Sunday, March 30, 2008

Thorns, Thistles, and Sitting on Scorpions

Ezekiel 2:6,7 "And you, son of man, neither fear them nor fear their words, though thistles and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions, neither fear their words nor be dismayed at their presence, for they are a rebellious house. But you shall speak My words to them WHETHER THEY LISTEN OR NOT, for they are a rebellious."

Sabina Wurmbrand, from A PASTOR'S WIFE sure came to mind when I read that verse this morning. What a brave woman to speak God's Words to her prison guards and interrogators and to her fellow prisoners.

And as moms, we need reminding that we answer to God, and He would have us speak His Words, whether they listen or not.

Please give me Your Words, Lord, and season my tone of voice with Your Passion, Your Desire, and Your Inflection. Make my face reflect those words, and make Your Love shine through. In Jesus name. Amen.

I have to believe that the entire Old Testament was committed to Jesus' memory as He grew and walked on this earth. He was Perfect and took God's direction from Scripture. They were His marching orders, His comfort, and His confidence. And when Jesus read and committed to memory these words, He was given the courage to stand up to the Pharisees and all those who had misread and misapplied Scripture. And if/when He sat on a scorpion, I doubt it stung Him. We stung Him when He died for us on the Cross.

And I was surprised to find this verse in the Old Testament. Oft quoted at funerals, I thought it was a New Testament verse. Hosea 13:14 "O Death, where are your thorns? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion will be hidden from My sight."

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saturday Thirty Years Ago

It was on a Saturday, but April Fools Day. But, we have been celebrating Saturday-versaries ever since, and what a wonderful adventure it has been.

There were a few questions you forgot to ask me. You forgot to ask me about my math skills, and do I believe in chiropractic? Oh, and can I sing and stay on key??

But, other than that, we learned together.

It is kinda neat how today we received a wedding invitation from your nephew. How fitting. He was at our wedding, only still baking. And from the questions and comments he is making, he'll do fine.

Thirty years married and our house is too quiet this weekend. Second son at rotc drill. So, I set the dishwasher humming and the dryer has a lovely squeak from the garage. Thank you, dear, for thirty years. Thank you for being my best friend, and best lover, and best Scrabble player...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Twelve Thorns of Isaiah

Isaiah uses the phrase, briars and thorns. I wonder if he means those stickers like we have in Texas? Stickers ride into our home on the shoelaces of tennis shoes. When our boys rode bikes, stickers would ride home on their bike tires and jean pant legs.

I will have to wait for the learned one to explore Isaiah, as he is planning to do for future Sunday School lessons---and of the twelve references to thorns in Isaiah, he might be interested to note the middle one, the one that foreshadows Jesus, in my opinion.

The first reference to thorns defines for us exactly who are the thorns and who are the vineyard.

Isaiah 5:5,6 And I will lay waste, it will not be pruned or hoed, but briars and thorns will come up. I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it. For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His delightful plant. Thus He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed, for righteousness, but behold, a cry of distress.

Briars and thorns replace the lush vineyards in the next four thorn references. Isaiah 7: 19, 23, 24, 25.

Now the next references to thorns are also closely linked to the four of the five times the phrase, "His Hand is Still Stretched Out".

Isaiah chapter 9 has the phrase, "His Hand is Still Stretched Out" in verses 12, 17 and 21. Thorns appear in verse 18: For wickedness burns like a fire, it consumes briars and thorns, it even sets the thickets of the forest aflame, and they roll upward in a column of smoke. Isaiah 9 is heavy with foreshadowings of the coming Messiah Jesus. And Isaiah 10:4 has the last of the five "His Hand is Still Stretched Out" and thorns in verse 17: And the Light of Israel will become a fire and His Holy One a flame, and it will burn and devour his thorns and his briars in a single day.

Great imagery, eh?? Too delicious.

Here are the other thorns references in Isaiah:

Isaiah 27:4
Isaiah 32:13
Isaiah 33:12
Isaiah 34:13

These speak of sad judgment, desolation, abandoned places. But, in the last of the Isaiah thorn references, promise that all will be restored:

Isaiah 55:13 Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, and instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, and it will be a memorial to the Lord, for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.

The next verse gives us our marching orders: Thus says the Lord: Preserve justice, and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come and My righteousness to be revealed. How blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who takes hold of it, who keeps from profaning the sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil. Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, "The Lord will surely separate me from His people." Neither let the eunuch say, "Behold, I am a dry tree." For thus says the LORD: To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, to them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, and a name better than that of sons and daughters, I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off. Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath, and holds fast My covenant, even those I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer....

And I know that eunuch in the New Testament was found reading Isaiah, but couldn't it refer to any childless this side of heaven? And another of my favorite phrases---cling, hold fast--precious to a mom who once had a clinging vine named Ben.

A Riddle and A Proverb or Two

Second Kings 14:9 And Jehoash king of Israel sent to Amaziah king of Judah, saying: "The thorn bush which was in Lebanon sent to the cedar which was in Lebanon, saying, 'Give your daughter to my son in marriage.' But there passed by a wild beast that was in Lebanon, and trampled the thorn bush.

Proverbs 15:19 The way of the sluggard is as a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway.

Proverbs 22:5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse, He who guards himself will be far from them.

(why does the victim mentality jump out at me from those two proverbs?)

Proverbs 26:9 Like a thorn which falls into the hand of a drunkard, so is a proverb in the mouth of fools.

(Again, is it just me or God's sense of humor---when was the last time a thorn just fell into your hand??)

Song of Solomon 2:2 Like a lily among the thorns, so is my darling among the maidens.

(beautiful? arresting? prickly? Or, as the Veggie Tales might say, "sounds sticky". And here at Easter, none of those Easter lilies had thorns...could this be a foreshadowing?)

More About Thorns

Genesis 3:17 Then to Adam He (God) said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it', Cursed is the ground because of you, in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both THORNS and thistles it shall grow for you, and you shall eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken, for you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

I am not a plant expert, but thorn bushes are mentioned in the Bible. Plant experts would probably tell us that bushes that sport thorns do so to discourage animals from eating their leaves. Thorns are a defense mechanism, right? The next mention of thorns in the Bible reveals their highly combustible nature:

Exodus 22:6 If a fire breaks out and spreads to thorn bushes, so that stacked grain or the standing grain or the field itself is consumed, he who started the fire shall surely make restitution.

The fire might be used to get rid of thorns, but got out of hand?

The next mention of thorns in Numbers 33:55 uses the phrase thorn in your side---as Christians, the picture that springs to mind is Jesus pierced on the cross. A soldier thrust a spear into Jesus' side revealing that Jesus was already dead because out came blood and water, the blood had started separating.

Just before Joshua died, he warned in the book of Joshua chapter 23 that: The Lord has driven out great and strong nations from before you...for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, just as He promised you. So take diligent heed to yourselves to love the Lord your God. For IF you ever go back and cling to the rest of these nations, these which remain among you and intermarry with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, know with certainty that the Lord your God will NOT continue to drive these nations out from before you, but they shall be a snare and a trap to you, and a whip on your sides and THORNS in your eyes, until you perish from off this good land which the Lord your God has given you. Now behold, today I am going the way of all the earth...

Again, this double meaning for us looking back to the cross, for those thorns in that crown shoved down on Jesus' skull got dangerously close to His eyes. And it points to how in control Jesus was at His death. None of His bones were broken. None of His eyes were poked out. The very thorns He created were used to pierce His brow. And the Joshua account even foreshadows the whips that flayed Jesus' back of skin. The Roman cat-of-nine tails had a tendency to rip skin and muscles out of the back. Jesus took what we deserved. And stayed alive to be nailed to the cross--another tree.

Whoa--this is too much---the dying words of King David in 2 Samuel 23 verses 1-7 includes this theme, this connection with thorns and a spear and I don't think David knew he was foreshadowing the Cross.

2 Samuel 23:1-7 Now these are the last words of David. David the son of Jesse declares, and the man who was raised on high declares, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue. The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spoke to me, "he who rules over men righteously, who rules in the fear of God, is as the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, when the tender grass springs out of the earth, through sunshine after rain.' Truly is not my house so with God? For He has made an everlasting covenant with me, ordered in all things, and secured, for all my salvation and all my desire, will He not indeed make it grow? But the worthless, every one of them will be thrust away like THORNS, because they cannot be taken in hand; but the man who touches them must be armed with iron and the shaft of a spear, and they will be completely burned with fire in their place.

Do you suppose David wondered at these last words? The phrase near the beginning, "and the man who was raised on high declares.." what or who?? I see Jesus raised on high on the cross, and now resurrected on high at the right Hand of God, don't you?

And Jesus made it possible for the worthless to be given eternal life. Remember how Jesus was nailed to the cross, His Hands unable to remove the crown of thorns pressed into his skull? Look again at verses six and seven: "But the worthless, every one of them will be thrust away like thorns, because they cannot be taken in hand; but the man who touches them must be armed with iron and the shaft of a spear, and they will be completely burned with fire in their place."

Is this verse telling us of the future? That the soldier who thrust the spear in Jesus' side will also remove the crown of thorns and burn it with fire? Or is this talking about the future of the enemy who gathers at the last battle to try and wipe Israel off the map? Maybe both.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Thorn Connection

(Stephen is speaking) Acts 7:30 And after forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning THORN bush. And when Moses saw it, be began to marvel at the sight, and as he approached to look more closely, there came the voice of the Lord: I AM the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. And Moses shook with fear and would not venture to look. But the Lord said to Him: Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is Holy Ground. I have certainly seen the oppression of My people in Egypt, and have heard their groans and I have come down to deliver them, come now, and I will send you to Egypt. This Moses whom they disowned, saying, 'Who made you a ruler and a judge?' is the one whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the THORN bush. This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and in the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel: God shall raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren.

Matthew 27:29
And after weaving a crown of THORNS, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand, and they kneeled down before Him and mocked Him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!"

Choose Life

Deuteronomy 30:11-20 This command that I give you today is certainly not too difficult or beyond your reach. It is not in heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will go up to heaven, get it for us, and proclaim it to us so that we may follow it?" And it is not across the sea, so that you have to ask, "Who will cross the sea, get it for us, and proclaim it to us so that we may follow it?" But the message is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, so that you may follow it. See, today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and adversity. For I am commanding you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commands, statutes, and ordinances, so that you may live and multiply, and the Lord you God may bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you do not listen and you are lead astray to bow down to other gods and worship them, I tell you today that you will certainly perish and will not live long in the land you are entering to possess across the Jordan. I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. CHOOSE LIFE so that you and your descendants may live, love the Lord your God, obey Him, and remain faithful to Him. For He is your life, and He will prolong your life in the land the Lord swore to give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Book Report

Sabina Wurmbrand and her husband Pastor Richard Wurmbrand survived World War II and the Nazis only to be imprisoned under communism when Romania fell. Sabina's book: THE PASTOR'S WIFE is an awesome story of how she endured years of prison, separation from her husband and son, and the torture she endured in prison after prison.

As the back jacket states: "In 1949, when Soviet propaganda was asserting that free Christian worship was being tolerated behind the Iron Curtain, the Communists arrested Pastor Richard Wurmrand in Rumania for secret Christian activities. THE PASTOR'S WIFE is Sabina Wurmbrand's true story of her efforts to get her husband released, her subsequent imprisonment, and above all, her unceasing efforts to help build a Christian underground church in restricted areas around the world. For the truth is that the Communists to this day cannot tolerate genuine Christianity, and are still excuting or imprisoning underground Christians."

Even after she was released from prison, her husband's torturers tried to get her to sign a petition of divorce so as to break her husband's spirit. She refused. And knew by this that he was alive.

The most interesting page to me was page 175 where she talks about how she coped with the years of torture, separation from her husband, wondering about her son (age five when she was thrown in prison):

"Little by little, Mihai got me to talk. When he learnt how we'd been beaten, or forced to eat grass to stay alive, he asked: How could you bear all this without giving way and denying Christ? I answered by telling him a peculiarity in the Hebrew language. In Hebrew, amazingly some future events are descried in the perfect tense. Now the perfect tense is so called because it refers to actions completed, perfected, at the time of speaking. So, in the great 53rd chapter of Isaiah which foretells of the coming of the Messiah and His sufferings, the writer speaks of these events as belonging to the past, not the future. Yet the words were written 800 years before the coming of Christ. When Jesus read the prediction of His heavy sufferings, they had already begun. He was then rejected and despised of men. It was His present, and His future. But He read of them in Hebrew as if they's happened in the past. Now that is exactly how I felt in the midst of suffering, I tried to explain: Joy is the everlasting present of the Christian spirit. I was in a heavenly place from which no one could move me. Where was the affliction through which I passed? To that most inviolable part of my mind, it belonged to the past. I lived the suffering long ago, while the present reality was delight in the closeness of the Lord. This certainty that it had already happened saved me. Catastrophes come to us all, but once they're over, they're done with. That is taught in this oddity of Hebrew. We experience now past dramas. Years later, I discussed this with Richard. In solitary confinement he said, he had felt the same thing in exactly the same way..."

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Warning: Grannie Gushing

Grandbabies are the best !!!

We only have one so far, but what fun ! It was so great to get to drive two days to get to see THE grandbaby and this new cute stage of fourteen months. She practiced walking and jabbering. We distinctly heard "gig'em" in a string of syllables.

And ah, the cutest expressions best seen in person that still camera shots just cannot catch: she closes her eyes and turns her head just like a little princess. Too cute. And she is so giving. She shares her food, her toys, and if she finds a dust bunny, she promptly turns around and gives it to you, too !

I think the stairs are off limits. A big no-no. But, she would giggle and slip away from her toys and crawl toward the forbidden for some stair climbing practice. GrandDad tried to show her how to descend safely, but she still likes to stand at the top and lunge into your arms as she is so trusting that you will catch her.

We had a grand time. It was THE BEST vacation.

I can't say I am impressed with Arkansas. Are those rice fields all flooded with the engine at the corner of the fields?? Tennessee did not seem that welcoming, either with nary a rest stop in the mountains nor a scenic overlook. I sure enjoyed the double showers at the Sleep Inns. And the pool and hot tub at the Country Suites.

Dr. Seuss clouds

On our road trip to Ohio to see THE grandbaby we saw these strange clouds shaped like Dr. Seuss illustrations in kentucky. I think they were ahead of the bad storms that dumped all that rain on Missouri and Ohio. The clouds had these pointy shapes and elongated bodies that reminded me of the characters in Dr. Seuss books, like The Cat in the Hat and One Fish, Two Fish and Green Eggs and Ham. I wonder if Dr. Seuss saw such clouds and decided to draw them as his characters, or if it was just a happy coincidence??

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Going to see the Grandbaby !

Spring Break. Going to see the Grandbaby. Will be on the lookout for blog fodder along the way.

We have been listening to the space walk this evening as we pack and play one last game of Scrabble.

Younger sons made it okay on the first leg of their journey to Colorado to go skiing. The first time for them.

I think its funny when folks list their music on their websites. We don't have an i-poddy, but here are some CDs we will be feeding into the CD player onboard:

Saviour (with Wintley Phipps, Larnelle Harris)
Gladiator Sound Track
Prince of Egypt
David Phelps

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Gotta Blog

Gotta Blog. Gotta Blog, Gotta Blog, Gotta Blog.

I am a mom. A stay-at-home mom. Except when I need groceries, and to mail a package. Then I venture out. I drive slowly. I notice the blooming trees. I drive carefully, trying not to tick off the rest of the population who are all obviously going to a fire. I watch out for those who mumble to themselves while driving, yakking on a cell phone.

I don't usually use the other post office, but it was on the way to the grocery store du jour. My package was all stamped and ready to go. I turned right on the street to the post office and glanced ahead to the drive of the post office and drive up boxes, and noticed a man in a dualie struggling to turn it around and exit the drive I was approaching. Those double-wide huge pick up trucks with two back wheels on each side, and a long, long frame---he needed a huge turning ratio. So, I slowed. I hung back and gave him a healthy, respectful distance. The driver was doing his best to back and quickly swing it around. I don't know if he just is not used to courtesy or what, but, (and I am still blown away by what he did next) HE BLEW ME A KISS !!!!!!!!

WoW. In this world where most folks will flip you their middle finger, or frown or sneer or shake their head at my pokey driving, this gentleman in baseball cap and so busy he had not been by the barber in a while---this gentleman BLEW ME A KISS !!! How awesome is that??!! How often does that happen in this day of gloom and doom, and strangers, and suspicious persons, and recession, and high gas prices, and chin hairs?? It made my day. Made my heart soar. I wanted to burst out crying. But, I dutifully waved, and pushed my package into the box, and drove on down the road to Tom Thumb, where the folks are friendly, and the checker seems to care that I found everything. And where I have somehow made some magic list so that I don't have to pull out my drivers license and give a blood sample.

He blew me a kiss. The kind I give my boys, and my husband as they drive away. The kind I give my nephews, and niece. His momma raised him right. Wow.

How often do my sons blow someone a kiss in traffic?? Not in sarcasm nor criticism of their driving, nor in flirting---but just to make someones day. Did I raise my sons right? To be thoughtful and kind to some old gray-haired lady who once drove a tractor on a farm, and knows to give big vehicles a wide berth.

Bless him, Lord. Thank you for that wonderful gesture that we need more of these days. I would not have been out and about if it had not been for my son wanting to feed his buddies for lunch today before they practice and drill at the park. I am so glad my son wants to invite his Army buddies home for lunch. These days are numbered. My son's orders read May 18th. Mother's Day this year means a college graduate, and newly commissioned Army second lieutenant, and much celebration with friends and family. But Mother's Day also brings this year an empty nest.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cats and the View Outside My Window

What is it with the cats this time of year? Rain or fog or bright spring day, the male cats have decided my backyard is a good place to mark their territory, bask in the sun, have standoffs and stare downs with other male cats, and woo the lady cats from next door. Our cat stays inside because she is fixed and hates other cats and there is way too much drama going on out there. Even when she thinks she wants out and gets all pitiful by the door, one dash outside and she wants back in.

One majestic male, we named Phantom of the Opera because of the markings on his face. He is dressed in a brown tuxedo, too. He seems to score the most hits when you view the kittens from next door. A new black male has ventured into the yard. Sleek. Easily hidden in the shadows, but I could tell form Phantom's body language that there was another male around. The striped bushy tailed brown brother of the prolific patches kitty watches from our front yard shade. Patches, the momma, also has a few daughters from last year's litter that patrol the yard. One unfortunately has a Hitler-mustache face. Another has the Boy Scout mark in grey on her long haired white coat. Rare are the glimpses of the third one that I think the neighbors call, Cookie.

I wonder if all the males take time out of their love making to hunt mice and rats?

I have to keep the garage doors shut because the neighborhood cats love to mark inside the garage. And I don't dare leave lawn furniture out on the patio. A bag of fancy cat litter sitting open in the garage helps keep it smelling sweet just in case.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Motherhood and My Faith

I was saved when I was ten years old. We lived in Rochester, Illinois at the time, and my Dad had had a dramatic conversion after an encounter with a tract-giving Christian on a corner in Springfield, Illinois. My Dad was fetching medicine for my little brother. He came home and threw away the keg of beer in the frig. He told us about talking with this man on a street corner in Springfield, and how the man helped him look up a church and when my Dad took us by the little Baptist church to talk to the pastor, the pastor's wife explained The Gospel to me and my sister. She explained how Jesus had died on the cross for my sins, and by trusting in Jesus, I could receive eternal life and spend eternity in heaven forever.

I believed. Jesus did all the work of salvation on the cross, and The Gospel is that good news, and a free gift.

Even as a small child on a trike, I had had that bad dream of hell fire on the other side of a fence, and the very real fear of that fire. I did not want to go to Hell. And I knew I was a sinner. My Dad's dad had had to point out to me often not to be mean to my sister. And my momma had to tell me often not to be sassy.

Our family started attending that little Baptist church and I started a life-long adventure of learning about God from His Precious Word, the Bible. Throughout the rest of my childhood and teenage years, our family moved every few years, but we always found a church that taught the Bible. During one move to a little town called Monticello in Illinois my freshman year of high school, we had trouble with the emphasis at the two churches in Monticello. And my Dad started listening to the tapes from a church in Houston. We visited that church and moved to Houston my sophomore year, and there is where I met my husband. While my husband and I did not write and date very long before getting married, because we had that foundation of having learned the Bible and how important it was to not just eat nutritious food every day, but feed on God's Word everyday, we had the wonderful foundation for a good and long marriage.

When our pastor encouraged us to love God, there was a time when I was newly married, that I listened and learned, but fell short in the loving God part. I was angry at God. Angry that God allowed evil and injustice, and suffering. And as a new mom, it made no sense to me that God could not get his creatures to get along better, as a mom that controls her toddlers. Why couldn't God reach down and prevent calamities between people, and natural disasters?? And when it came time to teach my sons a love of God and a love of learning His Word, I discovered I could not teach what I did not have.

With much soul searching, and prayer, and journaling and good counsel from my patient husband, and mostly admitting to God that I was mad at Him, and how stupid was that, would He please remove my pride and anger and give me His supernatural love?? God answers that prayer daily. Whenever I ask.

Sometimes I am slow to realize I am angry. Sometimes when dear husband points it out, I am still slow to let go and ask God for help. I can't remove it on my own. And the anger becomes a plug that blocks all peace and contentment and thankfulness. When I cannot sing--sometimes that is a sign.

So, I think God used motherhood to bring me back. And help me grow as a person. God created motherhood. And helps me do this life-long job.

I can't wait to learn in heaven-home just how moms throughout the ages have done this job. Starting with Eve, and to the end of the book of Revelation, the profession of mom is how God designed order, stability, and the protection of children. God gave us this gift of mothering which includes nurturing, teaching, training, watching over, and encouraging a baby into toddlerhood and small child into adulthood. As we release our hold, and present grown productive citizens into society, as we teach and encourage younger moms to love their husbands and love their children, our jobs never end. We get to love and persevere until the end.

Thank You, God for the gift and job of motherhood.


Thirty years ago, we got married. Twenty-seven years ago, I entered motherhood. And I am convinced that once a mom, always a mom. Motherhood is such a hands on job, and while I had great teachers, I enjoyed reading everything I could about the subject.

I have been labeled a very overprotective mom. Call me worst-case-scenerio mom. Its a badge I wear with honor. Its a compliment. While my three boys suffered the usual ear infections, and broken bones from climbing---one on Ronald McDonald, and on a jungle gym (no longer found on most playgrounds)--one off a swing at the park, one off a junior bed, one off a chair at Sunday School, one off a swing at camp. I only remember one trip to the emergency room for stitches, when the youngest was horsing around in the youth Sunday School room with a board, a table and a girl.

Even without children in residence or underfoot, I now view the whole world through the eyes of a mom. It is like we are issued the eyes of a mom when the sperm and egg are joined at conception. Maybe the eyes of a mom develop with baby dolls, and babysitting. And I did lots and lots of babysitting. First, with my younger brothers, then neighborhood children at fifty cents and hour, and even after I had a job as an orthodontist assistant, I babysat for my bosses' children.

Even during those babysitting days, little boys were easier to babysit. They entertained themselves pretty well with toy cars and tools. Baby girls were different. Little girls like to talk.

And while other people's children's diapers could make me gag, once I had my own, there was nothing gross or too hard to do. I was not raised around bugs--roaches, in particular. But, the south has an overabundance, and before kids, I would scream like a girl when confronted by a "water bug" (roach big enough to ride). But, after my firstborn was in my arms, I could stomp cockroaches like a pro. The mother hen in me rose up to protect my baby. And that mother hen in me has never left.

I wear my now grown sons out with admonishments to wear a hat, and "don't forget your coat" and "did you close and lock the front door?" My mother trained me well. Most illness can be traced back to a problem with elimination. And low-flow toilets don't help big boys and their big boy poops. Fiber is our friend. Are you drinking enough water???

Anita Renfroe did a great rendition of what all a mom says in the course of a day set to the tune of the William Tell overture. So many of my phrases will resound through my sons brains for years to come--and hopefully said unto their dear children, or discarded as no longer applicable as they study the latest in science and health.

Mom is a verb. It is what we do. It is how we think. It is my signature. I will step in if I sense a child in danger. For instance, at a store, if there is an unaccompanied child...look out.

When I worked in the lunchroom at my sons' elementary school for a few years, it seemed so natural to perform the Heimlich maneuver on a boy choking on a piece of Halloween candy. I had read about it, and with the literature also warned how it sometimes causes the child to throw up. The school nurse was so impressed that she contacted the newspapers and city hall. I was just being a mom.

Motherhood also brought me back to my faith. More about that next post.

FOG and Shuttle Launch


Heavy fog this morning.
Slow to burn off.
Causing traffic delays.
A cloud come down.

The Shuttle took off sometime after midnight. Past my bedtime, but NASA TV online is running the highlights at the top of each hour, so I have watched the liftoff a few times. I love watching NASA coverage of a shuttle flight. And this is a nice, long 17 day mission. Yipeee ! Seven guys packed inside Endeavour. Seven guys enjoyed a bone jarring ride into space. Fun. And Wednesday morning, March 19th, we could stand outside, if the weather is clear, and watch ISS and the shuttle on an overhead pass at 6:42am, and before that, the ATV at 6:38am. Better pass watchings Thursday March 20 and Saturday, March 22 as those passes will be directly overhead.

I am sure the neighbors wonder about us as we stand around before dawn or just at dark watching what looks like a star floating by overhead. If you did not know what you were looking at, you might think it was just an airplane, but it does not blink, and has no read or green wingtip lights. It resembles a star.

I wonder what it looked like this morning on the east coast as the shuttle blasted off. How many called 911 not knowing there was a liftoff scheduled? It was the first night liftoff in a long time. Anybody see it?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Time for a new Scrabble Dictionary

Time for a new Scrabble be printed, that is.

Words found in the old King James should be included, in my opinion. Words found in any hymnal should also be included. And the new computer terms, like "email" and "blog".

Come on, Milton Bradley Company. It's been since 1995 and that is over thirteen years now. An online version would be nice, as we could use the computer for a reference most games.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Shout it from the Rooftops

Shout it from the rooftops. If you need bifocals, like I do, and have trouble reading small font, just press the control key (Ctrl) and the plus sign (+) key and keep pressing until it is the size you want. Wow. Thank you, thank you to the military blogger who had the tip in his sidebar !!! Now I can read anything !!!!!!!!!!!! Yippee!!!!

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Senses

Genesis 8:21-22 And the LORD smelled the soothing aroma and the LORD said to Himself:

I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth, and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest and cold and heat and summer and winter, and day and not SHALL NOT CEASE.

And God blessed Noah and his sons and said: Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.
Our marching orders---and our hope. Be good stewards of the earth, God said, but even FILLED with people, we cannot hurt the climate. The recent attacks on people by the eco-terrorists is an attack on God and His plan. And even knowing that our hearts are evil, God blessed them and sent them forth. I'd love for Him to come back and set everything right, remove suffering, and save His special people, but God's timing is best. And I love the emphasis in this passage on God's senses---and the wonderful senses He gave us that reflect His own. For He created us in His image.

The sense of smell, touch, hearing, sight, tasting...and His sense of humor.

God's plan is so clear---you can eat anything, but not while it is alive. And don't eat blood. And no murder. Respect life. I wish the arabs understood that one.

Monday, March 3, 2008

What are the Odds?? (update on the violets story)

What are the odds?? To be thinking about a dear lady that gave me the violets for our yard, transplants from her yard, and then to have her call after years and years?? What are the odds? When she called, I was able to say, I was just thinking about you this morning---when I wrote about the violets. So good to get caught up on her news. Being 82 is no picnic, but she is aging with grace and good cheer. What a fantastic attitude even though she cannot see nor read.

Over seventeen years ago, to be given the gift of some purple violet plants and the love and encouragement to keep them wet and how they loved shade, not to worry. Even with the expansion of the front patio, and addition of the brick walk (curved, by the way--on purpose, much to the chagrin of our young sons at the time). I usually take pictures of the blooms to send to my grandpa to encourage him that spring is on the way. And before that--to grandma, but now they are both gone, and I remembered this year that I would not need to take a picture of them.

Thank you, Sue for the gift of those violets. And for your friendship down through the years. We'd lost touch for a few years when her granddaughter moved in with her, and then she sold her house. I am so glad she is doing well. And now that I know she lives close by---I can't wait to visit and give her a hug. Such friends give me real hope that we can age gracefully. And persevere to the end with a keen mind and a great mental attitude.

I don't think odds had anything to do with it at all---I think it was GOD all along. Thank you, Dear Heavenly Father, for these nudges and broad hints, that You are in control of history, and on Your Throne. And for how much You love us and care for us with these gifts of friendship. What a wonderful taste of heaven where we will all catch up on each others' news, eh?


My husband loves to play Scrabble. I think the game was one of our first purchases as a newly married couple. I enjoy playing the game as long as I can make big words. And since my husband is so much better at it, he allows me to use more tiles so that I can give him some competition. We also use the Scrabble dictionary. And we trade out the blanks. I am not allowed to "bingo" but my husband usually bingoes at least once or twice a game. I recently had the opportunity to triple-triple: Laying an eight-letter word on the triple squares that are only found on the edge of the board.

I got stuck with the letter, Q early on in the game, and it took a while to draw the needed "U" or blank. Then the letters appeared where I could spell, "QUIXOTIC" but there are not many opportunities to add a "C" to join another word and build off it in order to play. That is when I noticed the word, "QUIXOTRY" in the Scrabble dictionary. And dear husband covered one opportunity on the right edge, but when I played a throw away hand to set up the bottom edge, he saw through my deviousness, but relented and did not block me again.

My husband was able to lay a triple-triple the next game with the word, "SECTIONED" using two blanks, and because he not only triple-tripled, but bingoed, he was one happy camper !

Since our kids are grown, it is safe to leave the game out on the coffee table for all to see, admire, and tempt for another game. When the youth pastor agreed to come home with our son a week ago for an impromptu supper, as I threw supper in the microwave, I asked Bob to make the bed, and scan the Scrabble board for naughty words.

I want to always remember how one time our son played the word, LINGERIE, and we did not even realize he could spell it, let along know what it means. We still laugh about that one.

QUIXOTRY gave me 252 points for that one play. I don't often play that much for a whole game. We have begun saving our score sheets, and have a years worth now. And although the weather was beautiful on Saturday, I think we played three games. And set a candle going in case we needed it during the storms yesterday as we played a few more.

Our Scrabble addiction has overflowed into other areas of our lives. When driving around, we amuse ourselves with word possibilities on Texas license plates.

Texas Independence Day 2008

I was born in Illinois. I learned the state song, and my favorite place in Illinois was my grandparents' farm. And while we were taught all about Lincoln and how Illinois was settled, there was not the sovereign statehood that is Texas.

When my family moved to Houston when I was in high school, we soon learned the pride, the size, the variety, and all that means Texas. Since Texas was its own country for ten years, and since Texas was violently wrenched and painfully purchased with the blood of patriots, Texas celebrates its independence each year on March 2nd with reverence and awe. The Alamo is mourned, and the Battle of San Jacinto celebrated.

I am one of those yankees who got here as fast as I could. And since I have married a Texan and given birth to three Texans, my heart is here. Texas is where I learned to drive. Texas is where I have been married for almost thirty years.

But, the transplanted Illinois state flowers---the purple wood violets in my yard decide to bloom in what is now our Texas spring. Over the years, the birds gave me the hardier white variety of the violets. And I baby the patch of violets by the front door by watering them and keeping them free of the oak leaves. In the independent irony that is Texas, the lone plants sprinkled throughout the yard that don't get babied are the ones that bloomed first. A white flower with a tinge of purple--in the rock walls precariously perched yet hardy as all get out. White blooms kissed with purple over by the tree. I wondered if the patch I baby were ever going to bloom. I think they were shamed into it.

Happy Birthday Texas. The Lone Star State. And by-thy-rivers-gently-flowing, Illinois, Illinois--soon your purple violets will be blooming. Spring is coming. The robins migrate through here and chose to stay up there. I think I saw one today.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Welcome to the World Ava

Yesterday, I got to hold a brand new baby girl. Her name is Ava. She is beautiful. She has this beautifully sculpted nose, (unlike my babies' pug noses) and she looks so peaceful and serene when she is sleeping. But, when a gas bubble dares to interrupt her dreams...storm clouds gather on her forehead. I had never seen anything like it. It was amazing. She is able to scrunch her little forehead into cumulus frownicus. But, the clouds pass quickly, and then all is serene again.

Woe unto our horrid health care system that makes a mom drive fifty miles from her home to the nearest doctor and hospital that accepts disabled veterans insurance.

Woe and curses on a hospital in Dallas that separates a new mom from her healthy baby in order to receive their extra funds in some bureaucratic nightmare.

Woe and curses heaped upon the head of a hospital and doctor who thinks more of getting their money than the bonding of a family.

I'd like to see some rich congresswoman who recently gave birth to go home without her new healthy baby girl, lactating and postpartum depression and screaming, three year old who did not understand why they did not get to take her new sister home from the hospital like all the adults in her life promised.

Let the world know that Renaissance Hospital at 2929 South Hampton Road in Dallas, Texas just defined the new meaning of CRUEL. I will bad mouth them to everyone I know. Sad, because they looked clean, and seemed friendly. But, what they did to Ava and her family is UNFORGIVABLE. They can not give Ava back that day of bonding with her family. They cannot take away the nightmares they caused to all concerned.

I am ashamed of how our veterans return having served honorably, and bearing permanent scars and pain, are treated. These men have a terrible time getting insurance coverage for their families. And when they try to work with the system, they are used and abused and lied to. Hospital policy my ***.

This is why we must elect a president that will honor our military. Send them on missions they can win with all the equipment and resources they need. And take care of their families back home. And when injured, provide medical care as good or better than the congressmen who send them into harms way.