Thursday, January 21, 2010

Stirrups!!! He's going to just LOVE this!

So I walk into the room and there's an examination table straight out of a horror movie in the room that Richard's about to walk into. Metal, no padding, very silver, and stirrups. I think to myself, "Oh, this is going to be interesting!" And I immediately text a friend - "There are stirrups on the table!!!"

Richard walks in and looks to his left and says, out loud, "Oh, this table doesn't look fun!" The nurse just giggles. I guess that's not the first time she's heard a man say that. She starts preparing the instruments the doctor is going to use to look into Richard's body. Richard looks at me and says, "Don't say a word! Can't believe I'm actually paying someone for this kind of excitement! MAN!" Richard plops up on the table, says something about it being cold.

The nurse comes back in and props up the leg rest, solid really cold metal, under his calves. I think he would have jumped off the table if he could have.

Well durn!!! She took one of the stirrups off. I was so looking forward to that part. She left one on, but hung a towel on it. I think Richard actually sighed in relief! Kind of an expensive towel rack, but my guess would be all this stuff was all paid for. Not exactly what I'd call state of the art, but functional.

I am looking around the room. I haven't found the tv screen yet. I don't understand how the doctor is going to look inside him just yet without a tv screen to see things on. I want to find the tv so I can watch. Not that I will have any clue of what I'm looking at, but I want to watch anyway. So now, I'm envisioning special eye glasses, a probe that hooks up to something the doctor puts on??? 3-D maybe. There are several things that she's laid out - long tube like things, one looks like a gun, and various small things here and there. There's a little square box, (no screen, I checked, just knobs) and an IV hookup next to it. I guess this could get serious.

So, I'm trying to mentally put everything together that I'm seeing laid out in my mind, trying to make it work. I know where the apparatus has to go in (NOT fun, I might add) and that means something has to be small - not locating that right off the bat. So, with what I've got to work with, the gadget in my head is NOT coming together to be pretty-but I'm not mechanically gifted at all.....but if I'm anywhere near right, this is going to hurt!

The doctor comes in, says things from the sample look much better than a week ago, but the sugar levels are so high, his "in office" machines can't measure them. Over 1,000. Now, I don't know what normal blood sugar levels in the urine are supposed to be, but a thousand is high for just about anything, right? This blood sugar thing is just a real pain.

The doctor starts to put the gadget together, and says something about not having light. Hmmm? Light? I didn't build light into what I was making in my head. Where would a light bulb go? The light bulb is burned out. So, the doctor leaves the room, mumbling something about being right back. Richard looks at me and says "Wonderful" and just lays there, all exposed. I don't say it, but I think, "Welcome to my world, buddy, and the world of just about every female on earth! Doctors have been smashing, probing, prodding, sewing, and pulling my female body parts for as long as I can remember." This would be a walk in the park for any normal, healthy woman, really.

The nurse comes in, changes the light bulb, and we are back in business! Ah!!! It's a telescope/microscope type thingy. The doctor looks in the end of it while working the probe around!

"He's looking at the stars in Richard's body!" I think to myself. I smile, kind of funny.

The doctor looks around and looks at me. "Do you see that box? Will you turn that knob for me?" he asks.

I know what box he's talking about. So, I look and reach for the knob.

"To the right, he instructs, "all the way..."

Now, this is going to sound cruel, but bear with me. This whole ordeal has taken its toll on Richard, but it's affected me, too. It has made me just all out mad during points of it because its made Richard just a tad gripey and I get the brunt of it! I haven't been able to do anything right since about the first of December and he's let me know it! Usually, he just keeps those type thoughts to himself, but not lately. I've known every little thing I've done wrong.

So here I sit, with a knob in my hand with a doctor telling me to turn it all the way up as high as it will go. Am I turning up some kind of shock wave that will pulsate in Richard's body? For a brief, fleeting second, I hope so!!! That will teach him, by golly!!! But then I hesitate, that might really hurt....see, I am compassionate, a little.

"All the way to the right," the doctor coaxes. Come to find out, its just the control to the brightness of the light. Well, blast it, I think for a second. I could have had some real fun with this little knob once it got inside!

So the doctor begins his journey into the inner workings of my husbands body. I really wish I could see what he's seeing in his mircrotelescope thingy bobber. Anyway, this must hurt because of the look that is on Richard's face. You usually don't see that look on a mans face without a ton of expletives coming out of his mouth at the same time that you can't understand, but you know pain is involved. This procedure was nice and invasive, I'd say. I do, ashamedly, find a little satisfaction in that.

The doctor talks as he works telling Richard when to breathe and relax. When he's done, he says everything looks great. Swelling is down and there are no signs of cancer. (Geez, I wish I'd known that earlier, but at least now I can sweep away the guilt I felt when I thought those mean thoughts just a minute ago!) This was just a really bad infection that took a really long time to get over. From here, the last thing to eliminate is prostate cancer. I can live with that.

The unknown of all this, the repeated pain that took my otherwise gentle carefree, nothing bothers him husband and made him irritable and edgy took its toll on anyone close to us. Prayers were asked for and received. Those prayers are probably the only thing that doesn't have Richard buried in the back yard next to my beloved dog, Cooper.

God says don't worry about tomorrow for today has enough troubles of its own. Matthew 6:34, "Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Boy, isn't that the truth!!! Today is sometimes so full of trouble and darkness that you don't want to see tomorrow because, when you're glass is already half empty, tomorrow is just going to be worse!

I've just had to cling to the fact that I know that in the end, its all going to work out according to God's great and perfect will. I've known all my life, in a simple prayer Jesus told us to pray, "thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven."

I will admit it got really dark because everything hits all at once. The devil gets a toe in the door and then a foot, and before you know it, the ugly jerk is right there - laughing and mocking everything you do.

God tells us not to worry, so when I do, I see a lack of faith on my part. I'd talked myself into all kinds of horrible things today, but the other night, God gave me Matthew 6:24 when I was reading - the verse about not worrying about tomorrow. Then, I walk into a room with stirrups in it and know just about immediately that there's a story here, and, yes, once again, God is going to be glorified.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What is a H.A.M. ??? Maybe not what you think...

One of my many faults is that I don't "sit" well. What does that mean, you might ask? Well, it means that I can't just "sit" and do nothing (Yes, double negative, I know, but necessary to make my point). Doing nothing makes me nuts, makes me think that I might need to find a comfortable rubber room somewhere and be like the hyper Saturday night live character they used to have on the show. He'd be tied up to a swing set or something you wouldn't think he'd be able to move, and he'd bounce around until he moved it! That would be me....always moving, always having to be doing something.

When some questionnaire or informational fill out wants a list of my hobbies, it's almost embarrassing, so I pretend there are just two: Scrapbooking and clogging. When in reality, there's almost too many to list. There is a new close third new one that I've just picked up, quilting a.k.a. cutting material (remind me to blog about that one later! OH MY WORD!)...I think I'm in a contest or something with material now. I have every known scrapbook paper known to woman, and now, I'm the same way with material....it's an addiction, just ask my family! But, in my defense, if I see something now, it might not be there later, so I have to buy it now, even if I know I don't have time to make it now, if I wait, it won't be there when I do have time because they will sell it all, and they don't remake material. (Sense the Adult A.D.D. issue here???)


Anyway, let's see, what else could I add as hobbies? Crocheting, cross stitching, knitting, needlework, sewing, reading, writing, photography, designer shopping for a certain 15 month old future beauty queen, making things like bags that require glitter and glitz, making mantel pieces because I saw one in a store and just knew I could make one cheaper, decoupage letters, paper piecing, making cookies, drawing and painting pumpkins, let's not forget about facebook, and the ridiculous stupidly addicting game "Bejeweled", camping, boating, snow skiing, and I think that might just about do it. One of these days, I'd like to learn how to decorate cakes and grow something - grow anything. Well, I have grown mold before, but that's not what I'm talking about. I would love to have a garden. (SSSHHHHH!!!! Please don't tell Richard I'm wanting to do something else!!!)

Oh wait, I'm a collector, too. I collect anything I've ever bought, anything and everything.

Can you just imagine what my house might look like given all those hobbies with the fact that last sentence? I have notes that I wrote in high school....yes, I do, seriously. It's crazy. One of these days, I'm going to get them out. You might just see a future blog about one of them. I remember that I used to write in a circle so that if anyone ever found my writing, they'd get bored with trying to read it very quickly and not try. Crazy, huh? But yes, I still have them.


Anyway, back to the house. We don't live in a mansion. As my daughter put it to my son, who is house hunting for the first time right now, "Would you rather have a big house that sucks up all your income each month and live and breathe that house because you can't afford to do anything else? Or, would you rather have a smaller home that leaves you with some disposable income at the end of each month to have toys and go on vacation with?" Hmmm, where did she get all that wisdom at the tender age of 21?


Many years ago, we opted for her second choice. Our house is small, but the big Seadoo boat in the back yard fits the entire family in it, and if it doesn't do it, we've got the little Seadoo in the garage that can carry three more. If you want, all the tents and cots and sleeping bags in the shed will keep you comfortable at any camping spot you want to enjoy. I enjoy my car because it's a "cool" car (Dodge Charger and yes, it's got a Hemi!). Richard has the Jeep that we can take the top off and trail ride just about anywhere we want to. And, ask my children what their fondest memory is growing up and they will tell you it was, and still is for two of them, the annual family ski trip to Leadville, Colorado at Ski Cooper where they know all the trees on every run. "Oh, look there's a new little tree peeking up through the snow!"


So, my hobbies are more than adequately supplied, I guess you'd say, so I have more than enough "stuff". Since I only have one child at home right now, I have one of our three bedrooms dedicated to my "stuff" and it's full. Richard calls my room the "Dungeon." I prefer to call it a "Cave." A dungeon indicates being locked up and miserable to me. But a cave, that's much more exciting. I mean, just think of the "Bat Cave" where Batman and the butler created all those cool tools used to fight criminals with!!! Caves are productive, even in nature. Dungeons are creepy, but caves are just cool. I prefer to work in a cave. He still slips every now and then, but I correct him. "It's the cave, not the dungeon."

I can barely move in there to do anything with my "stuff" that's in the cave, but that's beside the point. Each new hobby requires tools and I must have each new tool that is out. I was looking in a new scrapbook magazine just yesterday, and inside the front cover, Xyron has out a new toy! AnnMarie saw it, and said, "Oh my, there's a new toy we don't have yet, Mom! When are they going to quit?" She knows that I'll probably have to buy it!


I suspect that the manufacturers will never "quit" because they know that I'm not alone. I'm not the only woman in the world that doesn't "sit" well and has to be busy all the time, doing something, anything, and women like me will buy the latest toy/tool out there to help make what we do easier - whatever that is.


You would logically think, though, that when a new toy/tool came out on the market, that I'd get rid of the old toy/tool that it replaced. Now, seriously, does that sound like a wise plan to you? If it does, you must be male. But I challenge that and flip it into tools that you would use in the garage or shed. My husband gets rid of nothing that is considered a tool, no matter how old it is or how many other tools that he has that do the same thing. When he complains about what he calls "the dungeon", I just go open the garage door. "NUFF SAID!"


So, room is an issue. It's always an issue for me. I think I could live in a 4300 square foot house and I still wouldn't have enough room for my "stuff" because I'd probably just find new hobbies to start which would require new toys/tools, and the ugly never ending cycle would just get bigger.


They should have a club called HA - "Hobbiest Anonymous." I'd be a charter member. The theme might be, "EIGHT IS ENOUGH!" with 8 being the maximum number of hobbies you could have in progress at any one time. (Hey, wait, that sounds familiar....nope, not talking about children here, just hobbies, but it's catchy, huh? That does raise an interesting question though - can children be hobbies?)

I can see the first meeting. The first H.A.M. (Hobbiest Anonymous Meeting)!

Women of all ages would fill the room. The rule would be established that all hobbies would have to stay at the door. You would have to come in the room and just sit and talk. Just sit. That would be therapy in and of itself. The fidgeting would start in less than five minutes. Of course, just by nature and definition, most of the woman probably wouldn't be on time because they have to use every single minute they have doing something, so to sit and wait for a meeting to start would waste time, so they'd be late so as to not waste time.

So, 15 minutes later than scheduled, the meeting would begin. Fingernails are probably starting to be bitten for the few that got there five minutes after it was supposed to start. The leader would get up and introduce herself.

"Hello, my name is Lori (just for the sake of not using another name), and I'm addicted to hobbies."

"Hello, Lori," everyone would reply.

"My hobbies are listed on the nice glass plate infront of you that I made. See how the favorite ones are listed in gold, and the second choices are in a very nice silver color, with the ones that I don't do very often listed in a nice solid black color. They are alphabetized for ease of reference and categorized by the hours each one takes with the one taking the least amount of time listed first," and the leader gasps for air.

Everyone looks at the plate and admires it. One lady stands up and says, "This is so much like the book that I made each member of my family outlining every single member in our family, their favorite colors, books they've already read, books they want to read, and clothing sizes. I trimmed the cover of the book with silver glitter glue and paper pieced a picture of the person I was giving that book to on the front of it."

They stare at her for just a brief second and everyone around the room has a specatular story of some amazing piece of craft work that they've recently just completed.


"And now, for the hard part," the leader breaks in and continues as the last woman completes the story of her crafted miracle. "Now, we need to talk about the projects that we've started and haven't completed."

Heads hang. Fingers are stared at as they fidget in the laps of the women in the room. There isn't a one in the room that wants to talk about all of THOSE! All of those projects that she started that are still in a closet, or storage unit somewhere, or garage, or shed, and each woman swears that one day she will go back and complete each project. No one wants to win the "title" or award, however you want to look at it, that she might have the most unfinished projects of those in the room. They would rather talk about all those projects they haven't started yet than to talk about the ones that they had and abandoned. This is because those that were started and not finished had some degree of failure associated with them. Something went wrong and it was just easier to put the project down than to fix it. The project might have gotten too complicated for the crafter, so it was put away for a smarter day. A common thread in the incompleted projects excuse arena would be "I just got bored with it, but I promise, I'll finish it! Just wait!"The reasons for the incompled projects would be numerous, but the failure would still be there, no matter how one might try to mask it.

The meeting would end on a positive note though, because the leader would know that the creative side of each woman in the room would have to be fed and would tell them that they could bring ONE, just ONE, incomplete project they had done to next month's meeting. The idea would be for them to all swap their incomplete projects for someone else in the group to finish!! What an idea! What therapy!

So, where do I sign up???? I want/need to go to this meeting. Many areas of my life need "completing."

I think, many times, more often than not, that my Christian life needs completing. That would be at the top of my "list of things to complete about me" list. I know God isn't finished with me. Phillipians 1:6 says, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ..." That pretty much says He isn't done yet, but He won't give up. One day, I will be done.

I battle low moments in my life way too often, so I know He's still busy. Perhaps those low moments are when I'm resisting growing. I'm not sure. I know that if I had my way, though, I'd put me in a closet and finish me on another day. God doesn't do that though. He keeps working in our lives.

Ephesians 2:10 says that "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." I know how proud I am of one of my craft projects when I'm done, so one of these years, I hope that God is proud of His creation in me. He already knows how I'm going to turn out. How soon I get done and how complete I am is up to me. Sometimes, I wish He would take that power away from me and just finish me - go around me, ignore this strong impatient will of mine, and just finish me.

But I know His way will fix me so that I don't come undone, don't break easily, and that I stay together. I'm a lifelong project. Sometimes, I wish I knew what stage of completion I'm in though. Am I a "barely started" project or a "half complete" project or am I "almost done"? One of these days, I hope to know that I'm almost done and that He is pleased with his project called "Lori."

Well, time to go into the "cave" and see what I can find to work on. Let me know when one of you finds about a H.A.M., I'll definitely be there!!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pantyhose....need I say more?

Let's get personal. If you are male and reading this, you might want to skip this one and just move on. At this point, I don't have that many people reading my blog, but I'm not sure just exactly how all this works, so you just never know. So, males, read on at your own risk.

Ladies, how do you put on your pantyhose? Is it a chore? Are you just worn out after you finally get them on? Do you feel like a contortionist when you're finally done?I guess it depends on the type of hose that you buy, but mine have to be the ultra suck it all in and make you look skinny kind, because if I'm going to wear them, I'm going to get the maximum benefit out of them. So, mine are maximum, superhold, ultra thick top, control top pantyhose. Made only for those with apparently lots of time to get ready in the morning, not for use in high altitudes, and use only after 8 full hours of sleep. You will need everything you've got strengthwise to get these puppies on your body!

When I put on pantyhose, I talk to myself first. Little pep talks. "You can do it, come on, been here, done this, looked good afterwards. Not that bad. Come on, make it happen." It's like I am going to work out. I know when I'm done, I'm going to need a 5 minute break. The first leg is never an issue. I gather the hose with both hands so that there is little room between the toe and the waist of the hose. Then, I sit down on the edge of my bed, pull the chosen leg up, grab the ankle of the leg with a free hand, and shove the foot into the wrapped up garble of hose and begin pulling up gentley as I slowly, and very athletically, I might add, begin to stand up as I'm pulling the hose up my leg. The first leg is always the easiest.

I repeat the gathering of the hose with the other leg. Lift the uncovered leg up with a hand, and quickly throw the toes into the gathered hose. If I'm not quick here, I'll miss and potentially fall off the bed on my head. Once the toes are in the end of the garbled mess, I lean back on the bed, flat on my back and slowly pull the hose up over my leg. You see, I can't stand up at this point because I'd have to bend over while pulling the other side of the hose up. That might not sound like a big deal, but remember, half the hose are up around the waist and the other half is at foot level.

As I stand up to get them around my waist, I have to be very careful and work the hose up. The waist is the toughest part. Again, might sound easy, but as the control top of the pantyhose kicks in and wants to work, my stomach goes on revolt and says, "Uh, I don't think so! Last time I had some of these put on my body, it was three days before the indentions were gone. I really don't understand your vanity. I mean, REALLY!"

So, I pull, I tug, I wiggle, I jump and I twist everything possible, just short of throwing my back out, to complete the process. It takes longer to put on a pair of pantyhose than it does to put on my makeup.

One day last week, I went through this process THREE times. Yes, three. I thought I was going to have to call in sick to work. But, as I replayed the conversation in my mind with my male boss, I knew it wouldn't be easy.

"What's wrong, Lori?" he would ask.

"Well, I'm exhausted," I would reply, still breathing hard.

"Running a fever?"

"No."

"Stomach hurt?"

"Well, no," I would answer, realizing there might be an issue here.

"Uh, well, can I ask just exactly why you are exhausted?" he would ask, starting to get a little edgy.

"THREE TIMES!!! Anyone would be exhausted after trying to put on super duper, extra tightening, control top pantyhose! There's just nothing left in me, nothing. I can't move! I think I pulled a muscle in the back of my leg," I would just explode on him.

At that point, he might hang up on me, or just tell me to get real, but at any rate, I know I wouldn't have a valid enough reason to not go to work. I think about the movie with Mel Gibson, "What Women Want." I think if a man put them on just once, they'd understand.

Plus, how would I explain three pair to a reasonable person? First pair, brand new, never been worn, both legs in, pulling them up around the waist, thumb through the thigh.....ugh! Second pair, second leg in, look around, runner all the way down that leg....double ugh! Third pair, thicker, more like tights, a little tighter than the other two, but I work them up and am successful.

Today, Sunday, I have the grandbaby, so getting ready takes a tad longer with her. So, I find what I thought were the same type thicker black almost tights I had on during the week and start working them on. Something is different, but I need to hurry, so I pay no never mind to what's on my body. I do remember looking down, thinking "Blue?" No, can't be, hurry, get the baby dressed.

Then, I get in the sunlight, and sure enough, they're blue. But, I'm hoping that they will gather enough around my ankles to where they look black once they relax a little on my body. Well, they relaxed, all right, but not enough to look blue.

As I was walking down the hallway at church, I felt something weird. Something wasn't right around my waist. I kind of gracefully (well, as much as possible, but there aren't many people there yet) feel around my waist and discover my pantyhose aren't around my waist. They've fallen down. I ignore it, figuring I'll get used to where they are. The more I walk though, the further down they go.....this is NOT fun. I go in the bathroom and readjust everything. There is absolutely NO waist left in these hose/tights. None. My daughter gets to church and is kind enough to point out that I have on blue tights with a black dress. So, not only are the tights the wrong color, they're sagging worse than teenage boys pants do! Everytime I got up from sitting down, the tights stayed in the sitting position. This is a most uncomfortable feeling, especially at church. I couldn't wait to get home and get them off.

The pains that women go through to try to look nice. Pantyhose and the efforst behind them are just one example. Did you know that a man invented pantyhose?

According to Wikipedia, a North Carolinian, Ernest G. Rice, invented the "Combination Stockings and Panty", similar to what is used today. Up until this time, there was little reason for women to wear "panty hose". However, during the 1960s, improved manufacturing made them cheaper, and more comfortable (I don't want to think about how uncomfortable they were before), and the miniskirt made them a fashion necessity. The popularity of pantyhose grew into a wardrobe staple throughout the 1970s and '80s. It wasn't until 1995 that a steady decline in demand began, leveling off in 2006 with U.S. sales less than half of what they had been. This decline has been attributed to bare-legged fashion and changes in the dress code at work.

How a man ended up inventing them is beyond me, and what is even more surprising to me is that pantyhose haven't been around long. My generation actually made them a "staple" to our wardrobe. Now, women usually only wear them in the winter time. I often wear them to try to protect my thighs from each other or to replace my stomach muscles.

But my youngest daughter will tell me, "Mom, beauty is pain." I can't wear the spiked high heels I see others wear, never have been able to, and I'm about to take myself out of the pantyhose market and wear really long dresses to wear the knee high stockings will work! I believe those dresses are called "moo moos." Works for me!

I consider myself a work in progress. I progress in many different ways. I know that God, who has begun a good work in me, isn't going to give up. I cling to that when I have bad pantyhose days, bad hair days, bad make up days, and just simply bad days. I also know that Romans 8:18 tells me, "I consider that our present suffereings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."

What a wonderful verse! Our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory God will reveal in us - through us. Even if my pantyhose are around my ankles, if my heart is right, God's glory will be revealed. When that glory is revealed, how amazing that's going to be. I think it's going to be like having a child. Child bearing is not a fun process. It's long, hard, and just flat out hurts for 40 weeks and the final ending is pain....extreme pain before the undescriable joy that fills the room with one tiny little cry. All the pain is gone and the memory a woman takes with her is, "Yes, it hurt, but it was so worth it!" Our present sufferings are nothing compared to the joy we're going to feel later. Nothing.

My spiritual life has been like putting on pantyhose at times. I get my heart right in one area of my life that seems fairly easy and fight to get the second area of my life in order and right, only to find that there's a flaw that causes me to start the whole process over again. I have also been in the situation that I've "settled" for a piece of my spiritual life to be whatever it is because I have to hurry and move on to the next thing, only to find that it's not going to work at all because it just isn't right, doesn't fit me, or something else is wrong. I keep trying though, I keep transforming and trying to be in the will of God, trying over and over again realizing that I'm a work in progress.....HIS work in progress. So next time, I'll make sure I've got the right color, the right size, everything works, and see how that works.

So, the next time you have a bad day, remember to renew you spirit in the Lord, transform yourself to Him, not to the world. I promise you, you'll like the result.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Working Magic!! The Disappearing Purse

You know, I’ve always been mesmerized by magic. I’m not talking about the kind of magic that scares us, but the magic that makes us feel good.

I can remember as a young girl, two of my favorite television shows involved and centered on magic. I’m sure you will remember them….Bewitched was the first. I loved watching Elizabeth Montgomery play Samantha the witch on the sitcom. Her audiences knew her as her real name almost before they knew her stage name on the show. Her mark, that thing that made her able to perform her magic, was her nose. I can remember as a young girl, standing in front of the mirror until I thought my brother was going to beat the door down, trying to imitate the facial motion that made Samantha able to perform her magic. Somehow, she wiggled her nose, and I’d try, and try, and contort my face in many different ways, to try to make my nose wiggle. Never happened. I looked more like a rabbit with a facial tick than Samantha about to perform magic.

It amazed me how she could clean house while sitting on the couch. Every electrical appliance in the house would be running without even having to be plugged in. She could makes things appear and disappear just by the wiggle of her nose.

Can you think of the other show that centered on magic? I Dream of Jeannie…oh my, and the costume? I think the producers were after the male market with that outfit, what do you think? But it didn’t matter, everyone loved Jeannie from the minute she was found on the beach in the bottle. Major Nelson definitely found a priceless treasure on the beach. The main difference, besides the outfit, between Jeannie and Samantha was the way they invoked their magic. Jeannie would put her arms out, cross one over the other, nod and blink at the same time, and things would appear, disappear, move, or otherwise be out of the ordinary! Now THAT was a movement I could imitate fairly easily. However, I was never successful in any magic being the result. Try as I might, my brother NEVER disappeared even though I was constantly nodding and blinking at him!

However, and please, can we keep this just between us? I hope so, because members of a church might be a little surprised and not understand what I’m about to tell you. I made something disappear and then reappear just a few weeks ago. I didn’t wiggle my nose and I didn’t cross my arms, it just kind of happened…..let me tell you the story.

First of all, I get up and go to work 5 days a week. Not surprising, right? One day, I got up, went to work, got there. I took the keys out of the ignition, picked up the phone out of the cup holder, and leaned over to get my purse out of the seat of the car. Hmmm, no purse. I look in the back seat, no purse. I get out of the car; look in the seat behind the driver’s seat. No purse.

Well, blast it! I left my purse home. This is actually not a huge surprise. That poor purse has been left just about everywhere this summer. I left it at Chick-Fil-A and didn’t realize it until I got to McKinney and freaked out when I realized I didn’t have my purse. I called the restaurant and sure enough, they had it. Such a nice management team there. Then, I left it at Grandy’s one Sunday morning before church. I didn’t get out of the parking lot though. As I was going back inside to get it, a worker was bringing it out to me.

Now my purse is somewhat important to me. Not really because there’s anything of any real importance in there, but because I really have no idea what might be in there at any given moment in time. My purse is somewhat of a magical item in and of itself because it’s somewhat like Mary Poppins magic carpet bag. You never know what I might have in my purse that might be needed at any given point. So, it I were to loose my purse, my losses would go way beyond credit cards, cash, my driver’s license, and my major savor card. I would have to think really hard about what other important thing might be in my purse – a camera, a disk full of pictures, a 50% off coupon, well, you get the idea….it wouldn’t be a good thing to loose my purse.

So, as I’m going inside to my job, I get my phone and begin texting my daughter, AnnMarie. She’s still at home because I’m at work by 7, she’s at work by 8, which means she doesn’t get up until, oh, say, 7:40, but I know she’ll get the message. “I’ve left my purse home. Please bring it to work with you and meet me at lunch so I’ll have money for lunch.” I’m just glad it not Tuesday or Thursday and she’s in school.

I go in my office, put my keys and phone down, and go to work. The first hunger pain hits about 11 a.m. every day. Sometimes, 10:30, but usually about 11. I look at the clock, yup, 11:03, and I realize at that moment, that AnnMarie never texted me back about my purse. So, I text her. “Are you going to be able to meet me for lunch today with my purse?”

I wait a few minutes. In comes the answer.

“I couldn’t find your purse; it’s not at the house.”

Uh oh. I text her back, “Are you sure? Did you look in my room?”

“Yes, I did. No purse. When’s lunch?”

Okay, I’m about to panic here. No purse. Hmmm…..so I start to think of where I last remember having my purse and backtracking. You know how you’ll do, I was here, did I have it then….I last had it last night at Hobby Lobby – which makes me think about the time I left Richard’s credit card on the wedding flower isle at Hobby Lobby and had sales associates looking for it for 15 minutes after the store closed….not a good thing…but I spend so much in there, they let me go back! Anyway, I had it then, didn’t leave it there, I got my phone out of it at some point at the house last night.

Oh my! I left the door to the car open this morning when I ran back in the house to get my phone! I text AnnMarie frantically. “I left the car door open as I ran back in the house this morning….do you think someone took my purse?”

Now, you have to know where I live to know how stupid a question that was. There’s never any walking traffic at my house except for the people from up the street checking their mail, much less at 6:30 in the morning when I would have left my door open. And it would take someone longer to get down my driveway than I was in the house getting my phone. She answers me, “Mom, seriously? I don’t think so…”

Okay, well I want another Labrador puppy and if someone stole my purse, I might be able to convince Richard we need a dog….that would help, right?

Okay, lame, I agree, but I’m scrambling here, thinking of anything that will help me remember where my purse is. I’m really in panic mode. “I am going to go check the car again….” I text AnnMarie.

I walk back out to my car, and I park on the other end of the building from my office. and I search the car. I look under the seats – not that my purse would fit under there, but you never know, I guess. I look in the trunk, moving everything. It wouldn’t make sense that the purse would go to the bottom of the trunk under everything, but it happens in my purse. You know, I put something in my purse and literally 5 seconds later, it’s at the bottom of the purse….I’ve yet to figure out how that happens! But the purse is not in the trunk. I literally get on my knees and look under the car. You never know….

No purse. My purse has disappeared!!!

I go back to my office, texting as I’m walking. “Well, my purse is not in my car. I am going to have to meet you for lunch, and bad news, you have to buy. 11:30, Cotton Patch.” I don’t want to drive any further than I have to – I don’t have a license.

Reply, “Okay”.

So, about 15 minutes later, I get up, pick up my keys, my phone, turn off my light and shut my office door. I’m walking down the hall with my phone in my left hand, my keys in my right hand, lift up my left arm and put my keys in my purse.

I lift up my left arm and put my keys in my purse.

I stop dead in the hallway. I look under my arm. If I could see myself, I know the look on my face would indicate that I’ve just seen a ghost under my arm. There, under my left arm, is my purse. Still standing there, I’m wondering how I got out of the car with it, how I set it on my credenza when I walked into my office AFTER texting AnnMarie telling her that my purse was at the house, looked at my purse as I came back into the room after going to my car and who knows how many other times I came back into my office that morning, and then, picking it up to leave my office - - - and having NO CLUE that I’d done any of that.

My purse reappeared. It HAD to be magic!!! No nose wiggle, no nods or blinks, nothing. Just unassisted magic.

Well, we all know that it really wasn’t magic. Instead, it was me being in such a routine that I didn’t even realize my purse, that was a huge part of my routine, was with me all the time. I didn’t realize it was there until I needed it.

You know, my purse isn’t the only thing that I have that is such a part of me that I take it for granted until I need it. Richard will tell you that I take him for granted. Oh yes he will, just ask him! He will tell you all about it.

But I take God for granted all the time, until I need him. I often forget what he says in Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ So, whether I’m meditating about God and His will or not, it’s not really going to matter in the end, right? God is going to be exalted. I can either be on the bus, or not, my choice. If I spend my time outside of God, I might miss getting my ticket…

I don’t believe that I won’t go to heaven, that’s not what I’m saying. My salvation is granted and it’s a gift that’s been given to me that no one can take from me. But, how I spend my time here on this earth with my salvation and what I do with it while I’m here is my choice.

God says, “Be still” – that’s pretty hard for me to do. I’m going ALL the time, moving and doing and being here and there. The fact that I didn’t realize I had something with me that was pretty important to me, something physical and tangible, told me instantly, “Girlfriend, SLOW DOWN!”

God says, “Know that I am God,” Now, that to me is powerful. He is God. Did I ever say he wasn’t? Well, yes, kind of. When I worry, I take power away from Him and put it on me. I think I’ve got some magical power that might help if I worry about something just a little bit, right? God tells us all throughout Matthew chapter 6: verse 24, “Therefore, I tell you, does not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important that food and the body more important than clothes?”

Now, sometimes, and you can tell by looking at me that there’s not much more important to me than food, and to my daughter, sometimes clothes are more important than the body, but in the overall perspective of things, I get the point I know what God is saying. He is God. His will WILL be done, and I can either be on the train and be part of God moving, or I can sit at the train station and watch the train go by and hope it comes back to get me some other time. I don’t want worry to keep me off the train. I don’t want to make myself disappear and miss something God is doing. I want to be involved. He is God and I want to watch.

Then, He says, “I will be exalted…” and He will be exalted among the nations and in the earth. That pretty much covers everything as we know it, right? He will be exalted in the minds of people, even those that have continually denied Him will finally realize their error, and in the earth, to me, means that there isn’t going to be one spiritual being that has made its purpose to destroy things in this earth allowed to survive. He is going to rule over it all.

Once I am still long enough to realize God’s point and know that I don’t want to be sitting around worrying about things, fretting over anything, and missing what God’s doing, and then I find God’s comfort, all the time. Psalm 121 verse 8 says, “The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” How comforting is that? We have our own personal body guard watching us. He won’t disappear, ever, no matter what we do.

He is the ultimate magic, the ultimate answer, and He will never leave us, never forsake us, and will always be by our side. If we will be still long enough to understand that, and listen when he says, “Don’t worry”, we can get on his magical train ride and get everything from this earth that it has to offer and then, look forward to heaven. So, I’m going to get my purse now, and enjoy the ride. Are you coming?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Why a Labrador?

Over 30 years ago, my new husband and I went to the lake to watch the sunset, enjoy life on the beach, or just chill out. I can't remember why we went, we just did. We have always loved the lake. Now, this particular lake was in Wichita Falls, Texas. Yes, Wichita Falls has a couple of lakes, by definition only, but they are lakes. We went to Lake Arrowhead.

You don't see the bottom at Lake Arrowhead, even on one of its best days. It is a very murky, and what I refer to as, a dirty lake. It's not very big at all, yet during our days in Wichita Falls, we would frequent it often with Richard's parents and ski. After we got married and I became pregnant with Jason, the water skiing days were over, but we still enjoyed going out there.

I can't really remember if Jason was born yet and we were on a "date" or why, exactly, we were on the shores of Lake Arrowhead that night, but we were there. As we sat there, talking, a man and his dog showed up. This was a gorgeous black labrador retriever. I had always been partial to Pomeranians. "Yappy dogs", as Richard calls them, not worth anything but being a huge ball of long hair to get on everything and make a mess. Useless, in his mind. I'd never had anything bigger than a Pom though, and this lab was just huge.

"Why would ANYONE want a dog THAT big?" I whispered to Richard.

"That's a MAN dog, that's why, and he's a man!" was the reply.

Well, this particular dog caught our attention really quick. The dog's Master found a stick on the ground and threw it into the water. The dog ran after the stick, full throttle, into the water, swam out, grabbed the stick in his mouth, turned around and swam back with as much zeal as he ran after the stick with, and dropped the stick right at his Master's feet!

"Wow!!!" I said under my breath, "Did you see that?"

Richard looked at me a tad annoyed, and said, "Thus the word 'Retriever' in the name...."

Oh, well, how could I be so silly. My pomeranian, Misty, never brought anything to me but her love and affection. You didn't "play" with Misty, she was just there to be pretty. I had never seen a recreational pet before. Cats obviously don't bring anything back to you. If you were dumb enough to throw it, then you can get up and get it yourself in the mind of a cat. They were not put on this earth to retrieve diddle! (I have had a cat all my life. I have one now. She's rules the roost as have all the others I have ever had. I will never forget when one of my cats slapped my soon to be mother-in-law across the face with her paw! I was just glad the claws were IN and not OUT!!!)

So, back to the dog and his Master. The dog, in his excitement, snapped the stick in half on one of his retrievals. They played with the larger end for a while until, "SNAP", there went that side and now the stick was too small to throw and retrieve.

The Master looked around. There really weren't any trees where we were, so sticks were few and far between. The Master walked a couple feet and bent down. What he did next even amazed my already "labrador knowledgable" husband.

The Master picked up a rock. The area was covered in rocks. The one he choose looked just like many others at his feet. He threw the rock deep out into the water.

The dog, in an effort to continue to please his Master, went out after the rock. Richard and I sat there and watched. I mean, really, how on earth was this dog going to get that rock? It was going to sink straight to the bottom. It wouldn't float on top like the stick did.

The dog leaped into the water with as much excitement as he did when he was chasing the stick. He went to where the rock went in as he could see the circles the rock created in the water. He swam around in the same directions as the circles.

Richard leaned in to me and said, "There's NO WAY that dog is going to be able to get that rock. I don't know why that guy did that. Poor dog."

Richard no more finished the word dog and down he went. Straight down into the water! The water was so deep, the only thing you could see was the tip of the tail of this huge dog, still wagging. I wished I'd started counting when he went down to see how long he was under there, but you just don't think of those things at the time they are happening. After he was down there for what seemed like forever, long enough for any normal dog to drown, Richard stood up. I, of course, followed suit.

Just as we stood up, the dog came up for air. Wait, it can't be. "I'll be," Richard mumbled. The dog started the journey back to shore, and you guessed it, with a rock in his mouth!!! Now, there is no way to know if it was the same rock that the guy threw, but it was a rock, by golly! He dropped the rock at his Master's feet and sat down.

His sitting must have been their sign that the dog was done, because the Master said, "Good job, boy! Good dog!!! Let's go home," and with that, the dog ran back to the truck, the Master let the tailgate down, the Lab jumped in, tailgate went up, and they were gone, just like that.

Richard and I looked at each other simultaneously and said, "WE HAVE GOT TO GET US ONE OF THOSE!!!"

We didn't get a Lab that year, but in 1986, we purchased our first full blood Labrador Retriever, Amos, and had him 11 years. After Amos passed, we got Cooper and had him for 11 1/2 years. Now, we have King and hope that he will be with us a little longer, but we know that he will be a source of protection and joy for us in his lifetime, just as Amos and Cooper were. He will do everything he can to please his Master.

So, we watched the servant with his Master and we were impressed to the point that we wanted that same relationship, so we searched and found that relationship and haven't been disappointed.

I hope that when people watch me, they see my Master, and they see his work and his trianing in my life such that they want the same relationship. Jesus is the ultimate Master and His teachings are such that, if we follow them, others will want that same relationship. I think of my relationship with my Master and wonder how many times I come up with the rock, the impossible, when other people are watching me, expecting me to fail. I hope that each time, my training and the love of my Master has kicked in, and I've been the example that I am supposed to be.

What do people see when they watch you? Are they impressed? Do they want what you have? Do you need more trianing, maybe? Jesus is there, ready to train, ready to take you under His wing and show you everything you need to know. He is the ultimate Master. He will give you everything you could possibly need and more if you'll just believe in Him enough to let Him work in your life.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!!! Resolutions and Reflections

My Wish for You in 2010
May peace break into your home and may thieves come to steal your debts.
May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for $100 bills
May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips!
May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy
May the problems you had, forget your home address!
In simple words .............
May 2010 be the best year of your life!!!
I liked this, so I stole it and am pasting it here. I put it on my facebook page, too.

So, let's talk about New Year's Resolutions for a second. Okay, more than a second, maybe a minute. I guess it's good to make "resolutions" or new promises to yourself. I do it. One year, I promised I was going to clean out a closet a month. That was it. Just one resolution, to clean out one closet a month. Not too ambitious, should be doable. I don't even have 12 closets, so I thought it was more than doable.

Yep, you are probably sitting back saying to yourself, bet she got one closet cleaned out. WRONG!!! LOL. I got two done! TWO! I was proud of myself. Setting the goal didn't exactly get ALL my closets cleaned out, but it did get two more than I would have otherwise done cleaned out!
Last year, I went all out. I didn't call them New Year's resolutions...just "goals". It doesn't make any difference that I wrote them down on the first of the year, right? That doesn't make them resolutions if you don't call them that, right? Well, make it no mind, I wrote them down and actually posted my progress for about, oh, 45 days. But, in truth, those promises to myself, were on my mind all year long. While I still struggle with the weight one, the others were improved, and I tried, even though I didn't specifically keep up with them all year, I did keep them on my heart and I did try.
My point is that it doesn't matter what the first day of the year is, a resolution can be made at any point. It never hurts to try to be a better person and it's just logical that a "new start" of something is as good a time as any to try to improve yourself and get better. January 1, 2010 is almost over and I've thought several times if I needed to make any resolutions this year.
God is in control in 2010, as He has been through the ages. "I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord." He knows. That's comforting for me. Is it for you? I think it's nice to know that someone much bigger and better than me is in control and has plans for ME. Just me. That's just cool. So, maybe I'll just let Him make my resolutions for me...????
The first day of a new year also brings some time to reflect on the last year... think back ...remember. As I age, the memory gets shorter, so remembering becomes difficult.
My favorite Bible verse last year was Ephesians 3:20. I saw that verse enacted so much in 2009, it blew my mind. "Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think —according to the power that works in you—" Some translations use the word immeasurable. God will work immeasurably in our lives.
I've never chagrined being a parent. I've loved it through the easy times, the fun times, and yes, even the hard, trying, wanting to pinch their head off times. God blessed me immeasurably with three wonderful children. I know I should say kids because everyone says kids, but I still see little goats when I say kids, so I just can't call them that in writing. They are my children, and I couldn't ask for better ones. They are just the very source of joy for my very existance, or at least I thought they were, until something else happened.
That something else was becoming a grandmother. 2009 brought so much laughter through the life of that small child that I would have never imagined possible. The absolute pure joy that serges through my soul when she runs to me and hugs me around the knees or reaches for me is indescribable. I watched a friend become a grandmother for the first time in 2009 at a very difficult time of the year for her, but the joy, and Ephesians 3:20 kicked in and she has been elated since her daughter gave birth to a most perfect little boy. Grandmotherdom is such a wonderful place to be.
2009 had it's share of death, too, but even in that, God was evident. My family lost the matriarch of its grounding with the passing of my Grandmother in August. She didn't suffer from the cancer very long, which was a good thing. God worked through that death to bring cousins in the family closer together as a unit. I pray they continue to connect and realize they are family and need each other. The passing of a dear servant of God at the end of the year left everyone feeling lonely, yet we know that she's in such a higher place and is much happier there. It's hard to be selfish and miss one as true as she was on this earth when you knew her, loved her, and wanted her happy. Now she is the ultimate of happy, so it's hard to be selfish and miss her because to miss her is to want her back here, and that's just not right. I also lost a dear friend that I had no idea how close I was to him. He was "just a dog" as some would say, but he was my unjudging conversation partner. I could tell him anything and he wouldn't question me, or judge me. I still miss Cooper. I have King now. I think he'll be a good one to talk to, too. Time will tell.

2009 brought me great friends and the realization of just exactly how precious friendship is. I've talked about this in another blog, so I won't repeat myself here, but Eph 3:20 is definitely evident in my life through my current friendships. Just amazing that he would bless me so immeasurably with the friendships I have and am developing right now. I'm amazed. And see, that's not a resolution I made at all at the beginning of the year, to cultivate new friendships or revive old ones, it just happened because God knew it needed to.
2009 brought me to the realization, yet again, that God is in control and to listen to Him protects me. I had cancer and didn't know it until it was gone from my body. The whole experience was related to the timing of my grandmother's death and cause of death, without which, I probably would still have the cancer. Absent the intervention of God and using my grandmother's passing as a warning for a most astute nurse practitioner, the cancer would have been in my body until it infected me beyond repair. A very eye opening thought. God fixed me before I knew I was broke, but left His footprints everywhere so I'd see them and know He was without a doubt, in control.
So, what did 2009 bring to you? I hope it brought happiness. I hope it brought reason and purpose. I hope God planned a great year for you, one of realization that He is God, through the good and the bad. I hope he does the same for you in 2010.

As I reflect and realize what God did in my life in 2009, I am glad that He didn't restrict me to just my resolutions or promises or whatever it was I tried to call them a year ago. I'm glad He jumped in and let HIS plans for me prevail.
So, I think my resolution, promise, goal, or whatever you want to call it for 2010 will be a simple one.
LET GO AND LET GOD.
Let's see what happens with that.
Happy New Year!!!!