Thursday, November 23, 2017

GROWING SEEDS: Happy "Thinks-Giving"...

November 23, 2017

Happy "Thinks-Giving"

Did you know that the words "Think" and "Thank" are derived from the same meaning?  Ya, me either.  Someone mentioned this fun-fact to a group of us this past weekend.....which got me "think"ing:

A few years ago, a good friend named Pam introduced a book called One Thousand Gifts by Ann VosKamp to a bunch of us women.  It was the year Mom had passed away, my husband had fallen and broken his hip two weeks later and a dear friend passed away the day after the hip break.  It had been a long and difficult year.

This little book, One Thousand Gifts, came along and taught me how to count my blessings.  Write them down.  Number them.  Strive to find 1000 things you were thankful for.  It caused me to "think" about all the little things I was thankful for and had never acknowledged.   So I started counting.....

1) Music....because it calms me, energizes me, creates me.

12) The bruises on my legs and hips from roller they serve to remind me 
of the fun time I had with the granddaughters.

Every evening, I would pull that journal out and "think" about the day behind me.....seeing how many things I could find to be "thank"ful for.

138) The promise of Heaven.

258). For difficult women in my life that make me roll my eyes and go "Huh?".  
I'm not really feeling thankful for this right now, Lord, 
but hoping if I write it down, I will be.

It turned into a challenge to find more things than the day before.  It changed my way of thinking from one of concentrating on the problems of the day to one of counting the blessings of that day.  And I began to change.  And I kept counting......

260) My friend Sandee Casey who said to me, 
"My mom used to tell me that watching a sunset will make you cry 
because in the perfection that God displays, you long for home with God. 
Perfection is the evidence that God exists and your soul yearns for that."

This beautiful friend, Sandee, passed away suddenly two months ago.  She no longer yearns for home with God.  She has arrived home.  

So, as we sit around the table with family or friends or maybe even alone this Thanksgiving Day, close your eyes...."Think" and then "Thank" God for being God.  How often do we thank Him for just being Him?  He didn't have to make the sunrise go from black to orange to yellow.  He didn't have to make the leaves go from green to red to brown.....He chose a gift to you because He's counting His blessings as well....and you're at the top of His list.  

Happy Thanksgiving, my Friend, I'm so thankful for you.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

GROWING SEEDS: How To Hear The Voice of God

When I was in my mid-20's, I taught a Sunday School class full of 5-year-olds.  It was the Kindergarten class at our church and I felt with my limited knowledge of Bible stories, it was the perfect place for me to be.

However, I found out that 5-year-olds don't sit still...and they aren't quiet....and they have an attention span of about 3 seconds.   Having never had children and being the youngest in my family, this was shocking news to me!  I found myself each week frustrated and wondering how to either talk fast enough to get my point in the 3 seconds before their attention moved elsewhere, or increase the volume of my voice to where they could hear nothing but me. Unfortunately, this dog-and-pony show went on for better than a year and didn't work.

So I decided to have a special guest speaker come in and tell the kids a story.  I needed the break, but so did the Kindergartners.  As the kids were busy taking their shoes and socks off, messing up the kids' hair next to them, thumping their foreheads repeatedly, the storyteller, a petite woman named Sammie, started telling her story.  Actually, she whispered her story.  I found myself in the back of the room leaning in....desperate to hear what she was saying...and so did the kids.  The room for the first time ever was quiet.  They were still.  They were leaning in to hear what Sammie had to say.  She had taught us all the SECRET to listening.

“Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, 
but the Lord was not in the wind. 
After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 
After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. 
And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” 
(NIV) 1 Kings 19:11-12

In the words of the great writer Mark Batterson, "When someone speaks in a whisper, you have to get very close to hear.  We lean toward a whisper, and that’s what God wants.  The goal of hearing the Heavenly Father’s voice isn’t just hearing His voice; it’s intimacy with Him.  That’s why He speaks in a whisper."

Awwww...there it is!  God could intimidate us with His outside voice, but He woos us with a whisper.  And His whisper is the very breath of life.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

BLOG: Long Lines, A Little Volleyball and A Slice of Heaven

October 10, 2017

I skipped a blogging day somewhere this's probably cause I ran out of time standing in line at HomeGoods for 45 minutes just checking out.  Yep, after shopping for an hour, I find myself in the checkout line with 49 people ahead of me.  Not exaggerating....I had plenty of time to count each and every one of them.  Abandoning my cart and walking out wasn't an option...I needed these three items and the hour I just spent shopping would have been a waste.  So I hung in there...making new friends of the ladies around me.....seeing who could take the best picture of the long line to send when we complained to HomeGoods Corporate.  For goodness sake, it was Tuesday...middle of the day...not even near Christmas...what gives??

And made it out of there just in time to watch our oldest granddaughter, Bella, play her mid-week volleyball game.  We don't get to make many of the games, so this was a big treat for me! Oh ya....SHE WON!

October 11, 2017

 And yesterday.......we went to the beautiful Dallas Arboretum.  In all the years Chuck lived in Dallas (most all of his life), he doesn't remember ever going to this little slice of heaven called the Arboretum.  He practically could have spit to it from where he grew up....

It was the most beautiful of days.....75 was just awesome.

And Chuck only went off the path once with his wheelchair.  He was looking to the left when he went off the path to the right.  Stuck.  In gravel.  Along came three older ladies who immediately came up with a plan.  Two hung on to Chuck as he stood up so the other one and I could lift his chair up out of the gravel.  I overheard one lady say, "I haven't held a man since my husband died" while the one helping me whispered in my ear, "I know what you're going husband was in a wheelchair too."  Precious-Precious-Precious-Precious Women....all of them.  And they showed me their muscles just before parting ways.....

We have enjoyed our stay here in our old home town.......but we're ready to move on.  Today, we are packing up the minivan and heading north......north to where?  We'll see.....but we want to see less concrete and more trees and mountains......

Hello Oklahoma and Arkansas!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

BLOG: A Couple Hicks In The Big City

 October 10, 2017

One thing hasn't changed since we moved from Dallas 12 years ago to the country (lake).  Chuck's love affair with Macy's.  The biggest smile....the brightest eyes....the happiest man came rolling out of Macy's yesterday as we took a relaxing day at the Mall....a place we don't have many of in East Texas (who am I fooling...we don't have ANY malls).

I feel like I'm in some type of Sci-Fi futuristic movie being back in Dallas for an extended stay.  "Brow-Bars" for those who want better eyebrows at Macys???  Really??

Leather reclining seats with a tray table at the movie theater (we were halfway through the movie before I realized they reclined)??!!  I'm such a hick.

And I'm starting to sound like my mother.  We excitedly went up to the box office to purchase our movie tickets and suddenly my $20 bill vanished.  I heard these words leaving my mouth as I spoke through the little hole in the window to the 16 year-old cashier, "$20?  Are you sure?  It's only $5 for matinee in our neck-of-the-woods".   Yes....I actually said this. 

But I discovered something in our adventures yesterday.  I realized this no longer felt like home to me.  I used to LOVE the I couldn't wait to get out of the mall.  A "Brow-Bar" would have excited me back in the I think its just bizarre that someone would be that attached to their eyebrows.   And $20 for a matinee?  I don't care if they do have leather-reclining-chairs-with-a-swivel-table.  These things are wayyyyy on down the list of essential components of my life.  I've changed......

I'd much prefer to see a beautiful sunrise that didn't include a high speed freeway in front of it.  I much prefer seeing a quiet lake instead.

Monday, October 9, 2017


October 9, 2017


It's been just under 40 years since this chick's been to the State Fair of Texas.  I was in college dating a hot guy with a hot black Trans Am at the time....

This time, I was with my hot husband with a hot burgundy Minivan and our awesome family.  And I've discovered.....eating Fletchers Corny Dogs and Fried Banana Pudding then riding some ride called "Don't Throw Up", is something left for the "younger" crowd to do.  Yep, we stopped at Walmart on the way home and grabbed some Rolaids and Advil. 

We now have a student-driver as a grandchild, so the Car Show was a must.  It's almost impossible for me to think of Bella driving as I mostly only remember her and cars having a love-hate relationship as she was growing up.  Motion-sickness was not her friend as a child.......TRUST ME.

And it was discovered that, although they lived in Dallas their whole lives, Chuck and his son Troy never went to the Fair together.  So it only took (no comment) years for Father and Son to head to the fair and share a plate of kurd cheese together.

What an awesome vacation we are having so far.  We may not be at the Ark in the middle of a hurricane, but we are somewhere better; with family.  And isn't that what the Ark was all about anyway?  

Bella hitching a ride on Grandpa's wheelchair

Granddaughters and their Lele

FAMILY (& Big Tex, of course)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Funny Thing Happened on the Way To the Ark

October 7, 2017

So......a funny thing happened on our way to the Ark....the Ark Encounter, that is.

It rained. (Don't think for a second I don't see the irony here.....)

We've been planning a trip to Williamsburg, Kentucky for...ohhh.....about 6 months to see the actual replica of the Ark and check out the Fall colors along the way.  This was an anniversary present from my beloved, was suppose to start today and included the promise to "not-give-you-grief-or-whine-every-time-you-stop-the-car-to-take-a-picture, Liz".  SD cards were cleaned and in position....batteries charged and every photo-op between East Texas and Northern Kentucky had been researched and written down.

We are not in Kentucky. 

Twenty-four hours prior to take-off in the minivan, we aborted Kentucky.  We simply couldn't see driving 24 hours round-trip in hopes the doors to the Ark weren't already closed and floating when we got there.  Quick change of plans.....

We considered Grand Canyon.....never been there...always wanted to....36-hour-round-trip drive.  My butt is already wide enough.....


We considered Colorado Springs.....our beautiful niece and her family live there and we haven't yet seen her place.  We love Colorado....and we love Tiffany even more.  But it showed SNOW on Tuesday (plus, we hadn't exactly run this thought past Tiff yet) we decided to delay the trip to Colorado for another time.....'s the deal.  We decided with an odd head home.  Home to Dallas.  We are going to be tourists for the first time ever in our home town.  We are going to do touristy things....taste touristy food....look like tourists.

So we loaded up the minivan yesterday, headed 1-1/2 hours west and landed north of Dallas.  Checked into a hotel, headed over to our son and daughter-in-laws house for a visit and dinner, and for the first time in a gazillion years, we aren't racing in and out of Dallas to have a colonoscopy, cystoscopy, endoscopy, MRI or mammogram.  Nope.  We are going to have some FUN time.  And an added perk is....we won't get lost.

Granddaughter Bella
So, this week will be filled with State Fairs, Arboretum, Granddaughters, Family, Museums, Shopping, maybe a Haunted House or two and.....Resting.  We are downright giddy about this upcoming week!

Want to travel with us??

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Pinch Me, Ant Ellie.....Pinch Me

My sweet Ant Ellie died in her sleep a week ago.  She hadn't been sick a day in her life, had just moved from Florida to the one place on this earth she loved and always longed to return to; the piney woods and red-clay of Alabama.  She loved this place with every inch of her robust body.   

And this was the place she wanted to die....someday......but not last Friday.

Ellie never had children of her own, so she borrowed her siblings' kids.  She was the kind of aunt every niece dreams of...the FUN aunt....the one that will squeeze-her-3x-sized-rear-into-the-roller-coaster-seat-next-to-you kind of aunt.  Who at 79 was about to purchase her first 4-wheeler to cruise around her 60 acres of land she lived on...alone.  

And she and God met up in these Alabama woods.  As she sat drinking coffee on her front porch last year in this place she loved so, God sat with her.  Quietly and expectantly.....He waited.  He would soon be calling her Home, but she didn't know that.

And then she heard Him.  Like a wind whispering to her, she heard His Spirit speaking to her heart. And she picked up that old dusty Bible sitting in her bookshelf and opened it for the first time in years.  His love leaped off the pages and straight into her heart.  And she made the decision to be baptized this year at the mighty-but-not-too-late age of 79.

"And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! 
We go through exactly what Christ goes through. 
If we go through the hard times with Him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with Him!" Romans 8:25 (MSG)

And so we blow her a kiss and say "Goodbye for now, sweet Ant Ellie.  And warm up the 4-wheeler....we expect a tour of Heaven soon."
(click on link above)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dear Graduate.....

 Yesterday, as we were re-siding the boathouse, I noticed what looked like an old birds nest up in the eaves.  I reached up and pulled it down and found this....

What a surprise!!  I put it gently back up in the eaves and we continued on with our work.

The next day, I just had to see what was going on in that nest and found this....

It reminded me of the kids graduating and getting ready to "leave the nest" to start a new chapter in their lives.  It reminded me of my own journey of leaving the nest 1000 years ago.....the mistakes made and the lessons learned.  And much like these baby birds who are blindly starting this life, so are those graduating from the comfort of depending on others (parents, teachers, etc.). 

Please appease me with one last piece of advice.....

Dear Graduate,

As you prepare to cross that long stage in front of your family and friends and eagerly close one chapter and open the next, there are a couple of things this old lady whose tassel was moved from the right to the left many years ago would like for you to know:

Be An Individual.  There is a reason you are alive.  This culture we live in makes it far too easy to look alike, act alike and believe alike.  Discover who YOU are.....and don't be afraid to be different.  That goofy graduation cap on your head is a ticket to life.  You can stand out and you can be the change you wish to see in the world.  Learn to fly solo......

Help Others.  We all have a calling in life.  And if there's one lesson I've learned over all others, it's that we are placed on this earth to help other people.  In the book The Original Human Dilemma (2004), supposedly in hell, they sit around a great pot, all hungry, because the spoons they hold are too long to bring the food to their mouths.  In heaven, people are sitting around the same pot with the same long spoons, but everyone is full. Why?  Because in heaven, everyone uses their long spoons to feed one another.

Don't Let Technology Be Your God.  As someone who is writing this to you from her laptop with her cell phone charging as she types with buds in her ears, I know a bit about this subject.  Techno-gadgets are merely distractions.....just look around you....even us old people have made our phones our god.  If you are going to make a difference.....put down the cell, take the buds out and spend less time in front of the screen.  Put Real Life First.

Place God as the Driver of Your Life.  Really hear this....NOTHING else matters if you don't have God as your Driver.  You are traveling down the Highway Of This World at a rapid speed.  GET OFF....NOW.  There are exit ramps along the way and they lead to a narrow, difficult and rarely traveled path.  But this path is unlike the highway that leads to certain death and an eternity in hell....the narrow path leads you HOME. will most likely arrive home sore, scratched and tired from the bumps along the way, but you will LIVE to see Home. 

And be God intended you to be!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Gift of Mom

"Jesus' MOTHER stood at the foot of the cross.......
Jesus saw his mother and the disciple He loved standing near her. 
He said to His mother, "Woman, here is your son." 
Then to the disciple, "Here is your mother." 
From that moment, the disciple accepted her as his own MOTHER.
John 19:25-27

I love that even in His darkest moment, Jesus made sure His Mom was taken care of after He was gone.  He knew that an arrow was piercing her own soul as much as it was His side, so He gifted His Mom to John, the disciple He loved and trusted.

My mom died two weeks before Mothers Day.  I dreaded going through that weekend without her.....I was childless and now I was motherless.  But then I received a call.  A call from a lady named Pam in Winnsboro.......a lady I had met over the years as I delivered Meals on Wheels to her own elderly mother......and Pam wanted to share her mother with me that weekend.

And so she did.

She invited me to Sunday lunch with the whole celebrate this lady she called Mom and I called Jewel.  She gifted me with love.....she gifted me a Mom. 

It was probably one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me. 
She knew my heart was piercing; aching to feel the touch of a wrinkled hand touching my cheek....longing to smell the Estee Lauder perfume that always arrived moments prior to Mom entering a room.  She knew my heart had a crack in she handed me her heart.

The Gift of a Mom......I think God had it right creating her from the rib of man....the rib always keeps the heart safe.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

It's Easter Sunday.......

It's Easter Sunday......

THIS WEEK, I tripped over the cat and busted my face on the hardwood floor, leaving me in a crime-scene-sized pool of blood, requiring a trip to the ER and gorilla glue that now looks like a goatee on my chin.....

THIS WEEK, I missed an entire night of sleep.....jumping at each thunder crash....closing my eyes at each bolt of lightening...and holding my hands to my ears to avoid hearing the pounding rain on a roof that has seen too much rain....

THIS WEEK, I put my beloved in our unreliable handicap van and drove him 100 miles to an orthopedic surgeon to find out why he was in such pain in the one hip that was never broken.....

......I. Have. Felt. Broken. So badly broken.

THIS WEEK 2000 years ago, Jesus finished His walk through the mud of this world and arrived Home......He always knew this world was not His home. His chin also was bloodied......he spent a long horrific, terrifying night without sleep.....and his hip hurt as he used the muscles from it to support His body on the cross. 

He was broken.....oh-so-very-broken.
He Was Living Life, Friends.
Much like you and me.

A life that included blood, fear and we could be part of His family. So this journey we're stumbling through, wouldn't be a journey in vain. So that the blood, fear and pain we feel, would be full of hope and promise and love and arms holding us tight in the scary times.

Our Home is at the end of this road because of today.....Easter.....because He not only died for you....but He rose for you.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Day 3: A Roberto-Kind-of-Day

DAY 3:  January 30, 2017

Today......I had a sunrise with coffee, thank-you-very-much.  

But there was this one, itsy, bitsy black cloud that was hanging over the ship......and that one little black cloud caused all water excursions in Cozumel to be canceled.  Yep.......we had nothing to do today. 

The plan originally had been to go scuba diving.......Now lets stop right there.  Liz has never been scuba diving.  Liz wears glasses for a reason.  Liz was thinking the water was probably very cold.  Basically, Liz was just a tid-bit concerned 30 minutes of scuba training, with no glasses in very cold water might not be the most fun thing to do while in Cozumel.  I "think" I might have even mentioned this in my morning prayer journal and I "might" have asked God if He could find something else for us to do today. 

And He did.

He hooked us up with Roberto.......a divorced, Catholic, Father-of-an-11-year-old-daughter-he-hasn't-seen-in-years, Mexican cab driver who doesn't know why Catholics pray to the Virgin Mary (yes, I asked...), who graciously drove Debbie and I all over the island for the day.  FUN!!    He also has a sign on his mirror that says, "Tippers Go To Heaven".  Yep....we learned a lot about Roberto. 

He took us to the other side of the island where there is no electricity....just generators.  I bet most of you Cozumel travelers didn't know that, did you?  That's cause you didn't hire Roberto to take you to the other side of the island.....just sayin'....

He took us to the "Naked Beach" where you get 5 free minutes of a beach massage (after paying for an hour).....

where you can swing from these "not-so-safe" swings that look like they've been through a hurricane or two.....or sixteen.....

where birds bite.....(this is the English version of Spanish)....

and they make grasshoppers out of grass.....(now THAT makes sense.....GRASShoppers = GRASS)....My acridophobia (fear of grasshoppers) was on high alert and a bit creeped out......(it's REAL, people!)...

And ugly iguana's with cowboy hats that could be held and kissed for $5.....

.....we also laughed on top of sharp lava rock about the wall that was fixing to be built in Mexico.....

and then we posed, with the help of Roberto, with the massively blue ocean behind us and white sand beneath us.'s highly under-rated and by-the-way, have I mentioned lately how much I love my sister for this gift of Rest???

And when the day was nearly over and the sun was setting.....and the last couple (not us!!) made it back to the ship 30 minutes late and every balcony on the port side of the ship was filled with angry passengers yelling "BOOOOOOO" at these poor folk as they walked up the gang plank, we headed to the Dining Room to Table 616 to sit with our new dining friends Denny and Donna to eat chocolate volcano cake with vanilla ice cream.......