Monday, December 31, 2012


I love this picture!  This explains it all! NOW, every serious element of all previous celebrations were thrown out the window.  It was time for GAG gifts and more fun than the law allows.
Bill (the funniest man on earth) Donna (the OLDER sister) Me (in a borrowed robe) and Honeybuns (sporting a cap with lights under the bill)

It was just the four of us Christmas morning, unwrapping underwear, hankies, FRUITCAKE, Duck Dynasty videos, books, and tote bags!  HEADLAMPS FOR EVERYONE - Priceless!
Honeybuns took this picture with his left arm/hand while we huddled together, shining our lights for all the world to see.  This moment will go down in family history!

Mid-morning we packed up ourselves, cookies and gifts for the drive over to Quincy, Illinois to the Illinois Veterans Home. Uncle Bub has lived there since last March. This would be his first Christmas away from his house in Concord.  As a surprise I organized a "card shower" and he received over 100 Christmas cards.  We/he read each one as we explained to him who had actually sent him greetings.  So many folks from all over the US took a minute to brighten this WWII veterans day. He was thrilled. He's doing so well, content, happy and physically stronger.  (He continues to insist that at one time he played third base for the St. Louis Cardinals for many years. (!) I suppose if you're 88 you can be anything you want to be! Who's going to argue??) 

This man has known us since birth!  We have lots of history together!  And we are very grateful to him.  What a cutie-patootie!

I took him this singing, dancing Christmas tree!  He shook his head and rolled his eyes at me.  AND SMILED!  I'm sure he expected it!

It was a great CHRISTMAS DAY!



Arcadia, Illinois was the destination for Christmas Eve.  Linda and Eddie hosted the annual Braner Family gathering. Their children/spouses/grandchildren started arriving in early evening.
What a wonderful, loud, hysterically funny good time! It's always a contest of one-liners with each one outdoing the last! So much good food, gifts and a game of "dirty Santa" involving gift cards from fabulous restaurants that will go down in history.


Three Braner brothers and wives!  This group has been through some life challenges for lots of years now and we love them!
Linda and Eddie, Jewel and Jim, Me and Honeybuns! (We'll ALWAYS be younger than the rest of them!)  Counting all the kids  grandkids, and girlfriends, 23 total! They always want to take pictures of the "old folks."  Evidently they're worried that someone won't be around next year!  Perhaps!  But no time soon for these old boys, they come from "good stock!"


After unpacking from Colorado, doing a little laundry, packing up again and sleeping for a few hours we were off to Illinois.  We flew to St. Louis, drove two hours and settled in at the Leischner Family Farm/Barn near Arenzville, Illinois.  My sister, her husband and their children/spouses/grandchildren filled their beautiful home.

These are the grandchildren: Kelsey,  Lauren, Luke, Chloe, Alex and Oliver!  What a fun time to see them all together!

We were thrilled to see Mark, Sherrie, Julia and Matt!
And so proud of them!  (Shouldn't those boys still be 10 and 9?)

 What would Christmas be WITHOUT UGLY SWEATERS!


 The "hit" gift was GOATS! Alex and Chloe "received" goats sent to Africa to feed a family there!  After lots of food and fun, we were off to Christmas #4! 



We hit the ground celebrating!  Our first minutes in Durango, CO were spent at Maggie's school concert.  Singing and band music filled the auditorium. The Braners took up an entire row to support Maggie.  It was SO GOOD to see the Fab5 and their parents!!
 The next day Maggie and her classmates sent their hot air balloons up into the clear Colorado sky!  What fun!  Christmas parties at the elementary school topped off the day!
Their beautiful Colorado home was filled with Christmas cheer!
Sat. morning was designated as CHRISTMAS MORNING which involved lots of gifts, of course! It was a year of headphones, jewelry, clothes, toys and a special "daddy only" Wii! THEN, we piled into two cars for an ART CLASS in downtown DURANGO!
Everyone painted a TREE!  Hidden talent revealed!! What a great memory! We love these people to the MOON AND BACK!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


When family is scattered all over the US, we go to THEM!  The upside of that plan is that we get to celebrate several times. Whoo Hoo! We just might hold the record for the distance Grandparents travel!

Christmas #1 was with the Dallas Braners.  We loaded up my red truck with gifts and drove 4 hours to Dallas to meet Philip, Nancy and family for lunch at Northwood Country Club.  It was a beautiful setting with Santa, Madrigal Singers, A wooden soldier making animal balloons, great food and that busy  little (?)  family.  Philip says his family isn't little, just SHORT! Hereafter they shall be known as the FAB4.

Then it was off to their house for gifts, singing and playtime! 
Mollie does a great "Twelve Days."

This was the year of "fingerprint" gifts, the kind made by hand.  Honeybuns made Thompson a tool bench that he LOVES.  (He is busy making a house now, so no need for alarm clocks anymore.  He wakes everybody up with hammering!)
Also, Gracie is going to be Mary at their church Christmas Eve, so "who you gonna call" when you need a costume?  She knows who!


Betsy loves her pram, it carries her SNACKS!
(No, we did not make that buggy.)

Christmas!  Isn't it great!  Distance isn't going to stop us from this kind of fun!
Kid-fun last for such a short period of time, we're going to hug it at every opportunity. (Watching their parents parent, PRICELESS!)

Today I'm packing my snow boots for COLORADO, the FAB5 and Christmas #2! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Three of my favorite 7 Braner females!  WOW! Maggie and Gabby are growing WAY too fast!
Jamie is as beautiful as ever!
These girlies make my heart sing! In ONE week I'll be squeezing them until their eyes pop out!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

3D TV....WHAT????

We've moved into a new era!  Smart TV has arrived in our den. We've postponed this agony long enough, yesterday we pulled the trigger and shelled out the cash. (This news will delight our children and grandchildren, they think we been living in a cave with Fred and Wilma.)

So, we unpacked the thing and Honeybuns spent all yesterday afternoon and evening plugging things in and out of the back of it. 

It looks sharp, I must admit.  But, it is VERY smart AND intimidating!  We're going to need a 4 year old to come stay a few days to help us figure it out.

Late in the day a picture finally appeared on the screen, hurray!  Success!?!?!
Well, NO!

Evidently we are able to receive a few local TV channels, purely by the grace of God.  Our Direct TV receiver is so old that NO plugs, wires, USB's or bent paper clips will fit and thus a call was made to them. (YES, they answer on Saturday evening.)  The ever-so-patient man explained that we truly HAVE BEEN living in the cave with Fred and Wilma and technology has raced right by the cave door.  We were light years BEHIND the latest and greatest equipment.

An appointment has been made and an expert is coming to the house NEXT Saturday to, no doubt, spend a day or two.  I hope he brings his jammies, I'm sure he will be an overnight guest! He'll update all our equipment on the roof, in the attic and hook it all up new and fresh.  The Direct TV guy laughed and promised that when this transition was complete our new TV would all but cook dinner and clean the potties.

Well!  I'm looking forward to THAT!

While waiting for next Saturday, we've been playing around with the new remote, hoping to access all the bells and whistles, not having much luck.  BUT, it is a time-consuming activity.


This morning I woke up with a new plan.  There would be NO more new technology in our house.

After registering on Instagram this week, Face Timing the CO kids,  plugging in my phone and IPad, continually monitoring my text messages and Facebook account, I proclaimed the END.  This Smart TV has pushed me over the edge.  I simply have NO MORE time to spend with this technological addition!

We must go "cold turkey."  We must "shut it down," "turn it off," "unplug," and  return to a normal life!  The end!

Honeybuns agreed! 

A few hours after that proclamation and the freedom it gave, we stopped by Best Buy for an additional cable, one that would connect the Wii to the new Smart TV! (So much for the disciplined life!)

AND right there in front of the TV section of the store was the BIGGEST SCREEN I have ever seen. The picture was an underwater scene of blurry but colorful tropical fish.  The price was more than our first house!

SO much money for a really bad picture of fish!

THEN, Wah-La!  The salesman gave me a pair of magic glasses.  3D TV!!!!!  WOW!!!

Those fish literally JUMPED out of that skinny black box and headed right for my face! Incredible! I could feel the water on my face and smell the salt!   I was IN the ocean with those fabulous  fish swimming all around me. I reached out to catch the mantra ray bare-handed as he calmly swam out of my reach. It was an out-of-the body experience!

YEP!  3D TV is  reality! 

I'll be moving furniture to make room for that hulk of innumerable pixels!

I'm a sick woman, looking for a 12 step program to join!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Tis the season, for......... fundraisers!

What a great time!  Today a friend and I attended the Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary Christmas Luncheon & Fashion Show, downtown Tulsa.

This has been going on for years, this was my first experience.  It was fabulous!

The silent auction was fun, the convention center beautifully decorated, the tables festive, my table mates delightful, the style show "interesting," and the CAUSE: PRICELESS.

I learned so much about this incredible organization. They do marvelous things here and abroad.

Local efforts include emergency shelters, Angel Tree, meals, financial assistance to needy families, a Boys & Girls Club, an adult rehabilitation center, etc.  The list goes on and on!

I spoke with one young couple that shared their knowledge of the work being done in the brothels of India.  The "Army" goes into a brothel there and actually buys young girls and women for the sole purpose of freeing them from that awful slavery.  The young women are taken to a safe house where they are counseled, cared for and taught a meaningful trade. Their products are sold and they become self-sufficient! (No war on women here!) GREAT STORY!  And that is just a "drop in the bucket" as far as good deeds.

Story after story of salvation, redemption and restoration were shared.  A moving testimony given by one brilliant young man brought a hush over that huge crowd of women.  He was successful, highly educated, talented, employed, a father....AND a heroin addict. He credited the Salvation Army with his recovery and his very life!  He proudly announced that he, as of today, is 11 months "clean."

Today was their annual fund-raiser and the Tulsa ladies came to give, BIG. During the year the organization is mainly funded by donations of furniture, clothing and household times that are repaired (giving many people jobs) and then sold in the thrift stores. The money (93%) of it goes back to help needy people.

There are SO many wonderful organizations that truly lend a hand-UP , this just happens to be one of the best!

The "church" knows how to do it folks!  And Americans  are extremely generous and giving.
They simply need to be educated as to what goes on behind the scenes, the stuff that never makes the national news cycle.

IF/WHEN the "church" rises up and returns to it's calling, people are rescued from all sorts of evil from without and from within.

 The "church" is not the enemy of democracy, the state, or the people.  It is the tool that is SUCCESSFUL in SO many places. Who loves ALL of humanity like the church?

The Salvation Army is a very good thing!  I'm thinking I'm going to clean a closet or two or three!

What a great opportunity to support an ARMY that is committed to the welfare of all sorts of folks. They're doing it RIGHT!

Sunday, December 2, 2012


It has to be one of the best church services of the year!  The traditional "Lessons & Carols" performed by the choir of Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Church of Tulsa.

They did it again.....hit it out of the park, that is.

Today the sanctuary was filled with a full orchestra, an extremely talented choir, soloists, speakers, Pastor Tom Gray, music director Ed Tackett and a very appreciative congregation.

There were nine Lessons from scripture, beginning with the Genesis account of God's promise of the Messiah. Next came the promise to Abraham, the prophets prediction of the birth of a king, the prophecy concerning Bethlehem, Gabriel's visit to Mary, the birth of Jesus, the shepherds reaction, the arrival of the wise men, and the explanation of the incarnation.  (Three men sang "Mary, Did you Know" and nearly brought down the house!)


Handel's  Hallelujah Chorus was the grand finale!

Mixed between all the scripture readings were the appropriate carols expanding on the story.

Love was in the air!  Hope revisited the congregation! Tears of pure worship rolled down cheeks!

It was a fabulous morning!

No war on Christmas at church today!  Nothing but pure joy and humble thankfulness!

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Every woman does it!  Morning chores!  SOMEBODY has to take care of those nasty DALEY details of life so the family doesn't come down with the heebie jeebies or some other deadly disease.

AND I'm confidant every woman does it in her NIGHTWEAR!

The schedule goes like this at our house:  wake up, breakfast, CHORES BEGIN!

The stuff that must get done:  clean up the kitchen, make the beds, throw SOMETHING in the washing machine, pick up mess from night before, hang up the laundry that should have been hung the day before, throw out a few items that have grown legs in the fridge, fold a few towels that were left in the dryer from yesterday, spray a disinfectant on faucets and bathroom fixtures, and give the air a couple of squirts of Lysol! DONE!

The time it takes to do all this is directly related to what fun thing is NEXT on the schedule. If I'm headed out to go shopping, meet a friend, attend an important meeting, or head to the airport  I can "fly" right through this schedule with a "lick and a promise."

The attire for this activity is simple:  whatever I woke up in, plus my bright yellow crocs!  (You know, the shoe that NO ONE has EVER complimented as "cute.")

Yes, I join all women across America who think its foolish to shower, wash hair and dress BEFORE DOING morning chores.  How silly!

This habit is DANGEROUS! 

I was reminded of this yesterday as the doorbell rang RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of cleaning the bathroom. My neighbor was coming up the side walk!

What to do?  Hide?  Fake deafness? Run out the back door?  Make her wait by the door while I quickly showered, washed my hair, dried it, chose an outfit and put on my shoes?

I swallowed my pride, slapped on a robe and answered the door.  I was sure I looked like something a truck had run over, backed up and run over again.  MUCH to my surprise she was NOT instantly blinded!  She had something important to say!

Reminds me of the story of the gal that was doing her laundry in her basement.  A leaky pipe above her washing machine caused her to slip on her son's football helmet to keep her head dry while loading the wash.  As an afterthought she slipped off her jammies and threw them in the water as well.  There she stood, butt naked, but SAFE in the shadows of her basement.

About that time the plumber arrived to fix the leak. Her husband had let him in the house and directed him to the basement.

He took one look at her and said, "Lady, I don't know who you're playing for, but I want to be on YOUR team."

ONE of these days we'll ALL learn. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Today our pastor, Dr. Dan Bair gave a fabulous sermon on Thanksgiving! It was very appropriate for this weekend, but it went beyond the usual, "let us give thanks for the harvest" November talk. I've been thinking about it all afternoon.

He took two Bible verses and created much thought. I could hear the wheels turning inside the heads of folks seated all around me. People were taking notes, faces were deep in thought.

I Thessolonians 1:2-3 is the spot.  Dan flashed his incredible smile and outlined Paul's writing with WHOM? WHAT? WHEN?

Who do we gives thanks for, what do we give thanks for and when.

It was incredible!

I was stuck on the WHOM part for several minutes and quickly jotted down names of people in my life that have invested in me. I listed several patient souls that gave of themselves and their time to help me understand the scriptures and it's Author. Some will never know of their impact! A few have graduated on heavenward!

Here's my short list:
Rosemary J, Alyse R, Jeanne N, Jane R,  Mary K, Eleanor C, Donna S, Cindy F, Linda B, Rita B,  Melissa T, Robert L, Walter K, Jerry K, Ruth F, Andy B, Philip B, Dennis B.  I'm sure there are many more. (Several are from my Bible Study Fellowship history, a couple of Sunday School Teachers, a couple of pastors.) These are the folks that looked me straight in the eye and told the truth.  And that truth penetrated this thick skull and changed me forever.

Also, Dan encouraged us to list names of people that God has given us so that we might invest in them. Sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, I am thankful for each one!

WHAT do I give thanks for? The good news that God Himself came to this earth to help us/me understand HIS character.  The gospel is more than WORDS, it is LIFE. We give thanks for the Indwelling Holy Spirit that teaches, guides and comforts. We give thanks for the written WORD that explains all we need explained.

WHEN do I give thanks?  Well, not nearly often enough!!  BUT, if I cultivate a thankful heart, I will become a thankful person.

When I thank God for someone, my thoughts and actions toward them change.  I am kinder, empathetic, helpful, giving, patient, long-suffering, filled with joy and love.

When I am thankful for the gospel, it puts LIFE into it's proper perspective.
When I am thankful for the Holy Spirit, I find peace in difficult situations.
When I am thankful for the Bible, I find I'm immersed in it more frequently.

WOW, what a great day at church!

This truly must be the purpose for SUNDAYS!


Who needs paper and a pencil? We've got keyboards and smart boards and EVERYONE is texting these days!  I've heard that soon schools will no longer be teaching "cursive." Who needs to take the time for beautiful penmanship in this era of fast and faster?

What a shame!

Because there is an incredible beauty in a handwritten note.  It represents THOUGHT, TIME and EFFORT by the author. It conveys the idea that the recipient is "worth" the all the trouble it takes to find the right paper, writing tool and words. Notes are grammatically correct with full sentences and proper punctuation.

This one arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago, sent to Honeybuns, a.k.a. PAPA!

Gabby Braner is the author and this one is a keeper. I'm thinking it took her quite a while to complete this work.  It's hung on the fridge now for a while, but when it's taken down it'll be stored in a very special file to be reviewed much later when Gabby is older.

I have several like this in that file. 

The words saved on simple notebook paper come from the heart of children and are PRICELESS.

You can see by Gabby's newly found skill that she thinks Papa is nos (nice), swet (sweet) and coot (cute).   AND she loves HIM.

Can it get much better than that?  

Maybe in a few years Gabby will truly understand how very important her handwritten notes really are.  They are a great encouragement to her Papa that lives very far away from her! It lets him know that she's not forgotten him in the busyness of her little life.

That's what handwritten notes truly are, ENCOURAGEMENT! 

Thanks Gabby! You've set a wonderful example.

u r lovd, c u soon!

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Thanksgiving 2012.  Gracie, Mollie, Thompson and Betsy came to Broken Arrow on Saturday, Nov. 17th, their parents arrived Wednesday, Nov. 21st.  It was Betsy's first trip to BeBe and Papa's without Mommy. What a fun and  busy week.  Healthy happy family, good food, children laughing!  We have much to be thankful for! 

Sunday, November 11, 2012


You just never know who you're going to meet in church!

Today we sat behind some "strangers" and took a minute to introduce ourselves and welcome them to our side of the pew.  Our church has several services every week so it's VERY difficult to know who's a member and who's just visiting. We just take the risk and welcome whoever comes our way!

The middle-age couple announced that they were VISITING! 
From:  Afghanistan!

They told their story.  They are back in the US to rest and recuperate, after spending 5 years in Kabul.  They are in charge of the "guest house" there and their job is to entertain missionaries and church groups, making sure they get fed, housed and are PROTECTED while visiting that war-torn, very dangerous place. They were in Tulsa visiting some folks that had experienced their hospitality in that far away city. They explained that their "company" very quickly turns into close friends in that setting.  

They were at our church because they receive financial support from it and they wanted to thank the church mission pastor personally.

The wife admitted she was in the US several months before she could actually sleep at night. When I asked her to describe her life in Afghanistan, she hesitated and then pronounced, "Intense!" That one word spoke volumes. They will be returning in January.

Their son, daughter-in-law and 4 grandchildren live there also.  All of them were "deployed" at the same time by two different mission agencies. They felt it was a miracle and were so grateful that the whole family was sent to the same city! (Grandchildren in Afghanistan, I cannot comprehend it!)

They live in a walled compound, razor wire on top, and a guard with a gun stands at their gate. 

Our brief visit was over as the choir began to sing.

I glanced over their way a couple of times over the next hour or so.  They were soaking in the music, the atmosphere, the prayers, the sermon, and the PEACE that prevails in that place. They were drinking it in as if their life depended upon it.

I suppose it does!  They MUST be filled to overflowing before January!  Every ounce of their being will be tested when they return, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

As they are squeezed by a foreign culture, a false religion, danger, toils and snares,  I have no doubt that the love of God will pour out of these two brave saints.

I pray it reaches into a heart or two. 

When church was over, we held their hands, looked into their smiling eyes, and wished them well.  They were very thankful for friendly faces and our concern for them.

I'm SO glad we met them.   Reaching out to strangers is ALWAYS a blessing!

Friday, November 9, 2012


When things get way too complicated, believers turn to the Good Book for answers!  Always a good source!

Today I'm reminded of the prophet Isaiah and the "encouraging" direction he received in his day.

God appeared to the old prophet and gave him his very specific marching orders. Isaiah was to go to his peers and "tell them."  Tell them what?

Isaiah chapter 6 gives the full account, but here's the Readers Digest Condensed Version:

Isaiah was to tell his people that some very bad things were going to happen, that God was going to humble them, BUT at the appropriate time GOD HIMSELF would actually come to them, dwell with them, free the captives, judge with righteousness, a whole lot more AND eventually the whole earth would be filled with the knowledge of God.

Well!  Quite a task! With the Promise Keeping God of the Universe covering his back, Isaiah was comfortable responding with a hearty..."OK!"

THEN, he asked, "For how long God? How long should I deliver this message of DOOM and HOPE?"

And here's the rub.

6:11  "Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitants, until houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, until the Lord has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken....on and on." (At this point I strongly URGE readers to read the book of Isaiah, all the way through at one sitting.)

In other words, Isaiah, don't expect SUCCESS!  Very few will listen, but NEVER MIND THAT, you just keep sayin' it. (Folks will be eating, drinking, marrying, celebrating....just as in the days of Noah.)

Talk about a plan!  There would be no "stats and graphs" proving success for Isaiah.  BUT, God Himself would be a SANCTUARY for the old prophet even as his world crumbled around him.
(Notice HE didn't say HE would build a sanctuary for him but BE his SANCTUARY.)

I don't for a second compare myself with this prophet, SO.....What's the point here? What's the comfort? What can I learn about people? What can I learn about God?

1. God measures success by OBEDIENCE TO HIM.  (Obedience? Not a popular word in today's culture, where "every man does what is right in his OWN eyes.")

2. AND God keeps HIS promises.

Isaiah 9:6  For unto us a Child is born, unto to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.


(I'm hearing the music that goes with this verse. Think "flash mob" at the malls last Christmas.)

One day the WHOLE EARTH WILL be filled with the knowledge of God. That one we're still waiting for!

Still waiting.

When, I ask?   Silence.

It simply can't come soon enough for me! Until then, I'm trusting in MY SANCTUARY.

And pondering.......

What WILL our world look like when it is FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD?

(Note:  Isaiah was married, had two sons, and Jewish tradition tells us he died by being sawed in half.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I CANNOT quit staring at this picture!  It was taken very near my sister's house in Illinois. (last week!)

This creature is HUGE!  And it's roaming around freely!  Usually I see this kind of animal in a ZOO! It's reddish in color with a black tipped tail and  black feet.

The image was captured by a night vision camera installed by some deer hunters. I'm sure they were hoping to see some big buck pass by. They NEVER expected this. 

Now I'm hearing that hunters in the area search out these big guys frequently! WHAT? There are more???  Yes, there are other pictures of this fellows aunts, cousins, siblings, and friends popping up in local newspapers there.

The phrase "things that go bump in the night" comes to mind. Perhaps "things that go grrrr in the night" would be more appropriate. Because I am an avid fan of National Geographic I KNOW he likes to eat...REGULARLY!  Scenes of flying legs, teeth bared,  and rabbits fleeing for their life are popping into my brain.

Having lived in that area long ago and having visited many times in the past few years, I simply cannot imagine coming out her front door to face this! Time to start "packin some heat" don't you think?

Just what IS the plan? What do you do if you round the corner of your car late one evening heading to the house and this hungry face greets you? I don't mean to be an alarmist, BUT being prepared might be a good idea.

Is there a website titled, "How to scare away a cougar!"

It's the wild, wild west all over again. 

This helps me be content living in a city.  The beasts we deal with here have only TWO legs and usually are NOT carnivorous!

Be safe my country family and friends!

Sunday, October 14, 2012


This past Saturday was CHALK DAY for the "shes" campaign at our church!  It was great! (More events to come!!!)

The rain clouds held back and 22 folks came out to chalk sidewalks all over Tulsa. The goal was/is to make folks curious enough with chalk art on sidewalks/parking lots that they will then go to their computer to see what "shes" actually means.  The website shows  a brief video depicting how a 13 year old girl can very easily and quickly be coerced into Human Trafficking.

After greetings, smiles, small chit chat, directions and LOTS of fat chalk, the volunteers set out.

We drove to the designated parks, schools and businesses to pretend to be chalk artists for a few hours. Many folks would be educated through this simple method BEFORE the rain washed the message away.  I began receiving texts from volunteers who were visiting with hundreds of people all over Tulsa as "wannabe" artists scattered over several miles.

All was going well........UNTIL.....we met with opposition!

Earlier in the week the manager of a popular business, which shall remain nameless on this blog, gave permission to come to their store and chalk the entrances so their customers could read the phrase.  He agreed that our mission was commendable. I assured Honeybuns that we were going to that specific spot because the manager was so receptive and agreeable to the plan. We dutifully found the location and wrote the phrase 4 times, twice on the wide sidewalks and twice in the parking lot.

As we were about to leave the SAT. MANAGER ON DUTY at that store burst out the front door in a fit of rage! What we were doing?  How dare we put graffiti on the sidewalks! With the biggest smile I could muster I explained that we had permission to do so and the meaning behind the chalked phrase. I asked if I should make some phone calls to assure her of our honorable intent and the stores managers cooperation. NOPE! She wanted no part of that! She was livid, assuring us that she had heard NOTHING about this from "corporate," that now she had to have one of her employees take a bucket to this awful mess and clean it up. If looks would have killed we would have been goners! (Thankfully her angry look would not be frozen in time, or she would have been very sad to look in the mirror the next day!)

Honeybuns stepped up to the plate!!!!   He very calmly assured her that evidently there had been some miscommunication, that WE would happily clean up the chalk if she had a bucket of water.
She was no doubt surprised at that offer, and pouted off with smoke coming out of her ears. We waited. Startled  customers coming in and out of the store asked me for an explanation of the confrontation and I was able to tell them the story, that 13 is now the age when children are recruited into the sex trafficking industry.  All listened intently. Some had heard of the campaign and were surprised at the store managers reaction. (I praised the goodness of the store to them and the managers good intent at protecting the property!)

After a while a very young employee came outside with a bucket of soapy water. Honeybuns shook his hand, asked his name and quietly took the mop and bucket from his hands and proceeded to wash the chalk art off the side walks AND parking lot.

He returned the bucket to the manager, with more apologies. 

So....what happened there? Several things!

1. There was obviously miscommunication within the ranks of the store employees,
2. The angry woman manager heard about the campaign personally,
3. Several customers also received an education,
4. A very young employee got to see GRACE in action from Honeybuns, (what a humble servant!)
5. We all saw the typical reaction of one more interested in politically correctness (didn't want to offend any customers) than even stopping to consider the gravity of the situation our nation is facing.

I am sincerely praying that woman never experiences the horror of a missing child, a child's stolen innocence, or a daughters bruises and nightmares.

Our church HT task force WILL  keep plugging along, expecting unbelief and even outrage at times.
It's just part of the landscape. We will not be deterred or discouraged by misunderstandings or fear.

Overall, hundreds of Tulsans SAW a message Saturday, we saw the NEED to keep proclaiming it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


The Kirk of the Hills Human Trafficking Task Force met with a representative from the Department of Justice this morning.

I came home and buried my head under a blanket.  It's worse than we thought!

This very distinguished man works in a department that investigates and prosecutes crimes against children in OK.

The statistics he shared were horrible, the stories horrific. Unlike most of us think, child pornography is NOT innocent naked baby pictures that grandma's adore.  You know, the ones of the smiling, bald-headed baby perched on a soft fuzzy blanket.  Nope, it's NOTHING like that.

It's actually photos or videos of children being tortured in some way.  (I'll let your imagination take it from there!)  The Internet is the store where these items are bought, sold and posted in not-so-secret files.  The images number into the millions. You see, sometimes it only takes a couple of minutes alone with a child and a cell phone equipped with a camera. (It takes YEARS for the chidren to be able to articulate what happened. Some secrets are kept forever.) Other unspeakable videos found by authorities have been produced over hours, sometimes involving many children with online "suggestions" by viewers with ideas of new torture.

He shared confessions of some men, their stories and their sentences!  Yes, it's a Federal Crime, but only a small percentage of criminals are caught and incarcerated.  Why? Basically because there are more out there than there are sands of the sea!

Awful pictures and videos are just the beginning. Desires quickly escalate, children are held in cages OR in silence in their own homes, waiting for the next visit by their abusers. Computer experts can reveal a child abuse case every 90 seconds. It then becomes a challenge for the prosecutors to prioritize them. Which one will get the attention of the overworked staff today? What a burden! 

15.6 MILLION children are abused, often by their parents.  5-8 % are reported, 29% of those reported are arrested.  If a child is under 6 years it's less than that.

Because I believe the first word I ever uttered was WHY, I have to get to the bottom of this.
Why is our society going to hell in a hand basket? Why are the innocent and helpless suffering when they should be cherished and protected?

There are LOTS of opinions from folks much smarter than me. There are wiser theories than I will ever imagine. I'm sure psychologists and sociologists are studying this in universities all over the world. It would be great if they could come to a consensus and we'd hear about it soon.

But, this afternoon I am wondering, trying to put the dots together.

As a big picture type of thinker, here's my conclusion.

When a society determines, accepts and even encourages a mother to kill her own unborn child, why should I be surprised when someone not even related feels the freedom to harm a 3 year old, a 6 or 12 year old?  When the basic maternal instinct is suppressed, should we expect strangers to act any differently?

Abortion as birth control has FAR REACHING effects to the culture as a whole. It is not just a woman's body being affected, OR even the death of that one child, it is our whole nation of children.  We are shouting from the rooftops that life is NOT sacred, whether that life is pre-born, 1, 2, 3, or 5 years old!

Human Trafficking ($32 BILLION industry) is just another version of this total disregard for human beings! It is dangerous to be a child or a woman in America!

WHEN did we decide that LIFE can be discarded so casually?

As the DOJ representative declared, "it's the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about but would rather pretend it's not there."

We got a good look at the elephant this morning, and we're TALKING.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


It's been 9 days!  Yes, I've been x'ing them off my calendar.  9 days since I've eaten sugar, white flour, rice, bread or gluten. 


9 days ago I set out to experience life without sugar! 

Already I have learned SO much! (I was told years ago that my body reacted to sugar the way an alcoholics body reacted to alcohol..THE SAME! I didn't believe it!)

THIS experiment was prompted by a healthy son, who challenged me, encouraged me, threatened me,  and basically insisted!  He provided me with the necessary vitamins, minerals, protein mix and potent tea that was guaranteed to get this metabolism off 0 and revved up to 60! He promised I would be in a bikini by Christmas.  (WHO in their right mind would want to SEE THAT? That vision would instantly blind domesticated dogs and small children!)

After 2 days of withdrawal, the sunny side of life started to return to this household again. Those first two day were awful.  I stayed home, mostly on the couch, with the shakes, a cold sweat, weakness, a terrific headache and frightful irritability! This is surely what heroin addicts must endure when they go off THEIR DRUG cold turkey.  (HHHMMmmnnn cold turkey sounds good about now!)

Day 3 was better.  I obediently downed my protein breakfast, vitamins, protein lunch, vitamins, and balanced healthy moderate dinner.
Every day got a little easier. This could get to be a habit!

I have learned: 
Sugar addiction is a real deal.
It is GOOD to no longer  have to persevere through the swings of high blood sugar spikes and crashing lows.
I am never hungry and the smell of McDonald's and Wendy's folks lifting french fries out of grease is almost nauseating.
Broccoli tastes FAB.
I do NOT crave sugar, cakes, pies, or candy. It's just not interesting.
My energy level is stabilized.
I've lost 2 1/2 lbs.  (Weight is going in the bikini direction.)
My underwear is looser.  (That's a sure indication of weight lost, every woman understands!)
Grilled fish, chicken, and veggies are wonderful.

Next post about diet and weight?  We'll see....I'm thinking mid-2013!

I plan to look like a zipper. You know, so thin, I'll have to stand side ways and stick out my tongue so you can see me!

How's Honeybuns reacting to this NEW ME?   A smile and a shake of the head.

Interpretation:  "Here we go again!"

Sunday, September 30, 2012


There comes a point in every one's life when the Sovereignty of God has to be settled.  No matter how long you want to dance around it, HE either IS or HE ISN'T.   There cannot be a middle of the road on this issue. Sovereignty is one of those words like pregnant, Italian, Blond, and tall.  You either are or your aren't!  There's no debating the fact. It's a done deal!

Every cell of my body and even the marrow of my bones believes that the Creator, Sustainer, Righteous Judge, Loving Father, Author of the Bible and the Great I AM is in charge.  HE is Sovereign regardless of whether that is a comforting concept to me or not.  HE is God and I am not!

He can and does as HE pleases without consulting ME!  Period. do we rest in HIS Sovereignty in a tumultuous ELECTION year, when anger is intense, and our country is harshly divided along party lines, and class warfare?  

If I believe God is Sovereign does that mean that the candidate of MY choice is BOUND to win??  If the party that opposes my worldview and philosophy believes also that God is Sovereign, does that mean their candidate is a shoe-in???

The chatter about this subject is disturbing.

Here's my take.

In the OT God revealed HIS incredible patience with HIS people. Time after time, generation after generation they worshipped HIM one day and cursed HIM the next.  One of the most repeated OT phrases is, "each man  did what was right in his own eyes."  It was a sad state of affairs. After all HE'D done for them, they refused to give HIM glory and decided they knew how to run their lives without HIM. As a nation, the people tossed HIS guidance, wisdom and grace aside.

God was Sovereign then, too.  Eventually the rebellion got to the point that God used a HEATHEN ARMY to carry the people off into captivity and they were forced to stay there many years! Was it pleasant?  NO.  Did they question God? Probably! Did they learn a lesson? Some, no doubt did!

Skip to 2012! 

IF a credible count is possible, the day after our November election there will be many folks very happy and many folks extremely upset, no matter which way it goes. That's the nature of our culture at this time.

I'm resting in the fact that GOD is in control.  America will get exactly what HE determines we need.
And I have NO idea what that might look like!  No one does. We will have to walk through it and HOPEFULLY REALIZE  that God is the ONLY ONE that loves us, saves us, directs us, guides, gives comfort and sets us on the path of Righteousness. 

Perhaps this election is not about the Dems or the Reps, but a nation in dire need of REPENTANCE.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Our car trip home from Dallas a couple of weekends ago led us through the small OK towns on route 69. No big deal!  We are very familiar with Atoka (Dairy Queen),  McAlester (Chili's), and Muskogee (we're almost home!)

BUT, this road trip offered a new sight.

While sitting at a stop light in Muskogee I noticed to my right a small white tent set up right there on the corner. A banner atop the tent urged folks to stop by.  A man and a woman sat behind a table with papers fluttering before them in the breeze.  A long line of folks formed on the other side.  Evidently they were signing up for SOMETHING! The parking lot was filled with all types of vehicles.

Honeybuns explained as the light changed.  "They are receiving their new cell phones, courtesy of the American tax payer."


Yep!  After a little research I discovered that since 1978 our government has been providing a "land line" for folks that can't afford it.  The cost has stayed relatively stable UNTIL 2008 when changes were made and "someone, somewhere" decided that a free land line for the underprivileged did not serve them well.  From that time forward free cell phones with unlimited free minutes were offered.  The cost has skyrocketed dramatically. 

Today I received an e-mail from a friend that explained the situation.  For years your phone bill and mine have included a tax to provided those free land lines, necessary in case of emergencies.  Today the cost of providing the cell phones is 1.2 BILLION DOLLARS. Telephone companies are scrambling, trying to get a piece of this government contract.  U.S. Rep. Tim Bennett has written a bill trying to reverse this trend.

I'm confused!  Since WHEN did it become an inalienable right to own a cell phone? Food, housing, health care, automobiles, washing machines, refrigerators,  flat screen TVs, trips to Disney World, what's next?  Is anybody drawing a line anywhere?

Is there any wonder at the level of anger in the U.S.?  You don't have to look far to figure it out!

I would like to see the establishment of a government agency tittled "COMMON SENSE." All programs, grants, and freebies would have to undergo scrutiny before being enacted.

No, forget that, maybe it's time the American public take on that task and collectively shout,

Sending MORE tax dollars to DC makes no sense whatsoever, those folks don't know how to handle it!

As my friend summarized it, "This twists my knickers."