Saturday, December 29, 2012

Welcome 2013

At the beginning of a new year it is customary to make resolutions for change.  Whether we keep these resolutions or not, recognizing the need for change is as important as structuring a plan to make those changes.

The new year is an excellent opportunity to 'clean the slate'; to ask and offer forgiveness, to mend relationships, to put grievances aside, to leave bad habits behind and choose to start anew.

Then again . . . you may be content with yourself, your relationships and the place where you are.  You may have reason to celebrate the here and now and the bright future you see ahead.

As 2013 begins may you embrace whatever opportunities that afford improvement to you and allows you to make the world around you a better place.

For those who are feeling a bit raggedy, here at the end, or those who need a little hope take a moment to view this story courtesy of  CBS Sunday Morning.

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.  NIV  Numbers 6:24-26

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    Monday, December 24, 2012

    A Special Christmas Message For You

    Guest blogging my Christmas message is the better part of me, my husband, D.  May his words bless you this holiday season.

    While this letter has pictures of 'peace' and 'joy', we know that our world is full of fear and strife.  We grieve with families in Newtown, CT and at the same time pray for the safety of our loved ones.  As Christians we seek a merry Christmas (just like everyone else) but we know full well that Christ did not come into this world because humanity deserved salvation.  Instead it is just the opposite. 

    Christ was sent as a baby, the most vulnerable human condition possible.  He was sent through a woman chosen by God.  Mary, a woman who agreed to God's plan even though it put her in both physical and economic danger, who would experience both great joy and immeasurable heartache as the mother of our Saviour.  Her betrothed, Joseph, would agree only after the angel's convincing, not to follow the ways of the world and divorce his pregnant bride.  Still, hardship and tragedy followed.  They had run for their lives from King Herod.

    God gave us the freedom to cause suffering and peace, fear and joy.  Instead of separating and distancing from our destructive actions, God chose to join us in pain and suffering.  Sending His only begotten son to suffer and die that you and I might have life abundant and eternal, God suffered with us and continues to weep over our sinful actions just as Jesus did over Jerusalem.
    May the tragedies in our world remind us that we are called to be peacemakers and that we are responsible to show the love of Christ to the world.  All too often Christian love has been replaced with worldly hate.  May we, like our Christ, bear one another's burdens.  May we mourn with those who morn and rejoice with those who rejoice. 

    Let us remember this Christmas that Jesus did not come to give us riches and wealth beyond measure as the world understands but instead came to make us holy and right with our father in heaven.  This is the greatest Christmas gift ever!

    May your Christmas be filled with joy and may we proclaim along with the angels who announced Christ's birth, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace on whom his favor rests." Luke 2:14

    May God bless you and others through you this Christmas.  Joy to the world, the Lord has come!

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    Sunday, December 16, 2012

    All I Want for Christmas...

    In the wonder and joy that is the holiday season gift giving can hit a sour note.  Those who rank "Gifts" high in their level of love languages, I'm assuming, find joy in hunting and presenting that perfect gift.  As "Gifts" is not high for me I find it more of a chore than a cheer.

    Companies have made the gift-giving process enormously easy.  The gift box assembles items that are packaged for your convenience; all you add is the wrapping paper.  One trip through the box store's holiday aisles and your gift-giving requirements can be met.

    When L. was in grade school we knew his gift list before he wrote it.  As he aged his gift requests grew more specific and expensive.  As an independent, young man who purchases what he wants when he wants, his gifts have to come from our creativity.  (An onerous chore for the not-so-creative.)

    'Touch' is my love language and for those who share this, as well as those with 'Quality Time', will be as cheered by this article from Science of Relationships: "All I Want For Christmas Is You". 

    As a family, this year we decided to forgo individual presents in lieu of a tasting tour of New Orleans.  This hits the perfect note for each of us at this particular time in our lives.

    Whatever your personal view of gifts I urge you to find the method that produces joy in you because if you are joyous you will give joy.  Don't be the the pivotal point to the phrase "If I'm not happy, no body's happy".

    To all who take time to stop by and read my words I wish you much joy and happiness in the new year.  My wish for our broken and hurting world, "Peace on earth, good will toward men."

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    Friday, December 7, 2012

    Marking Two Decades

    L. is 20 years old today.  We celebrated his birthday early, at Thanksgiving break, today being the last day of classes at UT.  He has plans to celebrate with friends tonight, which is likely preferable, at age 20, than hanging with the folks as we tearfully walk down memory lane.

    It was December 7, 1992 in Louisville, Kentucky.  We were 32 years young, married for 12 years and, me, not being of a modest nature, allowed my mother to video L. as he made his debut.  He doesn't share our continuous awe of the process nor our fascination for reliving it yearly.

    Being an only, and having a writer for a mother, he has always been very gracious about living his life on the printed page.  This may have a lot to do with our shared love for reading and writing that started at an early age.

    In first grade we wrote the first installment of The Logan Chronicles "Errand Day or The Serpent Slayer".  It was a true story that I put into words and a good friend (and excellent artist) illustrated for us.  

    About this same time Harry Potter made the jump across the 'pond' and was becoming quite popular.  We started reading aloud these chapter books and continued through many series together; Redwall, Hank the Cowdog, Mortal Engines, Game of name a few.

    L. excelled in English classes as he penned his own tales.  His love of math and science has him double majoring in Chemistry and Computer Science but he shared some of his writing talent by guest posting his series "Inside the Uni, Outside the Classroom" here, last summer.

    L. has been the subject of many a blog post which will undoubtedly continue, so on this special day let me wish my muse, my literary companion, my son a very Happy, Happy 20th Birthday!

    Friday, November 30, 2012


    If there is anyone out there who has never asked, plead, begged, sought, searched, implored, or screamed out for patience please leave a comment, I would like to meet you.

    Looking back over 51 years, my patience quotient has been low, in most areas .  My history is littered with moments of actively seeking patience.  There is a definite increase that can be charted, signs of personal growth, as the years have passed and maturity began to take hold.  Noticeably, where there are high moments of spiritual growth my patience quotient grew steadily.

    I'm not about to declare I have discovered the Fountain of Patience or give directions to it's mental location nor offer five steps to filling up your own patience quotient.

    Sorry, not here, not now, not me.

    The article Patience and Spiritual Formation by Bryan Belknap brought the patience quotient to mind.  Belknap points out that being patient is a large part of your spiritual walk:
    • Paul meets Jesus on the Damascus Road and starts his first missionary trip evangelizing the Western world...approximately 13 years later. 
    •  Noah receives divine boat plans and the flood 100 years. 
    • Joseph's dreams about his family bowing down came true...after about 23 years
    There is an excellent example in my own life.
    •  In 1984 I felt assured by God that we would have a child, which indeed we did, in 1992.
    At this moment I am trying to wait patiently for the answer to another prayerful request.  Remaining 'still and listening' has become a possibility as I've grown in my own spiritual formation.

    Recently, I was given a task which raised my hopes that an answer may be close at hand.  Belknap's article dashed that hope with a spiritual nudge indicating there is likely substantial time to wait.

    On my personal timeline there is another excellent example of allowing impatience to push me into a bad decision.  The time and heartache it took to straighten that move out was the most efficient of patience lessons.

    I will follow the wisdom of Psalm 37:7 and Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him. There are excellent examples in my history that proves this is the best decision. 

    Learning to wait patiently never ends. 

    "Thank you God, for being patient with me." 

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    Saturday, November 17, 2012

    Bug Bites Gone

    Ta-Da!  The completed Raw Edge quilt; #6 since August 2011.  I have been a regular cottage industry on the sewing machines since L. left for college

    The high school and elementary t-shirt quilts were quick and easy.  Those were the only sewing projects I intended to do, at the start, but the sewing bug bit.  I pulled out my over abundance of Christmas fabric scraps and went to work.

    While surfing the web I hit on the quilt-as-you-go method and had enough various and sundry scraps to give it a try.  I didn't enjoy the piecing of this particular pattern that much but I do like quilting as you go.  I ordered a walking foot and while waiting for it to arrive I dug into the scrap bin and whipped together a child's blanket.

    Before I started the quilt-as-you-go a good friend and quilting buddy gave me a bag of minkee scraps. It was a fortunate gift as it allowed me to turn out 3 children's blankets for a family reunion auction.  The same continuous family reunion that the t-shirts for the first t-shirt quilt were made from.

    In the  midst of all the sewing this pillow pattern was too cute and too easy not to try.

    At the end of the quilt-as-you-go, children's blankets and pillow it would seem I had run out of steam when my friend again gave me some really nice scraps.  The Raw Edge quilt pattern seemed perfect . . . the machines began to hum.

    So now the needles have gone quiet and L. is due home for Thanksgiving break on Tuesday.  I've packed up the machines and cleaned up the 'sewing room' returning it to an office.  I'm moving my attention to a list of minor repair projects around the house.  I can't imagine the sewing machines won't start up again but I'll wait for the sewing bug to bite again.

    What bugs bite you?


    Saturday, November 10, 2012


    Natural disaster and the immense trail of destruction has, once again, brought out the good in people.  The call for support and relief has gone out and the nation has responded.  Media moguls, high profile personalities, publicity machines, mega news outfits and legions of fans have mobilized to generate money and goods for the ravaged and damaged. 

    The Salvation Army, Red Cross and other aid organizations who are set up and work with the survivors through such disasters greatly benefit from these fund raising efforts.  These groups go the distance and do great work.  But there are others. . .

    The energy generated by impending calamity, actions in the immediate aftermath of predicted devastation and the surge of compassionate, patriotic duty all ends.  Clean up is not edge-of-your-seat visual excitement. Clean-up is a sound bite or 60 Minutes segment.

    The dust settles, news focuses on the more immediate, celebrities return to their tours, unaffected people return to their lives and the mundane work begins.  Who are those who stay?  Who are they with the rolled up sleeves, dirty jeans and grimy hands helping to feed that family, wash those cloths or haul in that water?

    I stumbled across one of these groups while searching for information on places for our congregation to make donations.  It is just one group out of Texas that has invested time and money in equipment and training in order to respond as disaster relief units.

    They have semi-tractor trailers that are designed to provide 30,000 meals every day, others are outfitted with industrial washers and dryers to serve as portable laundry facilities and still others are outfitted with showers and lavatory units. 

    From this local unit 60 volunteers headed East, committed for the next two weeks to help those who require the most basic of needs.

    This is one of the many groups of common people working towards the common good.  One neighbor reaching out to help another.  Their story tucked into the local papers, under other headlines, sharing the good that quietly takes place in our world.   

    These groups have always been.  Their ranks change as generations rotate but their service is continual.  Take a moment and share about the groups that help in your community.

    Let us sing for the unsung volunteers. 

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    Friday, November 2, 2012

    Dating & Mating: Hysteria

    Hysteria is a  humorous and tasteful depiction of the invention of the personal vibrator.  The interesting points raised in the film include the history of Hysteria as a medical diagnosis and the psychology of a woman's 'personal satisfaction'.

    Hysteria was a medical diagnosis until the 1950s and appeared to encompass any malady women had that could not be explained.  The women in the movie appeared to suffer more from a mental issue of boredom and s**ual (side-stepping unwanted web-searches) dissatisfaction versus any type of physical ailment.

    Good couple s**ual satisfaction is a core element in successful relationships.  Conversations about finding and /or generating that satisfaction are generally the embarrassed, whispered words among friends.  Given the studies, couple conflicts and life decisions this topic affects a movie like this and other open avenues of information and discussion are needed and should be welcomed. 
    The s**ual revolution of the 60's and 70's have afforded the modern woman less restriction in her s**ual expression.  Unfortunately, that freedom seems more free for the media to portray than for a woman to initiate in her relationships. 

    The expression that appears to have been unleashed in the s**ual revolution was the freedom to HAVE s*x with someone, not to talk with your partner about s*x, leaving the conversations hushed and embarrassed.

    As advanced in technology and dissemination of knowledge as we've become the male/female conundrum continues to baffle us.  Education is the answer, the more you know the better your decisions can be.  Two highly recommended books are, For Women Only and For Men Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn. These give an excellent glimpse into the workings of the opposite sex, providing insight to understanding their motivation and decision making process.

    A good web magazine to put in your RSS Feed is Science of Relationships.  For this post here are two noteworthy articles from the website:  Let's Talk About S*x While Having S*x and Are You GGG? The Benefits of S**ual Communal Strength; both offering research and analysis to help us improve our relationships and relationship decision making.
    Communication is a vital key to every relationship.  Most anything that generates dialogue on the difficult subjects is a tool to increase your communication and improve your relationships. 

    Become a student of relationship building, increase your knowledge through all the tools, (internet, library, bookstore, classes) available, some at your fingertips.  It is an investment in all your relationships, present and future.

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    Sunday, October 28, 2012

    Some Favorite Things

    We were out of town this weekend so am posting a few thoughts and pictures.

    Spent the weekend in Austin visiting the college boy, L.  A fun time enjoying each other's company and feeding our foodie adventures.

     We don't have an H.E.B. at home but we love their coffee so a stop to fill the coffee cupboard is a must.  Trianon Coffee Brewers is the second stop.  The first thing to do when we get brew.

    Pansies are my favorite because they stand up in the cold.  I've planted for this fall and with luck they'll still be a spot of color in March!

    And just because I'm talking about favorites I love when my toes are pretty with polish.  I generally do them myself but I love the treat of going for a pedi.  It is just the icing on the cake.

    Share with me some of your favorites.

    Saturday, October 13, 2012

    Dating & Mating: Sexual Market Value

    A link on a social media outlet led me to an interesting dating concept. 

    The link went to a thread of comments where a 32 year old woman was lamenting her current dating progress.  There were multiple answers to her groans of bewildering outcomes although one male commenter posed an interesting conclusion.  His answer revolved around the disparity in what he referenced as the sexual market value of men and women.

    A disclaimer is necessary here.  This is a one-sided, male perspective.  This view, as referenced here, is not meant as a broad sweep across the genders; there are too many exceptions for this definition to be considered a standard.

    This is an observation that has enough commonality to merit examination and consideration.

    Here is the link for those who who are interested in the complete exchange.

    The disparity, our commenter said, is women have a high sexual market value from puberty through mid-30's.  A man's high sexual market value begins at age 26 and increases from there.

    What has value, in women, that age begins to devalue would be youth, firmness, energy and sexual appetite.

    For men, their sexual value begins to rise after college, when they mature and establish a career, respectability and solvency.

    With these market changes the dating scene is flipped.  Where young women have a larger selection of males and can be choosy, and young men are 'friend zoned' frequently; older men may have a larger selection and can be more choosy while older women experience the 'friend zone.' 

    His solution is the same for young men and older women; keep dating.  "At this point dating is going to be a grinding affair and a numbers game.  You will be regularly turned down and you're going to have to shrug it off and go on to the next date unfazed."

    This is a simplistic view of the many faceted world of dating and relationships but his premise has enough truth that if you are a dating individual, give it some thought. 

    You may, or may not, agree with this outlook but the commenter's final remarks hold some wisdom.  "Rest assured you will find someone who values you for exactly who you are, as we all eventually do and that's not a bad thing, as, if you wait for exactly the right person, you'll only have to wait once."

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    Saturday, October 6, 2012

    Running the Risk

    Taking a chance is the definition of risk.  A risk involves stepping outside of your comfort zone and taking the chance that things could go a different way than you want or expect. 

    Good advice is to assess a risky situation for all the possible outcomes and then decide if the reward is worth the risk.  Similar to the art of making a good decision.

     As in most things, it is easy to assess risk for everyone else. Urging others to move outside their comfort zone is easier said than moving outside our own.

    The older I get the smaller and more compact my comfort zones become, accompanied by minimal desire to move outside of them.  Technology has a small area of comfort for me.  I embrace computers, cell phones and digital cameras . . . the first ones I bought and learned to use.  I DON'T WANT TO UPGRADE!  There is little patience to learn the differences from one generation to the next.

    On the other hand who wants to be the old lady who gets stuck in the past century, so I grumble through learning the next level of technology.

    Last week I was on a blogging hiatus as I traveled north to visit family.  My return flight had a layover in Austin where L. attends school.  Here my comfort zone of travel was pinched.

    Time has a distinct zone; I arrive 'on-time'.  It is usual to drive to a destination the day before to assure myself of the location and best directions.  It is also usual to arrive fifteen minutes early and wait in the parking lot.  When flying, arrival is a full hour pre-flight affording plenty of time to check-in and pass security. 

    This should provide a clear picture of how nervous I was to land in Austin, hail a Taxi into downtown, meet up with L. between classes, have the Taxi return for me with enough time (should there be any traffic problems) to recheck, pass security and make my flight.

    I thought through all the possibilities; Googled the directions and distance from airport to dormitory, priced a cab ride and checked for additional flights should I miss mine.  If all the conditions were met we could swing an hour and a half visit.  As nervous as it made me the reward of seeing L. for just 1 1/2 hours was worth the risk of missing my flight.

    When my comfort zone is breached I remember a pivotal point made in the Bible study, Experiencing God, by Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King.   
    Often God calls us to take a risk outside our comfort zone in order to do the tasks he requires of us.  Those who are called make the adjustments and realize the great reward.  "You cannot stay where you are and go with God."

    I encourage you to use the small steps outside your comfort zone as practice for those larger steps that are sure to come.

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    Saturday, September 22, 2012

    You Got 'em Ladies, Get 'em Up!

    "They're called boobs, Ed," says Erin Brockovich, from the movie Erin Brockovich.  It's her succinct explanation of  how she was able to acquire sensitive documents.  Erin understood the power of a firm figure. 

    As a teenager in the 70's I joined the "Burn your bra!" battle cry of the liberated female and wholeheartedly embraced the fashion forward halter top. 

    Thirty years later and gravity has taken it's toll, moving what was once firm and in place and pulled it down toward the waist.  If you find yourself in this same circumstance, take heart, the power of a good figure can be found in the power of a good, supportive bra.

    Every figure is flattered by good foundation garments.  They improve all sizes by lifting and holding personal assets in place.  The bra boutique was a fashion wave that swept through in the 90's offering expert fitters to help women find the right fit and support bra for every size and shape.  These expert fitters can still be found at major department stores and speciality boutiques.

    If you have never had a bra fitting I strongly encourage you to do so.  You've got 'em ladies, get 'em up.  A good figure will help your posture, strengthen your self-confidence and take an ordinary shirt from sloppy to sharp. 

    Prove it with the image in your own mirror.

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