Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It's All In The Journey

This post was written on November 12th and for whatever reason, was never posted. Though the date above says November 12, I am hitting publish on December 31. There is now more to the story which I will post soon.

Yesterday morning as I drove in to work, I was listening to a short audio book by Anne Lamott when I heard a quote that stuck in my head and heart.

"We're all just walking each other home."  

Ram Dass - As quoted in Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair by Anne Lamott

I'd never heard of the original author of that quote before yesterday and am totally unfamiliar with his theology. (Though a quick internet search leads me to believe that it is not the same as mine.) However, when I think on that quote, line it up beside one of my life verses (Romans 12:15) and consider the ministry that the Lord has called me speaks to a deep longing in my soul.

I find myself in a very tender place with the Lord these days. He is teaching me to open myself up to Him more fully, to ask Him for the desires of my heart, and more importantly, to trust Him with the answers.  I know that sounds elementary to a lot of people.  It would have sounded that way to me just a few short months ago.

Then, in early September, Jim and I made a trip back to Arkansas to work on the family deer lease.  It was supposed to be a long weekend filled with tree trimming, relocating deer stands and the like.  Unbeknownst to us, the Lord had ordained our trip to coincide with my dad being diagnosed with a metastatic melanoma on his brain.  Our long weekend turned into a week filled with waiting, tests, doctor's appointments, more waiting, and a little tree trimming thrown in for good measure (AKA stress relief).

We didn't just decide to stay the week, it sort of unfolded day by day.  We packed our bags at least three different times to head home. But the Lord was gracious and He either impressed on us that we were not to leave yet or He sent the newest bits of information just before we were to pull out.

The rest of September is a blur for me.  I spent a lot of hours driving back and forth between Waller and Little Rock.  First there were the appointments with his oncologist, followed by ones with the radiologist, and finally a surgeon.  The next trip was for surgery itself, which went so wonderfully that God Himself had to have been in that room.  We were prepared for a long recovery IF daddy woke up. (The tumor was located on the area of the brain which causes you to wake.)  Instead, we were talking to him within an hour.

He had massive radiation in October and his health is still not as stabilized as we would like. The oncologist thinks he is too weak for the chemo right we wait. And we hope.  But mostly, we pray.  Openly. Honestly. We plead for healing and mercy and strength...because really, there is nothing that we can do to change any of it.

One week he sounds strong and nearly back to his old self.  The next, he is weak and tired as he struggles to just feel 'better'.

Please don't take this the wrong way. I am not ready to walk my daddy home. He's not ready to be walked there either. Heavens, he is only 69 years young!

But, in other ways, we are all doing this every single day.  As we build memories, share burdens and joys, listen to one another's hearts and simply 'do life' together...we are walking each other home. We are being the hands and feet of Christ to those He has brought into our lives. As we laugh, cry, and sit in silence together, we are moving a little closer to home.

I, for one, am grateful for the journey...and I am glad for the companionship offered by each of you, my fellow sojourners!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Whatever Happened To Thanksgiving?

This has been on my mind for weeks and I just can't keep it to myself any longer.

It all began when I went shopping the third week of October for our annual "Boomaster" trophy to be given to the winner of our employee pumpkin decorating contest.  I walked into Kirklands to find not only all of the Halloween merchandise marked down to clearance prices but also all of the Thanksgiving.  And when I say 'all of' I mean a small shelving unit of Halloween and an even smaller display table with maybe a dozen Thanksgiving items on it.  But, hey, it was just Kirklands, right?

A week later, I began shopping for a 'Little Pumpkins' diaper shower that our women's ministry is hosting for our local pregnancy center this Saturday.  Pumpkins should be easy to find at the end of October and beginning of November, right?


Walmart's Thanksgiving section is anemic...if you can find it.  A few clearance tablecloths and kitchen towels stood at one end of an aisle.  An assortment of placemats and fall candles stood at the other.  Not a dish or a fake pumpkin to be seen!

Target?  Nope!

Michael's netted me a small bag with one fake pumpkin and four strings of felt pumpkin garlands.

Hobby Lobby is probably the best place for Thanksgiving items...but even that selection tends to be a little sparse outside of dishware and garlands.

Even finding fall candy for the candy buffet has been a challenge.  Candy Corn, which was everywhere before Halloween has disappeared.  And if you think anyone actually carries all those cute bags of M&M's in fall're delirious.  I found two!  TWO!  But if you want the green and red ones for Christmas...I can hook you up!!!

Oh...and HEB was out of turkeys THREE AND A HALF WEEKS before Thanksgiving!

Maybe it's been this way for awhile...the disappearing of Thanksgiving, I mean.  I haven't noticed.

We normally spend Thanksgiving on the deer lease with my Dad's side of the family and I am never responsible for much more than a covered dish.  But this year, we are spending Thanksgiving at home.  Dear friends are traveling across the country to see us before they move to the Philippines where they are retiring.  And last year, with most of our family back here in Houston, I longed to be home with them.

And so it is that I find myself on the great Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt.  I'm pretty sure I will eventually find that turkey...but it sure makes me sad to realize that our whole culture has nearly eliminated a national holiday.  One that's very meaning is to gather with family and simply say 'Thank You, Lord' for our many blessings.

Whatever happened to Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Girls Weekend: Fredericksburg

Months and months ago, the girls and I sat down with a calendar and chose a date for a Mother/Daughter Get Away.  Since it was April at the time, we booked the weekend of October 16-19 to head over to Fredericksburg for some wine tasting and retail therapy.

It really does take a solid six months to arrange open schedules for three daughters, three sons-in-love and seven grandchildren.  Between holidays, our own birthdays and events on the other side of the families...our calendars remain FULL.

The weekend finally arrived for us to load up my car and head west toward the Texas Hill Country.

I had been praying about our trip for weeks prior to our departure date.  I was asking the Lord to bless our time together...and though our girls are already very close, I prayed that the Lord would knit their hearts even closer together during our concentrated time away.  Well, we had a great time of fellowship and lots of laughs as we drove the three and a half hours from Waller to our destination.

Brianne and Kelli on the trip over
Upon our arrival in town, we stopped for a (really) late lunch at The Fredericksburg Brewery.  With our stomachs sated, we headed over to the house to unload our luggage and for the girls to choose their rooms.  Since this was the same house that Stacy, Robin and I visited back in February, I already knew that I was taking the downstairs bedroom so that the three of the them could be upstairs together.

After unloading all of the bags and wandering through the house, we headed back to Main Street to hit a few of the shops.  Unfortunately, they were all closing up for the night.  So, we decided to run through Wal-Mart to pick up some things for late night snacks and easy breakfasts...and a Chick Flick to settle in with for the night.

Bri fixed us up this beautiful spread while Meagan opened a couple of bottles of wine and I tried (to no avail) to get the movie started.  Well, the DVD player did not want to we decided on a Project Runway marathon instead.
The perfect 'Wine Dinner' prepared by Bri
Salami, cheese, strawberries and chocolates.
It really did seem like old times with the girls spread out around the living room while we discussed what we thought about each designer's choices and the judge's decisions.  It's been a long, long time since I have experienced television viewing and 'girl talk'.  We soon turned in for the night and the sweetest sound graced my ears as I listened to the three girls upstairs talking and laughing only sisters can.

The next morning I rose early and started the coffee.  The girls trickled downstairs and after each one made their way to the coffee pot, my favorite and least expected time of the day occurred.  Each one grabbed a cup of coffee and crawled up in the bed with me.  Sometimes up under the covers, other times sprawled at the foot of the bed...and the moment was so sweet that I half regretted that the limo would be arriving in a few short hours for our wine tasting tour.

Randy of Fredericksburg Limo and Wine Tours picked us up at 11 o'clock sharp.  Now, since the two oldest girls were experiencing their first full night away from children under the age of 1...they weren't moving as quickly as Brianne and I were.  (We had strict instructions not to wake them before 9 AM if they happened to be able to sleep that late!)  But we did pull away from the house before 11:30.

Brianne and Meagan in the limo
Time to go wine tasting!
We didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked...but the reason we didn't is that we were just enjoying the time together.  Phones put away.  Conversation flowing.  Laughter trailing behind us.
My girls and I at 4.0 Cellars
Deborah was able to join us on Friday at our first wine tasting stop.  She ended up spending the whole weekend with us...even joining us in our early morning coffee ritual.

Grape Creek with the girls plus Deborah
We stopped at 4.0 Cellars, Grape Creek Winery (my favorite winery), lunch at Inwood Estates Bistro (not a fan), Alexander Vineyards (they actually make their wine in France and their current location is a trailer...but they have good bubbly, making it Kelli's favorite), and finally Becker Vineyard (Meagan's favorite).

It was now time to head back to the Dalton House and unload all of that wine.  We ended up eating at little open air restaurant beside Grape Creeks Main Street Tasting Room.  I can't remember the name of it, but I knew that live music would begin after dark.  Robin, Stacy and I tried unsuccessfully to get a table there back in February, so we made our way to the restaurant just before dark...and had great seats with great food and some pretty good music.

Friday night found most of us in bed much earlier than the night before...but not until a few episodes of Dance Moms!

Saturday we really took it easy.  I don't think we even got out of the house until around noon.  We made our way to Bejas Grill, and since we had a 45 minute wait, we passed the time strolling through some of the shops nearby.  (AND I ran into a good friend who happened to be in town with her mother, daughter and sister.)  After a delicious lunch, we wandered through a few more of the shops...making our way back to a place that had been on our agenda all along.  Fiesta Winery's Tasting Room!!! (Brianne's favorite)

Between the five of us we had purchased 90 bottles of wine!  

After a full day of shopping, we decided to head over to Crossroads Saloon and Steakhouse for a nice evening out.  We had an hour plus wait for a table, but since the band tuned up in the saloon soon after we arrived, it didn't seem like a long wait at all.  (And we ran into my friend, Phyllis again!  Great minds!!)  We had a wonderful meal and thought we might go back to the saloon afterwards but that place was then PACKED!  Instead, we decided to go back to the Dalton House and unwind in the hot tub with some of our newly scored loot.

Sunday morning, after our coffee ritual, we began packing up the car for the trip home.  We met up with Brian for lunch on Main Street at Wheeler's and a bit more shopping on the north side of the street.  It was then time to say goodbye to Brian and Deborah and head home.

It was an amazing weekend.  And thankfully the girls are already planning our next trip for a weekend away.  They say it will take about five years for them to arrange the husbands and children again...but that's okay by me.  We still get to take time for Girls Night Out between now and then.

Oh, and here's a picture of my haul for the weekend!

50 bottles of wine later...I think I'm good for the rest of the year!

(Don't judge!  Most of these wines can only be purchased at the winery itself and I will not be back for awhile!)

But it's the memories of the time we spent together that are my true treasures!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

The Wicked Witch, Dracula, 8 ball and Jillian Micheals
AKA Fonda, Danielle, Cristina and Brianne
Love working with these fun ladies.  The guys just came in their regular attire.  Lame!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Happy Birthday, Brooke!

I can hardly believe that our oldest granddaughter is 7 years old.


When did that happen???

{Okay...meltdown over.}

Here are a few photos of our beautiful Brookie Bear from the past year.
Showing off her first lost tooth only Brooke can!

Searching for Easter Eggs

Her first day of  First Grade.
Rockin' those new glasses.

Happy 7th Birthday, Sweetheart!

Pappaw and I are so proud of the beautiful young girl that you are becoming -- inside and out!

We love you to the moon and back!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nonna's Brag Book

There was just too much cuteness at Delayne's party for me not to share pictures of all seven grands.

Weston just turned 1!
 He was so busy that it was hard to get a clear photograph of him.

The kiddos waiting their turn for the obstacle course.
This was the only good photo I was able to get of Brooke (far left), Maddux and Davin (third and fouth from left).
They were running all over the gym, and Nonna was just getting over a nasty virus.
I couldn't keep up!

Miss Frosting Face

Everett (AKA Dayton)
Such a happy baby!

And Sweet Elliot
I wish I could have captured her 'Woo Pig, Soiee' on video.
Absolutely Precious!
Love these munchkins to the moon and back!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

On Books and Birthdays

"Birthdays in Lucy's world were always celebrated, never forgotten.  There must be cake and candles, cards and presents.  Time must be marked.  Order preserved.  Traditions upheld."

From The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith  AKA JK Rowling

I'm currently listening to this book on CD during my daily commute and just fell in LOVE with this quote. Why?  Because you can replace my name with Lucy's any day.  I love birthdays.  I love holidays.  I love traditions.  And, yes, there must be cake and candles, cards and presents.  (Though at my house, the candles are often forgotten until the last minute.)

And I was reminded that I never posted pictures from the latest Bubble Guppy birthday party.  So, here goes:
The Birthday Girl:
Delayne is 2 years old!

Meagan does an amazing job of decorating

The only way to eat cake!
Her favorite gift of the day.
 Once Granny and Pappaw Duane gave her this one, everyone else disappeared!
Time was marked.  Order was preserved.  And traditions were upheld!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday, Weston!

Weston and Pappaw: one year ago today
 What a difference a year makes!!!  This little man has outgrown his sister and has the sweetest smile.

Weston and Pappaw at the beach house in July
And he has the most laid back personality...just hanging under the umbrella at the beach.
Weston at the beach...July
Happy Birthday, Weston!
Nonna and Pappaw love you to the moon and back.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Happy Second Birthday, Delayne!

Nonna and Pappaw wish you the best for your 'Terrific Twos'! (Our grands could never be described as terrible.).

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, August 11, 2014

Total Randomness

I have nothing to post today. I am taking a 'mental health' day to recover from a very busy but blessed weekend. So I pulled up a random number generator and my iPhone picture album just to see what would come up. And here it is...

My buck: November 2013. Pine Lodge Inn Hunting Club, Crossett, Arkansas.

Preparing for George Strait and Jason Aldean: January 2014. I sent this picture to Rosa, Dana and Kristy during our countdown to The Cowboy Rides Away concert in Bossier City.

Tuesday Night Bible Study with Beth Moore: February 2014. It was a packed house for what we soon learned would be the last study at Houston's First Baptist. When this study (Breath) releases, I highly recommend it as one of my favorites so far.

My Hero taking care of business at Hobby Airport: May 2014. Getting ready to leave for our return trip to South Africa.

The Jetties from the air: July 2014. My 50th birthday party diversion, a flight down the Texas coastline with Steve & Rosa.

Derrick, Drake and the catfish: August 2014. William and Davin were dip net fishing in the pond to see how big our catfish were getting. Drake (Derrick's nephew) loves coming to "the farm" for the adventure.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Table of Grace

Once a month I gather with three sisters in Christ for lunch.  We met twenty plus years ago at the church we were all attending.  We prayed together, studied the Word of God together and served together in various ministries on a regular basis.  But that all came to an end fifteen years ago when the congregation went through a split and the church was eventually disbanded.

During that difficult time, we hurt one another with our words, with our actions...and perhaps the worst of all, with our silence.  A silence that remained for the better part of thirteen years.

Until one of them reached out two years ago and suggested we meet for lunch.

I had not seen one of these sisters at all since the split, another only a handful of times and the third, though we were in contact, it was random and limited.  So, it was with lots of trepidation that I walked into that first restaurant in the summer of 2012.  I was unsure of how I would be received.  I was wary that we might not have anything in common anymore.  And I wasn't sure if the forgiveness was real...mine or theirs.

As we gathered around that first table, it didn't take long for the conversation to move from stilted to lively.  We shared about our families, our church homes and what the Lord was doing in our lives.  Each month, as we shared our hearts and our stories, I could feel a healing happening within.  

When we gathered at a popular Mexican restaurant last fall and bowed our heads to pray over the food, I had a overwhelming feeling that the Lord was whispering to my soul, "Fonda, this moment is My grace."  I thought of how others looking on might see one picture (that of friends gathered for a meal) but really it was a miracle of forgiveness, grace and a love that goes much deeper than our emotions.  

From that moment on when it was time to enter our next date on the calendar I wrote "Table of Grace".

Today we met at that very first restaurant once again.  And I had the opportunity to share my heart with these beautiful sisters about our gatherings.  There was confession and tears and offers of forgiveness.  In other words, there was Grace.  

I'm sure it wasn't our last difficult conversation.  I know that each of us carries wounds that need healing.  But I am also sure that our God who began a good work in us will continue it until completion.

The Table of Grace.  It's not one, single table.  Actually, it's not a table at all.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

In Loving Memory

Sometimes you just know that The Lord is loving on you. This weekend has been one of those times.

Bri sent me a message on Friday morning asking if we would be home on Saturday. I responded, letting her know that we had a day trip planned and wouldn't be back until late. I found out later that her and Meagan had been thinking about coming over but would wait for another time.

At the time of her message I had not yet connected the dots between the request and the date on the calendar.

Fast forward to Saturday morning when our plans fell through at the last minute and I sent Bri a message letting her know that we would be home after all. Jim and I ran by the grocery store and picked up some ribs to cook...even if it turned out to just be us at dinner.

The day's agenda quickly changed from a day trip to an afternoon at home with Bri, Meagan, Derrick, the kids, Will and his girlfriend, Taylor. We grilled, visited on the back deck and taught Davin how to catch catfish from the pond in a dip net.

Meagan and I also had an opportunity to share our desires to honor Desi's short life in some way that we couldn't quite explain...but knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was stirring in our hearts. It wasn't a long conversation. Or even a particularly sad conversation. Just a few minutes of speaking from our secret places.

At the end of the evening, when Meagan and Derrick packed up the family and Bri loaded up the grand dogs, Jim and I looked at each other and said, "this is how today was meant to be". It was good and we were thankful.

During Worship service this morning, I was thinking of Desi and our conversation the night before when the Pastor shared the following verses:

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139: 13-16

Immediately following the reading of the Scripture, our Worship leader spoke of friends of his who had lost two precious babies and their testimony of the goodness and faithfulness of God in spite of their great loss.

This launched us immediately into the song that has become an anthem for our family since that fateful day three years ago, "Blessed Be Your Name".

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Between the thoughts already on my heart, the verses that we have held on to regarding Desi's purpose, the testimony of others suffering this kind of loss, similar losses in families we know and love, and that song which moves me to tears on its own...well, I lost it. Right there in front everyone. Not so much because of the grief and pain...but because I knew in that moment that:
He has not forgotten me.
I am seen by Him.
I am loved.
And He is faithful!

Blessed be His name!!!!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, August 1, 2014

How Did It Get To Be August Already???

Seriously.  How did it happen?

I cannot believe it has been EXACTLY three months since I even posted here.  THREE!  And it's not like we haven't had any news to share.

In the past three months we have:

  • celebrated my niece, Jana's engagement
  • helped host a Mother's Day Variety Show at church
  • traveled to South Africa 
  • celebrated our 33rd anniversary
  • welcomed another grandchild into the family
  • adopted two puppies
  • attended a fire sprinkler conference
  • celebrated Father's Day with the family
  • attended a Swim Party at Robin's 
  • turned 50 (Fonda)
  • thrown a big surprise party (for Fonda)
  • been surprised by my Girlfriends with another night out to celebrate
  • celebrated Bri's 25th birthday
  • enjoyed a visit from my mother
  • attended 'Godspell' with some of the ladies from church
  • spent a few days on Galveston Island with the grands
  • visited with friends at a welcome home party
  • celebrated a 70th birthday with sweet Mrs. Linda from church
  • attended a swim party honoring Davin's 7th birthday
and other odds and ends like appointments with doctors, dentists, vets, stylist; lunches and dinners with friends and family...etc. etc.

Okay.  I guess now I understand why it has been three months since I last posted here.

And so I will wrap up this post with a whole lot of cuteness to forgive my long absence.

Our precious miracle baby, Dayton Everett Rodgers.  
Pappaw deemed him to be 'Everett' upon first holding him.

He was born the day after Jim and I returned from South Africa...which also happened to be our anniversary.  The last two weeks of the pregnancy were wrought with tension over his health.  Upon delivery they found that he had the same knot in his umbilical cord that took our sweet Desi from us three years ago today.  Though he was a bit small, 6 pounds & 9 ounces, 20" long...he is healthy and perfect.  The best anniversary gift we ever received.

What a happy face!
This is a picture that his mother sent to me this morning.  His first 'captured' smile.  The sweetest thing ever!

I'll be back soon with pictures and stories from our other Adventures In Goode Time!

If you think about it, would you please lift up Meagan, Derrick and family as they remember Desi over the next week.  The anniversary of her delivery day is tomorrow and the anniversary of her burial is the 9th.  I appreciate each of you who have prayed for and supported our family through this life long sense of loss.  

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Go Rest High On That Mountain

Custom Fire Protection is grieving the loss of one of our own.

Ken Tucker valiantly fought a two year battle against cancer. He left this world in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 26. His family and friends gathered to lay him to rest in Brownwood, TX yesterday.

Ken would have celebrated his ten year anniversary at Custom this September.  He and Jim had known each other for nearly twenty years. It seemed fitting when the funeral home asked Jim, Chris, Jack, Trey and Will to be Ken's unofficial pallbearers at the graveside.  

Rest in Peace, Ken

You will be missed!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Gift of a Memory

I think I've mentioned here a time or twenty that I have a really bad memory.  It is one of the reasons that I started this blog.

Don't worry, I haven't been diagnosed with anything.  It is just that with five children and now six grandchildren, sometimes events run together for me.  So I record them here so that I can refresh my memory from time to time.

BUT...there is one memory indelibly lodged in my mind.

It was the summer of 1978...June to be exact.

My mom worked at Boyd & Nichol's General Store in Fountain Hill, Arkansas.  She was a butcher there at the time.  (This was before she started nursing school.)

Boyd & Nichols was a true general store.  About half of it was groceries, but the other half had anything you could, overalls, tools, implements, farm supplies.  ANYTHING!

During this one week in June of 1978, I was offered the temporary job of sacking groceries.  You see, the regular 'sacker' was out of town for the week attending FFA camp.  (Future Farmers of America...though I believe he works for the Ashley County Sheriff's Department today, not on a farm.  But I digress.)

So, this was my first paying job.  A one-week stint at sacking groceries at a general store.  I was quite excited by the prospect of earning my own money...and even more excited that it was a one week only job because, really, who wants their entire summer interrupted by work?  (Oh, the irony of wasted youth.)

I really can't tell you much about that whole week.  I don't know how many sacks I filled and carried out or how much time I spent stocking shelves.

BUT...right around lunch time on my last day (Saturday) I had an experience that I have never forgotten.

I had sacked groceries for a woman and was carrying them to her car just out front of the store.  As I approached the car I noticed two boys with her.  I'm sure they were not with her in the store...but they seemed to have miraculously appeared as we walked toward the car.

One of them was a few years younger then me, very talkative and friendly.  The other one looked near my age and was quite handsome.  The older brother opened the back door of the car for me as I moved the groceries from the shopping cart to the backseat.  I remember giving him a hard time about letting me, a girl, do the heavy lifting of a very large bag of dog food.  And then, he closed the door, walked around the car, climbed into the driver's seat and was gone.

I'm sure it was a scene that had played out several times with many different people throughout that week's worth of work.  But for some reason I never forgot his face, the way he spoke or his reserved friendliness.

Fast forward just short of two years when I met him again and learned his name.  Jim.  Jim Goode.  Yeah, the one I have been married to for almost 33 years now.  (Our anniversary is next month.)

I've always wondered why THAT memory remained so vivid to me for all that time.  (Admit it, two years is a long time when you are a young girl.)  And why it still remains so rich today.

But earlier this week I was reading Melanie Shankle's book "The Antelope in the Living Room" and I came across this quote which just really says it all for me.

"It's shocking the things I don't remember from college, but I remember every minute of that first meeting. I remember what he said and what he prayed, and looking back, I think it was God's gift to me because he knew this man was going to be my husband and there were things I'd want to remember."

Melanie Shankle AKA Big Mama
"The Antelope in the Living Room"

That crystal clear memory from 1978 was a gift from God for me...because He knew I would want to remember it.  He knew it would be a treasure for my heart.

Oh, and the reason I bought the book?  (Aside from the fact that I have loved her blog for years.)  Did you see that kudu mount on the cover?  Yeah, I have a similar one hanging in my living room right now.  Only ours has a blue wildebeest right across the room to match.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Few More Easter Pics

Proof positive that William was at our Easter gathering!

Davin (6 1/2) with Parker showing off the lizard he caught in the backyard.

Brooke (6 1/2) found the most eggs.  That basket was overflowing.

Maddux (5) --  it is so hard to get a picture of this boy looking at you.

Elliot (1 1/2) dragging her princess basket behind her.
I just love this sweet smiling face!

Delayne (1 1/2) -- Miss Attitude looks like she's posing for some Baby Gap ad or something.  It was our first time seeing her in pigtails.

Weston (6 months) and Pappaw -- I love that look on his face.
 Like him and Pappaw are intently deciding on how to do something!
Now, is it just me or aren't they all just 'GRAND'???

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Blessed Easter

Our family gathered last Saturday to celebrate our Risen Savior with a big meal and an egg hunt.  And honestly, I took not one photograph...but Brianne did.

So, I'm cheating and taking the photos from her Facebook page.

Derrick, Meagan, Davin and Delayne

Matt, Kelli, Maddux, Brooke, Weston and Elliot

Josh and Brianne

Brian and Deborah
 Not sure why there are no photos of Will...but I promise, he was there!

Danielle, Brady and Parker
Our special guests

Jim and I with the children before the egg hunt
We enjoyed a large Easter dinner followed by the Adult Easter Egg Hunt due to conflicting nap schedules.  Finally, around 4 o'clock we were able to get everyone up and alert at the same time for the Kids Easter Egg Hunt.  Later in the evening we spent a couple of hours playing a nine person game of Liverpool Rummy.  Yeah, that was an exercise in patience!  

I'll post a few more photos tomorrow.  

Hope y'all had a Happy and Blessed Easter!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Beauty of Spring

I love wisteria. Absolutely love it.

I don't have any planted in our yard, yet every spring I am greeted by beautiful purple blossoms several places along my drive to work.

And every spring, I snap photos from the window of my truck and promise myself that I am going to stop one day and take a close up.

So, on the last Sunday in March as I drove home from lunch with Bri, I did just that. Hopped a muddy ditch just off of 290 in Waller to capture the fleeting beauty of wisteria.

Ahh, Beatutiful!

I am so glad I took the moment to capture its glory and to breath deeply of the scent...because just a few days later these lovely petals were washed away in a thunderstorm.

What beauty surrounds you today? Take the time to really notice it...and to enjoy it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What a Difference a Day Makes

Yesterday was a Monday.

You know, THAT kind of Monday.

A Monday that followed a holiday...that followed a busy week...that followed a company function...that followed a busier week of preparation.

Papers literally disappearing from my desk. Vendors emailing to ask why I had sent money, even though I held their invoice in my hand. Others questioning where checks were that we mailed in February...even though the other one mailed at the exact same time to the exact same address had arrived long ago. My day just seemed to be spiraling out of control with one problem after another.

And so it was that on Easter Monday, I found myself nearly pulling at my hair and begging The Lord for a piece of Sabbath (and a peace of Sabbath).

Just an hour or two alone.

Just a bit of silence that I might hear Him and find myself.

But it wasn't to be. I had errands to run on my way home. A trip to the grocery store to make. A package to deliver to William. Guests at the house when I arrived. Dinner to make (although it ended up being tacquitos). Time spent with my Hero in front of the television and discussing everything that crossed our minds.


I opened my email and found that we were having a package delivered to the house today. I had ordered a bit of rand for our upcoming trip to South Africa. Not much, just enough to buy a soda at the Jo'burg airport or to pay for lunch on our journey to Polokwane. Pocket change really. We learned during our last trip that you want to have a bit of local currency on you when you arrive. The exchange rate at the airport is horrible. And even though most everyone accepts credit cards, there are always those little things that come up.

For this reason, I had gone online Sunday night and placed our order of rand not sure of when it would arrive. The bank will only deliver to the address on the, it was coming here instead of to the office.

And just like that, The Lord gave me a piece of Sabbath.

I don't why I was so surprised that He heard me or that He answered me. But I was.

And I will also admit, that when I actually received that silence to hear Him and find freaked me out a bit. I was tempted to fill it with laundry and decluttering and Facebook and television and "_________" (fill in the blank).

But in His tenderness, He met me right where I was.

He sent a message that I needed to hear through my devotional reading.

He revealed my fear of being alone with Him...and my own thoughts.

He wooed me to sit out on the deck listening to the birds and to finish reading "The Rest of God" by Mark Buchanan -- where He spoke to me again of Jacob's wrestling with God.

He reminded me of a broken commitment to read through the New Testament and met me so sweetly in the words of the apostle John.

And then He moved me here, to share with you and to record for my forgetful self that He not only meets our needs but He does exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.

Hallelujah and Amen!

What are you asking Him for today? He's listening!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

March Recap

What I did: (Warning -- March is a CRAZY BUSY month around here!)

  • 1st - Went to MainStreet America and toured houses with my honey.  We walked and talked and dreamed...and realized that we want to pursue building our dream house soon.
  • 4th - Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday at the office.  We enjoyed a big lunch of red beans and rice with Haydel's Cream Cheese King Cake for dessert.  YUM!
  • 4th - Also the last night of the Tuesday Night Bible Study with Beth Moore.  Powerful!  Moving! And though I am sad to see it end, I pray that the Lord does an even mightier work through her teaching in the future.  Whatever form and wherever that may be.
  • 6th - Ladies Night Out at Rodeo Houston with Reba 
    The Ladies with our driver, David.
    Jenn, Mary, Annabel, Robin, David, Stacy, Teri and myself.
    Stacy's mom, Nancy, was taking the photo.
  • 8th - Stacy's 50th Birthday Celebration  
    Jim, Robin and I surprised Stacy for her 50th birthday with dinner and an evening out on the town.  Oh the stories that we could tell...but won't.
  • 11th - Girl's Night Out at Rodeo Houston with Jason Aldean.  
    Alison, Stacy, Robin, myself, Kim, Bri and Josh...the lone male to brave a limo full of ladies.
     Meet and Greet, Baby!  
    Me with Jason Aldean!
    He has been one of my favorites for years.
    Love his music.
  • 13th - Wine Garden and Shopping Day at Rodeo Houston.  Great time with dear friends, and, oh we also saw Maroon 5.  I didn't realize how many of their songs I had heard before.  (And I got my boots shined for the first time!  They look better than new!)
    Robin and I at the Rodeo Houston Uncorked Wine Garden before seeing Maroon 5.  We bought some really cute dresses that I am sure you will see before this post is over.
  • 16th - Family Dinner at Alicia's with most of the family because our Number One Son finally came home for a visit!  Yay!  We have missed him.
  • 17th - Saint Patrick's Day at Rodeo Houston with Luke Bryan  
    Stacy, me, Robin and Kelley dropping green chicken feathers all over Houston!
  • 20th - Night Out with My Girls at Rodeo Houston with Blake Shelton (minus Kelli who couldn't go at the last minute).
Meagan, Bri and I waiting for the Rodeo to begin. (And this is one of those really cute dresses I told you about earlier.
Not pictured is Kim, Chelsea and Dina who rounded out our group for the evening.

  • 24th - Table of Grace with dear friends who give some of the greatest advice EVER!
  • 29th - Luncheon at our house with the Ladies of Fellowship at Field Store. We had a great time, even though I was so behind with getting Jim out the door to his turkey hunt that the first arrivals graciously offered to help toss salads and make sandwiches.

What I learned:

  1. Listening to the Holy Spirit's promptings can be scary...and oh so rewarding!
  2. Sometimes your input into a situation can bring about a great collaboration.  So, humbly express your ideas and share past experiences that pertain to the situation.
What I listened to:

  • Still listening to Casting Crowns "Thrive"...but now I'm partial to "This Is Now".  It is the story of Peter through his own comparison of his life before and after the denial.  Oh, how I relate!
  • Luke Bryan's "Crash My Party" -- My favorite is 'Play It Again'.
What I read:

  1. "The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath" by Mark Buchanan.  This book was highly recommended at the Women of Faith: Unwrap the Bible Conference I attended in February. And since I had just finished listening to 'Wonderstruck' by Margaret Feinberg where she lit a fire in my heart regarding Sabbath...I figured I had better pick it up.  And, OH MY GOODNESS, did the Lord ever have a holy laugh over me when I picked up the Sunday School book on March 30th to prepare for the next week's lesson on Sabbath!  His timing is impeccable.
  2. Matthew - (most of) John for the Lent Challenge.

I know this is really late, but we are without Internet at home again and work has been so busy that I hadn't taken the time to update on the last few events of March.  I would love to hear what is going on in your life today.