Thursday, April 30, 2009

No, Uh, Uh!

Today I gifted myself (ha) by thinking of some of the ways I've been stubborn. Here are a couple...

I recalled the time when I was probably about 10 years old and was adamant about the 'fact' that "not all meat was from animals!" My mother, unable to convince me, tried to get me to see reason. None of that reasoning stuff for me. Even when I knew she was right, I wouldn't admit it.

I recalled another time that my mom told me that not all people chose to be happy. I was about thirteen at the time. I think I all but rolled my eyes out of my head at that "stupid" comment and all but said (out loud) that she was a nincompoop. Ah...early adolescence.

It was probably about during that thirteenth year that I told my mom that you didn't have to brush your teeth to make sure they were clean. (Huh?!)

All that vying for power and control. Whoo-ee. We do that from such an early age. I'm praying that as I grow older, I'll become less and that God will become more in my life.

Would you be willing to share any time you were absolutely certain you were right, but discovered you were wrong?

Giving it up,

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Girl Named Zippy

Growing up small in Mooreland, Indiana

I think I've been thinking about my growing up years more lately because of the book I just finished for my book club. A Girl Named Zippy - Growing up small in Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel.

I'd recommend this book for it's poignant imagery and Haven's creative way of hilarity. I'll begin another Haven Kimmel book tonight or tomorrow, She Got Up Off the Couch.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Behind the Red Door

Some people don't remember their childhoods very well. I remember so much about mine (except how to get to my grandmother's house 3 hours from our house - I slept all the way there and back about every trip. tee hee!)

I found myself remembering something from elementary school the other day. When I was seven years old we moved "over the mountain" which in Birmingham, Alabama was where all the new growth in town was happening at that time. Much of the former pastures and farmland were then becoming new subdivisions, schools and shopping centers.

When we moved I began going to a new school and riding the bus. On the way to school every day we passed nice homes and new neighborhoods and all the people riding on the bus "looked like me." All except for Starr...

We stopped the bus every day at the Cloverleaf Honky Tonk bar. It was a hold out in our part of town. The Cloverleaf looked like it was practically falling down and was sure enough painted green. In the lower part of the Cloverleaf, there was a red door, a red light and a stoop.

It was from that door that Starr, dressed in dirty dresses, sporting unruly hair and a forlorn expression, made her appearance daily and trudged up the stairs of our new bus to be blatantly ignored by the other students.

Little did I know then that Starr's mom was a prostitute. Little did I know that Starr's childhood was probably horrible. Little did I know.

I'm sorry I didn't reach out to Starr. I wonder where she is now. She most assuredly isn't living in the Cloverleaf. It was finally bulldozed about 20 years ago. But, I wonder if she has a red light outside her stoop. I hope not.

Father, make me aware of the Starrs out there who are living in their own horrible place. Open my eyes and heart to see how I can just love with your love.

That's why we're here.
Just to love.
Just to show the Father's love,

Saturday, April 18, 2009

40th Birthdays

Once upon a time, there were three imaginative girls. They were closer than close in high school. They told each other their juicy secrets and spent evenings imagining what they would become when they grew up. The future was bright with promise, but the unknown loomed behind every corner.

Every year they celebrated their birthdays together as their birthdays were all within a week of each others.

Graduation day drew nearer and in a desperate attempt to hold on to the good times they had had, they promised that no matter where they ended up they would get together on their fortieth birthday week.

Life took them far from each other and joy and hardship came. Time went by and the promise that was made was pushed to the back of their minds.

But as the fortieth birthdays of the girls drew near, the promise again resurfaced.

Those three girls are turning 40 this week - - twenty two years after their graduation. They are reunited and remembering old times and planning their next adventure.

I'm thankful that this memory maker of a weekend is taking place in our little Bed and Breakfast...Journey's Inn.

What dreams have you forgotten? Is it time to stoke the fires again?


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Rhythms of Life

I'm up in Blue Heaven. I hear Caroline, our youngest, in the next room packing up again to head back to college. It's been a great Easter weekend with her.

Ah, the rhythms of life.

I remember holding my tiny baby girls and thinking my heart would just tear in two if they ever left me. Then they begin growing and exerting independence and wisdom and short of clipping their wings, it becomes impossible to let them not fly.

In fact, you really want them to fly. It is what they were created to do. It is a beautiful thing to see them becoming the women they were created to be. They aren't perfect. (Neither am I...) They won't be. (Neither will I...) But, they are growing. (So am I...)

So, as Caroline shuffles down the staircase with her suitcase to put her things in her car, I can anticipate another climb up the stairs for her to come in and give me a hug and a kiss and let me know that she is looking forward to Wednesday night's dinner together. Me, too.

Life. Ebbs. Flows. Goes. As my mother used to sing to me, "Que Sera, Sera. Whatever will be will be." Yes. That is true.

I'm comforted to know that God is walking and sometimes carrying me and those I love in our rhythms of life.

Que Sera Sera,

For the record, I was right. Care did come back upstairs and kiss me and let me know she is looking forward to dinner. Thank you, Father. What a gift.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mrs. Tyndal's Good Friday

I went to a public elementary school. It was different then. The teachers started off the day with a devotional or a Bible reading and the principal would have a prayer over the loudspeaker. Times have changed.

In 5th grade, Mrs. Tyndal was my homeroom teacher. She was a love. She was at least 85, though I know you had to retire back then at 65. Her husband was a Methodist minister.

The day was Good Friday and Mrs. Tyndal asked us to settle down in our seats as she wanted to tell us a story. The time was 11:50 a.m.

We quietly listened as she got out her old, worn Bible. Mrs. Tyndal told us that Good Friday was sometimes known as Black Friday because of what had happened.

She turned to the passages where Jesus was betrayed and continued reading up to the point where Jesus died on that splintered cross. She finished reading right at 12:00. The room was quiet and still. Mrs. Tyndal closed her Bible. The sun went behind the clouds and the sky turned very dark. Every ten year old eye in the room turned around and looked outside. The fear, the bitterness, the alone-ness of Jesus dying was palpable. We were quiet for several minutes and felt at a loss.

Then, Mrs. Tyndal said, "Class, there's good news! There is no reason to be sad!" She went on to read about the open tomb and is if on cue, God removed the clouds from the sun and it shone brightly again. Mrs. Tyndal proclaimed, "The grave couldn't hold Jesus! He rose from the dead!"

I don't think I'll ever forget the feeling I had that day, at ten years of age, that God was bigger than anything I could ever worry about. He'd allowed his son to die and then raised him up.

Easter's coming!
Praise our ALMIGHTY GOD!

Friday, April 10, 2009


This weekend conjures up many memories from past Easters. For about 22 years the Wiseman family and our family celebrated Easter together when we lived in Atlanta. Their families and our families were far away so we spent the holiday together.

When our children were born (their boys are our girl's ages) we continued the tradition and took turn at each others homes with a fun Easter lunch and the usual round of Easter egg hunts. Looking back on those photos through the years brings tears to my eyes. I miss Kimbra, Brent, Justin and Chet at Easter.

Another memory that pops into my mind was the Good Friday when I was in 2nd grade. I was in Mrs. Granger's class and she and the parents had put on a fabulous Easter party with punch, cake, chocolate and all sorts of Easter goodies. After the party, we went outside for recess to run off some of that extra sugar high, no doubt. We were coming back inside to go to Mrs. Gibson's class' Easter program when I started not feeling so good.

I told Mrs. Granger. She was warned. They packed the four 2nd grade classes all in Mrs. Gibson's class. I told Mrs. Granger again I wasn't feeling well. She encouraged me to sit down and cool off (impossible on that hot day and in a room with what must have been 100 hot, squirmy kids and no air conditioning.)

Beautiful Mrs. Gibson with her lovely bouffant hair, her slim fitting dress and high heels got up and excitedly began telling the students and teachers all about their Easter program. I, sitting on the front row, right in front of this beautiful lady, felt the volcano in my stomach about to erupt and stood up and literally be-came the girl in the Exorcist, sharing all my recycled punch, cake and chocolate with beautiful Mrs. Gibson.

Have you ever felt like you would like to just die? Well, me, too. But, I tell ya. Mrs. Gibson was gracious and beautiful even outfitted with all my regurgitated goop. She was the epitome of grace.

I'm thankful for kind people. Tomorrow, maybe I'll write about Mrs. Tyndal and her Good Friday story.

Thankful for grace,

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fairies Abound

Our retirement community has at least two fairies. Fairies, you say? Yep.

We have a delightfully wonderful Flower Fairy. She works diligently in the courtyard planting and caring for flowers. Then as the flowers bloom she makes her way around cutting the blossoms and putting in cups to take to our residents in our nursing centers (and some very appreciative staff, too.) I love seeing her flit up and down the halls with her flowers spreading sunshine wherever she goes.

We are also blessed to have a Hug Fairy. This precious lady has some memory loss but goes around day after day giving hugs. She'll come to my office, peep her head in and ask how I'm doing. After my usual response of "I'm doing well" she comes back with, "How are you REALLY doing." To which I always reply, "I'm really doing well." She'll then ask if I need a hug. Of course, ALWAYS!

When her task with me is done, she flies away searching for her next hug recipient. Lucky person!

I want to be a fairy, too. I think I want to be an Encouragement Fairy. What kind of fairy do you want to be?

Flittin' and Floatin',

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I Feel Like Dorothy

Yesterday Vann and I went to Frisco just for fun. We had a great time just relaxing and doing whatever we wanted to do.

I needed to get my nails done and Vann found the most fabulous place. (He didn't stay, but I wanted to give him credit for finding this Oz-like fantasy land.) It was called simply, "Nails Now." I liked the Now part. Instant gratification and all.

Well, I went in and asked them how long it would be before they could take me...after all, it was a Saturday morning and they said, you guessed it, "right now. Go have seat in chair 8."

So, I did and was greeted by the most beautiful young Vietnamese girl named "Helen." She got the fact that I like to wear my nails short and that I don't want to paint them with a design and that I just wanted a little white at the tips. Wow! There were between 10 and 15 customers already in "Nails Now" getting their nails done or pedicures or something. There were also about 10 - 15 other nail, wax, massage techs waiting for that valuable customer to come in the door so they could take care of them "now."

Helen spoke beautiful English with just a touch of a Vietnamese accent. She explained to me every service and why this extra service would be good and would cost a little more. That's o.k. An informed customer is a happy customer.

It wasn't long before another tech came up to me and smiled. She watched Helen doing my nails and then gently asked me if I'd like to get my eyebrows waxed. Why, yes, I would. I expected to have to go back into their little room and lie on a makeshift stretcher while they applied hot wax to my eyebrows. But that wasn't the way this scenario unfolded. She came right over with her little wax kit and used a wax roller thingamabob to wax my eyebrows...all the while Helen was working on my nails. I was beginning to feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Remember the scene when they are getting her all dolled up so that she can meet the wizard? Someone is working on her hair, someone is painting her nails, etc.

Well, the eyebrow waxing went great and Helen was getting close to finishing my nails. When "Joyce" came up to me and said, "You want massage? Feels nice? I just give you massage - - one minute." I asked her how much and it was "$1 for 1 minute." I told her to give me 10 minutes.

Helen is working on my nails, my eyebrows are newly waxed and now Joyce is taking me straight on the stairway to heaven by giving me a massage - - and I have never left my chair!

All I can say is, sometimes

It's great to be Dorothy,