Tuesday, May 29, 2012


The telephone rang yesterday afternoon and after my "hello" the caller identified herself by her first name.  No problem there, right? That is proper telephone etiquette for sure.

 My problem is, I know MANY women by that same first name.  Which one was it, my long ago friend, a volunteer in one of the many organizations where I spend time,  a relative, or the woman at the grocery store that told me of her recent husbands death?  (I held her as she cried!)

 I have a few distant relatives that don't give me a name at all, just a "hey, there," assuming that I recognize their voice and know exactly who I am talking to!!

When that happens I'm at a loss as what to say next, waiting, waiting, waiting for some clue as to who is reaching out to touch me.   It's an awkward moment! There have been times that I've listened for several MINUTES before figuring it out!

Explanation:  Several years ago I attended a book club for the first time with my neighbor at a nearby library.  We sat at the oval table along with several other strangers and proceeded to write our names on those sticky name tags.  That's always a good thing to do in a new group!  I scribbled my name as I talked with my friend, looked around the room, excitedly waiting for the leader to begin the discussion.

After a few minutes, my neighbor leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Why does your name tag say Joyce?"  I looked down. Sure enough!  I had written JOYCE as my own name!  At that time I didn't even KNOW a Joyce, was certainly NOT a Joyce, and had no intention of becoming a JOYCE! The author of the book was not named JOYCE and neither was the librarian. There was not a JOYCE in the room.  I ripped it off my shirt and confessed,  "I have NO idea why I wrote the name JOYCE."

Why do I bring up that silly TRUE story?  Well, because there are days  I evidently don't even know who I am, let alone able to recognize the women that call me up and identify themselves by their first names only!

It's a dilemma, probably a bon-a-fide disability!  But, that's the way it is! 

Please don't think me rude if I insist, "Gotta tell me who you are before we go any further here."

Maybe we should just text!  How r u? C U tmarrow! LOL! Pick U up in 60!

Geez!  That presents a whole new set of etiquette problems.  I think I'll just keep guessing!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Two Cemeteries in One Day!

The lake? the park? the picnic? the backyard bar-b-que? the pool?Nope! Honeybuns and I spent this Memorial Day morning at TWO cemeteries! Oh,  my, what an experience!
Memorial Park Cemetery  of Tulsa and American Legion Post One  raised a red, white and blue tent on the cemetery grounds, invited the Tulsa Community Band,  Washington DC dignitaries, and the 138th  Fighter Wing ANG Flyover pilots to their celebration honoring military heroes. The Young Marines presented and retired the Colors, Sue Wilson sang the National Anthem beautifully, and Bill Goswick played Taps!  The Tulsa Band was excellent! 

 Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, Director of the Air National Guard at the Pentagon was the keynote speaker. And he was FINE!  He honored the heroes of all branches of the military with dignity and respect. He drew our attention to the fact that it is ONLY the AMERICAN  soldier that is willing to die for the cause of freedom for all Americans AND foreigners who desire and deserve it as well. He reminded us that all the equipment, technology and resources available to the American military is useless without the volunteer SOLDIER that secures peace and freedom.  Lt. Wyatt exuded strength and kindness, it was a privilege to hear him. 

Veterans and their families filled the tent and received several standing ovations.  A 21 gun salute was sounded and prayers were offered. It was stirring!

Next stop, Floral Haven Cemetery of Broken Arrow.

Floral Haven must be the finest flag-place to be on Memorial Day!  Thousands of flags are placed on those grounds, each one a casket flag of a deceased military person.   Dog tags hang from the flagpoles to identify loved ones, and thousands of flowers and people filled that place today. The tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded with military precision and names of deceased soldiers are read aloud as family and friends stand in silence. On this sunny, windy day, it was a sight to behold!

Perhaps Arlington National Cemetery is just as impressive today, I doubt it!

So why all the ceremony and ritual?  To make absolutely sure that present and future Americans can still to go to the lakes, the parks, the picnics, the backyard bar-be-ques and the pools! 

The men and women now resting in those places deserve our utmost respect and gratitude.

(I doubt that freedom is ever really appreciated until it's taken away. I pray that we, our children and grandchildren don't have to experience that life lesson to learn it!)

Now, I'm going to go fire up the grill!

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Eugene Gaines
Venner Thompson
John Gaines

William "Bub" Gaines
It's not hard to remember these four men.  Their pictures hung on the walls of my childhood home and they were discussed often.  The three Gaines brothers were my uncles, the handsome Thompson man, my Dad.  Three sons and one son-in-law, all served in the Army, in the European theatre of WWII. Several years of their young lives were spent in uniform.  My grandparents often spoke of the worry, fear and critical radio reports that updated those back home of the Allies advances against the Nazis. It was a frightening period of history. Everyone at that time knew the horror of war was critical to defeat the epitome of evil.
The little town of Concord, Illinois witnessed the return of these four, and mourned her young men that gave the ultimate sacrifice.  Uncle Gene was an ambulance driver, Dad saw the horror of D-Day on Omaha Beach and the concentration camps in Germany, Uncle Johnny's stories went with him to his grave a few years ago, and Uncle Bub drove a tank in the Battle of the Bulge and got frostbite on his toes.

Only Bub survives now and he's thriving at the Veterans Home at Quincy, Illinois, age 86. Last Friday they held a Memorial Day Service there and he "waved" as they played the Army's song, no longer able to stand for applause and appreciation.

Today we remember and honor millions of men and women, just like these.  All had family and friends that loved, worried, prayed and mourned.  All saw things that innocent fresh faces ought not to see. That is the nature of war, and that is the nature of those that volunteer to keep the rest of us safe and free.

 Most of the time we take them for granted shamelessly. But this weekend flags are flying everywhere, taps are playing and flowers adorn white markers at cemeteries across the country.

The price of freedom is very high!  That's a good thing to REMEMBER!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Philip

This daddy/horse is THIRTY-FOUR YEARS OLD TODAY, and is the youngest one of the three most important men in my world. And he is FINE!

He is strong and kind, brilliant and humble, fun and thoughtful.

He is a super daddy and devoted husband. He loves God and has his priorities perfectly placed. He takes care of his little family beautifully.  (He says his family isn't little, just short.)

He is my hero and my little boy.  He knows me better than I know myself sometime and I trust his counsel completely.

I think that's just the way it's supposed to be when boys become men.

He's making some fabulous memories with his own children now and it's delightful to watch it happen! He laughs at their antics and enjoys them thoroughly.

We "cheer him on from the stands" and celebrate his accomplishments! His international career takes him all over the world and he embraces the adventure. It's his turn to make the world spin now!

 He's in my thoughts and prayers every single day. Hanging out with him is a fabulous time!

 We have that sweet mother/son" relationship that only other mothers-of-sons can grasp. He can read my mind across a room and I know what he's feeling by the look on his face.  That's just the way it works!  I love it! And I love him....and as they say in this family....TO THE MOON AND BACK! 

I hope his birthday is the best one ever!



Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Twelve years ago TODAY, I was in this place!  It was a women's conference in Kitale, Kenya and I was one of four speakers invited to participate. 

While looking for something else today,  I found the scrapbook of that trip. Oh, my!  It was a few hours later before I emerged "Out of Africa!"

This trip opened my heart to the people of Africa.  These gals know how to SING, in Swahili!  And pray!  And celebrate!  And serve!

Many walked for hours to attend those meetings, sleeping on the concrete floors of that church with their babies at night. They sat on hard wooden benches for hours, thrilled to be there!

They graciously and lovingly served me and two other women from our church in Dallas, and a young married couple from Austin for a week.  That was the team. None of us knew what we were doing, traipsing all over that dark continent. We ate unidentifiable food, trusted a guard for our safety and travelled in an old van that we had to push to get it to start every time we wanted to travel over the deeply rutted dirt roads. That's the nature of mission trips!

We waited on single engine airplanes on dusty benches and took pictures of zebras, lions, water buffalo and giraffe from a jeep. We shooed gigantic geckos out of our rooms before crawling under mosquito netting at night. We prayed that all those shots we took before we left the US were doing their best work of protection in our bodies.

We left much wiser than we were when we arrived. That little team was truly blessed beyond our wildest imaginations.

Africa is no doubt a third world country with rampant poverty and destitution.  Corrupt governments have kept their citizens enslaved.  Superstition, ignorance, AIDS, tribalism and war have wrecked havoc. Women have suffered greatly, as they try to raise their children and eek out a living in order to feed them.

 But when God's Word is opened to these people, as it was that week, they embrace it, are eager to understand it and obey it.  They throw themselves on the mercy of God and pray for His provision and deliverance.

Perhaps twelve years and much prayer has changed things. I would go back in a "Mississippi minute."

 I wonder how my African friends are doing, what has transpired in that place, and what progress has been made.

I wonder what truth they could teach me now.

Monday, May 14, 2012


What a great day!!!

This is my friend Jackson, he's five years old.  He's riding Daisy, age unknown!

Today I picked up Jackson from his home and gave his mom a day off!
This was OUR day to play and that's just what we did. His weary mother got to take a walk, ALONE, take a leisurely shower, run some errands and do a little shopping! 

First stop for us was Intercontinental Jet Services where he got to climb in the cockpit of several business jets and pretend he was flying at 30,000 feet. Honeybuns gave him "flight" lessons and he was qualified for the imaginary trip in a matter of minutes.  He looked the airplanes over inside and out, his eyes jumping at each new button and switch he could flip. Twirling the propellers was his favorite thing to do.  Finding snacks the pilots squirrel away was also VERY exciting!

After lunch, we hit the ZOO!  Oh, yes, there were lions and tigers and bears! But there was also this CAMEL!  Daisy and her sister were parked just inside the gate, eager for small  bodies to climb up into the saddle. I couldn't believe Jackson wanted to ride this beast.  He didn't hesitate as I told the zookeeper that NO amount of money would get ME up there. 

Daisy rounded the corner and turned her head at just the right moment, flashing her winning smile.
I think she knows the drill!  I'm not sure which one was happier at that moment, Jackson or Daisy!

We rode the ZOO TRAIN, another hit!  The engineer had to stop once to let an 8 foot black snake slither across the track. Why, oh why, he just didn't cut that thing into two pieces is beyond me! Popular opinion was that the thing had escaped his cage, but no, it was of the native species.  (A reason to MOVE out of OKLAHOMA!)

We watched the penguins and sea lions swim, chased the geese, and tried extremely hard NOT to yell at the elephants.  We were told that they would charge if angered!

The last treat was the gift shop of course. And Jackson selected several tiny wild animals of the plastic variety to carry home.  He'll be dreaming of cheetahs, monkeys and Komo Dragons all night long.

Moral of the story:  When your own children or grandchildren are not available for an outing, go find a child with a weary momma.  Jackson is my new best friend. We have many more good ideas for beautiful days together.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


This is a chiminea.  It was formed painted, glazed and fired in a kiln somewhere in Mexico.   Honeybuns bought it Sat. for me for Mothers Day from a handsome young man named Julio!

I love it! 

I've been wanting one of these for a long time and I have great plans.

It's primary purpose is to smell up the back yard with smoke from pinion wood.  It instantly transports everyone within smelling distance back in time to campfires, prehistoric mealtimes, and communes out in the forests. It probably scares away mosquitoes, too! 

Other than that it's totally useless. Yard art of questionable taste!

We've decided that the folks in Mexico probably don't use one for ANYTHING.  They just make them for fools and tourists, with outlandish stories of cooking flatbread  filled with refried beans on a rock in it or something!

Julio assured us that he and his family own several, and of course they are indestructible.  (?)  When his family has a party they surround their guests with these things and no bugs come near. They choke to death! (The bugs, not the people!)

I'm thinking this is going to make a great fire for a suburban weenie roast.  I can see the grand kids huddled around sticking their little hot dog sticks right in that hole. Marshmellows will surely light up the nighttime sky.

We'll also learn to send smoke signals.  There must be a book or class or course on "language arts" for that as well. I'm going to talk my neighbor into getting one to see if we can communicate without the use of electricity, cell phones, ipads OR simply yelling across the street!

I wonder how many puffs of smoke means, "do you have an extra cup of sugar?"

Yes, this is going to be fun.  Adios Amigo!

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Jamie and Nancy
Of all the mothers in the world, THESE two are the most important to Honeybuns and me.

 Jamie has been Andy's best friend and sweetheart for about 17 years, wife for 15.  Nancy has been Philip's heart-throb and confidant for 12 years, wife for 10. We've known them both for that long as well and what we know, we like!

GOD Himself chose these beautiful young women to be part of our family before the foundations of the earth.  And HE did good! Each one is ideally suited for our boys. And they are ideally suited for us!

There has never been two more different girls, but there has never two more different young men either.  Jamie is adventurous and brave, Nancy is  traditional and loves detail. Jamie might be swimming with sharks one moment and wisely counseling a pregnant teenager the next.  Nancy has impeccable taste and enjoys surrounding her family with beauty. Jamie designs fabulous t-shirts for a non-profit that supports African orphans. Nancy teaches her children traditional hymns and Jamie's kids rock out to Justin Beiber. The variety is simply delightful!

They both love God and seek to be obedient to His plan for their lives.

It is sheer joy to watch them do life. 

Also, their households are full!

Jamie is mother to Hays 13, Maggie 10, Tiki 8, Dax 7, and Gabby 5!  There is NEVER a dull moment in that CO mountain home and if one SHOULD arrive, Jamie makes sure some fun happens to fill in the lull. 

Nancy is mom to Gracie 7, Mollie 5, Thompson 2 and Betsy 1.  The action never ceases there either.
She laughs at each new antic and also enjoys her children thoroughly.

Both know how to PLAY!  And when these kiddos are grown they will have the best memories to laugh about around their own kitchen tables.

Our sons believe in these girls. Their wives light up the world and they are appreicated immensely.

 Jamie and Nancy bring their husbands comfort and encouragement, strength and dignity. Their homes and their children are top priorities. They love fiercely and unconditionally. They have more wisdom than I ever thought about having at their age.  I greatly respect them and their ideas.

I pray for them without ceasing.  Today I pray that they will have the best Mother's Day Ever!

We love them both to the moon and back!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Older gal to younger,  "I can't wait to see you for lunch, I'll bring brownies from scratch."
Younger one,  "GREAT! Can I order scratch online?"

There is NO doubt  a generation gap exists. The chasm has been created by distance, time, family pressures, a ka-billion practices and games to attend, and the idea that only your peers can truly understand what you're going through.  Our culture has divided the ages. Two worlds have evolved and they rarely collide, but when they do it's FABULOUS.

A friendship that bridges the gap is delightful.  The older woman  offers years of experience, free babysitting, wisdom and a listening ear.  The younger gal can teach her older friend to tweet, order fabulous shoes online and help her feel needed in the second half of her life.

Having been the guest speaker in 25 different venues/women's clubs/retreats/luncheons/parties over the past year and a half, I BELIEVE its time to build a bridge. There has been an outcry EVERYWHERE I've travelled throughout Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma.  It's always the same.

The younger women moan, "Where are the older women?"  The older women shake their heads and wonder, "Where are the younger women?"

I'm writing to answer that question! They're out there, doing life, consumed with daily challenges, sometimes floundering alone.

SO....a brand new shiny mentoring program has been birthed! (Name is still pending, but this plan has been sanctioned and encouraged by Stonecroft Ministries, the experts in connecting women with each other for many years.)

 Last Thursday a few of my young friends put out the word and the e-mails are pouring in.  The UNDER 50 gal desperately wants an older woman friend in her life that can help with babysitting, time management, recipes, old-wives tales, and most of all a listening ear.  Some of these delightful women live away from mom, aunts and cousins and have no one to help them.

Today I announced this idea to a group of ABOVE 50 young-at-heart women and was AMAZED at the response.  They couldn't get those applications to be a MENTOR in their hands fast enough.  They are excited about befriending a younger wife/mom/business woman for this pilot program that will begin in a few weeks.

I have applications for "Mentors" and "Mentees."   After they are filled out and returned to me they will be paired up according to interests, backgrounds, locations and asked to be in touch with each other at least THREE times for a six week period starting June 1st.  They can call, go to lunch, visit in a home, email, talk on Facebook, Facetime or Skype.  Any contact will do that will give the new friendship a chance!

At the end of six weeks we'll evaluate what's happened.  If a "friendship" just isn't working, no big deal. That pair will part ways, no guilt, no obligation whatsoever.  For those that are having a good time, great! They will probably continue the mentoring relationship for as long as they both shall live. That's usually how that works! We might plan a tea party or an event to just share stories!

I have several elderly women in my life and they have no idea how much I appreciate them. They are SO funny.  The one-liners that come from them are stunning. And every once in a while they drop a pearl of wisdom that changes my life, attitude and countenance. (How many times have my older friends actually saved Honeybuns life when I was contemplating murder?)  Sometimes if I'm in a complaining mood,  low on estrogen or high on blood sugar, one will just smile and say "oh, honey...."  and proceed with words that calm my soul!  I'm amazed at how much we need each other.

I treasure elderly friends.  And I learn SO much by hanging out with the younger ones.

It's happened!  I've graduated from Mentee to Mentor!   Well, Yippee, Skippee!  This is going to be fun!  I'm going to dig out my brownie-from-scratch recipe!