Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Where's the Off Switch

I am sitting here tonight wishing that I was sleepy. I have to get up and go to work in the morning and need to rest. The problem: I can't seem to locate the OFF switch to my thoughts tonight.

I noticed that a couple of other people commented on Facebook that they were having the same dilemma. So, I thought maybe it would help me to shut down if I expressed some of the things swirling around my head.

My heart seems to be heavy for all the heartache and sickness I see within my circle of friends lately. Almost every day brings news of someone going through a trial or facing challenges they didn't expect to face.

*The friend who lost her mother to illness two days before Christmas.

*Our friends who buried their father in the summer and had to bury their grandfather yesterday.

*Long time family friends who face uncertainty as their mom/sister/daughter/wife/grandmother begins her battle with glioblastoma.

*Our brother-in-law's hospitalized father.

*Family members who are fighting to have their young daughter be a part of their family despite efforts by others to keep her from them.

*Sweet young friend battling cancer for the third time in 2 years.

*Friends who face financial crisis.

*The toddler daughter of a friend hospitalized tonight after a routine surgery because recovery is not going well.

And that is the short list. Is it any wonder that my mind is racing and reeling? I know that I need to release the burden of these things and let Jesus take over. Ask anyone who knows me, though. I am a control freak, emphasis on the freak!

I would do well to remember the words of the Psalmist"

"My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me."

Monday, December 6, 2010

One Thousand Gifts

26. Family who take care of me when I'm sick.

27. Friends who take care of me when I'm sick.

28. My pellet stove. Warmth.......awwww.

29. Psalms......what a treasure.

30. Answered prayer.

31. My sister Rhonda, celebrating her birthday today.

32. Christmas trees in three rooms of my home.

33. Crushed ice from Sonic.

34. My children.

Monday, November 29, 2010

One Thousand Gifts

18. A great time with my family on Thanksgiving.....there is no blessing like a loving family.

19. Christmas lights.

20. A new magazine in the mail.

21. Naps.

22. Countdown to NG8. I love the anticipation of getting together with my sisters every April.

23. Old movies............1940s and 1950s.

24. Dennis' green thumb......all the beauty in our yard is his doing.

25. Carol King's Tapestry album....my all time favorite.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

One Thousand Gifts

14. My wonderful friends from church. What a delight to go to a church full of sweet, funny, tender, loving women.

15. Anticipation! I love the "looking forward to" part of any adventure or trip or event. Right now I am anticipating Thanksgiving week with my family at Fin and Feather. They are the dearest in the world to me. What a blessing.

16. Newborn babies.......no explanation required.

17. Online Christmas shopping-shopping in my pjs!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

You'll Drool

Go to my friend Erin's site and enter her contest. Be prepared to crave cake!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Therefore we do not lose heart

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

This verse from Psalm 34 has always been a favorite of mine. It's one of those verses that I figured was a comfort to people who needed it. Not me, of course. I am never brokenhearted or crushed in spirit! I am self-confident and optimistic and upbeat.

Wrong. That's what I thought. But, lately, I have become quite chummy with the "crushed in spirit" part. I just didn't know that was what it was. I have been feeling overwhelmed and discouraged at my job. I feel buried under a load that just keeps growing, with no end in sight. As my old boss liked to say "I'm covered up!"

Then, at Moms in Touch this week we read this verse. I was the one who typed it out and put it on our paper. But, it wasn't until we read it out loud in prayer that it hit me. That's me! I'm crushed in spirit! And the Lord is close to me; it says it right there in black and white!

Why is it that we so often think the scriptures are for someone else? They are mine to claim, too. I may have realized that just in time this week.

Reflecting on that reminded me of a another favorite passage in 2 Corinthians 4 that I hadn't visited in awhile:

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

All the promises in the Book are mine!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

One Thousand Gifts

13. My beautiful Mother-there are no words to describe the depth of love and gratitude I have for her. Happy Birthday Mom. I love you and miss you every day.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

One Thousand Gifts

8. The change in the weather: cool mornings, clear sunny afternoons, doors and windows open.....love it.

9. Countdown to Thanksgiving with the family - 49 days!

10. Beth Moore Bible studies.

11. Bowls of soup (pasta fagioli, chicken tortilla, baked potato) on crisp fall evenings.

12. Texting your best friend when you see or hear something they would think is funny too.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Continued: One Thousand Gifts

4. Christmas.............ahhhhhh.

5. Miracle babies!

6. Sisters-what a glorious, unmatched gift!

Monday, September 6, 2010

One Thousand Gifts

I got this from Megan Wood, Eric's sweet wife. I can think of nothing better to count than all the gifts from God that I enjoy. I am going to start today with

1. Holidays from work

2. Spending time with family

3. Watching the sun come up in my backyard

That's the start of my list. How long is it going to take me to get to 1000?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Go visit Amber.............

because she is having a fantastic giveaway! Now, mind you, I plan to win the grand prize but thought it only fair to give you a heads up. So, mosey on over to the parsonage at


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Moms In Touch

It is Back to School for almost everyone by now. That means fall is not too far off, football is back in place on Friday nights and the inevitable homework. One other thing is for sure.............back to school means it is time to get back to Moms in Touch. Our church has a long history of praying moms involved in this great organization. The stories these mothers could tell you would leave you speechless. We have seen answer after answer to prayers we prayed in our groups. We have seen God move the hearts of teachers, coaches and administrators. We have seen children's lives transformed.

Don't wait another year to join a group near you. All you need is one other mom to pray with you for your child and hers. Not sure how to get started? Visit

Moms In Touch Web Button

Experience the joy of replacing anxiety with peace and hope when you pray with other moms!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What's your preference?

Years ago if you had told me I would be a morning person someday I would have laughed in derision. I hated mornings when I was a child and teen. My family knew not to talk to me in the morning until I was ready for interaction. I did not want to answer questions or hear instruction or directions.

Now I absolutely love mornings. I try to get up between 5:00 and 5:30 every day. Sometimes on the weekend I will sleep in until 6:00. What gets me out of bed that early? That is when I spend time in my "reading corner" with my Bible and prayer list. I love to get my cup of coffee, sit down in my chair, turn the lamp on and slide the basket out from under the end table.

This basket hold my study Bible, marking pens and pencils, prayer journal where my list is kept and note cards. I work on my inductive study and then spend time in prayer. Some days I write cards to people who cross my mind. It is the best part of my day.

There is something about starting the day off with the Lord that gives me strength and hope for the day. I have already given the first part of my day to the Lord so I know He is already listening for me.

Years ago I would leave my quiet time or devotional time, whatever you call it, until the late part of the night. That worked okay for my younger years. I could get by on three or four hours of sleep a night so I was still going strong late at night. I thought I had it all handled and was "putting in my time" with the Lord.

The difference between my old practice and the new is major. My slate is clean in the early morning hours. Nothing has cluttered my mind and thoughts yet. I start the day open to whatever the Lord has to say to me. He doesn't have to yell through the noise and clamor of my life when I go to Him in the morning. It works for me.

How about you? When is the best time for you to spend with the Lord? Do you go to the same place every day at the same time? I want to hear about your habits and practices.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Give Thanks to the Lord for His Lovingkindness

This morning I was studying in Psalm 107. What a rich, rich passage of scripture! It is one that I will be drawn to time and again, to re-read and to meditate on. There are several recurring themes in this psalm but the one that captivated me each time I read it was "Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness,And for His wonders to the sons of men!". Sometimes we need the reminder about His lovingkindness. When things get rough or dark or hard we have a tendency to wonder where is God and why doesn't He care? Reading those lines over and over (six times!)in this psalm reinforced for me what I knew: that His lovingkindness never fails, never falters, never fades. Many other sweet reminders fill this passage:
1) "For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good."
2) "He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and broke their bands apart." I think I hear a little Mandisa 'Take these shackles off of my feet so I can dance!'
3) "He sent His word and healed them" Never forget the power of His word to soothe and comfort and heal.
4) "So He guided them to their desired haven." He knows the best place for me to rest.

Consider the lovingkindnesses of the Lord. It's a great way to start the day!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

When was the last time you...............

............were bored? Stare at the wall, twiddle your thumbs, mind numbing bored. If you are like me you cannot remember a time like that. I was commenting to Dennis today that I couldn't believe how many people on Facebook post about being bored. They are bored to tears, bored to death, bored out of their skulls, bored as all get out, soooo bored, really bored.............ad nauseam. Seriously, you have been out of school for only five days and you are bored?

Often I get into conversations with other women about whether to work or stay home. I am always surprised when someone says they wouldn't want to stay home because they would be so bored. Who ARE these people? Do they really get everything done every week and have nothing to do? Do they not have any interests? Bored? I just don't understand it.

And, just to make it clear that I am not talking about 210 channels to keep me from being bored. I am not a big television watcher. And, I mainly watch programs that have been recorded so I can skip the commercials, skip to the good parts and get it over. When I am home alone the television doesn't even get turned on.

What would keep me from being bored? Well.....how about EVERYTHING! I could never be done cleaning or organizing or fixing something around the house. (Dennis would say that's because I would never start!) I could sit in my cozy corner in the morning for prayer and study time and not have to watch the clock and cut it off because it's time to go to work. I could research fabulous recipes and cook new things all the time. I would write letters and cards to stay in touch and encourage friends and family. I could volunteer. I could read. And then read. Oh, I could read. I could go sit at the hospital when there is a need. I could watch someone's children so they could go to Bible study. I could go to Bible study. I could lead a Bible study.

I think I have made my point. I just don't see where boredom comes into play for anyone. If you can argue for the other side, please comment.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Was this the little girl I carried?

Or, the little girl Dennis rocked?

All of you young mothers hear us older moms talk about how time flies with your babies. We caution you not to "wish away" each phase of their little lives. Here is why. That picture above? Taken in 1997. I know. That seems like a long, long time ago. Well, what about this one:
This cute little girl in her new bed? Taken just four years ago. Yes, 2006.
Oh, and the one below, with her friend Sheradyn? Are you ready? This one was taken only THREE years ago!
I don't know if you ready for the next two pictures. Go back and look at Katie and Sheradyn again. Remember, that one was THREE years ago. Actually, not quite three. It will be three in July, I think.
Thursday was the last day of school for Katie. She went home with her friend Bri. Sheradyn went along also. She stayed for two days. We finally got her back this afternoon. She grew up while she was gone, people! If you don't believe me, take a look below. And, remember, these were taken less than THREE years after the one of her and Sheradyn at Silver Dollar City!
End of 6th grade fun with Sheradyn and Bri.
HERE is the little girl I carried! Sniff, sniff.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

2/3 of My Life

That's the amount of time I have been married to Dennis now. I was about three months shy of 18 when we got married. On Sunday it will be 36 years for us. Go ahead. Add 18 to 36 and you will get 54, which is how old I will be in August.

It's strange to think about being married twice as long as I wasn't married. Boy, did that 17 year old girl know what she was getting into? Of course not. And, that's a good thing. Would any of us take a step if we knew everything that would unfold on the path? No. We wouldn't want any of the hard times, the pain or the disappointments that would be revealed. One thing I have learned in my life, though, is that some of the best lessons are learned in hard times, some of the greatest peace breaks forth from pain and that the disappointments refine our expectations and our committments to others.

I am glad that I can look back on our life together and see all of those different things. They have shaped who we are. If we started going back trying to twist and turn away from the rough parts of the road, who knows where we would be today? Probably not here. I like where we are, who we are and what all of that means to us. Do we ever say "what if"? All. The. Time. And then, just as quickly, we remember something that might be different if that had changed or not happened. The trade off never seems to measure up to the finished product, warts and all.
I guess where I am going with this is to remember that EVERYTHING that happens to us really does make us who we were meant to be. Don't live regretting what you didn't or couldn't do. Marvel in the wonder that we got to be a part of it at all.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Say what you will.............

..........about technology and all of it's gadgets, I am a fan! Tonight I loved being able to use the latest to keep up with all my friends and family during an evening of crazy weather. In minutes I was able to find out that my sister Rhonda and her husband were safe in their Noble home. Sure, the power was out and the shingles were flying, but I heard her voice and knew she was fine. My friend Erna posted that her son and friends were in a basement in Shawnee waiting out the storm. She asked for us to join her in prayer. Who knows how many people did. Traci in the OKC area kept us informed about things in her area, even while putting the kids in the closet she was concerned about her friends. A call to the mayor of our little town and I got information for a friend about when and if the Dome would open for public shelter. In one quick cell phone call from my sis Debe I found out that my brother-in-law was en route to Oklahoma City this afternoon and was at the scene of the I40 Choctaw tornado that destroyed the Loves station. He was unharmed and made it on to his destination safely. Some texting and emailing to my sister Nora and I was able to reassure her that everyone was safe and all was right with the world. A chat on Facebook in the pop out box let me know that my little niece Sadie was good and so was her family. People updated and twittered and commented and posted pictures and prayers went up from every corner of the state and beyond. And, let's not forget the old standby-the television. It sputtered and stuttered but kept us informed.

We talk alot about the good 'ole days and complain that we can't get away from the ringing phone or chirping pager or the computer or our email. I know. Sometimes it does get old. But, tonight I am glad that I know everyone I love is safe.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

One of a Kind; Never to be Duplicated

That was my mom-one of a kind. One of the best kind, in fact. She has been gone now for a little more than five years. I miss her as much today as ever. She was unselfish, peace loving, kind, generous, gentle and Godly. She gave me the best gifts I ever received - my sisters. It is in them that I get the chance to glimpse pieces of her-a wry comment from Nora that sounds just like Mother; a word of caution from Rhonda that makes me do a double take; or, a quick look at Debe and I'm thinking "that expression looks just like Mother!". How blessed I am to have her still with me when I am with them.

If you are so fortunate to have your Mother today-love her, cherish her, forgive her, make up with her, comfort her, give to her, give in to her, but DO NOT take her for granted-DO NOT let petty things get in the way of your relationship-DO NOT make it about you when it should be about her. A life like that will only bring you regrets at the end of her life.

I am honest when I say that I am jealous of women who still have their moms. And, I am brutally honest when I say that I am incensed when I listen to women who still have their moms and don't realize how lucky they are. How dare you dislike, disown or disavow your committment to a living mother when mine is not with me? Sorry, that's how I feel when I hear you complain about her and talk bad about her.

So, for tomorrow-remember that bitterness about ANYTHING is just your emptiness showing.

Love your Mother. Honor your Mother. It's the law!

I love you Nettie Lou Blair Jernigan!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I am Woman, hear me .....

I'd like to say ROAR but it was more like WHINE. I had a bad day at work. I think it has something to do with having been sick for the past two weeks, taking massive doses of steroids in the hopes that I get well and being under the gun for too many projects at work. But, whatever the reason, I just kind of lost it. I hate when I do that. Not only does it make me look weak in the workplace but it makes me look weak in my faith. I want to live like Jesus every day and I think I failed miserably today. Sheesh. I can only do what He gives me strength to do and today I don't think I even asked Him for strength. I stewed about having to work. I griped about all the deadlines facing me. I took it out on another co-worker. I even did the dreaded-I cried. You know that "you've made me so mad and so out of control that now I will cry like a girl"!

I will go back to work tomorrow to face the same situation. I want to go back, however, with determination and focus and perseverance. I want to do my job as "unto the Lord". I want to remember that I am fortunate to have such a wonderful job so close to my home. I am going to start the day by going to the throne to ask for strength to do my best.

It's okay to be an outspoken woman. Tomorrow I want my life to be outspoken about Him.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sisters, Sisters, there were never such devoted sisters.......

One of my favorite movies is White Christmas. I love the Haynes Sisters and their stage act.

I love their song about being devoted sisters. Well, they don't have anything on these girls in the devotion area:

While at NG7 we talked about how many times people express shock that the four of us get along so well and don't fuss and argue. Folks, I don't understand why other people waste time on pettiness and bitterness. Life is a gift and sisters are a bonus on top of that. If you have siblings don't let "stuff" keep you apart.

This year we went to the Tulsa area for NG7. Rhonda's son, Josh, and his wife, April, graciously extended an invitation for us to stay in their home. They stayed someplace else and let us take over their home.

The first thing we did when we got together was, of course, EAT! We went to Scot's Burgers in downtown Bixby. Delicious. I love places that aren't part of a chain.

Then, it was back to Casa de Tomas and time to open the sister gifts. My gift to them was a custom necklace from Harley and Maudes. The large charm says "Here's to good women" on one side and on the other "May we know them, May we raise them, May we be them." The small charm says "Always" and "Remember" and is for our Mother and our youngest sister who have both passed away. There are four jewels representing our birthstones.

Nora gave each of us a beautiful wallet/clutch purse.

Debe gave us each a ring with our birthstone. The neat thing about these rings is that the stones were taken from our mother's "Mother Ring"! Isn't that cool?

Rhonda gave us a delicate necklace with an engraving that says "A sister is a forever friend."

We have such a good time together. And, so much of that time is just sitting around talking and laughing. I can't imagine a better way to spend three and a half days. We shopped, we ate, we napped, we ate, we talked, we cried, we laughed. It was great.

On Friday nights we share about what we did to honor Mother's memory on the anniversary of her death. The acts of kindness we shared ranged from giving money to a ministry to providing new games and toys for a children's home. All of the acts are done as Nettie's girls and represent our effort to honor Mother's generous spirit.

Saturday night is the time we set aside for spiritual reflection. This year was Nora's turn to bring a devotion and challenge to us. She talked to us about our roots-faith, family and fun. It was sweet, thought provoking (Nora's research on roots was so right one) and even funny. I loved the clothesline stories: "rotten to the core"! And the surprise ending was great! I would share but it just wouldn't mean anything to anyone but the four of us. And that is what is so special about NG-it is for US. We also choose a cause or project each year and give towards that as a group. This year we chose to help a lovely young lady in her fight against cancer with just a small financial token.

Sunday morning always finds us beginning to get a little sad. We know it is coming to an end for another year and we just hate to see it happen. We try to stay light and happy but goodbyes are just difficult. Sure, we will all be together at Thanksgiving with our families but it is different from NG. One other thing we do on Sunday mornings is decide where we are going next year. Here's to NG8 in San Antonio, Texas. We are even adding another day this time. And, we are already counting down the days: 357 to be exact!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Bad Day at the Fresno Bible House

Our circumstances sure have a way of trying to dictate our outlook. That has been so evident to me in the last couple of days as we deal with a potentially serious financial setback. As I started out to work Saturday morning, I was dwelling on this situation. Yes, dwelling. I know that doesn't seem very spiritual of me but it is honest. And, I really do think being real is better than being spiritual.

Back to my trek to work-since Katie wasn't in the car with me, I thought I would take a break from listening to Justin Bieber. (Because trust me, once you hear Eeny Meeny Miny Mo Lover, you will NEVER get those lyrics out of your head!) I switched over to the only CD I have in the car-Mandissa. She started belting out these words:

"Been a hard one, Been a bad one
Been a tough one, Been a sad one
It's been just one of those days
That keeps chipping away at my heart
Nothin' new here,It's what I do here
It's a stereotypical day in the life
I'm surrounded by all of the pain and the strife
But I know it's alright

'Cause it's only the world I'm living in
It's only today I've been given
There ain't no way I'm giving in
'Cause it's only the world
I know the best is still yet to come
'Cause even when my days in the world are done
There's gonna be so much more than only the world for me"

That song started me re-focusing on how temporal our problems and circumstances are. And that led me back to a memory from the day I worked in the audio visual department (this was in the era of the giant 16mm films; hey, I'm old!) of the Fresno Bible House. My co-worker, Debbie, and I were having a rough day. Nothing had gone as planned, pastors hadn't shipped movies back so we could ship them someplace else, movies were returned damaged beyond repair, we were in the middle of a meltdown. You would think that working in a place surrounded by Christians and Christian books and gifts and music and all would make dealing with a bad day easier. Not that day.

A pastor called to check on the delivery of his film. We had never met him but knew him well as he was a regular customer. Evidently, through my co-workers' tone, he was able to surmise that we were having a bad day. He told her to put him on speaker phone so he could talk to both of us. And this is what we heard,

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

We were moved by those words and by his concern for us. This pastor who didn't even know what we looked like, had never met us took the time to minister to our weary hearts. It totally changed our day. Or, actually, it changed our OUTLOOK about our day! And that's what we can do every day. The day has been given to me. It is up to me to decide how I am going to receive it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How's That Working For You?

Well, it's already spring. At least, that is what my calendar says. The snow last weekend makes it a little hard to grasp but I know there is life underneath all this wet ground.

So, I am evaluating how 2010 is going so far. I remember that I purposely did not make any grand statements about exercising more or eating less or spending less or blah, blah, blah. I just didn't want to set myself up for defeat and discouragement because my heart just wasn't in it.

However, I did make a sorta-kinda resolution as a comment on someone else's Facebook wall. I meant it. I had good intentions. It wasn't an empty statement.

I even ordered books to read to start me on my journey:

I sincerely want to make a difference. I want to live compassionately. I want to reach out. I want to lift people up.

But I find myself thinking, sometimes, that I can't do anything. I live in rural America. This is small town USA. Where am I going to meet the poor and destitute and desperate and needy?

I need to take a walk.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I have been thinking a lot the past few weeks about people, specifically women, who have influenced my life. Let me preface this by saying that the women who have had the greatest impact on my life are my mother, sisters and daughers. So, I am excluding them from this post altogether. It is just understood by all who know me that those women top my list.

Where do we go from there? Simple. I know exactly who to list as one of the first women, outside my family, who made a difference in my life. I met her in junior high in Fresno, CA. Her name is Judy.

I had attended church all of my life. I was a Christian. I knew what being a Christian was all about. Or, so I thought. Judy opened my eyes to what living as a Christian really meant. She was passionate about God and about learning about Him. She wanted to know His word. She wanted to show Him to other people. Being a Christian wasn't just something she did because she went to church and was raised by Christian parents. It was the way she lived her life. I was mesmerized by how simple it was for her to talk about God. I wanted that. We shared so many things, especially a love for writing. We encouraged one another, listened to one another and, most importantly, believed in one another. What a sweet, sweet friend. We have reconnected through Facebook and just looking at her smile warms my soul.
I married young-17 years old. I didn't have a clue what being a young married woman, a wife was all about. The Lord knew that I would need friends who could support me in this new role. One of those He blessed me with was Melba.
Her husband and her served in a ministry position in the church we attended. How wonderful it was to have a young couple who we could spend time with, talk to and laugh with. Melba has been that friend who kept me honest with myself. She never let me pretend. She had a way, and still does, of getting me to be real. We have laughed many times over our naive air of superiority regarding parenting, BEFORE we had children! We shared a love for music and singing and yes, church work.
I ventured into the realm of women's ministry and God knew I needed a compadre, a buddy. He sent Sheryl to me.

With Sheryl and I, it has always been easy. If one started the thought, the other one finished it. If one had the idea, the other one knew how to bring it to life. If one needed a kick in the seat, the other one was right there, foot lifted. We collaborated on more themes than a Walt Disney park designer, worked against more deadlines than a newspaper editor and stayed up late into the night working on more projects than Martha Stewarts' minions. If you needed a retreat, we were the pair to call.
Interestingly, the next person had a lot to do with the passion that Sheryl and I shared for all things organized, coordinated and themed. That would be June-

We have just recently said good bye to June. What a powerhouse of a woman! She had a gift for bringing out the very best in you. She saw what you couldn't see yourself. She nurtured whatever strength you had and helped it to blossom into full bloom. She taught. She modeled. She led. She loved. She protected. She was a spiritual mother to me. I loved her dearly. I rejoice that she is visiting with my mother in heaven.
There is another woman who has made an eternal, everlasting impression on me. The most significant impact she has made on my life is your intense and loyal friendship. Meet Terry-

She is quite possibly the most Godly, righteous, loving, kind person I know. Ask most any young girl in our church who they want to be like and they will say, "Terry Black". She has left an indelible imprint on so many young people, Heaven will be full of people she has taught and prayed for and nurtured and loved and encouraged and so generously helped along the way. She befriended me one summer as we sat on rickety bleachers watching our two beautifully unique sons play baseball. We had a kinship that is only shared by mothers of boys who see the world just a little differently than everyone else. She has held me up when I could not hold up my head. She has loved my children with a measure that amazes me. She has loved me and my family with an absolutely God-infused love. I feel blessed beyond measure to call her my friend.
There are so many others who have touched my life along the way. Women like Ma Richter, Cora Bruce, Grandma and Opal Wilson, Irene Carpenter, Altha Keifer, Mae Wood, Marguerite Kern, Terri Kern....and the list just goes on.
And, a whole new generation of young women is influencing my life and making me want to be a better person...Lindsay, Loretta, Diana, Monica, Whitney, Becky, Emily, Cari, Sara, Amber and many more.
Who has God placed in your life, past or present, that has influenced you. Who is He placing in front of YOU to influence. Leave a mark.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Nurse Blair.........has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? That's my daughter. Nurse Blair. I am so proud of her. She worked hard and now she has accomplished Phase I of her dream to work in pediatric oncology. She has more work to do but I know she will do it. She battled some hard things to get where she is. She faced some things that I never had to face. But, she is an overcomer and was determined to succeed.
I just thought you should meet her.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

25 Days

It is only 25 more days until NG7. (You know, my annual get together with my sisters-Nettie's Girls) As can be expected, I am always excited beyond words. And this year is no different.

That's a lie. Well, not a lie really. Maybe just a misstatement. (Is that a word?) This year IS different. I am looking forward to this NG in a way that I haven't before now. It seems that most years we have been coming together after facing some life-altering experience since the last one-the death of our mother, Nettie; the death of our father; the first flood at my house; the death of our baby sister. Add in births of grandbabies, ups and downs in jobs and any number of other things and you have four women who need some down time, some rest and relaxation.

But, this year I am anxious for NG because I feel like it is my life preserver, the knot at the end of the rope, my last hope, the light at the end of the tunnel. I need NG more right now than ever. It is a phenomenon unlike any other that, as soon as the four of us are together, life and all of it's insanity will fade into the background. The pure joy that we experience when we are together is indescribable. And, it makes me feel just a little sad for any of you out there that don't enjoy this with your family.

So, twenty five days from now, that sound you hear, that collective sigh of four fabulous women, will mark the beginning of NG7. And, four days later we will part, sadly, but stronger-recharged for one more year.

I cannot wait!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I Swear it's the Truth!

The Honest Scrap comes with a caveat or two. First, you have to tell your readers ten things about yourself they may not know, but they have to be true. Second, you are supposed to tag ten people with this award. Third, let all the people you've given the award to know they have received it-leave a comment on their blog. Finally, link back to the person who gave you the award. Whew.
1. I wanted to join the Air Force after high school and my dad said that nice girls weren't in the service.
2. I cried when my mom told me I was too old to ask for a baby doll for Christmas. I think I was in the 6th or 7th grade.
3. Lest you think otherwise from those first two comments, I had the most wonderful parents and miss them every single day. I wouldn't have traded them for anyone. They were the best.
4. I used to collect clowns-clown statues, clown pictures, clown notecards, clown everything. I even decorated Aaron's nursery with a clown theme. His nursery had the biggest ceramic clown lamp you have EVER seen. It was the size of a midget and he was holding an umbrella. This monstrosity sat on the dresser in that poor baby's room.
5. I love creamed tuna. It is a delectable concoction of white sauce, tuna and boiled eggs. Lots of salt and pepper. Serve it over toast. I craved this when I was pregnant with Aaron.
6. We lost Blair when she was two years old. I was on a softball team and we were at a big park. After the game she wandered off while everyone was getting all of their stuff together. Dennis went into super-charged panic mode and everyone was running all over the place looking. This ballpark was right by a freeway on ramp and our minds went to scary places. Many long minutes later we found her. She was sitting in the cab of our truck waiting patiently. She was so short no one noticed her as we scoured the parking lot.
7. I used to sing with my sisters Debe and Vicki. Our sister Nora was our biggest fan. She thought we were fantastic. (We weren't.)
8. For awhile when I was a child our family travelled in a Volkswagen bug. There were 7 of us in the family. Mom and Dad sat up front, three oldest sisters in the back seat, and my little sister and I in the teeny tiny compartment behind the back seat.
9. Staying with the car theme, I fell out of a moving car when I was about four years old. Yep, they turned a corner and out I tumbled onto the street. I wasn't hurt. Well, falling on my head might explain a few things.
10. I still think the Air Force would have been cool.
Thanks Lori for tagging me. Check her out at http://www.fresh-faced.blogspot.com/.
Okay, I am tagging Jessica, Amber, Becky, Casey, Katie and Megan.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Work, Work, Work

I'm a working girl. I never really set out to be one. It just kind of happened. When I was a youngster (really, that word just doesn't get used enough) I had visions of what I would be when I grew up: a doctor, a teacher, a secretary, a mommie. But, I didn't put a lot of thought into it. I didn't really have time for a lot of career thought since I got married at 17. And, I went to work. Life was so simple. Dennis and I worked. We came home to our sweet little apartment in Norwalk, CA. We got involved in the church next door (which happened to be Dennis' church before we were married). We went places on the weekend. We went to the beach. We went to Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm. We took a couple of classes at the local community college. We played tennis. We moved back and forth from Norwalk to Fresno 8 times in our first 2 or 3 years of marriage. Settling in was a difficult concept for us. But, through it all, I worked. I was a store auditor for Montgomery Wards, clerk at the Fresno Bible House, secretary at La Mirada Christian movies (this was back in the day of the giant 16mm movies-churches would order them and we would ship them out. A lot of that job was tracking down the movies from pastors who couldn't remember who was in charge of shipping it back!), accounts payable clerk for an industrial company, babysitter, Avon lady, took in ironing, receptionist for an accountant, radiology clerk at a children's hospital, secretary for a pediatric developmental clinic, oh so many things! We moved to Oklahoma with the intention of me staying home. I did that for a year but circumstances forced me back to work. That's when I started at the bank. I was a teller, then a loan secretary and now the compliance officer. It is a great job and a great place to work. They have treated me wonderfully over the years. They have been with me through many stages of my life-unexpected pregnancy at 40, becoming a grandmother five months after having my third baby, family deaths (four in two years) and two house floods. With all the ups and downs, work has been a constant.

I find myself thinking about what it would be like not to work full time. This is probably because of the stressful schedule I am juggling at work. Two big work projects are happening simultaneously and it is about to get the best of me. I find myself not even knowing what day it is sometimes because I spend so much of my time checking my calendar for the next meeting, the next deadline, the next assignment due. The idea of getting up, taking Katie to school and coming back home is very appealing. The idea of being at home in the summer when Katie is out of school is even more appealing.

It's just not going to happen right now, though. So, I have to find a way to stay focused. I want to do my job and do it with excellence. I just sometimes have misgivings about my ability to do that anymore. Has this old dog run out of tricks?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's a New Attitude

In my last post I said that it was time for something new. I am taking small steps towards that end. After removing all the Christmas decorations were packed away the house seemed bare and drab. The most glaring void, at least for me, was the dining room table. It had been all red and white and glittery and now it was just .....brown.

Katie and I went shopping on New Year's Day. Don't worry, I still got my bowl of black-eyed peas:

Creole Black Eyed Peas, in fact. My favorite way to fix them. But, I digress.

While shopping at Target I realized, quite to my surprise and pleasure, that the dishes I had admired (read coveted and salivated over) were FINALLY on clearance! Katie and I commenced to mix and match and remix and mix again and came up with this:

Who can resist a soft, soothing canvas of blue and brown with some crisp white thrown in?

The plates are from Target, but I didn't like the bowls at Target so I bought the three different plates and thought I was going to be on a long mission to find the right bowls. Within the hour, while shopping at Belk, I came across these fabulous bowls that were 75% off! The plates are melamine. Don't judge me. I like them. But the bowls, ah! the bowls are not! They are Oneida bowls and I only paid $1.12 each for them! And, they were perfect.

I was still looking for something for the center of the table. I promised Katie that we would just make a quick run through Kirklands because, after all, they don't have any purses or cute t-shirts, duh! While there I came across the most adorable ceramic bird and candle holders. I snatched them up-CLEARANCE again.

I must admit that I do not like the placemats but haven't found what I do want. I didn't want to keep these packed away until I found the perfect ones so here you have it:

Don't tell anyone, but sometimes I walk in there and turn the light on just to look at it.
Yes, a new attitude.