Saturday, May 30, 2009


Tomorrow is our sixth anniversary. Six doesn't sound very long but it seems it has been much longer because we've experienced so much. Those years have been full. New grandchildren, a book published and numerous books read, trips to faraway places, new friends, new churches. Time filled with laughter and heartaches, all in a short 2190 days.

Six and a half years ago I was single, worked four days a week for a chiropractor thinking I would probably be shuffling around in his office until I died. I had no idea I'd ever marry again. Then God transcended distance and brought Reid and me together.

Twelve years ago I was widowed.

Thirty years ago I got married for the second time. I hoped I'd marry again, but when I met Jim,I wasn't sure he was THE ONE. I asked God. He spoke to me, words that gave me a choice and told me if I chose to marry, all the things I'd been praying about for years would come to pass. I did and they did.

Sixteen years ago Second Daughter's son was born. That same year Mother died at the age of 89.

Twenty-five years ago First Daughter's son was born.

Thirty-four years ago Daddy died.

I could go on, of course. Years pass and they seem like nothing, but when we look back at them, they are forever ago.

What do I have left to do in my life? What's on my bucket list? I can think of one thing that I plan to do in two years--send Second Daughter and her husband to Italy on a Tauck tour. Other than that, I'd be happy to have books published and sold. Mostly I just want to keep living; keep loving life; keep seeing friends and family; meeting new people, loving God and knowing Him better. When I finally die, I'd like for people to say they were glad they knew me. What could be better than that?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Changing Times

Our grandchildren get to do things we never had the opportunity to do. Even our children didn't have those opportunities.

When I was a child, families were about eating meals together, kids going to school or playing and parents--well, just were parents. Maybe families with more resources than we had went on elaborate vacations, but most of the people we knew visited relatives on their vacations. My great-grandparents had a farm, but all I remember about it was a chicken pen that my little brother, in his white suit investigated.(Why in the world did my mother dress a two-year old in white?)

We took rare vacations with our girls. I remember a trip to Six Flags in Dallas, a camping trip in the Gila Wilderness and a vacation to the beach in Galveston. Other than that, our family visited relatives, our kids went to school and played and we were just parents. We had lots of neighborhood get-togethers and holidays with family.

Today's kids have so many more opportunities. Jaiden has been to a farm, stuck her hand in a goat's mouth (I still haven't done that!), watched a horse being shoed (I haven't seen that), been on a Disney cruise (I was almost 70 before I went on a cruise)and a myriad of other adventures. Our five Leachman grands take trips with their parents and friends to elaborate water parks and have been on numerous vacations to Disneyland, San Diego and places I didn't visit until I was an adult.

Taylor in Las Vegas went skiing and to Hawaii before he was ten years old. Maybe earlier than that. Our California grands who are teenagers traveled with us to London, Paris and Dublin.

The world is smaller and the opportunites greater today. Yet, I imagine there are families now who don't go on vacations with their kids, who don't take them to farms and theme parks or camping. They may not eat meals together either.

Is it because those activities didn't exist until the recent present? Or is it because kids have become more a part of the family's life than they were in the past?

Ideas change. Maybe, in this fast-moving, computer age world it takes more to interest kids. All that is fine with me. I just want to see our kids come out of childhood with good values. Those values can't be learned in theme parks, but they can be taught there if their parents are willing. In fact, they can be taught wherever the family goes.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mountains of Love

I look out the windows from the back of my house and see 10,000 foot high Sandia Peak. The Sandias snake around from north to east. To our south are Four Hills. With the exception of our west, we are guarded by mountains. Even farther to the west over 65 miles away is Mount Taylor. On the other side of the mountains to the east the weather is quite different. When it's cool here, it is cold there. When we get a sprinkling of snow flakes and light breeze here, they have strong winds and snowdrifts. The Sandias protect us from the inclement weather.

The thought came to me yesterday how much like God these mountains are. They are immovable, solid and faithful. Whatever is on the other side can't get to us on this side--as long as we stay here. An Ephesians 3:18 scripture came to mind. Paul prays for the Ephesians may comprehend with all the saints (us) what is the width and length and depth and height of God's love. What does that mean? The width of His grace; the length of His long suffering and mercy; the depth of His forgiveness and the height of His redemption. In other words the width, length, depth and height are without end. There's no stopping place.

Sometimes I feel God isn't as present as I need Him to be. Then I look across the miles to Mount Taylor and know that He is guarding all sides of my life even when I'm not aware of Him.

My mountains remind me of Him every time I look at them. I think it would do us all good to find something in our lives that we see every day as a reminder of God's love.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Few Thoughts

Just a few thoughts.

There are people who get their energy from other people/crowds/noise. Then there are those like me who are totally sapped by those things. We get our energy by being quiet/not talking/not hearing anyone else talk.

I'm in one of those places this morning. We've had company all week and have enjoyed it, but we've done a whole lot of talking and I'm worn out. The problem I have is this: Our company is still here and my husband still talks.

I've never known how to work all this out. When I taught school, all I wanted to do was come home and be quiet. For nine years our grandson and daughter lived with us and I didn't have much quiet--ever. They moved out and I retired. I spent months sitting in my living room loving every minute of the quietness.

I don't know how people who are constantly in the limelight or have big families cope unless they get their energy from noise. As I said, these are just a few thoughts.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Waiting For A Publisher

I just got home from meeting with the author, Melody Groves, who critiqued my manuscript of "Copper Penny." She liked the story and sometimes had to remind herself she was working. Still, there are some changes I need to make.

This is the first time I've used someone outside friends or family to do a big critique like this for me. It was well worth the money, and after I make the changes, I think I'll have a really good book. I plan to start sending this out every week to two or three editors/agents/publishers. Melody thinks I have a good book. Maybe someone else will think so, too. She said that since the economy tanked her book sales have gone up. Maybe people are beginning to read again.

Since I think I was born with a book in my hands, I can't imagine not reading. I know that a certain age group today doesn't read much and they have no idea what they are missing. I've learned so much from books about places I'll never go; about people's lives different from my own; about cultures and religions and ways of thinking.

I hope reading comes back into style. And when I finally get my book published, I hope everyone reads it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Love This Song

I sent a link to many on my address book asking them to go to one of the blogs I follow. You can access it at Inkhorn Blue just to the right on my blog. She downloaded a great song and I think you will like listening to it over and over. I'm so happy it is God who has the very last say so about everything.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Hardest Job

Maybe I said it before but I feel compelled to say it again. The hardest job in the world is being a parent. Not only is it the most difficult, it's the most important.

When I was a child, I could play outside after dark, go anywhere in the neighborhood, ride the bus to town and wander all over Polk Street--all without worrying that some crazy man was going to pick me up. I'm sure that happened, but we weren't scared about it. My friend, Anna Lou, and I would fix a lunch and walk about a mile and a half across vacant lots to a cemetery on the outskirts of Amarillo where we'd spend the day. This cemetery had a little bridge that went from the main area and the mill, over to to a small island. I don't know how we spent the day, but we stayed for hours. Then we'd walk home and our parents, knowing where we had been, weren't the least bit worried about us.

My brother was 7 years younger than I was and when Mother went shopping, many times he and I sat in the car--ALONE. Nobody ever noticed.

My girls in the 50s and 60s were able to play outside, ride their bikes to school and around the neighborhood--safely. I don't remember ever leaving them in the car alone until they were teenagers, and that would have been their choice to wait for me--if they went with me at all.

According to TV ads a parent has to have a GPS on their child and can't let them out of their sight. We hear about kids being stolen from their front yards and from a baseball field in plain sight of hundreds of people. I can't imagine the pressure that puts on parents. Not only do parents have to worry about what someone else will do to them, they have to be concerned about what their kids are seeing on TV, on the computer, in school and at their friends' houses. Who can they trust any more? How do they even choose a babysitter? Or do they just stay home unless they have a friend or family member to babysit?

As I've said before, I heard someone say we are putting people out from our high schools and colleges that have no moral compass. How will that affect your kids, parents?

Hard? Worse than hard. Frightening. That's why we have to grab hold of the Saviour and hold on tight. And we have to help our kids come to know Him and His power. Not just a long haired man in a Sunday School story, but a real, living, loving being who wants to have a relationship with them. When my oldest daughter was about 3 she had an imaginary friend. This friend was Dr. Kildaire from a TV program. He was with her all the time--sat in a chair when we ate, when we watched TV, when she went to bed. He wasn't someone far away in Los Angeles. He was her friend and was with her all the time. That's how our kids need to know Jesus. He's not someone far away in the sky that they'll one day meet in Heaven, but someone who lives in their house, in their heart, is with them at school and when they go to bed.

I wish I'd been as "wise" back then as I am now. :) I pray that all the Godly parents I know are teaching their kids to believe that "Jesus loves everyone, but I'm His favorite."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I Don't Understand Either

I just read the comments to my last blog and am blown away by crazeemommy. She put my own thoughts down for me to read. Yes, God is at work in my life. Yes, He miraculously delivered me from smoking in one moment and I've never wanted another cigarette since. Yes, I've seen how He's healed people--miracle healings. I've heard His voice in my innermost being as well as when I've read the Bible or heard someone say something that struck me to the core. And, like her, I don't understand when those things don't happen all the time.

We have the most wonderful friend who is battling cancer right now. If it was a question about who sinned, she'd be scot-free because she's sweet, thoughtful, spiritual, eats right, loves people, has raised a great family and been a strength to many people. She hasn't done anything except honor God with her life all her
70+ years. Yet here she is fighting disease.

I have some health issues because of choices I made in the past. If God passed out favors and sticks and stones because of what I've done in my life, I'd have a barrel of sticks and stones. Instead I have favors. I don't deserve any of it, but I'm so grateful for my life and so glad he doesn't award us based on our actions.

This morning in church I got an idea for a book about hearing God's voice. I'm not sure whether it will ever be written, but I'm hoping God will give me His words to put on paper so someone, or many someones, will know that He still talks to us. After reading the comments to the last blog, I think this book needs to cover more. I hope I can write it even though I don't have the answers right now. Maybe, if this is a work He is leading me to enter, then He'll give me some. Until then, I'm like crazeemommy and don't understand.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Does He or Doesn't He?

Let's go more upbeat today.

As is so often said--This is the day the Lord has made.
Is it?
We know God created the world, and we know it is His.
Did He make this day for me personally?

Our small group talks about this often. Some people don't see God as "in charge" of our lives. One man doesn't even like for us to pray for people who travel because he says God doesn't have any control over the cars on the highway, etc. Another believes God never changes and we make our own choices which determine what happens to us. Then there are the few who believe God has a hand in our lives. A couple of us believe God speaks to us. Others have never heard Him outside of the Bible.

I can look at so many instances where I can't help but see God's soverignity at work in my life. And I can name many times I've heard His voice.

What do you think? Are we kind of on our own or does God really lead and guide us? Do you hear God speaking to you?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Two Things Today

Today is my birthday and it feels just like any other day, as usual. One of my cousins wrote and made a comment about me being two years older than his sister which would make me only 68 since "she's stuck on 66." I wrote him back and said I'd rather just keep moving onward and upward since being stuck on an age means you're dead.

Today I'm thinking about two things. One is why people don't like telling their age. I have never lied about my age. I may lie about my weight, but never my age. Are those two facts the same. People can see how big or small I am, but to tell what I weigh? Never. I can't even believe it myself.

The other thing I'm thinking about is how parents raise kids. I didn't do such a bang-up job of it but the only book I had that told me how to do it was the way I was raised. Some of that wasn't right but it was a lot better than Dr. Spock who came out a few years too late for me. Besides, I could never have done it his way.
This morning's article by John Rosemond was excellent. It told how to potty train, which is my big concern now for someone I know. Since the optimum age is between 18 and 24 months and this child is nearly three, I wish I could help this mom. But, she hasn't asked for my help is probably doing fine without me. I would hate to be changing a three year old's dirty diaper. Maybe my reason for potty training my girls was that very reason.

John Rosemond has a great Internet site. Too bad I'm not brave enough to send it to people with kids.

Still, what do I care? I'm not having to change any of those diapers. Maybe I better mind my own business and get over it!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Star Trek Took Me For A Ride!

We went to the movie yesterday. I love movies and don't usually go to the most popular ones, but since Star Trek was one we watched for years--live and in reruns--we went to see the new one.

All the previews were exactly alike: creatures and transformer-like gadgets flying through the air and chasing actors. Ear-shattering noise! Eye-crossing action! Limp story-lines. And Star Trek proved to be one with the others.

If you ever watched the original, you know the characters: Captain Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy, Lt. Uhura, Sulu, Scottie, and a Chekov you could barely understand. In the original Chekov had an accent but at least you could figure out what he was saying. Also present was the nefarious Nero. All of them were represented well in the new version which began even before Kirk attended Star Fleet Academy. That part was interesting, particularly when Kirk went into the future and met the "Old" Spock played by Leonard Nimoy.

After an hour of the screen being filled with sounds that most surely could be heard from Century 24 to Santa Fe, and objects and men flying through the air, my stomach turned over. I was becoming motion sick. I closed my eyes but the light still flashed through the skin on my lids. I put on my sun glasses and that helped. Periodically, when the sound lowered, I'd open my eyes and watch for a millisecond characters talking or moving at a normal pace before having to shut them again.

One of the times when I had acute motion sickness, I could hardly wait for the helicopter to land so I could stand on level ground. I felt the same way with this movie. "Lord, please let it be over!" And if finally was.

Now I've seen it and don't ever have to see another one like it again.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Speaking and Leaping

I hate it when I do this.

A scripture that really hits me every time I read it tells me to guard my mouth--which means to me I need to think before I speak--look before I leap. Yet I keep doing it--speaking and leaping and afterwards being sorry.

Yesterday's message at church asked us to allow ourselves to get before God this week and see ourselves as we are. The preacher said, in the end, that the only way we can make changes is through Christ. Was he ever right!!! If the Holy Spirit can't help me, I will never change.

But what really worries me is this: I've seen this flaw in me for years. I've asked God for help for years. But I still do it. I've prayed for His wisdom. As far as I know I don't have much of it, if any.

So now what?

I'll never give up asking.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Child Rearing and God Rearing

We had a big discussion last night at one of the groups we attend. The lesson was "Why Does God Allow Bad Things To Happen?" The scripture in Romans 8:28 came up. Does God make good come out of bad all the time? Or do we have the choice to make good come from something bad that happens? One of the men said God is always the same. He doesn't do anything to cause it or make good out of bad. Others thought God does have a hand in our lives, but doesn't make bad happen to us. Bad things just happen and we don't understand why. On our end all we can do is trust Him to get us through bad things. That's the part that's good--learning to trust Him more every day.

I don't think we'll ever understand God while we're in this realm. We might be able to when we're living in eternity with Him, but I'm not even sure about that. This morning I read John Rosemond's column about "Kids' opinions matter not in their rearing." As usual he's right on. He says that it is the right of our children to be governed well, just as it is the right of a populace to be governed well. Children lack good sense and have no concept about what is ahead of them, so they can't be allowed to make choices about their preferences if those preferences are bad for them. They'll reject what is good every time. They'd rather eat ice cream than salad or play video games rather than do chores. It's up to the parents (and teachers) to provide the restraint and direction that they can't provide for themselves.

"Proper restraint and proper direction are essential to turning the antisocial toddler into a disciple who will trust and look up to his or her parents, follow their lead and subscribe to their values." I heard someone say recently that we are turning out high school and college students who have no moral compass. It's pretty obvious that's because of the faulty child-rearing techniques of the past 20 years.

One part of Rosemond's column I love is this: "Irrespective of IQ, children do not think correctly....Parents think discipline is all about shaping proper behavior by manipulating reward and punishment. That's not discipline; that's behavior modification....and that's how one trains a rat, not a human being."

All this brought me back to our discussion from last night. I don't believe God punishes us for doing something wrong or rewards us for doing something right. That's behavior modification. What God is after is trust--trusting Him all the time. And He's wanting us to obey Him. He doesn't consult us about what we think is the best for us. He sets our standards and asks us to follow them.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Laugh It Off

It's been said that when you are about to die your whole life flashes before your eyes. Who said this is a mystery. did this person almost die and it happened so now it happens to everyone? Whoever isn't important. What happened to me is why I'm writing this.

For the past few days I've been in a nostalgic mood. It hit its peak when I heard Danny Gans died. He was 52, a talented performer in Vegas who had a show that was family friendly, clean, patriotic, spiritual--all those things we seem to believe Vegas is not. Yet, he had been crowned Best Act for several years. We had been privileged to see him twice. He'd just signed a new (and probably BIG) contract with the Wynn Casino as their headliner in February. He produced the Donny and Marie show in Vegas and was, they say, just a good man, good husband and father. He went to bed Thursday and died in his sleep.

Last Wednesday at one of our small groups we had a lesson on our Bucket List. We had to write down our present age and the age we thought we'd live to. I wrote down 88 but Reid only wrote 78, which means he has about 5 more years. That got me thinking things I really didn't want to think about. And the past began running in my mind.

We went to a Pops symphony Sunday afternoon called Viva Las Vegas. The conductor was one of the best, Steve Reineke, who begins conducting the NY Symphony in October. Four singers sang Las Vegas songs. One of the men dressed as Liberace sang and played the piano. He's so good that the Liberace Museum approves of him.

The ensemble of two men and a woman sang songs from the era of the Rat Pack, Bobby Darin, Steve and Edie Gorme, Elvis and others. Their acts entertained so many people in the past. Today there are the likes of Danny Gans, Celine, Bette, Elton and the ever-present Wayne Newton.

The songs they sang: "Luck Be A Lady", "I Gotta Be Me", and many more brought back memories of a time that was quite different from today. My daughter lives in Vegas and says that Obama has just about killed tourism with his statement for companies to stop holding conferences there. Vegas is hurting just like the rest of the country. You may think that's good, but I don't. Vegas isn't all evil. It's a place where a performer can go and do what he/she is born to do; a place where a man or woman can make a decent living parking cars, serving in a restaurant, cleaning hotels--even dealing cards. Some of these people are among the scores who no longer have jobs. I think we need Vegas in this country. No place else is quite like it anywhere in the world. My daughter and her family rarely make it to the Strip and don't know much about what is going on down there. But the Strip keeps that economy going and that is not so bad.

By the time a fat Elvis came out and sang "Viva Las Vegas" I was feeling pretty nostalgic. "My Way" finished me off. "And now the end is near....." Wow! I remembered asking God once for him to tell me when I was going to die. I had begun to wonder if God was telling me that my end was near. Then we went to our small group meeting. Many of our group weren't there and the ones who were were in a giddy mood. We never got around to watching the video but we laughed so much for over an hour that by the time the meeting was over, my spirits had lifted. That's what laughter does for a person.

I guess the reason I wanted to put this down in writing was so I could see it for myself, and so you who read it can know that life can be better with humor. Have a fun week!