Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year 2010

New Year 2010

"Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!"
I Chronicles 4:9-10

I am looking forward to the new year and I am anticipating everything the Lord has for us this year. My heart and hands are open to receive from Him. We have rested and recuperated and thoroughly enjoyed over a year of sabatical. I am at peace and very thankful.

"Bless us. Enlarge our territory. Keep Your Hand upon us. Keep us from evil. and may I not cause pain.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Wonder of You


When no one else can understand me
When everything I do is wrong
You give me love and consolation
You give me hope to carry on

And you're always there to lend a hand
In everything I do
That's the wonder
The Wonder of You

And when you smile the world is brighter
You touch my hand and I'm a king (queen)
Your kiss to me is worth a fortune
Your love for me is everything

I guess I'll never know the reason why
You love me as you do
That's the wonder
The Wonder of You

Words and Music by Baker Knight
Sung and recorded by Elvis Presley

Sunday, December 27, 2009

One More Week

If I could have one more week with my Dad, I'd make sure every time we passed each other I touched his arm, and each and every time we parted I'd give him a kiss and a hug and tell him I love him. I'd listen to him tell the "Brass Ring" story as many times as he wanted and I'd listen as if it were the first time. I'd listen attentively and ask questions as he showed me his High School Yearbook. I'd look at the picture of his mother and say how beautiful she was. Then on:

SUNDAY - I would sit by him in church and place my hand through his arm while we're standing to sing hymns out of the hymnal. After church I would sit by him at the table as we're enjoying a delicious Sunday dinner prepared by my Mother. I would make sure his iced tea glass stayed full and I'd make him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich after or get his desert depending on which one he wanted. I'd watch Nascar with him in the afternoon and Jack Hayford in the evening.

MONDAY - I would go to work with him at the frame shop and work tirelessly shrink wrapping signed and numbered prints so he could add them to his inventory for sale.

TUESDAY - I would walk 5 miles with him at the walking park even if I had to sit on one of the benches along the way and then catch up.

WEDNESDAY - I would watch as many Gaither Homecoming Videos as he wanted and sing along after or before listening to The Statler Brothers.

THURSDAY - I would have him show me one more time how to balance my checkbook in Quicken and how to sign up for online billpay.

FRIDAY - I would help him clean the fish pond and notice all the baby fish and comment on how much the big fish are growing. I would help him weed around all the foliage in the backyard and listen as he told me about each plant.

SATURDAY - I'd sit in the "co-pilot's" chair in the RV, share his bag of licorce Twizzlers with him and help him watch the road.

Since I would know that this night was his last, I'd tell him I love him one last time before he fell asleep and I'd ask him to bless me as his first-born child. Then I'd lie down on the floor in his room and listen to his every breath. When the end was near I'd tell him, "Good-Bye. See you later. I love you."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Joy!

Children. . .

The purity of their wonder as they gaze in anticipation standing in front of the Christmas tree. The house is still dark but the lit tree is illuminating the wrapped presents underneath. They are totally unaware that "Santa" is watching. They are caught up with the wonder. They are pointing, and whispering, "That one's mine." And then comes the delight, the innocence, the excitement and the happiness of each child as they open their gift.

That is Christmas. That is Pure Joy.

We first noticed Pure Joy this Christmas in Jayla's face at my Mom's Christmas party the weekend before Christmas. Grandma (my Mom) had gifts under the tree for the children and the youngest were first to receive theirs, Major, Berkley, Victoria and Jayla. I'll never forget how the three little girls scooted forward in unison full of expectation. I'll always treasure the look on Jayla's face when she was handed her gift. She looked as if she couldn't believe the big box was hers, Oh the wonder of it all! She carefully unwrapped the box even though everyone in the room wanted her to hurry. I'll always remember the "OH!" on her face as she saw the gift inside and then the total peace and contentment as a new baby doll was placed in her arms. She needed nothing else, it was Pure Joy!

Two days before Christmas we took gifts to Stan & Mary's for the kids, as they are so affectionately called (they are blessed with 10 children). We arrived while they were eating dinner which was perfect timing for me. I placed the wrapped gifts under the tree while they were still at the table. One by one they were excused and immediately ran to the tree to check out the presents and discover who's was who's. When everyone was finished eating and the table was cleared the gifts could be opened. Oh the waiting, and questions, "Why was it taking so long?" Finally, when everyone was gathered, I passed out the presents one by one in random order as fast as they could unwrap them. It was total chaos. They were so excited and Oh!the fun!

I will never forget the smile on Marla's face as she thanked me for her sunglasses! Joel hugged me twice and said thank you for the Air Soft gun. The three little boys received a western sheriff set complete with bandanna, rifle, holster & pistol. They were everywhere arresting everyone. Victoria and Jayla were given baby doll strollers and little backpacks full of baby essentials for the baby dolls Grandma had given them. I didn't know little strollers could stroll that fast on hardwood floors. It was pure delight.

Then just as we were leaving and had our hand on the door knob, the doorbell rang, Stan opened it expecting one of the older boys and right on cue, in perfect harmony we heard, "Joy To The World, the Lord is come. . ." and there before our eyes were Mr. and Mrs. Carr and their seven children. They were standing in perfect caroling formation and wore matching wool scarfs. The youngest child, a girl with short curly black hair and fair skin stood right in front looking just like an angel. Her older sister was next to her holding a plate of cookies and hosting a big smile. It was impossible to capture the magic of that moment on camera but it will be remembered as one of those rare surreal happenings that only the Lord can orchestrate.

Last night, the day before Christmas Eve we took presents to my Christmas Joy, Berkley and Major. Berkley squealed with delight as she unwrapped her little school bus. Major tore into his gifts totally thrilled with the sound of ripping paper. I'll never forget the precious innocence of Berkley as she walked as fast as she could across the room and handed Grandpa his present and said, "Merry Chrithmas." Then she repeated the same with my present. I will cherish the memory over and over.

The moment of Pure Joy happened as I helped Berkley into her pj's and we sang Christmas carols to the rhythm of tickling. And then again while I held Major. Major was totally focused on looking into my face. We baby talked and got to laughing.

Pure Joy. There's nothing else this side of heaven. I know now all those things I believed were so important to "make" Christmas and establish traditions are nothing more than a fleeting vapor. The real Christmas and the lasting memory is the love and Pure Joy we share with one another.

Oh Joy! Pure Joy!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Is Aunt Sandy Old?

That's what my nephew, my sweet little 4 year old nephew, Judson, with the permanent smile asked my brother. "Dad, is Aunt Sandy old?"

Yikes! Oh please, not yet!

I arrived at the family Christmas party last night accompanied or supported by a cane. Picture that. It's one of my mom's canes. From my Grandmother's estate she inherited a collection of canes that has been in the family for several generations. I swear (not really) Moses had this one in the wilderness. Anyway it helps. The colder temperatures are aggravating my pinched sciatic nerve and by the end of the day, oh man, walking is a pain. Enter, the cane.

Jeffrey, my nephew who's 6'5" and in the Ninth Grade, picture that, (the basketball team loves him) (we do too), asked me what happened. I said I have a pinched nerve. He asked "How'd it happen?" I said, "It just progressed..." then he said, "Oh" and his eyes kind of glassed over so I didn't go into details. He added, "I'm sorry" which I thought was sweet. He's a really nice young man.

The way I understand it is: the genetic tilt to my pelvis caused the muscles to over-correct and over time the over-correcting curved the spine. My low-iodine levels and chronic malabsorption due to systemic candida eventually degenerated the cushion between the vertebrae therefore putting pressure on the nerve which is aggravated by the cold and there we have it, the perfect storm.

I was blessed and encouraged yesterday by the woman at Natural Food Market who scanned my grocery items. She's about my age, (not old) and as she looked up she said, "How are you?" I replied, "Fine" then I said, "No, actually..." She told me she had been through the same thing and it would eventually heal.

The Lord knew I needed to hear from someone who could totally relate. He also knew I needed to hear that even though it's been a year, it will heal.

I thank Him for his forever and always faithfulness. I ask His forgiveness for doubt, self-pity and selfishness.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Home is Where My Dad Is

Right now I just want to go home. You know the feeling, the desire. Someplace where there is no pain. Someplace safe and secure. A place where everything is taken care of and there are no worries.

That's how I felt when I was a kid growing up. Wherever I was I knew I would go home and my Dad would be there. His presence was always there. Tall, strong, capable, loving, giving, big shoulders, safe, always an answer and a solution to every question or concern.

My Dad made me feel as if I could do anything in the world I chose to do. I was precious to him and I knew it. I knew it in a secure way not an arrogant way.

I missed my Daddy terribly when I moved up North when I was 19. I barely saw him during the next 23 years. He came to my aid in 1995 and helped me start over again. We spent a couple of years together as he and my mom got me on my feet. Five years later he was gone.

He's in heaven with the Lord and he's been there for 7 earthly years. I miss my Dad now more than I ever have. Not that I didn't miss him before, I did, but my logic pushed aside my feelings. Right now, I'm in pain, sciatic pain, and pain has a way of cancelling out logic.

I'm thankful for my Dad, for his love, provision, and guidence in my life. I am blessed by the gift of his legacy. I am humbled by the awareness that not everyone has this legacy. I am quieted and at peace with the assurance that I will be with him again for eternity. Home is where he is.

Thank you Lord. I am Blessed.

Friday, November 27, 2009

My Mom and Me

"You're just like your mother." That's what my Dad used to say. When I was a kid it filled me with pride because that's the attitude he said it with. When I was a teen it frustrated me somewhat because I wanted to be my own person. When I was a young mom it seemed impossible, "How did she do this?" But now I'm content and happy and blessed to be like my mom.

My mom and I and her mom and probably her mom before that and hers before that and hers before that, are wives and homemakers. Oh, we're capable of doing it all, have a career and take care of a home and children. But our hearts, the core of our being is for our husbands, our homes, our children and our grandchildren. We're homemakers. And I'm blessed with that, content with that, and consider it my highest calling.

The next time my nephew, the one that asks the questions everyone else only thinks, asks, "Aunt Sandy, what do YOU do to make a living?" I'm going to have an answer for him. It's going to roll off my tongue with confidence, "I'm a Homemaker, just like my Mom." Blessed, Oh so Blessed!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holidays? Who Needs 'Em!

To say I love the holidays is a stretch, a really big stretch. I tolerate the holidays because they exist. I tried both ends of the spectrum, celebrate to the max (well, the max for me) and just barely get by. Neither one gives me that deep sense of satisfaction. I've either done too much and am exhausted or not done enough and feel empty. You see, I'm a worker. I am not a dreamer or a schemer or a thinker. I do not get radically happy and I don't get tremendously sad. I don't think about the past and I'm rarely conscience of the future. I work and I accomplish and I cross things off my "To Do" list and that gives me energy, and makes me feel happy and capable and confident. That's who I am. I am feeling a sense of loss today, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

Exactly one year ago, life as I had known it changed. Totally changed. It's been good and it's been not so good. I nearly lost my mobility, my bending and lifting, twisting and turning, walking. Sciatica. Need I say more. It was just a matter of time really, a sooner or later type thing considering the progression of the genetic tilt to my pelvis and degeneration of the discs in my lower, lower back. It has greatly inhibited my "working", my accomplishing, my getting things done and being energized by it.

However, it does put the holidays, the whole "My family/Your family" tug of war, "gotta have this/gotta have that" hustle and bustle, "get this done/get that done" rush rush into perspective. What's the bottom line? The tugging, hustling, rushing, gotta have it, work, work, does not matter.

What matters is my love. My deep love for my husband. My unconditional love for my children. My thankful love for my parents. My "no strings attached" love for my brothers and their families. And my "as close to heaven as it gets" love for my Grandbabies. That's what matters, and that's what I am thankful for. This is the core of my life: My Lord and my Saviour, Jesus Christ and my love for my family.

I'm Blessed. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Perfect Breakfast

This is not a food blog. However I have posted several posts lately whose main theme is food, but this is not a food blog. Food just happens to be a main interest for me right now. And you know what happened this morning? I made the perfect breakfast. I love biscuits for breakfast and have been trying to make a gluten-free, dairy-free drop biscuit for about a month now. I used a recipe by Linda at The Gluten-Free Homemaker which was changed slightly by Debbie Ross at The Gluten-Free 'Dish' and then I tweeked it a little more because when I stirred up the recipe it was more like pancake batter than drop biscuit batter so I added some of Amy Green's High-Protein Gluten-Free Flour Mix. I scooped and dropped the batter and baked it and they were perfect! Next time I will make them smaller because one thing I have noticed about Gluten-Free is that I eat less and feel more satisfied and nourished longer.

What's the green stuff on my plate? That's Kale.

I grew up in the 60's in suburbia. It was a time when homemakers were moving away from the country farm and home gardens and into convenience. My mother's food budget did not allow for foods we may not like so I never had Kale growing up and I did the same thing with my children. A couple of days ago I went to the store to buy Kale because I am intrigued by Amy Green's recipe for Kale Chips. I had to search the labels on the different greens because I didn't know which one was which. This morning when I took the twisty-tie off the bunch of Kale and looked at the leaf I realized it's the dark green stuff framing the ice on a salad bar separating the salads. I was impressed with how dark green the leaf is and how dense it felt. I had read a recipe by Gluten-Free Gidget which used steamed Kale so I steamed it and I kept tasting it so I'd know how to season it but it was so good, kind of a cross between brocolli and cabbage, that I just drizzled a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil on it. I scramble two eggs in my seasoned cast iron skillet. I put it all together with a cup of hot tea and voilla! The Perfect Breakfast!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I've Got My Groove Back

Well finally!

When we were closer to 40 than to 30 Mike and I respectively lost everything. Twelve years ago we joined our hearts and our lives and started re-building again. There were setbacks and obstacles and re-starts and a lot of times it felt like two steps forward three steps back.

This past year has been our best in so many ways, and the, lets just say, most challenging in so many ways. For Mike and for Me and for Us. Mike has been off work for a year. Oil Field. He's a consultant so if the phone doesn't ring, he doesn't work. But the Lord provided enough work in the previous 6 years to pay for those six, do a whole lot of other things we wanted plus have enough for this year. Doesn't that sound like the Year of Jubilee?! It's been miraculous really! Me? I've been battling my sciatic nerve for a year now. I'm just thankful I can walk, let's just put it that way. Plus all the changes that go with "The Change" have finally settled in and believe me, it is a CHANGE. Sometimes I feel like the butterfly that metamorphosized into the worm. Oh, excuse me, caterpillar.

But now, at this point, I feel as if I'm gettin' my groove back.

One of the main things to getting my groove back has been finding an answer to the issue of what to eat and how to prepare it. We were going through so much and everything seemed so much like "Fruit Basket Turn Over" all the time that I could never get it together food/meal wise. The most uncomplicated, agreeable, constant thing we could do was go to Rosa's, or Whataburger, or Chili's. So we did, for the better part of twelve years.

I've come to realize however that we are missing a very integral part of home. I was saddened by that and decided that it is time we grounded our own style and preferences and likes and dislikes, patterns and traditions. It's time and way past time.

So now after 14 1/2 years I am cooking again. I am inspired by a very dear young woman in Dallas who is becoming my friend. Her food blog Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and the many blogs she links to are keeping me on track and enthused and excited about cooking. I am able to blend my needs and preferences with Mike's needs and preferences and prepare and present meals that are becoming our own. Not my past or his past but now our past, our present and our future. Thank you Amy Green, you are blessing my life!

Monday, November 9, 2009

I Did It!

Well, I did it! I made Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free Banana Pudding and it is delicious! You see, I love banana pudding and even though Banana Pudding is not a traditional holiday desert I always think of it as something special to have for the holidays. Ususally it's Easter but for some reason I am wanting it this year as we're planning for Thanksgiving. Maybe it's because I haven't had it in about 10 years! Here's to success!

Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free Vanilla Pudding

2 1/2 c. unsweetened plain almond milk
4 large egg yolks
1/3 c. light agave
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. cornstarch
1 T. vanilla extract

1. In a small dish, stir together cornstarch and 3-4 T. almond milk until well blended.
2. In a small saucepan, whisk together remaining almond milk, egg yolks, agave and salt.
3. Add dissolved cornstarch mixture to almond milk mixture in saucepan and stir.
4. Keep stirring over medium to low heat until mixture thickens and begins to boil.
5. Turn heat to low and continue stirring and cooking for about 1 minute more.
6. Remove from stove and pour into a heatproof dish. Add vanilla extract.
7. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding and chill for at least 2 hours.
8. Serve with sliced bananas and whipped topping. Enjoy!

This post is linked to Amy Green's Simply Sugar and Gluten Free

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fixing Versus Creating

Mike and I have issues. Food issues. I think the perfect meal is Sugar-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, vegetables, and for real perfection 85% raw, 15% cooked. His perfect meal is 1/3 pound hamburger meat, fried, served on bread with mustard. He prefers food fixed, I prefer food created. Not invented but created. I get much enjoyment out of searching for recipes and than creating them in my kitchen. I love to bake. He doesn't care much about baked goods and is just as happy with Vanilla Wafers and Oreo's.

I tried fixing food the way he likes it, but I loathe frying and I truly did not get that deep satisfaction that comes from creating. He'll eat vegetables and he says they're good and he doesn't mind an all vegetable meal as long as he can have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich after.

For 12 years we have "solved" our dilemma by going out to eat. Really I was only avoiding the frustration, and missing out on a very big part of house and home. Homemaking is my calling and my highest joy and contentment second only to my grandchildren.

I've realized that I can not make him eat the way I feel is best just because it's best for me and it seems only logical that's it's best for him. That may be logical but it's not necessarily true. So now I am at peace with doing both, fixing and creating. We are blessed and just one step closer to A Little Bit of Heaven.

Friday, October 16, 2009

52 Card Pick-Up

I remember the first time I played 52 Card Pick-Up, my cousin grabbed a deck of cards and said, "Have you ever played 52 Card Pick-Up?" I said, "No", anticipating a fun game. She promptly tossed the entire deck high into the air and then watched with delight as I scrambled over the entire room picking up the cards. I'm sure I returned the favor to some other trusting younger child at some point. That's how I've felt the past 14 years, like I'm playing 52 Card Pick-Up. That and "One step forward two steps back". Mike too only he's played several times. You know what? We've won.

It seems like some people have never played. Those who've never played don't seem to know how to truly relate to those who have. I'm thankful not everyone has to experience the dishevel, the frustration, the hurt, the confusion, the fight-for-your-life experience. I'm thankful we have. And I'm thankful for the grace, mercy and strength of the Lord. I want to tell everyone and shout out loud, "We WON!"

We live in a little bit of heaven most of the time but we went through a little bit of you know where to get here. And we've been through nothing compared to what some people go through. It's all relative I guess.

We are Blessed!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Grandmothers and Granddaughters

For the most part we don't understand the vital relationship of a grandmother. Especially to a granddaughter and then even more so to a first born granddaughter. I am a first born granddaughter. My heart swells and my eyes tear when I think about my Grandmother and then I struggle to find words to express how life giving her love was for me.

When I was with my Grandmother it felt like she and I were the only two people in the world and like we had nothing to do except what I could think of. When I was little I played quietly, securely surrounded by her love and total acceptance. As I grew I colored and cut-out paper dolls and played Barbies and make-believe. I slept in the twin bed in the same room as hers and woke up to pancakes with Karo syrup. She let me write the grocery list even though she had to spell everything for me. She made me a beautiful aqua blue taffeta dress out of someone's worn once bridesmaid's dress. She let me wear my Sunday shoes and tap dance on the back porch. She shared the receiver with me and let me listen in on her church friend's phone conversation. I'll never forget her ParkerHouse Rolls, fried chicken, cooked carrots and brown sugar frosting and walking to the market.

When I was 10 years old we moved to Oklahoma, a thousand miles away from my Grandma and life changed forever. She and I wrote letters and she came to visit and we went to visit but it was never the same. I'll never forget when I was 17 pulling out of her driveway and I started crying and I couldn't stop. I didn't know why. I didn't know that was the last time I would see my Grandma when she actually knew who I was.

Life is so short. Life is so fleeting. I'll see my Grandma in heaven when we're all with the Lord. Sometimes I just can't wait!

Strong Conquering Babies

Men are big babies. They're so strong and capable and can go out and conquer the world but when they get sick, they're babies. My strong, capable, conquering husband is never sick. He works 24/7/365 and brings home the bacon. Last November there was no more bacon to be brought home so we've been on an extended vacation. He knew it would happen so we prepared because at some point the bacon will be there again. This past week he started sneezing, than coughing, than blowing his nose. He's positive he's got H1N1 but in reality he's having a histamine reaction to spraying paint and sanding paint, without a mask. Adrian told him to wear a mask, I didn't bother 'cause I knew he wouldn't. If I hear one more groan, one more sniff, one more "I can't taste. I can't smell." I don't know what I'm going to do - go shopping I guess. This too shall pass and we are blessed!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Family

This link, My Family , goes to an album of pictures of my family.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Celebrate Fall? YES!

I really hadn't noticed before now, but this year I became aware that I wasn't celebrating Fall anymore, or any season for that matter. Partly because we live in West Texas and in West Texas we have one season, Hot, dotted with cold now and then, sprinkled with a little rain once in a blue moon. But mostly because 15 years ago I lost all reason to celebrate. Twelve years ago I got all reasons back but we've been so consumed with getting everything else back that seasons have not been a priority. That was until Amy Green introduced me to:Now I'm thinking about it and noticing the Fall flowers, pumpkins and gourds, corn stalks and scarecrows, enjoying the somewhat cooler temperatures, shorter days and I'm looking at the trees but so far... nada, no change. They'll change maybe by Thanksgiving.

Amy's Simply Sugar and Gluten Free has been a springboard for me. Not only has she stimulated my thinking about seasons and celebrating she has enlightened me with her 8-part series, Finding Balance with Food. Her recipes and the many links she recommends has filled my notebook with recipes to try, now that I realized it is gluten and sugar that make me sick, and so far all of her recipes that I have tried have worked for me. Not only do they work, they are delicious and a lot of fun to create. My husband is incorporating vegetables and is agreeable to trying the gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, almost vegan meals I have been preparing. He loved her Pantry Tomato Soup.

Amy and several of her blog friends are hosting Fall Festival 2009 . Their celebrating and enthusiasm is contagious. Fall always was my favorite season. So far this year I have cooked apples with cinnamon, and made pumpkin bars, all gluten-free-sugar-free-dairy-free. Thank you Amy for being a part of my living normal life again. You are a Blessing!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I've Met Someone

I've met someone. Not just anyone, but a very special young woman from Ohio who now calls Dallas her home. I say young because she is, she's a year older than my Amy so that makes me old enough to be her mother. I haven't actually met her per se but I am getting to know her through her blog. I found her blog from a post she left on another food blog. I've searched many many blogs over the past 3 months in my quest to eat right to keep my body from getting sick but Amy Green's Simply Sugar and Gluten Free is the one I keep coming back to and refer to several times a day. Something about it just keeps bringing me back.

It is true that her recipes are everything she says they are and more. It is true she amazes me with her energy, her creativity, her insight and her wisdom. She is wise way beyond her years regarding the relationship between our body, our mind, our emotions and our food. What keeps bringing me back, is her kindness, her humbleness and most of all her gratitude.

She has a very insightful 8 part series on Finding Balance with Food which I hope will be a book someday. Every single recipe of hers that I have tried has been over the top, way more than I expected considering they are sugar-free, gluten-free. Even my meat-and-potatoes, (preferably fried), -Oreo-cookie-Lays-potato-chip husband says they are good, really good and he's joining me in healthier eating. Thank you Amy for all you are doing and "You Go Girl!"

Saturday, September 19, 2009

First Born Syndrome

I've always felt so responsible for everyone. Maybe because I'm a first born, I don't know, but I've always felt I should fix, and provide and take care of and prevent, and determine outcomes.
I had a revelation this week however that saddens me but also brings me freedom. I realized that no matter what I know from knowledge or experience, no matter what makes sense and is right, no matter what I believe, I can not change someone else or make another person believe what I believe is right, and than some things are just unexplainable.

No matter how much I prayed, studied, talked to nutritionists and naturalpaths, resisted, and cried I could not change the fact that my dad suffered with a brain tumor and died after a year of agony for himself and the family.

No matter how much Mike prayed and talked and tried to convince his mother, aunt, sister and niece to not agree to radiate his mother's lung so we could take her to a clinic in Houston for a very successful treatment for lung cancer, she died 10 days after the diagnosis. She was scared and signed to radiate her lung. The radiation blew out her heart where she had had a graft 13 years previous.

Not even two years had passed since my mother-in-law's unexpected death and Mike was getting better with the grief, it was a terrible thing this grief, and his daughter, the love of his life, called out of the blue and said she was divorcing her husband and basically separating the two little boys. Mike couldn't stop it, no amount of prayer, counsel, anger, warning, etc. It'd be different if the husband deserved it and it was justified. She just wanted to live her own life, her way. It was a terrible time of anguish for him and for us. We did everything we could do and then we just stood there aching.

No amount of help on my part could keep my precious Amy from experiencing anxiety-panic attacks when she was transitioning from full-time career to full time homemaker and mom.

The clincher, the part when I gave up and realized I really have no control, came for me this past Wednesday when Mike and I went to his New Patient Appointment at the VA Health Center. The doctor called with the results of his blood work and I panicked and felt I was going to be a widow any second. I plunged full speed into "let's fix this" mode and decided that we should go immediately on the Hallelujah Diet, the testimonies are phenomenal and I believe it would cure anything, and along with that start walking 20 minutes daily. He did fine until he got hungry then he said he wasn't going to do it. I said I was going to increase the life insurance. Then I cried. Then I relinquished control and felt a tremendous peace.

We are changing our diet a little daily and it's better on both of us and we'll be all right. I care and want to help and fix my loved ones hurts but there's only so much I can actually control and even that is not a guarantee. That realization brings peace.

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Journey With Food

I grew up in the sixties. My mother was and still is a very good cook, she could make something out of nothing and a lot of times that's exactly what she had to work with. She cooked Standard American Diet meals and used canned and processed food. We had lots of white sugar, white flour, white bread, white rice, noodles, macaroni, and milk. The only thing I can remember making from scratch is cookies and the only fresh vegetable I can remember is iceberg lettuce and tomatoes and carrot sticks but I didn't really like them, I couldn't see the point of eating raw and crunchy when you could eat cooked and mushy. As children we had colds, sinus infections, ear aches, bronchitis and stomach aches.

I got married when I was 19 in the mid-seventies and repeated the only thing I knew; lots of sugar, white flour, white rice, canned and processed, etc., I was a good cook too (if you think that is good). I could follow a recipe as well as the next person. There were always fresh homemade cookies in the cookie jar, more often than not chocolate chip.

In the eighties there was a movement for healthier eating, also I was raising my children so wanting to do the very best for them I became as health conscious as possible at the time. I followed the basic four food groups, and used whole wheat flour, honey, minimal or no salt and carob, I can still hear my kids, "Oh Mom, not carob!" Poor dears. I tried to use less canned and processed food and made everything from scratch. I still had frequent colds, sinus infections, bronchitis and stomach aches. I was in an oppressive dysfunctional marriage and by the mid-eighties was suffering depression. Sugar, and chocolate became my friend, comfort, motivation and reward.

I left the marriage in 1995 desperate to get myself and my then teenage children out of an unhealthy situation. I was totally broken and beat down. I moved back into my parents home and partook of my mother's wonderful familar cooking. My parents took care of me and through their nuturing love and support I began to live life again.

The Lord brought a wonderful man into my life, we married and I felt as if I were 19 again. I did notice before we were married that he did not eat vegetables and salad. After we were married and I tried to cook and prepare meals I quickly learned that he only liked hamburgers and meat and potatoes preferably fried. I tried to cook for him but I couldn't cook that way. I knew enough to know that a diet like that was detrimental to ones health. We have eaten in restaurants for the biggest part of 12 years. Either hamburgers or Mexican.

By the late 1990's I was sick! Candida, parasites, food allergies, seasonal allergies, inflammation, I had all the symptoms,systemic. One morning I woke up and I felt extremely terrible and I said to my wonderful husband, "I think food makes me sick." That was the turning point.

We've studied and been to Naturepath's and taken lots of food supplements and done cleanses, etc. All of it has been a necessary stepping stone. The hardest thing to change however has been our diet. I can change drastically for as long as it takes to get feeling better than gradually I have a little sugar here and then a little sugar there and on and on. My blog friend Amy Green at
Simply Sugar and Gluten Free has a series about finding balance with food and the emotional attachment that we have to and with food. Her blog, recipes and the many links she introduces have given me a life changing direction toward food and eating. My wonderful meat and potatoes only husband is joining me and we are slowly but surely this time changing to food that builds, repairs, restores and nourishes our bodies. I for the first time, actually feel good and I haven't had a sinus infection in who knows how long, at least several months. That's progress! I'm thankful and I'm blessed!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

We Took a Trip

Well, we did it! We took a trip, not just any trip, but a vacation and it was wonderful! We were gone 8 days, traveled 1000 miles one way to Memphis and Nashville, Tennesse, than 1000 miles home. We toured Graceland, saw a Broadway Musical, went on a dinner country music cruise, sat on the front row at the Grand Ole' Opry, spent the night at Gayord Opryland Resort, and The Peabody and Union Station Hotels, shopped at Opry Mills and Whole Foods Market and had lunch at Pei Wei, my favorite restaurant. These are just the highlights of a fabulous trip.

A year ago, I decided that this year on our anniversary we would take a trip, do something special - since we'd never done that, not even a honeymoon. We've just been so caught up in working and living and taking care of everyone else that we've never taken the time or spent the money. So last year I started saving and a couple of months ago I started planning. Now we've gone and come home again.

We found out a couple of things about ourselves, (which we already knew but it's nice to confirm) first we found out that we get along incredibly well. Mike allows me to walk in my gifting and I hope I allow him to walk in his. Second we confirmed that we like, I mean really like nice hotel rooms, I mean really nice like 5-Star. And for this trip they were worth it. We also confirmed that I am directionally challenged.

There were countless special moments but there were two that cinched the entire week for me. The first one was on our anniversary, we stayed at The Peabody in Memphis and after dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse the valet knocked on the door and said he had a delivery for Mike Gillett. He brought in a dozen very beautiful red, white and yellow roses which I had ordered the week before we left. The brief expression on Mike's face was worth the entire trip and all the effort. It was a soft expression of a tremendous depth of love and of being touched by the kindness of another. I really can't explain it. But it was a very special moment for both of us. The other was when Mike bought me a chocolate chocolate chip muffin and a bottle of water at 10 o'clock at night when I was searching for chocolate cake and we couldn't find any. I felt so cared for when he stepped up to the counter and ordered, "A chocolate chocolate chip muffin and a bottle of water." Two relatively small instances amongst eight days of one special happening after another but they are two priceless moments which captured something much deeper and significant.

I am so thankful we could do this. With Mike's work schedule it may be our one and only trip, but I hope not. We just don't know what our future holds but we know Who holds our future. We are so very blessed.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Love of His Life

This is Michele. This picture was taken at her 15th birthday party. Michele is Mike's daughter, the love of his life. Mike married her mother and was thrilled when they found out they were expecting. It was his dream come true, a family! Michele is his Princess, his Baby, the entire room lights up for him when she walks in. He loves her, he cherishes her, and he would do anything on this earth for her.

The marriage didn't turn out as hoped however. They stayed together for Michele and for the sake of family for 5 or 6 years. Then she left, taking Michele with her and Mike was devastated. The very thing he never wanted and tried desperately to prevent had happened.

A couple of years later Mike became a Catholic, thinking if they were the same religion they could make it. Mike and Michele's mother remarried and Mike lead them seriously into Catholicism. The problem was the "same religion" thing didn't make the marriage. He returned to faith in Jesus Christ through the Blood of the Lamb (not the church), and tried to lead the family too. They rejected him and The Word. When Michele was around 11 or 12 years old, Michele's mother left again, again separating Mike from his daughter. At this same time the oilfield was bust. He lost everything, family, job, and he gave all the possessions, to Michele and her mother. It was the lowest point of his life.

Mike was faithful to the Lord, to Michele and to her mother. He sought the Lord to restore his family. He stayed in San Angelo or as close as possible to be near Michele giving up career opportunities. He prayed. He fasted. He spent as much time with Michele as possible, talking to her several times a day and he sent her mother support. He's not perfect but he did all he could do.

When Michele was 16 her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Mike asked her to come back and he would take care of her and Michele. She said, " No." Mike realized that as much as he did not want Michele in a broken home he needed to move on with his life.

The desire of his heart did not go away. He desired a righteous, God-honoring, Christian home. He began seeking the Lord for a wife, a helpmate, a like-minded partner. That's where I come in, and I'm not perfect, but we are like-minded.

We've been married twelve years this Wednesday, September 2,2009. The Lord has truly restored what the locust had eaten in both of our lives.

The pain in Mike's heart though is Michele. She insists on living her life the way she wants to live it, which normally would be fine except her lifestyle is breaking her Daddy's heart. He mourns for her and what she is doing to herself, her husband and her boys. He prays for her constantly.

Michele is still the love of his life, his Princess, his Baby, the light in his eye and isn't that the way love is? Love is our greatest joy and our greatest sorrow.

The Lord says, "Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning."

Forsaking All Others

Now that's easy. At the altar anyway. Remember the scene, you're standing at the altar, in front of the preacher, facing the most wonderful, most perfect person in the whole world and you vow before God and family and friends to forsake all others. Then you walk down the aisle as husband and wife and the journey begins. The journey to become one. The first thing we think of when we vow to forsake all others is other men/women. But what about the grey area? The thought life. And what about the other relationships of our life? Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, friends, co-workers, teachers, bosses? Did I vow to forsake them? Yes I did. How about sports, committees, hobbies, Girls Night Out, Guys Night Out? Did I vow to forsake those? Yes I did. People, places, things? Yes, these are all within the "forsake all others" definition. To what extent do I forsake? Whatever the relationship requires. Whatever is required to become one - one heart, one mind, one flesh. Whatever it takes.
Then the wonder is; we get it all back, every relationship in our life is doubled because our two lifes have blended into one and it's just twice - twice the joy, twice the sorrow. As a union we are more than we ever were as an individual.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

When Time Stood Still

It was one of those light bulb moments. You know, when a "light" flashes in your spirit, the earth stands still, life halts for a very brief nano second and you know that you know that you know that something momumentous, something life changing, totally life changing, 360* life changing has happened. Life events happen in the spirit before they happen in the physical and sometimes it takes a long time for what happened in the spirit to come to pass in the physical and sometimes not.

Such was the case when I heard Mike speak during the discussion in the Single-Adult Bible Study Class. I didn't see his face, he was in the back of the room, but I heard his voice reveal what was in his heart and I heard what he believes. It resonated with my spirit and it was one of those less than nano second moments that you know that you know that you know and nothing after that is ever the same.

A couple of months later we actually spoke face to face. We conversed a little, he paid for my lunch without me knowing. Later I said, "Thank you" and we've been talking every since.

We started talking in July and got married in September. I bought a new dress and shoes, we informed our family, invited a few friends, our friend made New York Cheesecake, my Mom made coffee, Mike brought me roses ( the most beautiful roses I have ever seen), my brother officiated and we were husband and wife. Mike went back to work, I went back to work. Alex had school. Life continued. That was 12 years ago and it's been continuing every since.

We attended the wedding of our neighbors daughter just a couple of weeks ago. The minister made very true and very pertinent statements during the ceremony. Two of the statements that stand out the most are truths Mike and I have discussed and experienced. He said, "Any two people can have a wedding but a marriage is a journey" the journey is the journey to become one and we have found out that it begins the moment, the very moment you say "I Do". A key component of this happening is "giving up your singlehood". One of Amy's observations early on was that we "stick together like glue". We've had to or life would tear us apart. We gave up everything and had to totally empty ourselves, bind together, and start all over. The Lord is now bringing everthing back to us infinitely better than we could ever ask or think.

We didn't take a honeymoon back then, 12 years ago. So now as a celcbration to the Lord's faithfulness and our life together we're spending our next anniversary, September 2, 2009, at Graceland then we're headed to Nashville. We don't travel much, it may be our one and only trip, but who really knows except the Lord. We just take life one day at a time, enjoy the process, experience the journey and we're thankful. We are tremendously Blessed!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Different But the Same

My children grew up in the "you're so special" generation. "You're unique" "There's only one you", "You can be anything you want to be".
I believed it for them. I spoke it to them and I tried to make sure they believed it too.

I grew up in a Christian home. A very religious Christian home. A very religious and legalistic Christian home. Religion says "do this and this, don't do this and this". Legalism says "do this only this way". I felt unique and special but I felt I was different from other people because I didn't "do that". I did everything "right" and didn't do anything "wrong". I was stunned when life slapped me up the side of my head. That was the turning point. The turning point to freedom. When life happened to me I realized doing everything right did not protect me and I was no more unique or special or different than anyone else.

We're all the same on the heart level. We were all born with a sinful heart and needing salvation. And it doesn't matter whether we sin an itty-bitty little sin or a great big whopper. It's all the same. All part of the cess pool of sin. I am unable to even begin to describe the freedom that comes with accepting "All have sinned" as meaning me. And to realize that my very thoughts are sinful, my words are sinful, my motives are sinful and that I am in need of continual forgiveness. Continual confession brings forgiveness, and forgiveness purifies and brings freedom. Freedom to do anything I want to do, be anything I want to be, go anywhere I want to go, say anything I want to say. I am free because my will has become purified and it desires to choose only what is honorable, holy and acceptable to God. Through confession the Holy Spirit leads me in knowing what that is. Freedom feels so free I just don't want to mess it up.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

We Started Over

Mike loves this picture. I have it on my desk and the more I look at it, the more I love it too. This was taken in 1997, Amy was 20 yrs. old and I was almost 43. But I felt 19. You see, in 1995 I started over. I had spent the previous 23 years married to a man who was consumed with self-centeredness and greed. I raised 4 children and was committed "till death do us part". The Lord in His mercy and grace released me from the "before God and these witnesses", "til death do us part" commitment because I believe I was dying. Emotionally I had shut down years before, and at the time I was begining to shut down physically. I believe I was to "get myself and my children out of this situation". I left very quickly with my two youngest children. I still weep inside at the thought of my two oldest, Amy and Aaron, standing beside the driveway thinking I would be back. They were 18 and 16 years old at the time and needed to make their own choice. Amy joined me a year later and Aaron finished high school, put himself through college and has soared on his own.

Mike loves this picture because this is how I looked when he first saw me. He'd been through his own grief and loss several years before this and was ready to start over himself. He saw me and prayed for me for over a year before he spoke to me. I heard him speak in Bible Study several times before I ever saw his face (he sat in the back, I sat in the front) and when he spoke, he spoke the Truth about The Word and it resonated in my spirit. I felt like we were the only two people in the world who understood. We started talking and found out we were soulmates, spiritmates. Before long I had lovesickness - I couldn't eat or sleep and lost 8 lbs. in 10 days. I tripped over things and ran into sign posts and all kinds of crazy things. Instead of going to a Single Adult Retreat on Labor Day Weekend in 1997 we canceled our reservations and got married. It made some of the family mad (my side) (they were just afraid for me) and the kids were confused and going through all the emotions, thoughts and feelings that go along with divorce, remarriage and making it on your own, feeling abandoned, etc. But we've made it, we have, they have, the family has.

So, now, I love this picture too. Not because of who I was, but because of who I am. And because it's a picture of my precious daughter who left her entire childhood and all things familiar to be near me and start all over too. It's a reminder of all the healing and restoration that has taken place in all of our lives the past 12 years. It's a forgeting what lies behind pressing on to what lies ahead picture. It's a reminder of the grace and mercy of the Lord. He never changes. He is new every morning. Great is His faithfulness!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Too Level

Is it possible to be too level headed? Too cautious? Have too much common sense? Yes, I would say the answer is yes. On the other hand, what if we were all spontaneous? Impulsive? Leapt before we looked? The answer is obvious. But it doesn't have to be one way or the other. There's balance. I am in the second half probably the last third of my life and I realize that I have lived a very controlled, very predictable, very sensible life. I'm thankful for the level-headedness. But I'm learning to say, "Yes!" "Why not!" and "Let's go!" a whole lot more. Grandchildren have a way of changing ones perspective. I wonder, "Why was I so rigid with my own children?" and "Why were my parents so rigid with me? I am thankful because also in this last half of my life I am seeing just exactly what is "out there" and I have been spared much heartache and grief. And hopefully I have spared my children. However, the first time Berkley and Major ask to play in the rain, I'm going to say, "Yes!"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Big Empty House

You know how the house feels after you've had company. (I mean good company) You know, too big, very quite, kind of like you have too much time and nothing to do. That's how I feel, but we didn't have company.

My brother and sister-in-law have 10 kids. Nine of their own and our grand-niece whom they are raising temporarily. They have been planning a camping trip to Colorado for months. Mary's parents live in Colorado Springs and every 2 or 3 years they camp at a camp site near their home and visit them for a few days. The anticiapation has been building and finally the anticipated day arrived. The have a 15 passanger van which pulls an enclosed trailer for the camping gear and all the luggage and essentials. They were loaded, all buckled in, house cleaned and closed, prayer said, the key turned. . .the key turned. . .nothing. Well something, Jefferson said, "It sounded like a machine gun!" But nothing that they wanted to hear.

It was 7:59AM, our phone rang and I noticed it was Stan but since Adrian is with them (as if they didn't have enough kids) I thought he was just going to say they were on the road, etc. But he said, "Does Mike know anything about fixing cars?" We hopped in our car and went down there. (It's only two blocks.) There was Mom and Dad still sitting in the front seats looking through the phone book and the car manual respectively. The kiddos with long faces were getting out of the seat belts and car seats and heading back into the house. Uncle Mike got to work on the Van, Aunt Sandy followed the kids into the house and helped them get breakfast. The breakfast that was supposed to have been served on the road.

Stan and Mike and Mary spent most of the day working on the van and thinking about options. Aunt Sandy kept the kids occupied in the house for the most part. She looked out the window every once in a while and sure enough Uncle Mike was still under the van and then there were two little legs sticking out also. It was the cutest thing! One of the times it was little 2 year old Victoria. "Hi, Uncle Mike", she said then crawled out. It was priceless. By 2 in the afternoon the van started, but not wanting to trust it on such a long trip with go much precious cargo they decided to rent a van. They did and after a good night's sleep they headed out this morning around 8. I believe they will be blessed with a wonderful, refreshing vacation with their loved ones and every anticipation and hope will be fulfilled. I sure do miss them though. We are so blessed.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I Don't Like Caves

My husband's a Drilling Fluid Engineer. He drives 3-400 miles a day and maintains the correct drilling fluid properties on an average of 4 rigs a day. He's the 2nd most important person out there all though they are all important or the job wouldn't get done. What I did not know about the job is that it is cyclical. Meaning he either works 24/7/365 or nothing, ziltch, nada. Right now it's nothing, ziltch, nada. At least we are prepared for it this time, financially that is. He's been off work for 8 months. It's fine. We're fine. But between working on the T-Bird until 3AM with two other men I might add, then sleeping until 10 to make up for it, listening to and watching the news beginning with Rush at Noon and then Glenn Beck at 4 and solving the Rubik's Cube in between (I'm very impressed with that). I'm feeling a little bit claustrophobic. Kind of like I'm living in a Man Cave. How about I go get my hair done, take my mother to lunch, go see Amy and the precious babies then go shopping, go shopping, go shopping. Thank you I believe I will. I'm blessed.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sleeping With the Enemy

Do you realize we are at war? Not only at war but in war? I don't mean our country. I mean us, you, me, him, her. We sleep with, eat with, watch TV with, clean house with, walk with, talk with, work with, bathe with, brush our teeth with and constantly think with, the enemy. The enemy is within. The enemy is me, myself and I. When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour for the forgiveness of my sin I received the gift of eternal life. His Holy Spirit came to dwell in me. The Holy Spirit did not replace my human nature. So now I have two natures living in me, my human nature and His Holy Spirit. Thus at 8 years old I entered a battle. It's a battle I have been and will continue to fight until the day I die. It has never been more clear to me than this week when fear, frustration, worry and pride came crashing in and I succumbed to blaming my husband for a situation he can not help. I felt myself actually jump from the spiritual nature to the fleshly nature. After 5 days and a major confrontation I jumped back again. It was like black and white. Hear and there. Now I'm battling a sinus infection. I've known for several years that my sinus/bronchitis episodes are directly related to my emotional and spiritual state. Oh, How Great is Our God and how little we understand about the interconnectedness of all things. Continue to teach me Lord and forgive me for being so self-righteous and stubborn. The battle is on 24/7/365. CHARGE! I am so blessed.

Plain and Not Plain

I love to cook. Well, maybe. . . . I think I do. I love to read cookbooks and search internet food sites and copy recipes and gather ingredients. But actually cook? . . . . Not until today. My wonderful tender-hearted husband has been working on his T-Bird trying to get the gorgeous obnoxious thing finished. (It was a 1965 piece of junk, now it's a 1965 collector's item) While he's been busy in the garage, I've been busy in the kitchen, or thinking about it anyway. The problem is my dear husband only likes meat and potatoes plain. Preferably fried. I have managed to incorporate a few green vegetables, but they must be plain. So today just for the fun of it and hoping in the back of my mind that he would taste them and declare, "This is fantastic!" I decided to whip up two recipes from TheVeganChef.com. I was bustling around in the kitchen almost singing when he came in for water, shirt soaked with sweat and asked me what I was making. I replied, "Green Beans Admondine and Garlic Mashed Potatoes". He very kindly said, "Well, maybe you could keep me some potatoes out?" My first thought was, "Oh come on!" But then I felt a compassion come over me and I said, "Sure." And I realized, it's not me he doesn't like and it's not that he thinks I can't cook, he just likes his food plain. A wave of peace has come over me because I can have my cake and eat it too as long as I make his plain. I am so blessed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just Can't Do It

Why is it that men think eating a meal is synonymous with watching TV? And maybe it's not just men and maybe it comes from the single days and just wanting a little noise in the house. But if I've put my heart and soul into preparing a meal and I don't do it every day the last thing I want to do is share it with my husband while he's glued to the TV. Oh, granted he does put it on mute to say the blessing most of the time. But then who cares what we eat if it's only an interruption to TV time. I've tried every which way to adjust to this but I am just unable to. That's one of the reasons why I like eating out so much. Rosa's anyone? Still Blessed.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Visited By Angels? Nah, Just Men.

Two men came to the door and asked Mike if they could see the Garage Queen, I mean the Thunderbird. They ended up tinkering here and tinkering there and working on it until after midnight. The next day one of the men phoned Mike and said he wanted to bring a friend over to "see" the bird. They came over after working all day in their respective jobs and got to work, non-stop until close to 2 AM! The cavalry has arrived! Blessed again.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I Just Wanta Be Normal

Have you ever just wanted to be normal? Maybe I'm the only one, but I'd just like to eat supper every night at the same time. I'd like to sit down to a perfect, completely balanced, totally nutritous, fully satisfying meal and have the whole family push back from the table and say how wonderful it was and how content and healthy they feel. Am I asking too much? Isn't that normal? Why do I think it is? Ohhhh, too much 1960's TV? Oh yes, "Donna Reed", "Father Knows Best". "Patty Duke". The "perfect/normal" shows I watched religiously while I was growing up. I loved and absorbed every ounce of their propaganda. They lead me to believe that some where out there when you grow up, get married, become a homemaker, life is going to be perfect. If I know it's not true, why do I keep trying? Trying results in disappointment. Disappointment leads to frustration, and repeated disappointment and frustration moves to anger and suppressed anger turns into; not feeling well, loss of creativity, inability to think, reason, feel and express emotion, and an inability to see the beauty all around me. And just a downright crankiness to boot. Really, by wanting life predictable and routine and always the same I am trying to control. I'm telling God how to bless me instead of allowing Him to bless me beyond what I can think or imagine. I'm learning to live moment by moment. My husband is teaching me by example. I get up every day and I do not know what we're going to do, how we're going to do it or what we're having or even when we're having supper. Our life is very simple and I can do anything I want. I've found out however, I really don't want to do anything other than keep up the house, spend time with Amy and my precious grandbabies, enjoy this time of sabbatical with my husband and listen to God's voice. It's a relief not to feel as if I have to cook a picture perfect meal every evening thus proving to the world I have a "normal/perfect" life. Spontaneity. Live the moment. Enjoy the time. That is the new normal. I am so blessed.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ride Baby Ride

Our grandson rides motorcycles. He's six. He started riding when he was four. He had already mastered four-wheelers so they put him on a motorcross. His not yet four year old brother rides too. They invited us to a race and I stood there with my mouth gapping open. Where have I been all these years? I didn't know 4, 5, 6 year old kids could do that!! Aren't they supposed to be in the sandbox playing with little trucks and cars?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I Did Share, I Thought

I had wonderful parents. They taught us everything we needed to know to grow up to be perfect, well adjusted, productive, law-abiding, Christian human beings. One of the first things I learned was to share. I shared everything, with everybody. I shared with my brothers, my cousins, the neighbors, my classmates. If I had something and someone else walked into the room or came over to play I shared. I shared because I had to. I was taught to share and my temperament didn't dictate that I challenge or question what I was taught. But sharing begin to feel like I was losing myself along with my stuff. Who was I and what did I want? Then, twelve years ago I got married and I learned to share for real. My husband gave me everything. Not because he had to or because it was his obligation as a husband, but because he loves me. And everytime I goofed he said, "That's OK." I really in my lifetime had never heard so many that's oks. He also constantly asked me, "What are you thinking?" Nobody that I could recall in my entire 43 years had ever asked me what I was thinking. Just a few days ago I found out he asked me what I was thinking all the time because I never talked. Well, I TALK NOW!! And I share now. Not because I have to. Not because I was taught to. Not because it is my obligation. But because he's given me so much it's overflowing. He taught me not only by giving and giving and giving to me but by helping himself to my food. Now no one has ever eaten off my plate, used my fork or drunk out of my glass. Even my babies had their own glasses and plates and spoons, etc. The first time he ate the second half of my English Muffin I cried. We'd only been married a couple of weeks and I was a bit overwhelmed. Besides he'd already had cereal and he didn't say he wanted a muffin. He said he was sorry. Now we share everything and I don't give it a second thought, in fact, I prefer it, towels, scrubbies, razors, deodorant, probably even toothbrushes (without knowing), always a drink out of which ever one of us has a glass of water, tea, or both. Always a bite of whatever we have on our plate or in our bowl or in our hand. It wouldnt' seem right if we didn't. Wouldn't taste as good, wouldn't be as refreshing. It seems to express in a tangible sense the reality of being one. One flesh, one mind, one soul, one spirit. And it's overflowing. I'm happy, I'm free and I want to give everything to everybody. The last brownie bite? Ummm . . . How about we half it? Blessings.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"I Was Wrong."

I said it. I said, "I was wrong." My husband and I were discussing, not a heated discussion just a discussion regarding the meaning of a legal notice he received about a piece of property his mother was heir to. Now he and his siblings are heirs. It's being sold for taxes. I had one assessment of the meaning and he had another. Chery called the lawyer. Mike's assessment was the right one. I said, "I was wrong." Later, I said, "I'm so glad I was wrong." Not because of the meaning of the assessment. It just felt so good to not be right and to admit it. I am so blessed.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bye, Mom

It happened. It was wonderful. Ten days later I am still sorting through my emotions and tearing at the avalanche of out of this world memories.
On June 27, 2009, Aaron, my first-born son married Susan, the love of his life. It was a wedding weekend enjoyed by 100 plus people that will equal no other this side of heaven. Aaron and Susan worked with a wedding planner for over a year. Together they blessed their family and closest friends to a marvelous weekend. Lindsey, my precious niece and Aaron's cousin described it as magical and American royalty. Those are the words I've been missing. That was it exactly.
We danced, Aaron and I, it was a dance I'll always remember. I hugged him, hugged him tight and cried.
THE moment, the moment I'll cherish in my heart as long as I live on this earth is the moment Aaron and Susan, both so radiant, both so happy they could burst, came hurriedly down the steps amidst a shower of brightly colored confetti and before stepping into the limousine Aaron saw me, we made eye contact and quickly grasped each others arm in a forearm clasp, hand-to-elbow. Aaron excitedly, at the height of happy, contentment and completeness, said "Bye, Mom" and I knew it had happened; my first son, totally capable, totally amazing, sensitive, caring, strong, kind, just-lift-the-bar-higher-and-he'll-reach-it-son, had passed from one era of his life into the next. My job as his mother was done, not over, but complete for now. God blessed me with the greatest blessing and honor a mother can experience this side of heaven. I am forever grateful. May God bless us all.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Get A Job!!

Do you know what really bothers me? I mean, I used to have compassion, I used to feel sorry, I used to try to help whenever I could. But it's happening too often. Mary Kaye said it's because we drive a new Denali. I don't know if it's because we drive a new vehicle or not but several times in the last few months we have been approached by "desperate" people trying to get to "Abilene". Well, the first time a lady really did look destitute and had a cross racial little girl in the back seat drinking a . . . "Hey, it looked like a child's cup from Sonic . . . now that I think about it". . . . she, the "mom" asked me for gas money. I gave her the $7.00 I had in my purse and apologized for not having more. Mike was approached at 5 AM at a Town and Country by a young white man in a blue Nike wind suit who needed "Forty dollars to get to Abilene because his mother died." Mike said, "I'm going to give you the forty dollars, but I don't believe you." Two ladies standing outside Walgreens with a gas can asked my mom and me for a few dollars, we neither one had any cash. I felt badly because I felt they really were desperate. But who really knows. Two weeks ago we were approached by a lady who looked similar to the first lady minus the little girl needing just a little help to get to Abilene so "we could take care of this problem". Mike said no in a nice way. I'm sorry, but "we" don't have a problem and they are taking applications at Whataburger. More than once in the past couple of months I've been approached in a parking lot by a middle aged black man asking for donations for his church and he'll give you a carnival sized lollipop or other sensational-sized sugar whatever. Last night we were approached as soon as we got in the car by a hispanic man with a "wife and kids" in his car who reached his hand through the window past me to "shake" Mike's hand and poured out a sad story about being stranded and needed to get to "Abilene". Mike gave him $20 and the man reached through the window again to shake Mike's hand and said, "God Bless You." They all say that. I wanted to say, "Are you related to the lady who needed to get to Abilene a few weeks ago?" Is it just us or are people like this coming out in droves? We have decided that our answer in the future will be, "No". Don't make eye contact, don't engage, don't approach. It feels heartless but we're not. It's just not safe. Mary Kaye's here from Dallas, she's an EMT and told us countless stories about kind-hearted people just helping a "destitute" and ending up being shot or worse. I don't fear for my life or my safety because I know the Lord is in charge of my life and is protecting me but I do know we have to be wise and I know the closer we get to the end of this age the worse it's going to get. I'm thankful for churches and agencies where destitute people can get help to get to "Abilene", but career beggars can "Get A Job!"

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Cut and Paste Family

It's difficult being a step-parent. Difficult for the parent (the step one and the "real" one) and for the child no matter how old they are. I thought it would be easier for a child who is an adult or almost an adult but you know, I think it's even more difficult. I've seen it in Adrian. We became his "parents" just because we're raising him not because we adopted him. I'm the Mom and his mom's the Mom. I've seen the confusion not in his mind but in his emotions. There was a time about a year ago especially when I could sense that he was really struggling with the balance, "How can I love and be loyal to my Mom and still feel like I love Aunt Sandy." I've tried to be sensitive and help the best I can and Uncle Mike is over-the-top sensitive and insightful and has been the light that is leading Adrian through this maze of uncertain emotions. He's coming out of it and very stongly loves his Mom and he realizes it's OK to love me too. It's a different love. I can only compare this to what children no matter what age feel when they have a step-parent. Within the first couple of years of our marriage Rachael, Mike's oldest daughter introduced me to one of her relatives as her step-mom. It was one of those moments that make time stand still and the entire earth glow. I love my step-daughters and I don't want to take their mother's place I just want them to let me love them. My children became step-children at the same time they were struggling to get through college, get established in their careers and provide for themselves. Alex was 13 when we got married and he lived with us. We gave him space and he gave us space. He juggled the balancing act very respectfully and honorably. The Lord is blessing us all. After almost 12 years we are coming together. There are six children plus Adrian so that makes 7. We seldom see Mikes daughters, they are going through "it" in their own lives and I've assured him that they'll be back. My children have been "through it" and now they're back. They are respectful, loving, kind and accepting. They all called Mike for Father's Day and Amy, bless her dear sweet loving heart, prepared a wonderful Mexican Buffet and gave Mike an adorable, very endearing "Happy Father's Day Grandpa" card with a beautiful picture of the grandbabies. She has only referred to Mike as Grandpa and Berkley loves her "PaPa". When Major was born she introduced Mike to one of her friends as "My Step-Dad." It's another one of those moments when time stands still and the entire earth glows. We are so blessed.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Blowout Special!

Now I'm two! My Mommy and Daddy put on the funnest party! Grandma and Grandpa Scott came from Amarillo which is fun enough. Grandma and Great-Grandma (the ones who live here) prepared the food which helped Mommy who decorated and wrapped presents and took care of Little Major. Daddy didn't start the charcoals early enough so my three Grandma's and Mommy decided to broil the hamburgers. Right before they were done Daddy said the coals were ready so he finished them on the grill. One thing though, it started raining. Assured that it would stop in a second Daddy went ahead and put the burgers on the grill, closed the lid and it started pouring! And it didn't stop! Daddy got drenched! He did some die-hard grilling let me tell you. Thank you Daddy! When it was time to light the candles, I was waiting and there was not a dry match to be found. They were on the patio!! Grandpa Scott was trying to get some action out of the lighter in the truck when Grandpa (the one who lives here) found two matches in the middle of the box and lit them with the now perfect coals. Still raining. Thank you Grandpa! I blew out two candles! Yea!! I prefered frosting, so Mommy let me have just frosting. Thank you Mommy! Present Time! I love my Jack-in-the-Box from Great-Uncle Don, I couldn't stop playing with it. Mommy and Daddy gave me a tunnel with a ball tent at the end, WOW! Baby Elmo is stuck in the box but Mommy will fix it. Thank you Everybody! It was soooo special! I am one blessed girl!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Can somebody help me?! Aaron my dear, sweet, super amazing first son called me yesterday and said, "Mom we have to pick a song for our dance at the wedding." I didn't say anything. He continued, "The mother/son dance." I'm still in shock, "You and I are going to dance." I squeak out, "OK." I mean yea, I would do anything for my son and his wonderful bride, Susan whom I love and adore. But I've never danced. Well maybe one time, but that can hardly be counted. We chose, "What a Wonderful World" you know, Louie Armstrong. He asked me if I was familiar with the song. I said yes-s-s, trying to recall. Any song other than a church song has not been a part of my life until 12 years ago when my "they-don't-get-any-better-than-this" husband began introducing me to music. My whole world opened up. But I haven't danced. And I was picturing Myself, Petroleum Club, Sit-Down Dinner, Live Band, Dance Floor, Just Me and Aaron. Aaron said, "Don't worry Mom, I'm not a very good dancer but I'll lead." Me in heels, tripping over my floor length dress. Still uncertain I told him it would be wonderful. He had to go. We hung up. Then I thought Aaron's probably a really good dancer just like everything else he does, just has the knack. I felt better. I called Amy, she assured me, "It's a slow song Mom. You'll do all right. Just hang on to Aaron." And you know, I will. Oh, I let him go, a long time ago and he's riding on the high heels of the earth. But in my heart I'm hanging on and I always will. I am so blessed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Brother

I was born 10 days after my parents first wedding anniversary, 7 weeks premature. My brother, Dale was born five days before my first birthday. We were close, not just in age, but in heart. Growing up people thought we were twins. We went to a babysitter together before our brother Don was born when Dale was 3 and I was 4. I was just a toddler but I remember standing at the door watching our mom walk down the sidewalk. I still see myself standing at the door in my little rompersuit feeling alone. But Dale, my brother, he was there and we were together. I had to go to kindergarten when I was 5, ready or not. It was the first time in my life I remember not being able to stop crying. I was standing there waiting for the bus and I couldn't stop crying. My mom was trying to comfort me and there were other kids and they were excited, but me, I cried and cried, I wanted to go home. Going to school was better the next year because Dale and I were standing at the bus stop together. Life progressed, we had two more brothers, twins. The family moved to Oklahoma. Dale and I played and argued and did chores and grew up. He was proud of me, I was proud of him. When we moved to Midland I was a Junior in High School and Dale was a Sophomore. We were in the same Texas History class. He made an A without trying I made an A but I tried and tried and tried. We ate lunch together in the cafeteria. When I was 19 I moved up North. I rarely saw my brother, or the rest on my family for that matter after that and we didn't communicate much. But I've always known that he is there. I love my brother with all my heart. Our hearts are still joined, they always will be. Today is his birthday. We are so very blessed.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

June 12, 1953

My parents were married on June 12, 1953. If my Dad were still alive on this earth they would be celebrating their 56th wedding anniversary. I always remember, every year, it's just a date I can't forget. This year I did forget to call my Mom and mention it however. Daddy told me once that when he first saw Mom she was 15 years old and with someone from her church named Jim DeSpain and he thought, "What is a beautiful girl like that doing with a guy like Jim DeSpain?" They were married 10 days after her high school graduation. She was 18, he was 19. And the rest is history. I am so blessed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Jayla, Sweet Jayla

Ah, Jayla, Sweet Jayla, what a wonder you are. Tomorrow is your 4th birthday. I remember the day you were born. So little, so sweet and sooo precious. Your Mommy loved you and cared for you and played with you, she was sooo delighted! The Lord has His Hand on you and will every single moment of your life.

Jayla is the first born of my sweet niece Christina, the first born of my brother Don. She made my mom a Great-Grandma, Don a Grandpa and me a Great-Aunt. What a blessing! Everytime I stop by which is several times a week she always says, "Hi, Aunt Sandy." Sweetly, quietly, somewhat shyly and it's a moment set apart, separate from everything else that's going on at the time. And I say "Hi, Jayla Sweet." At that moment the very earth seems to stand still and then as quickly as it seemed to stop life goes on. What a blessing she is!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Not Bad?!!

I made some vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free blueberry muffins from Erin McKenna's cookbook babycakes. I loved them. Adrian did not like them, and Mike took one little bite and said they were, "Not bad." Not bad!!! Did he say, "Not bad"?? I don't know what to say! Wow, thank you. Blessings.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Happy Anniversary X Two!

Today is also Dale and Judy's anniversary. Their 29th. I love them. Dale's my brother, Judy's my sister(in-law). Then've finished college, gone to seminary (which will make you or break you), worked two and three jobs between them while raising three little ones, moved, adjusted, settled in, packed up, kept going, kept going, kept going. They've been in ministry this entire time which is where their heart is. They now have three adult children, graduated from college and happily married (so that's six adult children) and all actively involved in ministry. They have blessed 100's of lives and will continue to bless 100's more. A real testimony to the grace and mercy of God. We are all so very blessed.

Happy Anniversary!

Today is Brian and Lindsey's first anniversary. Brian is my nephew and Lindsey is his bride, my niece now and the inspiration for this blog. The Lord has blessed them with an unbelievable year. Her blog is Pleasant-Drive.blogspot.com The odds they have come through this year are truly a remarkable, inspiring and blessed story. Their's was a gorgeous wedding. She was an amazingly beautiful bride. Dale officiated the ceremony and it was so personal and endearing. There will never be another wedding ceremony like it. So much promise, so much hope, so much love and gratefulness for each other and a deep sense of honor and respect and committment towards one another. It was a glimpse of heaven and the awesome gentle love of the Lord. We are so very blessed.

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