Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wisdom for Today

For God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of peace, power and a sound mind.
II Timothy 1:7

Monday, June 29, 2009

Recipe For A Fun Summer Day

First you invite a really cute little boy named Hance from Costa Rica who is visiting his grandmother (my friend Ann) to lunch.

Next you make hot dogs strung with spaghetti and then cooked for this very adorable little boy.
For dessert you make strawberries with a mountain of whipped cream on top.

Then you watch This and let Hance do it in the front yard on a table by the pond so it won't make a big mess.
At last with a sad heart you say "Goodbye until you come back next year!"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

It's Me, It's Me!

Way too often I analyze the problems in the world and decide it's their behavior that is taking us all down.
I'd like to defer to that late great theologian Michael Jackson: It would make my heart sing if all of us Christians would sing THIS in church tomorrow and mean it. "If I wanna make the world a better place -- take a look at myself and change."
2 Chronicles 7:14 (English Standard Version)
14 If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

You're Only Young -------------- As Long As You Choose

Ready to Rumble
Cole Thomas in gear.

When my kids were growing up we didn't have disposable cash so we learned how to make fun from nothing. We had traditions like burning the Christmas tree in a bonfire on New Year's Eve to avoid the fee for pick up and shooting bottle rockets into the woods when the kids had a friend sleepover.

Camping took the place of hotel vacations and it was always a blast to pop the pop corn maker (without the top on) in the middle of the living room after we had covered everything with old sheets.

We could make a huge bowl of pop corn balls at Christmas for pennies and the grown up children's friends still reminisce about what a treat they were.

One of the little girls (my namesake) who spent many adventures with my boys has become the mom of my grandson's best friend. She decided that a fun activity for Noah's birthday party could be a "Food Fight". Let the dollar store condiments fly.

From the photos above I think they liked it -- don't you?

My friend Judy always says "These are the harvest years."

All that we invested in climbing that mountain of motherhood comes full circle.

My best friend's daughter has become the best friend of my daughter-in-love Annie. Our grandsons have become best friends and it looks like the tradition of making fun out of nothing continues.

Wonder what the rich folks are doing?

We couldn't care less.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


A few weeks ago Joe and I went to a restaurant and I ordered Cucumber Infused Water to drink. It was a lovely shade of pale green and I was intrigued. Well, it was about the most refreshing thing I've tasted in a long time. Determined to recreate it I researched it and came up with this formula. Try it. You'll be hooked too.
Cucumber Infused Water

Take two cucumbers and peel the skins off.
Cut the cucumbers in half length wise and scrape out the seeds.
Rough chop the cucumber and place half of the chunks and the peel in about 8 cups of water.
Boil for 20 minutes and let rest for a couple of hours or over night.
Remove peels and blend the cooked and raw cucumbers with a little water in the blender.
Add the rest of the infused water and sweeten with a little simple syrup. (That is 1 cup of water to 1 cup of sugar cooked to dissolve) Not too sweet just a hint of sweetness.
Strain through a sieve and I like to put one drop of green coloring in the pretty it up.
Each time I serve it the women all ask for the recipe. Joe calls this "Girl Food".
Soooooooooo refreshing!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

John and Kate ........PLEASE WAIT!

I'm falling into my Susan Boyle syndrome. Can't get my heart off of last night's episode of "John and Kate Plus Eight".
The book of Proverbs says: " My people perish for lack of wisdom."
These two well intentioned, exhausted, loving, kind, hard working people are making a huge mistake.
No one will ever love your children as much as the two of you do. No one has your memories.
Your children could benefit more by watching you fight but work it out than for you to leave them with the message that they just were not worth fighting for. You are Christians and there are incredible resources available to you.
His High Places in Blowing Rock North Carolina is one of these places.
I'm hoping that the theory of six degrees of separation is true and someone who reads this will get this message to you. Go for a week each by yourself before you throw in the towel! You will find refreshment for your weary soul. Wisdom and non judgemental love are there waiting for you.
You have nothing to loose except a bunch of vulture lawyers.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Don't Be So Humble -- You're Not That Great" Mark Twain

The Burden of Being Right
Of all of the winsome character traits that come to mind I think humility is my gold standard in our present society. It is rare and getting more so every season.
We as a society seem to have fallen in love with being right. We paste our rightness on our car bumpers and tune in our radios to whiners who assert the same right opinions we hold.
Ask us if we are humble and we'll tell you how "nothing" we are but then we will go down fightin' for our rights.
Wonder what I could do if I got over my sweet self and really just let it go of being right. If I cheered on my neighbor or served someone who had no way of paying me back or sat down on the curb and laughed with abandon.
It might result in making a forever friend or feeling God's breath on my neck or drawing a crowd of people who pine to laugh hard with someone.
I bet that in this humble state of abandon all of us might be drawn closer to our Creator God.
Human nature being what it is I'm sure not one person in these situations would give two hoots if my opinions are right.

"By this shall all men know that you are mine -- that you are right oh, no it says -- that you love one another". Jesus

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Father's Day Tribute to Daddy Jay

My father went to heaven this year and so this Father's Day I don't have a card or present to send him. Here is my tribute...
My Dad was a big man in lots of ways. He was tall. A full 6 foot 3 and he'd point that out to you if you didn't note it.
He had a personality that permeated the room. When he walked in the room the energy expanded.
He was brave. He had learning disabilities but concocted a way to work around them and build a good life for his family. I didn't realize until the last ten years of his life that he could barely read and write. That explained why he never sang the hymns and avoided Sunday School.
He was always one step ahead of the demons from his poor childhood and wore a great sense of humor as his victory trophy.
My Dad was cool. Wherever he was there were a string of successful, polished men just trailing behind him waiting for him to decide what they were going to do next. He was always "The Decider." I'm sure The Fonz was modeled after him.
The kids in our neighborhood called him "Judge" because he loved nothing better than to sit in his lawn chair after dinner and call the winners of all the games they played in the street. Kick the can, hide and seek etc.
My Dad feared God. He knew he wasn't perfect and always worried that he had overstepped his limits. The Proverbs say "Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom." He understood where to be afraid. Dad was wise.
My Dad could not bear to see someone poor and scared. He brought home people down on their luck and sent them on their way in better shape. Fed, new shoes, some money.
Once he called me and asked me to guess how many dress shirts he owned.
I told him that I thought the only thing funnier than him owning that many shirts was that he counted them. Dad was a peacock. Clothes represented "making it" to him. He made it big time.
Dad knew how to make fun out of anything. His riding lawnmower pulled wagons full of kids all over the neighborhood. Long Sunday drives culminated in impromptu picnics on the car hood. He would bring home a convertible and cram tons of kids into it (before seat belts) and treat the whole zip code to ice cream cones.
It is hard to believe that he is not still a call away. He was a shield and we all feel a little less protected without him here.
He left us with wonderful examples and great values to follow. We can't claim ignorance on the things that truly matter.
It's grow up time.
The Bible says that "To him (or her) whom much has been given -- much is required." As his daughter I realize "It's Showtime."
I'm so grateful for my Dad.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Who Will Clap for Me?

(Photo taken at the Philadelphia Flower Show)
This is a poem I have loved dearly for years. Sorry but I've forgotten the author. I relate to it because I'm an extrovert and evidently I'm in that 1% of people who love to speak in public. But -- I often ask myself -- Who is the real audience?
Who will Clap for Me?
I am often dramatic
Sometimes ecstatic
In the role I play
On the stage of Life.
I bow
And bask
In the limelight
Hoarding each moment
Of thunderous applause.
But when the curtain is pulled
For the last time
When the crowds have dispersed
And the stage is dark
Who will clap for me then Lord?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

In the Garden

I come to the garden alone -- While the dew is still on the roses -- And the voice I hear falling on my ear -- The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own;And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known.
While in Louisville Annie and I took the children to this beautiful garden just a couple of miles from their home. It is named "Yew Dell".
Please don't let these summer days go by without several trips to gardens. He is there.

My Summer So Far

In the good ole Summertime! These are the days when we try to store up sweet memories for reflection in the winter's of our days.

A grandmother, some precious children and an adventure. Nothing better!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tonight's sunset as seen from our deck. I can just hear the words to "It's A Wonderful World".

Fix a Tall Glass of Sweet Tea and Get A-Hold of Her!

You need to listen to this after going to www.aol.com then getting on to my blog -- then clicking the title. A lot of trouble but worth it!
There is no video but I promise you'll thank me for introducing you to Jeanne Robertson as she tells a tale about Left Brain's (her nickname for her hubby) grocery list.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Kingdom of God Is A Party - by Tony Campolo

As I was reading Deuteronomy 14:22-29, the passage about tithing hit me hard.
Once a year the people were to bring one tenth of all of their earnings to the temple. And it was not to be used for mission work. It was not to be used for charity. It was to be used for a gigantic party. And anybody who reads the New Testament will discover a Jesus who loved to party with prostitutes and all kinds of left out people.
If our Lord's Kingdom is a group of people who can joyfully celebrate the goodness of life, then we must see to it that nobody is prevented from enjoying The Party. If ghetto kids in Philadelphia have little to celebrate because they have hovels for homes and live in the midst of gang fights, then we must do something to change all of that. (Here he is speaking of Cornerstone Christian Academy -- the first place Joe and I got involved in inner city ministry. It makes me smile to even type the name!)
God is at work through his people. Christians are crying out for justice and are changing the world. They are evangelizing and building the Church. But not until his Son returns to put down the evil kingdom which is also growing will it be time for God's Ultimate Party.
In the meantime we must go to the lonely, the sick, and the dying and tell them, sometimes in words and sometimes by our deeds, that they are loved. Insofar as it is possible , we must party with them. And as we do so, we point beyond those limited signs of the Kingdom to the Great Party that is on it's way.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


The Hat Say's "Don't Forget My Senior Discount"
My travel friend Mary turned sixty this week. Seems to be a lot of that going around. I decided to celebrate with a tea for twelve of her dearest friends.
What is better than an afternoon lolling with girlfriends -- getting high on caffeine served in dainty cups and indulging in delicate little calorie bombs?
I made iced cucumber infused water (delicious!), iced rosemary and lemon tea, cranberry scones with lemon curd (and they think prime rib is a heart attack on a plate?), and tea sandwiches.
I've decided that tea sandwiches need a real wallop to stand out so here were my combos:
1.Sharp (shredded fine) cheddar cheese with pecans and mayo layered with cream cheese and a ton of curry.
2. Chicken salad layered with whole berry cranberry sauce.
3. Egg salad with celery, Cayenne pepper and stuffed green olives.
4. Of course cucumber sandwiches made with what we call Benedictine in Louisville.

My girlfriend Gillian from England taught me to roll the edges of cucumber sandwices in chopped parsley to make them "pop" on the platter.
We finished up with a lemon cake doused in fresh strawberries sauce.
I've learned that most people don't care much about their birthday until it is the day.
So I try to make sure the day is marked.
It matters that they were born. Tony Campola always says; "If God had a refrigerator He'd put your picture on it."
If my friends are that loved by Him then I feel privileged to party with Him!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's All Relative

There are the relatives you are born into and relatives that are adopted out of friendship. My Aunt Francie was actually my friend Linda's aunt. She joined our Bible study back in the 70s and it didn't take me long to realize my DNA would dramatically improve if I could draft her into my kin.

One night as the group had sharing time she told us about her phone ringing that week at 2:30 am. She groggily answered the phone and heard a woman's voice ask, "Francis, may I come over?"

"Of course you may" she replied.

After a moments pause Aunt Francie asked, "Who is this?"

That sums her up.

Open to whoever and whatever adventure life presents.

While her friend Ann and Frances were strolling the beach after dinner they heard orchestra music floating down from one of the hotels. They began an impromptu waltz. A much younger couple strolled past and commented on how 'darling" they were dancing.

Clearly not wanting to fall into the "darling" category Aunt Francie responded ,"And to think we are 92"! A full 20 years over their true age.

The young couple really gushed then and the last laugh was on the girls.

When my marriage was ending in divorce Aunt Francie was mourning the death of her dear husband Uncle Carl. I often found solace on her living room couch. One particularly lonesome evening found us commiserating as she sat ready for bed and I poured out my heart. She nodded compassionately. In a moment of out of body perspective I saw the scene of us on that couch. "Aunt Francie ", I pronounced "We're either going to have to change the subject or you are going to have to take those pink sponge rollers out of you hair! We are just too pitiful a sight".

We laugh about that to this day.

Last night we met for dinner and she told me about her stage three cancer and all of the consequences but you know what? We laughed through the whole thing. Sure there were a few tears and more than a little hand holding but our laughter was the umbrella. Proverbs 31 describes God's woman as able to "Laugh at the days to come" and that sure describes my Aunt Francie.

"I have lived my whole life according to the mottos in the back of McCalls magazines."
Aunt Francie

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Coming Clean

Maybe the word of the hour for Dustin Hoffman in "The Graduate" was PLASTICS but my word is Peroxide.
A few years ago our dog had a bad bout of diarrhea (sorry to be so graphic but a subject on clean has to get dirty sometimes). While Joe and I were out to dinner the poor dog had a number of accidents on our light beige carpet. I spent most of that weekend trying everything I could to get the inky black stains out. Let's just say Home Depot had my photo in the employees lounge as favorite customer of the day. Nothing worked.
Monday morning found me at the hairdresser's (the fount of all true knowledge and gossip) complaining about having to replace all of that carpet.
A red hot momma leaned out from under the hood dryer and announced "peroxide!". What? She said she'd heard on Oprah that it is the magic spot remover. We all questioned the prospect of it removing the color in the carpet too but she assured us it wouldn't.
With nothing to lose (the carpet had to be replaced anyway) I stopped by and bought about a gallon jug for less than a dollar.
When I got home I sloshed a lot of peroxide on each stain then took BJ Honeycutt out for a long walk. When we returned in an hour guess what we found? The carpet was perfectly clean! No discoloration and my theory is the padding was clean too because it has never come back.
Now I use it all of the time. It has even removed stains that have been there for years for my second favorite price -- cheap.
The Plot Thickens....
A few weeks ago we were having lunch with my girlfriend Muffet (Can you tell we live in the South again?) and her handsome as a movie star husband Sims (he is so handsome my neck blotches when I talk to him). That day his teeth were dazzling white bordering on blinding. I asked him if he was so vain he had them whitened. Nope he just rinses his mouth with good ole peroxide 3 times a week.
Soooooooooooo you heard it here first. Buy stock. Come clean.