Sunday, March 29, 2009

Finding Joy in Every Answer

Returning tonight from a weekend away with a friend who I love to hang out with, who I love to talk to, and who is one of the genuine pearls in my life. We have seen each other through some of the very best times in our lives, and some of the very worst. She lives in San Antonio and I, in Dallas, so we try (and so far successfully) to see each other at least twice a year. One of our favorite trips is to Salado, TX, which is where we spent this weekend. I love to make this trip in the spring because the Blue Bonnets are blooming in full force. I have a difficult time keeping my eyes on the road because the bright blue mounds against the fresh green spring grass excite my eyes so much. This year, I stopped to take pictures, excited to play with them and post a few on my blog.

When I got home, I found that somehow I had reformatted my memory card and lost them all. What a disappointment! I also lost the ones of my friend, Susan, and I too. That made me even more sad.

But what I do have is a wonderful sweet gift from Susan, which is also a sweet blessing from my Loving Father, God.

Let me back up a bit. Last August, Susan and I went to hear Beth Moore speak. The trip to Beth's conference had been planned for months, but as God's timing was perfect! The timing came along when my heart was broken over the end of a very long term, very close friendship. I was grieving and needed God's unconditional love and comfort, and I especially needed His perfect healing. The message was about MY (our) inheritance. I am an heir of Jesus Christ. It was exactly the message that I needed to hear. Susan knew my need as she and I have been prayer partners for nearly 15 years.

So, last night, Susan and I returned to our hotel room after a day of shopping, of wine tasting, art showing, and a fantastic dinner at a lovely place called Adelea's and she handed me a gift.

I was surprised, and eager, to see what she had selected for no occasion, other than a celebration of who we are in Christ and who we are as friends.

What I opened was a gift that she had no idea would touch my heart the way that it did! She had given me a ring...a silver band, that states the words, "His Princess". She had also bought one for herself.

I knew God was speaking to me right then and there.

You see, I had a ring that I wore for 10 years...a silver band with the fish symbol all around it. My former best friend and I bought these rings on a vacation trip one year; one for each of us to represent our love for Christ and our loyalty to one another. It was one of the saddest days in my life last summer when I took that ring off the day she ended our friendship and I placed it in my jewelry box. My finger was indented from the years of wearing it. I felt naked, sick, and full of sorrow.

Last night, I put a new ring in it's place. For the last 24 hours, my finger is happy again! And when I see this new ring on my finger, I know who's child REALLY I am. I also know who my very best friend is...He is my King and I am His princess. And Susan is an honest to goodness gem of a friend, who I know will be loyal until the day that we enter the kingdom of Heaven as co-princesses of the King!

I love my new ring!

On a side note, I have to tell you about Blue Bonnets. Every time I make this trip, I really am excited about the Blue Bonnets. All of my life, I have heard about the Texas Blue Bonnet, but I don't remember seeing one until I moved to Texas. When I first set my eyes on the Blue Bonnet, my senses came alive. Blue is my very favorite color and these are so very beautiful. For three years, I look at them, but never touched. I had heard it was illegal to pick a Texas Blue Bonnet in the state of Texas! Well, I looked it up on the Internet this year and found out that there is no such law! So, today, when I was driving home, I stopped in a huge field of Blue Bonnet's and touched away. I took lots of photos, which are now lost. (oh well) I also picked some and brought them home. I am so excited over these flowers, Y'all, that I am talking Texas style with pride today!

Since I lost the pictures of the lovely State Flower of Texas in their natural habitat, I took some of them in the vase where I will proudly display them in for as long as they last.

My Blue Bonnet Bouquet

My Beautiful Ring too!

In The Shadows

All Alone

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins

Friday Fill-In's this week were provided by Janet. Here is what she wrote:

"This week, I took the first sentence in 6 of my favorite fill them in...with the right words or even better, ones of your own. we go!"

1. "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit." I had to fill that one in that way, because it is right!

2. "It is cold and wet outside but that ain't no matter."

3. "After dark the rain began to fall again, the water began to rise higher and higher."

4. "The free spirited child broke free from the hold of the Spanish galleon."

5. "There was a hand in the darkness, and it was the hand of her beloved."

6. "Accidents ambush the unsuspecting, weak ones who don't pay attention."

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to attending the wedding of a friend, tomorrow my plans include meeting one of my oldest and dearest friends for a weekend shopping trip in Salado, TX and Sunday, I want to travel home safely and have dinner with my family!

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

ABC's of the Word - G

How Great is your Goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you,
which you bestow in the sight of men
on those who take refuge in you.
Psalm 31:19
Today I am Grateful for this verse.
He has stored up His Goodness for me.
My refuge is totally in Him.
His Goodness is revealed in the way He cares for me.
The word He teaches to me.
The sleep He brings to me.
The ones He sends to me to surround me...
in love,
in prayer,
in hope,
in understanding,
and in encouragement.
His Goodness is revealed
in the beauty of the earth,
the comfort of my home,
my health,
my joy,
and even my sadness.
His Goodness
is Great!
For more ABC's of the word visit

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Living life in spite of the unexpected!
We still had a good week.

The Unexpected

Sometimes, things just don't happen like we expect. Occasionally, the unexpected is a nice surprise, but sometimes the unexpected can turn an event, circumstance, or even a life, upside down.

Last week, my daughter and I went to spend Spring Break with family. Our flight was lovely, the weather perfect, and we were looking forward to a stress free week. The first thing we did was eat lunch at one of our favorite Thai restaurants. As usual, we looked forward to our fortune cookies. We took turns reading and laughing...and then my daughter opened hers - "Be prepared for a change in plans." Uh-oh. We didn't like this one but we decided our week would be stress free and fun in spite of what a cookie said.

Continuing on through out the day, all was well until that night. I sat outside on the porch of a friend I have known for 35 years and received news that changed something I have believed for 30 years. The words were horrible and made me so ill that I got sick within minutes - in a parking lot on the way to dinner for heaven's sake! What I heard changed my outlook on a major, traumatic even in my life to something else. I felt like I had been punched. This was NOT stress free! My dear friend had no intention of causing hurt, but she knew I would want to know. I love her for her honesty and her truthfulness continues to cement our friendship.

You really can be going along, minding your own business and something unexpected happens that rocks your whole world.

I will never know exactly the events that took place 30 years ago, and no matter how and why they happened, horrible is the only description either way. What I do know is God is still in control. He is my strength and my hope even in this. He gives me all I need to live through it and live with it.

Today I am grateful for
  • my wonderful God who hold me up when life is just too hard for me alone.
  • my husband who got almost as upset as I did when I told him the news and has been totally sensitive.
  • my friends who I can call and talk this through with, especially my wonderful sponsor.
  • those who love me and mourn with me.
  • a counselor who cried when I told her what had happened - she is great.
  • healthy, beautiful children.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins

1. Why do we have to exercise to be really healthy? It's just not fun!

Some healthy choices are now habits, exercise in not one of them.

3. I have more than I could ever ask for. God has been so good to me.

4. I had never heard the phrase "Progress not perfection
" and it helps me know I don't have to accomplish everything immediately.

I have had to refrain from asking that my husband load the dishwasher the way I always do.

6. How was I to know that if you didn't tell me?

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to
celebrating my 27th wedding anniversary with my husband, tomorrow my plans include a trip to Six Flags over Texas with a favorite friend and our kids and Sunday, I want to attend worship services and hang out at home!

For more Friday Fill-Ins click here

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spring Break = Blog Break

The retreat that I just returned from was full of fun, insight, prayer, and empowerment. Sixteen of us went through the Spiritual Gifts Inventory, Network. My mind is challenged, my heart is full, and I am excited to have been given insight as to how God has gifted me to participate in the church. (Wisdom, Shepherding, Discernment) Confirmation came as to gifts that I was already aware of, and some new ones have grown closer to the top. I am excited and ready to use what He has given me. Time with my "home girls" was sweet. Having my dear friend, Ashley, join us was such a blessing!

Tomorrow, my daughter and I take our annual trip to Tulsa. I will catch up with my BFF, Kyle...the maid of honor in my wedding. I lost touch with her for about 16 years, but we have reunited and I am so excited to spend tomorrow with her! On Tuesday, my mom, daughter and myself will travel to Missouri to visit my uncle and aunt. This trip is such a special time for me and my daughter for many reasons. When we return to Tulsa, I will see my sister and my sweet little niece. I can't wait to kiss her sweet cheeks!

I will take a blog break during this time. I have a lot to do and a lot to think about. While I am away, I will complete my fourth step inventory. This work is difficult, but so healing. I know I am exactly where I should be and my God is an awesome God!

Blessings and I will see you when I get back!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Grace & Gratitude

Continuing my thoughts on God's wonderful grace, and my gratitude for the sweet life he has given me, I will wrap up my thoughts this morning.
My wonderful children are on my gratitude list.
What great kids I have!
They are loving, productive, intelligent, and motivated.
Best of all, they all love God!
Many years ago, when they were small, I wondered what it would be like to see them at the stage they are now in. I wondered if it would be as fun to have adult children as it was to have young children.
Oh, yes.
My kids are great fun. They are good conversationalists and interesting people. They have interests that they are passionate about. And it is just so cool to watch them live their lives.Grace and gratitude certainly includes the wonderful blessing of my kids.
There is so much more......
The fact that my husband and I both of well paying, secure jobs, that we even mostly enjoy.
We enjoy the relationships with our extended family, living near enough most of them to love on them more often that occasional. This is especially fun for me with my niece!
Having our best friends just blocks away.
The Alanon group that shares experience, strength, and hope...weekly, daily, and whenever I need a fresh perspective....someone is always there. I love my sister's in recovery.
Oh, and my great church! I remember the day that I thought the church that I went to was the only church family I would ever love...and we left.
I remember feeling like I never wanted to be part of the "church" again.
Now, I want to always be a part of my church; I love it. God is working in my church. People are coming to know Him, changing their lives because of Him, and it is happening before my my church. The leadership proves to be God fearing more and more with every circumstance. The pastor that God called to the church that I attend is gifted beyond belief, He speaks God's truth, and he is so humble, so smart, and so funny.
I have so much to be grateful for. I just want to give Him credit for the blessings that He has showered on my family and myself.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
James 1:17

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Friday Fill-In's

1. When I look to the left, I see a wonderful collage of my children.

2. The back porch is the room that has the best view in my home.

3. Let it work itself out by itself. I don't have to control every little thing!

4. I recently had my bathroom painted and done dirt cheap! It pays to have good friends!

5. Caring for the poor and elderly is a responsibility that all qualified citizens must share.

6. If you have any spare time feel free to stop by for a visit. I love having friends pop over!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a retreat with my "Home Girls", tomorrow my plans include still retreating and Sunday, I want to spend some time with my family and pack for our Spring Break trip!

For more Friday Fill-In's click here!

ABC's of the Word - Letter E

Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,

praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let Everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.

Psalm 150

For More ABC's of the Word, visit Grey Like Snuffie

Wednesday, March 11, 2009



My prayers have been fervent when dealing with pettiness and lack of forgiveness toward others, and from others.

The class I am taking on Saturdays is dealing heavily with resentments right now, and even in my counseling sessions, this has been the topic of discussion.

This past week, I was asked to make a list of everyone I was angry with or ever had been angry with, the situation that created the anger, and how it affected me.

It was tough.

(not to worry, there is another step to this exercise that promotes healing)

This morning, I read this devotional.

And it causes my heart and mind to know that God would have me take the behavior exampled below into any given situation with any of the folks on that list I made.

There is no room in the lives of a Christian to hold petty grievances, over differences of opinions or hurt feelings.

We are called to be BIG


by Charles R. Swindoll

Philippians 2:3-7

It was a cold, blustery January night in 1973. Senator John Stennis, the venerable hawkish Democrat from Mississippi, drove from Capitol Hill to his northwest Washington home. Although older (71), he was still the powerful chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. At precisely 7:40 p.m., Stennis parked his car and started toward his house 50 feet away.

Out of the darkness jumped two young robbers---little more than kids, really. One nervously waved a .22 caliber pistol as the other relieved the senator of his personal possessions. "Now we're going to shoot you anyway," one told Stennis. He did, firing twice.

For six-and-a-half hours, surgeons at Walter Reed Medical Center labored feverishly to repair the damage and save his life.

At 9:15 that same night another politician was driving home from the Senate . . . a man on the opposite end of the political spectrum, a Republican "dove" who had clashed often and sharply with Stennis. His name? Senator Mark Hatfield. The tragedy was reported over Hatfield's car radio that wintry night. Disregarding the strong differences in their convictions and pulled by a deep admiration for the elderly statesman plus a compassion for his plight, Hatfield later admitted:

"I had no skills to offer. But I knew there was something I must do---and that was to go to that hospital and be nearby where I could be helpful, if possible, to the family."

There was untold confusion at the hospital as fellow senators, colleagues, and curious friends and reporters overwhelmed the hospital's telephone operators. Understaffed and disorganized, the hospital crew tried their best but were unable to handle the calls and answer the questions.

Hatfield quickly scoped out the situation, spotted an unattended switchboard, sat down, and voluntarily went to work. Much later---after recovering---Stennis related what he heard happened next: "He told the girls, 'I know how to work one of these; let me help you out.' He continued taking calls until daylight." An exceedingly significant detail is that he never gave anyone his name because someone would surely suspect some political connection, some ulterior motive. Hatfield finally stood up around daylight, stretched, put on his overcoat, and quietly introduced himself to the other operators. "My name is Hatfield . . . happy to help out on behalf of a man I deeply respect," he said as he walked away.

The press couldn't handle that story when it leaked out. It boggled their minds! No way did it make sense for a Republican to give a Democrat the time of day, not to mention several long hours of personal assistance in some anonymous, menial task. I mean, that kind of character went out with the horse and buggy and silent movies and saying "ma'am" and "sir" to teachers. Or did it?

Politics and personal preferences and opinions on things like military involvement may vary among members of the body of Christ . . . but there is a bond deep within that binds us to one another. It is the glue of authentic love, expressing itself in compassion, fairness, willingness to support, and (when possible) coming to the aid of another. Personally. Without strings attached. Committed to the protection and dignity of human life . . . regardless of how somebody votes.

And what does it take? Bigness. Being free of grudges, pettiness, vengeance, and prejudice. Seeing another in need---regardless of differences of opinion---and reaching out in solid Christian maturity. Just because you care.

That's bigness. It's living above labels . . . it's seeing beyond hurts . . . it's caring unconditionally, helping unassumingly.

And therefore it's rare. As rare as a hawk and a dove in the same nest on a cold winter's night.

Excerpted from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, Copyright © 1985, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009



Today, my husband is no longer a student!
He has been going to school on and off our entire 27 years of marriage.
And he is finished!
His Master's Degree is now complete!


Now what?

I am so, so excited to have my husband back!
I love you, Fred and I am so proud of you!

Self Talk Soul Talk - Press On: March On, O MY Soul

Have you ever been so overwhelmed that you just want to give up? There is so much to do that you find yourself not doing anything at all? Or discouragement and / or past failures have you paralyzed?

I certainly have. Whether my house is so dirty that I don't know where to start cleaning, a project is so big and the due date so close that I simply despair over how impossible it seems, or even relationships have failed and I start to think that they are not worth it after all.

Chapter 10 of Self Talk Soul Talk encourages me to press on!

Jennifer Rothschild, the author lays out a step by step plan.

1. Turn your feelings into action.
I can hear the Nike slogan, "Just do it." Another famous phrase, "One day at a time." Years ago, I made the decision to take the next step. Sometimes, when I can't see the end, or don't know where I am going, I stand there...doing nothing. I learned that if I just take THE NEXT STEP, it will lead to the next one. I don't have to know exactly where I am going, just as long as God is leading me each step of the way. Do I really trust Him? If so, then I must take the next step.

2. Affirm your true identity.
This quote from the book speaks volumes to my heart and soul. "Recognize that who you are and what you struggle with are NOT the same thing. Just because you have failed at something doesn't mean you are a failure."
Whoa! So true!
So, yes, I have failed at a few things...okay, let's face it, quite a few things. Some of these failures are things that are important to me, but that does not mean that I am a failure. Another cliche' comes to mind, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

3. Speak truth to your soul.
Self talk soul talk - in ACTION. This entire book has been about this exact thing. God's word is full of truth, and truth about ME, truth about YOU! And there are life giving, encouraging words in His word. Read them! Speak them! Pray them!

4. Exercise Discipline.
Yes, discipline.
Jennifer brings out an age old saying, "Most of the time when we say 'I can't', we are really saying 'I won't'.
True. I recognize this when my kids tell me, "I can't unload the dishwasher right now, I have homework!" Yes they can, they just don't want to.
When someone tells me, "I can't talk to you right now.", I know they are choosing not to.
When I tell someone that I can't ... it usually does mean I won't.
Disability rarely hinders us as much as defiance.
God's guidance and discipline are the key to balance and help us monitor those thoughts, giving us wisdom that only comes from Him. He will tell us when we won't and when we will!

Press on. March on.
And when your dreams turn to dust, vacuum!

For more on Self Talk Soul Talk, visit Lelia's blog @ Write From The Heart

Grace and Gratitude #2 - My Hubby

Words cannot even describe how blessed I am by the sweet man in this picture! (photo taken with our lovely great niece) I met him when I was 18 years old and I fell quickly in love with him. Our 27th wedding anniversary is next Friday and even though the road has been rocky at times, I would marry him all over again if I had to choose again.

He and I are the epitome of "opposites attract". We could not be any more different. This has challenged us in our marriage, sometimes shaking the very core of who we thought we were. However, God, in His perfect mercy and plan, has used our differences to teach us about unconditional love and commitment.

This gentle soul that I married puts up with my wild ways, speaking the truth when I need to hear it, and loving me through some of the most challenging situations that I could have possibly brought to this marriage.

The past few years, but even more so the past few months, I have grown increasingly amazed at the blessing God gave me when He hooked me up with my man!

Because of this wonderful man I am married to, my life is so much richer, tough situations are so much easier, beauty is so much brighter, and God's love and care for me is way more than I deserve because of this sweet, gentle man who I call my husband.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Grace and Gratitude # 1 - True Friends

There are just certain days that life is so difficult that all I can do is concentrate on what I have to be grateful for. For many years, I found myself here more than not. Some days, I thought, "I am alive." and that was good enough.

Recently, though, I have had the opposite problem. Life is so sweet that all I can do is think about how blessed I am, how much God must really love me to give me so much. And even though things are not perfect, there is so much good in my life, that is far outweighs the attitude of my grumpy co-worker, the emotions of having a 15 year old daughter, the fact that I miss my son who lives half a country away, and that I can't seem to get motivated to loose this extra weight that I am carrying around. All these things, although serious disturbances, are mere bumps in the road of a blessed journey.

All of my life, I have wished and prayed for real friends, one's who I can count on in good times and bad times. I have loved with all of my heart and been hurt....more than once. For a while, I thought I would never have friends who would love me when I put my foot in my mouth the same as they love me when I am behaving well. I have prayed and pleaded for authentic Christian fellowship with sisters who will not walk out when I sin, when I say stupid things, or when I act irrationally. While praying this, I have held on to those who I thought were real, only to find out that they are fickle imitations. They have been jealous, blackmailed emotions, lied, and walked out during tough times.

Today, I find myself throwing caution to the wind and just being myself. After all, I have nothing left to loose. The people in my life who I now trust with my life, sins, my deepest struggles, the fears that others have only shaken their heads over...have proven to be completely genuine. Spending time with these sweet sister's has changed my outlook on life, given me hope that authentic relationships still exist, and that God's example and plan for relationship can be followed. No more fear that my friend's husband's jealousy will sabotage a relationship. It did, and I survived. No more fear that the friend who I shared with from the heart would turn away. She did, and I survived. Those situations do not imitate the loving Father that I know. Since I have chosen to be real about who I am, what I believe, and how I feel, genuine friends have surrounded me, loved me, cared for me, prayed for me, and exhorted me in ways that I only read about in scripture. I feel so blessed. It is the Bible Study Behind The Eyes in action!

So, I know it is not Thanksgiving, but I am so thankful that I thing I will spend this week writing about the wonderful things in my life that give me joy. God's blessings have been showered on me.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I think I am sick!

I have a fever!

Spring fever.

My husband mowed our lawn this week and that was all it took. The low growl of the mower, the dusty, gassy vapors as the machine leveled the grass and weeds to one, uniform length. The fragrance of the dirt, the fresh cut grass and the knowledge that the deep green of St. Augustine is just around the corner.

Yesterday morning, I walked onto my porch with coffee in hand, giving thought to the entire Saturday that still lay before me. Then my eyes rolled to the most beautiful sight I have seen all winter!

THIS! Bradford Pear in full bloom.
My heart sings.
I take in deep breaths, allowing the fragrance of spring to infiltrate my entire being. I walked around my yard and saw the sign that I needed!
The Peony plants have started to peek out of the dirty, unattended soil.

I knew immediately what I must do.

Go to the nursery!
Not the baby nursery...the plant and landscape nursery!
I had already made tentative plans with my friend, Kim. I called her within an hour, wrapping up the time and meeting location for this wonderful day!

Kim and I took our time. We studied plants. We evaluated our yards, the soil, the sun's coming and going. We thought of color schemes that made our eyes happy. We celebrated whenever we found something that claimed, "No deadheading necessary"! Oh such simple pleasures!

I came home with color that thrills my senses.
Blues, yellows, pinks, and peach.

My adrenaline still flowing - out comes the gloves; after all, I did promise my nail guy, Lee, that I would wear them. (I shared with him already my plans for the weekend.)

Potting soil, dumped.
Oh, that sweet, earthy aroma. Warm. Life giving.

My thoughts turn to the welcome I want to give. My personality, not showy, but pleasing to the eye. My favorite color, blue...difficult for flowers to hang onto in my limited gardening talents.

I try this.

Next, the back porch. It is screened-in but south facing. We spend hours out here, drinking coffee, eating meals, watching swimmers in the pool, card games, girl's nights, birthday parties...this porch gets more use than any room in the house.

I love color. The Mexican pottery that I have begun to collect since my move to Texas still excites me. It is so fun, so playful, and so festive.
I want to keep the mood of an escape, a get away, and feel that every time I step out on my porch.

Pool deck.
What a challenge.
It is SO hot in Texas. Add all the decking material around the pool...plants must be heat hardy. Deadheading is not something I take well to in 100 degree heat.
For now, some Snap dragons for fun. They will only last a couple of months, but my grandmother introduced me to them when I was a young girl. I love them, and I love entertaining other young guests with their funny faces popping open and closed.

The pool.

Next weekend, my husband and I will make it go from this...

To this............


That sure makes my fever disappear!
In the meantime,
I think I need to go hang up the patio lights.
I feel a party coming on!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins

1. Scholar-shipping someone for a ladies retreat was my last random act of kindness.
2. Another place, another time I might have done a few things differently.
3. I trust God to work on me in matters of the heart.
4. Coffee, tea or wine, a great glass of Merlot?
5. Some people that I love have decided to walk separate paths. It makes me sad, but I walk on without them.
6. Our crazy world reminds me that there is a better place waiting for me.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to dinner with my family and then over to a friend, Charrie's, house for fellowhip and fun, tomorrow my plans include my weekly Step Study class, shopping for flowers with my good friend, Kim, and then putting them in the pots and or ground! Saturday evening we will attend worship services and Sunday, I want to rest, read, and renew my soul!
For More Friday Fill-Ins click below:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lelia and Kelley in Dallas!

So, I was trying to think of what to post about my visit with Lelia and Kelley last Friday. It has been difficult to pick and choose what I wanted to include in my story of meeting both of these ladies who I felt like I know, but I don't really know. My husband likened it to a blind date, like from an internet dating service. :) He makes me laugh!

On Friday, I had to work a bit longer than I wanted to, but I did make it to downtown Dallas around 3:30 and found both Lelia and Kelley kicked back in the West End district, at a local Mexican restaurant. We made the normal and expected "Just seeing you for the first time" conversations when Lelia started closing her eyes. Uh-oh. I have seen that look before...head ache coming on. She took Advil. Lots. We decided to get out and do a bit of shopping, maybe some fresh air.

It did help.

Yes, we looked at Western Wear, and yes, Kelley was frightened by a rattling noise in an envelope. (rattlesnake eggs, of course) We dreamed about cowboy (GIRL) boots that were custom made, and yes, I tried on a purple leather jacket with fringe. (See Lelia's blog.)

Then we went back to the freshen up for dinner. Nearly three hours later, okay, maybe two - after naps, long conversations, and changing clothes a few times, we made our way back into the night life to find somewhere to eat.

Now, I have to say that we drove in circles for a long time. And took many, many wrong turns. The GPS lady (what did we name her? Marsha?) was telling us to go to a spa, that my car did NOT want to go to. Finally, we drove by a place called Nick and Sam's Grill when Kelley said with authority, "Let's eat here." So, I pulled in, parked, and we went in to get on the waiting list. Standing shoulder to shoulder in a space that comfortably held 5 people, we were crammed next to about 10 others. There was a nice looking man shoulder to shoulder to me (literally, touching) when Lelia leaned over to me and asked, "Is that Emmitt Smith?" I looked over and looked back at Lelia and said, "Yes." She said, "Really???" I looked again, "Well, maybe not, but it looks like him." She was insistant. "Is it Emmitt Smith?" So, I tapped him and asked, "Are you Emmitt?" He said, "Yes." I immediately began to talk to his wife, Pat, hugging and laughing (she graduated High School in the area where I used to live) while Lelia and Emmitt took this lovely picture.

And then we all three went outside, gushing and calling our husbands to tell them who we just ran into.

We were seated about 30 minutes later, yes, at the table right next to Emmitt and his wife. And we proceeded to enjoy one of the most fun and wonderful meals ever. We let our great waiter, Nick, select our meals for us. He did a great job. We were treated like queens by all of the staff. And when Emmitt and his wife left, they chatted with us like we were old friends.

A night to remember, for sure!

You can read more about it by going to Lelia's blog. She wrote a great article. Go check it out!

Self Talk Soul Talk

It is Tuesday, no it is Wednesday. Self Talk Soul Talk Chapter title this week is
Chill Out: Be at Rest, O My Soul.

The past 10 months, I have been making conscious decisions to "rest".
While I lived in Virginia, I was always on the go...working, raising three kids, involved in entirely too many areas of ministry that seemed to be (in my mind) necessary for being part of a church plant. My evenings at home with my family were rare.
And then I moved to Texas.
Everything stopped.
My mom was involved in a tragic accident and I spent about two months 5 hours away from my family while I helped her convalesce.
During those months, I discovered how tired I really was.
For a good long time, I was in and out of meltdown mode.
When I finally began to cling to God and what he was saying, I knew it was really time for me to reevaluate how He wanted me to spend my time.
So, I chose to rest.
I have a few people who are holding me accountable to taking time for myself.

Great advise from Pastor Rick Warren in this chapter.
Divert daily.
Withdraw weekly.
Abandon annually.
I like it. Easy to remember.

I am learning to find rest in God alone.
I am learning to recognize that feeling that I get when my life is feeling like a whirlwind, and more importantly,
I am learning how to make choices that allow me rest in the loving arms of my Father.

I love the challenge of writing our own Psalm of gratitude to God.
Listing the goodness of God on my behalf will prompt me to rest.

My God is so loving,
I cannot even describe how much He loves me.
I try to understand,
but His love is so much bigger than I can grasp.
I know He loves me because He shows me all the time.
He drew me to Him
and taught me about Himself.
He protected me when I was afraid,
when I thought that I would not have what I needed.
He gave me what I needed,
and even what I wanted.
When the pain threatened to tear my heart apart,
He held me together.
He caressed me with His comfort.
When I cried out to Him,
"Please God, take this away! It is more than I can bear."
He did.
When I lost what I thought I could not replace,
He gave me better.
When I am afraid, he guides me through the scary places.
When I am tired, he leads me into quietness.
He whispers peace into my soul
and covers me with serenity.
When my heart beats too quickly,
He gives me a softer rhythm.
He wipes my eyes and smooths the wrinkles on my face.
He is the author of rest.
And He is my God.

Chill out and be at rest, O my soul.

For more visit
Lelia @ Write from the Heart

Monday, March 2, 2009

How Careful Are We?

I selected a new verse to memorize today. I didn't have to think about it, or pray about it. It was one of those verses God gave me. Yep, He just handed it to me today and said, "Here, this is yours."

Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16



I have thought about this since this morning when God so gently suggested that I memorize it.

Thoughts of how I have lived my life so far - careful or careless? Sadly, not as careful as I would have liked. For every step I have made, there was an opportunity for something good or something bad to happen. The apostle Paul says in this verse, "Be VERY careful...." It sounds like a warning to me, screaming like a big flashing yellow light, "CAUTION!" How many times have I just taken the next step without thinking of how it would affect me, or others, or especially "What is God's desire for me here?"

Realization came heavy for me today that every step should be taken with a serious amount of precision. There are consequences for taking the wrong step. Boy, have I learned that one the hard way. "The days are evil" does not sound like a petty threat to me. There are traps and landmines and pitfalls ready to swallow me whole if I make a move without careful thought and God's direction.

I pray that I will learn how better to make the most of every opportunity, that fewer of those opportunities will be lost to not having taken them at all. And my goal? To avoid making unwise choices where my foot is planted in the wrong place!

And I thought it was just a short little verse that might be easy to memorize...maybe so...but it will take the rest of my life to live it out.

Being careful, very careful,