Saturday, December 24, 2011

Think About What Is.....

December 24, 2011

"Whatever is true....
Whatever is lovely....
Whatever is right....
Think about such things."  
Phillippians 4:8

On the way to Dallas last week......A Blessing!!

Merry Christmas-Eve!!!

As I sit here, waiting for inspiration on what to write you, I must tell you I sit here with a smile on my face, looking outside at the misting rain falling, the dry lake that is starting to come back to life, the friends and family we have been so blessed with, and I can't help but be reminded that each of us, yes....YOU.....have all been given the same blessing!

The Blessing of Christ!  

You know, I think if Christ were physically sitting next to you right now,  He might be saying "As you celebrate the wonder of My birth, celebrate YOUR rebirth into eternal life" or maybe He might say "This everlasting gift was the sole purpose of My entering your sin-filled world.....receive MY gift with awe and humility."  I don't know about you, but this time of year, to me, isn't about the gifts we give each isn't about the parties we attend; it isn't about the Christmas tree lights's all about the Blessing.

Unfortunately, some of you are going to have stopped reading this Blog by now cause its too "religious" or maybe not what you want to think about today, but if you're still reading, please stop at some point today and mentally write down all the many Blessings in your life.   That's what I'm doing......see??
Friends.......My Blessing

My Blessings

My Chuck
My Family
My Friends and Neighbors
My Murphy, Molly and Kruger
My Home
My Church
My Health
My Inner Peace
My Talents
My Favorite Chair
My Coffee
My Computer
My Dorkiness

Well, you get the idea.........What's on YOUR Blessings List?

From the Etheridge's home to Yours, may you find the Blessing of Christmas......

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

You Will Be Missed, Cici

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Our most difficult task as a friend 
is to offer understanding when we don't understand." 
 ~Robert Brault 

It's taken me all week to start this Blog, and even now I'm not really sure how to begin......

Her name is Cici.  She and I have had many a laugh over the fact we don't really know how we know each other.....we just do.  Over the years, we would run into each other around town, hug and ask how the other was doing....all the while wondering in our heads how we knew each other.  I just figured she was one of those angels God drops into your life because He knew you needed them.

As time went by, our friendship grew.   She introduced me to her Women's Bible Study group and afterwards, we would eagerly grab a bite to eat and catch up on each others life.  Many times, we fought for air-space as we were both talking at the same time, picking the brain of the other.  Although Cici was much more the intellectual than I, she would lower her intellect just for me so we can communicate on the same level.  

The last few years have been difficult ones for Cici.  Although it wasn't always obvious, she was struggling.  A troublesome marriage; problems at relationships that were know; things that most of us deal with at one time or another.....seemed to plague her all at the same time.  And hard as she tried, she couldn't seem to move past them.

And then I received the call this weekend......

Cici had taken her own life.  As she said in a note attached to the poem below that she mailed to me hours before ending her life,  "How blessed I have been to know you, precious friend!  May God forever bless you!!  I am just in too much pain."  Love Cici.  And with that, she included her own obituary.


On crowded strees, in busy mart,
When from our dearest friends we part,
An optimism fills the heart
Than which there is no greater;
There is no tinge of sorrow then - 
We know full well we'll meet again,
It may be soon -- we know not when - 
"Well, so-long -- see you later!"

How casually the words are said!
And still before the day is sped
The one of us may yet be dead,
For Death's a stern Dictator;
But cheerfully we met and part,
On crowded street, in busy mart,
And voice the hope that's in our heart - 
"Well, so-long -- see you later!"

It cannot be that Death's the end,
For somewhere just around the bend
I'll meet with you again, my friend,
And join our kind Creator;
So when my Summons comes some day,
Don't grieve that I am called away,
Just clasp me by the hand and say --
"Well, so-long -- see you later!"

Sleep tight, my dear friend.
I'll see you in the morning.....

Monday, November 28, 2011

Funerals and Birthdays......So Cool

Monday, November 28, 2011

Is it wrong of me to say I went to a "cool" funeral today?

I'm kinda torn on whether its disrespectful or downright awesome to say this........but I'm going to take my chances that I didn't offend anyone by enjoying the fact that this sweet elderly man, whom I've never met, lived an incredible life, with an incredible family, with an incredible sense of humor.   He lived a good life; a full life and like his nephew, who gave his eulogy said,  "We're not sad, cause we know exactly where he is right now".........and then they ended his funeral with everyone singing his favorite song........"Your Cheatin' Heart".........So cool......

Coooool.......just like my friend Nyla who is having a BIRTHDAY today!  Bear with me for a moment, folks, but I just need to let Nyla know how special she is......not just to me, but to  EVERYONE  who knows her.

Nyla, I know you have had a challenging last few years, very challenging; but I know Vern would be so very proud of how you have overcome these challenges, all the while managing to keep that incredible gorgeous smile of yours on your face.  You brighten all of our days!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Things I'd Rather Do Than Shop on Black Friday......

Happy After Thanksgiving
November 27, 2011


1)  I would rather walk through a field of grasshoppers and crickets with no shoes on....

2)  I would rather have an oyster dressing dinner while seated between Jerry Jones and Barack Obama...

3)  I would rather walk up to a bee's nest, naked, and hit it with a baseball bat......

4)  I would rather meet my beloved Elton John with a gigantic green booger hanging from my nose.....

5)  I would rather compete on Fear Factor.......

6)  I would rather meet Justin Bieber......

7)  I would rather have oral surgery without anesthesia....

8)  I would rather shave Chuck's back hairs.....

9)  I would rather be forced to watch 12 hours of Sci-Fi with Chuck while eating Hostess Pink Sno-balls.......

10)  I would rather be forced to plan and prepare a meal other than grilled cheese sandwiches.....

What may come as a surprise to you (and me!) is that I actually DID shop a bit on Black Winnsboro, Texas, population 3,889.  Yep, there were a whopping 4 people in the Flower-Rama store when my neighbors Becky, Lisa and I headed in there Friday morning.  Turns out they have a pet muslim parrot named Fred or Wilber or Donald....can't remember....but the darn thing BIT ME.  See??!!

I know it doesn't look like much post 3-days, but as the blood slowly rose to the surface of my booger finger, I tried my best to show no pain and laugh it off.....but inside I was whining like a snotty nosed kid.....

On Saturday, my side of the family, the Calloway's, started a brand smackin' new tradition this year suggested by my niece Jacque.  Funny thing about this suggestion is that I've been suggesting it for at least 20 years and everyone just rolled their eyes and walked out of the room shaking their heads........but now that Jacque has suggested it, we'll be doing it till the end of time........The new Calloway tradition is that we will now be eating DESSERT first every Thanksgiving.  Truly a dream come true for me......I just wish I had a little more clout with this family of mine.....errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.....

But between 3 separate Thanksgiving meals...

Molly raking the back yard of all cypress leaves with her body...

And seriously losing at a 16-hour game of Mexican Train dominos, it was a perfect Thanksgiving weekend spent with people near and dear to me in a place that is hard to beat.

Hope your Thanksgiving was as memorable, special and blessed as ours was.......


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Have A Little Sense of Humor This Thanksgiving.....

Happy Thanksgiving
November 24, 2011

"You know that just before that first Thanksgiving dinner, 
there was one wise, 
old Native American woman saying,
 "Don't feed them.  If you feed them, they'll never leave."  
Dylan Brody

Well friends, I'm sure right now you are either........
a) Frantically cooking in the kitchen in your PJ's with screaming kids everywhere.....
b) Chilling out in your favorite chair next to a fire waiting to meet the family at Luby's.....
c) Preparing to take half the pecans off the top of the pecan pie (cause you hate pecans!) you bought at Costco that you're scheduled to bring to the Thanksgiving meal.....

Yep, you guessed it......I'm doing c) above today!

This crazy, hectic time of year always reminds me of the things that really matter the most to me.....such as how thankful I am for the difficult people in my life.....cause they show me exactly who I don't want to be.  I'm thankful to all those who said NO to me over the course of my life so far.......And I'm thankful for those people who came into my life as Blessings......and all the others who came in as Life Lessons.

So......after 18 hours of preparation has been eaten in 12 minutes (is it just me or is it ironic that that is the same amount of time as half-time??) and everyone is sitting with their pants unzipped and the sounds of burps are heard over the stupid Dallas Cowboy game, this is what Liz plans on doing.....

I plan on going to a parking lot somewhere and putting sticky notes on people's cars saying "Sorry for the Damage"....then sitting back, eating my pecanless pecan pie, laughing hysterically........ 

Yep, that's what I'm thankful for......

Sticky Notes.

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. 
It turns what we have into enough, and more. 
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. 
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. 
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, 
and creates a vision for tomorrow."  
Melody Beattle

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thank God For East Texas....Part 2

November 8, 2011

Oh, I almost forgot......

After the family reunion and the highway patrol incident, I stumbled on a "tween" roping contest at the arena down the road......

It was so cool....tiny little goat ropers everywhere....

In sync with their very best and trusted friend.....their horse....

Waiting patienty for their turn to chase that poor little calf thru the arena....

And even with a uniquely impressive style, shy about having their photo taken.....

Even the heavens smiled down on these precious tweens.....

While they practiced their runs......

And stops.......

So young.......yet so old.

"Any man can be thrown from an untamed horse, 
but it takes a real man to get back on and tame it."

My Weekend.......

November 7, 2011

"It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford 
to be stupid with them."'s Fall.

I know it looks like we have water in the lake by the picture, but don't get too excited....this was last year's picture.  But the breeze, cooler weather and steam on the lake have arrived which means Fall is here and soon this beautiful maple tree in our backyard will be on fire with color just like it does each year.  I just love this time of year.......

So, what did we do this weekend?  For starters, we had an Etheridge Family Reunion!  Chuck was able to see all his cousins, aunt, 2nd cousins, unknowns.......etc.......I think even us, the spouses of the family members, enjoyed ourselves.  Truth is, Chuck has a pretty cool family....Although he doesn't have much scandal, criminals or dirt in his family, it still makes for a good time getting together trading family secrets.....and when things get really quiet and boring, we make stories up.

And this weekend was my Dallas friend Carla's birthday weekend!  I decided to surprise her as she  headed through Mt. Vernon on her way home from Little Rock by standing on the side of Interstate 30 with a "Happy Birthday Carla" sign held high above my head waiting on her to drive by.  It would have worked great if the Highway Patrolman wouldn't have pulled up behind my car and blocked our view of each other with his stupid lights flashing.  When I asked him to please back up cause she wouldn't be able to see me or the sign, he refused.  Just kept telling me I was going to get killed, or kill someone, or something like that.  So just as I got to the back of his car, still holding the sign up, she passed by......I could see the look of surprise and laugher coming from her face as she proceeded to pull over up ahead.  It was all worth it cause I got to hug my friend......until the cop told us to "take it to the rest stop ahead" instead of on the side of the highway.  Such a poop......

And that was my weekend........a very good weekend.

"You can always tell a real friend: when you've made a fool of yourself she doesn't feel you've done a permanent job."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thank You God For Ouray.......

November 1, 2011

"Memory... Is The Diary That We All Carry About With Us."  
~Oscar Wilde

Remember back in July when you and I went to Ouray, Colorado?  Remember how I was addicted to taking all those Jeep tours everywhere, like Red Mountain, Imogene Pass and Black Bear Pass and took zillions of digital pictures??

Yep, Ouray was one of my Top 2 places we visited this past summer and doing the Black Bear Pass Jeep Tour was my #1 favorite thing I did.

Hanging off the edge of cliffs;

Driving through meadows of sheep;

Witnessing Bridal Veil Falls.......

It was all so unbelievable, didn't you think??  So imagine how freaked out I was when I got home and couldn't find my Black Bear Pass pictures......all 300 of them!

There are no words.....

I looked EVERYWHERE......I checked my external hard drive....I checked 2-layers of the trash can on my laptop....I even downloaded a 3rd Party "Find" program that's suppose to find every comma you ever typed on your hard no avail.
So I prayed.......I prayed a very selfish prayer that I could find my digital memories that I loved so much...

And guess what I stumbled on this week??   Twenty pictures I had set aside for the Blog that day.  I was over the moon with excitement!!  And although I ended that wonderful day on Black Bear Pass with a lot more than 20 pictures,  I am beyond thrilled.

He really does answer selfish prayers sometimes!!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thank You God For East Texas.......

October 30, 2011


You know, when we first bought our lake house 10 years ago, I just loved it.......We still had our Dallas house and I always had the guarantee at the end of the weekend that we'd head on back to town on Sunday evening, which meant I had grocery stores on every corner, a gas station right up the road and I didn't have to shop at Wal-Mart....EVER.

I'll never forget the day Chuck came home from work and said we were moving to the lake full time......AND it was all happening the next day!  I'll never forget the panic I felt in the deepest, darkest pits of my stomach; the dread of "what am I going to do living in the country 24/7" and "but where will I get my hair colored".........I was anything but happy.

After a year of waking up each morning asking myself the question "What am I going to do today??" and a lot of tears; A LOT OF TEARS......I finally did what my Dad and Mary Engelbreit (a great artist and illustrator) always said......"I bloomed where I had been planted."  I got involved with everything local.  I started volunteering at Meals on Wheels.....I started learning how to play golf.....I tried to like Wal-Mart....and the tears became fewer and I found when I did head back to the big city to visit family, I couldn't wait to get back to the safety of good ol' East Texas........Those Dallas drivers had become "idiots" after I left!

This time of year in the piney woods of East Texas is one of my favorite times of year.  There is always a Fall Autumn Trails Festival....the Annual Tomato Festival; Scare-on-the-Square Festival, along with the Scarecrow Festival.  You have the Butterfly Festival and the Yamboree Tator Trot; the Peanut Butter Festival and lets not forget the Eat-A-Bug-Family Arts get the point.  Everyone has a smile on their face; no one is in a hurry.....and everyone despises Obama, with the exception of the old man at the tire store.

I love living in East Texas.

I have also learned that sometimes we are "planted" someplace for a reason.  By connecting the dots of our past, we can see clearly "why" we were planted where we were......

For me, it couldn't be any clearier.......