Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Democrats are whiney brats.

This is really not a name-calling fest. I don’t feel a need to label people. This is about a favorite podcast to which I listen. It discusses a topic I am intensely interested in, but the ‘caster CANNOT seem to leave her personal politics out of it. Very well, I shall at least vent my spleen on my own blog rather than clutter up her tiny mind (and bandwidth) with my comments. Perhaps this is the problem with us “conservatives”. We are too polite. We are content to live our lives without abrasively intruding upon others. =)

Today’s edition of the podcast was ever so pleasant until the final 5 minutes when the ‘caster went into a mini-tirade about how people might be interested to know that all the media does not agree with FOX network and Rush Limbaugh (!) and she (the ‘caster) will be providing a service to all mankind by linking some liberal media websites to her podcast homepage.


It is infinitely amusing to me that liberals are all about tolerance and acceptance - - - as long as they are in the majority. (“Let’s not discuss politics – unless you agree with me!”) Yet, when they feel a bit “out of control” (threatened?) they resort to childish whining. I refer to the buttons, bumper-stickers, etc. that shout “Knitters against Bush”, "Don't Blame Me, I voted for X", and other lame slogans. By contrast, there are plenty of people in Arkansas who can’t stand to hear the name Bxxx Cxxxxxx, yet I don’t remember a single group calling itself “Little Rockers against Clinton”. Although it is not a bad idea. If anyone feels the need to organize such a group, I give permission to use the slogan. =)

I think one reason FOX and Rush are so popular is because people with views not voiced by the major news media are refreshed by the fact that ANYONE agrees with them after being constantly bombarded (i.e. brainwashed) with liberal ideas for forty-plus years. Those with conservative views are belittled and criticized to the point of literally being told they (we) are less intelligent and somewhat na├»ve to believe such fairytales. If that is not intolerance, I don’t know what is.

This just goes to prove, dear liberal thinkers, that no matter how loudly or how often you say it, it does not make it true. Now, back to my knitting and your regularly scheduled program...


Sunday, December 25, 2005

To: Julia

Remember last Christmas?

No snow this Christmas. But we had a cozy fire,

and a tree and table with all the Christmas trimmings.

What's missing???


Merry Christmas to all
and to all a good night!

Julia, we miss you more than words can say.


P.S. I love my earrings. But I love you more.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Sesame Treats

“Two different worlds we live in …”

Does anyone else remember that song? It has been running in my head all morning. No, actually for almost a year now. Cultures are certainly different. My supervisor (of Indian nationality) left some candy and treats on a tray in the break/copy/fax/mailroom last Friday, and can’t understand why they are not all gone! I know you are probably wondering the same thing. Why hasn’t anyone eaten all the yummy little unwrapped, sesame-coated, whatcha-ma-call-its?

Even more of a puzzle is, why didn’t the mice that inhabit our “modular office” (AKA trailer) have a nibble over the weekend or overnight? The little snacks were left out all weekend - - - uncovered. Oh, wait. Are those poppy seeds? Er, no.

OK. It’s Tuesday. I’ve taken it upon myself to make one magically disappear each time I enter the copy/fax room until they are all gone. I’ll let someone else take care of the Swiss Miss. Perhaps there ARE people who actually like sugar-free instant cocoa. At least more than like naked sesame whatcha-ma-call-its of unknown origin. The face of a kid’s first taste of Brussels sprouts is very vivid in my mind right now, and I’m trying not to make it myself!!! ~~~ shiver ~~~

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Julia - we miss you!

thanksgiving memories

Come, ye thankful people, come.
Raise a song of harvest home.

For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies:

Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

Driving to El Dorado...

Whit finished her scarf on the drive down...

as we enjoyed a beautiful day,

... beauties of nature ...
and happy faces to welcome us.

Everyone had to get in the kitchen ...

... and everyone did a little to help.

Pop tells about the package he sent to Thailand ...

... and everyone is interested to hear what he sent.

Then we give our thanks to God and eat!

Roast Turkey
Dressing & Gravy
Cranberry Relish
Creamed Corn
Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Dinner Rolls & Butter
Iced Tea
Sweet Potato Pie
Apple Pie
Egg Custard Pie
Strawberry Cake
Glazed Pecans

MMMMMMmmmm. Yum.

And just for your entertainment:

fleur de lis and Richard IV

Julia, I love you more than apple pie ...


trip to Fayetteville

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Monday, November 14, 2005

Marine Band, Clinton Library, Thanksgiving – my favorite holiday

I am welcoming the changes in the weather - cooler and some rain over the last few days. We had a busy weekend. Did some knitting. Dad washed the cars and worked in the yard, and took a bike ride. I made some beef burgundy on Saturday. Visited with the old folks and enjoyed some of the pulled pork and barbecued ribs Pop cooked and sent home with us. Went to hear the President’s Own Marine Band on Saturday night. Toured the Clinton Library early Sunday morning before church. Then went to church morning and evening.

Chihuly Crystal Tree of Light at the Clinton Library [photo above].

The Clinton Presidential Center is gearing up for the 1st anniversary of its opening. The landscaping has been considerably improved since last year. Multitudes of trees now occupy the former bare lawn. This was my 1st visit inside the library. I simply refuse to pay to take the tour, but I had a chance to go for free. I could say more about that, but I will resist.

I always dread this time of year, and cling to the joys of October and then Thanksgiving as long as possible. A feeling of doom and negativity falls heavily on me about this time each year. Starts about Halloween and usually continues until after Christmas. Then – POOF! – it’s over. As suddenly as it came. This year it arrived a little later. I could feel it creeping up last week, but I kept shaking it off. Then it hit me hard last night. Honestly, I hate Christmas. But I don’t know if I get sad because of the season, or if I have learned to dread Christmas because I know the mood it casts on for me. I don’t know. I really don’t. Maybe it’s because the control freaks are out in force.

Life becomes so surreal and artificial this time of year. Everyone’s priorities become skewed and distorted. Honestly, is there anyone (except retailers) who does not complain about the “crass commercialism” and “materialism” in our society?

There have been many years I did not decorate for the holidays – even when my children were small. Of course they always got gifts and I did lots of cooking, but I really tried to focus on the family time and making memories around the people and being together – not the STUFF.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

i don't know why i didn't become a botanist

This shrub appears most ordinary BUT
it has a secret.

You notice the tiny flowers?
They are quite dainty and understated. In fact, you have to make a point of stopping and actually parting the limbs to even notice them.

So what’s the secret?


If you pass the shrub – even a block away. Out for a walk or even a drive, you will be dazzled by the fragrance. Not pungent or cloying. Not overpowering like gardenia, or penetrating like wisteria. Just light and pleasant. Almost like vanilla, but ever so delicate and feminine. It is a mystery to me why it can’t be bottled or extracted. It is a fragrance that would be fit for the most elegant queen.

It is Osmanthus fragrans or sweet olive and it is what I imagine heaven must smell like!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

confused vegetation

This Japanese maple outside my window is just one example of the strange fall we are having. Many of the trees and shrubs that normally bloom in spring have come into bloom. Look closely and you may be able to see the abundant fallen leaves on the ground (in the background) as well as colored leaves on this tree with new growth. This photo was taken this morning.

And two favorite views in Fayetteville:
Ole Main & Confederate Cemetery

Trees have been late in turning, but it looks like we will have some color in the next week or two. And here it is, almost TG day. I remember about 3 years ago we did not get the first frost until the day before TG. We may break that record this year, as it was 61 when I woke up this morning. A fine day for a noon drive in my little red car.

The F'ville photos were taken on October 22.

Friday, November 04, 2005

quote of the day

The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another, and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.

J.M. Barrie, novelist and playwright (1860-1937)

(sort of a continuation of yesterday's thoughts)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

... when her body became her enemy ...

… and she could no longer do the things she enjoyed …

I attended a funeral yesterday for an old friend of the family. During the eulogy the speaker referred to happy, fun-filled, active and younger days. A life well-lived, in service to many, a teacher who touched many lives and bore children, and lived to see her great-grand-children.

But there came a day when she could no longer do things for herself. What a privilege it is to be able to work and to be productive. To have a sense of satisfaction in work well-done, and to make a contribution in a world larger than ourselves. To be able to make an impact – even if only a small one.

As the procession of cars weaved through the narrow streets of a small south Arkansas town and then moved out to the wide open country spaces, I was reassured to observe almost every car pull off the road and stop. Perhaps this is no longer common in larger cities. But we are too busy if we cannot take that few moments to assess our own purpose and direction, and to consider our own mortality. Not a pleasant thought –– but an important one – to take a brief break and reflect as the funeral procession crosses our path.

I feel like I am constantly at war with my body. There are so many things I want to accomplish, and at the end of each day I’m so tired and I am rarely able to check off even half the things on my to-do list. I have this moment. I will use it – not waste it.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

(weird) things happen

Well, I took my cute little new red convertible in for it’s 1st routine maintenance yesterday. About 2 hours later the clerk came to the waiting room and asked to speak to me in private.

Hmm. This is unusual.

“We are going to have to put you in a loaner for a couple of days. We need to do some extra work on your car … we, um, well, uh, … dropped a piece of angle iron on the hood.


“May I have a few moments alone with her before I leave?” So I took the picture (with my Palm camera). The color does not show well - but there it is. The damage is minor, but WAAAAAAAA!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

taking a vote

ok, just doing a little experimenting...
which weather icon to use?
regular or de-caf
regular or de-caf
flag or sunrise/sunset

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

techie stuff - or - "databases I have known"

I field a lot of questions about my PDA “palm device”. If I “tap” in public, I invariable get the question, “are you playing a game?” I should say ‘yes’ more often. Truth is, I’m terrible compulsive.

A good friend of mine surpasses me in that department, and she frequently says, “Don’t feel self-conscious about being compulsive. The key is to find a career that will pay you well for being compulsive.” That always makes me smile, because we both have capitalized on our idiosyncrasy. If YOU were having cancer treatment, wouldn’t you feel better knowing the people helping with your treatment are extremely particular about details?

Anyway, back to the topic: my PDA. Well, actually: my compulsivity. The prime use of my Palm is – TA-DA – my database. This palm is not just an electronic calendar and address book with a built-in clock. No, no, no.

One of my friends saw me tapping one day, and wanted to show off his new Palm. He’s a smart guy so I figured I would show him my database. He said, “Yea, mine has Excel.” I said, “Umm, that’s a spreadsheet, not a database.”

He: What’s the difference?

I fell silent. Where to begin? The differences are legion! And the uses … ? Infinite! I think I finally said something like, “I’ll explain later,” to spare his ego. Hopefully he went to work the next day and asked somebody, or asked one of his kids. hehe

My database is – well – I HAVE TO HAVE MY DATABASE! The program is a database builder called SmartListToGo. Kinda like Microsoft Access or FileMaker. Then I BUILD the databases that I want. I have built a few. I have 2 PDAs, and I have about 75 dbs on one palm and about 60 on the other one. I’m not a programmer, but even our IT guy seems impressed.

Databases. Gotta love em! A lot of people have lots of applications on their palms that could be done with ONE database rather than dozens of applications. And at less cost. And they could design it the way it suits them. A few of the databases I use most:

- shopping list
- car mileage & maintenance
- exercise log
- work timesheet
- to do list (a lot more detailed than the Palm To Do list) – with notes, date completed, etc & you can sort by Home To Do, Work To Do, committees, clubs, etc.
- blood pressure (and other health stuff)
- booklist (to buy / to read)
- movie list (handy when you get to Blockbuster, and can’t remember what you want to check out)
- calorie counter
- favorite quotes
- birthdays & This Day in History
- Daily Bible Verse & inspirational thoughts
- knitting needle inventory

You get the idea. All the stuff that used to be on little odd slips of paper or Post-its all over my house, my desk, and stuffed in books and my purse.

AND!!!! MY PALM HAS AN MP3 PLAYER (way cool and probably my 2nd favorite thing about my palm). AND MULTI-FUNCTION STOPWATCH. AND A CAMERA (which is not really that big a deal). Three doc readers. And a few games. It’s not a smart phone. I’m not inclined to want a Palm-phone combo. I want to get away from the phone once in a while. Plus my phone has to LOOK cool – not like a brick.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Well, the post below was composed one day last week, and before I could even get it posted we got news that the move is not going to happen in the near future. Am I surprised?

(that was a rhetorical question)

changes in the air

This is not about the weather. hehe

I used to have a really nice office. Fifth floor facing south with a tremendous view of the city. With a door I could close for privacy if I had a personal phone call or wanted to listen to music, or take a 10-minute break to watch a summer thunderstorm with the lights off.

Three and a half years ago my office was relocated to a trailer. Yes, a trailer - with no windows. With the promise we would be here about a year. Two years max. Umm-hmm. But it's a double-wide (with plumbing) so why am I complaining?

Giving up the panoramic view was the biggest adjustment. The trailer has, in truth, not been bad - except for the smell. We call it "the mouse house". And the main building "the big house". Being isolated from the big house has it's advantages. We are rarely interrupted by random visitors. In fact, we are largely ignored - which is sometimes not a bad thing.

Well, we just got word we are being moved back to "the big house". Probably within 3 weeks. No more private offices - we will probably all be in cubicles.

The most stressful aspect to me? Will I have a place for my fish tank? It has been a pleasant companion to me (the fish rarely get attitude) and has been a good substitute for the windowless workspace. It suits me. I will be sad to give it up.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

the soap opera

I met the star of this drama on Day 1 when I started my job 10 years ago. During these 10 years, she has had an endless (yes, endless) list of traumatic life events. If I had had even half the things she has experienced, I think I'd be in permanent therapy. Maybe that is why SHE is!

Day in and day out I have heard the drama. My memory has erased all but about 10% of the "episodes", but a few events continue to play into each daily saga. A true living soap opera.

Before I met "mindy" (our courageous leading character bearing up under life's adversities) there was a marriage and two children (well actually three - counting the 1st that was stillborn). Then a divorce from an alcoholic husband. There was a sister who had a baby - born the night of her senior prom. She later married the father and had three more kids. Same sister had a critical accident in high school which left her blind in one eye, and paralyzed on one side of her face. There was another sister who had two children by different fathers - never married. That sister is in constant drug rehab, and her daughter quit school in about the 7th grade, and is now in prison and the mother of two children (being raised by Mindy). It's all very confusing and if I didn't get daily updates on these people, I frankly would need a scorecard to keep up.

Monday's are always interesting. I never know what to expect. Like yesterday. Mindy was not in the office when I arrived. I wondered if she was ill and not coming at all, or if her great-niece (form whom she is guardian) was ill, or if her father was in the hospital again, or if [long list of possibilities]. Mindy appeared about 9:30 with the explanation. "Little Moe" [her son] was in a car wreck and is in the hospital. Little Moe is just home from Iraq within the last 4 months. So, Mindy proceded to treat us with the gory details of the accident. Leaving local high school football game Friday night; head-on collision; 2 people injured; wrecked her mother's car; both people med-flighted to local medical centers; surgery to put a rod in his leg from hip to ankle; took him 13 hours to come out of anesthesia, yadda, yadda.

I know - the details are endlessly fascinating to one and all. I'll keep you posted.

It's not that I don't have compassion. But it's people like this that make me know, most novels (and soap operas) are probably taken from real life.

Friday, October 14, 2005

painting the town pink

So my baby daughter asked me, “What are you going to do for your birthday?” And I said, “Have dinner with Carol.” Baby girl says, “Are y’all going to paint the town red?”

“Nope, just pink. We won’t get too crazy!”

Pink is good! And totally fitting.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

birthday dinner

My friend wants to take me out for dinner. I know how this is going to go, but I play along.

Her: I want to take you out for your birthday. When would be a good time?
Me: Oh, fun! How does your schedule look?
Her: Well, Monday next week is good for me. Or Wednesday. Or Friday. But I definitely can't do it on Tuesday or Thursday.
Me: [thinking monday, wednesday and friday are all bad for me] OK, how about tomorrow night? Is that too short notice?
Her: No. That would be fine. Where would you like to go? Your choice.
Me: Oh, you know I like just about everything. And what I haven't tried, I'm willing to try. What sounds fun to you?
Her: You think about it and decide. But you know I can't eat shellfish ... and I can't go to [names a few] ... and we need to go someplace close ...
Me: OK. I'll decide by tomorrow night.
Her: OK. What time?
Me: Um, I'm not sure I can make it before 6:30.
Her: Don't you think we will have a hard time getting seated that late?
Me: Would you prefer 6:00? I really don't think I can make it any earlier.
Her: OK. 6:00 is fine. And if you happen to get here early, that will be fine, too.
Me: OK. Tomorrow night at 6:00.

See, I know if I say up-front “Why don’t you just tell me where and when,” it will take away her joy of taking me out and make her feel like it’s not my “party”. So I have to give her the illusion that she is actually letting me have some input in the decision. But ultimately, I know it’s all her choice. I don’t mind. The social element is the important thing to me – not the food. And Heaven knows I won’t starve if I don’t go out for dinner on my birthday.

But at the same time I can’t help wonder why there are so many control-freaks in my life.

tomorrow's forecast

Tomorrow will be mild and sunny with a slight breeze. In other words, A PERFECT DAY!

How do I know? My birthday is always the most gorgeous day. Every year - never failed. Like I posted last year: “the sky – lapis - azure – not just blue ... the leaves turning those incredible vibrant colors ... smells and tastes of autumn ... the warmth of home and family”.

I can never remember it raining on my birthday even once, or even being cloudy. (Not that I object to rain. I’m actually a great fan of rainstorms.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

awake in the night

I've been awake since 3:10 a.m. I have these rituals I go thru to help me go back to sleep: make a trip to the bathroom, get a drink, look outside, pray, listen to my mp3s on my Palm. If I'm still not getting sleepy, I start reading or journaling. I could have written many a novel in the hours I've been awake between midnight and 6 a.m.

Looking outside is advice from an old neighbor. "When you wake up at night, always look outside. You see the most interesting things!"

Mr. Charles was right. I've seen some pretty incredible things in my own yard or passing on my street in the wee hours. This morning, I watched my neighbor sit in the dark in his porch swing smoking a cigarette at 4 a.m. All I could see was the red glow in the dark - like Deep Throat in "All The President's Men". He's not insomniac; he just leaves for work about 5:00.

I think one of my neighbors (down the street) is a repo man. He flies down the street in a very large flat-bed truck at early odd hours and returns with cars of random description.

Twice in the last year I've seen a car pass my house at very high speed and return moments later dragging a large green waste receptable, distributing it's contents all over the neighborhood. One morning back in the summer I heard a crash and popped to the window to see someone backing out of our yard after they ran over our mailbox and broke the post.

A friend told me of getting up one night and seeing 2 foxes playing under a full moon in the lawn outside her kitchen window. The next day she mentioned to a neighbor what she had seen, and the neighbor said she too had see the foxes and was so enchanted by them in the moonlight, she had wakened her husband to watch.

Always look outside when you wake in the night. You will see the most interesting things!

Thursday, October 06, 2005


happy birthday!!!
happy birthday!!!

happy birthday!!!

It's already October 7 in Thailand, so have a great day!

(find the link above and tell me how you like it :)

It's just a 'spearmint.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

This man is totally awesome to me!

Incredible!! Amazing!!!

He and his buddy rode 100 miles last Saturday in
  • Tour de Cure
  • for diabetes.

    Friday, September 30, 2005

  • Pretty Boy
  • just testing!

    betta fry

    Just a little update on the babies. My bettas spawned 2 weeks ago tomorrow, and babies hatched on September 19th. This was my first SUCCESSFUL attempt, so I’m very excited about the results. About 20-30 – growing fast. I’d take a picture, but it would have to be with a microscope!

    I guess I should also say "farewell and RIP" to my old guy, Pretty Boy. He died over the weekend. He was almost 3 years old - I think that's old for a betta, but I'm not sure. He brought me a lot of smiles at work, and lots of comments when people would stop by.
    "I thought you couldn't have bettas with other fish!"
    "How do you keep the tank so clean?"
    "What kind of fish is that?" (especially about my farlowella)

    By the way, DAD FOUND THE CAMERA!!! I confess, it was in a pile of my stuff – tissue paper I was using to wrap a gift!

    Tuesday, September 27, 2005

    now i need ...

    a fur coat! You know the old story about giving the mouse a cookie ...

    It occurred to me this morning as I drove to work – with my convertible top down – that the air is a little cooler, and winter is coming.

    Riding with the top down in winter should be as much fun as riding in a one-horse open sleigh!

    Monday, September 26, 2005

    some things are so obvious they don't need comment ...

    … and yet some people don’t get it.

    I’m getting ready to go to a staff meeting at 2:00 p.m. and trying to tamp down my anger before I go. You would think a director would have some concept of what to do at a staff meeting – or else they would not call a meeting to waste everyone’s time.

    Meanwhile - my anger continues to build. At staff meeting we go around the table and tell the status of projects we are working on. Like any of our jobs are connected. They aren’t. Twelve people work in a common office, but our work duties are fairly unrelated. By that, I mean they are not team projects. Reporting the status of my projects in a group meeting is a waste of time. Hearing about everyone else’s projects is a waste of time. This could be done in one-on-one sessions to provide information to the PERSON who is really interested.

    Not to mention, we all prepare a summary of work (past and future) on Friday of each week.

    Not a whole lot has happened since I prepared my report last Friday. [Pirate language], read the [pirate language] report!

    Ok. The valve has been released. Maybe now I can sit thru this [pirate-language] meeting without having to excuse myself to find a handgun.

    Friday, September 23, 2005

    32 years

    Yep. Thirty-two years. I know that sounds like a lifetime to you youngin's. Amazing even to me. I would claim the secret to a long, happy marriage is because I'm such a wonderful person, but I know better. I just enjoy it and don't analyze too much. Kinda like that beautiful sunrise I saw this morning. It's just one of the blessings I got, so I say a prayer of thanksgiving - and smile.

    Thursday, September 22, 2005

    who says men aren't moody?

    My boss came in this morning in one GIGANTIC mood! Flew down the hall without a word. Knocked on one closed door with no response. Then slammed his door.

    Hmmm. About 30 minutes later he is standing around in the hall outside my office.

    Me: Are you ok?
    He: Yes, just a little run-in this morning.
    Me: No wrecks, I hope. No dead bodies?
    He: Not yet.
    Then he left for a meeting with his co-director.

    Hmmm. Glad I don’t have to attend. I’ve just got my head down minding my own business.

    take a number and wait

    I hate waiting in lines. Seriously. HATE.
    As I was standing in line for lunch with a friend it just occurred to me how often I either don’t eat, or choose something from the shortest line – just to avoid the wait. So, my list of tactics to avoid lines:

    - go early
    - go late
    - get the NOT-SPECIAL of the day
    - find a substitute or make my own
    - do without

    Of course, having friends complicates it. They have time/place/personal tastes that have to be considered. So – to be sociable - I wait in lines. We go at the peak lunch time. We fight traffic to get there. We hunt for a parking place. We get the special of the day. We ask for special preparation. Then we complain when it’s not EXACTLY how we want it. Then ask for a doggie bag for the left-overs because we are running late. Then complain all the way back to work about the crowds, the traffic, the heat, the slow service, blah-blah-blah.

    Too much confusion. That’s why I keep a package of tuna and a fork in my drawer at work. Get your own tuna and fork, and see how simple life can be.

    Thursday, August 18, 2005

    I Surrender All

    I put my beloved Julia on an airplane yesterday morning. She is spending a week in Colorado preparing for a year on mission in Thailand. I did not cry. Me – who usually cries when I see little boys having breakfast with their dad’s on a Saturday morning, or at a beautiful sunset.

    I am told most mothers cry when they send a child off to college or at their wedding, or when sending them to a distant place for an extended time. I have done all those things, and I have been amazingly un-tearful on those occasions. I felt no sadness at those times. I could only feel happiness. The joy of seeing their wings spreading, getting ready to soar – anticipating the new adventures. The extreme pride in what God had done to bring them to a point of readiness to face the challenges before them. The humility and thankfulness that God had allowed them to be a daily blessing on my life for a little while, and now other people will have the blessing of knowing them.

    But I did cry … last night at choir rehearsal … almost lost it like a baby. I was merrily going through the rehearsal, not feeling emotional or teary at all. Then we got to the arranged hymn “I Surrender All” and it hit me. It occurred to me that not only has my daughter been obedient to God, but I have been obedient. I lifted her with an open hand to God. Not as dramatic as Abraham preparing to sacrifice Isaac, perhaps, but a willing heart is what He asks. How did I come to a place of being willing – even happy – to let her go? How did God do that?

    I am amazed that God still calls people to Himself. Not because He is weak, but because the world is so attractive, so alluring, so distracting. I am amazed that people still hear His still, small voice. Not because He fails to communicate, but because so many other things shout, scream, demand to be heard.

    Obedience is better than sacrifice. 1 Samuel 15:22

    Tuesday, August 09, 2005

    I'm thinking of a number

    Is there a number that reminds you of something else? A number that pops up often that takes you to another time and place?

    I have such a number. I arrived at work at 8:19 this morning. 819. 819. Every time I hear 819 I think of my grandmother - bless her memory. She had a house at 819 West 24th Street. My great-grandparents moved to Arkansas from Illinois one winter of my childhood, and lived in the house at 819 West 24th Street. It was a happy time. Sunday afternoon visits. Ritz crackers with cream cheese and strawberry preserves for a snack. And hot tea. Handmade doll clothes made by my great-grandmother. The dainty flowered handkerchief fashioned into a doll cape. The pipe smoke and large-print Readers' Digest and rocking chair of my great-grandfather.

    I always think of my grandmother - and my great-grandparents when I hear "819".

    Saturday, May 28, 2005

    life owes you something?

    I, too, am sick of attitude that says "life owes me something". There is a radio commercial running in our city that advertizes for an employment opening, and closes with the advice that those with that attitude need not apply.

    How refreshing! It seems most people in my workplace think it is an insult to have to answer the phone or fill the copy machine with paper, even though it is their job. They want the job redesigned to fit their "abilities and needs". Things are all laugh and chat unless you jokingly ask someone to help you actually do some work. Then you are met with glares as if you had asked them to clean the toilet.

    I jokingly asked a co-worker to get me a glass of ice water a few days ago. The looks from two other people were enough to completely shut down communication. I had no intention of letting the person get me a glass of water, it just happened that she was sitting smack in the middle of the doorway that led to the ice machine (chatting with the other 2 people that overheard). It was more of a light way of asking, "will you please get out of the doorway so I can pass?"

    So, later in the day I went out to lunch. I often go to the local deli / bakery, and often bring back a box of cookies - usually once a week - for the office to share in the afternoon. This day, I did not. When I walked in from lunch the staring woman very sweetly asked if I brought her anything!

    Then, just hours later, the same staring woman brought up the fact that her last day of work is approaching. She wanted to know if I would make her that yummy cake I made for the last person who left, and make it just for her so she could take it home. The contrast between the first incident and the second two was striking.

    Uhhh. Let me think about it. It could happen - if it snows on July 4th.

    Thursday, February 24, 2005

    a broccoli moment - err ... SPARKLY moment

    Do you ever have a moment when you feel like your heart will burst with pure happiness?

    I am taking a class and I use an old 3-ring binder my daughter used in high school. It is one of those plain white binders, but she has a creative gene, and had decorated the cover of the notebook. I never really examined it – I just enjoy the colors and designs – and it makes me think of her when I’m slogging away on my class notes – remembering how much she hated school.

    I brought the notebook to work with me today, intending to spend a few odd moments reviewing during lunch or breaktime. I took a moment to study the artwork on the cover – feeling the texture – yes, texture – and looking at the “paint” that was used. I supposed it was some kind of funky paint she found in art class.

    All kinds of interesting colors – yellow, blue, silver, broccoli (er, I meant SPARKLY) glittery something that looks sort of like the “hair / beard” you arrange on the little toy bald guy – then some polka-dot looking things – pinks, purples, burgundy. Fun. Interesting. Like her.

    So, I picked up the phone to call her and tell her I am using this notebook, and ask does she remember making it. She is about to start a ballet class she teaches – and she takes a moment to talk to her mom. Yes, she remembers decorating the notebook. She made it with old half-used bottles of nail polish! Nail polish never came to mind when I looked at that notebook.

    Now, WHY does that surprise me? And, WHY does it make me smile? And, WHY do I take such joy in her? My little chick – just taking pleasure in what God has done …

    fresh out of bootstraps

    Well, I called that friend a few days ago - the one that gave me the advice to pull myself out of the blue funk I was in before Christmas ...

    Of course my "mood" has passed - it always disappears by the 1st of January - but it seems my friend has been very sick over the past few weeks - having a hard time getting well - and getting more and more blue as the days pass. She started to cry and said she was just about ready to give up.

    I patiently asked if she remembered giving me some advice just before Christmas - to just pull myself up by the bootstraps and get over it. She replied, "Yes, but I'm fresh out of bootstraps."

    I know exactly how you feel. That is how I felt when the advice was given to me. A friend who understands is one of life's greatest gifts, don't you think?