Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, America!

No.. I'm not crazy.  I mean that.  Happy Thanksgiving, America.

You see, 234 years ago today, some very brave men approved a document which resulted in the United States of America.  The Declaration of Independence, signed by treasonous British subjects, stating opposition to the tyranny foisted on the American Colonials by England's King George III stated the case for freedom.  It left nothing to the imagination.  It was very clear in its meaning.

When in the course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
So they all signed the document - 56 of them.  As they signed, they were committing treason against England, but they didn't care.  In their opinion, their freedom was more important than the crime they were committing.  Because of their determination to be free, we in America today enjoy their legacy - Freedom.

Freedom is not free - it has been bought and paid for by the blood, sweat and tears of patriots through the years who have worn the uniform of military organizations of the United States.  These patriots have fought and many died on American soil and foreign soil to protect the freedoms that our Founding Fathers guaranteed for us.

That makes me incredibly happy and incredibly sad at the same time.  The signers of the Declaration of Independence must have felt much the same way.  They were sad at having to do it and happy that it was done.

So today is Thanksgiving Day.  Let us give thanks to those brave men, long since gone to their reward, who wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence.  Let us give thanks for the freedoms we enjoy, but at the same time we must remember the price that was paid for our freedoms.  That cost is what makes our freedoms so special - so important - so remarkable.

Happy birthday, America!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hate is a Terrible Way to Live

Let's talk about hate.  Unfortunately, there's too much to say about it.

When I was a little girl, I hated the girl who stole my new Nifty notebook.  Nifty was a brand name - not just a neat notebook.  It had the holes for the paper at the top in a plastic snap-on cover that also had room to store your freshly-sharpened pencil so the point wouldn't get broken on the long ride home on the school bus.

I also hated certain foods - just like any kid.

But I never REALLY hated anything or anybody - it was only a figure of speech to me then.  Today, things have changed.  People hate for many reasons.  Who do you hate?  Why do you hate them?  Do you really hate them or do you just dislike them?

I can honestly say that I don't hate anyone I know now or have ever known, although my step-mother comes awfully close.  Truth be told, I hated the way she treated my father, and I hated the way she treated me, but I still do not hate her.  Thank you, Sweet Jesus!

There are some old friends who hate me, and I have no idea why.  The only thing I have been told is that I lied and used them.  I was told I need to see a psychiatrist, and in fact, a link for one near me was left on a blog once.  I have been blocked from following on Twitter.  Can you believe anyone could hate that much?  I am not allowed to comment on their writing, which I would only have done if it was an exceptional piece in the first place.  I have been blocked from sending emails and threatened with harassment.

It has been eight months now, and I know no more than I did the day I got the email.  I have cried many many tears, missed many hours of sleep (which comes to me at a premium anyway), and I have done anything and everything I can think of to find out why.  They hate me so much they won't even tell me why. That's really sad.

I am thankful that I don't hate them in return.  I thank God that His grace provides a solace from the lonely times I have when I miss them so much.  Could we ever be friends again?  No, even if they were willing, I would not put myself back into the same position again.  What is the old saying?  Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

I would like to have the opportunity to apologize to them for whatever it was that I did, or for what they think I did.  I don't think I would even try to explain whatever I did that caused them to feel that way.  I think I would just ask their forgiveness for wronging them.  Then I think I would be able to go on with my life - such as it is.  I am happy with my life.  Even my inferiority complex does not get in my way as much as it did a few years ago. 

I try so hard to not let it bother me, but I cannot lie to myself.  It does bother me - it bothers me tremendously.  I know there is nothing I can do that will make it better, but I can't help wondering what I did. 

I suppose I always will.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Angel Award

I have a wonderful neighbor!  Thank you, God.  She's terrific.

For years, while she was raising her family, she owned a beauty shop in a small town in North East Texas.  Then for whatever reasons she started selling Tupperware.  That's how I met her.  I sold Tupperware too, and she and I were in the same unit - The Dixie Babes.

Those were the days when being a "Tupperware Lady" was fun and could be profitable if you wanted it to be.  We both acquired our own units and that meant we got a "company car" to drive.  Naturally, it was a station wagon.  We had to have room to carry our unit members as well as several orders of Tupperware that had to be delivered.

Rita stayed with it much longer than I did.  She was very good as I remember.  Even when she stopped being a Unit Manager herself, she helped our distributorship by training new Unit Managers.

She's 85 years young now and lives next door to me, much to our mutual surprise when I moved into this community.  You'd probably guess she was 85 if you did nothing but glance at her; she has very pretty white hair and doesn't get around as easily as she used to.  That doesn't stop her, however.  Her car is out of our parking spaces much of every day of every week.

She plays Bunco, 42, Bingo - you know... all those really fun games that children today have never heard of. She does more than play games.  This woman has contributed something to society since the day she was born, and she has no intention of stopping now!

She volunteers at our local museum.  She loves it when the kids come by to see part of the history of our city and our heritage as Texans.  She is also a tutor for the Literacy Council helping adults learn to read.  I would respect her for that alone.

She received notice today that she has been named Tutor of the month.  She is so excited, and I am excited for her.  She accomplishes a great deal with her student, and it is a very satisfying endeavor for Rita.

But I'm not finished with her accomplishments, and this is the part I like the very best.  She's an excellent cook!  She makes homemade yeast rolls so regularly that it sometimes takes me all month to eat a whole loaf of bread!  With some of that dough, she makes cinnamon rolls or sticky buns.  She's also good with banana pudding and pies of all descriptions.  Except lemon ice-box pie.  She doesn't care for that and wouldn't you know that's my very favorite?

She doesn't make only sweet stuff.  She makes a mean pot of cabbage!  She's good with chicken spaghetti and many other dishes as well.  I contribute what I can, but I am a long way from being as good a cook as she is.  I do a lot of veggies so we both eat fairly well between her main dishes and my vegetables.  And we're not shy about sharing with each other either.

A pot of homemade soup will feed us both all week.  Cornbread and  rice are shared freely.  I love holidays.  She always cooks a great big ham, and I benefit from that as well.

Am I finished with her accomplishments?  Not even close.  We share rides to places, and I see her taking other people with her somewhere.  Let's face it - Rita is a loving, caring and giving person, and I feel very blessed to live next door to her.

Rita gets my first "Angel Award."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

This is National Nurses Week - Let's Celebrate

Florence Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820.  Everyone knows that she is considered the Mother of Nursing.  So we can thank her for that as well as the time we now use to recognize and honor those among us who are caring, loving and dedicated enough to spend their lives in the nursing profession.

Nurses take an oath much like the Hippocratic Oath of the doctors.

Florence Nightingale Pledge
I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.

Nurses don't always look the same.  But they all care deeply for the patients in their charge.
Today, I honor the memory of my daughter, Sara, who was a registered nurse.  I know that at some point during this week, her co-workers will pause and remember her as we all will.

I also write to honor the career of a special person who was a neo-natal intensive care nurse.  Such love and concern it must have taken you to perform your duties as long and as well as you did I can only imagine.  I salute you.

On Wednesday of this week, the school nurses receive a much needed thank you.
Theirs is a tough job with the political climate such as it is.  They have much to consider and much balance to achieve in their jobs.

So to all nurses who happen upon this spot in cyberspace, thank you for all that you do to make our world continually go around even when we are sick and need you to care for us.

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Loving My Trees

Loving them - not hugging them!

I love the community where I live. It is nice and quiet. Peaceful. Very comfortable, and it is filled with people just like me. 50+ active or disabled, retired or not. It is beautifully landscaped and very well cared for. The one and only thing that I do not like about the location of my home - directly across from the mail center with the only drive in and out visible from my front window - is that we do not have covered parking for all of the apartments. I figure that is an easy compromise to make.

When I first moved here over three years ago, I remember telling my sister that I would enjoy watching the little tree I could see from my bedroom window as it grew. I moved here in December so naturally there were no leaves on the tree. I have watched it grow over these three years, and it is truly becoming a beautiful tree.  It is already too tall for me to see from bottom to top from the same bedroom window.

I decided today that every year on May 1 - May Day - I am going to take a new picture of my tree so I can see how it has grown from year to year.  Here is the one I took this afternoon;

I will try to remember to take another picture in the late summer before the leaves start falling to show you how pretty it is when it is wearing its complete coat of beautiful leaves.

I am not a botanist but I believe it is an oak tree.  I'll let you know for sure when and if it makes acorns.

A while back, management planted a new tree out in front.  It is a pine tree and has been responsible for much of the attacks of pollen my sinuses have had to deal with this spring.

It will be fun to watch it grow too.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Death Makes One Think

I wrote about the sudden unexpected death of my step-daughter. That was a tragedy of enormous proportions in my life. She was so young; two children who adored her; a husband who practically worshiped her; grandchildren who relied on Grandma for her hugs and kisses and things like chocolate chip cookies. Then, of course, there was the extended family of which I am honored to have been a part.

When a death like this occurs, it makes one think - that old demon is out there lurking around just waiting for any one of us. To top that off, I have undergone some medical tests recently which thankfully ended well, but could just have easily predicted my demise.

All together, those events have made me look around for all the unfinished business I would leave behind if it had been my turn to go. I am not afraid of death at all; I am a Christian and I strongly believe God's Word promises me eternity with Him.

For years, I have been trying to save money to pre-pay my funeral so that my few relatives will not be forced to deal with the difficult task of selections and decisions that nobody enjoys making. When I had the money, there was always something I would rather do, so on it goes.

Here is a short list of things I would like to accomplish before my doorbell rings for the last time.

1. I would like to go back to England and visit with my friends. I'd like to see Canterbury Cathedral, Marlowe's Restaurant, and Ersham Lodge once more. I would enjoy another of those cab rides which Jim would provide if I had some time to kill and nothing more important on my to-do list for the day.

2. I would like to visit places I have never been and do things I have never done; see people, places and things that I have never seen.

3. I have some terrific internet friends that I would like to meet in person.

4. I would like to watch a Hallmark commercial without crying.

5. And the most important on this list is that I would like to make amends with people whom I have offended. It has been my experience that in life, an argument requires two sides and a divorce usually is the result of both parties having differences that seemingly can't be overcome.

I sincerely do not know what I did to everyone I have offended, but I would apologize for it anyway because if Sara's death taught me anything at all it is that life is entirely too short to live with unfinished business.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Main Gear Touchdown

I love the manned spaceflight program of the United States. I remember very well the Mercury 7 astronauts. There was a time when I could tell you all of their names and the names of the spacecraft they flew. Eventually, I couldn't keep up any longer. NASA added more and more astronauts and spacecraft.

Then along came the glider that we know as the space shuttle. Challenger and Columbia have narrowed the number of usable shuttles and someone somewhere thinks the shuttle program has outlived its usefulness and is to be retired.

Something else will come along to take its place; however, I don't know what or when. Obama is cutting funds to NASA and still talking out the side of his mouth saying that we need to go farther into space and visit other planets. Surely he knows you can't do that without money.

There is a very valid argument that the entire space program should be cut off from the funding machine. I certainly see that side of the argument. Spending is out of control in Washington and because of that our world and the world of our great-grandchildren may never be the same.

On the other hand if there is a chance to further medical science to help save lives, or to gain knowledge in other areas, should we not at least attempt to learn what can be learned?

If the choice were mine, I would rather see funding for science over bailing out a failing badly managed business. The federal government isn't supposed to own businesses anyway. Individuals through the system of free-enterprise are supposed to do that.

Shuttle Discovery landed early this morning in Florida after just over two weeks in space. And I was watching. There are only a few shuttle flights remaining in the program, and I hope to watch all of them. I also hope to watch whatever comes next. I still have a healthy respect for America's NASA astronauts. They are some of the best and brightest military pilots, engineers and scientists our nation produces.

Maybe instead of trimming the space program, we could just trim the bureaucracy that surrounds them. Wonder why nobody has thought of trying that?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Every single day we are all faced with changes. For some of us, accepting the change and the trials that come with it seem insurmountable at times. We picture ourselves resting comfortably in our comfort zone for the rest of our lives knowing that regardless how hard we try, it will not stay that way.

If nothing else, we age daily and that in itself is a change. Our ideas and attitudes change along with that aging process. Perhaps the hardest part of that aspect of our changing lives is the change our bodies go through as the weeks, months and years go by.

The challenges I face are not the same as yours; nor are they the same as those of a professional athlete. Sports in America and indeed the entire world are a big part of our lives. From season to season we find ourselves accepting changes we agree and/or disagree with in the makeup of the teams we support.

For many years, I was a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan. I ate, slept and breathed for football season. I sat at those pre-season games and baked in the heat or shivered in the cold of the winter games to enjoy watching the talents of men like Roger Staubach, Drew Pearson, Charlie Waters, Ed "Too-Tall" Jones, Harvey Martin, and Tony Dorsett. Ahhh... the good old days!

Then along came Jerry Jones. He fired Tom Landry, so I fired the Cowboys. I gave up my season tickets, and I have not watched even one Cowboys game all the way through on television since then. I certainly haven't attended a game, and I have absolutely no plans to do so in the future.

A few years later, I was part of a work group who went to a hockey game at the old Reunion Arena in Dallas. I had no idea what hockey was about, and I didn't want to embarrass my co-workers by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. To prevent this from happening, I started watching a few games on television before we went.

The announcers for the Dallas Stars are Ralph Strangis and Daryl Reaugh. Naturally I think they are the best in the business. There have been a few occasions since I moved from the Dallas area when I have had to listen to the games via radio on my computer. Once in a while, for whatever reason, I have had to listen to the commentators for the other team during the game. What a difference I notice when that happens!

It's that comfort zone thing again, I'm sure, but Ralph and Razor, as they are affectionately known, are truly informative, interesting and entertaining. Through their excellent efforts I have learned a little about the game and the players who play the game. Sure, I have my favorite players - many of whom no longer play the game. Remember that change I mentioned earlier? Watch a professional sports team from year to year if you want to see change! The players I have received so much pleasure in watching change from year to year. Sometimes, they even change from month to month or even game to game.

One player has been a constant for the entire time I have been watching the Dallas Stars. Mike Modano. In the first place, he is absolutely too pretty to be a professional hockey player. Aren't they supposed to have teeth knocked out and cuts and bruises all over their faces from fights, hockey sticks and pucks? He doesn't. He is gorgeous.

But that's not where it ends. He is without a doubt the best American-born hockey player in all of the NHL, and he has the stats to prove it. His record-setting career looks like this:

• Goals by a player born in the United States (557)
• Points by an American-born player (1329)
• Playoff points by an American -born player, career (145)
• Games played by an American-born forward (1456)

Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars
• Games played, regular season and playoffs (1400, 174)
• Goals, regular season and playoffs (556,58)
• Assists, regular season and playoffs (801,87)
• Points, regular season and playoffs (1329, 145)

Mike Modano will soon be 40 years old. To me, that still seems so young, but in the world of hockey (up to 82 regular season games, untold practice sessions, myriad player meetings, etc for his 21-year career) he is an "old man." Knowing that he is nearing retirement, this has been a special year for Mike Modano and all of his fans.

I am not looking forward to making the change to Dallas Stars hockey without Mike Modano, but I know it is a change that is coming. If not next year, the year after, or the year after that. That time is to be determined by Mike Modano himself, as it should be.

Opposing teams watch him skate, shoot, score and win with awe. Fans cheer and stop in their tracks when he makes one of his "Mike Modano" moves that no other player seems to do.

Mike, you do what is best for you. I will miss you when you go. For a period of time, it may seem that the team will never be the same, but I will eventually accept the change that will come without you to shore up the roster and solidify the fan-base.

Thank you for being such an integral part of my Dallas Stars experience.

Man, I hate change!

Friday, April 2, 2010

He is Not Here For He Has Risen!

Rejoice!  He has risen!

It must not have felt like "happy time in the garden" that Resurrection Morning when the women went to officially anoint the body of Jesus for burial and found His body gone.  After all, this was only a few days after they had witnessed His cruel and painful crucifixion.  They had seen His blood pour from His head where the Roman soldiers had placed a crown of thorns. They had watched as a soldier pierced His side.

He was gone.  He had died.  What were they to do now?  I have often wondered why they didn't just believe.

Before He died, He walked around teaching about faith and trust and belief in Him saying that to know Him was to know the Father Who sent Him.  Almost certainly there had been a time when the women and the Twelve were standing nearby as Jesus answered the Jews who doubted Him, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."

Did they not realize this was the third day?

They must not have taken Him seriously because here they were on their way to anoint His body.  He had been removed from the cross just before sundown that fateful Friday evening at which time the Sabbath would begin.  Some men had hurriedly placed His body in a borrowed tomb because Jewish law dictated that they would be able to do no work on the Sabbath; perhaps the walk to the cross where He would have been left hanging was further than the law allowed them to walk to be able to remove His body on the Sabbath.  Certainly it was considered work to have performed a ritualistic and formal burial.

Yet if they had listened.  If they had only believed what He said - He told them He would raise up the temple that was His body.

Perhaps they, like we, believed IN Him but failed to simply believe.  I am ashamed to admit that I have been doubtful at times about why He doesn't seem to be answering my prayers.  It has taken me many prayers and many years to realize that those are the times His answer is "not now."

Sometimes I wonder why He is taking so long.  He said He will return, yet He hasn't.  I have to merely accept that He WILL without fail return simply because He said so.  I must just believe. 

The women who went to the tomb that morning should have done that.  They should have just believed.  He was not there for He had risen!

Hallelujah!  He has risen!

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Ever thought about how many times during the course of your normal daily routine you must make a decision?

What am I going to wear today?
Which shoes?
Purse or no?
Where did I leave my car keys?
What am I cooking for dinner?
Can we afford to eat out tonight?

Then of course, there's my all-time favorite - real sugar or artificial sweetener?

That's extremely helpful to know when it involves making lemonade from those lemons life hands you.

My own answer to that decision is always an easy one.  Real sugar.  Why?  Because nothing is colder on a long hot summer day than a cold beer.  But I don't drink beer, so for me, it's lemonade or nothing. That means real sugar because it makes more sense to me to put something real into my body rather than something artificial.

Too many calories?  Too much fat?  So?  What else is new?  You didn't worry about too much fat when you ate that brownie at work, did you?  Or how about when you went to lunch and had a nice diet-friendly salad?  How much salad dressing did you use?  How many crackers did you eat with those croutons?

I've been fat most of my life, and you know what?  I don't really care.  I've tried all sorts of diets and nothing worked.  I'm 60 now, and there are other more important things than losing weight.

Go ahead and eat that piece of chocolate cake.  Just don't eat the whole cake at one time.

Everything in moderation.

Okay... next decision.  Turn the dishwasher on or wait for a few more items to go in? 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Thanks to All of You

I have returned from an event I never guessed I would ever have to attend - Sara's funeral.  It was very sad watching her husband, children and extended family hurting because there was absolutely nothing I could do to make that pain go away.  We leaned on each other for support and it felt good to laugh a little about some of the fun times we all remembered between outbreaks of tears.

One of the things I remember was the Christmas Gingerbread House we made.  A little piece of advice for you - don't ask a 15-year-old girl what she would like to do unless you are fully prepared to do it.  Have you ever laid thinly-sliced almonds across the roof of a gingerbread house?  A very tedious task, I can assure you.  Almost as bad as putting red hots on bushes made of green-tinted frosting to simulate the berries on a holly bush.  It turned out to be a work of art of which we were both very proud.  The memory is priceless to me.

At times like these we become even more thankful for our friends.  I am more blessed than I realized.  I have received many emails, sympathy cards and phone calls.  I can't tell you how much it has warmed my heart to feel your comfort.  Some of the people I have heard from since I've been home are people I haven't heard from for quite a while.  I have even heard from people through other people rather than directly.  A couple of these people for whatever reason haven't spoken to me for six months.  I appreciate their expressions of sympathy.

Many of you know that Sara was a registered nurse.  Like all the nurses I know, she had a heart for giving to other people, and this was her way of doing it.  She was a very good nurse, so I am told.  Quite obviously she was loved and appreciated by her co-workers who filled almost one half of the funeral chapel.

Our lives were enriched probably more than we realized because Sara was part of us, and it will be a hard adjustment for all of us in our own ways to pick up the pieces of what seems like an impossible-to-overcome tragedy, but with time, we will be able to accept our loss and remember the good that was Sara.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.  They have helped and will continue to help me as I work through my own grieving process.  God bless each of you.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Own Obituary for My Daughter

In 1975, I met a wonderful - not perfect - man.  We were eventually married in 1979.  He had two beautiful daughters from a previous marriage.  I have never had children of my own.  It didn't take long for his two daughters to twine their fingers around my heart.  I grew to love those two girls as though they were my own. 

They knew how I felt.  I never tried to hide from either of them that I thought of them as my own daughters.  Even after their father's drinking brought about our divorce in 1990, the girls were still a part of my heart.  Thanks to them, I have 5 wonderful beautiful grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. 

Through the years, we didn't visit each other very often because I did not want them to feel as though I was trying to put myself into a position where I didn't belong - between them and their father.  The older daughter and I lost touch with each other, and I have missed so very much sharing the times of her life.

The younger one, Sara, and I talked on the phone relatively often between her busy life as a registered nurse, doting mother and grandmother and wife and my own weird lifestyle.  I have never been one to go to bed early, get up early, and eat my meals at a certain time every day, and with the time difference between where we live, it wasn't always conducive to talking on the phone as often as we would both have liked.

Oh, how I will miss those telephone conversations.

My granddaughter-in-law called me tonight to tell me that there has been an accident and Sara, my beautiful daughter, has died.  I don't have any life-experience to fall back on here.  I don't know how I am to  handle all this.  All I know is that they want me there, so I must go.  And I have to rely on God to give me the strength to do the things I will need to do for them once I am there.

I know what Sara's children, Kacey and Coleman, are going through because I have lost my mother to death as well. I know just a touch of what Max, Sara's husband, is going though because when Sara's father died two years ago, she wanted me to be there for her, so there I was.  Even then, I couldn't deny that I still had feelings for him, so his death was not as difficult an adjustment as Max will have to go through, but still it wasn't as easy as one would have thought.

Even loving Sara as my own daughter, I know that she isn't.  I am not her mother.  Just her favorite ex-step-mother.  I have no idea what Sara's mother must be feeling right now.  I hope she will be able to rely on her faith and her husband for the comfort she will need.

Sara was 46 and very beautiful.  She knew I love her very much.  And somehow, I think she knows that I am grieving now.  I have already been able to thank God for the joy of her life, but even knowing that my faith in God is strong and will see me through this trying time isn't going to remove the grief of her loss.  It will temper it with the times we shared; our talks, our laughter, our sharing of ourselves.

I'm thankful to God for having placed her in my life.  And I'm thankful to God for welcoming her home now.

I hope by writing this I will begin to feel an acceptance of this tragedy that I know must surely come.  There have been times in my life when I have asked God to go through something for me because I knew I wasn't capable of going through it myself.  He always did and allowed me to follow Him  This is another one of those times when I need Him to go through this for me and let me follow Him.  I know I can't do this on my own.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More Than We Know

Much has been made lately about comments made degrading a certain element of our society.  I think this is atrocious and not to be tolerated.  It is a gross understatement to say that physically or mentally challenged individuals have no value to lend to the world.  Take this young man for example:


I envy Kevin.  My brother, Kevin, thinks God lives under his bed.  At least that's what I heard him say one night.  He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped to listen, "Are you there, God?" he asked. "Where are you?  Oh, I see.  Under the bed..."

I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room.  Kevin's unique perspectives are often a source of amusement.  But that night something else lingered long after the humor.  I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in.

He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor.  Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), there are few ways in which he is an adult.

He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will.  He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.

I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different.  Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life?

Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed.

The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.

He does not seem dissatisfied.  He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work.  He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day's laundry chores.

And Saturdays - oh, the bliss of Saturdays!  That's the day my Dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside. "That one's goin' to Chi-car-go!" Kevin shouts as he claps his hands. His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights.

And so goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips.

He doesn't know what it means to be discontent.  His life is simple.  He will never know the entanglements of wealth or power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats.  His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be.

His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working.  When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it.  He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished.  But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax.

He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others. His heart is pure.  He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue.

Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere. And he trusts God.

Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child.  Kevin seems to know God - to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an 'educated' person to grasp.  God seems like his closest companion.

In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity, I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith.
It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions.  It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap.  I am.  My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances - they all become disabilities when I do not trust them to God's care.

Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn?  After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of God.

And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed.

Kevin won't be surprised at all!


Saturday, February 20, 2010

But They Tried

Have you been watching the Olympics games?  I have, and as always, I am so impressed by the athletes and the nations who sponsor them.

For approximately two weeks every few years, the world meets in peace - okay, near peace.  If the athletes can do it, why not the national leaders?

I watch as the athletes from the USA compete in sports I don't even have an appreciation for and cheer them on as far as their talents and the luck of the draw take them.  Many times they win - many times they don't.  In every effort, they finish. 

Lindsey Vonn fell during her ski race on Friday, but she had finished the race.  It may seem that she didn't because she fell, but she did.  The fall was her "finish line."

Occasionally after having trained for many years an athlete will come all the way to the starting line and have to withdraw from the competition because of an injury.  Those are the ones I admire more than many of the others.  They put themselves - their well-being - ahead of a contest that in many cases lasts less than two minutes.  Their Olympic dreams for this time are over.  You know the physical pain they feel is secondary to the agony they must feel at having been through so much just to have to see their dream melted right in front of their eyes.

How sad.

Then there are the athletes who finish their race minutes behind the 15th place finisher. Still they finished.  My heart swells with pride regardless of the country each athlete represents.

The entire world should be very proud of these young people.  Yes, they are athletes to be sure, but they are someone's son or daughter, sister or brother, mother or father.  They are someone's best friend.  They deserve to be applauded for their efforts.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Oh no! Not Another One

Have you heard the news this morning?  A small plane has crashed into a building in Austin, Texas.  Not just any building - this building housed the FBI offices.  Obviously, it's too early to know details.  According to a FOX News Alert that came to my inbox this morning, the pilot had set his house on fire before crashing his plane into that building.

I can't watch the news.  I'll have to rely on the alerts that FNC and CNN send to me.  I don't want to watch another plane fly into another building as long as I live. It's just too traumatic for me.

Besides, I have other things to do this morning.  Like a little house cleaning maybe.  Or take the old newspapers up to the office for the recycle bin.  Or maybe I'll put a pot of pinto beans on the stove to cook.  Anything other than watching the news reports. 

Get a grip, people!  What's going on here is terrorism.  It doesn't matter whether or not the pilot of that small plane is an American citizen who is having marital problems.  It doesn't matter if he's disgruntled with Texas State government - or the Federal government for that matter.  The point is, this man, whoever and whatever he is, sought to kill himself and decided that someone would notice that he had lived.  So he crashed his plane into a building where hundreds if not thousands of people were working this morning.  Going about their daily work routine.  And this terrorist decided that he would make life difficult for those people as well.

I haven't heard if anyone else has been hurt or killed.  That would make it even worse.  What matters here is that someone, somewhere at some time has got to recognize this for what it is - a terrorist attack.  Do you really think the people in that building were not terrorized when the building shook and they heard the explosion?

No political correctness for me!  This man was a terrorist, and this WAS a terrorist event.  Call it what it was!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine Blessings

There are times when I realize how blessed I truly am.  Other times, I don't think I'm blessed at all.  Today of all days, I do feel particularly blessed. 

I'm diabetic so it was very thoughtful of my friends to not send chocolates.

I have horrible allergies so it was very thoughtful of my friends to not send flowers.

The cards I have received are very pretty and it was very thoughtful of my friends and family to send them.

Still there is one friend I haven't heard from on this Valentine's Day.  My Day would be perfectly complete if she finds the time to send an email to let me know that she is as grateful for our friendship as I am.

She's busy... so here's a little Valentine's wish for her.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Nouns and Verbs

There are entirely too many different definitions of pain in our world.  I am trying to turn over a new page in my own personal dictionary and there will be some changes in the definitions of some of my words.

PAIN will probably carry a definition something like this:
     What someone who is irritating you causes in your backside.

There are other words that will carry new definitions in my dictionary also.  Check these out:

     Time - how long one spends doing something nice.
     Fruit - banana on cereal, peach in cobbler, cherry in pie, chocolate on everything.
     Fun -  anything that doesn't invoke tears.

What do you think of my dictionary so far?  Neat, huh?  Oh!  There's another one.  I'd better write that down before I forget it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Thoughts on Life in General

I remember a time when life was so simple. 

If I didn't want to clean my room or make my bed there was no problem - my mother would do it for me. 

The things I worried about most were if the mud pie was "done" and where to hide in the "feed and seed" section of the general store so my dog could come find me.

I could put a worm or a minnow on my fish hook, but Daddy had to take the fish off - I just never could put my fingers in a fish's mouth to get the hook out.

Then I grew up and things got more interesting.  Now I'm older and there isn't much interesting anymore.  How much are my prescriptions going to cost this month?  Is Medicare going to cover a medical test my physician says I should have?  What do I do when the money's gone but there is still month left?

In everything God has brought me through in my entire lifetime, He has always had a blessing waiting for me at the end of the trial.  I know He always will.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

On Being Politically Incorrect

I told you when I resumed writing here that I am throwing political correctness out the window.  Okay.. I didn't say that in those exact words, but you knew that was what I meant.  So here we go.  Someone open the window for me.

I am sick up to here with the mainstream media pussyfooting around Obama as though he were indeed the messiah.  I have news for them - HE'S NOT!  In fact, he comes closer to being the anti-Christ than the messiah.

Did you see Sarah Palin's Facebook note today?  She titled her note, "It's War, not a Crime Spree."  Appropriate, don't you think?  I spend a big part of my day reading articles and leaving comments on other web sites.  I try to read as many conservative blogs and news sources as I can, but admittedly I do sneak in some liberal ones when I want to blow off some steam.

Today I read some comments from an obvious liberal who hasn't realized yet that he's a liberal.  He's a socialist, but he doesn't know it yet.  Sad, really.  He doesn't realize that socialism will destroy the American Constitution and remove all the freedoms he holds dear - including and especially the freedom he used to post his vile comments.  Yes, I consider them vile.  Anyone who doesn't support an American wearing an American military uniform living every day of his or her life in harm's way doesn't deserve to be called anything else.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people don't see the war we are fighting in Afghanistan and even still in Iraq as a war for our freedom.  They have forgotten why we are fighting it in the first place.  Remember September 11, 2001?  Remember what happened that day?  If you listen to Obama, we asked for it.  If you listen to those liberal slanderers against our Constitution, we deserved it.  How sick can they be?

I was a teenager and older during the Vietnam War.  A war America lost.  We did everything but wave a white flag after we had told the freedom-desiring people in South Vietnam that we would help them fight for their freedom from oppression and Communism.  We left them high and dry.  I will never forgive the actions of those politicians who were responsible for that.  Turns out, John Kerry is one of those.

Saying these things makes me sound like a war-monger.  I hate war.  I think it is ridiculous that men can't sit down and talk together and even get along with each other across a table the way the youth of the world do at the Olympic games.  They enjoy the competition.  Athletes from some countries depend on doing well to better their living situation in their home countries.  Some are there because of national pride and still others because they enjoy the competition. 

Men sit around a table and talk about what will happen if the other nation or nations on the other side of the table don't kowtow to their wishes.  Yet some people just don't understand that the real reason America goes to war in foreign countries is to protect our country from having to fight wars on our own territory.  That sounds selfish, and perhaps it is, but this war on terror is coming to American soil because the liberals in our country won't support our troops so they can take care of the matter before it gets to our shores.

You can say what you want to, but this war on terrorism was started by Islamic Jihadists who think they are fighting for their god.  How wrong they are!  There is only ONE God and He is NOT named Mohammed!  They are fighting a losing battle because the Lord of Hosts has already won the war before even one battle was fought. 

Christianity is a threat to them because they have been misguided into believing that is a truth.  It isn't.  Christians don't hate.  We don't kill for the sake of religion.  Our God is a merciful God and He does not want nor does He demand killing for His name's sake as the god Islam represents does.   There have been false gods from the time of the creation - Mohammed is just one of them.

I have said many times that there is no such thing as an atheist.  Why?  Because before you can say, "There is no God, " you have used His name therefore you acknowledge His existence.  Ever notice how even those who deny God capitalize his name?  That makes it a proper noun.  The name of a person, place or thing.  I rest my case on that argument.

We have many problems in our nation.  Removing God from our everyday life was the beginning of so many of our problems and will continue laying the groundwork for future problems until finally the Christians in America have had enough and elect people who are willing to take a stand for Him returning Him to His rightful postion as Lord of our Land.  When that happens, many people will be unhappy, but God is not one of them. 

Neither am I.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Closing Another Chapter

January 1, 2009, began a new chapter in my life.  Today the next step was taken.  Finality begins on Monday, January 4, 2009.

I was 15 years old and had just broken up with my boyfriend.  You know how tragic that can be!  I went to the movie with my cousin that Sunday afternoon and as we waited to cross the street, I saw the car.

A super-shiny 1958 Chevy.  All four windows were down.  Loud pipes and all, it naturally attracted me.  Inside the car was a guy wearing a yellow button-down oxford shirt with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.  He had his left foot propped up on the dashboard and I could see stiffly starched blue jeans, black loafers and yellow socks to match his shirt.  Good sign - he dresses well.

Then I saw his face.  My gosh, what a gorgeous face.  Sun-bleached hair.  Ricky Nelson eyes, and when he smiled at me, an Elvis Presley smile.  Okay.. I'm in love.  

I finally found a way to meet him, (not as easy as you might think because he went to a different high school) and we dated our last two years in high school with the plans made to get married in June following our May graduations.  

He had a pretty hot temper, but he never made any move to use that temper towards me.  I watched him once as he was so upset about something that he banged his fist into the brick wall of my house until his hand was a bloody mess.  I also saw him kick through a solid wood door.  What we know now that we didn't know then is that he suffered from bi-polar disease.

We divorced after two years.  That kind of thing happens when the love wasn't real to begin with.

I decided to go to college.  My dad thought he needed help to pay for it, so he had the divorce annulled and then had the marriage annulled.  The social security checks for me as a minor child attending school resumed.  Legally, I "lived in sin" with him for two years.

I disappeared from sight as far as he and his family were concerned.  I thought it best because between the time that the divorce was annulled and the marriage annulled, he re-married.  They had their only daughter 5 months later.

A couple of years ago, his sister finally found my telephone number and called me.  We became reacquainted and seemingly picked up right where we left off.  I made a trip through that area last year and had a nice long visit with her mom and dad whom I have always loved and appreciated for the support they showed me thoughout the entire relationship with their son.

The sister called me in the afternoon of January 1.  Her brother has died.  He went out for his daily walk and about three hours later they found him face down in a water-filled ditch.

I am still in a state of shock.  Who would ever have thought that his part of my life would have ended this way?  Today was the visitation at the funeral home.  His poor mother and father, in their 80's and not at all in good health, are going to have a hard time getting over this - if they are able to get over it at all.  In the intervening years, he had gotten treatment and had become a Christian who loved the Lord and worked hard in his church.  I am so very thankful for that.

The funeral is tomorrow.  I won't go.  His parents and his sister would be glad to see me and appreciate that the reason I was there was to show respect for them, but I'm not sure his widow and daughter would understand that.  Neither would the rest of that small town.  It's just better all around for me not to be there. 

I have to admit.  I would appreciate the closure that I would derive from going, but if it created even one small problem I would regret having gone and that would only make the entire tragic event worse.

So I have these final thoughts on his passing.  When I remember him I still see him as the most handsome man I have ever seen in my life.  Naturally, he had changed over the years - a few extra pounds, a little less hair, etc. - but I don't know him that way.  I remember him as gorgeous.  I always will.  And I remember the swear words he always used around me.. "Mother Hubbard."  I have never known where that came from.

And I'll remember the garbage I had to put up with because I rode to the Thanksgiving Day football game with his parents.  I was a cheerleader - he played football for our biggest rival team.  Traditions are the pits, aren't they, when it involves kids who can be more mean to other kids than adults sometimes.  I don't even remember who won the game.  Why should I?  That was over 40 years ago.

So long, my old friend.  We'll meet again. 

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Times, They Are A'Changin'

This blog is changing too. I still support Sarah Palin and conservative candidates wherever they may be, but there are things other than politics that I want to share. That is the new purpose of this redesigned blog.

You may not like "the new me" and if you don't, I promise not to hold it against you. I know that some of the things that I will be posting here will be quite controversial. I honestly don't expect anyone else to agree with them even 10% of the time. That's as it should be, and I will honor your opinion as gracefully as I can, but I will not hesitate to remove your comment if, in my opinion, it is out of line, uses unacceptable language, is argumentative or uses names or terms that I would not use in my own home.

Comments will be moderated for all posts. Because this is not the only space I use for writing, I may not approve your post immediately. I promise to check any comments in as timely a manner as I am humanly able to do so.

The following is self explanatory:

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