Monday, June 30, 2008

GO HELENA ALL-STARS, NSA ALABAMA 8U STATE CHAMPS!!!


Above is the photograph of the 2008 NSA Alabama 8U State Champs, which includes our granddaughter, Hannah (age 9 - bottom left in team photo), Second Base. This was an exciting year and from beginning to end, she participated in 26 games. In regular season, they were undefeated. Hannah was chosen in her first year ever to play softball to play on the Helena All Stars team. She can catch anything thrown or hit at her - she's totally awesome. And she is quite the slammer when it comes to hitting that ball. They played in several post-season tournaments in the area to prepare the team for the State Tournament, which was this past weekend. We were at the ballpark Friday, Saturday and Sunday until 8:00 p.m. But it was so worth it. We were undefeated going into the final game yesterday for the championship, which even amazed our coaches. We were facing a team that had one loss, and that loss was to us earlier in the day. We needed to win that game! The opposing team had played another team right before our game in the hot sun, and we could only hope that they were exhausted. No way! They came to play ball! Our girls didn't have their best game faces on and they let them beat us 12-2. We took a short break and just as we began the second game to break the tie, a bad storm hit and we ran for cover. The field maintenance people and park president said we'd get the game in, but it'd be a while. It took about 2 1/2 hours for the rain to pass and the field to be prepped, and we started again.

I am quite hoarse today, as probably all of the parents are. We did everything we could to lift those girls up to believe in themselves, to relax and do what they do best, and that is, to play ball! The first inning ended in the other team leading 6-1. Coach Chris had a long face, but the girls lifted up the coaches and said "we are going to win this!" We held the other team three innings and went ahead by two points. And the highlight of the day was that our baby Hannah, caught the ball and tagged a forced run to second base for the winning out.

Triumphant, all were screaming and throwing gloves in the air. It was the most amazing thing I've been a part of. We thank God for a wonderful season where not just Hannah, but also the boys and parents and grandparents made new and good friends; we thank God for the wonderful teams and great sportsmanship that we witnessed everywhere we went: we thank him for keeping all the injuries to minor bumps and scratches; we thank Him for the most wonderful, patient and fun coaches in the world, especially Coach Chris Watts; and we thank Him that His will was for our girls to experience this very special honor.




















Friday, June 27, 2008

R & R

It's a bit late but I'm finally getting around to talking about our weekend at the lake last week. I don't understand it. We hurry around, making our lists, packing, loading the vehicle and we set off on Friday after work to the lake. As soon as we arrive, I feel like, "just give me a cold beer and let me walk down to the water" - I am on GO for relaxation. It is so tranquil being near the water in the evenings and early mornings especially. But my point was, it seems we just arrive and it is time to leave again.

I rode Clyde and we gave the grass a very good haircut. Dawg and Fannie Brown started trimming trees and before we knew it, they had an enormous burn pile that should be nice and dry by this weekend. I was lucky enough to be stung by a wasp when I was trying to push a birdhouse back up that had been knocked cock-eyed. It's the first sting I can recall experiencing and it stunned me. Like an idiot, I jerked back, grabbed my hand and just stared at the birdhouse wondering, "what kind of bird stings?" Well, duh huh! Then I saw the nest. Fannie Brown applied amonia to a paper towel and wrapped my finger to take out the sting, and it did the job. My knuckle and top of my hand swelled some and hurt a little, but it was good as new by Monday. Here's a few pictures - the house facing the lake, the boathouse, and a view down the creek into the main channel.











We spent last evening with some of our friends at our favorite watering hole, which is smack dab in the middle of Margaritaville. This is Harry and Kat, also known as Harrykat ... They're loads of fun and we seem to feed off one another in the laughter department. Harry works for the same company as Dawg and they have all been friends for a good many years. Kat recently gave me a feed off her sourdough bread and I can't wait to make some.



This is the Dawg and me at the watering hole. I don't take good photographs, but I'm going to make an exception and let you see one, just this once!!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Home Movies - Chapter Two

Over the course of the next hour, Starr’s grandmother recounted the last few weeks of events in the relationship between Starr’s parents, Helena and Chuck. Helena was the oldest of the three children born to Grandmother in her second marriage, and the only girl from that union, but there was an older girl, Bea, from Grandmother’s first marriage.

From an early age, Helena enjoyed cigarettes, dancing and drinking in local bars, and a bit of promiscuity that was somewhat overlooked by the rest of them. She and Billie had been casual friends for a few years after Billie had met and began dating Bo. And they kept company after Billie and Bo married, and Bo was sent to Korea a mere seventeen days later. Billie was raised attending church every time the doors were open, and she was a model Christian girl. She was very petite at less that five feet tall, weighing only about 90 pounds. Bo was completely smitten by her. She and Helena used to travel together around to small towns where gospel quartets would come and sing. In fact, Helena and Bo used to sing in church together and a duo when they were growing up. They all loved gospel music. Billie was from Nashville, but by the time she and Bo became serious, she was old enough to do as she pleased. And her mother, known as Granny, knew that Billie was a good girl and could be trusted on her own.

Helena, on the other hand, had an eye for the men. She was a slender girl, with beautiful blue eyes and dark, naturally wavy hair, which she wore cut short. She loved her dresses cinched tight at the waste with a small belt and full skirt, and she had lovely legs and narrow ankles that looked very attractive in the strappy heels she would wear in the evening escapades in which she indulged. She learned to dance as an young teenager and enjoyed going out, finding an attractive fellow with whom she could dance and share conversation over drinks and cigarettes.

She met Chuck in a small bar near her home one night and he followed her as she walked home. When he caught up with her, she allowed him to walk her the rest of the way as they chatted flirtatiously. There was an immediate spark between them and they both noticed it right off. They talked all the way to her house and stopped just across the street where Chuck slapped a deep and passionate kiss on her before she knew what hit her. And she liked it, she liked it a lot. Chuck was very dapper, dressed in his jacket, unbuttoned shirt, slacks and dress shoes. He dressed a lot more flashy than the rest of the guys that frequented the bar. And he had a deep sex appeal that Helena couldn’t ignore. He lit a fire in her and, unfortunately, she wasn’t one to let such things pass by without at least a little exploration.

Chuck was also in the Army and was going to be shipped out soon. His orders were to send him to Mobile for the next several months, but on occasion, he would be able to gain weekend passes and return to Decatur to see Helena. Before he was shipped off, they quickly married and Helena promptly became pregnant. She had her first child, a girl whom she named Suzanna, while Chuck was in Mobile. The first time Chuck saw Suzanna, she was already six months old.

Chuck was a bit of a womanizer and while in Mobile, remaining faithful to his vows was the last thing on his mind. He had his share of one-night stands, and following the birth of Suzanna, Helena was inclined to do the same. They both had strong sexual appetites and neither gave much thought to the social ramifications of such behavior, much less their marriage vows. Little Suzanna was left with an aunt or Grandmother, whoever Helena could find, while she ventured out dressed in her finest chintz dress, cigarettes and handbag ready for an evening of drinks and dancing. When Chuck arrived home on leave from Mobile, he walked into their little house on the dirt road and found a Helena sitting with a couple of friends visiting. He was a fairly brash man and made no bones about his desire for them to leave; he had some business to attend to. Soon as company was out the door, he had Helena in the bed where they went after one another like wild animals. The result of this heated liaison was the birth of Starr nine months later.

Chuck was in and out of their lives infrequently. Helena managed to become pregnant by him one last time and bore a son, whom they named Charles, after Chuck and his father. By the time Charles arrived, the marriage, for all its intent and purpose, was over. Chuck was sleeping with anything that had a skirt and legs, and Helena, although she loved him deeply, had given in to her own desires as well. Nevertheless, the day that Chuck walked in and announced, “I’m leaving. I just can’t do this,” packed his bags and walked out without another word, completely stunned and devastated Helena. Here she was with three children under the age of three and her husband had walked out on her with little or no explanation. The fact that there had never been any arguments between he two of them and not the smallest hint of his unhappiness made his quick exit from the relationship even more mysterious and hurtful. It was an enormous question mark that would weigh on Helena’s mind for most of her life.

With Chuck gone, Helena had no choice but to move in with her sister, Bea, who was a single mother of two boys. Bea had purchased a fairly nice, but small, three-bedroom home, and she welcomed her little half-sister with open arms. For the next few months, the Bea worked during the day while Helena kept the children, and together they spent many an evening out hopping bars, drinking, smoking and picking up men. The children, who ranged in age from 6 years to a few months, were often put in bed and once all were asleep, the women went out, leaving them alone and at the mercy of fate. Many times they brought their conquests home with them and had sex with them in the very same room, as the others were occupied by the children.

One night, Suzanna awoke while Helena and Bea were gone. The house was dark and Suzanna’s bottle was empty. She crawled out of the little twin bed she shared with Starr and Charles, and hobbled around the dark house alone, looking for her mommie. When she found their bed empty, as well as the living room and kitchen which were also dark and void of any human being. She found the step-stool in the kitchen and pushed it in the dark across the floor to where the telephone hung above on the wall. At the age of 4 years old, she didn’t have any idea how to make a telephone call, but had watched people making calls lots of times. So with her tiny hands, she attempted to dial numbers. Suddenly, Suzanna could hear the voice of a woman in the receiver, obviously the Operator. Suzanna couldn’t make any sense out of what she was saying so she simply hung up the receiver, carefully climbed down the step-stool, and went back to bed without her bottle. There was nothing else she could do.

On any given day, one might find all of the children running loose all over the neighborhood. Helena and her sister didn’t pay much attention to the children, except to get them outside to play where they wouldn’t be bothersome. It might be the dead of winter and the children would be outside with no coats and sometimes, no shoes. They got into all kinds of messes, and even suffered a few bumps, cuts and scratches. Suzanna stepped on a piece of broken glass and cut the bottom of her foot, and Starr fell down the brick steps, cutting a huge gash across the bridge of her nose. One might say that the children learned survival at a very early age. And so it was, with the lifestyle that they had lead for the first few years of their gentle lives, a way of life unlike most people, with no security, absentee parents, unsupervised play, accidents and more. It was a blessing that the house didn’t burn down while the two women were out at night, or someone didn’t just drive up and snatch one or two of them when they were outside unsupervised.

There was definitely a higher power looking after those children, and one day, Starr would reflect on these years and it would be a major factor that strengthened her faith,
when she finally found it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dogs Know!

Have you ever heard that a dog "knows" when an earthquake is about to hit? Have you ever heard that a dog can "sense" when a tornado is stirring up, even 20 miles away? Do you remember hearing that before the December tsunami struck Southeast Asia, dogs started running frantically away from the seashore, at breakneck speed?

Do you know that dogs can detect cancer and other serious illnesses and danger of fire? Somehow they always know when they can 'go for a ride' before you even ask and how do those dogs and cats get home from hundreds of miles away? I'm a firm believer that animals - and especially dogs - have keen insights into the Truth. And you can't tell me that dogs can't sense a potentially terrible disaster well in advance

Simply said, a dog just KNOWS when something isn't right .. . when impending doom is upon us . . they'll always try to warn us.... !!

Friends!

Friends are like butt cheeks. Crap might separate them, but they always come back together!!

The Laws of Ultimate Reality

Law of Mechanical Repair
After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch and you'll have to pee.

Law of Gravity
Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

Law of Probability
The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.

Law of Random Numbers
If you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal and someone always answers.

Law of the Alibi
If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire, the very next morning you will have a flat tire.

Variation Law
If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will always move faster than the one you are in now (works every time).

Law of the Bath
When the body is fully immersed in water, the telephone rings.

Law of Close Encounters
The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.

Law of the Result
When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.

Law of Biomechanics
The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

Law of the Theater
At any event, the people whose seats are furthest from the aisle arrive last.

The Starbucks Law
As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.

Murphy's Law of Lockers
If there are only two people in a locker room, they will have adjacent lockers.

Law of Physical Surfaces
The chances of an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down on a floor covering are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet/rug.

Law of Logical Argument
Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.

Brown's Law of Physical Appearance
If the shoe fits, it's ugly.

Oliver's Law of Public Speaking
A closed mouth gathers no feet.

Wilson's Law of Commercial Marketing Strategy
As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it.

Doctors' Law
If you don't feel well, make an appointment to go to the doctor, by the time you get there you'll feel better. Don't make an appointment and you'll stay sick.

This Day's . . .

I sometimes think that the very essence of the whole Christian position and the secret of a successful spiritual life is just to realize two things- I must have complete, absolute confidence in God and no confidence in myself.

~ David Lloyd-Jones

Even if we believe that it makes no difference to the Lord whether we do these things, still we cannot just go ahead and do them to please ourselves; for we must bear the “burden” of being considerate of the doubts and fears of others- of those who feel these things are wrong. Let’s please the other fellow, not ourselves, and do what is for his good and thus build him up in the Lord.

~ Romans 15:1-2 , The Living Bible

Most of us follow our conscience as we follow a wheelbarrow. We push it in front of us in the direction we want to go.

~ Billy Graham

The Audacity

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

About Taxes

So much discussion is going on all over America about taxes that I recalled this song and I wanted to post it. What is so ironic is that it was written over 40 years ago by none other than George Harrison and was published on The Beatles' Revolver album.

Taxman
Let me tell you how it will be
There's one for you, nineteen for me
Cos I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman
Should five per cent appear too small
Be thankful I don't take it all
Cos I'm the taxman, yeah I'm the taxman

If you drive a car, I'll tax the street
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat
If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet,Taxman!
Cos I'm the taxman, yeah I'm the taxman

Don't ask me what I want it for
If you don't want to pay some more
Cos I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
Cos I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman
And you're working for no one but me, Taxman!

Home Movies

June 1957

The sun was shining brightly in the clear blue skies of Alabama on that beautiful June day, a day of which she had minimal recollection. It was beautiful and warm outside. She rode in the car with her grandmother until the car pulled off the two-lane highway and safely stopped on the shoulder. When her grandmother came around and opened the car door for her, she slid out of the seat down on to the pavement, her short little legs steadying themselves underneath her tiny body. She was but three years old but very strong-willed and independent, and she did not question the why or where they had traveled. But rather, she happily assisted her grandmother by carrying her small doll as her grandmother urged her on to follow her up what seemed at the time to be a big, steep hill that was covered with a blanket of beautiful green grass. Her beautiful blonde, curly hair glistened under the bright sunshine, as she made her way up the hill, dropping her doll, then picking her up again, trying in earnest to keep up with her grandmother who walked ahead of her.

Grandmother was a tall and impressive woman. She dressed immaculately, always in a dress which she had invariably sewn herself, and never in pants or slacks. She loved her costume jewelry, which she wore everywhere, every day. Her hair was long but fine, and had grayed when she was quite young. Every morning, she would apply her make-up, which was always perfection, putting on her red lipstick last. She then brushed and worked her long, gray hair with her fingers into a beautiful, perfect bun on the back of her head, securing it with hair pins, and then finishing by inserting hair combs trimmed with rhinestones. At night, she would wash her hair and meticulously place wave clips in the hair on top of her head. With her coiffed hair, make-up and dress, she was always ready for anything – church, work, restaurant, shopping, or socializing.

Starr followed her grandmother, who walked in long strides, even in high heels, carrying with her right hand a cluster of clothes hangers slung over her right shoulder containing most of Starr’s clothing, and a small suitcase and purse in her other hand. The two of them walked up the hill, which wasn’t really so steep at all, where a bright red and white swingset caught Starr’s eye. As she passed it slowly, she thought of how she would love to play on that colorful swingset that had a real teeter totter and everything, even a brand new slide. She even wimpered ever so slightly to grandmother that she would like to stop and play. But not now, grandmother was moving deliberately with a serious, strong purpose of immediate importance on her mind. She was intent on doing what she had decided needed to be done as the unstated, but yet understood matriarch of her family.

There were several buildings atop the small hill, all built in a deep red brick. There were two rows facing one another, with four buildings in each row. The earth was covered in beautiful green, grass in front of the buildings, and a long sidewalk ran down the center between the two rows of buildings, with single walkways extending like arms from the main sidewalk up to the porch of each building, which were duplexes, each comprising two full single-family units. The buildings in this section were but one of several that comprised this military base housing in Selma at Craig Air Force Base. Starr followed her grandmother to the first building nearest the highway.

Starr’s eyes wandered about as they walked, but she was not afraid. She trusted her grandmother even at this young and tender age, and she tagged along wherever her grandmother led her without question or wonder. If there was one word that appealed to Starr almost from the beginning of her early life, it was the word “go”. Starr was always ready to go. It was a good thing because she had gone and gone, and moved and shuffled all of her life. Stability, if she even knew the word, would not have been in her vocabulary. She followed her grandmother as she approached the screen door, opened it and entered without knocking. That was the way Starr's grandmother was. If it was her family, she didn't need any announcing; what was theirs was hers and vice versa, in her mind anyway. Inside, they were greeted by Starr’s Uncle Bo, grandmother’s son, and his wife, Aunt Billie. Although undetected by little Starr, Uncle Bo and Aunt Billie were more than a bit surprised by the unannounced visit, but it was Uncle Bo’s mama, whom he adored, and they both greeted her graciously and warmly.

After the requisite greetings, grandmother got right to the point of her visit by blurting out, “Here’s Starr. If you want her, you can have her.”

The Pastor's Ass

This is an old one, but it's still a goodie!!

The pastor entered his donkey in a race and it won.
The pastor was so pleased with the donkey that he entered it in the race again, and it won again.
The local paper read:
PASTOR'S ASS OUT FRONT.

The Bishop was so upset with this kind of publicity that he ordered the pastor not to enter the donkey in another race.
The next day, the local paper headline read:
BISHOP SCRATCHES PASTOR'S ASS.

This was too much for the bishop, so he ordered the pastor to get rid of the donkey.
The pastor decided to give it to a nun in a nearby convent.
The local paper, hearing of the news, posted the following headline the next day:
NUN HAS BEST ASS IN TOWN.

The bishop fainted.

He informed the nun that she would have to get rid of the donkey, so she sold it to a farmer for $10.
The next day the paper read:
NUN SELLS ASS FOR $10.

This was too much for the bishop, so he ordered the nun to buy back the donkey and lead it to the plains where it could run wild.
The next day the headlines read:
NUN ANNOUNCES HER ASS IS WILD AND FREE.

The bishop was buried the next day.

The moral of the story is . . . being concerned about public opinion can bring you much grief and misery . . even shorten your life.
So be yourself and enjoy life.
Stop worrying about everyone else's ass and you'll be a lot happier and live longer!
Have a nice day!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Renewed Prayer Request

I spoke back in February of my cousin and the mass that had been found on his brain. The mass was on the left frontal lobe, the area of the brain that controls decision-making abilities and cognitive abilities. A very delicate and long surgery was performed and at that time, the surgeons "believed" that they had removed most of or all of the mass. The pathology was positive for malignancy.

Audie immediately began radiation and chemotherapy treatments. This went on for some weeks, and when the radiation course was concluded, he continued on several medications, including a pill form of chemotherapy. For the last couple of months, he has been taking his chemo for five days, off for 20 days and then back on it for five, continuing on that cycle.

I believe it was late March or early April that an MRI was performed, and at that time, we had seen a miracle. Audie's brain was completely clear of all mass, and in medical terms, I suppose one could say that he was in "remission". But with cancer, that does not mean that treatment ceases. Rather, a regimen is continued for some time as a sort of "insurance policy" that the cancer will not return.

Audie continued to work as much as possible, which in actuality was 2-3 days per week. He also kept a laptop at home and worked as much as he could from there. He remained positive and focused that all would be well in the end.

However, in the last few weeks, Audie's decision-making ability has declined dramatically and his cognitive processes are not working as they should. He is terribly weak and now, extremely depressed. His physicians have tried their utmost to reassure him that sometimes the type medications he is on will cause such symptoms, even changing one of his medications in an effort to relieve those symptoms. The fact remains, however, that Audie cannot make any decisions and is dependent on his wife and others to do that for him. He remains very depressed and in fact, has discussed her responsibility to care for their parents, my aunt and uncle, when he is gone. It is very disheartening to feel that he is giving up, but he is so tired. He is scheduled for an MRI in July and all we can do is hope for good news. The saddest thing for me was his mother opening her heart to me and speaking those very difficult words about her son, "we don't believe he will ever be well again." As a mother, and as his cousin, it broke my heart.

We continue to pray for God's miracle in our family, and I ask with all humility that any who may read this post please, stop for one minute, or thirty seconds, and ask the Lord to wrap his loving arms around my cousin, Audie, comfort him, give him strength in body and mind, and heal him.


I pray the Lord will bless each and every one of your for your kindness.

Abbey

I Am Headed in My Direction

The streets of the downtown financial district were bustling. As we drove slowly through clusters of people who walked not just on sidewalks, but in the streets among the vehicles, we were seeking a place where we might park our vehicle. We were in my 2000 white Mazda 626, which was the first car that I had purchased brand spanking new off the lot. My 1990 Maxima was near death, and after putting over $4,000 into various repairs over the last two years, most of which was borrowed from my 401(k), my intuition told me that I would be drained dry if I didn't do something, and quick. I had a friend from church who was the general manager for a local Mazda dealership, and I knew he would be anxious to help. Being a single, divorced parent presented some financial obstacle or another almost on a daily basis. But, I am a survivor and I managed.

We found a good spot to park. It was in an alleyway of sorts, and it was among other vehicles that lined the red brick wall of a tall, old building whose facade gave away it's age and history. We began to walk together, mingling with the to and fro flow of the crowds, and I recall glancing into open shops and wandering through sidewalk vendors selling their wares. This group includes me and two other people, both male, but I cannot see them clearly.

I suddenly found myself in the grand lobby of a large building resembling that of an elite hotel of sorts. I came to realize that it was the lobby of a large, old building of condominiums/apartments. I was lead to my new home, up beautiful tapestry-lined staircases, down the wide hallway and to the door of what was obviously my new home. I entered the apartment and found it lavishly decorated with lots of metal and brass accents, which are often used because they reflect light and add warmth to the room. There were large, ostentacious statues and metal artwork that were unfamiliar to me. However, everything there was layered with dust, and I began immediately to move and shuffle things in an effort to "make it mine". When it comes to my home, I like change, so it was not unnatural for me to feel an urge to put things where I thought they looked best. I am enamoured with the fine quality and uniqueness of the decor and accents, despite the fact that it was not what I would ever choose for myself, but it was obviously expensive and tasteful and I was happy to have it. But again, it is so dusty that it seems to have been left unattended for quite some time.

The ceilings seem to soar at 20 feet. There are black, decorative iron bars on the doors to the patio and I am anxious to look out the glass doors to see what I may lie beyond this building. As I gaze out the tall windowed doorway, there not a patio, but a narrow pathway that gently slopes to the left, down to the street below. I thought, "this doesn't fit in; this is not right. It should be a large, private patio, but people can just walk right up here and look inside." That upset me, but I moved on.

The most curious of oddities was that when one entered the residence, you were in the enormous master bedroom. There was a large bed with fine linens and it was tall and commanding. A parsons table sat nearby, along with two chairs in between which I placed a small table that I had found in an adjoining room. I felt it made it more complete. Decorating in "three's" is common. The sitting rooms and other areas were beyond that room. I then experienced another thought, questioning no one in particular, just wondering why this place had been arranged in such a manner that visitors entered into the bedroom, rather than the usual living area. Nevertheless, it seemed like such a grand place, and I gravitate to the unusual and thought it a little avant garde, so I accepted that.

I met later with a girl in the apparent management offices, who began to show me the paperwork on my "purchase" of the apartment. I tried to see the numbers, but she was shuffling the papers so quickly that I could barely catch one number before she'd turn to another page and I'd see yet another. I wonder, "how am I going to buy this beautiful place, which already seems to be 'mine' at a price of over $300,000?" Another lady approached and I expressed my concern over price, and I asked her about salaries in the area as opposed to those from where I have come. I have not yet secured a job, which is another thought running through my mind as I contemplate the step I am about to take. She was quick to sooth my angst, "oh, salaries here are 3 to 4 times what they are there!" I was immediately relieved! But yet, I still had doubts. Suddenly, I know that I am in Minneapolis, and I like it!

My mother was there helping me in the apartment, when I had yet another thought. If I were going to move that far away, why don't I just move back home, to Texas where they live. Mama looked to be about 40 years old. She was not unkind in her words, but she told me in no uncertain terms that she did not want me to move there, that I should come, but move to another town that was not far from them. This was totally baffling me. I couldn't even speak.

I decided that I needed to get out and find my car and get my bearings. I walked out into the street where the crowds of people were still walking about, people smiling as they passed, people talking and laughing, and one had the feeling of some kind of festival or special occasion happening. I thought to myself, "I like Minneapolis. This is really a pretty place. I think I'd like it here." It felt very comfortable and I had no anxiety whatsoever in that notion.

I walked for a while until I found the shops we had passed earlier. I remembered them from when we had left my car and passed them on the way to the condo building. I returned to where we parked the car, but it was not there. I turned in every direction seeking the sight of my white Mazda. I looked in every alley and street nearby thinking I had made a wrong turn, but no, I was positive that this was the right place. But my car was not there.

I returned to the building and I had a difficult time finding my way up the stairs, but eventually I found the apartment and entered. There was a lady there who was dressed in a long, flowing dressing gown in a pastel blue. She was tall, slender and rather regal looking. You could tell that she came from money, and she seemed the kind who might use one of those long, slender rods for holding her cigarette as she smoked. She moved with ultimate grace. As I observed, she did not make notice of me, nor speak to me, but was directing servants to take down the iron bars on the doors and windows, take the furnishings here and there, and the servants referred to her as "Mrs. [somebody]", obviously highly respecting her stature. I do not know how I know this, but I know that she is recently widowed, and she is moving. Again, I am in a state of confusion. She is taking all of the things from the apartment and that did not seem correct, somehow. There was a radio on a table and I could hear the music. I was trying to find the "OFF" button, but the buttons were all erratically placed, and they glowed a sort of blue color. I was pushing them all, trying to turn the music off. And when I finally managed to turn off the radio, I awoke.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Revolution

I have made a choice to officially protest the war in Iraq. The repercussions of a senseless war and it's trickle-down effect on millions of families at home and overseas, along with the business of this country being run by a boatload of rich, selfish individuals has got to stop. America is suffering, at home and abroad. It's people are standing by idly while the Washington elite run our great country into bankruptcy and corruption. It's time to take a stand, the time is NOW. "Stop children, what's that sound, everybody look what's goin' down!"

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

All Grown Up




Thoughts and Verses for the Day, AND A Smile

If you are too busy to pray then you are too busy.

~ W. E. Sangster


Material abundance without character is the surest way to destruction.

~ Thomas Jefferson

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Proverbs 15:1, The King James Version


For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.

~ Psalm 72:12-14, The King James Version

It's ludicrous for any Christian to believe that he or she is the worthy object of public worship; it would be like the donkey carrying Jesus into Jerusalem believing the crowds were cheering and laying down their garments for him.

~ Charles Colson

Monday, June 16, 2008

At Long Last . . .


The end of a 76-race (points races) losing streak . . . what joy! Congratulations, Dale, I'm so proud for you!

Texas Midget

The testicles of a Texas midget hurt and ached almost all the time. The midget went to the doctor and told him about his problem. The doctor told him to drop his pants and he would have a look.

The midget dropped his pants. The doctor stood him up onto the examining table, and started to examine him. The doc put one finger under his left testicle and told the midget to turn his head and cough, the usual method to check for a hernia. Aha!' mumbled the doc and, as he put his finger under the right testicle, he asked the midget tocough again. Aha!' said the doctor again, and reached for his surgical scissors.

Snip-snip-snip-snip on the right side, the nsnip-snip-snip-snip o n the left side. The midget was so scared he was afraid to look, but noted with amazement that the snipping did not hurt. The doctor then told the midget to walk around the examining room to see if his testicles still hurt. The midget was absolutely delighted as he walked around and discovered his testicles were no longer aching.

The doctor said, 'How does that feel now?' The midget replied, 'Perfect Doc, and I didn't even feel it. What did you do?'

The doctor replied ....... 'I cut two inches off the top of your cowboy boots.'

Finding Meaning in my Plights

I haven't felt well for days. I've had that "gastroenteritis" thing going since last Wednesday. Then came the dizzy spells, the weakness, and that most general sense when you know "I just don't feel good", but you can't put your finger on it. The dizziness caused concern for my daughter and my best friend. I had not mentioned to G because I didn't want, again, to be a burden on him. Geez, he's seen me through cervical spine surgery in 2003, a hysterectomy in 2004, lumbar surgery, staph and bone infection for 7 months in 2005, jaw surgery in spring of 2007, and the most recent return to my cervical spine for repair in April of this year. How much can I ask one man to tolerate? As I reflect, my God, I cannot believe that I have undergone the knife so much in a mere 5 years. That's perfectly horrid! What started out as a plan to make me well seems to have snowballed and now I feel like every time I turn around, I'm having some new malady that is totally out of my control and must be addressed. Poor G, he didn't sign on for this. In fact, when we married, I remember having this long discussion wherein we promised one another that, because of our age and the fact that we did not get married until later in life, we probably did not have the time left to ever celebrate, say, a 50th wedding anniversary, but who knows. We promised one another to take care of our bodies and keep healthy. G has certainly done his part. He's diligent about his exercise and eating habits. But, he is also by nature tall and slender and, hm, very sexy.

Me, I feel squatty at 5'4", with "shapely" legs that are still shapely but a "larger" shapely as I have gained weight. I haven't exercised as I should and I've indulged in some things that are probably not so healthy. But, G loves me just as passionately as I love him, and there are things about me and my physique that he truly loves, but he knows that I'm just not "in good, physical shape".

This was brought full circle yesterday. As I said, it had been days of not feeling "well", but thinking "it shall pass". No matter how much I ignored what my body was telling me, it persisted that nagging tug and came to a head yesterday. G was going to have lunch with his kids for Father's Day. I got up and felt fine initially, but as the morning wore on, as I did a load of laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, and ventured to my bedroom, I gravitated toward the bed and laid back down - something I never do once I am up.

G came in and asked, "what's the matter?" I simply said, "I don't feel good." He got ready for his date with his children and in between, I had spoken with my best friend and my daughter, who both encouraged me to go to the local fire department and have my BP checked. I resisted, stubbornly saying I didn't feel like driving there (all of about a mile). Then I got up to take my temp. It was strangely low - 96.5. I laid back down for about two minutes, then forced myself to get up, dress and drive to the fire department.

Low and behold, my BP turned out to be 178/112, taken twice. The nice man encouraged me to go on to the hospital. By then I was upset, and as usual, the very thin dam that holds my tears burst. I called G and he came back to take me to the ER.

Bottom line, I'm okay, I think. I'm never sure about ER physicians, and this one, well he is hard to describe. There were "lots of times this [happens]...." and "probably [thus and such] is causing it, but we can't tell," and "the EKG is fine". Only when he finally stopped and decided to take my BP himself instead of relying on what had been written on the chart did he become alarmed. He took it three times. Whew, I thought, it's about time you did some real "doctoring" ... if he'd left me as it were previous to taking my vitals, I'd have driven to another hospital pronto. His ending protocol was to give me a bag of fluids, saying I was most likely dehydrated from the diarrhea, along with something in that for nausea, and a little white pill to lower my BP. I felt better in due course, but was advised strongly to follow-up with my doctor in a couple of days.

While lying there, G was so kind, he knew how afraid I was. I was lying there praying, "Lord Jesus, put your arms around me and make me well." All of the surgeries, etc., in recent years flooded my mind and again, I cried as I apologized to my husband for being such a burden, telling him over and over how I never wanted to be such a burden to anyone. I hated being in these circumstances and feeling so helpless and so dependent on him.

He did ask one question of the physician: "Will worry and stress cause this?" The answer: "Absolutely."

Alone again, G and I began to talk about a lot of things that had been going on in our lives and our familial lives, the stress we'd been under, the edginess toward one another at times (which I take way to seriously), and then the gastro problem hit ..... you see how these things start building when you are a worrier like me? Each one comes, but I don't let it go. I harbor it and I worry it to death, and for no good reason. I think it has to do with my early childhood and the things that I experienced, but that is the topic of a very long story, of which you know I have touched upon a short time ago.

Damn, it's easy to tell somebody "don't worry about it". Worry is part of my natural make-up, or at least if it weren't initially, it became so following some horrible events. This is the next obstacle that I must take up with my counselor. She's helped me through a lot of very difficult things, and this will certainly be an enormous test of her abilities!

G has admonished me and insists that there WILL be some exercise every day. If not a walk outside, then on the treadmill, if nothing else. Food and drink will be more healthy, more water, etc. I am seeing this as my wake-up call, and all I could think about through it all was Tim Russert's untimely death. You see, where some people just see things and they go into the mind and back out, I absorb and put things together. Tim Russert, events going on in my life, the worry, the building to the crux of my BP elevating and ending up in an ER. If this is not a message, then I'm the Queen of England.

I've already made my appointment with the doctor for tomorrow morning. I'm beginning anew today. I've begun my daily prayer for the Lord and His Son to be with me, to help me and guide me toward better health so that I can live a long and healthy life for not just myself, but for my family, the ones that I love so much. Please pray for me on this new journey. It is something that I have turned my back against for a good number of years. It will be hard to change old habits, but the time is now. God is speaking, and by golly, I hear Him and I am listening.

Friday, June 13, 2008

About Dreaming, but first . . .

It's both baffling and curious how many hits my blog gets in the wee hours of the night. Whoever you are, no matter when you visit, I'm happy that you did and welcome.

I am a very active dreamer. My dreams are always extremely vivid, and I find that I dream just about every night. Maybe it's age or what have you, but I am now beginning to speak in my dreams and wake myself in mid-sentence. Neither here nor there, my dreams make sense at the time, but to explain them . . . well, I seem to stumble all over what I'm trying to convey and it ends up sounding totally ridiculous.

Sometimes, I cannot get a/some dream(s) off my mind. Such is the case this week. I have had dreams every night this week involving or wherein appear old friends/acquaintances/lovers. Many believe that dreams are a dumpster of sorts, the mind dumping the trash and making room for new thoughts/worries/dreams. Others, like me, tend to feel as though dreams are prophetic or have some significance personally.

I had a very good friend when I lived in California in the 70's, and I still correspond with her today, who took some classes and gave me some very complex ideas about dreams and their meanings. For instance, the study involved past lives. This is what she told me, very basically.

We live more than one life. We come back again and again. Sometimes, when one is on that very finite threshold between consciousness and falling into slumber, a "door", like a snapshot, may appear in a millisecond that will give one a glimpse of a past life. She had intrigued me so that I took her instruction seriously and tried to catch myself at that moment, wake up and write down what I saw. I did this for months. She told me to keep a pad and pencil on my nightstand for this purpose. She said to try and keep myself alert enough to "catch" the door when it opened and quickly shut, and to recall the image that was given to me.

Her "ideas" were of one having many lives. When you died, you more or less floated in the universe as a happy spirit and when your time came, you were born into the womb of a new mother and your life began again. But if you were bad, she said you might float in the universe in a very unhappy state for thousands of years and not be "reborn". Funny how she used that word which is used so frequently in religious sects.

Indeed, after all these years, this phenomenon has reappeared to me many years after I had long forgotten it or lost interest. I am catching glimpses of something in between consciousness and sleep. I know them when they happen, the door opens and shuts instantaneously, but I have not found the motivation to try and recollect them, much less wake myself fully to record them. But they are there. Is there anything to this? It is an honest question, because I do not know.

What is the meaning of de ja vu? I think we all experience it. It is certainly momentarily unnerving or at least, shakes one's thoughts enough to stop and think about it. "I have been here before." How can that be? How can it be that we realize that we have been in this exact place, in the exact same circumstances, same verbiage, same everything, previously in time? Again, I do not know, but I am damned curious.

I have used "Dream Dictionaries" online and they fail me miserably. At one time, I possessed a very old dream interpretation book and lost it over the course of divorce and moves, but it was very comprehensive and that is what I have sought for a while now. Most books about dreams offer complex and detailed descriptions of sleep states, using long phrases full of difficult terminology that does nothing but cause my interest to wain. Thus, my next task following this post is to research and choose the type of compilation that will provide the answers that I seek in a language that is layman's and easily understood. Do I ask for too much? It is mystical and very deep, yet I seek something simple in design to describe it's meaning. Hmmm, perhaps.

I had a girlfriend who was my "best friend" for over 20 years. She was the cousin of my "first love" whom I met in California in 1974. She and I were the ultimate soul sisters and we kept in touch no matter where our travels took us. In fact, I ended up in the deep south and she married a second time and moved to the deep south as well, only a three-hour drive from my home. Over time, I began to "change". I was returning to my roots and what was once a long list of commonalities between the two of us slowly began to divide and pour into separate molds that were altogether conflicting and different. We no longer shared the same values. She wanted to call me, smoke cigarettes, drink wine and talk on the phone for three hours. I don't like the telephone and her increasing use of profanity brought on by the amount of alcohol consumed grew worrisome. There were other conflicting issues and things that she did/did not do that were important in my life which disappointed me immensely, and caused the eventual complete divide. Now, 12-14 years later, I am suddenly dreaming about her. I will try my best to describe. If you have a theory on any of this, I would be most interested in your comments.

Her name is Kim. I have dreamed of Kim the past two nights. This is the most basic "story" that I can derive from those dreams. I am at the home of her parents, in California. Of course, it is not the same home at all, but it is large and grand as representative of their wealth. There are a lot of people there, and I do not know many of them. It is some kind of celebration, it almost seems as though a cocktail party is about to ensue. The room I am in is crowded and people area all dressed in black, the women wearing that famous "little black dress". I realize at some point that it is a "surprise" event for Kim. Kim arrives and I have not seen her all of these years and I am anxious. Her hair is very dark, almost brunette, which is not her natural color. She hands me a gift in a box. But, she does not smile nor does she look me in the eye. I open the gift and it is some type of candle holder (at first it seems to be a lamp/light fixture, but when I turn it different ways to examine it, it appears to be a lamp but is in fact, a candle holder). Her mother is watching me with curiosity. That is all that I can recall.

Recurring Dreams: I have several recurring dreams. I dream a LOT that I am trying to make a phone call, I know who I am calling and I know the number, but the buttons on the telephone have weird symbols on them, or they are out of order and I might, for instance, find the "9" and then I can't find the "3". I don't believe in all the years that I have had this dream, and I've dreamt it probably hundreds of times, that I have completed a phone call.

My second recurring dream is about elevators. Specifically, I will get on an elevator and it is always with other people. But something always goes wrong with the elevator, it goes out of control, or it will go off on some kind of roller-coaster type movement, and I vividly feel my stomach turn as if I am on a roller coaster ride. I have been in the elevator and it fly completely out of the top of a skyscraper and it is falling and I can feel my stomach in my throat. Everything always works out; either I slowly glide to earth or I wake up, because nothing tragic has every happened.

Another recurring dream that I have had tons of times is of driving a car and not being able to find the pedals, most importantly, the brake pedal. I've had them underneath the driver seat with me twisting my ankle and contorting my legs to try and reach it to stop the vehicle before disaster, and I have had the brake in it's normal spot and I am pressing my foot on it so hard that it might go through the floor, but the vehicle still refuses to completely stop. What's that about?

Has everybody dreamed of being naked in public? Oddly, I realize I am naked and I attempt to walk around normally as if there is absolutely nothing wrong, but inside, I am scared to death because everyone can see me. However, I have too much pride to show my embarrassment, much more, to try and cover myself. What up with this?


I did have a recurring dream for years and years, but it has stopped. I used to dream that I was back at my high school. I am the age that I am in the present time, but I am back in school and I am unable to locate my class, and therefore, I just skip it and try to find the next one. I cannot locate my locker and therefore, I do not have my books. I worry and worry because it has been weeks and I have missed the same class over and over and I'm wondering how I am going to pass. In reality, I left school at age 17 because I was pregnant. My mother tried her best to get me to continue in a quasi-school for pregnant teens, but I refused. I think I may have finally reconciled myself with this about two years ago. I went back home, to Texas, for a visit. My son was with us and he and I got out and drove around town where I was showing him all the landmarks of "where" I did this or that. My high school was one of them. It was summertime, but we got out of the car and I walked up to the huge building toward the doors. He stopped short and asked timidly, "what are you doing?" I said, "I'm going inside." He couldn't believe I'd just walk in like that, but the doors were not locked and he followed. I took a couple of photographs and maybe I'll pull them out and post them sometime. I walked around the "Commons", saw the office, found the class photograph of "my graduating class", minus me, and into the auditorium where I recall cheerleader try-outs, class plays, pep rallies and a lot of other things. It looked exactly the same as it did 37 years ago the day that I left, red velvet curtains and all. Long story short, after visiting my high school and walking the halls, the dreams stopped. I suppose I finally reconciled with myself not having returned ever again by actually returning to bury my emotions about how I left.

Everyone that knows me know that I think a lot about writing a book, and I start writing one of these posts and I just ramble on and on. It's not enough for a book, too much for a blog? I do enjoy it and it nourishes my soul. Thank you for having read if you've come this far. I shall see you when I see you. But until then, may the Lord shine His light upon you and shower you with His Grace and Blessings all the days of your life.

PEACE.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

When It's Time to Vote, Remember Old Butch


John the farmer was in the fertilized egg business. He had several hundred young layers (hens), called 'pullets', and ten roosters, whose job it was to fertilize the eggs. The farmer kept records and any rooster that didn't perform went into the soup pot and was replaced. That took an awful lot of his time, so he bought a set of tiny bells and attached them to his roosters. Each bell had a different tone so John could tell from a distance, which rooster was performing. Now he could sit on the porch and fill out an efficiency report simply by listening to the bells.

The farmer's favorite rooster was old Butch, a very fine specimen he was, too. But on this particular morning John noticed old Butch 's bell hadn't rung at all! John went to investigate. The other roosters were chasing pullets, bells-a-ringing. The pullets, hearing the roosters coming, would run for cover. But to Farmer John's amazement, old Butch had his bell in his beak, so it couldn't ring. He'd sneak up on a pullet, do his job and walk on to the next one. John was so proud of old Butch, he entered him in the Renfrew County Fair and he became an overnight sensation among the judges.

The result...the judges not only awarded old Butch the No Bell Piece Prize but they awarded him the Pulletsurprise as well. Clearly old Butch was a politician in the making: who else but a politician could figure out how to win two of the most highly coveted awards on our planet by being the best at sneaking up on the populace and screwing them when they weren't paying attention. Vote carefully this year...the bells are not always audible.

This Day's . . .

God does nothing in time which he did not design to do from eternity.

~ William Jay



Your own soul is nourished when you are kind; it is destroyed when you are cruel.

~ Proverbs 11:17, The Living Bible

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Helena - 8U Softball Champs (Pre-Area Tournament)

My daughter, Christie, sent the following to friends and family following Hannah's team's participation in and winning of the Championship in a pre-area tournament hosted at the Helena Sports Complex last week. I am extremely proud of Hannah, her teammates and her coaches. I am very honored to be her grandmother and to have her love. Hannah is standing, third from the right wearing the visor (little Miss Irish).



Hello Friends,

Hannah plays softball for the Helena Wildcats. Her team went undefeated in the regular season and they won the championship. She then made all stars. They played in a pre-area tournament this past weekend. They played Thursday night against Columbiana, we won 14-4. Then Friday night they played against Clanton, we won 15-3. Saturday morning they played against Holtville, we won 24-2. This put us playing Saturday afternoon against Calera, we won 19-2, then we played against Chelsea, we won 7-3, this put us in the championship game against Millbrook, we won 12-2!!!! They Won the whole tournament! 6 games and 6 wins!!! Go Helena Wildcat All Stars!! This weekend they will be in Prattville Friday night and Saturday! Pray for them!

Many Blessings,
Christie and Hannah

Monday, June 09, 2008

To Maintain A Healthy Level Of Insanity

1. At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and point hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.

2. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice!

3. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, ask If They Want Fries that.

4. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks. Once Everyone has Gotten Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso.

5. In the Memo Field Of All Your Checks, Write 'For Marijuana'

6. Finish All Your sentences with 'In Accordance With The Prophecy'.

7. Skip down the hall Rather Than Walk and see how many looks you get.

8. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.

9. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is 'To Go'. (I do this all the time without thinking!)

10. Sing Along At The Opera.

11. Put Mosquito Netting Around Your Work Area and Play tropical Sounds Day.

12. Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can't Attend Their Party - You have a Headache.

13. When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream 'I Won! I Won!


14. When Leaving the Zoo, Start Running towards the Parking lot, Yelling' For Your Lives! They're Loose!

15. Tell Your Children Over Dinner, 'Due To The Economy, We Are Going To Let One Of You Go.

Reflections of How it Used to Be

The anonymous post regarding my review of "The Beatles" made me take pause and think about the life cycle. Not that I have not thought about it, but it is the same for us all. "They" say, the only things you can depend on are death and taxes. But that's all tongue-in-cheek. The two things you can depend on are death and the Lord.

I think a lot about my youth. I have so many photographs and I've been bringing them to the forefront in the last few years. I've been digging through Mom and Dad's boxes and drawers at their home and taking whatever I can get my hands on so that they will be kept for their legacy and mine.

I grow somewhat melancholy when I look at some photographs, especially those of my children when they were small. Is it just me or (you with grown children) does everybody look back and think "I could have done more, or been better, or something . . ."? I didn't appreciate my youth and now it is gone forever. In fact, photographs of me and my daughter when I was in my early 20's and she was but a toddler are very surreal. I know that the girl in that photograph is me and that is my daughter, and I recall the friends, the circumstances, etc. But it is almost as if I had dreamt it all. As if that was not me there doing all those things, working there, taking care of her, simple everyday life. But it was me. It went to fast, yet at the time, time seemed to stand still for me. Being 40 years old seemed like an eternity away, and I have achieved that plus &%*@ more years.

I have regrets that I don't know that I will every reconcile with myself. Some of the hurt that I put my Mama and Daddy through, not appreciating my daughter as a baby as much as I should have (I was too young to be having a baby and it showed), always thinking about me and feeling that if I could just find the right man to love me and my little girl, then life would be perfect (what a effort in futility that one was and I wasted way too much time on it), living four years with a young man who told me from the outset that his life decision to not have children would never change, even though I had a child. Now THAT was confusing, to say the least, because we lived together with her. In essence, he was saying he would never marry me, but in my naivete, I thought as a lot of women do, "he'll change his mind, I'll make him love me so much he won't be able to resist." Oh, he loved me, passionately, but he would not be moved. It was the biggest heartbreak of my life, then. Yet now, 30 years later, I have to laugh at myself for I know that it was not to be and he was not "the one". He would never fit into the life values that were imbedded in me from childhood. So I regret putting all my eggs into one basket with him and then losing. HOWEVER, I did learn a lot from it.

I don't think I will ever get over hurting other certain people, people like my second husband. It is difficult for someone to understand when I tell them, we could have been brother and sister, or we could have been best friends, but on the level of being married, it never worked. Not from the beginning. But, I stayed the course for 15 years. I had married a second time against all advice to "wait and give it time" and my foolish pride (again) stood in the way of admitting the truth - I had made yet one more mistake. I hurt him and I will always struggle with that. He was kind to me, but there were so many things that just did not work on a marital level. And my 12 year old son, who was and is so fragile, was so hurt by it, too, even though he tried so, so hard to be stoic and strong for us both.

After selling my home and moving into an apartment, I felt like a ton of bricks had been lifted from my shoulders. No yard work, my equity on my home had paid off all of my debts, and I had a little left over. But, here I was living alone with a teenage son, who was hurting more than I realized. I won't ever get over hurting my children by divorcing their father. Would you understand if I said I had to do this or I would just lay down and die? I was that unhappy and I knew I still had time to lay claim to my own piece of happiness and paradise.

Looking back at photographs of my formative years and growing up with Mom and Daddy makes me sad sometimes. I had the very best parents. We had vacations every single summer, we did all kinds of things and went all kinds of places, but I was too young to know how important those memories we were making were going to be. I know now. And it's not too late. Except for the fact that I cannot recall a lot of things and that is frustration to the inth degree because I long to remember and tell my legacy these things, and to be able to hold onto them. I can't bring them back, and as deeply as I want to make each situation perfect, it is gone and I cannot change a thing.

I have lived in what I feel was the biggest period of change in America ever. I feel very fortunate to have seen the change in the political climate, going through the hippie movement and the "Revolution", war protests, anti-war songs, sit-ins, love-ins, psychedelic music and some of the greatest musicians to ever grace this earth, and then to come around full circle to my roots with God. Looking back, I had the most awesome time, and a truly great life (which is probably why it went so fast), and I am so deeply thankful that God stayed with me for, literally, decades when I didn't give Him much time, if any at all. Why else would my conversion come to pass and my faith be so strong? Because I have lived so much, seen so many things and done so many things, things that in sum perhaps I know 60% and everybody else knows about 40%. We all have that. There is that very grey area where we sometimes travel and we never speak of it. I had many of those, but it is those grey areas where I learned a mountain of crucial things that would be of benefit to my children when their time came for that advice on any number of issues. I was always honest with my children about my experiences with certain issues. I could tell them, "I did this and that is how I know what I am talking about." They listened, they trusted, and they did very well growing up to be good, decent individuals.

So, that is how the cycle goes and all is not lost. I have much to be proud for, great memories (what I can remember, that is), blessed by wonderful family and friends, and not to forget the love of my life, G. My prayer is that the Lord will allow me many years with G because it took us so long to get together. We got a rather late start of things, both being in our late 40's when we married. I want to see my grandchildren grow and be established on their own, perhaps even experience being a great-grandmother, as my mother has. Maybe God has that in my plan; I hope so.

Writing is cathartic for me. Getting this off my chest to strangers, whoever might read it, it doesn't matter. It's done and it is good medicine for my soul. The soul needs not to be burdened with too much or else it will begin to suffocate and be lost among the ruins. My soul is glad, my soul is blessed and it is soaring. I would not be here were it not for the Grace of God.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Today's Heartlight

Wow, this is one of my favorites, and of course, it arrived at the most appropriate time.

God bless,
Abbey

VERSE:

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; andt hy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

~ Matthew 6:6

THOUGHT:

Prayer is an incredible invitation from God to share with him what is on our hearts. Even when we don't have words to say, he helps us through his Spirit in those moments. This incredibly intimate conversation, sustained by the very precious Spirit of God within us, must never be debased by crass showmanship or pride. Prayer is not done to prove our piety, but to deepen our relationship with Almighty God!

PRAYER:

Abba Father, thank you so much for the incredible gift of prayer. Thank you for listening to both my words and my heart. Thank you for being near and not far off. Forgive me when I don't call upon you as often as I should, or when I take your gracious listening ear for granted. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Butter vs. Margarine

Pass The Butter .... please .. This is interesting . .

Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys. When it killed the turkeys, the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback so they put their heads together to figure out what to do with this product to get their money back. ! It was a white substance with no food appeal so they added the yellow coloring and sold it to people to use in place of butter. How do you like it? They have come out with some clever new flavorings.

DO YOU KNOW.. the difference between margarine and butter? Read on to the end ... it gets very interesting!


Both have the same amount of calories. Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams compared to 5 grams.

Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study!

Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods.

Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few only because they are added!

Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavors of other foods.

Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years.


And now, for Margarine....

Very high in trans fatty acids .

Triple risk of coronary heart disease .

Increases total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol).

Increases the risk of cancers up to five fold.

Lowers quality of breast milk.

Decreases immune response.

Decreases insulin response.

And here's the most disturbing fact.... HERE IS THE PART THAT IS VERY INTERESTING! Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC. This fact alone was enough to have me avoiding margarine for life and anything else that is hydrogenated (this means hydrogen is added, changing the molecular structure of the substance).

You can try this yourself: Purchase a tub of margarine and leave it in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will note a couple of things:

* no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it (that should tell you something)
* it does not rot or smell differently because it has no nutritional value; nothing will grow on it. Even those teeny weeny microorganisms will not a find a home to grow. Why? Because itis nearly plastic . Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?


Share This With Your Friends.....(If you want to 'butter them up')!

Chinese Proverb: 'When someone shares something of value with you and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others.'

A Test for Dementia

Below are four (4) questions and a bonus question. You have to answer them instantly. You can't take your time, answer all of them immediately. OK? Let's find out just how clever you really are....Ready? GO!!! (scroll down)

First Question: You are participating in a race. You overtake the second person. What position are you in?



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Answer:

If you answered that you are first, then you are absolutely wrong! If you overtake the second person and you take his place, you are second! Try not to screw up next time. Now answer the second question, but don 't take as much time as you took for the first question, OK?


Second Question: If you overtake the last person, then you are...? (scroll down)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Answer:

If you answered that you are second to last, then you are wrong again. Tell me, how can you overtake the LAST person? You're not very good at this, are you?

Third Question: Very tricky arithmetic! Note: This must be done in your head only. Do NOT use paper and pencil or a calculator. Try it.

Take 1000 and add 40 to it. Now add another 1000 . Now add 30. Add another 1000. Now add 20. Now add another 1000. Now add 10. What is the total? Scroll down for answer


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Did you get 5000? The correct answer is actually 4100. If you don't believe it, check it with a calculator! Today is definitely not your day, is it? Maybe you'll get the last question right... Maybe.


Fourth Question: Mary's father has five daughters: 1. Nana, 2. Nene, 3. Nini, 4. Nono. What is the name of the fifth daughter?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Did you Answer Nunu? NO! Of course it isn't. Her name is Mary. Read the question again!



Okay, now the bonus round: A mute person goes into a shop and wants to buy a toothbrush. By imitating the action of brushing his teeth he successfully expresses himself to the shopkeeper and the purchase is done.


Next, a blind man comes into the shop who wants to buy a pair of sunglasses; how does HE indicate what he wants?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


He just has to open his mouth and ask...It's really very simple.

Heartlight

VERSE:

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. -- Ephesians 6:4

THOUGHT:

Malachi 4:6 promised that fathers and children would be reunited in heart. Let's make that true in our homes by nurturing and correcting our children -- with a balance between nurture and correction. Let's not make our faith so full of rules and restrictions that it becomes impossible for our children to hear that they are our beloved children, with whom we are very pleased! Let's not grant so much freedom that our children feel neglected and uncertain. Let's turn our hearts toward them and pray for God to turn their hearts toward their home with us and their home with you!

PRAYER:

O Lord God Almighty, Abba Father, our land lies under a curse because so many Fathers have spiritually and physically abandoned their children. Please raise up parents, especially fathers, who will balance the challenging tasks of love, nurture, and correction so that our land may be healed and our children may know your love and grace. In Jesus name. Amen.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Beatles Biography, by Bob Spitz

I received this biography as a gift at Christmas 2006. I am ashamed, but at the same time happy to say that I have finally finished reading all 854 pages, plus post scripts and acknowledgments. My apologies to Mr. Spitz who spent seven years pulling together the most detailed and informative account of the band's union from beginning to end that I have ever read. This is the most voluminous package that I have ever taken on, and it was hard-back so it was heavy, and the pages were very thin (otherwise it would have required a two-volume set!).

I have been a Beatles aficionado most of my life. They appeared in America when I was but 10 years old. However, the impression that marked me that night in February 1964 as we watched them on The Ed Sullivan Show in Mom and Dad's den has grown deeper over the last 30 years. It is not just the music, although that is of the utmost significance. Au contrare! Suffice to say that many bands have been together a whole lot longer than The Beatles endured. BUT, this was THE most enormously impressive association in the music world to have endured as a group for such a short period of time, one that made such an indelible impression on the music world that gives the four lads their firmly planted piece of history. I could not begin to recount here all of the intricacies of the webs that were woven over the years, the personality changes, the musical growth, the personal growth, the sheer genius that would never have been with any one of them individually, but exploded with them as a band of four young men.

Ringo: It's widely known that Ringo was not the first, nor second, drummer to play with The Beatles. But when he was asked to hop aboard, he was there to the end. Ringo was quiet, affable and agreeable. He was a family man and spent money lavishly buying gifts for his first wife, Maureen, even though he (and in fact, non of the members of the group) was completely faitheful to her. He could have continued with the other three for the rest of his life, I think. He wasn't hard to please, he didn't go to the extremes to put himself "out there" for scrutiny as did the others, especially John. No, Ringo was happy-go-lucky, he had his family, he was doing what he loved - playing the drums - he had more money than he'd ever need. There's not much mystery to Ringo, which does not lessen his importance as a member of The Beatles. In fact, toward the end of the dream, Ringo became so fed up that he walked out of a session and went on vacation. At first, the other three felt "aw, he'll come back, and if he doesn't, we can make due without him for now." They ended up calling him and begging him back, and he jumped at the opportunity to rejoin them in their ongoing recording sessions. No begging was ever required.

George: Dear George. Doe-eyed, underage and tough as nails. Just look at a photograph of them all with their greased-back pompadours, tight black jeans, leather jackets and boots. George was fairly easy-going, he loved his guitar and he could play a lot better than most lads his age, which is why he won the coveted spot to complete the foursome. He always felt inferior and a mere shdow of a lyricist and songwriter behind the likes of Lennon-McCartney, but he eventually came into his own with "Something", "Here Comes the Sun" and the most brilliant "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", which he ended up recording with Eric Clapton since the group was in the midst of yet one more row when the song was ready to put down on acetate. George probably took more crap than Ringo ever did cumulatively from both John and Paul. He simply wanted to play the music and be the best he could be, always hoping the measure up to the Lennon-McCartney locomotive. He had his illicit affairs, his drug dabbling and so forth, but once he made the trip to Rishkesh and studied with the Maharishi, his life changed forever. George took on this "enlightenment" with the deep sincerity, something the other three passed off as "bullshit". George slowly began to feel that there was more, much more to life, the world, and the after life - than his celebrity and the music business as a whole. He was searching for a deeper meaning to his purpose. This enlightenment and the meditation were something that carried George through life to the end of his days.

Paul: Genius of a songwriter and businessman. Paul's mind never seemed to stop. Ideas churned out of him faster than he could put them on paper. He was so damned eager and excited about his ideas that his biggest human failing was the inability to see that his eagerness was mistaken for egotistical control by his mates and in the end, it blew the band apart, or rather, it blew the Lennon-McCartney team apart, and thereby blew apart The Beatles. They felt Paul was all about himself, mostly John, who I 'll discuss in a moment. Over the years, the resentment against him snowballed and became irreversible. Paul's eagerness to produce a perfect song, a perfect album, his all-for-one and one-for-all was totally and deeply sincere, but once drugs hit the scene and they all began indulging, nobody could think rationally about much of anything, most particularly and painfully, John Lennon. Paul continued to dredge on through years of numerous occasions of nearly coming-to-blows in the studio over what the others felt was his single directorial manipulation of the rest of them over their music.

John Lennon: I have intentionally spoken of the above members of The Beatles in order of my own personal fondness, from the lessor to the more favored. However, nobody in music history has ever, nor do I feel ever will, come close to matching the genius and the complicated mind of the man John Lennon. From the outset, as a girl 10 years old, I felt something from puppy love grow over the years into idol worship and on to feeling completely mesmerized by him, his thought process, his crazy world, his weirdness, his philosophies, his music, all the way to the absolute and most abhorred thing he ever did in the eyes of his adoring public - the liaison with Yoko Ono. I have never known of a more complicated individual, not in my lifetime, and never one that piqued and held my interest as much as Lennon. To this day, I cannot wrap my brain around his murder, that he has been gone for nearly 28 years. To me, John was THE ultimate bad boy, but he was brilliant, insecure, paranoid and needy all at the same time. I have come to understand his association with Ms. Ono as it was a clearly a classic boy needing a mother type situation. Losing his mother at a young age, his father abandoning him ... he never got over it. Those things that happen to a young person never leave, they only become covered up and buried. They are always there. Yoko Ono hit on his need like hitting the nail on the head and she never relented. She had him tied up, lock, stock and barrel the first time they met. It is sad, in a way, the way she used him, but she was about as kooky as a loon anyway in a very eccentric way. It didn't take much of her avant garde to turn John's head. In the end, I believe they were settled and deeply in love, especially after the birth of Sean. However, my heart has always ached for poor Julian, the neglected son. His rejection by his father was the most tragic thing I could imagine, and was altogether surprising in light of John's rejection as evidenced by his own father's absence. I recall the movie "Imagine" coming out. My sister and I were anxious above anything else to see it. We went to a matinee on a Saturday afternoon. The theater was almost empty, excepting for my sister and I sitting next to one another about mid-way center stage, another female who sat a few rows behind us alone and who sobbed throughout the movie, and one other female on the other side of the theater who danced in the aisle throughout the entire film in a nostalgic hippie-like fashion. It was a total trip, just the four of us, watching the four of them.

I feel I have probably the fullest understanding that I will ever have of the band called "The Beatles". From whence they came, how they conquered and why they fell apart. It is an intriguing saga of epic proportions. I read approximately 1/2 of the book over a year ago and only recently picked it back up and began again. The further I read, the deeper the writer delved into all of the outsiders and insiders, the innuendo, the truth, the lies, the manipulation of the money machine, the use and abuse, the love/hate relationships, and the ultimate failure of human nature, and thus, the more hooked I became. I didn't want it to end . . . but it did, some 38 or so years ago.

And as the last song, on the last album ever made by The Beatles says, "and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." Shockingly ironic . . .