Monday, August 30, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Jon was looking at my blog and said, "you have 15 followers". I said I had more people who tell me they read my blog but have not become followers. I called them Uncommitted Followers. He said "Uncommitted followers? Oh, are they Methodist?"
It's so easy to make jokes about different denominations. We've all heard about the Baptist woman who showed up at the pearly gates with her covered dish. I was raised a Baptist and I can tell you they are serious about getting people saved and pot luck suppers.
We rarely hear jokes about other religions. Though, I did hear a comedian say, you can tell a Buddhist by there WWBD bracelet. But for the most part other religions aren't that funny.
I thought about this after hearing Pastor Brad's sermon this morning. He was talking about living under the Law in the Old Testament, a curse, and the blessing of the Christ in the New Testament. I thought, that's it! Christ followers are so light hearted because our hearts are truly light. Our heavy baggage has been left at the cross. We don't have to worry about eating kosher or killing the infidel. Oh, we are the infidel to some. But to God we are a royal priesthood, a chosen people.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
We have all embarrassed our children, almost as much as our parents embarrassed us. I think I have told you before about my mother wearing a dress and stockings and carrying her handbag across her arm at Six Flags. I know it doesn't sound all that bad, but I was 10 and, well you just had to be there.
I went out with a guy once that my mom said she had a "bad feeling" about. She said he looked like a pirate. Yes, a very handsome pirate every girl in town wanted to date. Well, Mom had me paged on my date, at the movies where she informed me she was coming to pick me up. Everyone I knew heard about it before I got home that night.
My dad chased the sweetest guy I ever knew off our front porch because he didn't like the way he looked. That sweet guy is now my dad's doctor.
Most of the time my parents embarrassed me out of love. What mother wants her daughter to spend the rest of her life living on ill-gotten booty with Johnny Depp or , heaven forbid, a Doctor. I, on the other hand, have caused such humbling experiences for my children because I am a goof ball and klutz.
Many of these red faced moments took place at amusement parks. Once we were going through the Fun house, not that much fun, at the Amarillo Tri State Fair. When we reached the end, there was a rolling drum we had to walk through. The adolescent punks behind us pushed me in and I fell on my face. The drum rolled and rolled like a washing machine until I finally rolled out and landed at Jon's feet. My family looked horrified.
Another time I was packing for a trip to Six Flags and noticed my sneakers had spots on them. I dabbed a little laundry soap on the spots and threw them in the washer with a load of towels. The spots didn't come out and, as I later learned, the soap didn't either. That day at six flags, we had just finished a water ride and we were drenched from head to toe when Sarah said, "Mom look at your shoes". There were soap bubbles coming out of my shoes. The more I walked the more suds my feet made. I looked like I was walking on a cloud of bubbles. Of course Jon and the kids walked ahead of me and pretended I wasn't with them.
Probably what was one of my most humiliating experiences came days after my son was born, so fortunately for him, he wont remember. I was a nursing mother, for the first time, and was just getting used to all the stuff that comes with that. You know, the instantly wet Tshirt the moment you hear your child cry and of course, breast pads.
I had just finished feeding Eric when my brother in-law stopped by. He and Jon visited for a while and then suddenly I realized I hadn't put my breast pad back on. I looked on the table where I had laid it and it wasn't there. Then I noticed Jon's brother was using it for a coaster. At first I thought I would die. But those things are pretty absorbent and they do harden, so soon we had a whole set.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Back in the days before email and texting, my mother and her sisters wrote letters. This is how I got to know my aunts who lived so far away. From her letters, I knew my Aunt Francis was a lovely woman who grew beautiful flowers and wrote poetry. She sometimes pressed flowers from her garden in Jacksonville Florida and included them in her letters to Mom. I also know, at the age of 80, she played Dolly in her community theater's production of Hello Dolly. Knowing only this much about her, she is someone I will never forget.
How will people remember you? Have you considered what your legacy will be?
Countless times I have walked to my mother's bedroom door and caught her on her knees praying. With so many children and grandchildren, Mom was no slouch when it came to praying. She never hesitated to "assume the position" when she came before the Lord. You don't see people doing this much anymore. I myself pray all day, about everything. Most recently, when the plumber left the gate open and my dog was out for some time before anyone noticed. After searching everywhere for him, I stood in my driveway and whispered, "Dear Jesus, please take care of Darnell and bring him back to me safely". Seconds later I heard the rattle of his collar, looked up and saw him running toward me. "Thank you, Jesus!" I sometimes sing Jesus Loves The Little Doggies to Darnell, but don't tell anyone. They may want to put me away.
The thing about prayer is, like all things in heaven, they are eternal. Mom's prayers for her children are still covering us today.
I gave my mother several journals over the years hoping she would write something she needed me to know. I wanted her to write me a letter or something. She never wrote a word. After being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's the first thing she lost was her speech. Day after day she sat with her Bible in her lap. She would look at me as though she wanted to tell me something. What is it, Mom, I wondered. When she died I asked Daddy if I could have her Bible. He gave me a shiny new one still in the box and I told him I wanted the one she read. He gave it to me and after some time, I opened it. There was my letter, bookmarked and underlined. John 14: 1-3, Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
Mom left a legacy of prayer. A brave woman to the end, she cherished the letters from her God. They comforted her and gave her peace.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Today I was floating in my swimming pool. Oh, did I not mention I have a pool? It's so big, it took my husband a long time to inflate it and fill it with water. It's big enough for one air raft and me.
Anyway, I was floating on my raft and looking at the different shapes the clouds make. I was reminded of summer afternoons long long ago, lying on the lawn watching clouds with my brothers, Joel and Steve. We'd be there watching the shapes and laughing for what seemed like hours. We were happy or at least content. We didn't have a lot of the things our friends had, but not having them, we never knew we wanted or needed them. Life is funny the way different societies define wants and needs.
I thought about this for a long time. What do I need to be happy? Am I happy now? I thought ,yes, but then I thought again and decided I needed a glass of iced tea. And not just any iced tea but the iced tea my grandma Belle used to make. She used loose tea and added a little baking soda while it brewed. I don't know why, but it was wonderful. Anyway, if I had a glass of Grandma Belle's iced tea, would I then be happy? No, I think I would need it just the way my dad drank it on a hot summer day. Daddy liked to drink tea from a quart size Mason jar. If you don't know what that is, it's a jar used for canning fruits and vegetables. He would fill it completely full of ice then pour the still hot and steeping tea over it. For some reason it just tasted better in those canning jars.
Daddy also sometimes poured milk over ice and added sugar and vanilla. It hit the spot if you were craving something sweet and didn't have the money for ice cream, and we rarely did.
My parents used to pour milk over crumbled cornbread and eat it like it was a real treat. I read recently this practice came about during the depression. It seems in the hardest times most people could still grow corn. These people, trying to feed their families, could either make and sell corn meal or moonshine, and usually did both. If you had nothing but cornmeal and hopefully milk, you had a meal. This may be where the term "comfort food" came from. And it's no wonder we use words like comfort and food in the same sentence. All through the Bible you see bread referred to as life or life giving. Jesus was the bread of life. He broke bread with his closest friends before he made that long walk to Calvary. When he returned to his friends he cooked them dinner while they had been fishing. What do we do when we get together with people we love? We eat.
My sister and brothers loved cornbread and milk also, and I know they had a few hungry days. They have teased me about being the "rich kid". I never had to pick cotton and Mom bought me a bike when it wasn't even my birthday. They have picked on me for good reason over the years. But they were there for me when my little girl died and for that, I will always be thankful. My family is the cornbread and iced tea of life.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
I love the commercials for Blue Bell ice cream. They make every day living in the country look like an east Texas family reunion. Old people find joy in the work of their hands and children romp in lakes and play on old tire swings. And of course someone is always churning ice cream. This is how I thought life would be fifteen years ago when we moved to the country. Now all I can say is, I did my time and I'm glad I'm out.
First of all, in our part of Texas, if there is a lake or pond near by, you should stay away from it. It's probably not supposed to be there and anything could be in it. You could get a nasty infection. Also we grow unusually large mosquitoes in west Texas and they love to hang around dirty, murky water.
I had a garden when we lived in town and thought I could have a much bigger and better one when we moved to the country. The rabbits and coyotes loved my big garden. They ate very well and grew in numbers. It didn't really matter. After the first giant, prehistoric grasshopper monster flew in my face, I gave the garden to the rabbits and coyotes and never went out there again.
We had a little wasp problem. Early in the Fall, when it didn't get warm until late day, I used to come home from work and find my front door covered in wasp. I had to walk around to the back just to go in the house, but sometimes there were wasp in there also. Sarah found an old wasp nest and wanted to take it to school for her science class. She left it on the kitchen counter for days so I put it in a baggie and threw it in a drawer. One day I was looking for something in that drawer and found a baggie full of baby wasp.
I'm more afraid of snakes than anything. I never finished painting my back door because a snake crawled across my foot. It was a small grass snake and Jon said it scared him worse than it scared me. He obviously doesn't know how scared I was. I walked out to my car one day, and right there on the driveway was a big ugly bull snake. I know it was a bull snake because I didn't see a rattler, but then again I didn't stay around that long. I turned and ran under a tree and found myself in the biggest spider web you ever saw. It was the work of a huge green and yellow spider, I have since learned, was there to eat mosquitoes and not me. All of this, before 8:00 am.
My sister never had a problem with bull snakes. She said they eat mice. I said I'd rather have mice. Jon said there was a bull snake living in our well house that ate mice. I said I would never go into that well house. And I didn't, until I had to. Jon was out of town and we were expecting the temperature to drop below freezing. He said I would have to go out to the well house and light the heater. Lighting that heater was terrifying enough, but it was dark and I knew there was a snake out there. Sarah was home from college for the weekend and said she would do it. Well, she was my child, if anyone was going to be killed by a gas heater or ravenous bull snake it should be me, right. We walked out there together. She was holding the flashlight, but I had her stay at a distance. As I tried to step through the door, I was gripped by fear. I stopped and turned back several times until finally, I was in. Sarah was laughing the whole time. It took several tries to light the fire. It was very dark, or maybe my eyes were closed, I don't know, but I finally got it lit and ran out the door. Sarah had the most horrified look on her face, then she started to laugh. She said while I was lighting the heater, with my eyes closed, there was something looking at me. She didn't know what, she just saw eyes. We screamed and ran in the house and I took a very long, very hot shower.
We moved to town almost four years ago and people still ask me if I miss the country. I'd like to be sentimental about it, but I cant. I love it here. We don't have a well house yet we still have water. A big truck comes by weekly and picks up our trash. I never get stuck in the mud and I haven't seen a snake in ages. I love hearing children play in my neighborhood and the sound of church bells telling me the time every 30 minutes. I am enjoying all the comforts of suburbia.
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