Monday, November 7, 2011


My grandmother said it. My mother said it. I didn't understand until it happened to me. The moment you become a grandmother is nothing shy of miraculous. Eight years ago yesterday at almost midnight, I saw him for the first time. Eight years later I still marvel when I look at him. He is my future.

I could fill pages with the joy he brings me and at the same time, I am speechless.

I have others now—other grands. They, too, fill my heart with wonder.

But he is the first. He opened that portal. He introduced me to that joy.

Eight years and I hope to enjoy many, many more.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


In my work, I hear a lot of conversations. People sit in the waiting room of my office and chat. Weather is always a pretty safe topic of conversation. I've heard these conversations for many seasons and the common thread never ceases to amaze me. We want the weather to be different than it is. We don't like now. If it is warm, we wish it were cooler. If it is cool, we wish it was warmer. In summer, we long for winter. In the autumn, we don't know why it still isn't summer… and on it goes.

Sitting and listening, I've learned something. I've learned to appreciate the now.

It's not as easy as it sounds. When I look out the window now, it's rainy and windy and cold. But I appreciate it. I've learned to like the crisp drops on my face and the way the wind sneaks through the gaps in my jacket and chills me. It's fascinating.

Winter will come soon and the muffled snow will fall. I marvel at that quiet.

But right now, I hear the wet leaves struggling to stay pasted to my car as the wind fights to ply them loose and send them swirling. Autumn rains patters different than rains in April or July. It's sharp and crisp as it pings the window.

"Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."
Proverbs 27:1

We may not see winter. Summer is but a memory. Enjoy now.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Do you remember 1975?

Life before computers were common and the Internet was pretty much reserved for brainiacs and the government?

When you had a question, you had to look up the answer in a book? A book made of paper?

There were good things about that time. You couldn't just type a word into a search engine and find an answer. You had to go through a thought process of where the answer might be found. Did that question require a dictionary? a thesaurus? an encyclopedia? Maybe a more specialized reference?

Sometimes, the answers come too quickly now. Questions aren't pondered. There's no gestation of thoughts.

Then again, my grandson can spend hours researching the Titanic without waiting for a ride to the library. And he can draw pictures like this:

Iceberg ahead!

Split in half! 
Going down! 
The rescue ship
In 1875, the idea that I would have access to dictionaries, encyclopedias and libraries FULL of books in 1975 was just as unimaginable as the Internet was in 1975. Sometimes, I miss the "olden days" but then learning is learning and I like now just as much.

What do you think?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


In 1987, the first time I went back to college, I took an advanced English comp class at Tarrant County Junior College in Fort Worth. It was an advanced class because we did our composition on computers! We each had a Mac SE with 2 mb of memory and a 20 mb hard drive. We printed our documents on dot matrix printers. So much for advanced.

Anyway, one of our assignments was to write an essay on success. The premise was, when we came to the end of our days, what things would make us feel like our lives had been a success.

I think I had to rewrite that essay four or five times… maybe six. My idea of success and my teacher's idea were not the same. She wanted me to have tangible—measurable—evidences of success. I don't even remember what I wrote as the final paper. I'm sure it was something she settled for because I got an A in the class, but it wasn't something that satisfied my idea of success.

Now, having lived half a century and hoping for half a century more, I still can't pen tangible evidences of a life of success. If success has to be tangible, I'm not it. I live in a modest home on a modest income. Like many, I juggle more money that I save. It won't take long to settle my estate after I'm gone. My will amounts to two words: All done.

But success? There are things I want the people close to me to know and remember. I want my husband to know he was loved wildly and unconditionally and supported 1000%. I want my children to have been better, not bitter, because I was their mom. I want my grandchildren to have a heritage worth cherishing. I want my friends to remember me as someone who listened to the good and to the bad and always gave them the benefit of the doubt.

There are things I want the people around me to remember. I want them all to know that I loved Jesus. I want them all to know the Jesus I love.

I want Jesus to say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

Those things aren't tangible, they are beyond measure.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Different Generation

Beau was talking to his mom the other day and he asked her what the devil looked like.

She explained different ideas of what the devil looked like. Some people believe he still has the form of an angel of light—a very beautiful creature—as he was created before he fell. Other people think he looks like us to make it easier for him to deceive us. Some people even picture him as a red demon with horns, a tail and a pitchfork.

He thought for a minute and then said, "Well, I know what God looks like because I saw a picture of Him in my Bible.... I guess we will just have to Google what the devil looks like."

Friday, July 29, 2011

I almost cried

I dropped Beau off at summer school this morning. As I was pulling away, I glanced in the rear-view mirror for a last check and I was stunned. Who was this big, gangly boy? He was wearing Beau's clothes but he was far to big to be Beau.

It was him.

My heart jumped and I pictured the smiling little baby boy who was my constant shadow.

Now, he is 7 and a HALF (never forget the half). He's running in the Junior Bix today. He's about to start 2nd grade. He bought his first HO scale locomotive off of ebay yesterday with his own money.

But he's still my constant shadow and he will always be my grandboy.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

So why haven't I blogged this week?

Because, I was at track camp.

With this guy.

Watching him throw the shot put.

And try the long jump.

And run.

With lots of water.

And most of all, loving every minute of being his Nana.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Reading through my own blog

I was reading through my own blog and noticed some recurrent themes.

Beau makes me laugh—a lot.

I struggle to stay on top sometimes.

I miss Mom, and I'm still trying to figure out what our relationship was.

I have happy memories of a rough childhood.

I love my Hero—a lot.

I like weather photos.

Storms fascinate me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


On Facebook several people posted something that went like this: "I'm from Texas where summer starts in June....." No. That is not right. In Texas, summer starts in April, if not March. We could never wait until it was hot enough to play in the sprinkler. Mom's rule was that it had to be 80°. That was usually around the first of April.

Here in Iowa, it's June. But we go from using the electric blanket to needing the air conditioner in a week.

This morning, I was outside filling up the little wading pool for Beau and remembering the blistering days of childhood. When you went to get a drink from the hose, you had to let the water run for a few minutes before you took a sip or you would scald your mouth. The only time I ever wore flip flops was if we were going to the big store—B&W. I never even bothered to wear them to Pic N Pack or Dairy Queen. At night, I had to scrape the tar off my feet from walking on the melting black top. During drought years, you could only play in the water after sunset and then on even days. We didn't have air conditioning but a swamp cooler on the roof. Many nights, it was cooler to sleep on a blanket in the back yard. The Sno Cone man came by playing an upbeat rendition of Brahms Lullaby and that was the sweetest sound of the day. When the price of Sno Cones went from a dime to a quarter all the parents were aghast! The swimming pool in town had a slide and inner tubes and that was awesome.

Now the pools are waterparks and Sno Cones are "shaved ice." Water doesn't come from a hose, it comes from a spring in the mountains courtesy of a plastic bottle. Everywhere is air conditioned and kids rarely play outside unless they are at the aforementioned waterpark.

I prefer the childhood of my memories.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A look back

Thirty years.

One thousand five hundred sixty weeks.

Ten thousand nine hundred fifty seven days.

Hundreds of thousands of kisses shared.

Tens of thousands of tears shed.

Tens of thousands of hours of laughter.

Untold glances and smiles exchanged.

We knew we loved each other the day we said I do but we had no idea how boundless that love would grow over time.

I'm looking forward to the next thirty years.

Friday, June 3, 2011


I walked past my dining room table today and had visions of Hoarders. (That show creeps me out. Disgust, fear, sympathy... too many emotions for entertainment.)

I decided I need to go through my stuff. I have too much stuff. I have really good stuff that I can't even find. Oh, it's not piled up all over my house like that show. My house is in order. The stuff is behind the scenes. (OK, except for the stuff on my table....) It's in the garage. It's in the closets. It's hidden. I need to pull out the hidden stuff and go through it. I need to throw away the garbage. Utilize the good stuff and donate the stuff that's still good, but I don't need.

Without too much of a mental jump, there's a spiritual application here. I've often heard people who have been saved for a while wonder aloud why they needed to be in church. Their "spiritual house" is in order but there is stuff that can't be seen. But we, as Christians, often pack away a bunch of stuff where it can't be seen. Sometimes, its really good stuff but we've forgotten about it or can't seem to access it. Sometimes, it's stuff that needs to be thrown out—garbage. A lot of times, its stuff that we need to share with others.

Church is the best place for going through those "boxes of spiritual stuff." Maybe something will be said in a sermon that leads to a box. Maybe the sight of a need in another member of the body will unpack something you need to share.

You need to be in church so you don't become a spiritual hoarder.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

On my toes

Beau is out of school for summer and with much joy, I have the privilege of spending every morning with him. He is so full of life. He is so full of wonder.

We were driving back from the grocery store yesterday and he began asking me questions about spiders. Besides his first love, trains, spiders are his favorite! I said something about their abdomen and thorax and he quickly corrected me. It has been a long time since I taught about arachnids and insects and I forgot the difference. "Nana! Insects have three body parts and spiders only have two. That is the difference besides the number of legs!" He explained.

Oops. My bad? I should have remembered that. After he reminded me, I remebered that the name of the second body part was a cephalothorax. He liked that word. So we talked about exoskeletons and chitin and how some spiders have their eyes on top and others have them in front. We talked about molting and venom.

I love being a grandmother.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

When you least expect it

Four years ago, I was frustrated because I wasn't bouncing back from surgery as quickly as I would like. My doctor sat me down and told me I should've died and any progress I made was miraculous.

I'm a survivor. 

I grew up in a dysfunctional home. (That could be considered an understatement.) Mom was in and out of the mental ward at the hospital so much that all the staff knew me well. I would get off the elevator and a nurse would ask me how my big math test went. I would find Mom's room and she would ask me my name.

I'm a survivor.

Usually, I don't even think about those things. Occasionally, the past smacks me in the face.

We had a man live with us for awhile. Mom had met him at the mental hospital and he didn't have a place to stay so he moved in with us. I'll call him "Crazy Hal." He slept with his eyes open. That alone will creep a 10-year-old out. The Army had given him a mental health discharge after an incident in Vietnam. Although I never felt particularly in danger, I kept my distance. 

This week, I had dealings with a man that sent waves of "Crazy Hal" sweeping through me. All at once, the fears and insecurities of my younger self gripped my heart. I wasn't in danger at all, but the situation was too familiar. I had to remove myself  and calm down. The Lord and I had a talk and I resumed my business.

I've heard it said that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, but I don't agree. Those things that didn't kill me, made me more dependent on my Jesus. 

I'm a survivor—because Jesus is my strength.

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


This is almost an exact copy of a post from my devotion blog, Grace and Salt. I wrote this almost three years ago and I still wonder. Why is it that some commitments stick and most don't?

"Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.
"When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands? For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God."
Ecclesiastes 5:1-7

I've been meditating on commitment for many days now. We seem to live in a culture that has abandoned the concept. When I was young, quitting was a shame — not any more. Husbands and wives quit. Parents quit. Children quit. Christians quit.

I've said before that I've been in church almost my whole life. I started out in the church nursery and I've been everything from a deacon's kid to a bus kid to the preacher's wife. Through the years, I have seen literally thousands kneel at an altar and make a commitment to the Lord. Sadly, without a scientific study, I would say that near 90% of those commitments are abandoned. The person who keeps a vow is the rare exception.

But why?

That question is the base of my meditation and I don't know that I have any answers yet.
What do you think? Why do folks not keep the commitments that they make to the Lord.
I know the basic answers like "the cares of this world," "decisions made in haste," "peer presure." But are those the root reasons?

Tell me what you think.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


"From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I."
Psalm 61:2

My Hero and I have been through a valley. It was perhaps longer and darker than most of the valleys we have travelled. In fact, there were times we didn't know if we would make it but we walked on.

At some point in the valley, we talked and decided to live as if we were on the mountain already. It wasn't easy. It didn't come natural. It made a difference.

The easiest thing to do when things are hard is to embrace the sadness. As Christians, we run to the imprecatory Psalms. 

We sit down beside David as he says, "For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead. Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate." (Psalm 143:3-4).

We wag our heads and cry out, "Oh, David!! Me, too! Me, too!"

Some of that is necessary. It is good to know that we are not the only ones who have ever hurt so deeply. But it is not good to wallow there.

My Hero and I made a conscious decision to listen to music about how good God is. We chose songs about how blessed we really are. We focused on the great things in our lives.

And we began to heal. When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I. It was time for us to go higher. We were overwhelmed and needed to get to that rock that is higher.

My Hero once again sits and plays his guitar that had lain silent for literally years. I catch myself singing while I do housework.

We chose to live as though we were through the valley. Are the troubles are gone? Not completely. But our hearts are once again on the mountain.

I have been blessed, God's so good to me,
Precious are His thoughts of you and me.  
No way I could count them there's not enough time,
So I'll just thank Him for being so kind.  
God has been good, so good.  
I have been blessed. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I am big enough! I am strong enough!

Years ago when I was homeschooling my kids, we would go every year to a History Heritage Lab at the Ernie Miller Nature Center in Olathe, Kansas. It was by far, one of our favorite field trips.

As you wondered through the hiking trail, you met up with Jacque, a French fur trader from the 1700's. Upon first encounter, Jacque would ask who you were and where you came from and why you were wearing those strange clothes. He then would tell the story of how he became a fur trader. Every year, his uncle would prepare for his fur trading trip down the rivers from French Quebec. Every year Jacque would ask to go along and his uncle would tell him he wasn't ready. Jacque would tell his uncle, "I am big enough! I am strong enough!"

Finally, the year came that Jacque was allowed to go. The first three days almost killed him. He managed to survive and even go on to thrive, but he found out that his uncle had been right before. He had not been big enough. He had not been strong enough.

Way too often, I am like young Jacque. I want to believe that I am big enough and strong enough to handle things. I take off down the river of life alone, and I almost die. Unlike Jacque, I will never be big enough or strong enough in my own power.

I have to constantly remind myself:

"Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;"
2 Corinthians 3:5

"He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
Isaiah 40:29-31

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
2 Corinthians 12:9

"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."
John 15:5


"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."
2 Corinthians 4:7

I have to remember that I am just an earthen vessel and that I absolutely need the Lord to get me through each and every day, and especially the hard days.

Remind me, Lord.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Reminding Myself

I wrote this almost a year and a half ago. Doing some maintenance on my blog, I came across it tonight. It's a good reminder.

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."

Ephesians 2:4-7

Thoughts and Thankfulness

Monday night and Tuesday, the busy world of people outside the walls of my house came to a stand still. The cold winds swirled and the snow piled up and everyone stayed home. It was a perfect time to work on my latest quilt.

I love quilting. One of my favorite things is the tangible progress. Every cut, every stitch, every seam pressed I can watch the quilt take shape. Many aspects of the ministry don't offer that reward. Teaching and mentoring have a few "aha!" moments but for the most part the success isn't visual.

Quilting also keeps my hands busy. My mind is always whirring. I am still amazed when I ask someone what he or she is thinking and they answer "nothing." I can't imagine it's even possible to think nothing. 
A busy mind can be a problem sometimes, at least for me. If I'm not careful, I brood. I foolishly replay the tapes of failures and betrayals and my heart can spiral downward into darkness. Quilting occupies my mind and keeps me from going there.

While the blizzard of 2011 and its aftermath whirled, I quilted and my mind mused on my blessings. I live in Iowa, a place where the people have learned to live with nature's fury for hundreds of years. This blizzard has been the first time the schools have closed this year. We've had over two feet of snow fall since winter began, but in Iowa, life only stops for the most extreme storms.

I thought about those pioneers who lived on these prairies during the 19th century. I'm safe in a house with indoor plumbing and a furnace. When it came time to dig out, snowplows cleared my street and a neighbor brought his snowblower over to help clear our driveway. 

I cut my quilt pieces using my knife sharp Fiskars and a rolling cutter.

Seamed on my nice sewing machine.

And pressed with a modern iron.

I didn't have to build a fire, use a chamber pot, sharpen a blade, treadle, or heat irons. I am thankful: Thankful for those who have gone before and braved the trials; Thankful for those who invented the conveniences I enjoy; Thankful to my husband for working to pay for the things I have.

I'm ultimately thankful to my Lord who daily loadeth me with benefits.

"Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah."
Psalm 68:19

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mine Ebenezer

"Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us."
1 Samuel 7:12

You would think that after all this time, I would figure it out. I've been in church every Sunday that I wasn't sick since I was 2. I've went to a Christian school. I went to Bible college. I've taught Sunday school in some capacity for almost 30 years. I've read the Bible through too many times to count.

And yet, often I come across a passage of Scripture and have an "aha!" moment. I love the song "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" but I never really knew what an Ebenezer was until today when I read this verse and made the connection. An Ebenezer is a reminder of the Lord's help.

I need the Lord's help all the time, but right now I have a few things that I desire to see the Lord do. Today, I need to raise my Ebenezer and remind myself of all the "hitherto" help that the Lord has already given me. It makes it so much easier to trust Him.

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

West Texas

On cloud-shrouded nights
darkness suffocates
among the gnarled arms
of mesquite.
Silence disturbed
by wind-rustled seed pods.
Skyborn cold wrestles
earth-warmed radiance.
Imagination abounds,
Folklore is birthed,
Goatmen roam pastures,
Wolves nurture lost infants.
Dawn unveils the fiction.