Friday, February 29, 2008

The Path to California - Two

My daughter was born on August 30, 1971, and Dwight was practically dragged to the hospital. In fact, my mother made him come into the labor and delivery room. I can sum Dwight up in one word, and this word applies to any man who would ever raise his hand to a woman. That word is COWARD. Dwight was a coward and he still is, far as I know. When my daughter was not two months old, Dwight came to me to sheepishly declare his anxiety at being a father and I was asked to take my baby and move back home with my parents. I was crushed.

From the getgo, society tells young couples in this situation, "it will never last", but yet they insist in the two of you marrying and doing the "right thing". I won't blame my mom and dad; I wanted to leave home, be married, have children and be happy. I left home, I got married, I had a child, but I was scared, miserable and alone. Dwight was completely undependable. I was at my folks for about a month when Dwight suddenly wanted me to move back in with him, but the caveat to this request was that I cut all ties with my parents. God forgive me, for I did as he asked. I packed up and left, just as I had the first time, and they knew nothing until they came home and found me and their baby grandchild gone. I wanted so much for our lives to not end up being a statistic. I didn't want everybody else who said that we would never make it to be right; thus, I endured a lot of things that I should never have tolerated for the sake of my pride. Pride. One of the Seven Deadly Sins.

I denied my parents for about a month, and I was miserable the entire time. I broke their hearts again, for they had their first little grandchild, the light of their lives, in their home and in their hearts, only to have her snatched away abruptly, just as abruptly as their baby daughter had left home that day to wed her prince charming. Again, this is another one of those incidents for which I have not been able to forgive myself. I have spoken of it several times over the years with my mama and daddy, and I have told them how deep the regret runs, how sad I am that I hurt them that much, but I cannot change it. Perhaps I work overtime letting them know how very much I love and appreciate them now.

In time, we made our way to renting a little house on the southeast part of town, with the help of a roommate. Dwight was laying carpet with his brother and father, and I got a job at the Levi Strauss plant sewing hip pockets on denim jeans. Factory work. I was living the life of "Norma Rae", and it wasn't even close to what I had envisioned for us. We finally managed to purchase a car, a 1967 Mustang fast-back with a stick shift. Dwight rode herd on me almost daily for one reason or another. The words, "you're so damn stupid" were a daily part of my world. One day, I came home from work and began cooking supper - goulash. I had the macaroni boiling in a pot on the stove. Dwight was riding herd on me, chiding me, cursing me, he was relentless. He pushed and pushed and pushed until I broke. I don't know what came over me, I just lost it. I picked up the pot of boiling noodles and threw it at him. As soon as the boiling water hit him, I realized that I had really done it now. I was doomed. I turned to leave the room, as he picked up a piece of plaster parris fake fruit and threw it at me with all his might. It struck me in the center of my back and knocked me silly. And so another battle began. The pushing, shoving and slugging, which ended only because he needed to have his burnt arm seen to by a physician.

I recall his parents coming over and when his mother saw the mess in the kitchen, she looked at me as if I were the devil incarnate and said, "my God!", as if "what have YOU done?" She never thought her son could do any wrong; it was my fault and his arm was burned and so it was. This incident gave Dwight another "out". He came to me again with his sheepish "I can't do this. I'm not happy. I need to get away just for a while. I promise I'll send for you." And he packed his things, even taking the car (leaving me without any transportation) and he left for California.

Nobody in my family ever heard word one about these incidents. Again, I couldn't let them know that I had married an abusive man. I was so very ashamed, and I had this baby girl and I just knew that I could make it work, that he would change. After all, he said he would, just like the time before, and the time before that. I "loved" him, whatever that meant to me at the age of 18. I couldn't go back home to my parents, there was no way. Oh, they would have welcomed me with open arms, but my daddy was still so sore at me about the whole thing and he detested Dwight, so I allowed my pride to rule my heart and it was the worst thing I could have possibly done.

After about a month, Dwight "allowed" me to come to California. In my mind, all I cared about was that I was going to California, I'd always wanted to live there and I was finally going to realize my dream. It didn't matter that he was a jerk and a coward, couldn't hold a decent job or that he was mean to me. I was going and that was that.

I packed two suitcases - one full of pots and pans, etc. (are you laughing, because I am), and the other had my clothes. Dwight and Duane had rented a two-bedroom apartment in Bellflower and my best friend, Carol, was going with me. She and Duane had more or less hit it off and we were all going to live together in this furnished apartment. We were decked out in our hip-hugger jeans with mod belts and body-suit tops, long straight hippie hair parted down the middle, and ready to live life in the fast lane. I left my daughter with Dwight's parents for one month until we "got settled", another regret.

Within two weeks of our arrival, Dwight and I had disagreed about God knows what and I received the beating of my life. Afterward, he sat in the darkness on the sofa, head in his hands, claiming that he "blacked out" and didn't realize what he was doing. Oh he knew, but when he saw his handiwork, that was his "excuse" - the coward's way out. The following morning, I had two black eyes, my face and forehead were a mass of bruises, my lip was busted, my chin bruised, as well as my arms, neck and back. He babied me and loved on me and expressed such distress and sorrow and love. He told me to rest and take it easy, not to worry about looking for a job. Everything would be okay. Again, I believed him.

I've often heard that the definition of a "fool" is "someone who makes the same mistakes over and over, even though they know the outcome." In looking over my lifetime of relationships with the opposite sex, I'm convinced that the word was coined for me in particular. Our pattern of his leaving and coming back again lasted about two years. I kept it to myself, never revealing to my family 1,500 miles away what was actually going on in my life. The last time he came to me with his sob story, I remember being in the bathroom of a house we had rented in Long Beach. He said, "I know, I know, you won't take me back again", because I'd said it before but never kept my word. This time I told him, "No, you don't know. If you leave us again, Dwight, I will never let you back into my life." But he left anyway.


I immediately began searching for an affordable apartment for me and my baby girl. I found a little one-bedroom upper and it was fairly new and affordable, so I began packing. As I was about to move, Dwight came by the house one day. He did everything he could do to stir me into an argument, but I would not be made a fool again. I sat in the chair in the midst of freshly packed boxes as he cursed, hollered, paced and wailed, but I would not raise my voice nor my emotions. I merely sat and looked at him in silence. Ironically, this pissed him off so much that he turned and kicked me as hard as he could in my shin bone with his motorcycle-boot clad foot. My God, the pain was horrendous and I'm amazed it wasn't broken. Still, I would not be moved, nor would I cry. I held my breath, whatever it took, but I would not cry. I simply and calmly asked him, "do you feel better now?" Enraged, he left.

I suppose I was a pitiful site, living in this little one-bedroom apartment, me on a junior twin sized bed and my little girl on a baby-bed mattress on the floor, but I was free. I was free of Dwight and in my heart, I knew that I would never, ever let him into my life again, no matter what. I had gained a job with Bekins International as a clerk down near the harbor in Long Beach, and my car had been bought and paid for by my dad, a 1965 VW that cost $650, so Dwight couldn't take that from me either. Television for us was little 5" screen B&W that I had from when I lived at home. I took the living room furniture, dining room and the refrigerator. That was it, but I was so happy. I was free, and I was living a free life in the great city of Los Angeles, California. Hard as it was, I had to look beyond the present. My idealistic way of thinking had me going places, bigger and better than ever. Yes, I'd find someone who was better to me than Dwight and I'd show him a thing or two. I would find someone to love me and care for me the way a man should, and I'd finally find my happiness.

Media Strikes Again, and It Could Be Fatal

I just wanted to touch on the subject of the breach by The Drudge Report in their revelation that Prince Harry of Great Britain is serving on the front lines in Afghanistan. This is the most irresponsible display of journalism that I could possibly fathom. Actually, I cannot wrap my brain around this type thing, so I don't fathom it at all. I can only say how thankful I am that Prince Harry is safe.

Heartlight for Friday

VERSE:

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation
~ Luke 2:29-30


THOUGHT:

Old Simeon uttered these words when he saw the Christ child. This is our goal as well. While we cannot physically see Jesus who is our salvation and hold him in our arms as Simeon did, we can see him through Scripture, worship, ministry, evangelism, and the work of the Holy Spirit. Let's make it our aim to honor God as the only true God and to following Jesus as our Lord.

PRAYER:

Righteous Father, please help me to know Jesus better, to be formed more perfectly into his image, and to live with his character. Please, dear God, I want to be like Christ in my character and conduct. I want to be a genuine disciple and become more and more like my great Teacher everyday. It is in his name, Jesus Christ, that I pray. Amen.


TODAY'S WISDOM:

A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.
~ Proverbs 13:5, King James Version

This Days . . .


The whole of life is a test, a trial of what is in us, so arranged by God himself.

~ William Plumer


For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings.

~ Hosea 6:6, The Revised Standard Version


Everything is simpler than you think and more complex than you imagine.

~ Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Abbey's Listening To . . .

This is the first "concept" album that I can recall experiencing. That was 1972 and I moved to California around the time of its release. It is a story of the dawn of one day and the journey through morning, afternoon, into the dusk and the dark of night. It is one of the all-time classics, in my mind. This is a prime example of my diatribes regarding lyrics and the complete lack of creativity in today's music industry. I absolutely love this album and the journey that I take upon each and every listening is pure magic. For me it is truly a feel-good work of art.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

LIVING WILL

MY LIVING WILL

Last night, my friend and I were sitting in the living room and I said to her, "I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug."

She got up, unplugged the computer, and threw out my wine.
She's such a bitch.....

This Days . . .

For you have a new life. It was not passed on to you from your parents, for the life they gave you will fade away. This new one will last forever, for it comes from Christ, God’s ever-living Message to men. Yes, our natural lives will fade as grass does when it becomes all brown and dry. All our greatness is like a flower that droops and falls; but the Word of the Lord will last forever. And his message is the Good News that was preached to you.

~ 1 Peter 1:23-25, The Living Bible

The Path to California

Our family took a two-week vacation each and every year. That was one of those things about my mom and dad that I will always remember fondly. As a young girl, we went to west coast twice, first when I was about 10 years old, and again when I was 14 years old. We traveled northwest through Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota where we visited Mt. Rushmore, but in this writing, I want to focus on California.

About the time of our first vacation trip out west, The Beatles had hit the music scene, as well as the Stone, and that spawned a multitude of artists from both the UK and USA. The hippie movement and the "revolution" against the Viet Nam war had begun and the numbers of protestors were growing rapidly. Haight Ashbury became the mecca of the hippie movement and was the topic of many writings by the news media and music publications. It fueled my curiosity, and believe me, I never have needed any encouragement in that area. We had neighbors with whose children my sister and I were friends, and they were transferred to Southern California for two years. They returned afterwards, and hearing their stories of life in California made this deep burning desire for me to be a part of that lifestyle flourish. For as long as I can remember, I have been enamoured with the glamour of stardom, whether it be music (my first love) or in film. So, it was not surprising to me that when I met my first husband, I fell head over heels with his looks and his origins.

I met Dwight in the fall of 1970. I was sixteen, going on 17 (January), and my best friend, Brenda, and I had gone to the Stanley's. Stanley's was a drive-in not unlike what you might see in "American Grafiti". The slots for vehicles stayed full most nights and the rest were resigned to cruising around and around to see and be seen. That fall evening, it was still fairly warm. Brenda and I were cruising since there was no place to park and we spotted and 1965 Chevy SS with Cragar wheels, tinted windows and it was so low that it nearly touched the pavement. At the same time, we both spotted a black and yellow license plate that read "California". As 16 year old girls would, we peaked with excitement. Brenda had lived in California briefly as her father was a lifetime military man.

As we slowly passed the green Chevy, we were able to capture the silhouettes through the rear window since the neon lights were shining in front of the car. We saw two males with shoulder-length hair and we could tell just from the silhouettes that they were cuties. Silly me and never shy about being noticed, I reach over and honked her horn which got their attention. We laughed and giggled and drove off as if embarrassed. We made another pass and this time, the driver had rolled down his window. I took one look at him and my heart was set on him.

We must have passed the mustard because they backed out and followed us to an open place behind Stanley's where people would park and talk. They pulled up next to us and both exited the car. The driver was tall and thin and in my eyes, Adonis in navy blue corduoroy pants and a light blue long-sleeved shirt that was untucked. His face was soft and sweet and he had the most beautiful eyes, hair and demeanor. I was smitten from the get-go. His name was Dwight Lee, and the other was his brother, Duane.

The buys crawled into the back seat of Brenda's small Datsun and we all began chatting. The California broge was noticeable; I was hanging on every word. The only problem was that Brenda also had her heart set on Dwight and she was my best friend. We all exchanged phone numbers and she and I more or less debated all the way home as to which of us was going to "get" Dwight. It didn't matter, he called me and he let me know in no uncertain terms that the choice was his and that I had won the "honor" . . . .

Long story short, I ended up preggers and we had this great idea that we'd run off to Tijuana, Mexico and get married. I want to say here and now that the pain that I inflicted on my parents through this entire scenario is something that I will never get over. I have prayed A LOT and about a lot of things that I have done in my life, and I know that God forgives me. My problem is that I cannot forgive myself for hurting the two most loving people that I know.

Dwight picked me up at school that morning (I never went to class) and we headed to my house. He parked in the alley, and together we cleared out my closet and as much of my dresser drawers as we could and then headed to El Paso. I wrote a "note" to my parents and asked Brenda to deliver it, and she did. I can envision my dear mother crying her heart out that night. When all was said and done, we were too young and nobody in old Mexico would marry us, and my folks and I reconnected and they said if I'd come home, they'd help me, but if I didn't, they would do nothing for me. So, home I went.

Dwight dropped me off. He wasn't man enough to stick around for the fury; he left me alone to face my parents. They didn't take off work or change their schedule on my behalf. That was the first "message" to me that rang very clear. They came home at their usual times and the three of us sat down in the den. I recall seeing my Mama and Daddy cry their hearts out, not understanding why or how this could happen, why I could hurt them and run off like I did. It was awful and I just don't want to relive it any more than what I've already said.

Mom took me to her GYN and he confirmed the pregnancy. She did up a little "wedding" at our house and nobody but his family and mine were invited. The pictures of this occasion are so, so sad. It breaks my heart to look at them. Nobody, not even me or Dwight really smiled. This was NOT a happy occasion. We lived with his parents for a time and my daughter was born in August 1971. By that time, we had moved into a little duplex, Dwight brought home $50 a week. Our rent was $50 a month. We didn't have a car, but he certainly had a motorcycle. His first love - being a biker and custom painting choppers. He began to take off on his motorcycle after he got home, had dinner and showered. He'd stay gone until late at night. We weren't getting along, I was woefully depressed, and this poor baby that I was carrying was feeling every emotion that I felt.

Come back for the next chapter, where I will delve into physical abuse. I was the victim of an abusive husband in Dwight. The first instance being his response to my crying and begging him not to leave me alone again, which was to shove me into a window, which broke. I was 8 months pregnant. I hope that I can shed some light on the reasons "why" women feel helpless in these situations. I lived it and I fully understand it. Whether or not I can verbalize it is yet to be seen.

God bless you,
Abbey

Abbey's Listening To . . .

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

4 RULES OF LIFE


DRINK, STEAL, SWEAR & LIE

I met this guy while I was having coffee and he has
a motto he lives by everyday. He said listen carefully and
live by these 4 rules: Drink, Steal, Swear, & Lie.

I was shaking my head 'no', but he then told me to listen
while he explained his four rules. So here they are:

1.. "Drink" from the "everlasting cup" every day.

2.. "Steal" a moment to help someone that is in worse shape
than you are.

3.. "Swear" that you will be a better person today than
yesterday.

4.. And last, but not least, when you "lie" down at night
thank God you live in America and have freedom.

I am not as good as I should be, I am not as good
as I could be but THANK GOD
I am better than I used to be !


Happy Birthday, Riley Dale!

Sunday, February 24, 2008 ~ We celebrated Riley's 6th birthday on Sunday at 2 Pesos in Pelham. While it had been planned as his birthday with the adults (his kids party is today), it was also his mommie and daddy's 13th wedding anniversary.

We usually give the kids the privilege of choosing where they want to eat since it is, after all, their birthday. And although it is my least favorite place to dine, they will invariably choose Golden Coral simply because they love going to the ice cream machine and making their own ice cream. You won't ever see them clean their plates so fast as they do at Golden Coral, with the intent and purpose of hitting the ice cream as quickly as possible.

To my complete pleasure, Riley chose to have his birthday celebration held at 2 Pesos. His reason? Because he wanted to wear the sombrero! He has watched just about everybody in our family celebrate a birthday at 2 Pesos, all wearing the sombrero as the wait staff sing their best English "Happy Birthday".

Up until a couple of years ago, they had a really great 'authentic' sombrero that boasted a very tall, pointed top and the brim was large and floppy. When they would approach the birthday person, they'd put it on their head and spin it, which was hilarious for some idiotic reason! Alas, that sombrero succumbed to the wear and tear of hundreds of celebrations and was retired. The new sombrero does a fine job and they still sing to the guest of honor. Don't ask me why, but if you have children, then you understand that whenever there is a photo-op, some or all have to do something "funny", hence the photo of Riley and older brother, Bailey.

This is Mimi and Poppy with (from left) Hannah, Riley and Bailey before the party got started, and we complete annihilated our long table with evidence of a meal that was thoroughly enjoyed. By the way, for $1.00, you can join the "club" for a year and obtain margaritas on Sundays - WOO HOO! You know that was right up my alley . . .

Toward the end of our festivities, we noticed a lot of people coming in dressed in "exercise" type gear and one individual made mention of having just ran. I assume that there was some charitable run on Sunday, but I'm sorry that I don't know for what charity. However, on our way out of 2 Pesos, we ran into none other than Bubba Bussey. My daughter told him that we had a birthday boy who listened to him every morning and would he mind a birthday photo. Bubba, always the nice and gracious person, stooped down and took this photo with Riley. We all just thought it was great when he stopped and spoke with each of us. As he walked away and entered the restaurant, Riley Dale turned around and had the most serious expression on his face, as if he was puzzled about something. And as it will be, out of the mouths of babes, he asked his mother ever so seriously, "Mom! Was that Bubba?" A perfect end to a perfect celebration.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Alive and Kickin'

Hi Everybody! I just realized that it has been three days since I posted! Weekend was really bizzee, and I actually had to do some work at the office yesterday. Can you believe that? They actually took up my whole day with work so I couldn't blog! And to be honest, I had so much on my mind about today's plans, that I ran into a bit of writer's block - I shouldn't say that - it might jinx it all.

Today was doctor day . . . had gum surgery and picked up my films (MRI) and am awaiting an appointment with a neurosurgeon to see what is causing all the neck problems. I'll also have another MRI, this time on my shoulder . . . I have no idea what the doctor is thinking, but I'm trying to be patient and wait for it all to come together. I'll be back to work tomorrow and I promise you'll hear from me.


God bless and I'll see ya tomorrow,
Abbey

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Over The Years

Who's the skinny chick? If you take a good look, this photograph could have been taken in today's world. I absolutely LOVED that vest that I'm wearing, and in hindsight (you'll probably hear this more than once), I absolutely loved my figure! I think my daughter was about 4 years old, yet I was more thin than before giving birth.

So, I've been a music lover ALL of my life. I took formal piano and music theory for six years from the age of 11 until I was 17. I abhorred theory - how boring can you get? But I vaguely recall some of the Latin terminology explaining tempo and feeling of a piece. I also had a LOT of those little plastic busts of people like Handl, Chopin, Mozart and Beethoven given as awards for playing a piece from memory.

However, my heart was in playing "by ear" . . . I would listen to the pop tunes of the day and pick them out on the piano with little effort. This picture was taken at my folks in Texas during a Christmas visit around the year 1975. They still have the Yamaha baby grand piano and it will be passed to me when that time comes to do such things, but we won't talk about that. Trust me, I'm not in any hurry!


I vividly recall Christmas 1965. My sister and I received some gifts that were to be shared between the two of us. One was our very first "phonograph" and the others were two albums, our first, recorded by The Beatles. The way we handled sharing "shared" gifts was like this: the radio in her room for a week, the phonograph and records in my room for a week. On Saturday's, when we were cleaning house, we'd make the swap. Every week, we each received one dollar for an allowance. That sounds so stone-age-ish, huh? But back then, a 45 rpm was a dollar and I always spent my allowance purchasing the most recent hit. My sister was a saver and she'd enmass up to $15 or $20 before she'd give up any for anything. I recall begging her for a dollar or two, and her power over me was to never give me any! haha!! This pretty much ticked me and I'd be mad at her, but she didn't care . . . I was so silly.

I was really hard on my shoes as well. I was athletic and rambunctious from the time I was born. I walked with my toes pointed outward and stepped hard on the heels of my shoes (I still do - step hard, that is) and I'd wear them down in no time. In a couple of months, my shoes would be coming apart at the seams, but Mama made me wear them. She tried and tried to instill care for my things within me, but I just didn't have time to think about such nonsense. There were games to play, chasing around yards, hide 'n seek, running and more running, and I just didn't give any care to my things. So, it was not uncommon for me to go to school in tattered shoes, and for all the popular girls to have two or three nice pairs of shoes from which they could choose to coordinate their outfits. I was so full of that most deadly sin - envy - back then. I didn't realize how much Mama and Daddy sacraficed and how money played such a huge role in raising children. Rather, I thought they were just denying me to be mean. What a rude awakening years later. I think we have all experienced that one!

No, I seem to recall Mama buying me about six "outfits" at the beginning of the school year and I was expected to rotate them and take care of them so that they would last. Thanks be to the day that my sweet grandmother, Leta Mae, taught me to sew. It was mid to late sixties, the hippie movement was in full swing, the bigger the bells on your bottoms, the cooler you were, and matching vests and skirts or pants was the "thing". My Mama had a small, old black Singer (which I have and use occasionally with much pride!) and thankfully, she thought sewing was a good, womanly thing to learn and practice. So, she would buy me fabric and patterns, and I would make sets of skirts and vests that matched. Paisely and cuorduroy - that was my thing. My sister and I would lay out our bell-bottom patterns and we'd cut them about two inches wider than the pattern. Seems like we "patterned" this after Cher back then.

My mama and daddy were really strict people, and wearing mini's was a definite no-no. So, I'd hem them to just above my knee and then roll my skirt up when I got to school. LOL! Same thing with mascara - mama was raised Assembly of God and you didn't wear mascara or eyeliner - but I did, after I got to school. We were "caught" many times because it was difficult to remove all evidence of black liner and mascara every day before dinner.


Remember being "grounded"? I used to think Daddy was so mean for not sparing the rod, but when they began to simply "ground" me for a week or two, I would beg him, "Daddy, can't you just give me a whippin instead?" No, he knew where to hurt me the worst and that was to take my privileges, which grew as I did in age. When it got to be my music, my telephone in my room, car and no dates, well, I was like the most pitiful little girl on the block. In hindsight (again), my parents did the very best things that a parent can do for their children. The instilled respect, authority, morality, and most of all, love for each other in our family. My daddy carried a big stick, and he still does, or tries to, but he has softened and is just the sweetest thing, I absolutely adore my Daddy. My mama, you could tell, was really boss without daddy realizing it. Isn't that what a woman is supposed to do best? I didn't learn that until WAY too late in life! My Mama has faced everything in her life with grace and dignity, and with a Christian heart. She is the most giving woman that I have ever known, and the most stoic in the face of adversity. The word "lady" was coined with her in mind. They don't make 'em like my Mama anymore.

That's today's episode. Just this and that, not too meaty and not too fat either.

Have a blessed Sabbath.
Abbey

Horror-Scope Folly

Aquarius - Saturday, February 23, 2008: If loved ones aren't responding to you with the zest you would prefer, try being less available. Let a loved one experience missing you. Tonight, someone is enthusiastic about just being near you.


Well, isn't that the Cat's Pajamas? This is good advice for just about everybody, yes? My therapist has pounded it into my head and it is a very basic, human instinct philosophy that is tried and true.

No More Vampires - Ann Rice Returns to Her Roots


Anne Rice's most recent novel, due to hit the shelves on March 4, 2008, has set me on the edge of my seat with the greatest of anticipation. The great anticipation for her latest novel was stirred by an the article in today's "Birmingham News" regarding the same.

As you know, unless you've lived on another planet for the last thirty years or so, Anne's writings have been primarily of vampires and supernatural genre. While I have enjoyed reading many of those novels, artfully written in a way that will take one away from the every-day realities of life and suspend them in another world, her return to Catholicism in 1998 was so wonderfully received by this writer. Her writing also did a 180 degree turn. She remains fully committed personally and professionally to her Faith.

No longer does she pen novels about vampires, blood and evil, no longer does her website contain discussions and pictures on such subjects. Instead, her website has been turned over to Faith, and it is a beautiful site with many interesting avenues to explor, not to mention the timeless "Ava Maria" playing in the background as you read.

Her last novel, Christ the Lord: The Road to Egypt focused more on Jesus in his childhood years. This soon-to-be-released novel captures Jesus as a man, a human being, from the time his ministry began. From what I have read, it is historically and factually accurate, deriving those facts from the two books of The Bible. At the same time, Ms. Rice has captured Jesus as a man with the same feelings, wants, needs and temptations as any one of us might experience today. She makes Him our peer, for lack of a better word. Yet, she is emphatic that The Da Vinci Code is nonsense; Jesus never married and was chaste for his entire life. How does she know this? Because The Bible told her so.

That is where many Christians fail. One can become so engrossed in a novel such as Da Vinci and forget the Word of God, which was written for all people and for all time. I read The Da Vinci Code, and I was completely engrossed in it. It was certainly a page-turner. HOWEVER, I read it as a book of fiction. So much broo-haha was made over the authenticity of the story, when Mr. Brown never professed that it was all factual (i.e., a marriage to Mary Magdalene?). But I digress . . .

I cannot wait for Ms. Rice's book to hit the shelves . . . I will be at the bookstore on March 4 for my copy.

Friday, February 22, 2008

TOMBSTONE and DOC HOLLADAY

Thanks, Sissy, for bringing this back again . . . this has to be my all-time, 100% prime time, in love flick!!!

Under The Weather, Not to Mention the Rain

The rain and thunderstorms last night were awesomely comforting. That probably sounds a bit odd. But I think most people will agree that lying in the darkness, under some nice warm bed linens, and listening to the rain on the roof and the howling of the wind just makes for good sleeping! We so need the rain and I have been thanking God these last weeks for every bit of moisture that falls. Last night's was a soaker, and it should help the lakes and the crops in our area, so thanks be to God.

I am icky today and I sluffed off the work thing. Have I mentioned my latest maladies? I can't recall and I'm too worn to search back, so please forgive if I repeat myself.

I had a cervical fusion in 2003 at two levels. I have a nice titanium plate in my neck which was to secure the "synthetic" discs that replaced the blown ones until they healed. The plate really isn't necessary once the fusion heals, but quite a financial impracticality to go back in and remove it, so there it 'tis. Synthetic bone grafts are the latest and greatest. It precludes having to harvest bone tissue from the patient's hip, which is also quite painful. The synthetic grafts actually grow and adhere to the bone just like real bone tissue. My surgery was a success and after quite a long while of burning and hurting in my shoulders, which became excrutiating at the end of a day's work behind a computer, I was pain-free. It's a painful recovery, but it was worth it.

This past July, I was driving home, minding my own business south on I-65. I was exiting at Hwy. 119 and for some strange reason, the girl in the vehicle in front of me, as I recall vividly, stopped "short". I don't know why but I could see through her car that there were maybe 2-3 car lengths between her and the stopped traffic ahead of her. So, I applied my brakes more sternly than one normally would, but it was not a skid, just a hard stop. The very second that I came to a stop, I was slammed in the rear-end. I've never been in an accident before, and can only relate to you what I recall. That is, my first recollection of my head whipping violently forward and then backward, hitting the headrest of the driver seat. Mind you, the head rests are sufficiently padded to take these unfortunate impacts, but I apparently hit the headrest so hard that it felt like someone hit me at the base of my skull with a bat. My God it hurt, and I was stunned beyond any comprehensive thoughts for several moments. I recall an immediate throbbing from ear to ear around the back of my head.

Long story short, I had just gotten my brand spanking new SUV in April and now I had been hit, and hit hard. All kinds of images were going through my mind of what the back of my nice new vehicle now looked like. Coincidentally (not saying there is such a thing; did God put this there?), there was an Alabama State Trooper sitting on the side of the ramp writing a ticket to another motorist. He saw the whole thing! What better witness can one hope for than this?

The individual who hit me was driving a fairly new small pick'em-up truck, and he immediately jumped from his vehicled and ran down to my window to see if I was okay. Again, I was not quite coherent and I think I mumbled something like, "I think so." I recall calling my husband who was in Roebuck near his mother's house .... it was hopeless that he could get there soon. So I called my daughter and her husband.

The State Trooper came to us one by one, beginning with the guy behind me, I suppose to check for injuries, etc. Incidentally, I was knocked into the car in front of me and it made a litte dent in the truck lid, but nothing major. I think I had my foot on the brake and it was still pressed firmly from the stop I'd made. When the trooper came to my car, he said, "I told him [the guy in the truck], 'you were watching me, weren't you?'" And the man said, "Yes." And the Trooper told him, "and I was watching you." The man never checked up and best guesstimate is that he was going maybe 45-50 mph. That may not sound like much, but it's pretty significant when you hit something at a dead stop.

My wonderful American made SUV took the hit fairly well. I think the factory installed towing package saved the back-end from more severe damage that could have resulted. As for the little truck - it looked totalled! Steam was spewing out, so I knew the radiator was busted, and from all appearances, the radiator was shoved back completely into the motor. His vehicle showed more evidence of the accident than mine - mine was driveable.

It took about 45 minutes for the Trooper to finish the one ticket, and then write the accident report for our three vehicles. Once he finished, I slowly drove down the ramp and into the Kangaroo on the right where my daughter and son-in-law met me. My son-in-law took my car and my daughter took me to the ER, where hubby met me. They x-rayed and said everything "looked okay", no discs out of place, etc. I got a shot and some pain meds and they said I'd feel worse in the next day or two, and I did, and not to be concerned if it took a few weeks to feel back to normal. Seat belt and whiplash combined, I'd taken a pretty good hit. On the funny side, I was knocked silly, as evidenced by the nurse asking me "did the airbag deploy?", to which I answered, "no, I was driving." My daughter smiled softly as the nurse repeated the question, and this time I said, "no, I stayed in the car." Finally my daughter told her that the airbag did not deploy. Man, was I out of it! LOL!

Fast forward to the fall and I have been experiencing increasing burning down the right side of my neck - I liken it to a "hot poker". This radiates into the shoulder muscles, especially in the right shoulder and down and around the shoulder blades. In the last few weeks, I have suffered for 3-4 days after doing simple housecleaning on the weekends. I made an appointment with my cousin, who is an orthopedic surgeon at St. Vincent's, just because I knew he would check me out and steer me in the right direction. He's not a cervical spine surgeon (as his specialty), but he is a seasoned and experienced orthopedist and he can certainly read an x-ray. The x-ray. Well, my titanium plate is eerily visible, six screws, all in place, and two square holes through which the fusions are visible. The top fusion is solid and completely grown into the spine. However, and quite distressing, the lower fusion revealed a big crack. A gamut of emotions and thoughts ran through my head in about two seconds. I couldn't do anything but accept what is and ask, "what now?"

He ordered an MRI, which I had on Wednesday. I will see him this coming Tuesday to get the results. Plan is that he will send me on to a neuro surgeon. All the protocol in today's health system would have held me up if I had not known people in the right places. I didn't know this, but a neuro surgeon will not see you unless you have already had an MRI. Good thing I had Tom to help me.

The very, very last thing I wanted or needed in this world was the possiblity (and I think, probability) that I would have to undergo more cervical surgery. I'm taking Alleve and muscle relaxers just to get by until I find the resolution to this. Can you believe I've written this lengthy discussion just to say, "hey guys, I don't feel so good today!" Ever since I can remember, probably as far back as my California days, people have always said that I write like I talk. Lots of details, leaving nothing to question. You're a victim of my discourse. Actually, the last few days I've experienced some bad behavior, and I'm very critical of myself about that. I'm chalking it up to bad news, my body hurting, and that's my story and I'm sticking to it. I've had that long talk with the Lord this morning, and I am doing much better.

I'm going to lie in bed, take a nap, maybe get up later and doodle, take a shower - who knows. It's Friday and I was lying there thinking that I could make my famous vegetable beef stew, and it suddenly dawned on me that it is Lent and I cannot have meat today. I have some catfish in the freezer, thought about grilling it. But naaaahhhh, I think I'll just have a bowl of Special K - Vanilla with almonds - my favorite. I have lots more pictures from my life and times and there'll be more of that. Who knows, maybe today, or maybe later.

God bless and have a wonderful weekend. Love your kids and your family, big hugs everyone!

Abbey

Thursday, February 21, 2008

From My Long and Winding Road


Pacific Palisades, CA - Summer 1976 ~ I was 22 years old in the photo at the left, and was recovering from having contracted the chicken pox from my daughter. My mom couldn't recall if I'd had them or not, but evidently, I had not. Up to that point, I had never been so sick in my life! I was off work and in bed, completely helpless and at the mercy of my friends for two weeks solid. I had sores everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Through it all, I ended up with one tiny scar on my forehead, thank goodness.

This picture was taken in Pacific Palisades, home of the rich and famous, and PP was in it's heyday back then. It is the home of my boyfriend, Chuck's (in the photo with me) aunt and uncle, Billie and Clint, and they traveled very frequently. Clint had his own company on the OTC market, and his home office was in Erie, Pennsylvania, so he was gone A LOT. His wife, Billie, busied herself as much as possible and traveled a lot in his absence once their children were grown. Their daughter, Kim, became my best friend and we stayed that way for about 20 odd years. Another story for another time . .

Chuck and I were called upon to "house sit" on these occasions when all were away from the nest, which was a lot. It was an idyllic situation. It was a huge home, with maid's quarters, a gourmet kitchen and a huge freezer full of food, swimming pool, bar, the whole nine yards. So we usually had people out and cooked, ate, swam, and just hung out and took care of the dogs. The back yard was completely privated by a huge wall of ivy all around and yes, we did our share of skinny-dipping back then. I was really living large and in total denial of my roots.

Vince Scully lived across the street, and I recall his gal-friend would show up with her grandchildren in the car and she'd leave them out there for hours while she and Vince "visited". The poor things would come over to the house and ask for a drink of water. Sly Stallone lived up the street, but his house had a 10-foot brick wall all around and you couldn't see a thing. The likes of Troy Donahue passing in his white T-bird convertible and waving, or Rod Serling in his yard picking up the paper were common sights. Ron and Nancy Reagan lived up there back then, and I remember Aunt Billie always working the polls on election day as a favor to Nancy.

I felt so grown up and sophisticated traveling in these circles. Whenever Clint was in town, Billie would hold a "dinner party" and invite us, of course her children, Chuck's brother, Robert, and she made the best port roast and saurkraut I've ever eaten. It would always start with a cocktail hour around their very well-stocked, curved bar. Trying to fit in, I'd force myself to drink Scotch, but I hated it and still do! By the time we got to dinner, everybody always had a buzz going on. Billie was totally into etiquette and everything was set just so on her table. One practiced "real manners", a way of eating and drinking, conversing and appearing effortlessly intelligent in the matters of the day. I actually became quite good an actress.

I recall discussing politics one evening and of course, all of the young people were Democrats. Jerry Brown was running that year, and Clint had the biggest line of all that night. He said, "yea, shit is Brown, isn't it?" Who could help but laugh.

This photograph was taken at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills at my annual office party (pre-chicken pox). I worked for a NYSE corporation named Automation Industries, Inc., in their corporate office in Century City, California. From our top-floor offices, you could see Santa Monica and the Pacific Ocean to the West, Hollywood Hills and Beverly Hills to the North and Northeast, downtown Los Angeles to the East, and the rest of Los Angeles County to the south, including LAX. I have pictures somewhere - I'll have to locate them.

The shawl that I am wearing in the photo - well, I still have it and I wear it almost every day now. I don't like big, bulky coats, so I wear the shawl or another pashmina. I get so many compliments on it and it's hard to believe that I bought that shawl to go that dress for the annual office party 30 years ago! Chuck thought of himself as very sophisticated, and I suppose he was, and he liked to travel in high social circles; perhaps it was higher than I'd ever experienced, but it was fun and I did learn a lot. He sent me to a place in Beverly Hills to get my hair cut; the same guy also cut his hair and was always hitting on him - it made me jealous! A woman can compete with another woman, but how does a woman compete with a man on that level?

We traveled up and down the California coast, sleeping in the back of his van where he'd built a double-sized bed. We drove through Death Valley and that took about three days, sleeping at night with the van door open, our kitty, Luxie, traveling with us and running around the desert at night. The stars were absolutely stunning out there. We sailed up the Sacramento River delta out of Oakland bay on a race with another sailboat and that took two days. It was so much fun! We'd tack and change our sails, throw water balloons back and forth, all kinds of things to mess with each other's plan to win the race. But it was a beautiful experience that I will never forget.

All things told, Chuck was a svengali of sorts. He loved to recite the things he "taught" me at his whim, always patting himself on the back. How to dress, how to wear my hair, how to act, how to talk, how to manage my money, how to land the right job, how to ... how to .... it was endless. But it was the first really mature and passionate relationship I'd ever know. Gee, is that an oxymoron??? We loved passionately and we debated issues passionately. Everything between us was conducted on the ultimate level. It was all-consuming, and perhaps not really so healthy. I was so, so dependent upon him. He made sure of that, but then chastised me endlessly for not being more independent. It was terribly confusing. Mentally, it probably bordered on mental cruelty, but I do believe the he loved me passionately at one time. He told me from the beginning that he did not want children. It had been a lifestyle choice. How confusing then when I had a little girl, and we moved in together. If you were me, wouldn't you think he was "softening" and that it was only a matter of time before he came around?

I was devastated when he found someone new after we had been together over four years. I fought to keep him, to no avail. And of course, my hindsight really, and I mean REALLY laughs hard at ME for being so broken up over him. Today he is still with the same person that came between us, no children, and he is a very angry old man. I know that he wasn't "the one" and it would take me about 25 more years to find "the one", but I finally have and I'm here for the rest of my life.

Christian Ways to Reduce Stress



Dearest St. Therese of Lisieux, thank you so much for the beautiful rose, and for your most kind and loving intercessions on my behalf.


An Angel says, "Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn't happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice."

1. Pray

2. Go to bed on time.

3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.

4. Say "No" to projects that won't fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.

5. Delegate tasks to capable others.

6. Simplify and unclutter your life.

7. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)

8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.

9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump the hard things all together.

10. Take one day at a time.

11. Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety. If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it.

12. Live within your budget; don't use credit cards for ordinary purchases.

13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.

14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.

15. Do something for the kid in you everyday.

16. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.

17. Get enough rest.

18. Eat right.

19 Get organized so everything has its place.

20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.

21. Write down thoughts and inspirations.

22. Every day, find time to be alone.

23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don't wait until it's time to go to bed to try and pray.

24. Make friends with Godly people.

25. Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.

26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good "Thank you Jesus."

27. Laugh.

28. Laugh some more!

29. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.

30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).

31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).

32. Sit on your ego.

33 Talk less; listen more.

34. Slow down.

35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.

36 . Every night before bed, think of one thing you're grateful for that you've never been grateful for before. GOD HAS A WAY OF TURNING THINGS AROUND FOR YOU.

"If God is for us, who can be against us?"
~ Romans 8:31

MORE FUN STUFF


We're not "supposed" to take much stock in this sort of thing, but it was amazing how extremely close the descriptions of my husband and I are . . . . just have fun with it, copy and paste and email to your friends if you'd like.


ARIES - The Aggressive (March 21 – April 19)

Outgoing. Lovable. Spontaneous. Not one to mess with. Funny. Excellent kisser EXTREMELY adorable. Loves relationships, and family is very important to an Aries. Aries are known for being generous and giving. Addictive. Loud. Always has the need to be 'Right'. Aries will argue to prove their point for hours and hours. Aries are some of the most wonderful people in the world.

TAURUS - The Tramp (April 20 – May 20)

Aggressive. Loves being in long relationships. Likes to give a good fight. Fight for what they want. Can be annoying at times, but for the love of attention. Extremely outgoing. Loves to help people in times of need. Good kisser. Good personality. Stubborn. A caring person. They can be self centered and if they want something they will do anything to get it. They love to sleep and can be lazy. One of a kind. Not one to mess with. Are the most attractive people on earth!

GEMINI - The Twin (May 21 – June 20)

Nice. Love is one of a kind. Great listeners Very Good at confusing people... Lover not a fighter, but will still knock you out. Gemini's will not take any crap from anyone. Gemini's like to tell people what they should do and get offended easily. They are great at losing things and are forgetful. Gemini's can be very sarcastic and childish at times, and are very nosey. Trustworthy. Always happy. VERY Loud. Talkative. Outgoing VERY FORGIVING. Loves to make out. Has a beautiful smile. Generous. Strong. THE MOST IRRESISTIBLE.

CANCER - The Beauty (June 21 – July 22)

MOST AMAZING KISSER. Very high appeal. A Cancer's Love is one of a kind. Very romantic. Most caring person you will ever meet in your life. Entirely creative Person, most are artists and insane respectfully speaking. They perfected sex and do it often. Extremely random. An Ultimate Freak. Extremely funny and is usually the life of the party. Most cancers will take you under their wing and into their hearts where you will remain forever. Cancers make love with a passion beyond compare Spontaneous. Not a Fighter, But will kick your ass good if it comes down to it. Someone you should hold on to!

LEO - The Lion (July 23 – August 22)

Great talker. Attractive and passionate. Laid back. Usually happy, but when unhappy tend to be grouchy and childish. A Leo's problem becomes everyone's problem. Most Leo's are very predictable and tend to be monotonous. Knows how to have fun. Is really good at almost anything. Great kisser. Very predictable. Outgoing. Down to earth. Addictive. Attractive. Loud. Loves being in long relationships. Talkative. Not one to mess with. Rare to find. Good when found.

VIRGO - The One that Waits (August 23 – September 22)

Dominant in relationships. Someone loves them right now. Always wants the last word. Caring. Smart. Loud. Loyal. Easy to talk to. Everything you ever wanted. Easy to please. A pushover. Loves to gamble and take chances. Needs to have the last say in everything. They think they know everything and usually do. Respectful to others but you will quickly lose their respect if you do something untrustworthy towards them and never regain respect. The do not forgive and never forget the one and only.

LIBRA - The Lame One (September 23 – October 22)

Nice to everyone they meet. Their Love is one of a kind. Silly, fun and sweet. Have own unique appeal. Most caring person you will ever meet! However, not the kind of person you want to mess with... you might end up crying... Libra's can cause as much havoc as they can prevent. faithful friends to the end. Can hold a grudge for years. Libra's are someone you want on your side. Usually great at sports and are extreme sports fanatics. Kinda dumb at times.

SCORPIO - The Addict (October 23 – November 21)

EXTREMELY adorable. Loves to joke. Very Good sense of humor. Will try almost anything once. Loves to be pampered. Energetic. Predictable. GREAT kisser. Always get what they want. Attractive. Loves being in long relationships. Talkative. Loves to party but at times to the extreme. Loves the smell and feel of money and is good at making it but just as good at spending it! Very protective over loved ones. HARD workers. Can be a good friend but if is disrespected by a friend, the friendship will end. Romantic. Caring.

SAGITTARIUS - The Promiscuous One (November 22 – December 21)

Spontaneous. High appeal. Rare to find. Great when found. Loves being in long relationships. So much love to give. A loner most of the time. Loses patience easily and will not take crap. If in a bad mood stay FAR away. Gets offended easily and remembers the offense forever. Loves deeply but at times will not show it feels it is a sign of weakness. Has many fears but will not show it. VERY private person. Defends loved ones will all their abilities. Can be childish often. Not one to mess with. Very pretty. Very romantic. Nice to everyone they meet. Their Love is one of a kind. Silly, fun and sweet. Have own unique appeal. Most caring person you will ever meet! Amazing in bed..!!! Not the kind of person you want to mess with- you might end up crying.

CAPRICORN - The Passionate Lover (December 22 – January 19)

Love to bust. Nice. Sassy. Intelligent. Sexy. Grouchy at times and annoying to some. Lazy and love to take it easy. But when they find a job or something they like to do they put their all into it. Proud, understanding and sweet. Irresistible. Loves being in long relationships. Great talker. Always gets what he or she wants. Cool. Loves to win against other signs especially Gemini's in sports. Likes to cook but would rather go out to eat at good restaurants. Extremely fun. Loves to joke. Smart.

AQUARIUS - Does It In The Water (January 20 – February 18)

Trustworthy. Attractive. Great kisser. One of a kind, loves being in
long-term relationships. Can be clumsy at times but tries hard. Will take on any project. Proud of themselves in whatever they do. Messy and unorganized. Procrastinators. Great lovers, when their not sleeping. Extreme thinkers. Loves their pets usually more then their family. Can be VERY irritating to others when they try to explain or tell a story. Unpredictable. Will exceed your expectations. Not a Fighter, But will Knock your lights out.

PISCES - The Partner for Life (February 19 – March 20)

Caring and kind. Smart. Center of attention. Messy at times and irresponsible! Smart but lazy. High appeal. Has the last word. Good to find, hard to keep. Passionate, wonderful lovers. Fun to be around. Too trusting at times and gets hurt easily. Lover of animals. VERY caring, make wonderful nurses or doctors. They always try to do the right thing sometimes get the short end of the stick. They sometimes et used by others and hurt because of their trusting. Extremely weird but in a good way. Good Sense of Humor!!! Thoughtful. Always gets what he or she wants. Loves to jo ke. Very popular. Silly, fun and sweet. Good friend to other but need to be choosy on who they allow their friends to be.

This Days . . .

For Today . . . and now we're current! :~)

The only kingdom that will prevail in this world is the kingdom that is not of this world.

~ Unknown


Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.

~ Psalm 98:7-9

This Day's Thought

This is actually yesterday's "This Day's Thought" which I didn't get around to posting . . . Nevertheless, it's a powerful statement. When you can give everything over to God, life sure is a lot sweeter!! Praise God!


Once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God, most of life's problems fall into place of their own accord.

~ J. I. Packer

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Why did the chicken cross the road?




Why did the chicken cross the road?




DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on 'THIS' side of the road before it goes after the problem on the 'OTHER SIDE' of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his 'CURRENT' problems before adding 'NEW' problems.

OPRAH: Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

COLIN POWELL: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road...

ANDERSON COOPER - CNN: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been a llowed to have access to the other side of the road.

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

NANCY GRACE: That chicken crossed the road because he's GUILTY! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

MARTHA STEWART: No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain. Alone.

JERRY FALWELL: Because the chicken was gay! Can't you people see the plain truth?' That's why they call it the 'other side.' Yes, my friends, that chicken is gay. And if you eat that chicken, you will become gay too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal media white washes with seemingly harmless phrases like 'the other side. That chicken should not be crossing the road. It's as plain and as simple as that.

GRANDPA: In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BARBARA WALTERS: Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its life long dream of crossing the road.

JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken2007, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your check book. Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken. This new platform is much more stable and will never cra...#@&&^(C% ......... reboot.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

AL GORE: I invented the chicken!

DICK CHENEY: Where's my gun?

AL SHARPTON: Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens!

COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?

Today's Heartlight

VERSE:

And I will betroth thee unto me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness; and thou shalt know the LORD.

~ Hosea 2:19-20


THOUGHT:

God longed for Israel to be faithful to him. Despite the unfaithfulness in the past, God offered his people forgiveness and hope that they could be restored to relationship with him again. If God was willing to pay such an incredibly high price to do this,s houldn't we do the same with each other? But, let's go one step further; let's be faithful to each other and to God in the firstplace!

PRAYER:

Dear Heavenly Father, God of compassion, please give me a more forgiving and sensitive heart. In addition, dear Father, please give me a faithful heart that will not stray from the pledges and vows I have made to you and to others. In Jesus' name I pray.Amen.

This Day's . . .

In our fluctuations of feeling, it is well to remember that Jesus admits no change in his affections; your heart is not the compass Jesus saileth by.

~ Samuel Rutherford

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstf ruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

~ Proverbs 3:9-10, The New International Version

Mensa's Top 10 Smartest of All Time TV Shows

From FoxNews.com: Jim Werdell, Chairman of Mensa International has picked the following after being posed the question by Fancast.com. He said, “They weren’t pure comedy, mystery or action. They tended to be shows that dealt with issues in the world, and from my perspective that’s considered smart. Some sitcoms reach a higher level of intellect than others, and you can say the same about some of the dramas. The stories may be cliché, but the characters and dialogue are smarter.” The list also contains Mr. Werdell's comments.

1. "M*A*S*H" – It had smart repartee and was so much more than a comedy.

2. "Cosmos" (with Carl Sagan) – Sagan was able to communicate something extremely complicated to the layman and do it well, and that’s unusual for a scientist at his level.

3. "CSI" — The way they use science to solve their programs is intriguing to viewers.

4. "House" – Again, it’s high level type of show; it’s the personality that makes it a winner, plus it deals with science.

5. "West Wing" – You had to pay attention to stay up with it. The repartee was fast and furious and you needed a fairly high level intelligence to keep up with it.

6. "Boston Legal" – It’s primarily because of the characters. The story lines are okay, but the characters are incredible and the writers give them great dialogue.

7. "All in the Family" – The show dealt with social issues before its time and was on the forefront of trying to show people’s feelings, beliefs and the complexities of personality, in both a serious and comedic way.

8. "Frasier" – The repartee was sensational; the main characters were very good. Even though they portrayed people who were likely of high intelligence, they also showed their weaknesses.

9. "Mad About You" – It’s a personal favorite, I loved the characters and the back and forth. It was very smart.

10. "Jeopardy" – It’s about the only game show that really tries to test people’s intelligence. There’s very little luck involved, and there are few game shows like that. I don’t watch it all that much honestly, but from what I’ve seen it tests more than knowledge, it tests intelligence too.

Just For Fun

Let's have something fun. You've probably seen this before and it's a kind of interesting to see how closely your "tree" fits your personality. And you can look up birthdates of others that you know and see what tree they fell from and if their personality traits fit the description. If you'd like to send to friends, just copy and paste. Find your birthday and see from which tree you fell and then read that tree's traits. As a side note, when I got to the Oak tree, I thought of the film, "Tombstone", wherein Doc Holladay tells Wyatt Earp: "Wyatt, you're an oak." Gosh, I love that movie .... another story .... According to the chart, Abbey fell from the Elm tree.

Dec 23 to Jan 01 ~ Apple Tree
Jan 01 to Jan 11 ~ Fir Tree
Jan 12 to Jan 24 ~ Elm Tree
Jan 25 to Feb 03 ~ Cypress Tree
Feb 04 to Feb 08 ~ Poplar Tree
Feb 09 to Feb 18 ~ Cedar Tree
Feb 19 to Feb 28 ~ Pine Tree
Mar 01 to Mar 10 ~ Weeping Willow Tree
Mar 11 to Mar 20 ~ Lime Tree
Mar 21 (only) ~ Oak Tree
Mar 22 to Mar 31 ~ Hazelnut Tree
Apr 01 to Apr 10 ~ Rowan Tree
Apr 11 to Apr 20 ~ Maple Tree
Apr 21 to Apr 30 ~ Walnut Tree
May 01 to May 14 ~ Poplar Tree
May 15 to May 24 ~ Chestnut Tree
May 25 to Jun 03 ~ Ash Tree
Jun 04 to Jun 13 ~ Hornbeam Tree
Jun 14 to Jun 23 ~ Fig Tree
Jun 24 (only) ~ Birch Tree
Jun 25 to Jul 04 ~ Apple Tree
Jul 05 to Jul 14 ~ Fir Tree
Jul 15 to Jul 25 ~ Elm Tree
Jul 26 to Aug 04 ~ Cypress Tree
Aug 05 to Aug 13 ~ Poplar Tree
Aug 14 to Aug 23 ~ Cedar Tree
Aug 24 to Sep 02 ~ Pine Tree
Sep 03 to Sep 12 ~ Weeping Willow Tree
Sep 13 to Sep 22 ~ Lime Tree
Sep 23 (only) ~ Olive Tree
Sep 24 to Oct 03 ~ Hazelnut Tree
Oct 04 to Oct 13 ~ Rowan Tree
Oct 14 to Oct 23 ~ Maple Tree
Oct 24 to Nov 11 ~ Walnut Tree
Nov 12 to Nov 21 ~ Chestnut Tree
Nov 22 to Dec 01 ~ Ash Tree
Dec 02 to Dec 11 ~ Hornbeam Tree
Dec 12 to Dec 21 ~ Fig Tree
Dec 22 (only) ~ Beech Tree

TREES (in alphabetical order)

Apple Tree (Love) -- quiet and shy at times, lots of charm, appeal, And attraction, pleasant attitude, flirtatious smile, adventurous, sensitive, loyal in love, wants to love and be loved, faithful and tender partner, very generous, many talents, loves children, needs affectionate partner.

Ash Tree (Ambition) -- extremely attractive, vivacious, impulsive, demanding, does not care for criticism, ambitious, intelligent, talented, likes to play with fate, can be very egotistic, reliable, restless lover, sometimes money rules over the heart, demands attention, needs love and much emotional support.

Beech Tree (Creative) -- has good taste, concerned about its looks, materialistic, good organization of life and career, economical, good leader, takes no unnecessary risks, reasonable, splendid lifetime companion, keen on keeping fit (diets, sports, etc.).

Birch Tree (Inspiration) -- vivacious, attractive, elegant, friendly, unpretentious, modest, does not like anything in excess, abhors the vulgar, loves life in nature and in calm, not very passionate, full of imagination, little ambition, creates a calm and content atmosphere.

Cedar Tree (Confidence) -- of rare strength, knows how to adapt, Likes unexpected presents, of good health, not in the least shy, tends to look down on others, self-confident, a great speaker, determined, often impatient, likes to impress others, has many talents, industrious, healthy optimism, waits for the one true love, able to make quick decisions.

Chestnut Tree (Honesty) -- of unusual stature, impressive, well-developed sense of justice, fun to be around, a planner, born diplomat, can be irritated easily, sensitive of others feelings, hard worker, sometimes acts superior, feels not understood at times, fiercely family oriented, very loyal in love, physically fit.

Cypress Tree (Faithfulness) -- strong, muscular, adaptable, takes what life has to give but doesn't necessarily like it, strives to be content, optimistic, wants to be financially independent, wants love and affection, hates loneliness, passionate lover which cannot be satisfied, faithful, quick-tempered at times, can be unruly and careless, loves to gain knowledge, needs to be needed.

Elm Tree (Noble-mindedness) -- pleasant shape, tasteful clothes, Modest demands, tends not to forgive mistakes, cheerful, likes to lead but Not to obey, honest and faithful partner, likes making decisions for others, noble-minded, generous, good sense of humor, practical.

Fig Tree (Sensibility) -- very strong minded, a bit self-willed, honest, loyal, independent, hates contradiction or arguments, hard worker when wants to be, loves life and friends, enjoys children and animals, sexually oriented, great sense of humor, has artistic talent and great intelligence.

Fir tree (Mysterious) -- extraordinary taste, handles stress well, loves anything beautiful, stubborn, tends to care for those close to them, hard to trust others, yet a social butterfly, likes idleness and laziness after long demanding hours at work, rather modest, talented, unselfish, many friends, very reliable.. Extremely intelligent. Loves life.

Hazelnut Tree (Extraordinary) -- charming, sense of humor, very demanding but can also be very understanding, knows how to make a lasting impression, active fighter for social causes and politics, popular, quite moody, sexually oriented, honest, a perfectionist, has a precise sense of judgment and expects complete fairness.

Hornbeam Tree (Good Taste) -- of cool beauty, cares for its looks and condition, good taste, is not egoistic, makes life as comfortable as possible, leads a reasonable and disciplined life, looks for kindness and acknowledgment in an emotional partner, dreams of unusual lovers, is seldom happy with its feelings, mistrusts most people, is never sure of its decisions, very conscientious.

Lime Tree (Doubt) - intelligent, hard working, accepts what life dishes out, but not before trying to change bad circumstances into good ones, hates fighting and stress, enjoys getaway vacations, may appear tough, but is actually soft and relenting, always willing to make sacrifices for family and friends, has many talents but not always enough time to use them, great leadership qualities, is jealous at times but extremely loyal.

Maple Tree (Independence of Mind) -- no ordinary person, full of imagination and originality, shy and reserved, ambitious, proud, self-confident, hungers for new experiences, sometimes nervous, has many complexities, good memory, learns easily, complicated love life, wants to impress.

Oak Tree (Brave) -- robust nature, courageous, strong, unrelenting, independent, sensible, does not like change, keeps its feet on the ground, person of action.

Olive Tree (Wisdom) -- loves sun, warmth and kind f! feelings, reasonable, balanced, avoids aggression and violence, tolerant, cheerful, calm, well-developed sense of justice, sensitive, empathetic, free of jealousy, loves to read and the company of sophisticated people.

Pine Tree (Peacemaker) -- loves agreeable company, craves peace and harmony, loves to help others, active imagination, likes to write poetry, not fashion conscious, great compassion, friendly to all, falls strongly in love but will leave if betrayed or lied to, emotionally soft, low self-esteem, needs affection and reassurance.

Poplar Tree (Uncertainty) -- looks very decorative, talented, not very self-confident, extremely courageous if necessary, needs goodwill and pleasant surroundings, very choosy, often lonely, great animosity, great artistic nature, good organizer, tends to lean toward philosophy, reliable in any situation, takes partnership seriously.

Rowan Tree (Sensitivity) -- full of charm, cheerful, gifted without egoism, likes to draw attention, loves life, motion, and even complications, is both dependent and independent, good taste, artistic, passionate, emotional, good company, does not forgive.

Walnut Tree (Passion) -- unrelenting, strange and full of contrasts, often egotistic, aggressive, noble, broad horizon, unexpected reactions, spontaneous, unlimited ambition, no flexibility, difficult and uncommon partner, not always liked but often admired, ingenious strategist, very jealous and passionate, no compromise.

Weeping Willow (Melancholy) - likes to be stress free, loves family life, full of hopes and dreams, attractive, very empathetic, loves anything beautiful, musically inclined, loves to travel to exotic places, restless, capricious, honest, can be influenced but is not easy to live with when pressured, sometimes demanding, good intuition, suffers in love until they find that one loyal, steadfast partner; loves to make others laugh.