that card in her ear until one of us finally SAW it! And she could sit on a pair of queens until the breath was squeezed right out of them. Of course we would try our best to "top" each new antic, always getting caught, everyone breaking out into laughter that surely could be heard by the neighbors across the street. Yes, cheating was fun! Since that early childhood education, I find it impossible to play a game with adults without adding the FUN of seeing what I could get away with. This is NEVER appreciated by the competitive types and always determined as absolutely insane. I've cheated at trivia pursuit, checkers, scattergories, name it, I've found a way! I've also now promised my children that I will NOT cheat with the little grandchildren, and I don't...but they never believe me...even when I let those little boogers win. (As a disclaimer, let it be known: I never lie, steal, betray confidences, or keep money a clerk has given to me in change by mistake.)
Granny taught me to have fun, to not take anything real seriously, particularly myself. Life is just too short to get wound up about much of anything, don't you think? I have a heavenly Father who sifts everything through His loving hands before it gets to me. My anxieties, worries and fears are symptoms of a lack of trust in Him. He can and does bring good out of every heartache. Granny lived that philosophy because she'd experienced the gift of two little girls following the too-short life of her only daughter. Life is precious and meant to be enjoyed! Gin rummy, poker? In view of eternity isn't laughing with children more important that winning a silly game?


Today the Broken Arrow Christian Women's Club started collecting hats. Some very talented ladies are going to use them to decorate a meeting place next week. Hats of all colors, shapes, & fabrics showed up. Straw hats, velvet hats, ball caps, and cone-shaped birthday hats were just a few I spied piling up in that living room. I recall that it hasn't been that long ago that women wore hats all the time. I've got an attic full of some old pictures to prove it, and who can forget Eleanor Roosevelt in those atrocities. A couple of generations ago Eleanor and no other well-dressed woman would go anywhere without her hat and gloves. Better yet, I might try to find teenager and take her to the attic with me for a look at those old black and whites! That would be an experience worth my time. Styles of long ago are hilarious! And I'm sure future generations will be laughing at us when the scrapbooks are hauled out for an afternoon laugh. There are some pictures of me and my high school friends all decked out in our mini-skirts that are particularly disgusting. I'm wondering why our parents allowed us to go out the door with those short skirts and white boots! EGAD! And how about "goth"? When will those young girls realize they look like DEATH, with black clothes, nails, and white faces. Nothing appealing there.
Oh, well, styles change as often as the Oklahoma wind. And after having gone shopping for a dress today I'm hoping the "wind" changes soon and the designers and buyers will realize that we've been through that "polyester print" already. It was bad in the 60's and it's still bad! The "garment district" experts sure know how to get our attention. They drag some old fabrics out of the history books, declare it "new", and we fall over ourselves to acquire it.
Well...I used to anyway. Being "in style" isn't as important after age 50...comfort reigns.
Wouldn't it be nice if all that time, energy and money were directed to the person "within" the clothing? Wouldn't it be nice if "first impressions" involved character? I supposed that will never happen, after all, it STILL takes me a while to get past Eleanor's hats to understand her heart. And it's hard to not physically wash that black lipstick off that teenagers face. I MUST remember: what's on the inside REALLY is what counts. And tonight I'm thanking God that I don't have to wear a hat to Wal-Mart!

Monday, April 5, 2010


I'm a happy soul when I've got a trip, a celebration, a meeting, etc. coming up in the future! It's that anticipation thing! And today I'm ecstatic. I've just finalized dates, times, airfares, hotel, etc...for a trip to DISNEY WORLD. It's not that I love that place...sometimes it can be just miserable!! When it's way too hot, too crowded with crying 2 yr. olds, too rainy, or if I'm not feeling 100%... that place can be hell on earth. And you've got to admit, some of Disney is just plane corny. BUT...later this month we'll be in Orlando for a business trip AND the exciting part is that Maggie, our 8 yr. old granddaughter is flying there to meet us for a couple of days at Mickeyworld.
We have 8 grandchildren and each one is loved beyond measure. As they grow we have the grandparent "duty" of seeing that each one gets to go on a fun trip ALONE, without siblings, without parents. It's Maggie's year. Maybe I should say it's MY TURN WITH MAGGIE. I doubt that she's more excited about this than I am.
You just about have to move heaven and earth to get the airlines to accept an "unaccompanied minor" but they know who butters their bread so they've decided to placate grandparents. She's traveled internationally several times in her young life so I'm confidant she'll be just fine this time. And I'm positive that once we enter through those Magic Gates we'll BOTH realize that being 8 years old is a wonderful time of life.
The older I get the more I love and respect children, all children, everywhere. They are so pure and honest, funny and loving, full of innocence and promise. I look forward to the day when Jesus returns and sets this world aright, so that NO child (8 or 80) would ever have a reason to cry again. Now, THAT'S anticipation!
It's the day after Easter, HIS next appearance is a promise HE will keep. The sooner the better!

4 AM

I'm up and doing my best thinking! Evidently my brain is rested and ready to go...crazy, isn't it! Life looks so much clearer and "manageable" in the morning rather than late at night. Those late night worries can sometimes just overtake a person's sanity. Better to stay away from those. BUT...alas, it is true, "joy comes in the morning". The house is quiet and relatively dark, IF you don't pay attention to all the little "power" lights that are everywhere. Tiny green, red, yellow or blue beams flicker from the computer, the alarm system, the TV, the Wii, the microwave, and the clock assuring me that the US electric grid system is still alive. Yep...everything looks better in the morning "darkness". It's a new day and I'm armed with optimism, joy, patience, charity, love, forgiveness and initiative. I can hardly stand myself! So many good ideas, plans, and words are coming together! This could be the morning I write the next chapter of that award wining novel, or political speech, or women's retreat talk, or letter to my children, or biography of my hero/friend. These are the hours that prayer comes easily and naturally, full of hope and kindness for all. If I had any friends up at this hour we could visit and I surely would encourage them, make them laugh, or give some wise advice.
It COULD be that this euphoria today is simply a "jelly-bean hangover"!!! That's it, those little oval addictive candy thrills have done it once again. When will I ever learn....when will they be declared a controlled substance subject to regulations?
It happens every Easter! (My favorites are the licorice ones!)

Saturday, April 3, 2010


It's the best time of the year! Easter is the reason for Christmas....the baby born to the virgin came FOR Easter Sunday. Easter is the holiday that distinguishes Christianity from all other religions. The God of Christianity is ALIVE, unlike Buddha, Mohammad, Confucius, etc. His tomb is empty! Even those religions that say they regard Jesus of Nazareth as a "good teacher", Prophet, or role model must overlook the fact that He SAID HE WAS GOD! As one author put it, "Jesus is either God or a fried egg" How could a good teacher, role model or prophet emphasize such a lie and still be called good! We don't all love and serve the same god, who just happens to have different names. The next argument is, "where's the proof" that this man did indeed defeat death. Well, it's true, there were no cameras 2000 years ago, but there were plenty of eye witnesses. And they were extremely careful to record what they saw. Any unbiased judge and jury would find the evidence convincing. People do not believe because they do not want to believe, not because of lack of evidence. So, not all religions are of equal value because not all can possibly be true. The world religions proclaim vastly different stories. We just can't have it both ways. And that concept is NOT politically correct.
Problems arise because over the years we Christians have added some extras to the story: lists of do's and don'ts, countless denominations, rituals and liturgies, prayers, requirements, building styles, right vs. wrong music styles, even dress codes. And if that weren't enough we've become judgmental and critical instead of loving and serving those that Jesus loves. Let's call it "church culture" or "religion" It doesn't have much to do with Jesus and it certainly isn't attractive.
Bottom line: Jesus came, lived a sinless life, died for the sins of the world and ROSE from the dead. He ascended into heaven, sent the Holy Spirit to indwell and empower believers until the timing is right for HIS GLORIOUS, VICTORIOUS RETURN.
The Bible tells us that Jesus was MAGNETIC...drawing all kinds of people to Himself. Folks from all walks of life were mesmerized by His freshness, acceptance, authority, purity, forgiveness, wisdom and love.
God in the flesh!! HALLELUJAH, what a Savior! I'm celebrating an empty tomb this weekend.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Life in this Small Town

We have spent many years of married life living in big cities. And we loved it. The bigger the city the more opportunities to work and play. The energy of a metro-plex is something to behold. I personally thrive in areas populated by several million plus! Driving through the Mix-Master in Dallas was no big deal! My ideal spot would be Manhattan, right smack dab in the middle of New York City. One long ago friend commented that the reason I was so happy to leave Savannah, GA a few years back was because it just wasn't "big enough for me". As beautiful as it was, she was probably right.
Now we've lived in Broken Arrow, OK almost 3 years....population 100k maybe! It has all the amenities I need and a quaint little downtown that I adore. We used to comment to each other..."when you walk down the street and you recognize someone, or someone recognizes you, it's time to move". It seems that's how it always worked. Just when we started feeling comfortable somewhere we uprooted and replanted somewhere else. But today, after getting my hair cut by the same friend that's been doing it for 3 years, I walked through a few businesses, running some errands in downtown BA. I ran into a friend from the neighborhood book club, a co-worker from the library, & a couple of women from the local Christian Women's Club. There were waves and smiles all over the place...people that I knew and knew me! As I drove by a church I watched people file in for a memorial service for a friends father, and contemplated the bittersweet atmosphere inside that place. There would be several faces present that I know. And Easter Sunday we will go to the home of some friends from church and have a lovely brunch with lots of stories and laughter. Bottom line, we're connecting to this place and her people.
As comfortable as we have become here I know that change is always a possibility. If not location, then certainly age, health, relationships, family crisis, etc. Comfort is always a temporary state of affairs. I want to live into change, when is comes, with grace and faith. I'm reading Paul Harvey's biography now and he once stated that his favorite day was "tomorrow". I always thought my favorite day was "today". I want to live life in the now..but like Paul, not be anxious about tomorrow.
And I want to thrive in the intimate energy of a small town, content to know that this is exactly where I'm supposed to be in this era of my life.