Saturday, May 28, 2011
We barely got out of the cemetery alive!
There is a huge, wonderfully patriotic experience in our town of Broken Arrow, OK this weekend. The Floral Haven Cemetery COMES TO LIFE! There are folks that work for days during this time every year to make Memorial Day Weekend memorable. Thousands of huge American flags are on display, each one with dog tags attached, identifying
a brave soldier that has died. It is a sight to behold. The soldiers names are read, songs are sung, traditional ceremonies are repeated and very much alive military personnel are usually marching in formation. It is a very impressive celebration giving honor to those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
It is a good thing to stop, remember and be thankful, at least ONCE a year!
Today we made our annual drive through that magnificent sight of flags gently unfurled by the Oklahoma breeze. Hundreds of folks were scattered over those acres placing wreaths on family members graves, taking pictures, reading headstones, and remembering. A changing of the guard ceremony was respectfully attended. The pride in the air was almost visible.
After many ooh's and ahh's we were beginning to make our way through those narrow roads to the exit.
That's when it happened, THE CAR WRECK INSIDE THE CEMETERY!
An elderly woman was in her car also preparing to leave, so Honeybuns courteously stopped our car there in the middle of the road to give her room to back out of her parking space.
Evidently she mistakenly missed the brake to slowly reverse and hit the ACCELERATOR instead! That car whipped around at lighting speed, did a complete 180, side swiped the car next to her and she came to a stop HARD against a tree! We were inches from being involved in this unbelievable scene. It happened right before our eyes!
We were speechless. A couple of men, women and one policeman appeared from nowhere within seconds. The white-haired grandmother sat in her car gripping the steering wheel in a complete state of shock, embarrassed beyond imagination!
Honeybuns jumped out of the car and ran to her. He and the others asked if she were hurt, quickly glancing into the vehicle that she'd just demolished to see if there were any injured there to rescue.
No wounds were visible except to this grandmothers pride. I felt so sorry for her as she slid across the car seat to exit her bent up vehicle to get out of that twisted metal. She'd just experienced her worst nightmare. I'm sure she had no idea HOW all that had so quickly happened. How could she possible explain the encounter to her family members, insurance man and car repair technician?Thousands of dollars would be involved before she would drive again.
Just proves that old adage, "you're safe nowhere." Who knew that a leisurely drive through the place of the dead would almost put us IN that place of the dead. We nearly ended up on the wrong side of the dirt.
It's a good day when you get out of the cemetery ALIVE!
Monday, May 23, 2011
Yesterday afternoon we were driving west on I44 coming home from a friends beautiful wedding weekend in Illinois. It had already been a jammed packed whirlwind of a good time visiting with family and friends, breaking bread several times, and dancing late into the evening. The ride home was supposed to be uneventful and a little lazy. And it WAS, most of the way.
Honeybuns does all the driving, I do all the reading, texting, knitting and napping as we speed along.
We were about six hours into this eight hour drive when the excitement started. As we approached Joplin, MO the sky started turning dark so we tuned in the local radio station to hear what was happening up ahead. Sure enough, our suspicions were confirmed. A huge storm was brewing and the announcer was tracking tornadoes that had formed along the OK-MO counties.
I held the road map on my lap and tried tracking the names of the towns that were coming from that static filled news alert.
We heard the words, "a tornado is crossing I44 between mile marker 13 -18." WHAT?" We'd just quickly passed marker 18! It was directly in front of our car.
Other vehicles were whizzing down the road beside us. We were amazingly calm!!! Denial? Shock? Peace?
The sky turned black and the rain began. Everyone started slowing down as visibility was reduced to ZERO. I was texting friends and our youngest son. I felt like someone would need to know what happened to us if we didn't survive. Again, we were both amazingly calm.
A huge clunk of something hit the top of our car, I was sure it was ice. Honeybums somehow found an exit (8) and we crept along in the dark pouring rain. We turned off the road and saw a few hotels off to the right, cars lined up under the concrete porticoes.
He pulled up as close as possible to the cars huddled together at the Hampton Inn. A woman from the hotel came screaming out, yelling TORNADO, her face plastered against my window. She opened my car door and pulled me out into that blinding rain. I ran for the door and she shoved me into a darkened stairwell....twenty-five strangers were squeezed together there. Honeybuns was pushed in a few seconds later. That scene was surreal. I couldn't believe what had just happened. Again, all were amazingly calm.
SILENCE. We waited, people began talking and a baby cried. I met a man from Florida, off on a 40 day road trip with his wife, they'd just retired. A young girl from AZ was trying to connect to AT&T, she shared with me that they don't have storms like THIS where she lives! There were families, children, an elderly couple that seemed very confused.
About 20 minutes later, someone opened the stairwell door to take a peek. The rain was still coming down in sheets, the wind was blowing a gale. Folks trickled out into the dark lobby and watched. The hotel staff began passing out flashlights, directing guests to NOT return to their rooms. The electric doors were sealed. One guy had an ipad and could get the weather map. The dark red circle of wind on his screen was moving away from us. It had passed right over that Hampton Inn without touching down. Little did we know that at that very moment lives were being taken and property destroyed just a mile up the road.
The wind and rain finally let up a little and Honeybuns said, "let's go!" We were the first to leave. (No surprise there!) I wished my new friends good luck and they shouted back the same. Calmness prevailed once again!
We found our way back to I44 and headed west, leaving that darkened roadway and city behind us. We were the only cars on the road, but the sky was brighter and the rain had stopped. Dark clouds were forming again to the south and we watched them carefully.
After a few miles we realized why the highway was empty. Police were diverting all traffic onto the side roads, NO ONE was going to be allowed into the city of Joplin. Only ambulances and rescue vehicles with sirens blaring raced toward that city. The radio told us why! Walmart was gone, a hospital destroyed, houses were leveled, semis were overturned and cars had been lifted off the road and flung into ditches. We heard the words "devastation, " "war zone," and "it looks like a bomb has been dropped on Joplin." The "death count would be high."
We're safe, dry, and moving on with our lives today. That is not the case for our Missouri neighbors. At the moment the death toll is 89 and expected to rise!
I'm so sad for those people today. And so grateful for life.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
I love the land, the history, the food, the people, the landmarks, and the absolute CRITICAL CONCEPT that Israel as a nation must exist!
There are huge movements on this planet right now whose goal it is to bring that country to nothing! In the past I have dismissed this concept as just a few very loud and radical voices spouting their venom. Surely, NO ONE would take seriously the threats of a lunatic neighbor. He has publically declared MANY times his goal is to remove Israel from the face of the earth. Israel could end his ranting and raving at any given moment with just a nod to go ahead and push the nuclear button. Missiles are cocked and ready, pointing in all directions.
It seems like the button may just be pushed any day now.
Just a few short years ago we visited that Biblical land and talked at length with a retired military man. He shared stories of Israel being at war with Egypt and how Egypt was expected to win battle after battle yet miraculously when forces met the Egyptians unexpectedly just turned and ran away. No explanation! He guided us to the hills of the Golan Heights and explained the battles that occurred there. He explained the 1967 war. We purchased a video to review these facts again and again once we got home.
When we asked this very articulate and brave man what he believed to be the solution to the conflict over the land he replied, "It's the map! Whenever the boundaries are reached there will be peace." He then pulled a rough drawing from his pocket.
His map of the future land called Israel would encompass all land from the Euphrates and Tigris rivers to the sea! It was the Biblical description of the territory given to the Jewish people during the time of Abraham. This description was repeated again and again to Abraham's descendants. We checked his claims. He's got facts to stand on.
This morning I was driving home from a little volunteering position and the announcer came on the radio with the excited news, "BREAKING NEWS!" President Obama had just finished a speech in which he declared that the United States wants the borders of Israel to return to the 1967 line.
WHAT??? With all due respect, he wasn't speaking for ME, or others like me. I think we're called Christian Zionists, those who believe the book, those who believe that the existence of the nation of Israel is an idea straight from the heavenlies.
The radio announcer called the Presidents statement a "bombshell." Very poor choice of words! Because it may just come to that!
Oh, my, I never thought I'd live to see the day that the US would denounce the only country in that part of the world that treats it's citizens with dignity, that is flourishing in a million ways, that contributes to the welfare of the whole world, that governs by the rule of law, that holds women in high esteem and is light years ahead of all their neighbors scientifically.
Will Jerusalem be divided? Will the holy sights that we now are free to visit be open to all, or will they be shut up tight as is the Dome of the Rock. (That particular sight was built on tourists dollars and is now a mosque that only Muslims can enter.) Will the garden tomb be destroyed like the desert Buddhas? Will women be required to wear those god-awful burkas? Will women be refused the right to drive a car, own a business or go to school? What happens to the rest of us when Jews are targeted for death? Didn't we already experience that and swore to ourselves, "never again?"
Honeybuns just gave his input. "Forget 1967. Why don't we honor the border that was drawn over there about 2000 BC."
(HHHHmmmmnnnn, more thoughts of Abraham.)
This news has far reaching effects. We can only imagine where we're going from here.
LOOK OUT TEXAS! You might be next!
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Well, MAYBE I've come to that point! I'm thinking about it, not admitting anything just yet!!
I AM ready to admit that I LOVE today's technology. I'm never far from my iphone, computer, or other such gadget. I embrace Facebook and I know how to Twitter! Checking e-mail several times a day is a given. I was one of the first in my neighborhood to have one of those tiny telephones hanging off my ear so I could TALK and do housework, drive, eat, etc. at the same time. (My youngest son now forbids me to wear that!) Needless to say, I'm proudly CONNECTED!
For a while now, I've tried to put this connectedness into context. You see, I am from the generation that ALWAYS answers the phone when it rings, goes to my mailbox EVERY day for the mail and then reads it, ANSWERS the doorbell when it rings, SPEAKS to the neighbors when they walk by, TELEPHONES my sister and sister-in-law regularly because we simply enjoy each other and engages EVERYONE in a conversation everywhere I go. Yep, I'm connected to PEOPLE! This new technology just aids my ability to converse!
I'd rather talk than eat. "Come sit by me and let's visit a while" is my mantra! And I'm totally baffled when people refuse the offer. They think they have something more important to do, whatever could THAT be?
SO, all that love of community FITS with today's gadgets. That's my story!
Until last night! After cuddling up in our big king size bed, watching the ten o'clock news, kissing goodnight and turning off the light, I remembered that I had not checked my iphone to see if I'd received that last text message of the night from our daughter-in-law in Dallas.(She has a new baby girl and I wondered how she'd made it through the evening alone with the four little ones.) I reached for it, clicked it on and it glowed! I started pecking away at the little alphabet.
Honeybuns raised up in bed and said, and I quote, "We've come a long way, baby! It used to be flannel pajamas but now you've brought your iphone to bed with you!"
Do I need an intervention?
No time today, I'm headed out to check out the newest ipad! Surely I NEED one of those, too!
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
She's tiny and she's perfect in every way. (EVERY baby is perfect, because they are so fresh from God!)
I cannot wait to get my hands on her and look into those black snappy eyes and introduce myself. She's eating, sleeping and growing into life with her two older sisters and one big brother.
She's number NINE for us and she couldn't be more loved. God designed our hearts to love each child individually and unconditionally! The more children in this family the merrier, our hearts just expand to meet the numbers. Who knew that was possible?
NINE different personalites, interest, talents and quirks. I love it! Grandchildren are God's best idea!! It's all fun with little responsibility!
Betsy's world will be large. It will be filled with adventures, laughter, and sites that will thrill those huge and very alert eyes. We're going to have some terrific times together!
Welcome to the world sweet baby girl. You're going to love it!!
Monday, May 16, 2011
A few months ago while it was still cold here in OK, a best friend and I went to lunch at one of these neighborhood bar/grills. The food is good and relatively inexpensive and we settled in the booth near the bar for lunch and a very long chat.
In the middle of our lunch date we both noticed a girl sitting at the bar very much alone. She had on a sundress, very unusual for that chilly day, and a huge tattoo was the only thing covering her shoulders. Her hair needed to be washed and combed. She was petite, thin and seemed very young. We kept an eye on her but no friend came to meet her. It was impossible to see her face, her back faced our table. She sat very still, drinking something, but no food arrived that we could tell.
We wondered and we worried! But did NOTHING!
Because we both had recently been "trained" in the awful subject of HUMAN TRAFFICKING we worried some more. What was she doing there? Why was she alone? Who was coming to meet her? Was she in distress? Were there bruises?
We sat there! And did NOTHING!
We convinced ourselves that we were over reacting and continued with our conversation. The young girl sat on the bar stool with head bowed down. As we left I glanced back and she was still there.
Well, I can't get her out of my mind. Every time we go out to eat now I scan the room looking for her or others like her. My mind races, wondering what became of the girl with the tattoo on her shoulder.
I will never see her again. I want to believe that she's o.k., that a family member or a best friend met her that day and they had a wonderful time.
BUT....if I see another young girl in that situation I now have a plan.
I WILL quietly and gently slip onto the bar stool next to her. I WILL say hello softly. I WILL look at her face and into her eyes.
And then I will ask her if she's having a good day. (I'll be praying that she says YES!)
I will ever so patiently wait and try to engage in a conversation.
If she has bruises, tears, no money, or fear, I will ask more questions and get more details. And I will offer her any help that she might need. I WILL call the authorities and the professionals to intervene.
Precious little girls don't dream of growing up to become castaways, throwaways, or runaways. Big girls don't thrive while being employed in the worlds oldest profession, 98% say they want out and want out immediately.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING is real and it's all around us. Maybe it's at the neighborhood bar and grill.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
You can pick out one of those artists at a glance. They "dance to a different drummer" and the result is visible. We watched them move about the town with freedom to dress quirky, live on the time table directed by the sun and it's shadows, and care less what people think about their work.
This guy represents a shaman. A shaman (shay'man) is a hocus pocus kind of fellow that supposedly talks to dead ancestors. It is believed that only he can heal folks, receive direction, curses, etc. from the spiritual world. Magic is his game and deceit is his name! Looking into those dark holes for eyes gives me the willies! Perhaps his magical talent is the ability to scare the germs right out of sick folks! I'd certainly abandon ship if I were a virus and saw this coming at me!
Truly, ART is in the eye of the BEHOLDER! Although I doubt I will ever buy anything like this, I really DO appreciate the talent it took to fashion this fella out of scrap metal. Now just who would think of such a thing and then actually DO it?
TALENT ON STEROIDS! That's our explanation!
Friday, May 13, 2011
I did not expect my trip to the drive-by dry cleaners to be so enlightening!
I pulled up to the window and watched the employee saunter my way. He was a young man, probably in his mid 20's. He looked liked he was pretty tired, maybe he'd been up all night the previous 24. He had a three day stubble growing on his face, bloodshot eyes, tattoos and piercings in odd places.
He dutifully placed my husbands shirts on the hook in the back seat and I handed him a check, $9.75. As we made the little transaction there at my drivers side window I noticed that a week ago I'd also written at check to that establishment but had forgotten to record the amount in my checkbook. (THAT is a cardinal sin at our house!) So I asked him if he would check his computer on that particular day and tell me the amount!
He looked up lazily."Just put $9.00, I'm sure it was for $9.00, no big deal! Just enter $9.00."
Me, "$9.00?? How do you know that?"
Him, "Just write down $9.00, it'll be o.k. It doesn't matter, just enter $9.00"
Me, "Well, how do you know how much laundry/dry cleaning I picked up that day?"
After a few seconds he turned around, took two steps back into the building and tapped on his computer.
He looked back, "$15.75! Your check that day was for $15.75."
I wrote down the amount, thanked him and drove off laughing!
I pondered that exchange. Just put down...X. ??? It doesn't matter?? Just enter any amount??? Who cares anyway???
I'm thinking I just witnessed the HUGE gap between generations that we're always hearing about. I'm sure he thought he'd just spoken to a female dinosaur.
I hope that young man is never in charge of bridge building, open heart surgery, or becomes the president of my bank.
On second thought, I doubt I need to worry about such things, you think?
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
This vehicle depicts the heart of the woman that drives it. She also has FIVE children ages twelve to four riding along with her!
She is fearless and strong but most importantly she is FUN!
This past weekend our daughter-in-law Jamie packed up the children, the video games, the books, lots of snacks and drinks AND SIX bicycles. Yep, this is her mode of transpo. She then drove 6 hours (one way) through CO and AZ so her brood could have some biking time with UNBELIEVABLE SCENERY.
They spent hours riding the bike paths around the south rim of the Grand Canyon before we got there. When we finally located them they were red faced, a little sore in the legs and pretty tired.
We scooped them up, checked into a hotel, took them to the IMAX to cool off and rest a little. Next came pizza and bedtime for the little ones and mommy while we took the big kids to see Jack Hanna and his animals at the Canyon. Talk about a jam-packed day!
It's SO FUN watching this active brood having SO MUCH FUN! It'll be years before these children realize that they have experienced more in their childhood than all other kids combined. I'm positive that as adults they will compare their childhood experiences with their friends and feel sympathy for their grown buddies. (Hopefully they will also be very thankful for the architect of all those escapades!)
They have travelled the world from Hong Kong to Rwanda. They have kayaked in the Philippines and splashed around with dolphins in Cabo. They just returned from a Disney Cruise because they needed to see Princess Aurora and Chip n' Dale! The list of adventures is long! (Getting them all through the security line at the airport is a feat in inself!)
Just thinking about their life makes me tired, but also makes me SMILE! I am so thankful that Jamie has the drive and health and energy and focus to enjoy her kiddos and make sure they enjoy life. They live life to the MAX!
What a treat it was to spend Mothers Day with them this year! If I'd had an award I'd have given it to HER!
I can picture the golden statue of an SUV with SIX bikes attached. The words across the bottom would read "The World's Most- Passionate- for -Life Mom."
She has, "Energy that boils over and runs down the side of the pot." We love it and we love HER!
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
It started out in my closet! It was terrible! An overwhelming, take your breath away odor was coming from SOMEWHERE!
I sprayed, lit a candle, hung an envelope of potpourri and still it persisted. I was sure an animal was dead and decaying right there alongside my hanging jeans and collection of Crocs!
Finally, after checking the higher-than-me shelves, the clothing hung in the back corners that I never wear, the shelves of purses, sweatshirts and sweaters I made my way down to the floor. The get-down-on-all-fours snift test did the trick! The mystery was solved!
That foul odor was coming from a brand new never-been-worn before shoes! The manufacturer is Me Too, they are pewter and cute as can be. (Flats, silver, comfy, a perky little bow on top!)
The silver composite material on the outside of the shoe had evidently come from a SKUNK! I took them outside to air!
Thinking that I must surely be out of my mind, I went online to investigate. Sure enough, right there on the MeToo website was a list of reviews for this very product. Alongside the thirty or so very positive comments were six entries describing this awful smell that came with the very cute pewter colored flats. Skunk odor was mentioned, strong onions, horse dung, dead camel, and other such adjectives were used. Yippee, I was NOT crazy or imagining this ordeal.
After a couple of days of airing them outside and about a week of de-toxing in the garage I was sure the problem was solved.
(Honeybuns INSISTS that they are stored in the garage. I'm a little fearful that the smell will ignite the gasoline can used for the lawn mower and sooner or later we'll all go KA-BLUEY, as Barney Fife would say!)
Last weekend I was sitting in the SMU auditorium in Dallas, waiting for the grandgirls ballet recital to start when their father sitting next to me finally got up the nerve to lean over and say, "Mom, what is that awful smell coming from your direction?" I stuck my right foot up into the air right under his nose. "Is this it?" "YES, what is going on with those shoes?"
I explained the situation.
He couldn't believe it. "Why are you wearing those?!?!" He quietly moved over two seats.
Only one rational answer that women understand, "Because they're SO cute!"
Now you cannot not only SEE me coming but SMELL me as well! Don't forget to look down, my feet DO LOOK CUTE!
Monday, May 2, 2011
Thousands of lives have been lost because of this one evil man. Religion or nationality made no difference to this guy. Muslims, Jews, Americans, Christians, Buddhists, all suffered worldwide. The number of terrorists attacks he inspired will be revealed only as history is investigated and written in days ahead. There will surely be a movie version as well.
It's a day of mixed emotions. The joy in the streets of America contrasts with the silence in the streets of Pakistan.
There are emotions doing battle in the hearts of Christian, as well, myself included. Justice was served, no doubt. Evil took a hit! Perhaps millions of lives have been spared because future attacks have been thwarted. God DOES use people, nations and even governments for His purposes as He so chooses. The Bible proves that over and over again. Yet, HE is always on the side of peace, life and dignity.
Did/does God love OSB? Yes. Did Jesus die for the sins of this man? Yes. Did Jesus command us to love our enemies and pray for them? Yes.
Yet, OSB was determined to spend his life killing innocents, all in the name of his twisted version of religion. It seems his face personified evil. Still, there was hope for him until he took his last breath. But he breathes no more. Yesterday he met his maker and we can only speculate as to how that went!
A wasted life. He will forever be known as the enemy of mankind.
I'm convinced that if he'd been allowed to live another 20-30 years there would have been no change in his vision or purposes.
It is a complex world and a complex situation. Wrath and love, predestination and free will, life and death, joy and sorrow, man's decision and God's sovereignty, all co-existing. There are no simple explanations.
We all have a secret place in the center of our being that demands justice. And it seems that justice has rained down, but justice is always accompanied by a hollow sadness. Justice does not bring back the dead, but it is necessary. That's Biblical!