Saturday, October 22, 2011


FORTY!  4- 0 ! Fortieth!  Four decades!  How can it be?  Mentally I'm still just THIRTY,  physically we won't discuss, and yet the facts don't lie.  We've been married 40 years today!

 And this is the surprise that waited for me when I reached the kitchen this morning.  40 red roses. Gorgeous!

AND later we declared each other STILL gorgeous, after we took off our glasses! 

Those 40 years flew by as a blink of the eye, faster than a speeding bullet, as crazy as a maple leaf in the whirlwind!

Yet, when we take a look in the rear view mirror they have been absolutely FILLED with adventure.

We've done enough, seen enough, & experienced enough to fill volumes! My photo closet is overflowing with memories of  two baby boys, vacations, ball games, family celebrations and holidays, Boy Scout camp outs,  graduations, friends all over America, ministries, weddings, funerals, piano recitals, college homecomings and extravaganzas, nine grandchildren, 13 different houses in 11 different states (twice we owned two at once) car wrecks and  car repairs, trips to the ER and surgeries, one tornado, two dogs and several cats, three hurricanes, laundry at the Vatican,  church building campaigns and church fights, job changes, hairstyles, on and on!!  We've walked through Jerusalem and Petra, Ketchikan  and Sitka, Paris and Rome together.  We've sipped tea in Japan and got caught in a Buddhists ritual.  We've been fishing in the Caymans,  watched whales in Mexico, and rode bikes in Belgium and Kaui.  White water rafting and learning to snow ski could be a cartoon!

We've cried together at the birth (or arrival from Africa) of each grandchild and have been overcome with joy at watching them grow. Our children and grandchildren have been the delight of our hearts.

There's been a thrill or two every year or every few months in some cases

We'll probably go out to dinner tonight, sit and reflect, reminisce and tell stories.  And laugh a lot!

This morning I heard Billy Graham's recent quote,  "I know how to live and I know how to die, but no one told me how to grow old."

We don't know how to grow old either, but by God's grace, we'll do it together!

Friday, October 21, 2011


Today this little boy is TWO!   And I will forever marvel at the creativity and brilliance of God.  We have NINE grandchildren and each one of them is so very unique. How is it that the Creator God has designed so many different personalities?  WHY  He does it must be for our enjoyment!

Thompson is his own person.  He lives with three sisters and daily lets them know that boys are very different creatures than girls.  He's tougher, rougher and ready to roll at mach speed at any given moment.  He's the funniest little toddler alive and makes sure everyone around him is smiling.

If he needs a little fun and the adults around aren't having a riotous good time , he raises his shirt, tickles his own tummy and declares, "digga, digga, digga!"

He's carefree and confidant and a laugh a minute!

His favorite thing to do is sweep the floor, his favorite toy is a broom, second  is the vacuum.  A squirt bottle of water and a roll of paper towels is a good time!  We have videos designated to show at his rehearsal dinner.  His bride will be thrilled to get this one.  Unless something drastically changes during his college years, this boy is going to be neat!

He gives sincere hugs to this BeBe and we have great fun together!  I savor every moment.

He can't read this just yet, but one day he will ...........and he will smile when he remembers how much we love him!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011


This is Nelson!  He's a dog, I think!  I met him Monday as he "greeted" me at the door of an Interior Design Store in Arkansas.  Yep, he and his owner run the shop.  (I doubt she has any need for electronic security!)

Nelson is just seven months old and he's more dog than I've ever seen.   I'm sure a horse saddle would fit him just fine.  We nearly met eyeball to eyeball as he sized me up as friend or foe. If he'd chosen to put his paws on my shoulders he would have been two heads taller than me.  His petite master assured me that he was just a puppy and harmless.

I love dogs!  I just don't understand  HUGE dogs.  This creature is beautiful and he is beautifully big.   He doesn't realize that he's larger than a Volkswagen bug as he moves gracefully among fine china, crystal art work, and various pricey objects 'd art!  His swinging tail alone could  innocently wipe out entire sets of Staffordshire collections. His chew "toy" PVC pipe could level a coffee table or bust through the glass door of the entrance to the place. He OWNS any space he chooses to occupy.  This boy is carefree and confidant.

I can't imagine feeding a pet this big, let alone walking him, cleaning up after him, or just getting him in the car to go ANYWHERE!
Does he sit in the passenger seat?  Does he poke his head out the sun roof so his ears can blow in the wind?  How does he feel about lying in the MIDDLE of the bed at night?  How much water does it take to keep him hydrated?  Is he  so well adjusted  because he knows he puts the fear of God in every other living being?   Did his owner have go have some kind of special training before she brought him home.  Living with Nelson must be a full time job!

Our meeting left a vision in my brain and I can't get him out of it!  He is a walking example of power under restraint and he's just a baby! What is he going to be when he's fully grown? Hopefully, he'll be kind and sweet, lovable and respectful. 

I'm pretty sure he'll  be and do anything he wants, who's going to argue with Nelson?


I could hear them coming....they don't move silently in this neighborhood.  They usually arrive at the crack of dawn, making the most of the element of surprise!  Their motors are roaring as they swoop through the "common area" between our house and the creek nearby.  This morning there were FIVE assassins outside my bedroom window. They're hired and sent here by the owners/developers of our community.  They come weekly, evidently there's a schedule for "murder."

Two were on their honkin' (humongous) riding lawn mowers, decked out in their uniforms of  black stocking hats, bullet proof jackets and matching pants, ski gloves and FBI dark sunglasses.  I'm sure the boots are steel-toed. They are an intimidating sight!  It's enough to cause frightened young mothers to hide their children behind locked doors!  The other three held their hand weapons with both fists as they slashed indiscriminately every blade of grass that waved over two inches in height.  Uniform and neat is their slogan and marching song. Their goal is to see how much destruction they can cause in "record time."

This morning I watched the attack and if looks could harm, all of them would be wounded!

They were here last week too and my two year old, only had 1 baby, 10 leafed fig tree that I've been coddling through the long hot summer met it's end.  I'm sure it didn't know what hit it as that monstrous machine sliced it right off at ground level.

Was it an accident or a planned attack?  I'll never know.  I'm sure no one will admit the dastardly deed and the only evidence I have is a tiny little stump sticking up out of the ground.  Forensic evidence could only produce the angle of the cut of the blade.  No motive would ever surface, I'm sure.  I'm not up to a "David vs Goliath" confrontation!

It's only a small fig tree anyway, right?

No, it's an ongoing battle I seem to lose with man and his mowing machine!   It's the principle of the thing!!!

It was actually Honeybuns that discovered the death of my fig tree, and he knew the fury, sadness and grief that he would encounter when he told me the news. He's  witnessed that scene numerous over the years as he has slayed many a precious plant.

 I'm pleased to say that he's since learned to slow it down a little when he boards our "Binford 2000."  He is still practicing restraint with the weed eater and has yet to master that weapon of destruction.  I have hopes there!

Since a law suit, arrest, protest or an old fashioned screaming hissy fit seem useless and inappropriate for this grown woman, I'm instead headed to the local nursery to seek out a replacement.   (How many times must I repeat this scenario?)  

I will never understand the need to "cut down" at random my prized horticultural experiments.

The aggression in the male species is hard to define!  The fury welling up within ME is justifiable, don't you think?


Thursday, October 13, 2011


This week we flew to Las Vegas for the annual big airplane convention! 

I didn't go to the convention itself but spent my time wandering around "sin city" and yes, it does live up to it's name.  There are things that happen there that should definitely STAY there.  My first clue that we were no long in Oklahoma occurred when we checked into the hotel. The woman at the desk asked me if my last name was the same as the gentlemen  (Honeybuns) who was standing there beside me.  Now, that's a first!  I've never been asked that before....but as she explained, "you're in Vegas now, honey, anything goes."  

Evidently the Las Vegas we knew 10 years ago no longer exists.  It was touted as "kid friendly" back then and the city was proud of the distinction.  Families took vacations there and had a good g-rated time.  Since then the town has undergone a transformation and now it's the equivalent of an Adult Disney World. Peep shows are advertised, x-rated pictures are plastered up on public buildings and 5-inch stilettos are the preferred foot wear! Mobster looking men line the sidewalks selling tickets to the latest lewd performance.

After discovering and enjoying the monorail, I spent my first day wandering up and down the "Strip" taking in all the sights I wanted to see and several I didn't!    Tourists are thick as fleas on a dogs back and just navigating the side walks reminded me of Manhattan.  People were everywhere!  I wandered in and out of Paris, Bally's, Bellagios, New York - New York, Harrahs and the Venetian, all mega-moneyed temples of sensual pleasures.

Exploring Caesar's Palace was enlightening and exhausting.  The thing is almost as big as the real ROME!  The high-end shops were entertaining, the moving statues fascinating, the people passing by were of all shapes, sizes, and nationalities.  As I rested on a bench in the middle of the day a man came by and  quickly and "discreetly" took my picture. (What was that about? )  I decided to get out of there and be aware of anyone following me. Why would ANYONE need a picture of this Granny?

I stopped by the casino at Caesars and made a memory there!  Having gambled a total of one other time in my life I knew absolutely nothing about gaming!   I sat down beside a slot machine and decided to give it a whirl.  Those bandits are VERY complicated.  Finally I figured out where to insert my money and slipped my designated "gambling" $20.00 in the lighted hole.  It sucked it in quickly!  After 10 minutes of staring at the thing I decided I was supposed to push some lighted buttons.  That did the trick.  The screen lit up like a Christmas tree and I was on my way to financial independence!  I kept hitting buttons until a siren started wailing and the thing announced that I had WON some "extra spins."  The machine started spinning FOR ME!  My financial future was out of my hands as I watched the pictures go round and round. Finally it quit and announced that I had WON the JACKPOT!   All $14.00 of it!  (At first I thought it read $1400.00 and  I nearly had a heart attack!)  Next step was to try to get my winnings out of the thing.  Finally I got a receipt printed and I RAN to another machine to CASH OUT!   Yep, I took my original $20.00 and my newly acquired "$14.00 and beat it to the door! I'd been warned that if I had any winnings at all to pocket it deep and leave the building!  I knew to quit while ahead!

The next day I decided to skip the strip and go shopping at the local outlet mall to spend my $14.00.  After negotiating a cab ride I arrived at shop heaven. Miles of walking were ahead of me.  I explored all the shops, tried on and purchased clothes, ate lunch, tried on shoes, socks and unmentionables.  It was a fun productive day.

At the last store  I visited, late in the day, I asked the clerk  for the directions to the taxi stands.  An older woman standing nearby interrupted and quickly invited me to come with her. She was staying at a hotel near mine and would gladly give me a lift, no sense in paying a taxi driver.  I gave her the once over and quickly said, "sure, why not?"  We headed off to find her car.  After a few minutes of wandering she remembered where it was.  (I'd found a kindred spirit.)

We proceeded back into the city and headed for the Srip. She was depending upon my knowing where my hotel was located and I was depending upon quickly finding "something familiar" so I could steer her in the right direction.  We took a couple of wrong turns, u-turns and good turns.

 We had a lovely conversation, talking about husbands in town for conventions, children, grandchildren, Las Vegas, shopping, hometowns and great places to eat. 

Finally she pulled up to my hotel and I proceeded to thank my new friend.  We said goodbye with promises to look each other up if we were ever passing through!

What an odd day!  Right there in the middle of sin personified I'd  experienced a  "random act of kindness."

Surprising things happen in Vegas!

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Holly, me, Laura, Sharita
Where's Janet?

Whew!  It was a busy two days.  Four friends and I loaded up my big red truck and drove over to Springfield, MO for a Stonecroft Leadership Conference.  What a whirlwind adventure!

We learned much and loved more! 

My car was filled with laughter before we got out of my driveway.  I learned that I love being with these women.  They are brilliant, quick witted, mission minded, beautiful and extremely funny!  The three hour drive seemed like minutes as we flew over the turnpike.

We told stories, compared lives, ate Chocolate Chip Pumpkin cookies, (thanks, Holly)  got lost, got found and arrived at the hotel after a brief short-cut over a curb, down a ditch, up a small incline, through a roped fence into the parking lot.   (Why, oh why are hotels built with NO means of accessing the front entrance??)

The conference room was filled with ladies from several states and the Stonecorft Leadership from headquarters at Kansas City, MO.

We quickly learned that Stonecroft women come in all shapes, sizes, ages and stages of life. We sang, watched a skit, received door prizes, listened, ate, and did I mention LAUGHED alot! Leaders shared their lives and their passions. Geneva Vollrath, Lisa Heidrich, Cheryl Davis, Dorea Potter and MANY other Stonecroft staff ladies led the group. We learned about Cross-Cultural Ministry and the fabulous work being done with Military wives!  Sharita sang Amazing Grace as the whole crowd silently voted for her to be the NEXT American Idol.  Our Mom's panel inspired several to go back to their clubs to form their own!!! (I handed out free Zebra Striped Duct Tape to all  mothers-in-law!)

 PressPause was presented as an option to reach women in the marketplace and a panel of professional people silenced the room with their stories. A policeman told of rampant domestic abuse, the director of a crisis pregnancy center gave statistics, and a dietitian talked about eating disorders.  A brave young woman told of her passion and experiences of  befriending the ladies of the gentlemen's clubs and her desire to help them know a better way.  Human Trafficking was discussed as eyes and hearts were opened to that atrocity that ravages our cities.  We heard a Grandmothers true story of her grandaughter being attacked at gun point and of one Stonecroft woman actually BUYING the building of a strip club in order to shut it down!  Whoo-Hoo, you go girl!

We learned that we love panel discussions!

Worlds collided. Young women complained about "old technology" and older women promised to learn how to do that "new thing" they called "TWEET!"  Some gals were ready to "run" with new ideas as others were trying desperately to get their feet out of the concrete of "we've always done it this way."  

Birthing new methods and ideas are painful, but as one woman realized,  "when a mother is in labor, if the baby is NOT delivered, BOTH die."  Oh, my! 

New relationships were established and old ones celebrated.  Lots of networking was going on, cards were exchanged and promises were made to connect and help each other with future projects. 

It's quite a challenge to get a large group of women together to accomplish anything and keep everybody happy in the process.  The planning committee worked hard and I thank them!!! I hope as they are resting and reflecting today  they are encouraged!!!

There will be a lot activity in the months ahead. 

All I know right now is this,  I love my car-mates more than bacon!


Monday, October 3, 2011


I'M   ADDICTED!   The ipad2 came into my life on my birthday. I am SO thankful to it's inventor. 

It has a camera and a ringer, which means that every once in a while it RINGS, the CAMERA comes on automatically and right there in front of my eyes  in real time is the face of one of the Colorado Braner kids.  Talk about FABULOUS!    It's such a fun time!

I recommend this technology to every Grandma that lives farther than 20 miles away from the heartbeat of her life! 

Gabby calls me  on her mommy's ipad2 to show me her newest hairdo.  Hays allows me to sit-in on his guitar practice.  Dax does a dance or two, Tiki grins and tells me about school and Maggie tells me she loves me!  We make faces, tell jokes and can sing a duet if we want. Wow!  I live in a wonderful time in history.

IF you have a grandchild do everything in your power to get to BEST BUY ....TODAY and purchase on of these lifelines to childhood innocence. (Take a lot of money with you because you'll need to buy one for the faraway children as well, consider it a relationship investment or a wellness program!  My heart is happier now!)

 This little computer is velcroed to my body....just in case a grandchild has something to share!

Now this little gadget also does other things as well.   I can check e-mail, Facebook, play angry birds, google anything, read books, locate myself when I'm lost, waste hours on Pininterest, or listen to the Beatles! 

Surely there is a 12 step program for me!  Nope,  no way am I going cold turkey!  I love the CO Fab5 too much to enter into therapy!
I wear this addiction proudly!

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Hi, Ho, we went to the FAIR!   The Tulsa State Fair is in full swing and we checked it out today.  It's only been about 100 years since we've strolled down the Midway, ate a corn dog or rode the roller coaster.

What a gloriously beautiful fall day to enjoy the sights and sounds of such an event!

We entered the gates after church this morning, choosing to stay  "in town" rather than drive all the way home, change clothes and drive all the way back in.  It worked for me.  All I had to do was peel off the Sunday-go-to-meeting jacket, slip into some comfy sandals and I was ready.  Honeybuns didn't take "fair clothes" so he was way over dressed!  (Other fair patrons must have thought he was the President of the World, or at least President of the Fair! He bravely ignored the stares!)

We paid the exhorbitant amount  ($10.00) each and headed through the gate for a good time.  We strolled carefully through the horse barn and headed for the junk food.  It was plentiful!  Fried everything, turkey legs (salmonella on a stick) lemonade shake-ups and funnel cakes were displayed for our pleasure. Food stands were nearly stacked on top of each other just as we remembered. 

Families were out with  babies in strollers and  grandmas in wheelchairs.  Beer tents, red cross buses and policemen on golf carts lined the paths. We looked at new house siding, cattle trailers, bungee jumpers and swings made out of logs.

The "Exchange Building" was the largest exhibit.  It was filled with new junk, no doubt from China.  We gazed at purses, jewelry, jellies, cookware, hot tubs, leather belts and Ford trucks.  Ford must be a big sponsor because that was the only brand on the property.

The most popular section of the building was the area corded off displaying tables of decorated cakes.  They were phenomenal! Professional cake designers and designer wanna-bes from Florida, Arkansas, Missouri and lands beyond showed their talent.  Their creations were unbelievably intricate, large and breath-taking!  People lined up, took pictures and were astounded.  Even the men appreciated the exhibit.

After about 2 hours of non-stop walking and people watching we finally found the 4H and FFA building.  NOW, we were sure we were about to experience the HEART of the occasion.  I had visions of thousands of entries sporting various colored ribbons.

Evidently those organizations are not wildly popular these days because the building was almost empty.  There were a few boxes of produce that had been judged, even fewer baked goods.   Several hanging baskets of greenery had evidently survived the extremely hot summer and were proudly bearing some ribbons. The domestic division included a few hand made items, but way too few!  And I'm wondering how children learn how to do those things now, or if it's important anymore.

The Fair has evolved.

Trying very hard not to sound like an old lady, I DO remember learning SO much at my 4H club as a child.  We baked bread, stirred up white gravy, and rolled out pie dough.  I still have the little cookbook.  I learned how to sew there (and have been sewing ever since.)  We made up skits and performed for huge audiences, competed in county fairs and learned the art of graciously losing.  One of our leaders arrived at every local meeting in her cotton dress and WHITE GLOVES.  Aww,  memories!

It's a bygone era.  Today's kids probably don't need to know those things.  Clothing is cheap at Walmart and good food is plentiful everywhere,  in America anyway.  Today knowing how to download, upload, and text on an  iPhone are skills required.  Counting gigabytes is much more important than counting stitches or measuring flour.

I wonder if the kids experience the same kind of pride, or the satisfaction of realizing they are capable of creating something with their own hands.  I'll ask them!

Maybe a few will get into cake decorating!  That seems to be where all the creativity lies today.

It was a good day at the Fair.   It's all about learning something and  that we did!