Saturday, January 30, 2010

"Most good things have been said far too many times and just need to be lived." Shane Claiborn

Shane recently had an article in Esquire magazine titled -- What if  Jesus really meant all that stuff he said?  He will be preaching at Riverside Presbyterian Church tomorrow (January 31) at 8:30 am and 11:00 am.
Here are some quotes:
To all my nonbelieving, sort-of-believing, and used-to-be-believing friends: I feel like I should begin with a confession. I am sorry that so often the biggest obstacle to God has been Christians. Christians who have had so much to say with our mouths and so little to show with our lives. I am sorry that so often we have forgotten the Christ of our Christianity.
It is so simple, but the pious forget this lesson constantly. God may indeed be evident in a priest, but God is just as likely to be at work through a Samaritan or a prostitute. In fact the Scripture is brimful of God using folks like a lying prostitute named Rahab, an adulterous king named David... at one point God even speaks to a guy named Balaam through his donkey. Some say God spoke to Balaam through his ass and has been speaking through asses ever since. So if God should choose to use us, then we should be grateful but not think too highly of ourselves. And if upon meeting someone we think God could never use, we should think again.
After all, Jesus says to the religious elite who looked down on everybody else: "The tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom ahead of you." And we wonder what got him killed?
In fact, the entire story of Jesus is about a God who did not just want to stay "out there" but who moves into the neighborhood, a neighborhood where folks said, "Nothing good could come." It is this Jesus who was accused of being a glutton and drunkard and rabble-rouser for hanging out with all of society's rejects, and who died on the imperial cross of Rome reserved for bandits and failed messiahs. This is why the triumph over the cross was a triumph over everything ugly we do to ourselves and to others. It is the final promise that love wins.
It is this Jesus who was born in a stank manger in the middle of a genocide. That is the God that we are just as likely to find in the streets as in the sanctuary, who can redeem revolutionaries and tax collectors, the oppressed and the oppressors... a God who is saving some of us from the ghettos of poverty, and some of us from the ghettos of wealth.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I have a friend who's husband worked for a fortune 500 company. One of the perks was that the national convention usually took place in Orlando and the whole family was allowed to come along.
Each child had wonderful memories of Mickey except the youngest son.
The economy went south and by the time he was old enough to go the company scaled back on business travel.
Oh, he would lament how it just wasn't fair and his mom and dad hated it but they just couldn't swing that trip on their own.
After years of a no travel policy the company recovered enough to have the next year's conference in Orlando again.
My friends (who evidently are much more disciplined than me or Papa Joe) didn't tell their son.
They packed secretly and hid the bags in the trunk.
On the morning of the trip they woke up their little boy and explained; "You don't have to go to school today. Your grades are good and we have decided that today you can stay home and we'll do what ever you want to do!"
"Whatever I want?"
"Not anything I want......"
"Well, I want to go to Disney World."
"OK" they announced. "Pack you bags and let's go!"
And they did.
To this day that young man knows how to dream and ask for what he dreams about.

Matthew 7:11
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ex Pat

Luke 12:6 (New International Version)
6 Are not five birds sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.

It is quiet around here. Very quiet.
Yesterday our most recent goose boarder Pat was hit by a speeding car and Dr. Steve couldn't put him back together again.
Just the night before I took the photo above and when Papa Joe was eating his dinner Pat stood on the porch step and pecked on the window for him to come out for their nightly conversations.
It was sweet to see how neighbors at the pond huddled around and then let us know he was injured.
Pat wasn't easy to like at first glance. He was edgy and in his haste to check you out he would make a lot of racket and dash in your direction. His little eyes were positioned on the side of his head so I imagine he could only see sideways.
He would lower his head to the ground and watch the grass fly by as he hurried to check someone out.
It looked like he was charging you but it was really his unveiled attempt to meet a new acquaintance.
Pat was misunderstood. He wasn't polished and savvy like our drop in guests the Canadian geese, Curly, Moe and Joe (No relation). See photo above.
Pat was excitable and his honks inspired the title of the neighborhood rooster.
Papa Joe and I said the simple word "Sad" a lot this morning.
I want to imagine that Pat and Father Goose (who was also killed by a speeding car) are having a brandy in goose heaven and Pat is giving a glowing report on Mother goose's recovery.
Isn't life a conveyor belt? You get on and you get off. But it is how much joy you give and receive that tallies the total at the end of the ride.
Pat gave us much joy and laughter. He will be missed.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Love Me -- Love My Dog

There was a day when if you wanted to steal my heart you adored my children. Just confirm to me that they were as Garrison Keiler says "Above Average" and you had my devotion.
But the kids grew up and moved to the outer reaches of the universe and Papa Joe and I found ourselves careening into the city pet adoption center one Sunday after church.
"Just here to look" we announced as we tripped the door chime.
"Wish us luck!" we said as we pulled out of our parking lot with our new dog Glorie Hallelujah in the backseat.
She has filled a hole in our hearts and captured the hearts of our neighbors.
Donna a flight attendant can't own a dog because she is in the air too much. But when she is home she stops by -- pockets bulging with dog treats -- and takes our girl on the walk of her dreams! Several miles of walking, jogging and discussing world affairs.
Donna took the photo above as they were heading out yesterday on one of their world tours.
Yep, Glorie is smiling.
Our across the street neighbors Justin and Colin are the most Norman Rockwell kids you ever met and they borrow Glorie when they want a dog fix.
I kept telling Papa Joe that we needed to buy a boy for Glorie but God sent us two instead and we don't even need to start another college fund.
So, to say I'm feelin' the love in my neighborhood is an understatement.
Love me-- love my dog.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Picture is Worth a Thousand -- Ughs!

The Happiest Place on Earth?

Wellllllllllllll, that's debatable but it sure was fun to be there yesterday.
We arrived at 5:00 pm and most folks were leaving. It made it easy to get into the rides.
But even at the slowest time of the year the Magic Kingdom is buzzing.
Everything is geared to sell, sell, sell. Eye candy galore.
I love walking in and seeing the vendors with the huge balloon bouquets bouncing above their heads.
There is a new Hall of Presidents exhibit and I hate to say it but some of those presidents barely sounded familiar.
New goal -- learn a dab of information about each of them.
Next we took the boat ride around Tom Sawyer island. A great way to see Disney at night with all of the street lamps and strung lights.
Off to "Country Bear Jamboree." Corny but it makes me smile.
During the parade we headed to the Haunted House and zipped right in. BOO!
We love to make a meal out of sharing a giant turkey leg. We look like Fred and Wilma sitting on a bench. However no one asked for our autographs so maybe we just looked like two chubby grandparents?
As we walked out of the Kodak movie theatre the fireworks were bursting overhead. It looked like they were right over us. What a thrill. The perfect ending to two pyromaniacs day.
Good night Disney -- tommorrow off to the really happiest place on earth....Ikea.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Bears -- Oh, My!

Our first day at Disney we chose to visit Animal Kingdom. It is the most grown up kingdom as it is very natural and there is not a lot of glitz.
They have created areas to duplicate natural habitats.
First we walked into dense Forrest paths that were embellished with the most incredible plantings and wild birds. It feels like a rain forest.
We caught the 3D movie of "It's Hard to be a Bug".
So funny! It had us screaming and jumping out of our seats with the special effects.
Then we wandered over to the Asia section. They have recreated jungles with abandoned temples in ruins where all kinds of animals have taken over. It truly feels crusty and authentic.
There we saw a program called "Flights of Wonder" that features a zany show using the most beautiful tropical birds flying overhead and doing feats of wonder.
After the show we ambled through the lost temples section. We saw tigers and bats and prayer flags hanging everywhere. All of the sights of India without the jet lag!
The musical "Finding Nemo" is similar to the play "Lion King" in it's use of kites and puppets. Stunning. There was one actor who had the job of being the puppeteer at the rear end of the big shark. I had to lean over and ask Joe -- what does he say when he meets people at cocktail parties and they ask, "What do you do?"
Papa Joe wanted to catch the Safari so off we went. We traveled by safari bus over broken down rustic roads to an African savanna. Yep, there they were around every turn in the road. Elephants, flamingos, crocs, lions, and an eye full of everything people pay zillions of dollars to go to Africa to spy.
This is a great time of year to come. The slowest of the year and the weather is not that 'kids crying and mothers yelling -- hot'.
We finished up the day with the production of "Lion King."
Our eyeballs and minds were full of sights, sounds, and smells.
We're conflicted about which Kingdom to visit today -- but I think it's going to be Hollywood Studios.
Who knows we may discovered at the new American Idol feature?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

We're Going To Disney World!

Tomorrow morning Papa Joe and I are heading to Disney World. No kids just us.
I am so excited. Joe has sworn off his computer and cell phone to just have fun. I've never been without children so this time I can spend all of the time I want in the "boring" places like Animal Kingdom.
I'll put photos of our adventures on this site. If you have any suggestions for places we need to check out -- just let us know.
I'll give your regards to Goofy!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Really Rosie!

Our old dogs were inseparable. The Pointer (Sam Pickens) always deeply appreciated that our lab (BJ Honeycutt) invited him into his home and was always a gracious host.
For the eight years they lived together they were inseparable. They even ate their meal from the same dog bowl. As in everything else Sam would defer to BJ and wait for him to take the first bite before he would follow suit.
As Sam reached his late ninety's in people years he got easily confused and succumbed to just doing what ever BJ (a full four years younger) did. Sam clearly did not know what country he was in or who was the president.
It was shocking to all of us when BJ had two seizures in two days and the ER Vet told us that it would be best to put him down.
We went to the animal ER with a beloved pet and came home in an empty car.
It was a loss that to this day makes my throat hurt to even remember.
In our grief we wondered -- what will happen to Sam Pickens? Who can be his anchor?
After a sleepless night Joe trudged up and out the door to take Sam for his morning constitutional. As he stepped out the back door this little black cat was sleeping on the step.
Sam Pickens took one long questioning look at the cat as the cat calmly stood up, stretched and lovingly rubbed against his leg.
Sam was a hunting dog and there was no orientation towards being a cat lover but for some reason he instantly took a shine to this cat.
All of their waking hours they spent together.
We asked our adopted grand daughter Clio to name the cat and quickly she pronounced it "Rosie!"
So Rosie it was. We asked her how she knew the cat was a female and she in all of her 5 year old wisdom said "because I felt down there."
Made sense to us!
While I was away I got a call from Joe asking me how he should transport "Rosie" to the vet.
"Because now that Sam loves her I want to make sure she has her shots and after feeding her every morning and night I want to make sure she doesn't get (his words not mine) knocked up."
The next day Rosie was ensconced in her cardboard carrier and on the way to get fixed.
Being a feral cat that box lasted all of about 3 minutes and the rest of the way she sat calmly on Papa Joe's lap catching the view from the driver's seat.
That afternoon I got another call from Joe. "I think it may be too late. Dr. Rossi called and told me to come pick up Rosie. They couldn't do the surgery. How do you feel about a cat farm?"
"Not good. Call me with the verdict."
An hour later Joe called back his report. The vet had called him into his office and declared, "Mr. Honeycutt, this is a neutered male!"
And so my advice for today dear reader is......... don't consult five year olds for gynecological information.
Sam Pickens went to join BJ not many weeks after that but he left behind another beloved part of our menagerie.
Rosie (as in Rosie Grier) the feral cat.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Is Anybody Out There?

Last week I told about an impromptu prayer time at our home to pray for our neighbor's baby boy.
See: "Circling The Wagons"
This is the E-mail I received from his mommy on Friday...

We believe in miracles! We went in to have a 3D reconstruction CT scan today for purposes of determining exactly where and how much bone would be removed and the doctor informed us that much to his surprise, today he did not find craniosynostosis. While a clinical examination and preliminary tests suggested clear evidence of such a condition and the doctors had already begun the process of preparing Rawls and us for surgery, the doctor did not find there to be a need for surgery today. It is truly a beautiful day! We are going to go forward with at least one second opinion next week just to be absolutely sure. We are, however, relieved by the news and first and foremost must thank God for answering all of our prayers. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to each and everyone of you for all of your words of support and first and foremost for your prayers. The Lord has answered all of them. There is no question in our minds that this is a miracle! The doctors will continue to track his head shape and growth over this next year but at this time there is no need for surgery.

As soon as I read this I dashed across the street in my apron and the baby's grandmother and I shared our tears of joy.
Why do we try to go it alone when our God is a good God if we just call out to Him?

Deuteronomy 4:29 (New American Standard Bible)
29"But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.

Friday, January 15, 2010

This Says A Lot...

My friend Sue has a post on her blog today that expresses the cost of opening your heart to suffering.
"Hard to Sleep Tonight"

Decision -- author unknown

If love should count you worthy and should deign
One day to seek your door and be your guest
Pause! ere you draw the bolt and bid Him rest,
If in your old content you would remain
For not alone he enters; in His train
Are angels of the mists, the lonely guest,
Dreams of the unfulfilled and unprocessed.
and sorrow and life's immemorial pain.
He wakes desires you may never forget,
He shows you stars you never saw before
He makes you share with him forever more,
The burden of the world's divine regret.
How wise you were not to open!
and yet, How poor if you should turn Him from the door.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Our Heart Is In Haiti

When Joe and I lost our way the Lord sent us a couple to stand by our side. We were not fun to be with and yet they came in the name of Jesus to walk us back to the path that leads to a good life. Their names are Wink and Reina Cherry.
Wink and Reina's son and wife are living in Haiti serving God by helping the poorest of the poor.
Please read their blog post for yesterday:
These are our children. They may look like a grown man and woman but they are really just our little kids in big kids clothes.
Please pray for them.
Pray for:
The wisdom to know what to do and in what order
The peace that passes understanding that Jesus promised to believers

Reina told me this morning that there is a spirit of bitterness in Haiti because the people were so tortured as slaves. When the slave revolt was successful the people dedicated the island to Satan. When I look at the poverty and oppression there I see how he treats his people.

The news last night said that the city of Port Au Prince was totally silent except for the singing of hymns from the Christians.

Now watch the church be the church. CNN probably won't cover it but help is on the way. Charity will be practiced.
I will post the needs and what we can do as soon as we get word.
In the meantime................

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Circling The Wagons

When our neighbors Richard and Michelle announced they were going to have a baby the excitement in our neighborhood was palatable.
A baby! We haven't had one of those in a long time. All of the toddlers have turned into big kids and there is a dramatic absence of big wheels in our street.
So when baby Rawls was born the casseroles flowed along with tears of joy.
This week we have learned that our baby is looking at serious cranial surgery in the next few days.
A bulletin has gone out. We will meet in our living room Sunday night to pray for baby Rawls, his mom and dad.
If you are the praying kind would you join us at 7;00pm?
God answers prayers and longs for us to know He is in this life with us.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

And This Little (big) Goose Went HONK,HONK,HONK All the Way Home

(Not us but you get the picture?)

When Glorie Hallelujah (our hound dog) and I launched out for our morning stroll Pat (the rescue goose) was excited to see us but we took off quickly on our mission.
Glorie loves sniffing her way through the yards. Dave Barry says dogs read the ground like humans read the newspaper.
"Oh, look who's peed here! I really like him!"
"Wow, look at that pile! Now that's impressive!"
It is always a tail wagging adventure for woman and beast.
But today as we rounded the last corner to head home I could hear a loud honking from down by the school. Initially I was relieved that someone else had a goose that was noisy and we wouldn't be the only ones contributing to the neighborhood noise decibels.
But alas it was Pat.
Evidently he had tried to follow us, gotten turned around and was frantic that he couldn't find his way home.
He was crossing the street looking for something or someone familiar and going up to the utility workers and asking them "Have you seen my mother and dog?"
I yelled; "Hey, Pat over here!"
He flew/ran the half block to catch up with us and happily followed us all the way home.
To my way of thinking the only thing more unusual than a goose taking a walk with me and our dog is a dog resigned to swallowing all of her natural instincts and coming along for the ride.
"And the dog shall lie down with the goose" Who needs lions and lambs?

Don't Go There

Out of the mouth of babes comes the raw truth.
Our grandson Cole Thomas doesn't work well if there are any distractions. I'm afraid that DNA came from me.
So when his mother suggested he go do his homework at his father's desk in the basement office Cole's response was "Mom!.... There are Legos down there!"
Oh that we would be as open and honest to know the places that are a set up for failure and stay away.

Job 28:28 (New International Version)
28 And he said to man,
'The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.' "

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Is It Mr or Madame Goose?

We still don't know but Pat our new resident goose has decided to unpack his (for lack of a better gender) emotional baggage and send out change of address cards to make it official.
He has a thing for Joe and actually most of the guys in the neighborhood. When Jim our neighbor came home from the grocery Pat crossed the street to tell Jim all about his day.
There he stood at the back door honking out all of his details as Jim went back and forth. When the back door closed at last Pat must have thought there was a a misunderstanding because he proceeded to the front door and pecked until Jim came out and escorted him back to the pond.
Feeding time is usually about 5:30. When Joe is running late Pat perches himself on our next door neighbor's steps and complains loudly that dinner is late! What does he think this is the Ritz?
Gradually Lucky, September, Nelson Mandela and the rest of the ducks are accepting Pat's big body language and loud ways.
They allow him to be in their general area but still don't sit with him in the cafeteria (the feed bowls that so elegantly grace our front yard).
This morning we spied Pat swimming in the pond with the gang. Joe no longer has to take the swimming pool net to get him out of the water. Pat has mastered the ramp Joe built.
Every home has certain sounds that make it home. Wind chimes, traffic, a train and oh, you know a big goose honking.
We love our little piece of paradise and now it seems Pat the rescue goose does too.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I've Got Bette Davis Eyes

I can't say I wasn't warned. My mother told me that after 50 - where hair was it would begin to disappear and where it wasn't it would grow. It's like God's version of "Musical Hairs".
Where oh where have my eyebrows gone? I've gone from Brooke Shields to quotation marks to 99% Maybeline light brown brow pencil.
My friend Katie's husband told her she was over plucking. She told him to............... well she was not pleased.
It's times like these when a sense of humor sure comes in handy.
But, Hey Sugar --
I discovered a great and cheap way to combat my winter dry lips and keep my lipstick from running in little tributaries (another unwanted Bette look).
Mix some sugar with olive oil and scrub your lips each night before bed.
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm where did I toss that blood red lipstick?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010

Burn Baby Burn

New Years Eve we invited the neighbors over for a bon fire. I love a fire.
In Philadelphia we always had a huge fire on Christmas night. "The baby Jesus bourbon bon fire". All fall Joe would mound up the yard trash (8 acres worth!) and on Christmas night throw a match on it. Friends would bring their families and we'd sit around and decompress from a hectic day. The bourbon enhanced apple cider helped mellow us out enough to just stare at the blaze that would turn into magic land embers.
One friend's daughter brought her date (a first date mind you) and they stayed late into the night and fell in love. Now they are married with three kids.
Fire is dangerous and beautiful just like life.
I don't want a safe life. I hope to have a fiery one. So this year I resolve to burn with exciting adventures.
Learn something new. (Yoga? French?)
Become a friend with someone outside my circle. (Mentor a child at the failing school in our area?)
Travel to a place not on the top 100 places to go before I die.

"My candle burns at both ends It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends -
It gives a lovely light."
from Edna St. Vincent Millay.