Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Who doesn't love a parade??   If you do not love a parade there is something deeply wrong with your soul.  (My opinion, of course!)  Parades are the happiest places and an American tradition all across this great land. In my lifetime I've enjoyed hundreds and even participated in a couple!

This month we've seen parades honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and re-elected President Barack O'bama. In past years I've been delighted by the St. Patricks Day Parade in Savannah, the Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC and small town parades named for every kind of festival imaginable.  My favorite is the Rose Parade from Pasadena, CA.  That one is the grand-daddy of them all.

Every year we don't have plans, company, tummy aches or a power-outage, we are parked in front of the TV to watch millions of flowers literally float down the streets of that lovely  California town.

People line up 20-30 deep all along the route to watch those incredible mechanical wonders bearing the most beautiful of all flowers, placed in unbelievable arrangements ride by. The floats are tall, self-propelled, creative, short, musical, whimsical, serious and themed!

The Rose Parade is long and has every type of horse, marching band and celebrity imaginable.  Sometimes a fly-over by the Blue Angels is included.  It's a WOW kind of day! Going to witness that parade is on my bucket list!

Most of the time most of US are not participants in a parade of that scale, but a grateful, appreciative audience.

There is another parade that demands our inclusion.  We have no choice. The act of birth is our entry.

It is a parade of LIFE, from birth to death,  and it too is INCREDIBLE.  Boy, howdy, talk about beauty, diversity and entertainment!!!


This past week some friends arrived at the end of the parade of life.  They had been marching for many years and were tired. Their bodies were ravaged with disease and the effects of old age.

They arrived before the rest of us.  Both crossed the finish line and entered into another era, another parade called ETERNITY.  I'm sure glorious reunions awaited them that very second they took their last breath on this earth.  Mothers, fathers, grandparents,  siblings, friends, and great-great-great ancestors were no doubt cheering them over line, welcoming with open arms and huge broad smiles. As the song goes, we can only IMAGINE!

Family members remaining are still marching. They are now dealing with sadness, loss and grief.  Grief is a terrible, awful, no-good, necessary part of living.  It is acute and it is chronic.  It is sudden and it is sneaky. There is no end to it's cloud for those left behind until they too arrive at the end of the route.

Death comes suddenly to some, often way too early in our estimation.  Sometimes it is a slow process. And sometimes it arrives as a HORRIBLE SURPRISE.

The SURPRISE of death is a little confusing.  Life AND death is the theme of our parade. We're ALL headed toward the finish line. I'm sad for friends that try to deny it's reality, they seem so unprepared.

Perhaps HOW we march in LIFE'S parade deserves more careful attention than how or when we cross the finish line.  Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised at death, but embrace it as a NEW BEGINNING, a NEW PARADE. Maybe if we thought MORE about it, we'd be prepared.

Reminds me of the old hymn, "We're Marching to Zion, Beautiful, Beautiful Zion"

Meanwhile, I'm stepping high in THIS march, tooting my own horn, enjoying those marching along beside me, smelling the roses along the way!  BUT, the next PARADE is going to be a doozy and I'm looking forward to that one, too!

Sunday, January 20, 2013


I'm celebrating the Presidency today! 

The Presidency of George Washington! On Thursday, April 30, 1789 the General gave his first inaugural address in the city of New York.

The speech is lengthy, personal and lofty! 

He closes his address with these words:

"I shall take my present leave, but not without resorting once more to the benign Parent of the Human Race in humble supplication that, since HE has been pleased to favor the American people with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquility, and dispositions for deciding with unparalleled unanimity on a form of government for the security of their union and the advancement of their happiness, so HIS divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations and the wise measure on which the success of this Government must depend."

Yes, George prayed!  Amazing, isn't it?  He acknowledged that it was GOD  who fathered the entire human race and it was GOD that favored the American people with their new form of Government. One which would help the people be secure and create a climate for happiness.  He prayed that God's blessings would be obvious, for the success of the new Government would depend upon HIM!

Yes, we've come a long way baby!

Now we're arguing whether the Bible should even be present at the modern day ceremony! 

And today, January 20, 2013, former AR Governor Mike Huckabee has called for this day to be one of prayer. He's receiving lots of flak for that one!

We've just about removed God from every public square, discussion and debate in the name of political correctness.  And then we wonder why our culture is going to "hell in a hand-basket."

George's prayers did not prevent the problems that the US experienced after that day in New York, but overall we've had a pretty long run.  The US has survived wars and rumors of wars, assassinations, natural disasters and plagues. Now, I don't know if the Republic will survive for my grandchildren, some smart folks predict it won't. History tells us that such a government normally lasts aout 200 years before it destroys itself from within.  We're at 237 now!

I'm going to celebrate George's address anyway!  Perhaps there's another young George out there that one day can rise above selfish gain, power and revenge and inspire the people to turn to their creator. Perhaps there will come a day when lofty speech will once again be understood and embraced. Perhaps an observation that is longer than 144 characters will be received.

Perhaps a crisis will come and THAT will turn us back to the Father of the Human Race.

Everyone agrees that the next few years are going to be difficult in many aspects.

Yes, we need GOD!

I agree with George Washington, without HIM, we don't have a prayer!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


This past week was BOOK CLUB week again!  No doubt I've written about this group before but I've got to say it one more time, the members are the most fabulous women I know. There are a dozen of us now and we are known as the Ridge Readers. We have been together 6 years and we all live in this neighborhood. We have a reputation around town as being the most fun group alive. Word gets out at the local hair salon and various community gatherings!

 (When you're past 60 and we all are.....ANYTHING GOES! And no one remembers, so every day, every meeting is a BRAND NEW experience.)

Each member takes a turn at choosing a book, hosting the meeting and leading the discussion.  12 ladies, 12 months = works out perfectly!  We spend a couple of hours discussing and laughing and end up at a local restaurant for lunch together.  Second Friday is a sacred day on the calendar!

This could be the most diverse group I've ever joined and loved.  The women are from various states, political persuasions, a couple have lived overseas for a time, some have children and grandchildren, one is a PhD, golfers, chefs, a public speaker, a professional counselor, a realtor and each one a community volunteer! The dynamics should NOT work, and yet they do, beautifully! There is much respect for one another and a zest for life unmatched! I adore them all!

The book this month was "The Pull of the Moon" and it pulled everybody over to Dianne's lovely home for the gathering.  The story is about a woman "feeling old" and her daring "run away" trip to
"find herself."

Well, you can only imagine the personal stories that one prompted!  We commiserated about ageing, sagging skin, loss of memory, face lifts, life's purpose and declining mental abilities that the heroine bemoaned. Each story topped the previous one!  Most threatened to run away at one time or another to escape pressures of marriage, parenting and life in general, but never did! We asked each other, "Why not?"

It was great!  The one-liners flew and the laughter became hilarious, approaching riotous.  The fear of "crying down the leg" entered more than one mind, I'm sure!

One comment stuck in my brain.  One brilliant member made the observation, "When women get old, they become invisible, you know."  I've been thinking about that.  It's probably true, because in America youth is idolized,  fantasized and nearly canonized.  The business and entertainment industries certainly put the elderly "out to pasture" after a certain age. And our fast-paced culture doesn't have much time to slow down and listen to the voice of experience that comes only with age. Part of being young means thinking you have all the answers, you know!  (Been there, done that!)

What a shame!

I doubt that I'll even realize it when I become "invisible" to people around me.  I plan to be very busy squeezing every ounce of life out of every minute that I probably won't even notice.

BUT.....my BOOK CLUB BUDDIES?  No way!

These gals are FULL of life, fun, wisdom,  practicality, generosity, love and grace. AND STORIES!  I can't imagine any one of them being neglected, ignored or dismissed...EVER! How foolish!

 They will never become invisible to ME. I will NOT miss the opportunity of knowing and being known by them  - for a long time to come. The experience is rare ......AND priceless!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


This is pretty scary!
Nothing magical or supernatural happens at the stroke of midnight on Dec. 31st.  It never has, never will!   As a child I was sure SOMETHING mysterious occurred on that special night of the year.
That self-imposed lie was exposed the year I was actually allowed to stay up and see for myself.  I think I was 10. I yawned through the whole boring experience.

Growing up in a small quiet Midwest town, far away from Times Square meant New Years Eve was very uneventful. Perhaps someone rang a church bell, or beat on an upside down washtub with a metal spoon, but that was it as far as excitement was concerned.

After our whirlwind Christmas tour, 6 parties in 5 cities crossing 6 states, we purposefully planned some  "down time" this New Year's Eve as well.  I truly hadn't given 2013 much thought at all.  My focus had been directed toward Christmas for many weeks.

I suppose I expected 2013 to be just an extension of  2012.  Because we at this house are very interested in national and international events, there just isn't much good to anticipate just because a page is ripped from the calendar.  Our nation is in moral, spiritual and financial decline.  The savage murder of CT children, cultural depravity, Human Trafficking, child abuse, wars and rumors of wars, etc. the list of man's inhumanity to man is long. It seems that many folks are simply hanging on by a thread, trying to smile, trying to get past this national malaise.

Recently I  began to hear a fresh theme on the radio, TV and at several church services.  Men and women of depth and thought are trying very hard to lift the spirits of the American people. Perhaps a  new calendar would help us all think that a "do over" is possible, that we can begin again and do it right this time.

The NEW YEAR began for me last Sunday morning. Our pastor Tom Gray gave a magnificent message on CONTENTMENT, re-telling the story of the very difficult life of Joseph.  Time and time again Joseph's dreams were dashed as he was mis-treated by relatives, his boss, his cell mates, the wife of his new boss, etc.   His NEW YEARS EVE magical moment took forever to arrive.

 I've heard and taught that story hundreds of times.

BUT, this time was different.  He stated, "Joseph was never in control of his own life."  Yet, he, "trusted in God's sovereignty."

For many years Joseph had nothing but HOPE.  And that was enough! God didn't promise him (or us) things...... but HOPE.  Peace does not come from things or circumstances. They bring pleasure, absolutely, and gratitude for God's grace.

But, true peace comes from allowing God to shape our/my spirit IN our condition. Because Joseph relied on God's control, he had purpose for his life right where he was, he was content believing God would provide, he was confidant that God would work it out, someway, somehow, sometime.

Joseph could obey by doing what pleases God AND at the same time, be pleased by what God was doing!

Whew, it was a lot to ponder!

Trusting in the Sovereignty of God, being content, focusing on His leading, remaining confidant that God's goodness will ultimately win, that He will work with what we have and remembering not to be concerned with what we do not have.

And in the midst of all that thinking and pondering, God gave me HOPE!  So much hope, I thought my heart would burst from it. It was a total transformation of thinking and feeling!

My Hope is built on nothing less.......

It was a revelation, a new beginning, a supernatural encounter, just as tangible as hanging up a new calendar.

I will face 2013 with HOPE, because even when evil reigns, it is temporary. GOD has the final word.  HE will win!