Sunday, February 28, 2010

Just My Cup of Tea

I'm not a morning person. The longest trek of the day is the one where I stagger from my bed to the kitchen and feebly cobble together a cup of adrenalin -- in the form of a cup of tea.

I've heard of husbands who greet their wives each morning with a delivered beverage to their pillow-haven but after 19 years of squinting my eyes to see that long shadow come around the bend I have realized it ain't gonna happen here.
Not that I really want it to happen because I don't even know my name for at least 30 minutes and Joe wakes up singing the sound track to "The Sound of Music." Somehow I'm afraid there could be an incident involving  a pot of tea, a cheerful husband, that mace canister someone gave me for Christmas in 1985 and a local headline.
But today is a new day. God bless America and God bless Wal-Mart!
Last week I found a tiny 4 cup coffee (or in my case tea) maker with a timer built in for $14.00.
Now each morning the stagger distance has been reduced to 3 feet where I am met by a pot of freshly brewed tea.
Bliss and "Hello" streaming consciousness.
Now by the time Joe launches into "I am sixteen going on seventeen" I just might be joining in -- or not.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Who Painted That Fence?

(Today we -- a board of fifty women --  completed a year’s worth of work by hosting a luncheon featuring Pam Tebow for 2000 women at the convention center. It was such a popular event that we had to close off registrations and turn women away.  The whole process reminded me of Tom Sawyer and his white washing that fence.)

Who painted that fence? I'll tell you who.....

The busiest most in demand women in town with the least amount of disposable time painted that proverbial fence.
How did they find time?
Well, just like ole Tom Sawyer we made the process fun.
While we were wielding our”paint brushes” (meetings, agendas, schedules) we also did what we women do best....
We multitasked.
We made strawberry jam while deciding strategies.
We discussed our heart's concerns and prayed as we were collating programs.
We learned how to make homemade bread while we divided up the names of volunteers into committees.
We turned painting that fence into the best party in town and when it was all over we stood back and asked ourselves -- what's next?
Prospective fence painters are lining up and wondering if they can join in.
So, what do you think of that -- Harvard Business School?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fess Up!

Confession is said to be good for the soul. I'd like to think -- your soul not mine. But the hard facts are that when George Barna surveyed tens of thousands of people that don't profess Christianity and asked -- what are the three characteristics that come to mind when you think of Christians in America this is what they said:

#1. They hate homosexuals

#2. They are judgmental

#3. They are hypocrites

If I weren't already a convinced believer I don't think that this is a group I'd call for a fun Saturday night. Well, maybe the hypocrites -- they might lead to some interesting possibilities.
I read a story about a group of Christians on a California campus that set up a tent in the center of campus and posted a large sign outside that read


Well, that tent flap wasn't doing much flapping.
The Fraternity, Goth, Tree Huggin', Preppy, Computer Sciences, and Anthropology crowd just rolled their eyes and walked right by. Not interested -- not even a little.
On a dare one of the fraternity pledges was forced to enter the tent.
What he found inside caught him totally off guard.
Inside were a few campus Christians who thanked him for coming and then they began to confess their sins to him.

"We're judgmental -- we're hypocrites... we're confused about sexuality issues...."

When word got out what was going on in the tent that old tent flap started really swinging in the breeze. Students who dismissed the Christian group now were a little curious about what they represented and the student body felt safer and more understood in their presence. Relationships changed and both groups gained wisdom.
Let me just confess this:
Your sins are not paramount on my to do list. I've got enough post it notes on my own regrets board to worry about yours.
But, would you consider coming to my church and under that architecturally beautiful roof that points to a gospel of Grace could we share our hearts and stories? If we both modeled Jesus' example maybe you could encourage me to be a better follower of His. Your bravery might make me braver. Your faith might make me more literal.
Who knows I might even get so caught up in the whole relationship -- I might even confess to you and Him -- and be set free.

James 5:15-17 (The Message)
13-15Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing. Are you sick? Call the church together to pray and anoint youself with oil in the name of Jesus. Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you've sinned, you'll be forgiven—healed inside and out.
16-18Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


My girlfriend Linda's grandson Mason didn't know what he wanted for Christmas so she put a Toys R Us catalogue in his hands and told him to get some ideas.
Well he got some ideas alright.   "I want this and this and this too!" he declared.
"You need to pick out the one you want most."
"OOOOO KKKKK I want this most! Let's go get it now."
No -- Linda explained you have to wait until Santa brings it on Christmas Eve.
That just wouldn't do for Mason. After getting all excited and holding those pictures in his hands he was ready for it now. He has such confidence in his grandmother because she has a real good track record on making his dreams and wishes come true.
He looked at her hopfully and with a little desperation in his four year old voice he said, "Fhink (think) Grandmother -- Fhink!"
I imagine if you fhink  about it for a moment you may know someone who is single or widowed or just in a lonesome state that would love to get a "for no reason at all but I love you.....Valentine."
Fhink -- Fhink! It's not too late to make someone feel included and loved.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Showing Up

"Ninety percent of life is showing up."  That great  prophet Woody Allen

I come from of long line of folks who show up. When I was a little girl if my sister or I or one of the cousins got sick all of my dad's four sisters would show up. Someone brought boiled custard,

someone relieved my mother so she could take a nap, and someone would set up a schedule for the troops. It was a "Red Tent" support group that was always alert and ready for the next crisis.
Some families are polite, some families are fancy, some families travel together, our family just showed up.
When I got married at 19 they showed up and gave me showers with all of the flourishes as if being a child bride was the normal thing for a  well bred Southern Baptist girl.  In what seemed like a couple of weeks we all got back together and did it over again for the baby shower.  I felt safe, loved  and accepted in an awkward situation.
When daddy was dying last year I went into his bedroom to give him his medicine one night at 3:00 am . I panicked when I realized  he had aspirated fluid and I couldn't roll him over to give him relief. I called my best friend Barbie and said "Hurry I need you!" She showed up in about 4 minutes with her blouse not even buttoned and we got the job done. I felt braver and saner because she showed up.
I heard a speaker tell a story of a group of wealthy American Christian women who were so moved by the stories of devastation to the women of Kosovo after the war that they chartered a plane and flew there to help.
On the flight there they began to realize that in their haste they had not made a plan as to what exactly they would do when they arrived. A little embarrassed and not really knowing the language they came off the plane not sure what to do. It didn't matter you see because the war ravaged women who met them at the end of the ramp had  open arms and cried "You came! You came!"
My girlfriend Diane's husband is dying. The Rock and Roll Mother's (my longest and dearest friends) just showed up at her house today. The Hospice nurse had decided that it was time for Diane's husband to move to the Hospice facility. So there they sat just waiting and sitting and showing up.
Life is so busy and urgent. There are always a zillion reasons to stay on task but I can tell you from experience the most poignant times in my life have been when somebody loved me enough to show up.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Haunting Song --The Steeple Song by Don Francisco

You may click on the title to hear this song

I don't care how many buses you own
Or the size of your sanctuary
It doesn't matter how steep your steeple is
If it's sittin' on a cemetery

I don't care if you pave your parking lot
Or put pads upon your pews
What good is picture perfect stage
If you're missin' all the cues?
I don't care if your pastor's super-powered
And your program's always new
What you need is love and truth
And men are going to come to you
It doesn't matter that you know the Bible
If it's all just in your head
The thing I need to ask you is
Have you done the things I said?

Do you love your wife?
For her and for your children
Are you layin' down your life?
What about the others?
Are you livin' as a servant to
Your sisters and your brothers?
Do you make the poor man beg you for a bone?
Do the widow and the orphan cry alone?

I don't care if you pray for miracles
I don't care if you speak with tongues
I don't care if you said you love Me
In every song you've sung
It doesn't matter that your sacrifice of praise
Is loud enough to raise the dead
The thing I need to ask you is
Have you done the things I said?

Lord, when were You a prisoner
That we did not come to You?
When was it that we saw You sick
That we didn't follow through
Every time you turned your head
And pretended not to see
When you did it not to the least of these
You did it not to Me

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lucky In Love

Lucky and September today                        Baby September
Finally Lucky was going to have her own family.  She sat so patiently on her nest and rarely ventured out for a swim.
If a duck can smile she was smiling.
Her nar-do-well baby daddy was not all that attentive but waddled around as noisy as ever and looking like he was all that.
But Lucky just sat and sat and sat for months.
After a Google search I realized that probably these eggs were not going to hatch.  It had been too long since they were laid and it broke my heart to see her miss beautiful days on the pond still hoping to be a mother.
I would try to coax her out from under the shrub but she would not be moved.
One day  while I was away from home Papa Joe sent me a blurry photo on my phone.  I had to call to ask what the heck it was?
It was a tiny little black duckling sitting on Lucky's back.  Lucky's baby duck had been hatched!
They looked like the most precious salt and pepper set you ever saw.
But Lucky would not get off her nest.  She is a mother through and through and would not abandon those other eggs.
Dr. Steve informed me that the rest of the eggs were not fertile so with trembling hands I tossed them in the pond.
At that point Lucky and her hatchling jumped into pond life and they have been inseparable ever since.
One of the little girls who visits the pond often named Lucky's duckling -- September (her birth month). 
Lucky shows September the wonders of the pond.  She taught him how to get in and out of the water, peck for worms on rainy days, stay away from the undesirable character ducks, and enjoy life in general.
 Unfortunately September looks nothing like his mommy but is some kind of strange hybrid of his Peking duck daddy and his Muscovy mom.  But he is beautiful to her.
September loves his momma in a country music song kinda way. He tolerates her hovering and lets her show him off unashamed.    If he ever gets the Nobel Prize -- she'll be the first one he thanks.
Although he has become full grown and towers over his mother she is always at his side.
She lets him eat first, get the best feed and even when she gives him the dignity of a little space she is close at hand with one eye on him at all times.
I think if we could sit down over a cup of tea  she would confirm to me indeed -- She is a Lucky Duck.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Just Lucky -- I Guess

The first duck on our pond to get a name was "Lucky Duck".
Papa Joe and I were walking  up our sidewalk late one night when we heard voices.  As we got closer to the unlit porch we saw a mother and her two little children sitting on the steps.
They explained, "We hope you all don't mind if we sit here.  We are releasing our little duck.  We found her with a broken wing and nursed her back but now she needs to be out with other ducks.   Her name is "Lucky"
We told them that our yard was their yard and to come visit as often as they wish.
Lucky took to her new home like uhhh, a duck to water.
At first the other ducks ignored her so she just swam around in her own little corner.  But gradually she would trail one of the old timers and they wouldn't leave her in their wake.
One of the bully ducks decided to peck her on the neck and when the wound  opened the others took to pecking her too. 
Papa Joe would dash out the door arms flailing and chase them off all the time admonishing them, "How would you like it if I bit you!?" 
He evidently didn't yell with a duck dialect because the harassment kept up to the point we were afraid they were going to mortally wound her.
During that period  we had lunch with our friend Wink Cherry.  I asked the fellows if they would help me capture Lucky and take her to Dr. Steve for some R and R. 
You should have seen Wink (all of six feet tall and a former football player) roaming around the pond yelling "Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere Lucky!"  All to no avail.
Finally she made a camp on an island away from the others and after a couple of weeks she was healed enough to join back in the flock.
That girl has staying power.
Eventually she took up with a James Dean duck and in that familiar good girl attracted to bad boy scenario she was soon sitting on a nest full of 12 eggs.
Tune in tomorrow for the continuation of  The Trials and Joys of Lucky Duck....

Love Is In the Air

And on the door, shelves, gates, and who knows what else?  Our house is looking LOVE-ly.
I love Valentines Day!
Of all of the holidays it is my most anticipated.  Here's why:

1. It is totally optional.  Your Insurance broker will not send you an obligatory card.
2.  It is homemade if done well.  Oh, the doilys, glitter, stickers and feathers fly around here.
3.  It is a perfect day to surprise someone with an unexpected act of love.
4.  It is unisex.  I always make an extra effort to load up valentines and chocolates on my single friends and relatives.
5.  You get a lot of bang for your buck.  Your little gesture does not get lost in the shuffle of say like birthday or Christmas cards.
6.  It is red a not very shy girl's favorite color.
7.  It is totally PC to hug people you would never approach on an ordinary day.
8.  The decorations cheer up the dreary winter days.
9.  AND the best of all............My precious granddaughter Avery Elise was born on Valentines day!