Friday, April 30, 2010

Today...

I want to introduce you to one of the most interesting (and fun) people I know, our nephew Justin (Sam's sister's son).

He's traveled the world. And he video-documents it.
His most recent documentary was made for the International Medical Relief organization, as they went to Haiti to help there.
It's wonderful. It isn't too long (less than 20 minutes) and so worth the watch. I hope you take the time to view it. Click HERE to do so.
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Here's Justin with his precious wife, Amber....

For this next picture I'll copy and paste what Amber wrote on Facebook....
Justin and I just bought our first home. We live where we're parked.
Yes, they live 'outside the box'.
How great is that?


Here are some more pictures of Justin...



And my favorite.....
(Thanks, Justin, for letting me 'borrow' all these pics from Facebook!)

(Blog reader, don't forget to watch that video. You won't regret it!)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wandom Wednesday...

... or you could say, Random Rednesday...

Here I am with Sawyer...

Here he is with his mom, Caroline...

Here is Will with little Caroline...

Here is little Caroline with her mom and brother...
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Here's a quote I like (from an unlikely source):
“It's very hard to be unhappy when you're curious and grateful.”
-Liza Minnelli
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Now for fun, here are a few actual announcements from church bulletins:

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.

Don't let worry kill you -- let the church help.

For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

Next Sunday a special collection will be taken to defray the cost of the new carpet. All those wishing to do something on the new carpet will come forward and do so.

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.


(Those gave me a laugh.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

No pancakes . . .

On Saturday my mom and I went to the annual Decoration Day at the Colfax cemetery in east Texas. That's the cemetery where my dad and my sister, and all of my dad's folks are buried.
The Colfax Methodist church always has a pancake breakfast the morning of. The pancakes and homemade syrup are out-of-this-world delicious. I even took a picture of my mostly-eaten ones last year....
I can tell I shouldn't have put that picture up.... it makes my mouth water too much.

Mother and I stayed the Friday night before at a hotel in Canton. We got up, eager to overeat some pancakes. On the way to the breakfast we noticed lots of limbs down. Neither one of us had heard the storm during the night, but sure saw the tell-tale signs.

When we drove up to the church we noticed there weren't very many cars. And one of the main cooks (Mr. Getty) was outside talking on his cell phone. He should be in there cooking, I thought.

Then we learned the truth: No electricity... which meant NO PANCAKES.

It took me a few minutes to get over the grief.

Fortunately there was a bake sale (with goodies brought the night before), so Mother and I bought two apricot bars and ate those with some coffee someone had brought from their home. The few of us in the fellowship hall comforted each other saying that surely next year we'll have electricity.
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After that we put the flowers on the grave sites... and saw some kinfolk and visited with them for a bit.
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On the way home we stopped at some antique shops in Forney.
I'm thinking that one named De Ridder shouldn't be called an antique shop... but a WEIRD shop....
Ooo, it looks as if Mother barely escaped disaster!

Oh, and the Blues Brothers were there......though I couldn't hear them.
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All in all it was a good day... after I got over the pancake letdown.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday morning....

Lionel Richie has a song called "Easy" and its main line is "I'm easy like Sunday morning".
Ha. Every time I used to hear that song I'd think 'that man doesn't go to church. If he did he'd written the words "I'm easy like Saturday morning." or "I'm easy like my day-off morning." '

Where am I going with this?

Well, I used to envy Lionel and his song. I mean, imagine staying home from church ... and just relaxing... (and not feeling guilty about it).

Then came a few years ago. . . when I started realizing just how much of my Christianity was done out of duty. And duty can lead to major burnout ... which it did. And that lead to understanding why I envied Lionel and his song so much.

Why am I saying all of this?

Well, recently I got to thinking about a few years ago, when I got on the slippery slope of doing everything out of duty and obligation, instead of love, and just started getting so tired of everything Christian (which is bad when you're the preacher's wife!) ...and how one day my pastor/husband and I sat down and I voiced my yucks about all the stuff that went into church life.
Whoa. He didn't give me a sermon (which I would have inwardly rolled my eyes at). He DID get the Bible out and pointed to Galatians 5:1 -- It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Then he said, "Nancy, why don't you quit everything. Stop going to church. Quit reading your Bible. You're free."

Whoa.

Well, long story short, I didn't quit church completely.... but I did quit being everybody's everything there. .... and I FOUND MYSELF. ... and GOD AGAIN. And it wasn't just out of doing stuff so God wouldn't not like me.

Now I love Sunday mornings at church.

Oh they're not 'easy' like Saturday mornings.
But they're WONDERFUL.

Lesson to me: if my walk with Christ becomes a burden, well, then I'm no longer walking with Christ, I'm walking in bondage.

That's my sermon for this Sunday morning.

Now I'll get ready for church!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fun Fotos for Friday....











Sorry I didn't tell you who all these people are...

The last three pictures, though, are of when little Lewis came 'home' to his two sisters... and that's his 'Gigi' holding him in the last picture. (Gigi is Pat, Sam's sister, and one of my very best friends.)

[All those photos bring back good memories.]
[I like good memories.]

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Oklahoma...


...where the wind comes sweeping down the plain....

was beautiful today!

As you may (or may not) know, Sam and I go north of the Red River every month for our business meetings in Oklahoma City.

The drive home today was particularly pretty... with all of those Indian Paintbrush. (That's my favorite wildflower.)

Oh, and here is a picture on I35 going south, just north of the Turner Falls area....
[That picture doesn't quite capture the beauty I experienced when I snapped it.]

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I had my camera ready also yesterday on the way INTO 'The City'...

I have become a true fan of the Sooner State.
Well, my husband is an Okie, so there's that wonderfulness.
Oh, and my kids are, too (even MORE wonderfulness).
And I have found that MOST Okies are great folks. Down to earth. Real.
And much of the countryside is beautiful. The part that is not (southwest Oklahoma) is beautiful on the inside.

It's a good thing I like it...
tomorrow we go back...
to get Sam's laptop...
that he accidently left there.
(!!!)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

We don't need an electric vacuum cleaner...

...we have a live one....
... well, that's as long as what needs to be vacuumed up is edible.

(Shiloh always likes it when little Caroline and ESPECIALLY little Andrew come eat with us.)

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Speaking of edible, we've discovered a new great place to eat. Well, it's new to us. It's called OUR PLACE and it's on the northeast corner of Beach and Basswood in Keller (or Fort Worth, not sure) behind the Compass bank.
It's good homecookin', but it's only opened for breakfast and lunch.

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Speaking of eating... I found this picture that just makes my mouth water...That's my favorite dessert: cherry pie a la mode.

What's yours?
(Tell me by leaving a comment, okay? (On here or wherever.)

I mean, I really want to know.
(I may have you over for supper someday.)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Anticipation....

...is making me wait.

June is wedding month!

July is high school reunion month!

Here's where I grew up...
This means that when you say San Antonio is in SOUTH Texas, I say, 'NOT!!'

In the middle of July I'm going there ... to my 40th high school reunion.
!!!!!

I have never been to a high school reunion before. I've seen movies about them. Some were horror movies.
My former neighbor (in another neighborhood) had her teeth professionally whitened, lost ten pounds, and joined a tanning salon to get ready for her 20th. I thought that was kind of over the top. Now I'm not so sure.

Anyway, I'm REALLY looking forward to it.
Sam is going with me. :)

If you graduated from Mission High School in 1970, you had better sign up and GO!!!

This lady is the one who's putting it all together:She's Diana... and there is no better person to be in charge than Diana. (I've always adored her.)
(If I had pretty hair like hers, I wouldn't color mine either!)

Here is what she looked like when I knew her...(I used to have that hairdo, too.)

Oh, it's going to be fun!

... Oh, but I don't know what I'm going to wear...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ernestina...

I've been telling you this week about my twin's sickness and death. (This week marks 21 years since she died at the age of 37 in 1989.) (Now you know how old I am.)

Anyway, she had this nurse-type lady named Ernestina. She actually may have just been a maid or something else in that hospice facility. Anyway, Ernestina was a lot of fun.... bringing much needed lightheartedness into that place. She looked kind of like that lady to the left only she had short hair. (I'm all about visual aids if I can get them.)

One day while I was there she and Peggy were talking about life and death, and Peggy told her, "Ernestina, I want to see you in heaven someday!"
"Oh, Peggy, I don't know. I'm kind of a scoundrel. I'm sure God doesn't want me there." (something like that)
Peggy said something like, "Ha! You're exactly the kind of person God wants in heaven... the kind who thinks they don't belong there!"

Peggy proceeded to share some stuff about Jesus - and why us being scoundrels (and worse) is exactly why we need a savior. ... etc.

Anyway, I think that really affected Ernestina. It seemed to be a profound revelation to her.

Fast forward just 2 weeks... Ernestina died suddenly (brain aneurysm)!

Whoa.

Now let's REWIND about 2 months:

This is about 5 months before Peggy died, and 2 months (maybe) BEFORE she talked to Ernestina (who we thought was in perfect health).

Peggy, Jim (her husband) and I are in the little living room area of the hospice apartment. Peggy begins to rock back and forth - not in a rocking chair - but on the couch.
"What if," she begins, "it's all a crock, a lie? What if there's nothing to it?"
"To what?" I asked.
"To God, and Jesus, and heaven and stuff."
Jim says, "Peggy, you're a Christian, aren't you? You're going to heaven, of course. It's simple."
"Simple??!!! What if it's NOT?! What if what I've heard about all my life and believed in is just nothingness? An illusion? Fairy tale stuff?"

(I was so understanding her then, yes.)

So Peggy started worrying. Well, she'd worried before. But now she was talking about it.

I wish I could tell you the 'rest of the story' - and how Peggy got her faith back, and how she came to peace with knowing Jesus WAS her Savior, and gave her eternal life. - but I didn't know her inner mind - and how she came to peace ....but I KNOW that she did - because that bout with doubt ceased. She quit talking like that (though I think it was GOOD that she talked like that then, by the way (I think questioning is good.)) and talked just the opposite: how God was with her... and leading her home. And she was sharing her faith with not just Ernestina, but others.... many others... from that hospice apartment.

She was sharing her faith when she couldn't get out of the hospital bed in the bedroom... and when she couldn't even raise her head.

It was AMAZING.

Oh, she was human. (If anybody knew that, I did.) She'd get very sad - and sometimes mad - that her days were numbered. She'd get sad especially when she'd look at the picture of little Cap and Elizabeth. Yet she was a firm believer that she was going to where she was going.... and she wanted those around her to go too.....

And I know Ernestina is there with her.

I know it!

(What a great sister I had.)

(I hope this made sense - I wrote it kind of fast.
I'm going to hit 'Publish' now - and well, I hope you understand it.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I told you...

I told you yesterday that I would tell you today about what happened to me the morning of my twin sister's funeral (which was April 15, 1989).

Here's what happened:
We were staying in a hotel in Houston. I woke up and got ready. Then I woke up Sam.
"Why did you get up so early?" he asked.
"Well, the alarm went off." I replied.
Oops. We had mistakenly set the clock 2 hours early. The funeral was at 10 o'clock. I was going to get up at 8, but got up at 6.

So I had some time.

And I was feeling weird.

We had known for some time that Peggy's days were numbered, but I somehow wasn't ready.
I couldn't talk to her anymore.
Ugh.

I was sitting in a chair in the hotel room feeling weird.
I hadn't brought a book to read and I hadn't brought my Bible.
I grabbed the Gideon Bible that was in the drawer and just opened it. I wasn't really looking for anything. I mainly was just killing the weird time in which I found myself.

I randomly opened that Bible.
My eyes just fell on a verse and suddenly I felt like in a movie - when the room begins to go round and round, because something important is happening. (That happens in movies, right?)
Anyway, this is what I saw:
My breath is corrupt, my days are extinct, the graves are ready for me.
It was in Job, chapter 17, verse 1 (King James Version, since Gideon Bibles are only in the KJV).

Peggy's cancer had gone to her lungs and she was on a oxygen.... so her breath WAS corrupt.
Her days WERE extinct, and the grave WAS ready for her.... I mean, her funeral was THAT day. (She would be buried the next day in Colfax, TX, where all my dad's family is buried.)

I felt God hugging me that morning... though that sounds too flip, really.
I felt Him embracing me...profoundly.

Now, throughout Peggy's illness I (and she) had had moments of feeling particularly close to God. It really was uncanny how He made his presence known in all of our family's lives through that.

Still, that moment with Job 17:1 was amazing for me.
It gave me strength to go through the next few days...months, and years, even.

There's so much more to tell... about Peggy's days in the hospice facility, and her wonderful 'resignation' to her impending death.
There's also stuff to tell of well-meaning folks who came and told her if she had enough faith she would be up and out of that hospital bed. Oh brother. (Don't get me started.)

Well, in closing I WILL say that God DOES heal every disease..... except the last one.

(I will tell soon about Peggy's talking to a nurse named Ernestina ..... stay tuned.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Yesterday . . .

Yesterday was a good day.

I ate lunch and dinner with my dear niece Elizabeth and precious Caroline and Andrew.
We ate lunch at Central Market, where we got to eat outside and enjoy the great weather. (I had to take a picture, of course.)

Then last night we ate dinner here at our house. I call it 'dinner' but it was really 'supper'. We had Firehouse subs, chips and raw veggies. My kind of meal.

We were spending the day in remembrance of my sweet twin, and Elizabeth and Cap's mom, Peggy Jean. (I'm Nancy Jane.)

Here's a picture of her with Cap and Elizabeth back in 1982...Twenty one years ago yesterday Peggy died of breast cancer. She was diagnosed in 1984 when she was 32. Elizabeth was just two years old and Cap was almost four years old. Neither of them remember her as a well person. She died 4 1/2 years later.

Here are some lessons:
- Women: do self-exams, and get mammograms.
- Never assume that you're going to grow old.
- Tell people that you love them, as Peggy did - all the time.

There are more lessons... and I may write about them later.

One thing I will write about soon is what happened to me the morning of her funeral. I'll try and tell about that tomorrow.

In closing, here are pictures of Peggy and me in our younger days...

That last picture shows you that my mom has always been a beauty.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Everything changes . . .

The Texas Stadium is turning into dust.
Now this is dating me.
I went to the very first meeting in the Texas Stadium. It was the Billy Graham Crusade. The stadium wasn't even finished yet, but enough was done so that the first night of that crusade could be held.
I wish I could tell you that I was 2 years old at that meeting. Ha.

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Another change in my life: I joined a different church today .... It's a wonderful church. It's just not where most of my friends are.... so I'll be making some new friends. (But I'll keep the old!)Sam is now on staff at Fellowship of the Parks, though he'll make appearances at Bear Valley for different staff meetings.
(I wrote that last sentence in case you hadn't read it before in a previous post.)

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Another change: my mother has a new address!
(I write it here because some of my blog-readers need it.)
It's:
2712 Parkview Lane #1204
Bedford, TX 76022

This next picture is of Mother in her new living room. She's sitting in her rocking chair, though you can't see her well. I put this picture here for those of you who saw the apartment when she first moved in this past Monday. You (you know who you are) can tell here that she has made GREAT progress in unpacking.

This next picture is of her balcony/porch (that door leads to a nice storage area)...

And here is the view from that balcony....

I tell you, I'm ready to move into that nice place.
Oh my. The food is wonderful. The people are so friendly. And there are no weeds (that are my responsibility)!
What's not to love?!