Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas.....Two Down; One to Go

Wow, busy last couple of days!  We have had a blast having Christmas with our lake neighbors and incredible lunch that Jen stayed up all night working on - which, BTW, we were way underdressed for; attending the traditional candlelight service at Prestonwood with 2,999 other people; then heading to Chuck’s family Christmas at Doug & Diane’s where we watched the kids tear into the packages of electronic gadgets, video chairs and incredible brisket and beans!  All this on Christmas Eve!  We woke up to a beautiful Christmas morning where we hosted a Christmas Brunch at the lake for the Christmas Orphans (our friends who have no family in for Christmas) and then later headed to Jeanann’s for Christmas Dinner with even more orphans!  Can I shove another piece of pumpkin pie in my piehole???  You bet!

BTW, Mr. Stein, the CPA, called me while we were driving the 2 hours to Dallas and was quite pleasant. Your prayers are working, folks!  

Two Christmas’ down; and one to go!  Hope you all had as Merry a Christmas as we did!

You Got To Love It!

Ok, so hears the story on the picture above.

Just outside our lake community of Eagle Point, there are lots of beautiful christmas lights and decorations all around the gate area.  Unfortunately, there is this one lonely tree that someone had tried to include in the festivities by putting one ornament on.  One lonely ornament.  It looked pathetic.  So Troy, aka, Walter, in his infinite wisdom, went through the time and trouble to place one red Christmas bulb on the tree next to the one lonely ornament.  Now it brings joy (actually, hysterical laughter) to us each time we come in and out of the gate.  Thanks Troy, aka, Walter for making us laugh!

I love the rain; and that’s what we had most of the day today.  Thank you Lord for the beautiful rain!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas, Friends

What a wonderful time of year!  In the past 24 hours, we have been blessed to spend time with family, old friends, new friends, neighbors and most importantly, God.   

What a perfect time of year to stop and reflect on those people who had such an impact on our lives this past year.  Thought I’d share mine with you:   My dear friend Jen. She has single handedly helped me “pause” and reflect on my destiny.  Is my soul where it needs to be to tackle the future we have ahead of us?  I don’t know about you, but I believe we are in for a rough time in the days ahead.  She has been a true inspiration to me and given me cause for “pause” on whether or not I’m ready for what lies ahead.  I would like to tell you my answer is “yes, of course”, but in good conscience, I can’t do that; but I am working on it.  My prayer for Jen this coming year is healing; healing  for the pain she lives with each day and the pain on the loss of her best friend and mom, Patsy.

Secondly, my Mother.  She has been in such pain for well over a year now and has hung in there through it all.  Her life has changed so much this year that I don’t think any of us could fully understand and appreciate the impact it has had on her.  She has given up a great deal of her freedom that we simply take for granted.  I pray for healing and happiness for my Mother this coming year as she prepares for double knee replacement surgery in January.

My Charlie.  Where would I be without him?  I’d be lost without him.  Yes, I get frustrated and irritated when he has trouble hearing me (is it poor hearing or just SSH - Selective Spousal Hearing??) or when he feeds the dogs wet food because he thinks they won’t like him if he doesn’t, or the other millions of things that I get upset with him about, but at the end of the day, my love and respect for him is deeper than any love I’ve ever felt or ever hoped to feel for anyone.   I pray, Charlie, for patience and understanding on my part and better hearing on your part this coming year.  And I pray for a cure for MS. What a miracle that would be!  I know your pain is great, yet you rarely complain or mention it.

I have been blessed with many wonderful family, friends that are like family, and new friends that I’m looking forward to getting to know better this coming year.  I pray that I learn to like Mr. Stein, the CPA; that Buddy the neighborhood dog stays safe and warm; that my dear sister, Debbie, rarely be sad or down and that I’m nearby if and when she does; that our neighbors, Mike and Kim, never sell their lakehouse; that Becky’s Mom recover fully from her stroke and that Troy get that once-in-a-lifetime sunrise or bluebonnet picture.  I pray for prosperity for my brother, James, and my son, Troy in the family businesses; for more special times with Bella and Brie and that they always love Grandpa Charlie & Lele with all their hearts; and that my soul be right with God.

Merry Christmas, my dear friends.

“Christmas is filled with special joys,

And the very best of all

Is contemplating those dear to us,

And the memories we recall.  

We often think at Christmas time

Of people, affectionately,

And we realize how blessed we are

To have you in our family.”

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Welcome Home Buddy!

We have a neighborhood dog named Buddy.  

Buddy is a black and white mutt that has lived in Eagle Point for many more years than we have.  He has, over the years, moved from house to house, staying at each one for a month or two, and then moving on to the next house for awhile.  Not really sure why....maybe he’s checking out who has the best food; or maybe he’s just a social dog who wants to get to know everyone.  I really don’t know.  But what I do know is everyone loved Buddy.......except a cranky old lady named Ann.  She didn’t like the idea that we have a leash law and Buddy was breaking it.  She hated that no one agreed with her and that while walking her poodle dogs, they would tangle her up when they saw Buddy.  She threatened to have our Buddy taken away if the leash law wasn’t enforced, and no amount of discussion with Ann worked.  So one of Buddy’s adopted parents took him to Dallas during the week so Ann wouldn’t have him removed.  He still comes home sometimes on the weekends, but he’s different.  He doesn’t roam from home to home visiting his old friends (like us!); he seems to have lost his lust for life at the lake; he almost seems angry at us for not removing Ann instead of him.  We’re probably being paranoid, but he’s just different.

Well, Buddy came over today and stayed awhile.  It was so wonderful to see him again and he looked good.  City life is certainly agreeing with his looks; he has the short hair cut look that is so popular with other city dogs and he’s lost his East Texas accent when he barks, but I know thats just a survival thing in the city.  It was darn good to see Buddy! 

We have since moved Ann out of the neighborhood, but I believe Buddy is going to stay in the city.  He’s got a new life there; new dogs and neighbors to meet and is getting on up there in age (about 16 we think) so he’s chillin’ a little more than he used to.  I just hope Buddy knows we still love him here at the lake and miss him terribly; even that awful hacking wet cough he has; and that he is welcome in our zoo of a home anytime!

“The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue.”    Anonymous

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Dreaded CPA Called....

Well, just as I told you he would, the dreaded CPA called today!  Errrrrrrrrr.....why do I let him intimidate me so much???   No one has this effect on me except Mr. Stein!  Is it because I feel inadequate?  I really don’t think so; I balance the books each month to the penny; I don’t fudge on the numbers; I feel as though I know what I’m doing; except when Mr. Stein calls.  Then I feel like the stupidest person on earth; and I feel like he thinks so too!  

I’m always telling Charlie how Mr. Stein “makes” me feel.  The truth is, he doesn’t “make” me feel any way I don’t allow myself to feel.   I know this is a Liz problem; not a Mr. Stein problem; but how do I resolve it??  The fact that I started feeling “dread”, “heart palpitations”, “nauseous”, and downright depressed  a week before he actually called signals a deeper problem with insecurities in myself.   

I have decided to handle this the only way I know will get results.  Prayer.  Lots and lots of prayer. And then more prayer.  When we worry, when we fret.....when we feel intimidated, God is saying “Shhhhhh, be still and KNOW that I AM GOD.  I read somewhere that one step in breaking intimidation  is to count the cost.  If I allow myself to be intimidated what will I lose? The goal of intimidation is to make us give up our authority, which makes our gifts inoperative. We are then reduced to operating in our own strength and ability and not with the help of God.   So the next time I get a phone call, an email or a letter from Mr. Stein, I plan on stopping what I’m doing......saying a silent prayer for confidence, do a few yoga moves, and then proceed forward with him.  I feel “confident” my days of CPA intimidation are over.  PRAY FOR ME!

“He who would believe in Him would not perish, but have eternal life.”       Lee (on Twitter)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

One Christmas Down.....Two To Go....

I don’t know about you, but I find myself this time of year missing and yearning for the “feeling” of Christmas when I was young.  I remember fondly the “smell” of Christmas; staring for hours at the large multi-colored bulbs that were strung on our real Christmas tree; going to Northpark Mall and seeing all the Christmas decorations and the hustle and bustle of everyone in a hurry with their coats on and Christmas music playing in the background.  Then the build up to the BIG day; I could hardly sleep at night waiting for morning.  I remember there was always a certain smell to Christmas morning; what I now know to be the “new present smell”.   I remember getting a bike one Christmas and riding it all around the converted one car garage that we called the “den” before waking Mom and Dad.  Those were good times.  I think a great deal of us spend our entire lives trying to get that “feeling” back.  Whether it be in the form of recreating it for our children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, we eventually discover its impossible to recreate.  It’s a memory. Reality probably wasn’t near as special as we choose to remember it.  Maybe we ought to try to make new memories; new experiences; new smells so that 40 years from now when we’re looking back on today, we’ll remember fondly (probably not realistically) what today “felt” like; what today “smelt” like and the wonderful memories that go with those things.

My side of the family had our Christmas yesterday.  We have had our family Christmas at the lakehouse for the past 7 years.  However, this year, we tried something different.  For various reasons, one being its harder and harder for Mom to travel, we had our family Christmas at Ellen’s house.  It was lovely.  Very lovely.  No one had to travel very far; everyone was in a good mood and we had a baby at the family Christmas for the first time in many, many years.  Baby Audrey was born in May of this year to Patty & Matt and, although Matt wasn’t able to make it to the family Christmas, Patty and Audrey were able to make it.  If the family Christmas had been at the lakehouse this year, Patty and Audrey probably wouldn’t have made it due to the distance.  So you see, change is good.  We just need to embrace it; feel it; smell it and enjoy it!

“Lord, as I sit in traffic school, I realize that I need to slow down in more ways than one.”

Lee (on Twitter)

Friday, December 19, 2008

SISTERS - They Are Blessed With An Extra Sense That Whispers When The Other Needs Them.......

I have one sister......her name is Debbie.  She is 5 years older than me and there was a time we couldn’t stand to be around each other.  Fortunately, that time was a long, long time ago.  From the time she first got married many years ago (I believe she was 18), we have been best friends.  I really don’t know what changed; but something did.  We quit being fussy, tattle-tailed sisters who found the other a pest and one day became Best Friends.   She usually knows, even before I do, when I’m down or things aren’t quite right.  She can call and just by the way I say, “hello” know where I’m at that day emotionally.  It’s kinda like having a lie-detector hooked up to you at all times when talking with her.  It’s quite amazing.  But what’s odd is, it works both ways!  We can be instant messaging  each other on the internet and for some reason, I can tell when somethings wrong or she is sad.   We don’t seem to have this same transparency with anyone else; just each other.  We have seen each other through marriages, divorces, children, adoption, foster parenting, infertility, illnesses and estrangement.  We have loved, shared, defended and stood by each other for most of my 48 years (all but my first 13 years!).  She has encouraged and supported me even when she didn’t agree with my decisions (can you say Jim Lepak???); she has offered to birth a child for me when I couldn’t, even though she grew to be the size of a house when she was pregnant with her own; she has tolerated me always saying “I’m Mom’s Favorite” even though I’m not.  She has given the “evil eye” to those who have been mean to me; because, afterall,  that’s what sisters do for each other.

Although Deb is my sister by blood; she is my Best Friend by choice.  She is the one I run to first with good news; and she is the one I call when I need an honest answer.  I don’t need to call her when I’m down or sad because, you see, she already knows.  That whisper in her ear by a special force tells her I’m down or sad and that I need my sister.  I have no doubt who is whispering in her ear..........

Today my sister is feeling down.  I want her to know how much she is loved not just by me, her sister and Best Friend, but by everyone in her life that she has helped, nurtured, listened to, and taken care of.  She has lived more life, good and bad, than most people who are 100.  She “deserves” to be happy, nurtured, listened to and taken care of just as she has done for others.  

I Love You Sissie!

“A sister is one of the most precious people in the story of your life. And you'll always be together, whether you’re near or apart.

A sister is a confidante and a counselor. She's a dear and wonderful friend, and -- in certain ways -- something like a twin. She's a hand within your hand; she's so often the only one who really understands. A sister is honesty and trust enfolded with love. She's sometimes the only person who sees the horizon from your point of view, and she helps you to see things more clearly. She is a helper and a guide, and she is a feeling, deep inside, that makes you wonder what you would ever do without her.

What is a sister? She's someone more special than words; someone beautiful and unique. And in so many ways, there is no one who is loved so dearly.”

      -Poem by Douglas Pagels

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Is He Too Cool For His Doggles Or What??

Yep, that’s right.  Murphy now has Goggles, I mean Doggles, to wear on the motorcycle.  He kept complaining about his eyes drying out while riding, so Santa brought these to him for Christmas.  I know its a week early, but he may be doing some riding between now and next week, (plus he BEGGED us to let him open it) so we went ahead and let him open his gift.  He has one other gift coming that you’ll just have to wait and see.  It’s pretty cool too!

Today I’m writing early as I’m heading into Dallas to take the girls (Bella, Brie and Jen) to the exhibit ICE at the Gaylord.  Can’t wait to see the girls again.  It’s been awhile and its always a treat for Lele (that’s me!) to spend time with my girls.  I’m sure there will be pic’s on here tomorrow from our trip today!

Talk to you tomorrow!

“Lord, we need a large dose of contentment to get us through this holiday season.  Show us little glimpses of your grace, mercy and loving presence today.”

Lee (on Twitter)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Do You Worry As Much As I Do???

It’s this time of year that I seem to worry more than any other time.  Everyone who knows me, knows I will “find” something to worry about if I don’t have anything to worry about, so this scripture below seems to be talking directly to me.   I worry about having to talk to our CPA, Chuck Stein, who scares the bajebees out of me each time he calls.  My heart speeds up, I start sweating, and I would rather have a root canal than talk to him.  Why?  I really don’t know.  I have asked myself that question a MILLION times, but he intimates me so much and I would just rather do ANYTHING than talk to him.  But its getting to be that time of year that I’m going to have to talk to him.  Ugh.  I worry about whats going on with the economy and the fact that we don’t have much time to make up for what we’ve lost.  Will we have enough to get by?  Have I done a good enough job of saving?  I worry about Charlie and his health.  What if something happened to him?  I worry about Mom.  Her health is failing and I feel so helpless not being able to do anything about it.  Have I made it worse by dragging her to so many doctors?  I worry about my friend Jen who has chronic back pain.  Will she ever be able to live without pain again?  Why has the Lord allowed so many challenges in her life?  I worry about Troy and the business, although he has done a fantastic job of taking it over and growing it.  Does he know how much we appreciate him?  Do our granddaughters know how much we love them?  Do we show and tell them enough?  

So you see what I mean.  I’m a worrier.  But I know that Jesus has encouraged us not to worry about those things which we cannot control or about that  which is not important.  I should worry instead about my priorities and the condition of my soul.  I need to carefully look at the priorities of my heart and know that this worry loses its grip on me when God is firmly established at my center

"So I tell you, don't worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn't life consist of more than food and clothing? Look at the birds. They don't need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable than they are. Can all your worry add a single moment to your life? Of course not.

"So don't worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all your needs and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.

So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today!"

Matthew 6:25-34 NLT

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It Was A Good Day......My Pumpkin Pies Didn’t Kill Anyone Today....YEA!

I have been so blessed to have found the most awesome Ladies Bible Study group here in East Texas.  I’ve only been a part of this incredible group of ladies for a short time, but I constantly find it amazing how the Lord puts me at the right place at the right time.  It’s a long story on how I came to be a part of this group, but trust me when I say it was nothing short of a miracle that I’m there.  The leader of the group, Norma, is one of the most amazing ladies I have ever met.  I don’t think I would ever tire of listening to her teach.  I never leave there without having learned something new or giving me pause. The luncheon today at my friend, Cici’s house, was a special time for me to personally get to know these ladies better.  Most of them have known each other for years, and treated me as though they had known ME for years!   

Thank you, Lord, for not giving up on me when I’m not listening.

“Lord, you are never taken by surprise. May that truth prompt us to relax into the comfort of being real with you at all times.  No masks.  No hiding.”

Lee (on Twitter)

Monday, December 15, 2008

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas........

It looks, smells and feels like SNOW outside today!  Only in Texas can it be a high of 75 degrees yesterday and a high of  32 degrees today!  Burrrrr.......What a great day to be it in front of the fire wrapping presents & baking pumpkin pies!  Yum!  I feel like I’m finally staring to make a dent in the Christmas preparations!

“Lord, your word says you knew us before the beginning of the world and made plans to save us through Jesus. Help us to release our hold and let you have your way in our lives.”

Lee (on Twitter)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Coffee Anyone??

I was invited to the most incredible house the other day for Christmas coffee.  I felt I had stepped into a scene from a Christmas movie - the house was a cabin on the lake that had a charm like none other.  As you walked through the house, you got the sense that you had known these nice folks all your life.  In reality, I don’t know them as well as I would like, but between the warmth of the stone fireplace and the smell of Christmas flavors in the air, this was someplace I wanted to be.  I felt more comfortable there than I did in my own home.  You had the sense that you should take your shoes off, grab grandma’s quilt and read a book in front of the fire.  You know that feeling; we’ve all felt it, but I was “living” it at Jackie’s house.  Everywhere you looked, you knew you were reliving part of their past.  Jackie was a gracious host; allowing us ladies to all just ooh and aaah over everything and mingle around her house feeling all the while that we were getting to know her and husband Judd better.  I can’t think of anywhere I would have rather been.

“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!”

                    Charles Dickens

“Lord, open our eyes to your little expressions of grace throughout this day. They are everywhere!”

Lee (on Twitter)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Did you see the Sunrise this morning???

As I was sleeping this morning, I was dreaming the phone was ringing.  It really didn’t have anything to do with my dream, but I could hear it ringing anyway.  Eventually it stopped and I continued on with my dream.  After a few minutes, Charlie came in and woke me up and said our neighbor, Troy aka Walter, had called and said to get outside with the camera as the sunrise was spectacular.  So I did as I was told.  I put my heavy cotton robe on, hair sticking up in the wrong direction, my favorite Polo nightshirt with my hot pink PJ bottoms with horses on them, grabbed the camera and headed to the dock.  Its times like this that I’m relieved to be living in the country where no one could see this scary sight called me.  As with most sunrises (& sunsets!), minutes matter, and you have a very small window of opportunity to get the picture before its gone for good.  I made it just in time this morning.  It was indeed spectacular!

“Lord, everywhere I turn, I hear Emmanuel reminding me You are with me and always will be.” 

Lee (on Twitter)

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Dog Whisperer Lives in My House....

The Dog Whisperer lives in this house and his name is Charlie........every dog in the neighborhood knows him and knows he’ll feed them any time, day or night.  They all love him more than doggy biscuits & pinecones.  You may notice there are two extra dogs in the picture; they are neighbor dogs, Whitney and Bailey.  They came down for a sleepover this week when I caught this picture of them all taking a siesta......Murphy even brought his pink girlfriend monkey to the slumber party.  I wish I could have captured the “sound” that was coming from the four of them!.  

“Man is a dog's idea of what God should be.”  ~ Holbrook Jackson

“Lord, please kill all kinds of cancer cells today-cancers of the body and cancers of the soul.”

Lee (on Twitter)