Thursday, January 31, 2008

This Day's . . .


Death stung himself to death when he stung Christ.

~ William Romaine


A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
~ Proverbs 15:4, The Revised Standard Version




No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn back.

Worry: Passing the Torch

WORRY. Is there a magic cutoff period when offspring become accountable for their own Actions? Is there a wonderful moment when parents can become detached spectators in the lives of their children and shrug, 'It's Their life,' and feel nothing?

When I was in my twenties , I stood in a hospital corridor waiting for doctors to put a few stitches in my daughter's head. I asked, 'When do You stop worrying?' The nurse said, 'When they get out of the accident stage.' My Dad just smiled faintly and said nothing.

When I was in my thirties, I sat on a little chair in a classroom and heard how one of my children talked incessantly, disrupted the class, and was headed for a career making license plates. As if to read my mind, a teacher said, 'Don't worry, they all go through this stage, and then you can sit back, relax and Enjoy them.' My dad just smiled Faintly and said nothing.

When I was in my forties, I spent a lifetime waiting for the phone to ring, the cars to come home, the front door to open. A friend said, 'They're trying to find themselves. Don't worry, in a few years, you can stop worrying. They'll be Adults.' My dad just smiled faintly and said nothing.

By the time I was 50, I was sick & tired of being vulnerable. I was still worrying over my children, but there was a new wrinkle. There was nothing I could do about it. My Dad just smiled faintly and said nothing.

I continued to anguish over their failures, be tormented by their frustrations and absorbed in their disappointments. My friends said that when my kids got married I could stop worrying and lead my own Life. I wanted to believe that, but was haunted by my dad's warm smile and his occasional, 'You look pale. Are you all right? Call me the minute you get home. Are You depressed about something?'

Can it be that parents are sentenced to a lifetime of worry? Is concern for one another handed down like a torch to blaze the trail of human frailties and the fears of the unknown? Is concern a curse or is it a virtue that elevates us to the highest form of life?

One of my children became quite irritable recently, saying to me, 'Where were you? I've been calling for 3 days, and no one answered. I was worried.' I smiled a warm smile. The torch has been passed.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Casey Black, R.I.P.

Casey went home to the Lord last evening. He was ready, even anxious to see Him. I felt the best thing to do was to post Kristy's (Casey's wife) journal entry from Caringbridge. This will be my only post today as I mourn Casey and spend time in prayer for him and his family. May he rest in peace. Amen.


WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2008 08:14 AM, CST (by Kristy Black)

Hey all. Casey went to be with the Lord at 8:40 last night. He was readmitted into the emergency room yesterday morning because of very low blood pressure and low oxygen. While we were in there we found out he had sepses, which is a very bad infection that attacks the organs of the body. And he had many blood clots that would close off his lines to his lungs. He had to go back on the bi-bap machine and they needed to put him back on the ventilator. Casey was aware enough to make his own decisions and he said he was ready to meet his maker. He knew that being on the ventilator would not save his life and he knew how bad sick he was and the cancer would be uncurable at this point. Although this sucks for me beyond words I know that he is dancing with his Lord and he is not sick anymore. Casey's attitude through this short journey has been a real testimony to everyone. He was actually excited yesterday. He was laughing, pointing up and saying I going to meet the Lord. He was very at rest with his decision. And the Lord took him very peacefully. I was blessed enough to be with him at that moment and all I could keep saying was Thank you Jesus, and know that He was with Casey walking him into heaven. What I got out of the sermon at church Sunday was that Jesus is our ultimate goal and felt that I shouldn't even be praying for Casey's healing anymore because it would be selfish for me to want to keep him here when he would be happier in heaven. God is our strength when we are weak and he has held me up this entire time. All Praise be to God and his power, mercy, grace and hope for a better life. Without Him how could any of us go on. I love all yall and I will post later today the visitation and funeral schedule. Looks like we will have visitation at The Church of Brook Hills where we attend Thursday night and then service and drive to Adamsville for the barial on Friday. Also, I please ask that everybody not bombard with phone calls today because as I'm sure you can understand I really don't feel like talking right now. I hope to meet all of you soon and would love to talk then.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Brief Respite On The Horizon

I am beginning to see it, it's getting closer every day. The annual trip to Las Vegas for the big Market. I wasn't even planning to go this year; LG and I had talked at length about going to the northeast, to the Smithsonian, in particular, and I figured on that for our major vacation this year. But when Mom and Dad were here for Christmas, the question was posed, "are y'all going to Las Vegas?" and before I could open my mouth, LG answered up in the affirmative. So, I guess we're going to Las Vegas for Market - third year in a row.

I'm not complaining, trust me. Mom and Dad have lifelong friends, whom I have also known for most of my life. They have the tax number, and thus, they provide us with the passes. It doesn't cost them anything and they're loads of fun, as are my Mom and Dad. We all have a blast together. Funny, when I was growing up, my parents were the last people on earth with whom I'd want to socialize. Now they hold the Numero Uno spot on my list!

At the Mirage, there is the most enormous jewelry exhibition and that is always our first adventure. We spend most of one whole day at the jewelry mart. There is everything under the sun, and not just jewelry items. You'll find the latest in handbags and fashions before they hit the stores, too, not to mention the "fine" jewelry mart which is situated in its own exhibition hall separate from the costume stuff. I'm laying the groundwork for a serious piece this year ... but you know how men are .... it's got to be their idea, so we have to work this very carefully.

There are two other exhibitions at two other hotels, and buses provide transportation all day long between the three hotels. You're dead tired when you get on that bus at the end of a day of shopping, and as you head back to your hotel, all you can think about is getting a free cocktail in the Casino and gambling! I have become fairly good at progressive poker ... I even came out ahead last year by about $200. Now add three more zeros to that and I'll be seriously enchanted!

We do the buffet at the hotel for breakfast and dinner, no lunch cause you eat so much that you don't need it. We saw an impersonators show last year and the Elvis guy was totally boss ... the girl that did Marilyn Monroe had her down to ever teensy bit of body language to airy, girlish voice. I enjoyed it, but the drinks were so not happening - as anticipated, of course.

You see all kinds in Las Vegas. It almost becomes a battleground of sorts. There are tons and tons of "foreigners" - you know because they are walking around speaking THEIR language, and when you come face-to-face with them, they expect you to walk around. Well, hun, I'm not doing it, so you can imagine the multiple collisions that I experienced. But it is always worth it. This is my country, after all, and you are allowed here as a guest so be gracious for gosh sakes.

The Casinos are not the cleanest places in the world ... I carry my handi-wipes around and am conscientious about cleaning off things before I touch ... and they still allow smoking in the casinos so that can be a bummer if you end up in the middle of a group puffing non-stop for hours on end.

I gotta brag, though. I was talking to a girlfriend in Sacramento about all the traveling that they do every year. Seems they are always off to some new and exotic destination. She turned me on to Sky Miles. She said they literally put everything on their credit card and pay the full balance every month. We're talking groceries, gas, clothing, incidentals, prescriptions, fast food, everything. So, I went online and I found a card that pays 2 miles for every dollar you spend. We got the cards in April. We pay our full balance every month, so the credit card company never makes any money off of us. They might make it off the retailer, but not off moi! Au contrare! I purchased two round-trip tickets to Las Vegas and had more than enough sky miles to pay for them. Mom and Dad asked me to go online and get them signed up, too. If you can beat the system and you don't try, you're crazy!

Somehow, I'm managing to work and blog .... and duty calls. Ciao bella!

The Difference Between Rich and Poor People

One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"
"It was great, Dad."
"Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked.
"Oh yeah," said the son.
"So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father.

The son answered:

"I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight."

"We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them."

The boy's father was speechless. Then his son added,

"Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are."

Isn't perspective a wonderful thing? Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for everything we have, instead of worrying about what we don't have.

Appreciate every single thing you have, especially your friends!

This Day's . . .

The Lord provides what is needed, when it is needed. I dedicate this to an anonymous friend; I pray that this will sustain you today and in the days to come. I send to you a wonderful and comforting morning prayer that I learned only recently:

"Lord, nothing will happen today that You and I, together, cannot handle."



What is the source of your joy? There are some who are dependent upon the mood of others for their happiness. They seem bound in mood one to another like Siamese twins. If the other person is happy, the happiness is immediately contagious. If the other person is sad, there is no insulation against his mood. There are some whose joy is dependent upon circumstances. When things do not go well, a deep gloom settles upon them, and all who touch their lives are caught in the fog of their despair. There are some whose joy is a matter of disposition and temperament. They cannot be sad because their glands will not let them. Their joy is not a matter for congratulations or praise; it is a gift of life, a talent, a gratuitous offering placed in their organism. There are some who must win their joy against high odds, squeeze it out of the arid ground of their living or wrest it from the stubborn sadness of circumstance. It is a determined joy, sharpened by the zest of triumph.

There are still others who find their joy deep in the heart of their religious experience. It is not related to, dependent upon, or derived from, any circumstances or conditions in the midst of which they must live. It is a joy independent of all vicissitudes. There is a strange quality of awe in their joy, that is but a reflection of the deep calm water of the spirit out of which it comes. It is primarily a discovery of the soul, when God makes known his presence, where there are no words, no outward song, only the Divine Movement. This is the joy that the world cannot give. This is the joy that keeps watch against all the emissaries of sadness of mind and weariness of soul. This is the joy that comforts and is the companion, as we walk even through the valley of the shadow of death.

~ Howard Thurman


And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in his salvation.

~Psalm 35:9
The King James Version

Daily Wisdom from Heartlight

The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.

~ Proverbs 19:23, King James Version

Monday, January 28, 2008

This Day's . . .

Our safety does not lie in the present perfection of our knowledge of the will of God, but in our sincerity in obeying the light we have, and in seeking for more.

~ Edward Worsdell

With the Lord on my side I do not fear. What can man do to me?

~ Psalm 118:6

I'm Ticked!

I just happened to open my blog a moment ago and saw that Google Ads had placed a tower ad for Asian women looking for love, or whatever .... I have now deleted Adsense! I know I did not sign up for anything like this and instead of having a tower of 3 or 4 ads, I had a tower with 4 or 5 photographs, with descriptions, of Asian women looking for mates .... I apologize if anyone saw this ... for me personally, it's disgusting.

Abbey

Southern Women



Southern women appreciate their natural assets:
Clean skin.
A winning smile.
That unforgettable Southern drawl.

Southern women know their manners:
"Yes, ma'am.
''Yes, sir."
"Why, no, Billy!"


Southern women have a distinct way with fond expressions:
'Ya'll come back!"
''Well, bless your heart."
''Drop by when you can."
''How's your Momma?"

Southern women know their summer weather report:
Humidity
Humidity
Humidity

Southern women know their vacation spots:
The beach
The rivuh
The crick

Southern women know the joys of June, July, and August:
Colorful hi-heel sandals
Strapless sun dresses
Iced sweet tea with mint

Southern women know everybody's first name:
Honey
Dahlin'
Shugah

Southern women know the movies that speak to their hearts:
Fried Green Tomatoes
Driving Miss Daisy
Steel Magnolias
Gone With The Wind

Southern women know their religions:
Baptist
Methodist
Football

Southern women know their country breakfasts:
Red-eye gravy
Grits
Eggs
Country ham
Mouth-watering homemade biscuits with momma's homemade jelly

Southern women know their cities dripping with Southern charm:
Chawl'stn
S'vanah
Foat Wuth
N'awlins
Addlanna

Southern women know their elegant gentlemen:
Men in uniform.
Men in tuxedos
Rhett Butler

Southern girls know their prime real estate:
The Mall
The Country Club
The Beauty Salon

Southern girls know the 3 deadly sins:
Having bad hair and nails
Having bad manners
Cooking bad food

Raising Sand

The first time I was told that there was collaboration in the works between Allison Krauss and Robert Plant, my first thought was, "I can't see Robert Plant singing bluegrass!" I couldn't wrap my brain around the gifted bluegrass singer and the luminary leader of Led Zepplin pooling their independent resources resulting in a successful product. What I got was a stunning mix of two voices, along with perfect accompaniment that leave you with the feeling that this collaboration was predestined.

I have never heard this Robert Plant. At age 59, he's still "got it" - his voice is as smooth as velvet. He's not whaling and whining; he's crooning and complimentary to his partner as he and Allison blend their voices perfectly through intricate harmonies. The recording is all cover songs and were produced under the guidance of T Bone Burnett. Songs include the Everley Brothers' "Gone, Gone, Gone", and the Plant-Page "Please Read the Letter", the tango beat of "Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us" and the capturing "Rich Woman". I can't choose a favorite; this entire album is altogether a refreshing adventure into uncharted waters. It is a "must have" for any music aficionado's library.

On February 11, the Krauss/Plant team will be featured on CMT's Crossroad's. They'll appear together Centerstage at the BJCC on April 26 - I already have my tickets, Section A - I can't wait! Following is a video that will give you a taste of "Raising Sand" and comments from the artists
.





Friday, January 25, 2008

Speaking of Family Legacies


I'd like you to meet my great-niece, Miss Ava Cheri. I adore the name "Ava" ... it's exotic and so feminine. This photograph was taken at my sister's farm in Trafford, where they board horses, keep chickens and 3 dogs, on top of both having full-time jobs. Ava will soon celebrate her second birthday. Just wanted to share this with you because she's one of my little angels .... it is a common saying among our family that, "we don't make ugly babies!" Madam horsey will have to forgive as I do not know her name.

You can't say our family is short on unusual names; my given name is Anthanea Starr, and my sister's given name is Sheri Charmagne. This from a generation of Betty's, Bob's, Mildred's, Bill's, Sue's, Margaret's, Jim's and Jerry's, not to mention Dick and Pauline (someone will remember them with fondness!).

The preceding generation was even more genteel. My paternal grandmother was Leta Mae, and my grandfather was William Lafayette. My maternal grandmother was Lillie Francis and my grandfather was Jefferson Davis.

Meme

This is a tag game. In the context of web logs / 'blogs / blogging and other kinds of personal web sites it's some kind of list of questions that you saw somewhere else and you decided to answer the questions. Then someone else sees them and does them and so on and so on. I generally consider these to be actual questions and not some multiple choice quizzes that determine some result at the end (what color you are most like, what cartoon character are you, what 80s movie are you). I'll answer all of the questions and then tag someone to do the same.

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE ? No. My given name is Anthanea Starr, and I have no idea from where it was derived.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? Maybe two weeks ago, I can't recall . . .

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Not really.

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? You won't believe it, but it's good ole bologna.

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? yes, two.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? YES!

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? I do, but it is in fun.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? No, got 'em out when I was six years old. That was the thing back then - you turn six, you get your tonsils out.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Never.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Vanilla with almonds Special K

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Not very often

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Mentally, yes, I am a survivor; emotionally, no.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? jamoca almond fudge (31 Flavors used to carry it - now I can't find it anymore - WHAAA!)

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Their eyes. The eyes are the mirror of the soul.

15. RED OR PINK? Red, I'm a "true" color person.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING YOU LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF? I worry too much.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My Mom and Daddy.

18. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Brown

19. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? the last of my homemade vegetable beef soup; it was my lunch today.

20. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? the hum of my computer tower (I'm at work)

21. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Yellow, it's a happy color.

22. FAVORITE SMELLS? babies; logs burning on the fire; cookies baking in the oven; rainfall; perfume; my husband

23. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? my husband

24. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? NASCAR and football

25. HAIR COLOR? brown with "lights"

26. EYE COLOR? blue


.27. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? yes

.28. FAVORITE FOOD? Soul food

29. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Scary movies - I'm not a "feel good movie" kind of girl. I like suspense.

30. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Sweeney Todd with Johnny Depp

31. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? lime green

32. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer, hands down

33. HUGS OR KISSES? hmmmmmmm, uhhhhhhh, can't I have both??? Well, hugs feel good because they embrace you more fully than a kiss, so I'd say hugs.

34. FAVORITE DESSERT? Mom's banana pudding

35. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? The Beatles

36. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? an ad for "Juris" - our timekeeping program

37. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT? the end of CSI, that's it

38. FAVORITE SOUNDS? rain on the roof, snow falling, the water rippling and slapping against the pier/boat

39. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? BEATLES hands down.

40. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? 2,000 miles - California

41. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? Several - playing piano, sewing, gardening, cooking

42. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Decatur, Alabama, USA

This meme is pretty long. I tag the following:

Leigh from
General Ramblings of a Premenopausal (Middledaged !!??) Woman
Hewy from
No Sleep
Jennifer from Daily Diatribes

Heartlight

VERSE:

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.


~ Philemon 1:25

THOUGHT:

Have you noticed how words of blessing are in such short supply? There is something about our fallen state that makes sarcasm and ridicule easier to use than blessing. But, in God's family, words are always to be used for the benefit and blessing of others. What simpler or kinder words do we need to use to bless others than these words Paul sent to Philemon? Let's find a way to say them ...and say them again ... and again ...

PRAYER:

Loving Father, you have blessed me so much with your grace. Please use me to be a blessing to everyone I meet today. In Jesus'name I pray. Amen.

In Constant Sorrow (Hunger)

WooHoo! I have my tickets to the Allison Krauss/Robert Plant concert in Birmingham on April 26, 2008. And I have never had the best of luck in getting good seats at such an event, but I have two tickets in Section A, Center Stage, Row 33 .... it doesn't get any better than this for me!




I have been an Allison Krauss fan for about 12 years. My favorite recording that I own of her is with Union Station LIVE from 2002. She is a superb vocalist, and gifted violinist. She rings like a songbird. I liked Led Zepplin in general, but I was not what you would call an avid fan. I had a couple of select albums that I purchased in the 60's. Robert Plant has always been an enigma of sorts to me; that big curly hair (he was "big curly hair" before "big hair bands" were cool!), those tight pants, open shirt and his vocals were unlike anything I had ever heard. When I heard that he and Allison had recorded together, I kept thinking "I can't see Plant singing bluegrass." However, by all accounts, this is a very good recording. We were loaned a copy by a friend, but my husband has had it ever since and I have not yet had the privilege of hearing it. Hopefully, I will this weekend.

Not only is Allison superb on this live album, but Gerry Douglas singing the songs from 'O' Brother Where Art Thou' is quite fabulous. I recall with fondness Christmas dinner at our house, 2005. Bother-in-law, please accept this recount of a particular moment in time as it is intended, with humor and affection.

You'd have to know my brother-in-law, Al. He's funny without intending to be (or he has me fooled, which is probably the case). His wit is quick and unlike most that comes across as pure sarcasm. He is one-of-a-kind. He is southern born and bred, and that comes with the full southern gentleman accent. We had been cooking all day, smoking the turkey, making dressing, desserts, all the trimmings. The table had been set for quite a while, and Al had around the house for several hours, visiting and pacing around, as everyone was.

I decided to have some light music playing while we ate, something that I thought everyone could appreciate. So, I put on Allison Krauss and Union Station Live. About the time that I announced that dinner would be served and everyone began to find seats around the table, the song, "In Constant Sorrow" began playing. Al, not skipping a beat, and in his very southern drawl, said, "I'm in constant hunger". I laughed so hard I thought I'd wet me knickers. Maybe you had to be there, but it was hilarious!

It is but a memory, but those are what make up our lives and they are so, so important to recall, lest they be lost forever. If you can imagine the few little memories that we can actually recall, in the span of a lifetime of millions and millions of little things, nuances, jokes, and heartfelt moments, we really don't recollect lot of them.

I feel that journaling is wonderful not just for it's cathartic quality, but for recording of times, places, events, emotions, and valuable memories. If you don't journal, don't look at it as a personal diary that is private and never to be shared. Buy a journal and start recording things that you do not want to forget, date them, keep them, and pass those books down to your offspring. Keep the legacy going. I love my sis and my brother-in-law .... they share the ability to be quick on their feet and bring a smile through very clever thought, something that I lack.

I'll be journaling my experience at the Krauss/Plant concert. And exactly seven days later, I will be at the Santana/Derek Trucks Band concert at the amphitheater. If this is any indication of how the concert season is going to be this year, then I'm savin' up! It's been several years since we had a good season of concerts, at least for any genre other than the punk and heavy metal. I'm really looking forward to it.

PEACE,
Abbey

This Day's Thought


Oh the sheer joy of it!
Walking with Thee,
Out on the hilltop,
Down by the sea,
Life is so wonderful,
Life is so free.

Oh the sheer joy of it!
Working with God,
Running His errands,
Waiting His nod,
Building His heaven,
on common sod.

~ Ralph Cushman

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A New Napa Valley Wine

California vintners, in the Napa Valley area, which primarily produces Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio wines, have developed a new hybrid grape that acts as an anti-diuretic. It is expected to reduce the number of trips older people have to make to the bathroom during the night. The new wine will be marketed as...




PINO MORE




I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE

This Day's . . .

There as been much ado on the local forum these past few days. A few newbies have suddenly appeared for the sake of nothing but childish trouble. And, it is surprising how people who are strangers and often oppose one another heatedly issues regarding the community will come together against the attacks of outsiders. We must all be friends afterall. Which is why This Day's Thought is so poignant to me.

It is from Jeremy Taylor's "A Discourse of the Nature, Offices, and Measures, of Friendship, with Rules of Conducting It." Jeremy Taylor was a clergyman in the Church of England in the 1600's, by the way, and was referred to often as the "Shakespeare of the Divines" for his poetic writing style. And thus it is in the following.

"By friendship you mean the greatest love, the greatest usefulness, the most open communication, the noblest sufferings, the severest truth, the heartiest counsel, and the greatest union of minds of which brave men and women are capable."
~ Jeremy Taylor

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

~ Corinthians 1:3-5, The King James Version

Casey Black Journal Updates

For those who know Casey and may not have been following his journal on Caringbridge, I wanted to copy and post the last few entries. To be frank, Casey is not doing well, as you will see. Please lift him up to God in your prayers, and pray also for comfort and peace for his wife, Kristy, daughter, Austyn, and his family and friends. May the Lord bless this family in His merciful grace.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 20, 2008 10:33 AM, CST
Sorry it's been a while since the last update. Casey is doing ok. He is just very tired and doesn't seem to have much energy. He's been coughing up stuff. He says it's difficult to swallow so I don't know if meds and Ensure are getting hung or if he does have an infection. His doctor put him on antibiotics Friday anyway just in case. His swelling is still pretty bad but better. PT came out yesterday but we decided we already know what to do so they will not be coming out unless we just need them. We do different exercises through the day to help with his swelling and build strength. Please pray specifically for strength in his body. If he looks like this Wednesday for his treatment evaluation I would be surprised if his doctor started treatment the following Monday. Thanks for the prayers and just keep lifting all of us up to the Lord.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 22, 2008 03:18 PM, CST

Well guys, Casey is back in the hospital. His feeding tube started leaking from his belly Monday morning. The on call physician wanted him to call the surgeon that put the tube in if it was still leaking this morning. It was but his surgeon could not see him until Friday and told him to go to the emergency room so he could be seen. That's where he is now. They are waiting to do a CT of his abdomen to see if he has any obstruction and determine surgery or not. I really don't know anything more than that right now because I am home with Austyn and recovering from being put to sleep this morning for my own endoscopy, which came back fine. I am just so stressed that my reflux and indigestion makes my chest hurt like I'm having a heart attack. I am really concerned that he is obstructed because he is not tolerating tube feeds or eating by mouth. The only thing he wants by mouth is Ensure and he can only take 2 or 3 sips of it. It takes him all day to finish one Ensure. I am also concerned that if he does need another surgery that his body will not be able to handle it because he is so weak. I'm not sure what to pray for but the Holy Spirit does so just let Him lead you today.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2008 04:43 PM, CST
I know more now. Casey's feeding tube was pulled out a little bit. This is common and they put it back in today. He is in recovery now. The fluid that was gushing from the hole was just fluid from his small intestine and not feses. This fluid is the same type fluid that is causing most of his distention in his abdomen, which is being caused by the cancer. We also found out that he has pneumonia and a blood clot in his leg. This would be why the swelling is still so bad in his legs. They have him on triple antibiotics for the pneumonia and plan to do either blood thinners or put an umbrella in to stop the clot from moving. His oncologist also visited him and said as soon as he gets the tube situation under control he wants to start chemo. I was surprised because he has pneumonia but Dr. Posey said it's now or never. Casey's window for treatment to help is closing quickly. His doctor said the chemo should make him feel better too. Which also surprised me. So we have things to pray for and to be thankful for.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 24, 2008 11:02 AM, CST
Here's the latest. Casey is still in the hospital. Casey's window is barely open for chemo to help so his oncologist wants to start chemo today. The plan is to do whatever has to be done to get that to happen even though it means breaking protocol. We still know that God is in control of this situation and He can open Casey's window wide open.

TODAY'S HEARTLIGHT

VERSE:

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and topresent you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

-- Jude 1:24-25

THOUGHT:

What a great cluster of truths are found in this one prayer of blessing. Our eyes are first drawn to what God can do for us --prevent us from falling and present us before his glorious presence in joyful perfection. But on closer inspection, our hearts are drawn to the description of our incredible God: the one who is able, the only God, our Savior, the one who lives in glory and majesty and power and authority, the one who has communicated to us through Jesus our Lord, and the one who exists before all ages and who is alive now and who will be forevermore. Our blessings as God's children are incredible, but the reason why they are is that our God is beyond incredible, awesome, and wonderful. Our words cannot do him justice. Our brightest insights cannot comprehend the glory he has. Yet despite his grandeur, he loves you and me in our finite mortality!

PRAYER:

Awesome and Holy Lord Most High, thank you for not only being God, but for loving me and showing yourself to me in the face ofJesus. I look forward to standing in your presence, enjoying your shared perfection, and praising your glory with the angels. Please accept my limited and human praise until the day my words are unchained from their mortality and my imperfections are swallowed up in your glory. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heartlight

Today's Heartlight is so powerful. It takes a lot of work to turn the habit of negative words and thoughts to positive, but like many things, you do it enough it becomes a new and better habit. God's Word is all-powerful, all-loving, and full of His promises upon which we base our Faith. May the Word of God bless you this day.

Abbey

VERSE:

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

-- 1 Peter 1:23

THOUGHT:

Words are powerful! They can maim, wound, and debilitate. They can also bless, encourage, and inspire. When those words are God's Word, they are even more important. God's Word -- the Scriptures, the Gospel -- is not only truth, but it is life! Alive and enduring, God's Word imparts life to us and gives us his message of eternal life. It tells us of his grace and teaches us how we can beborn again. Let's not take it for granted ... or neglect its message ... or remain silent about its truth.

PRAYER:

Almighty and Eternal God, thank you for speaking to us through human words. Thank you for your Gospel that gives us the message of Jesus and your salvation for us in him. Please fuel my hunger to know your Word more fully and to live it more completely. Thank you for giving me a source of truth that is reliable, stable, and enduring. In the name of Jesus, your living Word, I pray. Amen.

Lurkers

I love blogging, and I love it when people send me comments. But, I also know that there are many who lurk - they come, they read and then leave. As I've said many times, leaving comments is like pouring some fuel on the fire, or stoking the logs .... it helps keep the desire thriving.

I found this photo by accident and wanted to publish it. To all of your lurkers, come one, come outa that shell; you can comment "Anonymously" and nobody will know who you are; come one, I know you can do it!

This Day's . . .

This is a great one .... it speaks volumes to this writer.

Superficial happiness without spiritual holiness is one of hell's major exports.

~ Unknown

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sissy and Me

One of my greatest joys is my granddaughter. She was due to arrive on my birthday, but the doc saw fit to induce one day earlier; however, we share our birthdays every year. And it's only right that she have her own special day. She is magical, bright, funny, smart and so loving. I don't just love her, I adore her, and I am mesmerized just watching and listening to her.



Hannah Irelynn, Mimi loves you more than the whole wide world, the moon AND the stars!!!

Feeling A Landslide

I don't know why, but this song has been ringing in my head all day ... maybe it is befitting my mood today . . .


LANDSLIDE
by Stevie Nicks




I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
and I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
'Till the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love
Can the child within my heart rise above
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life

~~~Mmmm mmm mmm

Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older too

(Interlude)

Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older tooOh I'm getting older too

Awh, take my love, take it down
Awh, Climb a mountain and turn around
And If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide bring it down
And If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide bring it down
Oh the landslide bring it down.


Since you've read the lyrics (I hope you read them), I want to post several quotes from Stevie on how this song was written and why. I was a Buckingham-Nix fan in the 70's pre-Fleetwood Mac. In fact, the first FM vinyl I bought was "Mystery To Me" and Buckingham-Nix joined after and they recorded "Fleetwood Mac", the album. So on with Stevie's thoughts:

I wrote it (Landslide) for Lindsey - for him, about him. It's dear to both of us because it's about us. We're out there singing about our lives. ~Stevie Nicks, Q Magazine, January 2004
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It was written in 1973 at a point where Lindsey and I had driven to Aspen for him to rehearse for two weeks with Don Everly. Lindsey was going to take Phil's place. So they rehearsed and left, and I made a choice to stay in Aspen. I figured I'd stay there and one of my girlfriends was there. We stayed there for almost three months while Lindsey was on the road, and this is right after the Buckingham Nicks record had been dropped. And it was horrifying to Lindsey and I because we had a taste of the big time, we recorded in a big studio, we met famous people, we made what we consider to be a brilliant record and nobody liked it (laughs). I had been a waitress and a cleaning lady, and I didn't mind any of this. I was perfectly delighted to work and support us so that Lindsey could produce and work and fix our songs and make our music.

But I had gotten to a point where it was like, "I'm not happy. I am tired. But I don't know if we can do any better than this. If nobody likes this, then what are we going to do?"

So during that two months I made a decision to continue. "Landslide" was the decision. [Sings] "When you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills" - it's the only time in my life that I've lived in the snow. But looking up at those Rocky Mountains and going, "Okay, we can do it. I'm sure we can do it." In one of my journal entries, it says, "I took Lindsey and said, 'We're going to the top!'" And that's what we did. Within a year, Mick Fleetwood called us, and we were in Fleetwood Mac making $800 a week apiece (laughs). Washing $100 bills through the laundry. It was hysterical. It was like we were rich overnight. ~Stevie Nicks, Performing Songwriter
magazine, 2003
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It's about a father-daughter relationship. ~Stevie Nicks on how Landslide was written the night before her dad was operated on at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in 1974, The Arizona Republic, June 7, 1998
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I realized then that everything could tumble, and when you're in Colorado, and you're surrounded by these incredible mountains, you think avalanche. It meant the whole world could tumble around us and the landslide would bring you down. And a landslide in the snow is like, deadly. And when you're in that kind of a snow-covered, surrounding place, you don't just go out and yell, because the whole mountain could come down on you.

Landslide I wrote on the guitar, and it's another one that I wrote in about five minutes. But see, when I'm really thinking about something ~ I mean when something's really bothering me ~ again, the best thing that I can do is go to the music room, or to the office, where I can write. Because once I put it down and I can read it back, and I can think about what I'm saying, then it makes sense to me. When I'm just thinking it in my head, it's going around and around, and I feel like a little child unable to make a real, substantial decision. And we were talking about our lives... the rest of our lives. ~Stevie Nicks, In the Studio with Red Beard, May 1992
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Landslide I wrote in Aspen. Three months before I joined Fleetwood Mac, along with Rhiannon. And uh, that;s where the snow-covered hills come from. And I was definitely doing a whole lot of reflecting when I was up there. Lindsey was on the road with the Everly Brothers and I was very unhappy and very lonely. And trying to figure out why he was out with the Everly Brothers and I was in Aspen with $40 and my dog and my Toyota that went frozen the day we got there. And we thought he was going to make like lots of money. He didn't.

He came back to Apsen and he was very angry with me ~ and he left me ~ took Ginnie the poodle and and the car and left me in Aspen the day that the Greyhound buses went on strike. I had a bus pass cause my dad was president of Greyhound, I had a bus pass, I could go anywhere. I said, 'Fine, take the car and the dog, I have a bus pass.' I had a strep throat also. He drove away, I walk in on the radio it says 'Greyhound Buses on strike all over the Unites States.' I'm going, oh no, I'm stuck. So in order to get out of Colorado I had to call my parents and they unwillingly sent me a plane ticket because they didn't understand what I was doing up there in the first place. So I follow him back to Los Angeles, that was like October, it was all around Halloween, two months later Fleetwood Mac called on New Years Eve. ~Stevie Nicks, The Source, 1981
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The story of Landslide... everybody seems to think that I wrote this song about them. Everybody in my family, all my friends, everybody... and my Dad, my Dad did have something to do with it, but he absolutely thinks that he was the whole complete reason it was ever written. I guess it was about September 1974, I was home at my Dad and Mom's house in Phoenix, and my father said, 'you know, I think that maybe... you really put a lot of time into this [her singing career], maybe you should give this six more months, and if you want to go back to school, we'll pay for it and uh, basically you can do whatever you want and we'll pay for it ~ I have wonderful parents ~ and I went, 'cool, I can do that.'

[Then] Lindsey and I went up to Aspen, and we went to somebody's incredible house, and they had a piano, and I had my guitar with me, and I went into their living room, looking out over the incredible, like, Aspen skyway, and I wrote Landslide...three months later, Mick Fleetwood called. On New Year's Eve, 1974, called and asked us to join Fleetwood Mac. So it was three months, I still had three more months to go to beat my six month goal that my dad gave me. So that's what Landslide is about. ~Stevie Nicks, VH1 Storytellers, 1998

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Young and the Old of It

Today is my birthday. No, I am not soliciting accolades or greetings and what-have-you. To me, it is just another day. I don't want any more birthdays. I want to be in numbers what I am in my heart and soul. I'm not growing old gracefully.

I am, rather, a bit melancholy as the two-year-old son of a local radio personalilty drown in the family pool over the weekend. It is a very sad time and everyone is reaching for the Lord's comfort. And I know He is there and He will see this beautiful, Christian family through this most devastating of times. Pray for the peace and comfort of heart for the Burgess family.

I'm not going to blog today . . . but just post This Day's Thought, which I felt was very profound, and this Day's Verse is dedicated to the family of Bronner Burgess.




I am still at work, with my hand to the plow, and my face to the future. The shadows of evening lengthen about me, but morning is in my heart. I have had varied fields of labor, and full contact with men and things, and have warmed both hands before the fire of life. The testimony I bear is this: that the Castle of Enchantment is not yet behind me. It is before me still, and daily I catch glimpses of its battlements and towers. The rich spoils of memory are mine. Mine, too, are the precious things of today- books, flowers, pictures, nature, and sport. The first of May is still an enchanted day to me. The best thing of all is friends. The best of life is always further on. Its real lure is hidden from our eyes, somewhere behind the hills of time.

~ William Mulock (On his ninety-fifth birthday)


But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19
The King James Version

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Under The Weather


I'm not feeling well. I just found out that I am suffering from:


Electile Dysfunction: the inability to become aroused over any of the choices for president put forth by either party in the 2008 election year.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Carrying on Traditions - Recipes and How To's

I love to cook, almost as much as I love to eat. When I was off work following surgery last fall, I watched FoodTV constantly. I adore Barefoot Contessa, Everyday Italian, Rachel Ray, and of course, Paula. I learned a lot watching those shows; I even wrote down a few recipes, and those that I didn't write down, I looked up on the web. I already had a set of Emeril cookware, and I added a set of Wolfgang Puck to that, so I'm set in the cookware department. I've purchased the much-touted sea salt (which ain't cheap), began using EVOO (if you watch Rachel Ray, that's extra virgin olive oil), and added special cooking utensils. I've never been much on baking; I love main dishes, dinner and such. Cooking used to be more basic and simple. I thought I'd touch on a couple of really delicious and simple cooking tips that I recall as I grew up, and some other things I remember fondly.

My grandmother was a wonderful chef. She made three full squares a day, every day. We had a full breakfast, a full dinner (which is called lunch today), and a very full supper (which is dinner today). Breakfast fare would most likely be homemade biscuits, fried sausage and/or bacon, milk gravy made in the drippings, fried silver-dollar potatoes, and eggs fried in the bacon grease, or basted as it were, butter and jellies or honey.

Mama D made the most wonderful chicken, and you'll laugh when I tell you how to prepare it. If you remember the white Corning Ware with the little blue flowers, that is what she used. She would take the square dish, put into it a whole chicken that she had cut into pieces, pour vinegar over it liberally, add some salt and pepper, and bake it uncovered at 350 degrees until done. You never tasted anything like it, nor better. My sister and I used to dip out the "vinegar gravy" into small bowls beside our plates in which we'd dip each bite of chicken. It is absolutely divine and I love it to this day.

I was not raised using BBQ sauce; we never, ever used BBQ sauce on anything. Rather, Mom and Dad basted their char coaled meat such as chicken or pork chops. Steaks and hamburgers were different. When my Dad bar-b-qued chicken, for instance, my mother made the most wonderful basting sauce. Dad tended the grill and kept it basted good all while it cooked very slowly. The sauce was made of 3/4 cups vinegar, 1/4 cup water, the juice of two lemons and then the lemons were tossed into the sauce, plus one stick of margarine. She cooked this basting sauce on the stove and got it good and hot. Then dad used a basting brush and basted the chicken repeatedly until it was done. You have to trust me, this was the most moist and finger lickin' good chicken you ever put in your mouth!

On the subject of cobblers, I haven't had a real cobbler in years and years. These recipes where you open a can of peaches and make a batter that you pour over it and bake . . . well, I think they taste like crap! On the other hand, my grandmother made her dumplings by hand, rolling them very thin like pie crust. She'd take a knife and cut the long strips, and then go the opposite direction again cutting them into pieces that were about 1 inch by 3 inches. She would find fresh blackberries (my favorite cobbler) or fresh peaches, cook them in a little water and some sugar until they were good and mushy ("done"), and then drop the dumplings in with the fruit. She then poured this into a buttered Corning Ware dish. She put the remaining dumplings on the top and then baked it. We ate these right out of the oven, a la mode (with a big helping of ice cream on top). You talk about delicious!

I love homemade biscuits, and my mother and my grandmother could not be beat in that area. But now-a-days, the biscuits that you get at the fast-food places and in the frozen section of the grocery store are about as good. They're not the same, but they're good enough to not go to the trouble of making them yourself, in my opinion, and also in my mother's because she also buys them frozen now.

How about fried corn? Today, people call "creamed" corn "fried" corn. They're NOT the same. My grandmother took the cobs of fresh corn and she shaved all the corn off them using a sharp knife. Then she'd run the dull edge of the knife down the cob all around it. That way, you got the juices from the corn as well as the kernels. She'd generously coat an iron skillet with bacon grease and pour the fresh corn in that and stir it up. She'd cook this on medium heat, adding a little milk as she went to kind of thicken it a bit. Then she'd turn it down and let it simmer a good while. And don't forget the salt and pepper. Simple as that, and I could eat my weight in it.

The first enchiladas that I recall every having were hand made by my mother. The ingredients are:

2 cans Hormel chili without beans
1 large can Old El Paso enchilada sauce
1 bunch green onions
a LOT of grated cheddar cheese
12-pack of corn tortillas
cooking oil

Mom had individual metal plates, each with it's own wooden tray on which to place it when it came out of the oven. The plates were oval shaped and perfect for the enchiladas. You felt as though it was made just for you.

Clean and chop the green onions, including the solid green part and put in a bowl. Fill a big bowl with your cheese. Open the cans of chili and enchilada sauce. In a small iron skillet, put about one cup of cooking oil and get it nice and hot (medium to med-high heat). Get a cookie sheet and line it with a double layer of paper towels. Drop each corn tortilla individually into the hot oil for about 5 seconds, then turn, and after about 5 seconds, remove and place on the paper towels. When the cookie sheet is full, layer with paper towels again, until you get all tortilla rounds cooked and hot. Dab them all with clean paper towels to soak up the majority of oil.

I now use a large pyrex pan for the enchiladas. On a cutting board or wax paper, take one tortilla round, put a tablespoon of chili in the middle and spread from one side to the other so it makes a line down the middle, add a few onions, cheese and then roll. Place at one end of the pyrex pan with flap down so it won't come unrolled. Continue until all tortillas are filled, rolled and place in the pan. With a spoon, spread any remaining chili on top of the pan of enchiladas. Pour all of the enchilada sauce on top evenly. Sprinkle with cheese generously, then sprinkle evenly with the remaining green onions. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees until bubbly and serve.

It's not "ground beef", but it sure is delicious. I love lettuce and tomato on top of mine, which is what I always ask them to do when I eat at a restaurant and order enchiladas. "Please put lettuce and tomato on top", and they happily oblige.

That's enough on food for one day. Makes me hungry. And if you've been following, I didn't want to jinx it, but I actually have a confirmed appointment at 1:30 today at which time THE BRACES ARE COMING OFF!! WOO-HOO!!!

If we get any snow, I think I'll make hamburger soup .... that's another great one! They used to serve something like this at Shoney's, but mine is better!!! Happy Friday and have a great weekend, yawl!!!

God bless,
Abbey

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It's a God-Given Bodily Function

WARNING: Some may find this offensive. If you feel your standards of etiquette are impeccable, and are personal friends with Ms. Manners, please read no further.

I'd like to cover the subject of flatulation, or more plainly, farting; that God-given bodily function that is abhorred by some, yet revered by others. You see, I come from a long-line of proud flatulators, male and females. It is a recognized "talent" in our family line as to both volume and odor. The louder it 'tis or the worse the odor, the bigger the kudos.

As a small child, I was forbidden to fart openly, as I have posted the results of such an action earlier being a good spanking; however, my Daddy released his invisible gas at random around our house, even at the dinner table. Mom feigned chastisement, "Honey!", as her eyes darted between my sister and I, and Dad, and a small grin appeared on her lips. I, too, could never help but laugh. In fact, Dad seemed rather entertained by himself, as well.
















So Dad was afforded THE PRIVILEGE of openly farting and he exercised that privilege at will, while my sister and I were forbidden to do such a thing where anyone could hear it, God forbid at the dinner table. There were rides in the car when Dad would bless us with his famous SBD, and promptly lock the windows preventing us from getting any clean air. We endured what he found the funniest thing, all the while claiming (as he does to this day) that does not have the ability to smell.

My Dad was a stern man and he carried a big stick. He had a look that could kill. You could tell by the expression of his face if you were doomed or damned. He used his facial intimidation liberally, along with a single finger stuck right in your face, which would scare the doo-waddie out of me, and my mind would run at top speed searching the files for "what" I had done this time to deserve his wrath. Suddenly, a slight grin would appear, and Dad would say, "pull it!" And I did, and he'd fart, and we'd get a great laugh. Those are special times that I remember about Dad now. Oh he's still around, but he stopped pointing his finger after one of his great-grandchildren ran up to him in a crowd of friends and hollered, "Paw Paw, let me pull your finger!!" My gosh, he was mortified. I mean, he actually acted like it made him mad, but afterall, he's the one who had educated and promoted this exercise by example, and I thought it awfully hysterical that he got caught in his own joke!

This was one of those things that I thought NOBODY did, except in our family, in our house or the homes of relatives. However, on a trip to Las Vegas when I was about 14 years old, Dad treated us to Bill Cosby at Caesar's Palace. If you've seen "Bill Cosby As Himself", well, this is the show that we saw LIVE. Somehow, Dad managed to get us one of those front and center half-moon booths, covered in diamond-tuck, red vinyl. They were literally the best seats in the house. Bill Cosby, to me, is one of THE best entertainers to ever grace the world of Comedy. He was on stage with nothing but a microphone and a simple metal, cafeteria-type folding chair. When he got tired, he sat down. His show lasted about 90 minutes and was one laugh after another.

Here was Bill Cosby - bigger than life - on stage in Las Vegas, Nevada, telling the capacity crowd a story of him approaching his kids with a look of anger on his face, sticking his finger in their face, and saying "pull it!" Holy Mary, Jesus and Joseph, I just about fell out of that booth. And all this time, I thought we were somehow unique! It was more of a relief than anything, and it gave me thrills to be able to laugh about farting as a family, and the revelation that we were not unique. It somehow made me feel closer to my Dad, where up until that moment, I had tended to tread more lightly.

That was one of the first times that I recall thinking that it wasn't a big secret or a huge mystery. People are people, and everybody has gas. It's a God-give bodily function. I don't know when or how the perception of farting developed into something of which one should be ashamed, or that it should not be done in public nor spoken about openly. I don't believe that from the beginning of time, farting was something that people looked upon with such judgment and distaste. And I don't particularly care to research to find out.

I am a product of my environment. I think farting is funny. I would never suggest nor approve of doing it in public, in church, in school, in the grocery store, on an airplane, or anywhere around genteel folks. But if you do it and I hear it, I'm going to laugh. And as strange as this summation may seem, it was farting that broke the barrier between father and daughter. He's a great man, and I idolize him to this day; he's my hero, my protector, he's my Daddy, and he's gettin' old and I want to take care of him like he took care of me, and I will. I've already told him so, because I love him, and my Mom.

Now that I've "cleared the air" on that topic, I can move on to other topics of interest. And if I throw in a mention of a fart here or there, just go with the flow, will ya?

Signs From Around the World

These are actual signs posted in English (?) from around the world.

A sign posted in Germany's Black Forest: It is strictly forbidden on our black forest camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are married with each other for that purpose.

In a Zurich hotel: Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.

In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist: Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.

In a Rome laundry: Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.

In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency: Take one of our horse-driven city tours - we guarantee no miscarriages.

Advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand: Would you like to ride on your own ass?

In a Bangkok temple: It is forbidden to enter a woman even a foreigner if dressed as a man.

In a Tokyo bar: Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.

In a Copenhagen airline ticket office: We take your bags and send them in all directions.

In a Tokyo Hotel: Is forbidden to steal hotel towels please. If you are not a person to do such a thing is please not to read notice.

In a Bucharest hotel lobby: The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.

In a Leipzig elevator: Do not enter lift backwards, and only when lit up.

In a Belgrade hotel elevator: To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.

In a Paris hotel elevator: Please leave your values at the front desk.

In a hotel in Athens: Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily.

In a Yugoslavian hotel: The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.

In a Japanese hotel: You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.

In an Austrian hotel catering to skiers: Not to perambulate the corridors during the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.

On the menu of a Swiss restaurant: Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.

Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop: Ladies may have a fit upstairs.

In a Bangkok dry cleaners: Drop your trousers here for best results.

Outside a Paris dress shop: Dresses for street walking.

In a Rhodes tailor shop: Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation.

Make Some Sense of This, Por Favor



A bus station is where a bus stops.






A train station is where a train stops.






On my desk I have a workstation........???

This Day's . . .

In all His dispensations God is at work for our good. In prosperity, He tries our gratitude; in mediocrity, our contentment; in misfortune, our submission; in darkness, our faith; under temptation, our steadfastness; and at all times, our obedience and trust in Him.
~Unknown


For the soul of every living thing is in the hand of God, and the breath of all mankind.

Job 12:10 ~ The Living Bible

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I have a sense of humor, too


Blast From the Past and a Divine Gift


I found this photograph of the exact Bell & Howell 8mm movie camera that my Dad purchased in the early 60's - probably sometime around 1961 because we have boxes of films that are labeled with that year. Jump forward 46 years. About a year ago, when I was visiting them in Texas, I dragged the big box containing all of the 8mm films from over the years out of the hall closet, where it has been ever since we moved to that house. I organized them by year; it was impossible to organize them by exact date, but year was sufficient as far as we were concerned. I brought them home with me to have them reproduced digitally onto DVDs. There were approximately 250 reels in the box, and we ended up with 11 DVD disks, a master set and one copy.

As you already know, there was no sound capability back then. But Dad would set up the projector on occasion and we'd set up the screen, all sit around, turn off the lights and he'd show reel after reel of movies. These reels lasted, what, maybe three minutes? Then someone would turn on the lights, he'd feed the film so as to reverse and rewind back onto its original reel; then, he'd thread another, off with the lights, and three more minutes of laughing and sharing comments about the action on screen.

I had the first five disks finished before Christmas 2006, and when Mom and Dad came, we sat down and watched them all. I saw literally hundreds of scenes of things we did or I did that I had completely forgotten. Before I go further, I wanted to mention that the people who reproduced the films added the greatest music - easy music, like some Glenn Miller and other stuff like that. It really added to the enjoyment.

Watching the movies brought laughter, sadness, some tears, and a little melancholy reliving through film my youth as it was. Where did the years go? Thoughts of "if I could go back to that time and begin again, there are so many things I would do differently." But then, I know that God put me in places and times for a reason. I went against His plan for me a few times and put myself in places where I had no business being, but He kept a watchful eye on me and I'm alive today because of Him. But that's getting off the track.

One of the most heartfelt moments in viewing these films was seeing my brother as a boy visiting us. He was killed in 1985 at the age of 29. It has been a long struggle for me to accept what happened to him. Quite simply, he was horribly murdered in his own home by his half-sister's husband. My brother's name was James Walter [last name] III, but everybody always called him "Buddy". I have very cherished memories of the handful of visits that he made to Texas, a mere few weeks total in the span of many years. As it was, my sister and I were adopted by my birth mother's brother (my uncle) - if you're following, I was adopted by my uncle and aunt, who today, are my Mama and Daddy, and the only Mama and Daddy I've really ever known. For some reason, and it breaks my heart to this day, my brother was not allowed to go with us, thereby keeping the three siblings together. He was raised in another state by our birth mother and a stepfather who was viciously cruel to him, and we saw one another infrequently.

There was a time when I did not see Buddy for probably ten years, as we both progressed through mid-teens and into our twenties. When I finally relocated to the South, I renewed our relationship. I have a very fond memory of being at my aunt's home, a place where all of the young people loved to gather, and Buddy coming in with a friend. Buddy always called me "Sister". He didn't call me by my name that I can ever recall, just "Sister". That night at my aunt's, I noted that his beard was rather scruffy and I offered to trim it for him. He jumped on that offer like white on rice! I remember him sitting in a chair and leaning back, and before I began to trim, I gently scratched his beard with my long nails. He smiled from ear to ear with his eyes closed and said, "Ohhhhh Sister, that feels soooo good!" A nice memory.

Following a serious illness and two surgeries in 2005, my life took a turn and I began to embrace my faith. I began to see life differently, and I began a personal quest to change my inner self toward trying to be a more Biblical person - a more Biblical daughter, wife, mother, grandmother and friend, and not the least, child of God. Although I realize more and more that this is a constant effort, as one will never be perfect, the strides that I make and the changes that I see in myself are worth far more than the enormous effort that I put into my self-transformation. I am happier; I am less stressed; I am more forgiving; and I am more positive about life and what is beyond life as we know it here.

Through this transformation, I began to pray more and more until it is now a very familiar and natural part of my existence; I don't have to think about it, I just do it. And for the first time in 20 years, I began to pray for Buddy, for the peace of his soul, for God to forgive him and to accept him into heaven if he were not already there. Buddy was no angel, but what I say to family members and friends is this: Buddy never hurt anyone but himself. He had a huge heart, but he was a product of his environment, one of which he had no control.

About six months ago, and for the first time ever, Buddy "appeared" in my dream. I place emphasis on "appeared" because to me it was an vision. I know this in my heart or else I would not commit the blasphemy of saying it happened. I dream vividly, and this was no dream. Buddy suddenly appeared and he was inches from my face. He had a very bright, soft aura all around him. His face was as soft as velvet; his hair was full of soft brown curls which blew gently as if by a warm breeze; he was smiling ear to ear. Buddy placed his hands on my shoulders and drew me near. As he hugged and then kissed my cheek, he said, "I love you, Sister." And then he was gone as suddenly as he had appeared.

When I woke the next morning, my first and most immediate thought was of that vision. Suddenly, I was overcome by unbridled emotion and I wept uncontrollably, as I thanked God over and over for allowing my brother to come to me. For me, the vision of Buddy as I described it assures me that he is in a good place. I believe he appeared to assure me and to thank me for praying for him, because it had helped his spirit on toward its final resting place, and it is a good place.

The following night, Buddy appeared again. This time, we were in the middle of a huge airport. I was trying to grab hold of him, to hug him, I was so happy to see him. But, he kept turning in circles and I could not maintain my grasp on him. All he said was, "Where is [my sister]?" And then he was gone and has not returned again. I am keeping my conclusions about this dream private, but I am at peace now with respect to Buddy and where he is. His violent death has worried me endlessly, but he has given me peace, God has granted me peace, and I thank Him for it.

I have had two other visits from people who have passed, and like those of my brother, I see the stark difference in those to what I would routinely call a "dream". As I said, I dream vividly and can recount my dreams in detail. These visions are altogether a different feeling, sound, and sight. And as in the case of my brother, when I wake, I am emotional and drained and I weep in thanksgiving. The feeling is very spiritual and completely indescribable. I feel blessed and I am still pondering meanings of each in my effort to draw God's message from them. Some of the messages are good, some of them not so good, but I know that there are some things, these things, which I must not speak of, but hold in my heart until I die.

I am not a psychic, nor a prophet; I do not consider myself "touched" or gifted. I am merely one sinner whom God chose to Bless with a rare and precious treasure. He knows me better than anyone and He knew that I was open to His blessing. It is higly valuable and I give Him all the Praise, thanks be to God.

Keep checking back. There is much more to come.

PEACE,
Abbey