Obviously it has been a looong time since I last posted.  I guess getting over brain surgery took a bit longer than I anticipated.  It wasn’t painful, believe it or not.  In fact, it was the least painful surgery I have ever had, and I’ve had a bunch.  I’ve been known to say I don’t have many working parts left, but I was joking.  I’m not joking about not having much pain.  Who knew that a person could have 1/3 of her head shaved, an incision from middle forehead to ear, skull removed, brain pushed to the side, tumor excised, plate attached with titanium screws, scalp stapled together with what felt like a million staples, and it wasn’t that painful?   The physical part wasn’t as bad as I imagined it would be.  Oh sure it was hard moving my head for a little while.  I felt like I had a pumpkin on my shoulders.  I couldn’t sleep.  I was uncomfortable, but no, I thought it would be excruciating.  And it wasn’t.  The hard part was waking up knowing that I didn’t not see Jesus or my mama.  I secretly  thought I would and was so disappointed that I didn’t.  Bitterly disappointed.  Once the healing began, I pretty much got over it.  By the way, the tumor was benign, no further treatment is necessary, just yearly check ups for five years.  Honestly, the whole thing was a bit scary.  Apparently I was rather hypovolemic as I woke up with more IVs than I had ever had at one time.  I think about five if I remember correctly.  And then there was the little matter of my heart rate.  It dropped, and when I say it dropped, I’m talking low.   One night my male nurse woke me up saying “Miss Nancy, your heart rate is in the 30s and I need to stimulate you”, to which I replied “couldn’t you just shake me instead?”.  Haha, I am so bad!  We laughed and my heart rate went up.  Problem solved.

In truth, I am amazed at how easy the whole thing was.  Getting used to life post surgery is another story.  I cannot explain what is different, only that it is.  I might be a little slower.  The memory process might be an issue.  Maybe I see more color.  That is kind of iffy.  One thing I know for sure is that our Lord God is a good God and His mercies endure forever!  I could go on a lengthy litany of His goodness and only scratch the surface.  How else can I claim healing but for His goodness?

I’m switching the focus to the fun part of the whole situation.  Yes, indeed, there was a fun part!  Let me start by saying how blessed I am with good friends.  Not just good friends, but great friends, the best friends.  Friends who stand by me when the going gets tough.  It was tough for my husband to see me go through this.  But he was held up by angels; my prayer group and several other great friends who traveled 3 1/2 hours and more to be with us.  And surgery was in NEW ORLEANS, people!  New Orleans!  Can I tell you the night before surgery was fun?!  We managed to get in a good tour of the French Market and sampled the cuisine that made New Orleans famous.  Yes, there were beignets.  Lots of beignets.  If you don’t know (egads!), beignets are a puffy, powdered sugar coated pastry known far and wide as THE one thing you should not miss in New Orleans.  And don’t forget the cuppa strong café au lait on the side.  Heaven on earth, I tell ‘ya.  Yes, indeed.  There are so many wonderful things about that fabulous city and I certainly wanted to do/eat/see all of them before I had surgery.  Can you imagine?   Oh forget about Bourbon Street.  Been there, done that, don’t want to go back.   I’m too old.  It’s not fun anymore.  Now that I know Who my God is, I have no desire to dip my toes in that sorry lake of fire!

night before surgery Yes, we had a big meal but I think I was the only one who had beer.  Wouldn’t you?  I am the nut on the far end of the table.  Let me tell you something; this group can laugh!

Progressing on….  I’d say I am healing well.  It has been 8 months.  The neurosurgeon told us that it would take 9 to 12 months to recover completely; to even start feeling like my old self.  I’m not so sure about that but I will trust him even though he did laugh at me when I asked him to be sure to remove some of the bad memories wreaking havoc in my brain, and replace them with a few golden nuggets of wisdom.   He must not have realized that I was serious, lol.  Oddly enough, the good doctor must have done something different because the memories are still there but somehow they aren’t as important anymore.

What is important?  The fact that I woke up when the surgery was done, eyesight intact, moving all extremities, still utilizing brain function (that part is debatable).  And I love.  I love very much.  Besides that, I am acutely aware of what I want to do more of.  I want to become a better person.  I want to praise God with every breath.  I want to open my eyes and look around and light a fire under my butt if that is what it takes to do what God wants me to do.  There are a lot of people in this world who have needs.   Maybe you and I can’t touch every one, but our prayers can.

How about you give that a try?  Pray for our country.  Shoot, pray for our world.  Pray for peace.  Please.  Oh, and love one another!  To love someone is a gift from God.  Don’t waste it.

Feel free to leave a comment.  I would love it if you would!

 

What’s Love Got To Do With It?


SECRETS OF THE OLD LADIES CLUB

Guess what?  I got a phone call from a fan!  eeeeekkk!  I did, from a real fan!  I saw stars, my head started spinning, and my chest kinda puffed out a little bit.  A man who actually read my book (Secrets of the Old Ladies’ Club) called me to say he enjoyed it.  And so did his mother.  I was elated – surprised, but elated.   Actually it was a humbling experience because it has been a while since it was published.  I didn’t purchase a marketing package when I self-published with IUniverse because I put all the funds I could muster up into publishing the book.  That was it.  Tapped out.  But I was happy with that.  My goal was to tell a story that was rolling around in my head bumping on the inside of my skull to get out.  And I was able to accomplish #1 on my bucket list.  For me, it isn’t about the money I coulda, woulda, shoulda made.  Trust me, I would have been happy to make a lot of money, but realistically speaking, I wasn’t going to hold my breath.  I think my first royalty check was for – ummm- $31.   Are you suitably impressed?  Perhaps if I had purchased a marketing package I would have done better.  Who knows and who cares?  All I can tell you is that phone call from the fan made a huge impact on me.  And not for the reasons one might think.  It was because of the impact my book had on this man’s life.  Yeah.  Let’s talk about a humbling experience!

So it went like this:  I had contact from this man some time back.  He heard about Secrets from someone I knew and wanted to read it.  I was more than happy to send him a copy.  When he called me the other night, it was to tell me he loaned it to his mother before reading it himself.  And now that he was nearly finished reading it, felt compelled to tell me what it meant to him.  At this point in the conversation my heart stopped.  What was going on?  He was struggling to control his emotions.  Through the phone line I could hear him choking back the tears that rendered him unable to utter the words his heart wanted me to hear, the very purpose for his phone call.  But he needn’t have worried.  I heard him loud and clear and my heart was moved.  How could it not be?  A forty something grown man going to pieces because of something I wrote?  Unheard of.  Plenty of women have told me they enjoyed the book.  A couple of men told me they enjoyed the book, but hey, they are related to me so they kinda have to say that.  I’ve had a ton of wonderful, great reviews with the exception of two: one said don’t waste your money, another said it must have been written by a 14 year old.  Haha!  I let it roll off my back.  But I digress.  Back to the fan.  When he was finally able to gather himself, he said “I am that gay boy”.   He said I nailed it on the head regarding the ways he identified with my book.  He said he finally found someone who understood what his life was like.  I was floored.  And humbled.  And thrilled.  His reaction was something real, something more than I ever expected.  What did I tell him?  I said that if for no other reason than for him to read my book, I was glad I wrote it.  And glad I fought to save enough money to publish it. For one person to have such a strong reaction is more than I ever dreamed of.  Accomplishing #1 on my bucket list turned into something more.

Let me take this one step further.  I’m going to involve God in the equation.  I can say this for certain that He does know the desires of our hearts and longs to see them fulfilled.  That’s not just for me, but for all.  If the desires of your heart fall within the perimeters of His will for your life, He will stop at nothing to see that your heart is fulfilled.  I know that to be the truth.  Of course, sometimes our desires are outside His will for our lives.  I’ve had that happen before too.  I wanted to be – , I wanted to have – , I wanted to do – .   but you know what?  Growing in relationship with the Lord changes things.  The more you get to know Him, the more you want to know Him.  And then the more the desires of your heart change.  They quietly kinda slip to the back burner until one day you discover that the desires of your heart include, first and foremost, that all you want is to do is His will!  To follow Him closely, snuggle up under His arm, and allow Him to be God to us.  In retrospect, it would seem that the desires of our hearts make a path straight to His heart and His desires for us.  It opens a way for us to learn how to love and grow in love.  That’s His message, isn’t it?  To love always?  That’s the way I see it.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to properly assume what God is thinking these days.  Did you watch the Republican Presidential Debate last night?  Good Lord in heaven!  The topics alone will bring a saint to their knees.  ISIS, abortion, gay marriage, social security, jobs, immigration, building a wall separating the United States and Mexico.  Oh, then there is balancing the budget, Hillary bashing, Obama bashing, bashing each other.  One thing I found interesting is that, when pressed, pretty much every candidate declared a strong belief in God.  I liked Ted Cruz’s answer when asked if, because he’s a Christian, God speaks to him.  He said yes, on a daily basis, God speaks through the Bible.  What a beautiful thing to say!   I seem to recall that later he went on to say that God wants us to love one another.  Well.  How do you like that?  I was waiting for the gay bashing to take place.  Thankfully I was wrong.  I’m so tired of it.  I’m tired of all this hating.  I’m not even remotely related to God so I can’t say what His take is on it, although I have seen all the scriptures concerning the “abomination”.   I’m tired of people looking at gays and lesbians as if they have two heads and three eyes.  What’s the matter, don’t people understand God loves them as well?  We are all His people, His love!   Why get all freaked out and homophobic?  (disclaimer: I am married to a homophobe, yet I still love him with all my heart.)  I say we should all reserve our judgment for worse things, like abortion, war, murder, starving children, etc.  And then, in love, do something about those instead of working to make certain people feel like less than they are.  Amen?

bear

Pray for peace, people!  The world needs your prayers!

I promise, I am NOT a prude!


Really, I’m not.  I am human just like everyone else.  I am (barely) past middle aged but I still have ‘those’ feelings.  I still have dreams and desires.  I’m not a prude and I can’t deny my past.   I have done my share of illicit behavior…and I have lived to regret it.  There is a war going on these days and I’m not talking about the one in the Middle East.  This war is in our homes and in our hearts.  It is in our schools, on TV, billboards, movie theaters, and social media of all sorts.  Let me tell you about it.  I call it Fifty Shades of Pornography

What has happened to us?  With every generation we seem to lose more in terms of morality.  We say what we want (I’m guilty too), we do what we want, we watch what we want and we do those things without any thought to the future as if we don’t have a God who sees us in our frailty and obnoxious conditions. Please don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not throwing judgment out there to condemn anyone.  That would be kind of foolish of me considering how I have behaved in the past.  I’ve been judged and it’s no fun.  The worst part is accepting that the offense in question just might have a ring of truth to it.  We are all pretty good at denying that our actions are not stellar.  In fact, we have convinced ourselves that what we do and the choices we make are nobody’s business but our own.  That may be so, but there is, and always will be, consequences to our actions whether they are good or bad.  It’s not as simple as if we do good, good things will happen or if we do bad, bad things will happen.  That’s just not realistic.  Bad things do happen to good people and vice versa.  No, the simplicity of it is more along the lines of integrity and morality.

art like morality

We are a society hell bent on proclaiming our individualism and freedom.  We think we are free to do anything we want and we want instant gratification.  We are unbelievably selfish.  I’m not preaching and trying to tell the masses that if you do this or that you will be condemned.  All I am saying is; look, each one of us has a decision to make.  Will your decision be one that will bring you honor or dishonor?  Will your actions cast a light over you that will make you appear less than a person with integrity?  How do your decisions make you feel about yourself?

Or are you making the decision to agree with the rest of the world and give in to the call of complacency and indulgence into a lifestyle that celebrates the ways of an ungodly world.

I’m sorry, it’s just to hedonistic for me.  I’ve learned my lesson.  I’ve decided not to subject myself to anything questionable.  By saying that, I’m not going to judge your choices. I know everybody has goodness within them.  I’m sure people are kind and thoughtful and loving. You can do what you want.  As for myself, I believe in a higher road. It took me a long time to get here so I’m not going to throw it away.  I am finally treating myself with integrity and honor.  Therefore, I choose not to partake in sponsoring anything that would compromise that decision.  I won’t watch movies that glorify a lack of morality (although I do LOVE romantic movies).  I don’t like dirty jokes.  I don’t like bad language which if you knew me, that would surprise you.  I admit I do have a few words in my language that are better left unsaid.  Hey, I am human but I’m not perfect.  I am trying to curb my habitual slip of the tongue.  I need a lot of practice in talking the talk while I’m walking the walk.

See, the bible tells us that we cannot serve both God and mammon, which, contrary to popular belief doesn’t mean Man, it means the world.  God is not of the world.  Yes, he made the world but he also gave those in the world free will, the will to choose what we are going to do.  You can choose, you have a God-given right.  Will you choose something that lifts you up and sets the bar high in terms of integrity and morality?  Or will you choose the path that takes you down and compromises your inherent goodness?  You ARE a child of the most high God.  You always have been, you always will be. You CAN choose a better way for yourself and in doing that, you will have the opportunity to set a good example for your children and even for those whom your life touches.  Don’t you want them to respect you?  Or do you want them to think it is ok to lust after immorality, to think they can give themselves to anyone that comes along in the name of freedom?  Will your children think it is ok to break God’s law?  Will they believe the messages they receive from the world are ok?

Take my advice.  Don’t compromise yourself.  You will never be sorry.

What is the Word today being shared at ALL Masses throughout the world?    Heb 13:1-8

Let brotherly love continue.
Do not neglect hospitality,
for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.
Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment,
and of the ill-treated as of yourselves,
for you also are in the body.
Let marriage be honored among all
and the marriage bed be kept undefiled,
for God will judge the immoral and adulterers.
Let your life be free from love of money
but be content with what you have,
for he has said, I will never forsake you or abandon you.
Thus we may say with confidence:

The Lord is my helper,
and I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me
?

Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you.
Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

don’t forget to pray for peace, y’all!

How To Make Curtains and Still Keep Your Religion


Do you have times in your life when you bite off more than you can chew?  I do.  In fact, I am the Queen of biting off more than I can chew.  I don’t know why I do it, I just do it.  It’s not that I think I can do anything, rather it’s more along the lines of I’ve got to try.  My friend Sue believes that I am brave enough to try anything.  Wrong.  My friend Mary believes I can do just about anything.  Wrong.  My friend Barbara has known me since I was eighteen years old and she knows I am a gifted in the art of fake-it-till-you-make-it.  Sometimes I bite off a mouthful because I don’t think I can afford to pay someone else to do whatever it is I want done.  I’m, kind of cheap that way.  My husband would tell you I do it because I don’t think anyone else could do it the way I want it done.  Tsk tsk.  I thought he knew me better than that.  There are very few things I do that can’t be done better by Anyone else.  I understand me better than anyone else does and that makes explaining what I want (and how I want it) a lot easier when no one else is involved.

With that said, perhaps it would be better if I could step out in faith and pay someone to bring my projects to life instead of struggling to do it myself.  For example, the curtains I just made for my living room and dining room.  I put that project off for over a year before I got the nerve to start.  I just couldn’t cut the fabric, a beautiful piece, by the way, that I purchased at a phenomenal price.  Picture this, gorgeous up-graded burlap style with a French postage print.  It was originally $38/yard.  Omygoodness.  I could never pay that!  So I waited and waited and waited till it went on sale for 50% off.  Then I went to the fabric store on ‘Old-Lady-Day’ and saved another 15% on my dream fabric.  (Senior citizen discounts are the bomb!)   Just think – 65% off!  How cool is that?  It is so beautiful that I couldn’t bear to touch it for fear that I would ruin it.

I think this is THE most beautiful fabric.

I think this is THE most beautiful fabric.

Fast forward a little over a year.  I’d put it off long enough so I began to plan how I would manage to bring my project to fruition.  I searched online and found some room darkening fabric curtain panels at such a low price, taking them apart so that I could use them in my own curtain project wasn’t a problem.  I’m not ‘shamed to say I’m cheap!  Even if they aren’t exactly the right color…The back won’t show, right?

 DSCF9279

Now do you see why it might be a good idea for me to actually pay someone else to do the work for me??  I’ll cut to the chase and tell you exactly how it went.  I cut the fabric into four nice 90 inch pieces.  I took apart the room darkening panels.  then I got in the floor with one of the expensive fabric panels and covered it with one of the el cheapo fabric panels.  I cut them to the same size, pinned them together and sewed up the top and both sides.   I then ironed the seams flat and clipped on the rings that would suspend them from the new curtain rods (which I bought at Kohl’s online using my ebates account at a 6% rebate!  I’m so cheap.)   I learned a good lesson when it comes to ironing.  If the iron is too hot, it will melt your room darkening fabric.

As my beloved late mama used to say - "Sheee-it".  She was a great seamstress but mama was no saint!

As my beloved late mama used to say – “Sheee-it”. She was a great seamstress but mama was no saint!

Here is where the comedy begins.  The new curtain rods, oh Sweet Jesus, why do things have to be so complicated?  Let us just say that after a long effort and several practice runs, I managed to get the brackets up.  It was touch and go there for a while.   I took them down, made some adjustments, put them back up.  To say nothing of me on a ladder – not good.   It seemed to be a never ending series of errors.  But I got it done.  Yep.  May not be perfect, but it’s done.   Except that I ran out of that really expensive, gorgeous, high-end burlap fabric with the French post script on it.  Yeah.  I did.  Each window needs at least another panel.  *sigh.

Not too bad,  if I say so myself.

Not too bad, if I say so myself.

But the curtains are up and of course, my good God didn’t let me get very far in the process without a lesson or two thrown in.  He is so good that way.  Don’t you love it?  As I was taking apart and sewing together, I was reminded of Job, a book in the Old Testament.  The devil was on the hunt looking for someone he could bring down.  He badgered God and hounded Him, taunting Him that he could turn a believer into his own disciple.   Poor Job, he was really in for it.  He went through so many devastating trials, any ordinary man would have keeled over under lesser circumstances. Scripture tells he was a faithful man but he was human as well. He had his doubts from time to time. He was shaken to his core. Over and over, his friends tried to convince him that God had forgotten him, sacrificed him, turned him over to die. But Job was wise in not listening to them. He knew that God would not forsake him. And God proved that He is faithful, even when we have our trials and tribulations. Even when we have to start over. Even when we make mistakes, become discouraged, feel like giving up, when nothing fits, the seams aren’t equal, we can’t seem to measure up.  Even when we think we have bitten off more than we can chew.

The lesson is to prevail, to keep doing what you have to to get the end result you want. And beyond that, the lesson is to trust, to believe, and to have faith. God is a good God. We human beings have trashed the world He has given us. We and our ancestors have poisoned, plundered, and murdered the paradise He put together with His spoken word. Yet, He still loves us. Every one of us is beloved to him.  It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done. He absolutely loves you, purely and faithfully.

How do we repay him? Do we do as Job’s friends suggested and turn our back on our Maker when the going gets rough? Or do we offer ourselves, time and talent to the One who promises unending love, security, and peace? Do we work for Him and with Him? Or do we run into the world, away from our troubles and refusing to help anyone else in dire circumstances? You know, trouble will follow you. Running away won’t change a thing. Ask Job, he knows.

As I was studying for this post, I came across several scriptures that relate to God’s love for us.  If you are led to, read the book of Job.  The ending is worth it!  Then do yourself a favor and read Psalm 139.  Awesome.  That kind of reading will make a believer out of you!  If you don’t know already, you will see that God has it all worked out for you.

“For I know well the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and not for woe, as to give you a future of hope. When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me, yes when you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me …” Jeremiah 29: 11-14.

********************************************************************************************************

I was surprised to realize that I haven’t posted anything since November.   Wow it was a busy year end!  We had our annual Grandchildren’s Christmas party on Dec. 27th and man, was that a blast!  I’m thinkin’ one of God’s plans for me was to be somebody’s grandmother.  That’s a good thing because it has always been my favorite dream.  Back to the year end –  we had a beautiful celebration on Christmas eve with some dear friends; dinner and exchange of gifts preceded by a rosary.  It was a holy and heartfelt celebration.  Santa wasn’t invited but the Holy Spirit was!   Although I missed my grown children and all my other relatives spread across these United States, this Christmas season was spectacular in the area of spirituality.  I have a lot to be thankful for.  The Hubs, our home, our Lord.  We have blessings that are never ending.   I found out I have a brain tumor.  It is not cancer and I won’t need surgery unless it begins to grow.   Take that you old devil ~ I’m standing with Job and giving thanks and praise to the One who sustains and heals!

Now to make another couple of curtains…

Don’t forget to pray for peace y’all.

BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE


DSCF9091

I HAVE BEEN BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE

 I love when I wake up in the morning and my first thought is of God and His mercy. It is a very sweet time, in depth, and endearing. It is a moment of love shared, time that I cherish. When I have the presence of mind, I ask forgiveness for my sins. Invariably I run through the list of whatever I feel needs forgiving. Seldom do I have the presence of mind to ask who I need to forgive, although He has brought to my mind a person or two whose injurious actions I have been stubborn about letting go. That part brings me to my knees. Gentle chastisement, I call it. He is famous for that which is sometimes a puzzlement to me. But after all, who am I to think that whether or not I forgive someone who hurt me is such a big deal. Well…He does. But that’s another story.

This morning I woke up with our good God on my mind. Praises on my lips quickly changed to apologies for my many sins. My mind’s eye centered on a time in my life when my behavior was less than acceptable, a time when I was troubled and desperate to find love and acceptance. My heart became heavy and sad due to the grievances of my soul. The familiar feeling of shame settled in and I began my litany of sins reaching far into the past and dredging them up to the present. Then my heart heard the Lord speak. He said something like this:

“Why do you ask forgiveness for the same sins over and over? It’s done. I have forgiven you. Besides, I don’t usually condemn people whose sins are psychologically motivated. You behaved that way for reasons you didn’t know or understand. Now that you do, be free. Let it go. You are forgiven.

Now let’s talk about the present. Tell me why you …..”

And on it went. I want to let you know that a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders this morning. I’ve been barking up the wrong tree for so long. Once I realized that I continued to claim and own my sins of the past, I could accept forgiveness for them. I can’t say I will forget my sinful behavior. That would be wrong because, you see, what I did makes me who I am today. And lucky for me, God took the opportunity to make me a better person. And for that I will be eternally grateful. I am blessed that God can take something bad and use it for the good! How great is that?!

So, good-bye past. Hello freshly forgiven soul. Have a seat and let’s you and me get busy praising our majestic God. He is merciful, and beautiful, and ultimately knows us in the most intimate way. Seek Him with your heart, not your stupid logic. Know that when you confess, He forgives.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all. Count your blessings and most of all, pray for peace.

 

Walking Through Fire


So….my family has been going through a hard time lately. I won’t go into what happened only to say that we have been deeply hurt by a situation many families have had to face. In other words, we are not alone although that fact doesn’t really change a whole lot about how we feel. I just feel sorry for anyone who has suffered in such a way.

I am compelled to share this with you because this morning I was gifted with a moment of clarity; a beautiful moment, a revelation that put my soul at peace.

Personally, I have struggled to balance my act. My first reaction is grief and all the ugly-face crying and ‘gnashing of teeth’ within me. My husband, usually strong and brutish, grieves quietly, a steady stream of tears soaking his beard and burley chest; a strong man with the breath knocked out of him. It’s a hard thing to see.

Some are some things you never want your children to see. A marriage dissolved is one of them. I don’t need to go into details because…well…it’s not the right thing to do. I’m sharing only to tell you this: God doesn’t leave you in the fire. The following is what I learned just this morning.

My house is filled with children today. Two are my grandchildren and two their step-sisters whom I have claimed as my own.

We have been waiting all summer for this weekend long slumber party. When any of my grandchildren come for a visit, I try to keep them busy. We do a lot of projects. It cuts down on the mischief. Yes. It does even if it means I am a drooping rag doll when they leave. It’s all about good memories and loving. It’s important. Last night and today they have been working on grand masterpieces of art work – painting, gluing, stenciling, whatever they can get into from the bowels of my art room which does, in fact, contain mountains of rejected paintings (that can be gessoe-ed over), tons of acrylic paint, sparkles, piles of ‘gems’ and unused beads. It’s the young art aficionado’s paradise. They dive in with glee, with both hands, with huge smiles. I am filled with joy for being The Best Nana. I thought having them on this particular weekend would be too much for me. But I find that I am strangely appreciative of the noise and innocent chaos. I am actually enjoying this reprieve from the drama that is our normal life at the moment. I am paying attention to all the details, all the little things. I made smiley face pancakes for breakfast with red lips and blue eyes. There were also some lopsided Mickey Mouses, a spikey dog, and swirly pink and blue pancakes. Their laughter was a soothing balm. I am healing.

Monkeys

After breakfast as I was washing up the dishes, my thoughts focused on the event that has us all in an uproar. I silently lambasted the situation, dredging up all the painful words I could think of. But then…I was ashamed of my thoughts. I never used to be that thoughtful, if you can call it that. I let myself talk to God about my feelings. From my heart I told Him how I felt, the anger, the sorrow, how I want to make everything go away and for everything to go back to the way it used to be. The situation hurts. How are we as a family going to get through this?

Then, I heard a little voice. One of the Grand Artists had looked up from her masterpiece and said “I have a scripture I’m thinking of but I can’t remember where it comes from in the Bible.” I asked for the scripture and she said “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I knew immediately that it was God’s message for me. The hair on the back of my neck stood up and goose bumps popped up all down my arms.
Then she asked me if I could find it in the bible. I did. Philippians 4:13

From the mouths of babes, right? My Baby-Grand was unknowingly God’s messenger. Awesome! I hope I don’t sound selfish, but I am so glad they are here this weekend! God’s word let me know how I can get through these dark times, and how I can help my family get through it. Yes, I’m still angry but that will pass. Maybe. Eventually. If I let God help me. If I allow Him to strengthen me. I like that path a lot better than the one I’ve been on. That anger has got to go. I’m not ignoring the situation that hurt my family, I am, however, planning to deal with it a little differently.

And here’s another nugget that came my way this week. A friend told me that sometimes God allows devastating things to happen to us to mold, teach, and lead us to the next life event He has planned for us. And always, always toward blessings that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Disclaimer: I am not talking about atrocities across the world. Just my life. To enter into that conversation, I would have to be some kind of gifted theologian or incredible biblical genius.

What happens when we don’t live our life according to God’s flawless plan? Well, I guess it just doesn’t work out.

Life is not easy. Some things are just too hard and painful. It’s terribly hard to practice even a little bit of forgiveness. But I trust God. He has a plan and I want to cooperate with Him. He will hold us and care for us when life throws fire at us. We go through the darkness to get to the light. We go through the fire to become refined. We won’t be burned if He is there.

Feel free to add your perspective in the comment section. Who knows? Your words may help someone who could be reading this.

Please don’t forget to pray for peace. And, I might add, for all the hurting people.

Psuedo Elvis, Faux Marilyn


I have just about come to the conclusion that most men want to be like Elvis Presley and most woman want to be like Marilyn Monroe. I’m going out on a limb I know, but this is just my own observation. Maybe I don’t get out much. I don’t know. You tell me.

For those of you who have read my book Secrets of the Old Ladies’ Club you may remember the scene when the mysterious new resident of the retirement village is outed. His give-away is his famous (self-proclaimed) rendition of How Great Thou Art, circa Elvis Presley, which he performs from the church choir loft.

I know you are thinking that could never happen, right?

Wrong.

It happened. And not only in the book. It happened in REAL LIFE not once but TWO separate times. First of all, you should know that I MAY have patterned the character in my book on someone (or two or more) I actually MIGHT have known at one time, a man, shall we say, who imagined himself channeling Elvis from the choir loft. It was a good impersonation too, but the tinkling of the piano keys sounded a little lone-star-country-bar-ish. I fully expected to hear the clink of glasses (or beer bottles) after the dismissal. Thank God I didn’t. Keep in mind I MAY be exaggerating. Or not. At any rate, I turned that experience into a great scene for the Old Ladies’ Club.

I never expected to ever be confronted with that situation again. After all, it’s fiction, right? Sure.

Let me just say that I know more than one man who fancies himself a new age Elvis. Dear God in heaven, (seriously, not irreverently) please don’t let that happen again. If I could, I would give you dear readers all of the scary details about another hopeful who wanted to gift an unsuspecting congregation with his own impersonation of How Great Thou Art, as per Elvis, during a funeral, an act that would no doubt mortify every single person in attendance especially the straight-laced pastor who had a tendency to frown upon such unsolicited displays of talent. I was drafted to be the one person to put a stop to it before it started. I must add that pseudo Elvis dearly loves the grieving family and would do nothing to hurt them. He just over estimated his abilities … and his wife’s reaction. As for the aforementioned effort to put a halt to the show, just know that it wasn’t pretty. But nobody, I repeat nobody in the church had any idea of the ensuing concert manifestation or cancelation.

Whew. Rest assured we made up later although it was touchy for a while. We’re still friends.

Please don’t think that I’m foolishly above all. I’m not. Obviously I have huge flaws. And I’m not trying to pass judgment on anyone. I’ll put it like my husband does: Won’t they please let Elvis rest in peace? Faux Elvis is just not the same.

Thank God for His everlasting mercy and forgiveness! I’ll keep working on my flaws, my sins, my uncanny ability to (wrongfully) pass judgment. And I’ll keep asking Him to forgive me every time I fail because I know Who is King, Just, Right, Fair, Forgiving. And Everlasting. I really like that everlasting part.

As for the Marilyn Monroe remark. Well, I just threw that in there to be fair to the guys. I’d like to be Marilyn Monroe. Not BE her exactly, but look like her. Yeah, I’d love to look like her. She sizzled! Now that takes talent! Yes, to all the Elvis wanna-bes, I am a Marilyn wanna-be. So there. Don’t hate me for it. But please stop me if I ever put on a see through dress and start singing Happy Birthday Mr. President.

elvismarilyn

Will you take a moment and pray for peace? And for the kidnapped girls of Nigeria? And for victims of Mother Nature? And for a cure for cancer? And for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven?