Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Day Of 2008


I stitched this Jane Snead Sampler (A Company that has since vanished) in 1973 when I was a Jr in high school. It is my prayer for this, the last day of 2008.
Bleak. Depressed. These words may describe the outlook of some for 2009 but the only throne of THE ruler of the universe is still occupied by the Holy King. Let's look forward with great hope and anticipation to what He can do with us to build His kingdom and glorify Himself.

Monday, December 29, 2008

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Post Christmas Thoughts...

"Every which way but loose" - My heart could use these words to describe the grip of the holidays. There are so many emotions that sweep in and out, leaving their mark of varying degrees of pleasure or pain. For some, losses suffered throughout the year are magnified during the holidays. Memories of holiday sadness from years past revisit others. Some family members are home for Christmas "only in their minds". Illness or incapacitating old age robs the ability to experience the holidays as some remember and deeply long for. Some of us hurt for our parents or older loved ones because we perceive their sense of loss to their "golden years". I was visiting with my mother, counting the days till my sons would be here for Thanksgiving. She teared up and said, "It is so sad that I can't do all the things I used to do. I'm just not the same person for them." For them... She was thinking of their loss.♡

There are Christmas programs, parades, choral presentations, etc., that demand hours of preparation before hand and punctual participation at the time of presentation. We volunteer our time and energy packing boxes for our church or Good Fellows program or other needed ministries. We shop and some of us "proxy" shop for others who can't. We stand in the kitchen, measuring and mixing for days. We hurriedly write all too brief messages in Christmas cards to folks we'd love to visit over a good meal or with whom we'd like to enjoy a good movie.

And we experience intense joy in giving. I love to decorate our home for my husband who tells me repeatedly how much he loves to come into the house, relax, and just look at the tree or the decorations. In my tubs of decorations are many carefully preserved ornaments made by my children, aunts, friends, Brian and myself. When I remove the tissue paper that protects them throughout the year, I smile. Visions of the faces of their creators come to my mind. In January I wrap and cushion them again, hoping to retrieve them next year. As long as I can I will hang these old ornaments, along with the new, even though some have cracks that have been glued, some are faded, and some dough ornaments are missing limbs.

Our family arrives and we so enjoy our time with them. Our hearts are thrilled when we can give someone a gift they've been hoping for. Our minds retrieve snippets of Christmases past and each retells his version of moments we shared. Eyes glow. It's meal time and we all eat way too much but it's so good.

We can't help but miss those who are absent. Eyes sometimes glow with sad tears.

So many emotions... By this time in December, some years more than others, my emotions are fragile. I may cry for any or no reason. I'm not sad or upset, just easily touched. Even then, there is serene warmth and peace. Throughout the Church or school programs, the beautiful music we hear, opportunities to give, games or a puzzle shared with family, meals with friends, even the moments we feel loss... we are cradled in love by the Saviour whose birth we celebrate. The Word says "He knows our frame". He understands all. He understands when we are absorbed with the activities and are oblivious of the gratitude we should be experiencing. He understands when we try, but soon realize how inadequate our attempts to express praise. He is touched by the feelings of being human because that's what His coming was all about. And there is strength and security in His embrace. There is calm assurance regarding our future because we're enfolded in His strong arms. The holiday and its grip with all the motion and emotion come and go but the sure, cradling, embrace of our Saviour never weakens with the passing of time. "Oh Lord, we praise your Holy name. We pour our hearts out to you. Thank you for coming to earth as a baby. Thank you for living a perfect life, doing only what you saw the Father direct. Thank you for being the lamb that was sacrificed for our sins. For making the way for God to reckon us in perfect standing with Him, for He sees you when He looks at us. It's too much for us to take in. We have no fear of death nor retribution for our sins because you have overcome. We praise your Holy Name Forever!."

If you'd like to see pictures from our hoildays, click on the Picasa Web Albums link to the left, then on the Christmas album, and slideshow.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

December Accessories

I enjoy wearing these in December. The bottle of glitter will last forever. I use a little with my blush or eye shadow on December evenings. These are the things Bree asks to borrow to wear to the "Christmas Sweater" parties. I think they have fun at the expense of their mothers' fashion taste which was, of course, developed in the 60's and 70's, flavored by the Avon lady and her Christmas ear rings. Yea!!

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Brian



Wasn't Brian cute?

I am so blessed to be living my life with Brian. Here are the words from the card I gave him.

To My Dear Husband
Yours is the smile I look forward to each morning,
and yours if the voice I love to hear throughout the day.
Yours is the touch that can reach my heart and soul,
and it is your understanding that so often calms my doubts and fears...
Yours are the plans and dreams that blend with mine, becoming ours,
and yours is the love that means the world to me.
My life would be so different if you weren't a part of it,
and that is why no one has more to celebrate today
than I do.
Happy Birthday to my husband,
my soul mate,
my very best friend.
I Love You.

Several years ago, I made a movie for Brian's birthday. View a video of a famous singer incognito singing for that movie by clicking on the picture of skinny , long Brian in the left column.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Parade '08

About 25 years ago, Haskell began having a nighttime Christmas parade under the leadership of Wanda Dulaney, Chamber Director. At the time, it was the only nighttime parade in Texas. It was quite an event. Businesses spent significant $ and LOTS of hours building floats. The parade continues but not as grandly. It is kind of sad but the short duration of the parade must not warrant the effort for some folks. I love parades. I love to watch them and to participate. Brian spent several afternoons building a small church building. He and Bree painted 12 small stained glass windows with glass paints. The theme for the '08 parade was announced as "Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child" so we needed to add this aspect. I began to sew costumes. Leading our entry were two boys holding a sign announcing the theme of the parade. And above our pickup cab was written the name of our entry, "A Part in the Christmas Play." The pickup pulled the church building with light shining through the pretty windows. Our accompaniment was a cd of carols played by hand bells. Following the church building were 15 costumed children in 5 ranks. First was the angel. Next was Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus, then the choir, next the shepherds, and last the wise men. We had beautiful weather and a nice crowd. The kids enjoyed marching. I hope I have rid our house of the millions of threads from all the robes and head pieces.

Phoenix

I recently wanted to try a new recipe for brisket which included a marinade using red wine. I had never purchased a bottle of wine nor any other alcoholic beverage. Brian is also a teetotaler and I didn't know what he would say when I asked about stopping at the country liquor store which we pass twice weekly on our way to Peacock for Sunday services and Wednesday night prayer meeting. But he agreed. I wrote down the kind of wine I needed and we left a few minutes early for prayer meeting. As we approached the store, Brian stopped far short, actually still on the shoulder of the highway-not even in the parking lot. He didn't want any of our parishioners to see their preacher's vehicle at the beer joint and felt that if he was seen, he could just drive off and get me later. I protested but slowly got out of the pickup and walked (hiked) to the store. I went inside and began to look for the wine, trying to appear a likely shopper. The owner saw me and probably noticed I was a little awkward and he kindly pointed me in the right direction. I was looking at the wines and from behind me came, "You've got to get to church." I nervously continued to read the labels. Shortly it came again, "You've got to get to church." I cut my eyes toward the voice to see who had caught me in the beer joint. I wasn't really worried about one of our fellow Baptists spying me because I understand that Baptists can't recognize one another in beer joints. And sure enough, it wasn't. It was Pheonix, the parrot. And she was talking to me. I smiled at her, grabbed my bottle of wine, and went to the counter. I told the owner what she said to me and he told me about Phoenix, who has a pretty good vocabulary. I think he said he has owned her about 6 years and she was several years old when she came to him. I strolled back to the pickup and we continued on to prayer meeting. The next weekend, we enjoyed the brisket marinaded in the red wine. On a subsequent Wednesday night, I asked Brian to stop again and let me take pictures of Phoenix. Judge, the owner, kindly allowed us to take pictures of his bird.
We enjoyed the visit. "Be careful," Phoenix called as we were leaving. Below you can see this very pretty and smart parrot.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

I was thankful to have my family in their old "spots" for Thanksgiving. I love to hear the floor upstairs creek beneath those 4 size 14 feet, the shower on in the boys' bathroom, and especially to hear all three of them laughing about some story one of them has remembered about the other. They live in your house such a short time...
Casey and Ryan were able to spend a few days with us. My folks and my sister's family spent Thanksgiving Day at our house. And we visited Brian's sister and brother and their families on Saturday. It has been a time to remind ourselves how very blessed we are.
Donkey, on the Shrek movie, said something like, "My mother says that it ain't Christmas till somebody cries." Unfortunately, I
know just what she meant. The days before they all get here are very busy. They are days of hard work. And in your mind, you are foreseeing a perfect meal, perfect decorations, perfect lighting, perfect music in the background and perfect hair. When your company arrives, you may be hanging on by a thread and your emotions fragile. I've had my share of crying due to the exposure of that last, raw nerve. Looking back on it, whether it was a public event or a private cry in the tub, I usually make myself a promise that things will be different next time. I'll get more rest. My menu will be shorter and simpler. But by the time the next holiday arrives, I forget and pile all that extra work on top of the already busy routine. Sometimes our worst enemy is the person we share this skin with. Our families would rather we feel well, healthy enough enjoy time together rather than spend all our energy before they even get home, attempting to create the prefect anything. I really am going to remember that next time.

Updates on our family: Casey has been in Houston working for State Farm on the hurricane claims and will finish some time in December. He has enjoyed the change. Ryan, who celebrated his birthday this weekend, is responsible for the inspections of the foreign commercial vessels entering the Port of Charleston and has found it interesting. He showed us online pictures of some of the huge ships he has inspected. The ship captains he deals with tell him about listening to the communications of the Pirates that are causing so much trouble. Bree has been going to school two days a week but will be a full time student in January, finishing sciences she hadn't taken at A&M. She will decide if she wants her masters in physical therapy or physicians assistant. My folks are in Haskell, dealing with old age. My sister is Haskell County Constable and her husband is a trainee agent for State Farm and will be the Haskell Agent in April, after 15 years as the Police Chief. Aubrey is a Jr., Crissy a 6th grader, and Cash is in kindergarten. (I plan to post some "information" about this child and his activities soon.) Brian's sister and her husband are in London, missionaries for the Southern Baptist International Missions Board. Their oldest son is a computer person for Southwest Airlines in Dallas and their younger son, a member of the National Guard, just began tour of 9 months in Iraq. He is an engineer in Dallas and was married last fall. Brian's brother teaches in Ballinger and his wife is the Runnels County Tax Accessor Collector. Their daughter is finishing a degree in education at McMurry and their son works for UPS in Lubbock.
I have included below a slideshow of our Thanksgiving. (Meal and games at home, lunch at Rod's, visit in Dallas)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Psalm 14:1

The cosmos (orange flowers) in front of our office have been a popular gathering place for butterflies of all kinds the past few weeks. The flowers are quickly fading and most of the butterflies have moved on but there are still a few. Every time I see them, I think of some things I've heard Brian say ( a million katrillion times). I can't quote him perfectly, but it goes something like this. "Evolution is a fairy tale for grown ups. It was disproved more then 100 years ago. It can't begin to explain how a little caterpillar crawls out of its egg and begins to eat many times its own weight every day. It gets too fat for its skin so it repeatedly splits its hide and crawls out wearing a larger suit, only to eat till he gets so fat that he splits that one and crawls out with a bigger suit. After a couple of weeks or so the caterpillar climbs up in a tree and glues itself to a branch, hanging upside down.
Click on the little pink box in the left column to read "the rest of the story."

You can click on the little butterfly on the left side column to go to You Tube for a 6 minute vide of the butterflies on my cosmos. Click on the rectangular box on the bottom right of the You Tube Movie box to enlarge the video.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Girls' Day Out

We all have sets and subsets of friends; friends from work, friends from high school, college, or church. Well, these two friends with whom I had a Girls' Day Out would fit into the following subsets. Friends with whom I've: raised a daughter, (Our daughters were together from church nursery through A&M and are still best friends.) jumped on a trampoline, gone on mission trip, sang in choir, celebrated, cried, prayed, pranked, and we hope to have lots of subsets still to come.
Sammie was our Sunday School teacher and pastor's wife several years ago. We had not seen her in a couple of years so we climbed into Donna's Tahoe and took off on 380. We visited in Sammie's home for a while and then headed to the shops. We giggled and wiggled and chattered like school girls.

Though we saw at least 6 deer, 4 skunks, 3 coyotes, 2 small pigs, and lots of roadkill, we avoided contact with any.

It was a great day. You can see some pictures of the day below.



Thursday, November 13, 2008

Autumn Pictures

Fall is my favorite season. We in West Texas miss out on the colorful autumns that are enjoyed in more northern states. When we've had some hints of fall, I've tried to get some pictures. I've posted some of these glimpses of fall.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

(Lucky) November 7, 2008 (My Day)

(I sometimes read descriptions of how folks spent a day on their blogs. Because I had an eventful day last Friday, I have written about it. The first three paragraphs are below. To continue, you must click on the little picture of Brian in the left column. After you have read it, if you'd like to see a short movie recounting the highlights (as I recall them) click on the little picture of Elliott, our dog. Only one picture in the video was real time. The others were taken when we returned to the scene. For the people involved, I've drawn them as I remember them. I added a song, "Lucky" by Jason Mraz but I don't believe in luck. I like the song and in an unscriptural way, it applies.)

I was awake early, for me. I spent some time in Psalms. I've come to depend on the way those words work.

I had a follow up appointment with a rheumatologist in Lubbock to get results of x-rays and blood work. I enjoyed the early morning drive, taking note of some impressive road kill between home and Peacock. I hoped to get pictures on the return trip. (A project I am working on) I arrived punctually at the doctor's office. I wondered if he would tell me to come back in 10 years because I am only 53 but he found the reasons I hurt: osteo arthritis in my hands, feet, and hips. degenerative disc disease, with one disc greatly diminished causing pain, and poor bone density. Conclusion: 5 prescriptions, three that I may fill but probably use little. The fourth is exercise (weight lifting) and the fifth, sufficient sleep. I can work on the last two. I already take calcium and Vitamin D, very important. I'm glad I went and need to take better care.

After the appointment, I had lunch at Jason's Deli, stopped by Wal-Mart for a few necessities, and enjoyed looking at books and pretty things at Mardel's. Getting some paint for Brian's Christmas Parade float was my next stop. This is when the mood of the day changed...

(click on Brian's little face)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pics of Crissy's Baptism


Crissy's Baptism

Crissy Bassett is the middle child in my sister's family. She was saved in October and asked Brian to baptize her in her churh last Sunday. It was a sweet service. We are so thankful for Crissy and that she knows the Lord. Crissy is a sixth grader on the Rochester campus. She is very active and successful in UIl events, 4H (just won the County Food Show and will go to district) PIPs, Band, Little Dribblers, Awanas at Cornerstone, and the two Church choir programs that are practicing for Christmas programs. She is a very good big sister to her kindergarten brother, Cash. And she is an extra special niece. We love you Crissy. Above are slides and below is video. Click on video arrow to play. (You may want to click on the black music box below to turn off the music so you can her Brian.) video

Monday, November 3, 2008

Cornerstone and Company

The ladies of Cornerstone Fellowship Baptist Church are having company for lunch every Monday and you are invited. Yes, Cornerstone and Company is officially underway. (And I get to help.) These ladies wanted to serve and fellowship with the ladies of the community and landed on the idea of providing a salad/sandwich/baked potato bar. There is no charge and everyone is welcome between 11:30 and 1:30. One less thing, as Forrest Gump would say. No worries about lunch on Mondays. The Lord blessed our food and fellowship today. See pics of the meal below.

ALSO: PICS from November 10th meal were added.
Pictures from December 1 added.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Interview with by Rick Warren

"Purpose Driven Life " author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California
In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:

People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.

One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body but not the end of me.

I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.

We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.

The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort.

God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore.

Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.

No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.

And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.

If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness,"which is my problem, my issues, my pain." But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her.

It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.

Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.

It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72

First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.
Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.

Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.

Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?

Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know = You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do.
That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.

Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

October 28, 1955


This nurse appears less than impressed with the beauty of the new baby at Haskell Memorial Hospital 53 years ago today.
I am having a wonderful 53rd birthday. I slept late. Brian fixed my breakfast and though the eggs were solid, rubbery disks, I appreciated the thought. We went to Lion’s Club for lunch and everyone was chatty. We even played the “I Never…” game. Bree suggested that next week we try the “Chuck, Date, or Marry” game. I doubt that idea will fly. (When it is your turn, you name three people to another participant who then tells the group which of those three he/she would chuck, which he’d date, and which he’d marry.)

Brian asked me what I’d like to do this afternoon/evening. I decided I’d like to help him work on our Christmas Parade float, which will be a “vintage” white church building with stained glass windows built onto a trailer. There are only a few available work days between now and the first weekend of December and today is beautiful for outside work.

I can't remember how I felt when the nurse appeared so disgusted with my looks. It may have affected me greatly.

(I removed political comments ONLY because this is linked to our Church's blog. I don't bring up the topic of politics but don't object to that discussion. I wish there were more opportunities to discuss the issues.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"BLOGS" I Know

I enjoy hearing a mom describe her day with her toddler or see pictures a Memaw has posted. I like to learn how a book or a particular study has made a difference in someone's life. I like to hear other points of view. I particularly enjoy reading the words of a gifted writer who shares my point of view. I don't have that talent. I have no toddler nor any other situation in my life that anyone could possibly consider exciting. Never the less, I think I'll "Blog".
I grew up two miles south of Munday, Texas. I was (am) blessed with loving, giving parents. I married just a few days after high school graduation and I really do have the best husband ever. Five years later, we had our first son who is 29. Our daughter is 27 and youngest son 23. My husband has been an insurance agent in Haskell over 31 years. We have been richly blessed with family and friends. My parents and my sister and her family also live here.
Though my daughter is here presently, my children left Haskell after HHS graduation. Brian is retiring next year and we persuaded Bree to return to Haskell and try insurance, thinking she might want to take her dad's place. She has decided to become a physical therapist. She and Casey, who works for State Farm in the metroplex, are Aggies and Ryan is a Coast Guard officer after graduating with a civil engineering degree from the Coast Guard Academy.
God has been so good to me. My parents, my husband, my children, my friends... And I have lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins with whom to share life. I consider one of my most precious blessings the fact that all my life, I have been in places where God's Word was taught.
Brian has been the pastor of the church (FBC) in Peacock, 45 miles west of us for 5 plus years and after retiring, he hopes to finish his masters in theology and be in full time ministry. I am excited to see what He has for us.

Monday, October 20, 2008