Sunday, June 28, 2009

Project 365 Week 6

Project 365
My Week in Pictures

Monday, June 22
I was transportation for my daughter and her friend getting a pedicure.
They were leaving for camp (at the beach) the following day and wanted to have freshly painted toenails.

We all three got pedicures!

Tuesday, June 23
A woman I worked with had her long awaited for baby yesterday!
I went to visit him (and her) and my lunch hour.
(I love my iPhone, but I really don't like the camera...oh well!)

Here are the girls, getting ready to leave on the bus!
Watch out Orange Beach, Alabama!
They are attending Student Life camp at an awesome location!

Wednesday, June 24
Wow. It is just my husband and I at home for dinner tonight!
So we hit our favorite neighborhood restaurant for dinner.

Thursday, June 25
I pass this pasture every week on my way to a meeting I attend every Thursday night.
It never ceases to amaze me that these horses are smack dab in the middle of a very elite housing addition! Texas is sort of fun that way.

Friday, June 26
When I come home on Friday evenings, I am usually not in the mood to cook. My husband knows this so he happily prepares dinner quite often.
This is him cooking for me on Friday night.

Saturday, June 27
That is my son, Aaron. He and I spent the entire afternoon at the pool Saturday.
This is the view I had when I was rejoining him after going inside for something.
When I saw this, I realized how cool it was to see my chair beside him and realized how blessed I was to be able to spend good time with him.

Also, Saturday, June 27
This was hilarious!
We were picked up by our best friends to go out to dinner on Saturday night and this is how my friend, Lori, showed up!
In the same outfit as me!
I did go upstairs and change, but the guys had to get a photo first!
We have been friends for 20 years!
It shows.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Remembering Pain and Seeing Good

Just over a year ago (by two days) I sat on an airplane leaving my former "home" in Virginia; my second visit after my move to Texas, at that time, 3 years ago. It was a day full of sadness and pain that words could not possibly express, not plain sentences anyway. The prayers that went up that day were certainly interceded by the Holy Spirit as much of what I prayed, there were no words.

Things had changed in Virginia. And I lost the person who had been my very best friend there...the one we, as women, call "BFF" (best friend forever). She and I knew we had a David/Jonathon type friendship. The only thing missing for a while was our "Saul". He showed up and the story played out. On June 24th, I was David, behind the rock. And I left, never to be seen again. Yes, friends, the friendship had to end. My "Saul" was ready to kill the friendship...and he did.
(to read the story of Jonathon and David, go to 1 Samuel 18 in the Bible.)

A poem flowed from my heart as I sat on that airplane and I posted it on this blog. It came to mind today as I pondered and prayed for my friend, and the one's who also I once was close to. I find myself sad, but praising God for the way He has healed my heart since the day I wrote these words. I still hope for reconciliation some day.


A fire burns behind me
I run to keep ahead
Those who I once cared for becoming cold and dead
Red and black the flames grow high
Smoke rises in the air
The pain of my unworthiness
Seems more than I can bear

In front of me I see the sun
I long to feel it's heat
The iciness inside my heart has paralyzed my feet
I see the moon, I see the stars
They swirl and dance for me
I see the hole, the big dark hole
Where one star used to be

Friday Fill-Ins

Hooray, it is Friday!

And time for Friday Fill-ins! Let's see what my brain comes up with as I fill in the blanks provided by Tonya at Friday Fill-In's Blog.

1. She had a great big smile on her face as she boarded the bus to go to camp! (my daughter when she left for camp on Tuesday)

2. God is by my side, always, and I am ever so grateful.

3. I know this: there are only two things that I have control over in my life - my attitude and my location!

4. Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

5. These words apply to me: Life Is Good.

6. Every time I looked outside yesterday the sun was shining.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to hanging out with my husband, tomorrow my plans include going to the gym, laying out at the pool, and hopefully a double date with our best friends, and Sunday, I want to worship God at the Village church, read, and pick up my daughter when she returns from camp!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

ABC's of the Word - T

If anyone THINKS he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
~ Galations 6:3
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about thinking.
I have also been thinking a lot about selfishness, pride, and an attitude of being self centered.
This verse addresses some of what I have been pondering.
Recently, I took an inventory of events in my life that had certain results.
I saw some things that fall in the category of this verse that I have been working on changing.
Since I am a human being, with human characteristics, I also have needed to refrain from taking other people's inventories for them.
Especially when their behavior toward me has reflected the same flawed behavior that I see in myself.
Why do we do this?
I sometimes think God shows us our own ugly behavior by putting someone in our life that has the same ugly behavior. When someone else is doing "it", doesn't "it" look even worse? But when we realize we look just the same (or worse?) we are so convicted?
Anyway, I know I don't want to deceive myself.
Without God, I really am nothing.
And even with God, I am no better than anyone else.
I don't need to be "SOMETHING" anyway, do I?
I like this verse.
It helps me remember where my focus should be.
For more ABC's of the word visit Pam's blog at

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Project 365 Week 5

Hang on for a long week!

Sunday, June 14
Fred and I completed our Membership Requirements and signed our Membership Covenant.
We are now official members of The Village Church.
That was a long time coming!

Monday, June 15
Stopped by the fitness center after work!
It has been WAY TOO long. Three weeks. These back issues are really hindering my ability to work out!

Tuesday, June 16
This is a stack of girls underwear.
I have experienced envy whenever I wash and fold my daughters cute undies from
American Eagle. They were having a sale this week, and I bought MYSELF some cute undies!
No more boring solids for me!

Wednesday, June 17
My daughter and I drove to Tulsa today. One of the things she has always wanted to do is stop at the Arbuckle Wilderness Park on the way. We made time to do that and it was hilariously fun. I am not sure that she and I have ever laughed so hard together!
Above - a Llama

A camel, looking to see who was coming for a visit. That is Rebecca's head in the corner of the photo.

A very cute giraffe.

Rebecca is feeding the giraffe. He has his tongue stuck down inside that cup, licking the last few pieces of food from the bottom!
I have TONS of great photos from this trip! I wish I could post them all.

Thursday, June 18
This is 5th Night at Utica Square - a Tulsa tradition.
It is an outdoor concert at a very old, outdoor mall. I grew up attending this event and looked forward to coming back with my kids. The crowd is as big as it ever was.

This is me and my friends, Harry and Ginger.
I met Harry when I met Fred (my husband). They were co-workers at the place where I worked also...the place where I met Fred. This guy was a big contributor to Fred and I being together. We lost track of Harry for over 20 years and recently he found me on Twitter!
He and his wife (who I met on this night) came out to see me, and meet Aaron and Rebecca for the first time.
Utica Square

Friday, June 19
The kids and I went to visit Grandma Anna. Anna is Fred's dad's wife, now widow. She misses Bob very much but has brought two new kittens into her life and they are adding much joy!
This is one of them...maybe Suki. (or is it Sadie?)

We visited the grave site of our beloved Father, Father-in-law, and Grandpa.
It is our first Father's Day without him.

Saturday, June 20
My niece, Kristin, turned 4 today.
This is a shot I took right after the pinata was busted. In the middle of the picture, is my sister, Lynn, Kristin's mom, having a great time!

This is my sweet niece, Kristin, in the dress-up skirt that we bought her.

Sunday, June 21
These would normally be posted at the beginning of next week, but I think I will include them now!
That is a photo of my mom, standing on her porch waving good-bye to us as we get ready to drive back to Dallas.

We made it home in time to celebrate with Fred!
He is a wonderful Father!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Family Time = Fun Time

Tonight is my last night in Tulsa. My daughter and I joined my son here (at my mom's house) in the middle of the week. Last weekend, when she was at my home celebrating her birthday, and my son's birthday...they left together to come to Tulsa for a little Grandma/Grandson time. (yes, my 22 year old son STILL comes to spend a week with his grandma!) On Wednesday, my daughter and I drove up to spend a few days and here it is, Saturday night already. Three of us will drive back to the Dallas area tomorrow so that we can spend the day with my wonderful hubby - the GREAT father that he is.

My plans were to post my regular posts while I was here, ABC's of the word, Random Acts of Poetry, Friday Fill-Ins, etc, and this is my first time actually sitting down at the computer. So...I guess I took a technology sabbatical, with the exception of a few twitter updates.

My 365 project awaits my return (I forgot the cord to upload photos) and I will say right now - I am going to have a very difficult time narrowing it down to one a day! We have enjoyed a lot of fun while we were here and even though I did not take a photo every time I had the opportunity, I still have tons of photos that I can't wait to share.

In the meantime, I thought I would check in real quick and just say hi! I have included a fun photo of my mom, my beautiful niece (who turned 4 years old today!) and my son and daughter. We were at 5th Night, an event held at Utica Square, that has become a Tulsa tradition. Utica Square is an outdoor mall that is blocks from where I grew up and I love, love, love bringing my children to the same places that I enjoyed as a child myself. There is something deeply satisfying about passing these things along to my kids...the love of music, dancing, summer nights spent outdoors with, meeting new friends and reacquainting with old ones.

So, tomorrow we travel. I have much to think about as my mind is filled with stories, thoughts, and pictures of time in Tulsa with my family.

Missed everyone, and I can't wait to catch up!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

God is Relentless

God is relentless, that's for sure. He does not give up.

I recently had to give my testimony (a requirement for membership at my church) and was again amazed at the amount of time it took me to turn my life over to Christ. I was 25 years old, but I had 3 really good friends sharing with me and praying for me...for 5 years!

Currently, God has been relentless in pursuing parts of me that I have been reluctant to give to Him. Attitudes. Relationships. Pride. Anger. But He gently moves, day after day, moment after moment, until finally, I am surrendered to Him.

From 1999 until 2008, He had me on a persistent journey. It was rough and I held onto things - people - because I was afraid to be without them. God, however, knew He had better plans for me. I was involved in situations that were damaging to my health, relationships that were tearing me up with abuse and co-dependency, and living in a place that looked remarkably like a pit. Not that life was all bad because it wasn't, but there were some things that God was asking me to let go of and the more He asked, the tighter I held on. Last summer, I was forced to let go. Since then, I have seen things new! I am recognizing truth with new eyes. Things that I felt I could not live without, now living without is so freeing! He did not relent. He continued showing me. And even recently, pursued until the last shred of hurt was gone. All that was, anything related, or removed. Not by my choice, you see, but by His sovereignty. He has situated me so that He is Everything. He is my best friend. He has sealed me as His! He is the fire that burns within me. He is jealous and wants what is His - my total affection. He is my joy and He is my comfort. My heart was so broken, so shamed, so afraid, that I had no choice but to give it all to Him.

One of the songs that we sing at my church worship service is "You Won't Relent" This song holds a very, very special place in my heart because it tells the story of His work in my life the last many years. I still weep when I sing it because it is work that is still fresh, still soft, and still carries a bit of pain that I have to turn over to Him daily. This past week, at the service, we sang this song again. And again, my affections were stirred to worship a God who never gives up until He has it all.

And I want to give it all.

You won't relent
Until You have it all
My heart is Yours

I'll set You as a seal upon my heart
As a seal upon my arm
For there is love that is as strong as death
Jealousy demanding as the grave
And many waters cannot quench this love

Come be the fire inside of me
Come be the flame upon my heart
Come be the fire inside of me
Until You and I are one

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Increase and Sacrifice

The Gift
Chapter 2 The Bones of the Dead

The chapter title has held me for days...The Bones of the Dead.

In chapter 2, Hyde refers to the bones of a salmon being returned to the sea, after making full circle, in order to revive and return to human form so that next year, the salmon could repeat a gift giving process again. The American Indian tribes that live with this mythology call this a potlatch. (this is just the beginning of what we learn about potlatch!) The gift that the salmon's provide is the tribes primary substance - food for the winter.

The Bones of the Dead.
of course.
Potlatches and coppers are a main part of this chapter. Potlatches, the gift giving celebration, and copper; the item used in the gift exchange - the value, if you will. The copper is given, and a gift is returned, in the example, blankets. The recipient of the copper expresses his generosity by giving blankets. If the number of blankets increases, the value of the copper grows as well.
Sometimes, the copper would be broken, dismembered. If the copper was put back together, the copper's worth increased again.
The Bones of the Dead.
sort of.
The copper is a gift. Goodwill is involved. And emotion.
But the real gift...the true gift is the increase.
Every time the gift increases in value, it is given away, it is sacrificed by the giver and then by the recipient as he gives it away again. The increase continues because it is always in motion and the increase is not consumed.
The Bones of the Dead.
As I read this chapter, and as I ruminate over what I read, the lesson I receive is that one person's gift must not become another person's capital. (Laura, I am not thinking of your theft experience as a gift here.)
Hyde says, "The distinction lies in what we might call the vector of the increase: in gift exchange, it, the increase, stays in motion and follows the object, while in commodity exchange it stays behind as profit."
The increase stays in motion. I am wondering how I can accomplish this in my own life?
Stay tuned to more chapters in The Gift, book club hosted by HCB.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Project 365 Week 4

Week 4 of Project 365
My week in pictures

Sunday, June 7
My handsome husband is doing some serious tree limb trimming.
I was summoned to help by bundling the branches.

Monday, June 8
My first day working in my rearranged office. Since taking this office over a year ago, I always wanted to rearrange the desk so that I could look out of the window while I work. My back has been to the view for all the time I have occupied this office, but Friday, a friend and I moved the furniture and arranged it so I wanted.

This is the view out of my office window. When I am sitting at my desk (above), if I look to my left (where I was standing when I took the picture of the desk) this is what I see.
I love it!

Tuesday, June 9
My day today was very exhausting. I am glad that I enjoyed my office arrangement yesterday (Monday) because today I didn't even have time to think about it.
The day didn't stop until I saw this (my comfy and waiting bed)...and I realized I had not taken my daily photo.
Well....seizing every opportunity...

Wednesday, June 10
Two of my kids, Rebecca and Aaron, putting together a new porch swing!
This is a shot I welcome. For a long time, these two did not like being in the same room together. Now look at them!
It was only minutes later that the tornado sirens started sounding and the entire evening changed course. (see poem below)

Thursday, June 11
Today is my mom's birthday and my oldest son, Adam!
We had no electricity, but I went to work anyway.
This is the scene from my driveway as I was backing out of the garage.

Bonus Photos for June 11
It is not Aaron's birthday until tomorrow, but we had the birthday party anyway. Since Grandma was here, we opened gifts on her birthday.
The party plans changed drastically since we still did not have power, but it was still fun!

Happy Birthday, Mom (Grandma!)
(sitting on new swing that Aaron and Rebecca were assembling the night of the tornado)

Friday, June 12
Aaron's real birthday.
Still no power!
We went to Chick-fil-A for lunch.
Can you believe that this is my mom's very first Chick-fil-A sandwich?

Saturday, June 13
(yes, we have power now; it came on late June 12)
I woke early Saturday morning and went out into the backyard to survey the recovery of the garden after the storms. This is a photo of the Ruella flower. (also called Mexican Petunia)
I have a sentimental attachment to this plant because I bought it while shopping with my (former) best friend, Ruth. We also bought one for her mother when she came home from the hospital after open heart surgery. Although that friendship is no longer blooming, this plant blooms on and reminds me of good times with her. (love you always, dear friend)

To see more 365 project photos, visit Sara


My son and husband decided to wash the cars one day this week.
My husband captured a fun moment between brother and sister.
(remember, these are the two who have a brand new attitude in their relationship)

(okay, so you need to click on this last photo to capture Aaron's expression. This is a young man who, just a few months ago, would have been tempted to throw the bottle of wax at his silly, younger sister. But...the look says it all!)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Random Acts of Poetry - Conversation Poetry

Having gathered sentences from several conversations all week long, I started two poems, and then Wednesday came.
Along with Wednesday came a tornado to my north Texas neighborhood and even though many sirens have blared and many close calls have occurred, Wednesday was the first time my 15 year old daughter was present to see the real thing. Our evening was happening; I was preparing dinner, my husband mowing the lawn (we knew storms were coming) and my daughter and 22 year old son were assembling a new porch swing in the garage. I wrote a poem to reflect the remaining part of the evening. (just now posting it because the electricity just returned!)

(a family conversion)

There is a tornado warning
Rotation is forming, see there
Sirens are sounding, like a song.
I'm going in!
Mom, I am scared!

Look! Look, there it is!
That is it, it's so dark, there's a tail.
Where is Dad? Come inside!
The trees, will they break?
They bend to the ground.

I hope the power comes on, it's hot and it's dark.
Move our brush from the street
Lift the limbs from the pool
Pizza for dinner, if they'll come.
It's moved past us so we're safe.
A tornado was here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Give, Take, or Keep?

On Mondays, over at High Callings Blog, there is a book study going on. The selected reading is The Gift by Lewis Hyde.
"...The Gift is a brilliant defense of the value of creativity and its importance in a culture increasingly governed by money and overrun with commodities..." (back cover)
Reading that, I was captured into curiosity that could only be satisfied by reading the book. I do not consider myself an artist, but one who believes strongly that we all have something to contribute and if we can do it with artful creativity, well...what a gift!

I did read the introduction, and like Sam, made a few notes as tried to absorb all that was said. My first note, "I think I am in over my head!" However, I pursued as the words drew me in and I began to look at gift exchanges with new eyes, although blurry. Art as a gift? Hmmm, yes, I can wrestle with that thought and it make some sense. But how about the authors thought, "a gift that cannot be given away ceases to be a gift."? This thought created even more questions.
Eager to read on for possible answers and insight!

Part 1: A Theory of Gifts
Chapter 1: Some Food We Could Not Eat

The beginning of chapter 1 spoke on something I quickly identified with; An Indian Gift. Who has not heard of an Indian giver? In my reading, I discovered it is not really about taking the gift back, like I believed in my childhood, but about understanding the key attribute of the gift: "whatever we have been given is supposed to be given away again, not kept."

Hyde illustrates this by describing the Kula exchange, a ceremonial gift exchange that takes place within a tribal people in New Guinea. Amazing how armshells and necklaces are passed from household to household until finally the gifts make full circle. What is interesting to me is that the armshells and necklaces are kept in motion, they never stop. The word that brought me to And yet another question surfaces as I contemplate gift giving in a circular motion, not just back and forth, as I have commonly experienced. But of course, Hyde addresses this as I continue reading, defining reciprocal giving, a simple circular movement, only between two people. And if a gift is held on to does it become a commodity? My mind is opening up to the idea of art as a gift, not a commodity. A commodity can be used up, depleted. A gift? It doesn't run out if it remains in motion. Like art.

Having thought of art as mostly self expression, but a beautiful picture of selflessness has tied in to my thoughts on writing, painting, playing, or whatever on might consider to be "art". I see God being glorified in even more than before I read even the first chapter of this book. Examples from my own life are coming to mind, and it makes sense. I have a poem that my mother wrote for me several years ago. It was given to me as a gift and I cherish that poem a lot. It was an expression of my mother's thoughts and feelings, but it was also a selfless gift, one that I have a renewed desire to pass along, in some way so that art does not become a commodity. Now, I will keep that actual poem (smile), but allowing any creativity that stirs within me to be passed along as a selfless gift to bless someone else, certainly not to flatter myself.

my hands are open
i have received
don't close the fingers
let it rest

the time will come soon
to pass along
artful gift is set
send it out

Looking forward to next week!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Project 356 Week 3

Another week has passed and I have to say, I am enjoying this project quite a bit!
Some of the photographs, I fear, might be boring to anyone who views them,
but for me, they record a happening, something noteworthy, or something worth remembering in my life.
So cool.
So here we go...

Sunday, May 31
Every morning when I wake up since I became a parent, I make rounds to look in the beds of my beloved children. My heart fills with love and blessing to look upon the sleeping humans that God gave me and my husband to look after and care for.
They are no longer babies.
The oldest turns 25 this week and doesn't even live here.
(yes, I peek at him in the morning when he is visiting.)
The middle one turns 22 this week.
And the youngest, she is 15.
Sunday morning, when I arose to start my day, I found this in my 22 year old son's room.
He has always been a gifted artist, but a gift that he has worked on only on and off in his life.
Lately, he has had a renewed desire.
My heart soared to see this, his easel and paint, up with fresh ideas.

Monday, June 1
UPS delivered my summer reading!
The Bible Study that I will be doing with my Home Girls,
and the book that I will read and challenge myself with as a book club reading on
High Callings Blog

Tuesday, June 2
This is a picture that brings me much, much rejoicing!
God is working BIG in my church right now.
He just provided us a church in Dallas.
There are around 100 people who are part of the church that will become part of
The Village Church Northway
There are another 150 from the Village Church Highland Village who will go in and launch this new body, merging the two.
I was blessed to serve the two groups dinner on Tuesday night.
This is a picture of many people, obedient to the call of God, ready to serve.
My heart has healed from the wounds of a past church experience...part of a church plant.
I give God much praise for the excitement He gives me as I serve these leaders, humbly, willingly, and with joy!
Wednesday, June 3
This is the day I had the injections in my back and wrist.
When I returned from my appointment, my house keeper was still working.
This is her baby, Isel.
She is a miracle.
The doctors told my friend, housekeeper, that she would not conceive a child.
Her husband prayed that would not be true.
She conceived!
And look at this beautiful child of God!

Thursday, June 4
Tomorrow is the last day of school.
Beautiful 15 year old daughter is making brownies to take to school...
at 9:30 p.m.!
Then she forgot to take them to school...she was too sleepy to wake up on time, started the morning in a rush, and forgot the brownies!
Oh well.
She and her friends are eating them our house.

Friday, June 5
Okay, it is becoming obvious that I am a mother.
This is the Doctor's office where my 15 year old has spent a lot of time the last 6 months.
It is a dermatologist office, and it is decorated like a warehouse apartment.
It is our last visit here and I wanted to remember how cool it looks.
Rebecca has been on Acutane for her acne.
And it is GONE!

Saturday, June 6
When I was a child, my grandparents had a bird bath outside of their window.
My family had one too, but I don't remember it as vividly as the one at my grandparent's home.
My granddaddy loved birds.
He could imitate certain calls.
I was so impressed.
I can still see his face as he whistled to the birds, his blue eyes concentrating, sparkling, and pleased with his performance.
I have a small bird bath in my back yard and because my husband and I enjoy it so much, we are looking for a larger one.
Yesterday, I walked outside and found birds bathing!
Then I walked around my garden and found another little guy.
I love these geckos!

Another week.
Thank you, God!