Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dancing in the Rain

Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain!

With the falling economy, a new administration (depending on who wins) that may signal the end of the United States as we know it (does that sound like a doomsday prediction?), my emotions and my ulcer are feeling the anxiety. Emails are surfacing all over the Net asking people to pray. I hope we've already been doing that. I believe we should pray all the time for our country regardless of who is elected.

I'd be surprised if most people really understand what this recession means. Having lived during the last depression and world war, if only as a young child, I remember those times well. Denis Leary, in his book "Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid" says "This country--including you and most of the people related to you by birth or marriage or both--is populated by beings who have been so blessed for so long that they have become almost completely immune to any interests other than their own." I say "amen" to that and could cite example after example to prove it--but so can you.

When a people are self-absorbed, nothing outside of themselves matters. One of the candidates is appealing to the self-absorbed by promising them a better life. Better than we've had? A socialistic society can't give people a better life. All it gives to its people is less money, less freedom and more government control. A storm isn't coming. The storm is here and the best we can do to survive is dance in it.

I'm hoping for the best. In the meantime, I'm taking the King's hand, and I'm going to dance.

Asleep at the Wheel

Now I know where the music group, Asleep at the Wheel, got that name--in the same place I was when some third grader took control of my last blog.
Incorrect grammar!
Convoluted sentences!
Published author? Not if that last blog is any indication of talent.
From now on I promise to take better care of what's written here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Back to England

One of the days we were in England we took a day tour to Warwick Castle, Stratford-upon-Avon, Oxford and the Cotswolds. Scenes from the early Harry Potter movies were filmed at Warwick and Oxford. Warwick has great wax figures. In the picture it looks like Henry VIII was a big man, but we saw what we were told was his actual suit of armour. He couldn't have been much over 5'5" if that tall. When you see the beds the kings and queens slept in, if they slept together, you think they had to have side rails to keep from falling off the sides. The stories about these people is "bigger than life."

Same goes for William Shakespeare. We visited his home in Stratford. Small rooms, low ceilings. A man, who in death, is bigger than life, and we aren't even sure Will wrote all those lovely sonnets and plays. In the book "Sweet Swan of Avon" Robin Williams makes a good case that the actual author was a woman named Mary Sinclair.

I've always thought of Oxford as one big university. In fact it's many small colleges in the same town. One of those buildings houses the great dining hall in the Potter movies. It's still used to feed students. The film company used it for the first two films then built their own in Hollywood, or somewhere. The dining hall looks the same as it does in the movie, just no flying postal owls that we saw.

I've heard of the Cotswolds for a long time, but as far as I discerned, they're just villages with little houses that look a lot alike.

The rest of our time in London was spent touring the Tower of London where Henry VIII had some of his wives held and beheaded and where many people the royals didn't like for one reason or another were tortured and killed. When you think about it, why do we want to visit a place like that? We loved seeing St. Paul's Cathedral.This church belongs to the people. Westminster Abbey belongs to the royals. That's why Princess Diana got married at St. Paul's rather than the Abbey. She was making a statement. Every hour a prayer is said at St. Paul's and an invitation given to anyone who wants to speak to one of the ministers about faith. The lady speaker when we were there spoke a blessing over all of those assembled. I needed that blessing. My body was giving out and we had 5 more days to go. By that night, after the all- day mostly-walking touring and seeing Phantom of the Opera (which is always good), I had red welts on my shins from so much walking. I think it was at that time I said, "No more." When pain in the body is greater than the experience, the time to do something else has come.

What is the meaning of all this? Life is one experience after another. Sometimes the experiences are wonderful, but they come to an end and all we have left are memories. On the other hand, some of the experiences are terrible, but they, too, come to an end and we're still left with the memories. Maybe that's why I write and read what other author's write. The Greek word for author is archegos. It means someone who begins something so that others may enter in to it. (The word is used in the book of Hebrews in the Bible about Jesus being the author of our salvation.) Someone somewhere writes about his experience. We read it and enter in to it. The next time I think about traveling to a far-away land, I'm just going to read about it!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Have To's and Want To's

I've lived a lot of years by myself but for the last 5 years and 5 months I haven't spent a single night alone in my house. When I first learned I'd have 4 days with no one around, I thought I'd do some things I couldn't seem to get done before--like beginning a book that's been in my mind for some time and organizing my writing files. But now that I have the time, I'm still going to have to do what needs to be done first.

What is it about life that we always have something that HAS TO be done before we can do what we WANT to do? When I was in school and had homework, I always worked on the hardest assignment first. Even as an adult, I'd get the most difficult project out of the way before doing any of the others. And I never let anything go even if it didn't have to be done immediately. I wanted to stay ahead so I would have time to do what I wanted to do. I think I was always getting things done and still didn't have much time for "want to's."

I've changed in the last few years of my life. I do what's easiest and/or what I HAVE to do and let everything else wait. My new saying is a Scarlett O'Haraian "I'll think about it tomorrow." "To be filed" papers stack up on my filing cabinet and dust bunnies grow on my furniture until we have company. Seems I'm always playing "catch-up" now.

As for my immediate plans--I have to read and critique several pieces of writing; two of them I have to have done by Thursday. The others aren't as immediate and will probably wait. I have a critique meeting to attend this afternoon and will happily do that. It's easy and I enjoy the participants. Texas and Oklahoma are playing football today and I want to watch both games. Tomorrow is church and small group at night and the Cowboys in the afternoon. I'll be busy all day with those things. I may not get to do any writing this weekend either.

Oh, well. . .I'll just think about it tomorrow.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Half and Half

I had an endoscopy yesterday to check for an ulcer, which I do have. Fortunately for those of us who have to have outpatient procedures now, someone discovered (or invented) fentynol and versed. They tell me the patient doesn't go to sleep, just forgets what he's experienced. Whatever--I'm glad they use it.

I do wonder how they discovered it? Did someone accidentally mix a couple of compounds, take it himself or administer it to a mouse? How would he know if the mouse forgot? I guess I don't have to know as long as they keep using it on me when I have to go in for a medical procedure.

Our lives consist of large and small events--mostly small, thank goodness. A big one was when I moved from the place I'd lived for 22 years and remarried. A small one is the fact that my eyebrows are kind of bushy. After many years of having them waxed, I gave it up. The lady who was doing the waxing kept getting one side a lot narrower than the other. Along with letting the grey come back in my hair, I'm letting my eyebrows grow out. For me, Tony Romo's broken pinkie isn't a big event. For him, it is.

A friend sent an email yesterday concerned about our country and the changes we've seen in our lifetime. Politics, lack of courtesy, locked doors, the economy. . . I'd add terrorism and the media. (Wait! Are they one and the same?) I agree with this friend's concerns, but with the ulcer (I refuse to call it "my ulcer.") caused by stress and Advil, I can't go there right now. I'd rather think about the man who gave my husband two one dollar stamps at the post office yesterday.

USPS gave half their people the choice to take early retirement, and they aren't re-hiring. Our post office always has a line out the door and only one worker. Yesterday, when Reid went to mail our early ballots, a gentleman opened his wallet and gave Reid two dollar stamps so he wouldn't have to wait in line.

I'd rather think about the full moon. Why is it when we see the full moon, we always say, "There's a full moon," and we marvel at it's beauty? The moon is full right now.

The glass is half full most of the time--or half empty. It's all the same. It's just the way we look at it. We can't change much, and it does upset us, but as a friend said: If you have a place to live and food to eat and no one in your family is dying of cancer, life is good. I like those words. It doesn't make my stomach hurt to think that way.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Deep Roots

We went to a movie Saturday afternoon--"Fireproof"--which is execllent. Not one cuss word or naked or dead body. Good acting, much of it done by local Georgians. I can find God in most anything, including a movie, but in this movie I didn't even have to search for Him. The actors used the name of Jesus Christ in the way it's supposed to be used--as the Saviour and the One who changes lives.

While we were in the movie, the west side of Albuquerque had a horrific storm. Wind, rain, hail. A friend told me about a huge tree in her backyard that was uprooted. I've seen that tree and would never have imagined, as large as it was, that it could fall so easily. She said it brought a lesson home to her. As beautiful as it was, and as good as it looked, the tree had shallow roots. The lesson? We can look good on the outside but if our roots aren't deep into God, we can fall as quickly as that tree did.

Our country is in crisis. With businesses failing all around the world, we need to have our roots deep into our faith in God. Years ago I spent an entire year meditating and memorizing Psalm 91. I personalized it: "No evil shall befall me--He shall give His angels charge over me to keep me in all my ways--Because she has known my name, therefore I will deliver her and show her My salvation--"

I have said these words many times since that year. Every time I say them, I believe my roots in Him go deeper. Whatever happens to me--to us--to the country, God never changes, and we can count on His salvation.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I got an email today about worrying. It was how we never stop worrying about our kids--from the time they're small, through teen years, adulthood. Always. The only time we stop is when we die.

The comic strip "Pickles" has been about worrying the past few days. If you've never read this strip, it's about an old couple. They're so funny and as I age, I can totally relate to them. One day she lost her glasses and found them on top of her head and buried in her hair. I do that all the time since I had cataract surgery. I go around feeling the top of my head to be sure they aren't there (or are) before I make a general run through the house to find one of the four pair of Walgreen's cheaters I own.

About the worrying. It's so easy for someone to tell you to not worry, but when someone you love is in trouble, it hangs heavy on your heart. That's what's happening more often than worrying. I know I can't change anything in anyone else's life. I can hardly handle my own. But the heaviness of their pain--well, how do you get rid of that? The only thing I know to do it is to take it to God over and over again. I leave it with him and find it's sprung back into my heart like a rubber paddle ball. Still, somewhere deep inside I know everything will be all right in the end--whatever that end is and whenever it comes. And that's not because of me but because of who He is. He said He'd never leave us or forsake us, and I'm holding on to that promise!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Filling the Holes

My mother had a fancy China boot she always had out on a table in our living room. Looking at it transports me back into my past. We had several items--a picture, a China set that included an old-fashioned bathtub, some tea cups and tea pot. I still have the boot and the picture but I wasn't around when Mother garage-saled the other things. It looks perfect--from one angle, but turn it around and you'll see a small chip gone. This missing piece taught me an important lesson.

Many years ago I made some choices that I wish I hadn't made. No excuses though. I made them and paid for them. In some ways I'm still paying. During that period of time someone broke my precious boot. I gathered the pieces and tried to put them back together, but one small piece was never found.

I grieved over that boot--over the loss of that piece. Every time I looked at it, the day it was broken, the choice I made was brought back to me. What I was really grieving for was the lost time, the hurts that came from my choices--and those things still plague me today in a different way.

But just as He is always ready to step in, God opened my eyes. If I could be so bold as to paraphrase what I think He said to me--"Your whole life is imperfect and can't be any other way because you're human. That's why I gave my son. When you look at that boot, just remember it is Jesus who fills the holes in your life."

Now, when I look at the imperfect boot, I see Jesus.

When I die and my belongings are passed on to my daughters, this boot probably won't mean anything to them. Maybe one of them will remember it from Grandma's house and mine, but more than likely, it won't be important enough for them to save it. I think it's time I tell them the story and let them see Jesus, too.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Count It All Joy

I've had a couple of strange and painful days seeking the reason for severe stomach pain. As it turns out, the diagnosis is probably gastritis.

Gastritis has many causes. Some of these are: taking pain relievers, taking aspirin on a daily basis for the heart, and stress. All of them relate to my life. Someone in my family apologized for causing me so much stress, but I told her it wasn't her fault. Whatever happens to me is a result of how I handle or live my life, not what someone else does. I wouldn't want anyone to carry guilt like that around.

Just before the pain hit early Thursday morning, I had read some verses in James that made everything that I've been experiencing worthwhile. The first chapter in verses two through four tell me that I should count it all joy when troubles come because my faith and endurance are being strengthened. And when it is over, I will be perfect and complete, wanting nothing. Now that's good news!

As for the gastritis, well, I'll just count it all joy.